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Title: The Dodd Family Abroad, Vol. II
Author: Lever, Charles James, 1806-1872
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE DODD FAMILY ABROAD

By Charles James Lever


Volume II.



LETTER I. KENNY JAMES DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., OF THE GRANGE, BRUFF

Constance.

My dear Tom,--I got the papers all safe. I am sure the account is
perfectly correct. I only wish the balance was bigger. I waited here to
receive these things, and now I discover that I can't sign the warrant
of attorney except before a consul, and there is none in this place,
so that I must keep it over till I can find one of those pleasant
functionaries,--a class that between ourselves I detest heartily. They
are a presumptuous, under-bred, consequential race,--a cross between
a small skipper and smaller Secretary of Legation, with a mixture
of official pedantry and maritime off-handedness that is perfectly
disgusting. Why our reforming economists don't root them all out I
cannot conceive. Nobody wants, nobody benefits by them; and save that
you are now and then called on for a "consular fee," you might never
hear of their existence.

I don't rightly understand what you say about the loan from that Land
Improvement Society. Do you mean that the money lent must be laid out on
the land as a necessary condition? Is it possible that this is what I am
to infer? If so, I never heard anything half so preposterous! Sure, if I
raise five hundred pounds from a Jew, he has no right to stipulate that
I must spend the cash on copper coal-scuttles or potted meats! I want
it for my own convenience; enough for him that I comply with his demands
for interest and repayment. Anything else would be downright tyranny and
oppression, Tom,--as a mere momentary consideration of the matter will
show you. At all events, let us get the money, for I 'd like to contest
the point with these fellows; and if ever there was a man heart and
soul determined to break down any antiquated barrier of cruelty or
domination, it is your friend Kenny Dodd! As to that printed paper, with
its twenty-seven queries, it is positive balderdash from beginning
to end. What right have they to conclude that I approve of subsoil
draining? When did I tell them that I believed in Smith of Deanstown?
Where is it on record that I gave in my adhesion to model cottages,
Berkshire pigs, green crops, and guano manure? In what document do these
appear? Maybe I have my own notions on these matters,--maybe I keep them
for my own guidance too!

You say that the gentry is all changing throughout the whole land, and
I believe you well, Tom Purcell. Changed indeed must they be if they
subscribe to such preposterous humbug as this! At all events, I repeat
we want the money, so fill up the blanks as you think best, and remit me
the amount at your earliest, for I have barely enough to get to the end
of the present month. I don't dislike this place at all. It is quiet,
peaceful,--humdrum, if you will; but we've had more than our share of
racket and row lately, and the reclusion is very grateful. One day is
exactly like another with us. Lord George--for he is back again--and
James go a-fishing as soon as breakfast is over, and only return for
supper. Mary Anne reads, writes, sews, and sings. Mrs. D. fills up the
time discharging Betty, settling with her, searching her trunks for
missing articles, and being reconciled to her again, which, with
occasional crying fits and her usual devotions, don't leave her a single
moment unoccupied! As for me, I'm trying to learn German, whenever I'm
not asleep. I've got a master,--he is a Swiss, and maybe his accent
is not of the purest; but he is an amusing old vagabond,--an
umbrella-maker, but in his youth a travelling-servant. His time is not
very valuable to him, so that he sits with me sometimes for half a day;
but still I make little progress. My notion is, Tom, that there's no use
in either making love or trying a new language after you're five or six
and twenty. It's all up-hill work after that, believe me. Neither your
declensions nor declarations come natural to you, and it's a bungling
performance at the best. The first condition of either is to have
your head perfectly free,--as little in it as need be. So long as
your thoughts are jostled by debts, duns, mortgages, and marriageable
daughters, you 'll have no room for vows or irregular verbs! It's lucky,
however, that one can dispense both with the love and the learning,
and indeed of the two,--with the last best, for of all the useless,
unprofitable kinds of labor ever pursued out of a jail, acquiring
a foreign language is the most. The few words required for daily
necessaries, such as schnaps and cigars, are easily learnt; all beyond
that is downright rubbish.

For what can a man express his thoughts in so well as his mother tongue?
with whom does he want to talk but his countrymen? Of course you come
out with the old cant about "intelligent natives," "information derived
at the fountain head," "knowledge obtained by social intimacy with
people of the country." To which I briefly reply, "It's all gammon
and stuff from beginning to end;" and what between _your_ blunders in
grammar and your informant's ignorance of fact, all such information is
n't worth a "trauneen." Now, once for all, Tom, let me observe to
you that ask what you will of a foreigner, be it an inquiry into the
financial condition of his country, its military resources, prison
discipline, law, or religion, he 'll never acknowledge his inability to
answer, but give you a full and ready reply, with facts, figures, dates,
and data, all in most admirable order. At first you are overjoyed with
such ready resources of knowledge. You flatter yourself that even
with the most moderate opportunities you cannot fail to learn much; by
degrees, however, you discover errors in your statistics, and at last,
you come to find out that your accomplished friend, too polite to deny
you a reasonable gratification, had gone to the pains of inventing a
code, a church, and a coinage for your sole use and benefit, but without
the slightest intention of misleading, for it never once entered his
head that you could possibly believe him! I know it will sound badly.
I am well aware of the shock it will give to many a nervous system; but
for all that I will not blink the declaration--which I desire to record
as formally and as flatly as I am capable of expressing it--which is,
that of one hundred statements an Englishman accepts and relies upon
abroad, as matter of fact, ninety-nine are untrue; full fifty being lies
by premeditation, thirty by ignorance, ten by accident or inattention,
and the remainder, if there be a balance, for I 'm bad at figures, from
any other cause you like.

It is no more disgrace for a foreigner not to tell the truth than to
own that he does not sing, nor dance the mazurka; not so much, indeed,
because these are marks of a polite education. And yet it is to
hold conversation with these people we pore over dictionaries, and
Ollendorfs, and Hamiltonian gospels. As for the enlargement and
expansion of the intelligence that comes of acquiring languages, there
never was a greater fallacy. Look abroad upon your acquaintances: who
are the glib linguists, who are the faultless in French genders, and the
immaculate in German declensions? the flippant boarding-school miss, or
the brainless, unpaid attaché, that cannot, compose a note in his own
language. Who are the bungling conversera that make drawing-rooms blush
and dinner-tables titter? Your first-rate debater in the Commons, your
leader at the bar, your double first, or your great electro-magnetic
fellow that knows the secret laws of water-spouts and whirlpools, and
can make thunder and lightning just to amuse himself. Take my word for
it, your linguist is as poor a creature as a dancing-master, and just as
great a formalist.

If you ask me, then, why I devote myself to such unrewarding labor, I
answer, "It is true I know it to be so, but my apology is, that I make
no progress." No, Tom, I never advance a step. I can neither conjugate
nor decline, and the auxiliary verbs will never aid me in anything. So
far as my lingual incapacity goes, I might be one of the great geniuses
of the age; and very probably I am, too, without knowing it!

I have little to tell you of the place itself. It is a quaint old town
on the side of the lake; the most remarkable object being the minster,
or cathedral. They show you the spot in the aisle where old Huss stood
to receive his sentence of death. Even after a lapse of centuries, there
was something affecting to stand where a man once stood to bear that he
was to be burned alive. Of course I have little sympathy with a heretic,
but still I venerate the martyr, the more since I am strongly disposed
to think that it is one of those characters which are not the peculiar
product of an age of railroads and submarine telegraphs. The expansion
of the intelligence, Tom, seems to be in the inverse ratio of the
expansion of the conscience, and the stubborn old spirit of right that
was once the mode, would nowadays be construed into a dogged, stupid
bull-headedness, unworthy of the enlightenment of our glorious era.
Take my word for it, there's a great many eloquent and indignant
letter-writers in the newspapers would shrink from old Huss's test for
their opinions, and a fossil elk is not a greater curiosity than would
be a man ready to stake life on his belief. When a fellow tells you of
"dying on the floor of the House," he simply means that he'll talk till
there's a "count out;" and as for "registering vows in heaven," and
"wasting out existence in the gloom of a dungeon," it's just balderdash,
and nothing else.

The simple fact is this, Tom Purcell: we live in an age of universal
cant, and I swallow all _your_ shams on the easy condition that you
swear to _mine_, and whenever I hear people praising the present age,
and extolling its wonderful progress, and all that, I just think of all
the quackery I see advertised in the newspapers, and sigh heartily to
myself at our degradation! Why, man, the "Patent Pills for the Cure of
Cancer," and the Agapemone, would disgrace the middle ages! And it is
not a little remarkable that England, so prone to place herself at the
head of civilization, is exactly the very metropolis of all this humbug!

To come back to ourselves, I have to report that James arrived here a
couple of days ago. He followed that scoundrel "the Baron" for thirty
hours, and only desisted from the pursuit when his horse could go no
farther. The police authorities mainly contributed to the escape of the
fugitive, by detaining James on every possible occasion, and upon any
or no pretext. The poor fellow reached Freyburg dead beat, and without a
sou in his pocket; but good luck would have it that Lord George Tiverton
had just arrived there, so that by his aid he came on here, where they
both made their appearance at breakfast on Tuesday morning.

Lord George, I suspect, had not made a successful campaign of it lately;
though in what he has failed--if it be failure--I have no means of
guessing. He looks a little out at elbows, however, and travels without
a servant. In spirits and bearing I see no change in him; but these
fellows, I have remarked, never show depression, and india-rubber
itself is not so elastic as a bad character! I don't half fancy his
companionship for James; but I know well that this opinion would be
treated by the rest of the family as downright heresy; and certainly he
is an amusing dog, and it is impossible to resist liking him; but there
lies the very peril I am afraid of. If your loose fish, as the
slang phrase calls them, were disagreeable chaps,--prosy, selfish,
sententious,--vulgar in their habits, and obtrusive in their manners,
one would run little risk of contamination; but the reverse is the case,
Tom,--the very reverse! Meet a fellow that speaks every tongue of the
Continent, dresses to perfection, rides and drives admirably, a dead
shot with the pistol, a sure cue at billiards,--if he be the delight of
every circle he goes into,--look out sharp in the "Times," and the odds
are that there's a handsome reward offered for him, and he's either
a forger or a defaulter. The truth is, a man may be ill-mannered as a
great lawyer or a great physician; he may make a great figure in
the field or the cabinet; there may be no end to his talents as a
geometrician or a chemist; it's only your adventurer must be well-bred,
and swindling is the soldiery profession to which a man must bring
fascinating manners, a good address, personal advantages, and the power
of pleasing. I own to you, Tom Purcell, I like these fellows, and
I can't help it! I take to them as I do to twenty things that are
agreeable at the time, but are sure to disagree with me--afterwards.
They rally me out of my low spirits, they put me on better terms with
myself, and they administer that very balmy flattery that says, "Don't
distress yourself, Kenny Dodd. As the world goes, you 're better than
nine-tenths of it. You'd be hospitable if you could; you'd pay your
debts if you could; and there would n't be an easier-tempered, more
good-natured creature breathing than yourself, if it was only the will
was wanting!" Now, these are very soothing doses when a man is scarified
by duns, and flayed alive by lawsuits; and when a fellow comes to my
time of life, he can no more bear the candid rudeness of what is called
friendship than an ex-Lord Mayor could endure Penitentiary diet!

I must confess, however, that whenever we come to divide on any
question, Lord George always votes with Mrs. D. He told me once that
with respect to Parliament he always sided with the Government, whatever
it was, when he could, and perhaps he follows the same rule in private
life. Last night, after tea, we discussed our future movements, and I
found him strongly in favor of getting us on to Italy for the winter.
I did n't like to debate the matter exactly on financial grounds, but I
hazarded a half-conjecture that the expedition would be a costly one.
He stopped me at once. "Up to this time," said he, "you have really not
benefited by the cheapness of Continental living,"--that was certainly
true,--"and for this simple reason, you have always lived in the beaten
track of the wandering cockney. You must go farther away from England.
You must reach those places where people settle as residents, not ramble
as tourists; you will then be rewarded, not only economically, but
socially. The markets and the morals are both better; for our countrymen
filter by distance, and the farther from home the purer they become."
To Mrs. D. and Mary Anne he gave a glowing description of Trans-Alpine
existence, and rapturously pictured forth the fascinations of Italian
life. I can only give you the items, Tom; you must arrange them for
yourself. So make what you can of starry skies, olives, ices, tenors,
volcanoes, music, mountains, and maccaroni. He appealed to _me_ by the
budget. Never was there such cheapness in the known world. The Italian
nobility were actually crashed down with house-accommodation, and only
entreated a stranger to accept of a palace or a villa. The climate
produced everything without labor, and consequently without cost. Fruit
had no price; wine was about twopence a bottle; a strong tap rose to
two and a half! Clothes one scarcely needed; and, except for decency,
"nothing and a cocked hat" would suffice. These were very seductive
considerations, Tom; and I own to you that, even allowing a large margin
for exaggeration, there was a great amount of solid advantage remaining.
Mrs. D. adduced an additional argument when we were alone, and in this
wise: What was to be done with the wedding finery if we should return
to Ireland; for all purposes of home life they would be totally
inapplicable. You might as well order a service of plate to serve up
potatoes as introduce Paris fashions and foreign elegance into our
provincial circle. "We have the things now," said she; "let us have the
good of them." I remember a cask of Madeira being left with my father
once, by a mistake, and that was the very reason he gave for drinking
it. She made a strong case of it, Tom; she argued the matter well,
laying great stress upon the duty we owed our girls, and the necessity
of "getting them married before we went back." Of course, I did n't
give in. If I was to give her the notion that she could convince me
of anything, we 'd never have a moment's peace again; so I said I 'd
reflect on the subject, and turn it over in my mind. And now I want you
to say what disposable cash can we lay our hands on for the winter. I
am more than ever disinclined to have anything to say to these Drainage
Commissioners. It's our pockets they drain, and not our farms. I 'd
rather try and raise a trifle on mortgage; for you see, nowadays, they
have got out of the habit of doing it, and there's many a one has money
lying idle and does n't know what to do with it. Look out for one of
these fellows, Tom, and see what you can do with him. Dear me, is n't it
a strange thing the way one goes through life, and the contrivances one
is put to to make two ends meet!

I remember the time, and so do you too, when an Irish gentleman could
raise what he liked; and there was n't an estate in my own county wasn't
encumbered, as they call it, to more than double its value. There's
fellows will tell you "that's the cause of all the present distress."
Not a bit of it. They 're all wrong! It is because that system has come
to an end that we are ruined; that's the root of the evil, Tom Purcell;
and if I was in Parliament I'd tell them so. Where will you find any one
willing to lend money now if the estate would n't pay it? We may thank
the English Government for that; and, as poor Dan used to say, "They
know as much about us as the Chinese!"

I can't answer your question about James. Vickars has not replied to my
last two letters; and I really see no opening for the boy whatever. I
mean to write, however, in a day or two to Lord Muddleton, to whom Lord
George is nearly related, and ask for something in the Diplomatic way.
Lord G. says it's the only career nowadays does n't require some kind of
qualification,--since even in the army they've instituted a species of
examination. "Get him made an Attaché somewhere," says Tiverton, "and
he must be a 'Plenipo' at last." J. is good-looking, and a great deal of
dash about him; and I 'm informed that's exactly what's wanting in the
career. If nothing comes of this application, I 'll think seriously
of Australia; but, of course, Mrs. D. must know nothing about it; for,
according to _her_ notions, the boy ought to be Chamberlain to the
Queen, or Gold-stick at least.

I don't know whether I mentioned to you that Betty Cobb had entered the
holy bonds with a semi-civilized creature she picked up in the Black
Forest. The orang-outang is now a part of our household,--at least so
far as living at rack and manger at my cost,--though in what way to
employ him I have not the slightest notion. Do you think, if I could
manage to send him over to Ireland, that we could get him indicted
for any transportable offence? Ask Curtis about it; for I know he
did something of the kind once in the case of a natural son of Tony
Barker's, and the lad is now a judge, I believe, in Sydney.

Cary is quite well. I heard from her yesterday, and when I write, I 'll
be sure to send her your affectionate message. I don't mean to leave
this till I heat from you. So write immediately and believe me,

Very sincerely your friend,

Kenny James.



LETTER II. JAMES DODD TO ROBERT DOOLAN, ESQ., TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN.

Bregenz.

My dear Bob,--I had made up my mind not to write to you till we had
quitted this place, where our life has been of the "slowest;" but this
morning has brought a letter with a piece of good news which I cannot
defer imparting to you. It is a communication from the Under-Secretary
for Foreign Affairs to the governor, to say that I have been appointed
to something somewhere, and that I am to come over to London, and be
examined by somebody. Very vague all this, but I suppose it's the
style of Diplomacy, and one will get used to it. The real bore is the
examination, for George told "dad" that there was none, and, in fact,
that very circumstance it was which gave the peculiar value to the
"service." Tiverton tells me, however, he can make it "all safe;"
whether you "tip" the Secretary, or some of the underlings, I don't
know. Of course there is a way in all these things, for half the fellows
that pass are just as ignorant as your humble servant.

I am mainly indebted to Tiverton for the appointment, for he wrote to
everybody he could think of, and made as much interest as if it was
for himself. He tells me, in confidence, that the list of names down
is about six feet long, and actually wonders at the good fortune of my
success. From all I can learn, however, there is no salary at first, so
that the governor must "stump out handsome," for an Attaché is expected
to live in a certain style, keep horses, and, in fact, come it "rayther
strongish." In some respects, I should have preferred the army; but
then there are terrible drawbacks in colonial banishment, whereas in
Diplomacy you are at least stationed in the vicinity of a Court, which
is always something.

I wonder where I am to be gazetted for; I hope Naples, but even Vienna
would do. In the midst of our universal joy at my good fortune, it's not
a little provoking to see the governor pondering over all it will cost
for outfit, and wondering if the post be worth the gold lace on the
uniform. Happily for me, Bob, he never brought me up to any profession,
as it is called, and it is too late now to make me anything either in
law or physic. I say happily, because I see plainly enough that he 'd
refuse the present opportunity if he knew of any other career for me.
My mother does not improve matters by little jokes on his low tastes and
vulgar ambitions; and, in fact, the announcement has brought a good deal
of discussion and some discord amongst us.

I own to you, frankly, that once named to a Legation, I will do my
utmost to persuade the governor to go back to Ireland. In the first
place, nothing but a very rigid economy at Dodsborough will enable him
to make me a liberal allowance; and secondly, to have my family
prowling about the Legation to which I was attached would be perfectly
insufferable. I like to have my father and mother what theatrical
folk call "practicable," that is, good for all efficient purposes of
bill-paying, and such-like; but I shudder at the notion of being their
pioneer into fashionable life; and, indeed, I am not aware of any one
having carried his parent on his back since the days of Æneas.

I am obliged to send you a very brief despatch, for I 'm off to-morrow
for London, to make my bow at "F. O.," and kiss hands on my appointment.
I 'd have liked another week here, for the fishing has just come in, and
we killed yesterday, with two rods, eleven large, and some thirty small
trout. They are a short, thick-shouldered kind of fish, ready enough
to rise, but sluggish to play afterwards. The place is pretty, too; the
Swiss Alps at one side, and the Tyrol mountains at the other. Bregenz
itself stands well, on the very verge of the lake, and although not
ancient enough to be curious in architecture, has a picturesque air
about it. The people are as primitive as anything one can well fancy,
and wear a costume as ungracefully barbarous as any lover of nationality
could desire. Their waists are close under their arms, and the longest
petticoats I have yet seen finish at the knee! They affect, besides,
a round, low-crowned cap, like a fur turban, or else a great piece of
filigree sliver, shaped like a peacock's tail, and fastened to the back
of the head. Nature, it must be owned, has been somewhat ungenerous to
them; and with the peculiar advantages conferred on them by costume,
they are the ugliest creatures I 've ever set eyes on.

It is only just to remark that Mary Anne dissents from me in all this,
and has made various "studies" of them, which are, after all, not a whit
more flattering than my own description. As to a good-looking peasantry,
Bob, it's all humbug. It's only the well-to-do classes, in any country,
have pretensions to beauty. The woman of rank numbers amongst her charms
the unmistakable stamp of her condition. Even in her gait, like the
Goddess in Virgil, she displays her divinity. The pretty "bourgeoise"
has her peculiar fascination in the brilliant intelligence of her
laughing eye, and the sly archness of her witty mouth; but your peasant
beauty is essentially heavy and dull. It is of the earth, earthy; and
there is a bucolic grossness about the lips the very antithesis to the
pleasing. I 'm led to these remarks by the question in your last as to
the character of Continental physiognomy. Up to this, Bob, I have seen
nothing to compare with our own people, and you will meet more pretty
faces between Stephen's Green and the Rotunda than between Schaffhausen
and the sea. I 'm not going to deny that they "make up" better abroad,
but our boast is the raw material of beauty. The manufactured article we
cannot dispute with them. It would be, however, a great error to suppose
that the artistic excellence I speak of is a small consideration; on the
contrary, it is a most important one, and well deserving of deep thought
and reflection, and, I must say, that all our failures in the decorative
arts are as nothing to our blunders when attempting to adorn beauty. A
French woman, with a skin like an old drumhead, and the lower jaw of a
baboon, will actually "get herself up" to look better than many a really
pretty girl of our country, disfigured by unbecoming hairdressing,
ill-assorted colors, ill-put-on clothes, and that confounded walk, which
is a cross between the stride of a Grenadier and running in a sack!

With all our parade of Industrial Exhibitions and shows of National
Productions lately, nobody has directed his attention to this subject,
and, for _my_ part, I 'd infinitely rather know that our female
population had imbibed some notions of dress and self-adornment from
their French neighbors, than that Glasgow could rival Genoa in velvet,
or that we beat Bohemia out of the field in colored glass. If the proper
study of mankind be man,--which, of course, includes woman,--we
are throwing a precious deal of time away on centrifugal pumps,
sewing-machines, and self-acting razors. If I ever get into Parliament,
Bob, and I don't see why I should not, when once fairly launched in the
Diplomatic line, I 'll move for a Special Commission, not to examine
into foreign railroads, or mines, or schools, or smelting-houses, but to
inquire into and report upon how the women abroad, with not a tenth of
the natural advantages, contrive to look,--I won't say better, but more
fascinating than our own,--and how it is that they convert something a
shade below plainness into features of downright pleasing expression!

Since this appointment has come, I have been working away to brush up my
French and German, which you will be surprised to hear is pretty
nearly where it was when we first came abroad. We English herd so
much together, and continue to follow our home habits and use our own
language wherever we happen to be, that it is not very easy to break
out of the beaten track. This observation applies only to the men of
the family, for our sisters make a most astonishing progress, under
the guidance of those mustachioed and well-whiskered gents they meet at
balls. The governor and my mother of course believe that I am as great
a linguist as Mezzofanti, if that be the fellow's name, and I shall try
and keep up the delusion to the last. It is not quite impossible I may
have more time for my studies here than I fancy, for "dad" has come
in, this moment, to say that he has n't got five shillings towards the
expenses of my journey to London, nor has he any very immediate prospect
of a remittance from Ireland. What a precious mess will it be if my
whole career in life is to be sacrificed for a shabby hundred or two!
The governor appears to have spent about three times as much as he
speculated on, and our affairs at this moment present as pleasant a
specimen of hopeless entanglement as a counsel in Bankruptcy could
desire.

I wish I was out of the ship altogether, Bob, and would willingly
adventure on the broad ocean of life in a punt, were it only my own. I
trust that by the time this reaches you her Majesty's gracious pleasure
will have numbered me amongst the servants of the Crown; but whether in
high or humble estate, believe me ever

Unalterably yours,

James Dodd.

P. S. My sister Cary has written to say she will be here to-night or
to-morrow; she is coming expressly to see me before I go; but from all
that I can surmise she need not have used such haste. What a bore it
will be if the governor should not be able to "stump out"! I'm in a
perfect fever at the very thought.



LETTER III. CAROLINE DODD TO MISS COX AT MISS MINCING'S ACADEMY, BLACK ROCK, IRELAND.

My dear Miss Cox,--It would appear, from your last, that a letter of
mine to you must have miscarried; for I most distinctly remember having
written to you on the topics you allude to, and, so far as I was able,
answered all your kind inquiries about myself and my pursuits. Lest my
former note should ever reach you, I do not dare to go over again the
selfish narrative which would task even your friendship to peruse once.

I remained with my kind friend, Mrs. Morris, till three days ago, when I
came here to see my brother James, who has been promised some Government
employment, and is obliged to repair at once to London. Mamma terrified
me greatly by saying that he was to go to China or to India, so that I
hurried back to see and stay with him as much as I could before he
left us. I rejoice, however, to tell you that his prospects are in the
Diplomatic service, and he will be most probably named to a Legation in
some European capital.

He is a dear, kind-hearted boy; and although not quite untainted by
the corruptions which are more or less inseparable from this rambling
existence, is still as fresh in his affections, and as generous in
nature, as when he left home. Captain Morris, whose knowledge of life
is considerable, predicts most favorably of him, and has only one
misgiving,--the close intimacy he maintains with Lord George Tiverton.
Towards this young nobleman the Captain expresses the greatest distrust
and dislike; feelings that I really own seem to me to be frequently
tinctured by a degree of prejudice rather than suggested by reason. It
is true, no two beings can be less alike than they are. The one, rigid
and unbending in all his ideas of right, listening to no compromise,
submitting to no expediency, reserved towards strangers even to the
verge of stiffness, and proud from a sense that his humble station might
by possibility expose him to freedoms he could not reciprocate. The
other, all openness and candor, pushed probably to an excess, and not
unfrequently transgressing the barrier of an honorable self-esteem;
without the slightest pretension to principle of any kind, and as ready
to own his own indifference as to ridicule the profession of it by
another. Yet, with all this, kind and generous in all his impulses, ever
willing to do a good-natured thing; and, so far as I can judge,
even prepared to bear a friendly part at the hazard of personal
inconvenience.

Characters of this stamp are, as you have often observed to me, far more
acceptable to very young men than those more swayed by rigid rules of
right; and when they join to natural acuteness considerable practical
knowledge of life, they soon obtain a great influence over the less
gifted and less experienced. I see this in James; for, though not by
any means blind to the blemishes in Lord George's character, nor even
indifferent to them, yet is he submissive to every dictate of his will,
and an implicit believer in all his opinions. But why should I feel
astonished at this? Is not his influence felt by every member of the
family; and papa himself, with all his native shrewdness, strongly
disposed to regard his judgments as wise and correct? I remark this
the more because I have been away from home, and after an absence one
returns with a mind open to every new impression; nor can I conceal from
myself that many of the notions I now see adopted and approved of, are
accepted as being those popular in high society, and not because of
their intrinsic correctness. Had we remained in Ireland, my dear Miss
Cox, this had never been the case. There is a corrective force in the
vicinity of those who have known us long and intimately, who can measure
our pretensions by our station, and pronounce upon our mode of life from
the knowledge they have of our condition; and this discipline, if at
times severe and even unpleasant, is, upon the whole, beneficial to us.
Now, abroad, this wholesome--shall I call it--"surveillance" is
wanting altogether, and people are induced by its very absence to give
themselves airs, and assume a style quite above them. From that very
moment they insensibly adopt a new standard of right and wrong, and
substitute fashion and conventionality for purity and good conduct. I
'm sure I wish we were back in Dodsborough with all my heart! It is not
that there are not objects and scenes of intense interest around us here
on every hand. Even I can feel that the mind expands by the variety of
impressions that continue to pour in upon it. Still, I would not say
that these things may not be bought too dearly; and that if the price
they cost is discontent at our lot in life, a craving ambition to be
higher and richer, and a cold shrinking back from all of our own real
condition, they are unquestionably not worth the sacrifice.

To really enjoy the Continent it is not necessary--at least, for people
bred and brought up as we have been--to be very rich; on the contrary,
many--ay, and the greatest--advantages of Continental travel are open
to very small fortunes and very small ambitions. Scenery, climate,
inexpensive acquaintanceship, galleries, works of art, public libraries,
gardens, promenades, are all available. The Morrises have certainly much
less to live on than we have, and yet they have travelled over every
part of Europe, know all its cities well, and never found the cost of
living considerable. You will smile when I tell you that the single
secret for this is, not to cultivate English society. Once make up your
mind abroad to live with the people of the country, French, German, and
Italian,--and there is no class of these above the reach of well-bred
English,--and you need neither shine in equipage nor excel in a cook.
There is no pecuniary test of respectability abroad; partly because this
vulgarity is the offspring of a commercial spirit, which is, of course,
not the general characteristic, and partly from the fact that many
of the highest names have been brought down to humble fortunes by
the accidents of war and revolution, and poverty is, consequently, no
evidence of deficient birth. Our gorgeous notions of hospitality are
certainly very fine things, and well become great station and large
fortune, but are ruinous when they are imitated by inferior means and
humble incomes. Foreigners are quite above such vulgar mimicry; and
nothing is more common to hear than the avowal, "I am too poor to
do this; my fortune would not admit of that;" not uttered in a mock
humility, or with the hope of a polite incredulity, but in all the
unaffected simplicity with which one mentions a personal fact, to which
no shame or disgrace attaches. You may imagine, then, how unimpressively
fall upon the ear all those pompous announcements by which we travelling
English herald our high and mighty notions; the palaces we are about to
hire, the _fêtes_ we are going to give, and the other splendors we mean
to indulge in.

I have read and re-read that part of your letter wherein you speak of
your wish to come and live abroad, so soon as the fruits of your life of
labor will enable you. Oh, my dear kind governess, with what emotion the
words filled me,--emotions very different from those you ever suspected
they would call up; for I bethought me how often I and others must have
added to that toilsome existence by our indolence, our carelessness, and
our wilfulness. In a moment there rose before me the anxieties you must
have suffered, the cares you must have endured, the hopes for those
who threw all their burdens upon _you_, and left to _you_ the blame of
_their_ shortcomings and the reproach of _their_ insufficiency.

What rest, what repose would ever requite such labor! How delighted am
I to say that there are places abroad where even the smallest fortunes
will suffice. I profited by the permission you gave me to show your
letter to Mrs. Morris, and she gave me in return a list of places for
you to choose from, at any one of which you could live with comfort for
less than you speak of. Some are in Belgium, some in Germany, and some
in Italy. Think, for instance, of a small house on the "Meuse," in the
midst of the most beauteous scenery, and with a country teeming in every
abundance around you, for twelve pounds a year, and all the material of
life equally cheap in proportion. Imagine the habits of a Grand-Ducal
capital, where the Prime Minister receives three hundred per annum, and
spends two; where the admission to the theatre is fourpence, and you go
to a Court dinner on foot at four o'clock in the day, and sit out of an
evening with your work in a public garden afterwards.

Now, I know that in Ireland or Scotland, and perhaps in Wales too,
places might be discovered where all the ordinary wants of life would
not be dearer than here, but then remember that to live with this
economy at home, you subject yourself to all that pertains to a small
estate; you endure the barbarizing influences of a solitary life, or,
what is worse, the vulgarity of village society. The well-to-do classes,
the educated and refined, will not associate with you. Not so here. Your
small means are no barrier against your admission into the best circles;
you will be received anywhere. Your black silk gown will be "toilet" for
the "Minister's reception," your white muslin will be good enough for a
ball at Court! When the army numbers in its cavalry fifty hussars, and
one battalion for its infantry, the simple resident need never blush for
his humble retinue, nor feel ashamed that a maid-servant escorts him
to a Court entertainment with a lantern, or that a latch-key and a
lucifer-match do duty for a hall-porter and a chandelier!

One night--I was talking of these things--Captain Morris quoted a Latin
author to the effect "that poverty had no such heavy infliction as in
its power to make people ridiculous." The remark sounds at first an
unfeeling one, but there is yet a true and deep philosophy in it, for it
is in our own abortive and silly attempts to gloss over narrow fortune
that the chief sting of poverty resides, and the ridicule alluded to
is all of our making! The poverty of two thousand a year can be thus as
glaringly absurd, as ridiculous, as that of two hundred, and even more
so, since its failures are more conspicuous.

Now, had we been satisfied to live in this way, it is not alone that we
should have avoided debt and embarrassment, but we should really have
profited largely besides. I do not speak of the negative advantages of
not mingling with those it had been better to have escaped; but that in
the society of these smaller capitals there is, especially in Germany, a
highly cultivated and most instructive class, slightly pedantic, it
may be, but always agreeable and affable. The domesticity of Germany is
little known to us, since even their writers afford few glimpses of
it. There are no Bulwers nor Bozes nor Thackerays to show the play of
passion, nor the working of deep feeling around the family board and
hearth. The cares of fathers, the hopes of sons, the budding anxieties
of the girlish heart, have few chroniclers. How these people think and
act and talk at home, and in the secret circle of their families, we
know as little as we do of the Chinese. It may be that the inquiry would
require long and deep and almost microscopic study. Life with them is
not as with us, a stormy wave-tossed ocean; it is rather a calm and
landlocked bay. They have no colonial empires, no vast territories for
military ambition to revel in, nor great enterprise to speculate on.
There are neither gigantic schemes of wealth, nor gold-fields to tempt
them. Existence presents few prizes, and as few vicissitudes. The march
of events is slow, even, and monotonous, and men conform themselves to
the same measure! How, then, do they live,--what are their loves, their
hates, their ambitions, their crosses, their troubles, and their joys?
How are they moved to pity,--how stirred to revenge? I own to you I
cannot even fancy this. The German heart seems to me a clasped volume;
and even Goethe has but shown us a chance page or two, gloriously
illustrated, I acknowledge, but closed as quickly as displayed.

Is Marguerite herself a type? I wish some one would tell me. Is that
childlike gentleness, that trustful nature, that resistless, passionate
devotion, warring with her piety, and yet heightened by it,--are these
German traits? They seem so; and yet do these Fräuleins that I see, with
yellow hair, appear capable of this headlong and impetuous love. Faust,
I 'm convinced, is true to his nationality. He loves like a German,--and
is mad, and mystical, fond, dreamy, and devoted by turns.

But all these are not what I look for. I want a family picture--a
Teerburgh or a Mieris--painted by a German Dickens, or touched by a
native Titmarsh. So far as I have read of it, too, the German Drama
does not fill up this void; the comedies of the stage present nothing
identical of the people, and yet it appears to me they are singularly
good materials for portraiture. The stormy incidents of university life,
its curious vicissitudes, and its strange, half-crazed modes of thought
blend into the quiet realities of after-life, and make up men such as
one sees nowhere else. The tinge of romance they have contracted in
boyhood is never thoroughly washed out of their natures, and although
statecraft may elevate them to be grave privy councillors, or good
fortune select them for its revenue officers, they cherish the old
memories of Halle and Heidelberg, and can grow valorous over the shape
of a rapier, or pathetic about the color of Fräulein Lydchen's hair.

It is doubtless very presumptuous in _me_ to speak thus of a people of
whom I have seen so little; but bear in mind, my dear Miss Cox, that I'm
rather giving Mrs. Morris's experiences than my own, and, in some cases,
in her own very words. She has a very extensive acquaintance in Germany,
and corresponds, besides, with many very distinguished persons of that
country. Perhaps private letters give a better insight into the habits
of a people than most other things, and if so, one should pronounce very
favorably of German character from the specimens I have seen. There are
everywhere, great truthfulness, great fairness; a willingness to concede
to others a standard different from their own; a hopeful tone in all
things, and extreme gentleness towards women and children. Of rural
life, and of scenery, too, they speak with true feeling-; and, as Sir
Walter said of Goethe, "they understand trees."

You will wish to hear something of Bregenz, where we are staying at
present, and I have little to say beyond its situation in a little
bay on the Lake of Constance, begirt with high mountains, amidst which
stretches a level flat, traversed by the Rhine. The town itself is
scarcely old enough to be picturesque, though from a distance on the
lake the effect is very pleasing. A part is built upon a considerable
eminence, the ascent to which is by a very steep street, impassable save
on foot; at the top of this is an old gateway, the centre of which is
ornamented by a grotesque attempt at sculpture, representing a female
figure seated on a horse, and, to all seeming, traversing the clouds.
The phenomenon is explained by a legend, that tells how a Bregenzer
maiden, some three and a half centuries ago, had gone to seek her
fortune in Switzerland, and becoming domesticated there in a family,
lived for years among the natural enemies of her people. Having learned
by an accident one night, that an attack was meditated on her native
town, she stole away unperceived, and, taking a horse, swam the current
of the Rhine, and reached Bregenz in time to give warning of the
threatened assault, and thus rescued her kinsmen and her birthplace from
sack and slaughter. This is the act commemorated by the sculpture, and
the stormy waves of the river are doubtless typified in what seem to be
clouds.

There is, however, a far more touching memory of the heroism preserved
than this; for each night, as the watchman goes his round of the
village, when he comes to announce midnight, he calls aloud the name of
her who at the same dead hour, three centuries back, came to wake the
sleeping town and tell them of their peril. I do not know of a monument
so touching as this! No bust nor statue, no group of marble or bronze,
can equal in association the simple memory transmitted from age to age,
and preserved ever fresh and green in the hearts of a remote generation.
As one thinks of this, the mind at once reverts to the traditions of
the early Church, and insensibly one is led to feel the beauty of those
transmitted words and acts, which, associated with place, and bound up
with customs not yet obsolete, gave such impressive truthfulness to
all the story of our faith. At the same time, it is apparent that the
current of tradition cannot long run pure. Even now there are those who
scoff at the grateful record of the Bregenzer maiden! Where will her
memory be five years after the first railroad traverses the valley of
the Vorarlberg? The shrill whistle of the "express" is the death-note to
all the romance of life!

Some deplore this, and assert that, with this immense advancement of
scientific discovery, we are losing the homely virtues of our fathers.
Others pretend that we grow better as we grow wiser, and that increased
intelligence is but another form of enlarged goodness. To myself, the
great change seems to be that every hour of this progress diminishes the
influences of woman, and that, as men grow deeper and deeper engaged in
the pursuits of wealth, the female voice is less listened to, and its
counsels less heeded and cared for.

But why do I dare to hazard such conjectures to you, so far more capable
of judging, so much more able to solve questions like this!

I am sorry not to be able to speak more confidently about my music; but
although Germany is essentially the land of song, there is less domestic
cultivation of the art than I had expected; or, rather, it is made less
a matter of display. Your mere acquaintances seldom or never will sing
for your amusement; your friends as rarely refuse you. To our notions,
also, it seems strange that men are more given to the art here than
women. The Frau is almost entirely devoted to household cares. Small
fortunes and primitive habits seem to require this, and certainly no one
who has ever witnessed the domestic peace of a German family could find
fault with the system.

What has most struck me of all here, is the fact that while many of the
old people retain a freshness of feeling, and a warm susceptibility that
is quite remarkable, the children are uniformly grave, even to sadness.
The bold, dashing, half-reckless boy; the gay, laughing, high-spirited
girl,--have no types here. The season of youth, as we under-stand it,
in all its jocund merriment, its frolics, and its wildness, has no
existence amongst them. The child of ten seems weighted with the
responsibilities of manhood; the little sister carries her keys about,
and scolds the maids with all the semblance of maternal rigor. Would
that these liquid blue eyes had a more laughing look, and that pretty
mouth could open to joyous laughter!

With all these drawbacks, it is still a country that I love to live
in, and should leave with regret; besides that, I have as yet seen but
little of it, and its least remarkable parts.

Whither we go hence, and when, are points that I cannot inform you on.
I am not sure, indeed, if any determination on the subject has been come
to. Mamma and Mary Anne seem most eager for Rome and Naples; but though
I should anticipate a world of delight and interest in these cities, I
am disposed to think that they would prove far too expensive,--at least
with our present tastes and habits.

Wherever my destiny, however, I shall not cease to remember my dear
governess, nor to convey to her, in all the frankness of my affection,
every thought and feeling of her sincerely attached

Caroline Dodd.



LETTER IV. MRS. DODD TO MRS. MARY GALLAGHER, DODSBOROUGH

Bregenz.

My dear Molly,--It 's well I ever got your last letter, for it seems
there's four places called Freyburg, and they tried the three wrong
ones first, and I believe they opened and read it everywhere it stopped.
"Much good may it do them," says I, "if they did!" They know at
least the price of wool in Kinnegad, and what boneens is bringing in
Ballinasloe, not to mention the news you tell of Betty Walsh! I thought
I cautioned you before not to write anything like a secret when the
letter came through a foreign post, seeing that the police reads
everything, and if there's a word against themselves, you're ordered
over the frontier in six hours. That's liberty, my dear! But that is
not the worst of it, for nobody wants the dirty spalpeens to read about
their private affairs, nor to know the secrets of their families. I must
say, you are very unguarded in this respect, and poor Betty's mishap is
now known to the Emperor of Prussia and the King of Sweden, just as well
as to Father Luke and the Coadjutor; and as they say that these courts
are always exchanging gossip with each other, it will be back in England
by the time this reaches you. Let it be a caution to you in future,
or, if you must allude to these events, do it in a way that can't be
understood, as you may remark they do in the newspapers. I wish you
would n't be tormenting me about coming home and living among my own
people, as you call it. Let them pay up the arrears first Molly, before
they think of establishing any claim of the kind on your humble servant.
But the fact is, my dear, the longer you live abroad, the more you like
it; and going back to the strict rules and habits of England, after it,
is for all the world like putting on a strait-waistcoat. If you only
heard foreigners the way they talk of us, and we all the while thinking
ourselves the very pink of the creation!

But of all the things they're most severe upon is Sunday. The manner
we pass the day, according to their notions, is downright barbarism.
No diversion of any kind, no dancing, no theatres; shops shut up, and
nothing legal but intoxication. I always tell them that the fault isn't
ours, that it's the Protestants that do these things; for, as Father
Maher says, "they 'd put a bit of crape over the blessed sun if they
could." But between ourselves, Molly, even we Catholics are greatly
behind the foreigners on all matters of civilization. It may be out of
fear of the others, but really we don't enjoy ourselves at all like the
French or the Germans. Even in the little place I'm writing now, there's
more amusement than in a big city at home; and if there's anything I 'm
convinced of at all, Molly, it's this: that there is no keeping people
out of great wickedness except by employing them in small sins; and, let
me tell you, there's not a political economist that ever I heard of has
hit upon the secret.

We are all in good health, and except that K. I. is in one of his
habitual moods of discontent and grumbling, there's not anything
particular the matter with us. Indeed, if it was n't for his natural
perverseness of disposition, he ought n't to be cross and disagreeable,
for dear James has just been appointed to an elegant situation, on what
they call the "Diplomatic Service." When the letter first came, I was
almost off in a faint. I did n't know where it might be they might be
sending the poor child,--perhaps to Great Carey-o, or the Hy-menoal
Mountains of India; but Lord George says that it's at one of the great
Courts of Europe he's sure to be; and, indeed, with his figure and
advantages, that's the very thing to suit him. He's a picture of a
young man, and the very image of poor Tom McCarthy, that was shot at
Bally-healey the year of the great frost. If he does n't make a great
match, I 'm surprised at it; and the young ladies must be mighty
different in their notions from what I remember them, besides. Getting
him ready and fitting him out has kept us here; for whenever there's a
call upon K. I.'s right-hand pocket, he buttons up the left at once; so
that, till James is fairly off, there 's no hope for us of getting away
from this. That once done, however, I'm determined to pass the winter in
Italy. As Lord George says, coming abroad and not crossing the Alps,
is like going to a dinner-party and getting up after the "roast,"--
"you have all the solids of the entertainment, but none of the light and
elegant trifles that aid digestion, and engage the imagination."'It's
a beautiful simile, Molly, and very true besides; for, after all,
the heart requires more than mere material enjoyments! You 're maybe
surprised to bear that Lord G. is back here; and so was I to see him.
What his intentions are, I 'm unable to say; but it's surely Mary Anne
at all events; and as she knows the world well, I 'm very easy in my
mind about her. As I told K. I. last night, "Abuse the Continent as you
like, K. I., waste all your bad words about the cookery and the morals
and the light wines and women, but there 's one thing you can't deny to
it,--there's no falling in love abroad,--that I maintain!" And when
you come to think of it, I believe that's the real evil of Ireland.
Everybody there falls in love, and the more surely when they haven't
a sixpence to marry on! All the young lawyers without briefs, all the
young doctors in dispensaries, every marching lieutenant living on his
pay, every young curate with seventy pounds a year,--in fact,
Molly, every case of hopeless poverty,--all what the newspapers call
heartrending distress,--is sure to have a sweetheart! When you think of
the misery that it brings on a single family, you may imagine the ruin
that it entails on a whole country. And I don't speak in ignorance, Mrs.
Gallagher; I 've lived to see the misery of even a tincture of love in
my own unfortunate fate. Not that indeed I ever went far in my feelings
towards K. I., but my youth and inexperience carried me away; and see
where they 've left me! Now that's an error nobody commits abroad; and
as to any one being married according to their inclination, it's quite
unheard of; and if they have less love, they have fewer disappointments,
and that same is something!

Talking of marriage brings me to Betty,--I suppose I mustn't say Betty
Cobb, now that she calls herself the Frau Taddy. Hasn't she made a nice
business of it! "They're fighting," as K. I. says, "like man and wife,
already!" The creature is only half human; and when he has gorged
himself with meat and drink, he sometimes sleeps for twenty-four, or
maybe thirty hours; and if there's not something ready for him when he
wakes up, his passion is dreadful. I 'm afraid of my life lest K. I.
should see the bill for his food, and told the landlord only to put down
his four regular meals, and that I 'd pay the rest, which I have managed
to do, up to this, by disposing of K. I.'s wearing-apparel. And would
you believe it that the beast has already eaten a brown surtout, two
waistcoats, and three pairs of kerseymere shorts and gaiters, not to say
a spencer that he had for his lunch, and a mackintosh cape that he took
the other night before going to bed! Betty is always crying from his bad
usage, and consequently of no earthly use to any one; but if a word is
said against him, she flies out in a rage, and there's no standing her
tongue!

Maybe, however, it's all for the best; for without a little excitement
to my nervous system, I 'd have found this place very dull. Dr. Morgan
Moore, that knew the M'Carthy constitution better than any one living,
used to say, "Miss Jemima requires movement and animation;" and, indeed,
I never knew any place agree with me like the "Sheds" of Clontarf.

Mary Anne keeps telling me that this is now quite vulgar, and that your
people of first fashion are never pleased with anybody or anything;
and whenever a place or a party or even an individual is peculiarly
tiresome, she says, "Be sure, then, that it's quite the mode." That is
possibly the reason why Lord George recommends us passing a few weeks
on the Lake of Comus; and if it's the right thing to do, I 'm ready and
willing; but I own to you, Molly, I 'd like a little sociality, if it
was only for a change. At any rate, Comus is in Italy; and if we once
get there, it will go far with me if I don't see the Pope. I 'm obliged
to be brief this time, for the post closes here whenever the postmaster
goes to dinner; and to-day I 'm told he dines early. I 'll write you,
however, a full and true account of us all next week, till when, believe
me your ever affectionate and attached friend,

Jemima Dodd.

P. S. Mary Anne has just reconciled me to the notion of Comus. It is
really the most aristocratic place in Europe, and she remarks that it
is exactly the spot to make excellent acquaintances in for the ensuing
winter; for you see, Molly, that is really what one requires in summer
and autumn, and the English that live much abroad study this point
greatly. But, indeed, there's a wonderful deal to be learned before one
can say that they know life on the Continent; and the more I think
of it, the less am I surprised at the mistakes and blunders of our
travelling countrymen,--errors, I am proud to say, that we have escaped
up to this.



LETTER V. KENNY JAMES DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., OF THE GRANGE, BRUFF

Bregenz.

My dear Tom,--Although it is improbable I shall be able to despatch
this by the post of to-day, I take the opportunity of a few moments
of domestic peace to answer your last--I wish I could say
agreeable--letter. It is not that your intentions are not everything
that consists with rectitude and honor, or that your sentiments are not
always those of a right-minded man, but I beg to observe to you, Tom
Pur-cell, in all the candor of a five-and-forty years' friendship, that
you have about the same knowledge of life and the world that a toad has
of Lord Rosse's telescope.

We have come abroad for an object, which, whether attainable or not, is
not now the question; but if there be any prospect whatever of realizing
it,--confound the phrase, but I have no other at hand,--it is surely
by an ample and liberal style of living, such as shall place us on a
footing of equality with the best society, and make the Dodds eligible
anywhere.

I suppose you admit that much. I take it for granted that even bucolic
dulness is capable of going so far. Well, then, what do you mean by your
incessant appeals to "retrenchment" and "economy"? Don't you see that
you make yourself just as preposterous as Cobden, when he says, cut down
the estimates, reduce the navy, and dismiss your soldiers, but still
be a first-rate power. Tie your hands behind your back, but cry out,
"Beware of me, for I'm dreadful when I'm angry."

You quote me against myself; you bring up my old letters, like Hansard,
against me, and say that all our attempts have been failures; but
without calling you to order for referring "to what passed in another
place," I will reply to you on your own grounds. If we have failed, it
has been because our resources did not admit of our maintaining to the
end what we had begun in splendor,--that our means fell short of our
requirements,--that, in fact, with a well-chosen position and picked
troops, we lost the battle only for want of ammunition, having fired
away all our powder in the beginning of the engagement. Whose fault was
_that_, I beg to ask? Can the Commissary-General Purcell come clear out
of _that_ charge?

I know your hair-splitting habit; I at once anticipate your reply. An
agent and a commissary are two very different things! And just as flatly
I tell you, you are wrong, and that, rightly considered, the duties of
both are precisely analogous, and that a general commanding an army, and
an Irish landlord travelling on the Continent, present a vast number of
points of similitude and resemblance. In the one case as in the other,
supplies are indispensable; come what will, the forces must be fed,
and if it it would be absurd for the general to halt in his march and
inquire into all the difficulties of providing stores, it would be
equally preposterous for the landlord to arrest his career by going
into every petty grievance of his tenantry, and entering into a minute
examination of the state of every cottier on his laud. Send the rations,
Tom, and I 'll answer for the campaign. I don't mean to say that
there are not some hardships attendant upon this. I know that to raise
contributions an occasional severity must be employed; but is the
fate of a great engagement to be jeopardized for the sake of such
considerations? No, no, Tom. Even your spirit will recoil from such an
admission as this!

It is only fair to mention that these are not merely my own sentiments.
Lord George Tiverton, to whom I happened to show your letter, was
really shocked at the contents. I don't wish to offend you, Tom, but the
expression he used was, "It is fortunate for your friend Purcell that he
is not _my_ agent" I will not repeat what he said about the management
of English landed property, but it is obvious that our system is not
their system, and that such a thing as a landlord in _my_ position is
actually unheard of. "If Ireland were subject to earthquakes," said he,
"if the arable land were now and then covered over ten feet deep with
lava, I could understand your agent's arguments; but wanting these
causes, they are downright riddles to me."

He was most anxious to obtain possession of your letter; and I learned
from Mary Anne that he really meant to use it in the House, and show you
up bodily as one of the prominent causes of Irish misery. I have saved
you from this exposure, but I really cannot spare you some of the
strictures your conduct calls for.

I must also observe to you that there is what the Duke used to call "a
terrible sameness" about your letters. The potatoes are always going to
rot, the people always going to leave. It rains for ten weeks at a time,
and if you have three fine days you cry out that the country is
ruined by drought. Just for sake of a little variety, can't you take
a prosperous tone for once, instead of "drawing my attention," as you
superciliously phrase it, to the newspaper announcement about "George
Davis and other petitioners, and the lands of Ballyclough, Kiltimaon,
and Knocknaslat-tery, being part of the estates of James Kenny Dodd,
Esq., of Dodsborough." I have already given you my opinion about
that Encumbered Estates Court, and I see no reason for changing it.
Confiscation is a mild name for its operation. What Ireland really
wanted was a loan fund,--a good round sum, say three and a half or
four millions, lent out on reasonable security, but free from all
embarrassing conditions. Compel every proprietor to plant so many
potatoes for the use of the poor, and get rid of those expensive
absurdities called "Unions," with all the lazy, indolent officials; do
that, and we might have a chance of prospering once more.

It makes me actually sick to hear you, an Irishman born and bred,
repeating all that English balderdash about "a cheap and indisputable
title." and so forth. Do you remember about four-and-twenty years ago,
Tom, when I wanted to breach a place for a window in part of the old
house at Dodsborough, and Hackett warned me that if I touched a stone of
it I 'd maybe have the whole edifice come tumbling about my ears. Don't
you see the analogy between that and our condition as landlords, and
that our real security lay in the fact that nobody could dare to breach
us? Meddle with us once, and who could tell where the ruin would fall!
So long as the system lasted we were safe, Tom. Now, your Encumbered
Court, with its parliamentary title, has upset all that security; and
that's the reason of all the distress and misfortune that have overtaken
us.

I think, after the specimen of my opinions, I 'll hear no more of your
reproaches about my "growing indifference to home topics," my "apparent
apathy regarding Ireland," and other similar reflections in your
last letter. Forget my country, indeed! Does a man ever forget the
cantharides when he has a blister on his back? If I 'm warm, I 'm sorry
for it; but it 's your own fault, Tom Purcell. You know me since I was
a child, and understand my temper well; and whatever it was once, it
hasn't improved by conjugal felicity.

And now for the Home Office. James started last night for London, to
go through whatever formalities there may be before receiving his
appointment. What it is to be, or where, I have not an idea; but I cling
to the hope that when they see the lad, and discover his utter ignorance
on all subjects, it will be something very humble, and not requiring a
sixpence from me. All that I have seen of the world shows me that the
higher you look for your children the more they cost you; and for that
reason, if I had my choice, I 'd rather have him a gauger than in the
Grenadier Guards. Even as it is, the outfit for this journey has run
away with no small share of your late remittance, and now that we
have come to the end of the M'Carthy legacy,--the last fifty was
"appropriated" by James before starting,--it will require all the
financial skill you can command to furnish me with sufficient means for
our new campaign.

Yes, Tom, we are going to Italy. I have discussed the matter so long,
and so fully argued it in every shape, artistical, philosophical,
economical, and moral, that I verily believe that our dialogues would
furnish a very respectable manual to Trans-Alpine travellers; and if I
am not a convert to the views of my opponents, I am so far vanquished in
the controversy as to give in. Lord George put the matter, I must say,
very strongly before me. "To turn your steps homeward from the Alps,"
said he, "is like the act of a man who, having dressed for an evening
party and ascended the stairs, wheels round at the door of the
drawing-room, and quits the house. All your previous knowledge of the
Continent, so costly and so difficult to attain, is about at length to
become profitable; that insight into foreign life and habits which you
have arrived at by study and observation, is now about to be available.
Italy is essentially the land of taste, elegance, and refinement; and
there will all the varied gifts and acquirements of your accomplished
family be appreciated." Besides this, Tom, he showed me that the
"Snobs," as he politely designated them, are all "Cis-Alpine;" strictly
confining themselves to the Rhine and Switzerland, and never descending
the southern slopes of the Alps. According to his account, therefore,
the climate of Italy is not more marked by superiority than the tone of
its society. There all is polished, elegant, and refined; and if the
men be "not all brave, and the women all virtuous," it is because "their
moral standard is one more in accordance with the ancient traditions,
the temper, and the instincts of the people." I quote you his words
here, because very possibly they may be more intelligible to you than
to myself. At all events, one thing is quite clear,--we ought to go and
judge for ourselves, and to this resolve have we come. Tiverton--without
whom we should be actually helpless--has arranged the whole affair, and,
really, with a regard to economy that, considering his habits and his
station, can only be attributed to a downright feeling of friendship
for us. By a mere accident he hit upon a villa at Como, for a mere
trifle,--he won't tell me the sum, but he calls it a "nothing,"--and
now he has, with his habitual good luck, chanced upon a return carriage
going to Milan, the driver of which horses our carriage, and takes the
servants with him, for very little more than the keep of his beasts on
the road. This piece of intelligence will tickle every stingy fibre in
your economical old heart, and at last shall I know you to mutter, "K.
I. is doing the prudent thing."

Tiverton himself says, "It's not exactly the most elegant mode of
travelling; but as the season is early, and the Splugen a pass seldom
traversed, we shall slip down to Como unobserved, and save some forty
or fifty 'Naps.' without any one being the wiser." Mrs. D. would,
of course, object if she had the faintest suspicion that it was
inexpensive; but "my Lord," who seems to read her like a book, has told
her that it is the very mode in which all the aristocracy travel, and
that by a happy piece of fortune we have secured the vetturino that took
Prince Albert to Rome, and the Empress of Russia to Palermo!

He has, or he is to find, four horses for our coach, and three for
his own; we are to take the charge of bridges, barriers, rafts, and
"remounts," and give him, besides, five Napoleons _per diem_, and a
"buona mano," or gratuity, of three more, if satisfied, at the end of
the journey. Now, nothing could be more economical than this; for we are
a large party, and with luggage enough to fill a ship's jolly-boat.

You see, therefore, what it is to have a shrewd and intelligent friend.
You and I might have walked the main street of Bregenz till our shoes
were thin, before we discovered that the word "Gelegenheit," chalked up
on the back-leather of an old calèche, meant "A return conveniency to be
had cheap." The word is a German one, and means "Opportunity:" and ah!
my dear Tom, into what a strange channel does it entice one's thoughts!
What curious reflections come across the mind as we think of all our
real opportunities in this world, and how little we did of them! Not but
there might be a debit side to the account, too, and that some two or
three may have escaped us that it was just as well we let pass!

We intended to have left this to-morrow, but Mrs. D. won't travel on
a Friday. "It's an unlucky day," she says, and maybe she's right. If I
don't mistake greatly, it was on a Friday I was married; but of course
this is a reminiscence I keep to myself. This reminds me of the question
in your postscript, and to which I reply: "Not a bit of it; nothing of
the kind. So far as I see, Tiverton feels a strong attachment to James,
but never even notices the girls. I ought to add that this is not Mrs.
D.'s opinion; and she is always flouncing into my dressing-room, with
a new discovery of a look that he gave Mary Anne, or a whisper that he
dropped into Cary's ear. Mothers would be a grand element in a detective
police, if they did n't now and then see more than was in sight; but
that's their failing, Tom. The same generous zeal which they employ
in magnifying their husbands' faults helps them to many another
exaggeration. Now Mrs. D. is what she calls fully persuaded--in other
words, she has some shadowy suspicions--that Lord George has formed a
strong attachment to one or other of her daughters, the only doubtful
point being which of them is to be my Lady."

Shall I confess to you that I rather cherish the notion than seek to
disabuse her of it, and for this simple reason: whenever she is in
full cry after grandeur, whether in the shape of an acquaintance, an
invitation, or a match for the girls, she usually gives me a little
peace and quietness. The peerage, "God bless our old nobility," acts
like an anodyne on her.

I give you, therefore, both sides of the question, repeating once more
my own conviction that Lord G. has no serious intentions, to use the
phrase maternal, whatever. And now to your second query: If not, is it
prudent to encourage his intimacy? Why, Tom Purcell, just bethink you
for a moment, and see to what a strange condition would your theory, if
acted on, resolve all the inhabitants of the globe. Into one or other
category they must go infallibly. "Either they want to marry one of the
Dodds, or they don't." Now, though the fact is palpable enough, it is
for all purposes of action a most embarrassing one; and if I proceed to
make use of it, I shall either be doomed to very tiresome acquaintances,
or a life of utter solitude and desertion.

Can't a man like your society, your dinners, your port, your jokes, and
your cigars, but he must perforce marry one of your daughters? Is your
house to be like a rat-trap, and if a fellow puts his head in must he be
caught? I don't like the notion at all; and not the less that it rather
throws a slight over certain convivial gifts and agreeable qualities for
which, once upon a time at least, I used to have some reputation. As to
Tiverton, I like _him_, and I have a notion that he likes _me_, We suit
each other as well as it is possible for two men bred, born, and brought
up so perfectly unlike. We both have seen a great deal of the world, or
rather of two worlds, for _his_ is not _mine_. At the same time, every
remark he makes--and all his observations show me that mankind is
precisely the same thing everywhere, and that it is exactly with the
same interests, the same impulses, and the same passions my Lord bets
his thousands at "Crocky's" that Billy Healey or Father Tom ventures his
half-crown at the Pig and Pincers, in Bruff. I used to think that what
with races, elections, horse-fairs, and the like, I had seen my share of
rascality or roguery; but, compared to my Lord's experiences, I might be
a babe in the nursery. There is n't a dodge--not a piece of knavery that
was ever invented--he doesn't know. Trickery and deception of every kind
are all familiar to him, and, as he says himself, he only wants a few
weeks in a convict settlement to put the finish on his education.

