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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 383, September 1847
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 383, September 1847" ***

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  BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCLXXXIII.   SEPTEMBER, 1847.   Vol. LXII.



HOW I STOOD FOR THE DREEPDAILY BURGHS.


CHAPTER I.

"My dear Dunshunner," said my friend Robert M'Corkindale as he entered my
apartments one fine morning in June last, "do you happen to have seen the
share-list? Things are looking in Liverpool as black as thunder. The
bullion is all going out of the country, and the banks are refusing to
discount."

Bob M'Corkindale might very safely have kept his information to himself. I
was, to say the truth, most painfully aware of the facts which he
unfeelingly obtruded upon my notice. Six weeks before, in the full
confidence that the panic was subsiding, I had recklessly invested my
whole capital in the shares of a certain railway company, which for the
present shall be nameless; and each successive circular from my broker
conveyed the doleful intelligence that the stock was going down to Erebus.
Under these circumstances I certainly felt very far from being
comfortable. I could not sell out except at a ruinous loss; and I could
not well afford to hold on for any length of time, unless there was a
reasonable prospect of a speedy amendment of the market. Let me confess
it--I had of late come out rather too strong. When a man has made money
easily, he is somewhat prone to launch into expense, and to presume too
largely upon his credit. I had been idiot enough to make my _debut_ in the
sporting world--had started a couple of horses upon the verdant turf of
Paisley--and, as a matter of course, was remorselessly sold by my
advisers. These and some other minor amusements had preyed deleteriously
upon my purse. In fact, I had not the ready; and as every tradesman
throughout Glasgow was quaking in his shoes at the panic, and
inconveniently eager to realise, I began to feel the reverse of
comfortable, and was shy of showing myself in Buchanan Street. Several
documents of a suspicious appearance--owing to the beastly practice of
wafering, which is still adhered to by a certain class of
correspondents--were lying upon my table at the moment when Bob entered. I
could see that the villain comprehended their nature at a glance; but
there was no use in attempting to mystify him. The Political Economist
was, as I was well aware, in very much the same predicament as myself.

"To tell you the truth, M'Corkindale, I have not opened a share-list for a
week. The faces of some of our friends are quite long enough to serve as a
tolerable exponent of the market; and I saw Grabbie pass about five
minutes ago with a yard of misery in his visage. But what's the news?"

"Every thing that is bad! Total stoppage expected in a week, and the mills
already put upon short time."

"You don't say so!"

"It is a fact. Dunshunner, this infernal tampering with the currency will
be the ruin of every mother's son of us!"--and here Bob, in a fit of
indignant enthusiasm, commenced a vivid harangue upon the principles of
contraction and expansion, bullion, the metallic standard, and the bank
reserves, which no doubt was extremely sound, but which I shall not
recapitulate to the reader.

"That's all very well, Bob," said I--"very good in theory, but we should
confine ourselves at present to practice. The main question seems to me to
be this. How are we to get out of our present fix? I presume you are not
at present afflicted with a remarkable plethory of cash?"

"Every farthing I have in the world is locked up in a falling line."

"Any debts?"

"Not many; but quite enough to make me meditate a temporary retirement to
Boulogne."

"I believe you are better off than I am. I not only owe money, but am
terribly bothered about some bills."

"That's awkward. Would it not be advisable to bolt?"

"I don't think so. You used to tell me, Bob, that credit was the next best
thing to capital. Now, I don't despair of redeeming my capital yet, if I
can only keep up my credit."

"Right, undoubtedly, as you generally are. Do you know, Dunshunner, you
deserve credit for your notions on political economy. But how is that to
be done? Every body is realising; the banks won't discount; and when your
bills become due, they will be, to a dead certainty, protested."

"Well--and what then?"

"_Squalor carceris_, etcetera."

"Hum--an unpleasant alternative, certainly. Come, Bob I put your wits to
work. You used to be a capital hand for devices, and there must be some
way or other of steering clear. Time is all we want."

"Ay, to be sure--time is the great thing. It would be very unpleasant to
look out on the world through a grating during the summer months!"

"I perspire at the bare idea!"

"Not a soul in town--all your friends away in the Highlands boating, or
fishing, or shooting grouse--and you pent up in a stifling apartment of
eight feet square, with nobody to talk to save the turnkey, and no
prospect from the window, except a deserted gooseberry stall!"

"O Bob, don't talk in that way! You make me perfectly miserable."

"And all this for a ministerial currency crotchet? 'Pon my soul, it's too
bad! I wish those fellows in Parliament----"

"Well? Go on."

"By Jove! I've an idea at last!"

"You don't say so! My dear Bob--out with it!"

"Dunshunner, are you a man of pluck?"

"I should think I am."

"And ready to go the whole hog, if required?"

"The entire animal."

"Then I'll tell you what it is--the elections will be on immediately--and,
by St Andrew, we'll put you up for Parliament!"

"Me!"

"You. Why not? There are hundreds of men there quite as hard up, and not
half so clever as yourself."

"And what good would that do me?"

"Don't you see? You need not care a farthing about your debts then, for
the personal liberty of a member of the House of Commons is sacred. You
can fire away right and left at the currency; and who knows, if you play
your cards well, but you may get a comfortable place?"

"Well, you _are_ a genius, Bob! But then, what sort of principles should I
profess?"

"That is a matter which requires consideration. What are your own feelings
on the subject?"

"Perfect indifference. I am pledged to no party, and am free to exercise
my independent judgment."

"Of course, of course! We shall take care to stick all that into the
address; but you must positively come forward with some kind of tangible
political views. The currency will do for one point, but as to the others
I see a difficulty."

"Suppose I were to start as a Peelite?

"Something may be said in favour of that view; but, on the whole, I should
rather say not. That party may not look up for some little time, and then
the currency is a stumbling-block in the way. No, Dunshunner, I do not
think, upon my honour, that it would be wise for you to commit yourself in
that quarter at the present moment."

"Suppose I try the Protectionist dodge? One might come it very strong
against the foreigners, and in favour of native industry. Eh, Bob? What do
you say to that? It is an advantage to act with gentlemen."

"True; but at the same time, I see many objections. The principles of the
country party are not yet thoroughly understood by the people, and I
should like to have you start with at least popularity on your side."

"Radical, then? What do you think of Annual Parliaments, Universal
Suffrage, Vote by Ballot, and separation of Church and State?"

"I am clear against that. These views are not popular with the Electors,
and even the mob would entertain a strong suspicion that you were
humbugging them."

"What, then, on earth am I to do?"

"I will tell you. Come out as a pure and transparent Whig. In the present
position of parties, it is at least a safe course to pursue, and it is
always the readiest step to the possession of the loaves and the fishes."

"Bob, I don't like the Whigs!"

"No more do I. They are a bad lot; but they are _in_, and that is every
thing. Yes, Augustus," continued Bob solemnly, "there is nothing else for
it. You must start as a pure Whig, upon the Revolution principles of
sixteen hundred and eighty-eight."

"It would be a great relief to my mind, Bob, if you would tell me what
those principles really are?"

"I have not the remotest idea; but we have plenty time to look them up."

"Then, I suppose I must swallow the Dutchman and the Massacre of Glencoe?"

"Yes, and the Darien business into the bargain. These are the principles
of your party, and of course you are bound to subscribe."

"Well! you know best; but I'd rather do any thing else."

"Pooh! never fear; you and Whiggery will agree remarkably well. That
matter, then, we may consider as settled. The next point to be thought of
is the constituency."

"Ay, to be sure! what place am I to start for? I have got no interest, and
if I had any, there are no nomination burghs in Scotland."

"Aren't there? That's all you know, my fine fellow! Hark ye, Dunshunner,
more than half of the Scottish burghs are at this moment held by
nominees!"

"You amaze me, Bob! The thing is impossible! The Reform Bill, that great
charter of our liberties----"

"Bravo! There spoke the Whig! The Reform Bill, you think, put an end to
nomination? It did nothing of the kind, it merely transferred it. Did you
ever hear of such things as CLIQUES?"

"I have. But they are tremendously unpopular."

"Nevertheless, they hold the returning power. There is a Clique in almost
every town throughout Scotland, which loads the electors as quietly, but
as surely, as the blind man is conducted by his dog. These are modelled on
the true Venetian principles of secrecy and terrorism. They control the
whole constituency, put in the member, and in return monopolise the whole
patronage of the place. If you have the Clique with you, you are almost
sure of your election; if not, except in the larger towns, you have not a
shadow of success. Now, what I want to impress upon you is this, that
where-ever you go, be sure that you communicate with the Clique."

"But how am I to find it out?

"That is not always an easy matter, for nobody will acknowledge that they
belong to it. However, the thing is not impossible, and we shall certainly
make the experiment. Come, then, I suppose you agree with me, that it is
hopeless to attempt the larger towns?"

"Clearly. So far as I see, they are all provided already with candidates."

"And you may add, Cliques, Dunshunner. Well, then, let us search among
the smaller places. What would you think of a dash at the Stirling
District of Burghs?"

"Why, there are at least half-a-dozen candidates in the field."

"True, that would naturally lessen your chance. Depend upon it, some one
of them has already found the key to the Clique. But there's the
Dreepdaily District with nobody standing for it, except the Honourable
Paul Pozzlethwaite; and I question whether he knows himself the nature or
the texture of his politics. Really, Dunshunner, that's the very place for
you; and if we look sharp after it, I bet the long odds that you will
carry it in a canter."

"Do you really think so?

"I do indeed; and the sooner you start the better. Let me see. I know
Provost Binkie of Dreepdaily. He is a Railway bird, was an original
Glenmutchkin shareholder, and fortunately sold out at a premium. He is a
capital man to begin with, and I think will be favourable to you: besides,
Dreepdaily is in old Whig burgh. I am not so sure of Kittleweem. It is a
shade more respectable than Dreepdaily, and has always been rather
Conservative. The third burgh, Drouthielaw, is a nest of Radicalism; but I
think it may be won over, if we open the public-houses."

"But, about expenses, Bob--won't it be a serious matter?"

"Why, you must lay your account with spending some five or six hundred
pounds upon the nail; and I advise you to sell stock to that amount at
least. The remainder, should it cost you more, can stand over."

"Bob, five or six hundred pounds is a very serious sum!"

"Granted--but then look at the honour and the immunity you will enjoy.
Recollect that yours is an awkward predicament. If you don't get into
Parliament, I see nothing for it but a stoppage."

"That's true enough. Well--hang it, then, I will start!"

"There's a brave fellow! I should not in the least wonder to see you in
the Cabinet yet. The sooner you set about preparing your address the
better."

"What! without seeing Provost Binkie?"

"To be sure. What is the use of wading when you can plunge at once into
deep water? Besides, let me, tell you that you are a great deal more
likely to get credit when it is understood that you are an actual
candidate."

"There is something in that too. But I say, Bob--you really must help me
with the address. I am a bad hand at these things, and shall never be able
to tickle up the electors without your assistance."

"I'll do all I can. Just ring for a little sherry and water, and we'll set
to work. I make no doubt that, between us, we can polish off a plausible
placard."

Two hours afterwards, I forwarded through the post-office, a missive
addressed to the editor of the Dreepdaily Patriot, with the following
document enclosed. I am rather proud of it, as a manifesto of my political
principles.

"TO THE ELECTORS OF THE UNITED DISTRICT OF BURGHS OF DREEPDAILY,
DROUTHIELAW, AND KITTLEWEEM.

"GENTLEMEN,--I am induced, by a requisition, to which are appended the
signatures of a large majority of your influential and patriotic body, to
offer myself as a candidate for the high honour of your representation in
the ensuing session of Parliament. Had I consulted my own inclination, I
should have preferred the leisure of retirement and the pursuit of those
studies so congenial to my taste, to the more stormy and agitating of
politics. But a deep sense of public duty compels me to respond to your
call.

"My views upon most subjects are so well known to many of you, that a
lengthened explanation of them would probably be superfluous. Still,
however, it may be right and proper for me to explain generally what they
are.

"My principles are based upon the great and glorious Revolution settlement
of 1688, which, by abolishing, or at least superseding, hereditary right,
intrusted the guardianship of the crown to an enlightened oligarchy for
the protection of an unparticipating people. That oligarchy is now most
ably represented by her Majesty's present Ministers, to whom,
unhesitatingly and uncompromisingly, except upon a very few matters, I
give in my adhesion so long as they shall continue in office.

"Opposed to faction and an enemy to misrule, I am yet friendly to many
changes of a sweeping and organic character. Without relaxing the ties
which at present bind together church and state in harmonious coalition
and union, I would gradually confiscate the revenues of the one for the
increasing necessities of the other. I never would become a party to an
attack upon the House of Peers, so long as it remains subservient to the
will of the Commons; nor would I alter or extend the franchise, except
from cause shown, and the declared and universal wish of the non-electors.

"I highly approve of the policy which has been pursued towards Ireland,
and of further concessions to a deep-rooted system of agitation. I approve
of increased endowments to that much neglected country; and I applaud that
generosity which relieves it from all participation in the common burdens
of the state. Such a line of policy cannot fail to elevate the moral tone,
and to develop the internal resources of Ireland; and I never wish to see
the day when the Scotsman and the Irishman may, in so far as taxation is
concerned, be placed upon an equal footing. It appears to me a highly
equitable adjustment that the savings of the first should be appropriated
for the wants of the second.

"I am in favour of the centralising system, which, by drafting away the
wealth and talent of the provinces, must augment the importance of London.
I am strongly opposed to the maintenance of my local or Scottish
institutions, which can merely serve to foster a spirit of decayed
nationality; and I am of opinion that all boards and offices should be
transferred to England, with the exception of those connected with the
Dreepdaily district, which it is the bounden duty of the legislature to
protect and preserve.

"I am a friend to the spread of education, but hostile to any system by
means of which religion, especially Protestantism, may be taught.

"I am a supporter of free trade in all its branches. I cannot see any
reason for the protection of native industry, and am ready to support any
fundamental measure by means of which articles of foreign manufacture
maybe brought to compete in the home market with our own, without
restriction and without reciprocity. It has always appeared to me that our
imports are of far greater importance than our exports. I think that any
lowering of price which may be the result of such a commercial policy,
will be more than adequately compensated by a coercive measure which shall
compel the artisan to augment the period of his labour. I am against any
short hours' bill, and am of opinion that infant labour should be
stringently and universally enforced.

"With regard to the currency, I feel that I may safely leave that matter
in the hands of her Majesty's present Ministers, who have never shown any
indisposition to oppose themselves to the popular wish.

"These, gentlemen, are my sentiments; and I think that, upon
consideration, you will find them such as may entitle me to your cordial
support. I need not say how highly I shall value the trust, or how
zealously I shall endeavour to promote your local interests. These,
probably, can be best advanced by a cautious regard to my own.

"On any other topics I shall be happy to give you the fullest and most
satisfactory explanation. I shall merely add, as a summary of my opinions,
that while ready on the one hand to coerce labour, so as to stimulate
internal industry to the utmost, and to add largely to the amount of our
population; I am, upon the other, a friend to the liberty of the subject,
and to the promotion of such genial and sanatory measures as suit the
tendency of our enlightened age, the diffusion of universal philanthropy,
and the spread of popular opinion. I remain, GENTLEMEN, with the deepest
respect, your very obedient and humble servant,

  "AUGUSTUS REGINALD DUNSHUNNER.
  "_St Mirren's House,
  "June, 1847_."

The editor of the Dreepdaily Patriot, wisely considering that this
advertisement was the mere prelude to many more, was kind enough to
dedicate a leading article to an exposition of my past services. I am not
a vain man; so that I shall not here reprint the panegyric passed upon
myself, or the ovation which my friend foresaw. Indeed, I am so far from
vain, that I really began to think, while perusing the columns of the
Patriot, that I had somewhat foolishly shut my eyes hitherto to the
greatness of that talent, and the brilliancy of those parts which were now
proclaimed to the world. Yes; it was quite clear that I had hitherto been
concealing my candle under a bushel--that I was cut out by nature for a
legislator--and that I was the very man for the Dreepdaily electors. Under
this conviction, I started upon my canvass, munimented with letters of
introduction from M'Corkindale, who, much against his inclination, was
compelled to remain at home.


CHAPTER II.

Dreepdaily is a beautiful little town, embosomed in an amphitheatre of
hills which have such a winning way with the clouds that the summits are
seldom visible. Dreepdaily, if situated in Arabia, would be deemed a
Paradise. All round it the vegetation is long, and lithe, and luxuriant;
the trees keep their verdure late; and the rush of the nettles is amazing.

How the inhabitants contrive to live, is to me a matter of mystery. There
is no particular trade or calling exercised in the place--no busy hum of
artisans, or clanking of hammer or machinery. Round the suburbs, indeed,
there are rows of mean-looking cottages, each with its strapping lass in
the national short gown at the door, from the interior of which resounds
the boom of the weaver's shuttle. There is also one factory at a little
distance; but when you reach the town itself, all is supereminently
silent. In fine weather, crowds of urchins of both sexes are seen sunning
themselves on the quaint-looking flights of steps by which the doors,
usually on the second story, are approached; and as you survey the swarms
of bare-legged and flaxen-haired infantry, you cannot help wondering in
your heart what has become of the adult population. It is only towards
evening that the seniors appear. Then you may find them either congregated
on the bridge discussing politics and polemics, or lounging in the little
square in affectionate vicinity to the public-house, or leaning over the
windows in their shirt-sleeves, in the tranquil enjoyment of a pipe. In
short, the cares and the bustle of the world, even in this railroad age,
seem to have fallen lightly on the pacific burghers of Dreepdaily.
According to their own account, the town was once a peculiar favourite of
royalty. It boasts of a charter from King David the First, and there is an
old ruin in the neighbourhood which is said to have been a palace of that
redoubted monarch. It may be so, for there is no accounting for
constitutions; but had I been King David, I certainly should have
preferred, a place where the younger branches of the family would have
been less liable to the accident of catarrh.

Dreepdaily, in the olden time, was among the closest of all the burghs.
Its representation had a fixed price, which was always rigorously exacted
and punctually paid; and for half a year thereafter, the corporation made
merry thereon. The Reform Bill, therefore, was by no means popular in the
council. A number of discontented Radicals and of small householders, who
hitherto had been excluded from participation in the good things of the
state, now got upon the roll, and seemed determined for a time to carry
matters with a high hand, and to return a member of their own. And
doubtless they would have succeeded, had not the same spirit been abroad
in the sister burghs of Drouthielaw and Kittleweem, which, for some
especial reason or other, known doubtless to Lord John Russell, but
utterly unintelligible to the rest of mankind, were, though situated in
different counties, associated with Dreepdaily in the return of their
future member. Each of these places had a separate interest, and started a
separate man; so that, amidst this conflict of Liberalism, the old member
for Dreepdaily, a Conservative, again slipped into his place. The
consequence was, that the three burghs were involved in a desperate feud.

In these days there lived in Dreepdaily one Laurence Linklater, more
commonly known by the name of Tod Lowrie, who exercised the respectable
functions of a writer and a messenger-at-arms. Lowrie was a remarkably
acute individual, of the Gilbert Glossin school, by no means scrupulous in
his dealings, but of singular plausibility and courage. He had started in
life as a Radical, but finding that that line did not pay well, he had
prudently subsided into a Whig, and in that capacity had acquired a sort
of local notoriety. He had contrived, moreover, to gain a tolerable
footing in Drouthielaw, and in the course of time became intimately
acquainted with the circumstances of its inhabitants, and under the plea
of agency had contrived to worm the greater part of their title-deeds into
his keeping.

It then occurred to Lowrie, that, notwithstanding the discordant situation
of the burghs, something might be done to effect a union under his own
especial chieftainship. Not that he cared in his heart one farthing about
the representation--Tyrian and Trojan were in reality the same to him--but
he saw that the gain of these burghs would be of immense advantage to his
party, and he determined that the advantage should be balanced by a
corresponding profit to himself. Accordingly, he began quietly to look to
the state of the neglected register; lodged objections to all claims given
in by parties upon whom he could not depend; smuggled a sufficient number
of his own clients and adherents upon the roll, and in the course of three
years, was able to intimate to an eminent Whig partisan, that he, Laurence
Linklater, held in his own hands the representation of the Dreepdaily
Burghs, could turn the election either way he pleased, and was open to
reasonable terms.

The result was, that Mr Linklater was promoted to a very lucrative county
office, and moreover, that the whole patronage of the district was
thereafter observed to flow through the Laurentian channel. Of course all
those who could claim kith or kindred with Lowrie were provided for in the
first instance; but there were stray crumbs still going, and in no one
case could even a gaugership be obtained without the adhesion of an
additional vote. Either the applicant must be ready to sell his
independence, or, if that were done already, to pervert the politics of a
relative. A Whig member was returned at the next election by an immense
majority; and for some time Linklater reigned supreme in the government of
Dreepdaily and Drouthielaw.

But death, which spares no governors, knocked at the door of Linklater. A
surfeit of partan-pie, after the triumphant termination of a law-suit,
threw the burghs into a state of anarchy. Lowrie was gathered unto his
fathers, and there was no one to reign in his stead.

At least there was no apparent ruler. Every one observed, that the stream
of patronage and of local jobbing still flowed on as copiously as before,
but nobody could discover by what hands it was now directed. Suspicion
fastened its eyes for some time upon Provost Binkie; but the vehement
denials of that gentleman, though not in themselves conclusive, at last
gained credence from the fact that a situation which he had solicited from
Government for his nephew was given to another person. Awful rumours began
to circulate of the existence of a secret junta. Each man regarded his
neighbour with intense suspicion and distrust, because, for any thing he
knew, that neighbour might be a member of the terrible tribunal, by means
of which all the affairs of the community were regulated, and a single
ill-timed word might absolutely prove his ruin. Such, indeed, in one
instance was the case. In an evil hour for himself, an independent
town-councillor thought fit to denounce the Clique, as an unconstitutional
and tyrannical body, and to table a motion for an inquiry as to its
nature, members, and proceedings. So strong was the general alarm that he
could not even find a seconder. But the matter did not stop there. The
rash meddler had drawn upon himself the vengeance of a remorseless foe.
His business began to fall off; rumours of the most malignant description
were circulated regarding his character; two of his relatives who held
situations were dismissed without warning and without apology; his credit
was assailed in every quarter; and in less than six months after he had
made that most unfortunate, harangue, the name of Thomas Gritt, baker in
Dreepdaily, was seen to figure in the Gazette. So fell Gritt a martyr, and
if any one mourned for him, it was in secret, and the profoundest awe.

Such was the political state of matters, at the time when I rode down the
principal street of Dreepdaily. I need hardly say that I did not know a
single soul in the burgh; in that respect, indeed, there was entire
reciprocity on both sides, for the requisition referred to in my address
was a felicitous fiction by M'Corkindale. I stopped before a substantial
bluff-looking house, the lower part of which was occupied as a shop, and a
scroll above informed me that the proprietor was Walter Binkie, grocer.

A short squat man, with an oleaginous face and remarkably bushy eyebrows,
was in the act of weighing out a pennyworth of "sweeties" to a little girl
as I entered.

"Is the Provost of Dreepdaily within?" asked I.

"I'se warrant he's that," was the reply; "Hae, my dear, there's a sugar
almond t'ye into the bargain. Gae your waus hame noo, and tell your mither
that I've some grand new tea. Weel, sir, what was you wanting?"

"I wish particularly to speak to the Provost."

"Weel then, speak awa'," and he straightway squatted himself before his
ledger.

"I beg your pardon, sir! Have I really the honour of addressing--;"

"Walter Binkie, the Provost of this burgh. But if ye come on Council
matters, ye're lang ahint the hour. I'm just steppin' up to denner, and I
never do business after that."

"But perhaps you will allow me--"

"I will allow nae man, sir, to interrupt my leisure. If ye're wanting ony
thing, gang to the Town Clerk."

"Permit me one moment--my name is Dunshunner."

"Eh, what!" cried the Provost, bounding from his stool, "speak lower or
the lad will hear ye. Are ye the gentleman that's stannin' for the
burrows?"

"The same."

"Lord-sake! what for did ye no say that afore? Jims! I say, Jims! Look
after the shop! Come this way, sir, up the stair, and take care ye dinna
stumble on that toom cask o' saut."

I followed the Provost up a kind of corkscrew stair, until we emerged upon
a landing-place in his own proper domicile. We entered the dining room. It
was showily furnished; with an enormous urn of paper roses in the grate,
two stuffed parroquets upon the mantel-piece, a flamingo coloured carpet,
enormous worsted bell-pulls, and a couple of portraits by some peripatetic
follower of Vandyke, one of them representing the Provost in his civic
costume, and the other bearing some likeness to a fat female in a turban,
with a Cairngorm brooch about the size of a platter on her breast, and no
want of carmine on the space dedicated to the cheeks.

The Provost locked the door, and then clapped his ear to the key-hole. He
next approached the window, drew down the blinds so as effectually to
prevent any opposite scrutiny, and motioned me to a seat.

"And so ye're Mr Dunshunner?" said he. "Oh man, but I've been wearyin' to
see you!"

"Indeed! you flatter me very much."

"Nae flattery, Mr Dunshunner--name! I'm a plain honest man, that's a',
and naebody can say that Wattie Binkie, has blawn in their lug. And sae
ye're comin forrard for the burrows? It's a bauld thing, sir--a bauld
thing, and a great honour ye seek. No that I think ye winna do honour to
it, but it's a great trust for sae young a man; a heavy responsibility, as
a body may say, to hang upon a callant's shouthers."

"I hope, Mr Binkie, that my future conduct may show that I can at least
act up to my professions."

"Nae doubt, sir--I'm no misdoubtin' ye, and to say the truth ye profess
weel. I've read yer address, sir, and I like yer principles--they're the
stench auld Whig anes--keep a' we can to ourselves, and haud a gude grup.
But wha's bringing ye forrard? Wha signed yer requisition? No the
Kittleweem folk, I hope?--That wad be a sair thing against ye."

"Why, no--certainly not. The fact is, Mr Binkie, that I have not seen the
requisition. Its contents were communicated by a third party, on whom I
have the most perfect reliance; and, as I understood there was some
delicacy in the matter, I did not think it proper to insist upon a sight
of the signatures."

The Provost gave a long whistle.

"I see it noo!" he said, "I see it! I ken't there was something gaun on
forbye the common. Ye're a lucky man, Mr Dunshunner, and ye're election is
as sure as won. Ye've been spoken to by them ye ken o'!"

"Upon my word--I do not understand--"

"Ay--ay! Ye're richt to be cautious. Weel I wat they are kittle cattle to
ride the water on. But wha was't, sir,--wha was't? Ye needna be feared of
me. I ken how to keep a secret."

"Really, Mr Binkie, except through a third party, as I have told you
already I have had no communication with any one."

"Weel--they _are_ close--there's nae denyin' that. But ye surely maun hae
some inkling o' the men--Them that's ahint the screen, ye ken?"

"Indeed, I have not. But stay--if you allude to the Clique----"

"Wheest, sir, wheest!" cried the Provost in an agitated tone of voice.
"Gudesake, tak care what ye say--ye dinna ken wha may hear ye. Ye hae
spoken a word that I havena heard this mony a day without shaking in my
shoon. Ay speak ceevily o' the dell--ye dinna ken how weel ye may be
acquaunt!"

"Surely, sir, there can be no harm in mentioning the----"

"No under that name, Mr Dunshunner--no under that name, and no here. I
wadna ca' them that on the tap of Ben-Nevis without a grue. Ay--and sae
THEY are wi' ye, are they? Weel, they are a queer set!"

"You know the parties then, Mr Binkie?"

"I ken nae mair aboot them than I ken whaur to find the caverns o' the
east wind. Whether they are three or thretty or a hunder surpasses my
knowledge, but they hae got the secret o' the fern seed and walk about
invisible. It is a'thegether a great mystery, but doubtless ye will obtain
a glimpse. In the mean time, since ye come from that quarter, I am bound
to obey."

"You are very kind, I am sure, Mr Binkie. May I ask then your opinion of
matters as they stand at present?"

"Our present member, Mr Whistlerigg, will no stand again. He's got some
place or ither up in London; and, my certie, he's worked weel for it!
There's naebody else stannin' forbye that man Pozzlethaite, and he disna
verra weel ken what he is himsel'. If it's a' richt yonder," continued the
Provost, jerking his thumb over his left shoulder, "ye're as gude as
elected."

As it would have been extremely impolitic for me under present
circumstances to have disclaimed all connection with a body which
exercised an influence so marked and decided, I allowed Provost Binkie to
remain under the illusion that I was the chosen candidate of the Clique.
In fact I had made up my mind that I should become so at any cost, so soon
as it vouchsafed to disclose itself and appear before my longing eyes. I
therefore launched at once into practical details, in the discussion of
which the Provost exhibited both shrewdness and good-will. He professed
his readiness at once to become chairman of my committee, drew out a list
of the most influential persons in the burgh to whom I ought immediately
to apply, and gave me much information regarding the politics of the other
places. From what he said, I gathered that, with the aid of the Clique, I
was sure of Dreepdaily and Drouthielaw--as to the electors of Kittleweem,
they were, in his opinion, "a wheen dirt," whom it would be useless to
consult, and hopeless to conciliate. I certainly had no previous idea that
the bulk of the electors had so little to say in the choice of their own
representative. When I ventured to hint at the remote possibility of a
revolt, the Provost indignantly exclaimed--

"They daurna, sir--they daurna for the lives of them do it! Set them up
indeed! Let me see ony man that wad venture to vote against the Town
Council and the--and _them_, and I'll make a clean sweep of him out of
Dreepdaily!"

Nothing in short could have been more satisfactory than this statement.

Whilst we were conversing together, I heard of a sudden a jingling in the
next apartment, as it some very aged and decrepid harpsichord were being
exorcised into the unusual effort of a tune. I glanced inquiringly to the
door, but the Provost took no notice of my look. In a little time,
however, there was a short preliminary cough, and a female voice of
considerable compass took up the following strain. I remember the words
not more from their singularity, than from the introduction to which they
were the prelude:--

  "I heard a wee bird singing clear,
      In the tight, tight month o' June--
  'What garr'd ye buy when stocks were high,
      And sell when shares were doun?

  'Gin ye hae play'd me fause, my luve,
      In simmer 'mang the rain;
  When siller's scant and scarce at Yule
      I'll pay ye back again!

  'O bonny were the Midland Halves,
      When credit was sae free!--
  But wae betide the Southron loon
      That sold thae Halves to me!'"

I declare, upon the word of a Railway Director, that I was never more
taken aback in my life. Attached as I have been from youth to the Scottish
ballad poetry, I never yet had heard a ditty of this peculiar stamp, which
struck me as a happy combination of tender fancy with the sterner
realities of the Exchange. Provost Binkie smiled as he remarked my
amazement.

"It's only my daughter Maggie, Mr Dunshunner," he said. "Puir thing! It's
little she has here to amuse her, and sae she whiles writes thae kind o'
sangs hersel'. She's weel up to the railroads, for ye ken I was an auld
Glenmutchkin holder."

"Indeed! Was that song Miss Binkie's own composition?" asked I, with
considerable interest.

"Atweel it is that, and mair too. Maggie, haud your skirling!--ye're
interrupting me and the gentleman."

"I beg, on no account, Mr Binkie, that I may be allowed to interfere with
your daughter's amusement. Indeed it is full time that I were betaking
myself to the hotel, unless you will honour me so far as to introduce me
to Miss Binkie."

"Deil a bit o' you gangs to the hotel to-night!" replied the hospitable
Provost. "You bide where you are to denner and bed, and we'll hae a
comfortable crack over matters in the evening. Maggie! come ben, lass, and
speak to Mr Dunshunner."

Miss Binkie, who I am strongly of opinion was all the while conscious of
the presence of a stranger, now entered from the adjoining room. She was
really a pretty girl; tall, with lively sparkling eyes and a profusion of
dark hair, which she wore in the somewhat exploded shape of ringlets. I
was not prepared for such an apparition, and I daresay blushed as I paid
my compliments.

Margaret Binkie, however, had no sort of _mauvaise honte_ about her. She
had received her final polish in a Glasgow boarding-school, and did
decided credit to the seminary in which the operation had been performed.
At all events she was the reverse of shy, for in less than a quarter of an
hour we were rattling away as though we had been acquainted from
childhood; and, to say the truth, I found myself getting into something
like a strong flirtation. Old Binkie grinned a delighted smile, and went
out to superintend the decanting of a bottle of port.

I need not, I think, expatiate upon the dinner which followed. The
hotch-potch was unexceptionable, the salmon curdy, and the lamb roasted
without a fault; and if the red-armed Hebe who attended was somewhat
awkward in her motions, she was at least zealous to a degree. The Provost
got into high feather, and kept plying me perpetually with wine. When the
cloth was removed, he drank with all formality to my success; and, as
Margaret Binkie, with a laugh, did due honour to the toast, I could not do
less than indulge in a little flight of fancy as I proposed the ladies,
and, in connexion with them, the Flower of Dreepdaily--a sentiment which
was acknowledged with a blush.

After Miss Binkie retired, the Provost grew more and more convivial. He
would not enter into business, but regaled me with numerous anecdotes of
his past exploits, and of the lives and conversation of his compatriots in
the Town Council--some of whom appeared, from his description, to be very
facetious individuals indeed. More particularly, he dwelt upon the good
qualities and importance of a certain Mr Thomas Gills, better known to his
friends and kinsfolk by the _sobriquet_ of Toddy Tam, and recommended me
by all means to cultivate the acquaintance of that personage. But, however
otherwise loquacious, nothing would persuade the Provost to launch out
upon the subject of the Clique. He really seemed to entertain as profound
a terror of that body as ever Huguenot did of the Inquisition, and he cut
me short at last by ejaculating--

"Sae nae mair on't, Mr Dunshunner--sae nae mair on't! It's ill talking on
thae things. Ye dinna ken what the Clique is, nor whaur it is. But this I
ken, that they are every where and a' aboot us; they hear every thing that
passes in this house, and I whiles suspect that Mysie, the servant lass,
is naething else than ane o' them in petticoats!"

More than this I could not elicit. After we had finished a considerable
quantum of port, we adjourned to the drawing-room, and, tea over, Miss
Binkie sang to me several of her own songs, whilst the Provost snored upon
the sofa. Both the songs and the singer were clever, the situation was
interesting, and, somehow or other, I found my fingers more than once in
contact with Maggie's, as I turned over the leaves of the music.

At last the Provost rose, with a stertoracious grunt. I thought this might
be the signal for retiring to rest; but such were not the habits of
Dreepdaily. Salt herrings and finnan haddocks were produced along with the
hot water and accompaniments; and I presume it was rather late before my
host conducted me to my chamber. If I dreamed at all that night, it must
have been of Margaret Binkie.


CHAPTER III.

The next morning, whilst dressing, I heard a blithe voice carolling on the
stair. It was the orison of Margaret Binkie as she descended to the
breakfast-room. I listened and caught the following verses:--

  "O hand away frae me," she said,
    "I pray you let me be!
  Hae you the shares ye held, my lord,
    What time ye courted me?

  "'Tis woman's weird to luve and pine,
    And man's is to forget:
  Hold you the shares, Lord James," she said,
    "Or hae ye sold them yet?"

  "My York Extensions, bought at par,
    I sold at seven pund prem.--
  And, O my heart is sair to think
    I had nae mair of them!"

"That is really a remarkable girl!" thought I, as I stropped my razor.
"Such genius, such animation, and such a thorough knowledge of the market!
She would make a splendid wife for a railway-director."

"Come away, Mr Dunshunner," said the Provost, as I entered the parlour. "I
hope ye are yaup, for ye have a lang day's wark before ye."

"I am sure it would be an agreeable one, sir, if accompanied with such
sweet music as I heard this morning. Pardon me, Miss Binkie, but you
really are a perfect Sappho."

"You are too good, I am sure, Mr Dunshunner. Will you take tea or coffee?"

"Maggie," said the Provost, "I maun put a stop to that skirling--it's well
eneuch for the night, but the morning is the time for business. Mr
Dunshunner, I've been thinking over this job of ours, and here is a bit
listie of the maist influential persons in Dreepdaily, that you must
positeevely see this day. They wad be affronted if they kenned ye were
here without calling on them. Noo, mark me,--I dinna just say that ony o'
them is the folk ye ken o', but it's no ava unlikely; sae ye maun even use
yer ain discretion. Tak an auld man's word for it, and aye put your best
fit foremost."

I acquiesced in the justice of the suggestion, although I was really
unconscious which foot deserved the precedence. The Provost continued--

"Just ae word mair. Promising is a cheap thing, and ye needna be vera
sparing of it. If ony body speaks to ye about a gaugership, or a place in
the Customs or the Post-office, just gie ye a bit wink, tak out your
note-book, and make a mark wi' the keelavine pen. It aye looks weel, and
gangs as far as a downright promise. Deny or refuse naebody. Let them
think that ye can do every thing wi' the ministry; and if there should
happen to be a whaup in the rape, let them even find it out theirsells.
Tell them that ye stand up for Dreepdaily, and its auld charter, and the
Whig constitution, and liberal principles. Maist feck o' them disna ken
what liberal principles is, but they like the word. I whiles think that
liberal principles means saying muckle and doing naething, but you needna
tell them that. The Whigs are lang-headed chiells, and they hae had the
sense to claim a' the liberality to themsells, ever since the days o' the
Reform Bill."

Such and such-like were the valuable maxims which Provost Binkie instilled
into my mind during the progress of breakfast. I must say they made a
strong impression upon me; and any candidate who may hereafter come
forward for the representation of a Scottish burgh, on principles similar
to my own, would do well to peruse and remember them.

At length I rose to go.

"Do I carry your good wishes along with me, Miss Binkie, on my canvass?"

"Most cordially, Mr Dunshunner; I shall be perfectly miserable until I
learn your success. I can assure you of my support, and earnestly wish I
was an elector."

"Enviable would be the Member of Parliament who could represent so
charming a constituency!"

"Oh, Mr Dunshunner!"

Directed by the Provost's list, I set forth in search of my constituency.
The first elector whose shop I entered was a draper of the name of
M'Auslan. I found him in the midst of his tartans.

"Mr M'Auslan, I presume?"

"Ay," was the curt response.

"Allow me to introduce myself, sir. My name is Dunshunner."

"Oh."

"You are probably aware, sir, that I am a candidate for the representation
of these burghs?"

"Ay."

"I hope and trust, Mr M'Auslan, that my principles are such as meet with
your approbation?"

"Maybe."

"I am a friend, sir, to civil and religious liberty,--to Dreepdaily and
its charter,--to the old Whig constitution of 1688,--and to the true
interests of the people."

"Weel?"

"Confound the fellow!" thought I, "was there ever such an insensate block?
I must bring him to the point at once. Mr M'Auslan," I continued in a
very, insinuating tone, "such being my sentiments, may I venture to
calculate on your support?"

"There's twa words to that bargain," replied M'Auslan, departing from
monosyllables.

"Any further explanation that may be required, I am sure, will readily--"

"It's nae use."

"How?" said I, a good deal alarmed. "Is it possible you are already
pledged?"

"No."

"Then what objection--"

"I made naue. I see ye dinna ken us here. The pear's no ripe yet."

"What pear?" asked I, astonished at this horticultural allusion.

"Hark ye," said M'Auslan, looking stealthily around him, and for the first
time exhibiting some marks of intelligence in his features--"Hark ye,--hae
ye seen Toddy Tam yet?"

"Mr Gills? Not yet. I am just going to wait upon him; but Provost Binkie
has promised me his support."

"Wha cares for Provost Binkie! Gang to Toddy Tam."

Not one other word could I extract from the oracular M'Auslan; so, like a
pilgrim, I turned my face towards Mecca, and sallied forth in quest of
this all-important personage. On my way, however, I entered the house of
another voter, one Shanks, a member of the Town Council, from whom I
received equally unsatisfactory replies. He, like M'Auslan, pointed
steadily towards Toddy Tam. Now, who and what was the individual who, by
the common consent of his townsmen, had earned so honourable an epithet?

Mr Thomas Gills had at one time been a clerk in the office of the departed
Linklater. His function was not strictly legal, nor confined to the
copying of processes: it had a broader and wider scope, and was exercised
in a more congenial manner. In short, Mr Gills was a kind of provider for
the establishment. His duties were to hunt out business; which he achieved
to a miracle by frequenting every possible public-house, and wringing from
them, amidst their cups, the stories of the wrongs of his compotators. Wo
to the wight who sate down for an afternoon's conviviality with Toddy Tam!
Before the mixing of the fourth tumbler, the ingenious Gills was sure to
elicit some hardship or grievance, for which benignant Themis could give
redress; and rare, indeed, was the occurrence of the evening on which he
did not capture some additional clients. He would even go the length of
treating his victim, when inordinately shy, until the fatal mandate was
given, and retraction utterly impossible.

Such decided business talents, of course, were not overlooked by the
sagacious Laurence Linklater. Gills enjoyed a large salary, the greater
moiety of which he consumed in alcoholic experiments; and shortly before
the decease of his patron, he was promoted to the lucrative and easy
office of some county registrarship. He now began to cultivate
conviviality for its own especial sake. It was no longer dangerous to
drink with him; for though, from habit, he continued to poke into
grievances, he never, on the following morning, pursued the subject
further. But what was most remarkable about Toddy Tam was, his
independence. He never truckled to dictation from any quarter; but, whilst
Binkie and the rest were in fear and terror of the Clique, he openly
defied that body, and dared them to do their worst. He was the only man in
Dreepdaily who ventured to say that Tom Gritts was right in the motion he
had made, and he further added, that if he, Thomas Gills, had been in the
Town Council, the worthy and patriotic baker should not have wanted a
seconder. This was considered a very daring speech, and one likely to draw
down the vengeance of the unrelenting junta: but the thunder slept in the
cloud, and Mr Gills enjoyed himself as before.

I found him in his back parlour, in company with a very rosy individual.
Although it was not yet noon, a case-bottle and glasses were on the table,
and the whole apartment stunk abominably with the fumes of whisky.

"Sit in, Mr Dunshunner, sit in!" said Toddy Tam, in a tone of great
cordiality, after I had effected my introduction. "Ye'll no hae had your
morning yet? Lass, bring in a clean glass for the gentleman."

"I hope you will excuse me, Mr Gills. I really never do--"

"Hoots--nonsense! Ye maun be neighbour-like, ye ken--we a' expect it at
Dreepdaily." And so saying, Toddy Tam, poured me out a full glass of
spirits. I had as lieve have swallowed ink, but I was forced to constrain
myself and bolt it.

"Ay, and so ye are coming round to us as a candidate, are ye? What d'ye
think o' that, Mr Thamson--hae ye read Mr Dunshunner's address?"

The rubicund individual chuckled, leered, and rose to go, but Toddy Tam
laid a heavy hand upon his shoulder.

"Sit ye down, man," he said; "I've naething to say to Mr Dunshunner that
the hail warld may not hear, nor him to me neither, I hope."

"Certainly not," said I; "and I really should feel it as a great
obligation if Mr Thomson would be kind enough to remain."

"That's right, lad!" shouted Gills. "Nae hole-and-corner work for me! A'
fair and abune board, and the deil fly away with the Clique!"

Had Thomson been an ordinary man, he probably would have grown pale at
this daring objurgation: as it was, he fidgetted in his chair, and his
face became a shade more crimson.

"Weel, now," continued Toddy Tam, "let us hear what Mr Dunshunner has got
to say for himsel'. There's naething like hearing opinions before we put
ony questions."

Thus adjured, I went through the whole of my political confession of
faith, laying, of course, due stress upon the great and glorious
Revolution of 1688, and my devotion to the cause of liberality. Toddy Tam
and his companion heard me to the end without interruption.

"Gude--sae far gude, Mr Dunshunner," said Gills. "I see little to objeck
to in your general principles; but for a' that I'm no going to pledge
mysel until I ken mair o' ye. I hope, sir, that ye're using nae underhand
influence--that there has been nae communings with the Clique, a body that
I perfeckly abominate? Dreepdaily shall never be made a pocket burrow, so
long as Thomas Gills has any influence in it."

I assured Mr Gills, what was the naked truth, that I had no knowledge
whatever of the Clique.

"Ye see, Mr Dunshunner," continued Toddy Tam, "we are a gey and
independent sort of people here, and we want to be independently
represented. My gude friend, Mr Thamson here, can tell you that I have had
a sair fecht against secret influence, and I am amaist feared that some
men like the Provost owe me a grudge for it. He's a pawkie loon, the
Provost, and kens brawly how to play his cards."

"He's a' that!" ejaculated Thomson.

"But I dinna care a snuff of tobacco for the haill of the Town Council, or
the Clique. Give me a man of perfeck independence, and I'll support him. I
voted for the last member sair against my conscience, for he was put up by
the Clique, and never came near us: but I hope better things frae you, Mr
Dunshunner, if you should happen to be returned. Mind, I don't say that I
am going to support ye--I maun think about it; but if ye are a good man
and a true, and no a nominee, I dare say that both my gude freend Thamson,
and mysell, will no objeck to lend you a helping-hand."

This was all I could extract from Toddy Tam, and, though favourable, it
was far from being satisfactory. There was a want, from some cause or
another, of that cordial support which I had been led to anticipate; and I
almost felt half inclined to abandon the enterprise altogether. However,
after having issued my address, this would have looked like cowardice. I
therefore diligently prosecuted my canvass, and contrived, in the course
of the day, to encounter a great portion of the electors. Very few pledged
themselves. Some surly independents refused point-blank, alleging that
they did not intend to vote at all: others declined to promise, until they
should know how Toddy Tam and other magnates were likely to go. My only
pledges were from the sworn retainers of the Provost.

"Well, Mr Dunshunner, what success?" cried Miss Margaret Binkie, as I
returned rather jaded from my circuit. "I hope you have found all the
Dreepdaily people quite favourable?"

"Why no, Miss Binkie, not quite so much so as I could desire. Your
townsmen here seem uncommonly slow in making up their minds to any thing."

"Oh, that is always their way. I have heard Papa say that the same thing
took place at last election, and that nobody declared for Mr Whistlerigg
until the very evening before the nomination. So you see you must not lose
heart."

"If my visit to Dreepdaily should have no other result, Miss Binkie, I
shall always esteem it one of the most fortunate passages of my life,
since it has given me the privilege of your acquaintance."

"Oh, Mr Dunshunner! How can you speak so? I am afraid you are a great
flatterer!" replied Miss Binkie, pulling at the same time a sprig of
geranium to pieces. "But you look tired--pray take a glass of wine."

"By no means, Miss Binkie. A word from you is a sufficient cordial. Happy
geranium!" said I picking up the petals.