You 'd fancy, from what I say, that he must be a cold, misanthropic,
suspectful fellow, with an ill-natured temper, and a gloomy view of
everybody and everything. Far from it, his whole theory of life is
benevolent; and his maxim, to believe every one honorable, trustworthy,
and amiable. I see the half-cynical smile with which you listen to this,
and I already know the remark that trembles on your lip. You would
say that such a code cuts both ways, and that a man who pronounces so
favorably of his fellows almost secures thereby a merciful verdict on
himself. In fact, that he who passes base money can scarcely refuse,
now and then, to accept a bad halfpenny in change. Well, Tom, I 'll not
argue the case with you, for if not myself a disciple of this creed,
I have learned to think that there are very few, indeed, who are
privileged to play censor upon their acquaintances, and that there is
always the chance that when you are occupied looking at your neighbor
drifting on a lee shore, you may bump on a rock yourself.

You said in your last that you thought me more lax than I used to be
about right and wrong,--"less strait-laced," you were polite enough to
call it; and with an equal urbanity you ascribed this change in me to
the habits of the Continent. I am proud to say "Guilty" to the charge,
and I believe you are right as to the cause. Yes, Tom, the tone of
society abroad is eminently merciful, and it must needs be a bad case
where there are no attenuating circumstances. So much the worse, say
you; where vice is leniently looked on, it will be sure to flourish. To
which I answer, Show me where it does not! Is it in the modern Babylon,
is it in moral Scotland, or drab-colored Washington? On my conscience, I
don't believe there is more of wickedness in a foreign city than a
home one; the essential difference being that we do wrong with a
consciousness of our immorality; whereas the foreigner has a strong
impression that after all it's only a passing frailty, and that human
nature was not ever intended to be perfect. Which system tends most to
corrupt a people, and which creates more hopeless sinners, I leave to
you, and others as fond of such speculations, to ponder over.

Another charge--for your letter has as many counts as an
indictment--another you make against me is that I seem as if I was
beginning to like--or, as you modestly phrase it--as if I was getting
more reconciled to the Continent. Maybe I am, now that I have learned
how to qualify the light wines with a little brandy, and to make my
dinner of the eight or nine, instead of the two-and-thirty dishes they
serve up to you; and since I have trained myself to walk the length of
a street, in rain or sunshine, without my hat, and have attained to the
names of the cards at whist in a foreign tongue, I believe I do feel
more at home here than at first; but still I am far, very far, in arrear
of the knowledge that a man bred and born abroad would possess at my
age. To begin, Tom: He would be a perfect cook; you couldn't put a clove
of garlic too little, or an olive too much, without his detecting it in
the dish. Secondly, he would be curious in snuffs, and a dead hand at
dominos; then he would be deep in the private histories of the ballet,
and tell you the various qualities of short-draperied damsels that had
figured on the boards for the last thirty years. These, and such-like,
would be the consolations of his declining years; and of these I know
absolutely next to nothing. Who knows, however, but I may improve? The
world is a wonderful schoolmaster, and if Mrs. D. is to be believed, I
am an apt scholar whenever the study is of an equivocal kind.

We hope to spend the late autumn at Como, and then step down into some
of the cities of the South for the winter months. The approved plan is
Florence till about the middle of January, Rome till the beginning
of Lent, then Naples till the Holy Week, whence back again for the
ceremonies. After that, northward wherever you please. All this sounds
like a good deal of locomotion, and, consequently, of expense; but Lord
G. says, "Just leave it to _me_, I'll be your courier;" and as he not
only performs that function, but unites with it that of banker,--he can
get anything discounted at any moment,--I am little disposed to depose
him from his office. Now no more complaints that I have not replied to
you about this, that, and t' other, not informed you about our future
movements, nor given you any hint as to our plans: you know everything
about us, at least so far as it is known to your

Very sincere friend,

Kenny I. Dodd.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I am too late for the post, so I 'll
keep this open if anything should occur to me before the next mail.


The Inn, Splugen, Monday.

I thought this was already far on its way to you; but, to my great
surprise, on opening my writing-desk this morning, I discovered it
there still. The truth is, I grow more absent, and what the French call
"distracted," every day; and it frequently happens that I forget some
infernal bill or other, till the fellow knocks at the door with "the
notice." Here we are, at a little inn on the very top of the Alps.
We arrived yesterday, and, to our utter astonishment, found ourselves
suddenly in a land of snow and icebergs. The whole way from Bregenz the
season was a mellow autumn: some of the corn was still standing, but
most was cut, and the cattle turned out over the stubble; the trees were
in full leaf, and the mountain rivulets were clear and sparkling, for no
rain had fallen for some time back. It was a picturesque road and full
of interest in many ways. From Coire we made a little excursion across
the Rhine to a place called Ragatz,--a kind of summer resort for
visitors who come to bathe and drink the waters of Pfeffers, one of
the most extraordinary sights I ever beheld. These baths are built in
a cleft of the mountain, about a thousand feet in depth, and scarcely
thirty wide in many parts; the sides of the precipices are straight as a
wall, and only admit of a gleam of the sun when perfectly vertical. The
gloom and solemnity of the spot, its death-like stillness and shade,
even at noonday, are terribly oppressive. Nor is the sadness dispelled
by the living objects of the picture,--Swiss, Germans, French, and
Italians, swathed in flannel dressing-gowns and white dimity cerements,
with nightcaps and slippers, steal along the gloomy corridors and the
gloomier alleys, pale, careworn, and cadaverous. They come here for
health, and their whole conversation is sickness. Now, however consoling
it may be to an invalid to find a recipient of his sorrows, the price
of listening in turn is a tremendous infliction. Nor is the character of
the scene such as would probably suggest agreeable reflections; had it
been the portico to the nameless locality itself, it could not possibly
be more dreary and sorrow-stricken. Now, whatever virtues the waters
possess, is surely antagonized by all this agency of gloom and
depression; and except it be as a preparation for leaving the world
without regret, this place seems to be marvellously ill adapted for its
object. It appears to me, however, that foreigners run into the greatest
extremes in these matters; a sick man must either live in a perpetual
Vauxhall of fireworks, music, dancing, dining, and gambling, as at
Baden, or be condemned to the worse than penitentiary diet and prison
discipline of Pfeffers! Surely there must be some halting-place between
the ball-room and the cloister, or some compromise of costume between
silk stockings and bare feet! But really, to a thinking, reasonable
being, it appears very distressing that you must either dance out of the
world to Strauss's music, or hobble miserably out of life to the sound
of the falling waters of Pfeffers.

Does it not sound, also, very oddly to our free-trade notions of malady,
that the doctor of these places is appointed by the State; that without
his sanction and opinion of your case, you must neither bathe nor drink;
that no matter how satisfied you may be with your own physician, nor how
little to your liking the Government medico, he has the last word on the
subject of your disorder, and without his wand the pool is never to be
stirred in your behalf. You don't quite approve of this, Tom,--neither
do I. The State has no more a right to choose my doctor than to select
a wife for me. If there be anything essentially a man's own prerogative,
it is his--what shall I call it?--his caprice about his medical adviser.
One man likes a grave, sententious, silently disposed fellow, who feels
his pulse, shakes his head, takes his fee, and departs, with scarcely
more than a muttered monosyllable; another prefers the sympathetic
doctor, that goes half-and-half in all his sufferings, lies awake at
night thinking of his case, and seems to rest his own hopes of future
bliss in life on curing him. As for myself, I lean to the fellow that,
no matter what ails me, is sure to make me pass a pleasant half-hour;
that has a lively way of laughing down all my unpleasant symptoms, and
is certain to have a droll story about a patient that he has just come
from. That's the man for my money; and I wish you could tell me where a
man gets as good value as for the guinea be gives to one of these. Now,
from what I have seen of the Continent, this is an order of which
they have no representative. All the professional classes, but more
essentially the medical, are taken from an inferior grade in society,
neither brought up in intercourse with the polite world, nor ever
admitted to it afterwards. The consequence is, that your doctor comes
to visit you as your shoemaker to measure you for shoes, and it would
be deemed as great a liberty were he to talk of anything but your
complaint, as for Crispin to impart his sentiments about Russia or the
policy of Louis Napoleon. I don't like the system, and I am convinced
it does n't work well. If I know anything of human nature, too, it is
this,--that nobody tells the whole truth to his physician _till he can't
help it_. No, Tom, it only comes out after a long cross-examination,
great patience, and a deal of dodging; and for these you must have no
vulgarly minded, commonplace, underbred fellow, but a consummate man of
the world, who knows when you are bamboozling him and when fencing him
off with a sham. He must be able to use all the arts of a priest in the
confessional, and an advocate in a trial, with a few more of his own not
known to either, to extort your secret from you; and I am sure that a
man of vulgar habits and low associations is not the best adapted for
this.

I wanted to stop and dine with this lugubrious company. I was curious
to see what they ate, and whether their natures attained any social
expansion under the genial influences of food and drink; but Mrs. D.
would n't hear of it. She had detected, she said, an "impudent hussy
with black eyes" bestowing suspicious glances at your humble servant. I
thought that she was getting out of these fancies,--I fondly hoped that
a little peace on these subjects would in a degree reconcile me to many
of the discomforts of old age; but, alas! the gray hairs and the stiff
ankles have come, and no writ of ease against conjugal jealousies.
Away we came, fresh and fasting, and as there was nothing to be had at
Ragatz, we were obliged to go on to Coire before we got supper; and if
you only knew what it is to arrive at one of these foreign inns after
the hour of the ordinary meals, you 'd confess there was little risk of
our committing an excess.

I own to you, Tom, that the excursion scarcely deserved to be called
a pleasant one. Fatigue, disappointment, and hunger are but ill
antagonized by an outbreak of temper; and Mrs. D. lightened the way
homeward by a homily on fidelity that would have made Don Juan appear
deserving of being canonized as a saint! I must also observe that
Tiverton's conduct on this occasion was the very reverse of what I
expected from him. A shrewd, keen fellow like him could not but know in
his heart that Mrs. D.'s suspicions were only nonsense and absurdity;
and yet what did he do but play shocked and horrified, agreed completely
with every ridiculous notion of my wife, and actually went so far as to
appeal to me as a father against myself as a profligate. I almost choked
with passion; and if it was not that we were under obligations to him
about James's business, I'm not certain I should not have thrown him
out of the coach. I wish to the saints that the women would take to
any other line of suspicion, even for the sake of variety,--fancy me an
incurable drunkard, a gambler, an uncertificated bankrupt, or a forger.
I'm not certain if I would not accept the charge of a transportable
felony rather than be regarded as the sworn enemy of youth and virtue,
and the snake in the grass to all unprotected females.

From Coire we travelled on to Reichenau, a pretty village at the foot
of the Alps, watered by the Rhine, which is there a very inconsiderable
stream, and with as little promise of future greatness as any barrister
of six years' standing you please to mention. There is a neat-looking
chateau, which stands on a small terrace above the river here, not
without a certain interest attached to it. It was here that Louis
Philippe, then Duke of Orleans, taught mathematics in the humble
capacity of usher to a school. Just fancy that deep politician--the
wiliest head in all Europe, with the largest views of statecraft, and
the most consummate knowledge of men--instilling angles and triangles
into impracticable numskulls, and crossing the Asses' bridge ten times a
day with lame and crippled intellects.

It would be curious to know what views of mankind, what studies of
life, he made during this period. Such a man was not made to suffer
any opportunity, no matter how inconsiderable in itself, to escape him
without profiting; and it may be easily believed that in the monarchy of
a school he might have meditated over the rule of large masses.

History can scarcely present greater changes of fortune than those that
have befallen that family, which is the more singular, since they
have been brought about neither by great talents nor great crimes. The
Orleans family was more remarkable for the qualities which shine in
the middle ranks of life than either for any towering genius or
any unscrupulous ambition. Their strength was essentially in this
mediocrity, and it was a momentary forgetfulness of that same
stronghold--by the Spanish marriage--that cost the King his throne. The
truth was, Tom, that the nation never liked us,--they hated England just
as they hated it at Cressy, at Blenheim, and at Waterloo, and will hate
it, notwithstanding your great Industrial gatherings, to the end of
time. They were much dissatisfied with Louis Philippe's policy of
an English alliance; they deemed it disadvantageous, costly, and
humiliating; but that it should be broken up and destroyed for an object
of mere family, for a piece of dynastic ambition, was a gross outrage
and affront to the spirit of national pride. It was the sentiment of
insulted honor that leagued the followers of the Orleans branch with the
Legitimists and the Republicans, and formed that terrible alliance that
extended from St. Antoine to the Faubourg St. Germain, and included
every one from the peer to the common laborer.

All this prosing about politics will never take us over the Alps; and,
indeed, so far as I can see, there is small prospect of that event just
now; for it has been snowing smartly all night, with a strong southerly
wind, which they say always leaves heavy drifts in different parts of
the mountain.

We are cooped up here in a curious, straggling kind of an inn, that
gradually dwindles away into a barn, a stable, and a great shed, filled
with disabled diligences and smashed old sledges,--an incurable asylum
for diseased conveyances. The house stands in a cleft of the hills; but
from the windows you can see the zigzag road that ascends for miles in
front, and which now is only marked by long poles, already some ten or
twelve feet deep in snow. It is snow on every side,--on the mountains,
on the roofs, on the horses that stand shaking their bells at the door,
on the conducteur that drinks his schnaps, on the postilion as he
lights his pipe. The thin flakes are actually plating his whiskers and
moustaches, till he looks like one of the "Old Guard," as we see them in
a melodrama.

Tiverton, who conducts all our arrangements, has had a row with our
vetturino, who says that he never contracted to take us over the
mountain in sledges; and as the carriages cannot run on wheels, here
we are discussing the question. There have been three stormy debates
already, and another is to come off this afternoon; meanwhile, the snow
is falling heavily, and whatever chance there was of getting forward
yesterday is now ten times less practicable. The landlord of our inn is
to be arbiter, I understand; and as he is the proprietor of the sledges
we shall have to hire, if defeated, without impugning in any way the
character of Alpine justice, you can possibly anticipate the verdict.

A word upon this vetturino system ere I leave it,--I hope forever. It
is a perfect nuisance from beginning to end. From the moment you set off
with one of these rascals, till the hour you arrive at your journey's
end, it is plague, squabble, insolence, and torment. They start at what
hour of the morning they please; they halt where they like, and for as
long as they like, invariably, too, at the worst wayside inns,--away
from a town and from all chance of accommodation,--since rye-bread and
sour wine, with a mess of stewed garlic, will always satisfy _them_.
They rarely drive at full five miles the hour, and walk every inch with
an ascent of a foot in a hundred yards. If expostulated with by the
wretched traveller, they halt in some public place, and appeal to the
bystanders in some dialect unknown to you. The result of which is that
a ferocious mob surrounds you, and with invectives, insults, and
provocative gestures assail and outrage you, till it please your
tormentor to drive on; which you do at length amidst hooting and uproar
that even convicted felons would feel ashamed of.

On reaching your inn at night, they either give such a representation of
you as gets you denied admittance at all, or obtain for you the enviable
privilege of paying for everything "en Milor." Between being a swindler
and an idiot the chance alone lies for you. Then they refuse to unstrap
your luggage; or if they do so, tie it on again so insecurely that it
is sure to drop off next day. I speak not of a running fire of petty
annoyances; such as fumigating you with pestilent tobacco, nor the
blessed enjoyment of that infernal Spitz dog which stands all day on the
roof, and barks every mile of the road from Berne to Naples. As to any
redress against their insolence, misconduct, or extortion, it is utterly
hopeless,--and for this reason: they are sure to have a hundred petty
occasions of rendering small services to the smaller authorities of
every village they frequent. They carry the judge's mother for nothing
to a watering-place; or they fetch his aunt to the market town; or they
smuggle for him--or thieve for him--something that is only to be had
over the frontier. Very probably, too, on the very morning of your
appeal, you have kicked the same judge's brother, he being the waiter
of your inn, and having given you bad money in change,--at all events,
_you_ are not likely ever to be met with again; the vetturino is certain
to come back within the year; and, finally, you are sure to have money,
and be able to pay,--so that, as the Irish foreman said, as the reason
for awarding heavy damages against an Englishman, "It is a fine thing to
bring so much money into the country."

Take my word for it, Tom, the system is a perfect disgust from beginning
to end, and even its cheapness only a sham; for your economy is more
than counterbalanced by police fees, fines, and impositions, delays,
remounts, bulls, and starved donkeys, paid for at a price they would not
bring if sold at a market. Post, if you can afford it; take the public
conveyances, if you must; but for the sake of all that is decent and
respectable,--all that consists with comfort and self-respect,--avoid
the vetturino! I know that a contrary opinion has a certain prevalence
in the world,--I am quite aware that these rascals have their
advocates,--and no bad ones either,--since they are women.

I have witnessed more than one Giuseppe, or Antonio, with a beard,
whiskers, and general "get up," that would have passed muster in a comic
opera; and on looking at the fellow's book of certificates (for such as
these always have a bound volume, smartly enclosed in a neat case), I
have found that "Mrs. Miles Dalrymple and daughters made the journey
from Milan to Aix-les-Bains with Francesco Birbante, and found him
excessively attentive, civil, and obliging; full of varied information
about the road, and quite a treasure to ladies travelling alone."
Another of these villains is styled "quite an agreeable companion;" one
was called "charming;" and I found that Miss Matilda Somers, of Queen's
Road, Old Brompton, pronounces Luigi Balderdasci, although in the
humble rank of a vetturino, "an accomplished gentleman." I know,
therefore, how ineffectual would it be for Kenny Dodd to enter the lists
against such odds, and it is only under the seal of secrecy that I dare
to mutter them. The widows and the fatherless form a strong category in
foreign travel; dark dresses and demure looks are very vagrant in their
habits, and I am not going to oppose myself single-handed to such a
united force. But to you, Tom Purceli, I may tell the truth in all
confidence and security. If I was in authority, I 'd shave these
scoundrels to-morrow. I 'd not suffer a moustache, a red sash, nor a
hat with a feather amongst them; and take my word for it, the panegyrics
would be toned down, and we'd read much more about the horses than the
drivers, and learn how many miles a day they could travel, and not how
many sonnets of Petrarch the rascal could repeat.

I have lost my "John Murray." I forgot it in our retreat from Pfeffers;
so that I don't remember whether he lauds these fellows or the reverse,
but the chances are it is the former. It is one of the endless delusions
travellers fall into, and many's the time I have had to endure a
tiresome description of their delightful vetturino, that "charming
Beppo, who, 'however he got them,' had a bouquet for each of us every
morning at breakfast." If I ever could accomplish the writing of that
book I once spoke to you about upon the Continent and foreign travels, I
'd devote a whole chapter to these fellows; and more than that, Tom, I'd
have an Appendix--a book of travels is nothing without an Appendix in
small print--wherein I'd give a list of all these scoundrels who have
been convicted as bandits, thieves, and petty larceners; of all their
misdeeds against old gentlemen with palsy, and old ladies with "nerves."
I 'd show them up, not as heroes but highwaymen; and take my word for
it, I 'd be doing good service to the writers of those sharply formed
little paragraphs now so enthusiastic about Giovanni, and so full of
"grateful recollections" of "poor Giuseppe."

I am positively ashamed to say how many of the observations, ay, and of
the printed observations of travellers, I have discovered to have their
origin in this same class; and that what the tourist jotted down as
his own remark on men and manners, was the stereotyped opinion of
these illiterate vagabonds. But as for books of travel, Tom, of all the
humbugs of a humbugging age, there is nothing can approach them. I have
heard many men talk admirably about foreign life and customs. I have
never chanced upon one who could write about them. It is not only
that your really smart fellows do not write; but that, to pronounce
authoritatively on a people, one must have a long and intimate
acquaintance with them. Now, this very fact alone to a great degree
invalidates the freshness of observation; for what we are accustomed
to see every day ceases to strike us as worthy of remark. To the raw
tourist, all is strange, novel, and surprising; and if he only record
what he sees, he will tell much that everybody knows, but also some
things that are not quite so familiar to the multitude. Now, your old
resident abroad knows the Continent too well and too thoroughly to find
any one incident or circumstance peculiar. To take an illustration: A
man who had never been at a play in his life would form a far better
conception of what a theatre was like from hearing the description of
one from an intelligent child, who had been there once, than from the
most labored criticism on the acting from an old frequenter of the pit.
Hence the majority of these tours have a certain success at home; but
for the man who comes abroad, and wishes to know something that may aid
to guide his steps, form his opinions, and direct his judgment, believe
me they are not worth a brass farthing. There is this also to be taken
into account,--that every observer is, more or less, recounting some
trait of his own nature, of his habits, his tastes, and his prejudices;
so that before you can receive his statement, you have to study his
disposition. Take all these adverse and difficult conditions into
consideration,--give a large margin for credulity, and a larger for
exaggeration,--bethink you of the embarrassments of a foreign tongue,
and then I ask you how much real information you have a right to expect
from Journals of the Long Vacation, or Winters in Italy, or Tyrol
Rambles in Autumn? I say it in no boastfulness, Tom, nor in any mood of
vanity, but if I was some twenty years younger, with a good income and
no encumbrances, well versed in languages, and fairly placed as regards
social advantages, I myself could make a very readable volume about
foreign life and foreign manners. You laugh at the notion of Kenny Dodd
on a titlepage; but have n't we one or two of our acquaintances that cut
just as ridiculous a figure?

Tiverton has come in to tell me that the judgment of the Court has been
given against him, and consequently against us, "_in re_ Vetturino;" and
the award of the judge is, "That we pay all the expenses for the journey
to Milan, the gratuity,--that was only to be given as an evidence of
our perfect satisfaction,--and anything more that our sense of honor
and justice may suggest, as compensation for the loss of time he has
sustained in litigating with us." On these conditions he is to be free
to follow his road, and we are to remain here till--I wish I could say
the time--but, according to present appearances, it may be spring before
we get away. When I tell you that the decision has been given by the
landlord of the inn, where we must stop,--as no other exists within
twenty miles of us,--you may guess the animus of the judgment-seat. It
requires a great degree of self-restraint not be to carried into what
the law calls an overt act, by a piece of iniquity like this. I have
abstained by a great effort; but the struggle has almost given me a fit
of apoplexy. Imagine the effrontery of the rascal, Tom: scarcely had
he counted over his Napoleons, and made his grin of farewell, than he
mounted his box and drove away over the mountain, which had just been
declared impassable,--a feat witnessed by all of us,--in company with
the landlord who had pronounced the verdict against us. I stormed--I
swore--in short, I worked myself into a sharp fit of the gout, which
flew from my ankle to my stomach, and very nigh carried me off. A day
of extreme suffering has been succeeded by one of great depression; and
here I am now, with the snow still falling fast; the last courier who
went by saying "that all the inns at Chiavenna were full of people, none
of whom would venture to cross the mountain." It appears that there are
just two peculiarly unpropitious seasons for the passage,--when the snow
falls first, and when it begins to melt in spring. It is needless to say
that we have hit upon one of these, with our habitual good fortune!


Thursday. The Inn, Splügen.

Here we are still in this blessed place, this being now our seventh day
in a hole you would n't condemn a dog to live in. How long we might
have continued our sojourn it is hard to say, when a mere accident has
afforded us the prospect of liberation. It turns out that two families
arrived and went forward last night, having only halted to sup and
change horses. On inquiry why we could n't be supposed capable of the
same exertion, you 'll not believe me when I tell you the answer we got.
No, Tom! The enormous power of lying abroad is clear and clean beyond
your conception. It was this, then. We could go when we pleased,--it was
entirely a caprice of our own that we had not gone before. "How so, may
I ask?" said I, in the meekest of inquiring voices. "You would n't go
like others," was the answer. "In what respect,--how?" asked I again.
"Oh, your English notions rejected the idea of a sledge. You insisted
upon going on wheels, and as no wheeled carriage could run--" Grant me
patience, or I'll explode like a shell. My hand shakes, and my temples
are throbbing so that I can scarcely write the lines. I made a great
effort at a calm and discretionary tone, but it would n't do; a certain
fulness about the throat, a general dizziness, and a noise like the sea
in my ears, told me that I'd have been behaving basely to the "Guardian"
and the "Equitable Fire and Life" were I to continue the debate. I sat
down, and with a sponge and water and loose cravat, I got better. There
was considerable confusion in my faculties on my coming to myself; I had
a vague notion of having conducted myself in some most ridiculous and
extravagant fashion,--having insisted upon the horses being harnessed
in some impossible mode, or made some demand or other totally
impracticable. Cary, like a dear kind girl as she is, laughed and
quizzed me out of my delusion, and showed me that it was the cursed
imputation of that scoundrel of a landlord had given this erratic turn
to my thoughts. The gout has settled in my left foot, and I now, with
the exception of an occasional shoot of pain that I relieve by a shout,
feel much better, and hope soon to be fit for the road. Poor Cary made
me laugh by a story she picked up somewhere of a Scotch gentleman who
had contracted with his vetturino to be carried from Genoa to Rome and
fed on the road,--a very common arrangement. The journey was to occupy
nine days; but wishing to secure a splendid "buona mano," the vetturino
drove at a tremendous pace, and actually arrived in Rome on the eighth
day, having almost killed his horses and exhausted himself. When he
appeared before his traveller, expecting compliments on his speed, and
a handsome recognition for his zeal, guess his astonishment to hear his
self-panegyrics cut short by the pithy remark: "You drove very well, my
friend; but we are not going to part just yet,--you have still another
day to _feed_ me."

Tiverton has at length patched up an arrangement with our landlord
for twelve sledges,--each only carries one and the driver,--so that if
nothing adverse intervene we are to set forth to-morrow. He says that we
may reasonably hope to reach Chiavenna before evening. I 'll therefore
not detain this longer, but in the prospect that our hour of liberation
has at length drawn nigh, conclude my long despatch.

Our villa at Como will be our next address, and I hope to find a letter
there from you soon after our arrival. Remember, Tom, all that I have
said about the supplies, for though they tell me Italy be cheap, I
have not yet discovered a land where the population believes gold to be
dross. Adieu!



LETTER VI. MARY ANNE DODD TO MISS DOOLAN, OF BALLYDOOLAN.

On the Splügen Alps.

Dearest Kitty,--I write these few lines from the Refuge-house on the
Splügen Pass. We are seven thousand feet above the level of something,
with fifty feet of snow around us, and the deafening roar of avalanches
thundering on the ear. We set out yesterday from the village of Splügen,
contrary to the advice of the guides, but papa insisted on going. He
declared that if no other means offered, he 'd go on foot, so that
opposition was really out of the question. Our departure was quite a
picture. First came a long, low sledge, with stones and rocks to explore
the way, and show where the footing was secure. Then came three others
with our luggage; after that mamma, under the guidance of a most careful
person, a certain Bernardt something, brother of the man who acted
as guide to Napoleon; Cary followed her in another sledge, and I came
third, papa bringing up the rear, for Betty and the other servants
were tastefully grouped about the luggage. Several additional sledges
followed with spade and shovel-folk, ropes, drags, and other implements
most suggestive of peril and adventure. We were perfect frights to look
at; for, in addition to fur boots and capes, tarpaulins and hoods, we
had to wear snow goggles as a precaution against the fine drifting snow,
so that really for very shame' sake I was glad that each sledge only
held one, and the driver, who is fortunately, also, at your back.

The first few miles of ascent were really pleasurable, for the snow
was hard, and the pace occasionally reached a trot, or at least such a
resemblance to one as shook the conveniency, and made the bells jingle
agreeably on the harness. The road, too, followed a zigzag course on
the steep side of the mountain, so that you saw at moments some of those
above and some beneath you, winding along exactly like the elephant
procession in Bluebeard. The voices sounded cheerily in the sharp
morning air, itself exhilarating to a degree, and this, with the bright
snow-peaks, rising one behind the other in the distance, and the little
village of Splügen in the valley, made up a scene strikingly picturesque
and interesting. There was a kind of adventure, too, about it all,
dearest Kitty, that never loses its charm for the soul deeply imbued
with a sense of the beautiful and imaginative. I fancied myself at
moments carried away by force into the Steppes of Tartary, or that I
was Elizabeth crossing the Volga, and I believe I even shed tears at my
fancied distress. To another than you, dearest, I might hesitate even if
I confessed as much; but you, who know every weakness of a too feeling
heart, will forgive me for being what I am.

My guide, a really fine-looking mountaineer, with a magnificent beard,
fancied that it was the danger that had appalled me. He hastened to
offer his rude but honest consolations; he protested that there was
nothing whatever like peril, and that if there were--But why do I go on?
even to my dearest friend may not this seem childish? and is it not a
silly vanity that owns it can derive pleasure from every homage, even
the very humblest?

We gradually lost sight of the little smoke-wreathed village, and
reached a wild but grandly desolate region, with snow on every side. The
pathway, too, was now lost to us, and the direction only indicated by
long poles at great intervals. That all was not perfectly safe in front
might be apprehended, for we came frequently to a dead halt, and then
the guides and the shovel-men would pass rapidly to and fro, but,
muffled as we were, all inquiry was impossible, so that we were left to
the horrors of doubt and dread without a chance of relief. At length we
grew accustomed to these interruptions, and felt in a measure tranquil.
Not so the guides, however; they frequently talked together in knots,
and I could see from their upward glances, too, that they apprehended
some change in the weather. Papa had contrived to cut some of the cords
with which they had fastened his muffles, and by great patience and
exertion succeeded in getting his head out of three horsecloths, with
which they had swathed him.

"Are we near the summit?" cried he, in English,--"how far are we from
the top?"

His question was of course unintelligible, but his action not; and the
consequence was that three of our followers rushed over to him, and
after a brief struggle, in which two of them were tumbled over in the
snow, his head was again enclosed within its woolly cenotaph; and,
indeed, but for a violent jerking motion of it, it might have been
feared that even all access to external air was denied him. This little
incident was the only break to the monotony of the way, till nigh noon,
when a cold, biting wind, with great masses of misty vapor, swept past
and around us, and my guide told me that we were somewhere, with a hard
name, and that he wished we were somewhere else, with a harder.

I asked why, but my question died away in the folds of my head-gear, and
I was left to my own thoughts, when suddenly a loud shout rang through
the air. It was a party about to turn back, and the sledges stopped up
the road. The halt led to a consultation between the guides, which I
could see turned on the question of the weather. The discussion was
evidently a warm one, a party being for, and another against it. Hearing
what they said was of course out of the question, muffled as I was; but
their gestures clearly defined who were in favor of proceeding, and who
wished to retrace their steps. One of the former particularly struck me;
for, though encumbered with fur boots and an enormous mantle, his action
plainly indicated that he was something out of the common. He showed
that air of command, too, Kitty, that at once proclaims superiority.
His arguments prevailed, and after a considerable time spent, on we went
again. I followed the interesting stranger till he was lost to me; but
guess my feelings, Kitty, when I heard a voice whisper in my ear,
"Don't be afraid, dearest, I watch over _your_ safety." Oh! fancy the
perturbation of my poor heart, for it was Lord George who spoke. He it
was whose urgent persuasions had determined the guides to proceed, and
he now had taken the place behind my own sledge, and actually drove
instead of the postilion. Can you picture to yourself heroism and
devotion like this? And while I imagined that he was borne along with
all the appliances of ease and comfort, the poor dear fellow was braving
the storm _for me_, and _for me_ enduring the perils of the raging
tempest. From that instant, my beloved Kitty, I took little note of the
dangers around me. I thought but of him who stood so near to me,--so
near, and yet so far off; so close, and yet so severed! I bethought me,
too, how unjust the prejudice of the vulgar mind that attributes to our
youthful nobility habits of selfish indolence and effeminate ease. Here
was one reared in all the voluptuous enjoyment of a splendid household,
trained from his cradle to be waited on and served, and yet was he there
wilfully encountering perils and hardships from which the very bravest
might recoil. Ah, Kitty! it is impossible to deny it,--the highly born
have a native superiority in everything. Their nobility is not a thing
of crosses and ribbons, but of blood. They feel that they are of earth's
purest clay, and they assert the claim to pre-eminence by their own
proud and lofty gifts. I told you, too, that he said "dearest." I might
have been deceived; the noise was deafening at the moment; but I feel
as if my ears could not have betrayed me. At all events, Kitty, his hand
sought mine while he spoke, and though in his confusion it was my elbow
he caught, he pressed it tenderly. In what a delicious dream did I revel
as we slid along over the snow! What cared I for the swooping wind, the
thundering avalanche, the drifting snow-wreath,--was he not there, my
protector and my guide? Had he not sworn to be my succor and my safety?
We had just arrived at a lofty tableland,--some few peaks appeared still
above us, but none very near,--when the wind, with a violence beyond
all description, bore great masses of drift against us, and effectually
barred all farther progress. The stone sledge, too, had partly become
embedded in the soft snow, and the horse was standing powerless, when
suddenly mamma's horse stumbled and fell. In his efforts to rise he
smashed one of the rope traces, so that when he began to pull again,
the unequal draught carried the sledge to one side, and upset it. A
loud shriek told me something had happened, and at the instant Lord G.
whispered in my ear, "It's nothing,--she has only taken a 'header' in
the soft snow, and won't be a bit the worse."

Further questioning was vain; for Cary's sledge-horse shied at the
confusion in front, and plunged off the road into the deep snow, where
he disappeared all but the head, fortunately flinging her out into
the guide's arms. My turn was now to come; for Lord G., with his mad
impetuosity, tried to pass on and gain the front, but the animal, by
a furious jerk, smashed all the tackle, and set off at a wild,
half-swimming pace through the snow, leaving our sledge firmly wedged
between two dense walls of drift Papa sprang out to our rescue; but so
helpless was he, from the quantity of his integuments, that he rolled
over, and lay there on his back, shouting fearfully.

It appeared as if the violence of the storm had only waited for this
moment of general disaster; for now the wind tore along great masses of
snow, that rose around us to the height of several feet, covering up
the horses to their backs, and embedding the men to their armpits. Loud
booming masses announced the fall of avalanches near, and the sky became
darkened, like as if night was approaching. Words cannot convey the
faintest conception of that scene of terror, dismay, and confusion.
Guides shouting and swearing; cries of distress and screams of anguish
mingled with the rattling thunder and the whistling wind. Some were for
trying to go back; others proclaimed it impossible; each instant a new
disaster occurred. The baggage had disappeared altogether, Betty Cobb
being saved, as it sank, by almost superhuman efforts of the guide.
Paddy Byrne, who had mistaken the kick of a horse on the back of his
head for a blow, had pitched into one of the guides, and they were now
fighting in four feet of snow, and likely to carry their quarrel out of
the world with them. Taddy was "nowhere." To add to this uproar, papa
had, in mistake for brandy, drunk two-thirds of a bottle of complexion
wash, and screamed out that he was poisoned. Of mamma I could see
nothing; but a dense group surrounded her sledge, and showed me she was
in trouble.

I could not give you an idea of what followed, for incidents of peril
were every moment interrupted by something ludicrous. The very efforts
we made to disengage ourselves were constantly attended by some absurd
catastrophe, and no one could stir a step without either a fall, or
a plunge up to the waist in soft snow. The horses, too, would make no
efforts to rise, but lay to be snowed over as if perfectly indifferent
to their fate. By good fortune our britschka, from which the wheels had
been taken off, was in a sledge to the rear, and mamma, Cary, and myself
were crammed into this, to which all the horses, and men also, were
speedily harnessed, and by astonishing efforts we were enabled to get
on. Papa and Betty were wedged fast into one sledge, and attached to us
by a tow-rope, and thus we at length proceeded.

When mamma found herself in comparative safety, she went off into a
slight attack of her nerves; but, fortunately, Lord G. found out the
bottle papa had been in vain in search of, and she got soon better. Poor
fellow, no persuasion could prevail on him to come inside along with us.
How he travelled, or how he contrived to brave that fearful day, I never
learned! From this moment our journey was at the rate of about a mile
in three hours, the shovel and spade men having to clear the way as we
went; and what between horses that had to be dug out of holes, harness
repaired, men rescued, and frequent accident to papa's sledge, which, on
an average, was upset every half-hour, our halts were incessant. It was
after midnight that we reached a dreary-looking stone edifice in the
midst of the snow. Anything so dismal I never beheld, as it stood there
surrounded with drift-snow, its narrow windows strongly barred with
iron, and its roof covered with heavy masses of stone to prevent
it being earned away by the hurricane. This, we were told, was the
Refuge-house on the summit, and here, we were informed, we should stay
till a change of weather might enable us to proceed.

But does not the very name "Refuge-house" fill you with thoughts of
appalling danger? Do you not instinctively shudder at the perils to
which this is the haven of succor?

"I see we are not the first here," cried Caroline; "don't you see lights
moving yonder?"

She was right, for as we drew up we perceived a group of guides and
drivers in the doorway, and saw various conveyances and sledges within
the shed at the side of the building.

A dialogue in the wildest shouts was now conducted between our party and
the others, by which we came to learn that the travellers were some
of those who had left Splugen the night before ourselves, and whose
disasters had been even worse than our own. Indeed, as far as I could
ascertain, they had gone through much more than we had.

Our first meeting with papa--in the kitchen, as I suppose I must call
the lower room of this fearful place--was quite affecting, for he had
taken so much of the guide's brandy as an antidote to the supposed
poison, that he was really overcome, and, under the delusion that he was
at home in his own house, ran about shaking hands with every one, and
welcoming them to Dodsborough. Mamma was so convinced that he had lost
his reason permanently, that she was taken with violent hysterics. The
scene baffles all description, occurring, as it did, in presence of
some twenty guides and spade-folk, who drank their "schnaps," ate their
sausages, smoked, and dried their wet garments all the while, with a
most well-bred inattention to our sufferings. Though Cary and I were
obliged to do everything ourselves,--for Betty was insensible, owing to
her having travelled in the vicinity of the same little cordial flask,
and my maid was sulky in not being put under the care of a certain
good-looking guide,--we really succeeded wonderfully, and contrived to
have papa put to bed in a little chamber with a good mattress, and where
a cheerful fire was soon lighted. Mamma also rallied, and Lord George
made her a cup of tea in a kettle, and poured her out a cup of it into
the shaving-dish of his dressing-box, and we all became as happy as
possible.

It appeared that the other arrivals, who occupied a separate quarter,
were not ill provided for the emergency, for a servant used to pass
and repass to their chamber with a very savory odor from the dish he
carried, and Lord G. swore that he heard the pop of a champagne cork. We
made great efforts to ascertain who they were, but without success. All
we could learn was that it was a gentleman and a lady, with their two
servants, travelling in their own carriage, which was unmistakably
English.

"I 'm determined to run them to earth," exclaimed Lord G. at last. "I
'll just mistake my way, and blunder into their apartment."

We endeavored to dissuade him, but he was determined; and when he is so,
Kitty, nothing can swerve him. Off he went, and after a pause of a few
seconds we heard a heavy door slammed, then another. After that, both
Cary and myself were fully persuaded that we heard a hearty burst of
laughter; but though we listened long and painfully, we could detect
no more. Unhappily, too, at this time mamma fell asleep, and her
deep respirations effectually masked everything but the din of the
avalanches. After a while Cary followed ma's example, leaving me alone
to sit by the "watch-fire's light," and here, in the regions of eternal
snow, to commune with her who holds my heart's dearest affections.

It is now nigh three o'clock. The night is of the very blackest, neither
moon nor stars to be seen; fearful squalls of wind--gusts strong enough
to shake this stronghold to its foundation--tear wildly past, and from
the distance comes the booming sound of thundering avalanches. One might
fancy, easily, that escape from this was impossible, and that to be cast
away here implied a lingering but inevitable fate. No great strain of
fancy is needed for such a consummation. We are miles from all human
habitation, and three yards beyond the doorway the boldest would not
dare to venture! And you, Kitty, at this hour are calmly sleeping to the
hum of "the spreading sycamore;" or, perchance, awake, and thinking of
her who now pours out her heart before you; and oh, blame me not if it
be a tangled web that I present to you, for such will human hopes and
emotions ever make it My poor heart is, indeed, a battleground for
warring hopes and fears, high-soaring ambitions, and depressing terrors.
Would that you were here to guide, console, and direct me!

Lord George has not returned. What can his absence mean? All is silent,
too, in the dreary building. My anxieties are fearful,--I dread I know
not what. I fancy a thousand ills that even possibility would have
rejected. The courier is to pass this at five o'clock, so that I must,
perchance, close my letter in the same agony of doubt and uncertainty.

Oh, dearest, only fancy the _mal à propos_. Who do you think our
neighbors are? Mr. and Mrs. Gore Hampton, on their way to Italy! Can you
imagine anything so unfortunate and so distressing? You may remember
all our former intimacy,--I may call it friendship,--and by what an
unpropitious incident it was broken up. Lord George has just come to
tell me the tidings, but, instead of participating in my distress, he
seems to think the affair an admirable joke. I need not tell you that he
knows nothing of mamma's temper, nor her manner of acting. What may come
of this there is no saying. It seems that there is scarcely a chance of
our being able to get on to-day; and here we are all beneath one roof,
our mutual passions of jealousy, hatred, revenge, and malice, all snowed
up on the top of the Splugen Alps!

I have asked of Lord George, almost with tears, what is to be done? but
to all seeming he sees no difficulty in the matter, for his reply is
always, "Nothing whatever." When pressed closely, he says, "Oh, the
Gore Hamptons are such thoroughly well-bred folk, there is never any
awkwardness to be apprehended from _them_. Be quite easy in your mind;
_they_ have tact enough for any emergency." What this may mean, Kitty, I
cannot even guess; for the "situation," as the French would call it, is
peculiar. And as to tact, it is, after all, like skill in a game which,
however available against a clever adversary, is of little value when
opposed to those who neither recognize the rules, nor appreciate the
nice points of the encounter.

But I cannot venture to inquire further; it would at once convict me
of ignorance, so that I appear to be satisfied with an explanation that
explains nothing. And now, Kitty, to conclude; for, though dying to tell
you that this knotty question has been fairly solved, I must seal my
letter and despatch it by Lord George, who is this moment about to set
out for the Toll-house, three miles away. It appears that two of our
guides have refused to go farther, and that we must have recourse to the
authorities to compel them. This is the object of Lord George's mission;
but the dear fellow braves every hardship and every peril for us, and
says that he would willingly encounter far more hazardous dangers
for one "kind word, or one kind look," from your distracted, but ever
devoted

Mary Anne.

They begin to fear now that some accident must have befallen the courier
with the mails; he should have passed through here at midnight. It is
now daybreak, and no sign of him! Our anxieties are terrible, and what
fate may yet be ours there is no knowing.



LETTER VII. MRS. DODD TO MRS. MARY GALLAGHER, PRIEST'S HOUSE, BRUFF.

Colico, Italy.

My dear Molly,--After fatigues and distresses that would have worn out
the strength of a rhinocerass, here we are, at length, in Italy. If you
only saw the places we came through, the mountains upon mountains of
snow, the great masses that tumbled down on every side of us, and we
lost, as one might call it, in the very midst of eternal dissolution,
you 'd naturally exclaim that you had got the last lines ever to be
traced by your friend Jemima. Two days of this, no less, my dear,
with fifteen degrees below "Nero," wherever he is, that's what I call
suffering and misery. We were twice given up for lost, and but for
Providence and a guide called--I am afraid to write it, but it answers
to Barny with us--we 'd have soon gone to our long account; and, oh,
Molly! what a reckoning will that be for K. I.! If ever there was a
heart jet black with iniquity and baseness, it is his; and he knows it;
and he knows I knows it; and more than that, the whole world shall know
it I 'll publish him through what the poet calls the "infamy of space;"
and, so long as I 'm spared, I 'll be a sting in his flesh, and a thorn
in his side.

I can't go over our journey--the very thought of it goes far with
me--but if you can imagine three females along with the Arctic voyagers,
you may form some vague idea of our perils. Bitter winds, piercing
snow-drift, pelting showers of powdered ice, starvation, and
danger,--dreadful danger,--them was the enjoyments that cost us
something over eighteen pounds! Why?--you naturally say,--why? And well
may you ask, Mrs. Gallagher. It is nothing remarkable in your saying
that this is singular and almost unintelligible. The answer, however, is
easy, and the thing itself no mystery. It's as old as Adam, my dear, and
will last as long as his family. The natural baseness and depravity
of the human heart! Oh, Molly, what a subject that is! I'm never weary
thinking of it; and, strange to say, the more you reflect the more
difficult does it become. Father Shea had an elegant remark that I often
think over: "Our bad qualities," says he, "are like noxious reptiles.
There 's no good trying to destroy them, for they 're too numerous; nor
to reclaim them, for they 're too savage; the best thing is to get out
of their way." There's a deal of fine philosophy in the observation,
Molly; and if, instead of irritating and vexing and worrying our
infirmities, we just treated them the way we should a shark or a
rattlesnake, depend upon it we 'd preserve our unanimity undisturbed,
and be happier as well as better. Maybe you 'll ask why I don't try this
plan with K. I.? But I did, Molly. I did so for fifteen years. I went
on never minding his perfidious behavior; I winked at his frailties,
and shut my eyes, as you know yourself, to Shusy Connor; but my leniency
only made him bolder in wickedness, till at last we came to that elegant
business, last summer, in Germany, that got into all the newspapers, and
made us the talk of the whole world.

I thought the lesson he got at that time taught him something. I fondly
dreamed that the shame and disgrace would be of service to him; at all
events, that it would take the conceit out of him. Vain hopes, Molly
dear,--vain and foolish hopes! He isn't a bit better; the bad dross
is in him; and my silent tears does no more good than my gentle
remonstrances.

It was only the other day we went to see a place called Pfeffers, a
dirty, dismal hole as ever you looked at I thought we were going to see
a beautiful something like Ems or Baden, with a band and a pump-room,
and fine company, and the rest of it Nothing of the kind,--but a gloomy
old building in a cleft between two mountains, that looked as if they
were going to swallow it up. The people, too, were just fit for the
place,--a miserable set of sickly creatures in flannel dresses, either
sitting up to their necks in water, or drying themselves on the rocks.
To any one else the scene would be full of serious reflections about the
uncertainty of human life, and the certainty of what was to come after
it Them was n't K. I.'s sentiments, my dear, for he begins at once what
naval men call "exchanging signals" with one of the patients. "This is
the Bad-house, my dear," says he. "I think so, Mr. D.," said I, with a
look that made him tremble. He had just ordered dinner, but I did n't
care for that; I told them to bring out the horses at once. "Come,
girls," said I, "this is no place for you; your father's proceedings are
neither very edifying nor exemplary."

"What's the matter now?" says he. "Where are we going before dinner?"

"Out of this, Mr. Dodd," said I. "Out of this at any rate."

"Where to,--what for?" cried he.

"I think you might guess," said I, with a sneer; "but if not, perhaps
that hussy with the spotted gingham could aid you to the explanation."

He was so overwhelmed at my discovering this, Molly, that he was
speechless; not a word,--not a syllable could he utter. He sat down on a
stone, and wiped his head with a handkerchief.

"Don't make me ill, Mrs. D.," said he, at last. "I 've a notion that the
gout is threatening me."

"If that's all, K. I.," said I, "it's well for you,--it's well if it is
not worse than the gout. Ay, get red in the face,--be as passionate as
you please, but you shall hear the truth from me, at least; I mayn't
be long here to tell it. Sufferings such as I 've gone through will
do their work at last; but I 'll fulfil my duty to my family till I
'm released--" With that I gave it to him, till we arrived at Coire,
eighteen miles, and a good part of it up hill, and you may think what
that was. At all events, Molly, he did n't come off with flying colors,
for when we reached a place called Splügen he was seized with the gout
in earnest I only wish you saw the hole he pitched upon to be laid
up in; but it's like everything else the man does. Every trait of his
character shows that he has n't a thought, nor a notion, but about his
own comforts and his own enjoyments. And I told him so. I said to him,
"Don't think that your self-indulgence and indolence go down with _me_
for easiness of temper: that's an imposture may do very well for the
_world_, but your wife can't be taken in by it." In a word, Molly, I
didn't spare him; and as his attack was a sharp one, I think it's
likely he does n't look back to the Splügen with any very grateful
reminiscences.

Little I thought, all the time, what good cause I had for my complaints,
nor what was in store for me in the very middle of the snow! You must
know that we had to take the wheels off the carriage and put it on
something like a pair of big skates, for the snow was mountains high,
and as soft as an egg-pudding. You may think what floundering we had
through it for twelve hours, sometimes sinking up to the chin, now
swimming, now digging, and now again being dragged out of it by ropes,
till we came to what they call the "Refuge-house;" a pretty refuge,
indeed, with no door, and scarcely a window, and everybody--guides,
postboys, diggers, and travellers--all hickledy-pickledy inside! There
we were, my dear, without a bed, or even a mattress, and nothing to eat
but a bottle of Sir Robert Peel's sauce, that K. I. had in his trunk,
with a case of eau-de-Cologne to wash it down. Fortunately for me my
feelings got the better of me, and I sobbed and screeched myself to
rest. When I awoke in the morning, I heard from Mary Anne that another
family, and English too, were in the refuge with us, and, to all
appearance, not ill-supplied with the necessaries of life. This much I
perceived myself, for the courier lit a big fire on the hearth, and laid
a little table beside it, as neat and comfortable as could be. After
that he brought out a coffee-pot and boiled the coffee, and made a plate
of toast, and fried a dish of ham-rashers and eggs. The very fizzing of
them on the fire, Molly, nearly overcame me! But that wasn't all; but he
put down on the table a case of sardines and a glass bowl of beautiful
honey, just as if he wanted to make my suffering unbearable. It was all
I could do to stand it. At last, when he had everything ready, he went
to a door at the end of the room and knocked. Something was said inside
that I didn't catch, but he answered quickly, "Oui, Madame," and a
minute after out they walked. Oh, Molly, there 's not words in the
language to express even half of my feelings at that moment. Indeed,
for a minute or two I would n't credit my senses, but thought it was an
optical confusion. In she flounced, my dear, just as if she was walking
into the Court of St. James's, with one arm within his, and the other
hand gracefully holding up her dress, and _he_, with a glass stuck in
his eye, gave us a look as he passed just as if we were the people of
the place.

Down they sat in all state, smiling at each other, and settling their
napkins as coolly as if they were at the Clarendon. "Will you try a
rasher, my dear?" "Thanks, love; I'll trouble you." It was "love" and
"dear" every word with them; and such looks as passed, Molly, I am
ashamed even to think of it! Heaven knows I never looked that way at K.
I. There I sat watching them; for worlds I could n't take my eyes away;
and though Mary Anne whispered and implored, and even tried to force me,
I was chained to the spot. To be sure, it's little they minded me! They
talked away about Lady Sarah This and Sir Joseph That; wondered if the
Marquis had gone down to Scotland, and whether the Duchess would meet
them at Milan. As I told you before, Molly, I was n't quite sure my eyes
did n't betray me, and while I was thus struggling with my doubts, in
came K. I. "I was over the whole place, Jemi," said he, "and there 's
not a scrap of victuals to be had for love or money. They say, however,
that there 's an English family--" When he got that far, he stopped
short, for his eyes just fell on the pair at breakfast.

"May I never, Mrs. D.," said he, "but that's our friend Mrs. G. H. As
sure as I'm here, that's herself and no other."

"And of course quite a surprise to you," said I, with a look, Molly,
that went through him.

"Faith, I suppose so," said he, trying to laugh. "I wasn't exactly
thinking of her at this moment. At all events, the meeting is fortunate;
for one might die of hunger here."

I need n't tell you, Molly, that I 'd rather endure the trials of
Tartary than I 'd touch a morsel belonging to her; but before I could
say so, up he goes to the table, bowing, and smiling, and smirking in
a way that I 'm sure he thought quite irresistible. She, however, never
looked up from her teacup, but her companion stuck his glass in his eye,
and stared impudently without speaking.

[Illustration: 088]

"If I 'm not greatly mistaken," said K. I., "I have the honor and the
happiness to see before me--"

"Mistake,--quite a mistake, my good man. Au! au!" said the other,
cutting him short. "Never saw you before in my life!"

"Nor are _you_, sir, the object of my recognition. It is this
lady,--Mrs. Gore Hampton."

She lifted her head at this, and stared at K. I. as coldly as if he was
a wax image in a hairdresser's window.

"Don't you remember me, ma'am?" says he, in a soft voice; "or must I
tell you my name?"

"I'm afraid even that, sir, would not suffice," said she, with a most
insulting smile of compassion.

"Ain't you Mrs. Gore Hampton, ma'am?" asked he, trembling all over
between passion and astonishment.

"Pray, do send him away, Augustus," said she, sipping her tea.

"Don't you perceive, sir--eh, au--don't you see--that it's a au--au,
eh--a misconception--a kind of a demned blunder?"

"I tell you what I see, sir," said K. I,--"I see a lady that travelled
day and night in my company, and with no other companion too, for two
hundred and seventy miles; that lived in the same hotel, dined at the
same table, and, what's more--"

But I could n't bear it any longer, Molly. Human nature is not strong
enough for trials like this,--to hear him boasting before my face of his
base behavior, and to see her sitting coolly by listening to it. I gave
a screech that made the house ring, and went off in the strongest fit of
screaming ever I took in my life. I tore my cap to tatters, and pulled
down my hair,--and, indeed, if what they say be true, my sufferings must
have been dreadful; for I didn't leave a bit of whisker on one of the
guides, and held another by the cheek till he was nigh insensible. I was
four hours coming to myself; but many of the others were n't in a much
better state when it was all over. The girls were completely overcome,
and K. I. taken with spasms, that drew him up like a football. Meanwhile
_she_ and her friend were off; never till the last minute as much as
saying one word to any of us, but going away, as I may say, with colors
flying, and all the "horrors of war."

Oh, Molly, was n't that more than mere human fragility is required to
bear, not to speak of the starvation and misery in my weak state? Black
bread and onions, that was our dinner, washed down with the sourest
vinegar, called wine forsooth, I ever tasted. And that's the way we
crossed the Alps, my dear, and them the pleasures that accompanied us
into the beautiful South.

If I wanted a proof of K. I.'s misconduct, Molly, was n't this scene
decisive? Where would be the motive of her behavior, if it was n't
conscious guilt? That was the ground I took in discussing the subject
as we came along; and a more lamentable spectacle of confounded iniquity
than he exhibited I never beheld. To be sure, I did n't spare him much,
and jibed him on the ingratitude his devotion met with, till he grew
nearly purple with passion. "Mrs. D.," said he, at last, "when we lived
at home, in Ireland, we had our quarrels like other people, about the
expense of the house, and waste in the kitchen, the time the horses was
kept out under the rain, and such-like,--but it never occurred to you to
fancy me a gay Lutherian. What the ------ has put that in your head
now? Is it coming abroad? for, if so, that's another grudge I owe this
infernal excursion!"

"You've just guessed it, Mr. Dodd, then," said I. "When you were at home
in your own place, you were content like the other old fools of your
own time of life, with a knowing glance of the eye, a sly look, and
maybe a passing word or two, to a pretty girl; but no sooner did you
put foot on foreign ground than you fancied yourself a lady-killer! You
never saw how absurd you were, though I was telling it to you day and
night. You would n't believe how the whole world was laughing at you,
though I said so to the girls."

I improved on this theme till we came at nightfall to the foot of the
Alps, and by that time--take my word for it, Mrs. Gallagher--there was
n't much more to be said on the subject.

New troubles awaited us here, Molly. I wonder will they ever end? You
may remember that I told you how the wheels was taken off our carriage
to put it on a sledge on account of the snow. Well, my dear, what do
you think the creatures did, but they sent our wheels over the Great
St. Bernardt,--I think they call it,--and when we arrived here we found
ourselves on the hard road without any wheels to the coach, but sitting
with the axles in the mud! I only ask you where's the temper can stand
that? And worse, too, for K. I. sat down on a stone to look at us, and
laughed till the tears run down his wicked old cheeks and made him look
downright horrid.

[Illustration: 090]

"May I never!" said he, "but I 'd come the whole way from Ireland for
one hearty laugh like this! It's the only thing I 've yet met that
requites me for coming! If I live fifty years, I'll never forget it."

I perceive that I have n't space for the reply I made him, so that I
must leave you to fill it up for yourself, and believe me your

Ever attached and suffering

Jemima Dodd.



LETTER VIII. JAMES DODD TO LORD GEORGE TIVERTON, M. P., POSTE RESTANTE, BREGENZ.

Hotel of All Nations, Baths of Homburg.

My dear Tiverton,--You often said I was a fellow to make a spoon or
spoil a--something which I have forgotten--and I begin to fancy that
you were a better prophet than that fellow in "Bell's Life" who always
predicts the horse that does _not_ win the Oaks. When we parted a few
days ago, my mind was resolutely bent on becoming another Metternich or
Palmerston. I imagined a whole life of brilliant diplomatic successes,
and thought of myself receiving the freedom of the City of London,
dining with the Queen, and making "very pretty running" for the peerage.
What will you say, then, when I tell you that I despise the highest
honors of the entire career, and would n't take the seals of the Foreign
Office, if pressed on my acceptance this minute? To save myself from
even the momentary accusation of madness, I 'll give you--and in as few
words as I can--ray explanation. As I have just said, I set out with my
head full of Ambassadorial ambitions, and jogged along towards England,
scarcely noticing the road or speaking to my fellow-travellers. On
arriving at Frankfort, however, I saw nothing on all sides of me but
announcements and advertisements of the baths of Homburg,--"The
last week of the season, and the most brilliant of all." Gorgeous
descriptions of the voluptuous delights of the place--lists of
distinguished visitors, and spicy bits of scandal--alternated with
anecdotes of those who had "broke the bank," and were buying up all
the chateaux and parks in the neighborhood. I tried to laugh at these
pictorial puffs; I did my best to treat them as mere humbugs; but it
would n't do. I went to bed so full of them that I dreamed all night of
the play-table, and fancied myself once again the terror of croupiers,
and the admired of the fashionable circle in the _salon_. To crown all,
a waiter called me to say that the carriage I had ordered for the baths
was at the door. I attempted to undeceive him; but even there my effort
was a failure; and, convinced that there was a fate in the matter,
I jumped out of bed, dressed, and set off, firmly impressed with the
notion that I was not a free agent, but actually impelled and driven by
destiny to go and win my millions at Homburg.

Perhaps my ardor was somewhat cooled down by the aspect of the place. It
has few of the advantages nature has so lavishly bestowed on Baden,
and which really impart to that delightful resort a charm that totally
disarms you of all distrust, and make you forget that you are in a land
of "legs" and swindlers, and that every second man you meet is a rogue
or a runaway. Now, Homburg does not, as the French say, "impose" in this
way. You see at once that it is a "Hell," and that the only amusement is
to ruin or to be ruined.

"No matter," thought I; "I have already graduated at the green table; I
have taken my degree in arts at Baden, and am no young hand fresh from
Oxford and new to the Continent; I 'll just go down and try my luck--as
a fisherman whips a stream. If they rise to my fly,--well; if not, pack
up the traps, and try some other water." You know that my capital was
not a strong one,--about a hundred and thirty in cash, and a bill on
Drummond for a hundred more,--and with this, the governor had "cleared
me out" for at least six months to come. I was therefore obliged to
"come it small;" and merely dabbled away with a few "Naps.," which, by
dint of extraordinary patience and intense application, I succeeded in
accumulating to the gross total of sixty. As I foresaw that I could n't
loiter above a day longer, I went down in the evening to experimentalize
on this fund, and, after a few hours, rose a winner of thirty-two
thousand odd hundred francs. The following morning, I more than doubled
this; and in the evening, won a trifle of twenty thousand francs; when,
seeing the game take a capricious turn, I left off, and went to supper.

I was an utter stranger in the place, had not even a passing
acquaintance with any one; so that, although dying for a little
companionship, I had nothing for it but to order my roast partridge in
my own apartment, and hobnob with myself. It is true, I was in capital
spirits,--I had made glorious running, and no mistake,--and I drank my
health, and returned thanks for the toast with an eloquence that really
astonished me. Egad, I think the waiter must have thought me mad, as he
heard me hip, hipping with "one cheer more," to the sentiment.

[Illustration: 094]

I suppose I must have felt called on to sing; for sing I did, and, I
am afraid, with far more zeal than musical talent; for I overheard a
tittering of voices outside my door, and could plainly perceive that the
household had assembled as audience. What cared I for this? The world
had gone too well with me of late to make me thin-skinned or peevishly
disposed. I could afford to be forgiving and generous: and I revelled in
the very thought that I was soaring in an atmosphere to which trifling
and petty annoyances never ascended. In this enviable frame of mind was
I, when a waiter presented himself with a most obsequious bow, and, in
a voice of submissive civility, implored me to moderate my musical
transports, since the lady who occupied the adjoining apartment was
suffering terribly from headache.

"Certainly, of course," was my reply at once; and as he was leaving the
room,--just by way of having something to say,--I asked, "Is she young,
waiter?"