Now I know very well that all this sort of thing is wrong, and that a man
has no business to begin flirtations if he cannot see his way to the end
of them. At the same time I hold the individual who dislikes flirtations
to be a fool, and sometimes they are utterly irresistible.

"Now, Mr Dunshunner, I do beg you won't! Pray sit down on the sofa, for I
am sure you are tired, and if you like to listen I shall sing you a
little ballad I have composed to-day."

"I would rather hear you sing than an angel," said I; "but pray do not
debar me the privilege of standing by your side."

"Just as you please;" and Margaret began to rattle away on the
harpsichord.

  "O whaur hae ye been, Augustus, my son?
  O whaur hae ye been, my winsome young man?
  I hae been to the voters--mither, mak my bed soon,
  For I'm weary wi' canvassing, and fain wad lay me doun.

  "O whaur are your plumpers, Augustus, my son?
  O whaur are your split votes, my winsome young man?
  They are sold to the Clique--Mither, mak my bed soon,
  For I'm weary wi' canvassing, and fain wad lay me doun.

  "O I fear ye are cheated, Augustus, my son,
  O I fear ye are done for, my winsome young man!
  'I hae been to my true love--'"

I could stand this no longer.

"Charming, cruel girl!" cried I dropping on one knee,--"why will you thus
sport with my feelings? Where else should I seek for my true love but
here?"

I don't know what might have been the sequel of the scene, had not my good
genius, in the shape of Mysie the servant girl, at this moment burst into
the apartment. Miss Binkie with great presence of mind dropped her
handkerchief, which afforded me an excellent excuse for recovering my
erect position.

Mysie was the bearer of a billet, addressed to myself, and marked "private
and particular." I opened it and read as follows.

"Sir--Some of those who are well disposed towards you have arranged to
meet this night, and are desirous of a private interview at which full and
mutual explanations may be given. It may be right to mention to you that
the question of _the currency_ will form the basis of any political
arrangement; and it is expected that you will then be prepared to state
explicitly your views with regard to _bullion_. Something more than
pledges upon this subject will be required.

"As this meeting will be a strictly private one, the utmost secrecy must
be observed. Be on the bridge at eleven o'clock this night, and you will
be conducted to the appointed place. Do not fail as you value your own
interest. Yours, &c.

  "SHELL OUT."

"Who brought this letter, Mysie?" said I, considerably flustered at its
contents.

"A laddie. He said there was nae answer, and ran awa'."

"No bad news, I hope, Mr Dunshunner?" said Margaret timidly.

I looked at Miss Binkie. Her eye was still sparkling, and her cheek
flushed. She evidently was annoyed at the interruption, and expected a
renewal of the conversation. But I felt that I had gone quite far enough,
if not a little beyond the line of prudence. It is easy to make a
declaration, but remarkably difficult to back out of it; and I began to
think that, upon the whole, I had been a little too precipitate. On the
plea, therefore, of business, I emerged into the open air; and, during a
walk of a couple of miles, held secret communing with myself.

"Here you are again, Dunshunner, my fine fellow, putting your foot into it
as usual! If it had not been for the arrival of the servant, you would
have been an engaged man at this moment, and saddled with a father-in-law
in the shape of a vender of molasses. Besides, it is my private opinion
that you don't care sixpence about the girl. But it is the old story. This
is the third time since Christmas that you have been on the point of
committing matrimony, and if you don't look sharp after yourself, you will
be sold an especial bargain! Now, frankly and fairly, do you not
acknowledge yourself to be an idiot?"

I did. Men are generally very candid and open in their confessions to
themselves; and the glaring absurdity of my conduct was admitted without
any hesitation. I resolved to mend my ways accordingly, and to eschew for
the future all tête-à-têtes with the too fascinating Maggie Binkie. That
point disposed of, I returned to the mysterious missive. To say the
truth, I did not much like it. Had these been the days of Burking, I
should have entertained some slight personal apprehension; but as there
was no such danger, I regarded it either as a hoax, or as some
electioneering _ruse_, the purpose of which I could not fathom. However,
as it is never wise to throw away any chance, I determined to keep the
appointment; and, if a meeting really were held, to give the best
explanations in my power to my correspondent, Mr Shell Out, and his
friends. In this mood of mind I returned to the Provost's dwelling.

The dinner that day was not so joyous as before. Old Binkie questioned me
very closely as to the result of my visits, and seemed chagrined that
Toddy Tam had not been more definite in his promises of support.

"Ye maun hae Tam," said the Provost. "He disna like the Clique--I hope
naebody's listening--nor the Clique him; but he stands weel wi' the
Independents, and the Seceders will go wi' him to a man. We canna afford
to lose Gills. I'll send ower for him, and see if we canna talk him into
reason. Haith, though, we'll need mair whisky, for Tam requires an unco
deal of slockening!"

Tam, however, proved to be from home, and therefore the Provost and I were
left to our accustomed duet. He complained grievously of my
abstemiousness, which for divers reasons I thought it prudent to observe.
An extra tumbler might again have made Miss Binkie a cherub in my eyes.

I am afraid that the young lady thought me a very changeable person. When
the Provost fell asleep, she allowed the conversation to languish, until
it reached that awful degree of pause which usually precedes the popping
of the question. But this time I was on my guard, and held out with heroic
stubbornness. I did not even launch out upon the subject of poetry, which
Maggie rather cleverly introduced; for there is a decided affinity between
the gay science and the tender passion, and it is difficult to preserve
indifference when quoting from the "Loves of the Angels." I thought it
safer to try metaphysics. It is not easy to extract an amorous avowal,
even by implication, from a discourse upon the theory of consciousness;
and I flatter myself that Kant, if he could have heard me that evening,
would have returned home with some novel lights upon the subject. Miss
Binkie seemed to think that I might have selected a more congenial theme;
for she presently exhibited symptoms of pettishness, took up a book, and
applied herself diligently to the perusal of a popular treatise upon
knitting.

Shortly afterwards, the Provost awoke, and his daughter took occasion to
retire. She held out her hand to me with rather a reproachful look, but,
though sorely tempted, I did not indulge in a squeeze.

"That's a fine lassie--a very fine lassie!" remarked the Provost, as he
severed a Welch rabbit into twain. "Ye are no a family man yet, Mr
Dunshunner, and ye maybe canna comprehend what a comfort she has been to
me. I'm auld now, and a thocht failing; but it is a great relief to me to
ken that, when I am in my grave, Maggie winna be tocherless. I've laid up
a braw nest-egg for her ower at the bank yonder."

I of course coincided in the praise of Miss Binkie, but showed so little
curiosity as to the contents of the indicated egg, that the Provost
thought proper to enlighten me, and hinted at eight thousand pounds. It is
my positive belief that the worthy man expected an immediate proposal: if
so, he was pretty egregiously mistaken. I could not, however, afford, at
this particular crisis, to offend him, and accordingly stuck to generals.
As the hour of meeting was approaching, I thought it necessary to acquaint
him with the message I had received, in order to account for my exit at so
unseasonable a time.

"It's verra odd,"--said the Provost,--"very odd! A' Dreepdaily should be
in their beds by this time; and I canna think there could be a meeting
without me hearing of it. It's just the reverse o' constitutional to keep
folk trailing aboot the toun at this time o' nicht, and the brig is a
queer place for a tryst."

"You do not surely apprehend, Mr Binkie, that there is any danger?"

"No just that, but you'll no be the waur o' a rung. Ony gait, I'll send to
Saunders Caup, the toun-officer, to be on the look-out. If any body
offers to harm ye, be sure ye cry out, and Saunders will be up in a crack.
He's as stieve as steel, and an auld Waterloo man."

As a considerable number of years has elapsed since the last great
European conflict, I confess that my confidence in the capabilities of Mr
Caup, as an ally, was inferior to my belief in his prowess. I therefore
declined the proposal, but accepted the weapon; and, after a valedictory
tumbler with my host, emerged into the darkened street.


CHAPTER IV.

Francis Osbaldistone, when he encountered the famous Rob Roy by night, was
in all probability, notwithstanding Sir Walter's assertion to the
contrary, in a very tolerable state of trepidation. At least I know that I
was, as I neared the bridge of Dreepdaily. It was a nasty night of wind
rain, and not a soul was stirring in the street--the surface of which did
little credit to the industry of the paving department, judging from the
number of dubs in which I found involuntary accommodation. As I floundered
through the mire, I breathed any thing but benedictions on the mysterious
Shell Out, who was the cause of my midnight wandering.

Just as I reached the bridge, beneath which the river was roaring rather
uncomfortably, a ragged-looking figure started out from an entry. A
solitary lamp, suspended from above, gave me a full view of this
personage, who resembled an animated scarecrow.

He stared me full in the face, and then muttered, with a wink and a
leer,--

"Was ye seekin' for ony body the nicht? Eh wow, man, but it's cauld!"

"Who may you be, my friend?" said I, edging off from my unpromising
acquaintance.

"Wha may I be?" replied the other: "that's a gude one! Gosh, d'ye no ken
me? Aum Geordie Dowie, the town bauldy, that's as weel kent as the Provost
hissell."

To say the truth, Geordie was a very truculent-looking character to be an
innocent. However, bauldies are usually harmless.

"And what have you got to say to me, Geordie?"

  "If ye're the man I think ye are,
    And ye're name begins wi' a D,
  Just tak ye tae yer soople shanks,
    And tramp alang wi' me,"

quavered the idiot, who, like many others, had a natural turn for poetry.

"And where are we going to, Geordie, my man?" said I in a soothing voice.

"Ye'll find that when we get there," replied the bauldy.

  "Hey the bonnie gill-stoup!
  Ho the bonnie gill-stoup!
  Gie me walth o' barley bree,
  And leeze me on the gill-stoup!"

"But you can at least tell me who sent you here, Geordie?" said I, anxious
for further information before intrusting myself to such erratic guidance.

He of the gill-stoups lifted up his voice and sang--

  "Cam' ye by Tweedside,
    Or cam' ye by Flodden?
  Met ye the deil
    On the braes o' Culloden?

  "Three imps o' darkness
    I saw in a neuk,
  Riving the red-coats,
    And roasting the Deuk.

  "Quo' ane o' them--'Geordie,
    Gae down to the brig,
  I'm yaup for my supper,
    And fetch us a Whig.'"

"Ha! ha! ha! Hoo d'ye like that, my man? Queer freends ye've gotten noo,
and ye'll need a lang spune to sup kail wi' them. But come awa'. I canna
stand here the haill nicht listening to your havers."

Although the hint conveyed by Mr Dowie's ingenious verses was rather of an
alarming nature, I made up my mind at once to run all risks and follow
him. Geordie strode on, selecting apparently the most unfrequented lanes,
and making, as I anxiously observed, for a remote part of the suburbs. Nor
was his voice silent during our progress, for he kept regaling me with a
series of snatches, which, being for the most part of a supernatural and
diabolical tendency, did not much contribute towards the restoration of my
equanimity. At length he paused before a small house, the access to which
was by a downward flight of steps.

"Ay--this is the place!" he muttered. "I ken it weel. It's no just bad the
whusky that they sell, but they needna put sae muckle water intil't."

So saying, he descended the stair. I followed. There was no light in the
passage, but the bauldy went forward, stumbling and groping in the dark. I
saw a bright ray streaming through a crevice, and three distinct knocks
were given.

"Come in, whaever ye are!" said a bluff voice; and I entered a low
apartment, in which the candles looked yellow through a fog of
tobacco-smoke. Three men were seated at a deal table, covered with the
implements of national conviviality: and to my intense astonishment none
of the three were strangers to me. I at once recognised the features of
the taciturn M'Auslan, the wary Shanks, and the independent Mr Thomas
Gills.

"There's the man ye wanted," said Geordie Dowie, slapping me familiarly on
the shoulder.--"Whaur's the dram ye promised me?

  "In Campbelltown my love was born;
    Her mither in Glen Turrit!
  But Ferintosh is the place for me.
    For that's the strangest speerit!"

"Hand yer clavering tongue, ye common village!" said Toddy Tam. "Wad ye
bring in the neebourhood on us? M'Auslan, gi'e the body his dram, and then
see him out of the door. We manna be interfered wi' in our cracks."

M'Auslan obeyed. A large glass of alcohol was given to my guide, who
swallowed it with a sigh of pleasure.

"Eh, man! that's gude and strang! It's no ilka whusky that'll mak Geordie
Dowie pech. Fair fa' yer face, my bonny M'Auslan! could you no just gi'e
us anither?"

"Pit him out!" said the remorseless Gills. "It's just extraordinar how
fond the creature is o' drink!" and Geordie was forcibly ejected, after an
ineffectual clutch at the bottle.

"Sit ye down, Mr Dunshunner," said Toddy Tam, addressing himself to me;
"sit ye down, and mix yoursel' a tumbler. I daresay now ye was a little
surprised at the note ye got this morning, eh?"

"Why, certainly, Mr Gills, I did not anticipate the pleasure----"

"Ay, I kenned ye wad wonder at it. But ilka place has it's ain way o'
doing business, and this is ours--quiet and cozy, ye see. Ise warrant,
too, ye thocht M'Auslan a queer ane because he wadna speak out?"

I laughed dubiously towards M'Auslan, who responded with the austerest of
possible grins.

"And Shanks, too," continued Toddy Tam; "Shanks wadna speak out neither.
They're auld-farrant hands baith o' them, Mr Dunshunner, and they didna
like to promise ony thing without me. We three aye gang thegither."

"I hope, then, Mr Gills, that I may calculate upon your support and that
of your friends. My views upon the currency----"

"Ay! that's speaking out at ance. Hoo muckle?"

"Ay! hoo muckle?" interposed M'Auslan, with a glistening eye.

"I really do not understand you, gentlemen."

"Troth, then, ye're slow at the uptak," remarked Gills, after a meaning
pause. "I see we maun be clear and conceese. Hark ye, Mr Dunshunner,--wha
do ye think we are?"

"Three most respectable gentlemen, for whom I have the highest possible
regard."

"Hoots!--nonsense! D'ye no ken?"

"No," was my puzzled response.

"Weel, then," said Toddy Tam, advancing his lips to my ear, and pouring
forth an alcoholic whisper--"we three can do mair than ye think o'.--It's
huz that is THE CLIQUE!"

I recoiled in perfect amazement, and gazed in succession upon the
countenances of the three compatriots. Yes--there could be no doubt about
it--I was in the presence of the tremendous junta of Dreepdaily; the veil
of Isis had been lifted up, and the principal figure upon the pedestal was
the magnanimous and independent Gills. Always a worshipper of genius, I
began to entertain a feeling little short of veneration towards Toddy Tam.
The admirable manner in which he had contrived to conceal his real power
from the public--his assumed indignation and horror of the Clique--and his
hold over all classes of the electors, demonstrated him at once to be a
consummate master of the political art. Machiavelli could not have devised
a subtler stratagem than Gills.

"That's just the plain truth o' the matter," observed Shanks, who had
hitherto remained silent. "We three is the Clique, and we hae the
representation o' the burrow in our hands. Now, to speak to the point, if
we put our names down on your Committee, you carry the election, and we're
ready to come to an understanding upon fair and liberal grounds."

And we did come to an understanding upon grounds which might be justly
characterised as fair on the one side, and certainly liberal on the other.
There was of course some little discussion as to the lengths I was
expected to go in financial matters; and it was even hinted that, with
regard to bullion, the Honourable Mr Pozzlethwaite might possibly
entertain as enlarged views as myself. However, we fortunately succeeded
in adjusting all our differences. I not only promised to give the weight
of my name to a bill, but exhibited, upon the spot, a draft which met with
the cordial approbation of my friends, and which indeed was so
satisfactory, that they did not offer to return it.

"That's a' right then," said Toddy Tam, inserting the last-mentioned
document in a greasy pocket-book. "Our names go down on your Committy, and
the election is as gude as won!"

An eldritch laugh at a little window, which communicated with the street,
at this moment electrified the speaker. There was a glimpse of a human
face seen through the dingy pane.

A loud oath burst from the lips of Toddy Thomas.

"Some deevil has been watching us!" he cried. "Rin, M'Auslan, rin for your
life, and grip him afore he can turn the corner! I wad not for a thoosand
pund that this nicht's wark were to get wind!"

M'Auslan rushed, as desired; but all his efforts were ineffectual. The
fugitive, whoever he was, had very prudently dived into the darkness, and
the draper returned without his victim.

"What is to be done?" said I. "It strikes me, gentlemen, that this may
turn out to be a very unpleasant business."

"Nae fears--nae fears!" said Toddy Tam, looking, however, the reverse of
comfortable. "It will hae been some callant trying to fley us, that's a'.
But, mind ye--no a word o' this to ony living human being, and aboon a' to
Provost Binkie. I've keepit him for four years in the dark, and it never
wad do to show the cat the road to the kirn!"

I acquiesced in the precautionary arrangement, and we parted; Toddy Tam
and his friends having, by this time, disposed of all the surplus fluid.
It was very late before I reached the Provost's dwelling.

I suppose that next morning I had overslept myself; for, when I awoke, I
heard Miss Binkie in full operation at the piano. This time, however, she
was not singing alone, for a male voice was audible in conjunction with
hers.

"It would be in amazing consolation to me if somebody would carry off that
girl!" thought I, as I proceeded with my toilet. "I made a deuced fool of
myself to her yesterday; and, to say the truth, I don't very well know how
to look her in the face!"

However, there was no help for it, so I proceeded down stairs. The first
individual I recognised in the breakfast parlour was M'Corkindale. He was
engaged in singing, along with Miss Binkie, some idiotical catch about a
couple of albino mice.

"Bob!" cried I. "my dear Bob, I am delighted to see you;--what on earth
has brought you here?"

"A gig and a foundered mare," replied the matter-of-fact M'Corkindale.
"The fact is, that I was anxious to hear about your canvass; and, as there
was nothing to do in Glasgow--by the way, Dunshunner, the banks have put
on the screw again--I resolved to satisfy my own curiosity in person. I
arrived this morning, and Miss Binkie has been kind enough to ask me to
stay breakfast."

"I am sure both papa and I are always happy to see Mr M'Corkindale," said
Margaret, impressively.

"I am afraid," said I, "that I have interrupted your music: I did not
know, M'Corkindale, that you were so eminent a performer."

"I hold with Aristotle," replied Bob modestly, "that music and political
economy are at the head of all the sciences. But it is very seldom that
one can meet with so accomplished a partner as Miss Binkie."

"Oh, ho!" thought I. But here the entrance of the Provost diverted the
conversation, and we all sat down to breakfast. Old Binkie was evidently
dying to know the result of my interview on the previous evening, but I
was determined to keep him in the dark. Bob fed like an ogre, and made
prodigious efforts to be polite.

After breakfast, on the pretext of business we went out for a walk. The
economist lighted his cigar.

"Snug quarters these, Dunshunner, at the Provost's."

"Very. But, Bob, things are looking rather well here. I had a negotiation
last night which has as good as settled the business."

"I am very glad to hear it--Nice girl, Miss Binkie; very pretty eyes, and
a good foot and ankle."

"An unexceptionable instep. What do you think!--I have actually discovered
the Clique at last."

"You don't say so! Do you think old Binkie has saved money?"

"I am sure he has. I look upon Dreepdaily as pretty safe now; and I
propose going over this afternoon to Drouthielaw. What would you
recommend?"

"I think you are quite right; but somebody should stay here to look after
your interests. There is no depending upon these fellows. I'll tell you
what--while you are at Drouthielaw I shall remain here, and occupy your
quarters. The Committee will require some man of business to drill them
in, and I don't care if I spare you the time."

I highly applauded this generous resolution; at the same time I was not
altogether blind to the motive. Bob, though an excellent fellow in the
main, did not usually sacrifice himself to his friends; and I began to
suspect that Maggie Binkie--with whom, by the way, he had some previous
acquaintance--was somehow or other connected with his enthusiasm. As
matters stood, I of course entertained no objection: on the contrary, I
thought it no breach of confidence to repeat the history of the nest-egg.

Bob pricked up his ears.

"Indeed!" said he; "that is a fair figure as times go; and, to judge from
appearances, the stock in trade must be valuable."

"Cargoes of sugar," said I, "oceans of rum, and no end whatever of
molasses!"

"A very creditable chairman, indeed, for your Committee, Dunshunner,"
replied Bob. "Then I presume you agree that I should stay here, whilst you
prosecute your canvass?"

I assented, and we returned to the house. In the course of the forenoon
the list of my Committee was published, and, to the great joy of the
Provost, the names of Thomas Gill, Alexander M'Auslan, and Simon Shanks
appeared. He could not, for the life of him, understand how they had all
come forward so readily. A meeting of my friends was afterwards held, at
which I delivered a short harangue upon the constitution of 1688, which
seemed to give general satisfaction; and before I left the room, I had the
pleasure of seeing the Committee organised, with Bob officiating as
secretary. It was the opinion of every one that Pozzlethwaite had not a
chance. I then partook of a light luncheon, and after bidding farewell to
Miss Binkie, who, on the whole, seemed to take matters very coolly, I
drove off for Drouthielaw. I need not relate my adventures in that
respectable burgh. They were devoid of any thing like interest, and not
quite so satisfactory in their result as I could have wished. However, the
name of Gills was known even at that distance, and his views had
considerable weight with some of the religious denominations. So far as I
was concerned, I had no sinecure of it. It cost me three nights' hard
drinking to conciliate the leaders of the Anabaptists, and at least three
more before the chiefs of the Antinomians would surrender. As to the Old
Light gentry, I gave them up in despair, for I could not hope to have
survived the consequences of so serious a conflict.


CHAPTER V.

Parliament was at length dissolved; the new writs were issued, and the day
of nomination fixed for the Dreepdaily burghs. For a time it appeared to
myself, and indeed to almost every one else, that my return was perfectly
secure. Provost Binkie was in great glory, and the faces of the unknown
Clique were positively radiant with satisfaction. But a storm was brewing
in another quarter, upon which we had not previously calculated.

The Honourable Mr Pozzlethwaite, my opponent, had fixed his head-quarters
in Drouthielaw, and to all appearance was making very little progress in
Dreepdaily. Indeed, in no sense of the word could Pozzlethwaite be said to
be popular. He was a middle-aged man, as blind as a bat, and, in order to
cure the defect, he ornamented his visage with an immense pair of green
spectacles, which, it may be easily conceived, did not add to the beauty
of his appearance. In speech he was slow and verbose, in manner awkward,
in matter almost wholly unintelligible. He professed principles which he
said were precisely the same as those advocated by the late Jeremy
Bentham; and certainly, if he was correct in this, I do not regret that my
parents omitted to bring me up at the feet of the utilitarian Gamaliel. In
short, Paul was prosy to a degree, had not an atom of animation in his
whole composition, and could no more have carried a crowd along with him
than he could have supported Atlas upon his shoulders. A portion, however,
of philosophic weavers, and a certain section of the Seceders had declared
in his favour; and, moreover, it was just possible that he might gain the
suffrages of some of the Conservatives. Kittleweem, the Tory burgh, had
hitherto preserved the appearance of strict neutrality. I had attempted to
address the electors of that place, but I found that the hatred of
Dreepdaily and of its Clique was more powerful than my eloquence; and,
somehow or other, the benighted savages did not comprehend the merits of
the Revolution Settlement of 1688, and were as violently national as the
Celtic race before the invention of trews. Kittleweem had equipped half a
regiment for Prince Charles in the Forty-five, and still piqued itself on
its staunch Episcopacy. A Whig, therefore, could hardly expect to be
popular in such a den of prejudice. By the advice of M'Corkindale, I
abstained from any further efforts, which might possibly have tended to
exasperate the electors, and left Kittleweem to itself, in the hope that
it would maintain an armed neutrality.

And so it probably might have done, but for an unexpected occurrence. Two
days before the nomination, a new candidate appeared on the field. Sholto
Douglas was the representative of one of the oldest branches of his
distinguished name, and the race to which he more immediately belonged had
ever been foremost in the ranks of Scottish chivalry and patriotism. In
fact, no family had suffered more from their attachment to the cause of
legitimacy than the Douglases of Inveriachan. Forfeiture after forfeiture
had cut down their broad lands to a narrow estate, and but for an
unexpected Indian legacy, the present heir would have been marching as a
subaltern in a foot regiment. But a large importation of rupees had
infused new life and spirit into the bosom of Sholto Douglas. Young,
eager, and enthusiastic, he determined to rescue himself from obscurity;
and the present state of the Dreepdaily burghs appeared to offer a most
tempting opportunity. Douglas was, of course, Conservative to the
backbone; but, more than that, he openly proclaimed himself a friend of
the people, and a supporter of the rights of labour.

"Confound the fellow!" said Bob M'Corkindale to me, the morning after
Sholto's address had been placarded through the burghs, "who would have
thought of an attack of this kind from such a quarter. Have you seen his
manifesto, Dunshunner?"

"Yes--here it is in the Patriot. The editor, however, gives him it soundly
in the leading article. I like his dogmatic style and wholesale
denunciation of the Tories."

"I'll tell you what it is, though--I look upon this as any thing but a
joke. Douglas is evidently not a man to stand upon old aristocratic
pretensions. He has got the right sow by the ear this time, and, had he
started a little earlier, might have roused the national spirit to a very
unpleasant pitch. You observe what he says about Scotland, the neglect of
her local interests, and the manner in which she has been treated, with
reference to Ireland?"

"I do. And you will be pleased to recollect that but for yourself,
something of the same kind would have appeared in my address."

"If you mean that as a reproach, Dunshunner, you are wrong. How was it
possible to have started you as a Whig upon patriotic principles?"

"Well--that's true enough. At the same time, I cannot help wishing that we
had said a word or two about the interests to the north of the Tweed."

"What is done cannot be undone. We must now stick by the Revolution
Settlement."

"Do you know, Bob, I think we have given them quite enough of that same
settlement already. Those fellows at Kittleweem laughed in my face the
last time that I talked about it, and I am rather afraid that it won't go
down on the hustings."

"Try the sanatory condition of the towns, then, and universal conciliation
to Ireland," replied the Economist. "I have given orders to hire two
hundred Paddies, who have come over for the harvest, at a shilling a-head,
and of course you may depend upon their voices, and also their shillelahs,
if needful. I think we should have a row. It would be a great matter to
make Douglas unpopular; and, with a movement of my little finger, I could
turn out a whole legion of navigators."

"No, Bob, you had better not. It is just possible they might make a
mistake, and shy brickbats at the wrong candidate. It will be safer, I
think, to leave the mob to itself: at the same time, we shall not be the
worse for the Tipperary demonstration. And how looks the canvass?"

"Tolerably well, but not perfectly secure. The Clique has done its very
best, but at the same, time there is undeniably a growing feeling against
it. Many people grumble about its dominion, and are fools enough to say
that they have a right to think for themselves."

"Could you not circulate a report that Pozzlethwaite is the man of the
Clique?"

"The idea is ingenious, but I fear it would hardly work. Dreepdaily is
well known to be the head-quarters of the confederation, and the name of
Provost Binkie is inseparably connected with it."

"By the way, M'Corkindale, it struck me that you looked rather sweet upon
Miss Binkie last evening."

"I did. In fact I popped the question," replied Robert calmly.

"Indeed! Were you accepted?"

"Conditionally. If we gain the election she becomes Mrs M'Corkindale--if
we lose, I suppose I shall have to return to Glasgow in a state of
celibacy."

"A curious contract, certainly! Well, Bob, since your success is involved
in mine, we must fight a desperate battle."

"I wish, though, that Mr Sholto Douglas had been kind enough to keep out
of the way," observed M'Corkindale.

The morning of the day appointed for the nomination dawned upon the people
of Dreepdaily with more than usual splendour. For once, there was no mist
upon the surrounding hills, and the sky was clear as sapphire. I rose
early to study my speech, which had received the finishing touches from
M'Corkindale on the evening before; and I flatter myself it was as pretty
a piece of Whig rhetoric as ever was spouted from a hustings. Toddy Tam,
indeed, had objected, upon seeing a draft, that "there was nae banes intil
it;" but the political economist was considered by the committee a
superior authority on such subjects to Gills. After having carefully
conned it over, I went down stairs, where the whole party were already
assembled. A large blue and yellow flag, with the inscription, "DUNSHUNNER
AND THE GOOD CAUSE!" was hung out from the window, to the intense delight
of a gang of urchins, who testified to the popularity of the candidate by
ceaseless vociferation to "poor out." The wall opposite, however, bore
some memoranda of an opposite tendency, for I could see some large
placards, newly pasted up, on which the words, "ELECTORS OF DREEPDAILY!
YOU ARE SOLD BY THE CLIQUE!" were conspicuous in enormous capitals. I
heard, too, something like a ballad chanted, in which my name seemed to be
coupled, irreverently, with that of the independent Gills.

Provost Binkie--who, in common with the rest of the company, wore upon his
bosom an enormous blue and buff cockade, prepared by the fair hands of his
daughter--saluted me with great cordiality. I ought to observe that the
Provost had been kept as much as possible in the dark regarding the actual
results of the canvass. He was to propose me, and it was thought that his
nerves would be more steady if he came forward under the positive
conviction of success.

"This is a great day, Mr Dunshunner--a grand day for Dreepdaily," he said.
"A day, if I may sae speak, o' triumph and rejoicing! The news o' this
will rin frae one end o' the land to the ither--for the e'en o' a'
Scotland is fixed on Dreepdaily, and the stench auld Whig principles is
sure to prevail, even like a mighty river that rins down in spate to the
sea!"

I justly concluded that this figure of speech formed part of the address
to the electors which for the two last days had been simmering in the
brain of the worthy magistrate, along with the fumes of the potations he
had imbibed, as incentives to the extraordinary effort. Of course I took
care to appear to participate in his enthusiasm. My mind, however, was
very far from being thoroughly at ease.

As twelve o'clock, which was the hour of nomination, drew near, there was
a great muster at my committee-room. The band of the Independent
Tee-totallers, who to a man were in my interest, was in attendance. They
had been well primed with ginger cordial, and were obstreperous to a
gratifying degree.

Toddy Tam came up to me with a face of the colour of carnation.

"I think it richt to tell ye, Mr Dunshunner, that there will be a bit o' a
bleeze ower yonder at the hustings. The Kittleweem folk hae come through
in squads, and Lord Hartside's tenantry have marched in a body, wi' Sholto
Douglas's colours flying."

"And the Drouthielaw fellows--what has become of them?"

"Od, they're no wi' us either--they're just savage at the Clique!
Gudesake, Mr Dunshunner, tak tent, and dinna say a word aboot huz. I
intend mysell to denounce the body, and may be that will do us gude."

I highly approved of Mr Gills' determination, and as the time had now
come, we formed in column, and marched towards the hustings with the
tee-total band in front, playing a very lugubrious imitation of "Glorious
Apollo."

The other candidates had already taken their places. The moment I was
visible to the audience, I was assailed by a volley of yells, among which,
cries of "Doun wi' the Clique!"--"Wha bought them?"--"Nae nominee!"--"We've
had eneuch o' the Whigs!" etcetera, were distinctly audible. This was not
at all the kind of reception I had bargained for;--however, there was
nothing for it but to put on a smiling face, and I reciprocated courtesies
as well as I could with both of my honourable opponents.

During the reading of the writ and the Bribery Act, there was a deal of
joking, which I presume was intended to be good-humoured. At the same time
there could be no doubt that it was distinctly personal. I heard my name
associated with epithets of any thing but an endearing description, and,
to say the truth, if choice had been granted, I would far rather have been
at Jericho than in the front of the hustings at Dreepdaily. A man must be,
indeed, intrepid, and conscious of a good cause, who can oppose himself
without blenching to the objurgation of an excited mob.

The Honourable Paul Pozzlethwaite, on account of his having been the
earliest candidate in the field, was first proposed by a town-councillor
of Drouthielaw. This part of the ceremony appeared to excite but little
interest, the hooting and cheering being pretty equally distributed.

It was now our turn.

"Gang forrard, Provost, and be sure ye speak oot!" said Toddy Tam; and Mr
Binkie advanced accordingly.

Thereupon such a row commenced as I never had witnessed before. Yelling is
a faint word to express the sounds of that storm of extraordinary wrath
which descended upon the head of the devoted Provost. "Clique! Clique!"
resounded on every side, and myriads of eyes, ferocious as those of the
wild-cat, were bent scowlingly on my worthy proposer. In vain did he
gesticulate--in vain implore. The voice of Demosthenes--nay, the deep bass
of Stentor himself--could not have been heard amidst that infernal uproar;
so that, after working his arms for a time like the limbs of a telegraph,
and exerting himself until he became absolutely swart in the face, Binkie
was fain to give it up, and retired amidst a whirlwind of abuse.

"May the deil fly awa' wi' the hail pack o' them!" said he, almost
blubbering with excitement and indignation. "Wha wad ever hae thocht to
have seen the like o' this? and huz, too, that gied them the Reform Bill!
Try your hand at them, Tam, for my heart's amaist broken!"

The bluff independent character of Mr Gills, and his reputed purity from
all taint of the Clique, operated considerably in his favour. He advanced
amidst general cheering, and cries of "Noo for Toddy Tam!" "Let's hear Mr
Gills!" and the like; and as he tossed his hat aside and clenched his
brawny fist, he really looked the incarnation of a sturdy and independent
elector. His style, too, was decidedly popular--

"Listen tae me!" he said, "and let thae brawlin', braggin', bletherin'
idiwits frae Drouthielaw haud their lang clavering tongues, and no keep
rowtin' like a herd o' senseless nowte! (Great cheering from Dreepdaily
and Kittleweem--considerable disapprobation from Drouthielaw.) I ken them
weel, the auld haverils! (cheers.) But you, my freends, that I have dwalt
wi' for twenty years, is it possible that ye can believe for one moment
that I wad submit to be dictated to by a Clique? (Cries of "no! no!" "It's
no you, Tam!" and confusion.) No me? I dinna thank ye for that! Wull ony
man daur to say to my face, that I ever colleagued wi' a pack that wad buy
and sell the haill of us as readily as ye can deal wi' sheep's-heads in
the public market? (Laughter.) Div ye think that if Mr Dunshunner was ony
way mixed up wi' that gang, I wad be here this day tae second him? Div ye
think----"

Here Mr Gills met with a singular interruption. A remarkable figure
attired in a red coat and cocked-hat, at one time probably the property of
a civic officer, and who had been observed for some time bobbing about in
front of the hustings, was now elevated upon the shoulders of a yeoman,
and displayed to the delighted spectators the features of Geordie Dowie.

"Ay, Toddy Tam, are ye there, man?" cried Geordie with a malignant grin.
"What was you and the Clique doin' at Nanse Finlayson's on Friday nicht?"

"What was it, Geordie? What was it?" cried a hundred voices.

"Am I to be interrupted by a natural?" cried Gills, looking, however,
considerably flushed in the face.

"What hae ye dune wi' the notes, Tam, that the lang chield up by there
gied ye? And whaur's your freends, Shanks and M'Auslan? See that ye steek
to the window neist time, ma man!" cried Geordie with demoniac ferocity.

This was quite enough for the mob, who seldom require any excuse for a
display of their hereditary privileges. A perfect hurricane of hissing,
and of yelling arose, and Gills, though he fought like a hero, was at last
forced to retire from the contest. Had Geordie Dowie's windpipe been
within his grasp at that moment, I would not have insured for any amount
the life of the perfidious spy.

Sholto Douglas was proposed and seconded amidst great cheering, and then
Pozzlethwaite rose to speak. I do not very well recollect what he said,
for I had quite enough to do in thinking about, myself, and the Honourable
Paul would have conferred a material obligation upon me, if he had talked
for an hour longer. At length my turn came.

"Electors of Dreepdaily!"--

That was the whole of my speech, at least the whole of it that was audible
to any one human being. Humboldt, if I recollect right, talks in one of
his travels of having somewhere encountered a mountain composed of
millions of entangled snakes, whose hissing might have equalled that of
the transformed legions of Pandemonium. I wish Humboldt, for the sake of
scientific comparison, could have been upon the hustings that day! Certain
I am, that the sibilation did not leave my ears for a fortnight
afterwards, and even now, in my slumbers, I am haunted by a wilderness of
asps! However, at the urgent entreaty of M'Corkindale, I went on for about
ten minutes, though I was quivering in every limb, and as pale as a ghost;
and in order that the public might not lose the benefit of my sentiments,
I concluded by handing a copy of my speech, interlarded with fictitious
cheers, to the reporter for the Dreepdaily Patriot. That document may
still be seen by the curious in the columns of that impartial newspaper.

I will state this for Sholto Douglas, that he behaved like a perfect
gentleman. There was in his speech no triumph over the discomfiture which
the other candidates had received; on the contrary, he rather rebuked the
audience for not having listened to us with greater patience. He then went
on with his oration. I need hardly say it was a national one, and it was
most enthusiastically cheered.

All that I need mention about the show of hands is, that it was not by any
means hollow in my favour.

That afternoon we were not quite so lively in the Committee-room as usual.
The serenity of Messrs Gills, M'Auslan, and Shanks,--and, perhaps, I may
add of myself--was a good deal shaken by the intelligence that a broadside
with the tempting title of "_Full and Particular Account of an interview
between the Clique and Mr Dunshunner, held at Nanse Finlayson's Tavern, on
Friday last, and how they came to terms. By an Eyewitness_," was
circulating like wildfire through the streets. To have been beaten by a
Douglas was nothing, but to have been so artfully entrapped by a bauldy!

Provost Binkie, too, was dull and dissatisfied. The reception he had met
with in his native town was no doubt a severe mortification, but the
feeling that he had been used as a catspaw and implement of the Clique,
was, I suspected, uppermost in his mind. Poor man! We had great difficulty
that evening in bringing him to his sixth tumbler.

Even M'Corkindale was hipped. I own I was surprised at this, for I knew of
old the indefatigable spirit and keen energy of my friend, and I thought
that with such a stake as he had in the contest, he would even have
redoubled his exertions. Such, however, was not the case.

I pass over the proceedings at the poll. From a very early hour it became
perfectly evident that my chance was utterly gone; and, indeed, had it
been possible, I should have left Dreepdaily before the close. At four
o'clock the numbers stood thus:--

                  DREEPDAILY. DROUTHIELAW. KITTLEWEEM.
  DOUGLAS,            94          63          192
  POZZLETHWAITE,      59          73           21
  DUNSHUNNER,         72          19            7

  Majority for DOUGLAS, 196.

We had an awful scene in the Committee-room. Gills, who had been drinking
all day, shed copious floods of tears; Shanks was disconsolate; and
M'Auslan refused to be comforted. Of course I gave the usual pledge, that
on the very first opportunity I should come forward again to reassert the
independence of the burghs, now infamously sacrificed to a Conservative;
but the cheering at this announcement was of the very faintest
description, and I doubt whether any one believed me. Two hours afterwards
I was miles away from Dreepdaily.

I have since had letters from that place, which inform me that the Clique
is utterly discomfited; that for some days the component members of it
might be seen wandering through the streets, and pouring their husky
sorrows into the ears of every stray listener whom they could find, until
they became a positive nuisance. My best champion, however, was the
Editor of the Patriot. That noble and dauntless individual continued for
weeks afterwards to pour forth Jeremiads upon my defeat, and stigmatised
my opponents and their supporters as knaves, miscreants, and nincompoops.
I was, he maintained, the victim of a base conspiracy, and the degraded
town of Dreepdaily would never be able thereafter to rear its polluted
head in the Royal Convention of Burghs.

Whilst these things were going on in Dreepdaily, I was closeted with
M'Corkindale in Glasgow.

"So, then, you have lost your election," said he.

"And you have lost your wife."

"Neither of the two accidents appear to be irreparable," replied Robert.

"How so? Do you still think of Miss Binkie?"

"By no means. I made some little inquiry the day before the election, and
discovered that a certain nest-egg was enormously exaggerated, if not
altogether fictitious."

"Well, Bob, there is certainly nobody like yourself for getting
information."

"I do my best. May I inquire into the nature of your future movements?"

"I have not yet made up my mind. These election matters put every thing
else out of one's head. Let me see--August is approaching, and I half
promised the Captain of M'Alcohol to spend a few weeks with him at his
shooting-quarters."

"Are you aware, Dunshunner, that one of your bills falls due at the
Gorbals Bank upon Tuesday next?"

"Mercy upon me, Bob! I had forgotten all about it."

I did not go to the Highlands after all. The fatigue and exertion we had
undergone rendered it quite indispensable that my friend Robert and I
should relax a little. Accordingly we have both embarked for a short run
upon the Continent.

  _Boulogue-sur-Mer.
  12th August 1847._



THE CRUSADE OF THE CHILDREN.


Some years ago, while the pastoral charge of the little Saxon village of
Grönstetten, from some neglect in the proper authorities, remained vacant,
that neighborhood was visited by a strange religious epidemic. It had
formerly, indeed, been one of the most cheerful places; standing together,
house by house, in the midst of a large, well cultivated plain, on which
the fields, scarcely marked out from one another save by neighbourly
tokens, stretched with their green level to the side, of the woods, only
varied by the different colours of the several crops. The little old
church, surrounded by a few spreading trees, stood at the end of the
village on some higher ground, raising its gilded steeple into the blue
air, so that it always seemed to be touched by an evening sun. Neither
wall nor fence was to be seen, and the surrounding level looked like the
single farm of a brotherhood; the peasants, noticing of a fine Sunday
afternoon how the season had advanced their wheat or flax, appeared to a
stranger almost as much interested in one patch as in another. Various
games and exercises went on amongst the young men and boys after work and
school hours, on the piece of common near the churchyard, while the young
maidens and the old people with their children stood by. Nowhere were
holidays, occasions of marriage, and old festival traditions more fondly
kept; in every house at Christmas, while snow was on the ground and on the
bare woods, the window shone so brightly against the icicles hanging from
the roof, as the Christmas-tree, with its prettily-adorned branches, was
lighted-up; and the whole united family surprised each other with
carefully prepared gifts. Then at Easter time, when spring was bursting
out of trees and earth, and the birds beginning to sing again, you might
have seen with what joy the children rolled their coloured paschal eggs
along the grass, parents entering into their feelings with smiles. It was
a serious business for them to dress and water the graves under the church
wall, wreathing the small head-stones with garlands of fresh wild-flowers,
gathered about the ruins of the old castle, which rose on a neighbouring
height. Nor did many evenings ever pass that there was not some meeting of
the young people in one of the village houses, where the girls brought
their spindles, or pieces of cloth to make a bedcover for the dame; while
the youths stood by to seize the opportunity for sundry advances of rustic
courtship. All this gaiety was by no means inconsistent with the industry
in which this resembled other villages of the district; and as little did
it result from any want of earnestness and serious thought in matters of
religion, or in the attendance upon those services to which the church in
due season called every one. For it was while the venerable old pastor
lived, that this state of things lasted at Grönstetten. The good man
himself diffused by his presence among them, as well as by his precepts, a
spirit not only of devotion, but of cheerfulness; nor would he have
failed, in case of any causeless absence from church, or on occasion of a
breach of morality, to visit, and faithfully reprove the offender. Even
after his death, when the services were only occasionally performed by
strangers, the change of feeling in the village would not have occurred,
but for some other circumstances; doubtless the people themselves
possessed sufficient independence and ground of faith to pursue their
lives according, to the true temper of rational men, had none interfered
with them.

But, about this time, there came frequently to Grönstetten several
preachers of a new and almost unknown sect, and of a cast altogether
different from what the people had been accustomed to. These persons
considered that in time past at Grönstetten all had been in a manner
spiritually dead; that men there, indeed, were as good as asleep to all
eternal realities, or were at best dreamers of false peace. Not only did
they, in their fervid addresses, exaggerate the vileness of human nature,
and set it against itself, but the idea of goodness placed by them before
the mind, seemed one wholly different from its own direction of progress,
if not altogether unattainable. Many simple natural affections were by
them almost represented as sinful, while they looked upon the customary
diversions in the light of unholy levities, and upon the old holiday
practices as traditions quite heathenish. In short, the heaven to which
they pointed so mystically, appeared to consist in an utter contrast to
all conceptions which were ever formed on earth, to every joy which had
been felt by men, even in their moments of purest contact with each other
and nature; the reward of some great sacrifice and toil, which were to be
undergone. There was much talk of strange, unutterable changes to take
place on the earth, for which preparation was to be made; and the new
preachers exulted in the interpretation of prophecies, which they fancied
could be understood beforehand, in making men uneasy at thought of all
outward coming of the Lord, of wars, and destruction, which would make the
world worse than ever it had been. Their meeting-house, opened in an old
barn, was at first frequented chiefly by women, since the men and older
people had a natural dislike to innovation; but eventually the very
newness of the doctrine began to gain ground for it, and the fact of its
being so distinct from that of the late pastor, only tended to reflect
upon his memory. There is, certainly, something in our nature, by which
those things most opposed to it, as in a kind of fascination at times lay
hold of it; so in hateful dreams or ghost-fears. Especially if the soul be
not regularly furnished with supplies of healthy and cheerful
enlightenment; and thus it was that this kind of unearth-like religion,
imported by men of zeal for the most part sincere and also assisted by
sympathy with other places in the neighbourhood, exerted so much influence
at the village of Grönstetten. The first symptom of this was exhibited in
a certain secret discomfort at home, a sense of division between persons
of the same household, which made them look strangely and wonderingly on
each other. It seemed, indeed, to be a principal and favourite object of
the new-comers to gain over the female members; they aimed their chief
blow at the family sacredness, alleging the words, "I am come to set the
husband against the wife, the son against the father, and the
daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." People came to feel nature
also as discordant with themselves; the very grass and trees, and the
quietness of the air, seemed to many not so good as before; the mute,
inanimate things appeared almost as so many tempting wiles of a hidden
power which was below, working through all, and meaning man evil. One
would have thought, as they stood listlessly at their doors of an evening,
looking beyond into the distance, that they would have taken up staff or
scrip and set out on pilgrimage, had they but known where to go, or what
to do. After all, however, this state of matters wore itself out, and
gradually returned to something like the former; nor would any one have
been the worse, rather, in truth, a little wiser, upon the eventual
settlement of a new pastor at Grönstetten. Only, indeed, that a few who
had not joined in the late feeling, and who had previously been united to
their neighbours by intercourse, had for the time seemed to be excluded
from their better sympathies, became more worldly, and were inclined to
scoff at holy things. As in all cases of extremes, the bad had grown more
addicted to vice, none stretching out to them a better hand; and it was
long ere a reviving sense of brotherhood did much to raise them higher.