"Young and beautiful, sir."

"An angel, eh?"

"Quite handsome enough to be one, sir, I'm certain."

"And her name?"

"The Countess de St. Auber, widow of the celebrated Count de St. Auber,
of whom Monsieur must have read in the newspapers."

But Monsieur had not read of him, and was therefore obliged to ask
further information; whence it appeared that the Count had accidentally
shot himself on the morning of his marriage, when drawing the charge
of his pistols, preparatory to putting them in his carriage. The waiter
grew quite pathetic in his description of the young bride's agonies, and
had to wipe his eyes once or twice during his narrative.

"But she has rallied by this, hasn't she?" asked I.

"If Monsieur can call it so," said he, shrugging his shoulders. "She
never goes into the world,--knows no one,--receives no one,--lives
entirely to herself; and, except her daily ride in the wood, appears to
take no pleasure whatever in life."

"And so she rides out every day?"

"Every day, and at the same hour too. The carriage takes her about a
league into the forest, far beyond where the usual promenade extends,
and there her horses meet her, and she rides till dusk. Often it is even
night ere she returns."

There was something that interested me deeply in all this. You know that
a pretty woman on horseback is one of my greatest weaknesses; and so I
went on weaving thoughts and fancies about the charming young widow till
the champagne was finished, after which I went off to bed, intending to
dream of her, but, to my intense disgust, to sleep like a sea-calf till
morning.

My first care on waking, however, was to despatch a very humble apology
by the waiter for my noisy conduct on the previous evening, and a very
sincere hope that the Countess had not suffered on account of it.

He brought me back for answer "that the Countess thanked me for my
polite inquiry, and was completely restored."

"Able to ride out as usual?"

"Yes, sir."

"How do you know that?"

"She has just given orders for the carriage, sir."

"I say, waiter, what kind of a hack can be got here? Or, stay, is there
such a thing as a good-looking saddle-horse to be sold in the place?"

"There are two at Lagrange's stables, sir, this moment Prince
Guiciatelli has left them and his groom to pay about thirty thousand
francs he owes here."

In less than a quarter of an hour I was dressed and at the stables. The
nags were a neat pair; the groom, an English fellow, had just brought
them over. He had bought them at Anderson's, and paid close upon three
hundred for the two. It was evident that they were "too much," as
horses, for the Prince, for he had never backed either of them. Before
I left I had bought them both for six thousand francs, and taken "Bob"
himself, a very pretty specimen of the short-legged, red-whiskered
tribe, into my service.

This was on the very morning, mark, when I should have presented myself
before the dons of Downing Street, and been admitted a something into
her Majesty's service!

"I wish they may catch me at red-tapery!" thought I, as I shortened my
stirrups, and sat down firmly in the saddle. "I 'm much more at home
here than perched on an office-stool in that pleasant den they call the
'Nursery' at the Foreign Office."

Guided by a groom, with a led horse beside him, I took the road to the
forest, and soon afterwards passed a dark-green barouche, with a lady
in it, closely veiled, and evidently avoiding observation. The wood is
intersected by alleys, so that I found it easy, while diverging from the
carriage-road, to keep the equipage within view, and after about half an
hour's sharp canter, I saw the carriage stop, and the Countess descend
from it.

Even _you_ admit that I am a sharp critic about all that pertains to
riding-gear; and that as to a woman's hat, collar, gloves, habit,
and whip, I am a first-rate opinion. Now, in the present instance,
everything was perfect There was a dash of "costume" in the long
drooping feather and the snow-white gauntlets; but then all was strictly
toned down to extreme simplicity and quiet elegance. I had just time to
notice this much, and catch a glimpse of such a pair of black eyes! when
she was in the saddle at once. I only want to see a woman gather up
her reins in her hand, shake her habit back with a careless toss of
her foot, and square herself well in the saddle, to say, "That's
a horsewoman!" Egad, George, her every gesture and movement were
admirable, and the graceful bend forwards with which she struck out
into a canter was actually captivating. I stood watching her till she
disappeared in the wood, perfectly entranced. I own to you I could not
understand a Frenchwoman sitting her horse in this fashion. I had always
believed the accomplishment to be more or less English, and I felt
ashamed at the narrow prejudice into which I had fallen.

"What an unlucky fellow that same Count must have been!" thought I; and
with this reflection I spurred my nag into a sharp pace, hoping that
fast motion might enable me to turn my thoughts into some other channel.
It was to no use. Go how I would, or where I would, I could think of
nothing but the pretty widow,--whither she might be travelling,--where
she intended to stop,--whether alone, or with others of her family,--her
probable age,--her fortune?--all would rise up before me, to trouble my
curiosity or awaken my interest.

I was deep in my speculations, when suddenly a horse bounded past me by
a cross path. I had barely time to see the flutter of a habit, when
it was lost to view. I waited to see her groom follow, but he did not
appear. I listened, but no sound of a horse could be heard approaching.
Had her horse run away? Had her servant lost trace of her? were
questions that immediately occurred to me; but there was nothing to
suggest the answer or dispel the doubt I could bear my anxiety no
longer, and away I dashed after her. It was not till after a quarter
of an hour that I came in sight of her, and then she was skimming along
over the even turf at a very slapping pace, which, however, I quickly
perceived was no run-away gallop.

[Illustration: 104]

This fact proclaimed itself in a most unmistakable manner, for she
suddenly drew up, and wheeled about, pointing at the same time to the
ground, where her whip had just fallen. I dashed up and dismounted,
when, in a voice tremulous with agitation, and with a face suffused in
blushes, she begged my pardon for her gesture; she believed it was her
groom who was following her, and had never noticed his absence before.
I cannot repeat her words, but in accent, manner, tone, and utterance,
I never heard the like of them before. What would I have given at that
moment, George, for your glib facility of French! Hang me if I would not
have paid down a thousand pounds to have been able to rattle out even
some of those trashy commonplaces I have seen you scatter with such
effect in the _coulisses_ of the opera! It was all of no avail. "Where
there 's a will there 's a way," says the adage; but it's a sorry maxim
where a foreign language is concerned. All the volition in the world
won't supply irregular verbs; and the most go-ahead resolution will
never help one to genders.

I did, of course, mutter all that I could think of; and, default of
elocution, I made my eyes do duty for my tongue, and with tolerable
success too, as her blush betrayed. I derived one advantage, too, from
my imperfect French, which is worth recording,--I was perfectly obdurate
as to anything she might have replied in opposition to my wishes,
and notwithstanding all her scruples to the contrary, persisted in
accompanying her back to the town.

If I was delighted with her horsemanship, I was positively enchanted
with her conversation; for, the first little novelty of our situation
over, she talked away with a frank innocence and artless ease which
quite fascinated me. She was, in fact, the very realization of that
high-bred manner you have so often told me of as characterizing the best
French society. How I wished I could have prolonged that charming ride!
I 'm not quite sure that she did n't detect me in a purposed mistake of
the road, that cost us an additional mile or two; if she did, she
was gracious enough to pardon the offence without even showing
any consciousness of it. Short as the road was, George, it left me
irretrievably in love. I know you 'll not stand any raptures about
beauty, but this much I must and will say, that she is incomparably
handsomer than that Sicilian princess you raved about at Ems, and in
the same style too,--brunette, but with a dash of color in the cheek, a
faint pink, that gives a sparkling brilliancy to the rich warmth of the
southern tint. Besides this,--and let me remark, it is something,--_my_
Countess is not two-and-twenty, at most. Indeed, but for the story of
the widowhood, I should guess her as something above nineteen.

There 's a piece of fortune for you! and all--every bit of it--of my
own achieving too! No extraneous aid in the shape of friends, or
introductory letters. "Alone I did it," as the fellow says in the play.
Now, I do think a man might be pardoned a little boastfulness for such a
victory, and I freely own I esteem Jem Dodd a sharper fellow than I ever
believed him.

Perhaps you suspect all this while that I am going too fast, and that
I have taken a casual success for a regular victory. If so, you 're all
wrong, my boy. She has struck her flag already, and acknowledged that
your humble servant has effected a change in her sentiments that but a
few short weeks before she would have pronounced impossible. The truth
is, George, "the Tipperary tactics" that win battles in India are just
as successful in love. Make no dispositions for a general engagement,
never trouble your head about cavalry supports, reserves, or the like,
but "just go in and win." It is a mighty short "General Order," and
cannot possibly be misapprehended. The Countess herself has acknowledged
to me, full half a dozen times within the last fortnight, that she was
quite unprepared for such warfare. She expected, doubtless, that I 'd
follow the old rubric, with opera-boxes, bouquets, _marrons glacés_, and
so on, for a month or two. Nothing of the kind, George. I frankly told
her that she was the most beautiful creature in Europe without knowing
it. That it would be little short of a sacrilege she should pass her
life in solitude and sorrow, and ten times worse than sacrilege to marry
anything but an Irishman. That in all other countries the men are either
money-getting, ambitious, or selfish, but that Paddy turns his whole
thoughts towards fun and enjoyment. That Napier's Peninsular War and
Moore's Melodies might be referred to for evidence of our national
tastes; and, in short, such a people for fighting and making love was
never recorded in history. She laughed at me for the whole of the first
week, grew more serious the second, and now, within the last three days,
instead of calling me "Monsieur le Sauvage," "Cosaque Anglais," and so
on, she gravely asks my advice about everything, and never ventures on
a step without my counsel and approbation. I have been candid with you
hitherto, Tiverton, and so I must frankly own that, profiting by the
adage that says "stratagem is equally legitimate in love as in war," I
have indulged slightly in the strategy of mystification. For instance,
I have represented the governor as a great don in his own country,
with immense estates, and an ancient title, that he does not assume in
consequence of some old act of attainder against the family. My mother
I have made a princess in her own right; and here I am on safer ground,
for, if called into court, she 'll sustain me in every assertion. Of my
own self and prospects I have spoken meekly enough, merely hinting that
I dislike diplomacy, and would rather live with the woman of my choice
in some comparatively less distinguished station, upon a pittance
of--say--three or four thousand a year!

This latter assumption, I must observe to you, is the only one ever
disputed between us, and many a debate have we had on the subject. She
sees, as everybody sees here, that I spend money lavishly, that not
only I indulge in everything costly, but that I outbid even the Russians
whenever anything is offered for sale; and at this moment my rooms are
filled with pictures, china, carved ivory, stained glass, and other such
lumber, that I only bought for the _éclat_ of the purchase. If you
only heard her innocent remonstrances to me about my extravagance, her
anxious appeals as to what "le Prince," as she calls my father, will say
to all this wastefulness!

It's a great trial to me sometimes not to laugh at all this, and,
indeed, if I did n't know in my heart that I 'll make her the very best
of husbands, I 'd be even ashamed of my deceit; but it's only a pious
fraud after all, and the good result will more than atone for the
roguery.

I have hinted at our marriage, you see, and I may add that it is all
but decided on. There is, however, a difficulty which must be got over
first. She was betrothed when a child to a young Neapolitan Prince of
the blood,--a brother, I take it, of the present King. This ceremony
was overlooked on her first marriage; and had her husband lived,
very serious consequences--but of what kind I don't know--might
have resulted. Now, before contracting a second union, we must get a
dispensation of some sort from the Pope, which I fear will take time,
although she says that her uncle, the Cardinal, will do his utmost to
expedite it.

Indeed, I may mention, incidentally, that she is a great favorite with
his Eminence, and _we_ hope to be his heirs! Egad, George, I almost
fancy myself "punting" his Eminence's gold pieces at hazard, with his
signet-ring on my finger! What a house I'll keep, old fellow! what a
stable! what a cellar!--and such cigars! Meanwhile I look to you to aid
and abet me in various ways. The Countess, like all foreigners of real
rank, knows our peerage and nobility off by heart; and she constantly
asks me if I know the Marquis of this, and the Duchess of that, and I 'm
sorely put to, to show cause why I 'm not intimate with them all. Now,
my dear Tiverton, can't you somehow give me the Shibboleth amongst these
high-priests of Fashion, and get me into the Tabernacle, if only for a
season? I used myself to know some of the swells of London life when I
was at Baden, but, to be sure, I lost a deal of money to them at "creps"
and "lansquenet" as the price of the intimacy; and when "_I_ shut up,"
so did _they_ too. You, I'm sure, however, will hit upon some expedient
to gain me at least acceptance and recognition for a week or two. I only
want the outward signs of acquaintanceship, mark you, for I honestly own
that all I ever saw during my brief intimacy with these fellows gave me
anything but a high "taste of their quality."

I'll enclose you the list of the distinguished company now here, and
you 'll pick out any to whom you can present me. Another, and not a less
important service, I also look to at your hands, which is, to break all
this to the governor, to whom I 'm half ashamed to write myself. In
the first place, a recent event, of which I may speak more fully to you
hereafter, may have made the old gent somewhat suspectful; and secondly,
he 'll be fraptious about my not going over to England; although, I
'll take my oath, if he wants it, that I 'd pitch up the appointment
to-morrow, if I had it At the best, I don't suppose they 'd make me
more than a Secretary of Legation; and _that_, perhaps, at the Hague, or
Stuttgard, or some other confounded capital of fog and flunkeydom; and I
need n't say your friend Jem is not going to "enter for such stakes."

You 'd like to know our plans; and so far as I can make out, we're not
to marry till we reach Italy. At Milan, probably, the dispensation will
reach us, and the ceremony will be performed by the Arch B.. himself.
This she insists upon; for about church matters and dignitaries she
stickles to a degree that I 'd laugh at if I dare; and that I intend to
do later on, when I can _dare_ with impunity.

Except this, and a most inordinate amount of prudery, she hasn't a
fault on earth. Her reserve is, however, awful; and I almost spoiled
everything t' other evening by venturing to kiss her hand before she
drew her glove on. By Jove, did n't she give me a lecture! If any one
had only overheard her, I 'm not sure they would n't have thought me a
lucky fellow to get off with transportation for life! As it was, I
had to enter into heavy recognizances for the future, and was even
threatened with having Mademoiselle Pauline, her maid, present at all
our subsequent meetings! The very menace made me half crazy!

After all, the fault is on the right side; and I suppose the day will
come when I shall deem it the very reverse of a failing. You will be
curious to know something about her fortune, but not a whit more so
than I am. That her means are ample--even splendid--her style of
living evidences. The whole "premier" of a fashionable hotel, four
saddle-horses, two carriages, and a tribe of servants are a strong
security for a well-filled purse; but more than that I can ascertain
nothing.

As for myself, my supplies will only carry me through a very short
campaign, so that I am driven of necessity to hasten matters as much as
possible. Now, my dear Tiverton, you know my whole story; and I beg you
to lose no time in giving me your very best and shrewdest counsels. Put
me up to everything you can think of about settlements, and so forth;
and tell me if marrying a foreigner in any way affects my nationality.
In brief, turn the thing over in your mind in all manner of ways, and
let me have the result.

She is confoundedly particular about knowing that my family approve
of the match; and though I have represented myself as being perfectly
independent of them on the score of fortune,--which, so far as not
expecting a shilling from them, is strictly true,--I shall probably
be obliged to obtain something in the shape of a formal consent and
paternal benediction; in which case I reckon implicitly on you to
negotiate the matter.

I have been just interrupted by the arrival of a packet from Paris. It
is a necklace and some other trumpery I had sent for to "Le Roux." She
is in ecstasy with it, but cannot conceal her terror at my extravagance.
The twenty thousand francs it cost are a cheap price for the remark the
present elicited: "My miserable 'rente' of a hundred thousand francs,"
said she, "will be nothing to a man of such wasteful habits." So, then,
we have, four thousand a year, certain, George; and, as times go, one
might do worse.

I have no time for more, as we are going to ride out Write to me at
once, like a good fellow, and give all your spare thoughts to the
fortunes of your ever attached friend,

James Dodd.

Address me Lucerne, for _she_ means to remove from this at once,--the
gossips having already taken an interest in us more flattering than
agreeable. I shall expect a letter from you at the post-office.



LETTER IX. MISS MARY ANNE DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., OF THE GRANGE, BRUFF

Villa della Fontana, Lake of Como

My dear Mr. Purcell,--Poor papa has been so ill since his arrival in
Italy, that he could not reply to either of your two last letters,
and even now is compelled to employ me as his amanuensis. A misfortune
having occurred to our carriage, we were obliged to stop at a small
village called Colico, which, as the name implies, was remarkably
unhealthy. Here the gout, that had been hovering over him for some
days previous, seized him with great violence; no medical aid could
be obtained nearer than Milan, a distance of forty miles, and you may
imagine the anxiety and terror we all suffered during the interval
between despatching the messenger and the arrival of the doctor. As
it was, we did not succeed in securing the person we had sent for, he
having been that morning sentenced to the galleys for having in his
possession some weapon--a surgical instrument, I believe--that was
longer or sharper than the law permits; but Dr. Pantuccio came in his
stead, and we have every reason to be satisfied with his skill and
kindness. He bled papa very largely on Monday, twice on Tuesday, and
intends repeating it again to-day, if the strength of the patient allow
of it. The debility resulting from all this is, naturally, very great;
but papa is able to dictate to me a few particulars in reply to your
last. First, as to Crowther's bill of costs: he says, "that he certainly
cannot pay it at present," nor does he think he ever will. I do not know
how much of this you are to tell Mr. C., but you will be guided by your
own discretion in that, as on any other point wherein I may be doubtful.
Harris also must wait for his money--and be thankful when he gets it.

You will make no abatement to Healey, but try and get the farm out of
his hands, by any means, before he sublets it and runs away to America.
Tom Dunne's house, at the cross-roads, had better be repaired; and if a
proper representation was made to the Castle about the disturbed state
of the country, papa thinks it might be made a police-station, and
probably bring twenty pounds a year. He does not like to let Dodsborough
for a "Union;" he says it's time enough when we go back there to make it
a poorhouse. As to Paul Davis, he says, "let him foreclose, if he likes;
for there are three other claims before his, and he 'll only burn his
fingers,"--whatever that means.

Papa will give nothing to the schoolhouse till he goes back and examines
the children himself; but you are to continue his subscription to the
dispensary, for he thinks overpopulation is the real ruin of Ireland. I
don't exactly understand what he says about allowance for improvements,
and he is not in a state to torment him with questions; but it appears
to me that you are not to allow anything to anybody till some
Bill passes, or does not pass, and after that it is to be arranged
differently. I am afraid poor papa's head was wandering here, for he
mumbled something about somebody being on a "raft at sea," and hoped he
wouldn't go adrift, and I don't know what besides.

Your post-bill arrived quite safe; but the sum is totally insufficient,
and below what he expected. I am sure, if you knew how much irritation
it cost him, you would take measures to make a more suitable remittance.
I think, on the whole, till papa is perfectly recovered, it would be
better to avoid any irritating or unpleasant topics; and if you would
talk encouragingly of home prospects, and send him money frequently, it
would greatly contribute to his restoration.

I may add, on mamma's part and my own, the assurance of our being ready
to submit to any privation, or even misery if necessary, to bring papa's
affairs into a healthier condition. Mamma will consent to anything but
living in Ireland, which, indeed, I think is more than could be expected
from her. As it is, we keep no carriage here, nor have any equipage
whatever; our table is simply two courses, and some fruit. We are
wearing out all our old-fashioned clothes, and see nobody. If you can
suggest any additional mode of economizing, mamma begs you will favor
us with a line; meanwhile, she desires me to say that any allusion to
"returning to Dodsborough," or any plan "for living abroad as we lived
at home" will only embitter the intercourse, which, to be satisfactory,
should be free from any irritation between us.

Of course, for the present you will write to mamma, as papa is far from
being fit for any communication on matters of business, nor does the
doctor anticipate his being able for such for some weeks to come.
We have not heard from James since he left this, but are anxiously
expecting a letter by every post, and even to see his name in the
"Gazette." Cary does not forget that she was always your favorite, and
desires me to send her very kindest remembrances, with which I beg you
to accept those of very truly yours,

Mart Anne Dodd.

P. S. As it is quite uncertain when papa will be equal to any exertion,
mamma thinks it would be advisable to make your remittances, for some
time, payable to her name.

The doctor of the dispensary has written to papa, asking his support
at some approaching contest for some situation,--I believe under the
Poor-law. Will you kindly explain the reasons for which his letter has
remained unreplied to? and if papa should not be able to answer, perhaps
you could take upon yourself to give him the assistance he desires, as
I know pa always esteemed him a very competent person, and kind to
the poor. Of course the suggestion is only thrown out for your own
consideration, and in strict confidence besides, for I make it a point
never to interfere with any of the small details of pa's property.



LETTER X. MRS. DODD TO MRS. MARY GALLAGHER, DODSBOROUGH

My dear Molly,--I received your letter in due course, and if it was n't
for crying, I could have laughed heartily over it! I don't know, I'm
sure, where you got your elegant description of the Lake of Comus; but I
am obliged to tell you it's very unlike the real article; at all events,
there 's one thing I 'm sure of,--it's a very different matter living
here like Queen Caroline, and being shut up in the same house with K.
I.; and therefore no more balderdash about my "queenly existence," and
so on, that your last was full of.

Here we are, in what they call the Villa of the Fountains, as if there
was n't water enough before the door but they must have it spouting
up out of a creature's nose in one corner, another blowing it out of a
shell, and three naked figures--females, Molly--dancing in a pond of
it in the garden, that kept me out of the place till I had them covered
with an old mackintosh of K. I.'s. We have forty-seven rooms, and
there's barely furniture, if it was all put together, for four; and
there 's a theatre, and a billiard-room, and a chapel; but there 's
not a chair would n't give you the lumbago, and the stocks at Bruff is
pleasant compared to the grand sofa. The lake comes round three sides of
the house, and a mountain shuts in the other one, for there 's no road
whatever to it. You think I 'm not in earnest, but it's as true as I 'm
here; the only approach is by water, so that everything has to come in
boats. Of course, as long as the weather keeps fine, we 'll manage to
send into the town; but when there comes--what we 're sure to have in
this season--aquenoctial gales, I don't know what 's to become of us.
The natives of the place don't care, for they can live on figs and
olives, and those great big green pumpkins they call watermelons; but,
after K. I.'s experience, I don't think we'll try _them_. It was at a
little place on the way here, called Colico, that he insisted on having
a slice of one of these steeped in rum for his supper, because he saw
a creature eating it outside the door. Well, my dear, he relished it
so much that he ate two, and--you know the man--would n't stop till he
finished a whole melon as big as one of the big stones over the gate
piers at home.

"Jemi," says he, when he'd done, "is this the place the hand-book says
you should n't eat any fruit in, or taste the wines of the country?"

"I don't see that," said I; "but Murray says it's notorious for March
miasma, which is most fatal in the fall of the year."

"What's the name of it?" said he.

I could n't say the word before he gave a screech out of him that made
the house ring.

"I 'm a dead man," says he; "that's the very place I was warned about."

From that minute the pains begun, and he spent the whole night in
torture. Lord George, the kindest creature that ever breathed, got out
of his bed and set off to Milan for a doctor, but it was late in the
afternoon when he got back. Half an hour later, Molly, and it would
have been past saving him. As it was, he bled him as if he was veal: for
that's the new system, my dear, and it's the blood that does us all the
harm, and works all the wickedness we suffer from. If it's true, K. I.
will get up an altered man, for I don't think a horse could bear what he
's gone through. Even now he 's as gentle as an infant, Molly, and you
would n't know his voice if you heard it. We only go in one at a time to
him, except Cary, that never leaves him, and, indeed, he would n't
let her quit the room. Sometimes I fancy that he 'll never be the same
again, and from a remark or two of the doctor's, I suspect it's his
head they 're afraid of. If it was n't English he raved in, I 'd be
dreadfully ashamed of the things he says, and the way he talks of the
family.

As it is, he makes cruel mistakes; for he took Lord George the other
night for James, and began talking to him, and warning him against his
Lordship. "Don't trust him too far, Jemmy," said he. "If he was n't in
disgrace with his equals, he 'd never condescend to keep company with
us. Depend on 't, boy, he 's not 'all right,' and I wish we were well
rid of him."

Lord George tried to make him believe that he did n't understand him,
And said something about the Parliament being prorogued, but K. I. went
on: "I suppose, then, our noble friend did n't get his Bill through the
Lords?"

"His mind is quite astray to-night," said Lord George, in a whisper, and
made a sign for us to creep quietly away, and leave him to Caroline.
She understands him best of any of us; and, indeed, one sees her to more
advantage when there 's trouble and misery in the house than when we 're
all well and prosperous.

We came here for economy, because K. I. determined we should go
somewhere that money couldn't be spent in. Now, as there is no road, we
cannot have horses; and as there are no shops, we cannot make purchases;
but, except for the name of the thing, Molly, might n't we as well be
at Bruff? I would n't say so to one of the family, but to you, in
confidence between ourselves, I own freely I never spent a more dismal
three weeks at Dodsborough. Betty Cobb and myself spend our time crying
over it the livelong day. Poor creature, she has her own troubles too!
That dirty spalpeen she married ran away with all her earnings, and even
her clothes; and Mary Anne's maid says that he has two other wives in
his own country. She 's made a nice fool of herself, and she sees it
now.

How long we're to stay here in this misery, I can't guess, and K. I.'s
convalescence may be, the doctor thinks, a matter of months; and even
then, Molly, who knows in what state he 'll come out of it! Nobody
can tell if we won't be obliged to take what they call a Confession of
Lunacy against him, and make him allow that he's mad and unfit to manage
his affairs. If it was the will of Providence, I 'd just as soon be a
widow at once; for, after all, it's uncertainty that tries the spirits
and destroys the constitution worse than any other affliction.

Indeed, till yesterday afternoon, we all thought he was going off in
a placid sleep; but he opened one eye a little, and bade Cary draw the
window-curtain, that he might look out. He stared for a while at the
water coming up to the steps of the door, and almost entirely round the
house, and he gave a little smile. "What's he thinking of?" said I, in a
whisper; but he heard me at once, and said, "I 'll tell you, Jemi, what
it was. I was thinking this was an elegant place against the bailiffs."
From that moment I saw that the raving had left him, and he was quite
himself again.

Now, my dear Molly, you have a true account of the life we lead, and
don't you pity us? If your heart does not bleed for me this minute, I
don't know you. Write to me soon, and send me the Limerick papers, that
has all the news about the Exhibition in Dublin. By all accounts it's
doing wonderfully well, and I often wish I could see it. Cary has just
come down to take her half-hour's walk on the terrace,--for K. I. makes
her do that every evening, though he never thinks of any of the rest of
us,--and I must go and take her place; so I write myself

Yours in haste, but in sorrow,

Jemima Dodd



LETTER XI. MISS MARY ANNE DODD TO MISS DOOLAN, OF BALLYDOOLAN

Villa della Fontana, Como.

Forget thee! No, dearest Kitty. But how could such cruel words have ever
escaped your pen? To cease to retain you in memory would be to avow an
oblivion of childhood's joys, and of my youth's fondest recollections;
of those first expansions of the heart, when, "fold after fold to the
fainting air," the petals of my young existence opened one by one
before you; when my shadowy fancies grew into bright realities, and the
dream-world assumed all the lights and, alas! all the shadows of the
actual. The fact was, dearest, papa was very, very ill; I may, indeed,
say so dangerously, that at one time our greatest fears were excited for
his state; nor was it till within a few days back that I could really
throw off all apprehension and revel in that security enjoyed by the
others. He is now up for some hours every day, and able to take light
sustenance, and even to participate a little in social intercourse,
which of course we are most careful to moderate, with every regard to
his weak state; but his convalescence makes progress every hour, and
already he begins to talk and laugh, and look somewhat like himself.

So confused is my poor head, and so disturbed by late anxieties, that
I quite forget if I have written to you since our arrival here; at all
events, I will venture on the risk of repetition so far, and say that we
are living in a beautiful villa, in a promontory of the Lake of Como. It
was the property of the Prince Belgiasso, who is now in exile from
his share in the late struggle for Italian independence, and who,
in addition to banishment, is obliged to pay above a million of
livres--about forty thousand pounds--to the Austrian Government. Lord
George, who knew him intimately in his prosperity, arranged to take the
villa for us; and it is confessedly one of the handsomest on the whole
lake. Imagine, Kitty, a splendid marble façade, with a Doric portico, so
close to the water's edge that the whole stands reflected in the crystal
flood; an Alpine mountain at the back; while around and above us the
orange and the fig, the vine, the olive, the wild cactus, and the cedar
wave their rich foliage, and load the soft air with perfume. It is not
alone that Nature unfolds a scene of gorgeous richness and beauty before
us; that earth, sky, and water show forth their most beautiful of forms
and coloring; but there is, as it were, an atmosphere of voluptuous
enjoyment, an inward sense of ecstatic delight, that I never knew nor
felt in the colder lands of the north. The very names have a magic in
their melody; the song of the passing gondolier; the star-like lamp of
the "pescatore," as night steals over the water; the skimming lateen
sail,--all breathe of Italy,--glorious, delightful, divine Italy!--land
of song, of poetry, and of love!

Oh, how my dearest Kitty would enjoy those delicious nights upon the
terrace, where, watching the falling stars, or listening to the far-off
sounds of sweet music, we sit for hours long, scarcely speaking! How
responsively would her heart beat to the plash of the lake against her
rocky seat! and how would her gentle spirit drink in every soothing
influence of that fair and beauteous scene! With Lord George it is a
passion; and I scarcely know him to be the same being that he was on the
other side of the Alps. Young men of fashion in England assume a certain
impassive, cold, apathetic air, as though nothing could move them to any
sentiment of surprise, admiration, or curiosity about anything; and when
by an accident these emotions are excited, the very utmost expression in
which their feelings find vent is some piece of town slang,--the turf,
the mess-room, the universities, and, I believe, even the House of
Commons, are the great nurseries of this valuable gift; and as Lord
George has graduated in each of these schools, I take it he was no mean
proficient. But how different was the real metal that lay buried under
the lacquer of conventionality! Why, dearest Kitty, he is the very soul
of passion,--the wildest, most enthusiastic of creatures; he worships
Byron, he adores Shelley. He has told me the whole story of his
childhood,--one of the most beautiful romances I ever listened to. He
passed his youth at Oxford, vacillating between the wildest dissipations
and the most brilliant triumphs. After that he went into the Hussars,
and then entered the House, moving the Address, as it is called, at
one-and-twenty; a career exactly like the great Mr. Pitt's, only that
Lord G. really possesses a range of accomplishments and a vast variety
of gifts to which the Minister could lay no claim. Amidst all these
revelations, poured forth with a frank and almost reckless impetuosity,
it was still strange, Kitty, that he never even alluded to the one great
and turning misfortune of his life. He did at one time seem approaching
it; I thought it was actually on his lips; but he only heaved a deep
sigh, and said, "There is yet another episode to tell you,--the darkest,
the saddest of all,--but I cannot do it now." I thought he might have
heard my heart beating, as he uttered these words; but he was too deeply
buried in his own grief. At last he broke the silence that ensued, by
pressing my hand fervently to his lips, and saying, "But when the time
comes for this, it will also bring the hour for laying myself and
my fortunes at your feet,--for calling you by the dearest of all
names,--for--"Only fancy, Kitty,--it was just as he got this far that
Cary, who really has not a single particle of delicacy in such cases,
came up to ask me where she could find some lemons to make a drink for
papa! I know I shall never forgive her--I feel that I never can--for her
heartless interruption. What really aggravates her conduct, too, was the
kind of apology she subsequently made to me in my own room. Just imagine
her saying,--

"I was certain it would be a perfect boon to you to get away from that
tiresome creature."

If you only saw him, Kitty! if you only heard him! But all I said was,--

"There is certainly the merit of a discovery in your remark, Cary; for
I fancy you are the first who has found out Lord George Tiverton to be
tiresome!"

"I only meant," said she, "that his eternal egotism grows wearisome at
last, and that the most interesting person in the world would benefit by
occasionally discussing something besides himself."

"Captain Morris, for instance," said I, sharply.

"Even so," said she, laughing; "only I half suspect the theme is one he
'll not touch upon!" And with this she left the room.

The fact is, Kitty, jealousy of Lord George's rank, his high station,
and his aristocratic connections are the real secret of her animosity to
him. She feels and sees how small "her poor Captain" appears beside him,
and of course the reflection is anything but agreeable. Yet I am sure
she might know that I would do everything in my power to diminish the
width of that gulf between them, and that I would study to reconcile the
discrepancies and assuage the differences of their so very dissimilar
stations. She may, it is true, place this beyond my power to effect; but
the fault in that case will be purely and solely her own.

You do me no more than justice, Kitty, in saying that you are sure I
will feel happy at anything which can conduce to the welfare of Dr. B.;
and I unite with you in wishing him every success his new career can
bestow. Not but, dearest, I must say that, judging from the knowledge I
now possess of life and the world, I should augur more favorably of his
prospects had he still remained in that quiet obscurity for which his
talents and habits best adapt him than adventure upon the more ambitious
but perilous career he has just embarked in. You tell me that, having
gone up to Dublin to thank one of his patrons at the late election, he
was invited to a dinner, where he made the acquaintance of the Earl of
Darewood; and that the noble Lord, now Ambassador at Constantinople, was
so struck with his capacity, knowledge, and great modesty that he made
him at once an offer of the post of Physician to the Embassy, which with
equal promptitude was accepted.

Very flatteringly as this reads, dearest, it is the very climax of
improbability; and I have the very strongest conviction that the whole
appointment is wholly and solely due to the secret influence of Lord
George Tiverton, who is the Earl's nephew. In the first place, Kitty,
supposing that the great Earl and the small Dispensary Doctor did really
meet at the same dinner-table,--an incident just as unlikely as need be
conceived,--how many and what opportunities would there exist for that
degree of intercourse of which you speak?

If the noble Lord did speak at all to the Doctor, it would have been in
a passing remark, an easily answered question as to the sanitary state
of his neighborhood, or a chance allusion to the march of the cholera in
the north of Europe,--so at least Lord G. says; and, moreover, that if
the Doctor did, by any accident, evidence any of the qualities for which
you give him credit, save the modesty, that the Earl would have just
as certainly turned away from him, as a very forward, presuming person,
quite forgetful of his station, and where he was then standing. You can
perceive from this that I have read the paragraph in yours to Lord G.;
but I have done more, Kitty: I have positively taxed him with having
obtained the appointment in consequence of a chance allusion I had made
to Dr. B. a few weeks ago. He denies it, dearest; but how? He says, "Oh,
my worthy uncle never reads _my_ letters; he 'd throw them aside after a
line or two; he's angry with me, besides, for not going into the 'line,'
as they call Diplomacy, and would scarcely do me a favor if I pressed
him ever so much."

When urged further, he only laughed, and, lighting his cigar, puffed
away for a moment or two; after which he said in his careless way:
"After all, it mightn't have been a bad dodge of me to send the Doctor
off to Turkey. He was an old admirer, wasn't he?"

After this, Kitty, to allude to the subject was impossible, and here I
had to leave it. But who could possibly have insinuated such a scandal
concerning me? or how could it have occurred to malignant ingenuity to
couple my name with that of a person in his station? I cried the entire
evening in my own room as I thought over the disgrace to which the bare
allusion exposed me.

Is there not a fatality, then, I ask you, in everything that ties us to
Ireland? Are not the chance references to that country full of low and
unhappy associations? and yet you can talk to me of "when we come back
again."

We are daily becoming more uneasy about James. He is now several weeks
gone, and not a line has reached us to say where he is, or what success
has attended him. I know his high-spirited nature so well, and how any
reverse or disappointment would inevitably drive him to the wildest
excesses, that I am in agony about him. A letter in your brother's hand
is now here awaiting him, so that I can perceive that even Robert is as
ignorant of his fate as we are.

All these cares, dearest, will have doubtless thrown their shadows over
this dreary epistle, the reflex of my darkened spirit. Bear with and
pity me, dearest Kitty; and even when calmer reason refuses to follow
the more headlong impulses of my feeling, still care for, still love
Your ever heart-attached and devoted

Mary Anne Dodd.

P. S. The post has just arrived, bringing a letter for Lord G. in
James's hand. It was addressed Bregenz, and has been several days on
the road. How I long to learn its tidings! But I cannot detain this; so
again good-bye.



LETTER XII.  KENNY JAMES DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., OF THE GRANGE, BRUFF

Lake of Como.

My dear Tom,--Though I begin this to-day, it may be it will take me to
the end of the week to finish it, for I am still very weak, and my
ideas come sometimes too quick and sometimes too slow, and, like an
ill-ordered procession, stop the road, and make confusion everywhere.
Mary Anne has told you how I have been ill, and for both our sakes, I
'll say little more about it. One remark, however, I will make, and it
is this: that of all the good qualities we ascribe to home, there is one
unquestionably pre-eminent,--"it is the very best place to be sick in."
The monotony and sameness so wearisome in health are boons to the sick
man. The old familiar faces are all dear to him; the well-known voices
do not disturb him; the little gleam of light that steals in between the
curtains checkers some accustomed spot in the room that he has watched
on many a former sick-bed. The stray words he catches are of home
and homely topics. In a word, he is the centre of a little world, all
anxious and eager about him, and even the old watchdog subdues his growl
out of deference to his comfort.

Now, though I am all gratitude for the affection and kindness of every
one around me, I missed twenty things I could have had at Dodsborough,
not one of them worth a brass farthing in reality, but priceless in the
estimation of that peevish, fretful habit that grows out of a sick-bed.
It was such a comfort to me to know how Miles Dogherty passed the night,
and to learn whether he got a little sleep towards morning, as I
did, and what the doctor thought of him. Then I liked to hear all the
adventures of Joe Barret, when he "went in" for the leeches, how the
mare threw him, and left him to scramble home on his feet. Then I
revelled in all that petty tyranny illness admits of, but which is only
practicable amongst one's own people, refusing this, and insisting on
that, just to exercise the little despotism that none rebel against,
but which declines into a mixed monarchy on the first day you eat
chicken-broth, and from which you are utterly deposed when you can dine
at table. In good truth, Tom, I don't wonder at men becoming _malades
imaginaires_, seeing the unnatural importance they attain to by a life
of complaining, and days passed in self-commiseration and sorrow.

In place of all this, think of a foreign country and a foreign doctor;
fancy yourself interrogated about your feelings in a language of which
you scarcely know a word, and are conscious that a wrong tense in your
verb may be your death-warrant. Imagine yourself endeavoring,
through the flighty visions of a wandering intellect, to find out the
subjunctive mood or the past participle, and almost forgetting the
torment of your gout in the terrors of your grammar!

This is a tiresome theme, and let us change it. Like all home-grown
people, I see you expect me to send you a full account of Italy and the
Italians within a month after my crossing the Alps. It is, after all, a
pardonable blunder on your part, since the very titles we read to books
of travels in the newspapers show that for sketchy books there
are always to be found "skipping" readers. Hence that host of
surface-description that finds its way into print from men who have
the impudence to introduce themselves as writers of "Jottings from my
Note-Book," "Loose Leaves from my Log," "Smoke Puffs from Germany," and
"A Canter over the Caucasus." Cannot these worthy folk see that the very
names of their books are exactly the apologies they should offer for not
having written them, had any kind but indiscreet friend urged them into
letterpress? "I was only three weeks in Sweden, and therefore I wrote
about it," seems to me as ugly a _non sequitur_ as need be. And now,
Tom, that I have inveighed against the custom, I am quite ready to
follow the example, and if you could only find me a publisher, I am
open to an offer for a tight little octavo, to be called "Italy from my
Bedroom Window."

Most writers set out by bespeaking your attention on the ground of their
greater opportunities, their influential acquaintances, position, and so
forth. To this end, therefore, must I tell you that my bedroom window,
besides a half-view of the lake, has a full look-out over a very
picturesque landscape of undulating surface, dotted with villas and
cottages, and backed by a high mountain, which forms the frontier
towards Switzerland. At the first glance it seems to be a dense wood,
with foliage of various shades of green, but gradually you detect little
patches of maize and rice, and occasionally, too, a green crop of wurzel
or turnips, which would be creditable even in England; but the vine
and the olive surround these so completely, or the great mulberry-trees
enshadow them so thoroughly, that at a distance they quite escape view.
The soil is intersected everywhere by canals for irrigation, and water
is treasured up in tanks, and conveyed in wooden troughs for miles and
miles of distance, with a care that shows the just value they ascribe
to it. Their husbandry is all spade work, and I must say neatly and
efficiently done. Of course, I am here speaking of what falls under
my own observation; and it is, besides, a little pet spot of rich
proprietors, with tasteful villas, and handsomely laid-out gardens on
every side; but as the system is the same generally, I conclude that the
results are tolerably alike also. The system is this: that the landlord
contributes the soil, and the peasant the labor, the produce being
fairly divided afterwards in equal portions between them. It reads
simple enough, and it does not sound unreasonable either; while, with
certain drawbacks, it unquestionably contains some great advantages. To
the landlord it affords a fair and a certain remuneration, subject only
to the vicissitudes of seasons and the rate of prices. It attaches him
to the soil, and to those who till it, by the very strongest of all
interests, and, even on selfish grounds, enforces a degree of regard for
the well-being of those beneath him. The peasant, on the other hand,
is neither a rack-rented tenant nor a hireling, but an independent man,
profiting by every exercise of his own industry, and deriving direct
and positive benefit from every hour of his labor. It is not alone his
character that is served by the care he bestows on the culture of the
land, but every comfort of himself and his family are the consequences
of it; and lastly, he is not obliged to convert his produce into money
to meet the rent-day. I am no political economist, but it strikes me
that it is a great burden on a poor man, that he must buy a certain
commodity in the shape of a legal tender, to satisfy the claim of a
landlord. Now, here the peasant has no such charge. The day of reckoning
divides the produce, and the "state of the currency" never enters into
the question. He has neither to hunt fairs nor markets, look out for
"dealers" to dispose of his stock, nor solicit a banker to discount his
small bill. All these are benefits, Tom, and some of them great ones
too. The disadvantages are that the capabilities of the soil are not
developed by the skilful employment of capital. The landlord will not
lay out money of which he is only to receive one-half the profit. The
peasant has the same motive, and has not the money besides. The result
is that Italy makes no other progress in agriculture than the skill
of an individual husbandman can bestow. Here are no Smiths of
Deanstown,--no Sinclairs,--no Mechis. The grape ripens and the olive
grows as it did centuries ago; and so will both doubtless continue to
do for ages to come. Again, there is another, and in some respects a
greater, grievance, since it is one which saps the very essence of all
that is good in the system. The contract is rarely a direct one between
landlord and tenant, but is made by the intervention of a third party,
who employs the laborers, and really occupies the place of oar middlemen
at home. The fellow is usually a hard taskmaster to the poor man, and a
rogue to the rich one; and it is a common thing, I am told, for a fine
estate to find itself at last in the hands of the _fattore_. This is a
sore complication, and very difficult to avoid, for there are so many
different modes of culture, and such varied ways of treating the crops
on an Italian farm, that the overseer must be sought for in some rank
above that of the peasant.

We have a notion in Ireland that the Italian lives on maccaroni; depend
upon it, Tom, he seasons it with something better. In the little village
beside me, there are three butchers' shops, and as the wealthy of the
neighborhood all market at Como, these are the recourse of the poorer
classes. Of wine he has abundance; and as to vegetables and fruits, the
soil teems with them in a rich luxuriance of which I cannot give you
a notion. Great barges pass my window every morning, with melons,
cucumbers, and cauliflowers, piled up half-mast high. How a Dutch
painter would revel in the picturesque profusion of grapes, peaches,
figs, and apricots, heaped up amidst huge pumpkins of bursting ripeness,
and those brilliant "love apples," the allusion to which was so costly
to Mr. Pickwick. You are smacking your lips already at the bare idea
of such an existence. Yes, Tom, you are reproaching Fate for not having
"raised" you, as Jonathan says, on the right side of the Alps, and
left you to the enjoyments of an easy life, with lax principles, little
garments, and a fine climate. But let me tell you, Idleness is only a
luxury WHERE OTHER PEOPLE ARE OBLIGED TO WORK; where every one indulges
in it, it is worth nothing. I remember, when sitting listlessly on
a river's bank, of a sunny day, listening to the hum of the bees, or
watching the splash of a trout in the water, I used to hug myself in the
notion of all the fellows that were screaming away their lungs in the
Law Courts, or sitting upon tall stools in dark counting-houses, or
poring over Blue-books in a committee-room, or maybe broiling on the
banks of the Ganges; and then bethink me of the easy, careless, happy
flow of my own existence. I was quite a philosopher in this way,--I
despised riches, and smiled at all ambition.

Now there is no such resources for me here. There are eight or nine
fellows that pass the day--and the night also, I believe--under my
window, that would beat me hollow in the art of doing nothing, and seem
to understand it as a science besides. There they lie--and a nice group
they are--on their backs, in the broiling sun; their red nightcaps drawn
a little over their faces for shade; their brawny chests and sinewy
limbs displayed, as if in derision of their laziness. The very squalor
of their rags seems heightened by the tawdry pretension of a scarlet
sash round the waist, or a gay flower stuck jauntily in a filthy bonnet.
The very knife that stands half buried in the water-melon beside them
has its significance,--you have but to glance at the shape to see that,
like its owner, its purpose is an evil one. What do these fellows know
of labor? Nothing; nor will they, ever, till condemned to it at the
galleys. And what a contrast to all around them,--ragged, dirty, and
wretched, in the midst of a teeming and glorious abundance; barbarous,
in a land that breathes of the very highest civilization, and sunk in
brutal ignorance, beside the greatest triumphs of human genius.

What a deal of balderdash people talk about Italian liberty, and the
cause of constitutional freedom! There are--and these only in the
cities--some twenty or thirty highly cultivated, well-thinking
men--lawyers, professors, or physicians, usually--who have taken pains
to study the institutions of other countries, and aspire to see some of
the benefits that attend them applied to their own; but there ends the
party. The nobles are a wretched set, satisfied with the second-hand
vices of France and England grafted upon some native rascalities of
even less merit. They neither read nor think: their lives are spent
in intrigue and play. Now and then a brilliant exception stands forth,
distinguished by intellect as well as station; but the little influence
he wields is the evidence of what estimation such qualities are held in.
My doctor is a Liberal, and a very clever fellow too; and I only wish
you heard him describe the men who have assumed the part of "Italian
Regenerators."

Their "antecedents" show that in Italy, as elsewhere, patriotism is too
often but the last refuge of a scoundrel. I know how all this will
grate and jar upon your very Irish ears; and, to say truth, I don't like
saying it myself; but still I cannot help feeling that the "Cause
of Liberty" in the peninsula is remarkably like the process of
grape-gathering that now goes on beneath my window,--there is no care,
no selection,--good, bad, ripe, and unripe,--the clean, the filthy, the
ruddy, and the sapless, are all huddled together, pressed and squeezed
down into a common vat, to ferment into bad wine or--a revolution, as
the case may be. It does not require much chemistry to foresee that it
is the crude, the acrid, the unhealthy, and the bad that will give
the flavor to the liquor. The small element of what is really good is
utterly overborne in the vast Maelstrom of the noxious; and so we see
in the late Italian struggle. Who are the men that exercise the widest
influence in affairs? Not the calm and reasoning minds that gave the
first impulse to wise measures of Reform, and guided their sovereigns
to concessions that would have formed the strong foundations of
future freedom. No; it was the advocate of the wildest doctrines of
Socialism,--the true disciple of the old guillotine school, that ravaged
the earth at the close of the last century. These are the fellows who
scream "Blood! blood!" till they are hoarse; but, in justice to their
discretion, it must be said, they always do it from a good distance off.

Don't fancy from this that I am upholding the Austrian rule in Italy. I
believe it to be as bad as need be, and exactly the kind of government
likely to debase and degrade a people whom it should have been their
object to elevate and enlighten. Just fancy a system of administration
where there were all penalties and no rewards,--a school with no
premiums but plenty of flogging. That was precisely what they did. They
put a "ban" upon the natives of the country; they appointed them to no
places of trust or confidence, insulted their feelings, outraged their
sense of nationality; and whenever the system had goaded them into a
passionate burst of indignation, they proclaimed martial law, and hanged
them.

Now, the question is not whether any kind of resistance would not be
pardonable against such a state of things, but it is this: what species
of resistance is most likely to succeed? This is the real inquiry; and
I don't think it demands much knowledge of mankind and the world to
say that stabbing a cadet in the back as he leaves a _café_, shooting a
solitary sentinel on his post, or even assassinating his corporal as
he walks home of an evening, are exactly the appropriate methods for
reforming a state or remodelling a constitution. Had the Lombards
devoted themselves heart and hand to the material prosperity of their
country,--educated their people, employed them in useful works, fostered
their rising and most prosperous silk manufactories,--they would have
attained to a weight and consideration in the Austrian Empire which
would have enabled them not to solicit, but dictate the terms of their
administration.

A few years back, as late as '47, Milan, I am told, was more than the
rival of Vienna in all that constitutes the pride and splendor of
a capital city; and the growing influence of her higher classes was
already regarded with jealousy by the Austrian nobility. Look what a
revolution has made her now! Her palaces are barracks; her squares are
encampments; artillery bivouac in her public gardens; and the rigors
of a state of siege penetrate into every private house, and poison all
social intercourse.

You may rely upon one thing, Tom, and it is this: that no government
ever persisted in a policy of oppression towards a country that
was advancing on the road of prosperity. It is to the disaffected,
dispirited, bankrupt people--idle and cantankerous, wasting their
resources, and squandering their means of wealth--that cabinets play
the bully. They grind them the way a cruel colonel flogs a condemned
regiment. Let industry and its consequences flow in; let the laborer be
well fed, and housed, and clothed; and the spirit of independence in him
will be a far stronger and more dangerous element to deal with than the
momentary burst of passion that comes from a fevered heart in a famished
frame! Ask a Cabinet Minister if he wouldn't be more frightened by a
deputation from the City, than if the telegraph told him a Chartist mob
was moving on London? We live in an age of a very peculiar kind, and
where real power and real strength are more respected than ever they
were before.

Don't you think I have given you a dose of politics? Well, happily for
you, I must desist now, for Cary has come to order me off to bed. It is
only two p.m., but the siesta is now one of my habits, and so pleasant a
one that I intend to keep it when I get well again.

Nine o'clock, Evening.

Here I am again at my desk for you, though Cary has only given me leave
to devote half an hour to your edification.

What a good girl it is,--so watchful in all her attention, and with that
kind of devotion that shows that her whole heart is engaged in what she
is doing! The doctor may fight the malady, Tom, but, take my word for
it, it is the nurse that saves the patient. If ever I raised my eyelids,
there she was beside me! I could n't make a sign that I was thirsty till
she had the drink to my lips. She had, too, that noiseless, quiet way
with her, so soothing to a sick man; and, above all, she never bothered
with questions, but learned to guess what I wanted, and sat patiently
watching at her post.

It is a strange confession to make, but the very best thing I know of
this foreign tour of ours is that it has not spoiled that girl; she
has contracted no taste for extra finery in dress, nor extra liberty in
morals; her good sense is not overlaid by the pretentious tone of those
mock nobles that run about calling each other count and marquis, and
fancying they are the great world. There she is, as warmhearted,
as natural, and as simple--in all that makes the real excellence of
simplicity--as when she left home. And now, with all this, I 'd wager a
crown that nineteen young fellows out of twenty would prefer Mary Anne
to her. She is, to be sure, a fine, showy girl, and has taken to a
stylish line of character so naturally that she never abandons it.

I assure you, Tom, the way she used to come in of a morning to ask me
how I was, and how I passed the night; her graceful stoop to kiss me;
her tender little caressing twaddle, as if I was a small child to be
bribed into black-bottle by sugar-candy,--were as good as a play. The
little extracts, too, that she made from the newspapers to amuse me were
all from that interesting column called fashionable intelligence, and
the movements in fashionable life, as if it amused me to hear who Lady
Jemima married, and who gave away the bride. Cary knew better what I
cared for, and told me about the harvest and the crops, and the state
of the potatoes, with now and then a spice of the foreign news, whenever
there was anything remarkable. To all appearance, we are not far from a
war; but where it 's to be, and with whom, is hard to say. There 's no
doubt but fighting is a costly amusement; and I believe no country pays
so heavily for her fun in that shape as England; but, nevertheless,
there is nothing would so much tend to revive her drooping and declining
influence on the Continent as a little brush at sea. She is, I take
it, as good as certain to be victorious; and the very fervor of the
enthusiasm success would evoke in England would go far to disabuse the
foreigner of his notion that we are only eager about printing calicoes,
and sharpening Sheffield ware. Believe me, it is vital to us to
eradicate this fallacy; and until the world sees a British fleet reeling
up the Downs with some half-dozen dismasted line-of-battle ships in
their wake, they 'll not be convinced of what you and I know well,--that
we are just the same people that fought the Nile and Trafalgar. Those
Industrial Exhibitions, I think, brought out a great deal of trashy
sentimentality about universal brotherhood, peace, and the rest of it. I
suppose the Crystal Palace rage was a kind of allegory to show that
they who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones; but our ships,
Tom,--our ships, as the song says, are "hearts of oak"! Here's Cary
again, and with a confounded cupful of something green at top and muddy
below! Apothecaries are filthy distillers all the world over, and one
never knows the real blessing of health till one has escaped from their
beastly brewings. Good-night.

Saturday Morning.

A regular Italian morning, Tom, and such a view! The mists are swooping
down the Alps, and showing cliffs and crags in every tint of sunlit
verdure. The lake is blue as a dark turquoise, reflecting the banks and
their hundred villas in the calm water. The odor of the orange-flower
and the oleander load the air, and, except my vagabonds under the
window, there is not an element of the picture devoid of interest and
beauty. There they are as usual; one of them has his arm in a bloody
rag, I perceive, the consequence of a row last night,--at least,
Paddy Byrne saw a fellow wiping his knife and washing his bands in the
lake--very suspicious circumstances--just as he was going to bed.

I have been hearing all about our neighbors,--at least, Cary has been
interrogating the gardener, and "reporting progress" to me as well
as she could make him out. This Lake of Como seems the paradise of
_ci-devant_ theatrical folk; all the prima donnas who have amassed
millions, and all the dancers that have pirouetted into great wealth,
appear to have fixed their ambition on retiring to this spot. Of a
truth, it is the very antithesis to a stage existence. The silent and
almost solemn grandeur of the scene, the massive Alps, the deep dense
woods, the calm unbroken stillness, are strong contrasts to the crash
and tumult, the unreality and uproar of a theatre. I wonder, do they
enjoy the change? I am curious to know if they yearn for the blaze
of the dress-circle and the waving pit? Do they long at heart for the
stormy crash of the orchestra and the maddening torrent of applause;
and does the actual world of real flowers and trees and terraces and
fountains seem in their eyes a poor counterfeit of the dramatic one?
It would not be unnatural if it were so. There is the same narrowing
tendency in every professional career. The doctor, the lawyer, the
priest, the soldier,--ay, and even your Parliament man, if he be an old
member, has got to take a House of Commons standard for everything and
everybody. It is only your true idler, your genuine good-for-nothing
vagabond, that ever takes wide or liberal views of life; one like
myself, in short, whose prejudices have not been fostered by any kind of
education, and who, whatever he knows of mankind, is sure to be his own.

They 've carried away my ink-bottle, to write acknowledgments and
apologies for certain invitations the womenkind have received to go and
see fireworks somewhere on the lake; for these exhibitions seem to be a
passion with Italians! I wish they were fonder of burning powder to more
purpose! I 'm to dine below to-day, so it is likely that I 'll not be
able to add anything to this before to-morrow, when I mean to despatch
it A neighbor, I hear, has sent us a fine trout; and another has
forwarded a magnificent present of fruit and vegetables,--very graceful
civilities these to a stranger, and worthy of record and remembrance.
Lord George tells me that these Lombard lords are fine fellows,--that
is, they keep splendid houses and capital horses, have first-rate cooks,
and London-built carriages,--and, as he adds, will bet you what you like
at piquet or _écarté_. Egad, such qualities have great success in the
world, despite all that moralists may say of them!

The ink has come back, but it is _I_ am dry now! The fact is, Tom, that
very little exertion goes far with a man in this climate! It is scarcely
noon, but the sultry heat is most oppressive; and I half agree with my
friends under the window, that the dorsal attitude is the true one for
Italy. In any other country you want to be up and doing: there are snipe
or woodcocks to be shot, a salmon to kill, or a fox to hunt; you have
to look at the potatoes or the poorhouse; there 's a row, or a road
session, or something or other to employ you; but here, it's a snug spot
in the shade you look for,--six feet of even ground under a tree;
and with that the hours go glibly over, in a manner that is quite
miraculous.

It ought to be the best place under the sun for men of small fortune.
The climate alone is an immense economy in furs and firing; and there is
scarcely a luxury that is not, somehow or other, the growth of the
soil: on this head--the expense I mean--I can tell you nothing, for,
of course, I have not served on any committee of the estimates since
my illness; but I intend to audit the accounts to-morrow, and then you
shall hear all. Tiverton, I understand, has taken the management of
everything; and Mrs. D. and Mary Anne tell me, so excellent is his
system, that a rebellion has broken out below stairs, and three of our
household have resigned, carrying away various articles of wardrobe, and
other property, as an indemnity, doubtless, for the treatment they
had met with. I half suspect that any economy in dinners is more than
compensated for in broken crockery; for every time that a fellow is
scolded in the drawing-room, there is sure to be a smash in the plate
department immediately afterwards, showing that the national custom of
the "vendetta" can be carried into the "willow pattern." This is one of
my window observations. I wish there were no worse ones to record.

"Not a line, not another word, till you take your broth, papa," says my
kind nurse; and as after my broth I take my sleep, I 'll just take leave
of you for to-day. I wish I may remember even half of what I wanted to
say to you tomorrow, but I have a strong moral conviction that I shall
not It is not that the oblivion will be any loss to you, Tom; but when
I think of it, after the letter is gone, I 'm fit to be tied with
impatience. Depend upon it, a condition of hopeless repining for
the past is a more terrible torture than all that the most glowing
imagination of coming evil could ever compass or conceive.

Sunday Afternoon.

I told you yesterday I had not much faith in my memory retaining even
a tithe of what I wished to say to you. The case is far worse than
that,--I can really recollect nothing. I know that I had questions to
ask, doubts to resolve, and directions to give, but they are all so
commingled and blended together in my distracted brain that I can make
nothing out of the disorder. The fact is, Tom, the fellow has bled me
too far, and it is not at my time of life--58° in the shade, by old
Time's thermometer--that one rallies quickly out of the hands of the
doctor.

I thought myself well enough this morning to look over my accounts;
indeed, I felt certain that the inquiry could not be prudently delayed,
so I sent for Mary Anne after breakfast, and proceeded in state to a
grand audit. I have already informed you that all the material of life
here is the very cheapest,--meat about fourpence a pound; bread and
butter and milk and vegetables still more reasonable; wine, such as it
is, twopence a bottle; fruit for half nothing. It was not, therefore,
any inordinate expectation on my part that we should be economizing in
rare style, and making up for past extravagance by real retrenchment.
I actually looked forward to the day of reckoning as a kind of holiday
from all care, and for once in my life revel in the satisfaction of
having done a prudent thing.

Conceive my misery and disappointment--I was too weak for rage--to find
that our daily expenses here, with a most moderate household, and no
company, amounted to a fraction over five pounds English a day. The
broad fact so overwhelmed me that it was only with camphor-julep and
ether that I got over it, and could proceed to details. Proceed to
details, do I say! Much good did it do me! for what between a new
coinage, new weights and measures, and a new language, I got soon into
a confusion and embarrassment that would have been too much for my brain
in its best days. Now and then I began to hope that I had grappled with
a fact, even a small one; but, alas! it was only a delusion, for though
the prices were strictly as I told you, there was no means of even
approximating to the quantities ordered in. On a rough calculation,
however, it appears that _my_ mutton broth took half a sheep _per
diem_. The family consumed about two cows a week in beef; besides hares,
pheasants, bams, and capons at will. The servants--with a fourth of
the wine set down to me--could never have been sober an hour; while our
vegetable and fruit supply would have rivalled Covent Garden Market.

"Do you understand this, Mary Anne?" said I.

"No, papa," said she.

"Does your mother?" said I.

"No, papa."

"Does Lord George understand it?"

"No, papa; but he says he is sure Giacomo can explain everything,--for
he is a capital fellow, and honest as the sun!"

"And who is Giacomo?" said I.

"The Maestro di Casa, papa. He is over all the other servants, pays all
the bills, keeps the keys of everything, and, in fact, takes charge of
the household."

"Where did he come from?"

"The Prince Belgiasso had him in his service, and strongly recommended
him to Lord George as the most trustworthy and best of servants. His
discharge says that he was always regarded rather in the light of a
friend than a domestic!"

Shall I own to you, Tom, that I shuddered as I heard this? It may be a
most unfair and ungenerous prejudice; but if there be any class in life
of whose good qualities I entertain a weak opinion, it is of the servant
tribe, and especially of those who enter into the confidential category.
They are, to my thinking, a pestilent race, either tyrannizing over the
weakness, or fawning to the vices, of their employers. I have known a
score of them, and I rejoice to think that a very large proportion of
that number have been since transported for life.

"Does Giacomo speak English?" asked I.

"Perfectly, papa; as well as French, Spanish, German, and a little
Russian."

"Send him to me, then," said I, "and let us have a talk together.

"You can't see him to-day, papa, for he is performing St. Barnabas in a
grand procession that is to take place this evening."

This piece of information shows me that it is a "Festa," and the post
will consequently close early, so that I now conclude this, promising
that you shall have an account of my interview with Giacomo by to-morrow
or the day after.

Not a line from James yet, and I am beginning to feel very uncomfortable
about him.

Yours ever faithfully,

Kenny I. Dodd.



LETTER XIII. KENNY JAMES DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., OF THE GRANGE, BRUFF

Como

My dear Tom,--This may perchance be a lengthy despatch, for I have just
received a polite invitation from the authorities here to pack off, bag
and baggage, over the frontier; and as it is doubtful where our next
move may take us, I write this "in extenso," and to clear off all
arrears up to the present date.

At the conclusion of my last, if I remember aright, I was in
anxious expectation of a visit from Signor Giacomo Lamporeccho. That
accomplished gentleman, however, had been so fatigued by his labors in
the procession, and so ill from a determination of blood to the
head, brought on by being tied for two hours to a tree, with his legs
uppermost, to represent the saint's martyrdom, that he could not wait
upon me till the third day after the Festa; and then his streaked
eyeballs and flushed face attested that even mock holiness is a costly
performance.

"You are Giacomo?" said I, as he entered; and I ought to mention that
in air and appearance he was a large, full, fine-looking man, of about
eight-and-thirty or forty, dressed in very accurate black, and with
a splendid chain of mosaic gold twined and festooned across his
ample chest; opal shirt-studs and waistcoat buttons, and a very
gorgeous-looking signet-ring on his forefinger aided to show off a
stylish look, rendered still more imposing by a beard a Grand Vizier
might have envied, and a voice a semi-tone deeper than Lablache's.

"Giacomo Lamporeccho," said he; and though he uttered the words like a
human bassoon, they really sounded as if he preferred not to be himself,
but somebody else, in case I desired it.

"Well, Giacomo," said I, easily, and trying to assume as much
familiarity as I could with so imposing a personage, "I want you to
afford me some information about these accounts of mine."

"Ah! the house accounts!" said he, with a very slight elevation of
the eyebrows, but quite sufficient to convey to me an expression of
contemptuous meaning.

"Just so, Giacomo; they appear to me high,--enormously, extravagantly
high!"

"His Excellency paid, at least, the double in London," said he, bowing.

"That's not the question. We are in Lombardy,--a land where the price
of everything is of the cheapest. How comes it, then, that we are
maintaining our house at greater cost than even Paris would require?"

With a volubility that I can make no pretension to follow, the fellow
ran over the prices of bread, meat, fowls, and fish, showing that they
were for half their cost elsewhere; that his Excellency's table was
actually a mean one; that sea-fish from Venice, and ortolans, seldom
figured at it above once or twice a week; that it was rare to see a
second flask of champagne opened at dinner; that our Bordeaux was bad,
and our Burgundy bitter; in short, he thought his Excellency had come
expressly for economy, as great "milors" will occasionally do, and
that if so, he must have had ample reason to be satisfied with the
experiment.

Though every sentiment the fellow uttered was an impertinence, he
bowed and smiled, and demeaned himself with such an air of humility
throughout, that I stood puzzled between the matter and the manner
of his address. Meanwhile he was not idle, but running over with glib
volubility the names of all the "illustrissimi Inglesi" he had been
cheating and robbing for a dozen years back. To nail him to the fact
of the difference between the cost of the article and the gross sum
expended, was downright impossible, though he clearly gave to understand
that any inquiry into the matter showed his Excellency to be the
shabbiest of men,--mean, grasping, and avaricious, and, in fact, very
likely to be no "milor" at all, but some poor pretender to rank and
station.

I felt myself waxing wroth with a weak frame,--about as unpleasant a
situation as can be fancied; for let me observe to you, Tom, that the
brawny proportions of Signor Lamporeccho would not have prevented my
trying conclusion with him, had I been what you last saw me; but, alas!
the Italian doctor had bled me down so low that I was not even a match
for one of his countrymen. I was therefore obliged to inform my friend
that, being alone with him, and our interview having taken the form of a
privileged communication, he was a thief and a robber!

The words were not uttered, when he drew a long and glistening knife
from behind his back, under his coat, and made a rush at me. I seized
the butt-end of James's fishing-rod,--fortunately beside me,--and held
him at bay, shouting wildly, "Murder!" all the while. The room was
filled in an instant; Tiverton and the girls, followed by all the
servants and several peasants, rushing in pell-mell. Before, however,
I could speak, for I was almost choked with passion, Signor Giacomo had
gained Lord George's ear, and evidently made him his partisan.

Tiverton cleared the room as fast as he could, mumbling out something to
the girls that seemed to satisfy them and allay their fears, and then,
closing the door, took his seat beside me.

"It will not signify," said he to me, in a kind voice; "the thing is
only a scratch, and will be well in a day or two."

"What do you mean?" said I.

"Egad! you'll have to be cautious, though," said he, laughing. "It was
in a very awkward place; and that too is n't the handiest for minute
anatomy."

"Do you want to drive me mad, my Lord; for, if not, Just take the
trouble to explain yourself."

"Pooh, pooh!" said he; "don't fuss yourself about nothing. I understand
how to deal with these fellows. You 'll see, five-and-twenty Naps, will
set it all right."

"I see," said I, "your intention is to outrage me; and I beg that I may
be left alone."

"Come, don't be angry with me, Dodd," cried he, in one of his
good-tempered, coaxing ways. "I know well you 'd never have done it--"

"Done what,--done what?" screamed I, in an agony of rage.

He made a gesture with the fishing-rod, and burst out a-laughing for
reply.

"Do you mean that I stuck that scoundrel that has just gone out?" cried
I.

"And no great harm, either!" said he.

"Do you mean that I stuck him?--answer me that."

"Well, I 'd be just as much pleased if you had not," said he; "for,
though they are always punching holes into each other, they don't like
an Englishman to do it. Still, keep quiet, and I 'll set it all straight
before to-morrow. The doctor shall give a certificate, setting forth
mental excitement, and so forth. We 'll show that you are not quite
responsible for your actions just now."

"Egad, you 'll have a proof of your theory, if you go on much longer at
this rate," said I, grinding my teeth with passion.

"And then we 'll get up a provocation of some kind or other. Of course,
the thing will cost money,--that can't be helped; but we'll try to
escape imprisonment."

"Send Cary to me,--send my daughter here!" said I, for I was growing
weak.

"But had n't you better let us concert--"

"Send Cary to me, my Lord, and leave me!" and I said the words in a way
that he could n't misunderstand. He had scarcely quitted the room when
Cary entered it.

"There, dearest papa," said she, caressingly, "don't fret. It's a mere
trifle; and if he was n't a wretchedly cowardly creature, he 'd think
nothing of it!"

"Are you in the conspiracy against me too?" cried I; "have _you_ also
joined the enemy?"

"That I haven't," said she, putting an arm round my neck; "and I know
well, if the fellow had not grossly outraged, or perhaps menaced you,
you 'd never have done it! I 'm certain of that, pappy!"

Egad, Tom, I don't like to own it, but the truth is--I burst out
a-crying; that's what all this bleeding and lowering has brought me to,
that I have n't the nerve of a kitten! It was the inability to rebut
all this balderdash--to show that it was a lie from beginning to
end--confounded me; and when I saw my poor Cary, that never believed ill
of me before, that, no matter what I said or did, always took my part,
and, if she could n't defend at least excused me,--when, I say, I saw
that _she_ gave in to this infernal delusion, I just felt as if my heart
was going to break, and I sincerely wished it might.

I tried very hard to summon strength to set her right; I suppose that a
drowning man never struggled harder to reach a plank than did I to grasp
one thought well and vigorously; but to no use. My ideas danced about
like the phantoms in a magic lantern, and none would remain long enough
to be recognized.

"I think I 'll take a sleep, my dear," said I.

"The very wisest thing you could do, pappy," said she, closing the
shutters noiselessly, and sitting down in her old place beside my bed.

Though I pretended slumber, I never slept a wink. I went over all this
affair in my mind, and, summing up the evidence against me, I began to
wonder if a man ever committed a homicide without knowing it,--I
mean, if, when his thoughts were very much occupied, he could stick a
fellow-creature and not be aware of it. I could n't exactly call any
case in point to mind, but I did n't see why it might not be possible.
If stabbing people was a common and daily habit of an individual,
doubtless he might do it, just as he would wind his watch or wipe
his spectacles, while thinking of something else; but as it was not a
customary process, at least where I came from, there was the difficulty.
I would have given more than I had to give, just to ask Cary a few
questions,--as, for instance, how did it happen? where is the wound? how
deep is it? and so on,--but I was so terrified lest I should compromise
my innocence that I would not venture on a syllable. One sees constantly
in the police reports how the prisoner, when driving off to jail with
Inspector Potts, invariably betrays himself by some expression of
anxiety or uneasiness, such as "Well, nobody can say I did it! I was in
Houndsditch till eleven o'clock;" or, "Poor Molly, I did n't mean
her any harm, but it was she begun it." Warned by these indiscreet
admissions, I was guarded not to utter a word. I preserved my resolution
with such firmness that I fell into a sound sleep, and never awoke till
the next morning.

Before I acknowledged myself to be awake,--don't you know that state,
Tom, in which a man vibrates between consciousness and indolence, and
when he has not fully made up his mind whether he 'll not skulk his
load of daily cares a little longer?--I could perceive that there was
a certain stir and movement about me that betokened extraordinary
preparation, and I could overhear little scraps of discussions as to
whether "he ought to be awakened," and "what he should wear," Cary's
voice being strongly marked in opposition to everything that portended
any disturbance of me. Patience, I believe, is not my forte, though
long-suffering may be my fortune, for I sharply asked, "What the------
was in the wind now?"

"We'll leave him to Cary," said Mrs. D., retiring precipitately,
followed by the rest, while Cary came up to my bedside, and kindly
began her inquiries about my health; but I stopped her, by a very abrupt
repetition of my former question.

"Oh! it's a mere nothing, pappy,--a formality, and nothing more. That
creature, Giacomo, has been making a fuss over the affair of last night;
and though Lord George endeavored to settle it, he refused, and went off
to the Tribunal to lodge a complaint."

"Well, go on."

"The Judge, or Prefect, or whatever he is, took his depositions, and
issued a warrant--"

"To apprehend me?"

"Don't flurry yourself, dearest pappy; these are simply formalities, for
the Brigadier has just told me--"

"He is here, then,--in the house?"

"Why will you excite yourself in this way, when I tell you that all
will most easily be arranged? The Brigadier only asks to see you,--to
ascertain, in fact, that you are really ill, and unable to be removed--"

"To jail--to the common prison, eh?"

"Oh, I must not talk to you, if it irritates you in this fashion;
indeed, there is now little more to say, and if you will just permit the
Brigadier to come in for a second, everything is done."

"I 'm ready for him," said I, in a tone that showed I needed no further
information; and Cary left the room.

After about five minutes' waiting, in an almost intolerable impatience,
the Brigadier, stooping his enormous bearskin to fully three feet,
entered with four others, armed cap-à-pic, who drew up in a line behind
him, and grounded their carbines with a clank that made the room shake.
The Brigadier, I must tell you, was a very fine soldier-like fellow, and
with fully half a dozen decorations hanging to his coat. It struck me
that he was rather disappointed; he probably expected to see a man of
colossal proportions and herculean strength, instead of the poor remnant
of humanity that chicken broth and the lancet have left me. The room,
too, seemed to fall below his expectations; for he threw his eyes around
him without detecting any armory or offensive weapons, or, indeed, any
means of resistance whatever.

"This is his Excellency?" said he at last, addressing Cary; and she
nodded.

"Ask him his own name, Cary," said I. "I'm curious about it."

"My name," said he, sonorously, to her question,--"my name is Alessandro
Lamporeccho;" and with that he gave the word to his people to face
about, and away they marched with all the solemnity of a military
movement. As the door closed behind them, however, I heard a few words
uttered in whispers, and immediately afterwards the measured tread of a
sentry slowly parading the lobby outside my room.

"That's another _formality_, Cary," said I, "is n't it?" She nodded for
reply. "Tell them I detest ceremony, my dear," said I; "and--and "--I
could n't keep down my passion--"and if they don't take that fellow
away, I'll pitch him head and crop over the banisters." I tried to
spring up, but back I fell, weak, and almost fainting. The sad truth
came home to me at once that I had n't strength to face a baby; so I
just turned my face to the wall, and sulked away to my heart's content.
If I tell you how I spent that day, the same story will do for the rest
of the week. I saw that they were all watching and waiting for some
outbreak, of either my temper or my curiosity. They tried every means
to tempt me into an inquiry of one kind or other. They dropped hints, in
half-whispers, before me. They said twenty things to arouse anxiety, and
even alarm, in me; but I resolved that if I passed my days there, I 'd
starve them out: and so I did.

On the ninth day, when I was eating my breakfast, just as I had
finished my mutton-chop, and was going to attack the eggs, Cary, in a
half-laughing way, said, "Well, pappy, do you never intend to take the
air again? The weather is now delightful,--that second season they call
the summer of St. Joseph."

"Ain't I a prisoner?" said I. "I thought I had murdered somebody, and
was sentenced for life to this chamber."

"How can you be so silly!" said she. "You know perfectly well how these
foreigners make a fuss about everything, and exaggerate every trifle
into a mock importance. Now, we are not in Ireland--"

"No," said I, "would to Heaven we were!"

"Well, perhaps I might echo the prayer without doing any great violence
to my sincerity; but as we are not there, nor can we change the
venue--is n't that the phrase?--to our own country, what if we just were
to make the best of it, and suffer this matter to take its course here?"

"As how, Cary?"

"Simply by dressing yourself, and driving into Como. Your case will be
heard on any morning you present yourself; and I am so convinced
that the whole affair will be settled in five minutes that I am quite
impatient it should be over."

I will not repeat all her arguments, some good and some bad, but every
one of them dictated by that kind and affectionate spirit which, however
her judgment incline, never deserts her. The end of it was, I got up,
shaved, and dressed, and within an hour was skimming over the calm clear
water towards the little city of Como.

Cary was with me,--she would come,--she said she knew she did me good;
and it was true: but the scene itself--those grand, great mountains;
those leafy glens, opening to the glassy lake, waveless and still; that
glorious reach of blue sky, spanning from peak to peak of those Alpine
ridges--all soothed and calmed me; and in the midst of such gigantic
elements, I could not help feeling shame that such a reptile as I should
mar the influence of this picture on my heart by petty passions and
little fractious discontents an worthy of a sick schoolboy.

"Is n't it enough for you, K. I.," says I, "ay, and more than you
deserve, just to live, and breathe, and have your being in such a bright
and glorious world? If you were a poet, with what images would not these
swooping mists, these fleeting shadows, people your imagination? What
voices would you hear in the wind sighing through the olive groves, and
dying in many a soft cadence along the grottoed shore? If a painter,
what effects of sunlight and shadow are there to study? what tints
of color, that, without nature to guarantee, you would never dare to
venture on? But being neither, having neither gift nor talent, being
simply one of those 4 fruit consumers,' who bring back nothing to the
common stock of mankind, and who can no more make my fellow-man wiser or
better than I make myself taller or younger, is it not a matter of
deep thankfulness that, in all my common-place of mind and thought, I
too--even K. I. that I am--have an intense feeling of enjoyment in the
contemplation of this scene? I could n't describe it like Shelley, nor
paint it like Stan field, but I 'll back myself for a five-pound note
to feel it with either of them." And there, let me tell you, Tom, is the
real superiority of Nature over all her counterfeits. You need no study,
no cultivation, no connoisseurship to appreciate her: her glorious works
come home to the heart of the peasant, as, mist-begirt, he waits for
sunrise on some highland waste, as well as to the Prince, who gazes on
the swelling landscape of his own dominions. I could n't tell a Claude
from a Canaletti,--I 'm not sure that I don't like H. B. better than
Albert Durer,--but I 'd not surrender the heartfelt delight, the calm,
intense, deep-souled gratitude I experience from the contemplation of a
lovely landscape, to possess the Stafford gallery.

I was, then, in a far more peaceful and practicable frame of mind as we
entered Como than when I quitted the villa.

I should like to have lingered a little in the old town itself, with its
quaint little arched passages and curious architecture; but Cary advised
me to nurse all my strength for the "Tribunal." I suppose it must
be with some moral hope of discountenancing litigation that foreign
Governments always make the Law Courts as dirty and disgusting as
possible, pitch them in a filthy quarter, and surround them with every
squalor. This one was a paragon of its kind, and for rags and ruffianly
looks I never saw the equal of the company there assembled. I am not
yet quite sure that the fellow who showed us the way did n't purposely
mislead us; for we traversed a dozen dark corridors, and went up and
went down more staircases than I have accomplished for the last six
months. Now and then we stopped for a minute to interrogate somebody
through a sliding pane in a kind of glass cage, and off we went again.
At last we came to a densely crowded passage, making way through which,
we entered a large hall with a vaulted roof, crammed with people, but
who made room at the instance of a red-eyed, red-bearded little man in
a black gown, that I now, to my horror and disgust, found out was my
counsel, being already engaged by Lord George to defend me.

"This is treachery, Cary," whispered I, angrily.

"I know it is," said she, "and I 'm one of the traitors; but anything is
better than to see you pine away your life in a sick-room."

This was neither the time nor place for much colloquy, as we now had to
fight our way vigorously through the mob till we reached a row of seats
where the bar were placed, and where we were politely told to be seated.
Directly in front of us sat three ill-favored old fellows in black
gowns and square black caps, modelled after those brown-paper helmets
so popular with plasterers and stucco men in our country. I found it a
great trial not to laugh every time I looked at them!

There was no case "on" at the moment, but a kind of wrangle was going
forward about whose was to be the next hearing, in which I could hear
my own name mingled. My lawyer, Signor Mastuccio, seemed to make a
successful appeal in my favor; for the three old "plasterers" put up
their eyeglasses, and stared earnestly at Cary, after which the chief
of them nodded benignly, and said that the case of Giacomo Lamporeccho
might be called; and accordingly, with a voice that might have raised
the echoes of the Alps, a fellow screamed out that the "homicidio"--I
have no need to translate the word--was then before the Court If I
only were to tell you, Tom, of the tiresome, tedious, and unmeaning
formalities that followed, your case in listening would be scarcely
more enviable than was my own while enduring them. All the preliminary
proceedings were in writing, and a dirty little dog, with a vile odor
of garlic about him, read some seventy pages of a manuscript which I
was informed was the accusation against me. Then appeared another
creature,--his twin brother in meanness and poverty,--who proved to be
a doctor, the same who had professionally attended the wounded man,
and who also read a memoir of the patient's sufferings and peril.
These occupied the Court till it was nigh three o'clock, when, being
concluded, Giacomo himself was called. I assure you, Tom, I gave a start
when, instead of the large, fine, burly, well-bearded rascal with the
Lablache voice, I beheld a pale, thin, weakly creature, with a miserable
treble, inform the Court that he was Giacomo Lamporeccho.

Cary, who translated for me as he spoke, told me that he gave an account
of our interview together, in which it would appear that my conduct was
that of an outrageous maniac. He described me as accusing everybody of
roguery and cheating,--calling the whole country a den of thieves,
and the authorities their accomplices. He detailed his own mild
remonstrances against my hasty judgment, and his calm appeals to my
better reason. He dwelt long upon his wounded honor, and, what he felt
still more deeply, the wounded honor of his nation; and at last he
actually began to cry when his feelings got too much for him, at which
the Court sobbed, and the bar sobbed, and the general audience, in a
mixture of grief and menace, muttered the most signal vengeance against
your humble servant.

I happened to be--a rare thing for me, latterly--in one of my old moods,
when the ludicrous and absurd carry away all my sympathies; and faith,
Tom, I laughed as heartily as ever I did in my life at the whole scene.
"Are we coming to the wound yet, Cary," said I, "tell me that," for the
fellow had now begun again.

"Yes, papa, he is describing it, and, by his account, it ought to have
killed him."

"Egad," said I, "it will be the death of _me_ with laughing;" and I
shook till my sides ached.

"Does his Excellency know that he is in a Court of Justice?" said
Plasterer No. 1.

"Tell him, my dear, that I quite forgot it. I fancied I was at a play,
and enjoyed it much."

I believe Cary did n't translate me honestly, for the old fellow seemed
appeased, and the case continued. I could now perceive that my atrocious
conduct had evoked a very strong sentiment in the auditory, for
there was a great rush forward to get a look at me, and they who were
fortunate enough to succeed complimented me by a string of the most
abusive and insulting epithets.

My advocate was now called on, and, seeing him rise, I just whispered to
Cary, "Ask the judge if we may see the wound?"

"What does that question mean?" said the chief judge, imperiously.
"Would the prisoner dare to insinuate that the wound has no existence?"

"You've hit it," said I. "Tell him, Cary, that's exactly what I mean."

"Has not the prisoner sworn to his sufferings," repeated he, "and the
doctor made oath to the treatment?"

"They 're both a pair of lying scoundrels. Tell him so, Cary."

"You see him now. There is the man himself in his true colors, most
illustrious and most ornate judges," exclaimed Giacomo, pointing to me
with his finger, as I nearly burst with rage.

"Ah! che diavolo! che demonio infernale!" rang out amidst the waving
crowd; and the looks bestowed on me from the bench seemed to give hearty
concurrence to the opinion.

Now, Tom, a court of justice, be its locale ever so humble, and its
procedure ever so simple, has always struck me as the very finest
evidence of homage to civilization. There is something in the fact of
men submitting, not only their worldly interests and their characters,
but even their very passions, to the arbitration of their fellow-men,
that is indescribably fine and noble, and shows--if we even wanted such
a proof--that this corrupt nature of ours, in the midst of all its worst
influences, has still some of that divine essence within, unsullied and
untarnished. And just as I reverence this, do I execrate, with all my
heart's indignation, a corrupt judicature. The governments who employ,
and the people who tolerate them, are well worthy of each other.

Take all the vices that degrade a nation, "bray them in a mortar," and
they 'll not eat so deep into the moral feeling of a people as a tainted
administration of the law.

You may fancy that, in my passionate warmth, I have forgotten all about
my individual case: no such thing. I have, however, rescued myself
from the danger of an apoplexy by opening this safety-valve to my
indignation. And now I cannot resume my narrative. No, Tom, "I have lost
the scent," and all I can do is to bring you "in at the death." I was
sentenced to pay seven hundred zwanzigers,--eight-pences,--all the costs
of the procedure, the doctor's bill, and the maintenance of Giacomo
till his convalescence was completed. I appealed on the spot to an upper
court, and the judgment was confirmed! I nearly burst with indignant
anger, and asked my advocate if he had ever heard of such iniquity.
He shrugged his shoulders, smiled slightly, and said, "The law is
precarious in all countries."

"Yes,--but," said I, "the judges are not always corrupt. Now, that old
president of the first court suggested every answer to the witness--"

"Vincenzio Lamporeccho is a shrewd man--"

"What! How do you call him? Is he anything to our friend Giacomo?"

"He is his father!"

"And the Brigadier who arrested me?"

"Is his brother. The junior judge of the Appeal Court, Luigi
Lamporeccho, is his first cousin."

I did n't ask more questions, Tom. Fancy a country where your butler
is brother to the chief baron, and sues you for wages in the Court of
Exchequer!

"And you, Signor Mastuccio," said I. "I hope I have not exposed you to
the vengeance of this powerful family by your zeal in my behalf?"

"Not in the least," said he; "my mother was a Lamporeccho herself."

Now, Tom, I think I need not take any more pains to explain the issue of
my lawsuit; and here I'll leave it.

My parting benediction to the Court was brief: "Goodbye, old gentlemen.
I 'm glad you have the Austrians here to bully you; and not sorry that
_you_ are here to assassinate _them_." This speech was overheard by
some learned linguist in court, and on the same evening I received an
intimation to quit the Imperial dominions within twenty-four hours.
Tiverton was for going up to Milan to Radetzky, or somebody, else, and
having it all "put straight," as he calls it; but I would not hear of
this.

"We 'll write to the Ambassador at Vienna?" said he.

"Nor that either," said I.

"To the 'Times,' then."

"Not a word of it."

"You don't mean to say," said he, "that you 'll put up with this
treatment, and that you'll lower the name of Briton before these
foreigners by such a tame submission?"

"My view of the case is a very simple one, my Lord," said I; "and it
is this. We travelling English are very prone to two faults; one is,
a bullying effort to oppose ourselves to the laws of the countries we
visit; and then, when we fail, a whining appeal to some minister
or consul to take up our battle. The first is stupid, the latter is
contemptible. The same feeling that would prevent me trespassing on the
hospitality of an unwilling host will rescue me from the indignity of
remaining in a country where my presence is distasteful to the rulers of
it."

"Such a line of conduct," said he, "would expose us to insult from one
end of Europe to the other."

"And if it teach us to stay at home, and live under laws that we
understand, the price is not too high for the benefit."

He blustered away about what he would n't do in the Press, and in his
"place" in Parliament; but what's the use of all that? Will England go
to war for Kenny James Dodd? No. Well, then, by no other argument is the
foreigner assailable. Tell the Austrian or the Russian Government that
the company at the "Freemasons'" dinner were shocked, and the ladies at
Exeter Hall were outraged at their cruelty, and they 'll only laugh at
you. We can't send a fleet to Vienna; nor--we would n't if we could.

I did n't tell Lord George, but to you, in confidence, Tom, I will say,
I think we have--if we liked it--a grand remedy for all these cases. Do
you know that it was thinking of Tim Ryan, the rat-catcher at Kelly's
mills, suggested it to me. Whenever Tim came up to a house with his
traps and contrivances, if the family said they did n't need him, "for
they had no rats," he 'd just loiter about the place till evening,--and,
whatever he did, or how he did it, one thing was quite sure, they had
never to make the same complaint again! Now, my notion is, whenever we
have any grudge with a foreign State, don't begin to fit out fleets or
armaments, but just send a steamer off to the nearest port with one of
the refugees aboard. I 'd keep Kossuth at Malta, always ready;
Louis Blanc and Ledru Rollin at Jersey; Don Miguel and Don Carlos at
Gibraltar; and have Mazzini and some of the rest cruising about for
any service they may be wanted on. In that way, Tom, we 'd keep these
Governments in order, and, like Tim Ryan, be turning our vermin to a
good account besides!

I thought that Mrs. D. and Mary Anne displayed a degree of attachment to
this place rather surprising, considering that I have heard of nothing
but its inconvenience till this moment, when we are ordered to quit it.
Now, however, they suddenly discover it to be healthful, charming, and
economical. I have questioned Cary as to the secret of this change, but
she does not understand it. She knows that Lord George received a
large packet by the post this morning, and instantly hurried off to
communicate its contents to Mary Anne. By George! Tom, I have come to
the notion that to rule a family of four people, one ought to have
a "detective officer" attached to the household. Every day or so,
something puzzling and inexplicable occurs, the meaning of which never
turns up till you find yourself duped, and then it is too late to
complain. Now, this same letter Cary speaks of is at this very instant
exercising a degree of influence here, and I am to remain in ignorance
of the cause till I can pick it out from the effect. This, too, is
another blessed result of foreign travel! When we lived at home the
incidents of our daily life were few, and not very eventful; they were
circumscribed within narrow limits, and addressed themselves to the
feelings of every one amongst us. Concealment would have been absurd,
even were it possible; but the truth was, we were all so engaged with
the same topics and the same spirit, that we talked of them constantly,
and grew to think that outside the little circle of ourselves the world
was a mere wilderness. To be sure, all this sounds very narrow-minded,
and all that. So it does; but let me tell you, it conduces greatly to
happiness and contentment.

Now, here, we have so many irons in the fire, some one or other of us is
always burning his fingers!

I continue to be very uneasy about James. Not a line have we had from
him, and he 's now several weeks gone! I wrote to Vickars, but have not
yet heard from him in reply. Cary endeavors to persuade me that it is
only his indolent, careless habit is in fault; but I can see that she is
just as uncomfortable and anxious as myself.

You will collect from the length of this document that I am quite myself
again; and, indeed, except a little dizziness in my head after dinner,
and a tendency to sleep, I 'm all right. Not that I complain of the
latter,--far from it, Tom. Sancho Panza himself never blessed the
inventor of it more fervently than I do.

Sometimes, however, I think that it is the newspapers are not so amusing
as they used to be. The racy old bitterness of party spirit is dying
out, and all the spicy drollery and epigrammatic fun of former days gone
with it. It strikes me, too, Tom, that "Party," in the strong sense,
never can exist again amongst us. Party is essentially the submission of
the many to the few; and so long as the few were pre-eminent in ability
and tactical skill, nothing was more salutary. Wal-pole, Pelham, Pitt,
and Fox stood immeasurably above the men and the intelligence of
their time. Their statecraft was a science of which the mass of
their followers were totally ignorant, and the crew never dreamt of
questioning the pilot as to the course he was about to take. Whereas
now--although by no means deficient in able and competent men to
rule us--the body of the House is filled by others very little their
inferiors. Old Babbington used to say "that between a good physician and
a bad one, there was only the difference between a pound and a guinea."
In the same way, there is not a wider interval now between the Right
Honorable Secretary on the Treasury Bench and the Honorable Member below
him. Education is widely disseminated,--the intercourse of club life is
immense,--opportunities of knowledge abound on every hand,--the Press is
a great popular instructor; and, above all, the temper and tendency of
the age favors labor of every kind. Idleness is not in vogue with any
class of the whole community. What chance, then, of any man, no matter
how great and gifted he be, imposing, his opinions--_as such_--upon
the world of politics! A minister, or his opponent, may get together a
number of supporters for a particular measure, just as you or I could
muster a mob at an election or a fair; but there would be no more
discipline in the one case than in the other. They'd come now, and go
when they liked; and any chance of reducing such "irregulars" to the
habits of an army would be downright impossible!

There is another cause of dulness, too, in the newspapers. All the
accidents--a most amusing column it used to be--are now entirely caused
by railroads; and there is a shocking sameness about them. They were
"shunting" wagons across the line when the express came up, or the
pointsman did n't turn the switch, or the fog obscured the danger
signal. With these three explanations, some hundreds of human beings are
annually smashed, smothered, and scalded, and the survivors not a whit
more provident than before.

Cruel assaults upon women--usually the wives of the ruffians
themselves--are, I perceive, becoming a species of popular custom in
England. Every "Times" I see has its catalogue of these atrocities; and
I don't perceive that five shilling fines nor even three weeks at the
treadmill diminishes the number. One of the railroad companies announces
that it will not hold itself responsible for casualties, nor indemnify
the sufferers. Don't you think that we might borrow a hint from them,
and insert some cause of the same kind into the marriage ceremony, and
that the woman should know all her "liabilities" without any hope
of appeal? Ah! Tom Purcell, all our naval reviews, and industrial
exhibitions, and boastful "leading" articles about our national
greatness come with a very ill grace in the same broad sheet with these
degrading police histories. Must savage ferocity accompany us as we grow
in wealth and power? If so, then I 'd rather see us a third-rate power
to-morrow than rule the world at the cost of such disgrace!

Ireland, I see, jogs on just as usual, wrangling away. They can't even
agree whether the potatoes have got the rot or not. Some of the papers,
too, are taking up the English cry of triumph over the downfall of our
old squirearchy; but it does not sound well from _them_. To be sure,
some of the new proprietors would seem not only to have taken our
estates, but tasted the Blarney-stone besides; and one, a great man too,
has been making a fine speech with his "respected friend, the Reverend
Mr. O'Shea," on his right hand, and vowing that he 'll never turn out
anybody that pays the rent, nor dispossess a good tenant! The stupid
infatuation of these English makes me sick, Tom. Why, with all their
self-sufficiency, can't they see that we understand our own people
better than they do? We know the causes of bad seasons and short
harvests better; we know the soil better, and the climate better, and if
we haven't been good landlords, it is simply because we couldn't afford
it. Now, they are rich, and can afford it; and if they have bought up
Irish estates to get the rents out of them, I 'd like to know what's to
be the great benefit of the change. "Pay up the arrears," says I; but if
my Lord Somebody from England says the same, I think there 's no use in
selling _me_ out, and taking _him_ in my place. And this brings me to
asking when I'm to get another remittance? I _am_ thinking seriously of
retrenchment; but first, Tom, one must have something to retrench upon.
You must possess a salary before you can stand "stoppages." Of course
we mean "to come home again." I have n't heard that the Government have
selected me for a snug berth in the Colonies; so be assured that you'll
see us all back in Dodsborough before--

Mrs. D. had been looking over my shoulder, Tom, while I was writing the
last line, and we have just had what she calls an "explanation," but
what ordinary grammarians would style--a row. She frankly and firmly
declares that I may try Timbuctoo or the Gambia if I like, but back to
Ireland she positively will not go! She informs me, besides, that she
is quite open to an arrangement about a separate maintenance. But my
property, Tom, is like poor Jack Heffernan's goose,--it would n't bear
carving, so he just helped himself to it all! And, as I said to Mrs. D.,
two people may get some kind of shelter under one umbrella, but they 'll
infallibly be wet through if they cut it in two, and each walk off with
his half. "If you were a bit of a gentleman," said she, "you 'd give it
all to the lady." That's what I got for my illustration.

But now that I 'm safe once more, I repeat, you shall certainly see us
back in our old house again, and which, for more reasons than I choose
to detail here, we ought never to have quitted.

I have been just sent for to a cabinet council of the family, who are
curious to know whither we are going from this; and as I wish to appear
prepared with a plan, and am not strong in geography, I 'll take a
look at the map before I go. I've hit it, Tom,--Parma. Parma will do
admirably. It's near, and it's never visited by strangers. There 's a
gallery of pictures to look at, and, at the worst, plenty of cheese to
eat. Tourists may talk and grumble as they will about the dreary aspect
of these small capitals, without trade and commerce, with a beggarly
Court and a ruined nobility,--to me they are a boon from Heaven. You can
always live in them for a fourth of the cost of elsewhere. The head
inn is your own, just as the Piazza is, and the park at the back of the
palace. It goes hard but you can amuse yourself poking about into old
churches, and peeping into shrines and down wells, pottering into the
market-place, and watching the bargaining for eggs and onions; and when
these fail, it's good fun to mark the discomfiture of your womankind at
being shut up in a place where there's neither opera nor playhouse,--no
promenade, no regimental band, and not even a milliner's shop.

From all I can learn, Parma will suit me perfectly; and now I 'm off
to announce my resolve to the family. Address me there, Tom, and with a
sufficiency of cash to move further when necessary.

I 'm this moment come back, and not quite satisfied with what I 've
done. Mrs. D. and Mary Anne approve highly of my choice. They say
nothing could be better. Some of us must be mistaken, and I fervently
trust that it may not be

Your sincere friend,

Kenny James Dodd.



LETTER XIV. JAMES DODD TO LORD GEORGE TIVERTON, M.P.

Cour de Vienne, Mantua.

My dear George,--I 've only five minutes to give you; for the horses are
at the door, and we 're to start at once. I have a great budget for you
when we meet; for we've been over the Tyrol and Styria, spent ten days
at Venice, and "done" Verona and the rest of them,--John Murray in hand.

We 're now bound for Milan, where I want you to meet us on our arrival,
with an invitation from my mother, asking Josephine to the villa. I 've
told her that the note is already there awaiting her, and for mercy'
sake let there be no disappointment.

This dispensation is a horrible tedious affair; but I hope we shall have
it now within the present month. The interval _she_ desires to spend
in perfect retirement, so that the villa is exactly the place, and the
attention will be well timed.

Of course they ought to receive her as well as possible. Mary Anne,
I know, requires no hint; but try and persuade the governor to
trim himself up a little, and if you could make away with that old
flea-bitten robe be calls his dressing-gown, you 'd do the State
some service. Look to the servants, too, and smarten them up; a cold
perspiration breaks over me when I think of Betty Cobb!

I rely on you to think of and provide for everything, and am ever your
attached friend,

James Dodd.

I changed my last five-hundred-pound note at Venice, so that I must
bring the campaign to a close immediately.



LETTER XV. MRS. DODD TO MRS. MARY GALLAGHER, DODSBOROUGH

Parma, the "Cour de Parme."

My dear Molly,--When I wrote to you last, we were living, quietly, it is
true, and unostensively, but happily, on the Lake of Comus, and there
we might have passed the whole autumn, had not K. L, with his usual
thoughtfulness for the comfort of his family, got into a row with the
police, and had us sent out of the country.

No less, my dear! Over the frontier in twenty-four hours was the word;
and when Lord George wanted to see some of the great people about it, or
even make a stir in the newspapers, he wouldn't let him. "No," said he,
"the world is getting tired of Englishmen that are wronged by foreign
governments. They say, naturally enough, that there must be some fault
in ourselves, if we are always in trouble, this way; and, besides, I
would not take fifty pounds, and have somebody get up in the House and
move for all the correspondence in the case of Mr. Dodd, so infamously
used by the authorities in Lombardy." Them 's his words, Molly; and when
we told him that it was a fine way of getting known and talked about in
the world, what was his answer do you think? "I don't want notoriety;
and if I did, I 'd write a letter to the 'Times,' and say it was I that
defended Hougoumont, in the battle of Waterloo. There seems to be
a great dispute about it, and I don't see why I could n't put in my
claim."

I suppose after that, Molly, there will be very little doubt that his
head isn't quite right, for he was no more at Waterloo than you or me.

It was a great shock to us when we got the order to march; for on that
same morning the post brought us a letter from James, or, at least, it
came to Lord George, and with news that made me cry with sheer happiness
for full two hours after. I was n't far wrong, Molly, when I told you
that it 's little need he 'd have of learning or a profession. Launch
him out well in life was my words to K. I. Give him ample means to
mix in society and make friends, and see if he won't turn it to good
account. I know the boy well; and that's what K. I. never did,--never
could.

See if I 'm not right, Mary Gallagher. He went down to the baths of--I'm
afraid of the name, but it sounds like "Humbug," as well as I can make
out--and what does he do but make acquaintance with a beautiful young
creature, a widow of nineteen, rolling in wealth, and one of the first
families in France!

How he did it, I can't tell; no more than where he got all the money he
spent there on horses and carriages and dinners, and elegant things that
he ordered for her from Paris. He passed five weeks there, courting her,
I suppose; and then away they went, rambling through Germany, and over
the mountains, down to Venice. She in her own travelling-carriage,
and James driving a team of four beautiful grays of his own; and then
meeting when they stopped at a town, but all with as much discretion as
if it was only politeness between them. At last he pops the question,
Molly; and it turns out that she has no objection in life, only that
she must get a dispensation from the Pope, because she was promised and
betrothed to the King of Naples, or one of his brothers; and though she
married another, she never got what they call a Bull of release.

This is the hardest thing in the world to obtain; and if it was n't that
she has a Cardinal an uncle, she might never get it. At all events,
it will take time, and meanwhile she ought to live in the strictest
retirement. To enable her to do this properly, and also by way of
showing her every attention, James wrote to have an invitation ready for
her to come down to the villa and stay with us on a visit.

By bad luck, my dear, it was the very morning this letter came, K. I.
had got us all ordered away! What was to be done, was now the question;
we daren't trust him with the secret till she was in the house, for we
knew well he 'd refuse to ask her,--say he could n't afford the expense,
and that we were all sworn to ruin him. We left it to Lord George to
manage; and he, at last, got K. I. to fix on Parma for a week or two,
one of the quietest towns in Italy, and where you never see a coach in
the streets, nor even a well-dressed creature oat on Sunday. K. I. was
delighted with it all; saving money is the soul of him, and he never
thinks of anything but when he can make a hard bargain. What he does
with his income, Molly, the saints alone can tell; but I suspect that
there's some sinners, too, know a trifle about it; and the day will come
when I 'll have the proof! Lord G. sent for the landlord's
tariff, and it was reasonable enough. Rooms were to be two
zwanzigers--one-and-fourpence--apiece; breakfast, one; dinner, two
zwanzigers; tea, half a one; no charge for wine of the place; and if we
stayed any time, we were to have the key of a box at the opera.

K. I. was in ecstasy. "If I was to live here five or six years," says
he, "and pay nobody, my affairs wouldn't be so much embarrassed as they
are now!"

"If you 'd cut off your encumbrances, Mr. Dodd," says I, "that would
save something."

"My what?" said he, flaring up, with a face like a turkey-cock.

But I was n't going to dispute with him, Molly; so I swept out of the
room, and threw down a little china flowerpot just to stop him.

The same day we started, and arrived here at the hotel, the "Cour de
Parme," by midnight; it was a tiresome journey, and K. I. made it worse,
for he was fighting with somebody or other the whole time; and Lord
George was not with us, for he had gone off to Milan to meet James; and
Mr. D. was therefore free to get into as many scrapes as he pleased.
I must say, he did n't neglect the opportunity, for he insulted the
passport people and the customhouse officers, and the man at the bridge
of boats, and the postmasters and postilions everywhere. "I did n't come
here to be robbed," said he everywhere; and he got a few Italian words
for "thief," "rogue," "villain," and so on; and if I saw one, I saw ten
knives drawn on him that blessed day. He would n't let Cary translate
for him, but sat on the box himself, and screamed out his directions
like a madman. This went on till we came to a place called San Donino,
and there--it was the last stage from Parma--they told him he could n't
have any horses, though he saw ten of them standing all ready harnessed
and saddled in the stable. I suppose they explained to him the reason,
and that he did n't understand it, for they all got to words together,
and it was soon who 'd scream loudest amongst them.

At last K. I. cried out, "Come down, Paddy, and see if we can't get four
of these beasts to the carriage, and we 'll not ask for a postilion."

Down jumps Paddy out of the rumble, and rushes after him into the
stable. A terrible uproar followed this, and soon after the stable
people, helpers, ostlers, and postboys, were seen running out of
the door for their lives, and K. I. and Paddy after them, with two
rack-staves they had torn out of the manger. "Leave them to me," says K.
I.; "leave them to me, Paddy, and do you go in for the horses; put them
to, and get a pair of reins if you can; if not, jump up on one of the
leaders, and drive away."

If he was bred and born in the place, he could not have known it better,
for he came out the next minute with a pair of horses, that he fastened
to the carriage in a trice, and then hurried back for two more, that
he quickly brought out and put to also. "There 's no whip to be found,"
says he, "but this wattle will do for the leaders; and if your honor
will stir up the wheelers, here 's a nice little handy stable fork to do
it with." With this Paddy sprung into the saddle, K. I. jumped up to the
box, and off they set, tearing down the street like mad. It was pitch
dark, and of course neither of them knew the road; but K. I. screamed
out, "Keep in the middle, Paddy, and don't pull up for any one." We
went through the village at a full gallop, the people all yelling and
shouting after us; but at the end of the street there were two roads,
and Paddy cried out, "Which way now?" "Take the widest, if you can see
it," screamed out K. I.; and away he went, at a pace that made the big
travelling-carriage bump and swing like a boat at sea.

[Illustration: 164]

We soon felt we were going down a dreadful steep, for the carriage was
all but on top of the horses, and K. I. kept screaming out, "Keep up
the pace, Paddy. Make them go, or we'll all be smashed." Just as he
said that I heard a noise, like the sea in a storm,--a terrible sound
of rushing, dashing, roaring water; then a frightful yell from Paddy,
followed by a plunge. "In a river, by ------!" roared out K. I.; and as
he said it, the coach gave a swing over to one side, then righted, then
swung back again, and with a crash that I thought smashed it to atoms,
fell over on one side into the water.

"All right," said K. I.; "I turned the leaders short round and saved
us!" and with that he began tearing and dragging us out. I fell into
a swoon after this, and know no more of what happened. When I came to
myself, I was in a small hut, lying on a bed of chestnut leaves, and the
place crowded with peasants and postilions.

"There 's no mischief done, mamma," said Cary. "Paddy swam the leaders
across beautifully, for the traces snapped at once, and, except the
fright, we 're nothing the worse."

"Where's Mary Anne?" said I.

"Talking to the gentleman who assisted us--outside--some friend of Lord
George's, I believe, for he is with him."

Just as she said this, in comes Mary Anne with Lord George and his
friend.

"Oh, mamma," says she, in a whisper, "you don't know who it is,--the
Prince himself."

"Ah, been and done it, marm," said he, addressing me with his glass in
his eye.

"What, sir?" said I.

"Taken a 'header,' they tell me, eh? Glad there's no harm done."

"His Serene Highness hopes you 'll not mind it, mamma," said Mary Anne.

"Oh, is _that_ it?" said I.

"Yes, mamma. Isn't he delightful,--so easy, so familiar, and so truly
kind also."

"He has just ordered up two of his own carriages to take us on."

By this time his Serene Highness had lighted his cigar, and, seating
himself on a log of wood in the corner of the hut, began smoking. In the
intervals of the puffs he said,--

"Old gent took a wrong turning--should have gone left--water very high,
besides, from the late rains--regular smash--wish I 'd seen it."

K. I. now joined us, all dripping, and hung round with weeds and
water-lilies,--as Lord George said, like an ancient river-god. "In any
other part of the globe," said he, "there would have been a warning of
some kind or other stuck up here to show there was n't a bridge; but
exactly as I said yesterday, these little beggarly States, with their
petty governments, are the curse of Europe."

"Hush, papa, for mercy' sake," whispered Mary Anne; "this is the Prince
himself; it is his Serene Highness--"

"Oh, the devil!" said he.

"My friend, Mr. Dodd, Prince," said Lord George, presenting him with a
sly look, as much as to say, "the same as I told you about."

"Dodd--Dodd--fellow of that name hanged, wasn't there?" said the Prince.

"Yes, your Highness; he was a Dr. Dodd, who committed forgery, and for
whom the very greatest public sympathy was felt at the time," said K. I.

"Your father, eh?"

"No, your Highness, no relation whatever,"

"Won't have him at any price, George," said the Prince, with a wink.
"Never draw a weed, miss?" said he, turning to Mary Anne.

I don't know what she said, but it must have been smart, for his Serene
Highness laughed heartily and said,--

"Egad, I got it there, Tiverton!"

In due time a royal carriage arrived. The Prince himself handed us in,
and we drove off with one of the Court servants on the box. To be sure,
we forgot that we had left K. I. behind; but Mary Anne said he 'd have
no difficulty in finding a conveyance, and the distance was only a few
miles.

"I wish his Serene Highness had not taken away Lord George," said Mary
Anne; "he insists upon his going with him to Venice."

"For my part," said Cary, "though greatly obliged to the Prince for his
opportune kindness to ourselves, I am still more grateful to him for
this service."

On that, my dear, we had a dispute that lasted till we got to our
journey's end; for though the girls never knew what it was to disagree
at home in Dodsborough, here, abroad, Cary's jealousy is such that she
cannot control herself, and says at times the most cruel and unfeeling
things to her sister.

At last we got to the end of this wearisome day, and found ourselves at
the door of the inn. The Court servant said something to the landlord,
and immediately the whole household turned out to receive us; and the
order was given to prepare the "Ambassador's suite of apartments for
us."

"This is the Prince's doing," whispered Mary Anne in my ear. "Did you
ever know such a piece of good fortune?"

The rooms were splendid, Molly; though a little gloomy when we first got
in, for all the hangings were of purple velvet, and the pictures on
the walls were dark and black, so that, though we had two lamps in our
saloon and above a dozen caudles, you could not see more than one-half
the length of it.

I never saw Mary Anne in such spirits in my life. She walked up and
down, admiring everything, praising everything; then she 'd sit down to
the piano and play for a few minutes, and then spring up and waltz about
the room like a mad thing. As for Cary, I didn't know what became of
her till I found that she had been downstairs with the landlord, getting
him to send a conveyance back for her father, quite forgetting, as Mary
Anne said, that any fuss about the mistake would only serve to expose
us. And there, Molly, once for all, is the difference between the two
girls! The one has such a knowledge of life and the world, that she
never makes a blunder; and the other, with the best intentions, is
always doing something wrong!

We waited supper for K. I. till past one o'clock; but, with his usual
selfishness and disregard of others, he never came till it was nigh
three, and then made such a noise as to wake up the whole house. It
appeared, too, that he missed the coach that was sent to meet him, and
he and Paddy Byrne came the whole way on foot! Let him do what he will,
he has a knack of bringing disgrace on his family! The fatigue and wet
feet, and his temper more than either, brought back the gout on him, and
he did n't get up till late in the afternoon. We were in the greatest
anxiety to tell him about James; but there was no saying what humor he'd
be in, and how he'd take it. Indeed, his first appearance did not augur
well. He was cross with everything and everybody. He said that sleeping
on that grand bed with the satin hangings was like lying in state after
death, and that our elegant drawing-room was about as comfortable as a
cathedral.

He got into a little better temper when the landlord came up with the
bill of fare, and to consult him about the dinner.

"Egad!" said he, "I've ordered fourteen dishes; so I don't think they'll
make much out of the two zwanzigers a head!" Out of decency he had to
order champagne, and a couple of bottles of Italian wine of a very high
quality. "It's like all my economy," says he; "five shillings for a
horse, and a pound to get him shod!"

We saw it was best to wait till dinner was over before we spoke to him;
and, indeed, we were right, for he dined very heartily, finished the two
bottles every glass, and got so happy and comfortable that Mary Anne sat
down to the piano to sing for him.

"Thank you, my darling," said he, when she was done. "I 've no doubt
that the song is a fine one, and that you sung it well, but I can't
follow the words, nor appreciate the air. I like something that touches
me either with an old recollection, or by some suggestion for the
future; and if you 'd try and remember the 'Meeting of the Waters,' or
'Where's the Slave so lowly'--"

"I 'm afraid, sir, I cannot gratify you," said she; and it was all she
could do to get out of the room before he heard her sobbing.

"What's the matter, Jemi," said he, "did I say anything wrong? Is Molly
angry with me?"

"Will you tell me," said I, "when you ever said anything right? Or do
you do anything from morning till night but hurt the feelings and dance
upon the tenderest emotions of your whole family? I've submitted to it
so long," said I, "that I have no heart left in me to complain; but now
that you drive me to it, I 'll tell you my mind;" and so I did, Molly,
till he jumped up at last, put on his hat, and rushed downstairs into
the street. After which I went to my room, and cried till bedtime! As
poor Mary Anne said to me, "There was a refined cruelty in that request
of papa's I can never forget;" nor is it to be expected she should!

The next morning at breakfast he was in a better humor, for the table
was covered with delicacies of every kind, fruit and liqueurs besides.
"Not dear at eightpence, Jemi," he 'd say, at every time he filled his
plate. "Just think the way one is robbed by servants, when you see what
can be had for a 'zwanziger;'" and he made Cary take down a list of the
things, just to send to the "Times," and show how the English hotels
were cheating the public.

We saw that this was a fine opportunity to tell him about James, and so
Mary Anne undertook the task. "And so he never went to London at all,"
he kept repeating all the while. No matter what she said about the
Countess, and her fortune, and her great connections; nothing came out
of his lips but the same words.

"Don't you perceive," said I, at last, for I could n't bear it any
longer, "that he did better,--that the boy took a shorter and surer road
in life than a shabby place under the Crown!"

"May be so," said he, with a deep sigh,--"may be so! but I ought to
be excused if I don't see at a glance how any man makes his fortune by
marriage!"

I knew that he meant that for a provocation, Molly, but I bit my lips
and said nothing.

We then explained to him that we had sent off a note to the Countess,
asking her to pass a few weeks with us, and were in hourly expectation
of her arrival.

He gave another heavy sigh, and drank off a glass of Curaçoa.

Mary Anne went on about our good luck in finding such a capital hotel,
so cheap and in such a sweet retired spot,--just the very thing the
Countess would like.

"Never went to London at all!" muttered K. I., for he could n't get his
thoughts out of the old track. And, indeed, though we were all talking
to him for more than an hour afterwards, it was easy to see that he was
just standing still on the same spot as before. I don't ever remember
passing a day of such anxiety as that, for every distant noise of
wheels, every crack of a postilion's whip, brought us to the window to
see if they were coming. We delayed dinner till seven o'clock, and put
K. I.'s watch back, to persuade him it was only five; we loitered and
lingered over it as long as we could, but no sight nor sound was there
of their coming.

"Tell Paddy to fetch my slippers, Molly," said K. I., as we got into the
drawing-room.

"Oh, papa! impossible," said she; "the Countess may arrive at any
moment."

"Think of his never going to London at all," said he, with a groan.

I almost cried with spite, to see a man so lost to every sentiment of
proper pride, and even dead to the prospects of his own children!

"Don't you think I might have a cigar?" said he.

"Is it here, papa?" said Mary Anne. "The smell of tobacco would
certainly disgust the Countess."

"He thinks it would be more flattering to receive her into all the
intimacy of the family," said I, "and see us without any disguise."

"Egad, then," said he, bitterly, "she's come too late for _that_; she
should have made our acquaintance before we began vagabondizing over
Europe, and pretending to fifty things we 've no right to!"

"Here she is,--here they are!" screamed Mary Anne at this moment; and,
with a loud noise like thunder, the heavy carriage rolled under the
arched gateway, while crack--crack--crack went the whips, and the big
bell of the ball began ringing away furiously.

"_I'm_ off, at all events," said K. I.; and snatching one of the candles
off the table, he rushed out of the room as hard as he could go.

I had n't more than time to put my cap straight on my head, when I heard
them on the stairs; and then, with a loud bang of the folding-doors, the
landlord himself ushered them into the room. She was leaning on James's
arm, but the minute she saw me, she rushed forward and kissed my hand!
I never was so ashamed in my life, Molly. It was making me out such a
great personage at once, that I thought I 'd have fainted at the very
notion. As to Mary Anne, they were in each other's arms in a second,
and kissed a dozen times. Cary, however, with a coldness that I'll never
forgive her for, just shook hands with her, and then turned to embrace
James a second time.

While Mary Anne was taking off her shawl and her bonnet, I saw that she
was looking anxiously about the room.

"What is it?" said I to Mary Anne,--"what does she want?" "She's asking
where's the Prince; she means papa," whispered Mary Anne to me; and
then, in a flash, I saw the way James represented us. "Tell her, my
dear," said I, "that the Prince was n't very well, and has gone to bed."
But she was too much engaged with us all to ask more about him, and we
all sat down to tea, the happiest party ever you looked at. I had
time now to look at her; and really, Molly, I must allow, she was the
handsomest creature I ever beheld. She was a kind of a Spanish beauty,
brown, and with jet-black eyes and hair, but a little vermilion on her
cheeks, and eyelashes that threw a shadow over the upper part of her
face. As to her teeth, when she smiled,--I thought Mary Anne's good, but
they were nothing in comparison. When she caught me looking at her, she
seemed to guess what was passing in my mind, for she stooped down and
kissed my hand twice or thrice with rapture.

It was a great loss to me, as you may suppose, that I could n't speak
to her, nor understand what she said to me; but I saw that Mary Anne
was charmed with her, and even Cary--cold and distant as she was at
first--seemed very much taken with her afterwards.

When tea was over, James sat down beside me, and told me everything.
"If the governor will only behave handsomely for a week or two," said
he,--"I ask no more,--that lovely creature and four thousand a year are
all my own." He went on to show me that we ought to live in a certain
style--not looking too narrowly into the cost of it--while she was with
us. "She can't stay after the fourteenth," said he, "for her uncle the
Cardinal is to be at Pisa that day, and she must be there to meet him;
so that, after all, it's only three weeks I 'm asking for, and a couple
of hundred pounds will do it all. As for me," said he, "I'm regularly
aground,--haven't a ten-pound note remaining, and had to sell my 'drag'
and my four grays at Milan, to get money to come on here."

He then informed me that her saddle-horses would arrive in a day or two,
and that we should immediately provide others, to enable him and the
girls to ride out with her. "She is used to every imaginable luxury,"
said he, "and has no conception that want of means could be the
impediment to having anything one wished for."

I promised him to do my best with his father, Molly: but you may guess
what a task that was; for, say what I could, the only remark I could get
out of him was, "It's very strange that he never went to London."

After all, Molly, I might have spared myself all my fatigue and all my
labor, if I had only had the common-sense to remember what he was,--what
he is,--ay, and what he will be--to the end of the chapter. He was n't
well in the room with her the next morning, when I saw the old fool
looking as soft and as sheepish at her as if he was making love himself.
I own to you, Molly, I think she encouraged it. She had that French way
with her, that seems to say, "Look as long as you like, and I don't mind
it;" and so he did,--and even after breakfast I caught him peeping under
the "Times" at her foot, which, I must say, was beautifully shaped and
small; not but that the shoe had a great deal to say to it.

"I hope you 're pleased, Mr. Dodd?" said I, as I passed behind his
chair.

"Yes," said he; "the funds is rising."

"I mean with the prospect," said I.

"Yes," said he; "we 'll be all looking up presently."

"Better than looking down," said I, "you old fool!"

I could n't help it, Molly, if it was to have spoiled everything,--the
words would come out.

He got very red in the face, Molly, but said nothing, and so I left
him to his own reflections. And it is what I'm now going to do with
yourself, seeing that I 've come to the end of all my news, and
carefully jotted down everything that has occurred here for your
benefit. Four days have now passed over, and they don't seem like as
many hours, though the place itself has not got many amusements.

The young people ride out every morning on horseback, and rarely come
back until time to dress for dinner. Then we all meet; and I must say
a more elegant display I never witnessed! The table covered with plate,
and beautiful colored glass globes filled with flowers. The girls in
full dress,--for the Countess comes down as if she was going to a Court,
and wears diamond combs in her head, and a brooch of the same, as large
as a cheese-plate. I too do my best to make a suitable appearance,--in
crimson velvet and a spangled turban, with a deep fall of gold
fringe,--and, except the "Prince,"--as we call K. I.,--we are all fit to
receive the Emperor of Russia. In the evening we have music and a game
of cards, except on the opera nights, which we never miss; and then,
with a nice warm supper at twelve o'clock, Molly, we close as pleasant
a day as you could wish. Of course I can't tell you much more about
the Countess, for I 'm unable to talk to her, but she and Mary Anne are
never asunder; and, though Cary still plays cold and retired, she can't
help calling her a lovely creature.

It seems there is some new difficulty about the dispensation; and the
Cardinal requires her to do "some meritorious works," I think they call
them, before he 'll ask for it. But if ever there was a saintly young
creature, it is herself; and I hear she's up at five o'clock every
morning just to attend first mass.

Here they are now, coming up the stairs, and I have n't more than time
to seal this, and write myself

Your attached friend,

Jemima Dodd.

Mary Anne begs you will tell Kitty Doolan that she has not been able to
write to her, with all the occupation she has lately had, but will take
the very first moment to send her at least a few lines. As James's good
luck will soon be no secret, you may tell it to Kitty, and I think it
won't be thrown away on her, as I suspect she was making eyes at him
herself, though she might be his mother!



LETTER XVI. MISS MARY ANNE DODD TO MISS DOOLAN, OF BALLYDOOLAN

Parma.

Dearest Kitty,--It is but seldom I have to bespeak your indulgence on
the score of my brevity, but I must do so now, overwhelmed as I am with
occupation, and scarcely a moment left me that I can really call my own.
Mamma's letter to old Molly will have explained to you the great fortune
which has befallen James, and, I might add also, all who belong to
him. And really, dearest, with all the assurance the evidence of my own
senses can convey, I still find it difficult to credit such unparalleled
luck. Fancy beauty--and such beauty,--youth, genius, mind, rank, and a
large fortune, thrown, I may say, at his feet! She is Spanish, by the
mother's side; "Las Caldenhas," I think the name, whose father was a
grandee of the first class. Her own father was the General Count de
St. Amand, who commanded in the celebrated battle of Austerlitz in
the retreat from Moscow. I 'm sure, dearest, you 'll be amazed at my
familiarity with these historical events; but the truth is, she is a
perfect treasury of such knowledge, and I must needs gain some little by
the contact.