Still the most peculiar feature of this excitement was, that, as if its
impulse must extend through every class, the younger people latterly
showed signs of a religious emotion, yet stronger and more remarkable than
in those less subject to impressions from their years. What they saw and
heard in others had sunk into the children's minds, which brooded upon it
as if upon the sense of some dispeace, and contradiction at the heart of
domestic forms; as if to their clearer instinct various inconsistencies
in the practice of life, nay in the parental relations, had been revealed;
yet for which the true remedy had been by them misconceived. This appeared
with many of them partly in the shape of impatience to go forth into the
world, a weariness when the sun light, shining into the cottage, stole
from chair to chair, and the clock ticked monotonously against the wall.
Something that was to be done and suffered seemed to lie far without; the
object of their lives and souls, from which friends, parents, with their
daily earth-customs, were tyrannically withholding them. But chiefly,
perhaps, from ill-judged, dealing with this vague desire, was it
frequently betrayed in enthusiastic words, in a sort of unaccountable,
ecstasy in trances, which some reckoned prophetic. Instead of the
life-like, careless, childish games, and little quaint devices, which
formerly enlivened the house or open air, they gathered together praying,
as if for the fulfilment of an unspeakable distantlonging; they went up
the street, or across the fields, singing devout hymns. One or another at
home would stand up by the table, unabashed by the presence of elder
people, and speak from the seeming influence of some internal
communication, mystical, half-articulate words, and piously-sounding
reproofs or exhortations. It was in vain to chide or chastise them;
trustful obedience, humility, content with home, simple duties, cheerful
playfulness, were during this interval gone. Parents expected every day to
see the childish train assemble and depart from the village on some
rapture-wandering; and they were careful every night to lock the doors,
and see their family in bed.

None had watched throughout the course of this remarkable visitation, more
unaffected by its power than the steadfast, intelligent old Wendel,
schoolmaster of Grönstetten; but, especially, he observed its effect upon
his own peculiar charge with no small measure of careful anxiety. One fine
afternoon, towards the end of school-time, he dismissed the children from
their tasks, and gathering them around his seat near the open casements,
intimated his intention of relating to them a story from true history, as
was occasionally his custom. The old dame his wife, and his daughter, were
seated behind him with their work; and the venerable gray-haired man
looked cheerfully on the crowd of sober young faces in front, as if he
would have diffused somewhat of the spirit of childhood again from his own
experience into their innocence. A book from which he had been reading at
mid-day lay upon his little desk. Far beyond, out in the upper air shown
through the window, a golden sunlight came over the cool green woods, and
fell upon the gray towers of the old ruined castle of Grönstetten.

"Children," said he, "yonder old castle takes us back in thought to the
time of which I would speak. You must know, that in the old time things
were very different from what they are now, although the same green earth
and blue air enclosed between them men and children who were at heart the
same as ourselves. However, the world was then in great darkness and
ignorance: there were no books for children, nor picture's such as you
have here to show you what is in other countries; nor were there any
schools except for churchmen. The good Heavenly Father, who is always
teaching men, doth it by degrees; and for a long time it was only the
priests and learned clerks who knew any thing of what God had been doing
with the world. This knowledge remained chiefly in their heads; but when
the help of strong arms against unbelievers was needed, the time came in
which warriors and people also were partly let into the secret. The heart
of all Christendom was stirred with the thought that pilgrims were denied
access to the place where such great matters had been transacted, and that
the holy ground of our Saviour's burial was in the keeping of infidels, as
if once more the stone which had been rolled away was put back, and Christ
were buried again. Warriors and workmen, having now a part, as it were, in
the Church, set out in multitudes to rescue Jerusalem. It was then, too,
that the Lord of Grönstetten left his castle, seeking to expiate many a
crime he had committed by travelling so many leagues, and striking so many
blows. All this was, no doubt, calculated to teach those who went, and
those to whom they afterwards returned, not to place their heaven on
earth, nor to make up for concerns of the soul by bodily things; when they
found, _there_ also, enemies of flesh and blood, and after all the
sepulchre empty. Long after this, when the enthusiasm of men about the
Holy Land was beginning to fail, and they were looking for the road to
Heaven in other ways, the lingering spirit which had once led them forth,
seemed to descend in a simpler and purer way into the hearts of children.
You may be sure that to Them at home, where all lessons and thoughts were
learnt out of the shape of visible things, the sight of those brilliant
pageants ever passing towards the East--the tales of pilgrims who came
from thence--had been to them as a longing dream. The natural feeling of
the young is like that of a heaven near to them--of a holy delight to be
at once gained, and without conception of the long, difficult way between,
or even of the real entrance to it. The firmament which lies overhead
appears to descend upon the very earth at a distance, and all visions and
radiant things to issue from an everlasting morning source that is
attainable. They know not how, in reality, the natural world is rounded
upon itself, so that over every particular spot a continual morn, noon,
evening, and night are indeed breaking, and that only in this same station
should the life of each individual be best carried out, not leaving it,
but accepting there every quiet degree of heaven. At this period of which
I speak it became more and more the fashion of the Church, and of those
who made pictures or images for shrines, to represent the Saviour as a
young child in the arms of Mary his mother. For priests and grown men, the
patron was Madonna; whereas Jesus seemed to have himself become again a
little Child, appealing finally to the hearts of children. When the Holy
City and its land were relapsing once more into the hands of Moslems, many
beheld visions and dreams of the Virgin, who, with a sad and pleading
face, held out her son, or appeared to be vainly attempting to approach
his grave. In France, Italy, and the south of our own German land,
children and young people, as if without conference between each other,
began very generally to imitate that desire which was already passing away
from older persons. They took vows, and banded themselves together to
deliver the Holy Land from bondage; nor were there wanting monks and
priests who encouraged this emotion, proclaiming that God had chosen the
weak things of this earth to confound the strong; and out of the mouths of
babes and sucklings would perfect praise. Sometimes you might have seen
parents, who in their ignorance partook of this enthusiasm, yoking their
oxen to rude carts, and, with their children seated on their household
goods, leaving home to find out the Holy Land; and at every city which
they came in sight of, the children would shout joyfully, asking if that
were Jerusalem. But in one part of Germany at least those vague wishes
were drawn out at last into action by the mysterious visits of one,
attired like a palmer, with staff and scallop-shell, who passed from house
to house, declaring the Divine call. At his voice, the group playing
merrily by the wayside was changed into a throng of serious figures:
fathers and mothers who returned from church or market found that this
strange wayfarer, during their absence, had stood at their hearth. In
their longing to be concerned in some behest more pure and worthy than
those which were enjoined by earthly friends, the young regarded all
common tasks as trivial; they forgot their own childhood in this
phantom-Christ who seemed to call them away. The trees and roofs of
home!--what were they to the spires and palms of that Jerusalem? And they
looked upon the old people as foolish utterly. To the parents, truly this
loss of love between them and those they had nourished was very
dreadful--this Heaven, that would alienate and draw away their offspring
into it, yet had no reference to their own hopes and wishes! In our times,
the wise father knows how better to deal with such inexperienced dreams,
which indeed are now rather more apt to represent this living world too
brightly than to scorn it for spiritual objects; he suffers the boy to
take time and find out the reality. But in those days heaven and earth
were confounded; they knew not with what words or means to disprove these
fancies; there was no world of books wherein the young soul might spend
its superfluous thought and distinguish facts from ideas. Thus had they
recourse only to outward watchfulness; to locking doors, and separating
the children from their companions, whereby the more proud and wilful were
but more confirmed. They waited for escape, and got away even by making
holes in the walls; issuing forth from home as to a festival procession,
which, swelling by degrees to many thousands, was heard passing by the
villages, and on toward the East. The eldest was not more than eighteen,
while numbers there were of far tenderer years, who, singing as they went,
travelled under guidance only of the sky, as each morning it lightened up
with radiance, and marked some especial valley or mountain-path as the
last verge of a golden Orient. From towns or castles they held apart,
sustained merely by the fruits of the earth, or by the gifts of solitary
peasants, who rejoiced to offer food to the holy pilgrimage, while at the
same time they carefully shut in their own children until it was long out
of sight. But as the country grew around them more waste and desert, as
they traversed wide, lonely, and barren plains, deep forests, or toilsome
hills, the case became different. Some, scattered from the rest, lost
their way; others, from weariness and hunger alone, dropped down and
died--boys and girls, who in that hour only remembered the bitterness of
their mothers' hearts for their loss. Still the main body continued to
press forward, encouraged by some bolder spirits amongst them, or by the
steadfast, confiding faith of others; for it was the youngest often who
seemed to be filled with such patient constancy, so ineffable a sense of
Divine aid, that they would scarce have hesitated to cross the deep river
on foot, or to throw themselves from the loftiest precipices. Ever and
anon, beyond some rude ascent, the broad level of the earth would stretch
before them to the silvery horizon, so bright, so green, so beautiful,
that methought it was the border of a holier country. Or when the rainbow
suddenly spanned the distance with its vivid arch, those who were foremost
appeared to the last already to be entering through its gate of triumph
into a land of glorious colours, of celestial transfigurement. Then would
the stragglers press on in haste to make up with them, but only in time to
mix with the crowd which now stood shivering and confused in the shadow of
that cloud from which the meteor had passed away. Nevertheless, who could
doubt but that the land which they sought, which had been attained by so
many multitudes before, truly existed? Were not all these things but signs
of its being--tokens that beckoned onward, or difficulties they were to
conquer? And when at length the hearts of the children, hitherto sustained
by fellow-feeling and the deep excitement of their imagination, did sink
down utterly before these hardships, in ignorance of their way--when they
had begun to think wistfully each of his own home, with its little daily
tasks--then there appeared mysteriously, to guide them, the form of that
unknown palmer who had first called them forth. It boots not to follow,
step by step, their after wanderings--the further evils which befel
them--by what weary ways, by what disappointments, and what incitements
they were encountered, until--still led by that strange messenger, whether
man, or fiend, or angel--they reached the coasts of the sea. For there,
indeed, was the dream of those children bitterly dispelled; there they
found a city where men spoke and thought only of buying and selling--where
they lived to get gold. Thither, in truth, there came many barks from the
East--from that region which had appeared to the children full only of
thoughts and sacred mysteries; but the vessels were laden with silks and
spices for the rich and noble at home. And, alas! lamentable was the fate
of the young pilgrims, falling into the avaricious hands of those, who
perchance had heard of their childish visions to draw them thus forth into
their power. Because they had nothing else but their beloved gold to
exchange for the costly products of the East, those merchants did not
scruple even to send to Moors and Saracens for slaves these poor youthful
victims who had so delivered themselves up. The Ships were filled with
many Christian children, who were thus borne by the wind and sea, as it
were, into a region of utter doubt and evil--having cause almost to regard
all old beliefs as falsehood, and all men as pitiless and unfriendly. It
is sad, my children, to think how true these things were; that so many
fair young maidens, who had been their fathers' and mothers' pride, were
forced to brook the will of Turkish lords, growing up forgetful of that
faith, which became to them as an early, foolish vision; that so many once
happy boys should wear away their lives in bondage beneath that very air
which they had fancied holier than their own. Yet these had all issued
forth in joyous expectation, filled with the hope of heaven. For so it is
always on this earth, that happiness and goodness are really to be derived
for us human beings through the commonest things. Not far away, nor in any
thing which we cannot easily do, but nearer and nearer every day to home,
and what we are concerned with, is the Joy, the Peace which glimmers out
of every living thing. When you hear of God and heaven, you ought not to
think of these as having any meaning separated from direct, unhesitating,
simple life--since God is in every growing leaf about us, no less than in
the sky; and there is a part of heaven revealed in each right action of
this day, in each smile of approval from your parents, and in all
temperate earthly joys. Had these unhappy children continued but at home,
believing like children that what was good for those older than they was
good for themselves also,--looking through their parents at life and
death, the necessities of home would have ever drawn round them a line of
certainty, sufficient even amidst that unfavourable ancient time. But as
it was, they were plunged all at once into a state of complete
helplessness, where yesterday had no connexion with today's work, where
there was nothing to remind them of their former selves, only that their
wish to wander forth to fairer scenes now exchanged for a sick
heart-longing after Home, in which many pined away. However, there was One
of the captive youths at Tunis to whom this Thought of the spot he had so
foolishly left became gradually a sort of nourishment and support, as it
grew more clear and fond. Even after his religious belief, for want of the
due confirmation, had almost died away, or yielded to his Moorish master's
commands, yet the recollection of childish years came in its place,
growing and strengthening the more the longer his captivity endured. In
his master's train did this youth visit first Mecca, which followers of
the Prophet consider holy, and finally also Jerusalem itself. In the
latter place, which, so many years before, he and his companions had
ignorantly set out to reach, he now was struck with painful wonder, both
at all things there, and at himself. Nothing more beautiful or holy was
there here than elsewhere. The fields, the woods, and the hut where he was
born were, in his mind, fairer far than this pale, scattered city, with
its deep, dark valleys of tombs, into which the gray Desert crept. Almost
a scorn of all beliefs flashed upon him as he saw the dusty pilgrims
prostrate around a piece of silent stone in the church of the Sepulchre,
while the turbaned faces of the Moslem sneered behind. Only there still
abode in his heart _one_ deep holy Thought, which seemed alone to contain
many others unknown--the thought of that one place on earth which had been
the source to him of pure feelings, and where he had once been so near to
some different beginning of life. It appeared to him that _it_ indeed was
worthy to make a pilgrimage to, and that, if he could again return
thither, he should from it behold the true opening into things which were
at present to him dead and unintelligible. The last hope of his better
nature had, as it were, passed unnoticed over his head, and now shone far
behind, instead of in the airy future; and thus be remembered how, long
ago, on their childish adventure, he had seen with misgiving the Eastern
morning sun before them renew its splendour over again in the West.

"At last, accordingly, this same wanderer did escape from thraldom, and
come back to his native Germany. On reaching the place where his father's
little hut had stood, by the side of the clear forest stream, which he
remembered well, yet he found it gone, to the very threshold-posts. The
clear stream ran past still under the old tree roots, and the entrance
into the wood was there; but nothing remained of the dwelling whence he
had stolen forth in the early morning to join the children's march, before
its blue smoke had risen up over the forest top against the sky. There
arose within him clearly, as he stood in a bitter trance, every little
circumstance of the household;--what his father and his mother were; the
common and quiet joy, without words, which he knew not till then had been
hidden in sleep, and in meal-times, and in trifling acts; the happiness
which he now felt would have grown daily out of helping them in their
declining years. Yet these had been forsaken for a dream, excited
perchance by evening radiance on the hills, by bright skies seen through
the trees, by distant sounds, the very delight of which was lost when home
was left. He stood close at hand, and, notwithstanding, the whole was more
irrecoverable than ever--the open air came down to the foundations, and
was spread across the chamber floor. The late dead forest was now putting
forth its green buds--the grass was verdant with the spring--flowers were
blossoming in it--birds were singing--and all nature was warmly bursting
up again into full life after winter. The bells of the convent near rang
loudly for the vesper-service, as it was Easter-day, the festival of
Resurrection; and when the wanderer turned round the forest, he beheld
village children rolling on the grass their coloured Paschal eggs. In
these many years the unhappy departure of him and his companions had been
forgotten. All were rejoicing because of some nameless cheer. But at the
door of one cottage there sat an old pair upon a wooden bench, enjoying
the warm evening air, and gazing at the children--while a young maiden,
their daughter, stood behind in the doorway, her fair hair tinged with the
golden light. These good people accosted the wanderer kindly, for they saw
that his features were darkened by hotter suns; and it seemed to them that
perhaps, he was a pilgrim and had been in the East. Their greeting was in
accordance with the custom at that season of Easter, and they said, 'Peace
be with you--Christ is risen,' expecting the usual answer--'Yea, he is
risen indeed.' But the wanderer stared blankly upon them and the young
girl, wondering, in truth, as all the events of his past life came fast
upon his mind, and as he recollected the old feelings with which he had
set out from home. For a deep mystery of Home appeared at that moment to
be revealed to him; he almost understood why it was vain, and had been to
him vain, to seek abroad for that which all the while was nearest of all
things to the soul. Yet, on the other hand, the old people were much
surprised, when he told them that night of his wanderings, how it was that
he who had visited the Sepulchre itself, did not perceive there best that
the Saviour was risen. And it could perhaps only be thoroughly apprehended
by the returned pilgrim himself, when once more there arose for him a home
on the spot where his father's cottage had stood, and when it was shared
with him by that fair young maiden whose countenance had first again
restored to him the conception of life which he had lost. For then it was
that, in the fulfilment of common simple necessities, in unquestioning
intercourse with natural things, and in gradual progress to the holy
grave, he felt truly how the pure and complete hope of happiness proceeds
out of the bosom of human life; how the desire of goodness must be drawn
out of real experience; and how enthusiasm disproportioned to its object
is dangerous and false. It was thus, my children," said the old
schoolmaster, looking round them all in succession, "that one of the
children who sought the Holy Land far off, was taught to seek it near at
hand; and that perhaps many knights and pilgrims of the Crusade may have
found it on their return. And the mistakes of that period are doubtless
capable of their benefit to us.

"It is now with us no longer a formal, but a spiritual system of things;
the heavenly good, the communion of God with man, are no more confined to
particular places and signs, nor, on the other hand, to singular acts and
language. Christ hath made all things, yea, the very commonest, holy to
us and sacramental, if we only strive to apprehend their deep inward
meaning. It is the religion of The Homely,--of Him who as a child in
Bethlehem concerned himself with little household matters as they befell;
and thus prepared himself for being about his Greater Father's business in
the Temple. Duty extends her mighty, solemn chain unbrokenly from the
lowest to the highest: nay, the least insect in the grass performs a
behest that is not to be contemned. This was one chief lesson of The Great
Master's earthly life,--and in his Resurrection from death, also, taught
he his disciples not to limit his presence to any one form of things, but
to look for _it_ in all: when they found the Grave empty, and yet in an
ordinary figure, or in a passenger by the way, they suddenly recognised
their Lord, and He seemed to break out of every thing that was around
them. There is nothing now in itself common or unclean, nothing in itself
that contains a peculiar sacred virtue; but that which is next and nearest
ourselves is capable, by inexpressible degrees, of all good, having been
framed by God Himself. So often we seek far off what would have come to us
and been ours, had we but sat still, waiting, acting with a simple heart.
We mark out to us high deeds, we would fain search out somewhat great and
painful to accomplish,--as if there were not small matters enough, and
pleasant ones,--ay, and the most difficult, toilsome ones too, with their
secret crowns and garlands of reward,--all bounded within the poorest
threshold!--Now, my little youths and maidens, having listened so gravely
to the old man's discourse, go like children and play yourselves homeward:
there, and here you have need of all reverence, obedience, and
thoughtfulness."

Whether or not old Wendel's hearers appreciated the particulars of his
lesson, we are not aware; but from the excitement in the village having
after that taken a decided turn, we may suppose that, on the whole, it was
not without its use there and round about the place. And so, if more
perfectly expressed, and when rightly and fully understood, the doctrine
implied by this and numberless similar facts in human history might be in
many another community.



TAXIDERMY IN ROME


In turning over the voluminous records of our travels abroad, we pause
more particularly at those passages of our journals which relate to the
study of Natural History. In these occur frequent references to agreeable
pedestrian rambles undertaken alone, or in the company of unaffected
friends, in France and Switzerland, Italy and its islands: of whole days
spent, and twilight at last surprising us still bending over the
unexplored treasures of unexhausted museums. Of Paris winters cheerfully
passed in the _enceinte_ of the class-rooms of the Sorbonne; of pleasant
occasions in which our ears refused to take cognisance of the sound of
town clocks and dinner bells, while our eyes were so agreeably forgetting
themselves amid the profusion and variety of southern fish and bird
markets. On this, if on any portion of our by-gone life, we look back with
sadness indeed, but with a sadness unembittered by regrets; our only
sorrow here being, that we knew not earlier in life those studies of which
it may be pre-eminently said, that while they "delight abroad they hinder
not at home." Happy indeed are the children who dream of butterflies, and
wise the parents who encourage theirs to intertwine objects of natural
history with their earliest associations! Not only has this charming study
a strong tendency to confirm the health, to embellish the mind, and to
improve the moral character of those who pursue it;

  "Pour le bien savourer, c'est trop peu que des sens;
  Il faut une âme pure et des goûts innocens;"

it is likewise a strong bond of union between man and man--where shall we
find such another? Hounds and horses may connect, indeed, a greater
_number_, but if one of the field breaks his neck, who cares? "he should
have been better mounted,"[1] or else, "he could not ride;"--but ours is a
gentler and a kindlier community. Where else exists that unanimity to
which this body may justly lay claim? Not in the professions, where law
detracts, medicine dislikes, and the church does not always hold the truth
in charity; nor yet amidst mankind in general, for philosophers misquote,
scholars revile, merchants monopolise, courtiers traduce, statesmen
deceive: but here no conflicting interests, nor uncharitable surmises, no
morbid sensibility, nor false and narrow views of life, arise to estrange
those whom Linnæus and Cuvier have once united in fellowship. Constant,
cheerful, unaffected, and sincere, the happy members of our _coterie_,
every where, and in all ranks alike, show an instinctive tact in making
each other out, and once friends continue so for life. We speak from long
and intimate acquaintance with many naturalists: to some, courteous
reader, we purpose, with your consent, hereafter to introduce you. Our
object meanwhile is, to set before you now two humble foreigners of the
gentler sex, who have passed their whole lives in the study and practice
of taxidermy. Real and zealous enthusiasts are Annetta Cadet and her
mother, who, in order to surprise in their haunts, and study before they
embalm them, the various inhabitants of the _Campagna_ about Rome, think
nothing of braving any amount of heat, fatigue, and inconvenience; and
such adepts are they in this art, that when stuffed, their birds, beasts,
and reptiles seem to have received new life at their hands, and to be
about to spring from the ground or to leave their perches, and glide out
of sight. When, therefore, you shall have examined the out-doors[2]
antiquities, (and unless you would reconstruct the Forum for the
thousandth time on some original plan of your own, or were to go
mare's-nest hunting amidst the ruins with certain German _Barbatuli_,--the
Bunsenists of a season--ten days will be more than sufficient,) we charge
you not to fail calling at No. 23, Via della Vite, where, if you should
possess any lurking propensities for natural history, they are sure to be
elicited. As to your first reception, if this should be of a somewhat
abnormal kind, why, so was ours;--for Cadet and her mother are certainly
originals: but that you should not be disconcerted, and in order to
prepare you for the personal appearance, as well as the unusual qualities
of our friends, we transcribe the memorandum of our own introduction to
them. Prince Musignano, whose birds they mounted, professor Metaxa, who
sent rare insects for them to determine, and W----who affirmed, (_par
parenthèse_,) that no one could stuff birds like them but himself, had all
proeconised their accomplishments to us; so one morning with a note-book
full of queries, and a bottle full of insects, we descended the
_Scalinata_, and knocked at the door. It was opened by a cord pulled from
above, while a female voice demanded, _more solito_, "_chi c'e?_" On
answering, that our visit was to the _Signore_ who prepared insects, the
_voice_ said, "Come up, go in at the door to the right, and we will join
you as soon as we have made ourselves tidy." Obeying this
Little-red-riding-hood invitation, we entered the reception room, and
began to amuse ourselves with a survey of a score or two of queer-looking
pictures, (for the most part without frames,) with which the walls were
adorned; strange landscapes were there, and allegorical subjects, treated
with an equal perversity. On one that first caught our eye, a waning
moon, resting on the grass with its horns upwards, formed a couch for
Diana and Endymion; from this we had turned to a naked nymph with a pretty
face, and a torso half hidden under a cataract of dishevelled tresses,
"not penitent enough for a Magdalen," thought we, when mother and daughter
entering together, "_Ecco la mia madre_," said the girl pointing to the
picture in question. "_Come?_" asked we, "that your mother?" "Certainly,
it was painted by my own father, six months after their marriage; she was
then as you see, _una bella giovanne assai_." "Was your father, then, a
painter by profession?" "Not originally," interposed the old dame: "he was
designed for a missionary by his patron, who brought him over from his
native country, San Domingo, when a boy; but the old man dying shortly
afterwards, the Propaganda undertook to complete the youth's education
with the same view. As, however, he chose to think that painting, not
preaching, was his calling, and as an attachment had sprung up between us,
and I preferred passing my life with him rather than with Santa Ursula and
her virgins, to whom my friends would have dedicated me, we determined to
take our own case into our own hands, married without asking permission,
and then, to support ourselves, I turned my attention to Taxidermy and he
to the Fine Arts. Thus we managed to subsist till Annetta was nine years
old, when I lost him." "And I," interposed Annetta, "gained a score of old
botany books, and these beautiful paintings; I wonder no one comes to
propose for me." "_E pazza quella ragazza!_" said the mother; and, to
judge by her appearance and attire alone, she might have been so. Her
descent sufficiently accounted for her woolly hair; but in addition to its
negro texture, it was unteazled and neglected, being mixed with bits of
feather and other extraneous elements. She was swathed from head to foot
in coarse soiled dimity; in one hand she was holding a half stuffed hawk,
in the other a sponge, dipped in some arsenical solution to preserve it.
Our eyes had never rested upon so wild, so plain, so apparently hopeless a
slattern; but these unpromising appearances were soon forgotten, and amply
made amends for by the intelligence of her remarks, and the sprightliness
of her conversation; and we know,

  "Before such merits all objections fly,
  Pritchard's genteel, and Garrick six feet high."

The _officina_ was a curious place, and worthy of its mistress. It was
something between a shambles, a museum, and a tanyard, and exhaled in
consequence the mixed effluvia of decomposing flesh, alcohol, tannin, and
the oil of petroleum. In one corner stood a large tawny dog, stuffed, and
fixed to a board, with a new pair of eyes in his head, and his mouth well
furnished with grinders. "_Era molto vecchio questo cane_," going up to
introduce him to our notice, and patting his back affectionately: "his
sockets have not had such eyes in them for many a day, nor his jaws such
teeth. I have strengthened his legs with wire, and restored the proper
curl to the tail; nothing further is now lacking but some tufts of hair to
cover these bare patches on his haunches, when his master will at once
recognise unaltered the favourite of fourteen years ago." "And whence the
supplies necessary for your purpose?" "From this," replied she, drawing
out from under the table a skin of the same tawny colour, "_Eccola_," and
then pinching off with her tweezers a small tuft from the supplementary
hide, and gumming over with a camel's hair brush, a bare spot, she
proceeded to cover it. "And what's your remedy here?" said we, laying our
hand upon a large duck,[3] whose glossy grass-green neck had lost much of
its plumage, especially at the base, where it is wont to be, encircled
with a cravat of white feathers. "By robbing others of the same family:
for I always think a bird, while he lacks any of his feathers, is looking
reproachfully at me, and if a parrot could find tongue it might say,

  ''Tis cruel to look ragged now I'm dead;
  Annetta, give my tail a little red.'

But here are my stores;" and, touching a spring, the door of a small room
opened, and revealed unstuffed skins of all sorts, dangling from strings
like _Fantoccini_ near the _Sapienza_, at Christmas-time. "Yonder is a
bird, Annetta, that shot across our path yesterday in the villa Borghese;
was he not then a foreigner of distinction escaped from the prince's
aviary?"--"No; a Campagna bird, but rare;" and she proceeded to display
his lapis-lazuli wings, which shone like burnished armour, and were set
off by a brilliant edging of black feathers, as polished as jet, while the
back was a rich dark brown, and the neck and breast light azure. "Oh!
stuff us one of these birds, pray!"--"_Non dubitate_, one shall be on his
perch expecting you when you return to Rome in November."--"And we must
have, too, that beautiful neighbour of his who wears a short silk spencer
over his back and shoulders, and a full-breasted waistcoat of buff."--"The
Alcedo Hispida: he shall be ready too; they call him hereabouts, 'Martin
the Fisher.'"

We took leave for the time, but frequently returned to the workshop. On
one occasion, we asked Cadet how she attained such skill in taxidermy?
"Our art," she replied, "like yours, consists mainly in observation, and
therefore it must needs come slowly. In fact it has taken my mother and
myself fifteen years to learn the natural instincts, habits, and attitudes
of the birds and beasts of the Roman Fauna; every summer we visit their
haunts, and bring back such specimens as we may catch or as the peasants,
who all know us, may bring. Thus, we return, ever richly laden, sometimes
with the carcass of an eagle, or it may be of an African Phenicopterus;
or, failing in such large game, we are tolerably sure of porcupines, fine
snakes, a nest of vipers, specimens of our three several kinds of
tortoises, and different species of land crabs; to say nothing of the
Tarantulas, Scholias, and Hippobosques, which I pin round my bonnet, or
pop into spirits of wine. As to stuffing--the witnessing how some, who
call themselves naturalists, stuff birds, has been long as a beacon to me!
They really seem to forget, that it is one thing to prepare a goose for
the spit, and another to fill his skin for the museum; they cram whatever
they have in hand, as Fuocista Beppo crams a sky-rocket to repletion. Few
take the natural shape as a model for the embalmed body. In such hands,
sparrows become linnets, owls appear to have died of apoplexy, kestril
eyes shine in Civetta's sockets, and the jackdaw has a pupil like the
vulture. Then in grouping, they make _all_ to look straight forward, as
if, when a hawk has swooped upon a teal, his eyes did not turn downwards
in the direction of his victim, or those of the poor teal upwards, in the
direction of the expected blow; _he_ too, should be represented as
striving to extend his neck beyond the drooping screen of the other's
impenetrable wing. Then birds of prey should not perch like barn-door
fowls, nor a parrot divide his toes before and behind unequally; yet some
taxidermists there are, who consider these things _trifles_!" "Well, sir,
what do you think of my daughter's stuffing?" said the old woman. "Why,
that she stuffs beautifully, but the smell of those old hides in the
corner makes me sick." Whereupon they both laughed out at our affectation.
"A doctor, and made sick!" said they, and they laughed again. "Have you
heard of the Brazilian consul's lion?" interrogated the daughter,
endeavouring to make us forget our sickness by exciting our curiosity.
"No; nor even that he had a lion." "Oh, tell the story to the Signor
Dottore, mother!" said the girl; "I can't for laughing." Upon which the
old woman, summoning to her aid a ludicrously solemn look, prefaced the
anecdote by supposing "We must know the Brazilian consul?"--"Not even by
name."--"In that case we were to understand that he was by nature a man of
great tenderness of character, but had once been chafed into an act of
extraordinary ferocity, killing with his own hand, during the last year of
his consulate, (but unfortunately, like Ulysses, without a witness,) a
lordly lion: as there was no embalmer on the spot, he simply flayed his
victim, and preserved the skin with spice till his return last year, when
the wish naturally arose to have the lion mounted after the most approved
models, in order that the dimensions of the body and the respective length
of tusks, tail, and claws, might appear to the best advantage, making it
very evident that this had been a lion that none but Hercules or a
Brazilian consul would have ventured to cope with. On making inquiries for
an accomplished embalmer, our diplomatist unfortunately stumbles upon a
Frenchman--a gentleman of rare accomplishments, as they all are, perfectly
versed, by his own account, in that ancient Egyptian art in all its
branches; this man, on seeing the skin, takes care duly to appreciate the
courage of the consul in killing so immense a beast, whom he promises
forthwith to restore to his pristine dimensions and fierceness of
physiognomy; his adroitness is rewarded by _carte blanche_, to purchase
any amount of spices and cotton he may require, and his _honoraire_ is
fixed at fifty _scudi_ on the completion of the job. Hoping to increase
the family satisfaction by showing them the lion once again on his legs,
without their previously witnessing the steps by which this was to be
effected, he requests that in the interval no one would visit the
workshop." "Mind you make him big enough;" says the Consul, signing the
contract. "_Laissez-moi faire_," rejoins the other. After three weeks'
mystery, the artist sends for his employer, who, speedily obeying the
summons, finds the exhibition-room arranged for a surprise, and the
Frenchman in anticipation of an assured triumph, rubbing his hands before
a curtain, on the other side of which is the object of this visit.
"_Hortense, levez la toile!_" says the Frenchman, giving the word of
command. Hortense does as he is bid; up goes the curtain, and the Consul
beholds his old friend, not only with a new face but with a new body:
whereat, astounded and aghast,--"That's not, _my_ lion, sir," says the
Brazilian. "How, sir, not _your_ lion; whose lion then?--you are
facetious." "_I_ facetious, sir," _roars_ the impatient lion-killer, "and
what should make _me_ facetious?" "I have the honour to tell you, sir,
that this is your lion," says the Frenchman chafing in his turn. "And I
have the _honour_ to tell you, then," reiterated the other, "that you
never _saw_ a lion." When the Consular family assembled, it was worse
still; the children laughed in his face, and the lady said, "that but for
his mane and colour she should not have guessed what animal he
personated." It was a family misfortune. "Why did you trust a _Frenchman_
with it?" asked his affectionate spouse: "you recollect that Alfieri calls
them a nation of Charlatans, whose origin is _mud_,[4] and that all he
ever learned of them was, to be silent when they spoke." "But what's to be
done now?" demands the disconsolate man. "Send for the little women who
understand stuffing, and take their advice." "So we went," continued the
old woman, "and were personally introduced to this lion." "_Ah! che
Leone!_" interrupted the daughter, laughing at the recollection of the
quizzical beast. "A _lion_ indeed!" said the mother laughing, but less
boisterously than her daughter. "What a king of the forest!" said the
girl, going off again into inextinguishable merriment: "mother, do you
remember his eyes sunk in his head as if he had died of a decline, his
chest pinched in to correspond, his belly bulging out like the pouch of an
opossum, with all her family at home, his mouth twisted into a sardonic
grin, his teeth like some old dowager, one row overlapping the other, his
cheeks inflated as if his stomach was in his mouth, and then the position
of one of his fore-legs, evidently copied from that of the old bronze
_horse_ on the Capitol, while his tail wound three times and a half round
its own tip!" "_Basta, basta!_" said the old woman, "he _was_ a queer
lion, and looked easy enough to kill if you could only keep your gravity
while you attacked him." "And what said the Consul?" asked we, laughing
with them. "The Consul _cospettoed_ again and again, and was for knocking
him off his legs at once, and then giving him to us to re-arrange. 'You
and your daughter,' said he, 'will take him home and do what you can for
me;' but we told him plainly, that to expect a new birth, after such a
miscarriage as this, was only to indulge a vain hope, sure to issue in new
disappointment. Why, the very tail would have taken us a fortnight to
uncurl and make a _lion's_ tail of it; the ears were quite past
redemption; the _bustle_ might have been removed from behind, and the
wadding placed in front, where it was wanted; but the hide itself was
corrugated into plaits that nothing could have removed. '_Cospetto!_' said
the Consul, _poveretto_, who had nothing else to say--'and am I thus to
lose my lion, the only lion I ever killed, and such a fine lion too!' and
then he fell to abusing the Frenchman. 'I can't keep him here to show my
friends,' pursued he; 'for it is obvious, if I do, that instead of
admiring my courage, they will only ridicule me, and perhaps betray me
into the hands of that rogue _Pinelli_ as a fit subject for his
caricature.' We could not say they would not; so we recommended him, upon
the whole, as the best thing under the misfortune, to _re_-consult the
French artist. '_Scelarato porco!_ consult him about a lion? why the
commonest daub on a _Trattoria_ sign-board gives a better idea of the
noble animal than this." "It is difficult to stuff a lion," said the girl,
half apologetically: "one cost me a fortnight's hard work to prepare."
"Yes," added the mother eagerly--"yes, but he looked like a lion, he did."
Then turning to us, "Well, sir, at last, as we could not help the Consul,
he was obliged to have recourse to this Frenchman again, who admitted that
the bulk of the animal was in the wrong place, and _une idée trop large_,
and removed some of it accordingly. With respect to the hind-quarters, he
cleverly got rid of this difficulty, by inserting three-quarters of the
noble beast into a den, formed in a recess of the drawing-room, and hung
with a profusion of green paper, representing bushes falling across its
mouth, while beyond them protruded the head and open jaws of the lord of
the forest, as reconnoitring the ground previous to a sally upon the
guests; and there, doubtless, he is still exhibiting.".... Well did Cadet
herself avoid the errors she thus ridiculed. We possess one of her
animated groups, of which the subject is an eagle killing a snake, and the
execution is so true to nature, and so beautifully disposed for effect as
to render improvement impossible: from some such original did the Locrian
and Girgenti mints copy one of their finest reverses, and Virgil and
Ariosto their lively descriptions. Our bird, which lay, a month before, an
unsightly mass of blood-stained feathers, broken-winged, on the ground,
when he came into our possession, _stuffed_, looked not only alive but in
action. The talon which supported the body seemed to grasp the perch
beneath it so tightly, as to convey a very lively impression both of his
prehensile powers and of his weight; round the other, (embracing it as in
a vice,) writhed the body of a large snake; the eagle's neck was erect,
his head slightly bent, his wonderfully expressive eye glancing downwards,
his hooked beak opening and disclosing the tongue slightly raised; the
scant feathers round the olfactory fissures up; the snake hissing, his
head elevated, and darting upwards, to anticipate the lacerating blow:

        "_Hic_ sinuosa volumina versat,
  Arrectisque horret squammis, et sibilat ore,
  Arduus insurgens; _illa_ haud minus urget adunco,
  Luctantem rostro."

The delusion as to the substance and weight of the bird was perfect. At
first we doubted being able to lift him without considerable effort. On
making the attempt, however, we find him light as a Nola jar. A glorious
bird is the eagle, well worthy the attention and regard bestowed on him in
ancient times by prophet, priest, and poet; but had they been silent, we
should have learned the veneration in which he was popularly held by the
frequent recurrence of his image--whether incised on Egyptian obelisk,
chiselled by Grecian hands on ornamented casque, guarding the tombs of
heroes, grasping the thunderbolts of colossal Joves, perched on Latin,
standards, carrying off young Ganymedes to wait, _invitâ Junone_, on the
gods above[5]--or bearing aloft, on consecrated coin, some most religious
and gracious _Augusta_ to Glory and to Olympus!

One day, meeting the elder Cadet in the street returning alone from the
bird-market--a very unusual occurrence, for they generally hunted in
couples--we asked after the daughter, and hearing she was _ammalata
assai_, and wanted one of our little pills to set her to rights, turned in
with the mother, and found the young _naturalista_ reclining on an
ill-stuffed _bergère_, with a large Coluber coiled round her temples, and
a half-prepared Hoopoe in her hand. In the same apartment were a vulture
picking an old shoe to pieces under the belly of an Esquimaux dog, and
some little land-tortoises nibbling away at a large lettuce in the middle
of the floor. Our inquiries were somewhat embarrassed by the unusual
circumstances of our patient, particularly by the presence of the snake,
which now began to untwist. "See! he has recognised his master," said the
dame: "or perhaps has raised his head with a view of taking part in the
consultation." We had seen snakes entwining the lovely brow of Medusa, in
marble, cameo, and intaglio--painted snakes in clusters hissing in the
hair of the Eumenides--but a living snake wound round living temples we
had never seen till to-day. "Come, sir, you are only the _snake_ to
Esculapius; and though I am not ungrateful for what you have done in
refreshing my hot forehead with your cool skin, now the _doctor_ is come,
_bon giorno_!" and, removing him like a turban from her head, she placed
him in a box at her side. This was, then, that Epidaurian Coluber which we
had so frequently seen in marble effigy wound round the consultation cane
of the God of Physic,[6] and not to be viewed by us alive for the first
time without interest. "Mother," said the younger Cadet, brightening up
when she perceived this, "bring our snake-boxes, and let us show them all
to the _dottore_." In less than five minutes the cases were before us. The
first contained a mother blind-worm and her viviparous family of ten
offspring, not two inches long, while she stretched to about twelve. A
Coluber Natrix inhabited the second. "He is a great favourite with
children in Sardinia," said Cadet, "twisting himself round their arms, and
sucking milk from their mouths; but if these supplies fail, he feeds on
frogs and fish. His flesh is a sovereign remedy, say our doctors, in skin
diseases; and they also say--but you know best how true this may be--that
one of the late Dukes of Bavaria became a father by merely eating fowls
that had been fattened on them." A Coluber Austriacus followed--a rare
snake, and chiefly remarkable for his pleasant herbaceous smell, very
unlike what proceeded from a neighbouring box, holding a Coluber
Viperinus, who secretes, when irritated, a yellow fluid of intense
foetor, like the mixed stinks from asafoetida and rotten eggs. The
specimen in this box was large. It had vomited, we were told, two frogs
the day after its capture; and on cutting open another of the same
species, Annetta had seen a living toad creep, Jonas-like, from the
paunch, and make the best of three legs to escape, the fourth being
already disposed of, and digested in the body of the serpent. The solitary
Coluber Atro-virens passed next in review. She gave him a character for
preferring good cheer to the best company, _ex gr._--Out of two taken last
week, one only survived; the other devoured his friend in the night, and
next morning they found his enormously distended body dilated almost to
transparency, and palpitating under the feeble movement of the victim,
doubled up in his inside, but not yet dead. Being very exclusive, some
call him "_il milordo_;" others, from the beauty of his colour, _"il
bello."_ When about to moult, his wonted vivacity changes to moroseness.
Like a mad dog, he will snap at every thing. Perhaps the loss of all his
beauty, which then takes place, may account for such peevishness. A
glaucomatous state of the eye always precedes by some days the moult,
which is accomplished by the skin cracking from the jaws, and afterwards
being reflected over the head and shoulders, till by degrees the snake
skins himself alive, leaving his old investment turned completely inside
out. As gross a feeder as an alderman, he more frequently recovers from a
surfeit, perhaps because, though a glutton, he will not touch wine.

Snakes are not so plentiful about Rome as farther south. Terracina in
particular swarms with them, as did its ancient predecessor _Amycle_,
which was once nearly depopulated by them. Their chief haunt hereabouts is
two miles beyond the Porta Salara, at a place called Serpentina, on the
opposite side of the Tiber, and nearly in front of the embouchure of the
Cremara. At last we come to the family viper box, which perhaps we "would
like to peep into with our gloves on?" "_Per Carita_, no," said we seizing
the naturalista's hand--"on no account--a bite would be no joke!" Cadet
laughed, observing that curiosity should not be baulked by timidity for a
trifle.--"A trifle! had she ever been bitten, then?" "_Come? sicuro ogni
anno._" It was of familiar occurrence: the part would swell, be stiff and
sore for a couple of days, but that was all. Fontana found that it
required four large and very angry vipers to kill a dog--of course it must
require as many to kill a man. As to the Egyptian Queen's death being
caused by a viper's bite, that question having been properly _ventilated_
(ventillata) by Professor Lancisci, might be considered as set at rest.
One viper could not kill one person, much less _three_; and we might
remember that Cleopatra's memorable asp is said to have bitten two maids
of honour, Neæra and Carmione, before it came to her turn, by which time
the poison must have been expended and the viper's tooth dry. "Two
things," added she, "I have noted about vipers; one regards the parturient
viper, and is to the effect that, a prisoner, she never survives her
confinement many days; long before the _quarante jours y compris
l'accouchement_[7] are over, she has ceased to be a mother and a viper.
The other regards her progeny, and is this; that young viperlings come
into the world in full maturity of malice, offering to bite as soon as
their mouths are open, and flying at each other when they have no other
society to attack. We have five varieties in Rome." "Is the viper deaf,
Cadet?" "You should read the experiments of Peter Manni, a great friend of
ours who tames snakes; these will completely satisfy your curiosity on
this point:" and she fetched us the work of Manni, in which he gives
curious account of the influence exercised upon several varieties of the
species by the sound of a pianoforte, and afterwards goes on to relate the
effects produced upon the same serpents by electricity and light. "The
Viper," says he, "was impassive to the second of these agents, suffering a
lighted candle to be brought close to his eyes before he turned away his
head; of the harmless snakes, Coluber Esculapius came up to look at a
lighted torch, but, finding it too strong for him, gnashed his teeth and
bolted; Coluber Elaphis bore the heat of a lighted candle in his mouth
with apparent indifference; but the Coluber Atro-virens flew at it in a
passion, snapping and biting while he struggled to retreat; _he_ also
appeared most distressed under the application of slight electric shocks,
from which indeed all the snakes suffered, and the smaller ones died."

The action of some _poisons_ upon snakes is similar to that on our own
economy. For instance, on administering half a grain of strychnine to a
full-grown Coluber Atro-virens, four minutes elapsed before, any change
was visible. During this period the snake moved in the hand with his usual
vivacity; the flesh then began to grow rigid under the finger; and in half
a minute, the whole body, with the exception of three inches of coil, was
seized with a tetanic spasm--the beautiful imbrication of the scales was
dislocated by the violence of the muscular action, and the sleek round
cylinder of the body was hardened into knots and reduced to half its
former bulk. Reviving for a few seconds, the snake started, opened its
jaws, but immediately afterwards became stiff and motionless except at the
tail, which continued to exhibit feeble contractile action for about
twenty minutes. After death, the body, losing its unnatural rigidity,
became unnaturally supple, seemed without a spine, and might be doubled
upon itself like a ribbon. In two cases which we witnessed of individuals
poisoned by strychnine, similar tetanic phenomena were observed. Corrosive
sublimate and prussic acid do not appear to act on snakes either with such
violence or rapidity as on warm-blooded animals; for a dose of three
grains of the former, and several drops of the latter, (Majendie's,)
remained inactive for a quarter of an hour; then, two grains of arsenic
being added, the snake suddenly raised his head half a foot from the
ground, remained motionless as in a trance, for a minute, then fell back
quite dead. We are not proud of these experiments, nor do we intend to
repeat such; but having been guilty of them, the recital of the results
can do no harm.

What various and even opposite qualities, owing to the supposed
versatility of his character, have been ever attributed to the serpent!
Viewed as fancy dictated, under different phases, men were not content to
ascribe to him their vices only, but must also attribute to him most of
their moral excellencies: wisdom, prudence, vigilance, fortitude and
sobriety were all his; he was symbolical of the divine nature, of
eternity, and of youth. Long before _viper broth_ was used in medicine,
the Coluber was at Hygeia's side by the fountain of health, and was twined
round the stick of Esculapius, at once silent and expeditious in his
motion. Harpocrates favoured, and Mercury the Olympic messenger employed
him as his deputy; though victim on one occasion to the archery of Apollo,
the god of verse found something in his

  ------ "winding 'bout
  Of linked structure long drawn out,"

so akin to poetry, (particularly to the kind called epic,) that he took an
additional cognomen (Pythius) out of compliment to him; whilst Alexander
and Augustus, those worthy descendants of Jove (whom he is said to have
befriended in his amours), stamped his image on their coins, and assumed
it as their crest. So far we behold him in favour both with gods and men:
but opinions vary, applause is inconstant; and accordingly we equally find
him charged with envy, hatred, malice, hypocrisy, ingratitude, cruelty,
and almost every other vice. He is also accused of devastating towns, of
usurping islands,[8] of impeding armies,[9] of destroying priests at the
altar, and it is certain that he lent his name to heresy, and permitted
the great Heresiarch to assume his form in order to beguile Eve.