I am at a loss how to give you any correct notion of one whose
universality seems to impart to her character all the semblance of
contradictory qualities. She is, for instance, proud and haughty, to
a degree little short of insolence. She exacts from men a species of
deference little less than a slavish submission. As she herself says,
"Let them do homage." All her ideas of life and society are formed on
the very grandest scale. She has known, in fact, but one "set," and
that has been one where royalties moved as private individuals. Her very
trinkets recall such memories; and I have passed more than one morning
admiring pearl ear-rings, with the cipher of the Czarawitsch; bracelets
with the initials of an Austrian Archduke, and a diamond cross, which
she forgot whether it was given her by Prince Metternich or Mehemet Ali.
If you only heard her, too, how she talks of that "dear old thing, the
ex-King of Bavaria," and with what affectionate regard she alludes to
"her second self,--the Queen of Spain," you 'd feel at once, dearest
Kitty, that you were moving amidst crowns and sceptres, with the rustle
of royal purple beside, and the shadow of a thronely canopy over you. In
one sense, this has been for us the very rarest piece of good fortune;
for, accustomed as she has been to only one sphere,--and that the very
highest,--she does not detect many little peculiarities in papa's and
mamma's habits, and censure them as vulgar, but rather accepts them as
the ways and customs among ordinary nobility. In fact, she thinks the
Prince, as she calls papa, the very image of "Pozzo di Borgo;" and mamma
she can scarcely see without saying, "Your Majesty," she is so like the
Queen Dowager of Piedmont.

As to James, if it were not that I knew her real sentiments, and that
she loves him to distraction,--merely judging from what goes on in
society,--I should say he had not a chance of success. She takes
pleasure, I almost think, in decrying the very qualities he has most
pretension to. She even laughs at his horsemanship; and yesterday went
so far as to say that activity was not amongst his perfections,--James,
who really is the very type of agility! One of her amusements is to
propose to him some impossible feat or other, and the poor boy has
nearly broken his back and dislocated his limbs by contortions that
nothing but a fish could accomplish. But the contrarieties of her nature
do not end here! She, so grave, so dignified, so imperious, I might even
call it, before others, once alone with me becomes the wildest creature
in existence. The very moment she makes her escape to her own room, she
can scarcely control her delight at throwing off the "Countess," as she
says herself, and being once again free, joyous, and unconstrained.

I have told her, over and over again, that if James only knew her in
these moods, that he would adore her even more than he does now; but
she only laughs, and says, "Well, time enough; he shall see me so one of
these days." It was not till after ten or twelve days that she admitted
me to her real confidence. The manner of it was itself curious. "Are you
sleepy?" said she to me, one evening as we went upstairs to bed; "for,
if not, come and pay me a visit in my room."

[Illustration: 176]

I accepted the invitation; and after exchanging my evening robe for a
dressing-gown, hastened to the chamber. I could scarcely believe my
eyes as I entered! She was seated on a richly embroidered cushion on
the floor, dressed in Turkish fashion, loose trousers of gold-sprigged
muslin, with a small fez of scarlet cloth on her head, and a jacket of
the same colored velvet almost concealed beneath its golden embroidery;
a splendid scimitar lay beside her, and a most costly pipe, in pure
Turkish taste, which, however, she did not make use of, but smoked a
small paper cigarette instead.

"Come, dearest," said she, "turn the key in the door, and light your
cigar; here we are at length free and happy." It was in vain that I
assured her I never had tried to smoke. At first she would n't believe,
and then she actually screamed with laughter at me. "One would fancy,"
said she, "that you had only left England yesterday. Why, child, where
have you lived and with whom?" I cannot go over all she said; nor need
I repeat the efforts I made to palliate my want of knowledge of life,
which she really appeared to grieve over. "I should never think of
asking your sister here," said she; "there is a frivolity in all her
gayety--a light-heartedness, without sentiment--that I cannot abide;
but you, _ma chère_, you have a nature akin to my own. You ought, and,
indeed, must be one of us."

So far as I could collect, Kitty,--for remember, I was smoking my first
cigarette all this time, and not particularly clear of head,--there is a
set in Parisian society, the most exclusive and refined of all, who have
voted the emancipation of women from all the slavery and degradation
to which the social usages of the world at large would condemn them.
Rightly judging that the expansion of intelligence is to be acquired
only in greater liberty of action, they have admitted them to a freer
community and participation in the themes which occupy men's thoughts,
and the habits which accompany their moods of reflection.

Gifted, as we confessedly are, with nicer and more acute perceptions,
finer powers of discrimination and judgment, greater delicacy of
feeling, and more apt appreciation of the beautiful and the true, why
should we descend to an intellectual bondage? As dearest Josephine
says, "Our influence, to be beneficial, should be candidly and openly
exercised, not furtively practised, and cunningly insinuated. Let us
leave these arts to women who want to rule their husbands; our destiny
be it--to sway mankind!" Her theory, so far as I understand it, is that
men will not endure petty rivalries, but succumb at once to superior
attainments. Thus, your masculine young lady, Kitty,--your creature of
boisterous manners, slang, and slap-dash,--is invariably a disgust;
but your true "lionne," gifted yet graceful, possessing every manly
accomplishment and yet employing her knowledge to enhance the charms of
her society and render herself more truly companionable, the equal of
men in culture, their superior in taste and refinement, exercises a
despotic influence around her.

Men will quit the _salon_ for the play-table. Let us, then, be gamblers
for the nonce, and we shall not be deserted. They smoke, that they may
get together and talk with a freedom and a license not used before
us. Let us adopt the custom, and we are no longer debarred from their
intimacy and the power of infusing the refining influences of our sex
through their barbarism! As Josephine says, "We are the martyrs now,
that we may be the masters hereafter!"

I grew very faint, once or twice, while she was talking; and, indeed,
at last was obliged to lie down, and have my temples bathed with
eau-de-Cologne, so that I unluckily lost many of her strongest arguments
and happiest illustrations; but, from frequent conversations since, and
from reading some of the beautiful romances of "Georges Sand," I
have attained to, if not a full appreciation, at least an unbounded
admiration of this beautiful system.

Have I forgotten to tell you that we met the Prince of Pontremoli on our
way here?--a Serene Highness, Kitty! but as easy and as familiar as my
brother James. The drollest thing is that he has lived while in England
with all the "fast people," and only talks a species of conventional
slang in vogue amongst them; but for all that he is delightful,--full
of gayety and good spirits, and has the wickedest dark eyes you ever
beheld.

Dear Josephine's caprices are boundless! Yesterday she read of a black
Arabian that the Imaum of somewhere was sending as a present to General
Lamoricière, and she immediately said, "Oh, the General is exiled now,
he can't want a charger,--send and get him for _me_." Poor James is
out all the morning in search of some one to despatch on this difficult
service; but how it is to be accomplished--not to speak of where the
money is to come from--is an unreadable riddle to

Your affectionate and devoted

Mary Anne Dodd.

You will doubtless be dissatisfied, dearest Kitty, if I seal this
without inserting one word about myself and my own prospects. But what
can I say, save that all is mist-wreathed and shadowy in the dim future
before me? _He_ has said nothing since. I see--it is but too plain to
see--the anguish that is tearing his very heart-strings; but he buries
his sorrow within his soul, and I am not free even to weep beside
the sepulchre! Oh, dearest, when you read what Georges Sand has
written,--when you come to ponder over the misenes the fatal institution
of marriage has wrought in the world,--the fond hearts broken, the noble
natures crushed, and the proud spirits degraded,--you will only wonder
why the tyranny has been borne so long! and exclaim with me, "When--oh,
when shall we be free!"



LETTER XVII. KENNY JAMES DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., OF THE GRANGE BRUFF

Parma.

My dear Tom,--The little gleam of sunshine that shone upon us for
the last week or so has turned out to be but the prelude of a regular
hurricane, and all our feasting and merriment have ended in gloom,
darkness, and disunion. Mrs. D.'s letter to old Molly has made known
to you the circumstances under which James returned home to us, without
ever having gone to London. You, of course, know all about the lovely
young widow, with her immense jointure and splendid connections. If you
do not, I must say that from my heart and soul I envy you, for I have
heard of nothing else for the last fortnight! At all events, you have
heard enough to satisfy you that the house of Dodd was about to garnish
its escutcheon with some very famous quarterings,:--illustrious enough
even to satisfy the pride of the McCarthys. A Cardinal's daughter--niece
I mean--with four thousand a year, had deigned to ally herself with us,
and we were all running breast-high in the blaze of our great success.

She came here on a visit to us while some negotiations were being
concluded with the Papal Court, for we were great folk, Tom, let me tell
you, and have been performing, so to say, in the same piece with popes,
kings, and cardinals for the last month; and I myself, under the style
and title of the "Prince," have narrowly escaped going mad from the
unceasing influences of delusions, shams, and impositions in which we
have been living and moving.

Of our extravagant mode of life, I'll only say that I don't think there
was anything omitted which could contribute to ruin a moderate income.
Splendid apartments, grand dinners, horses, carriages, servants,
opera-boxes, bouquets, were all put in requisition to satisfy the young
Countess that she was about to make a suitable alliance, and that any
deficiencies observable in either our manners or breeding were fully
compensated for by our taste in cookery and our tact in wine. To be
plain, Tom, to obtain this young widow with four thousand a year, we had
to pretend to be possessed of about four times as much. It was a regular
game of "brag" we were playing, and with a very bad hand of cards!

Hope led me on from day to day, trusting that each post would bring
us the wished-for consent, and that at least a private marriage would
ratify the compact Popes and cardinals, however, are too stately for
fast movements, and at the end of five weeks we had n't, so far as I
could see, gained an inch of ground!

At one time his Holiness had gone off to Albano to bless somebody's
bones, or the bones were coming to bless _him_, I forget which. At
another, the King of Naples, fatigued with signing warrants for death
and the galleys, desired to enjoy a little repose from public business.
Cardinal Antonelli, hearing that we were Irish, got in a rage, and said
that Ireland gave them no peace at all. And so it came to pass that the
old thief--procrastination--was at his usual knavery; and for want of
better, set to work to ruin poor Kenny Dodd!

It is only fair to observe that, except Cary and myself, nobody
manifested any great impatience at this delay; and even she, I believe,
merely felt it out of regard to me. The others seemed satisfied to fare
sumptuously every day; and assuredly the course of true love ran most
smoothly along in rivulets of "mock turtle" and "potages à la fiancée."
At last, Tom, I brought myself to book with the simple question, "How
long can this continue? Will your capital stand it for a month, or even
a week?" Before I attempted the answer, I sent for Mrs. D., to give her
the honor of solving the riddle if she could.

Our interview took place in a little crib they call my dressing-room,
but which, I must remark to you, is a dark corner under a staircase,
where the rats hold a parliament every night of the season. Mrs. D. was
so shocked with the locality that she proposed our adjourning to her own
apartment; and thither we at once repaired to hold our council.

I have too often wearied you with our domestic differences to make any
addition to such recitals pleasant to either of us. You know us both
thoroughly, besides, and can have no difficulty in filling up the debate
which ensued. Enough that I say Mrs. D. was more than usually herself.
She was grandly eloquent on the prospect of the great alliance;
contemptuously indifferent about the petty sacrifice it was to cost us;
caustically criticised the narrow-mindedness by which I measured such
grandeur; winding up all with the stereotyped comparison between Dodds
and M'Carthys, with which she usually concludes an engagement, just as
they play "God save the Queen" at Vauxhall to show that the fireworks
are over.

"And now," said I, "that we have got over preliminaries, when is this
marriage to come off?"

"Ask the Pope when he'll sign the Bull," said she, tartly.

"Do you know," said I, "I think the 'Bull is a mistake'?" but she did
n't take the joke, and I went on. "After that, what delays are there?"

"I suppose the settlement will take some time. You 'll have to make
suitable provision for James, to give him a handsome allowance out of
the estate."

"Egad, Mrs. D.," said I, "it must be _out_ of it with a vengeance, for
there's no man living will advance five hundred _upon_ it."

"And who wants them?" said she, angrily. "You know what I mean, well
enough!"

"Upon my conscience, ma'am, I do not," said I. "You must just take pity
on my stupidity and enlighten me."

"Isn't it clear, Mr. D.," said she, "that when marrying a woman with a
large fortune he ought to have something himself?"

"It would be better he had; no doubt of it!"

"And if he has n't? if what should have come to him was squandered and
made away with by a life of--No matter, I'll restrain my feelings."

"Don't, then," said I, "for I find that _mine_ would like a little
expansion."

It took her five minutes, and a hard struggle besides, before she could
resume. She had, so to say, "taken off the gloves," Tom, and it went
hard with her not to have a few "rounds" for her pains. By degrees,
however, she calmed down to explain that by a settlement on James she
never contemplated actual value, but an inconvertible medium, a mere
parchmentary figment to represent lands and tenements,--just, in fact,
what we had done before, and with such memorable success, in Mary Anne's
case.

"No," said I, aloud, and at once,--"no more of that humbug! You got me
into that mess before I knew where I was. You involved me in such a maze
of embarrassments that I was glad to take any, even a bad road, to get
away from them. But you 'll not catch me in the same scrape again; and
rather than deliberately sit down to sign, seal, and deliver myself a
swindler, James must die a bachelor, that's all!"

If I had told her, Tom, that I was going into holy orders, and intended
to be Bishop of Madagascar, she could not have stared at me with more
surprise.

"What's come over you?" said she, at last; "what 's the meaning of all
these elegant fine sentiments and scruples? Are you going to die, Mr.
D.? Is it making your soul you are?"

"However unmannerly the confession, Mrs. D.," said I, "I 'm afraid I
'm not going to die; but the simple truth is that I can't be a rogue in
cold blood; maybe, if I had the luck to be born a M'Carthy, I might
have had better ideas on the subject." This was a poke at Morgan James
M'Carthy that was transported for altering a will.

She could n't speak with passion; she was struck dumb with rage, and
so, finding the enemy's artillery spiked, I opened a brisk fire at
musket-range; in other words, I told her that all we had been hitherto
doing abroad rarely went beyond making ourselves ridiculous, but that,
though I liked fun, I could n't push a joke as far as a felony. And,
finally, I declared, in a loud and very unmistakable manner, that as I
had n't a sixpence to settle on James, I 'd not go through the mockery
of engrossing a lie on parchment; that I thought very meanly of the
whole farce we were carrying on; and that if I was only sure I could
make myself intelligible in my French, I 'd just go straight to the
Countess and say,--I 'm afraid to write the words as I spoke them, lest
my spelling should be even worse than my pronunciation, for they were in
French, but the meaning was,--"I 'm no more a Prince than I 'm Primate
of Ireland. I 'm a small country gentleman, with an embarrassed estate
and a rascally tenantry. I came abroad for economy, and it has almost
ruined me. If you like my son, there he is for you; but don't flatter
yourself that we possess either nobility or fortune."

"You 've done it now, you old--------." The epithet was lost in a
scream, Tom, for she went off in strong hysterics; so I just rang the
bell for Mary Anne, and slipped quietly away to my own room. I trust it
is a good conscience does it for me, but I find that I can almost always
sleep soundly when I go to bed; and it is a great blessing, Tom,--for
let me tell you, that after five or six and fifty, one's waking hours
have more annoyances than pleasures about them; but the world is just
like a man's mistress: he cares most for it when it is least fond of
him!

I slept like a humming-top, and, indeed, there 's no saying when I
should have awoke, if it had n't been for the knocking they kept up at
my door.

It was Cary at last got admittance, and I had only to look in her face
to see that a misfortune had befallen us.

"What is it, my dear?" said I.

"All kinds of worry and confusion, pappy," said she, taking my hand in
both of hers. "The Countess is gone."

"Gone?--how?--where?"

"Gone. Started this morning,--indeed, before daybreak,--I believe for
Genoa; but there 's no knowing, for the people have been evidently
bribed to secrecy."

"What for?--with what object?"

"The short of the matter is this, pappy. She appears to have overheard
some conversation--evidently intended to be of a private nature--that
passed between you and mamma last night. How she understood it does not
appear, for, of course, you did n't talk French."

"Let that pass. Proceed."

"Whatever it was that she gathered, or fancied she gathered, one thing
is certain: she immediately summoned her maid, and gave orders to pack
up; post-horses were also ordered, but all with the greatest secrecy.
Meanwhile she indited a short note to Mary Anne, in which, after
apologizing for a very unceremonious departure, she refers her to you
and to mamma for the explanation, with a half-sarcastic remark 'that
family confidences had much better be conducted in a measured tone of
voice, and confined to the vernacular of the speakers.' With a very
formal adieu to James, whom she styles 'votre estimable frère,' the
letter concludes with an assurance of deep and sincere consideration on
the part of Josephine de St. A."

"What does all this mean?" exclaimed I, with a terrible misgiving, Tom,
that I knew only too well how the mischief originated.

"That is exactly what I want you to explain, pappy," said she, "for the
letter distinctly refers to something within your knowledge."

"I must see the document itself," said I, cautiously; "fetch me the
letter."

"James carried it off with him."

"Off with him,--why, is he gone too?"

"Yes, pappy, he started with post-horses after her,--at least, so far as
he could make out the road she travelled. Poor fellow! he seemed almost
out of his mind when he left this."

"And your mother, how is she?"

Cary shook her head mournfully.

Ah, Tom, I needed but the gesture to show me what was in store for me.
My fertile imagination daguerreotyped a great family picture, in which
I was shortly to fill a most lamentable part. My prophetic soul--as a
novelist would call it--depicted me once more in the dock, arraigned for
the ruin of my children, the wreck of their prospects, and the downfall
of the Dodds. I fancied that even Cary would turn against me, and almost
thought I could hear her muttering, "Ah, it was papa did it all!"

While I was thus communing with myself, I received a message from Mrs.
D. that she wished to see me. I take shame to myself for the confession,
Tom, but I own that I felt it like an order to come up for sentence.
There could be no longer any question of my guilt,--my trial was over;
there remained nothing but to hear the last words of the law, which
seemed to say, "Kenny Dodd, you have been convicted of a great offence.
By your blundering stupidity--your unbridled temper, and your gratuitous
folly--you have destroyed your son's chance of worldly fortune, blasted
his affections, and--and lost him four thousand a year. But your
iniquity does not end even here. You have also--" As I reached this, the
door opened, and Mrs. D., in her "buff coat," as I used to call a
certain flannel dressing-gown that she usually donned for battle, slowly
entered, followed by Mary Anne, with a whole pharmacopoeia of
restoratives,--an "ambulance" that plainly predicted hot work before us.
Resolving that our duel should have no witnesses, I turned the girls out
of the room, and for the same reason do I preserve a rigid secrecy as to
all the details of our engagement; enough when I say that the sun went
down upon our wrath, and it was near nightfall when we drew off our
forces. Though I fought vigorously, and with the courage of despair, I
couldn't get over the fact that it was my unhappy explosion in French
that did all the mischief. I tried hard to make it appear that her
sudden departure was rather a boon than otherwise; that our expenses
were terrific, and, moreover, that, as I was determined against any
fictitious settlement, her flight had only anticipated a certain
catastrophe; but all these devices availed me little against my real
culpability, which no casuistry could get over.

"Well, ma'am," said I, at last, "one thing is quite clear,--the
Continent does not suit us. All our experience of foreign life and
manners neither guides us in difficulty nor warns us when in danger. Let
us go back to where we are, at least, as wise as our neighbors,--where
we are familiar with the customs, and where, whatever our shortcomings,
we meet with the indulgent judgment that comes of old acquaintance."

"Where 's that?" said she. "I 'm curious to know where is this elegant
garden of paradise?"

"Bruff, ma'am,--our own neighborhood."

"Where we were always in hot water with every one. Were you ever out
of a squabble on the Bench or at the poorhouse? Were n't you always
disputing about land with the tenants, and about water with the miller?
Had n't you a row at every assizes, and a skirmish at every road
session? Bruff, indeed; it's a new thing to hear it called the Happy
Valley!"

"Faith, I know I 'm not Rasselas," said I.

"You're restless enough," said she, mistaking the word; "but it's your
own temper that does it. No, Mr. D., if you want to go back to Ireland,
I won't be selfish enough to oppose it; but as for myself, I 'll never
set a foot in it."

"You are determined on that?" said I.

"I am," said she.

"In that case, ma'am," said I, "I 'm only losing valuable time waiting
for you to change your mind; so I 'll start at once."

"A pleasant journey to you, Mr. D.," said she, flouncing out of the
room, and leaving me the field of battle, but scarcely the victory. Now,
Tom, I 've too much to do and to think about to discuss the point that I
know you 're eager for,--which of us was more in the wrong. Such debates
are only casuistry from beginning to end. Besides, at all events, _my_
mind is made up. I 'll go back at once. The little there ever was of
anything good about me is fast oozing away in this life of empty parade
and vanity. Mary Anne and James are both the worse of it; who knows how
long Cary will resist its evil influence? I'll go down to Genoa, and
take the Peninsular steamer straight for Southampton. I 'm a bad sailor,
but it will save me a few pounds, and some patience besides, in escaping
the lying and cheating scoundrels I should meet in a land journey.

To any of the neighbors, you may say that I 'm coming home for a few
weeks to look after the tenants; and to any whom you think would believe
it, just hint that the Government has sent for me.

I conclude that I 'll be very short of cash when I reach Genoa, so send
me anything you can lay hands on, and believe me,

Ever yours faithfully,

Kenny James Dodd.

P. S. I told you this was a cheap place. The bill has just come up, and
it beats the "Clarendon"! It appears that his Serene Highness told them
to treat us like princes, and we must pay in the same style. I'm going
to settle' part of our debt by parting with our travelling-carriage,
which, besides assisting the exchequer, will be a great shock to Mrs.
D., and a foretaste of what she has to come down to when I 'm gone.
It is seldom that a man can combine the double excellence of a great
financier and a great moralist!



LETTER XVIII. MARY ANNE DODD TO MISS DOOLAN, OP BALLYDOOLAN

"Cour de Parme," Parma.

Dearest Kitty,--So varied have been my emotions of late, and with such
whirlwind rapidity have they succeeded each other in my distracted
brain, that I am really at a loss to know where I left off in my last
epistle to you, and at what particular crisis in our adventures I closed
my narrative. Forgive me, dearest, if I impose on you the tiresome task
of listening twice to the same tale, or the almost equally unpleasant
duty of trying to follow me through gaps of unexplained events.

Have I told you of the Countess's departure,--that most mysterious
flight, which has thrown poor James into, I fear, a hopeless melancholy,
and made shipwreck of his heart forever? I feel as if I had revealed it
to my dearest Kitty; my soul whispers to me that she bears her share in
my sorrows, and mingles her tears with mine. Yes, dearest, she is gone!
Some indiscreet revelations papa made to mamma in his room would
appear to have disclosed more of our private affairs than ought to have
obtained publicity, were overheard by her, and she immediately gave
orders to her servants to pack up, leaving a very vague note behind
her, plainly intimating, however, that papa might, if he pleased,
satisfactorily account for the step she had taken. This, and a few
almost flippant acknowledgments of our attentions, concluded an epistle
that fell in the midst of us like a rocket.

If I feel deeply wounded at the slight thus shown us, and the still
heavier injury inflicted on poor dear James, yet am I constrained to
confess that Josephine was quite justified in what she did. Born in
the very highest class, all her habits, her ways, her very instincts
aristocratic, the bare thought of an alliance with a family struggling
with dubious circumstances must have been too shocking! I did not ever
believe that she returned James's affection; she liked him, perhaps,
well enough,--that is, well enough to marry! She deemed him her equal in
rank and fortune, and in that respect regarded the match as a fair one.
To learn that we were neither titled nor rich, neither great by station
nor rolling in wealth, was of course to feel that she had been deceived
and imposed upon, and might reasonably warrant even the half-sarcastic
spirit of her farewell note.

To tell what misery this has cost us all is quite beyond me; scorned
affection,--blasted hopes,--ambitions scattered to the winds,--a
glorious future annihilated! Conceive all of these that you can,
and then couple them with meaner and more vulgar regrets, as to what
enormous extravagance the pursuit has involved us in, the expense of a
style of living that even a prince could scarcely have maintained, and
all at a little secluded capital where nobody comes, nobody lives; so
that we do not reap even the secondary advantage of that notoriety for
which we have to pay so dearly. Mamma and I, who think precisely alike
on these subjects, are overwhelmed with misery as we reflect over what
the money thus squandered would have done at Rome, Florence, or Vienna!

James is distracted, and papa sits poring all day long over papers and
accounts, by way of arranging his affairs before his death. Cary alone
maintains her equanimity, for which she may thank the heartlessness of a
nature insensible to all feeling.

Imagine a family circle of such ingredients! Think of us as you saw
us last, even in all the darkness of Dodsborough, and you will find it
difficult to believe we are the same! Yet, dearest, it might all have
been different,--how different! But papa--there is no use trying to
conceal it--has a talent for ruining the prospects of his family, that
no individual advantages, no combination of events, however felicitous,
can avail against! An absurd and most preposterous notion of being what
he calls "honest and aboveboard" leads him to excesses of every kind,
and condemns us to daily sorrows and humiliations. It is in vain that
we tell him nobody parades his debts no more than his infirmities; that
people wear their best faces for the world, and that credit is the same
principle in morals as in mercantile affairs. His reply is, "No. I 'm
tired of all that. I never perform a great part without longing for the
time when I shall be Kenny Dodd again!"

This one confession will explain to you the hopelessness of all our
efforts to rise in life, and our last resource is in the prospect of his
going back to Ireland. Mamma has already proposed to accept a thousand
a year for herself and me; while Cary should return with papa to
Dodsborough. It is possible that this arrangement might have been
concluded ere this, but that papa has got a relapse of his gout, and
been laid up for the last eight days. He refuses to see any doctor,
saying that they all drive the malady in by depletion, and has taken to
drinking port wine all day long, by way of confining the attack to his
foot. What is to be the success of this treatment has yet to be seen,
but up to this time its only palpable effect has been to make him like
a chained tiger. He roars and shouts fearfully, and has smashed all the
more portable articles of furniture in the room,--throwing them at the
waiters. He insists, besides, on having his bill made up every night,
so that instead of one grand engagement once a week, we have now a smart
skirmish every evening, which usually lasts till bedtime.

For economy, too, we have gone up to the second story, and come down to
a very meagre dinner. No carriage,--no saddle-horses,--no theatre. The
courier dismissed, and a strict order at the bar against all "extras."

James lies all day abed; Cary plays nurse to papa; mamma and I sit
moping beside a little miserable stove till evening, when we receive our
one solitary visitor,--a certain Father M'Grail, an Irish priest, who
has been resident here for thirty years, and is known as the Padre
Giacomo! He is a spare, thin, pock-marked little man, with a pair of
downcast, I was going to say dishonest-looking, eyes, who talks with an
accent as rich as though he only left Kilrush yesterday. We have only
known him ten days, but he has already got an immense influence over
mamma, and induced her to read innumerable little books, and to practise
a variety of small penances besides. I suspect he is rather afraid
of _me_,--at least we maintain towards each other a kind of armed
neutrality; but mamma will not suffer me to breathe a word against him.

It is not unlikely that he owes much of the esteem mamma feels for him
to his own deprecatory estimate of papa, whom he pronounces to be, in
many respects, almost as infamous as a Protestant. Cary he only alludes
to by throwing up hands and eyes, and seeming to infer that she is
irrecoverably lost.

I own to you, Kitty, I don't like him,--I scarcely trust him,--but it
is, after all, such a resource to have any one to talk to, anything to
break the dull monotony of this dreary life, that I hail his coming with
pleasure, and am actually working a rochet, or an alb, or a something
else for him to wear on Saint Nicolo of Treviso's "festa,"--an occasion
on which the little man desires to appear with extraordinary splendor.
Mamma, too, is making a canopy to hold over his honored head; and I
sincerely hope that our _oeuvres méritoires_ will redound to our future
advantage! I am half afraid that I have shocked you with an apparent
irreverence in speaking of these things, but I must confess to you,
dearest Kitty, that I am occasionally provoked beyond all bounds by the
degree of influence this small saint exercises in our family, and by no
means devoid of apprehension lest his dominion should become absolute.
Even already he has persuaded mamma that papa's illness will resist
all medical skill to the end of time, and will only yield to the
intervention of a certain Saint Agatha of Orsaro, a newly discovered
miracle-worker, of whose fame you will doubtless hear much erelong.

To my infinite astonishment, papa is quite converted to this opinion,
and Cary tells me is most impatient to set out for Orsaro, a little
village at the foot of the mountain of that name, and about thirty miles
from this. As the only approach is by a bridle-path, we are to travel on
mules or asses; and I look forward to the excursion, if not exactly with
pleasure, with some interest. Father Giacomo--I can't call him anything
else--has already written to secure rooms for us at the little inn; and
we are meanwhile basely employed in the manufacture of certain pilgrim
costumes, which are indispensable to all frequenting the holy shrine.
The dress is far from unbecoming, I assure you; a loose robe of white
stuff--ours are Cashmere--with wide sleeves, and a large hood lined
with sky-blue; a cord of the same color round the waist; no shoes or
stockings, but light sandals, which show the foot to perfection. An
amber rosary is the only ornament permitted; but the whole is charming.

Saint Agatha of Orsaro will unquestionably make a great noise in the
world; and it will therefore be interesting to you to know something
of her history,--or, what Fra Giacomo more properly calls, her
manifestation--which was in this wise: The priest of Orsaro--a very
devout and excellent man--had occasion to go into the church late at
night on the eve of Saint Agatha's festival. He was anxious, I believe,
to see that all the decorations to do honor to the day were in proper
order, and, taking a lamp from the sacristy, he walked down the aisle
till he came to the shrine, where the saint's image stood. He knelt
for a moment to address her in prayer, when, with a sudden sneeze, she
extinguished his light, and left him fainting and in darkness on the
floor of the church. In this fashion was he discovered the following
morning, when, after coming to himself, he made the revelation I have
just given you. Since that she has been known to sneeze three times,
and on each occasion a miracle has followed. The fame of this wonderful
occurrence has now traversed Italy, and will doubtless soon extend to
the faithful in every part of Europe. Orsaro is becoming crowded with
penitents; among whom I am gratified to see the names of many of the
English aristocracy; and it has become quite a fashionable thing to pass
a week or ten days there.

Now, dearest Kitty, from you, with whom I have no concealments, I will
not disguise the confession that I look forward to this excursion
with considerable hope and expectation. You cannot but have perceived
latterly how our faith, instead of being, as it once was, the symbol
of low birth and ignoble connections, has become the very bond of
aristocratic society. The church has become the _salon_ wherein we make
our most valued acquaintances; and devout observances are equivalent to
letters of introduction. If I wanted a proof of this, I'd give it in
the number of those who have become converts to our religion, from
the manifest social benefits the change of faith has conferred. How
otherwise would third and fourth-rate Protestants obtain access to
Princely _soirées_ and Ducal receptions? By what other road could
they arrive at recognition in the society of Rome and Naples, frequent
Cardinals' levees, and be even seen lounging in the ante-chambers of the
Vatican!

Hence it is clear that the true faith has its benefits in _this_ world
also, and that piety is a passport to high places even on earth. I have
no doubt, if we manage properly, our sojourn at Orsaro may be made very
profitable, and that, even without miracles, the excursion may pay us
well.

I have been interrupted by a message to attend mamma in her own room,--a
summons I rightly guessed to imply something of importance. Only fancy,
Kitty, it was a letter which had arrived addressed to papa,--but
of course not given to him to read in his present highly agitated
state,--from Captain Morris, with a proposal for Caroline!

He very properly sets out by acknowledging the great difference of age
between them, but he might certainly have added something as to the
discrepancy between their stations. He talks, too, of his small means,
"sufficient for those who can limit their ambitions and wants within a
narrow circle,"--I wonder who they are?--and professes a deal of that
cold kind of respectful love which all old men affect to think a woman
ought to feel flattered by. In fact, the whole reads far more like a
law paper than a love-letter, and is rather a rough draft of an Act of
Parliament against celibacy than a proposal for a pretty girl!

Mamma had shown the letter to Fra Giacomo before I entered, and I had
very little trouble to guess the effect produced by his counsels. The
Captain, as a heretic, was at once denounced by him; and the little
man grew actually enthusiastic in inveighing against the insulting
presumption of the offer. He insisted on a peremptory, flat rejection
of the proposal, without any reference whatever to papa. He said that to
hesitate in such a question was in itself a sin; and he even hinted that
he was n't quite sure what reception Saint Agatha might vouchsafe us
after so much of intercourse with an outcast and a disbeliever.

This last argument was decisive, and I accordingly sat down and wrote,
in mamma's name, a very stiff acknowledgment of the receipt of his
letter, and an equally cold refusal of the honor it tendered for our
acceptance. We all agreed that Cary should hear nothing whatever of the
matter, but, as Fra Giacomo said, "we 'd keep the disgrace for our own
hearts."

I own to you, Kitty, that if the religious question could be got over,
I do not think the thing so inadmissible. Cary is evidently not destined
to advance our family interests; had she even the capacity, she lacks
the ambition. Her tastes are humble, commonplace, and--shall I say
it?--vulgar.

It gives her no pleasure to move in high society, and she esteems the
stupid humdrum of domestic life as the very supreme of happiness. With
such tastes this old Captain--he is five-and-thirty at least--would
perhaps have suited her perfectly, and his intolerable mother been quite
a companion. Their small fortune, too, would have consigned them to some
cheap, out-of-the-way place, where we should not have met; and, in fact,
the arrangement might have combined a very fair share of advantage. Fra
G., however, had decided the matter on higher grounds, and there is no
more to be said about it.

There is another letter come by this post, too, from Lord George,
dearest! He is to arrive to-night, if he can get horses. He is full of
some wonderful tournament about to be held at Genoa,--a spectacle to
be given by the city to the King, which is to attract all the world
thither; and Lord G. writes to say that we have n't a moment to lose in
securing accommodation at the hotel. Little suspecting the frame of mind
his communication is to find us in, and that, in place of doughty
deeds and chivalrous exploits, our thoughts are turned to fastings,
mortifications, and whipcord! Oh, how I shudder at the ridicule with
which he will assail us, and tremble for my own constancy under the
raillery he will shower on us! I never dreaded his coming before, and
would give worlds now that anything could prevent his arrival.

How reconcile his presence with that of Fra Giacomo? How protect the
priest from the overt quizzings of my Lord? and how rescue his Lordship
from the secret machinations of the "father?"? are difficulties that I
know not how to face. Mamma, besides, is now so totally under priestly
guidance that she would sacrifice the whole peerage for a shaving of
a saint's shin-bone! There will not be even time left me to concert
measures with Lord G. The moment he enters the house he'll see the
"altered temper of our ways" in a thousand instances. Relics, missals,
beads, and rosaries have replaced Gavarni's etchings,--"Punch," and the
"Illustration." Charms and amulets blessed by popes occupy the places
of cigar-holders, pipe-sticks, and gutta-percha drolleries. The "Stabat
Mater" has usurped the seat of "Casta Diva" on the piano, and a number
of other unmistakable signs point to our reformed condition.

I hear post-horses approaching--they come nearer and nearer! Yes,
Kitty, it must be--it is he! James has met him--they are already on the
stairs--how they laugh! James must be telling him everything. I knew he
would. Another burst of that unfeeling laughter! They are at the door.
Good-bye!

Mount Orsaro, "La Pace."

Here we are, dearest, at the end of our pilgrimage. Such a delightful
excursion I never remember to have taken. I told you all about my
fears of Lord George. Would that I had never written the ungracious
lines!--never so foully wronged him! Instead of the levity I
apprehended, he is actually reverential,--I might say, devout! The
moment he reached Parma, he ordered a dress to be made for him exactly
like James's, and decided immediately on accompanying us. Fra Giacomo,
I need scarcely observe, was in ecstasies. The prospect of such a noble
convert would be an immense piece of success, and he did not hesitate to
avow, would materially advance his own interests at Rome.

As for the journey, Kitty, I have no words to describe the scenery
through which we travelled: deep glens between lofty mountains, wooded
to the very summits with cork and chestnut trees, over which, towering
aloft, were seen the peaks of the great Apennines, glistening in snow,
or golden in the glow of sunset. Wending along through these our little
procession went, in itself no unpicturesque feature, for we were obliged
to advance in single file along the narrow pathway, and thus our mules,
with their scarlet trappings and tasselled bridles, and our floating
costumes, made up an effect which will remain painted on my heart
forever. In reality, I made a sketch of the scene; but Lord George, who
for the convenience of talking to me always rode with his face to the
mule's tail, made me laugh so often that my drawing is quite spoiled.

[Illustration: frontispiece]

At last we arrived at our little inn called "La Pace,"--how beautifully
it sounds, dearest! and really stands so, too, beside a gushing
mountain-stream, and perfectly embowered in olives. We could only obtain
two rooms, however,--one, adjoining the kitchen, for papa and mamma;
the other, under the tiles, for Cary and myself. Fra Giacomo quarters
himself on the priest of the village; and Lord George and James are what
the Italians call "_a spasso_" Betty Cobb is furious at being consigned
to the kitchen, in company with some thirty others, many of whom, I may
remark, are English people of rank and condition. In fact, dearest, the
whole place is so crowded that a miserable room, in all its native dirt
and disgust, costs the price of a splendid apartment in Paris. Many of
the first people of Europe are here: ministers, ambassadors, generals;
and an English earl also, who is getting a drawing made of the shrine
and the Virgin, and intends sending a narrative of her miracles to
the "Tablet." You have no idea, my dearest Kitty, of the tone of
affectionate kindness and cordiality inspired by such a scene. Dukes,
Princes, even Royalties, accost you as their equals. As Fra G. says,
"The holy influences level distinctions." The Duke of San Pietrino
placed his own cushion for mamma to kneel on yesterday. The Graf von
Dummerslungen gave me a relic to kiss as I passed this morning. Lord
Tollington, one of the proudest peers in England, stopped to ask papa
how he was, and regretted we had not arrived last Saturday, when the
Virgin sneezed twice!

As we begin our Novena to-morrow, I shall probably not have a moment to
continue this rambling epistle; but you may confidently trust that my
first thoughts, when again at liberty, shall be given to you. Till then,
darling Kitty, believe me,

Your devoted and ever affectionate

Mart Anne Dodd.

P. S. More arrivals, Kitty,--three carriages and eleven donkeys! Where
they are to put up I can't conceive. Lord G. says, "It's as full as the
'Diggins,' and quite as dear." The excitement and novelty of the whole
are charming!



LETTER XIX. MRS. DODD TO MRS. MARY GALLAGHER, DODSBOROUGH

Orsaro, Feast of Saint Gingo.

My dear Molly,--The Earl of Guzeberry, that leaves this to-day for
England, kindly offers to take charge of my letters to you; and so I
write "Favored by his Lordship" on the outside, just that you may show
the neighbors, and teach them Davises the respect they ought to show us,
if it 's ever our misfortune to meet.

The noble Lord was here doing his penances with us for the last
three weeks, and is now my most intimate friend on earth. He 's the
kindest-hearted creature I ever met, and always doing good works, of
one sort or other; and whenever not sticking nails in his own flesh, or
pulling hairs out of his beard or eyelashes, always ready to chastise a
friend!

We came here to see the wonderful Virgin of Orsaro, and beg her
intercession for us all, but more especially for K. I., whose temper
proves clearly that there's what Father James calls a "possession of
him;" that is to say, "he has devils inside of him." The whole account
of the saint herself--her first manifestation and miraculous doings--you
'll find in the little volume that accompanies this, written, as you
will see, by your humble servant. Lord G. gave me every assistance in
his power; and, indeed, but for him and Father James, it might have
taken years to finish it; for I must tell you, Molly, bad as Berlin-work
is, it 's nothing compared to writing a book; for when you have the wool
and the frame, it's only stitching it in, but with a book you have to
arrange your thoughts, and then put them down; after that, there 's the
grammar to be minded, and the spelling, and the stops; and many times,
where you think it's only a comma, you have come to your full period! I
assure you I went through more with that book--little as it is--than in
all my "observances," some of them very severe ones. First of all, we
had to be so particular about the miracles, knowing well what Protestant
bigotry would do when the account came out. We had to give names and
dates and places, with witnesses to substantiate, and all that could
corroborate the facts. Then we had a difficulty of another kind,--how to
call the Virgin. You may remember how those Exeter Hall wretches spoke
of Our Lady of Rimini,--as the "Winking Virgin." We could n't
say sneezing after that, so we just called her "La Madonna dei
Sospiri,"--"Our Lady of Sighs." To be sure, we can't get the people here
to adopt this title; but that's no consequence as regards England.

By the time the volume reaches you, all Europe will be ringing with the
wonderful tidings; for there are three bishops here, and they have all
signed the "Mémoire," recommending special services in honor of the
Virgin, and strongly urging a subscription to build a suitable shrine
for her in this her native village.

You have no idea, dear Molly, of what a blessed frame of mind
these spiritual duties have enabled me to enjoy. How peaceful is my
spirit!--how humble my heart! I turn my thoughts away from earth as
easily as I could renounce rope-dancing; and when I sit of an evening,
in a state of what Lord Guzeberry calls "beatitude," K. I. might have
the cholera without my caring for it.

The season is now far advanced, however, and, to my infinite grief,
we must leave this holy spot, where we have made a numerous and most
valuable acquaintance; for, besides several of the first people of
England, we have formed intimacy with the Duchessa di Sangue Nero,
first lady to the Queen of Naples; the Marquesa di Villa Guasta, a great
leader of fashion in Turin; the "Noncio" at the court of Modena; and a
variety of distinguished Florentines and Romans, who all assure us that
our devotions are the best passports for admission in all the select
houses of Italy.

Mary Anne predicts a brilliant winter before us, and even Cary is all
delight at the prospect of picture galleries and works of art. Is n't it
paying the Protestants off for their insulting treatment of us at home,
Molly, to see all the honor and respect we receive abroad? The tables
are completely turned, my dear; for not one of them ever gets his nose
into the really high society of this country, while we are welcomed
to it with open arms. But if there 's anything sure to get you well
received in the first houses, it is having a convert of rank in your
train. To be the means of bringing a lord over to the true fold is to be
taken up at once by cardinals and princes of all kinds.

As Mary Anne says, "Let us only induce Lord George to enter the Catholic
Church and our fortune is made." And oh, Molly, putting all the pomps
and vanities of this world aside, never heeding the grandeur of this
life, nor caring what men may do to us, is n't it an elegant reflection
to save one poor creature from the dreadful road of destruction and
ruin! I'm sure it would be the happiest day of my life when I could
read in the "Tablet," "We have great satisfaction in announcing to our
readers that Lord George Tiverton, member for"--I forget where--"and son
of the Marquis "--I forget whom,--"yesterday renounced the errors of the
Protestant Church to embrace those of the Church of Rome."

Maybe, now, you 'd like to hear something about ourselves; but I 've
little to tell that is either pleasant or entertaining. You know--or,
at least, you will know from Kitty Doolan--the way K. I. destroyed poor
James, and lost him a beautiful creature and four thousand a year. That
was a blow there's no getting over; and, indeed, I'd have sunk under it
if it was n't for Father James, and the consolation he has been able to
give me. There was an offer came for Caroline. Captain Morris, that you
've heard me speak of, wrote and proposed, which I opened during K. I.'s
illness, and sent him a flat refusal, Molly, with a bit of advice in the
end, about keeping in his own rank of life, and marrying into his own
creed.

Maybe I mightn't have been so stout about rejecting him, for it's the
hardest thing in life to marry a daughter nowadays, but that Father
Giacomo said his Holiness would never forgive me for taking a heretic
into the family, and that it was one of the nine deadly sins.

You may perceive from this, that Father G. is of great use to me when I
need advice and guidance, and, indeed, I consulted him as to whether I
ought to separate from K. I., or not. There are cases of conscience,
he tells me, and cases of convenience. The first are matters for the
cardinals and the Holy College! but the others any ordinary priest can
settle; and this is one of them. "Don't leave him," says he, "for your
means of doing good will only be more limited; and as to your trials,
take out some of your mortifications that way; and, above all, don't be
too lenient to _him_." Ay, Molly, he saw my weak point, do what I would
to hide it; he knew my failing was an easy disposition, and a patient,
submissive turn of mind. But I 'll do my endeavor to conquer it, if it
was only for the poor children's sake; for I know he'd marry again, and
I sometimes suspect I 've hit the one he has his eyes on.

On Friday next we are to leave this for Genoa. It's the end of our
Novena, and we would n't have time for another before the snow sets in;
for though we're in Italy, Molly, the mountains all round us are tipped
with snow, and it's as cold now, when you 're in the shade, as I ever
felt it in Ireland. It's a great tournament at Genoa is taking us there.
There 's to be the King of Saxony, and the King of Bohemia, too, I
believe; for whenever you begin to live in fashionable life, you must
run after royal people from place to place, be seen wherever they
are, and be quite satisfied whenever your name is put down among the
"distinguished company."

I was near forgetting that I want you to get Father John to have my
little book read by the children in our National School; for, as K.
I. is the patron, we have, of course, the right. At all events _I'll_
withdraw if they refuse; and they can't accuse me of illiberality or
bigotry, for I never said a word against the taking away the Bible. Let
them just remember _that!_

Lord Guzeberry is just going, so that I have only time to seal, and sign
myself as ever yours,

Jemima Dodd.

I send you two dozen of the tracts to distribute among our friends. The
one bound in red silk is for Dean O'Dowd, "with the author's devotions
and duties."



LETTER XX. BETTY COBB TO MISTRESS SHUSAN O'SHEA.

Mount Orsaro.

My dear Shusan,--It's five months and two days since I wrote to you
last, and it 's like five years in regard to the way time has worn and
distressed me. The mistress tould Mrs. Gallagher how I was deserted
by that deceatfull blaguard, taking off with him my peace of mind, two
petticoats, and a blue cloth cloak, that I thought would last me for
life! so that I need n't go over my miseries again to yourself. We
heard since that he had another wife in Switzerland, not to say two more
wandering about, so that the master says, if we ever meet him, we can
hang him for "bigotry." And, to tell you the truth, Shusy, I feel as if
it would be a great relief to me to do it! if it was only to save other
craytures from the same feat that he did to your poor friend Betty Cobb;
besides that, until something of the kind is done, I can't enter the
holy state again with any other deceaver.

Such a life as we 're leadin', Shusy, at one minute all eatin' and
drinkin' and caressin' from morning till night; at another, my dear,
it's all fastin' and mortification, for the mistress has no moderation
at all; but, as the master says, she 's always in her extremities! If
ye seen the dress of her last week, she was Satan from head to foot, and
now she 's, by way of a saint, in white Cashmar, with a little scurge at
her waist, and hard pegs in her shoes!

We have nothin' to eat but roots, like the beasts of the field; and
them, too, mostly raw! That's to make us good soldiers of the Church,
Father James says; but in my heart and soul, Shusy, I 'm sick of the
regiment. Shure, when we 've a station in Ireland, it only lasts a day
or two at most; and if your knees is sore with the pennance, shure you
have the satisfaction of the pleasant evenings after; with, maybe, a
dance, or, at all events, tellin' stories over a jug of punch; but
here it's prayers and stripes, stripes and offices, starvation and more
stripes, till, savin' your presence, I never sit down without a screech!

Why we came here I don't know; the mistress says it was to cure the
master; but did n't I hear her tell him a thousand times that the bad
drop was in him, and he 'd never be better to his dyin' day? so that it
can't be for that. Sometimes I think it's to get Mary Anne married, and
they want Saint Agatha to help them; but faith, Shusy, one sinner
is worth two saints for the like of that. Lord George tould me in
confidence--the other day it was--that the mistress wanted an increase
to her family. Faith, you may well open your eyes, my dear, but them 's
his words! And tho' I did n't believe him at first, I 'm more persuaded
of it now, that I see how she's goin' on.

If the master only suspected it, he 'd be off to-morrow, for he 's
always groanin' and moanin' over the expense of the family; and, between
you and me, I believe I ought to go and tell him. Maybe you 'd give me
advice what to do, for it's a nice point.

You would n't know Paddy Byrne, how much he's grown, and the wonderful
whiskers he has all over his face; but he 's as bowld as brass, and has
the impedince of the divil in him. He never ceases tormentin' me about
Taddy, and says I ought to take out a few florins in curses on him, just
as if I could n't do it cheaper myself than payin' a priest for it As
for Paddy himself,--do what the mistress will,--she can get no good of
him, in regard to his duties. He does all his stations on his knees, to
be sure, but with a cigar in his mouth; and when he comes to the holy
well, it's a pull at a dram bottle he takes instead of the blessed
water. I wondered myself at his givin' a crown-piece to the Virgin on
Tuesday last, but he soon showed me what he was at by say in', "If she
does n't get my wages riz for that, the divil receave the f arthin' she
'll ever receave of mine again!"

After all, Shusy, it 's an elegant sight to see all them great people
that thinks so much of themselves, crawling about on their hands and
knees, kissin' a relict here, huggin' a stone there, just as much
frightened about the way the saint looks at them as one of us! It
does one's heart good to know that, for all their fine livin' and fine
clothes, ould Nick has the same hould of them that he has of you and me!

I had a great deal to tell you about the family and their goin's on, but
I must conclude in haste, for tho' it's only five o'clock, there's the
bell ringing for martins, and I have a station to take before first
mass. I suppose it's part of my mortifications, but the mistress and
Mary Anne never gives me a stitch of clothes till they're spoiled; and
I'm drivin to my wits' end, tearin' and destroyin' things in such a way
as not to ruin them when they come to me! Miss Caroline never has a gown
much better than my own; and, indeed, she said the other day, "When I
want to be smart, Betty, you must lend me your black bombaseen."

There's the mistress gone out already, so no more from

Your sincear friend,

Betty Cobb.

I think Lord G. is right about the mistress. The saints forgive her, at
her time of life! More in my next.



LETTER XXI. JAMES DODD TO ROBERT DOOLAN, ESQ. TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN.

The Inn, Orsaro.

My dear Bob,--This must be a very brief epistle, since, amongst other
reasons, the sheet of letter-paper costs me a florin, and I shall have
to pay three more for a messenger to convey it to the post-town, a
distance of as many miles off. To explain these scarce credible facts,
I must tell you that we are at a little village called Orsaro, in
the midst of a wild mountain country, whither we have come to perform
penances, say prayers, and enact other devotions at the shrine of a
certain St. Agatha, who, some time last autumn, took to working miracles
down here, and consequently attracting all the faithful who had nothing
to do with themselves before Carnival.

My excellent mother it was who, in an access of devotion, devised the
excursion; and the governor, hearing that the locality was a barbarous
one, and the regimen a strict fast, fancied, of course, it would be a
most economical dodge, at once agreed; but, by Jove! the saving is a
delusion and a snare. Two miserable rooms, dirty and ill furnished,
cost forty francs a day; bad coffee and black bread, for breakfast,
are supplied at four francs a head; dinner--if by such a name one would
designate a starved kid stewed in garlic, or a boiled hedgehog with
chiccory sauce,--ten francs each; sour wine at the price of Château
Lafitte; and a seat in the sanctuary, to see the Virgin, four times as
dear as a stall at the Italian Opera. Exorbitant as all these charges
are, we are gravely assured that they will be doubled whenever the
Virgin sneezes again, that being the manifestation, as they call it, by
which she displays her satisfaction at our presence here. I do not
fancy talking irreverently of these things, Bob, but I own to you I
am ineffably shocked at the gross impositions innkeepers, postmasters,
donkey-owners, and others practise by trading on the devotional feelings
and pious aspirations of weak but worthy people. I say nothing of the
priests themselves; they may or may not believe all these miraculous
occurrences. One thing, however, is clear: they make every opportunity
of judging of them so costly that only a rich man can afford himself
the luxury, so that you and I, and a hundred others like us, may either
succumb or scoff, as we please, without any means of correcting our
convictions. One inevitable result ensues from this. There are two
camps: the Faithful, who believe everything, and are cheated by
every imaginable device of mock relics and made-up miracles; and the
Unbelieving, who actually rush into ostentatious vice, to show their
dislike to hypocrisy! Thus, this little dirty village, swarming with
priests, and resounding with the tramp of processions, is a den of every
kind of dissipation. The rattle of the dice-box mingles with the nasal
chantings of the tonsured monks, and the wild orgies of a drinking party
blend with the strains of the organ! If men be not religiously minded,
the contact with the Church seems to make demons of them. How otherwise
interpret the scoff and mockery that unceasingly go forward against
priests and priestcraft in a little community, as it were, separated for
acts of piety and devotion?

That we live in a most believing age is palpable, by the fact that this
place swarms with men distinguished in every court and camp in Europe.
Crafty ministers, artful diplomatists, keen old generals, versed in
every wile and stratagem, come here as it were to divest themselves of
all their long-practised acuteness, and give in their adhesion to the
most astounding and incoherent revelations. I cannot bring myself to
suppose these men rogues and hypocrites, and yet I have nearly as
much difficulty to believe them dupes! What have become of those sharp
perceptive powers, that clever insight into motives, and the almost
unerring judgment they could exhibit in any question of politics or
war? It cannot surely be that they who have measured themselves with
the first capacities of the world dread to enter the lists against some
half-informed and narrow-minded village curate; or is it that there
lurks in every human heart some one spot, a refuge as it were for
credulity, which even the craftiest cannot exclude? You are far better
suited than I to canvass such a question, my dear Bob. I only throw it
out for your consideration, without any pretension to solve it myself.

My father, you are well aware, is too good a Churchman to suffer a
syllable to escape his lips which might be construed into discredit of
the faith; but I can plainly see that he skulks his penances, and shifts
off any observance that does not harmonize with his comfort. At the same
time he strongly insists that the fastings and other privations enjoined
are an admirable system to counteract the effect of that voluptuous life
practised in almost every capital of Europe. As he shrewdly remarked,
"This place was like Groeffenberg,--you might not be restored by the
water-cure, but you were sure to be benefited by early hours, healthful
exercise, and a light diet." This, you may perceive, is a very modified
approval of the miracles.

I have dwelt so long on this theme that I have only left myself what
Mary Anne calls the selvage of my paper, for anything else. Nor is
it pleasant to me, Bob, to tell you that I am low-spirited and
down-hearted. A month ago, life was opening before me with every
prospect of happiness and enjoyment. A lovely creature, gifted and
graceful, of the very highest rank and fortune, was to have been mine.
She was actually domesticated with us, and only waiting for the day
which should unite our destinies forever, when one night--I can scarcely
go on--I know not how either to convey to you what is _half_ shrouded in
mystery, and should be perhaps _all_ concealed in shame; but somehow
my father contrived to talk so of our family affairs--our debts, our
difficulties, and what not--that Josephine overheard everything, and
shocked possibly more at our duplicity than at our narrow fortune, she
hurried away at midnight, leaving a few cold lines of farewell behind
her, and has never been seen or heard of since.

I set out after her to Milan; thence to Bologna, where I thought I had
traces of her. From that I went to Rimini, and on a false scent down to
Ancona. I got into a slight row there with the police, and was obliged
to retrace my steps, and arrived at Parma, after three weeks' incessant
travelling, heart-broken and defeated.

That I shall ever rally,--that I shall ever take any real interest
in life again, is totally out of the question. Such an opportunity of
fortune as this rarely occurs to any one once in life; none are lucky
enough to meet it a second time. The governor, too, instead of feeling,
as he ought, that he has been the cause of my ruin, continues to pester
me about the indolent way I spend my life, and inveighs against even the
little dissipations that I endeavor to drown my sorrows by indulging in.
It 's all very well to talk about active employment, useful pursuits,
and so forth; but a man ought to have his mind at ease, and his heart
free from care, for all these, as I told the governor yesterday. When a
fellow has got such a "stunner" as I have had lately, London porter and
a weed are his only solace. Even Tiverton's society is distasteful, he
has such a confoundedly flippant way of treating one.

I 'm thinking seriously of emigrating, and wish you could give me any
useful hints on the subject. Tiverton knows a fellow out there, who
was in the same regiment with himself,--a baronet, I believe,--and he's
doing a capital stroke of work with a light four-in-hand team that he
drives, I think, between San Francisco and Geelong, but don't trust me
too far in the geography; he takes the diggers at eight pounds a head,
and extra for the "swag." Now that is precisely the thing to suit me;
I can tool a coach as well as most fellows: and as long as one keeps on
the box they don't feel it like coming down in the world!

I half suspect Tiverton would come out too. At least, he seems very sick
of England, as everybody must be that has n't ten thousand a year and a
good house in Belgravia.

I don't know whither we go from this, and, except in the hope of hearing
from you, I could almost add, care as little. The governor has got so
much better from the good air and the regimen, that he is now anxious
to be off; while my mother, attributing his recovery to the saint's
interference, wants another "Novena." Mary Anne likes the place too; and
Cary, who sketches all day long, seems to enjoy it.

How the decision is to come is therefore not easy to foresee. Meanwhile,
whether _here_ or _there_,

Believe me your attached friend,

James Dodd.

[Illustration: 210]

I open this to say that we are "booked" for another fortnight here.
My mother went to consult the Virgin about going away last night, and
she--that is, the saint--gave such a sneeze that my mother fainted,
and was carried home insensible. The worst of all this is that Father
Giacomo--our guide in spirituals--insists on my mother's publishing a
little tract on her experiences; and the women are now hard at work with
pen and ink at a small volume to be called "St. Agatha of Orsaro,"
by Jemima D------. They have offered half a florin apiece for good
miracles, but they are pouring in so fast they 'll have to reduce the
tariff. Tiverton recommends them to ask thirteen to the dozen.

The governor is furious at this authorship, which will cost some
five-and-twenty pounds at the least!



LETTER XXII. MRS. DODD TO MRS. MARY GALLAGHER

Hôtel Feder, Genoa.

My dear Molly,--It's little that piety and holy living assists us in
this wicked world, as you 'll allow, when I tell you that after all
my penances, my mortifications, and my self-abstainings, instead of
enjoyment and pleasure, as I might reasonably look for in this place, I
never knew real misery and shame till I came here. I would n't believe
anybody that said people was always as bad as they are now! Sure, if
they were, why would n't we be prepared for their baseness and iniquity?
Why would we be deceived and cheated at every hand's turn? It's all
balderdash to pretend it, Molly. The world must be coming to an end, for
this plain reason, that it's morally impossible it can be more corrupt,
more false, and more vicious than it is.

I 'm trying these three days to open my heart to you. I 've taken ether,
and salts, and neumonia--I think the man called it--by the spoonfuls,
just to steady my nerves, and give me strength to tell you my
afflictions; and now I 'll just begin, and if my tears does n't blot out
the ink, I 'll reveal my sorrows, and open my breast before you.

We left that blessed village of Orsaro two days after I wrote to you
by the Earl of Guzeberry, and came on here, by easy stages, as we were
obliged to ride mules for more than half the way. Our journey was, of
course, fatiguing, but unattended by any other inconvenience than K.
I.'s usual temper about the food, the beds, and the hotel charges as we
came along. He would n't fast, nor do a single penance on the road; nor
would he join in chanting a Litany with Father James, but threatened
to sing "Nora Chrina," if we did n't stop. And though Lord George was
greatly shocked, James was just as bad as his father. Father Giacomo
kept whispering to me from time to time, "We 'll come to grief for this.
We 'll have to pay for all this impiety, Mrs. D.;" till at last he got
my nerves in such a state that I thought we 'd be swept away at every
blast of wind from the mountains, or carried down by every torrent that
crossed the road. I couldn't pass a bridge without screeching; and as
to fording a stream, it was an attack of hysterics. These, of course,
delayed us greatly, and it was a good day when we got over eight miles.
For all that, the girls seemed to like it. Cary had her sketch-book
always open; and Mary Anne used to go fishing with Lord G. and James,
and contrived, as she said, to make the time pass pleasantly enough.

I saw very little of K. I., for I was always at some devotional
exercise; and, indeed, I was right glad of it, for his chief amusement
was getting Father James into an argument, and teasing and insulting him
so that I only wondered why he did n't leave us at once and forever. He
never ceased, too, gibing and jeering about the miracles of Orsaro; and
one night, when he had got quite beyond all bounds, laughing at Father
G., he told him, "Faith," says he, "you 're the most credulous man ever
I met in my life; for it seems to me that you can believe anything but
the Christian religion."

From that moment Father G. only shook his hands at him, and would n't
discourse.

This is the way we got to Genoa, where, because we arrived at night,
they kept us waiting outside the gates of the town till the commandant
of the fortress had examined our passports; K. I. all the while abusing
the authorities, and blackguarding the governor in a way that would have
cost us dear, if it was n't that nobody could understand his Italian.

That wasn't all, for when we got to the hotel, they said that all the
apartments had been taken before Lord George's letter arrived, and that
there was n't a room nor a pantry to be had in the whole city at any
price. In fact, an English family had just gone off in despair to
Chiavari, for even the ships in the harbor were filled with strangers,
and the "steam dredge" was fitted up like an hotel! K. I. took down the
list of visitors, to see if he could find a friend or an acquaintance
amongst them, but, though there were plenty of English, we knew none of
them; and as for Lord G., though he was acquainted with nearly all the
titled people, they were always relatives or connections with whom he
wasn't "on terms." While we sat thus at the door, holding our council of
war, with sleepy waiters and a sulky porter, a gentleman passed in, and
went by us, up the stairs, before we could see his face. The landlord,
who lighted him all the way himself, showed that he was a person of some
consequence. K. I. had just time to learn that he was "No. 4, the grand
apartment on the first floor, towards the sea," which was all they
knew, when the landlord came down, smiling and smirking, to say that the
occupant of No. 4 felt much pleasure in putting half his suite of rooms
at our disposal, and hoped we might not decline his offer.

"Who is it?--who is he?" cried we all at once; but the landlord made
such a mess of the English name that we were obliged to wait till we
could read it in the Strangers' Book. Meanwhile we lost not a second in
installing ourselves in what I must call a most princely apartment, with
mirrors on all sides, fine pictures, china, and carved furniture,
giving the rooms the air of a palace. There was a fine fire in the great
drawing-room, and the table was littered with English newspapers and
magazines, which proved that he had just left the place for us, as he
was himself occupying it.

"Now for our great Unknown," said Lord George, opening the Strangers'
Book, and running his eye down the list. There was Milor Hubbs and
Miladi, Baron this, Count that, the "Vescovo" di Kilmore, with the
"Vescova" and five "Vescovini,"--that meant the Bishop and his wife, and
the five small little Bishops,--which made us laugh. And at last we came
down to "No. 4, Grand Suite, Sir Morris Penrhyn, Bt," not a word more.

"There is a swell of that name that owns any amount of slate quarries
down near Holyhead, I think," said Lord George. "Do you happen to know
him?"

"No," was chorused by all present.

"Oh! everyone knows his place. It's one of the show things of the
neighborhood. How is this they call it,--Pwlldmmolly Castle?--that's the
name, at least so far as human lips can approach it At all events, he
has nigh fifteen thousand a year, and can afford the annoyance of a
consonant more or less."

"Any relative of your Lordship's?" asked K. I.

"Don't exactly remember; but, if so, we never acknowledged him. Can't
afford Welsh cousin ships!"

"He 's a right civil fellow, at all events," said K. I., "and here's his
health;" for at that moment the waiter entered with the supper, and we
all sat down in far better spirits than we had expected to enjoy half an
hour back. We soon forgot all about our unknown benefactor; and, indeed,
we had enough of our own concerns to engross our attention, for there
were places to be secured for the tournament and the other great sights;
for, with all the frailty of our poor natures, there we were, as hot
after the vanities and pleasures of this world as if we had never done a
"Novena" nor a penance in our lives!

When I went to my room, Mary Anne and I had a long conversation about
the stranger, whom she was fully persuaded was a connection of Lord
G.'s, and had shown us this attention solely on his account. "I can
perceive," said she, "from his haughty manner, that he doesn't like to
acknowledge the relationship, nor be in any way bound by the tie of an
obligation. His pride is the only sentiment he can never subdue! A bad
'look-out' for me, perhaps, mamma," said she, laughing; "but we'll see
hereafter." And with this she wished me good-night.

The next morning our troubles began, and early, too; for Father James,
not making any allowance for the different life one must lead in a
great city from what one follows in a little out-of-the-way place amidst
mountains, expected me to go up to a chapel two miles away and hear
matins, and be down at mid-day mass in the town, and then had a whole
afternoon's work at the convent arranged for us, and was met by Lord
George and James with a decided and, indeed, almost rude opposition. The
discussion lasted till late in the morning, and might perhaps have gone
on further, when K. L, who was reading his "Galignani," screamed out,
"By the great O'Shea!"--a favorite exclamation of his,--"here's a bit
of news. Listen to this, Gentles, all of you: 'By the demise of Sir
Walter Prichard Penrhyn, of--I must give up the castle--' the ancient
title and large estates of the family descend to a sister's son, Captain
George Morris, who formerly served in the--th Foot, but retired from
the army about a year since, to reside on the Continent. The present
Baronet, who will take the name of Penrhyn, will be, by this accession
of fortune, the richest landed proprietor in the Principality, and may,
if he please it, exercise a very powerful interest in the political
world. We are, of course, ignorant of his future intentions, but we
share in the generally expressed wish of all classes here, that the
ancient seat of his ancestors may not be left unoccupied, or only
tenanted by those engaged in exhibiting to strangers its varied
treasures in art, and its unrivalled curiosities in antiquarian
lore.--_Welsh Herald_.' There 's the explanation of the civility we
met with last night; that clears up the whole mystery, but, at the same
time, leaves another riddle unsolved. Why did n't he speak to us on the
stairs? Could it be that he did not recognize us?"

Oh, Molly! I nearly fainted while he was speaking. I was afraid of my
life he 'd look at me, and see by my changed color what was agitating
me; for only think of what it was I had done,--just gone and refused
fifteen thousand a year, and for the least marriageable of the two
girls, since, I need n't say, that for one man that fancies Cary, there
's forty admires Mary Anne--and a baronetcy! She 'd have been my Lady,
just as much as any in the peerage. I believe in my heart I could n't
have kept the confession in if it had n't been that Mary Anne took my
arm and led me away. Father G. followed us out of the room, and began:
"Isn't it a real blessing from the Virgin on ye," said he, "that you
rejected that heretic before temptation assailed ye?" But I stopped him,
Molly; and at once too! I told him it was all his own stupid bigotry got
us into the scrape. "What has religion to do with it?" said I. "Can't a
heretic spend fifteen thousand a year; and sure if his wife can't live
with him, can't she claim any-money, as they call it?"

"I hope and trust," said he, "that your backsliding won't bring a
judgment on ye."

And so I turned away from him, Molly, for you may remark that there 's
nothing as narrow-minded as a priest when he talks of worldly matters.'

Though we had enough on our minds the whole day about getting places for
the tournament, the thought of Morris never left my head; and I knew,
besides, that I 'd never have another day's peace with K. I. as long as
I lived, if he came to find out that I refused him. I thought of twenty
ways to repair the breach: that I 'd write to him, or make Mary Anne
write--or get James to call and see him. Then it occurred to me, if we
should make out that Cary was dying for love of him, and it was to save
our child that we condescended to change our mind. Mary Anne, however,
overruled me in everything, saying, "Rely upon it, mamma, we 'll have
him yet. If he was a very young man, there would be no chance for us,
but he is five or six and thirty, and he 'll not change now! For a few
months or so, he'll try to bully himself into the notion of forgetting
her, but you 'll see he'll come round at last; and if he should not,
then it will be quite time enough to see whether we ought to pique his
jealousy or awaken his compassion."

She said much more in the same strain, and brought me round completely
to her own views. "Above all," said she, "don't let Father James
influence you; for though it's all right and proper to consult him about
the next world, he knows no more than a child about the affairs of
this one." So we agreed, Molly, that we 'd just wait and see, of course
keeping K. I. blind all the time to what we were doing.

The games and the circus, and all the wonderful sights that we were
to behold, drove everything else out of my head; for every moment Lord
George was rushing in with some new piece of intelligence about some
astonishing giant, or some beautiful creature, so that we hadn't a
moment to think of anything.

It was the hardest thing in life to get places at all. The pit was taken
up with dukes and counts and barons, and the boxes rose to twenty-five
Napoleons apiece, and even at that price it was a favor to get one!
Early and late Lord George was at work about it, calling on ministers,
writing notes, and paying visits, till you 'd think it was life and
death were involved in our success.

You have no notion, Molly, how different these matters are abroad and
with us. At home we go to a play or a circus just to be amused for the
time, and we never think more of the creatures we see there than if they
were n't of our species; but abroad it 's exactly the reverse. Nothing
else is talked of, or thought of, but how much the tenor is to have for
six nights. "Is Carlotta singing well? Is Nina fatter? How is Francesca
dancing? Does she do the little step like a goat this season? or has
she forgotten her rainbow spring?" Now, Lord George and James gave us
no peace about all these people till we knew every bit of the private
history of them, from the man that carried a bull on his back, to the
small child with wings, that was tossed about for a shuttlecock by
its father and uncle. Then there was a certain Sofia Bettrame, that
everybody was wild about; the telegraph at one time saying she was at
Lyons, then she was at Vichy, then at Mont Cenis,--now she was sick,
now she was supping with the Princess Odelzeffska,--and, in fact, what
between the people that were in _love_ with _her_, and a number of
others to whom she was _in debt_, it was quite impossible to hear of
anything else but "La Sofia," "La Bettrame," from morning till night
It's long before an honest woman, Molly, would engross so much of public
notice; and so I could n't forbear remarking to K. I. Nobody cared to
ask where the Crown Prince of Russia was going to put up, or where the
Archduchess of Austria was staying, but all were eager to learn if the
"Croce di Matta" or the "Leone d'Oro" or the "Cour de Naples" were to
lodge the peerless Sofia. The man that saw her horses arrive was the
fashion for two entire days, and an old gentleman who had talked with
her courier got three dinner invitations on the strength of it. What
discussions there were whether she was to receive a hundred thousand
francs, or as many crowns; and then whether for one or for two nights.
Then there were wagers about her age, her height, the color of her eyes,
and the height of her instep, till I own to you, Molly, it was downright
offensive to the mother of a family to listen to what went on about her;
James being just as bad as the rest.

At last, my dear, comes the news that Sofia has taken a sulk and won't
appear. The Grand-Duchess of somewhere did something, or didn't do
it--I forget which--that was or was not "due to her." I wish you saw
the consternation of the town at the tidings. If it was the plague was
announced, the state of distraction would have been less.

You would n't believe me if I told you how they took it to heart.
Old generals with white moustaches, fat, elderly gentlemen in
counting-bouses, grave shopkeepers, and grim-looking clerks in the
Excise went about as if they had lost their father, and fallen suddenly
into diminished circumstances. They shook hands, when they met, with a
deep sigh, and parted with a groan, as if the occasion was too much for
their feelings.

At this moment, therefore, after all the trouble and expense, nobody
knows if there will be any tournament at all. Some say it is the
Government has found out that the whole thing was a conspiracy for a
rising; and there are fifty rumors afloat about Mazzini himself being
one of the company, in the disguise of a juggler. But what may be the
real truth it is impossible to say. At all events, I 'll not despatch
this till I can give you the latest tidings.

Tuesday Evening.

The telegraph has just brought word that she _will_ come. James is gone
down to the office to get a copy of the despatch.

James is come back to say that she is at Novi. If she arrive here
to-night, there will be an illumination of the town! Is not this too
bad, Molly? Doesn't your blood run cold at the thought of it all?

They 're shouting like mad under my window now, and Lord George thinks
she must be come already. James has come in with his hat in tatters and
his coat in rags. The excitement is dreadful. The people suspect that
the Government are betraying them to Russia, and are going to destroy a
palace that belongs to a tallow merchant.

All is right, Molly. She is come! and they are serenading her now under
the windows of the "Croce di Matta!"

Wednesday Night.

If my trembling hand can subscribe legibly a few lines, it is perhaps
the last you will ever receive from your attached Jemima. I was never
intended to go through such trials as these; and they 're now rending a
heart that was only made for tenderness and affection.

We were there, Molly! After such a scene of crushing and squeezing as
never was equalled, we got inside the circus, and with the loss of my
new turban and one of my "plats," we reached our box, within two of
the stage, and nearly opposite the King. For an hour or so, it was
only fainting was going on all around us, with the heat and the violent
struggle to get in. Nobody minded the stage at all, where they were
doing the same kind of thing we used to see long ago. Ten men in pinkish
buff, vaulting over an old white horse, and the clown tumbling over the
last of them with a screech; the little infant of three years, with a
strap round its waist, standing and tottering on the horse's back; the
man with the brass balls and the basin, and the other one that stood on
the bottles,--all passed off tiresome enough, till a grand flourish of
trumpets announced Signor Annibale, the great Modern Hercules. In he
rode, Molly, full gallop, all dressed in a light, flesh-colored, web,
and looking so like naked that I screeched out when I saw him. His hair
was divided on his forehead, and cut short all round the head; and,
indeed, I must confess he was a fine-looking man. After a turn or two,
brandishing a big club, he galloped in again, but quickly reappeared
with a woman lying over one of his arms, and her hair streaming down
half-way to the ground. This was Sofia; and you may guess the enthusiasm
of the audience at her coming! There she lay, like in a trance, as he
dashed along at full speed, the very tip of one foot only touching the
saddle, and her other leg dangling down like dead. It was shocking to
hear the way they talked of her symmetry and her shape,--not but they
saw enough to judge of it, Molly!--till at last the giant stopped to
breathe a little just under our box. K. I. and the young men, of course,
leaned over to have a good look at her with their glasses, when suddenly
James screamed, "By the ------ --I won't say what--it is herself!" Mary
Anne and I both rose together. The sight left my eyes, Molly, for she
looked up at me, and who was it--but the Countess that James was going
to marry! There she was, lying languidly on the giant, smiling up at us
as cool as may be. I gave a screech, Molly, that made the house ring,
and went off in Mary Anne's arms.

If this is n't disgrace enough to bring me to the grave, Nature must
have given stronger feelings than she knows to your ever afflicted and
heart-broken

Jemima Dodd.



LETTER XXIII. MISS CAROLINE DODD TO MISS COX, AT MISS MINCING'S ACADEMY, BLACK ROCK, IRELAND

Sestri, Gulf of Genoa.

My dear Miss Cox,--I had long looked forward to our visit to Genoa in
order to write to you. I had fancied a thousand things of the "Superb
City" which would have been matters of interest, and hoped that many
others might have presented themselves to actual observation. But with
that same fatality by which the future forever evades us, we have come
and gone again, and really seen nothing.

Instead of a week or fortnight passed in loitering about these
mysterious, narrow streets, each one of which is a picture, poking into
crypts, and groping along the aisles of those dim churches, and then
issuing forth into the blaze of sunshine to see the blue sea heaving
in mighty masses on the rocky shore, we came here to see some vulgar
spectacle of a circus or a tournament. By ill-luck, too, even
this pleasure has proved abortive; a very mortifying, I might say
humiliating, discovery awaited us, and we have, for shame's sake, taken
our refuge in flight from one of the most interesting cities in the
whole peninsula.

I am ashamed to confess to you how ill I have borne the disappointment.
The passing glimpses I caught here and there of steep old alleys, barely
wide enough for three to go abreast; the little squares, containing some
quaint monument or some fantastic fountain; the massive iron gateways,
showing through the bars the groves of orange-trees within; the wide
portals, opening on great stairs of snow-white marble,--all set me
a-dreaming of that proud Genoa, with its merchant-princes, who combined
all the haughty characteristics of a feudal state with the dashing
spirit of a life of enterprise.

The population, too, seemed as varied in type as the buildings around
them. The bronzed, deep-browed Ligurian--the "Faquino"--by right of
birth, stood side by side with the scarcely less athletic Dalmatian. The
Arab from Tiflis, the Suliote, the Armenian, the dull-eyed Moslem, and
the treacherous-looking Moor were all grouped about the Mole, with a
host of those less picturesque figures that represent Northern Europe.
There, was heard every language and every dialect. There, too, seen
the lineaments of every nation, and the traits of every passion that
distinguish a people. Just as on the deep blue water that broke beside
them were ships of every build, from the proud three-decker to the swift
"lateen," and from the tall, taper spare of the graceful clipper to the
heavily rounded, low-masted galliot of the Netherlands.

I own to you that however the actual life of commerce may include
commonplace events and commonplace people, there is something about the
sea and those that live on the great waters that always has struck me as
eminently poetical.

The scene, the adventurous existence, the strange faraway lands they
have visited, the Spice Islands of the South, the cold shores of the
Arctic Seas, the wondrous people with whom they have mingled, the
dangers they have confronted,--all invest the sailor with a deep
interest to me, and I regard him ever as one who has himself been an
actor in the great drama of which I have only read the outline.

I was, indeed, very sorry to leave Genoa, and to leave it, too, unseen.
An event, however, too painful to allude to, compelled us to start at
once; and we came on here to the little village from whence I write. A
lovely spot it is,--sheltered from the open sea by a tall promontory,
wooded with waving pines, whose feathery foliage is reflected in the
calm sea beneath. A gentle curve of the strand leads to Chiavari,
another town about six miles off; and behind us, landward, rise the
great Apennines, several thousand feet in height,--grand, barren,
volcanic-looking masses of wildest outline, and tinted with the colors
of every mineral ore. On the very highest pinnacles of these are
villages perched, and the tall tower of a church is seen to rise against
the blue sky, at an elevation, one would fancy, untrodden by man.

There is a beautiful distinctness in Italian landscape,--every detail
is "picked out" sharply. The outline of every rock and cliff, of every
tree, of every shrub, is clean and well defined. Light and shadow fall
boldly, and even abruptly, on the eye; but--shall I own it?--I long for
the mysterious distances, the cloud-shadows, the vague atmospheric tints
of our Northern lands. I want those passing effects that seem to give
a vitality to the picture, and make up something like a story of the
scene. It is in these the mind revels as in a dreamland of its own. It
is from these we conjure up so many mingled thoughts of the past, the
present, and the coming time,--investing the real with the imaginary,
and blending the ideal with the actual world.

How naturally do all these thoughts lead us to that of Home! Happily for
us, there is that in the religion of our hearts towards home that takes
no account of the greater beauty of other lands. The loyalty we owe our
own hearth defies seduction. Admire, glory in how you will the grandest
scene the sun ever set upon, there is still a holy spot in your heart
of hearts for some little humble locality,--a lonely glen,--a Highland
tarn,--a rocky path beside some winding river, rich in its childish
memories, redolent of the bright hours of sunny infancy,--and this you
would not give for the most gorgeous landscapes that ever basked beneath
Italian sky.

Do not fancy that I repine at being here because I turn with fond
affection to the scene of my earliest days. I delight in Italy; I
glory in its splendor of sky and land and water. I never weary of its
beauteous vegetation, and my ear drinks in with equal pleasure the soft
accents of its language; but I always feel that these things are to
be treasured for memory to be enjoyed hereafter, just as the emigrant
labors for the gold he is to spend in his own country. In this wise, it
may be, when wandering along some mountain "boreen" at home, sauntering
of a summer's eve through some waving meadow, that Italy in all its
brightness will rise before me, and I will exalt in my heart to have
seen the towers of the Eternal City, and watched the waves that sleep in
"still Sorrento."

We leave this to-morrow for Spezia, there to pass a few days; our object
being to loiter slowly along till papa can finally decide whether to go
back or forward: for so is it, my dearest friend, all our long-planned
tour and its pleasures have resolved themselves into a hundred
complications of finance and fashionable acquaintances.

One might have supposed, from our failures in these attempts, that we
should have learned at least our own unfitness for success. The very
mortifications we have suffered might have taught us that all the
enjoyment we could ever hope to reap could not repay the price of a
single defeat. Yet here we are, just as eager, just as short-sighted,
just as infatuated as ever, after a world that will have "none of
us," and steadily bent on storming a position in society that, if won
to-morrow, we could not retain.

I suppose that our reverses in this wise must have attained some
notoriety, and I am even prepared to hear that the Dodd family have
made themselves unhappily conspicuous by their unfortunate attempt at
greatness; but I own, dearest friend, that I am not able to contemplate
with the same philosophical submission the loss of good men's esteem and
respect, to which these failures must expose US--an instance of which, I
tremble to think, has already occurred to us.

You have often heard me speak of Mrs. Morris, and of the kindness with
which she treated me during a visit at her house. She was at that time
in what many would have called very narrow circumstances, but which by
consummate care and good management sufficed to maintain a condition in
every way suitable to a gentlewoman. She has since--or rather her son
has--succeeded to a very large fortune and a title. They were at Genoa
when we arrived there,--at the same hotel,--and yet never either called
on or noticed us! It is perfectly needless for me to say that I know,
and know thoroughly, that no change in _their_ position could have
produced any alteration in their manner towards us. If ever there were
people totally removed from such vulgarity,--utterly incapable of even
conceiving it,--it is the Morrises. They were proud in their humble
fortune,--that is, they possessed a dignified self-esteem, that would
have rejected the patronage of wealthy pretension, but willingly
accepted the friendship of very lowly worth; and I can well believe that
prosperity will only serve to widen the sphere of their sympathies, and
make them as generous in action as they were once so in thought. That
their behavior to _us_ depends on anything in themselves, I therefore
completely reject,--this I know and feel to be an impossibility. What
a sad alternative is then left me, when I own that they have more than
sufficient cause to shun our acquaintance and avoid our intimacy!

The loss of such a friend as Captain Morris might have been to James
is almost irreparable; and from the interest he once took in him, it
is clear he felt well disposed for such a part; and I am thoroughly
convinced that even papa himself, with all his anti-English prejudices,
has only to come into close contact with the really noble traits of the
English character, to acknowledge their excellence and their worth. I am
very far from undervaluing the great charm of manner which comes
under the category of what is called "aimable." I recognize all its
fascination, and I even own to an exaggerated enjoyment of its display;
but shall I confess that I believe that it is this very habit of
simulation that detracts from the truthful character of a people, and
that English bluntness is--so to say--the complement of English honesty.
That they push the characteristic too far, and that they frequently
throw a chill over social intercourse, which under more genial
influences had been everything that was agreeable, I am free to admit;
but, with all these deficiencies, the national character is incomparably
above that of any other country I have any knowledge of. It will be
scarcely complimentary if I add, after all this, that we Irish are
certainly more popular abroad than our Saxon relatives. We are more
compliant with foreign usages, less rigid in maintaining our own habits,
more conciliating in a thousand ways; and both our tongues and our
temperaments more easily catch a new language and a new tone of society.

Is it not fortunate for you that I am interrupted in these gossipings by
the order to march? Mary Anne has come to tell me that we are to start
in half an hour; and so, adieu till we meet at Spezia.

Spezia, Croce di Malta.

The little sketch that I send with this will give you some very faint
notion of this beautiful gulf, with which I have as yet seen nothing to
compare. This is indeed Italy. Sea, sky, foliage, balmy air, the soft
influences of an atmosphere perfumed with a thousand odors,--all breathe
of the glorious land.

The Garden--a little promenade for the townspeople, that stretches along
the beach--is one blaze of deep crimson flowers,--the blossom of the
San Giuseppe,--I know not the botanical name. The blue sea--and such a
blue!--mirrors every cliff and crag and castellated height with the most
minute distinctness. Tall lateen-sailed boats glide swiftly to and fro;
and lazy oxen of gigantic size drag rustling wagons of loaded vines
along, the ruddy juice staining the rich earth as they pass.

Como was beautiful; but there was--so to say--a kind of trim coquetry in
its beauty that did not please me. The villas, the gardens, the
terraced walks, the pillared temples, seemed all the creations of a
landscape-gardening spirit that eagerly profited by every accidental
advantage of ground, and every casual excellence of situation. Now, here
there is none of this. All that man has done here had been even
better left undone. It is in the jutting promontories of rock-crowned
olives,--the landlocked, silent bays, darkened by woody shores,--the
wild, profuse vegetation, where the myrtle, the cactus, and the arbutus
blend with the vine, the orange, and the fig,--the sea itself, heaving
as if oppressed with perfumed languor,--and the tall Apennines,
snow-capped, in the distance, but whiter still in the cliffs of pure
Carrara marble,--it is in these that Spezia maintains its glorious
superiority, and in these it is indeed unequalled.

It will sound, doubtless, like a very ungenerous speech, when I say that
I rejoice that this spot is so little visited--so little frequented--by
those hordes of stray and straggling English who lounge about the
Continent. I do not say this in any invidious spirit, but simply in the
pleasure that I feel in the quiet and seclusion of a place which, should
it become by any fatality "the fashion" will inevitably degenerate
by all the vulgarities of the change. At present the Riviera--as the
coast-line from Genoa to Pisa is called--is little travelled. The
steamers passing to Leghorn by the cord of the arch, take away nearly
all the tourists, so that Spezia, even as a bathing-place, is little
resorted to by strangers. There are none, not one, of the ordinary
signs of the watering-place about it. Neither donkeys to hire, nor
subscription concerts; not a pony phaeton, a pianist, nor any species
of human phenomenon to torment you; and the music of the town band is,
I rejoice to say, so execrably bad that even a crowd of twenty cannot be
mustered for an audience.

Spezia is, therefore, _au naturel_,--and long may it be so! Distant be
the day when frescoed buildings shall rise around, to seduce from its
tranquil scenery the peaceful lover of nature, and make of him the
hot-cheeked gambler or the broken debauchee. I sincerely, hopefully
trust this is not to be, at least in our time.

We made an excursion this morning by boat to Lerici, to see poor
Shelley's house, the same that Byron lived in when here. It stands in
the bight of a little bay of its own, and close to the sea; so close,
indeed, that the waves were plashing and frothing beneath the arched
colonnade on which it is built. It is now in an almost ruinous
condition, and the damp, discolored walls and crumbling plaster bespeak
neglect and decay.

The view from the terrace is glorious; the gulf in its entire extent is
before you, and the island of Palmaria stands out boldly, with the tall
headlands of Porto Venere, forming the breakwater against the sea. It
was here Shelley loved to sit; here, of a summer's night, he often sat
till morning, watching the tracts of hill and mountain wax fainter and
fainter, till they grew into brightness again with coming day; and it
was not far from this, on the low beach of Via Reggio, that he was lost!
The old fisherman who showed us the house had known him well, and spoke
of his habits as one might have described those of some wayward child.
The large and lustrous eyes, the long waving hair, the uncertain step,
the look half timid, half daring, had made an impression so strong, that
even after long years he could recall and tell of them.

It came on to blow a "Levanter" as we returned, and the sea got up with
a rapidity almost miraculous. From a state of calm and tranquil repose,
it suddenly became storm-lashed and tempestuous; nor was it without
difficulty we accomplished a landing at Spezia. To-morrow we are to
visit Porto Venere,--the scene which it is supposed suggested to Virgil
his description of the Cave in which Æneas meets with Dido; and the
following day we go to Carrara to see the marble quarries and the
artists' studios. In fact, we are "handbooking" this part of our tour in
the most orthodox fashion; and from the tame, half-effaced impressions
objects suggest, of which you come primed with previous description,
I can almost fancy that reading "John Murray" at your fireside at home
might compensate for the fatigue and cost of a journey. It would be
worse than ungrateful to deny the aid one derives from guide-books; but
there is unquestionably this disadvantage in them, that they limit
your faculty of admiration or disapproval. They set down rules for your
liking and disliking, and far from contributing to form and educate
your taste, they cramp its development by substituting criticism for
instinct.

As I hope to write to you again from Florence, I 'll not prolong this
too tiresome epistle, but, with my most affectionate greetings to all my
old schoolfellows, ask my dear Miss Cox to believe me her ever attached
and devoted

Caroline Dodd.

The Morrises arrived here last night and went on this morning, without
any notice of us. They must have seen our names in the book when writing
their own. Is not this more than strange? Mamma and Mary Anne seemed
provoked when I spoke of it, so that I have not again alluded to the
subject. I wish from my heart I could ask how _you_ interpret their
coldness.



LETTER XXIV. MARY ANNE DODD TO MISS DOOLAN, OF BALLYDOOLAN.

Lucca, Pagnini's Hotel.

Dearest Kitty,--This must be the very shortest of letters, for we are on
the wing, and shall be for some days to come. Very few words, however,
will suffice to tell you that we have at length persuaded papa to come
on to Florence,--for the winter, of course. Rome will follow,--then
Naples,--_e poi?_--who knows! I think he must have received some very
agreeable tidings from your uncle Purcell, for he has been in better
spirits than I have seen him latterly, and shows something like a return
to his old vein of pleasantry. Not but I must own that it is what
the French would call, very often, a _mauvaise plaisanterie_ in its
exercise, his great amusement being to decry and disparage the people
of the Continent. He seems quite to forget that in every country the
traveller is, and must be, a mark for knavery and cheating. His newness
to the land, his ignorance, in almost all cases, of the language,
his occasional mistakes, all point him out as a proper subject
for imposition; and if the English come to compare notes with any
Continental country, I'm not so sure we should have much to plume
ourselves upon, as regards our treatment of strangers.

For our social misadventures abroad, it must be confessed that we are
mainly most to blame ourselves. All the counterfeits of rank, station,
and position are so much better done by foreigners than by our people,
that we naturally are more easily imposed on. Now in England, for
instance, it would be easier to be a duchess than to imitate one
successfully. All the attributes that go to make up such a station
abroad, might be assumed by any adventurer of little means and less
capacity. We forget--or, more properly speaking, we do not know--this,
when we come first on the Continent; hence the mistakes we fall into,
and the disasters that assail us.

It would be very disagreeable for me to explain at length how what
I mentioned to you about James's marriage has come to an untimely
conclusion. Enough when I say that the lady was not, in any respect,
what she had represented herself, and my dear brother may be said to
have had a most fortunate escape. Of course the poor fellow has suffered
considerably from the disappointment, nor are his better feelings
alleviated by the--I will say--very indelicate raillery papa is pleased
to indulge in on the subject. It is, however, a theme I do not care to
linger on, and I only thus passively allude to it that it may be buried
in oblivion between us.

We came along here from Genoa by the seaboard, a very beautiful and
picturesque road, traversing a wild range of the Apennines, and almost
always within view of the blue Mediterranean. At Spezia we loitered for
a day or two, to bathe, and I must say nothing can be more innocently
primitive than the practice as followed there.

Ladies and gentlemen--men and women, if you like it better--all meet in
the water as they do on land, or rather not as they do on land, but in
a very first-parentage state of no-dressedness. There they splash, swim,
dive, and converse,--float, flirt, talk gossip, and laugh with a most
laudable forgetfulness of externals. Introductions and presentations
go forward as they would in society, and a gentleman asks you to duck
instead of to dance with him. It would be affectation in me were I not
to say that I thought all this very shocking at first, and that I really
could scarcely bring myself to adopt it; but Lord George, who really
swims to perfection, laughed me out of some, and reasoned me out of
others of my prejudices, and I will own, dearest Kitty, his arguments
were unanswerable.

"Were you not very much ashamed," said he, "the first time you saw
a ballet, or 'poses plastiques'?--did not the whole strike you as
exceedingly indelicate?--and now, would not that very same sense of
shame occur to you as real indelicacy, since in these exhibitions it is
Art alone you admire,--Art in its graceful development? The 'Ballarina'
is not a woman; she is an ideal,--she is a Hebe, a Psyche, an Ariadne,
or an Aphrodite. Symmetry, grace, beauty of outline,--these are the
charms that fascinate you. Can you not, therefore, extend this spirit to
the sea, and, instead of the Marquis of this and the Countess of that,
only behold Tritono and sea-nymphs disporting in the flood?"

I saw at once the force of this reasoning, Kitty, and perceived that to
take any lower view of the subject would be really a gross indelicacy. I
tried to make Cary agree with me, but utterly in vain,--she is so devoid
of imagination! There is, too, an utter want of refinement in her mind
positively hopeless. She even confessed to me that Lord George without
his clothes still seemed Lord George to her, and that no effort she
could make was able to persuade her that the old Danish Minister in the
black leather skullcap had any resemblance to a river god. Mamma behaved
much better; seeing that the custom was one followed by all the "best
people," she adopted it at once, and though she would scream out
whenever a gentleman came to talk to her, I 'm sure, with a few
weeks' practice, she 'd have perfectly reconciled herself to "etiquette
in the water." Should you, with your very Irish notions, raise hands and
eyes at all this, and mutter, "How very dreadful!--how shocking!" and
so on, I have only to remind you of what the Princess Pauline said to an
English lady, who expressed her prudish horrors at the Princess having
"sat for Canova in wet drapery": "Oh, it was not so disagreeable as you
think; there was always a fire in the room." Now, Kitty, I make the same
reply to your shocked scruples, by saying the sea was deliciously warm.
Bathing is here, indeed, a glorious luxury. There is no shivering or
shuddering, no lips chattering, blue-nosed, goose-skinned misery, like
the home process! It is not a rush in, in desperation, a duck in agony,
and a dressing in ague, but a delicious lounge, associated with all the
enjoyments of scenery and society. The temperature of the sea is just
sufficiently below that of the air to invigorate without chilling, like
the tone of a company that stimulates without exhausting you. It is,
besides, indescribably pleasant to meet with a pastime so suggestive of
new themes of talk. Instead of the tiresome and trite topics of ballet
and balls, and dress and diamonds, your conversation smacks of salt
water, and every allusion "hath suffered a sea change." Instead of a
compliment to your dancing, the flattery is now on your diving; and he
who once offered his arm to conduct you to the "buffet," now proposes
his company to swim out to a lifebuoy!

And now let me get back to land once more, and you will begin to fancy
that your correspondent is Undine herself in disguise. I was very sorry
to leave Spezia, since I was just becoming an excellent swimmer. Indeed,
the surgeon of an American frigate assured me that he thought "I had
been raised in the Sandwich Islands,"--a compliment which, of course, I
felt bound to accept in the sense that most flattered me.

We passed through Carrara, stopping only to visit one or two of the
studios. They had not much to interest us, the artists being for the
most part copyists, and their works usually busts; busts being now the
same passion with our travelling countrymen as once were oil portraits.
The consequence is that every sculptor's shelves are loaded with
thin-lipped, grim-visaged English women, and triple-chinned,
apoplectic-looking aldermen, that contrast very unfavorably with the
clean-cut brows and sharply chiselled features of classic antiquity.
The English are an eminently good-looking race of people, seen in their
proper costume of broadcloth and velvet. They are manly and womanly. The
native characteristics of boldness, decision, and highhearted honesty
are conspicuous in all their traits; nor is there any deficiency in the
qualities of tenderness and gentleness. But with all this, when they
take off their neckcloths, they make but very indifferent Romans; and
he who looked a gentleman in his shirt-collar becomes, what James would
call, "an arrant snob" when seen in a toga. And yet they _will_ do it!
They have a notion that the Anglo-Saxon can do anything,--and so he can,
perhaps,--the difference being whether he can _look_ the character he
knows so well how to _act_.

We left Carrara by a little mountain path to visit the Bagni di Lucca,
a summer place, which once, in its days of Rouge-et-Noir celebrity, was
greatly resorted to. The Principality of Lucca possessed at that period,
too, its own reigning duke, and had not been annexed to Tuscany. Like
all these small States, without trade or commerce, its resources were
mainly derived from the Court; and, consequently, the withdrawal of the
Sovereign was the death-blow to all prosperity. It would be quite beyond
me to speculate on the real advantages or disadvantages resulting from
this practice of absorption, but pronouncing merely from externals, I
should say that the small States are great sufferers. Nothing can
be sadder than the aspect of this little capital. Ruined palaces,
grass-grown streets, tenantless houses, and half-empty shops are seen
everywhere. Poverty--I might call it misery--on every hand. The various
arts and trades cultivated had been those required by, even called into
existence by, the wants of a Court. All the usages of the place had
been made to conform to its courtly life and existence, and now this was
gone, and all the "occupation" with it! You are not perhaps aware that
this same territory of Lucca supplies nearly all of that tribe of image
and organ men so well known, not only through Europe, but over the vast
continent of America. They are skilful modellers naturally, and work
really beautiful things in "terra cotta." They are a hardy mountain
race, and, like all "montagnards," have an equal love for enterprise and
an attachment to home. Thus they traverse every land and sea, they labor
for years long in far-away climes, they endure hardships and privations
of every kind, supported by the one thought of the day when they can
return home again, and when in some high-perched mountain village--some
"granuolo," or "bennabbia "--they can rest from wandering, and, seated
amidst their kith and kind, tell of the wondrous things they have seen
in their journeyings. It is not uncommon here, in spots the very wildest
and least visited, to find a volume in English or French on the shelf of
some humble cottage: now it is perhaps a print, or an engraving of
some English landscape,--a spot, doubtless, endeared by some especial
recollection,--and not unfrequently a bird from Mexico--a bright-winged
parrot from the Brazils--shows where the wanderer's footsteps have borne
him, and shows, too, how even there the thoughts of home had followed.

Judged by our own experiences, these people are but scantily welcomed
amongst us. They are constantly associated in our minds with intolerable
hurdy-gurdies and execrable barrel-organs. They are the nightmare of
invalids, and the terror of all studious heads, and yet the wealth
with which they return shows that their gifts are both acknowledged and
rewarded. It must be that to many the organ-man is a pleasant visitor,
and the image-hawker a vendor of "high art" I have seen a great many of
them since we came here, and in their homes too; for mamma has taken
up the notion that these excellent people are all living in a state
of spiritual darkness and destitution, and to enlighten them has been
disseminating her precious little volume on the Miracles of Mount
Orsaro. It is plain to me that all this zeal of a woman of a foreign
nation seems to them a far more miraculous manifestation than anything
in her little book, and they stare and wonder at her in a way that
plainly shows a compassionate distrust of her sanity.

It is right I should say that Lord George thinks all these people knaves
and vagabonds; and James says they are a set of smugglers, and live by
contraband. Whatever be the true side of the picture, I must now leave
to your own acuteness, or rather to your prejudices, which for all
present purposes are quite good enough judges to decide.

Papa likes this place so much that he actually proposed passing the
winter here, for "cheapness,"--a very horrid thought, but which,
fortunately, Lord George averted by a private hint to the landlord of
the inn, saying that papa was rolling in wealth, but an awful miser; so
that when the bill made its appearance, with everything charged double,
papa's indignation turned to a perfect hatred of the town and all in it:
the consequence is that we are tomorrow to leave for Florence, which,
if but one half of what Lord George says be true, must be a real earthly
paradise. Not that I can possibly doubt him, for he has lived there two,
or, I believe, three winters,--knows everybody and everything. How I
long to see the Cascini, the Court Balls, the Private Theatricals, at
Prince Polywkowsky's, the picnics at Fiesole, and those dear receptions
at Madame della Montanare's, where, as Lord G. says, every one goes, and
"there's no absurd cant heard about character."

Indeed, to judge from Lord G.'s account, Florence--to use his own
words--is "the most advanced city in Europe;" that is to say, the
Florentines take a higher and more ample view of social philosophy than
any other people. The erring individual in our country is always treated
like the wounded crow,--the whole rookery is down upon him at once. Not
so here; he--or _she_, to speak more properly--is tenderly treated and
compassionated; all the little blandishments of society showered on her.
She is made to feel that the world is really not that ill-natured thing
sour moralists would describe it; and even if she feel indisposed to
return to safer paths, the perilous ones are made as pleasant for her
as it is possible. These are nearly his own words, dearest, and are they
not beautiful? so teeming with delicacy and true charity. And oh!
Kitty, I must say these are habits we do not practise at home in our
own country. But of this more hereafter; for the present, I can think of
nothing but the society of this delightful city, and am trying to learn
off by heart the names of all the charming houses in which he is to
introduce us. He has written, besides, to various friends in England
for letters for us, so that we shall be unquestionably better off
here--socially speaking--than in any other city of the Continent.

We leave this after breakfast to-morrow; and before the end of the week
it is likely you may hear from me again, for I am longing to give you
my first impressions of Firenza la Bella; till when, I am, as ever, your
dearly attached

Mary Anne Dodd.

P. S. Great good fortune, Kitty,--we shall arrive in time for the races.
Lord G. has got a note from Prince Pincecotti, asking him to ride
his horse "Bruise-drog,"--which, it seems, is the Italian for
"Bull-dog,"--and he consents. He is to wear my colors, too,
dearest,--green and white,--and I have promised to make him a present of
his jacket How handsome he _will_ look in jockey dress!

James is in distraction at being too heavy for even a hurdle-race;
but as he is six feet one, and stout in proportion, it is out of the
question. Lord G. insists upon it that Cary and I must go on horseback.
Mamma agrees with him, and papa as stoutly resists. It is in vain we
tell him that all depends on the way we open the campaign here, and that
the present opportunity is a piece of rare good fortune; he is in one of
his obstinate moods, and mutters something about "beggars on horseback,"
and the place they "ride to." I open my letter to say--carried
triumphantly, dearest--we _are_ to ride.



LETTER XXV. JAMES DODD TO ROBERT DOOLAN, ESQ., TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN.

Hôtel d'Italie, Florence, Wednesday.

My dear Bob,--Here we are going it, and in about the very "fastest"
place I ever set foot in. In any other city society seems to reserve
itself for evening and lamplight; but here, Bob, you make "running from
the start," and keep up the pace till you come in. In the morning there
's the club, with plenty of whist; all the gossip of the town,--and such
gossip too,--the real article, by Jove!--no shadowy innuendoes, no
vague and half-mystified hints of a flaw here or a crack there, but home
blows, my boy, with a smashed character or a ruined reputation at every
stroke. This is, however, only a breathing canter for what awaits you at
the Cascini,--a sort of "promenade," where all the people meet in
their carriages, and exchange confidences in scandal and invitations
to tea,--the Cascini being to the club what the ballet is to the opera.
After this, you have barely time to dress for dinner; which over, the
opera begins. There you pay visits from box to box; learn all that is
going on for the evening; hear where the prettiest women are going, and
where the smartest play will be found. Midnight arrives, and then--but
not before--the real life of Florence begins. The dear Contessa, that
never showed by daylight, at last appears in her _salon_; the charming
Marchesa, whose very head-dress is a study from Titian, and whose
dark-fringed eyes you think you recognize from the picture in "the
Pitti," at length sails in, to receive the humble homage of--what,
think you? a score of devoted worshippers, a band of chivalrous adorers?
Nothing of the kind, Bob: a dozen or so of young fellows, in all manner
of costumes, and all shapes of beards and moustaches; all smoking cigars
or cigarettes, talking, singing, laughing, thumping the piano, shouting
choruses, playing tricks with cards,--all manner of tomfoolery, in fact;
with a dash of enthusiasm in the nonsense that carries you along in
spite of yourself. The conversation--if one can dare to call it such--is
a wild chaos of turf-talk, politics, scandal, literature, buffoonery,
and the ballet. There is abundance of wit,--plenty of real smartness on
every side. The fellows who have just described the cut of a tucker can
tell you accurately the contents of a treaty; and they who did not seem
to have a thought above the depth of a flounce or the width of a sandal,
are thoroughly well versed in the politics of every State of Europe.
There is no touch of sarcasm in their gayety,--none of that refined,
subtle ridicule that runs through a Frenchman's talk; these fellows are
eminently good-natured: the code of morals is not severe, and hence the
secret of the merciful judgments you hear pronounced on every one.

As to breeding, we English should certainly say there was an excess of
familiarity. Everybody puts his arm on your shoulder, pats you on the
back, and calls you by your Christian name. I am "Giacomo" to a host of
fellows I don't know by name; and "Gemess" to a select few, who
pride themselves on speaking English. At all events, Bob, there is no
constraint,--no reserve amongst them. You are at your ease at once, and
good fellowship is the order of the day.

As to the women, they have a half-shy, half-confident look, that puzzles
one sadly. They 'll stand a stare from you most unblushingly; they think
it's all very right and very reasonable that you should look at them as
long and as fixedly as you would do at a Baffaelle in the Gallery: but
with all that, there is a great real delicacy of deportment, and those
coram-publico preferences which are occasionally exhibited in England,
and even in France, are never seen in Italian society. As to good looks,
there is an abundance, but of a character which an Englishman at first
will scarcely accept as beauty. They are rarely handsome by feature,
but frequently beautiful by expression. There is, besides, a graceful
languor, a tender Cleopatra-like voluptuousness in their air that
distinguishes them from other women; and I have no doubt that any
one who has lived long in Italy would pronounce French smartness
and coquetry the very essence of vulgarity. They cannot dress like a
Parisian, nor waltz like a Wienerin; but, to my thinking, they are far
more captivating than either. I am already in love with four, and I have
just heard of a fifth, that I am sure will set me downright distracted.
There 's one thing I like especially in them; and I own to you, Bob, it
would compensate to me for any amount of defects, which I believe do not
pertain to them. It is this: they have no accomplishments,--they neither
murder Rossini, nor mar Salvator Rosa; they are not educated to torment
society, poison social intercourse, and push politeness to its last
entrenchment. You are not called on for silence while they scream, nor
for praise when they paint. They do not convert a drawing-room into a
boarding-school on examination-day, and they are satisfied to charm you
by fascinations that cost you no compromise to admire.

After all, I believe we English are the only people that adopt the other
plan. We take a commercial view of the matter, and having invested so
much of our money in accomplishment, we like to show our friends that we
have made a good speculation. For myself, I 'd as soon be married to a
musical snuff-box or a daguerreotype machine as to a "well-brought-up
English girl," who had always the benefit of the best masters in music
and drawing. The fourth-rate artist in anything is better than the
first-rate amateur; and I 'd just as soon wear home-made shoes as listen
to home-made music.

I have not been presented in any of the English houses here as yet.
There is some wonderful controversy going forward as to whether we are
to call first, or to wait to be called on; and I begin to fear that the
Carnival will open before it can be settled. The governor, too, has got
into a hot controversy with our Minister here, about our presentation at
Court. It would appear that the rule is, you should have been presented
at home, in order to be eligible for presentation abroad. Now, we have
been at the Castle, but never at St James's. The Minister, however, will
not recognize reflected royalty; and here we are, suffering under a real
Irish grievance O'Connell would have given his eye for. The fun of it is
that the Court--at least, I hear so--is crammed with English, who never
even saw a Viceroy, nor perhaps partook of the high festivities of a
Lord Mayor's Ball. How they got there is not for me to inquire, but I
suppose that a vow to a chamberlain is like a customhouse oath, and can
always be reconciled to an easy conscience.

We have arrived here at an opportune moment,--time to see all the
notorieties of the place at the races, which began to-day. So far as I
can learn, the foreigners have adopted the English taste, with the true
spirit of imitators; that is, they have given little attention to any
improvement in the breed of cattle, but have devoted considerable energy
to all the rogueries of the ring, and with such success that Newmarket
and Doncaster might still learn something from the "Legs" of the
Continent.

Tiverton, who is completely behind the scenes, has told me some strange
stories about their doings; and, at the very moment I am writing,
horses are being withdrawn, names scratched, forfeits declared, and bets
pronounced "off," with a degree of precipitation and haste that shows
how little confidence exists amongst the members of the ring. As for
myself, not knowing either the course, the horses, nor the colors of
the riders, I take my amusement in observing--what is really most
laughable--the absurd effort made by certain small folk here to resemble
the habits and ways of certain big ones in England. Now it is a retired
coach-maker, or a pensioned-off clerk in a Crown office, that jogs down
the course, betting-book in hand, trying to look--in the quaintness of
his cob, and the trim smugness of his groom--like some old county squire
of fifteen thousand a year. Now it is some bluff, middle-aged gent, who,
with coat thrown back and thumbs in his waistcoat, insists upon being
thought Lord George Bentinck. There are Massy Stanleys, George Paynes,
Lord Wiltons, and Colonel Peels by dozens; "gentlemen jocks" swathed in
drab paletots, to hide the brighter rays of costume beneath, gallop at
full speed across the grass on ponies of most diminutive size; smartly
got-up fellows stand under the judge's box, and slang the authorities
above, or stare at the ladies in front. There are cold luncheons,
sandwiches, champagne, and soda-water; bets, beauties, and bitter
beer,--everything, in short, that constitutes races, but horses! The
system is that every great man gives a cup, and wins it himself; the
only possible interest attending such a process being whether, in some
paroxysm of anger at this, or some frump at that, he may not withdraw
his horse at the last moment,--an event on which a small knot of
gentlemen with dark eyes, thick lips, and aquiline noses seem to
speculate as a race chance, and only second in point of interest to a
whist party at the Casino with a couple of newly come "Bulls." A more
stupid proceeding, therefore, than these races--bating always the fun
derived from watching the "snobocracy".

I have mentioned--cannot be conceived. Now it was a walk over; now a
"sell;" now two horses of the same owner; now one horse that was owned
by three. The private history of the rogueries might possibly amuse, but
all that met the public eye was of the very slowest imaginable.

I begin to think, Bob, that horse-racing is only a sport that can be
maintained by a great nation abounding in wealth, and with all the
appliances of state and splendor. You ought to have gorgeous equipages,
magnificent horses, thousands of spectators, stands crowded to the roof
by a class such as only exists in great countries. Royalty itself, in
all its pomp, should be there; and all that represents the pride and
circumstance of a mighty people. To try these things on a small scale
is ridiculous,--just as a little navy of one sloop and a steamer! With
great proportions and ample verge, the detracting elements are hidden
from view. The minor rascalities do not intrude themselves on a scene of
such grandeur; and though cheating, knavery, and fraud are there,
they are not foreground figures. Now, on a little "race-course," it is
exactly the reverse: just as on board of a three-decker you know nothing
of the rats, but in a Nile boat they are your bedfellows and your guests
at dinner.

To-morrow we are to have a match with gentlemen riders, and if anything
worth recording occurs I 'll keep a corner for it Mother is in the grand
stand, with any amount of duchesses and marchionesses around her.
The governor is wandering about the field, peeping at the cattle, and
wondering how the riders are to get round a sharp turn at the end of
the course. The girls are on horseback with Tiverton; and, in the long
intervals between the matches, I jot down these rough notes for you. The
scene itself is beautiful. The field, flanked on one side by the wood of
the Cascini, is open on t' other to the mountains: Fiezole, from base to
summit, is dotted over with villas half buried in groves of orange and
olive trees. The Val d'Arno opens on one side, and the high mountain
of Vallombrosa on the other. The gayly dressed and bright-costumed
Florentine population throng the ground itself, and over their heads
are seen the glorious domes and towers and spires of beautiful Florence,
under a broad sky of cloudless blue, and in an atmosphere of rarest
purity.

Thursday.

Tiverton has won his match, and with the worst horse too. Of his
competitors one fell off; another never got up at all; a third bolted;
and a fourth took so much out of his horse in a breathing canter before
the race, that the animal was dead beat before he came to the start. And
now the knowing ones are going about muttering angry denunciations on
the treachery of grooms and trainers, and vowing that "Gli gentlemen
riders son grandi bricconi."

I am glad it is over. The whole scene was one of quarrelling, row, and
animosity from beginning to end. These people neither know how to
win money nor to lose it; and as to the English who figure on such
occasions, take my word for it, Bob, the national character gains little
by their alliance. It is too soon for me, perhaps, to pronounce in
this fashion, but Tiverton has told me so many little private
histories--revealed so much of the secret memoirs of these folk--that I
believe I am speaking what subsequent experience will amply confirm. For
the present, good-bye, and believe me,

Ever yours,

James Dodd.



LETTER XXVI. KENNY DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., ORANGE, BRUFF.

Florence, Lungo l'Arno.

My dear Tom,--It is nigh a month since I wrote to you last, and if I
didn't "steal a few hours from the night, my dear," it might be longer
still. The address will tell you where we are,--I wish anybody or
anything else would tell you how or why we came here! I intended to have
gone back from Genoa, nor do I yet understand what prevented me doing
so. My poor head--none of the clearest in what may be called my lucid
intervals--is but a very indifferent thinking machine when harassed,
worried, and tormented as I have been latterly. You have heard how
James's Countess, the Cardinal's niece and the betrothed of a Neapolitan
Prince, turned out to be a circus woman, one of those bits of tawdry
gold fringe and pink silk pantaloons that dance on a chalked saddle to a
one-shilling multitude! By good fortune she had two husbands living, or
she might have married the boy. As it was, he has gone into all manner
of debt on her account; and if it was not that I can defy ruin in any
shape,--for certain excellent reasons you may guess at,--this last
exploit of his would go nigh to our utter destruction.

We hurried away out of Genoa in shame, and came on here by slow stages.
The womenkind plucked up wonderfully on the way, and I believe of the
whole party your humble servant alone carried abasement with him inside
the gates of Florence.

My sense of sorrow and shame probably somehow blunted my faculties and
dulled my reasoning powers, for I would seem to have concurred in a vast
number of plans and arrangements that now, when I have come to myself,
strike me with intense astonishment. For instance, we have taken a suite
of rooms on the Arno, hired a cook, a carriage, and a courier; we are, I
hear, also in negotiation for a box at the "Pergola," and I am credibly
informed that I am myself looking out for saddle-horses for the girls,
and a "stout-made, square-jointed cob of lively action," to carry
myself.

It may be all true--I have no doubt it is more philosophical, as the
cant phrase is--to believe Kenny Dodd to be mistaken rather than suppose
his whole family deranged, so that if I hear to-morrow or next day
that I 'm about to take lessons in singing, or to hire a studio as a
sculptor, I 'm fully determined to accept the tidings with a graceful
submission. There is only one thing, Tom Purcell, that passes my belief,
and that is, that there ever lived as besotted an old fool as your
friend Kenny D., a man so thoroughly alive to everything that displeased
him, and yet so prone to endure it; so actively bent on going a road the
very opposite to the one he wanted to travel; and that entered heart and
soul into the spirit of ruining himself, as if it was the very best fun
imaginable.

That you can attempt to follow me through the vagaries of this strange
frame of mind is more than I expect, neither do I pretend to explain
it to you. There it is, however,--make what you can of it, just as you
would with a handful of copper money abroad, where there was no clew to
the value of a single coin in the mass, but wherewith you are assured
you have received your change.

With a fine lodging, smart liveries, a very good cook, and a
well-supplied table, I thought it possible that though ruin would follow
in about three months, yet in the interval I might probably enjoy a
little ease and contentment. At all events, like the Indian, who,
when he saw that he must inevitably go over the Falls, put his paddles
quietly aside, and resolved to give himself no unnecessary trouble, I
also determined I 'd leave the boat alone, and never "fash myself for
the future." Wise as this policy may seem, it has not saved me. Mrs. D.
is a regular storm-bird! Wherever she goes she carries her own hurricane
with her! and I verily believe she could get up a tornado under the
equator.

In a little pious paroxysm that seized her in the mountains, she, at the
instigation of a stupid old lord there, must needs write a tract
about certain miracles that were or were not--for I 'll not answer for
either--performed by a saint that for many years back nobody had paid
any attention to. This precious volume cost _her_ three weeks' loss of
rest, and _me_ about thirty pounds sterling. It was, however, a pious
work, and even as a kind of _visa_ on her passport to heaven, I
suppose it would be called cheap. I assure you, Tom, I spent the cash
grudgingly; that I did pay it at all I thought was about as good "a
miracle" as any in the book.

Armed with this tract, she tramped through the Lucchese mountains,
leaving copies everywhere, and thrusting her volume into the hands of
all who would have it. I 'm no great admirer of this practice in any
sect. The world has too many indiscreet people to make this kind of
procedure an over-safe one; besides, I 'm not quite certain that even a
faulty religion is not preferable to having none at all, and it happens
not unfrequently that the convert stops half-way on his road, and leaves
one faith without ever reaching the other. I 'll not discuss this matter
further; I have trouble enough on my hands without it.

These little tracts of Mrs. D.'s attracted the attention of the
authorities. It was quite enough that they had been given away gratis,
and by an Englishwoman, to stamp them as attempts to proselytize, and,
although they could n't explain how, yet they readily adopted the idea
that the whole was written in a figurative style purposely to cover
its real object, and so they set lawyers and judges to work, and what
between oaths of peasants and affirmations of prefects, they soon made
a very pretty case, and yesterday morning, just as we had finished
breakfast, a sergeant of the gendarmerie entered the room, and with a
military salute asked which was la Signora Dodd? The answer being
given, he proceeded to read aloud a paper, that he held in his hand,
the contents of which Cary translated for me in a whisper. They were, in
fact, a judge's warrant to commit Mrs. D. to prison under no less than
nine different sections of a new law on the subject of religion. In vain
we assured him that we were all good Catholics, kept every ordinance of
the Church, and hated a heretic. He politely bowed to our explanation,
but said that with this part of the matter he had nothing to do; that
doubtless we should be able to establish our innocence before the
tribunal; meanwhile Mrs. D. must go to prison.

I 'm ashamed at all the warmth of indignation we displayed, seeing that
this poor fellow was simply discharging his duty,--and that no pleasant
one,--but somehow it is so natural to take one's anger out on the
nearest official, that we certainly didn't spare him. Tiverton
threatened him with the House of Commons; James menaced him with the
"Times;" Mary Anne protested that the British fleet would anchor off
Leghorn within forty hours; and I hinted that Mazzini should have the
earliest information of this new stroke of tyranny. He bore all like--a
gendarme! stroked his moustaches, clinked his sword on the ground, put
his cocked-hat a little more squarely on his head, and stood at
ease. Mrs. D.--there s no guessing how a woman will behave in any
exigency--did n't go off, as I thought and expected she would, in strong
hysterics; she did n't even show fight; she came out in what, I am free
to own, was for her a perfectly new part, and played martyr; ay, Tom,
she threw up her eyes, clasped her hands upon her bosom, and said, "Lead
me away to the stake--burn me--torture me--cut me in four quarters--tear
my flesh off with hot pincers." She suggested a great variety of these
practices, and with a volubility that showed me she had studied the
subject. Meanwhile the sergeant grew impatient, declared the "séance"
was over, and ordered her at once to enter the carriage that stood
awaiting her at the door, and which was to convey her to the prison. I
need n't dwell on a very painful scene; the end of it was that she was
taken away, and though we all followed in another carriage, we were only
admitted to a few moments of leave-taking with her, when the massive
gates were closed, and she was a captive!

[Illustration: 248]

Tiverton told me I must at once go to our Legation and represent the
case. "Be stout about it," said he; "say she must be liberated in half
an hour. Make the Minister understand you are somebody, and won't stand
any humbug. I 'd go," he added, "but I can't do anything against the
present Government." A knowing wink accompanied this speech, and though
I didn't see the force of the remark, I winked too, and said nothing.

"What language does he speak?" said I, at last.

"Our Minister? English, of course!"

"In that case I 'm off at once;" and away I drove to the Legation. The
Minister was engaged. Called again,--he was out. Called later,--he was
in conference with the Foreign Secretary. Later still,--he was dressing
for dinner. Tipped his valet a Nap. and sent in my card, with a pressing
entreaty to be admitted. Message brought back, quite impossible,--must
call in the morning. Another Nap. to the flunkey, and asked his advice.

"His Excellency receives this evening,--come as one of the guests."

I did n't half like this counsel, Tom; it was rather an obtrusive line
of policy, but what was to be done? I thought for a few minutes, and,
seeing no chance of anything better, resolved to adopt it. At ten
o'clock, then, behold me ascending a splendidly illuminated staircase,
with marble statues on either side, half hid amidst all manner of rare
and beautiful plants. Crowds of splendidly dressed people are wending
their way upward with myself--doubtless with lighter hearts--which was
not a difficult matter. At the top, I find myself in a dense crowd,
all a blaze of diamonds and decorations, gorgeous uniforms and jewelled
dresses of the most costly magnificence.

I assure you I was perfectly lost in wonderment and admiration. The
glare of wax-lights, the splendor of the apartments themselves, and the
air of grandeur on every side actually dazzled and astounded me. At each
instant I heard the title of Duke and Prince given to some one or other.
"Your Highness is looking better;" "I trust your Grace will dance;" "Is
the Princess here?" "Pray present me to the Duchess." Egad, Tom, I felt
I was really in the very centre of that charmed circle of which one
hears so much and yet sees so little.

I need n't say that I knew nobody, and I own to you it was a great
relief to me that nobody knew _me_. Where should I find the Minister in
all this chaos of splendor, and if I did succeed, how obtain the means
of addressing him? These were very puzzling questions to be solved, and
by a brain turning with excitement, and half wild between astonishment
and apprehension. On I went, through room after room,--there seemed no
end to this gorgeous display. Here they were crushed together, so that
stars, crosses, epaulettes, diamond coronets, and jewelled arms seemed
all one dense mass; here they were broken into card-parties; here they
were at billiards; here dancing; and here all were gathered around a
splendid buffet, where the pop, pop of champagne corks explained the
lively sallies of the talkers. I was not sorry to find something like
refreshment; indeed, I thought my courage stood in need of a glass of
wine, and so I set myself vigorously to pierce the firm and compact
crowd in front of me. My resolve had scarcely been taken, when I felt a
gentle but close pressure within my arm, and on looking down, saw three
fingers of a white-gloved hand on my wrist.