MATERIALS FOR A HISTORY OF OIL PAINTING.[10]


In the prosecution of an object, it often happens that the means employed
lead unexpectedly to results of immeasurably more importance than the end
originally proposed; and that, while the ostensible end may turn out to be
a failure or of doubtful benefit, some real good, some lasting advantage,
shall be brought out by the exercise of the ability, energy, and
faithfulness of the agents employed.

The mind can scarcely work on given materials without making some
discovery. In this sense did Socrates adopt the line of Hesiod--

     "Employ thyself in any thing rather than stand idle."

We are of those who would doubt the advantages proposed by the Commission
of the Fine Arts. If it were likely to lead to a permanent patronage for
_great works_, it would be a boon indeed; but if it be the cause of only a
temporary excitement, holding out a promise which it has no means of
fulfilling, encouraging talent, and making it unprofitable, turning it
from the line in which it is wanted, to that in which it is not likely to
be sought after, the artists will have little reason in the end to be
thankful for the establishing of this Commission. The competition which it
proposes is not altogether wholesome: it is sicklied over from the
beginning with the fear and jealousy of a class. The tried hands of an
academy abstain from a contest which may take away from them the honour
(in the world's eye) which has been exclusively appropriated to them; and
the new aspirants work at too probable a loss, scarcely hoping that their
labours will be adopted or rewarded: while in that absence of a higher
competition, the public, and possibly the Commission itself, expect
inferiority; and if these _great_ pictures, great in dimensions as in
attempt, are not purchased by the public, there can be little hope that
any private dwellings will contain them. If the object be to adorn the
Houses of Parliament with pictures, it would be far better to select from
the painters we have, and give them their work to do, than to raise up a
host of artists, nine-tenths of whom must sink under a hopeless lack of
employment; for there is not a general taste for the particular style
which it is the object of the Commission to promote, nor can there well be
in a country where there are so few public edifices of importance and of
public resort, and so few palaces capable of containing works of great
size. Indeed the art of decoration is with us quite of another character,
and one little adapted for the display of great works. There, is paint in
profusion, and of a dazzling splendour,--we do not mean to speak
slightingly of this architectural adjunct;--but there is little room for
the _sobriety_ of great art; and be it remembered that art, to be great,
must have in it a certain sobriety, awe, and majesty, that does not quite
accord with our style of decoration. We require a kind of furniture
decoration. We doubt if in our Houses of Parliament and palaces, much room
will be spared to what is so facetiously termed "High Art." Nor can we
expect to be always building Houses of Parliament; and, therefore, too
soon the magniloquent patronage must come to an end. Domesticity is the
habit of modern life, (for even our club-houses are of that character, and
assume the appearance of a home;) and, for such habits, easel pictures
will ever have the greatest charm. Nor would it be correct to deny to them
a very scope in the field of art. We doubt if we can recur to any
extensive patronage for frescoes; and their great cost must exclude them
from our churches, which we are more desirous of multiplying than of
ornamenting. Nor can we wonder at this; for, whereas the churches and all
public buildings in Italy, were and are open at all times, and the great
works they contain, are to be seen every day, and at every hour of the
day, with us it is a great thing to have them open once or twice in the
week, for an hour and a half at a time. So that we fear the Commission for
the promotion of the Fine Arts are, as far as we can judge of their
ostensible object, in a labyrinth, from which if they find an exit, they
will not have enlarged their prospect, and will have to congratulate
themselves, at best, on being where they were when they entered it.

We do not here express a doubt as to the advantage of our having a
Commission of the Fine Arts. We only doubt their judgment in the
exclusiveness of their aim, and the largeness of their implied promises.

But if there be a suspicion of failure in the ostensible object, in some
of its working the greatest benefit will have been conferred upon modern
art. A more judicious or more fortunate choice could not have been made,
than that made in the appointment of the Secretary to the Commission. Much
as the world has reason to regret that this appointment has for a long,
too long a period, been a sore let and hinderance to Mr Eastlake in the
practice of his art,--the conscientious view he has taken of the duties of
his office, and his entire faithfulness in discharging them, have led to
results of a most beneficial character,--beneficial to artists, and to the
arts as a perpetuity. His highly valuable work, though with the most
modest title, "Materials for a History of Oil Painting," is the real boon,
and will be the lasting proof of his faithful service. Considering the
sacrifice with which a work of so much labour, thought, and research must
have been achieved, we hope the Commissioners are empowered to reward his
energy, ability, and fidelity, according to their merits, and according to
the sacrifice.

Mr Eastlake, justly judging it to be of the first importance, in whatever
schemes might be entertained for the promotion of the Fine Arts, to secure
to the artist the best materials, and the approved methods of the best
times, and to give him as complete a knowledge of the history of the art
he professes as might be obtained, undertook to search out and examine
records with the greatest care, leaving as little to conjecture as
possible. He could not dictate to the mind, but he might be able to put
means into the hands of genius; the more perfect the instruments, the
greater would be the freedom, and, what is of no small importance, the
more durable would be the works. The first step in this direction was
evidently towards a knowledge of what had been done, and had been
universally admired and approved:--to discover first, if possible, what
was the method and what were the technical means in the hands of Titian
and Correggio, of Rubens and most of the Flemish painters.

Aware of the discussions and disputes concerning the invention of Van
Eyck, he found it necessary to trace the progress of art from its earliest
records to the date of the supposed discoverer of painting in oil--or
rather discoverers, Hubert and John Van Eyck, in 1410. The conclusion to
which the documentary evidence led him was this, that:--

"The technical improvements which Van Eyck introduced were unquestionably
great; but the mere materials employed by him may have differed little, if
at all, from those which had been long familiar. The application of oil
painting to figures, and such other objects as (with rare exceptions) had
before been executed only _in tempera_, was a consequence of an
improvement in the vehicle." "It is apparent, that much has been
attributed to John Van Eyck, which was really the invention of Hubert; and
both may have been indebted to earlier painters for the elements of their
improved process."

The _very_ early use of oil in painting need not here be discussed, though
it was necessary to go into much detail in forming a history of the art,
which was the object of Mr Eastlake. Perhaps, the earliest in our practice
will be found to have been in England, and may have been the legacy of art
bequeathed at the departure of the Romans. It did not commence in Italy.
"The use of resinous solutions combined in various proportions with oil,
as a medium or vehicle for the colours, was an early technical
characteristic of the northern schools, and merits attention here,
accordingly."

It is the opinion of the author of "Materials for a History," &c., that
the Van Eycks did not so much invent as improve; it was therefore most
desirable to ascertain what was previously ready to their hands to be
improved. And as to the improvement, that was perhaps really less than has
been supposed, the application being the novelty. Oleo-resinous varnishes
had before been in use, even from a very early period; but the admixture
of these with the pigments was the great step in advance, and it may be
inferred that the method of rendering these oleo-resinous vehicles
colourless, or nearly so, was the great invention of John Van Eyck.

Drying oil was well known to the ancients, that is before the Christian
era. "Dioscorides, whose works were familiar to medieval writers on
medicine, is supposed to have lived in the age of Augustus. He mentions
two drying oils; walnut-oil and poppy-oil. The principal materials
employed in modern oil painting were at least ready for the artist, and
waited only for a Van Eyck,--in the age of Ludius[11] and the painters of
Pompeii."

We will not attempt further to pursue the history of oil painting to the
time of the Van Eycks; suffice it to say, that a recipe of Theophilus, a
monk of the twelfth century, furnishes materials--an oleo-resinous vehicle
generally used after the time of Van Eyck--and that the improvement by Van
Eyck was the substituting amber for the sandarach of Theophilus. The work
of Theophilus has recently appeared, translated by Mr Hendrie from the
Latin, and forms a very valuable addition to the painter's library, as
well as to that of the curious and scientific, in general. The artist will
find in Mr Hendrie's preface, the information he will be most desirous to
possess. He strongly insists upon amber varnish as being the real vehicle
or discovery of Van Eyck, and lays much stress upon a certain distilled
oil as a diluent. He says:--

"Amber varnish, and probably other thick oil varnishes, would be equally
benefitted, thinned with this distilled oil. It dries without a pellicle
when mixed with colours. Colours used for finishing a picture, such as in
the light for solid painting, or glazing for colour and shadows, are
rendered very pure and without the slightest appearance of a skin,
although it may be plentifully used. It dries much more slowly than any
other distilled oil, and hence its great value, as it allows the artist as
much time as he requires, in order to blend his colours and finish his
work. In conjunction with amber varnish, it forms a vehicle which leaves
nothing to be desired, and which doubtless was the vehicle of Van Eyck,
and in many instances of the Venetian masters, and of Correggio; the
different modes of painting necessarily producing the varied appearances
of the different schools and masters."

This promises the remedy for the disease, as it were, of vehicles, the
not drying from the bottom, which will delight every artist, if he finds
it a practical truth. We confess, we somewhat fear the sanguine
temperament of the translator of Theophilus, and should have preferred
some proof to the bare assertion that the picture by John Bellini, in the
National Gallery, was painted in amber varnish. Nor can we quite trust his
translation of the recipe for making this amber varnish. We were startled
with this account of 1 lb litharge to 1 lb linseed oil and 4 ounces of
amber--is he correct in translating _spigelhors_ litharge? It should be
rosin. With regard to the value of amber varnish, Mr Eastlake quite agrees
with Mr Hendrie. Another important improvement of the Van Eycks was the
substitution of calcined white copperas for litharge. In a note, Mr
Eastlake gives the information that on experiment it has been proved that
oil does not take up any portion of the copperas, which nevertheless
renders it very drying and hard, but that oil does take up sugar of lead.
It should be added, however, that he does not think lead so prejudicial to
colours as some have thought it to be.

The value of Mr Eastlake's book chiefly consists in the documentary
evidence which is now brought to bear upon the question of vehicles; and
doubtless, that which is subsequent to the time of Van Eyck is by far the
most valuable. Evidence is produced not only of oils in use, and the
methods of purifying them, but of varnishes, and recipes for making them,
likewise of the colours used. There is yet, however, much untold with
regard to the Italian practice, concerning which Mr Eastlake proposes to
treat in a second volume. Yet, with regard to the Italian methods, we are
not left without some important knowledge, which, however, must be
considered as offered rather incidentally; for the Italians having
modified, and in some respects much varied the vehicle they derived from
the Flemish masters, their methods were again partially adopted by the
latter; so that the methods of these two great schools of art could not be
kept entirely separate.

To those much acquainted with art, it will be thought of the utmost
importance to obtain any recipes of the time of Rubens and Vandyke. Such
we are in possession of--contained in a manuscript in the British
Museum--of which we may expect the publication entire. It may be
interesting to give some account of this MS. and its author. The
manuscript is entitled "Pictoria, Sculptura, Tinctoria, et quæsub
alternarum artium spectantia, in Lingua Latinâ, Gallicâ, Italicâ,
Germanicâ conscripta, a Petro Paulo, Rubens, Vandyke, Somers, Greenberry,
Jansen, &c.--Fo. xix. A.D. 1620; T. de Mayerne." Theodore Mayerne, the
author, was born at Geneva, 1573. "He selected the medical profession; and
after studying at Montpelier and Paris, accompanied Henri Duc de Rohan to
Germany and Italy. On his return he opened a school, in which he delivered
lectures to students in surgery and medicine. This proceeding, and the
innovation, as it then appears to have been, of employing mineral
specifics in the healing art, excited a spirit of opposition which led to
a public resolution, emanating from the faculty at Paris, in which his
practice was condemned. His reputation rapidly increased from this period.
He had before been appointed one of the physicians in ordinary to Henry
IV. In 1611, James I. invited him to England, and appointed him his first
physician. De Mayerne enjoyed the same title under Charles I. He died at
Chelsea, leaving a large fortune, 1655."... "Dallaway, in his annotations
on Walpole, after noticing the influence of De Mayerne's medical practice
on the modern pharmacopoeia, remarks that 'his application of chemistry
to the composition of pigments, and which he liberally communicated to the
painters who enjoyed the royal patronage,--to Rubens, Vandyke, and
Pelitot--tended most essentially to the promotion of the art. From his
experiments were discovered the principal colours to be used for
enamelling, and the means of vitrifying them. Rubens painted his portrait;
certainly one of the finest now extant. It originally ornamented the
Arundel collection: was then at Dr Mead's, Lord Besborough's, and is now
(1826) at Cleveland House.'... A monarch who was so fond of painting as
Charles I., was fortunate in having the assistance of a person who
combined a love of art with a scientific knowledge applicable to its
mechanical operations. It is not surprising that such an amateur as De
Mayerne should enjoy the confidence of the first painters of his time; or
that in return for the useful hints which he was sometimes enabled to give
them, they should freely open to him the results of their practical
knowledge. Such communications, registered at the time by an intelligent
observer, threw considerable light on the state of painting at one of its
most brilliant periods, and tend especially to illustrate the habits of
the Flemish and Dutch schools."

De Mayerne records the use of sand in purifying oils, as a communication
from Mytens, painter to Charles I., _before the arrival of Vandyke_.
"Coming from such a source," says Mr Eastlake, "it may be classed among
the processes which were familiar to the Flemish and Dutch painters."

The works of the Flemish and Dutch painters are undoubtedly those which
the artists of the present day would desire to be the tests of vehicles
and of colours. They can scarcely have, therefore, a more valuable
document than this manuscript of De Mayerne, the friend of Vandyke. From
this source there is much information with regard to colours. It has
always been supposed that Rubens in particular was lavish in the use of
Naples yellow. It was largely used by the Italian painters; but it is
omitted in the list of colours of the Dutch and Flemish. Many yellows,
which in oil alone will not stand, are, it seems, durable if protected by
an oleo-resinous medium. After enumerating many other yellows, Mr Eastlake
remarks--"There was, however, one substance, viz. gamboge, now
undeservedly fallen into disuse in oil painting, which is superior to
most, if not to all, of those above named; the colouring matter united
with its resinous portion, which renders it more durable in oil painting,
may be easily freed from mere gum. De Mayerne, it would seem on good
grounds, pronounces in its favour; and his speculations respecting the
best mode of using it are confirmed by modern authorities. Gamboge, he
observes, furnishes a beautiful yellow, constant, unfading, and that works
freely."

We are not surprised to see another pigment commended; we have long used
it, but believe it is unknown as a colour by the artists of the present
day, though, we suspect, sold by colour-makers for common work as a cheap
brown. It is common coal. De Mayerne says, "The shadows of flesh are well
rendered by pit-coal, which should not be burned." It is also recommended
by Van Mander, and by Norgate, "whose directions for oil painting
correspond in all outward particulars with the Flemish methods." In some
experiments recorded by Sir Joshua Reynolds--there are the words "Gamboge
and oil--but no colour remains;" yet it should be observed that where it
is protected it is most durable. We believe the Aloes Cavallino, spoken of
in terms of commendation by Leonardo da Vinci, to be an excellent
transparent colour--and well calculated to give great richness to browns
and to greens. It is certainly very interesting to know the colours
actually used by the best masters of bye-gone days,--but we must not
forget that modern science may greatly have improved many, and produced
others, and has surer grounds to pronounce on their permanency. Mr Field,
in his Chromatography, has rendered a very great service to art.

It is not only the varnish, or rather the gums which compose the
varnishes, that should be considered with great attention, in reviewing
this subject,--but the great stress which seems to have been universally
laid upon the necessity of purifying the oils. And this necessity is
insisted upon from the earliest times. Even after all the precaution and
pains taken to purify oils, there will be a tendency to turn yellow upon
the surface. Rubens, in a letter, speaks of this, and gives orders for his
pictures, which were packed freshly painted, to be exposed to the sun. And
this practice of exposure to the sun seems to have been adopted generally
in Italy, as well as elsewhere, not only for the purpose of drying the
paint more readily, but for the freeing the surface from the yellowing of
the oil, the deleterious portion of which is thus taken up by the
atmosphere and the heat of the sun.

We have unhesitatingly exposed the surfaces of freshly painted pictures
not only to the sun, but to all weathers,--and that not for a few hours
but for weeks--and always with advantage. There is another method also
which will be found equally beneficial. When the surface is greasy, and
will not take water from the sponge, it may be truly conjectured that this
deleterious quality of the oil has exuded. We always remove it by sand and
water--the coarser the sand the better; the finer, being more silicious,
is more likely to cut. But we must observe that even though the picture be
not fairly dry, excepting under very rough usage, the paint will not be at
all removed. Even after this cleansing, the oil will still, for a
considerable time, throw up this greasy product. We remove it, therefore,
again and again until, after a week or ten days' trial, we find the
surface free from grease; and we are strongly inclined to think the
colours undergo no change when this clearance has been once well effected.
In a letter from Mrs Merrifield, she strongly recommends this exposure of
pictures to the sun and atmosphere; and says it was universally practised.
This should not, however, prevent the previous purification of the oils;
for there is no writer upon the subject that does not insist upon this. Mr
Eastlake's book furnishes recipes of all ages. Frequent washings with
water, to which a little salt is added, and fine sand to take down the
impurities of the oil, may be safely recommended. In describing the
process taught by the Gesuate, friends of Perugino, the Padre Gesuato
adds, "Observe, that wherever you find oil mentioned, this purified oil is
meant."

It would appear that the pigments were, formerly as now, ground only in
oil: the vernix was added to the colour, by drops, when on the palette; so
that, should the new, or recovered old vehicles, if such they be, come
into general use, it will not be necessary to discard the supply of oil
colours from the shops of our colour-makers. The colours in tubes, which
happily have superseded the bladders, will still be in general request.
Northcote thought it a great advantage to the old Italian masters that
they were under the necessity of making most of their colours themselves.
This, certainly, was not the case in the earlier times; for the monks, who
were every thing--physicians, painters, chemists, &c.--were not only the
patrons and dealers, but were makers of the colours also. We cannot quite
agree with Northcote. The only objection we have to offer to the present
system of tube colours is as regards their cost; for, considering the
value of the materials, the cost of putting them up seems very exorbitant.
This is of little consequence, indeed, in painting easel pictures of no
great size; but if we are to proceed on the large scale, which the
Commission for the Fine Arts encourages, it would become a matter of some
consideration. It has been supposed that the first colour-shop in London
was set up by a servant of Sir Godfrey Kneller's; but there is reason to
believe, from some incidental remarks, that the trade existed in De
Mayerne's time. Some painters of great eminence had their favourite
colour-makers, employed, probably, by themselves exclusively. In a letter,
Titian regrets the death of the man who prepared his white,--and De
Mayerne says of Vandyke, "He spoke to me of all exquisite white, compared
with which the finest whitelead appears gray, which he says is known to M.
Rubens. Also of a man who dissolved amber without carbonising it, so that
the solution was pale yellow, transparent." We learn from this that there
were then colour-makers and varnish-makers, and also that the brilliant
white of Rubens may not always have been whitelead.

There seems to have been in the fourteenth century a kind of painting
practised in England which much attracted the notice of foreigners. It was
of water-colours on cloth--"on closely woven linen saturated with gum
water. This, when dry, is stretched on the floor over coarse woollen
frieze cloths; and the artists, walking over the linen with clean feet,
proceed to design and colour historical figures and other subjects. And
because the linen is laid quite flat on the woollen cloths, the
water-colours do not flow and spread, but remain where they are placed,
the moisture sinking through into the woollen cloths underneath, which
absorb it. In like manner, the outlines of the brush remain defined, for
the gum in the linen prevents the spreading of such lines. Yet, after this
linen is painted, its thinness is no more obscured than if it was not
painted at all, as the colours have no body." This does not at all
resemble the kind of tempera painting in use in Flanders to imitate
tapestry; for it is noticed as peculiar to England by a native of
Flanders. May not this method be again, with some advantage, restored for
the getting in the subjects of large pictures? The cloth so painted might
easily be put on other cloth prepared with a ground.

The subject of grounds is not omitted: it is one of importance; and the
artist will do well to study Mr Eastlake's book, if he would have a ground
that might suit his after-work. All grounds made with glues are bad--they
not only crack, but change the colours. M. Merimée accurately examined the
grounds of some of Titian's pictures--and found starch and paste. It is
supposed that grounds in which red-lead and umber have been used darken
all the pigments.

The Venetians usually preferred painting on cloth, and not unfrequently
chose the finest. There was a canvass used in Italy, and chiefly by the
Bolognese school, which gives much richness, its peculiar texture being
seen even through tolerably thick paint--the threads are in squares, and
rather coarse. We are surprised that such is not to be met with in our
shops. We have often endeavoured to obtain it without success. On canvass
of this kind some painters, and among them Guercino, contrived greatly to
raise the lights--so that as seen side-ways they appear to bulge. We are
not aware how this was done.

We take some credit to ourselves for having in the pages of Maga, so long
ago as June 1839--promoted an inquiry into the nature of the vehicles used
by the old masters. And this we did, knowing that we should incur some
odium and contemptuous disapprobation at the hands of artists, too many of
whom were jealous of any supposed superiority in their great predecessors,
and were generally satisfied with the meguilp, (mastic varnish, beat up
with drying oil,) which had, nevertheless, been proved so deceitful from
the first days of its adoption. The readiness with which it was made, the
facility of working which it offered, and its immediate brilliancy, were
temptations too great to be resisted. The too common use of this vehicle,
we confess, led us too far in a contrary direction--to set ourselves
against all varnishes whatever; and we laid, perhaps, too much stress upon
the authority of Tingry, who speaks strongly against the admixture[12] of
varnishes with oil; and, with this bias, we reviewed, in Maga, M.
Merimée's work, in which, certainly with mistranslations of the Latin of
Theophilus, as well as of Italian quotations, he insisted upon the use
principally of copal, though without any distrust of mastic.

The difference between the texture of old paint, that is of the good age,
both Italian and Flemish, and that which modern practice had exhibited,
was too manifest to be overlooked; and we never could bring ourselves to
believe that the meguilp in use, by itself, ever had or ever would produce
that solid brilliancy or _substantial_ transparency which was and is the
great charm in the genuine works of the good old time of the art. And we
believe still that all experience is against it, and that the era of its
adoption is marked in the history of art by the visible deterioration in
the quality of the painted surfaces. Bad as we conceive the use of mastic
always to have been, it was not, until comparatively modern times,
employed in the most injurious manner. The Flemish and Italian recipes
incorporated it with the oil, together, generally, with other substances,
by heat, and not, according to the subsequent modern practice, merely
dissolved in turpentine and added to the oil. Of all varnishes mastic is
the softest, most liable to decomposition, most readily affected by
atmospheric changes, having no protection or medium of incorporation,
being merely liquified with turpentine, which, evaporating, leaves the
mastic to the injuries of air and moisture. Oil varnishes are, however, of
another character, and we are converted to their use by historic evidence,
and authorities which cannot be doubted. We do not assert that the exact
recipes and formulæ, for the compositions of the true oleo-resinous
vehicles are not now in possession of the public. We are inclined to think
they are; but, as we are promised by Mr Eastlake another volume, chiefly
upon the Italian practice, which, too, we presume to think was the best,
we in some degree force ourselves to suspend our judgment, resting our
hope for what is to come upon the undeniable value of what has been
already given us.

When we formerly treated of this subject, we mentioned the great reliance
we placed upon the results of the accurate research and experiments of a
friend, P. Rainier, Esq., M.D. of the Albany. It is greatly to be
regretted that, at his death, his papers were not properly collected and
arranged for use; they are, it is to be feared, lost. We well remember his
assertion, that the paint of the old masters invariably vitrified by fire.
In proof, he scraped off some paint from an old picture, (it was in the
shadow part of back-ground, and not very thick, and where there was not,
apparently, any white-lead). He laid it on some platina, and subjected it
to the heat of the blow-pipe. The oil first exploded, and the paint was
vitrified. Hence, originated the borax medium--remarkable property of
which was its capability of being used with water as a diluent or with
oil,--thus being a kind of union of the earlier temperas and the oil
medium. This borax-glass vehicle was certainly a discovery, or
rediscovery, as he was inclined to think it, of our highly valued friend,
P. Rainier. We say re-discovery, remembering his playful assumption of a
motto, "Veterem revocavit artem." He was probably led to this use of a
glass composed of borax, by the vitrification of the pigments; and we
still suspect that, in some of the old Italian recipes, glass, with borax
as an ingredient, will be found. "_A peculiar kind of Venetian glass_,"
says Mr Eastlake, "used, when pulverised, as a dryer, contained a
considerable portion of lead; and if it acted chemically, may have derived
its siccative quality from that ingredient." The question here naturally
suggests itself, Why was a peculiar glass used for this purpose, when it
was perfectly well known that lead of itself would have been sufficient?
Again, in page 358, from the Mayerne MS., as quoting the authority of
Mytens; "This oil (mancop) does not dry of itself easily, but it is
usually ground with Venetian glass, and thus to the sun in a glass bottle.
This should be shaken every four days for three or four weeks: it should
then be carefully decanted for use, leaving the sediment with the glass."
It is a question if the glass was here solely used to facilitate the
sediment.

Vitrification would not depend upon the introduction of glass
only,--calcined bones, which, it is now known, were much used in vehicles,
will produce the same result. In a note, page 345, Mr Eastlake says that
he requested Mr Marris Dimsdale to analyse a fragment of a picture by
Cariani of Bergamo, (a contemporary and scholar, or imitator of
Giorgione;)--the result being, that "one portion ran fairly into a
vitrified state. Hypothetically," adds Mr Dimsdale, "I should say it had
burned bones in it." And again, "Every colour mixed with phosphate of
lime, (calcined bones,) vitrifies when exposed to strong heat. As Venetian
pigments vitrify, might not phosphate of lime have been used as a dryer?"

We cannot but suspect any medium under which the pigments will not
vitrify. The publication of Mr Eastlake's most important and valuable
volume, rather strengthens our reliance upon the various communications
made to us by Mr Rainier. For instance, many years ago, we used, at his
recommendation, sandarach, dissolved in spike oil, and then mixed with the
oil heated. It may not be amiss here, as sandarach is now so strongly
recommended, and shown at least to have formed a part of one of the
precious vehicles, to state the result of its use some twenty years ago. A
picture we then painted with it, is still without a crack, extremely hard,
and though by no means well painted, is good in texture, and resembles in
the quality of the pigments very much that of the old schools. Though for
some years shut up in a portfolio, the colours do not appear to have
undergone any change.

Although it will not probably be found that borax was used in the good
recipes by name, it may have been in the Venetian glass--at all events,
though we are now rather in search of what _was_ in use, than what may be
useful and good in itself, as it were _de novo_, it may be worth while to
remember the double facility it offers of use with oil or water, both or
either; and it may be added that the experience of some years shows
nothing against it and much in its favour. We have thought it to be a
preservative of colours. In our review of M. Merimée, we threw out a
conjecture that it might have been the Gummi Fornis in the recipe of
Theophilus--and which M. Merimée believed to be copal. But we are quite
convinced of our error by the arguments--we might say proofs--adduced by
Mrs Merrifield, contained in a note, in her admirable and most useful
volume, "Cennino Cennini." That it was sandarach there can be no doubt;
and we were in consequence induced to try the making the vehicle according
to the recipe of Theophilus, and perfectly succeeded. It has a pleasant
lustre, not that somewhat disagreeable shine which is often visible in
pictures painted with copal. For the quality of sandarach Mrs Merrifield
quotes Raffael Borghini, from his "Reposo"--"If you would have your
varnish very brilliant, use much sandarach."

Mr Eastlake has shown that Mrs Merrifield was not quite so fortunate in
her remark against M. Merimée's conjecture that the "Gummi Fornis" was
copal. "As that is brought from America, it could not possibly have been
known to Theophilus, who lived between three and four hundred years
previous to the discovery of that country." The name copal, as that of
Brazil, is not indigenous to America. Both that gum and dye were African,
and transferred to the similar productions of the New World. It is curious
that a distinction made between "vernice," and "vernice liquida" should be
the means of ascertaining the gum given in the recipe of Theophilus which
M Merimée believed to be copal. Vernice was the _name_ of sandarach, and
was in common use in its dry state, as pounce, but when made into a
varnish with oil, it was called vernice liquida.

To those who delight in etymologies, it will afford amusement to learn
that the word varnish is with much reason conjectured to be derived from
the name of a daughter of one of the Ptolemies, celebrated for her
amber-coloured hair,--the heroine of the poem of Callimachus of which we
have only the translation by Catullus, the "Coma Berenices." Eustathius,
the commentator on Homer of the twelfth century, states that amber
([Greek: êlektron]) in his day was called [Greek: beronikê]. Salmasius
spells it [Greek: bereniki]. "Even during the classic ages of Greece
[Greek: b] represented [Greek: ph] in certain dialects." Veronica, in the
Lucca M.S., (eighth century,) more than once occurs among the ingredients
of varnishes. "And it is remarkable," adds Mr Eastlake, "that in the
copies of the same recipes in the Mappæ Clavicula (twelfth century) the
word is spelt in the genitive--Verenicis and Vernicis," and thus we come
by very legitimate derivation to the English word varnish. Sandarach,
however, becoming in process of time the common substitute for amber, took
the name: and to distinguish this oleo-resinous varnish from that of the
real amber, the latter is called "Vernice liquida gentile." The "Mappæ
Clavicula," spoken of above, is a very curious publication, in the last
No. of the Archæologia, vol. xxxii. part 1, of a MS. treatise on the
preparation of pigments during the middle ages. Speaking of the vernice
liquida, Mr Eastlake says:--

"The amber varnish had been adopted in its stead by the early Flemish
painters, and though often represented by[13] copal, had never been
entirely laid aside; it had even returned to the north from Italy in the
hands of Gentileschi. Rembrandt, from motives of economy, may have
employed the scarcely less durable common "vernix" or sandarac oil
varnish; and for certain effects may have reckoned on its tint. Either
this, or the rapidly drying Venice amber before described, was in all
probability used by him freely."

Mr Eastlake thinks that the darkness of the vehicle had been allowed to
increase (and the darker the thicker it would be) with the darkness of the
colour employed. That this was the case, we might conjecture, not only
from the works of Rembrandt, but we think it may be so seen in some of the
back-grounds of Correggio. "The influence of the colour of the vehicle on
the quantity and depth of shadow is indeed plainly to be traced in the
general style of oil painting, as compared with tempera and other
methods." In a note on this passage we are told that "Sandrart relates, it
is to be hoped on no good authority, that Rubens induced Jordaens to paint
some works in tempera for tapestries, in the hope that his rival, by being
accustomed to the light style of colouring suitable to tempera, might lose
his characteristic force in oil. The biographer even adds that the scheme
answered."

Now we make this quotation, which is not creditable to Sandrart, to remove
if we may its sting: for who would wish this moral stigma to rest upon the
character of so great a man as Rubens? We have no doubt the advice was
conscientiously given, and with a true accurate judgment of the powers of
Jordaens. We can easily imagine that the heavy handling, the somewhat
muddy loading of the colour in every part of the pictures of Jordaens,
must have been offensive to Rubens, who so delighted in the freer,
fresher, and more variable colouring and handling. And such is the
judgment which the present day passes upon Jordaens, to the depreciation
of his works, and in vindication of the advice of Rubens.

As both amber and sandarac had a tendency to darken the colours, "a
lighter treatment," Mr Eastlake adds, "has rarely been successful without
a modification of the vehicle itself." In treating more fully of the
Italian methods, we shall probably have many recipes for this purpose. We
are, however, in possession of a recipe of this kind described by Armenini
of Faenga about the middle of the sixteenth century, as used by Correggio
and Parmigiano. His authorities, he informs us, for so designating it were
the immediate scholars of those masters; and he states that he had himself
witnessed its general use throughout Lombardy by the best painters. His
description is as follows. "Some took clear fir turpentine, dissolved it
in a pipkin on a very moderate fire; when it was dissolved, they added an
equal quantity of petroleum, (naptha,) throwing it in immediately on
removing the liquified turpentine." A long note is appended upon this
varnish or 'olio d'abezzo,' with a very interesting note by an Italian
writer of the present century, who attributes the preservation of
Corregio's pictures to its use. He adds also his own experience. Having
applied this varnish to four old pictures, he proceeds:--

"After an interval of more than thirty years, those pictures have not only
retained their freshness, but it seems that the colours, and especially
the whites, have become more agreeable to the eye, exhibiting, not indeed
the lustre of glass, but a clearness like that of a recently painted
picture, and without yellowing in the least. I also applied the varnish
on the head of all Academy figure, painted by me about five-and-twenty
years since. On the rest of the figure I made experiments with other
varnishes and glazings. This head surpasses all the other portions in a
very striking manner; it appears freshly painted, and still moist with
oil, retaining its tints perfectly. The coat of varnish is extremely thin,
yet, on gently washing the surface, it has not suffered. The lustre is
uniform; it is not the gloss of enamel or glass, but precisely that degree
of shine which is most desirable in a picture."

Mr Eastlake enters upon a dissertation on the Italian and Flemish modes of
painting, discriminating the transparency by glazing, and the transparency
by preserving the light grounds. The ground does not appear throughout the
pictures of Correggio, universally so in those of Rubens and most of the
Flemish and Dutch schools. Both methods have their peculiar value. We
should be sorry to see the substantial richness of Correggio, with his
pearly grays seen under a body of transparent colouring, exchanged even
for the free first sketchy getting in of the subject by Rubens. On this
part of the subject it is scarcely wise to give a decided opinion. Every
artist will adapt either method to his own power, his own conceptions, and
intentions. Rembrandt struck out a method strictly belonging to neither
system, with a partial use of each. He would be unwise who would attempt
to limit the power of the palette--we speak here only of its materials.

At the end of the volume are extracts from the notes of Sir Joshua
Reynolds. They are extremely interesting, both from their examples of
success, and warnings by failure. We cannot help reflecting, on reading
these notes, upon the great importance of such a work as Mr Eastlake's.
Had Sir Joshua Reynolds been in possession of such a volume, how many of
his pictures, now perished and perishing, would have been preserved for
immortality! and how much better might even the best have been by the
certainty of means which would have been within his reach! and we should
not have had to regret, as we often do in looking at some of his best
pictures, that somewhat heavy labouring after a brilliancy and a power not
always compatible, and perhaps not then attainable, which shows that his
mind was thoroughly imbued with a full sense of the excellency of the
great masters, but that he wanted such a work as the learning, the
research, and discriminating judgment of Mr Eastlake now offers for the
study and practice of every professor of the art. To these notes are added
some interesting remarks by our author upon the effects of the recipes
with which the pictures were painted, as they are now visible in the works
themselves.

This book could not have appeared at a more fit time. The English school
is becoming of too great importance to waste any of its powers any longer
in the perishing and weak materials of our various meguilps; and the
German school may be arrested by it in their backward progress to the old,
quaint, dry method which the old masters themselves quitted as soon as the
improvements of the Van Eycks, and the modifications of those improvements
by their successors, established upon a basis for immortality painting in
oil.

We must forbear, lest our readers may be wearied with the name of varnish,
and may think we resemble that unfortunate painter, who, bewildering his
wits upon the subject, became deranged, and varnished his clothes with
turpentine varnish, and went in this state shining through the streets.



LE PREMIER PAS.


There appears to be something pedantical in criticising a popular
proverb--something vexatious in calling in question the sort of ancestral
wisdom it is supposed to contain--in disputing a truth, which has been
formalised and accepted by the general assent and perpetual iteration, at
all hours of the day, by all sorts of talkers. Besides, who knows not that
a proverb is not a logical statement? It is always a one-sided view of the
matter, so that the most opposite of proverbs may be equally true; it
gains its currency, and its very force and pungency, by a bold exclusion
at once of all that qualification, and exception, and limitation, which
your exact thinkers require. We will not, therefore, enter into any
profane or captious dispute of one of the most current of the whole family
of proverbs, that which assigns so great a value to the _premier pas_, to
the first step, in any enterprise or career of life, so that this once
accomplished, all the rest is easy, all the rest is done, _ce n'est que le
premier pas qui conte_. We will not criticise, nor qualify, nor except;
only this we _will_ say, that many a first step has been made that led
nowhere,--to nothing; that a multitude of professional and other aspirants
would allow, if they reflected on it a moment, that they had, all their
lives long, at certain intervals, been making first steps, and never made
any other. More glory, doubtless, is due to them for having overcome so
many successive difficulties. Whilst, on the other hand, many who have
advanced to eminence in their chosen career, would find it hard to
distinguish, in that gradual progress which toil and talent had together
commanded, any one first step, or stride, which set them going on their
prosperous path, any step a jot more extraordinary than the rest, or that
did more towards the completion of the journey than the first step one
makes in walking from Edinburgh to Leith. They would have as much
difficulty in describing the _premier pas_ which started them on the road
to fortune, as many a good Christian, well brought up from youth to
manhood, would feel if called upon to answer a Whitfield or a Wesley, as
to the precise day and hour of his conversion. The truth is, we apprehend,
that in this popular proverb, two several matters are confused together
under one name, thus giving to it a greater force than it should
legitimately possess; the _premier pas_ not only signifies that first step
one takes on any of the high roads which conduct to wealth or honours, but
under the same title is also included, we suspect, those startling turns
and tricks of fortune, on which no human wit can calculate, and which
raise a man suddenly into some new and unexpected position in the world.
All kinds of fortunate starting points are mingled together in one view,
and under one title; an thus, the _first step_ becomes magnified into half
the journey, as indeed it is sometimes the whole of it.

For instance--a Meinherr Tettenborn was passing the weary, half-employed
hours at a merchant's desk, kicking his heels, probably, on one of those
tall uneasy stools which, with strange mockery of disproportion, raise the
lowest functionary to the highest footing, but which nevertheless
contribute to preserve the due distinctions of society, by inflicting all
possible discomfort on the elevated sitter. Perhaps there was some
association of ideas between the military profession, and the equestrian
position he occasionally found it convenient to assume; however that may
be, Meinherr Tettenborn suddenly bethought him, that he would bestride a
high-trotting horse instead of his tall black stool. He threw away the pen
for the sword. At this time all Europe was up in arms against Napoleon; so
that, although he entered the Service of the Emperor of Russia, he was
still but enlisting in the common cause, in which his own Germany was more
interested than may other country. He entered, as may be supposed, in the
lowest rank of officers; and, as cornet, or with some such title, you may
picture him at the head of a small troop of horse, despatched for forage
or some ordinary service of the like kind. As he was thus conducting his
little troop, he spied "something black" lying in a field by the side of
the road. He cantered up to it. The something black was nothing less than
a small park of artillery, sixteen guns, which the enemy had left behind
them, perhaps in some false alarm, or for want of horses to draw them, but
apparently for the very purpose of being captured by Meinherr Tettenborn.
He ordered up his little troop, harnessed their horses to the guns, and
rode back triumphant to the camp. The Emperor himself was present. News
was speedily brought him of the capture of a park of artillery, and the
illustrious victor was introduced. Many questions were not asked of the
how, or the when, or the where; the guns happened to be particularly
welcome; the Emperor took from his own neck the order of the Iron Cross,
and suspended it round the neck of the fortunate young soldier, greeting
him, at the same time, with the title of General Tettenborn! The general
was a brave man, was equal to his new position, captured other guns in
another manner, and rose, we will not venture to say how high in the
Imperial service.

Now this very anecdote we have heard cited as an example, illustrating the
proverb, _ce n'est que le premier pas_, &c. Yet this finding something
black lying quietly in the green fields, which proved to be a park of
artillery waiting to be captured, cannot certainly be set down amongst the
early steps of a military career, is not known amongst the means or stages
of promotion, but is manifestly one of those joyous caprices which Fortune
occasionally indulges in, for the express purpose, we presume, that
castle-building in the air may never go quite out of fashion.

In a very amusing collection of anecdotes, entitled, _Fêtes et Souvenirs
du Congrès Vienne, par le Comte A. de la Garde_, there is a good story
told of one of these capricious visitations of Fortune, which came,--where
Fortune does not often play her more amiable tricks,--to a miserable poet,
releasing him at once from poverty and his jaded muse. We regret to be
obliged to tell the story from memory. We ought to have preserved the
book, if only out of gratitude--for it was the most pleasant travelling
companion, the best fellowship for a diligence or a steam-boat, we
remember to have encountered. But the market price of the small
paper-bound volumes (such was the shape in which it came to us) was so
little--it being one of those editions which the journalists on the
Continent often print to distribute gratis to the subscribers to their
journal--that no pains were taken to preserve it. Very absurd! We print
books so cheap, that the book loses half its value: it is bought and not
read; or read once, and thrown aside, or destroyed.

Poor Dubois was one of that unhappy class, which we are given to
understand is dying out of Europe, (we hope for the sake of suffering
humanity that this is true); of that class, which we in England used to
call Grub Street poets. He _flourished_ at the time of the Empire, and had
been flourishing during the whole of the eventful period that preceded the
elevation of Napoleon. Poor Dubois had alternately applauded and satirised
all parties, and written songs for all sentiments; but had extracted very
little either of praise or pocket-money from any of the reigning powers,
whether republican or imperial. He was quite in despair. Still young in
years, but with worn-out rhymes, he was lamenting one day to his sister
his melancholy and hopeless fate. This damsel was in the service of
Pauline the sister of Napoleon. "Write me a sonnet," said she, "about
Pauline, and about beauty, and let me try what I can do." A beautiful
sonnet, and a sonnet about beauty, are two very different things. Dubois
made nothing of his task, but did it out of hand: his sister took the
sonnet with her.

It was not long before she had an opportunity, in her capacity of _femme
de chambre_, of speaking to Pauline about her brother the poet. She
produced her sonnet about beauty. Pauline did not exactly read it; no one
but the writer, and a few afflicted friends, and those heroic souls who do
things to say they have done them, ever do read sonnets; but she glanced
her eye down the rhymes, and saw her own name in harmonious connexion with
some very sweet epithets. Therefore she asked what she could do for the
poet--what it was he wanted? Alas! every thing! was the prompt and candid
reply,--some little post, some modest appointment.

Now it happened that Fouché at that time was doing his best to conciliate
the fair Pauline, who with or without reason, had shown a little humour
against the minister of police. He had frequently entreated her to make
use of his power in favour of any of her friends. "Well," said the
good-natured Pauline, "this Fouché is always plaguing me to ask for
something; give me a desk."

A lady's pen upon the smooth vellum--you know how fleetly it runs, and
what pretty exaggeration of phrase must necessarily flow from it. The
style, the very elegance of the note, demands it. Dubois was in an
instant, and most charmingly converted into a man of neglected genius and
unmerited distress. What was the happy turn of expression is lost to us
for ever: but as Fouché read the note, he understood that there was a man
of talent to be assisted, and, what was still more to the purpose, an
opportunity of showing his gallantry to Pauline.

The next day the minister rode forth in state accompanied by four mounted
_gens-d'armes_. Following the address which had been given him, he found
himself in one of the least inviting parts of Paris, far better known to
his own myrmidons of police than to himself. But, arrived before the
enormous pile of building, which was said to enclose our poet amidst its
swarm of tenants, he made vain inquiries for Monsieur Dubois. At last an
old crone came to his assistance: she remembered him; she had washed for
him, and had never been paid. If you do not wish to be forgotten by all
the world, take care there is some one living to whom you are in debt.

Meanwhile Dubois, from his aërial habitation, had heard his own name
pronounced, and looking out at window caught sight of the _gens-d'armes_.
For which of his satires or libels he was to undergo the honour of
prosecution, he could not divine; but that his poetical effusions were at
last to bring him into hapless notoriety, was the only conclusion he could
arrive at. That he was still perfectly safe, inasmuch as write what he
would nobody read, was the last idea likely to suggest itself to the poet.
He would have rushed down stairs, but steps were heard ascending. So much
furniture as a cupboard may stand for, the bare walls of his solitary room
did not display. There was nothing for it but to leap into what he called
his bed, and hide beneath the blankets, always presuming they were long
enough to cover both extremities at once. The minister, undeterred by the
difficulties of the ascent, and animated by his gallantry towards Pauline,
continued to mount, and at length entered the poet's retreat. Great are
the eccentricities of genius, and lamentable the resources of pride and
poverty, thought Fouché, as he gently drew the blankets down, and
discovered the dismayed Dubois. Some conciliatory words soon relieved him
of his terror. The awful visit of the minister of police had
terminated--could it be credited!--in an invitation to breakfast with him
next morning.

Judge if he failed in his appointment; judge if he was not surprised
beyond all measure of astonishment, when the minister politely asked him
whether he would accept so trifling a post as that of Commissaire-général
of Police of the Isle of Elba, with we know not how many hundreds of
francs per annum, with half-a-year's salary in advance, and all travelling
expenses paid. The little condition was added that he must quit Paris
directly, for the post had been too long vacant, and there were reasons
which demanded his immediate presence at Elba. How he contrived to accept
with any gravity, without a broad grin upon his face, can never be known.
He would certainly have bounded to the ceiling; but by good fortune, or
happy instinct, he had convulsively clasped his chair with both hands, and
so anchored himself to the ground.

Off he started the very next day, happier than Sancho Panza, to the
government of his island; for his post virtually constituted him the
governor of Elba. Nor was the stream of his good fortune half exhausted.
For immediately on his arrival he was appealed to for a decision, between
two rich and rival capitalists, both desirous of undertaking to work
certain mines lately discovered in the island. One offered him a large
share in the future profits; the other a large sum of ready money. Our
governor decided for the ready money.

When a gallant man renders a service, he does not run and proclaim it
immediately. Fouché allowed a few days to transpire before he waited on
Pauline. He then alluded to the appointment he had made; he hoped she was
content with the manner in which he had provided for her client, Dubois.

"Dubois! Dubois!" said the lady, "I know of no Dubois."

The whole affair had entirely escaped her memory. Fouché assisted in
recalling it.

"Oh, true!" she said, "the brother of my chambermaid; well, did you give
him any little employment? What did you make of him?"

Fouché saw his error, bit his lips, and let the subject pass.

That very evening a messenger was despatched to recall Dubois--and home he
came; but "with money in both pockets"--a little capital of solid francs.
Poet as he was, the man had sense; he did not spend, but invested it, and
the revenue enabled him to assume the life and bearing of a gentleman. We
leave him prospering, and to prosper.

It is said, that Fouché did all he could to keep this story secret. But
Pauline discovered the truth, and was malicious enough to disclose it to
Napoleon, who more than once jested his minister on his governor of Elba.