I started back; and even before I could turn my head, Tom, I heard a
gentle voice murmur in my ear, "Dear creature,--how delighted to see
you!--when did you arrive?" and my eyes fell upon Mrs. Gore Hampton!
There she was, in all the splendor of full dress, which, I am bound to
say, in the present instance meant as small an amount of raiment as
any one could well venture out in. That I never saw her look half so
beautiful is quite true. Her combs of brilliants set off her glossy
hair, and added new brilliancy to her eyes, while her beauteous neck and
shoulders actually shone in the brightness of its tints. I bethought me
of the "Splügen," Tom, and the cold insolence of her disdain. I tried
to summon up indignation to reproach her, but she anticipated me, by
saying, with a bewitching smile, "Adolphus isn't here now, Doddy!"
Few as the words were, Tom, they revealed a whole history,--they were
apology for the past, and assurance for the present. "Still," said I,
"you might have--" "What a silly thing it is!" said she, putting her fan
on my lips; "and it wants to quarrel with me the very moment of meeting;
but it must n't and it sha'n't. Get me some supper, Doddy,--an oyster
patty, if there be one,--if not, an ortolan truffé."

This at least was a good sensible speech, and so I wedged firmly into
the mass, and, by dint of very considerable pressure, at length landed
my fair friend at the buffet. It was, I must say, worth all the labor.
There was everything you can think of, from sturgeon to Maraschino
jelly, and wines of every land of Europe. It was a good opportunity
to taste some rare vintages, and so I made a little excursion through
Marcobrunner to Johannisberg, and thence on to Steinberger. Leaving the
Rhine land, I coquetted awhile with Burgundy, especially Chambertin,
back again, however, to Champagne, for the sake of its icy coldness, to
wind up with some wonderful Schumlawer,--a Hungariau tap,--that actually
made me wish I had been born a hussar.

It is no use trying to explain to _you_ the tangled maze of my poor
bewitched faculties. _You_, whose experiences in such trials have not
gone beyond a struggle for a ham sandwich, or a chicken bone for some
asthmatic old lady in black satin,--_you_ can neither comprehend my
situation nor compassion ate my difficulties. How shall I convey to
your uninformed imagination the bewitching effects of wine, beauty,
heat, light, music, soft words, soft glances, blue eyes, and snowy
shoulders? I may give you all the details, but you 'll never be able
to blend them into that magic mass that melts the heart, and makes such
fools of the Kenny Dodds of this world. There is such a thing, believe
me, as "an atmosphere of enchantment." There are elements which compose
a magical air around you, perfumed with odors, and still more entrancing
by flatteries. The appeal is now to your senses, now to your heart, your
affections, your intellect, your sympathies; your very self-love is even
addressed, and you are more than man, at least more than an Irishman, if
you resist.

Egad, Tom, she is a splendid woman! and has that air of gentleness
and command about her that somehow subdues you at once. Her little
cajoleries--those small nothings of voice and look and touch--are such
subtle tempters for one admired even to homage itself.

"You must be my escort, Doddy," said she, drawing on her glove, after
fascinating me by the sight of that dimpled hand, and those rose-tipped
fingers so full of their own memories for me. "You shall give me your
arm, and I'll tell you who every one is." And away we sailed out of the
supper-room into the crowded _salons_.

Our progress was slow, for the crush was tremendous; but, as we went,
her recognitions were frequent. Still, I could not but remark, not with
women. All, or nearly all, her acquaintances were of, I was going to
say the harder, but upon my life I believe the real epithet would be the
softer sex. They saluted her with an easy, almost too easy, familiarity.
Some only smiled; and one, a scoundrel,--I shall know him again,
however,--threw up his eyes with a particular glance towards me, as
plainly as possible implying, "Oh, another victim, eh?" As for the
ladies, some stared full at her, and then turned abruptly away; some
passed without looking; one or two made her low and formal courtesies;
and a few put up their glasses to scan her lace flounce or her lappets,
as if _they_ were really the great objects to be admired. At last we
came to a knot of men talking in a circle round a very pretty woman,
whose jet-black eyes and ringlets, with a high color, gave her a most
brilliant appearance. The moment she saw Mrs. G. H. she sprang from her
seat to embrace her. They spoke in French, and so rapidly that I could
catch nothing of what passed; but the dark eyes were suddenly darted
towards me with a piercing glance that made me half ashamed.

[Illustration: 252]

"Let us take possession of that sofa," said Mrs. Gore, moving towards
one. "And now, Doddy, I want to present you to my dearest friend on
earth, my own darling Georgina."

Then they both kissed, and I muttered some stupid nonsense of my own.

"This, Georgy,--this is that dear creature of whom you have heard me
speak so often; this is that generous, noble-hearted soul whose devotion
is written upon my heart; and this," said she, turning to the other
side, "this is my more than sister,--my adored Georgina!"

I took my place between them on the sofa, and was formally presented to
whom?--guess you? No less a person than Lady George Tiverton! Ay, Tom,
the fascinating creature with the dark orbs was another injured woman!
I was not to be treated like a common acquaintance, it seemed, for
"Georgy" began a recital of her husband's cruelties to me. Of all the
wretches I ever heard or read he went far beyond them. There was not
an indignity, not an outrage, he had not passed on her. He studied
cruelties to inflict upon her. She had been starved, beaten, bruised,
and, I believe, chained to a log.

She drew down her dress to show me some mark of cruelty on her shoulder;
and though I saw nothing to shock me, I took her word for the injury.
In fact, Tom, I was lost in wonderment how one that had gone through
so much not only retained the loveliness of her looks, but all the
fascinations of her beauty, unimpaired by any traits of suffering.

What a terrible story it was, to be sure! Now he had sold her diamonds
to a Jew; now he had disposed of her beautiful dark hair to a wig-maker.
In his reckless extravagance her very teeth were not safe in her head;
but more dreadful than all were the temptations he had exposed her
to,--sweet, young, artless, and lovely as she was! All the handsome
fellows about town,--all that was gay, dashing, and attractive,--the
young Peerage and the Blues,--all at her feet; but her saintlike purity
triumphed; and it was really quite charming to hear how these two pretty
women congratulated each other on all the perils they had passed
through unharmed, and the dangers through which virtue had borne
them triumphant. There I sat, Tom, almost enveloped in gauze and
Valenciennes,--for their wide flounces encompassed me, their beauteous
faces at either side, their soft breath fanning me,--listening to
tales of man's infamy that made my blood boil. To the excitement of
the champagne had succeeded the delirious intoxication compounded of
passionate indignation and glowing admiration; and at any minute I felt
ready to throw myself at the heads of the husbands or the feet of their
wives!

Vast crowds moved by us as we sat there, and I could perceive that
we were by no means unnoticed by the company. At last I perceived an
elderly lady, leaning on a young man's arm, whom I thought I recognized;
but she quickly averted her head and said something to her companion.
He turned and bowed coldly to me; and I perceived it was Morris,--or
Penrhyn, I suppose he calls himself now; and, indeed, his new dignity
would seem to have completely overcome him. Mrs. G. H. asked his name;
and when I told it, said she would permit me to present him to her,--a
liberty I had no intention to profit by.

The company was now thinning fast; and so, giving an arm to each of my
fair friends, we descended to the cloak-ing-room. "Call our carriage,
Doddy,--the Villino Amaldini! for Georgy and I go together," said Mrs.
G. I saw them to the door, helped them in, kissed their hands, promised
to call on them early on the morrow,--"Villa Amaldini,--Via
Amaldini,"--got the name by heart; another squeeze of the two fair
hands, and away they rolled, and I turned homeward in a frame of mind of
which I have not courage to attempt the description.

When I arrived at our lodgings, it was nigh three o'clock; Mary Anne and
Cary were both sitting up waiting for me. The police had made a descent
on the house in my absence, and carried away three hundred and seventy
copies of the blessed little tract, all our house bills, some of your
letters, and the girls' Italian exercises; a very formidable array
of correspondence, to which some equations in algebra, by James,
contributed the air of a cipher.

"Well, papa, what tidings?" cried both the girls, as I entered the
room. "When is she to be liberated? What says the Minister?--is he
outrageous?--was he civil?--did he show much energy?"

"Wait a bit, my dears," said I, "and let me collect myself. After all I
have gone through, my head is none of the clearest."

This was quite true, Tom, as you may readily believe. They both waited,
accordingly, with a most exemplary patience; and there we sat in
silence, confronting each other; and I own to you honestly, a criminal
in a dock never had a worse conscience than myself at that moment.

"Girls," said I, at last, "if I am to have brains to carry me through
this difficult negotiation, it will only be by giving me the most
perfect peace and tranquillity. No questioning--no interrogation--no
annoyance of any kind--you understand me--this," said I, touching my
forehead,--"this must be undisturbed." They both looked at each other
without speaking, and I went on; but what I said, and how I said it,
I have no means of knowing: I dashed intrepidly into the wide sea of
European politics, mixing up Mrs. D. with Mazzini, making out something
like a very strong case against her. From that I turned to Turkey
and the Danubian Provinces, and brought in Omer Pasha and the Earl of
Guzeberry; plainly showing that their mother was a wronged and injured
woman, and that Sir Somebody Dundas might be expected any moment at the
mouth of the Arno, to exact redress for her wrongs. "And now," said I,
winding up, "you know as much of the matter as I do, my dears; you view
things from the same level as myself; and so, off to bed, and we 'll
resume the consideration of the subject in the morning." I did n't wait
for more, but took my candle and departed.

"Poor papa!" said Mary Anne, as I closed the door; "he talks quite
wildly. This sad affair has completely affected his mind."

"He certainly _does_ talk most incoherently," said Cary; "I hope we
shall find him better in the morning." Ah! Tom, I passed a wretched
night of self-accusation and sorrow. There was nothing Mrs. D. herself
could have said to me that I did n't say. I called myself a variety
of the hardest names, and inveighed stoutly against my depravity and
treachery. The consequence was that I couldn't sleep a wink, and rose
early, to try and shake off my feverish state by a walk.

I sallied out into the streets, and half unconsciously took the way to
the prison. It was one of those old feudal fortresses--half jail, half
palace--that the Medici were so fond of,--grim-looking, narrow-windowed,
high-battlemented buildings, that stand amidst modern edifices as a
mailed knight might stand in a group of our every-day dandies. I looked
up at its dark and sullen front with a heavy and self-reproaching heart.
"Your wife is there, Kenny Dodd," said I, "a prisoner!--treated like
a malefactor and a felon!--carried away by force, without trial or
investigation, and already sentenced--for a prisoner is under sentence
when even passingly deprived of liberty--and there you stand, powerless
and inactive! For this you quitted a land where there is at least a law,
and the appeal to it open to every one! For this you have left a
country where personal liberty can be assailed neither by tyranny nor
corruption! For this you have come hundreds of miles away from home, to
subject yourself and those belonging to you to the miserable despotism
of petty tyrants and the persecution of bigots! Why don't they print
it in large letters in every passport what one has to expect in these
journeyings? What nonsense it is to say that Kenny Dodd is to travel at
his pleasure, and that the authorities themselves are neither to give
nor 'permettre qu'il lui soit donné empêchement quelconque, mais au
contraire toute aide et assistance!' Why not be frank, and say, 'Kenny
Dodd comes abroad at his own proper risk and peril, to be cheated in
Belgium, bamboozled in Holland, and blackguarded on the Rhine; with
full liberty to be robbed in Spain, imprisoned in Italy, and knouted
in Russia'? With a few such facts as these before you, you would think
twice on the Tower Stairs, and perhaps deliberate a little at Dover.
It's no use making a row because foreigners do not adopt our notions.
They have no Habeas Corpus, just as they have no London Stout,--maybe
for the same reason, too,--it would n't suit the climate. But what
brings us amongst them! There's the question. Why do we come so far away
from home to eat food that disagrees with us, and live under laws we cry
out against? Is it consistent with common-sense to run amuck through the
statutes of foreign nations just out of wilfulness? I wish my wife was
out of that den, and I wish we were all back in Dodsborough." And with
that wise reflection, uttered in all the fulness of my heart, I turned
slowly away and reached the Arno. A gentleman raised his hat politely to
me as I passed. I turned hastily, and saw it was Morris. His salute was
a cold one, and showed no inclination for nearer acquaintance; but I was
too much humiliated in my own esteem to feel pride, so I followed and
overtook him. His reception of me was so chilling, Tom, that even before
I spoke I regretted the step I had adopted. I rallied, however, and
after reminding him how on a former occasion I had been benefited by his
able intervention in my behalf, briefly told him of Mrs. D.'s arrest,
and the great embarrassment I felt as to the course to be taken.

He thawed in a moment. All his distance was at once abandoned, and,
kindly offering me his arm, begged me to relate what had occurred.
He listened calmly, patiently,--I might almost say, coldly. He never
dropped a sentence,--not a syllable like sympathy or condolence. He
had n't as much as a word of honest indignation against the outrageous
behavior of the authorities. In fact, Tom, he took the whole thing just
as much as a matter of course as if there was nothing remarkable nor
strange in imprisoning an Englishwoman, and the mother of a family. He
made a few pencil notes in his pocket-book as to dates and such-like,
and then, looking at his watch, said,--

"We'll go and breakfast with Dunthorpe. You know him intimately, don't
you?"

I had to confess I did not know him at all.

"Oh! seeing you there last night," said he, "I thought you knew him
well, as you are only a very short time in Florence."

I drew a long breath, Tom, and told him how I had happened to find
myself at the Minister's "rout." He smiled good-humoredly; there was
nothing offensive in it, however, and it passed off at once.

"Sir Alexander and I are old friends," said he. "We served in the same
regiment once together, and I can venture to present you, even at this
early hour;" and with that we walked briskly on towards the Legation.

All this while Morris--I can't call him by his new name yet--never
alluded to the family; he did n't even ask after James, and I plainly
saw that he was bent on doing a very good-natured thing, without any
desire to incur further intimacy as its consequence.

Sir Alexander had not left his room when we arrived, but on receiving
Morris's card sent word to say he should be down in a moment, and
expected us both at breakfast. The table was spread in a handsome
library, with every possible appliance of comfort about it. There was
a brisk wood-fire blazing on the ample hearth, and a beautiful Blenheim
asleep before it. Newspapers of every country and every language lay
scattered about with illustrated journals and prints. Most voluptuous
easy-chairs and fat-cushioned sofas abounded, and it was plain to see
that the world has some rougher sides than she turns to her Majesty's
Envoys and Ministers Plenipotentiary!

I was busy picturing to myself what sort of person the present occupant
of this post was likely to prove, when he entered. A tall, very
good-looking man, of about forty, with bushy whiskers of white hair;
his air and bearing the very type of frankness, and his voice the rich
tone of a manly speaker. He shook me cordially by the hand as Morris
introduced me, apologized for keeping us waiting, and at once seated us
at table. A sickly-looking lad, with sore eyes and a stutter, slipped
unobtrusively in after him, and he was presented to us as Lord Adolphus
de Maudley, the unpaid Attaché.

Leaving all to Morris, and rightly conjecturing that he would open the
subject we came upon at the fitting time, I attacked a grouse-pie most
vigorously, and helped myself freely to his Excellency's Bordeaux. There
were all manner of good things, and we did them ample justice, even to
the Unpaid himself, who certainly seemed to take out in prog what they
denied him in salary.

Sir Alexander made all the running as to talk. He rattled away about
Turks and Russians,--affairs home and foreign,--the Ministry and the
Opposition,--who was to go next to some vacant embassy, and who was
to be the prima donna at the Pergola. Then came Florence gossip,--an
amusing chapter; but perhaps--as they say in the police reports--not
quite fit for publication. His Excellency had seen the girls at the
races, and complimented me on their good looks, and felicitated the city
on the accession of so much beauty. At last Morris broke ground, and
related the story of Mrs. D.'s captivity. Sir Alex--who had by this time
lighted his cigar--stood with his hands in his dressing-gown pockets,
and his back to the fire, the most calm and impassive of listeners.

"They are so stupid, these people," said he at last, puffing his weed
between each word; "won't take the trouble to look before them--won't
examine--won't investigate--a charge. Mrs. Dodd a Catholic too?"

"A most devout and conscientious one!" said I.

"Great bore for the moment, no doubt; but--try a cheroot, they 're
milder--but, as I was saying, to be amply recompensed hereafter. There's
nothing they won't do in the way of civility and attention to make
amends for this outrage."

"Meanwhile, as to her liberation?" said Morris.

"Ah! that _is_ a puzzle. No use writing to Ministers, you know. That's
all lost time. Official correspondence--only invented to train up our
youth--like Lord Dolly, there. Must try what can be done with Bradelli."

"And who is Bradelli, your Excellency?"

"Bradelli is Private Secretary to the Cardinal Boncelli, at Rome."

"But we are in Tuscany."

"Geographically speaking, so we are. But leave it to me, Mr. Dodd. No
time shall be lost. Draw up a note, Dolly, to the Prince Cigalaroso.
You have a mem. in the Chancellerie will do very well. The English are
always in scrapes, and it is always the same: 'Mon cher Prince,--Je
regrette infiniment que mes devoirs m'imposent,' &c., &c, with a full
account of the 'fâcheux incident,'--that's the phrase, mind that, Dolly;
do everything necessary for the Blue Book, and in the meanwhile take
care that Mrs. D. is out of prison before the day is over."

I was surprised to find how little Sir Alexander cared for the real
facts of the case, or the gross injustice of the entire proceeding.
In fact, he listened to my explanations on this head with as much
impatience as could consist with his unquestionable good breeding,
simply interpolating as I went on: "Ah, very true;" "Your observation is
quite correct;" "Perfectly just," and so on. "Can you dine here to-day,
Mr. Dodd?" said he, as I finished; "Penrhyn is coming, and a few other
friends."

I had some half scruples about accepting a dinner invitation while my
wife remained a prisoner, but I thought, "After all, the Minister must
be the best judge of such a point," and accordingly said "Yes." A most
agreeable dinner it was too, Tom. A party of seven at a round table,
admirably served, and with--what I assure you is growing rather a rarity
nowadays--a sufficiency of wine.

The Minister himself proved most agreeable; his long residence abroad
had often brought him into contact with amusing specimens of his own
countrymen, some of whose traits and stories he recounted admirably,
showing me that the Dodds are only the species of a very widely extended
and well-appreciated genus.

I own to you that I heard, with no small degree of humiliation, how
prone we English are to demand money compensations for the wrongs
inflicted upon us by foreign governments. As the information came from a
source I cannot question, I have only to accept the fact, and deplore it.

As a nation, we are, assuredly, neither mean nor mercenary. As
individuals, I sincerely hope and trust we can stand comparison in all
that regards liberality of purse with any people. Yet how comes it
that we have attained to an almost special notoriety for converting our
sorrows into silver, and making our personal injuries into a credit at
our banker's? I half suspect that the tone imparted to the national mind
by our Law Courts is the true reason of this, and that our actions for
damages are the damaging features of our character as a people. The man
who sees no indignity in taking the price of his dishonor, will find
little difficulty in appraising the value of an insult to his liberty.
Take my word for it, Tom, it is a very hard thing to make foreigners
respect the institutions of a country stained with this reproach, or
believe that a people can be truly high-minded and high-spirited who
have recourse to such indemnities.

From what fell from Sir Alexander on this subject, I could plainly
perceive the embarrassment a Minister must labor under, who, while
asserting the high pretensions of a great nation, is compelled to
descend to such ignoble bargains; and I only wish that the good public
at home, as they pore over Blue Books, would take into account this very
considerable difficulty.

As regards foreign governments themselves, it is right to bear in mind
that they rarely or never can be induced to believe the transgressions
of individuals as anything but parts of a grand and comprehensive scheme
of English interference. If John Bull smuggle a pound of tea, it is
immediately set down that England is going to alter the Custom Laws. Let
him surreptitiously steal his fowling-piece over the frontier, and we
are accused of "arming the disaffected population." A copy of a tract
is construed into a treatise on Socialism; and a "Jim-Crow" hat is the
symbol of Republican doctrines.

I see the full absurdity of these suspicions, but I wish, for our own
comfort's sake, to take no higher ground, that we were somewhat more
circumspect in our conduct abroad. "Rule Britannia" is a very fine tune,
and nobody likes to hear it, well sung, better than myself; but this I
will say, Tom, Britons _ever_ will be slaves to their prejudices and
self-delusions, until they come to see that _their_ notions of right
and wrong are not universal, and that there is no more faulty impression
than to suppose an English standard of almost anything applicable to
people who have scarcely a thought, a feeling, or even a prejudice in
common with us.

One might almost fancy that the travelling Englishman loved a scrape
from the pleasure it afforded him of addressing his Minister, and making
a fuss in the "Times." Just as a fellow who knew he had a cork jacket
under his waistcoat might take pleasure in falling overboard and
attracting public attention, without incurring much risk.

While we were discussing these and such-like topics, there came a note
from James to say that Mrs. Dodd had just been liberated, and was then
safe in what is popularly called the bosom of her family. I accordingly
arose and thanked Sir Alexander most heartily for his kind and
successful interference, and though I should not have objected to
another glass or two of his admirable port, I felt it was only decent
and becoming in me to hasten home to my wife.

As Morris had shown so much good-nature in the affair, and
had--formerly, at least--been on very friendly terms with us, I asked
him to come along with me; but he declined, with a kind of bashful
reserve that I could not comprehend; and so, half offended at his
coldness, I wished him a "good-night," and departed.

I have now only to add that I found Mrs. D. in good health and spirits,
and, on the whole, rather pleased with the incident than otherwise. You
shall hear from me again erelong, and meanwhile believe me,

Your ever faithful friend,

Kenny James Dodd.



LETTER XXVII. MRS. DODD TO MRS. GALLAGHER, DODSBOROUGH

Casa Dodd, Florence.

My dear Molly,--So you tell me that the newspapers is full of me, and
that nothing is talked of but "the case of Mrs. Dodd" and her "cruel
incarnation in the dungeons of Tuscany." I wish they 'd keep their
sympathies to themselves, Molly, for, to tell you a secret, this same
captivity has done us the greatest service in the world. Here we are,
my darling, at the top of the tree,--going to all the balls, dining
out every day, and treated with what they call the most distinguished
consideration. And I must say, Molly, that of all the cities ever I
seen, Florence is the most to my taste. There's a way of living here,--I
can't explain how it is done, exactly; but everybody has just what he
likes of everything. I believe it 's the bankers does it,--that they
have a way of exchanging, or discounting, or whatever it is called,
that makes every one at their ease; and, indeed, my only surprise is why
everybody does n't come to live in a place with so many advantages. Even
K. I. has ceased grumbling about money matters, and for the last three
weeks we have really enjoyed ourselves. To be sure, now and then, he
mumbles about "as well to be hanged for a sheep as a lamb;" and this
morning he said that he was "too old to beg," to "dig he was ashamed."
"I hope you are," says I; "it is n't in your station in life that you
can go out as a navvy, and with your two daughters the greatest beauties
in the town." And so they are, Molly. There isn't the like of Mary Anne
in the Cascini; and though Caroline won't give herself fair play in the
way of dress, there's many thinks she 's the prettiest of the two.

I wish you saw the Cascini, Molly, when the carriages all drive up, and
get mixed together, so that you would wonder how they 'd ever get out
again. They are full of elegantly dressed ladies; there's nothing too
fine for them, even in the morning, and there they sit, and loll
back, with all the young dandies lying about them, on the steps of
the carriages, over the splash-boards,--indeed, nearly under the
wheels,--squeezing their hands, looking into their eyes and under their
veils. Oh dear, but it seems mighty wicked till you 're used to it, and
know it 's only the way of the place, which one does remarkably soon.
The first thing strikes a stranger here, Molly, is that everybody knows
every other body most intimately. It's all "Carlo," "Luigi," "Antonio
mio," with hands clasped or arms about each other, and everlasting
kissing between the women. And then, Molly, when you see a newly arrived
English family in the midst of them, with a sulky father, a stiff
mother, three stern young ladies, and a stupid boy of sixteen, you think
them the ugliest creatures on earth, and don't rightly know whether to
be angry or laugh at them.

Lord George says that the great advantage of the Cascini is that
you hear there "all that's going on." Faith, you do, Molly, and nice
goings-on it is! The Florentines say they 've no liberty. I 'd like to
know how much more they want, for if they haven't it by right, Molly,
they take it at all events, and with everybody too. The creatures, all
rings and chains, beards and moustaches, come up to the side of your
carriage, put up their opera-glasses, and stare at you as if you was
waxwork! Then they begin to discuss you, and almost fall out about the
color of your hair or your eyes, till one, bolder than the rest, comes
up close to you, and decides what is maybe a wager! It's all very trying
at first,--not but Mary Anne bears it beautifully, and seems never to
know that she is standing under a battery of fifty pair of eyes!

As to James, it's all paradise. He knows all the beauties of the town
already, and I see him with his head into a brougham there, and his legs
dangling out of a phaeton here, just as if he was one of the family. You
may think, Molly, when they begin that way of a morning, what it is when
they come to the evening! If they 're all dear friends in the daylight,
it 's brothers and sisters--no, but husbands and wives--they become,
when the lamps are lighted! Whether they walk or waltz, whether they
hand you to a seat or offer you an ice, they 've an art to make it a
particular attention,--and, as it were, put you under an obligation for
it; and whether you like it or not, Molly, you are made out in their
debt, and woe to you when they discover you 're a defaulter!

I 'm sure, without Lord George's advice, we could n't have found the
right road to the high society of this place so easily; but he told K.
I. at once what to do,--and for a wonder, Molly, he did it. Florence,
says he, is like no other capital in Europe. In all the others there is
a circle, more or less wide, of what assumes to be "the world;" there
every one is known, his rank, position, and even his fortune. Now in
Florence people mix as they do at a Swiss _table d'hôte_; each talks to
his neighbor, perfectly aware that _he_ may be a blackleg, or she--if
it be a she--something worse. That society is agreeable, pleasant, and
brilliant is the best refutation to all the cant one hears about freedom
of manners, and so on. And, as Lord G. observes, it is manifestly a duty
with the proper people to mingle with the naughty ones, since it is
only in this way they can hope to reclaim them. "Take those two charming
girls of yours into the world here, Mrs. D.," said he to me the other
day; "show the folks that beauty, grace, and fascination are all
compatible with correct principles and proper notions; let them see that
you yourself, so certain of attracting admiration, are not afraid of
its incense; say to society, as it were, 'Here we are, so secure of
ourselves that we can walk unharmed through all the perils around us,
and enjoy health and vigor with the plague on every side of us.'" And
that's what we 're doing, Molly. As Lord George says, "we 're diffusing
our influence," and I 've no doubt we 'll see the results before long.

I wish I was as sure of K. I.'s goings-on; but Betty tells me that he
constantly receives letters of a morning, and hurries out immediately
after; that he often drives away late at night in a hackney-coach, and
does n't return till nigh morning! I 'm only waiting for him to buy us a
pair of carriage-horses to be at him about this behavior; and, indeed, I
think he 's trying to push me on to it, to save him from the expense of
the horses. I must tell you, Molly, that next to having no character,
the most fashionable thing here is a handsome coach; and, indeed,
without something striking in that way, you can't hope to take society
by storm. With a phaeton and a pair of blood bays, James says, you can
drive into Prince Walleykoffsky's drawing-room; with a team of four, you
can trot them up the stairs of the Pitti Palace.

After a coach, comes your cook; and is n't my heart broke trying them!
We've had a round of "experimental dinners," that has cost us a little
fortune, since each "chef" that came was free to do what he pleased,
without regard to the cost, and an eatable morsel never came to the
table all the while. Our present artist is Monsieur Chardron, who goes
out to market in a brougham, and buys a turkey with kid gloves on
him. He won't cook for us except on company days, but leaves us to his
"aide," as he calls him, whom K. I. likes best, for he condescends to
give us a bit of roast meat, now and then, that has really nourishment
in it. We 're now, therefore, in a state to open the campaign. We 've an
elegant apartment, a first-rate cook, a capital courier; and next week
we 're to set up a chasseur, if K. I. will only consent to be made a
Count.

You may stare, Molly, when I tell you that he fights against it as if it
was the Court of Bankruptcy; though Lord George worked night and clay
to have it done. There never was the like of it for cheapness; a trifle
over twenty pounds clears the whole expense; and for that he would be
Count Dodd, of Fiezole, with a title to each of the children. As many
thousands would n't do that in England; and, indeed, one does n't wonder
at the general outcry of the expense of living there, when the commonest
luxuries are so costly. Mary Anne and I are determined on it, and before
the month is over your letters will be addressed to a Countess.

In the middle of all this happiness, my dear, there is a drop of bitter,
as there always is in the cup of life, though you may do your best not
to taste it. Indeed, if it was n't for this drawback, Florence would be
a place I 'd like to live and die in. What I allude to is this: here we
are be-tween two fires, Molly,--the Morrises on one side, and Mrs. Gore
Hampton on the other,--both watching, scrutinizing, and observing us;
for, as bad luck would have it, they both settled down here for the
winter! Now, the Morrises know all the quiet, well-behaved, respectable
people, that one ought to be acquainted with just for decency's sake.
But Mrs. G. H. is in the fashionable and fast set, where all the fun is
going on; and from what I can learn them 's the very people would
suit us best. Being in neither camp, we hear nothing but the abuse and
scandal that each throws on the other; and, indeed, to do them justice,
if half of it was true, there's few of them ought to escape hanging!

That's how we stand; and can you picture to yourself a more embarrassing
situation? for you see that many of the slow people are high in station
and of real rank, while some of the fast are just the reverse. Lord
George says, "Cut the fogies, and come amongst the fast 'uns," and talks
about making friends with the "Mammoth of unrighteousness;" and if
he means Mrs. G. H., I believe he is n't far wrong: but even if we
consented, Molly, I don't know whether she 'd make up with us; though
Lord George swears that he 'll answer for it with his head. One thing is
clear, Molly, we must choose between them, and that soon too; for it's
quite impossible to be "well with the Treasury and the Opposition also."

K. I. affects neutrality, just to blind us to his real intentions; but
I know him well, and see plainly what he 's after. Cary fights hard for
her friends; though, to say the truth, they have n't taken the least
notice of her since they came to their fortune,--the very thing I
expected from them, Molly, for it's just the way with all upstarts! Now
you see some of the difficulties that attend even the highest successes
in life; and maybe it will make you more contented with your own
obscurity. Perhaps, before this reaches you, we'll have decided for one
or the other; for, as Lord G. says, you can't pass your life between
silly and crabbed.(1)

     1 Does Mrs. D. mean Scylla and Charybdis?--Editor of
     "Dodd  Correspondence."

There 's another thing fretting me, besides, Molly. It is what this same
Lord George means about Mary Anne; for it's now more than six months
since he grew particular; and yet there 's nothing come of it yet. I see
it's preying on the girl herself, too,--and what's to be done? I am sure
I often think of what poor old Jones McCarthy used to say about this:
"If I 'd a family of daughters," says he, "I 'd do just as I manage with
the horses when I want to sell one of them. There they are,--look at
them as long as you like in the stable, but I 'll have no taking them
out for a trial, and trotting them here, and cantering them there; and
then, a fellow coming to tell me that they have this, that, and the
other." And the more I think of it, Molly, the more I'm convinced it's
the right way; though it's too late, maybe, to help it now.

As I mean to send you another letter soon, I 'll close this now, wishing
you all the compliments of the season, except chilblains, and remain
your true and affectionate friend,

Jemima Dodd.

P. S. You 'd better direct your next letter to us "Casa Dodd," for I
remark that all the English here try and get rid of the Italian names to
the houses as soon as they can.



LETTER XXVIII. JAMES DODD TO ROBERT DOOLAN, ESQ., TRINITY COLLEGE,
DUBLIN.

Florence.

My dear Bob,--If you only knew how difficult it is to obtain even five
minutes of quiet leisure in this same capital, you 'd at once absolve
me from all the accusations in your last letter. It is pleasure at a
railroad pace, from morning till night, and from night till morning.
Perhaps, after all, it is best there should be no time for reflection,
since it would be like one waiting on the rails for an express train to
run over him!

I can give you no better nor speedier illustration of the kind of
life we lead here, than by saying that even the governor has felt the
fascination of the place, and goes the pace, signing checks and drawing
bills without the slightest hesitation, or any apparent sense of a
coming responsibility. He plays, too, and loses his money freely,
and altogether comports himself as if he had a most liberal income,
or--terrible alternative--not a sixpence in the world. I own to you,
Bob, that this recklessness affrights me far more than all his former
grumbling over our expensive and wasteful habits. He seems to have
adopted it, too, with a certain method that gives it all the appearance
of a plan, though I confess what possible advantage could redound from
it is utterly beyond my power of calculation.

Meanwhile our style of living is on a scale of splendor that might well
suit the most ample fortune. Tiverton says that for a month or two this
is absolutely necessary, and that in society, as in war, it is the first
dash often decides a campaign. And really, even my own brief experience
of the world shows that one's friends, as they are conventionally
called, are far more interested in the skill of your cook than in the
merits of your own character; and that he who has a good cellar may
indulge himself in the luxury of a very bad conscience. You, of course,
suspect that I am now speaking of a class of people dubious both in
fortune and position, and who have really no right to scrutinize too
closely the characters of those with whom they associate. Quite the
reverse, Bob, I am actually alluding to our very best and most correct
English, and who would not for worlds do at home any one of the hundred
transgressions they commit abroad. For instance, we have, in this
goodly capital of debt and divorce celebrity, a certain house of almost
princely splendor; the furniture, plate, pictures, all perfection; the
cook, an artist that once pampered royal palates; in a word, everything,
from the cellar to the conservatory, a miracle of correct taste.
The owner of all this magnificence is--what think you?--a successful
swindler!--the hero of a hundred bubble speculations,--the spoliator of
some thousands of shareholders,--a fellow whose infractions have been
more than once stigmatized by public prosecution, and whose rascalities
are of European fame! You 'd say that with all these detracting
influences he was a man of consummate social tact, refined manners, and
at least possessing the outward signs of good breeding. Wrong again,
Bob. He is coarse, uneducated, and vulgar; he never picked up any
semblance of the class from whom he peculated; and has lived on, as he
began, a "low comedy villain," and no more. Well, what think you, when
I tell you that is "_the_ house," _par excellence_, where all strangers
strive to be introduced,--that to be on the dinner-list here is a
distinction, and that even a visitor enjoys an envied fortune,--and that
at the very moment I write, the Dodd family are in earnest and active
negotiation to attain to this inestimable privilege? Now, Bob, there's
no denying that there must be something rotten, and to the core too,
where such a condition of things prevails. If this man fed the hungry
and sheltered the houseless, who had no alternative but his table or no
food, the thing requires no explanation; or if his hospitalities were
partaken of by that large floating class who in every city are to be
found, with tastes disproportionate to their fortunes, and who will
at any time postpone their principles to their palates, even then the
matter is not of difficult solution; but what think you that his company
includes some of the very highest names of our stately nobility, and
that the titles that resound through his _salon_ are amongst the most
honored of our haughty aristocracy! These people assuredly stand in no
want of a dinner. They are comfortably lodged, and at least reasonably
well fed at the "Italie" or the "Grande Bretagne." Why should they stoop
to such companionship? Who can explain this, Bob? Assuredly, I am not
the Ædipus!

I am nothing surprised that people like ourselves, for instance, seek
to enjoy even this passing splendor, and find themselves at a princely
board, served with a more than royal costliness. One of these grand
dinners is like a page of the Arabian Nights to a man of ordinary
condition; but surely his Grace the Duke, or the most Noble the Marquis
has no such illusions. With _him_ it is only a question whether the
Madeira over-flavored the soup, or that the ortolans might possibly have
been fatter. _He_ dines pretty much in the same fashion every day during
the London season, and a great part of the rest of the year afterwards.
Why then should he descend to any compromise to accept Count
"Dragonards's" hospitality? for I must tell you that "Dives" is a Count,
and has orders from the Pope and the Queen of Spain.

With the explanation, as I have said, I have nothing to do. It is beyond
and above me. For the fact alone I am guarantee; and here comes Tiverton
in a transport of triumph to say that "Heaven is won," or, in humbler
phrase, "Monsieur le Comte de Dragonards prie Phonneur," &c, and that
Dodd _père_ and Dodd _mère_ are requested to dine with him on Tuesday,
the younger Dodds to assist at a reception in the evening.

Tiverton assures me that by accepting with a good grace the humbler part
of a "refresher," I am certain of promotion afterwards to a higher range
of character; and in this hope I live for the present.

It is likely I shall not despatch this without being able to tell you
more of this great man's house; meanwhile--"majora cantamus"--I am in
love, Bob! If I did n't dash into the confession at once, as one
springs into the sea of a chilly morning, I'd even put on the clothes of
secrecy, and walk off unconfessed. She is lovely, beyond anything I can
give you an idea of,--pale as marble; but such a flesh tint! a sunset
sleeping upon snow, and with lids fringed over a third of her cheek.
You know the tender, languid, longing look that vanquishes me,--that's
exactly what she has! A glance of timid surprise, like an affrighted
fawn, and then a downcast consciousness,--a kind of self-reproaching
sense of her own loveliness,--a sort of a--what the devil kind of
enchantment and witchery, Bob? that makes a man feel it's all no use
struggling and fighting,--that his doom is _there!_ that the influence
which is to rule his destiny is before him, and that, turn him which way
he will, his heart has but one road--and _will_ take it!

She was in Box 19, over the orchestra! I caught a glimpse of her
shoulder--only her shoulder--at first, as she sat with her face to the
stage, and a huge screen shaded her from the garish light of the lustre.
How I watched the graceful bend of her neck each time she saluted--I
suppose it was a salutation--some new visitor who entered! The drooping
leaves and flowers of her hair trembled with a gentle motion, as if to
the music of her soft voice. I thought I could hear the very accents
echoing within my heart! But oh! my ecstasy when her hand stole forth
and hung listlessly over the cushion of the box! True it was gloved,
yet still you could mark its symmetry, and, in fancy, picture the
rosy-tipped fingers in all their graceful beauty.

Night after night I saw her thus; yet never more than I have told you.
I made superhuman efforts to obtain the box directly in front; but it
belonged to a Russian princess, and was therefore inaccessible. I bribed
the bassoon and seduced the oboe in the orchestra; but nothing was to
be seen from their inferno of discordant tunings. I made love to a
ballet-dancer, to secure the _entrée_ behind the scenes; and on the
night of my success _she_--my adored one--had changed her place with a
friend, and sat with her back to the stage. The adverse fates had taken
a spite against me, Bob, and I saw that my passion must prove unhappy!

Somehow it is in love as in hunting, you are never really in earnest
so long as the country is open and the fences easy; but once that the
ditches are "yawners," and the walls "raspers," you sit down to your
work with a resolute heart and a steady eye, determined, at any cost and
at any peril, to be in at the death. Would that the penalties were alike
also! How gladly would I barter a fractured rib or a smashed collar-bone
for the wrecked and cast-away spirit of my lost and broken heart!

If I suffer myself to expand upon my feelings, there will be no end
of this, Bob. I already have a kind of consciousness that I could fill
three hundred and fifty folio volumes, like "Hansard's," in subtle
description and discrimination of sensations that were not exactly
"_this_," but were very like "_that_;" and of impressions, hopes,
fancies, fears, and visions, a thousand times more real than all
the actual events of my _bona fide_ existence. And, after all, what
balderdash it is to compare the little meaningless incidents of our
lives with the soul-stirring passions that rage within us! the thoughts
that, so to say, form the very fuel of our natures! These are, indeed,
the realities; and what we are in the habit of calling such are the
mere mockeries and semblances of fact! I can honestly aver that I
suffered--in the true sense of the word--more intense agony from the
conflict of my distracted feelings than I ever did when lying under the
pangs of a compound fracture; and I may add of a species of pain not to
be alleviated by anodynes and soothed by hot flannels.

To be brief, Bob, I felt that, though I had often caught slight attacks
of the malady, at length I had contracted it in its deadliest form,--a
regular "blue case," as they say, with bad symptoms from the start. Has
it ever struck you that a man may go through every stage of a love fever
without even so much as speaking to the object of his affections? I can
assure you that the thing is true, and I myself suffered nightly every
vacillating sense of hope, fear, ecstasy, despair, joy, jealousy, and
frantic delight, just by following out the suggestions of my own fancy,
and exalting into importance the veriest trifles of the hour.

With what gloomy despondence did I turn homeward of an evening, when
she sat back in the box, and perhaps nothing of her but her bouquet was
visible for a whole night!--with what transports have I carried away
the memory of her profile, seen but for a second! Then the agonies of
my jealousy, as I saw her listening, with pleased attention, to some
essenced puppy--I could swear it was such--who lounged into her box
before the ballet! But at last came the climax of my joy, when I saw
her "lorgnette" directed towards me, as I stood in the pit, and actually
felt her eyes on me! I can imagine some old astronomer's ecstasy, as,
gazing for hours on the sky of night, the star that he has watched and
waited for has suddenly shone through the glass of his telescope, and
lit up his very heart within him with its radiance. I 'd back myself to
have experienced a still more thrilling sense of happiness as the beams
of her bright eyes descended on me.

At first, Bob, I thought that the glances might have been meant for
another. I turned and looked around me, ready to fasten a deadly quarrel
upon him, whom I should have regarded at once as my greatest enemy. But
the company amidst which I stood soon reassured me. A few snuffy-looking
old counts, with brown wigs and unshaven chins,--a stray Government
clerk with a pinchbeck chain and a weak moustache, couldn't be my
rivals. I looked again, but she had turned away her bead; and save that
the "lorgnette" still rested within her fingers, I'd have thought the
whole a vision.

Three nights after this the same thing occurred. I had taken care to
resume the very same place each evening, to wear the same dress, to
stand in the very same attitude,--a very touching "pose," which I had
practised before the glass. I had not been more than two hours at my
post, when she turned abruptly round and stared full at me. There could
be no mistake, no misconception whatever; for, as if to confirm my
wavering doubts, her friend took the glass from her, and looked full and
long at me. You may imagine, Bob, somewhat of the preoccupation of my
faculties when I tell you that I never so much as recognized her friend.
I had thoughts, eyes, ears, and senses for one,--and one only. Judge,
then, my astonishment when she saluted me, giving that little gesture
with the hand your Florentines are such adepts in,--a species of
salutation so full of most expressive meaning.

Short of a crow-quilled billet, neatly endorsed with her name, nothing
could have spoken more plainly. It said, in a few words, "Come up here,
Jim, we shall be delighted to see you." I accepted the augury, Bob,
as we used to say in Virgil, and in less than a minute had forced my
passage through the dense crowd of the pit, and was mounting the box
stairs, five steps at a spring. "Whose box is No. 19?" said I to an
official. "Madame de Goranton," was the reply. Awkward this; never had
heard the name before; sounded like French; might be Swiss; possibly
Belgian.

No time for debating the point, tapped and entered,--several persons
within barring up the passage to the front,--suddenly heard a well-known
voice, which accosted me most cordially, and, to my intense surprise,
saw before me Mrs. Gore Hampton! You know already all about her, Bob,
and I need not recapitulate.

"I fancied you were going to pass your life in distant adoration yonder,
Mr. Dodd," said she, laughingly, while she tendered her hand for me to
kiss. "Adeline, dearest, let me present to you my friend Mr. Dodd." A
very cold--an icy recognition was the reply to this speech; and Adeline
opened her fan, and said something behind it to an elderly dandy beside
her, who laughed, and said, "Parfaitement, ma foi!"

Registering a secret vow to be the death of the antiquated tiger
aforesaid, I entered into conversation with Mrs. G. H., who,
notwithstanding some unpleasant passages between our families, expressed
unqualified delight at the thought of meeting us all once more; inquired
after my mother most affectionately; and asked if the girls were looking
well, and whether they rode and danced as beautifully as ever. She made,
between times, little efforts to draw her friend into conversation by
some allusion to Mary Anne's grace or Cary's accomplishments; but all
in vain. Adeline only met the advances with a cold stare, or a little
half-smile of most sneering expression. It was not that she was distant
and reserved towards me. No, Bob; her manner was downright contemptuous;
it was insulting; and yet such was the fascination her beauty had
acquired over me that I could have knelt at her feet in adoration of
her. I have no doubt that she saw this. I soon perceived that Mrs. Gore
Hampton did. There is a wicked consciousness in a woman's look as she
sees a man "hooked," there's no mistaking. Her eyes expressed this
sentiment now; and, indeed, she did not try to hide it.

She invited me to come home and sup with them. She half tried to make
Adeline say a word or two in support of the invitation; but no, she
would not even hear it; and when I accepted, she half peevishly declared
she had got a bad headache, and would go to bed after the play. I
tell you these trivial circumstances, Bob, just that you may fancy how
irretrievably lost I was when such palpable signs of dislike could not
discourage me. I felt this all--and acutely too; but somehow with no
sense of defeat, but a stubborn, resolute determination to conquer them.

I went back to sup with Mrs. G. H., and Adeline kept her word and
retired. There were a few men--foreigners of distinction--but I sat
beside the hostess, and heard nothing but praises of that "dear angel."
These eulogies were mixed up with a certain tender pity that puzzled me
sadly, since they always left the impression that either the angel had
done something herself, or some one else had done it towards her, that
called for all the most compassionate sentiments of the human heart.
As to any chance of her history--who she was, whence she came, and so
on--it was quite out of the question; you might as well hope for the
private life of some aerial spirit that descends in the midst of canvas
clouds in a ballet. She was there--to be worshipped, wondered at, and
admired, but not to be catechised.

I left Mrs. H.'s house at three in the morning,--a sadder but scarcely a
wiser man. She charged me most solemnly not to mention to any one where
I had been,--a precaution possibly suggested by the fact that I had lost
sixty Napoleons at lansquenet,--a game at which I left herself and her
friends deeply occupied when I came away. I was burning with impatience
for Tiverton to come back to Florence. He had gone down to the Maremma
to shoot snipe. For, although I was precluded by my promise from
divulging about the supper, I bethought me of a clever stratagem by
which I could obtain all the counsel and guidance without any breach
of faith, and this was, to take him with me some evening to the pit,
station him opposite to No. 19, and ask all about its occupants; he
knows everybody everywhere, so that I should have the whole history of
my unknown charmer on the easiest of all terms.

From that day and that hour, I became a changed creature. The gay
follies of my fashionable friends gave me no pleasure. I detested balls.
I abhorred theatres. _She_ ceased to frequent the opera. In fact, I
gave the most unequivocal proof of my devotion to one by a most sweeping
detestation of all the rest of mankind. Amidst my other disasters, I
could not remember where Mrs. Gore Hampton lived. We had driven to her
house after the theatre; it was a long way off, and seemed to take a
very circuitous course to reach, but in what direction I had not the
very vaguest notion of. The name of it, too, had escaped me, though she
repeated it over several times when I was taking my leave of her. Of
course, my omitting to call and pay my respects would subject me to
every possible construction of rudeness and incivility, and here was,
therefore, another source of irritation and annoyance to me.

My misanthropy grew fiercer. I had passed through the sad stage, and
now entered upon the combative period of the disease. I felt an intense
longing to have a quarrel with somebody. I frequented _cafe's_,
and walked the streets in a battle, murder, and sudden-death
humor,--frowning at this man, scowling at that. But, have you never
remarked, the caprice of Fortune is in this as in all other things? Be
indifferent at play, and you are sure to win; show yourself regardless
of a woman, and you are certain to hear she wants to make your
acquaintance. Go out of a morning in a mood of universal love and
philanthropy, and I'll take the odds that you have a duel on your hands
before evening.

There was one man in Florence whom I especially desired to fix a quarrel
upon,--this was Morris, or, as he was now called, Sir Morris Penrhyn. A
fellow who unquestionably ought to have had very different claims on
my regard, but who now, in this perversion of my feelings, struck me as
exactly the man to shoot or be shot by. Don't you know that sensation,
Bob, in which a man feels that he must select a particular person, quite
apart from any misfortune he is suffering under, and make _him_ pay
its penalty? It is a species of antipathy that defies all reason,
and, indeed, your attempt to argue yourself out of it only serves to
strengthen and confirm its hold on you.

Morris and I had ceased to speak when we met; we merely saluted coldly,
and with that rigid observance of a courtesy that makes the very easiest
prelude to a row, each party standing ready prepared to say "check"
whenever the other should chance to make a wrong move. Perhaps I am
not justified in saying so much of _him_, but I know that I do not
exaggerate my own intentions. I fancied--what will a man not fancy in
one of these eccentric stages of his existence?--that Morris saw my
purpose, and evaded me. I argued myself into the notion that he was
deficient in personal courage, and constructed upon this idea a whole
edifice of absurdity.

I am ashamed, even before you, to acknowledge the extent to which my
stupid infatuation blinded me; perhaps the best penalty to pay for it is
an open confession.

I overtook our valet one morning with a letter in my governor's hand
addressed to Sir Morris Penrhyn, and on inquiring, discovered that
he and my father had been in close correspondence for the three days
previous. At once I jumped to the conclusion that I was, somehow or
other, the subject of these epistles, and in a fit of angry indignation
I drove off to Morris's hotel.

When a man gets himself into a thorough passion on account of some
supposed injury, which even to himself he is unable to define, his state
is far from enviable. When I reached the hotel, I was in the hot stage
of my anger, and could scarcely brook the delay of sending in my card.
The answer was, "Sir Morris did not receive." I asked for pen and ink to
write a note, and scribbled something most indiscreet and offensive. I
am glad to say that I cannot now remember a line of it. The reply came
that my "note should be attended to," and with this information I issued
forth into the street half wild with rage.

I felt that I had given a deadly provocation, and must now look out for
some "friend" to see me through the affair. Tiverton was absent, and
amongst all my acquaintances I could not pitch upon one to whose keeping
I liked to entrust my honor. I turned into several _cafés_, I strolled
into the club, I drove down to the Cascini, but in vain; and at last was
walking homeward, when I caught sight of a friendly face from the window
of a travelling-carriage that drove rapidly by, and, hurrying after,
just came up as it stopped at the door of the Hôtel d'Italie.

You may guess my astonishment as I felt my hand grasped cordially by no
other than our old neighbor at Bruff, Dr. Belton, the physician of our
county dispensary. Five minutes explained his presence there. He had
gone out to Constantinople as the doctor to our Embassy, and by some
piece of good luck and his own deservings to boot, had risen to the post
of Private Secretary to the Ambassador, and was selected by him to carry
home some very important despatches, to the rightful consideration of
which his own presence at the Foreign Office was deemed essential.

Great as was the difference between, his former and his present station,
it was insignificant in comparison with the change worked in himself.
The country doctor, of diffident manners and retiring habits, grateful
for the small civilities of small patrons, cautiously veiling his
conscious superiority under an affected ignorance, was now become a
consummate man of the world,--calm, easy, and self-possessed. His very
appearance had undergone an alteration, and he held himself more erect,
and looked not only handsomer but taller. These were the first things
that struck me; but as we conversed together, I found him the same
hearty, generous fellow I had ever known him, neither elated by his good
fortune, nor, what is just as common a fault, contemptuously pretending
that it was only one-half of his deserts.

One thing alone puzzled me, it was that he evinced no desire to come and
see our family, who had been uniformly kind and good-natured to him; in
fact, when I proposed it, he seemed so awkward and embarrassed that I
never pressed my invitation, but changed the topic. I knew that there
bad been, once on a time, some passages between my sister Mary Anne
and him, and therefore supposed that possibly there might have been
something or other that rendered a meeting embarrassing. At all events,
I accepted his half-apology on the ground of great fatigue, and agreed
to dine with him.

What a pleasant dinner it was! He related to me all the story of his
life, not an eventful one as regarded incident, but full of those traits
which make up interest for an individual. You felt as you listened that
it was a thoroughly good fellow was talking to you, and that if he were
not to prove successful in life, it was just because his were the very
qualities rogues trade on for their own benefit. There was, moreover, a
manly sense of independence about him, a consciousness of self-reliance
that never approached conceit, but served to nerve his courage and
support his spirit, which gave him an almost heroism in my eyes, and I
own, too, suggested a most humiliating comparison with my own nature.

I opened my heart freely to him about everything, and in particular
about Morris; and although I saw plainly enough that he took very
opposite views to mine about the whole matter, he agreed to stop in
Florence for a day, and act as my friend in the transaction. This being
so far arranged, I started for Carrara, which, being beyond the Tuscan
frontier, admits of our meeting without any risk of interruption,--for
that it must come to such I am fully determined on. The fact is, Bob, my
note is a "stunner," and, as I won't retract, Morris has no alternative
but to come out.

I have now given you--at full length too--the whole history, up to the
catastrophe,--which perhaps may have to be supplied by another hand.
I am here, in this little capital of artists and quarry men, patiently
waiting for Bel-ton's arrival, or at least some despatch, which may
direct my future movements. It has been a comfort to me to have the
task of this recital, since, for the time at least, it takes me out of
brooding and gloomy thoughts; and though I feel that I have made out a
poor case for myself, I know that I am pleading to a friendly Court and
a merciful Chief Justice.

They say that in the few seconds of a drowning agony a man calls up
every incident of his life,--from infancy to the last moment,--that a
whole panorama of his existence is unrolled before him, and that he sees
himself--child, boy, youth, and man--vividly and palpably; that all his
faults, his short-comings, and his transgressions stand out in strong
colors before him, and his character is revealed to him like an
inscription. I am half persuaded this may be true, judging from what I
have myself experienced within these few hours of solitude here. Shame,
sorrow, and regret are ever present with me. I feel utterly disgraced
before the bar of my own conscience. Even of the advantages which
foreign travel might have conferred, how few have fallen to my
share!--in modern languages I have scarcely made any progress, with
respect to works of art I am deplorably ignorant, while in everything
that concerns the laws and the modes of government of any foreign State
I have to confess myself totally uninformed. To be sure, I have acquired
some insight into the rogueries of "Rouge-et-Noir," I can slang a
courier, and even curse a waiter; but I have some misgivings whether
these be gifts either to promote a man's fortune or form his character.
In fact, I begin to feel that engrafting Continental slang upon home
"snobbery" is a very unrewarding process, and I sorely fear that I have
done very little more than this.

I am in a mood to make a clean breast of it, and perhaps say more than
I should altogether like to remember hereafter, so will conclude for
the present, and with my most sincere affection write myself, as ever,
yours,

Jim Dodd.

P. S. It is not impossible that you may have a few lines from me by
to-morrow or next day,--at least, if I have anything worth the telling
and am "to the fore" to tell it.



LETTER XXIX. MARY ANNE DODD TO MISS DOOLAN, OF BALLYDOOLAN

Casa Dodd, Florence.

Dearest Kitty,--Seventeen long and closely written pages to you--the
warm out-gushings of my heart--have I just consigned to the flames.
They contained the journal of my life in Florence,--all my thoughts and
hopes, my terrors, my anxieties, and my day-dreams. Why, then, will you
say, have they met this fate? I will tell you, Kitty. Of the feelings
there recorded, of the emotions depicted, of the very events themselves,
nothing--absolutely nothing--now remains; and my poor, distracted,
forlorn heart no more resembles the buoyant spirit of yesterday than the
blackened embers before me are like the carefully inscribed pages I had
once destined for your hand. Pity me, dearest Kitty,--pour out every
compassionate thought of your kindred heart, and let me feel that, as
the wind sweeps over the snowy Apennines, it bears the tender sighs of
your affection to one who lives but to be loved! But a week ago, and
what a world was opening before me,--a world brilliant in all that makes
life a triumph! We were launched upon the sunny sea of high society,
our "argosy" a noble and stately ship; and now, Kitty, we lie stranded,
shattered, and shipwrecked.

Do not expect from me any detailed account of our disasters. I am
unequal to the task. It is not at the moment of being cast away that the
mariner can recount the story of his wreck. Enough if these few lines be
like the chance words which, enclosed in a bottle, are committed to the
waves, to tell at some distant date and in some far-away land the tale
of impending ruin.

It is in vain I try to collect my thoughts: feelings too acute to be
controlled burst in upon me at each moment and my sobs convulse me as I
write. These lines must therefore bear the impress of the emotions that
dictate them, and be broken, abrupt, mayhap incoherent!

He is false, Kitty!--false to the heart that he had won, and the
affections where he sat enthroned! Yes, by the blackest treason has he
requited my loyalty and rewarded my devotion. If ever there was a pure
and holy love, it was mine. It was not the offspring of self-interest,
for I knew that he was married; nor was I buoyed up by dreams of
ambition, for I always knew the great difficulty of obtaining a
divorce. But I loved him, as the classic maiden wept,--because it was
inconsolable! It is not in my heart to deny the qualities of his gifted
nature. No, Kitty, not even now can I depreciate them. How accomplished
as a linguist!--how beautifully he drove!--how exquisitely he
danced!--what perfection was his dress!--how fascinating his manners!
There was--so to say--an idiosyncrasy--an idealism about him;
his watchguard was unlike any other,--the very perfume of his
pocket-handkerchief was the invention of his own genius.

And then, the soft flattery of his attentions before the world, bestowed
with a delicacy that only high breeding ever understands. What wonder
if my imagination followed where my heart had gone before, and if the
visions of a future blended with the ecstasies of the present!

I cannot bring myself to speak of his treachery. No, Kitty, it would be
to arraign myself were I to do so. My heartstrings are breaking, as
I ask myself, "Is this, then, the love that I inspired? Are these the
proofs of a devotion I fondly fancied eternal?" No more can I speak of
our last meeting, the agony of which must endure while life remains.
When he left me, I almost dreaded that in his despair he might be driven
to suicide. He fled from the house,--it was past midnight,--and never
appeared the whole of the following day; another and another passed
over,--my terrors increased, my fears rose to madness. I could restrain
myself no longer, and hurried away to confide my agonizing sorrows to
James's ear. It was early, and he was still sleeping. As I stole across
the silent room, I saw an open note upon the table,--I knew the hand and
seized it at once. There were but four lines, and they ran thus:--

     "Dear Jim,--The birds are wild and not very plenty; but
     there is some capital boar-shooting, and hares in abundance.

     "They tell me Lady George is in Florence; pray see her, and
     let me know how she 's looking.

     "Ever yours,

     "George Tiverton.

     "MAREMMA."

I tottered to a seat, Kitty, and burst into tears. Yours are now falling
for me,--I feel it,--I know it, dearest I can write no more.

I am better now, dearest Kitty. My heart is stilled, its agonies are
calmed, but my blanched cheek, my sunken eye, my bloodless lip, my
trembling hand, all speak my sorrows, though my tongue shall utter
them no more. Never again shall that name escape me, and I charge your
friendship never to whisper it to my ears.

From myself and my own fortunes I turn away as from a theme barren and
profitless. Of Mary Anne--the lost, the forlorn, and the broken-hearted,
you shall hear no more.

On Friday last--was it Friday?--I really forget days and dates and
everything--James, who has latterly become totally changed in temper
and appearance, contrived to fix a quarrel of some kind or other on Sir
Morris Penrhyn. The circumstance was so far the more unfortunate, since
Sir M. had shown himself most kind and energetic about mamma's release,
and mainly, I believe, contributed to that result. In the dark obscurity
that involves the whole affair, we have failed to discover with whom the
offence originated, or what it really was. We only know that James wrote
a most indiscreet and intemperate note to Sir Morris, and then hastened
away to appoint a friend to receive his message. By the merest accident
he detected, in a passing travelling-carriage, a well-known face,
followed it, and discovered--whom, think you?--but our former friend and
neighbor, Dr. Belton.

He was on his way to England with despatches from Constantinople;
but, fortunately for James, received a telegraphic message to wait at
Florence for more recent news from Vienna before proceeding farther.
James at once induced him to act for him; and firmly persuaded that
a meeting must ensue, set out himself for the Modense frontier beyond
Lucca.

I have already said that we know nothing of the grounds of quarrel; we
probably never shall; but whatever they were, the tact and delicacy of
Dr. B., aided by the unvarying good sense and good temper of Sir Morris,
succeeded in overcoming them; and this morning both these gentlemen
drove here in a carriage, and had a long interview with papa. The room
in which he received them adjoined my own, and though for a long time
the conversation was maintained in the dull, monotonous tone of ordinary
speakers, at last I heard hearty laughter, in which papa's voice was
eminently conspicuous.

With a heart relieved of a heavy load, I dressed, and went into the
drawing-room. I wore a very becoming dark blue silk, with three deep
flounces, and as many falls of Valenciennes lace on my sleeves. My hair
was "à l'Impératrice," and altogether, Kitty, I felt I was looking my
very best; not the less, perhaps, that a certain degree of expectation
had given me a faint color, and imparted a heightened animation to my
features. I was alone, too, and seated in a large, low arm-chair, one of
those charming inventions of modern skill, whose excellence is to unite
grace with comfort, and make ease itself subsidiary to elegance.

I could see in the glass at one side of me that my attitude was well
chosen, and even to my instep upon the little stool the effect was good.
Shall I own to you, Kitty, that I was bent on astonishing this poor
native doctor with a change a year of foreign travel had wrought in me?
I actually longed to enjoy the amazed look with which he would survey
me, and mark the deferential humility struggling with the remembrance
of former intimacy. A hundred strange fancies shot through me,--shall
I fascinate him by mere externals, or shall I condescend to captivate?
Shall I delight him by memories of home and of long ago, or shall
I shock him by the little levities of foreign manner? Shall I be
brilliant, witty, and amusing, or shall I show myself gentle and
subdued, or shall I dash my manner with a faint tinge of eccentricity,
just enough to awaken interest by exciting anxiety?