There is a sort of _premier pas_ known, we believe, amongst gamesters--at
least trusted to very implicitly, we remember, amongst schoolboy
gamesters--that which commences a run of good luck. When the cards, or the
dice, have been cruelly against us, if the tide _once_ turn, it will flow
steadily for some time in its new and happier direction. In the palace of
a certain Russian prince, whose name of course it is impossible to
remember, for it is one of those names you do not think of attempting to
pronounce even to yourself--you _look_ at it merely, and use it as the
Chinese their more learned combinations of characters, where they pass at
once from the visible sign to the idea, without any intermediate oral
stage. In the palace of this prince, you are surprised to see in the most
splendid of its splendid suite of apartments, suspended behind a glass
case--a set of harness!--common harness for a couple of coach horses, such
as you may see in any gentleman's stable. Of course, it attracts more
attention than all the pictures, and statues, and marble tables with their
porphyry vases and gold clocks.

  "The thing you know is neither rich nor rare,
  But wonder how the devil it got there!"

You inquire, and are told the following story.

The Prince of -------- was one night led into deep and desperate play. He
had staked estate after estate, and lost them; he had staked his plate,
his pictures, his jewels, the furniture of his house, and lost them; his
mansion itself, and lost it. The luck would not turn. His carriage and
horses had been long waiting for him at the door, he staked them and lost!
He had nothing more; he threw up the window, and leant out of it in utter
despair. There stood his carriage and horses, the subject of his last
wager. He had now nothing left. Yes! There was the _harness_! Nothing had
been said of the harness. The carriage and the horses were lost, but not
the harness. His opponent agreed to this interpretation of the wager. They
played for the harness. He won! They played for the carriage and
horses,--he won. They played for the palace, for the plate, the pictures,
the furniture,--he won. They played for estate after estate,--he still
won. He won all back again, and rose from that table the same rich man he
had sat down to it. Had he not good reason to suspend that harness in his
very best saloon?

There is such a thing as a _first step_ most fortunately _adverse_, in
whose failure there is salvation. There are some well-known instances
where wealthy young noblemen have been rescued from the pernicious habit
of gaming by a first loss, which, though it partly crippled them, sent
them back from what might otherwise have proved the road to utter ruin.
When a man would tamper with any species of vice, a happy misadventure,
thoroughly disgusting him with his experiment, is the most precious lesson
he can receive. In the collection of anecdotes we have before alluded to,
there was one of this kind which struck us very forcibly. It is all
admirable instance of the _biter bit_; but here the young man who wished
to be _nibbling_ at roguery, (who in this instance happens also to be a
Russian nobleman,) got so excellent and so salutary a lesson, that we
almost forgive the old and consummate rogue who gave it.

The first Congress of Vienna had collected together all manner of Jew and
Gentile--all who could in any way contribute to pleasure, which seemed the
great object of the assembly; for balls, fêtes, concerts, parties of every
description were following in endless succession, till one fine morning
news came that the lion was loose again. Napoleon had broke from Elba--and
every one scampered to his own home. Amongst the rest was a clever Jew and
a rich, who, being very magnificently apparelled, and having that to lend
which many desired to borrow, had found no difficulty in edging himself
amongst the grandees of the society. This man wore upon his finger a
superb diamond ring. The Count of ---- was struck with admiration at it,
and as a matter of pure curiosity, inquired what might be the value of so
magnificent a stone. The Hebrew gentleman, with the most charming candour
in the world, confessed it was _not_ a stone--it was merely an imitation.
A real diamond of the same magnitude, he said, would indeed be of great
value, but this, although a very clever imitation, and as such highly
prized by himself, was nothing better than paste. The Count requested to
look at it closer, to take it in his hand and examine it; he flattered
himself that he knew something of precious stones; he protested that it
was a real diamond. The Hebrew smiled a courteous denial. The Count grew
interested in the question, and asked permission to show it to a friend.
This was granted without hesitation, and the Count carried the ring to a
jeweller, whose opinion upon such a matter he knew must be decisive. Was
it a diamond or not? It _was_ a diamond, said the jeweller, and of the
very purest water. Had he any doubt of it? None at all. Would he purchase
it? Why--humph--he could not pretend to give the full value for such a
stone--it might lie on his hands for some time--he would give 80,000
rubles for it. You will give 80,000 rubles for this ring? I will, said the
jeweller. At that moment, the spirit of covetousness and of trickery
entered into the soul of the young nobleman. Back he went to his Hebrew
acquaintance, whom he found seated at the whist table. Restoring him the
ring, he said that he was more persuaded than ever that it was a real
diamond, and that he would give him 50,000 rubles for it on the spot. (A
pretty profit, he thought, of 30,000 rubles.) The Jew, quietly replacing
the ring on his finger, protested he would by no means rob the gentleman,
as he knew that it was _not_ a diamond. The Count urged the matter. At
length, after much insistance on the one part, and reluctance on the
other, the proprietor of the ring appealed to his partners in the game of
whist. "You see, gentleman," said he, "how it is--the Count is so
confident in his connoisseurship that he insists upon giving me 50,000
rubles for my ring, which I declare to be paste." "And I declare it to be
a diamond," said the Count, "and, taking all risk upon myself, will give
you 50,000 rubles for it." The bargain was concluded, and the ring and the
money changed hands.

The Count flew to the jeweller. "Here is the ring--let me have the 80,000
rubles." "For this! Pooh! it is paste--not worth so many sous--worth
nothing."

Th Jew had _two_ rings exactly alike, with the little difference, that in
the one was a real stone, in the other an imitation. By dexterously
changing the one for the other, he had contrived to give this beneficial
lesson to the young, nobleman, which, it is to be hoped, prevented him,
for ever after, from entering the list with sharpers, or trying by
unworthy means to over-reach his neighbours.

But to return to what is more generally alluded to as the _premier
pas_--that first success which starts the aspirant on his road to fortune
or to fame. It is the barrister and the physician who, amongst all
professional men, have most frequently to record some happy chance or
adventure that came to the aid of their skill, knowledge, and industry;
and of the first brief, or of the first patient, the history is not
unfrequently told with singular delight. The story we have to tell, and to
which the above remarks and anecdotes may be considered by the reader, if
he will, as a sort of preamble, regards the _first patient_ of one who,
commencing under great difficulties, rose ultimately to the head of his
profession. It belongs to both those classes which, we observed in the
commencement, are often mingled indiscriminately together. It has in it
something of the marvellous, and yet afforded but a fair opening to
genuine talent; it was a first step which the fairies presided over, and
yet it was a step on the firm earth, and the first of a series which only
true genius and worth could have completed. We are fortunate here in
having the words before us of the French author from whom we quote, and we
have but to render the anecdote--biography, or romance, whichever it may
be--in whatever of the lively style of M. Felix Tournachon our pen can
catch, or, under the necessity we are to abridge, we can hope to transfer
to our pages.


THE FIRST PATIENT

...He was not then the great doctor that you know him now. At that time
he was neither officer of the Legion of Honour, nor professor of the
Faculty of Paris. Hardly was he known to some few companions of his
studies. The horses that drew his carriage were not then born; the pole of
his landau was flourishing green in the forest.

He had obtained his title of physician, and lived in a poor garret--as one
says--as if there were any garrets that are rich; and to accomplish this
miserable result, to have his painted bed-stead, his table of sham
mahogany, two chairs wretchedly stuffed, and his books--what efforts had
it not cost him!

He was so poor!

Have you ever known any of these indefatigable young students, born in the
humblest ranks, who spend upon their arid labour their ten, their twenty
best years of life, without a thought or a care for the pleasures of their
age or the passing day?--youthful stoics who march with firm step, and
alone, towards an end which, alas! all do not attain!

You have wept at that old drama, that old eternal scene which is recounted
every day--yet not so old, it is renewed also every day:--the bare
chamber, no better than a loft--the truckle-bed--the broken pitcher--the
heap of straw--the sentimental lithographist will not forget the guttering
candle stuck into the neck of a bottle. Thus much for the accessories,
then for the persons of the scene; a workman, the father who expects to
die in the hospital--his four children--always four--who have not broken
their fast that day--and the mother is lying-in with her fifth--and it is
winter, for these poor people choose winter always for their lying-in.

Oh! all this is very true and piteous--I weep with you at the cry of those
suffering children--at the sobs of their mother. Yet there is another
poverty which you know not, which it is never intended that you should
know. A silent poverty that goes dressed in its black coat, polished, it
is true, where polish should not come, and with a slaty hue--produced by
the frequent application of ink to its threadbare surface. It is a
courageous poverty which resists all aid--even from that fictitious fund,
a debt--which dresses itself as you would dress, if your coat were ten
years old--which invites no sympathy--which may be seen in the sombre
evening stopping a moment before the baker's shop, or the wired windows of
the money-changer, but passing on again without a sigh heard. Oh, this
poverty in a black coat! And then it enters into its cold and solitary
chamber, without even the sad consolation of weeping with another. No Lady
Bountiful comes here. In the picture just now described, she would be seen
in the background, entering in at the door, her servant behind loaded with
raiment and provisions. What should she here? What brings you here, madam?
Who could have sent you here? We are rich! If we were poor should we not
sell these books?--all these books are ours; madam, we want nothing. Carry
your amiable charity elsewhere.

Our young doctor had installed himself in the fifth floor of that historic
street, _La Cloître-Saint-Mery_,--a quarter of the town, poor,
disinherited, sad as himself. Where else, indeed, could he have carried
his mutilated furniture,--which in other quarters would have only excited
distrust? There was he waiting for fortune--not, be it understood, in his
bed, but following science laboriously, uninterruptedly. His life was so
retired--so modest--so silent, that hardly was he known in the house. On
the day of his arrival, he had said to the porter, or rather porteress,
"Madam, I am a doctor--if any one should want me." This was all the
publicity of the new doctor--his sole announcement, his only
advertisement. As his fellow lodgers could gather nothing of him to
gratify or excite curiosity--as his unfrequented door was always strictly
closed, they soon ceased to concern themselves about him. His name even
was forgotten; they simply called him _the doctor_--and with this title
our readers also must be contented, unless their own ingenuity should
enable them to discover another.

One night our doctor heard unaccustomed noises in the house, doors
slamming, people walking to and fro. Presently some one knocked at his
door--verily at _his_ door. What was it? Was the patient come at
last--that first patient, so anxiously expected? He was dressed in an
instant.

"The Countess is dying!" some one cried through the door. "Come,
directly!"

He was at her bedside in a minute.

The Countess! Such was the title given in derision to precisely the
poorest and most miserable old woman in the house. She had been at one
period of her life in the service of a noble family as _femme-de-chambre_;
and as a woman who had seen something of the great world, she held
unqualified strangers at a certain distance, and, to use a common phrase,
kept herself to herself. This had procured her the ill-will and
ill-opinion of several other old crones inhabiting the same house, who
made her the subject of their perpetual scandal. Without doubt, she had
poisoned her last master, and could not look a Christian in the face; or
at very least she had robbed him. Did you ask for proofs? She had a
treasure stitched into a mattress. But she was nearly dying with hunger?
Yes--the niggard! She starved herself, she could not spend her treasure.

Monstrous inventions! The poverty of the Countess, as they called her in
mockery, was complete. Niggard she was, and had good reason to be so, in
order to subsist on the little annuity she had contrived, in the days of
her service, to scrape together. For the rest, as we have no wish to
disguise the truth, the Countess was by no means an amiable person--bitter
and selfish, hostile to all the world, as venomous as her detractors, and
without pity for others, as those so often are who have suffered much
themselves.

She was now stretched motionless on her bed. The old crones had come about
her less from humanity than to discover the secrets of her _den_, the
access to which she had hitherto strictly defended. She held in her left
hand a small packet wrapped up in half a pocket-handkerchief, which she
clutched convulsively. It was the _treasure_, they all exclaimed.

Her case was a grave one--a congestion of the brain. The doctor bled her,
and then wrote his prescription--his first! The bleeding brought the
Countess to herself. When she heard him tell one of the bystanders to go
to the chemist and get the potion,--

"Potion!" she exclaimed, laying hold of the paper, "I want no potion--I am
not ill. Do you think I have money to pay for your drugs? Go away!--all of
you--go!"

She crumpled the prescription in her hand, and was about to throw it on
the floor, when something in the paper apparently arrested her. She read
the prescription, and, turning to the doctor with a manner quite changed
and subdued, asked how much it would cost? She then opened the little
packet she had held till then so jealously in her hand. All the old crones
stretched forward. A few franc-pieces and some great sous were all the
_treasure_ it contained.

That first client, so long looked for, was come at last. Our doctor had
his patient--that first patient whom one pets and caresses, to whom one is
nurse as well as physician. No uncertain diagnostics _there_--no retarded
visits, no hasty prescriptions. If this one die, it is verily his fault.
He devoted himself, body and soul, to the old woman. Certainly the fees
would not be very brilliant, nor would the cure spread his reputation very
widely. He thought not of this--but save her he must! He absolutely loved
this unamiable Countess. He assembled the _ban et arrière-ban_ of science,
and armed himself _cap-à-pie_ in knowledge for her defence.

The object of all this solicitude received his attentions, however, with
an increasing ill-humour, for each fresh medicine made a fresh demand upon
her purse. "How long will this last?" she said one day; "I must go out--I
have no more money--I must go out this very day."

"Do not disturb yourself," began the Doctor.

"Not disturb myself!" she interrupted; "easy to say! Instead of giving me
these drinks and draughts, give me something that will put a little
strength into me--for I must go out."

"Listen to me! remain tranquil a few days"--She turned round from him with
impatience.

"To leave your chamber now would be to expose your life. Give me but four
days; and if you have no more money, I will charge myself with the
medicines."

"You!" cried the Countess, looking up with astonishment.

"And why not me?" said the young Doctor. "You shall return it to me some
time--when you will."

"You! who have not often a dinner for yourself!"

"Who says that?" asked the Doctor, blushing involuntarily.

"All the house says it."

"Miserable stuff!" he replied; "will you accept what I offer? If I
promise, you may be sure I can perform."

The old woman looked at him with surprise, and at length consented to
accept his offer and take his remedies.

The young Doctor hastened to his chamber, shut fast the door, and looked
round him, with his arms folded--"What is there here," said he, "that I
can sell?"

What he found to sell I do not know. Enough that he supplied the Countess
with a sum sufficient to procure her the necessary medicines, and to
relieve her from care as to the wants of life for some short time. The
case proceeded favourably.

At night, as he was returning from one of those solitary walks in which he
was accustomed to exhale his sadness, and also to gather fresh resolution
for the struggle he had undertaken with destiny, and was slowly mounting
the long, dark, dilapidated staircase that led up to that fifth floor on
which he resided, he stumbled over some obstacle, and, on looking closer,
found it was the body of a woman lying outstretched upon the stairs. It
was the Countess. In spite of solicitations and her own promise, she had
gone out; but her strength had failed her. She had fallen, and now lay
insensible.

Our young Doctor, braving all malicious interpretations, carried her to
his own room, which was the nearest place of refuge, and there, by the
aid of some cordials he administered, restored her to her senses. She
opened her eyes, looked around her, and understanding in whose room she
was, she said, with a scrutinising air, "You are miserably lodged here."
It was the only observation his amiable patient made, and she repeated it
several times--"You must be miserably off." Even when she had returned to
her own room, and he had left her for the night, she still said nothing
but--"You are miserably lodged!"

The next morning, when the Doctor visited his patient--and you may be sure
his visit was an early one--to his surprise, she was on foot, with sleeves
tucked up, sweeping, dusting, and _putting to rights_ her little abode. He
was astonished. The shock which she had received the day before, instead
of injuring her, had apparently aided in her restoration. She was quite
gay.

"You are resolved to kill yourself, then?" said the Doctor.

"I was never better in my life," she answered.

"Do not be too confident," was his reply. "You must keep your room two or
three days; and this time," he added, with a smile, "I shall keep guard
over you myself."

The Countess consented with a most childlike docility. She would do what
he pleased; only yesterday she was obliged to go out--it was absolutely
necessary. There was so much gentleness in her altered manner, that the
Doctor was disposed to regard this as an alarming symptom in her case.

However, it, was not so. Her health, day by day, improved, and the
relation between the patient and her medical attendant became more
amicable. She proposed, by way of some return, to assist him in his
bachelor housekeeping. It would give her no trouble. An hour in the
morning, when he was at his lectures, some of which he still followed; and
then she could cook, and she could mend. These offers the young Doctor
declined with a sort of alarm. Who but himself could readjust those
habiliments, whose strong and whose weak points he so very well knew? What
needle could, on this ground, be half so skilful as his own? And cooking!
Cooking with him! Cook what? _On_ what? _In_ what? It was in vain that the
Countess insisted; he would hear of no such thing. He kept his poverty
veiled--it was his sacred territory.

Some few days after the Countess's health might be said to be quite
re-established, our young Doctor, on entering his room, was surprised to
see a letter lying on his table. Correspondence, for the mere sake of
letter-writing, he had quite foregone as a pure waste of time; and he had
no relatives who interested themselves in his fate, or who could have any
thing to communicate. Nevertheless, there the letter was, addressed duly
to himself. He looked at it with an uncomfortable foreboding, assured that
it must bring him some new care, or report some strange disaster.

He sat down, and tore open the envelope. He bounded from his seat again
with surprise--the letter enclosed fifteen notes of the Bank of France! It
is no fairy tale, but simple history; fifteen good notes of one thousand
francs each.

Inside the envelope was written:--"This treasure belongs to you as your
property. Use it without scruple. The hand that transmits it does but
accomplish a legitimate restitution. May the gifts of Fortune conduct you
to the Temple of Happiness!" There was no signature.

"Why, it is a dream, a hallucination. Am I growing light-headed?" said the
Doctor. But no--it was no dream; there they were--before him--on the
little table--those, fifteen miraculous pieces of paper. He turned his
head away from them; but when he looked again, there they were--in the
same place--in the same order--motionless. I leave you to guess his
agitation and his many mingled emotions. From whom could this godsend have
come? He read and reread, and turned the letter in every direction. He
racked his brain to no purpose to discover his anonymous benefactor. He
knew, and was known to, scarcely any one. He strode about his chamber--as
well as he could stride in it--inventing the wildest suppositions, which
were rejected as soon as made. Suddenly he stopped--struck his forehead as
a new thought occurred to him--"Bah!" he cried; "absurd!--impossible!--and
yet----"

In a moment he was at the door of the Countess. He paused a moment before
he knocked. There was from the landing-place a window at right angles to
that of the old woman's apartment and if her window-curtain happened to be
drawn aside, which, however, was rarely the case, it was easy to see from
it into her room. On the present occasion, not only was the curtain drawn
aside, but her window was open, and the Doctor could see this fairy,
accused of lavishing banknotes of a thousand francs, kneeling before a
wretched stove, striving with her feeble breath to rekindle a few bits of
charcoal, on which there stood some indescribable culinary vessel,
containing an odious sort of porridge, at once her dinner and her
breakfast!

The Doctor shook his head--it could not be the Countess. Yet, completely
to satisfy himself, he entered. She gave him her ordinary welcome, neither
more nor less--talked, as usual, of her former masters, of the dreadful
price of bread, and the wicked scandal of her neighbours. But what most
completely set all suspicion at rest was the manner in which she spoke of
the debt which she owed him. "I cannot yet repay you what you advanced for
my medicines," she said, with all the natural embarrassment of an honest
debtor speaking to a creditor. "You will be wanting it, perhaps. Now don't
be angry at what I say--one is always in want of one's little money. In a
few days I will try and give you at least something on account."

"No," said the Doctor, when he was alone: "I can make nothing of it. Away
with all guesses!" He resolved to profit by the good fortune, be the giver
whom it might. And he hoped so to manage matters, that if, at a future
day, an opportunity for its restoration should occur, he should be able to
avail himself of it.

He was soon installed in a more convenient apartment, better furnished,
and supplied, above all, with a more abundant library. The young Doctor
was radiant with hope. Yet he did not quit his old quarter of the town. It
need not be said that he took formal leave of his first patient the
Countess.

From this time every thing prospered with him. As it generally happens,
the first difficulty conquered, every thing succeeded to his wish. It is
the first turn of the wheel which costs so much; once out of the rut, and
the carriage rolls. By degrees a little circle of clients was formed,
which augmented necessarily every day. His name began to spread. Even from
his old residence, where he led so solitary a life, the reputation had
followed him of a severe and laborious student, and the cure of the
Countess was a known proof of his skill.

Like the generality of the profession, he now divided his day into two
portions; the morning he devoted to his visits, the afternoon to the
reception of his patients. Returning to his home one day a little before
the accustomed hour, he perceived a crowd of persons collected in the
street through which he was passing. Perhaps some accident had happened,
and his presence might be useful. He made his way, therefore, through the
crowd. Yet he nowhere discovered any object which could have collected it.
He was merely surrounded on every side by groups engaged in earnest yet
subdued conversation. The greater part were women, and both men and women
were generally of a mature age, and of that sort of physiognomy which one
can only describe as _odd_--faces ready made for the pencil of the
caricaturist. The Doctor, who had no idle time, was about to make his
escape, when a general movement took place in the crowd, and he found
himself borne along irresistibly with the rest through a large door, which
it seemed had just opened, into a spacious hall or amphitheatre. At the
upper end was a stage; on the stage a large, strangely-fashioned wheel was
placed; and by the side of the wheel stood a little child, dressed in a
sky-blue tunic, with a red girdle round its waist, its hair curled and
lying upon its shoulders, and a bandage across its eyes. The wheel and the
child formed together a sort of mythological representation of Fortune.
They were drawing the lottery.

After amusing himself for some time with the novelty of the spectacle, the
Doctor began to make serious efforts to extricate himself. As he was
threading his way through the crowd, and looking this way and that to
detect the easiest mode of egress, he saw, underneath a small gallery at
the side of the amphitheatre, in a place which seemed to be reserved for
the more favoured or more constant worshippers in that temple of Fortune,
a face, the last he should have expected to find there. It was no other
than the Countess. She was seated there with all the gravity in the world,
inclining with a courteous attention to an old man with gray hairs and
smooth brown coat, who was very deferentially addressing her.

Having disengaged himself from the throng, and returned to his own house,
this appearance of the Countess recurred very forcibly to his mind. "After
all," thought he, "it _was_ the Countess!--it was none but she who sent
those notes." The enigma was solved. He had made his fortune in the
lottery, and without knowing it. He determined to visit his old patient
the next morning.

That very evening, however, he was waited on by the same old gentleman in
brown coat and gray hairs, who was seen speaking to her at the lottery. He
came with a rueful face, requesting him to visit immediately Madame ----,
giving the Countess her right name, which it is now too late in our story
to introduce. Whatever may have been the case at some previous time, the
wheel of Fortune had that day bitterly disappointed her hopes. She had
been carried home insensible. The Doctor hastened to her. It was too late.
She had been again attacked by a congestion of the brain, which this time
had proved fatal.

There appeared no hopes of a complete solution of the enigma.

"Ah!" said the same old gentleman, as he stood moralising by his side,
"the same luck never comes _twice_--she should have tried other numbers."

The Doctor saw immediately that the old gentleman had been in the
confidence of the deceased. He questioned him. There was a look of
significance, which betrayed plainly that _he knew all_. He was in fact
one of those who earn their subsistence by writing letters for those who
are deficient in the skill of penmanship or epistolary composition. He had
written _the very letter itself_; to his pen was owing that sort of
_copy-book_ phrase, "May the gifts of Fortune conduct to the Temple of
Happiness!" The Doctor had in truth, as he often said when alluding to the
subject, made his fortune in the lottery.

We wish we could leave the story here, and let the reader suppose that
gratitude alone had induced the old woman to act so generous a part. But
the whole truth should be honestly told. There was a mixture of
superstition in the case. It was _his number_ that had won the prize, and
she considered it, as expressed in the letter which accompanied the notes,
in the light of his property. In all countries where a lottery has been
long established, the strangest superstitions grow up concerning what are
called lucky numbers. In Italy, where this manner of increasing the public
revenue is still resorted to, not only is any number which has presented
itself under peculiar circumstances sure to be propitious, but there is a
well-known book, of acknowledged authority we believe, containing a list
of words, with a special number attached to each word, by the aid of which
you can convert into a lucky number any extraordinary event which has
occurred to you. Let any thing happen of public or private interest--let
any thing have been dreamt, or even talked of that was at all surprising,
you have only to look in this dictionary for the word which may be
supposed to contain the essence of the matter; as, for instance, fire,
death, birth--and the number that is opposite that word will assuredly win
your fortune. When the Countess first saw the prescription of the young
Doctor, she was going to throw it angrily on the floor; but her eye was
suddenly riveted by the _numbers_ in it--the numbers of the grains and
_ozs._ in the cabalistic writing--and she felt assured that in these lucky
numbers her fortune was made. The first stake she played she played for
_him_; and, singularly enough, she won! But, as the old gentleman in the
brown coat observed, the virtue of the prescription was exhausted. She
should have sought for numbers from some other quarter; the second trial
she made ended in a severe loss, and was the immediate occasion of her
death.



COULTER'S CRUISE.[14]


Another book of adventure in the island-studded Pacific. The vast tract of
water that rolls its billows from Australia to America, from Japan to
Peru, offers a wide field to the wanderer; and a library might be written,
free from repetition and monotony, concerning the lands it washes, and the
countless nations dwelling upon its shores. Nevertheless, we should have
had more relish for this book had it reached us a few months earlier. Dr
Coulter, who returned from ploughing the ocean so far back as 1836, would
have done wisely to have published the record of his cruise somewhat
sooner than in July 1847. A short half-year would have made all the
difference, by giving him the start in point of time of a dangerous
competitor, recently and laudatorily noticed in the pages of Maga. After
the pungent and admirably written narrative of that accomplished able
seaman, Herman Melville, few books of the same class but must appear flat
and unprofitable. The order of things should have been reversed. OMOO
would have found readers at any time, and although twenty publishers had
combined with fifty authors to deluge the public with the Pacific Ocean
during the five previous years. We are not quite so sure that Dr Coulter's
book will be largely perused, treading thus closely upon the heels of Mr
Melville. Not that the ground gone over is the same, or the book without
interest. On reading the title-page we were assailed by an idea which we
would gladly have seen realised on further perusal. One sometimes--rarely,
it is true--meets with characters in works of fiction so skilfully drawn,
so true to nature, so impregnated with an odour of reality, as to impress
us with the conviction that they have actually lived, moved, and had
being, and passed through the adventures set down for them by their
creator. It is the case with many of the personages in Scott's novels. We
should highly enjoy hearing any one assert, that there never existed such
persons as Jeanie Deans and Edie Ochiltree; that Caleb Balderstone was an
imaginary servitor, or Dugald Dalgetty the mythical man-at-arms of a
poet's fancy. We would pitch the lie into the teeth of the incredulous
idiot, and with a single tap on the sconce send him skirling and
skeltering down the staircase. And, to pass from great things to small, we
avouch that the gaunt and diverting man of medicine of whom frequent and
honourable mention is made in the pages of Omoo, did inspire us with a
notion of his reality, of which, up to the present time of writing, we
have been unable wholly to divest ourselves. When we first took up Dr
Coulter's narrative of adventure in America and the Southern Seas, it was
with the hope, almost with the expectation, that the original Dr
Longghost, encouraged by his former shipmate's example, had temporarily
exchanged scalpel for goosequill, and indited an account of the dangers he
had run since his affectionate parting with Typee on the pleasant shores
of Tahiti. We were disappointed. To say nothing of diversity of dates, and
other circumstances, rendering identity improbable, Longghost of the
"Julia" would have written, we are well assured, a far quainter and more
spicy book than that lately launched by Coulter of the "Stratford." It
would have been of fuller flavour, and also more elegant, the result of
the goblin mediciner's wild seafaring life, grafted on his old Lucullian
reminiscences, on the shadowy _souvenir_ of those happy days when he fed
on salmis, and flirted with duchesses, long, long before he dreamed of
cruising after whales, and sharing the filthy inconveniences of little
Jule's detestable forecastle. It would have been, to the narrative of John
Coulter, M.D., as ripe Falernian or racy hock, to ale of some strength but
middling flavour, where there is no stint of malt, but which has been
somewhat spoiled in the brew. We are quite certain that the tales of
Caffrarian lion-hunts, with which Longghost cheered the dull watches of
the night, and beguiled the Julia's mariners of their wonder, were of very
different kidney to the pig-and-nigger-killing narratives of Mr Coulter.
Of this, we repeat, we are morally certain; but as we like, unnecessary
though it be, to have our convictions confirmed through the medium of our
optics, we now summon Doctor Longghost to commence, the very instant this
number of the _Magazine_ reaches his hands--and reach them it assuredly
will, though his present abode be in farthest Ind or frozen Greenland--a
detailed and _bona fide_ history of his Life and Adventures, from the day
he chipped the shell up to that upon which he shall send to press the last
sheet of his valuable autobiography. And we pledge ourselves to bestow
upon his book what Aaron Bang calls an amber immortalisation, by embalming
it in a review; treating him tenderly, as one we dearly cherish.

Neither pleasant recollections of Omoo, nor equally agreeable
anticipations of Longghost's lucubrations, shall prevent our doing full
justice to Coulter. Mr Melville made a charming book out of most slender
materials. What had he to write about? Literally next to nothing. The
fag-end of a cruise, and a few weeks' residence on an island, whose
aspect, inhabitants, and all pertaining to it, had already been minutely
and well described by Kotzebue and other voyagers. But he has found more
to say that is worth reading, about what he saw in his very limited sphere
of observation, than Dr Coulter has concerning his extensive voyages and
travels "on the Western Coast of South America, and the interior of
California, including a narrative of incidents at the Kingsmill Islands,
New Ireland, New Britain, New Guinea, and other islands in the Pacific
Ocean." And with respect to the manner of saying it, the Yankee has it
hollow. Dr Coulter's style is careless, often feeble, and defaced by
grammatical errors, so glaring that one marvels they escaped correction at
the very printers' hands. It says much, therefore, for the fertility of
the subject, for the novelty and curiosity of the scenes visited and
incidents encountered by the adventurous doctor of medicine, that his
book, although devoid of the graces of composition, is upon the whole both
instructive and amusing.

To understand the desultory to-and-fro nature of Dr Coulter's cruise, it
is necessary to read his preface, where he gives some general information
concerning the singular and precarious commerce known as the Pacific
Trade. This is carried on between the ports on the western coast of North
and South America, the Pacific Islands, and the coasts of China, and is
very lucrative, but often dangerous. The articles of trade and barter are
exceedingly various. Europe contributes wines, brandy, hardware, and
sundry manufactured goods; California sends deals, corn, and furs; the
various islands furnish arrow-root, oil, pearls, dye-woods, tortoiseshell,
&c. The ships engaged in the traffic, and which are of many sizes and
countries, are usually owned, wholly or in part, by the captain or
supercargo, and consequently, wholly unfettered in their course, they
wander from port to port, according to the caprice of the hour, or the
chances of an advantageous market. For protection against pirates, and
against the attacks of the fierce and savage tribes with whom they
frequently come in collision, they are well armed and manned. The
precaution is no idle one, nor could it possibly be dispensed with. "Few
of these trading vessels ever return with their cargoes to the coast of
the Americas, China, the Sandwich Islands, or Australia, without having
frequent fights with the savages, and there are some of them, who have
reckless captains and crews on board, that never can end a trading
transaction with the natives without a row."

Whether reckless or not, fighting appears to be an every-day sport with
the warlike pearl-seekers of the Pacific--one which the meekest and most
amiable navigators cannot avoid sharing in. We infer this compelled
pugnacity from Dr Coulter's adventures when sailing in the Hound, a smart
brigantine commanded by the gallant Captain Trainer. For although the
doctor started as surgeon to the ship Stratford, and finally returned to
England in her, he was long an absentee from her state room, and cruising
on board the Hound. It happened thus. With a degree of thoughtlessness
hardly pardonable in one of his profession, he made a practice of sleeping
on deck, even when season and climate rendered such an exposed bed-place
highly insalubrious. The consequence was a severe attack of rheumatism,
and on making the coast of California he was fain to land, and take up his
abode in a Roman Catholic Mission-house. The ship was ready for sea, bound
to the far west for whales but the doctor was by no means in a like state
of preparation, and the captain, seeing his crippled condition, urged him
to remain on shore. Captain Lock was a sort of amateur medico, who prided
himself on his Esculapian skill, and, although sorry to lose his surgeon's
society, he evidently rather chuckled at the idea of having an opportunity
to exercise his accomplishments. So Doctor Coulter allowed himself to be
persuaded, and making an appointment to meet the Stratford, _Deo volente_,
at Tahiti in the month of November, he remained under the care of the
Spanish _padre_ at the Mission, much to his own satisfaction, but probably
not quite so much to that of any unlucky mariner upon whose fractured limb
or diseased body Captain Lock may subsequently have found it necessary to
practise. And even the doctor, although the motion of the ship was agony
to his aching bones, and the rough service she was proceeding on would
hardly have suited one in his crippled state, must surely have experienced
some regret in thus deserting the whaler, from whose decks he had
witnessed so many gallant contests with the oleaginous monster of the
deep. Whaling is indeed a glorious sport, as far superior to your salmon
fishing and fox hunting, as those diversions are to bobbing for gudgeon
and chasing rats with a terrier. And whilst the excitement it occasions
must, we apprehend, be the strongest possible to be known, short of that
of the battle-field, it has the advantage of being much less dangerous
than it looks. The ideas suggested to a landsman by the description of an
attack on a whale, are those of extreme peril to all engaged in it, a
peril from which the chances against their escaping alive are at least ten
to one. A few hardy fellows pull up to a creature that looks like a small
island on the surface of the sea, and one sweep of whose tail or flukes is
sufficient to knock their frail bark into splinters; they dash their
harpoons into his huge flanks, and submit to be towed through the waves by
the maddened monster at a rate that makes the water boil round their bows.
Such is the power of the fish, that if he came in contact with a ship,
during his headlong course, his weight and impetus would stave in her
sides. Sometimes he runs straightforward; at others in circles, with
irregular rapidity. Still the boat sticks to him, until the smart of his
hurt subsiding, or through fatigue, he slackens his speed, enabling his
enemies to approach and to pierce him with fresh wounds. At last, when the
waters around are reddened with his blood, comes the death-flurry. "Stern
all!" The boats stand clear, and the fish disappears in the cloud of spray
that he, dashes up in his dying agonies. His flukes quiver, he plunges
heavily, and all is over. Perhaps, and this frequently happens, in the
course of the contest a boat has been cut in two, or so far damaged as to
fill and sink. But the crew are seldom lost. They support themselves by
aid of the oars, until their comrades pick them up. Whaling seamen are
paid by shares in the profits of the voyage, which arrangement of course
contributes to render them zealous and daring.

Such are the scenes described in the early part of Dr Coulter's book,
some of them with tolerable spirit. The whale captured, next comes the
cutting in and boiling out of the blubber--the former a laborious and
often a dangerous process, the latter, anything but an odoriferous one.
The death of a whale is the signal for the arrival of a host of
sharks--blue, brown, and shovel-nosed--all eager to make a meal off the
defunct leviathan. "We were all day surrounded with sea-fowl of various
kinds--haglets, peterels, &c.--picking up floating particles of blubber as
it passed astern, and vast numbers of large blue sharks that kept
continually plunging on the fish, and rendered it very unsafe for the man
to go down and point the hook into the hole cut for it; indeed we were
frequently obliged to jerk him up off the whale out of their way by the
aid of the rope round him for that purpose." The carcass and head on
board, the fires are lighted, the kettle boils, and the ship speeds
merrily on her course--the crew reckoning their share of gain, and
listening anxiously for the welcome sound of "There he blows!"--the
look-out man's usual cry on sighting a whale.

When he left the Stratford, Dr Coulter bade adieu to the grand seasport of
whale-catching, in which he had taken the passive part of a spectator. But
his hand, if unskilled to hurl the harpoon, was familiar with rifle and
fowling-piece. Both of these, with an ample supply of lead, powder, and
shot, his kind friend, Captain Lock, left with him at the mission of Yerba
Buena, literally Good Grass, a Californian town in the bay of St
Francisco. And as soon as pure air, repose, and the use of the Temescal,
or hot-air bath, had restored the doctor's health, he scoured his
fire-arms and made ready for the chase. A looker-on at sea, on terra firma
he proved himself a perfect Nimrod. From that day forward nothing that
wore fur or feather could escape his sure eye and steady hand. From the
quail to the swan, from the frightened squirrel to the formidable grisly
bear, all birds and beasts felt his power, and fell before his unerring
rifle. Nor had he long to wait for opportunities of distributing his
bullets with fatal effect amongst foes whose form was human, although in
customs and civilisation they were but one degree above the brutes of the
forest. After some months' stay in California, taken up chiefly with
hunting and fishing excursions, but of which the doctor, anxious to get to
sea again, gives but a brief account, he began to consider how he should
best reach his rendezvous at Tahiti. He had plenty of time before him; but
the whaling season on the west coast of America being at an end, he could
hardly expect a westward bound English or American ship to touch at St
Francisco for a considerable time to come. He had some notion of
proceeding by a coasting vessel to a more southerly port, when one morning
a fine brigantine hove in sight under a cloud of snow-white sail, and came
to an anchor in the bay. Upon going on board, he recognised all old
acquaintance in the captain of the Hound, whom he had formerly met--the
doctor has been a great rover--at a seaport in Chili. Captain Trainer was
trading along the coast, buying furs; had come into port for fresh water
and repairs; was off for a cruise in the Indian archipelago; and
calculated on winding it up by a visit to the Society Islands. The
prospect of variety and adventure held out by such a voyage exactly chimed
in with the doctor's undecided and erratic mood, as its projected
termination did with his promise to rejoin his ship at Tahiti; so, without
more ado, he made terms with his friend Trainer, and took up a passenger's
berth on board the Hound.

The schooner answering to this canine appellation was a rakish,
fast-sailing craft of two hundred tons burden, fitted out expressly for
the Pacific trade. She carried four small carronades and a long
nine-pounder, a sufficiency of small arms, and a smart crew of sixteen
hands. Boarding-nettings she had, too, ready to be triced up in case of
need; and altogether she had no occasion to dread any enemy she was at all
likely to meet. Her captain was an Englishman born, frank and fearless,
and a thorough sailor. Dr Coulter represents him as a kind-hearted and
humane man, desirous to trade fairly and amicably with the savages, and
not, after the fashion of many desperado skippers in those latitudes, to
clench his bargains by blows and bloodshed. This admitted, it must be
confessed that the captain was unfortunate; for during the time Dr Coulter
sailed with him, we find him continually at loggerheads with the natives.
For the most part, however, the strife was brought on by the treachery and
robber-like propensities of the latter, who, whilst trading with their
European customers, seldom neglect an opportunity of boarding their ships
and cutting their throats. As soon as a vessel comes to anchor they
surround it with their canoes, and show great anxiety to get on board,
especially the women, whom many vessels admit, but whom Captain Trainer
managed to keep off by tabooing his ship. The vice and immorality
prevalent in most of the Pacific Islands is carried to a frightful pitch,
doubtless greatly encouraged by the example of the reckless and dissolute
mariners. Any stimulus of that kind was unnecessary to barbarians
originally cruel, treacherous, and licentious in a very high degree.
Cannibalism is prevalent amongst them. At Drummond's Island, one of the
Kingsmill group, the first land where the Hound made any stay after
leaving St Francisco, Dr Coulter had abundant proof of this. Except upon
the coast, where the disgust shown by Europeans had rendered them ashamed
of it, or at least anxious to conceal it, the natives did not deny the
practice. Some of the men wore necklaces composed of the bones of human
feet and hands, which clattered at each motion of the body. And other
human bones were to be seen in their houses. They eat only strangers and
enemies taken in battle; and as the occasional cutting off of a boats'
crew or straggling watering party from a European ship is insufficient to
keep their larders supplied, they get up constant wars with the natives of
other islands. Amongst themselves, too, they are very quarrelsome. Dr
Coulter, when at Drummond's Island, was present at a grand council, where,
after a certain amount of singing, stamping, and speech-making, the
warriors came from words to blows, and one of them was killed by a
spear-thrust. To satisfy the honour and appease the wrath of his followers
and partisans, a peace-offering was necessary. It consisted of six
fighting cocks, with which and with the corpse of their chief the warriors
took their departure, perfectly satisfied. Cock-fighting is a sport to
which most of the Pacific tribes are passionately addicted.

When the Kingsmill savages had got all they could out of Captain Trainer,
and trade was over, and the ship about to depart, they came out in their
true colours. Previously they had been amiable and affable enough,
contenting themselves with small pilferings, and with robbing Dr Coulter,
whose curiosity took him on shore, of his clothes, which they replaced
with a fish-skin cap and a war-mat. They now showed hostile
intentions--attacked a boat, killed one of the crew, and then made an open
attack on the schooner with a whole fleet of armed canoes. A shower of
grape played havoc amongst them, and sank or capsized several of their
craft; but they still persevered in their advance, and clung to the
vessel's sides and to the boarding-nettings until repelled by cutlass and
pistol. Thus began and ended most of the quarrels with the natives, who,
usually the aggressors, were invariably defeated, but not without hard
fighting and some loss on the part of the assailed. Captain Trainer,
however, was not always quite blameless in the provocation of quarrels,
which always terminated in heavy loss to the misguided savages. At New
Hanover a foolish jest, which his experience of the people he had to deal
with ought to have prevented him from indulging in, was cause of much
bloodshed, and nearly occasioned the loss of the vessel, and destruction
of the crew. Trade had gone on merrily and amicably for several days, when
Trainer expressed a desire for a remarkable necklace of shells and teeth
worn by one of the chiefs. The wearer was willing, and a bargain struck.
The necklace was tightly knotted, and the purchaser propose to cut it. By
way of a joke, "instead of cutting the cord, which he held in one hand, he
raised the knife in a threatening manner as if about to stab the man."
Practical jokes are always foolish and in bad taste,--_jeu de mains, jeu
de vilains_, as the French proverb says;--and the results of this one were
very serious. "The native took instant alarm, thought the captain was in
earnest, made a spring clear of him, which broke his necklace, and plunged
overboard. A few natives on deck at the time followed his example." A
fierce fight, in which several of the schooner's crew were wounded, and a
large number of the islanders killed, was the consequence of this
thoughtless act. And scarcely had the assailants been repelled when the
vessel was found to be on fire, ignited gun and pistol wadding having
fallen through an open hatch amongst inflammable dunnage. By great
exertion the flames were overcome, and the Hound sailed from the inlet
where these unpleasant occurrences had taken place.

From Dr Coulter's account, the islands of the Pacific are the scene of
continual acts of injustice, oppression, and insubordination. It
constantly happens that seamen, seduced by the prospect of a sensual and
idle life, and weary of hard work and uncertain pay on board traders and
whalers, desert their ships and settle amongst the savages. Sometimes they
are driven to this by ill-usage from their captains, often fierce and
hard-hearted men. When a vessel becomes short-handed, it is a common
practice to inveigle Indians on board; and if fair promises are
insufficient to induce them to serve as sailors, to take them away by
force. At Tacames, in Colombia, Dr Coulter fell in with a Californian who
had served for some time on board an American ship. Jack, so his Yankee
shipmates had christened him, had gone on board, in company with another
of his tribe, to sell furs, and had not been allowed to go ashore again.
His companion died of grief and ill-treatment on the coast of Japan, and
Jack, when his services were no longer needed, was left at Tacames, two or
three thousand miles from his native land. He belonged to a wandering
tribe who lived by bartering furs for powder, tobacco, and other Indian
necessaries, and, as an experienced and intrepid hunter, was invaluable to
Dr Coulter. The account of their expeditions in the South American forests
is highly interesting, and we are willing to believe unexaggerated,
although some portions of the doctor's venatorial adventures and
experiences, both in South America and elsewhere, do remind us a little of
the marvels recorded in a diverting and apocryphal book put forth a few
years ago by all ingenious nautical author. On the first day of their
sortie, Jack and his employer, after passing unharmed through jungles
peopled by gigantic monkeys of great boldness, who made various attempts
to purloin their caps and guns, but did not otherwise molest them, reached
a deep ravine, where the barking and howling of beasts were loud and
incessant. Presently a wild horse dashed past them, pursued by a brace of
tigers. The horse dropped from fatigue, the tigers sprang upon him, the
ambushed hunters fired. The doctor's tiger was killed on the spot; "my
shot, after passing through him, entered the horse's neck, and killed him
also." Jack's aim had been less deadly; his beast was wounded, but still
active and dangerous. Dr Coulter proposed giving him the contents of his
second barrel, but the guide preferred to use his knife. The account of
the hand-to-hand combat that ensued reminds us of those graphic records of
bruising matches that occasionally grace the columns of the weekly
newspapers. Pierce Egan himself could hardly recount the progress of a
"mill" between the "Tipton Slasher and the Paddington Pet" in terser and
more knowing style than that employed by John Coulter in narrating the
set-to between Jack and the tiger. "Jack went boldly up to him; the
infuriated animal grinned horridly and writhed rapidly about, throwing up
a good deal of dust from the dry ground. One plunge of the knife--a roar;
into him again--a hideous grin and a tumble about, some blood scattered on
the ground; at him again--a miss stroke of the knife; try once more--both
down and nearly covered with dust." Whereupon the bottle-holder felt
strongly inclined to fire, but was deterred by fear of hitting his own
man. "The tiger had now hold of either the Indian or his clothes, as both
rolled together; yet the knife was busily at work. At last his arm was
raised high up with the red dripping instrument; and after one more angry
plunge of it, the tiger turned on his back, his paws and whole frame
quivering, and with an attempt at a ghastly grin he fell over on his side
and died. Jack then stood up, covered with the animal's blood, and his
first ejaculation was '_un diablo_;' in English, 'one devil.'" A strong
term, but scarcely misapplied to this plucky and hilarious tiger, whom we
conclude, from his continual grinning, to have been a near relation of the
laughing hyena. He died game, with a smile on his lips. Jack escaped
punishment, barring "a faint bite on the shoulder, and a few tears of the
paws on his arms," of which the hardy fellow made little account, but,
after skinning the carrion, proceeded onward in triumph, through forests
whose impervious foliage allowed no glimpse of the sky, where the sunbeams
came with a mild green tint through the masses of impending leaves; down
rivers fringed with lofty trees, whose branches were alive with parrots
and kingfishers; where the monkey screamed, the tiger howled, and the
disgusting alligator, coated with slime and mud, crawled lazily away at
the paddle's splash. In this manner the brace of bold hunters reached the
small town of Tolo; and whilst abiding there, intelligence came of one of
those petty and partial revolutions so common in South American republics.
A malcontent colonel and a few hundred men, unpaid by the needy
government, were extorting their arrears by the strong hand from the towns
upon the coast. They made a determined attack on Tolo, which had been
hastily fortified, and was resolutely defended. The rebels were beaten
off; and as they retreated, a party of cavalry came up, killed many, and
made prisoners of the rest. Jack, whose shooting iron, as he styled his
gun, had made itself heard with great effect during the siege, joined in
pursuit, scrutinised the pockets of the fallen, and secured an amount of
specie that filled his heart with joy. To complete his contentment, Dr
Coulter interceded for him with the captain, who gave the poor fellow a
free passage back to his own country.