I was almost ashamed to think of such an amount of preparation against
so weak an adversary. It seemed ungenerous and even unfair, when
suddenly I heard a carriage drive away from the door. I could have cried
with vexation, but at the same instant heard papa's voice on the
stairs, saying, "If you 'll step into the drawing-room, I 'll join you
presently;" and Dr. Belton entered.

[Illustration: 286]

I expected, if not humility, dearest, at least deference, mingled with
intense astonishment and, perhaps, admiration. Will you believe me when
I tell you that he was just as composed, as easy and unconstrained as
if it was my sister Cary! The very utmost I could do was to restrain
my angry sense of indignation; I'm not, indeed, quite certain that I
succeeded in this, for I thought I detected at one moment a half-smile
upon his features at a sally of more than ordinary smartness which I
uttered.

I cannot express to you how much he is disimproved, not in appearance,
for I own that he is remarkably good-looking, and, strange to say, has
even the air and bearing of fashion about him. It is his manners, Kitty,
his insufferable ease and self-sufficiency, that I allude to. He talked
away about the world and society, about great people and their habits,
as if they were amongst his earliest associations. He was not astonished
at anything; and, stranger than all, showed not the slightest desire to
base his present acquaintance upon our former intimacy.

I told him I detested Ireland, and hoped never to go back there. He
coldly remarked that with such feelings it were probably wiser to live
abroad. I sneered at the vulgar tone of the untravelled English; and
his impertinent remark was an allusion to the demerits of badly imitated
manners and ill-copied attractions. I grew enthusiastic about art,
praised pictures and statues, and got eloquent about music. Fancy his
cool insolence, in telling me that he was too uninformed to enter upon
these themes, and only knew when he was pleased, but without being able
to say why. In fact, Kitty, a more insufferable mass of conceit and
presumption I never encountered, nor could I have believed that a
few months of foreign travel could have converted a simple-hearted,
unaffected young man into a vain, self-opinionated coxcomb,--too
offensive to waste words on, and for whom I have really to apologize in
thus obtruding on your notice.

It was an unspeakable relief to me when papa joined us. A very little
more would have exhausted my patience; and in my heart I believe the
puppy saw as much, and enjoyed it as a triumph. Worse again, too, papa
complimented him upon the change a knowledge of the world had effected
in him, and even asked me to concur in the commendation. I need not say
that I replied to this address by a sneer not to be misunderstood, and I
trust he felt it.

He is to dine here to-day. He declined the invitation at first, but
suffered himself to be persuaded into a cold acceptance afterwards. He
had to go to Lord Stanthorpe's in the evening. I expected to hear him
say "Stanthorpe's;" but he did n't, and it vexed me. I have not been
peculiarly courteous nor amiable to him this morning, but I hope he will
find me even less so at dinner. I only wish that a certain person
was here, and I would show, by the preference of my manner, how I can
converse with, and how treat those whom I really recognize as my equals.
I must now hurry away to prepare Cary for what she is to expect, and,
if possible, instil into her mind some share of the prejudices which now
torture my own.

Saturday Morning.

Everything considered, Kitty, our dinner of yesterday passed off
pleasantly,--a thousand times better than I expected. Sir Morris Penrhyn
was of the party too; and notwithstanding certain awkward passages that
had once occurred between mamma and him, comported himself agreeably and
well. I concluded that papa was able to make some explanations that must
have satisfied him, for he appeared to renew his attentions to Cary;
at least, he bestowed upon her some arctic civilities, whose frigid
deference chills me even in memory.

You will be curious to hear how Mr. B. (he appears to have dropped
the Doctor) appeared on further intimacy; and, really, I am forced to
confess that he rather overcame some of the unfavorable impressions his
morning visit had left. He has evidently taken pains to profit by the
opportunities afforded to him, and seen and learned whatever lay within
his reach. He is a very respectable linguist, and not by any means so
presumptuous as I at first supposed. I fancy, dearest, that somehow,
unconsciously perhaps, we have been sparring with each other this
morning, and that thus many of the opinions he appeared to profess were
simply elicited by the spirit of contradiction. I say this, because
I now find that we agree on a vast variety of topics, and even our
judgments of people are not so much at variance as I could have
imagined.

Of course, Kitty, the sphere of his knowledge of the world is a very
limited one, and even what he _has_ seen has always been in the capacity
of a subordinate. He has not viewed life from the eminence of one who
shall be nameless, nor mixed in society with a rank that confers its
prescriptive title to attention. I could wish he were more aware--more
conscious of this fact I mean, dearest, that I should like to see him
more penetrated by his humble position, whereas his manner has an easy,
calm unconstraint, that is exactly the opposite of what I imply. I
cannot exactly, perhaps, convey the impression upon my own mind, but
you may approximate to it, when I tell you that he vouchsafes neither
surprise nor astonishment at the class of people with whom we now
associate; nor does he appear to recognize in them anything more exalted
than our old neighbors at Bruff.

Mamma gave him some rather sharp lessons on this score, which it is only
fair to say that he bore with perfect good breeding. Upon the whole, he
is really what would be called very agreeable, and, unquestionably, very
good-looking. I sang for him two things out of Verdi's last opera of the
"Trovatore;" but I soon discovered that music was one of the tastes he
had not cultivated, nor did he evince any knowledge whatever when the
conversation turned on dress. In fact, dearest, it is only your really
fashionable man ever attains to a nice appreciation of this theme, or
has a true sentiment for the poetry of costume.

Sir Morris and he seemed to have fallen into a sudden friendship, and
found that they agreed precisely in their opinion about Etruscan
vases, frescos, and pre-Raphaelite art,--subjects which, I own, general
good-breeding usually excludes from discussion where there are pretty
girls to talk to. Cary, of course, was in ecstasies with all this; she
thought--or fancied she thought--Morris most agreeable, whereas it was
really the other man that "made all the running."

James arrived while we were at supper, and, the first little awkwardness
of the meeting over, became excellent friends with Morris. With all his
cold, unattractive qualities, I am sure that Morris is a very amiable
and worthy person; and if Cary likes him, I see no reason in life to
refuse such an excellent offer,--always provided that it be made. But of
this, Kitty, I must be permitted to doubt, since he informed us that he
was daily expecting his yacht out from England, and was about to sail
on a voyage which might possibly occupy upwards of two years. He pressed
Mr. B. strongly to accompany him, assuring him that he now possessed
influence sufficient to reinstate him in his career at his return. I 'm
not quite certain that the proposal, when more formally renewed, will
not be accepted.

I must tell you that I overheard Morris say, in a whisper to Belton, "I
'm sure if you ask her, Lady Louisa will give you leave." Can it be that
the doctor has dared to aspire to a Lady Louisa? I almost fancy it may
be so, dearest, and that this presumption is the true explanation of all
his cool self-sufficiency. I only want to be certain of this to hate him
thoroughly.

Just before they took their leave a most awkward incident occurred. Mr.
B., in answer to some question from Morris, took out his tablets to look
over his engagements for the next day: "Ah! by the way," said he, "that
must not be forgotten. There is a certain scampish relative of Lord
Dare-wood, for whom I have been entrusted with a somewhat disagreeable
commission. This hopeful young gentleman has at last discovered that
his wits, when exercised within legal limits, will not support him, and
though he has contrived to palm himself off as a man of fashion on
some second-rate folks who know no better, his skill at _écarté_ and
lansquenet fails to meet his requirements. He has, accordingly, taken a
higher flight, and actually committed a forgery. The Earl whose name
was counterfeited has paid the bill, but charged me with the task of
acquainting his nephew with his knowledge of the fraud, and as frankly
assuring him that, if the offence be repeated, he shall pay its penalty.
I assure you I wish the duty had devolved upon any other, though, from
all I have heard, anything like feelings of respect or compassion would
be utterly thrown away if bestowed on such an object as Lord George
Tiverton."

Oh, Kitty, the last words were not needed to make the cup of my anguish
run over. At every syllable he uttered, the conviction of what was
coming grew stronger; and though I maintained consciousness to the end,
it was by a struggle that almost convulsed me.

As for mamma, she flew out in a violent passion, called Lord Darewood
some very hard names, and did not spare his emissary; fortunately, her
feelings so far overcame her that she became totally unintelligible, and
was carried away to her room in hysterics. As I was obliged to follow
her, I was unable to hear more. But to what end should I desire it? Is
not this last disappointment more than enough to discourage all hope
and trustfulness forever? Shall my heart ever open again to a sense of
confidence in any?

When I sat down to write, I had firmly resolved not to reveal this
disgraceful event to you; but somehow, Kitty, in the overflowing of a
heart that has no recesses against you, it has come forth, and I leave
it so.

James came to my room later on, and told me such dreadful stories--he
had heard them from Morris--of Lord G. that I really felt my brain
turning as I listened to him; that the separation from his wife was all
a pretence,--part of a plot arranged between them; that she, under the
semblance of desertion, attracted to her the compassion--in some cases
the affection--of young men of fortune, from whom her husband exacted
the most enormous sums; that James himself had been marked out for a
victim in this way; in fact, Kitty, I cannot go on: a web of such infamy
was exposed as I firmly believed, till then, impossible to exist, and a
degree of baseness laid bare that, for the sake of human nature, I trust
has not its parallel.

I can write no more. Tears of shame as well as sorrow are blotting my
paper, and in my self-abasement I feel how changed I must have become,
when, in reflecting over such disgrace as this, I have a single thought
but of contempt for one so lost and dishonored.

Yours in the depth of affliction,

Mary Anne Dodd.



LETTER XXX. KENNY JAMES DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., OF THE GRANGE, BRUFF

Florence.

My dear Tom,--I have had a busy week of it, and even now I scarcely
perceive that the day is come when I can rest and repose myself. The
pleasure-life of this same capital is a very exhausting process, and
to do the thing well, a man's constitution ought to be in as healthy a
condition as his cash account! Now, Tom, it is an unhappy fact, that I
am a very "low letter" in both person and pocket, and I should be sorely
puzzled to say whether I find it harder to dance or to pay for the
music!

Don't fancy that I 'm grumbling, now; not a bit of it, old fellow; I
have had my day, and as pleasant a one as most men. And if a man starts
in life with a strong fund of genial liking for his fellows, enjoying
society less for its display than for its own resources in developing
the bright side of human nature, take my word for it, he 'll carry on
with him, as he goes, memories and recollections enough to make his road
agreeable, and, what is far better, to render himself companionable to
others.

You tell me you want to hear "all about Florence,"--a modest request,
truly! Why, man, I might fill a volume with my own short experiences,
and afterwards find that the whole could be condensed into a foot-note
for the bottom of a page. In the first place, there are at least half a
dozen distinct aspects in this place, which are almost as many cities.
There is the Florence of Art,--of pictures, statues, churches, frescos,
a town of unbounded treasures in objects of high interest. There are
galleries, where a whole life might be passed in cultivating the eye,
refining the taste, and elevating the imagination. There is the Florence
of Historical Association, with its palaces recalling the feudal age,
and its castellated strongholds, telling of the stormy times before the
"Medici." There is not a street, there is scarcely a house, whose name
does not awaken some stirring event, and bring you back to the period
when men were as great in crime as in genius. Here an inscription tells
you Benvenuto Cellini lived and labored; yonder was the window of his
studio; there the narrow street through which he walked at nightfall,
his hand upon his rapier, and his left arm well enveloped in his mantle;
there the stone where Dante used to sit; there the villa Boccaccio
inhabited; there the lone tower where Galileo watched; there the house,
unchanged in everything, of the greatest of them all, Michael Angelo
himself. The pen sketches of his glorious conceptions adorn the walls,
the half-finished models of his immortal works are on the brackets. That
splendid palace on the sunny Arno was Alfieri's. Go where you will, in
fact, a gorgeous story of the past reveals itself before you, and you
stand before the great triumphs of human genius, with the spirit of the
authors around and about you.

There is also Florence the Beautiful and the Picturesque; Florence the
City of Fashion and Splendor; and, saddest of all, Florence garrisoned
by the stranger, and held in subjection by the Austrian!

I entertain no bigoted animosity to the German, Tom; on the contrary,
I like him; I like his manly simplicity of character, his thorough good
faith, his unswerving loyalty; but I own to you, his figure is out of
keeping with the picture here,--the very tones of his harsh gutturals
grate painfully on the ears attuned to softer sounds. It is pretty
nearly a hopeless quarrel when a Sovereign has recourse to a foreign
intervention between himself and his subjects; as in private life, there
is no reconciliation when you have once called Doctors' Commons to your
councils. You may get damages; you 'll never have tranquillity. You 'll
say, perhaps, the thing was inevitable, and could n't be helped. Nothing
of the kind. Coercing the Tuscans by Austrian bayonets was like herding
a flock of sheep with bull-dogs. I never saw a people who so little
require the use of strong measures; the difficulty of ruling them lies
not in their spirit of resistance, but in its very opposite,--a plastic
facility of temper that gives way to every pressure. Just like a horse
with an over-fine mouth, you never can have him in hand, and never know
that he has stumbled till he is down.

It was the duty of our Government to have prevented this occupation,
or at least to have set some limits to its amount and duration. We
did neither, and our influence has grievously suffered iu consequence.
Probably at no recent period of history was the name of England so
little respected in the entire peninsula as at present. And now, if I
don't take care, I 'll really involve myself in a grumbling revery, so
here goes to leave the subject at once.

These Italians, Tom, are very like the Irish. There is the same
blending of mirth and melancholy in the national temperament, the
same imaginative cast of thought, the same hopefulness, and the same
indolence. In justice to our own people, I must say that they are the
better of the two. Paddy has strong attachments, and is unquestionably
courageous; neither of these qualities are conspicuous here. It would
be ungenerous and unjust to pronounce upon the _naturel_ of a people
who for centuries have been subjected to every species of misrule, whose
moral training has been also either neglected or corrupted, and whose
only lessons have been those of craft and deception. It would be worse
than rash to assume that a people so treated were unfitted for a freedom
they never enjoyed, or un suited to a liberty they never even heard of.
Still, I may be permitted to doubt that Constitutional Government will
ever find its home in the hearts of a Southern nation. The family,
Tom,--the fireside, the domestic habits of a Northern people, are the
normal schools for self-government. It is in the reciprocities of a
household men learn to apportion their share of the burdens of life, and
to work for the common weal. The fellow who with a handful of chestnuts
can provision himself for a whole day, and who can pass the night
under the shade of a fig-tree, acknowledges no such responsibilities.
All-sufficing to himself, he recognizes no claims upon him for exertion
in behalf of others; and as to the duties of citizenship, he would
repudiate them as an intolerable burden. Take ray word for it,
Parliamentary Institutions will only flourish where you have coal-fires
and carpets, and Elective Governments have a close affinity to
easy-chairs and hearth-rugs!

You are curious to learn "how far familiarity with works of high art may
have contributed to influence the national character of Italy." I
don't like to dogmatize on such a subject, but so far as my own narrow
experience goes, I am far from attributing any high degree of culture
to this source. I even doubt whether objects of beauty suggest a high
degree of enjoyment, except to intellects already cultivated. I suspect
that your men of Glasgow or Manchester, who never saw anything more
artistic than a power-loom and a spinning-jenny, would stand favorable
comparison with him who daily passes beside the "Dying Gladiator" or the
Farnese Hercules.

Of course I do not extend this opinion to the educated classes, amongst
whom there is a very high range of acquirement and cultivation. They
bring, moreover, to the knowledge of any subject a peculiar subtlety
of perception, a certain Machiavellian ingenuity, such as I have never
noticed elsewhere. A great deal of the national distrustful-ness and
suspicion has its root in this very habit, and makes me often resigned
to Northern dulness for the sake of Northern reliance and good faith.

They are most agreeable in all the intercourse of society. Less full
of small attentions than the French, less ceremonious than the Germans,
they are easier in manner than either. They are natural to the very
verge of indifference; but above all their qualities stands pre-eminent
their good nature. An ungenerous remark, a harsh allusion, an unkind
anecdote, are utterly unknown amongst them, and all that witty smartness
which makes the success of a French _salon_ would find no responsive
echo in an Italian drawing-room. In a word, Tom, they are eminently a
people to live amongst They do not contribute much, but they exact
as little; and if never broken-hearted when you separate, they are
delighted when you meet; falling in naturally with your humor, tolerant
of anything and everything, except what gives trouble.

There now, my dear Tom, are all my Italian experiences in a few words.
I feel that by a discreet use of my material I might have made a tureen
with what I have only filled a teaspoon; but as I am not writing for the
public, but only for Tom Purcell, I 'll not grumble at my wastefulness.

Of the society, what can I say that would not as well apply to any city
of the same size as much resorted to by strangers? The world of fashion
is pretty much the same thing everywhere; and though we may "change the
venue," we are always pleading the same cause. They tell me that social
liberty here is understood in a very liberal sense, and the right of
private judgment on questions of morality exercised with a more than
Protestant independence. I hear of things being done that could not be
done elsewhere, and so on; but were I only to employ my own unassisted
faculties, I should say that everything follows its ordinary routine,
and that profligacy does not put on in Florence a single "travesty" that
I have not seen at Brussels and Baden, and twenty similar places! True,
people know each other very well, and discuss each other in all the
privileged candor close friendship permits. This sincerity, abused
as any good thing is liable to be, now and then grows scandalous; but
still, Tom, though they may bespatter you with mud, nobody ever thinks
you too dirty for society. In point of fact, there is a great deal of
evil speaking, and very little malevolence; abundance of slander, but
scarcely any ill-will. Mark you, these are what they tell me; for up
to this moment I have not seen or heard anything but what has pleased
me,--met much courtesy and some actual cordiality. And surely, if a
man can chance upon a city where the climate is good, the markets well
supplied, the women pretty, and the bankers tractable, he must needs be
an ill-conditioned fellow not to rest satisfied with his good fortune.
I don't mean to Bay I 'd like to pass my life here, no more than I would
like to wear a domino, and spend the rest of my days in a masquerade,
for the whole thing is just as unreal, just as unnatural; but it is
wonderfully amusing for a while, and I enjoy it greatly.

From what I have seen of the world of pleasure, I begin to suspect that
we English people are never likely to have any great success in our
attempts at it; and for this simple reason, that we bring to our social
hours exhausted bodies and fatigued minds; we labor hard all day in law
courts or counting-houses or committee-rooms, and when evening comes are
overcome by our exertions, and very little disposed for those efforts
which make conversation brilliant, or intercourse amusing. Your
foreigner, however, is a chartered libertine. He feels that nature never
meant him for anything but idleness; he takes to frivolity naturally
and easily; and, what is of no small importance too, without any loss
of self-esteem! Ah, Tom! that is the great secret of it all. We never
do our fooling gracefully. There is everlastingly rising up within us a
certain bitter conviction that we are not doing fairly by ourselves, and
that our faculties might be put to better and more noble uses than we
have engaged them in. We walk the stage of life like an actor ashamed
of his costume, and "our motley" never sets easily on us to the last. I
think I had better stop dogmatizing, Tom. Heaven knows where it may lead
me, if I don't. Old Woodcock says that "he might have been a vagabond,
if Providence had n't made him a justice of the peace;" so I feel that
it is not impossible I might have been a moral philosopher, if fate had
n't made me the husband of Mrs. Dodd.

Wednesday Afternoon.

My dear Tom,--I had thought to have despatched this prosy epistle
without being obliged to inflict you with any personal details of the
Dodd family. I was even vaunting to myself that I had kept us all
"out of the indictment," and now I discover that I have made a signal
failure, and the codicil must revoke the whole body of the testament.
How shall I ever get my head clear enough to relate all I want to tell
you? I go looking after a stray idea the way I 'd chase a fellow in
a crowded fair or market, catching a glimpse of him now--losing him
again--here, with my hand almost on him,--and the next minute no sign of
him! Try and follow me, however; don't quit me for a moment; and, above
all, Tom, whatever vagaries I may fall into, be still assured that I
have a road to go, if I only have the wit to discover it!

First of all about Morris, or Sir Morris, as I ought to call him. I
told you in my last how warmly he had taken up Mrs. D.'s cause, and how
mainly instrumental was he in her liberation. This being accomplished,
however, I could not but perceive that he inclined to resume the cold
and distant tone he had of late assumed towards us, and rather retire
from, than incur, any renewal of our intimacy. When I was younger in the
world, Tom, I believe I'd have let him follow his humor undisturbed; but
with more mature experience of life, I have come to see that one often
sacrifices a real friendship in the indulgence of some petty regard to
a ceremonial usage, and so I resolved at least to know the why, if I
could, of Morris's conduct.

I went frankly to him at his hotel, and asked for an explanation.
He stared at me for a second or two without speaking, and then said
something about the shortness of my memory,--a recent circumstance,--and
such like, that I could make nothing of. Seeing my embarrassment, he
appeared slightly irritated, and proceeded to unlock a writing-desk on
the table before him, saying hurriedly,--

"I shall be able to refresh your recollection, and when you read over--"
He stopped, clasped his hand to his forehead suddenly, and, as if
overcome, threw himself down into a seat, deeply agitated. "Forgive me,"
said he at length, "if I ask you a question or two. You remember being
ill at Genoa, don't you?"

"Perfectly."

"You can also remember receiving a letter from me at that time?"

"No,--nothing of the kind!"

"No letter?--you received no letter of mine?"

"None!"

"Oh, then, this must really--" He paused, and, overcoming what I saw
was a violent burst of indignation, he walked the room up and down for
several minutes. "Mr. Dodd," said he to me, taking ray hand in both his
own, "I have to entreat your forgiveness for a most mistaken impression
on my part influencing me in my relations, and suggesting a degree of
coldness and distrust which, owing to your manliness of character alone,
has not ended in our estrangement forever. I believed you had been in
possession of a letter from me; I thought until this moment that it
really had reached you. I now know that I was mistaken, and have only to
express my sincere contrition for having acted under a rash credulity."
He went over this again and again, always, as it seemed to me, as
if about to say more, and then suddenly checking himself under what
appeared to be a quickly remembered reason for reserve.

I was getting impatient at last. I thought that the explanation
explained little, and was really about to say so; but he anticipated me
by saying, "Believe me, my dear sir, any suffering, any unhappiness that
my error has occasioned, has fallen entirely upon me. _You_ at least
have nothing to complain of. The letter which ought to have reached you
contained a proposal from me for the hand of your younger daughter;
a proposal which I now make to you, happily, in a way that cannot be
frustrated by an accident." He went on to press his suit, Tom, eagerly
and warmly; but still with that scrupulous regard to truthfulness I
have ever remarked in him. He acknowledged the difference in age, the
difference in character, the disparity between Cary's joyous, sunny
nature and his own colder mood; but he hoped for happiness, on grounds
so solid and so reasonable that showed me much of his own thoughtful
habit of mind.

Of his fortune, he simply said that it was very far above all his
requirements; that he himself had few, if any, expensive tastes, but was
amply able to indulge such in a wife, if she were disposed to cultivate
them. He added that he knew my daughter had always been accustomed to
habits of luxury and expense, always lived in a style that included
every possible gratification, and therefore, if not in possession of
ample means, he never would have presumed on his present offer.

I felt for a moment the vulgar pleasure that such flattery confers. I
own to you, Tom, I experienced a degree of satisfaction at thinking
that even to the observant eyes of Morris himself,--old soldier as he
was,--the Dodds had passed for brilliant and fashionable folk, in the
fullest enjoyment of every gift of fortune; but as quickly a more honest
and more manly impulse overcame this thought, and in a few words I told
him that he was totally mistaken; that I was a poor, half-ruined Irish
gentleman, with an indolent tenantry and an encumbered estate; that our
means afforded no possible pretension to the style in which we lived,
nor the society we mixed in; that it would require years of patient
economy and privation to repay the extravagance into which our foreign
tour had launched us; and that, so convinced was I of the inevitable
ruin a continuance of such a life must incur, I had firmly resolved to
go back to Ireland at the end of the present month and never leave it
again for the rest of my days.

I suppose I spoke warmly, for I felt deeply. The shame many of the
avowals might have cost me in calmer mood was forgotten now, in my
ardent determination to be honest and above-board. I was resolved,
too, to make amends to my own heart for all the petty deceptions I had
descended to in a former case, and, even at the cost of the loss of a
son-in-law, to secure a little sense of self-esteem.

He would not let me finish, Tom, but, grasping my hand in his with a
grip I did n't believe he was capable of, he said,--

"Dodd,"--he forgot the Mr. this time,--"Dodd, you are an honest,
true-hearted fellow, and I always thought so. Consent now to my
entreaty,--at least do not refuse it,--and I 'd not exchange my
condition with that of any man in Europe!"

Egad, I could not have recognized him as he spoke, for his cheek colored
up, and his eye flashed, and there was a dash of energy about him I had
never detected in his nature. It was just the quality I feared he was
deficient in. Ay, Tom, I can't deny it, old Celt that I am, I would n't
give a brass farthing for a fellow whose temperament cannot be warmed up
to some burst of momentary enthusiasm!

Of my hearty consent and my good wishes I speedily assured him, just
adding, "Cary must say the rest." I told him frankly that I saw it was
a great match for my daughter; that both in rank and fortune he was
considerably above what she might have looked for; but with all that, if
she herself would n't have taken him in his days of humbler destiny, my
advice would be, "don't have him now."

He left me for a moment to say something to his mother,--I suppose some
explanation about this same letter that went astray, and of which I can
make nothing,--and then they came back together. The old lady seemed
as well pleased as her son, and told me that his choice was her own in
every respect. She spoke of Cary with the most hearty affection; but
with all her praise of her, she does n't know half her real worth; but
even what she did say brought the tears to my eyes,--and I 'm afraid I
made a fool of myself!

You may be sure, Tom, that it was a happy day with me, although, for a
variety of reasons, I was obliged to keep my secret for my own heart.
Morris proposed that he should be permitted to wait on us the next
morning, to pay his respects to Mrs. D. upon her liberation, and thus
his visit might be made the means of reopening our acquaintance. You'd
think that to these arrangements, so simple and natural, one might
look forward with an easy tranquillity. So did I, Tom,--and so was I
mistaken. Mr. James, whose conduct latterly seems to have pendulated
between monastic severity and the very wildest dissipation, takes it
into his wise head that Morris has insulted him. He thinks--no, not
thinks, but dreams--that this calm-tempered, quiet gentleman is pursuing
an organized system of outrage towards him, and has for a time back made
him the mark of his sarcastic pleasantry. Full of this sage conceit,
he hurries on to his hotel, to offer him a personal insult. They
fortunately do not meet; but James, ordering pen and paper, sits down
and indites a letter. I have not seen it; but even his friend considers
it to have been "a step ill-advised and inconsiderate,--in fact, to be
deeply regretted."

I cannot conjecture what might have been Morris's conduct under other
circumstances, but in his present relations to myself, he saw probably
but one course open to him. He condescended to overlook the terms of
this insulting note, and calmly asked for an explanation of it. By great
good luck, James had placed the affair in young Belton's hands,--our
former doctor at Bruff,--who chanced to be on his way through here; and
thus, by the good sense of one, and the calm temper of the other, this
rash boy has been rescued from one of the most causeless quarrels ever
heard of. James had started for Modena, I believe, with a carpet-bag
full of cigars, a French novel, and a bullet-mould; but before he had
arrived at his destination, Morris, Belton, and myself were laughing
heartily over the whole adventure.. Morris's conduct throughout the
entire business raised him still higher in my esteem; and the consummate
good tact with which he avoided the slightest reflection that might pain
me on my son's score, showed me that he was a thorough gentleman. I must
say, too, that Belton behaved admirably. Brief as has been his residence
abroad, he has acquired the habits of a perfect man of the world, but
without sacrificing a jot of his truly frank and generous temperament.

Ah, Tom! it was not without some sharp self-reproaches that I saw this
young fellow, poor and friendless as he started in life, struggling with
that hard fate that insists upon a man's feeling independent in spirit,
and humble in manner, fighting that bitter battle contained in
a dispensary doctor's life, emerge at once into an accomplished,
well-informed gentleman, well versed in all the popular topics of
the day, and evidently stored with a deeper and more valuable kind of
knowledge,--I say, I saw all this, and thought of my own boy, bred
up with what were unquestionably greater advantages and better
opportunities of learning, not obliged to adventure on a career in his
mere student years, but with ample time and leisure for cultivation; and
yet there he was,--there he is, this minute,--and there is not a station
nor condition in life wherein he could earn half a crown a day. He was
educated, as it is facetiously called, at Dr. Stingem's school. He read
his Homer and Virgil, wrote his false quantities, and blundered
through his Greek themes, like the rest. He went through--it's a
good phrase--some books of Euclid, and covered reams of foolscap with
equations; and yet, to this hour, he can't translate a classic, nor do a
sum in common arithmetic, while his handwriting is a cuneiform character
that defies a key: and with all that, the boy is not a fool, nor
deficient in teachable qualities. I hope and trust this system is coming
to an end. I wish sincerely, Tom, that we may have seen the last of
a teaching that for one whom it made accomplished and well-informed,
converted fifty into pedants, and left a hundred dunces! Intelligible
spelling, and readable writing, a little history, and the "rule of
three," some geography, a short course of chemistry and practical
mathematics,--that's not too much, I think,--and yet I 'd be easy in
my mind if James had gone that far, even though he were ignorant of
"spondees," and had never read a line of that classic morality they call
the Heathen Mythology. I'd not have touched upon this ungrateful theme,
but that my thoughts have been running on the advantages we were to have
derived from our foreign tour, and some misgivings stinking me as to
their being realized.

Perhaps we are not very docile subjects, perhaps we set about the thing
in a wrong way, perhaps we had not stored our minds with the preliminary
knowledge necessary, perhaps--anything you like, in short; but here we
are, in all essentials, as ignorant of everything a residence abroad
might be supposed to teach, as though we had never quitted Dodsborough.
Stop--I'm going too fast--we _have_ learned some things not usually
acquired at home; we have attained to an extravagant passion for dress,
and an inordinate love of grand acquaintances. Mary Anne is an advanced
student in modern French romance literature; James no mean proficient
at écarté; Mrs. D. has added largely to the stock of what she calls her
"knowledge of life," by familiar intimacy with a score of people who
ought to be at the galleys; and I, with every endeavor to oppose the
tendency, have grown as suspicious as a government spy, and as meanly
inquisitive about other people's affairs as though I were prime minister
to an Italian prince.

We have lost that wholesome reserve with respect to mere acquaintances,
and by which our manner to our friends attained to its distinctive signs
of cordiality, for now we are on the same terms with all the world. The
code is, to be charmed with everything and everybody,--with their looks,
with their manners, with their house and their liveries, with their
table and their "toilette,"--ay, even with their vices! There is the
great lesson, Tom; you grow lenient to everything save the reprobation
of wrong, and _that_ you set down for rank hypocrisy, and cry out
against as the blackest of all the blemishes of humanity.

Nor is it a small evil that our attachment to home is weakened, and even
a sense of shame engendered with respect to a hundred little habits
and customs that to foreign eyes appear absurd--and perhaps vulgar.
And lastly comes the great question, How are we ever to live in our own
country again, with all these exotic notions and opinions? I don't mean
how are _we_ to bear _Ireland_, but how is _Ireland_ to endure us! An
American shrewdly remarked to me t' other day, "that one of the greatest
difficulties of the slave question was, how to emancipate the slave
_owners_; how to liberate the shackles of their rusty old prejudices,
and fit them to stand side by side with real freemen." And in a vast
variety of questions you 'll often discover that the puzzle is on the
side opposite to that we had been looking at. In this way do I feel that
all my old friends will have much to overlook,--much to forgive in my
present moods of thinking. I 'll no more be able to take interest in
home politics again than I could live on potatoes! My sympathies are now
more catholic. I can feel acutely for Schleswig-Holstein, or the Druses
at Lebanon. I am deeply interested about the Danubian Provinces, and
strong on Sebastopol; but I regard as contemptible the cares of a
quarter sessions, or the business of the "Union." If you want me to
listen, you must talk of the Cossacks, or the war in the Caucasus; and I
am far less anxious about who may be the new member for Bruff, than who
will be the next "Vladica" of "Montenegro."

These ruminations of mine might never come to a conclusion, Tom, if
it were not that I have just received a short note from Belton, with a
pressing entreaty that he may see me at once on a matter of importance
to myself, and I have ordered a coach to take me over to his hotel. If I
can get back in time for post hour, I 'll be able to explain the reason
of this sudden call, till when I say adieu.



LETTER XXXI. MISS CAROLINE DODD TO MISS COX, AT MISS MINCINGS ACADEMY,
BLACK ROCK, IRELAND.

Florence.

My dearest Miss Cox,--It would be worse than ingratitude in me were I
to defer telling you how happy I am, and with what a perfect shower of
favors Fortune has just overwhelmed me! Little thought I, a few weeks
back, that Florence was to become to me the spot nearest and dearest to
my heart, associated as it is, and ever must be, with the most blissful
event of my life! Sir Penrhyn Morris, who, from some unexplained
misconception, had all but ceased to know us, was accidentally thrown
in our way by the circumstance of mamma's imprisonment. By his kind and
zealous aid her liberation was at length accomplished, and, as a matter
of course, he called to make his inquiries after her, and receive our
grateful acknowledgments.

I scarcely can tell--my head is too confused to remember--the steps by
which he retraced his former place in our intimacy. It is possible there
may have been explanations on both sides. I only know that he took his
leave one morning with the very coldest of salutations, and appeared
on the next day with a manner of the deepest devotion, so evidently
directed towards myself that it would have been downright affectation to
appear indifferent to it.

He asked me in a low and faltering voice if I would accord him a few
moments' interview. He spoke the words with a degree of effort at
calmness that gave them a most significant meaning, and I suddenly
remembered a certain passage in one of your letters to me, wherein you
speak of the inconsiderate conduct which girls occasionally pursue in
accepting the attentions of men whose difference in age would seem to
exclude them from the category of suitors. So far from having incurred
this error, I had actually retreated from any advances on his part,
not from the disparity of our ages, but from the far wider gulfs that
separated _his_ highly cultivated and informed mind from _my_ ungifted
and unstored intellect. Partly in shame at my inferiority, partly with a
conscious sense of what his impression of me must be, I avoided, so far
as I could, his intimacy; and even when domesticated with him, I sought
for occupations in which he could not join, and estranged myself from
the pursuits which he loved to practise.

Oh, my dear, kind governess, how thoroughly I recognize the truthfulness
of all your views of life; how sincerely I own that I have never
followed them without advantage, never neglected them without loss! How
often have you told me that "dissimulation is never good;" that, however
speciously we may persuade ourselves that in feigning a part we are
screening our self-esteem from insult, or saving the feelings of others,
the policy is ever a bad one; and that, "if our sincerity be only allied
with an honest humility, it never errs." The pains I took to escape from
the dangerous proximity of his presence suggested to him that I disliked
his attentions, and desired to avoid them; and acting on this conviction
it was that he made a journey to England during the time I was a visitor
at his mother's. It would appear, however, that his esteem for me had
taken a deeper root than he perhaps suspected, for on his return his
attentions were redoubled, and I could detect that in a variety of
ways his feelings towards me were not those of mere friendship. Of mine
towards him I will conceal nothing from you. They were deep and intense
admiration for qualities of the highest order, and as much of love as
consisted with a kind of fear,--a sense of almost terror lest he should
resent the presumption of such affection as mine.

You already know something of our habits of life abroad,--wasteful
and extravagant beyond all the pretensions of our fortune. It was a
difficult thing for me to carry on the semblance of our assumed position
so as not to throw discredit upon my family, and at the same time avoid
the dis-ingenuousness of such a part. The struggle, from which I saw no
escape, was too much for me, and I determined to leave the Morrises and
return home,--to leave a house wherein I already had acquired the first
steps of the right road in life, and go back to dissipations in which I
felt no pleasure, and gayeties that never enlivened! I did not tell
you all this at the time, my dear friend, partly because I had not
the courage for it, and partly that the avowal might seem to throw a
reproach on those whom my affection should shield from even a criticism.
If I speak of it now, it is because, happily, the theme is one hourly
discussed amongst us in all the candor of true frankness. We have no
longer concealments, and we are happy.

It may have been that the abruptness of my departure offended Captain
Morris, or, possibly, some other cause produced the estrangement; but,
assuredly, he no longer cultivated the intimacy he had once seemed so
ardently to desire, and, until the event of mamma's misfortune here, he
ceased to visit us.

And now came the interview I have alluded to! Oh, my dearest friend, if
there be a moment in life which combines within it the most exquisite
delight with the most torturing agony, it is that in which an affection
is sought for by one who, immeasurably above us in all the gifts of
fortune, still seems to feel that there is a presumption in his demand,
and that his appeal may be rejected. I know not how to speak of that
conflict between pride and shame, between the ecstasy of conquest and
the innate sense of the unworthiness that had won the victory!

Sir Penrhyn thought, or fancied he thought, me fond of display and
splendor,--that in conforming to the quiet habits of his mother's house,
I was only submitting with a good grace to privations. I undeceived him
at once. I confessed, not without some shame, that I was in a manner
unsuited to the details of an exalted station,--that wealth and its
accompaniments would, in reality, be rather burdens than pleasure to one
whose tastes were humble as my own,--that, in fact, I was so little of a
"Grande Dame" that I should inevitably break down in the part, and
that no appliances of mere riches could repay for the onerous duties of
dispensing them.

"In so much," interrupted he, with a half-smile, "that you would prefer
a poor man to a rich one?"

"If you mean," said I, "a poor man who felt no shame in his poverty,
in comparison with a rich man who felt his pride in his wealth, I say,
Yes."

"Then what say you to one who has passed through both ordeals," said he,
"and only asks that you should share either with him to make him happy?"

I have no need to tell you my answer. It satisfied _him_, and made mine
the happiest heart in the world. And now we are to be married, dearest,
in a fortnight or three weeks,--as soon, in fact, as maybe; and then we
are to take a short tour to Rome and Naples, where Sir Penrhyn's yacht
is to meet us; after which we visit Malta, coast along Spain, and home.
Home sounds delightfully when it means all that one's fondest fancies
can weave of country, of domestic happiness, of duties heartily entered
on, and of affections well repaid.

Penrhyn is very splendid; the castle is of feudal antiquity, and the
grounds are princely in extent and beauty. Sir Morris is justly proud
of his ancestral possessions, and longs to show me its stately
magnificence; but still more do I long for the moment when my dear Miss
Cox will be my guest, and take up her quarters in a certain little room
that opens on a terraced garden overlooking the sea. I fixed on the spot
the very instant I saw a drawing of the castle, and I am certain you
will not find it in your heart to refuse me what will thus make up the
perfect measure of my happiness.

In all the selfishness of my joy, I have forgotten to tell you of
Florence; but, in truth, it would require a calmer head than mine to
talk of galleries and works of art while my thoughts are running on the
bright realities of my condition. It is true we go everywhere and see
everything, but I am in such a humor to be pleased that I am delighted
with all, and can be critical to nothing. I half suspect that art, as
art, is a source of pleasure to a very few. I mean that the number is a
limited one which can enter into all the minute excellences of a great
work, appreciate justly the difficulties overcome, and value deservingly
the real triumph accomplished. For myself, I know and feel that painting
has its greatest charm for me in its power of suggestiveness, and,
consequently, the subject is often of more consequence than the
treatment of it; not that I am cold to the chaste loveliness of a
Raphael, or indifferent to the gorgeous beauty of a Giordano. They
appeal to me, however, in somewhat the same way, and my mind at once
sets to work upon an ideal character of the creation before me. That
this same admiration of mine is a very humble effort at appreciating
artistic excellence, I want no better proof than the fact that it is
exactly what Betty Cobb herself felt on being shown the pictures in "the
Pitti." Her honest worship of a Madonna at once invested her with every
attribute of goodness, and the painter, could he only have heard the
praises she uttered, might have revelled in the triumph of an art that
can rise above the mere delineation of external beauty. That the appeal
to her own heart was direct, was evidenced by her constant reference to
some living resemblance to the picture before her. Now it was a
saintly hermit by Caracci,--that was the image of Peter Delany at
the cross-roads; now it was a Judas,--that was like Tom Noon of the
turnpike; and now it was a lovely head by Titian,--the "very moral of
Miss Kitty Doolan, when her hair was down about her." I am certain, my
dearest Miss Cox, that the delight conveyed by painting and music is
a much more natural pleasure than that derived from the enjoyment of
imaginary composition by writing. The appeal is not alone direct, but
it is in a manner the same to all,--to the highest king upon the throne,
and to the lowly peasant, as in meek wonder he stands entranced and
enraptured.

But why do I loiter within doors when it is of Florence itself, of its
sunny Arno, of its cypress-crowned San Miniato, and of the villa-clad
Fiezole I would tell you! But even these are so interwoven with the
frame of mind in which I now enjoy them, that to speak of them would be
again to revert to my selfishness.

Yesterday we made an excursion to Vallambrosa, which lies in a cleft
between two lofty mountains, about thirteen miles from this. It was a
strange transition from the warm air and sunny streets of Florence, with
all their objects of artistic wonder on every side, to find one's self
suddenly traversing a wild mountain gorge in a rude bullock-cart,
guided by a peasant of semi-savage aspect, his sheepskin mantle and long
ox-goad giving a picturesque air to his tall and sinewy figure. The snow
lay heavily in all the crevices around, and it was a perfectly Alpine
scene in its desolation; nor, I must say, did it recall a single one
of the ideas with which our great poet has associated it. The thickly
strewn leaves have no existence here, since the trees are not deciduous,
and consist entirely of pines.

A straight avenue in the forest leads to the convent, which is of
immense size, forming a great quadrangle. At a little distance off,
sheltered by a thick grove of tall pines, stands a small building
appropriated to the accommodation of strangers, who are the guests
of the monks for any period short of three days, and by a special
permission for even a longer time.

We passed the day and the night there, and I would willingly have
lingered still longer. From the mountain peak above the convent the two
seas at either side of the peninsula are visible, and the Gulf of Genoa
and the Adriatic are stretched out at your feet, with the vast plain of
Central Italy, dotted over with cities, every name of which is a spell
to memory! Thence back to Florence, and all that gay world that seemed
so small to the eye the day before! And now, dearest Miss Cox, let me
conclude, ere my own littleness become more apparent; for here I am,
tossing over laces and embroidery, gazing with rapture at brooches
and bracelets, and actually fancying how captivating I shall be when
apparelled in all this finery. It would be mere deceitfulness in me were
I to tell you that I am not charmed with the splendor that surrounds me.
Let me only hope that it may not corrupt that heart which at no time was
more entirely your own than while I write myself yours affectionately,

Caroline Dodd.



LETTER XXXII. KENNY JAMES DODD TO THOMAS PURCELL, ESQ., OF THE GRANGE,
BRUFF.

Florence.

Well, my dear Tom, my task is at last completed,--my _magnum opus_
accomplished. I have carried all my measures, if not with triumphant
majorities, at least with a "good working party," as the slang has it,
and I stand proudly pre-eminent the head of the Dodd Administration. I
have no patience for details. I like better to tell you the results in
some striking paragraph, to be headed "Latest Intelligence," and to run
thus: "Our last advices inform us that, notwithstanding the intrigues
in the Cabinet, K. I. maintains his ascendency. We have no official
intelligence of the fact, but all the authorities concur in believing
that the Dodds are about to leave the Continent and return to Ireland."

Ay, Tom, that is the grand and comprehensive measure of family reform I
have so long labored over, and at length have the proud gratification to
see Law!

I find, on looking back, that I left off on my being sent for by Belton.
I 'll try and take up one of the threads of my tangled narrative at
that point. I found him at his hotel in conversation with a very smartly
dressed, well-whiskered, kid-gloved little man, whom he presented as
"Mr. Curl Davis, of Lincoln's Inn." Mr. D. was giving a rather pleasant
account of the casualties of his first trip to Italy when I entered,
but immediately stopped, and seemed to think that the hour of business
should usurp the time of mere amusement.

Belton soon informed me why, by telling me that Mr. C. D. was a London
collector who transacted the foreign affairs for various discounting
houses at home, and who held a roving commission to worry, harass, and
torment all such and sundry as might have drawn, signed, or endorsed
bills, either for their own accommodation or that of their friends.

Now, I had not the most remote notion how I should come to figure in
this category. I knew well that you had "taken care of"--that's the
word--all my little missives in that fashion. So persuaded was I of my
sincerity that I offered him at once a small wager that he had mistaken
his man, and that it was, in fact, some other Dodd, bent on bringing our
honorable name to shame and disgrace.

"It must, under these circumstances, then," said he, "be a very gross
case of forgery, for the name is yours; nor can I discover any other
with the same Christian names." So saying, he produced a pocket-book,
like a family Bible, and drew from out a small partition of it a bill
for five hundred pounds, at nine months, drawn and endorsed by me in
favor of the Hon. Augustus Gore Hampton!

This precious document had now about fifty-two hours some odd minutes
to run. In other words, it was a crocodile's egg with the shell already
bursting, and the reptile's head prepared to spring out.

"The writing, if not yours, is an admirable imitation," said Davis,
surveying it through his double eye-glass.

"Is it yours?" asked Belton.

"Yes," said I, with a great effort to behave like an ancient Roman.

"Ah, then, it is all correct," said Davis, smirking. "I am charmed to
find that the case presents no difficulty whatsoever."

"I 'm not quite so certain of that, sir," said I; "I take a very
different view of the transaction."

"Don't be alarmed, Mr. Dodd," said he, coaxingly, "we are not Shylocks.
We will meet your convenience in any way; in fact, it is with that sole
object I have come out from England. 'Don't negotiate it,' said Mr. Gore
Hampton to me,' if you can possibly help it; see Mr. D. himself, ask
what arrangement will best suit him, take half the amount in cash,
and renew the bill at three months, rather than push him to an
inconvenience.' I assure you these were his own words, for there is n't
a more generous fellow breathing than Gore." Mr. Davis uttered this with
a kind of hearty expansiveness, as though to say, "The man 's my friend,
and let me see who 'll gainsay me."

"Am I at liberty to inquire into the circumstances of this transaction?"
said Belton, who had been for some minutes attentively examining the
bill, and the several names upon it, and comparing the writing with some
other that he held in his hand.

I half scrupled to say "Yes" to this request, Tom. If there be anything
particularly painful in shame above all others, it is for an old fellow
to come to confession of his follies to a young one. It reverses their
relative stations to each other so fatally that they never can stand
rightly again. He saw this, or he seemed to see it, in a second, by my
hesitation, for, quickly turning to Mr. Davis, he said, "Our
meeting here is a most opportune one, as you will perceive by this
paper,"--giving him a letter as he spoke. Although I paid little
attention to these words, I was soon struck by the change that had come
over Mr. Davis. The fresh and rosy cheek was now blanched, the easy
smile had departed, and a look of terror and dismay was exhibited in its
place.

"Now, sir," said Belton, folding up the document, "you see I have been
very frank with you. The charges contained in that letter I am in a
position to prove. The Earl of Darewood has placed all the papers in my
hands, and given me full permission as to how I shall employ them. Mr.
Dodd," said he, addressing me, "if I am not at liberty to ask you
the history of that bill, there is at least nothing to prevent _my_
informing _you_ that all the names upon it are those of men banded
together for purposes of fraud."

"Take care what you say, sir," said Davis, affecting to write down his
words, but in his confusion unable to form a letter.

"I shall accept your caution as it deserves," said Belton, "and say
that they are a party of professional swindlers,--men who cheat at play,
intimidate for money, and even commit forgery for it."

Davis moved towards the door, but Belton anticipated him, and he sat
down again without a word.

[Illustration: 314]

"Now, Mr. Davis," said he, calmly, "it is left entirely to my discretion
in what way I am to proceed with respect to one of the parties to
these frauds." As he got thus far, the waiter entered, and presented a
visiting-card, on which Belton said, "Yes, show him upstairs;" and the
next minute Lord George Tiverton made his appearance. He was already in
the middle of the room ere he perceived me, and for the first time in my
life I saw signs of embarrassment and shame on his impassive features.

"They told me you were alone, Mr. Belton," said he, angrily, and as if
about to retire.

"For all the purposes you have come upon, my Lord, it is the same as
though I were."

"Is it blown, then?" asked his Lordship of Davis; and the other replied
with an almost imperceptible nod. Muttering what sounded like a curse,
Tiverton threw himself into a chair, drawing his hat, which he still
wore, more deeply over his eyes.

I assure you, Tom, that so overwhelmed was I by this distressing
scene,--for, say what you will, there is nothing so distressing as
to see the man with whom you have lived in intimacy, if not
actual friendship, suddenly displayed in all the glaring colors of
scoundrelism. You feel yourself so humiliated before such a spectacle,
that the sense of shame becomes like an atmosphere around you; I
actually heard nothing,--I saw nothing. A scene of angry discussion
ensued between Belton and the lawyer--Tiverton never uttered a word--of
which I caught not one syllable. I could only mark, at last, that
Belton had gained the upper hand, and in the other's subdued manner and
submissive tone defeat was plainly written.

"Will Mr. Dodd deny his liability?" cried out Davis; and though, I
suppose, he must have said the words many times over, I could not bring
myself to suppose they were addressed to me.

"I shall not ask him that question." said Belton, "but _you_ may."

"Hang it, Curl! you know it was a 'plant,'" said Tiverton, who was now
smoking a cigar as coolly as possible. "What's the use of pushing them
further? We 've lost the game, man!"

"Just so, my Lord," said Belton; "and notwithstanding all his pretended
boldness, nobody is more aware of that fact than Mr. Curl Davis, and the
sooner he adopts your Lordship's frankness the quicker will this affair
be settled."

Belton and the lawyer conversed eagerly together in half-whispers. I
could only overhear a stray word or two; but they were enough to show
me that Davis was pressing for some kind of a compromise, to which the
other would not accede, and the terms of which came down successively
from five hundred pounds to three, two, one, and at last fifty.

"No, nor five, sir,--not five shillings in such a cause!" said Belton,
determinedly. "I should feel it an indelible disgrace upon me forever to
concede one farthing to a scheme so base and contemptible. Take my word
for it, to escape exposure in such a case is no slight immunity."

Davis still demurred, but it was rather with the disciplined resistance
of a well-trained rascal than with the ardor of a strong conviction.

The altercation--for it was such--interested me wonderfully little, my
attention being entirely bestowed on Tiverton, who had now lighted his
third cigar, which he was smoking away vigorously, never once bestowing
a look towards me, nor in any way seeming to recognize my presence. A
sudden pause in the discussion attracted me, and I saw that Mr. Davis
was handing over several papers, which, to my practical eye, resembled
bills, to Belton, who carefully perused each of them in turn before
enclosing them in his pocket-book.

"Now, my Lord, I am at your service," said Belton; "but I presume our
interview may as well be without witnesses."

"I should like to have Davis here," replied Tiverton, languidly; "seeing
how you have bullied _him_ only satisfies me how little chance _I_ shall
have with you."

Not waiting to hear an answer to this speech, I arose and took my hat,
and pressing Belton's hand cordially as I asked him to dinner for that
day, I hurried out of the room. Not, however, without his having time to
whisper to me,--

"That affair is all arranged,--have no further uneasiness on the
subject."

I was in the street in the midst of the moving, bustling population,
with all the life, din, and turmoil of a great city around me, and yet
I stood confounded and overwhelmed by what I had just witnessed. "And
this," said I, at last, "is the way the business of the world goes
on,--robbery, cheating, intimidation, and overreaching are the
politenesses men reciprocate with each other!" Ah, Tom, with what
scanty justice we regard our poor hard-working, half-starved, and ragged
people, when men of rank, station, and refinement are such culprits as
this! Nor could I help confessing that if I had passed my life at home,
in my own country, such an instance as I had just seen had, in
all likelihood, never occurred to me. The truth is that there is a
simplicity in the life of poor countries that almost excludes such a
craft as that of a swindler. Society must be a complex and intricate
machinery where _they_ are to thrive. There must be all the thousand
requirements that are begotten of a pampered and luxurious civilization,
and all the faults and frailties that grow out of these. Your well-bred
scoundrel trades upon the follies, the weaknesses, the foibles, rather
than the vices of the world, and his richest harvest lies amongst those
who have ambitions above their station, and pretensions unsuited to
their property,--in one word, to the "Dodds of this world, whether they
issue from Tipperary or Yorkshire, whether their tongue betray the Celt
or the Saxon!"

I grew very moral on this theme as I walked along, and actually found
myself at my own door before I knew where I was. I discovered that
Morris and his mother had been visiting Mrs. D. in my absence, and that
the interview had passed off satisfactorily Cary's bright and cheery
looks sufficiently assured me. Perhaps she was "not i' the vein," or
perhaps she was awed by the presence of real wealth and fortune, but
I was glad to find that Mrs. D. scarcely more than alluded to the
splendors of Dodsborough; nor did she bring in the M'Carthys more than
four times during their stay. This is encouraging, Tom; and who knows
but in time we may be able to "lay this family," and live without the
terrors of their resurrection!

The Morrises are to dine with us, and I only trust that we shall not
give them a "taste of our quality" in high living, for I have just
caught sight of a fellow with a white cap going into Mrs. D.'s
dressing-room, and the preparations are evidently considerable. Here 's
Mary Anne saying she has something of consequence to impart to me, and
so, for the present, farewell.

The murder is out, Tom, and all the mystery of Morris's missing letter
made clear. Mrs. D. received it during my illness at Genoa, and finding
it to be a proposal of marriage to Cary, took it upon her to write an
indignant refusal.

Mary Anne has just confessed the whole to me in strict secrecy, frankly
owning that she herself was the great culprit on the occasion, and that
the terms of the reply were actually dictated by her. She said that her
present avowal was made less in reparation for her misconduct--which she
owned to be inexcusable--than as an obligation she felt under to requite
the admirable behavior of Morris, who by this time must have surmised
what had occurred, and whose gentlemanlike feeling recoiled from
vindicating himself at the cost of family disunion and exposure.

I tell you frankly, Tom, that Mary Anne's own candor, the honest,
straightforward way in which she told me the whole incident, amply
repays me for all the annoyance it occasioned. Her conduct now assures
me that, notwithstanding all the corrupting influences of our life
abroad, the girl's generous nature has still survived, and may yet, with
good care, be trained up to high deservings. Of course she enjoined
me to secrecy; but even had she not done so, I 'd have respected her
confidence. I am scarcely less pleased with Morris, whose delicacy is no
bad guarantee for the future; so that for once, at least, my dear Tom,
you find me in good humor with all the world, nor is it my own fault
if I be not oftener so! You may smile, Tom, at my self-flattery; but
I repeat it. All my philosophy of life has been to submit with a good
grace, and make the best of everything,--to think as well of everybody
as they would permit me to do; and when, as will happen, events went
cross-grain, and all fell out "wrong," I was quite ready to "forget my
own griefs, and be happy with _you_." And now to dinner, Tom, where I
mean to drink your health!

It is all settled; though I have no doubt, after so many "false starts,"
you 'll still expect to hear a contradiction to this in my next
letter; but you may believe me this time, Tom. Cary is to be married on
Saturday; and that you may have stronger confidence in my words, I beg
to assure you that I have not bestowed on her, as her marriage portion,
either imaginary estates or mock domains. She is neither to be thought
an Irish princess _en retraite_, nor to be the proud possessor of the
"M'Carthy diamonds." In a word, Tom, we have contrived, by some good
luck, to conduct the whole of this negotiation without involving
ourselves in a labyrinth of lies, and the consequence has been a very
wide-spread happiness and contentment.

Morris improves every hour on nearer acquaintance; and even Mrs. D.
acknowledges that when "his shyness rubs off, he 'll be downright
agreeable and amusing." Now, that same shyness is very little more
than the constitutional coldness of _his_ country, more palpable when
contrasted with the over-warmth of _ours_. It _never does_ rub off, Tom,
which, unfortunately, our cordiality occasionally does; and hence the
praise bestowed on the constancy of one country, and the censure on the
changeability of the other. But this is no time for such dissertations,
nor is my head in a condition to follow them out.

The house is beset with milliners, jewellers, and other seductionists
of the same type; and Mrs. D.'s voice is loud in the drawing-room on
the merits of Brussels lace and the becomingness of rubies. Even Cary
appears to have yielded somewhat to the temptation of these vanities,
and gives a passing glance at herself in the glass without any very
marked disapproval. James is in ecstasies with Morris, who has confided
all his horse arrangements to his especial care; and he sits in solemn
conclave every morning with half a dozen stunted, knock-kneed bipeds, in
earnest discussion of thorough-breds, weight-carriers, and fencers, and
talks "Bell's Life" half the day afterwards.

But, above all, Mary Anne has pleased me throughout the whole
transaction. Not a shadow of jealousy, not the faintest coloring of any
unworthy rivalry has interfered with her sisterly affection, and her
whole heart seems devoted to Cary's happiness. Handsome as she always
was, the impulse of a high motive has elevated the character of her
beauty, and rendered her perfectly lovely. So Belton would seem to think
also, if I were only to pronounce from the mere expression of his face
as he looks at her.

I must close this at once; there's no use in my trying to journalize any
longer, for events follow too fast for recording; besides, Tom, in the
midst of all my happiness there comes a dash of sadness across me that
I am so soon to part with one so dear to me! The first branch that drops
from the tree tells the story of the decay at the trunk; and so it is as
the chairs around your health become tenantless, you are led to think
of the dark winter of old age, the long night before the longer journey!
This is all selfishness, mayhap, and so no more of it. On Saturday the
wedding, Tom; the Morrises start for Rome, and the Dodds for Ireland.
Ay, my old friend, once more we shall meet, and if I know myself, not to
part again till our passports are made out for a better place. And now,
my dear friend, for the last time on foreign ground,

I am yours ever affectionately,

Kenny James Dodd.

Tell Mrs. Gallagher to have fires in all the rooms, and to see that
Nelligan has a look to the roof where the rain used to come in. We must
try and make the old house comfortable, and if we cannot have the blue
sky without, we 'll at least endeavor to secure the means of an Irish
welcome within doors.

I suppose it must be a part of that perversity that pertains to human
nature in everything, but now that I have determined on going home
again, I fancy I can detect a hundred advantages to be derived from
foreign travel and foreign residence. You will, of course, meet me by
saying, "What are your own experiences, Kenny Dodd? Do they serve to
confirm this impression? Have you the evidences of such within the
narrow circle of your own family?" No, Tom, I must freely own I have not
But I am, perhaps, able to say why it has been so, and even that same is
something.

You can scarcely take up a number of the "Times" without reading of some
newly arrived provincial in London being "done" by sharpers, through the
devices of a very stale piece of roguery; his appearance, his dress, and
his general air being the signs which have proclaimed him a fit subject
for deception. So it is abroad; a certain class of travellers, the
"Dodds" for instance, ramble about Switzerland and the Rhine country,
John Murray in hand, speaking unintelligible French, and poking their
noses everywhere. So long as they are migratory, they form the prey of
innkeepers and the harvest of _laquais de place_; but when they settle
and domesticate, they become the mark for ridicule for some, and for
robbery from others. If they be wealthy, much is conceded to them for
their money,--that is, their house will be frequented, their dinners
eaten, their balls danced at; but as to any admission into "the society"
of the place, they have no chance of it. Some Lord George of their
acquaintance, cut by his equals, and shunned by his own set, will
undertake to provide them guests; and so far as their own hospitalities
extend, they will be "in the world," but not one jot further. The
illustrious company that honors your _soirée_ amuses itself with racy
stories of your bad French, or flippant descriptions of your wife's
"toilette;" nor is it enough that they ridicule these, but they will
even make laughing matter of your homely notions of right and wrong,
and scoff at what you know and feel to be the very best things in your
nature. Your "noble friend," or somebody else's "noble friend," has said
in public that you are "nobody;" and every marquis in his garret, and
every count with half the income of your cook, despises as he dines with
you. And you deserve it too; richly deserve it, I say. Had you come
on the Continent to be abroad what you were well contented to be at
home,--had you abstained from the mockery of a class you never belonged
to,--had you settled down amidst those your equals in rank, and often
much more than your equals in knowledge and acquirement,--your journey
would not have been a series of disappointments. You would have seen
much to delight and interest, and much to improve you. You would have
educated your minds while richly enjoying yourselves; and while forming
pleasant intimacies, and even friendships, widened the sphere of your
sympathies with mankind, and assuredly have escaped no small share of
the misfortunes and mishaps that befell the "Dodd Family Abroad."

THE END.





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