The tigers and patriots of Colombia, ugly customers though they be, are
far less formidable than the highwaymen and grisly bears abounding in
California. The robbers go about on horseback, well armed and provided
with lassos, which they throw over the heads of their victims. The usual
objects of their attack are travellers for trade or amusement--any one, in
short, who carries saddlebags--and sometimes even the hunter, toiling his
way to a seaport with a bundle of furs upon his back, is held worth
despoiling of his hard-earned burden. But Californian hunters, cautious
and keen-eyed, and deadly shots, seldom allow themselves to be surprised,
or give up their plunder without a tussle. The doctor tells us of one
fellow, a sort of Californian Natty Bumpo, with whom he passed some time,
and who had defeated and slain with his own hand a gang of six robbers,
making prize of their horses, arms, and accoutrements. In the woods and
prairies of those wild districts, men become inured to hardship and danger
of every kind. And to those who can dine by the bivouac fire and under the
shade of the forest as cheerfully and heartily as in gilded halls and off
polished mahogany, and who can sleep as soundly on fresh turf as in a
luxurious feather-bed, California is a paradise, realising those happy
hunting grounds to which the Indian warrior believes death a passage. The
lakes and rivers abound with fish and wild fowl--trout and salmon, swans,
geese, and ducks; the hazel-nut covers are alive with feathered game; the
forests and mountains with buffalo, deer, hares, and innumerable other
animals. Of beasts of prey, the principal are the jaguar or spotted
leopard, the puma or American lion, and bears--black, brown, and grisly.
These three specimens of the bruin family differ greatly in their habits
and degree of ferocity. The black and brown bears are peaceable,
well-behaved animals, whose principal occupation seems to consist in
furnishing amusement for the hunters by their comical antics. At night
they come round the fires; "but you need not trouble yourselves about a
dozen of them, as, in most instances, they will let you alone, and keep a
respectful distance, sitting on their haunches, scratching themselves with
their fore-paws, wondering what brought you there, and taking a look
round to ascertain whether you have any spare meat left for their supper."
The grisly bear is of far more formidable character. Swift of foot, very
powerful, and of enormous size, he jumps on the back of the largest
buffalo, and kills him with apparent ease. He walks out from behind a rock
or thicket, drives the hunters from their fire, and, if they have not left
him the materials of a hearty meal, follows them with alarming boldness
and rapidity. Dr Coulter relates a running fight he had with one of them,
who pursued him and his companion for nearly a mile, and fell only when he
had received fifteen rifle-balls in his head and body. They do not always
take so much shooting, one ball or two sometimes sufficing as a _quietus_;
but this fellow was unusually large and tenacious of life. "The hunter
said, when he buried his tomahawk in the skull of the brute, as he yet,
though blind with the shot, kept upon his haunches--'I'm of opinion,
grisly bear, you're the biggest and hardest critter of your kind to kill
ever I shot at.'" The Indians cut off the claws of these beasts, and wear
them on a string round their necks as trophies of bravery and prowess.

We have loitered on dry land, and deserted the Hound, whose vagabond
course led her, after quitting the Kingsmill group, to the distant shores
of New Ireland, one of the Australasian islands. Here the king of the
country came on board--a tall, coal-black man of commanding appearance, a
fine specimen of a savage, decorated with bones, shells, and red feathers.
Some of his front teeth were dyed red--a Papuan custom which Dr Coulter
assures us, and we readily believe, gives a demon-like finish to these
ferocious barbarians. His majesty was accompanied by an Englishman, one
Thomas Manners, who had been landed at his own request from a whale ship,
and had passed ten years amongst the savages, to whom in manners and
appearance he was considerably assimilated. He had married the king's
daughter, was a great chief, and perfectly contented with his condition.
There appear to be a vast number of these barbarised Europeans dwelling on
the various islands of the Pacific, some amongst the savages, over whom
they usually exercise considerable authority, others alone, in isolated
nooks, often with Indian wives and a numerous half-cast progeny. The
doctor scarcely touched anywhere without meeting with one or more of these
outcasts from civilisation, the adventures of most of whom would furnish
abundant materials for a Robinsonade. Some of them, deserters from ships
or runaway Australian convicts, kept out of the way; but others, bolder or
having a clearer conscience, gladly served as interpreters, and supplied
the voyagers with useful information. And on more than one occasion, the
crew of the Hound found themselves engaged as allies in the civil wars of
constant occurrence amongst the bellicose barbarians of the Pacific. Dr
Coulter, especially, greatly distinguished himself as an amateur warrior.
He is a most adventurous fellow, and assuredly made a mistake when he
devoted himself to the study of the healing art, instead of to some more
martial profession. His vocation was evidently to kill, not to cure. He
does not inform us whether his rifle aided in repelling the various
attacks on the Hound, but is less reserved concerning his achievements on
shore, and at New Ireland fairly comes out in a military capacity, as a
sort of British Auxiliary Legion to a scouting party of natives. The New
Irishmen, emulous of their brethren in the old country, are for ever in
hot water, squabbling amongst themselves, and keeping up a desultory
border warfare, varied by an occasional pitched battle, as a natural
sequel to which the slain are duly devoured by the victors, with or
without such sauce as their savage cookery book, or, more properly
speaking, their oral culinary traditions, may suggest. Dr Coulter was so
fascinated by the beautiful scenery and strange customs of the island, and
with the hospitable entertainment he found at the sign of the Three
Skulls--an Indian council house from whose roof three tall poles arose,
supporting human heads--that he resolved upon a lengthened excursion
amongst these interesting aborigines, and committed himself, after putting
on what he terms his go-ashore-among-savages suit, to the guidance of his
friend Rownaa, son and heir of the red-toothed monarch already described.
He had not far to go to become acquainted with the comforts of the
country. On reaching an outpost, he obtained a peep into a cannibal
larder. A party of the enemy had attempted a surprise, had been discovered
and repelled, with the loss of two of their number, who were forthwith
trussed for the spit. The _modus operandi_ was rather violent, as was
manifest to the doctor when he looked into the canoe where the bodies lay,
carefully covered up with leaves. "They had been fairly riddled with
arrows and spears, and their skulls were beaten flat with clubs. The legs
were amputated at the knees, hands off at the wrists, hair cut off the
head, &c., preparatory to cooking them." The doctor made bold to express
his disgust at this horrible sight, but the natives, by way of
extenuation, gave him to understand that it was "eatee for eatee," and
that if they fell into the hands of their enemies, they would be converted
into collops and forthwith dined upon. Four of them had been captured that
morning, and would soon, if not rescued, be in the hands of the cook. To
save them from this unpleasant alternative, twenty men advanced stealthily
into the hostile territory, accompanied by Rownaa and Dr Coulter. The
doctor was curious to see the fun, and thought himself safest with his
friend the prince. After a short march they fell in with the prisoners,
guarded by forty or fifty savages; a sharp fight ensued, in which the
doctor at first took no part, thinking, not without reason, that he had no
right to take the lives of men who had done him no injury. At last,
however, "a serious consideration for my personal safety, and the
necessity for self-defence, compelled me to fire both barrels of my gun
into the advancing crowd." The ice thus broken, the double-barrelled rifle
spoke out boldly and decided the day--the doctor celebrating his triumph
by a stentorian hurrah that completed the panic of the discomfited foe.
And thenceforward he shot savages at a handsome allowance. The apologetic
and deprecatory tone in which he records his exploits is amusing enough.
He pleads expediency and necessity, and tries to make it out justifiable
homicide; whilst he evidently has a lurking consciousness that he need not
have thrust himself into scenes and places where it became necessary or
advisable to shed blood. To return to his ship, he had to coast the
island, and to pass the territory of a tribe hostile to his friends.
Canoes came out to assail those on which Dr Coulter and his allies were
embarked. He was again compelled to smother humanity, prime, load, and
fire as fast as he could, although "it grieved me afterwards to think I
used such a death-dealing weapon with so much earnestness." Touching
repentance! Compassionate Coulter! But "his dander was up," he says, and
he thought no more, but acted. As anybody else would probably have done,
on finding himself assailed by a flotilla of howling savages, with
blood-coloured teeth, poisoned arrows, and a decided taste for the flesh
of a wholesome white man. What business the doctor had in such a
predicament, is altogether another question. "_Que diable allait-il faire
dans cette galère?_"

The New Irishmen have some queer customs. The night following the battle
was passed by Dr Coulter at one of their outposts, where he was prevented
sleeping by the strange torches kept burning in the house he lodged at.
They consisted of long sticks, with a quantity of cocoa-nut fibre steeped
in rosin and twisted round the top. These were lighted, and held by naked
men, who relieved each other. The idols worshipped by these heathens are
of a peculiarly ludicrous description, ten feet high, made of polished
wood, with arms akimbo, oyster shells for eyes, and red pegs for teeth.
The expression of the face is one of grotesque laughter, irresistibly
provocative of mirth in the beholder. In one respect the example of these
savages might be followed with advantage by more civilised communities.
Their cemeteries are invariably remote from their dwellings, in lonely and
unfrequented spots.

The ship's company of the Hound had been long without seeing any but
savage faces, and it was with much satisfaction that on entering a bay on
the coast of Papua or New Guinea, they perceived a brig riding at anchor.
She hoisted the stars and stripes, and presently her captain paid a visit
to the Hound. A Scotch Highlander by birth, his name Stewart, he was a
daring and unscrupulous dog as ever fired a round of grape into a mob of
South Sea savages. He had the reputation of a tolerably fair dealer, but
some of his articles of traffic were extraordinary and disgusting. He was
once at Cook's Straits, New Zealand, when there was a great fight amongst
the tribes. A feast was to follow, and to save land-carriage, the
cannibals freighted Stewart's ship with the provisions for their horrible
banquet. "He took on board upwards of two hundred dead bodies, cut up and
well packed, with eighteen or twenty chiefs, sailed round, delivered his
cargo, and received in payment a large quantity of dressed flax, which he
afterwards brought to Sydney and sold at a satisfactory price." After
this, people looked askance at him, and held their noses when he passed;
but Stewart jingled his dollars, and said it was no one's business but his
own, admitting, however, that it was "a stinking cargo." Like the Roman
emperor, he denied that good coin could carry an evil smell. "Another
trifling affair," Dr Coulter writes, "blemished his character." Cargoes of
ebony, neither more nor less; slaves bought in Australasia, and sold to
the Dutch and Chinese. Human flesh, quick or dead, was a favourite article
of commerce with this respectable Highlandman. In those remote regions,
however, men cannot always pick their society, and Coulter and Trainer
were glad enough to meet this dealer in dead and live stock, who was an
old acquaintance of both of them. They went on board his vessel and dined
with him, and it was agreed that the brigand schooner should keep together
as long as circumstances permitted. After several days' profitable
trading, chiefly in ambergris, tortoiseshell, pearls, and birds of
Paradise, and which ended, wonderful to say, without a skirmish with the
natives, they coasted along the north shore of the island, and came to an
anchor in Gilvink's Bay, at its westernmost extremity, alongside the
"Eternal Safety," a Chinese trading junk. According to the custom of his
countrymen in those seas, the Chinese skipper had told the Papuans all
manner of lies about the Europeans, and had warned them against trading
with them. Stewart discovered this by means of an old acquaintance, a
Sandwich islander and expert cook, who gladly left the junk, where he
received a larger allowance of rattan than he liked, to officiate in the
caboose of the American brig. Once safe upon the Yankee's deck, Mr Sing
vented his indignation against his late master in a volley of abuse,
interspersed with comical and contemptuous gestures. The Chinaman actually
danced with rage, and at last levelled a matchlock at the object of his
fury; but on Stewart's opening a port, and disclosing the grim muzzle of a
carronade, he suspended, his warlike demonstrations. A supply of articles
for barter with the natives was obtained from his junk, and the same
afternoon a fresh breeze swept the European ships out of the bay.

The last place to which we shall accompany Dr Coulter is a district on the
south coast of New Guinea, inhabited by the warlike and ferocious tribe of
the Horraforas, who, at the period of his visit, lived happily under the
paternal rule of King Connel the First. Terence Connel was a County Kerry
boy, who had gone through many strange adventures in his own country and
elsewhere. A deserter from a regiment of the line, he had served for some
time under Captain Starlight's banner, and had distinguished himself by
his intrepidity and zeal in house-burning, cattle-houghing, and other
nocturnal amusements peculiar to the "first flower of the sea." After a
couple of years of this praiseworthy career, he had been captured, tried,
and transported to Australia. He escaped, with ten fellow-convicts, and,
after various adventures, reached Papua. Nine of their number were slain
by the Horraforas, who spared the two others and made them serve against a
hostile tribe. Connel's companion was killed in a fight, but Connel
greatly distinguished himself, and became head-chief, or king. Under his
guidance and protection, we find Captain Trainer, four of his crew, and
the indefatigable Coulter, wandering in the Horrafora territory, through
magnificent tropical scenery, where snakes abounded, rats were as big as
ordinary cats, the mosquitos flew about in dense clouds, huge bats flapped
their mirky wings beneath the branches of gigantic trees, and immense
saucer-eyed owls glared from out the gloom. Hog-hunting was the principal
sport here; but the Horraforas were at war, as usual, and Dr Coulter's
services were again put in requisition. Fighting is the business of life
with these savages, and with an Irish king at their head, their combative
propensity was not likely to be weakened. They have scouts out
continually, and but for this precaution, as Connel explained, "one tribe
would break in on top of t'other, be murdherin' man, woman, and child, and
carrying off the rest to sell to the Chinese for slaves, all through
divilment, or fair divarsion." To guard against surprise, the natives live
in trees, amongst whose branches they construct commodious sleeping
apartments. They ascend and descend by a notched pole, drawn up at night,
and take their meals on the ground below.

The party from the schooner soon found they had got themselves into
trouble, being cut off from their vessel by the Whitepaints, a race of
savages thus named by Dr Coulter from their habit of disguising their
dusky complexion with a ghastly coating of white. A battle was inevitable,
and Connel disposed his forces with all the tact of an experienced
general. About a thousand of the enemy were opposed to eight hundred and
fifty Horraforas, but the latter had the Englishmen to help them, and
especially Dr Coulter, who, with his terrible rifle, was a host in
himself. The Whitepaints came on to within about four hundred yards of
their foe, and halted, their chief still advancing and yelling defiance,
in hopes of drawing the Horraforas from their cover on the verge of a
forest. His appearance was any thing but prepossessing. He was "a giant of
a man, hair and beard powdered with chalk, face painted black, and body
white all over!" Connel implored his allies to render him a great service
by picking off this ugly heathen, and inquired who was the best shot.
Trainer named the doctor, who "had really no wish to pull a trigger,
except in actual self-defence." But Trainer and Connel pressed him to
fire, and at last overcame his scruples. With charming modesty, he avoids
naming himself as the man who made the huge Papuan magpie bite the dust.
"Thus urged by Connel," he says, "_one of our party_ rested his gun on the
lower branch of a tree, took deliberate aim, and fired!" This "one of our
party" was of course the doctor, the sailors being armed with short
muskets, incapable of carrying so far. The shot took effect. Whitepaint
ceased his capering, "stood fixed and upright like a daubed statue," and
"was about receiving another shot (from the doctor's second barrel, we
presume) when he fell heavily forward and lay motionless." Whereupon the
Whitepaints advanced, and the six Englishmen "set to work in real earnest
popping" off the cannibals. And soon becoming "madly excited by the scene,
we continued to load and fire as fast as we could, accompanying almost
every shot or volley with a Hurra! nearly as wild as the savage yell." Dr
Coulter had got rid of his scruples, and Trainer and the seamen appear
never to have had any. The latter "were eager to run down the mound for
the purpose of enjoying a bayoneting match; but Trainer would not permit
such folly, and told them to amuse themselves firing at them from where we
were, which they did with great perseverance." The unfortunate Whitepaints
were totally defeated, their tribe cut up root and branch, their women
taken to wife by the victors, and themselves slung upon poles like rabbits
and carried off to be buried, as Connel expressed it, in "the infernal
stomachs" of their cannibal conquerors. The doctor and his companions
being by no means anxious to witness the abominable feast, moved on with
Connel, and, after a visit to the Whitepaint town, or rather rookery, the
houses being built in trees, like those of the Horraforas, paddled down a
river, through beautiful scenery, which Dr Coulter indicates, rather than
describes. He is a poor hand at description, the worthy doctor, although
evidently not devoid of a certain feeling for the glories of a tropical
landscape. But he lacks words, and his attempts at a pen-and-ink picture
are painfully meagre and unsatisfactory. After shooting a rapid, where the
river falls about fourteen feet, and down which the natives conducted
their canoes with singular dexterity, the country became more open, and
the mast-heads of the brig and schooner appeared in the distance. "Sail
ho!" bellowed Trainer, rejoiced at the sight of his floating home. And in
his exhilaration, he resolved to "take a rise" out of Stewart. Concealing
himself and men in the bottom of the canoe, he gave the hint to Connel,
whose savage subjects forthwith set up a hideous war-whoop, which very
nearly procured the incorrigible joker a volley of grape from his own
ship. This final and unnecessary danger over, Dr Coulter, to his
considerable satisfaction, once more found himself safely housed in the
cabin of the Hound, relieved from all apprehension of becoming a corner
dish at a cannibal dinner. In which snug quarters and comfortable security
he will be found by those curious farther to pursue the thread of his
adventures.



THREE MONTHS AT GAZA.


After quitting the Arab chiefs,[15] Sidney rode slowly and silently
towards the little town of Gaza. He was seized with a strange fit of
melancholy, and this sudden revulsion of feeling proceeded from no
perceptible cause. He cared very little about parting either with Aali or
Sheikh Salem. Lascelles Hamilton was a much more amusing companion than
either of the Moslems. But from some inexplicable train of thought,
Sidney's mind was filled with fancies, which followed one another like the
phantasms of a fever, and produced a depression of spirits alarming to
himself. He was naturally so little addicted to low spirits, or
melancholy, that he felt convinced the present fit must be the forerunner
of some serious malady, and that the mysterious warning given him by
Sheikh Salem, not to delay long at Gaza, arose from the sagacious Arab
perceiving the traces of incipient fever marked on his forehead. At last
he succeeded, by reproaching himself with his own pusillanimity, in
rousing his mind, and directing his attention to the scenery around, and
to the view of the town before him.

That view was well calculated to dispel blue devils. It was picturesque,
gay, and luxuriantly green; and the contrast it offered to the parched
desert behind, and the memory of the sandy fog of the Khamsin, made its
contemplation a physical enjoyment. On each side of the lane along which
the travellers proceeded, a tall fence of cactus separated them from
verdant plantations of mulberry trees, orchards, and gardens. The creaking
of water wheels, and the splashing of the water from the revolving
buckets, were sounds which, if not musical to the ear, were delightful to
the sense of hearing, from the ideas of coolness and cleanliness they
suggested. Those only who have wandered in the desert under a burning sun,
or sailed for days and nights in a crowded Levantine caick, can conceive
the exquisite sensation that the sight of an old black bucket of fresh
water conveys to the human soul. The sense of coolness indicated by the
dark stain of constant immersion, and the liberality of wealth testified
by the leaky stream flowing from the ill connected staves, have given many
a traveller in the "gorgeous east" greater pleasure than he could have
derived from an invitation to a banquet with Lucullus.

Beyond the wave of the corn fields the verdure of the gardens, and the
shade of the trees, rose the little city of Gaza,--a small and picturesque
spot, with a few minarets and towers, and ruined walls rising above the
houses. It crowns a moderate elevation, once occupied by a strong citadel,
so well fortified by nature and art as to have merited emphatically the
appellation of "the strong." It stands a monument of the glory of the
Israelite warrior Sampson, and a proof of the ease with which heroic
valour, in a petty fortress commanded by a Persian eunuch, could arrest
the progress of the Macedonian hero, Alexander the Great. At the entrance
of the town our travellers stumbled over some ruins, which they were
gravely informed marked the remains of the gateway from which Sampson had
carried away the gates. Beside it, a small building with a low dome has
been constructed by the Mohammedans, and is shown as the tomb of Sampson.

Before this tomb, a considerable number of people, and a guard of Albanian
soldiers, was now stationed. They soon brought our travellers to a halt,
and compelled them to dismount in order to undergo an examination as long
and inquisitorial as that to which poor foreigners are subjected at the
police office of Vienna. Their motives for visiting Gaza, were inquired
into, and particularly their connexion with the party they had just
quitted. The result of the examination did not appear to be perfectly
satisfactory, though Sidney told very frankly that Sheikh Salem and his
son were of the party, truly declaring at the same time, that as they had
crossed the desert disguised in female apparel, and surrounded by their
own attendants, he had no knowledge of their presence until the party was
joined by the Sheikh of Hebron that day. An Osmanlee secretary of the
governor of Gaza, one of those Mamaluke custom-house officers, or revenue
collectors of Mohammed Ali, to whom the statesmen of France looked for the
foundation of an Arabic empire in Egypt and Syria, now made his
appearance, to decide on the fate of the English spies, for such they were
evidently considered.

After a second examination, it was decided that the party must undergo a
quarantine of observation until their companions should arrive. It was in
vain to oppose this decision; so Sidney, Lascelles Hamilton, and Achmet
were marched through the middle of the town of Gaza, and lodged in a tower
near the centre of the barracks, in order to preserve the place from the
danger of contagion. Two Albanian soldiers were appointed to act as
guardians or sentinels to the prisoners, who were also allowed to hire a
cook. The guards kept up, a constant communication with their friends, and
the cook walked himself to the market to make his purchases, so that the
quarantine was very evidently rather a police than a sanatory measure.

The tower in which the travellers were lodged was within the circuit of
the remains of a noble building, constructed by the templars, or the
knights of St John, who long defended this bulwark of the kingdom of
Jerusalem against the infidel soldans of Egypt. The first morning of
quarantine was spent walking and smoking on the terraced roof of a large
arched hall, once a dormitory, or a hospital of the Christian soldiery,
now tenanted by a small body of irregular cavalry. As Mohammed Ali was,
according to the established system of his Arabic empire, cheating them
out of their pay, they were eager to hire their horses to our travellers
for the journey to Jerusalem. There captain, aspiring to the profits of a
muleteer, contrasted with the fierce templar of Walter Scott's Ivanhoe as
the trading monarch, Mohammed Ali, forms an antithesis to the generous
Saladin. The terrace overlooked a delightful country, and Sidney felt
positively pleased that the restraint of quarantine compelled him to be
idle. Before him was spread a rich cultivated plain, closely covered with
olive trees, and bounded by a range of hills, crowned by the peak of
Sampson's mount, rising prominent over the rest of the chain. The long
waving branches of palm trees scattered about in every direction, the
trains of loaded camels arriving and departing, and the active population
in constant movement round the town, gave Gaza the air of a flourishing
place.

But though Sidney found great pleasure in contemplating this scene, seated
on his carpet, pipe in hand, and Achmet expressed in a variety of
languages his delight at smoking the pipe of repose, after quitting the
saddle of fatigue, neither the scene nor the repose appeared to produce a
tranquillising effect on the mind of Mr Lascelles Hamilton. That
gentleman displayed the extreme of impatience at his confinement, and
spent hour after hour in vain exhortations to Sidney, to make some
endeavours to be released from imprisonment. Failing with Sidney, he had
even attempted to move Achmet. It was all useless: Sidney had not gazed on
green trees, gardens, and human beings for some days, nor had Achmet
smoked a pipe of repose since he had quitted the valley of the Nile; so
the one could do nothing but contemplate, and the other nothing but smoke.

In the evening, the incessant volubility of Lascelles Hamilton awakened in
Sidney a wish to take a stroll through the town. On proposing this walk to
the Albanian guards, they immediately agreed to accompany the travellers,
and suggested a visit to the Mosque, which had been a Christian church,
and then a sojourn in the principal coffee-house in the bazar. The church,
now converted into the principal mosque of Gaza, is said to have been
constructed in the fifth century. It is well worth visiting, though there
can be no doubt that the coffee-house has an air of much greater
antiquity, if the marks of Decay's effacing fingers be a proof of age. The
manner adopted by the quarantine of Gaza for exhibiting the enforcement of
the sanatory regulations to the whole population, was an excellent
illustration of the effects of the influence of public opinion in Turkey.

Next day was occupied in preparing for the journey to Jerusalem. Sidney
had brought a letter from Cairo to a Christian Arab, named Elias es Shami,
so called because he was a native of Sham el Keber, or the great city of
Damascus. This worthy was the consular agent of some one of the European
powers, but affected to be consul for all. His house was ornamented with
five or six flag-staffs, and from these, on days of public rejoicing, the
standards of England and France were displayed at the corners farthest
apart. He declared himself, in his Damascene French, consul of all the
powers, or, as he phrased it, "_Je suis moi, consul, de toutes les
potences_." And it really did not require this certificate to convince
most of his visitors, that, like many of the trading consuls of the
Levant, he was somewhat of a gallows bird. In the position in which he was
placed, Sidney conceived this worthy consular agent might afford him some
advice.

On arriving at the house with the flag-staffs, Achmet was sent in to
present the letter. In spite of the quarantine, it was received and read
by Elias of Sham without difficulty. But though the consul lad no fear of
plague before his eyes, he had a strong aversion to hold any intercourse
with persons suspected of being spies by the officers of Mohammed Ali, and
Ibrahim Pasha. He accordingly positively declined the visit of Sidney, and
sent down his vice-consul, a tall youth with lantern jaws, to inform the
travellers in the middle of the street, that Mr Elias of Sham, the British
consul, could not recognise any traveller in Syria to be an Englishman,
who did not wear the English dress on his body, and a round hat on his
head. This communication was so completely in the classic style of English
diplomacy in the Levant, that Hassan's axiom concerning the sanity of
Elchees and Ambassadors, rushed to the recollection of Sidney, and he
perceived that even trading consuls felt bound to put a touch of folly ill
their official communications to vouch for their diplomatic authority.

Rather amused than discomposed by this reception, Sidney bethought himself
of another letter he possessed, to a Persian merchant named Ibrahim, and
called by Turks Sishman. Fat Abraham pretended to be Persian consul, so it
was proposed to try whether the Mohammedan had more of the trader, and
less of the diplomat than his Christian colleague. As the quarantine
regulations gave nobody any concern, it was determined to make this visit
as imposing as possible. Achmet arranged the procession, and marched
before the travellers as dragoman, himself preceded by two Albanian
soldiers armed to the teeth; the cook and two more Albanians followed in
the rear, and with the greatest dignity, the whole body moved through the
bazaar to the shop of Fat Abraham.

Ibrahim Sishman was found seated in his counting-house. This
counting-house, like most of the shops in a Turkish bazaar, bore a close
resemblance to the lion's den at the zoological gardens, the grating in
front being removed, and the floor raised about three feet above the mud
of the narrow street; if the pathway between the dens of the traders in
the bazaar of Gaza deserve to be dignified with the name of street. Fat
Ibrahim had very little the look of a Persian; instead of possessing the
genteel figure of that noble race, he was a squat fellow, with a large
mouth, a tallow face, and two arms hanging down from his shoulders at six
inches distance from his body, as if unable to approach nearer from some
electrical influence. He was, however, by no means very fat, so that his
nick-name of Fat Ibrahim was merely a distinctive epithet, borne as
Europeans bear the name of Black, Brown, White, or Green, without their
skin being of the colour of a dun cow, or a Brazilian parroquet. The
Persian dealt largely in tobacco and coffee on his own account, and in
various articles of other people's property, of which he exhibited
specimens on the walls of his den, for besides being a consul he called
himself a banker and general merchant.

He received Sidney and his companion with great affability, and as soon as
they were seated like a couple of tailors on his shop floor, he plied them
with pipes and coffee, and a stream of conversation which eclipsed the
volubility of Mr Lascelles Hamilton in the desert. He was by no means
deficient in wit, and talked of the scrape into which the travellers had
fallen by their accidental intercourse with Sheikh Salem, as the public
news of the bazar; while he induced them to recount their visit to his
brother consul, the Shamite, whom he ridiculed as a booby, who always
acted as a general merchant when he ought to act as a banker, and as a
banker when he ought to act as a consul. The Persian concluded by telling
Sidney, that he had now arrived at the right consular shop for protection.
Persia and England were the best of friends, and as the English consul
from Sham had been offering for French contracts, he hoped soon to display
the flag of England in his own courtyard.

A week was drawing to its close, and our travellers were still retained in
their state of quarantine at large. Sidney enjoyed himself walking about
and visiting the bazar, but poor Mr Lascelles Hamilton began to be alarmed
at the delay, and, strange to say, became thoughtful and silent. He
affected great anxiety for the fate of the companions he had left behind,
but Sidney suspected his melancholy arose from fear of losing his baggage.
He declared too that it was of the greatest consequence for him to reach
Jerusalem in the shortest space of time, and kept a small bundle
constantly near him as if ready for a sudden start should the opportunity
of escape present itself. The anxiety of Lascelles Hamilton had increased
to a nervous pitch, when late one evening Ringlady and Campbell were
suddenly ushered into the tower where our travellers were lodged. Their
delay had been caused in part by the Khamsin wind, and in part by their
sluggish movements.

Next morning, the whole party proceeded to pay Hafiz Bey, the governor of
Gaza, a visit, and obtain his authority to quit his government. Hafiz Bey
received them with great politeness, granted them every thing they asked,
but invited them to ride out with him to see two robbers impaled, and meet
a courier from Mohammed Ali with a small body of Bedoween cavalry. The
invitation was equivalent to a command; so although none of the party had
any curiosity to see the rare sight of an impalement executed by the
express orders of Ibrahim Pasha on two Arab soldiers, who had stolen a few
bushels of beans, still they were compelled to accept the offer without
any appearance of dissatisfaction. Lascelles Hamilton alone attempted to
excuse himself, and only joined the party when he perceived that his
absence would render him an object of suspicion to the Bey. The governor
mounted the whole party, and even Campbell, in spite of his aversion to
equestrian exercise, felt tolerably at home when he perceived that he
could place himself on a quiet looking steed with a round well-padded
cloth saddle.

The scene was well worthy seeing, though we must omit all description of
the impalement, which our travellers refused to witness. Hafiz Bey had
prepared a species of review, the fame of which he probably conceived
might tend to make Lord Palmerston pause before he launched his thunders
against Gaza. The meeting of the Bedoweens from Egypt with the Bedoweens
of Gaza was accompanied by a sham fight, executed with considerable art,
though consisting of little more than an extended combination of single
combats. The captain of each troop rode forward, and when they had
approached sufficiently near, one fired his carbine or pistol, and then
gallopped away; the other followed, and if he could gain on his adversary,
chose his distance to return the fire. Each horseman in succession from
both troops advanced, repeating the same manoeuvre, but often describing
circles in their flight or in their advance for the purpose of cutting off
the boldest of their adversaries, who might have ventured too far in the
eagerness of pursuit. It was only when this was successfully accomplished
that any attempt was made to close and use the sabre, though even in these
last and desperate encounters, the great object was rather to secure
prisoners than to slay enemies. The lance was evidently regarded by both
parties as a useless weapon. The meanest trooper of the desert was so
completely master of this unwieldy weapon as to avoid or parry its thrust
with perfect confidence, so that when Bedoween met Bedoween, lances were
laid aside.

The mimic fight, however, continued longer, and was extended over a much
greater space of ground than Hafiz Bey had contemplated. He evidently
began to grow uneasy, a circumstance which our travellers attributed to
the effect of the impalement on his nerves, though it really arose from
the fear he began to entertain that his severity in punishing theft had
wounded the sympathies of the Arabs. He accordingly despatched one of his
own Curds to request the Arab chief to draw nearer to the infantry, and
thus place themselves within the range of his artillery, and perhaps for
the purpose of enforcing this order, he directed his Curdish horsemen to
move towards the rear of the Bedoweens. The Arabs clearly disapproved of
the movement, and disliked the orders, so without deigning to salute Hafiz
Bey, both his own Arabs of Gaza and the new-comers from Egypt suddenly set
off at a gallop and soon disappeared among the hills towards the desert.
An endeavour was made to treat this incident as a part of the review, but
alarm soon seized both the spectators and the troops that remained, and
the Bey was obliged to scamper back to Gaza as fast as possible, lest some
treason should place another in possession of his government before his
arrival.

In the evening, the Franks were again summoned to pay Hafiz Bey a visit,
but neither Mr Lascelles Hamilton nor the accomplished Mohammed, the
dragoman of Mr Ringlady, could be found. Achmet too had fallen ill in the
morning, so that the party had to present itself before the governor with
diminished splendour. On their arrival at the divan, they beheld a Frank
in an European dress seated beside Hafiz Bey, and a consular cavas
standing near the door. Inquiries were soon made for Mr Lascelles
Hamilton, and when the Frank on the sofa heard that he was nowhere to be
found, he jumped up and made twenty inquiries one after the other in
English, as strongly marked with a foreign accent as that of Mr Lascelles
Hamilton, but by no means equal to it in choice of words or correctness of
grammatical construction. The worthy stranger then informed the travellers
that he was an agent of the British Consulate at Alexandria, sent to
arrest Mr Lascelles Hamilton for a variety of offences committed under a
variety of names.

The hue and cry was now raised, but no Mr Lascelles Hamilton was to be
found, and it almost appeared difficult to produce any evidence that such
a person had ever existed. Dozens of persons who had seen him that
morning, and every morning he had spent at Gaza, became alarmed lest they
should be in some way compromised by a connexion with him, and stoutly
denied that such a person had accompanied Sidney to Gaza. Sidney himself,
amused with the events of the day, boasted to Campbell that he would
achieve fame as a literary man by writing a novel in three volumes based
on the adventures of a single day at Gaza. In the mean time, Ringlady
became frantic on discovering, in the search for Lascelles Hamilton, that
he had lost not only his pearl of dragomans, the accomplished Mohammed,
but likewise the whole of his baggage, which the accomplished Mohammed had
doubtless carried off by mistake. To increase the grief of the party at
losing these two valuable companions, it appeared that the best part of
the baggage of Sidney and Campbell had also disappeared, but whether with
the Frank or the Mussulman, it was impossible to say. The night was spent
in vain endeavours to ascertain the direction in which the fugitives had
fled. Hafiz Bey sent out horsemen on every road, who probably did not go
very far from the fear of falling in with the Bedoweens. Achmet, however,
who now began to recover from his attack of illness, declared, that all
search would be useless, for he felt sure that his brother dragoman--the
father of a jackass, as he politely termed him--had attempted to poison
him in order to escape to the Arabs with the Frank Sheitan.

Day after day elapsed, and no tidings were heard either of the fugitives
or the baggage. The deputy consul from Alexandria informed the travellers,
that Mr Lascelles Hamilton had been the secretary of an English gentleman
of fortune, and during his patron's absence from home, he had thought fit
to decamp with numerous papers and a large sum of money. With this
provision, he had been travelling over the Continent under a variety of
names, and presenting himself at different places as a relation of various
distinguished families, proving his identity by the letters and papers in
his possession. He had escaped many times when even more closely pursued
than at Gaza. A courier arriving for the Alexandrian, informed him at
last, that Mohammed the pearl of dragomans had been seen on the road to
Egypt, beyond El Arish. As it now appeared that the quarry had doubled
back, in order probably to escape by sea from Alexandria as the spot where
his presence would be least suspected, the consular agent set off after
his victim. It was something like a lap-dog pursuing a fox. Rumours of the
Palmerstonian wars were now beginning to alarm the East, so that our
travellers found themselves in a situation of considerable embarrassment.

The sudden departure of their baggage was more frequently deplored by the
travellers than the loss of their companion's society. Part of their cash
had been lodged in their trunks--a fact not unknown to the observant
Mohammed--and their funds were now very low. Mr Ringlady had, however, a
letter for Elias, of Sham, whom he considered to be the English consul;
and though Sidney informed him of the reception he had met with on
presenting a similar letter, he trusted to his elegant appearance and
mellifluous voice for complete success in obtaining as much cash as he
might require to continue his journey to Beyrout.

Ringlady and Campbell, in new paletots and black hats, proceeded to wait
on the consul, banker, and general trader of Sham. That worthy, however,
had already arrived at the conviction that a war between Turkey and Egypt,
and between England and France, was inevitable, and that victory would as
inevitably accompany the arms of Egypt and Gaul. His interest confirmed
this conviction. As sometimes happens in the lax mercantile morality of
the consular system in the Levant, he was the agent of two rival banking
establishments, one supported by English, and the other by French funds.
The English capitalists being far away, and unable to exercise any direct
control over their funds, the Shamite considered it an excellent
opportunity for confiscating their funds. He termed the confiscation an
act of justice, for the English had intrusted him with their money though
they knew that he was already the agent of a rival establishment, and the
law declares that all acts contrary to the policy of trade are invalid.
The consul illustrated his argument in the following words:--"I am a
mule; I hired my labour to the French, and they loaded me with
money-bags. I worked, and worked, and worked. The English saw I could
carry more, so they placed money-bags on my back, and cheated the French
out of my labour. The burden is now heavy, and honour requires me to throw
away the money-bags of the English." The mule accordingly proceeded to
kick them off in the public road, but took care to place his own friends
on the spot to pick them up.

He nevertheless received Ringlady and Campbell with politeness, treated
them to coffee and long pipes, and discoursed on the state of Palestine.
He advised them to make the best of their way to Beyrout, informing them
that the climate of Syria was peculiarly dangerous to English
constitutions towards the commencement of the month of June. The most
experienced physicians had predicted a great mortality of Franks during
the ensuing summer, and Englishmen were observed to suffer most severely
from Syrian fevers. Mr Ringlady now introduced the business of their visit
in formal terms, but Campbell was so delighted with his new friend that he
exclaimed, "Ye're a friendly soul, Signor Console Elias; but we're no
feared for the climate; it's cash we want, and either Mr Ringlady or I can
gie ye a circular note on a London bank, or a bill on a hoose in Beyrout."
The face of Elias now assumed as profound a gravity as if he had been
suddenly called upon to decide on the fate of Syria. After some reflexion
he replied,--"Gentlemen, I regret to say that it is not in my power to
advance you any money, as you have no letter of credit especially
addressed to me. The letter I hold in my hand is only one of
introduction." In vain circular notes were exhibited, and letters, of
credit on Beyrout; Elias was inexorable. After Mr Ringlady had explained
at some length, and with great eloquence, every question of mercantile
law, and every principle of social duty connected with their wants, the
travellers were compelled to take their leave of their consular friend
without obtaining a farthing of his coin.

The travellers now held a council to decide on their future movements. At
this council, it was decided that Ringlady and Campbell should set off
next day for Jerusalem with the scanty supply of cash they possessed, and
from the Holy City transmit a supply of money to Sidney. Sidney's funds
were completely exhausted by the payments he was compelled to make to the
Albanians and Turks, who considered his quarantine had given them a right
to divide his purse. It was by no means prudent to dispute their
impositions, lest a pretext for delay should arise out of the dispute,
though, after paying all the claims brought against him, Sidney remained
with only a few dollars in his possession. The detention of a few days
more in Gaza he regarded with great indifference; and when he saw the
elegant Mr Ringlady set off with his quarantine cook installed as
dragoman, he could not resist quizzing the mellifluous lawyer on the
diminished splendour of his equipage, and contrasting his present figure
with the magnificent appearance of his train as it was marshalled by
Mohammed the pearl of dragomans under the walls of the renowned city of
Belbeis.

Sidney, as soon as his companions were departed, resolved to seek out a
private habitation, and thus avoid the expense, entailed on him by his
residence in the tower he had hitherto occupied. To effect this, he called
on his Persian friend Ibrahim Sishman, to secure his assistance in hiring
a room. The Persian possessed a house in the immediate vicinity of his den
in the bazaar, in which he occasionally lodged his correspondents when
they visited Gaza, and generally used as a storehouse for his tobacco and
coffee. His own dwelling and harem was situated in a distant quarter of
the town. He now offered Sidney the use of the empty house, telling him he
might occupy it as soon as he liked and quit it whenever he pleased. The
offer was made with a degree of good will that showed it was not a mere
compliment; so two hammals were set to work immediately to scrub the
floors with soap and water, and Achmet was sent to get Sidney's scanty
baggage removed to his new domicile.

While Sidney was detained at Gaza, he found himself compelled to pass a
good deal of his time seated cross-legged in Fat Abraham's den in the
bazaar conversing, with his host and the customers who stopped before the
spot, on the political and commercial news of Palestine. His host also
generally passed part of the evening with him under the pretext of
rational conversation, but more probably to avail himself of an
opportunity of imbibing a tumbler of strong punch. From the Persian,
however, Sidney learned a good deal concerning the state of Syria, and
perceived the full meaning of the warning Sheikh Salem had given not to
delay at Gaza.

The Moslem population of Syria and Palestine, particularly landed
proprietors and hereditary Sheikhs, were universally dissatisfied with the
avarice and extortion displayed by the enlightened and civilised
government of Ibrahim Pasha and his father Mohammed Ali. And it was now
well known that an extensive correspondence had been established by the
Porte with all the influential chiefs, for the purpose of exciting the
people to rebellion. The interference of Great Britain as an ally of
Turkey was considered certain, and Sidney, to his astonishment, found all
the intrigues of the Foreign Office and its restless secretary better
known to a Persian tobacconist at Gaza than to the British consuls in
Egypt.

On the other hand, Ibrahim Sishman explained to him that the Christians
were generally favourable to the Egyptian government. In his financial
oppression Mohammed Ali had placed Christian and Moslem on perfect
equality; but as the Moslem population was taxed with greater difficulty
than the Christian, he found it advantageous to employ this last as spies
on their neighbours, and preferred intrusting the financial administration
to their care. By this means, they were rendered the partisans of Egypt,
and as France was the ally of Mohammed Ali, they became the enemies of
Turkey and England. Many of the Christians were now employed in watching
the movements of the Moslem Sheikhs, and, to increase their estimation
with Ibrahim Pasha, they acted as spies on every English traveller who
visited Syria.

Ibrahim informed Sidney that the banker Elias had made a merit of refusing
to supply the Englishmen with funds at the divan of Hafiz Bey. But as
Mohammed Ali had by his last courier renewed his orders to treat
Englishmen with proper attention, Hafiz Bey had only laughed at his
suspicions, and consequently the Persian had ventured to entertain Sidney
as his guest, without incurring any suspicion of being engaged in
political intrigues with England.

The first week of this strange life passed away very pleasantly; but,
before the second was terminated, Sidney became tired of the waste of
time; and as no news arrived from his companions who had preceded him to
Jerusalem, he gave his host Ibrahim a bill on Beyrout, and made all his
preparations for quitting Gaza.

In the morning, when he had sent out Achmet to hire horses, and was
engaged in smoking what he hoped would be his last pipe at Gaza, an old
slave belonging to the household of the Persian presented himself. Sidney
stretched out his hand to receive the money for his bill, which he
supposed Ibrahim had sent, not being able to bring it himself at that
early hour; but, instead of a bag of money, the slave delivered to him a
letter and a bunch of keys. Sidney, supposing there was some mistake,
declined the letter and keys, and asked for his money. He could induce the
slave to utter no words but "Read it." This was not the easiest task in
the world, for Sidney was more familiar with the text of Makrizi than with
the epistolary correspondence of modern traders. After some trouble he
satisfied himself that the contents of the letter were nearly as
follows:--

"Prince of my esteem! Sovereign of my respect! Milord, Beyzadé, and
Khan!--To be a good man like thy servant Ibrahim, profiteth nothing in an
evil hour. Thy host is compelled to fly to collect money for his friends.
He is in thy debt, but he places all his wealth at thy disposal, and will
arrange accounts at his return. Preserve his house and his fame as thou
lovest righteousness!--Thy servant and friend, IBRAHIM SISHMAN."

From this epistle Sidney could only collect one fact with certainty, and
that was, that his friend Ibrahim Sishman had decamped with the bill on
Beyrout, leaving him at Gaza without a dollar.

While he was meditating on this new misfortune, Achmet rushed into the
room, exclaiming, with the greatest vehemence,--"They won't let us go! Are
we slaves? Are we not Englishmen? Come to the Bey, Mr Sidney--come to the
Bey." As Sidney could extract nothing from Achmet but a rapid repetition
of these words, nor conjecture what relationship existed between the Bey
and the letter in his hand, to which Achmet pointed in a paroxysm of rage
which choked his utterance, to the Bey he resolved to go. He marched off
accordingly with the letter and the bunch of keys in his hand.

On arriving at the divan of Hafiz Bey, he found many of the principal
inhabitants of Gaza already assembled; and he had no sooner saluted the
Bey and the visitors, according to the formal ceremonial of Turkish
etiquette, than the governor said, with great gravity--"Now, here is the
Englishman, what have you to say?" Rodoan Aga, a fat old Mussulman, and
one of the principal contractors for provisioning the troops of Mohammed
Ali and the pilgrims of the Damascus Hadj in their passage, through the
Desert, opened the case.

Rodoan Aga said, that the much-esteemed Persian merchant Ibrahim of
Hamadan, called Sishman, had been suddenly compelled to visit Damascus, in
order to secure some money in danger of falling into the hands of the
rebel sheikhs, and that he had left the Frank bazerguian, or merchant, in
charge of his business and his magazines at Gaza. The keys of the
magazines and the letter of instructions were in the hands of the Frank,
and he, Rodoan, and several others present, held orders on the Frank both
for the payment and the receipt of various sums of money and bales of
goods. The letter written by Ibrahim to Sidney was now read before the
divan, and each man offered his remarks on it. All agreed that Sidney was
thereby named the lawful agent of Ibrahim, and that he could not refuse
the trust confided to him.

In vain the Englishman declared he was no merchant, and explained that
Ibrahim Sishman had decamped with his bill on Beyrout. In vain he
solicited Hafiz Bey to give him the means of continuing his journey to
Beyrout, where he possessed the means of paying every expense he might
incur. In vain, too, he offered to give his claim on Ibrahim either to
Hafiz Bey or to Rodoan. It was whispered about by his enemy the Consul
Elias that he was agent of the British Government, sent to purchase
provisions for an invading army; and Hafiz feared to allow him to depart
until he received precise instructions on the subject from Ibrahim Pasha
himself. He consequently recommended Sidney to wait a day or two for news
from Ibrahim Sishman; and concerning his departure he replied only,
"_Bakalum, we shall see_."

The discussion at the divan of Hafiz Bey lasted all the morning. Rodoan
Aga and the Moslems of Gaza retired to dine and take their mid-day nap,
while Sidney retired to his room to meditate on his embarrassed position.
Had he possessed a couple of horses, or money enough to purchase them, he
would, without a moment's hesitation, have put his foot in the stirrup and
left Gaza, its consuls, and its governor behind, and trusted to his good
fortune for finding his way to Jerusalem. But his empty purse rendered
every project of flight impossible. His wits being now sharpened by his
misfortunes, he easily perceived that Rodoan Aga was in league with his
host, Fat Abraham, and he had no doubt that the departure of the Persian
was really connected with the political storm which threatened Syria. Even
Hafiz Bey, he felt assured, possessed some knowledge of the intrigues of
the Sublime Porte against Mohammed Ali's domination, and made use of this
mercantile affair as a veil to other projects. The more Sidney reflected,
the greater he saw his danger to be; and yet he was only the more
convinced of his utter helplessness amidst the mesh of intrigues with
which he was surrounded. He became seriously alarmed at his position, as
soon as he saw that no exertions of his own could possibly improve it. He
fell into a reverie on the doctrine of predestination in the East, which
seemed to him, in his present situation, infinitely more rational than it
had ever appeared before. The moral and religious disposition of the Arabs
and Turks began to appear to him as much the result of the air and climate
as the plague itself; and there seemed as much danger of their affecting
the intellects of a traveller who delayed too long within the sphere of
their operation, as of the plague affecting his body.

His escape was really hopeless. No more travellers were likely to pass
through Gaza during the summer, and Hafiz Bey was not likely to allow him
to communicate either with Jerusalem, Beyrout, or Damascus. He threw
himself on his sofa in despair, and remained plunged in a series of
conjectures, each one more disagreeable than its predecessor.

Achmet, after placing his master's breakfast before him, had sallied out
to the bazaar to collect news. In about an hour he returned, and found
Sidney still overpowered with melancholy thoughts. "Mr Sidney! Mr Sidney!
the coffee cold," shouted Achmet.

"Curse the coffee!" replied Sidney, whose mind naturally enough reverted
to the magazine filled with coffee in the room below him, of which he had
suddenly become the commission merchant. But he rose up to see how Achmet
bore their mutual misfortune. To his astonishment, Achmet's black face was
radiant with joy. Amazed at the change, for when he had last looked at
Achmet he was in a furious passion at their detention, Sidney
said--"Achmet, you seem pleased to stay in this accursed spot, Gaza!"

Achmet rejoined--"Me no pleased--me no help."

"Well then, Achmet, bring me some warm coffee, and let me hear what
consoles you?"

Achmet soon appeared with a fresh supply of Mocha; and while Sidney was
proceeding with breakfast, he seated himself near the door on his heels,
as was his habit whenever he proposed holding a long conversation with his
master.

To Sidney's question, "Now, Achmet, tell me what I must do?" Achmet
replied--"You must keep Ibrahim's shop, Mr Sidney, to be sure;--you
merchant, me slave--plenty of tobacco--all go very good." He then placed
all the facts he had collected in the bazaar before his master's mind, and
unfolded his own thoughts in comments on them, concluding by declaring,
that Sidney must act as the representative of Ibrahim Sishman in the shop
in the bazaar, or submit to see some other person elected by the
inhabitants of Gaza to act in his place, and perhaps starve in a strange
land. As some consolation, Achmet assured his master that there could be
no doubt that the affairs of Ibrahim were really in a prosperous way, and
that in a very short time they would be able to collect money enough to
pay the bill on Beyrout, and then they could turn over the administration
of the trust committed to their charge to some other deputy. The picture
Achmet drew of Sidney seated like a tailor in the den in the bazaar,
doling out tobacco and coffee to the citizens of Gaza, was so comic, that,
in spite of all his embarrassments, Sidney burst into a hearty laugh.

However Sidney might dislike being a tobacconist in Gaza, his good sense
soon convinced him that Achmet had taken a very just view of his position.
Willingly or unwillingly, fate had predestined him to keep Fat Abraham's
shop. He felt, too, that if any thing must be done, the true mode is to do
it as well as possible; and without any more hesitation he took up the
bunch of keys and walked with Achmet to the shop, where he was soon seen
seated, cross-legged, poring over the books and accounts of the Persian
consul. In these researches Achmet afforded him valuable assistance; for
without his aid even the simple mysteries of Arabic book-keeping might
have remained an impenetrable labyrinth. Once engaged in mercantile
business, Sidney paid the greatest attention to his charge, in the hope
that he would thereby succeed in shortening the period of his compulsory
residence at Gaza. Even Rodoan Aga was so delighted with his proceedings,
that he advised him to settle down for life as a tobacconist.

Week after week now crept slowly away. No news arrived from Ringlady and
Campbell. Ibrahim Sishman gave no signs of his existence; Hafiz Bey
received no communications from Damascus; insurrections and disturbances
were heard of in every direction, and the names of Sheikh Salem and his
ally the Sheikh of Hebron were mingled with reports of a general rebellion
in Palestine.

In the mean time Sidney found the gains of Oriental commerce in its
regular channel through the bazaar of Gaza very small indeed; and though
he emulated the frugality of an Arab, he was unable to save the little sum
required to attempt to escape. He was by the flight of Ibrahim suddenly
burdened with the maintenance of his host's harem, and had discovered, to
his utter consternation, that he was bound to maintain two wives and four
children he had never seen. Every evening his matrimonial duties were
brought to his recollection before he closed his shop by the accursed
slave who presented him with the letter and the keys which had robbed him
of his liberty. That slave came and demanded five piastres, or one
shilling, for the maintenance of the harem next day; a few extra demands
were made at stated periods; and Sidney was himself astonished to perceive
that a household, consisting of eight or nine individuals, could live with
apparent satisfaction on the trifling sum of one shilling per diem. The
sum, however, moderate as it was, absorbed all the profits of the retail
trade, and the more extended commercial transactions of the Persian were
now interrupted by the disturbed state of the country.

In vain Sidney toiled to accumulate a sum large enough to pay his expenses
to Beyrout; his savings were always swept away by some unavoidable
payment. He at last began to despair, and fancy himself spell-bound on the
verge of the Desert; and the sad alternative of being compelled to pass
twelve years of his life as a tobacconist at Gaza--one of his relatives
having passed that period in the south of France a _detenu_ of Napoleon's
tyranny--continually presented itself to his imagination, and ended by
plunging him into a dangerous state of melancholy.

Determined at last to make a decisive effort to break his bonds, Sidney
resolved to despatch Achmet to Damascus with a petition to Ibrahim Pasha;
for he saw that without an order from that pasha there was very little
chance of his getting away from Gaza. Accordingly he made an application
to Hafiz Bey, at his public divan, to allow Achmet to accompany the first
courier he might despatch to Damascus; and at the same time he endeavoured
to send letters to inform the English consuls at Damascus, Beyrout, and
Alexandria of his unfortunate situation. Hafiz Bey did not venture to
refuse his request; but a new difficulty now occurred. Sheikh Salem had
assembled a considerable force in the mountains which bound the plain
extending from Gaza, to Jaffa, and kept the garrison of Gaza in such a
state of alarm, that Hafiz Bey declined sending away any courier until he
should hear that Ibrahim Pasha had reinforced the garrisons of Jerusalem
and Jaffa.

It was now evident that Sidney's anxiety was injuring his health, and his
condition excited the compassion of Rodoan Aga, who visited him every
evening to console him. Finding his attempts to persuade Sidney to settle
at Gaza vain, he one evening addressed him thus:--

"Thou art ill, and eager to quit us, Seid Aga?"

"If I fly to the desert, and take the lance of a Bedouwee, I will remain
no longer at Gaza," was the reply.

"Thou desirest to return to England?

"It is the country of my fathers--if I can escape from this spot, I will
hasten thither."

"Dost thou not see, O Seid Aga! that Hafiz Bey feareth to let thee depart?
He feareth that dog of a usurer, the consul from Sham, who placeth the
arms of England over his door, and lendeth money under their shadow at
eighteen per cent, and acts as a spy for the great Pasha."

"Hafiz may lose his head, and the usurer his money-bags, in the storm that
is now gathering," said Sidney in his wrath.

"Thou hast said it," quoth Rodoan Aga with much satisfaction. "NOW will I
reveal to thee how thou canst escape in spite of the Bey and the usurer,
and thou wilt aid us in England."

Sidney now listened eagerly to the plan of escape proposed by Rodoan. It
was, to suggest that Sidney should send a letter to Sheikh Salem,
conjuring him to assist in furthering his escape from Gaza, in order that
he might repair to Latakich to embark in the fire-ship of the Nemtsch.
"Doubt not," added the Aga, "that Salem will soon find means to accomplish
thy wish. I will send one for thy letter in an hour." Saying this, Rodoan
rose and shuffled out of the room.

It required no great stretch of sagacity for Sidney to perceive that the
Turkish party at Gaza now expected to derive some advantage from his
presence in England, and for that reason they favoured his escape. It was
not his business to point out to them the errors of their intriguing
policy, so he sat down to pen a letter to Sheikh Salem. Though short, it
was not very easily written, and it was hardly terminated ere an old Arab
entered his room, and said he was going to bring tobacco from Beit Mirsim
for Rodoan Aga, and came to ask for a letter, or teskereh. Something in
the sound of the voice was familiar to Sidney, and on scrutinising the
person of his visitor, Sidney recollected that he was one of the guides
who had attended them in crossing the desert. The letter was immediately
consigned to his care, with an exhortation to deliver it as soon as
possible into the hands of Sheikh Salem, and a good backshish as a weight
to impress it on the memory.

In a few days the proceedings of Sheikh Salem threw all Gaza into a state
of commotion. Rumours were spread that he had ventured to detain Osman
Effendi, the brother-in-law of Hafiz Bey, and a large sum of money
belonging to some of the principal inhabitants of the town. Early one
morning, Sidney was summoned to the divan of the governor, by a Chiaous in
full uniform. At this divan, all the civil and military authorities, and
most of the principal inhabitants of Gaza were assembled, all looking
particularly grave. After Sidney's entrance a long pause ensued, during
which he had time to reconnoitre this provincial assembly of Arabs. Seated
near Hafiz Bey, his eye fell on the figure of Hassan, the friend of Sheikh
Salem, who had weighed the intellects of European ambassadors in the
well-poised balance of his own common sense. The sight of the Arabic
philosopher cheered Sidney, who felt a conviction that he was now destined
to escape from the meshes in which he had been entangled by the mad
diplomacy of the trading consul of Gaza.

Hassan at length broke silence, addressing his words to Hafiz Bey, but
making their import interesting to all the assembled Sheikhs and Agas. He
announced himself as the envoy of Sheikh Salem of Nablous, and Sheikh
Abderrahman of Hebron, sent to make a long list of complaints against
Hafiz Bey and Osman Effendi; but he concluded by suggesting that means of
composing all disputes might be found, if Hafiz Bey would compel the
merchants of Gaza to undertake the administration of the affairs of
Ibrahim of Hamadan, called Sishman, and release Seid Aga the English
Beyzadé, who was violently detained at Gaza, under the pretext that he was
a Frank bazerguian or usurer like the Christian consuls. The conclusion of
Hassan's harangue was in the clear and precise style of common sense, and
far removed from the misty sublime of Frank diplomacy. His words were, "If
Seid Aga, the English Beyzadé, has debts in Gaza, Sheikh Salem will pay
them; if the English Beyzadé wants money, or horses, or camels, Sheikh
Salem will furnish them; whatever obstacles oppose the immediate departure
of the Beyzadé, Sheikh Salem will remove them; and whatever injury he may
sustain, Sheikh Salem will most assuredly revenge it. On his head, and on
mine, I avouch it."

In reply to this speech of Hassan, Hafiz Bey made one much longer and more
formal. A long discussion ensued, which occupied the morning. In the
evening it was resumed, and at last it was concluded by arrangement
between Hassan and Hafiz Bey, in which these two worthy plenipotentiaries,
like most European ambassadors, abandoned all consideration of the affairs
of their allies, and settled that part of the matter in dispute, as much
as possible to their mutual satisfaction. It was agreed that Sheikh Salem
should release Osman Effendi, and the money belonging to him and Hafiz
Bey, and that Sidney should accompany Hassan, and quit Gaza at daylight
next morning.

That evening Sidney gave twenty piastres to the slave from the harem, in
order that his two wives and four children, with their slaves, might feel
as much joy in getting quit of their Frank lord, as he did in obtaining a
divorce from them. The keys of the shop and house, and the books, the
tobacco, and the coffee of Ibrahim Sishman, were consigned to the care of
Rodoan Aga; and Sidney and Achmet moved off that very night to the lodging
of Hassan and his Arab attendants, in order to make sure of their powerful
protection.

Long before daylight they were on horseback, and the rising sun was just
gilding the humble minarets and the fragile buildings of Gaza, as Sidney
turned to take his last look of the spot where he had spent nearly three
months, seated crosslegged like a tailor, in its bazaar, acting the
tobacconist. It was already something like the idle vision of a morning
dream, exquisitely real, but ridiculously improbable. It was impossible to
take a last look of the place as the colouring of the scene changed
rapidly under the rays of the rising sun, without a feeling of melancholy;
so that it was not without an effort that Sidney turned his back for ever
on Gaza. He recollected the deep depression of spirits that had affected
him as he entered on a lovely evening; and he now quitted in a brilliant
morning of a Syrian summer, with a feeling of softened melancholy, hoping
that he left it a wiser man than he had entered its walls, and satisfied
that he could never forget the experience he had acquired in the little
den he had so long occupied in its bazaar.

Sidney's subsequent adventures in Syria were not very varied. He soon
learned that he was extremely fortunate in not accompanying Ringlady and
Campbell to Jerusalem. He now heard for the first time that they had been
murdered in an excursion to the pools of Solomon, before it had been in
their power to obtain a single dollar to transmit to Gaza. Sheikh Salem,
too, was prevented from meeting him on the road by other cares; but he
sent a messenger with a purse, and a handsome sabre, which now adorns
Sidney's library in Hyde Park Place. The messenger recommended Hassan to
turn back from Jamne to the desolate walls of Askalon, where a boat would
be found to convey Sidney to Latakieh. At Latakieh accordingly he arrived,
and immediately embarked on board the Austrian steamer.

As he was never one of the devoted admirers of the simplicity of the
administrative forms in the Ottoman Empire, nor even very enthusiastic in
praise of the simple virtues of the Arabic race, we presume that he does
not consider either the social or political condition of a nation in any
way dependent on its commercial policy; for surely, if he thought Free
Trade was destined to produce in Britain the effects it has produced in
Turkey, he would not have supported it. We have heard him observe of
Turkey, that in order to derive all the advantages conferred on the
Ottoman Empire by the freedom of commerce, it is necessary for a native to
emigrate, and become a foreigner. It is to be hoped we are not to be
compelled to pursue the same course, ere we can enjoy all the fruits of
our own legislation.



BYWAYS OF HISTORY.[16]


We have sometimes been disposed to regard with extreme impatience the
fragmentary manner in which history is now written amongst us. _Lives of
the Queens_--_Lives of the Kings_--_Lives of our Statesmen_--_Lives of our
Chancellors_--thus breaking up into detached and isolated figures the
great and animated group which every age presents. If our writers cannot
grapple--and it is indeed a herculean task--with the annals of a nation,
why not give us at least some single period, a reign or epoch, in its
unbroken entirety? If they cut up the old man of history into this
multitude of pieces, into what kettle or cauldron will they throw him that
will boil him into youth and unity again? The scattered members are all
that will remain to us. But our impatience on this matter would be very
fruitlessly expressed. Such is the mode, such the fashion in the gentle
craft of authorship. It were better, perhaps, to submit at once with a
good grace--take whatever is worth the having, come in what shape it will,
and keep our own good-humour into the bargain.

Amongst these fragmentary sketches, few have pleased us more than the two
small volumes that designate themselves as _Byways of History_. Indeed,
without pretending to do so, and notwithstanding their desultory nature,
they give a very fair picture of the great period of the middle ages of
which they treat, in its darker as well as its brighter points of view.
There is also more novelty in the anecdotes than could have been expected,
considering how well gleaned a field the authoress has had to traverse;
and there is a playfulness in the style which, to youthful readers
especially, will be found very attractive, though it may not always be
sufficiently pungent to stir the stiffer muscles that grow about the upper
lip of a sexagenarian critic.

"Byways" in history there are, strictly speaking, none at all; least of
all can the peasant war in Germany, the principal subject of these
volumes, be thought to lie amongst the secondary and less important
transactions of the past. Whatever facts throw light upon the temper and
modes of thinking of a bygone age, are of the very essence of history,
though they may not immediately relate to crowned heads or official
dignitaries. Yet, adopting the latitude of common speech, the title is
significant enough. It is not the actions of kings and emperors, or the
fate of nations and dynasties, that the fair historian undertakes to
record; and as such a narrative is generally looked upon as the highway of
history, she who diverges from it may be said to be traversing its byways.
Only the byways, be it understood, may be the very roads which a good
traveller would first and most industriously explore.

Ladies are said to hold it as one of their prerogatives to be a little
unreasonable in their exactions, and a little self-contradictory in their
sentiments. Our authoress appears, in one point, disposed to assert this
prerogative of her sex. In ordinary cases, we know of nothing more
impertinent than to appeal to the common process of litigious
argumentation against these fair despots of society; but we doubt whether
we should be acting even in the true spirit of gallantry, if we recognised
any such prerogative in the domain of literature. It is open to any writer
who thinks fit so to do, to disparage the present age by comparing it with
olden times. It is also open to him, if he should be so minded, to show
that these olden times, so much vaunted, were in fact far more culpable
than ourselves, even in those points where we are guilty. But to none is
it open--in the same book--to do both the one and the other; to disparage
the present by comparison with the past, and then prove the past to have
been ten times worse than the present. This is more than can reasonably
fall to the share of any one author, or authoress. He cannot have it both
ways. He cannot have the pleasure of putting the present age to shame by a
contrast with the past, and the pleasure, almost as great, of exposing in
their true colours the vices of a past that has been too indulgently
surveyed.

But something of this license Mrs Sinnett seems disposed to take. At p. 37
we have to submit, with the rest of our contemporaries, to the following
rebuke:--"When we hear it publicly proclaimed that it is a great thing for
a young nobleman to postpone '_his pleasures_' for a week or two for the
sake of performing a service to his country, we cannot but begin to doubt
whether, in the education of our privileged classes, we have really
improved much on the system of the 'dark ages.' _Then, at least, it was
not thought that any class had a right to make 'its pleasures' its chief
consideration._"

Indeed! Yet we are told in other parts that the landlords of those times
not only made their pleasures their chief consideration, but wrung by
violence the last groschen from the peasant's hand in order to procure
them. At p. 55, vol. ii., after an account of the pleasures of the kings
and nobles, we have the following description of the peasant:--"And what,
then, was the condition of the people all this while? 'Look here upon this
picture and on this!' All taxes and imposts fell, as a matter of course,
on the lower orders; the humble citizen, the laborious peasant, had to
toil and earn by the sweat of his brow, not his own daily bread, but the
means of luxurious indulgence to his insolent masters; yet if the wild
boar came tearing up his fields and vineyards, and the knight and his
followers dashed after him with a troop of horsemen dogs, he had no
redress, and dared not even kill the beast, lest he should interfere with
the pleasures of his lord.... New methods and pretences for extorting
money from the people were devised every day."

It would be easy to multiply similar quotations. The landlords of ancient
times, with whom it was plainly intimated we could bear no flattering
comparison, are held up, we see, to complete reprobation.

The difference between the bad landlord of ancient and of modern times,
(for we presume the good and the bad, the wheat and the tares, were sown
together then as now,) we believe to be this. The modern bad landlord
takes his rent--a rent obtained often by a ruinous competition for the
soil--and thinks no more of the matter; thinks nothing of the tenant,
whether he has offered a higher rent than he can well pay, or of the
labourer, whether the wages he receives are sufficient to support him in
health. The ancient bad landlord was a positive extortioner; he _did_ look
after his tenants or his serfs--to see if there was any thing more he
could take from them; he looked into the roost for the last hen, and
behind the barn-door for the last egg. When we censure the modern landlord
for being an absentee, reckless of his tenantry, we in fact tacitly demand
from him a higher strain of virtue than we exact from other wealthy
classes, who are allowed to receive without inquiry, and expend without
control, the utmost income which fortune and the laws have given them. He
is at worst the "sluggard king," indifferent to a world of which he knows
nothing, and absorbed only in the pursuit of his own pleasures. But the
bad landlord of feudal times had the active vices of the robber and the
tyrant.

Let no one study the middle ages in the hope--which some seem to
entertain--of extracting from _them_ the lesson peculiarly applicable to
ourselves. The feudal times are utterly past. Some of their forms, or some
shadow of their forms, may still linger amongst us; but their spirit is as
utterly past as that which animated an Athenian democracy, or the court of
the Great King. We must study our duty as citizens, as Christians, in the
circumstances around us, in the eternal Writing before us: we shall gain
nothing by the fantastic gloss, with its grotesque illuminations, which
the middle ages supply. This turning and struggling towards the past is
but the backward looking of those whom the current is still carrying down
the stream: it were wiser to look before, and on either side of them; they
will better see whither they are going.--

It will perhaps be thought that throughout these volumes the sympathies
of the authoress are a little too chameleon-like,--somewhat too mobile,
and take their changeful hue from the immediate subject, or the last light
thrown upon it. Now the knight, with his faith in God and his own right
arm, his self-reliance, his daring and devotion, claims from the lady, as
is most just, his meed of applause. But by-and-by she catches him upon his
marauding expedition, the ruthless spoliator of the burgher, the
contemptuous oppressor of the artisan; and she does not spare her censure.
One moment she appears to join in the regret that the age of chivalry is
_gone_! The next moment the same phrase rings differently, and when
contemplating the oppressed condition of the peasantry, she rejoices that
the age of chivalry _is_ gone! In one part she makes honourable mention of
the training the youthful nobleman received in the halls of the great,
where he acted as page; but cannot, in another part, refrain from a little
satire on this very system of training. "Noble young gentlemen," she says
p. 32, "who would not to save their lives have employed themselves in any
useful art or manufacture, had no objection to lay cloths, carry up
dishes, wait at table, hold horses, and lead them to the stables; and
noble young ladies did not disdain to perform many of the offices of a
chambermaid at a hotel, for a knightly guest."

We note this versatility of feeling, but hardly for the purpose of blaming
it; for indeed it is the peculiar characteristic of the middle ages thus
to play with our sympathies. They present so many and such different
phases, their institutions are capable of being viewed under such opposite
lights, that it requires more care and watchfulness than is perhaps
consistent with simple honesty of thought and feeling, to preserve one's
self from these fluctuations of sentiment. One who yields unaffectedly to
the genuine impressions which the history of this period produces, will
find his _Ohs_ and his _Hahs_ breaking out in a very contradictory manner.
That knight, with lance at rest which challenges the whole fighting
world--whatever can be tilted at,--who would not be that knight? But the
man cannot read; and thinks an old woman can bewitch him by her spells,
and that his priest, by some spell also, can absolve him. That monk, with
folded arms over a heart so well folded too--who would not be that monk?
But the man has mingled asceticism with his piety till he knows not which
is which; and let a woman in her youth and beauty traverse his path, he
crosses himself, as if not the angel of this world, but the demon of
another had appeared before him. In looking at these phantasmagoria of the
past, we must be content to see and to feel for the moment; there is no
stereotyped expression of face with which we can regard the whole.

We have soon exhausted our critical cavils, and shall look at leisure
through these volumes for some of those points which interested us during
their perusal. Amongst the first things we had noted for quotation is an
account of our old friend Gotz von Berlichingen--him of the Iron
Hand--which we somehow liked the better for there being no allusion to the
drama of Goethe. Nobody whom the information could in the least interest,
needed to be told that it was the hero of the drama whose real life and
adventures he was getting acquainted with. We find, however, on
re-perusal, that this account is too long to be extracted: we leave it
untouched for those who peruse the work; and shall make our first
quotation from the description of the Hanse Towns. Here is a curious
passage, which shows that the mere collecting together in towns, and
making some advance in the great art of money-getting, is no guarantee
against superstitions as gross and ridiculous as any that haunt the boor
in his cottage.

     "With the horrors of superstition in the punishment of witches and
     the like, most readers are familiar enough; and such as occur in the
     registers of these cities, have little to distinguish them from
     similar occurrences elsewhere. Sometimes, indeed, there is an entry
     somewhat more noteworthy; as, for instance, of the arrival of 'The
     Wandering Jew' at the Isar gate of the city of Munich. It appears,
     that this rather remarkable visitor was not allowed to enter the
     city, but he told those who went to see him that he had been seven
     times round the world, and on being shown a picture of the Saviour,
     readily vouched for the likeness.

     "Another entry concerns a certain wolf, who had committed terrible
     havoc, so that the country people, even at mid-day, were afraid to
     cross the fields; but a still greater consternation was created when
     the discovery was made that the wolf was no other than a certain
     deceased burgomaster of unhappy memory, who as every body knew, had
     stood looking out of an upper window of his house to watch his own
     funeral. The night-watchman was ready to swear to his identity; and
     as, putting all things together, no doubt existed any longer in the
     mind of any reasonable person, the formidable wolf, when taken,
     instead of being disposed of in the usual manner, was hung on a high
     gallows, in a brown wig, and a long gray beard, by way of completing
     his likeness to the burgomaster."--(P. 95.)

Those who indulge in, or applaud practical jests, should read on farther
in the same chapter (p. 102.) We heartily wish that the professors of this
species of wit were every one of them conducted in his turn into the
"Paradise" here described; of which it may be sufficient to intimate that
"it was provided with a bench and a good store of rods."

On monastic institutions, Mrs Sinnett has some very just and equitable
remarks.

     "Monasticism was a resolute attempt to subject the outward to the
     inward life; and through whatever devious paths it may have wandered,
     it set out from the true and high principle, that the spiritual and
     immortal man should attain dominion over the mere animal nature; and
     it grounded itself on the undeniable truth that the indulgence of the
     senses 'wars against the soul.' The objects it has in view are to us
     also true and holy, though we may differ as to the means of their
     attainment; yet even in these, the monks were not perhaps wholly
     wrong. Solitude and silence are unquestionably amongst the means of
     spiritual elevation; poverty is, in most instances, healthful to the
     soul, a means of obtaining a simplicity good for both body and mind;
     obedience is, beyond doubt, the school of patience, in which we best
     learn to combat our original sins of pride and self-will; but we have
     learned, from the experience of the Ascetics, a juster measure for
     these things, which, perhaps, _a priori_, we might not have been able
     to discover. They have tried the experiment for us; and now that its
     history is before us, it is easy to determine that the attempt to
     rend asunder the two natures so wonderfully combined in us, to put
     asunder what God has joined, is one that cannot come to good.
     Solitude, though often beneficial to full minds and active
     intellects, is more than the vacuity of ignorance can support.
     Poverty, pushed as it was by the Ascetics to the excess of
     destitution, tends, it is to be feared, to blight both body and soul.
     Obedience, carried beyond reasonable limits, leads to abject meanness
     and hypocrisy, as the history of convents in general will abundantly
     show. Yet, after making whatever deductions we fairly can for their
     mistakes, we still find, in the history of these singular
     institutions, much that is worthy of our deepest study; and the more
     so, the more firmly we are convinced of the utter impossibility of
     their restoration."--(P. 114.)

Restoration! Restore the Heptarchy! as Canning on one occasion exclaimed.
And yet we understand that of late there has been a gentle sigh, and some
half-formed projects for the revival of monastic institutions. We hear
from the preface to Maitland's "Essays on the Dark Ages," that a circular
was issued by persons of no contemptible influence in the church, headed
"Revival of Monastic and Conventual Institutions on a plan adapted to the
exigencies of the reformed Catholic religion." As Mr Maitland says of the
plan--it would be after all but "a playing at monkery." Where, we would
ask, is the irrevocable vow? Where is the unchangeable fate, the civil
death, that awaited the inmate of the monastic house? Where is the
superstitious admiration of the crowd without? Where all those religious
ideas that made renouncement of life so sacred and meritorious? And where,
moreover, is that insecure and unprotected condition of a half-civilised
age, which made the retreat of the monastery so precious to the wearied
and wounded spirit? You are charmed with an oasis in the desert;--you must
spread the desert first, if you would realise the charm. What are monastic
walls, to you,--who can take a lodging in Cheapside, and be as solitary,
as undisturbed, as utterly forgotten as if the grave had closed upon you?

Viewed strictly as a portion of the past, and in relation to all the
circumstances that gave origin and value to them, we confess we have a
partiality for the old monasteries. Some of the popular censures which are
still dealt upon them are founded upon erroneous ideas of the nature and
purposes of such institutions. They are blamed repeatedly for their
ignorance and their neglect of learning. They were not instituted for the
preservation or advancement of learning. Originally they were not even
ecclesiastical, but consisted of pious laymen, who wished to devote their
souls to God, by drawing them out of the mire of their daily lives.
Profane learning was more frequently regarded as a thing forbidden, than
numbered amongst the objects which might engage their attention.
"Solitude, _labour_, silence, and prayer--these were the elements of
monastic life; and the question was not, how the monk might most
effectually gather and diffuse learning, but--when, indeed, any question
came to be raised--whether he might lawfully cultivate learning at
all?"--(Maitland, p. 160.)

The charge of indolence, also--(the two epithets of "lazy and ignorant,"
generally go together, in the popular phraseology, when monks are spoken
of)--is made without any discrimination, and bestowed as well upon bodies
of men remarkable for their industrious and persevering cultivation of the
soil, as upon the pampered and corrupted monastery. Amongst the rules of
the Benedictines, labour figures conspicuously. In many cases it was the
hard work of emigrants who first subdue the soil, that was performed by
these sacred and secluded men. But, when an admiring world thought fit, in
its sagacity, to reward a voluntary poverty by endowing and enriching
it,--when the monastery became a wealthy landlord, with treasures of gold
and silver in its coffers--then, as might be expected, labour
declined,--the monk grew lazy, and the description which Mrs Percy Sinnett
quotes from an old author, was, no doubt, very generally applicable to
him. "Every other minute he comes out of his cell--then goes in
again--then comes out again to look if the sun is not near setting." The
world behaved towards the monk as an old gentleman we remember to have
read of in some play, who, charmed with the temperance which his young
friend had exhibited, rewarded it by putting his cellar of choice wines at
his disposal. He was afterwards indignant at finding that the virtue of
his protégé had not increased under his kind encouragement.

The remarks of Mrs P. Sinnett, which we have just quoted, on monastic
life, usher in a very entertaining account of the origin and growth of the
"Abbey of Altenberg." Here is a fragment of it:--

     "The half-decayed mountain-castle, where the community was now
     established, was found to be in some respects unsuitable to its new
     destination; and the Abbot Berno, therefore, with the consent and
     assistance of the Counts of Berg, proposed to build a new convent
     down in the valley, where already, on a pleasant meadow-land, stood a
     chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

     "When the monks were called together to consider of the precise spot
     where the edifice should stand, it was found that they could by no
     means agree about it; some thought it should be built at the northern
     entrance of the valley, others that it should be at the foot of the
     castle-hill; others, again, that it should be immediately on the
     banks of the Dhun. In this dilemma, Abbot Berno, according to the
     narratives of the monks, proposed what seems a curious method of
     coming to a decision.

     "Modern frivolity feels tempted to giggle when it hears that the
     animal always in especial favour with the monks was the ass. His
     simplicity of manners, humility of carriage, and usually taciturn
     habits,--the sign of the cross which he bears on his back--the manner
     in which he hangs his head, as the rules of most orders command the
     pious brethren themselves to do,--the patience with which he submits
     to discipline,--all this naturally recommended him to these devout
     recluses. They were even ready, it seems, to regard him as a kind of
     oracle in difficult cases.

     "It was, we may recollect, not merely the spirit of monasticism, but
     the spirit of all those ages, to see in what we call trivial chances
     the ordination of a higher power. Do we not find, in the history of
     Nurnberg, that in the fourteenth century, two hundred years after the
     building of Altenberg convent, a worthy and respected burgher of that
     city, one Berthold Tucher, of the renowned family of that name,
     wishing to know whether it was the will of God that he should remain
     in the world and marry again, or take holy vows and devote himself
     to the monastic life did, after praying devoutly in the little chapel
     in his house, 'at the corner of the Milk Market, there where you turn
     into Dog Alley,' resolve to ascertain the Divine pleasure by the
     simple method of tossing up a halfpenny; three times did he toss it,
     and three times did it come up heads, and thereupon he accepted the
     oracle, and went directly and fetched himself a wife.

     "Even so did the monks of Altenberg now resolve to devolve upon the
     ass the business which had proved too weighty for themselves. The
     highly-honoured Neddy was conducted accordingly to the gate of the
     castle, laden with the money to be expended for the building, and
     with the insignia of the convent, and then left to take whatever way
     might in his wisdom seem good to him. "Slowly and deliberately did he
     pace down towards the valley, the monks following at a reverential
     distance. Now and then the sagacious animal stopped, and cropped a
     thistle, doubtless to give himself time for reflection, and
     occasionally he stood still and looked around, as if to consider the
     capabilities of the place. He went on till he entered a shady grove,
     that afforded a delicious refuge from the burning rays of the
     afternoon sun, and stopped where a bright rivulet, trickling from the
     Spechtshard, and marking its course by a strip of the liveliest
     green, fell into the beautiful Dhun. The monks watched him with
     breathless expectation, for here they thought would be a delightful
     spot, and they dreaded lest he should go farther. The respectable
     animal, after due consideration, slowly stooped and tasted the water;
     and then, that he might omit no means of forming a correct judgment,
     began to try a little of the fragrant grass that grew in rich
     abundance on the bank. At length he lay down, and having apparently
     quite made up his mind, rolled over "heels upwards," and gave vent to
     his feelings in the trumpet tones of a loud and joyful bray. His
     sonorous voice was drowned in the exulting psalms of the monks--and
     on this, the loveliest spot of the whole valley, the sacred edifice
     was erected."

If the ass was a great favourite with the monk, it was still more so with
the populace. With no other animal was so much of the rough humour of the
middle ages associated. It might be worth consideration how far the
introduction of the ass in certain religious or semi-religious
festivals--as in the feast of the ass--has aided in investing him with
that peculiar grave humour which modern wits associate with him. _Apropos_
of this feast of the ass, we may as well correct a general error which
Robertson has led his readers into, when he describes it as "a festival in
commemoration of the Virgin Mary's flight into Egypt." The Virgin Mary
appears to have had nothing to do with it, and the ass from which the
festival took its name was not that on which she fled into Egypt, but the
ass of Balaam. We rely on the authority of Maitland, whose "Essays on the
Dark Ages" we have before alluded to--a not very amiable writer, by the
way, and far more acrimonious than the importance of his contributions to
our knowledge entitles him to be, but evidently a very formidable
antagonist to those who deal in loose and careless statements. "The
_dramatis personæ_ of this celebrated interlude," he tells us, "were
miscellaneous enough. There were Jews and Gentiles, as the representatives
of their several bodies--Moses and Aaron and the prophets--Virgilius
Maro--Nebuchadnezzar--The Sibyl, &. &c. Among them, however, was Balaam on
his ass; and this (not, one would think, the most important or striking
part of the show) seems to have suited the popular taste, and given the
name to the whole performance and festival. I should have supposed, that
Nebuchadnezzar's delivering over the three children to his armed men, and
then burning them in a furnace made on purpose, in the middle of the
church, would have been a more imposing part of the spectacle; but I
pretend not to decide in matters of taste, and certainly Balaam's ass
appears to have been the favourite. The plan of the piece seems to have
been, that each of the persons was called out in his turn to sing or say
something suitable to his character, and among others, 'Balaam ornatus,
sedens super asinam,' having spurs on his heels, and holding the reins in
his hands, struck and spurred his ass, and a youth holding a sword in his
hand, barred his progress. Whereupon another youth, under the belly of the
ass, and speaking for the abused animal, cries out, 'Why, &c., &c.'"--in
the well-known terms of the colloquy.

"Indeed the ass," says the same writer in a note, "seems to be always a
favourite with the public, and to give the tone and title wherever he
appears. In the twelfth century, an order of monks was formed whose
humility (or at least their rule) did not permit them to ride on
horseback. The public (I hope to the satisfaction of these humble men)
entirely overlooked _them_, eclipsed as they were by the animals on which
they rode, and called it _ordo Asinorum_."

There is an account here of "Prussia in the Old Times," which will be read
with interest; the more so as we suspect it is a portion of history not
very familiar to English readers. We mean the period from the conquest of
Prussia, and its conversion to Christianity by the knights of the Teutonic
Order, to the year 1526, when Albert, Grand-master of that order, made a
treaty with Sigismund, king of Poland, with whom he had been at war, by
which it was stipulated that Albert should hold the duchy as lay prince,
doing homage--how times have changed!--_to the king of Poland!_

We shall devote our remaining space, however, to some extracts from Mrs P.
Sinnett's account of the peasant war, the subject which occupies the whole
of the second volume.

In every historical or biographical work which treats of the Reformation
in Germany, there will be found a short, and only a short, notice of the
peasant war, which broke out on the preaching of Luther, and of the fury
of the anabaptists and others; and in every such notice the reader will
find it uniformly stated that these disturbances and insurrections, though
assuming a religious character, were in their origin substantially of a
political or social nature, springing, in short, from the misery and
destitution of the lower orders. But we do not know where the English
reader will find this general statement so well verified, or so fully
developed, as in the little work before us. In every part of Germany we
see partial insurrections repeatedly taking place, all having the same
unhappy origin; and our wonder is, not that the preaching of the
Reformation should have communicated a new vitality to these
insurrectionary movements, but that, after being allied with religious
feeling, and religious sanction and enthusiasm, they were not still more
tremendous in their results.

Here is one of the earliest of these insurrections: it is a type of the
class. The chapter is headed

     "THE DRUMMER OF NIKLASHAUSEN.

     "Franconia, (the greatest part of which is now included in the
     kingdom of Bavaria) was the smallest of the circles of the empire,
     though excelling them all in fertility, and most of them in beauty.
     The valley of the Maine, which flows through it, is so rich in
     vineyards, that it has been said, it alone might furnish wine to all
     Germany; and the river also opens for it a communication with the
     Rhine, Holland, and the ocean, by which it might receive the produce
     of all other lands. Towards the north, where the hills of Thuringia,
     and the Pine Mountains are less productive, its comparative
     barrenness is compensated by its riches in minerals and wood. It is,
     in short, as a German writer says, 'a beautiful and blessed
     land,'--yet here it was that the peasantry were suffering the
     greatest extremities of want and oppression, and here began the first
     of the series of revolts that preceded the great outbreak of 1525. It
     was in the year 1476 that a shepherd lad of Wurzburg, named Hans
     Boheim, but commonly known as Hans the Drummer, or the piper--for he
     was in the habit of playing on both instruments at weddings, church
     festivals, and such occasions--began to meditate on all he saw and
     heard,--'to see visions, and to dream dreams;' and one day--it was
     about the time of mid-Lent--there appeared to him no less a person
     than the 'Glorious Queen of Heaven' herself. The life he had hitherto
     led now appeared profane and sinful; he burned his drum in the
     presence of the people, and began to preach to them to repent of
     their sins, 'for the kingdom of heaven was at hand;' and he commanded
     them at the same time to lay aside all costly attire, cords of silk
     and silver, pointed-toed shoes and all manner of vanity. The people
     hearkened to the new prophet, and great numbers came every holiday
     flocking to Niklashausen to hear him. Soon he enlarged his theme.
     'The Blessed Virgin,' he said, 'had not only commanded him to preach
     the renunciation of all the pomps and vanities of the world, but
     likewise to announce the speedy abolition of all existing
     authorities; there should be no lords spiritual or temporal, neither
     prince nor pope, neither king nor kaiser; but all should be as
     brothers; that all taxes and tributes, tithes and dues, should be
     done away with; and wood and water, spring and meadow, be free to all
     men.'"

In reading this paragraph, one is at first struck with the superfluous
incongruity of preaching against "costly attire and silk and silver cords"
to the ragged and shoeless populace that formed the chief part of the
drummer's audience. But a little reflection suggests that, in the first
place, it gives a preacher a great hold over a mob, to inveigh against the
sins of their superiors, and that, in the next place, there is a very easy
transition from inveighing against the sins of the rich, to disputing
their privileges, and comtemning their power and authority.

     "For months together, on all Sundays and holidays, was heard the
     voice of the holy youth, the 'messenger of our Lady,' as he was
     called, sounding from his pulpit--a tub turned upside down--and as
     yet, notwithstanding all that he had said and done, in perfect
     harmony with the parish priest. Two nobles even are named as having
     been amongst his hearers, the knight Sir Kunz of Thunfeld and his
     son. Gifts began to pour in--rich gifts in money, and jewels, and
     clothes; and peasant women who had nothing else to give, made
     offerings of their long hair. Forty thousand worshippers of the
     Virgin were collected around Niklashausen; booths and tents were
     erected to supply them with necessaries, though at night they had to
     lie in the gardens or in the open fields. The enthusiasm rose even
     higher; but the priests now began to discover that they were playing
     with edged tools, and to hint that Hans Boheim dealt in the black
     art; that his inspiration was of the devil; and that the said devil
     it was, and no other, who had appeared to him in the white robes of
     the Blessed Virgin, and had prompted this ungodly rebellion against
     temporal and ecclesiastical authority. But the hearts of men were on
     fire, and the feeble sprinkling only made them burn the fiercer. They
     flung themselves on their knees before the holy drummer, saying, 'O
     man of God! messenger of heaven! be gracious to us, and have pity on
     us!' and they tore and parted among them fragments of his garments,
     and he esteemed himself happy who could obtain but a thread of so
     precious a relic.'"--(P. 19.)

Yes, the drummer of Niklashausen was their god for the moment. Yearning
for help, and unable to help themselves, such simple crowds are ready to
believe in any voice that promises a coming salvation. But now the Bishops
of Mainz and Wurzburg, and the Senate of Nuremberg, began to bestir
themselves. Hans Boheim, after concluding one of his exhortations, had
invited his followers on the next holiday to come without their wives and
children, and "to come armed." What would have ensued at the next assembly
we are left only to guess, for the prophet, while sleeping quietly in his
house, was, in the middle of the night, fairly kidnapped by the Bishop of
Wurzburg, and thrown into prison.

Some sixteen thousand of his disciples marched off to Wurzburg to set him
free. But the Bishop spoke them softly, and after some demonstrations of
violence, they began to retreat. "Group after group slowly retired,
scattering in different directions; but the Bishop watched his
opportunity, and when they had all peaceably turned their backs, he sent
out his men-at-arms who fell upon them, and cut many down, and took many
prisoners. Great numbers took refuge in a church; but, threatened with
fire and starvation, they at length surrendered. The prophet was burned to
death on a field near the castle of Wurzburg." _Exeunt omnes._

We pass on at one bound to the chief hero of these peasant wars, whom Mrs
Percy Sinnett undertakes, in the French phrase, to rehabilitate--in other
words, to wash a little white. That Thomas Munzer has had hard justice
dealt to him, we are quite disposed to believe. Both the great parties who
divided the world of letters between them--the Roman Catholics and the
Protestants--were decidedly hostile to him. The Roman Catholics would
dwell upon his enormities in order to charge them upon the Protestants;
the Protestants, anxious to escape so ill-omened a connexion, and show the
world they had no alliance with such enthusiasts, would spare no term of
abuse, and would not venture a single word in his defence. Robertson,
writing with a quite Lutheran feeling, expresses nothing but unmitigated
condemnation. He describes the projects of himself and his followers as
being little more than the simple madness "of levelling every distinction
amongst mankind." Nor will he allow him even the ordinary virtues of the
fanatic. "He had all the extravagance, but not the courage which
enthusiasts usually possess." According to Robertson, he was nothing
better than a madman, and a coward.

We think that Mrs Percy Sinnett has satisfactorily proved that Munzer was
not a coward, and that he is entitled to all that respect which is due to
those sincere and furious fanatics, who are perhaps the greatest pests
which ever appear in society; men who may die, for aught we know, with all
the zeal and merit of martyrs, but whom the world must nevertheless get
rid of, in what way it can, and as soon as possible.

Yet we like to see justice done to every historical character, and
therefore shall follow Mrs Sinnett through some portion of her biography
of Munzer.

     "Among the true men of the people of the period who, whatever may
     have been their faults, have suffered the usual fate of the losing
     side, in being exposed to more than the usual amount of calumny and
     misrepresentation, one of the most prominent is Thomas Munzer, who
     has been made to bear the blame, not only of whatever befel amiss
     during his lifetime, but even of the excesses of the fanatical
     Anabaptists which occurred _ten years_ after his death; and the
     Wittenberg theologians themselves contributed not a little to these
     calumnies. Of the early years of this singular man (who was born at
     Stolberg in the Harz mountains, probably in 1498) little is known
     with certainty; but it is said on good authority that his father had
     been unjustly condemned to death on the gallows by the Count of
     Stolberg, whose vassal he was, and that this was the original cause
     of that deep and burning sense of wrong which arose in the mind of
     Thomas Munzer, and formed the key to much of his future life. He
     studied at Wittenberg, where he gained a doctor's degree, and was
     distinguished above his contemporaries for diligence and knowledge;
     but previously to this, and whilst still a boy, he obtained a
     situation as teacher in a school at Aschersleben; and afterwards at
     Halle, in the year 1513, when he was only in his fifteenth year; and
     had even at that age formed an association with some of his
     companions, which had for its object the reform of religion. What
     means were proposed for this end does not appear; probably they were
     such as might have been expected from raw university lads; but the
     mere proposal of so high an object implies a state of mind very
     different from that of the mere vulgar, sensual, selfish fanatic,
     such as he has been actually described."....

     "In the year 1520 he was appointed to be first Evangelical Preacher
     at Zwickau, having by this time, like some others, who had at first
     warmly espoused the cause of Luther, become dissatisfied that the
     Reformation seemed by no means likely to perform what it had
     promised. In Thuringia, where Munzer was now beginning to attract
     attention, the seeds of religious enthusiasm had been sown deep by
     the doctrines and the fate of Huss; and through the whole fifteenth
     century, a tendency to fanaticism and mysticism had been perceptible
     in that country. The sect of Flagellants had maintained itself longer
     here than elsewhere, and the persecutions which the Brothers of the
     Cross had to encounter, the fires in which so many perished, had not
     been able to destroy, though for a time they repressed, the
     enthusiasm of the people. Now, under the influence of Munzer's
     preaching, it burst forth into open day."

So it seems. In this place sprang up the Anabaptists, whose conduct became
so wild and fanatical, that the civil power thought itself compelled to
interfere. The most violent of them were seized and thrown into prison;
but the greater part left the city, some going to Wittenberg and others to
Bohemia.

To Bohemia also went Munzer. But he again appears in the year following,
(1522,) preaching in Altstedt in Thuringia. His violence against the old
religion seems to have been increased. After one of his sermons, his
audience rushed out to a chapel in the neighbourhood, famous as a shrine
for pilgrims, and not only destroyed all the images of the saints, but
burnt the chapel itself. We have an account of a sermon which he preached
here before the two Saxon princes, Frederick and John; and it certainly
exhibits a very striking union of the two master passions which animate
the class of men to which Munzer is described as belonging--the _odium
theologicum_, and the zeal for the reformation of mankind. "He exhorted
them to root out idolatry from the land, and establish the gospel by
force. Priests, monks, and ungodly rulers who should oppose this, were to
be slain; for the ungodly had no right to live longer than the elect
would permit them. He told, also, some home-truths to his noble auditors.
The princes and lords themselves, he said, were at the bottom of much
mischief: they seized on all things as their property; the birds in the
air, the fish in the waters, the plants upon the earth, all must be
theirs; and when they had secured these good things for themselves, they
were willing enough to publish God's command to the poor, and say, 'Thou
shalt not steal;' but for themselves, they will have none of it. They rob
the poor peasant and labourer of all that he has, and then, if he touches
the least thing, he must hang."

The prophet and the inspired man--for he claimed to be both--was shortly
after chased out of Altstedt. He went to Nurnberg, and was driven out of
Nurnberg. He had now entirely broken with Luther, who wrote to the Senate
of the town, cautioning them not to receive him. He wandered for some time
about southern Germany, preaching where he could find an opportunity, but
often hunted from place to place, and not knowing whither to turn. At
length he reached the town of Muhlhausen, the populace of which was
prepared to welcome him. But the Senate, alarmed at the tenor of his
discourses, forbade him to preach. Thereupon a great commotion rose
amongst the people; throngs pouring in from the neighbouring villages; and
the streets filled all night long with a restless and clamorous crowd.
Many of the patrician families left the city, the Common Council elected
Munzer for their chief pastor; a new Senate was chosen under the threats
and violence of the populace, in which Munzer and his friends were
included. Munzer for a time was supreme.

     "This his solitary triumph, he gained on the 17th of March 1525, and
     he immediately set about to reduce to practice, as far as possible,
     the doctrines he had taught, and in which, however mistaken, he was
     evidently sincere.... He had before taught that to please God, men
     must return to their original condition of brotherly equality; and he
     now urged that there should be community of goods, as it existed
     among the primitive Christians. But it does not appear that he
     attempted or wished to extend it farther. Many of his disciples
     obeyed the injunction, and shared with their poor brethren at least
     as much of their worldly possessions as was required to supply their
     real wants. The rich fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and made
     daily distributions of articles of real necessity, such as corn, and
     common stuff for garments. Munzer's own dress was a simple cloak or
     coat trimmed with fur, such as was then worn by citizens of the
     middle class in many parts of Germany; but a beard of venerable
     length and magnitude gave a sort of patriarchal air to his youthful
     features; for we must recollect in extenuation of Munzer's errors,
     that his age was still only about twenty-seven."

Melancthon has stated that Munzer lived at Muhlhausen in all manner of
luxury and profligacy, like a great lord, for more than a year. Mrs
Sinnett tells us that he passed there only eight weeks; and we are
disposed to conclude with her that the rest of the statement is as loosely
and carelessly made. Eye-witnesses describe Munzer as one who awed the
people by his presence, by the force of his character, and by a personal
influence which could have resulted only from "the great moral earnestness
which dwelt within him." His habits of life are declared to have been
simple and austere; and the tender attachment which he is proved to have
manifested towards his wife, Mrs Sinnett argues, was quite inconsistent
with the licentious course attributed to him.

The charge of cowardice, which is so conspicuously brought forward by Dr
Robertson, seems also to have but slender foundation. The "difficulty with
which he was persuaded to take the field," resolves itself into the having
been a degree more prudent, or a degree less rash, than his headstrong
companion, Pfeiffer; who, having had a dream wherein "he saw himself in a
barn, surrounded by a vast multitude of mice, on which he made a
tremendous onslaught," concluded that he should obtain as easy a victory
over the princes and nobles now arrayed against the fanatics of
Muhlhausen, and, therefore, urged Munzer to take the field. When the day
of trial came, "he who had never so much as seen a battle," found himself
the leader of an undisciplined, discordant multitude, who, even in point
of numbers, were not equal to the military force which was being led, by
experienced generals, against him. At this moment he behaved with
desperate energy; he quelled the treachery of one portion of his followers
by the immediate execution of the priest who had ventured to be their
spokesman; and he raised the rest from the consternation that had seized
them, by one of his violent harangues, and by that fortunate allusion,
which all historians have noticed, to a rainbow that suddenly appeared in
the sky, and which happened to be the device painted on his banner.

That the ensuing battle should be converted speedily into a rout was
inevitable. That Munzer, in the general flight, sought to conceal himself
from his pursuers, by hiding in a loft, can be considered no fair proof of
cowardice. It is what the bravest men have been reduced to do in the day
of disaster. No one who wears the oak leaf on King Charles's day thinks
that he is commemorating an act of cowardice in that prince, because he
concealed himself in the tree rather than show himself to his enemies. How
he comported himself in the last scene of all, does not here appear; but
it seems that the victors made a cruel use of their power. "He was given
over to the fierce Count Ernst of Mansfield, who 'went horribly to work
with him.' (_ist graülich mit ihm umgegangen._)"

What can be done for the restoration of Thomas Munzer's character, Mrs
Sinnett is entitled to praise for having performed. But we must be
permitted to observe, that in speaking of the general purposes of this
fanatic and his party, she has been led a little too far, either by the
feeling of advocacy, which the subject has called forth, or by some of the
German authorities she has consulted. In particular, we think her
manifestly unjust to the memory of Luther, whom she heavily censures for
the part he took in this war between the peasant and the noble. Luther
compassionated the peasant, there can be no doubt; but Luther must have
seen--what surely every man in possession of his right understanding must
have seen--that there was no help to the peasant from insurrection and
war; and that prophets who were inspiring them with hopes of some great
revolution in society, with visions of equal and universal happiness, were
but leading them to destruction.

We shall hope to meet Mrs Sinnett again in some of the _by-ways_ of
history, walking with a somewhat surer step, and keeping her sympathies
under somewhat better control.



REQUIEM.

[To the Music of Mozart.]

BY DELTA.


I.

  Gone art thou, in youthful sweetness,
    Time's short changeful voyage o'er;
  Now thy beauty in completeness
    Blooms on Heaven's unfading shore:
  What to us is life behind thee?
    Darkness and despair alone!
  When with sighs we seek to find thee,
    Echo answers moan for moan!


II.

  Not in winter's stormy bluster
    Did'st thou droop in pale decay,
  But mid summer light and lustre
    Pass'd to Paradise away:--
  Yes! when, toned to rapture only,
    Sang the birds among the bowers,
  Rapt from earth to leave us lonely,
    Bliss was thine and sorrow ours!


III.

  Mourners, solemn vigil keeping,
    Knelt in silence round thy bed;
  Could they deem thee only sleeping,
    When to Heaven thy spirit fled?
  Yes! that spirit then was winging
    Upwards from its shell of clay,
  Guardian angels round it singing--
    "Welcome to the realms of day!"


IV.

  Less when Eve's low shadows darkling
    Shut the wild flowers on the lea,
  Than when Dawn's last Star is sparkling,
    Silence draws our thoughts to thee--
  Thee--who, robed in light excelling,
    Stood'st a seraph by the hearth,--
  Far too bright for mortal dwelling.
    Far--by far, too good for earth!


V.

  Fare-thee-well! a track of glory
    Shows where'er thy steps have been,
  Making Life a lovely story,
    Earth a rich, romantic scene:
  Dim when Duty's way before us,
    As the magnet charts the sea,
  May thy pure star glowing o'er us
    Point the path to Heaven and Thee!



GIACOMO DA VALENCIA; OR, THE STUDENT OF BOLOGNA.

A TALE.[17]


CHAPTER I.

Of all the students that assembled at Bologna, A.D. 1324, Giacomo da
Valencia was the most popular and the most beloved. His wealth, his
liberality, his noble spirit, his handsome person, his bravery, and his
wit, gave him a just title to this pre-eminence.

Of all the beauties of the town of Bologna, whose mission it was in the
same year of grace, 1324, to turn the heads and inflame the hearts of this
assemblage of students, none could be compared to Constantia, niece of
Giovanni D'Andrea, one of the most celebrated jurisconsults of his age.

Of course, then, they loved each other, this peerless couple. No. Only the
student loved. The lady was fancy-free. The perverse god, having shot
_one_ arrow forth--buried it up to the very feather--"would not shoot his
other." No prayers and no clamour could avail: he held it loosely in his
hand, letting its golden point trail idly upon the sand.

In vain had Giacomo been the most constant attendant upon mass; in vain
had he lingered hour after hour on the promenade to catch one look of
recognition; in vain had he courted every family she visited, and for the
last six months had selected his acquaintances on one principle
only,--that they were hers, and might introduce him to her presence. All
his efforts were fruitless--Constantia, so amiable to all others, so
sweet, so gentle, was cold to him. She would not love. Why not? What was
there wanting in our cavalier? Was it birth, or wealth, or nobility of
spirit, or personal beauty? No, nothing was wanting--nothing in him. But,
for her, the hour had not yet struck. It was summer all around, but the
heart of the virgin--the rose of Bologna--was still sleeping in its coiled
leaves, and not to day would it unfold itself.

But the passion of Giacomo was invincible: no coldness could repulse, no
denial reduce him to despair. Love cannot exist, cannot endure, say
reasonable people, without hope. True. _But a great passion bears its own
hope in its bosom._ Neither was it in the nature or temperament of Giacomo
lightly to relinquish any enterprise he had once undertaken. The following
incident in his college life will serve to show the ardent, serious, and
indomitable temper of the lover of Constantia. A French cavalier, lately
emancipated from the university of Paris, who, while there, had borne off
the prize from all--not, indeed, in scholarship, but for his unrivalled
dexterity in the noble art of defence,--had visited Bologna, and
challenged to a trial of skill the most renowned champion it could boast.
They would cross their rapiers, the challenge said, for the honour of
their respective universities. This proclamation of the Parisian, affixed,
according to custom, to the college gates, was no sooner read than all
eyes were turned to Giacomo. To him alone could the honour of the
university be safely intrusted; indeed, if he should decline the
challenge, it was doubtful whether any other would risk a trial of skill
from which he had retreated. Thus pointed out by public opinion as the
champion of the university, and solicited by his fellow students to
sustain its reputation in the high and noble science of defence, he
overcame the first repugnance which he felt to what seemed to him the
boastful acceptance of a boastful challenge. He and the Frenchman met. The
Frenchman manifested the greater skill; it seemed evident that the contest
would end in the defeat of the Bolognese. "Let us try," said Giacomo,
"with the naked rapier;" for hitherto the points had been guarded. That
such a proposition should have come from him who was manifestly the least
skilful of the two, seemed the result of passion, of blind anger at
approaching defeat. Mere madness! cried some of his best friends. But it
was not madness, it was not passion; it was deliberately done. He knew
that the earnestness of the combat would call forth all his own skill and
energy to the utmost; it might very probably have the opposite effect upon
his adversary. His reasoning was justified by the event. His antagonist
had no sooner accepted the proposition--no sooner had the pointed been
substituted for the guarded rapier, than the rival fencers seemed to have
changed characters. The French cavalier grew cautious; his rapid and
brilliant attack gave place to defensive and more measured movements.
While the Bolognese, whom his friends expected to see fall a sacrifice to
his impetuosity of temper, became more rapid, more self-possessed, more
bold and decisive in his play. He now very soon, and happily without any
fatal result to his antagonist, established his superiority, and
vindicated the honour of his university. When chidden for his rashness,
and what was thought a freak of passion, he answered that he never acted
in a more cool and calculating spirit in his life. "I did but burn the
ships behind me that I might fight the better. I am never so calm," he
added, "or so thoroughly master of myself, as when most in earnest; and
this is not generally the character of a Parisian."

Such was the serious, brave, and resolute spirit of Giacomo. But he had
other qualities than those which made him the most popular student bf the
university; and as a proof of this, we need only mention that he was the
intimate friend of Petrarch, at this time also a student at Bologna.
Though despatched to this university by his father for the express purpose
of prosecuting the study of the law, Petrarch was wrapt up in his Latin
classics and his poetry; and it was precisely in our brave and handsome
cavalier that he found the companion who most completely sympathised with
him in his pursuits, and most correctly appreciated his nascent genius.

These two friends had been walking together in silence for some time under
the long colonnades which then, as now, lined the streets of Bologna. A
more noble pair have rarely traversed those colonnades. The poet,
remarkable for his beauty, was in his youth very studious of elegance in
his dress; and the short velvet cloak, with its border of gold or silver
lace, was always thrown over his slight, but finely moulded figure, with a
grace which would have satisfied the eye of a painter. From time to time
he might be seen to brush away, or to shake off, the specks of dust which
had settled on it, or to re-adjust, by a movement intended to appear
unconscious, the folds of its drapery. His companion, taller, and of a
somewhat larger build, and far more costly in his attire, though utterly
unoccupied with it, walked "like one of the lions" by his side.

"My dear Giacomo," said Petrarch, breaking the long silence, "what has
befallen you? Not a word--certainly not _two_ in any coherent succession,
have you uttered for the last hour."

"Neither to-day, nor yesterday!" muttered Giacomo to himself, certainly
not in answer to his friend,--"Neither to-day, nor yesterday--perhaps, she
means never to go to mass again."

"What are you talking, or rather, thinking of?"

"What I am always thinking of, my dear Petrarch,--what I shall never cease
thinking of till it prove my destruction--which some spirit of divination
tells me that it will."

"Really, really, Giacomo," said his friend, "you show in this a most
insane pertinacity. Here are you, week after week, month after month----"

"I know it--know all you would say.--Good God! how beautiful she is!"

"Here are you--for I _will_ speak."--continued his youthful but grave
associate, "who are simply the most perfect cavalier in all Bologna--(one
would not flatter, but this physic is, in some cases, absolutely
necessary)--at once the boast and envy of the whole university--wasting,
consuming yourself away, in a perpetual fever after the only woman, I
take it upon me to declare----"

"Psha! psha! Tell me, if you would have me listen, what further can I
_do_? I have wooed her in sonnets, which ought to have affected her, for
Petrarch polished the verse. Nothing touches her. She is as obdurate as
steel. Not a smile--not, at least, for me--and for all others she smiles
how sweetly, how intelligently, how divinely! But by the Holy Cross! she
_shall_ love me! Petrarch, she shall!--she shall!"

"My dear Giacomo, you rave. Be a _little_ reasonable. Lover as you are,
stay on this side of madness. Love on--if it must be so--love her for
ever; but do not for ever be striving for a return of your passion. Take
home your unrequited love into your bosom--nourish it there--but do not
exasperate it by a bootless and incessant struggle against fate. For my
part, I can conceive there may be a strange sweet luxury in this solitary
love that lives in one breast alone. It is all your own. It is fed,
kindled, diversified, sustained by your own imagination. It is passion
without the gross thraldom of circumstance. It is the pure relation of
soul to soul, without the vast, intricate, unmanageable relationship of
life to life."

"To you, a poet," replied Giacomo with a slight tone of sarcasm, "such a
passion may be possible. Perhaps you care not for more heat than serves to
animate and make fluent the verse. Pleased with the glow of fancy and of
feeling, you can stop short of possession. I cannot! Oh, you poets! you
fuse your passion with your genius: you describe, you do not feel."

"Not feel!" exclaimed Petrarch "we cannot then describe."

"Oh, yes! you can describe. You fling the golden light of imagination,
like a light from heaven, round the object of your adoration; but, in
return, the real woman is translated herself to the skyey region of
imagination. She becomes the creature of your thoughts. You are conscious
that the glory you have flung around her, you can re-assume. Petrarch,
Petrarch! if you ever love, if you are constant to any woman from
Springtime to the last leaf of Autumn, it will be to some fair creature
who dwells for ever, and only, in your imagination, whom you will never
press to your bosom. You poets love beauty, you love passion, you love all
things fair and great, and you make a vision of them all. You sing them,
and there's an end."

"Well, well," said the poet, warding off the attack with a smile, "I have
brought down, it seems, a severe castigation on myself."

"Dear, dear Petrarch! let it teach you never again to give advice to a
lover, unless it be to show him how, or where, he is to meet his mistress.
Fool that I am! she is, perhaps, all this time in the Church of St
Giovanni." And without another word he darted up a street that led to that
same church, leaving his friend to follow or not, as he pleased.


CHAPTER II.

There was, indeed, something like perversity, it must be allowed, in this
firm refusal of Constantia to reward so devoted an attachment. Even her
stern, grave uncle, whose judicial functions were not likely to give him
much leisure or disposition to interfere with the love affairs of his
niece, had dropt a hint that the suit of Giacomo da Valencia would not be
displeasing to himself. Bologna could not have supplied a more fitting
match; our lover, therefore, was not guilty of presumption, though of much
obstinacy. It was his _right_, this blessed hand of Constantia--he felt it
was his right, and he would win it.

Some _one_, some _day_, she must surely love, he argued to himself, and
why not me? and why not now? Oh, could I but plead my passion, he would
say, alone,--pour it out unrestrained at her feet, she would surely see
how _reasonable_ it was that she should love, that she ought, that she
must! To his excited and impetuous mood of mind, it appeared that nothing
but the artificial barrier which the customs of society interposed in
their intercourse, prevented his success. He could never see her alone,
never speak unreservedly and passionately. The presence of others imposed
restraints on both; and if an opportunity occurred to speak without being
overheard, the few moments were filled with embarrassment by reason of
their brief and precarious tenure. Nay, what were a few moments to him who
had so full a heart to utter? "Oh, could I place her _there_!" he would
exclaim, pointing to the upper end of the spacious room he occupied, "and
there kneel down, and pray before her, as men do to their saints! Oh
Nature! Oh Heaven! you would not so desert me, that my prayer should be
fruitless."

Yes! if she were there alone, no other mortal near! This thought so
wrought within him, took so strong possession of his mind, that it led him
to a thousand projects for its realisation. What if he carried her off by
force from her uncle's residence, and brought her there? Surely the
humility, the passionate devotion with which he would entreat her, would
atone for the rash and violent means he had used to bring her within the
scope of his supplications; and the utter submission, and profound respect
of his manner, would immediately convince her that he had no design upon
her freedom of will, and that she might confide with entire safety to his
honour. And as to the feasibility of the project, popular and beloved as
he was in the university, there were numbers of students quite ready to
engage in any scheme he should propose, however hazardous it might be. It
would be very easy for him to organise a little band of the most faithful
and the boldest of his adherents, who, with a due mixture of stratagem and
force, would accomplish this new and harmless species of abduction.

The uncle of Constantia held, as we have intimated, a high judicial post,
and was sometimes absent from Bologna, administering justice amongst the
several dependencies of the republic. On one of these occasions Constantia
was sitting with a female friend, who had been invited to stay with her
during his absence from home. The room they sat in was one of those fine
old Gothic chambers, which the pencil of Haghe delights to reproduce and
restore for us; and to his pencil we willingly leave the description of
it. Constantia was seated on one of those tall arm-chairs, with straight
high back, which beauty then made graceful to the eye, and leaned her
little chin upon her doubled hand, as she listened to her friend, Leonora,
who was reading her a lecture upon the very theme which makes the burden
of our story, her coldness to Giacomo.

"What would you _have_? what do you _expect_?" was the triumphant close of
her harangue.

"What would I have?" replied Constantia. "Myself! I would possess myself
in peace and stillness--What do I expect? I do not live on expectation. I
love my present life--its calm, its contentment, its freedom. Why would
you help to rob me of these?"

"Freedom! So, then, you fear the tyrant in the husband. But, my dear
Constantia, where there are only two in the society, there is an even
chance for the tyranny."

"A pleasant prospect! But you mistake me, Leonora. It is not the husband
in his tyranny I fear,--I have not come to think of that; it is the lover
and his love! I would not be infected by the turmoil of his passion. I
dread it. Friends let me have and cherish. Leonora, be you always one of
them; but for this turbulent Love, may the lightest down upon his pinion
never touch me! How soft it seems, how light, as light and soft as the
down we rob the swan's neck of; but touch it, and it burns, and fans a
fever into the veins. I do love my own calm life, and I will keep it."

As she spoke thus, she rose from her seat and advanced towards the window.
The two friends stood looking together down the street, which, as the sun
descended, began to be deserted of its usual crowd. Their attention was
arrested by a numerous body of footmen, and other attendants, who were
escorting apparently some lady in a sedan chair. They were rather
surprised to observe that the sedan chair directed its course towards
their own house. A knocking at the door was heard; and soon after their
servant brought them word, that a certain Signora ---- desired urgently to
speak with Constantia, but that she could not quit her chair. The person
whose name was announced, was an old lady, one of Constantia's most
intimate friends; she descended immediately into the hall to meet her. She
precipitated herself towards the sedan chair, the door of which stood
open; a slight impulse from some bystander, from a hand which trembled as
it touched her, carried her forward, and she found herself seated in what
indeed was an empty chair. Before she had time to raise an alarm, she
found herself borne swiftly and softly along the street. Leonora, who had
followed her friend down the stairs, and was a witness to her singular
disappearance, called up all the servants of the establishment, and
despatched them after their mistress. They followed, but to no purpose.
The running footmen, on either side of the sedan, drew their swords. They
were students in disguise. Giacomo had succeeded in his daring enterprise.

Constantia had hardly collected her thoughts, when she perceived that her
chair was carried through a lofty archway up a broad flight of stairs, and
deposited in a spacious apartment, once the proud saloon of a palatial
residence, though the whole building, of which it formed a part, had since
been constituted a portion of the university. All her attendants except
one left the room. We need not say that it was Giacomo who handed her from
her temporary imprisonment.

To judge from their bearing and attitude, you would have said that it was
Giacomo who was the captive, bending before the mercy of Constantia. She
stood there, upright, calm, inflexible. He was, indeed, at her mercy. He
felt that his life depended on this present moment, and on the few words
that should fall from her lips. He led her to the upper end of the room
where his imagination had so often placed her. He knelt--he sued.

Beginning with abrupt protests and exclamations, his impassioned pleading
gradually grew more continuous, but not less vehement, till it flowed in
the full torrent of a lover's eloquence. On all this turbulent pathos
Constantia looked calmly down, more in sorrow than in anger. From the
moment she understood in whose power she was, she had ceased (so much
justice she had at least done to the character of her lover) to have any
alarm whatever on her own account; but she was filled with regret,
disquietude, and concern for the fatal consequences which might ensue to
himself from the unwarrantable step he had taken. "Restore me to my
uncle's before he shall hear of this," were the only words she vouchsafed
in return to all his passionate appeal.

But the pleading of the desperate lover was not, as may well be supposed,
allowed to proceed without interruption. Leonora, a young girl of spirit
and animation, immediately sent forth the servants of the household to
rouse up the friends of the family, and to spread every where the report
of the strange outrage which had been committed upon one of the most
respected families of Bologna. A fleet messenger was especially despatched
to the uncle of Constantia, distant only a few miles from the town, to
recall him to a scene where his presence was so much required. There was a
perpetual standing feud between the citizens of Bologna and the students
of the university, which had often disturbed the tranquillity of the city;
it was therefore with extreme alacrity and zeal that the townsmen rushed
in crowds into the streets, armed with the best weapons they could
procure, to rescue the niece of their venerable judge, and to punish the
gross outrage which they conceived had been perpetrated.

When, however, the multitude came in front of the large mansion or palace
in which Giacomo resided, and which was tenanted entirely by students, the
great majority of whom were his zealous partisans, and all of whom were
prepared, in any quarrel whatever, to take part against the townsmen, they
found the enterprise they had undertaken to be one of no little
difficulty. The huge gates were closed and barred, while the windows above
were occupied by a spirited garrison who had already supplied themselves
with missiles of every description to annoy their assailants. These latter
began, with true Italian energy, to pull up the posts out of the street,
to form battering-rams with which to force the gates. They thundered at
them with dreadful din, shaking the whole edifice; and in spite of the
missiles despatched in quick succession from above, seemed to be on the
point of effecting an entrance.

When Constantia heard this horrible din she turned pale with
affright--Giacomo pale with rage. He could make no impression on the cold
beauty before him--his suppressed passion was suffocating him. Against
_these_ assailants all his impetuosity could burst forth--_them_ he knew
at least how to defy;--here was an enemy he could vanquish, or, at worst,
a defeat he knew how to sustain. When, therefore, several of his friends
rushed breathless into the room to tell him that the great gates began to
creak upon their hinges, and were likely to be beaten in, he almost
welcomed this new species of contest. Conducting Constantia into a
side-room, where she would be out of reach of the ensuing tumult and
disorder, and where an aged matron waited to attend upon her, he went with
his friends to meet the rest of his companions in arms, who were anxious
to consult him on the next measures which in their present emergency
should be taken.

The house, or palazzo, was built on a plan very customary in such
structures. In the centre were the tall gates, now undergoing the battery
of the citizens, which opened upon a square, lofty, paved court or hall,
supported by columns, and forming a carriage-way up to the foot of the
staircase. Originally you passed through the hall into a garden beyond,
but when the building had been converted into a residence for students,
and made a part, in fact, of the university, a wall had been erected,
separating the garden from the house. This wall, though lofty, did not,
however, rise to the level of the roof of the hall; both light and air
were admitted from above it, and you still saw the topmost branches of the
orange-trees and the summits of the fountains that were playing in the
garden beyond. From either side of this hall rose the broad and marble
staircase which led into the interior of the house.

Upon both branches of this noble staircase, whose steps faced the
entrance, Giacomo stationed his gallant band, armed each of them at least
with his rapier. He then commissioned one of his companions to proclaim to
the besiegers from a window above, that if they would cease their
battering, and retreat a few paces from the gates, they should be opened
to them.

To this the crowd assented, presuming that it could imply nothing else
than a surrender. The great doors were opened. They rushed forward; but
the staircase they thought to ascend so readily was occupied every inch of
it by a brave phalanx, which awaited them with glittering swords, held
forward in spear fashion, tier above tier. The first rank of this
disordered multitude had no desire whatever to be thrust forward by those
in the rear on the points held forth by this determined phalanx. A great
number of them passed harmless between the two staircases, but the wall we
have described prevented any egress in that direction; and when the lower
part of the hall was quite full, the struggle commenced in earnest between
those of the crowd who desired to retreat, and those who, knowing nothing
of the peril of their companions, were still urging forward. The struggle
rose to a combat. The students, who, at the express desire of Giacomo,
stood steadily at their post, and preserved a dead silence, were
undisturbed spectators of the tumult, and saw their adversaries in
desperate strife, the one against the other.

They seemed to be on the point of obtaining, in this singular manner, a
bloodless victory, when Andrea, the uncle of Constantia, together with the
Podestà, made their appearance, with such military force as could be
assembled at the moment. This had immediately one good effect; the crowd
without, by making way for the Podestà, released their companions within,
still struggling for escape. The military force of the Podestà soon stood
confronted with the little band of students. Yet these were so well
placed, had so decidedly the advantage of position, and their leader was
so well known for his prowess and indomitable courage, that there was a
great unwillingness to commence the attack, and very loud calls were made
upon them to surrender to the majesty of the law.

For Giacomo, the combat was what his blood boiled for. Would that he could
have fought single-handed--he alone--and perilled, and have lost his life!
But when he saw the respected form of the uncle of Constantia--when he
reflected that the experiment he had so long desired, _had been made and
failed_--that the cold virgin whom he had left up stairs was still
invincible, whoever else he might conquer or resist, and that he should be
exposing the lives of his companions in a combat where to him there was
now no victory--he lowered his sword, and made treaty of peace with the
Podestà. On consideration that none other but himself should suffer any
species of penalty for that day's transaction, he offered to resign
Constantia to her uncle, and himself to the pleasure of the Podestà. These
terms were very readily accepted; his companions alone seemed reluctant to
acquiesce in them.


CHAPTER III.

While all this tumult was raging round the house, and within the heart of
Giacomo, the student's lamp was burning, how calm, how still, in the
remote and secluded chamber of his friend Petrarch! To him, out of a kind
and considerate regard, and from no distrust in his zeal or attachment,
the ardent lover had concealed his perilous enterprise. Remote from the
whole scene, and remote from all the passions of it, sat the youthful
sage; not remote, however, from deep excitements of his own. Far from it.
Reflection has her emotions thrilling as those of passion. He who has not
closed his door upon the world, and sat down with books and his own
thoughts in a solitude like this--may have lived, we care not in how gay a
world, or how passionate an existence,--he has yet an excitement to
experience, which, if not so violent, is far more prolonged, deeper, and
more sustained than any he has known,--than any which the most brilliant
scenes, or the most clamorous triumphs of life, can furnish. What is all
the sparkling exhilaration of society, the wittiest and the fairest,--what
all the throbbings and perturbations of love itself, compared with the
intense feeling of the _youthful thinker_, who has man, and God, and
eternity for his fresh contemplations,--who, for the first time, perceives
in his solitude all the grand enigmas of human existence lying unsolved
about him? His brow is not corrugated, his eye is not inflamed: he sits
calm and serene--a child would look into his face and be drawn near to
him--but it seems to him that on his beating heart the very hand of God is
lying.

The poet had closed his door, and unrolled before his solitary lamp his
favourite manuscript, "The Tusculan Disputations of Cicero." How well that
solitary lamp burning on so vivid and so noiseless--the only thing there
in motion, but whose very motion makes the stillness more evident, the
calm more felt; how well that lamp--the very soul, as it seems, of the
little chamber it illumines--harmonises with the student's mood! How it
makes bright the solitude around him! How it brings sense of companionship
and of life where nothing but it--and thought--are stirring!

But though the young student had seated himself to his intellectual feast,
it was evident that he was not quite at his ease; there was something
which occasioned him a slight disquietude. In truth he was destined, by
his father, to be "learned in the law;" was enjoying a stolen fruit; and
whatever the well-known proverb may say, we have never found, ourselves,
that any enjoyment is heightened by a sense of insecurity in its
possession, or a thought of the possible penalty which may be the
consequence of its indulgence. Petrarch might have been observed to listen
attentively to every footstep on the great staircase that served the whole
wing of the building to which his little turret belonged; and till the
step was lost, or he was sure that it had stopped at some lower stage in
the house, he suspended the perusal of his manuscript, and sat prepared to
drop the precious treasure into a chest that stood open at his feet, and
to replace it by an enormous volume of jurisprudence which lay ready at
hand for this piece of hypocritical service. This peculiarly nervous
condition was the result of a paternal visit which had been paid him, most
unexpectedly, a few evenings before. His father, suspecting that he was
more devoted to the classics than to the study of the law, started
suddenly from Avignon, stole upon his son unforewarned, ruthlessly
snatched from him the prized manuscripts in which he found him absorbed,
and committed them to the flames. Petrarch, of gentle temper, and full of
filial respect, ventured upon no resistance; but when he saw his Virgil
and his Cicero put upon his funeral pyre, he burst into a flood of
uncontrollable tears. His father, who was not himself without a love of
classic literature, but who was anxious for his son's advancement in the
world, and his study of a profession on which that advancement appeared
entirely to depend, was smit with compassion and some remorse. These last
two manuscripts he rescued himself from the flames, and restored to his
disconsolate son, with the repeated admonition, however, to indulge less
in their perusal, nor to allow them to take the place due to the science
of jurisprudence.

"Science!" said the young enthusiast, who had recovered something of his
self-possession: "Can conclusions wrested often with perverted ingenuity
from artificial principles and arbitrary axioms, be honoured with the name
of science? And the law, to obtain this fictitious resemblance to a
science, leaves justice behind and unthought of. I will study it, my
father, as I would practise any mechanical art, if you should prescribe it
as a means of being serviceable to my family; but you--who are a
scholar--ah! place not a tissue of technicalities, however skilfully
interwoven, on a level with truth, which has its basis in the nature of
things. I would help my fellow-men to justice; but must I spend my life,
and dry up and impoverish my very soul, in regulating his disputes
according to rules that are something very different from justice?--often
mere logical deductions from certain legal abstractions, in which all
moral right and wrong,--all substantial justice between man and man, is
utterly forgotten?"

"My son," said the father, "you are young, and therefore rash. You think
it, perhaps, an easy thing to do justice between man and man. _We cannot
do justice between man and man._ No combination of honesty and
intelligence can effect it; the whole compass of society affords no means
for its accomplishment. To administer moral justice, each case must be
decided on its own peculiar merits, and those merits are to be found in
the motives of the human heart. We cannot promise men justice. But we must
terminate their disputes. Therefore it is we have a system of law--our
only substitute for justice--by which men are contented to be governed
because it _is_ a system, and applicable to all alike. Believe me, that
wise and able men of all countries are well occupied in rendering more
symmetrical, more imposing, and as little immoral and unjust as possible,
their several systems of jurisprudence."

Petrarch was silent; it was neither his wish nor his policy to prolong the
discussion. Besides, his heart was too full. Had he dared, he would have
pleaded for his own liberty; for choice of poverty and intellectual
freedom--for poverty and greatness! But what he felt within him of the
promptings of ambition, the assurance of fame, the consciousness of
genius, he had too much modesty to express. He could not do justice to
himself, without appearance of overweening pride. It was better to be
silent than to say but half.

It was the remembrance of this visit which, on the present occasion, made
him listen with a painful curiosity to every step upon the stairs. And now
a step _was_ heard. It came nearer and nearer, higher and higher--a rapid
step which never paused an instant till it reached his own door. A loud
knocking followed. But this time it was no spy upon his literary hours.
On opening the door, a fellow-student, breathless with haste, rushed into
the room, and related the tragical event which had taken place at the
house of their common friend Giacomo.

Petrarch immediately descended and ran to meet his friend. He found him
already a prisoner! The Podestà, willing, however, to treat the unhappy
student with as much lenity as possible, had converted his own apartments
into his prison. He well knew, also, the honourable character of his
prisoner; the granting this indulgence enabled him to exact his word of
honour not to escape, and he probably judged, considering the extreme
popularity of Giacomo in the university, that this was a greater security
for his safe custody than any walls, or any guard, which he had at his
command in Bologna.

Petrarch was horror-struck when he came fully to apprehend the extreme
peril to which his friend had exposed himself. Whatever were his motives,
he had committed, in fact, a capital offence, and one to be classed
amongst the most heinous; it was the crime of abduction he had
perpetrated, and for which he stood exposed to the penalty of death. The
poet fell weeping into the arms of his friend.

"Alas!" said Giacomo, "she would not hear me!" The inflexibility of
Constantia was still the only grief that dwelt upon his mind. "She stood
there--on that spot--I could kiss the traces of her footstep could I see
them--cold, cold as the statue--I might have prayed with better hope to
the sculptured marble!"

But Petrarch did not limit his kind offices to sympathy and lamentation.
Meditative as he was by character, and little habituated to what is called
the business of life, he saw clearly the grave nature of his friend's
position. The crime which Giacomo had actually committed--the abduction
from her home of a noble virgin--subjected him, as we have said, to the
punishment of death. Those only who could have read his heart, or knew the
purity of his intentions, could have acquitted him; and even to those, his
conduct would have appeared rash and unjustifiable. But to the citizens of
Bologna, irritated and all but at war with the university, disposed to
magnify every offence committed by a member of that body, and exasperated,
moreover, by the late fruitless contest in which they had been
engaged--the act of Giacomo would appear in all its unmitigated
criminality. They were, in fact, resolved that he should not escape the
utmost rigour of the law; they were already clamouring aloud for his
death--his public execution.

There was but one man in Bologna who could save him. This was Romeo de'
Pepoli, a man exceedingly rich--by far the richest in the city--and who,
by a popular use of his wealth, had obtained a great ascendency in the
republic. This Romeo de' Pepoli was secretly aiming at the tyranny. He
failed, owing to the awakened jealousy of the people; but although he
himself was banished from the city at the very moment when he seemed about
to reap the fruits of his nefarious intrigues, he prepared the way to
power for his sons, who were for some time tyrants of Bologna. There was
no doubt that this man--and he alone--was able, if he chose, to rescue
Giacomo from his threatened fate. For should his influence with the
citizens fail to mitigate their animosity, still, in all the ill-assured
governments of that day, such exorbitant wealth as he possessed gave
something more than influence. Judgments of law were almost always to be
bought, if a price high enough could be paid, or an armed force could be
hired which would set the judgment of a court at defiance, and prevent its
execution.

To this eminent citizen and nobleman Petrarch betook himself. So
remarkable an event as that which had lately transpired in the city, we
may be sure, had drawn the attention of this wily and ambitious personage.
At first he had adopted the indignation and anger of the citizens, as
being the part most likely to increase his popularity. But on reflection
it had occurred to him, that a still greater advantage might perhaps be
taken of this event, if, through his skilful mediation, and a dexterous
advocacy of the cause of Giacomo, he should be able to obtain the favour
and partisanship of the more spirited members of the university. Over
these, no one had so great an influence as Giacomo--in the cause of no
one could they be more deeply interested--nor was it likely that, an
occasion would arise in which he could serve them more signally than by
coming to his rescue. On the other hand, a thousand ways would still be
open to appease and conciliate the offended citizens. Add to all which,
Giacomo himself, like all those on whom classical literature and the early
histories of Rome and of Greece were just re-opening, was distinguished by
an ardent zeal for liberty. Without seeking actually to intermeddle in the
political affairs of the city, he and his associates were
accustomed--probably in much the same manner as the German students of the
present day--to proclaim and uphold the cause of freedom in their songs,
and with the oratory of the wine-cup. They might be calculated on as
stanch friends to the republic, and deadly opponents to the tyranny. To
gain over this band of ardent and enthusiastic spirits, would be a great
step in the prosecution of his ambitious enterprise. Even their neutrality
would be an incalculable advantage to him.

Petrarch had been always well received by one who was anxious to win all
sorts of golden opinions, and therefore desirous to be thought an admirer
of learning and a patron of youthful genius. On the present occasion, he
found the ambitious nobleman singularly courteous, and not indisposed to
listen to his ardent vindication of Giacomo. With the usual artifice of
such men, Pepoli appeared to be listening to the reasoning of the young
advocate, whilst he was revolving only his own thoughts, and was not
unwilling to let it appear that predeterminations of his own were the
results of another's eloquence.

"Let me see your unfortunate friend," he said, with a sort of relenting
air; "something, perhaps, maybe done--I cannot tell. But you see the whole
town is in arms against him. I shall be risking," he added with a
smile,--for there is nothing more common with crafty men than to speak the
very truth in a light jesting manner, giving their earnest motives the air
of sport, and so expressing and disguising themselves at the same time--"I
shall be risking all my popularity with the good Bolognese--I must proceed
cautiously."

Petrarch ran back, full of sanguine hope, to his friend, and repeated the
result of his mission. Giacomo shook his head mournfully. He was slow to
enter into the exhilarating prospects placed before him. Perhaps he had
read deeper into the character of this man than Petrarch.

The interview which Pepoli desired took place. What circuitous terms the
ambitious man employed to suggest the price which was to be paid for his
intermediation, we do not know; but the smile on the lip of Giacomo was
interpreted as the smile of intelligence and acquiescence. Of intelligence
it certainly was. At this interview it was agreed that the student should
assemble together some of the most ardent and influential of his friends,
that he should present Pepoli to them, and induce them to swear a sort of
allegiance and fidelity to his cause, in return for the aid he pledged
himself to bring to Giacomo.

With the liberty allowed by the Podestà to his prisoner, it was not
difficult to arrange this meeting. He was permitted to invite to supper a
considerable number of his most faithful adherents and intimate
associates. It being understood that Pepoli was to be one of the guests,
there was still less scruple in granting this permission.

The supper passed off, as may be supposed under such circumstances, with
little hilarity. Being brought to a conclusion, Giacomo, at whose side sat
Pepoli, entreated the attention of his guests. He rose and addressed them.
He began by proclaiming the intended mediation of Pepoli in his behalf.
Cheers followed this announcement. He proceeded to enlarge on the wealth,
the power, the manifest pre-eminence in the state which Pepoli had
acquired. The students still applauded, but the exact drift of these
somewhat ambiguous praises--ambiguous in the mouth of a republican
speaking of a republican--they could not well perceive. Pepoli alone
seemed to understand and to approve. He then solemnly called upon his
friends to take an oath with him before he died.

"But you shall not die!" was the exclamation with which both Pepoli and
the students interrupted him.

"An oath," he continued, not heeding this interruption, "which I exact
from you in the name of friendship, in the name of virtue, in the name of
liberty. Is it not generous, this offer of Pepoli--of him who has been the
champion of the citizen against the student--the most popular man in all
Bologna,--is it not generous that he should step forward to rescue my life
from the blind rage and mad injustice of the multitude? But you must
understand there is a certain price to be given for this generosity. You
do not expect him to sacrifice his popularity, which is his power, out of
mere compassion to one who has never courted nor applauded him, without
receiving, in return, some compensation. If you accept his benefits, you
must forward his counsels, you must promote his designs. Say, will you
swear?"

"Yes! yes! we swear!" was the general response.

"Students of Bologna!" he proceeded, elevating his voice. "I accept this
mark of your friendship. For my sake you have promised to swear. Now hear
the oath I propose, and to which I bind you. This man offers me my life,
and the price of it is--the liberty of Bologna! Fellow students, Romeo de'
Pepoli aims at the tyranny. Swear that you will never, on any condition,
for any boon, aid him in his flagitious enterprise; that you will thwart,
and resist, and combat it to the utmost. Swear that you will, at all
times, reject his mediation--as I now reject, utterly and with scorn, the
service that he proffers me. I unmask him to you ere I die. I, too, have
lived for one good purpose. This man, my friends, would be tyrant of
Bologna--swear, to me that he shall _not_!"

There was a pause of a few seconds. But it was soon evident that the noble
spirit--of patriotism and of self-sacrifice--of their admired friend, had
found a genuine response in all his hearers. He had touched the true
chord. Carried forward by his disinterested enthusiasm, and pledged by the
promise he, had somewhat artfully extorted from them, they rose, and with
one voice repeated the oath proposed to, them. Pepoli, pale and aghast,
and utterly confounded, and catching here and there the flashing of the
half-drawn steel, made a precipitate retreat. Of all the assembly,
Petrarch alone remained silent--he alone failed, or forgot, to take the
oath;--full of concern for the safety of his noble friend, full of
admiration for his greatness, he fell weeping upon his neck.


CONCLUSION.

After this, there was no more hope for the prisoner. If to the anger of
the Bolognese was added the determined enmity of Romeo de' Pepoli, now
resolved on his destruction, from what quarter could a ray of hope
proceed? He was even now removed--such was the influence which the new
enemy he had provoked possessed over the Podestà--to the common prison,
and treated in all respects like a condemned malefactor. The university
pleaded its privilege to judge a member of their own body, but the angry
feeling of the citizens would not permit them for a moment to listen to
this plea. There, was no power on earth to save him--and his fault was so
light! A man more honourable did not exist. The purity of Constantia was
more safe in his hands than in any others--he loved her so well.

We are not sufficiently in the "tragic vein" to follow the prisoner
through the last hours of his confinement, and of his existence. To be
struck dead in the flush of life, with all his passions in full bloom upon
him, was a hard decree. Sometimes he protested vehemently against the
palpable injustice and cruelty of his sentence; but, in general, he found
his consolation in the mournful sentiment, that had he lived, he should
have been miserable--for the great desire of his life was doomed to be
thwarted. "I told you," he said one day to his friend Petrarch, "that
this love would work my destruction. It has so; but its great misery has
made destruction itself indifferent."

We willingly draw a veil over the last fatal scene, and all the horrors
that precede a public death. Throughout this scene his courage never
forsook him; but flashes of uncontrollable indignation would occasionally
break from him, and occasionally a sigh of more tender despondency would
escape. The last tear he shed, the last complaint he murmured, was still
to the coldness of Constantia: "We should have been so happy, had she
loved--and now!--"

History records that the execution of Giacomo, as well by infringing the
supposed privileges of the university as by the indignation it excited in
the large circle of his friends and companions, nearly led to the
withdrawal of the university from the town of Bologna. The students and
the professors seceded in a mass, and retired to Sienna. No entreaties
could bring them back; the glory of Bologna might have been extinguished
for ever. The Podestà and other magistrates of the town were compelled at
length to send a solemn deputation. They promised, in future, to respect
their privileges; and, by raising the salaries of the professors, and some
other popular measures, they eventually prevailed upon them to return.

Petrarch had not left the city with the rest--he had lingered behind to
perform the last rites and honours to the remains of Giacomo--to raise the
tomb and inscribe it with his verse.

Upon that tomb the solitary moon was now shining. But who was that figure
robed in deepest black that knelt beside it, so sadly, with so desponding
a stillness, her forehead pressed against the marble? Was it, too, marble?
No. The chisel may create beauty as exquisite, but never combine it with
so great a sorrow. It was Constantia. Too late! Too late! She brought her
tears where one smile would have given life and happiness. She felt the
worth of him who had so passionately loved her, when nothing remained to
love but the ashes in that urn. That pleading in the student's chamber
seemed vain--and at the moment it _was_ vain; but when she recalled it in
her own solitude, her heart had half assented. She remembered how
tenderly--with what an ardent and gentle worship--he had pressed her hand;
her own hand trembled then to the touch which at the time it had coldly
rejected. When, moreover, she heard, through their common friend Petrarch,
of the noble manner in which he had refused the aid of Pepoli, and chose
death rather than the least dishonour, and thought to herself--this man
loved me!--all her heart was won. Alas! too late!

She now knelt at the tomb of Giacomo, afflicted with regret that amounted
to remorse. She raised her head--she raised her hand--there was that
within it which glittered in the moonbeam. But her hand was suddenly
arrested. Petrarch, a frequent visitor at that tomb, had seen and
prevented this movement of despair. "No! no!" he cried. "Beautiful
creature, and too much beloved--live on--live! And when some other Giacomo
appears, make compensation to heaven--by loving him!"



HENRY IV.[18]


So closely united are the arts of history and romance, that they may
almost be said to be twin sisters. In both, the subjects are the same: and
the objects which the artists have in view in handling them are identical.
To impress the mind by the narrative of heroic, or melt it by that of
tragic events--to delineate the varieties of character, incident, and
catastrophes--to unfold the secret springs which influence the most
important changes, and often confound the wisest anticipations--to trace
the chain of causes and effects in human transactions from their
unobserved origin to their ultimate results, is equally the object of both
arts. The delineation of character, passion, and transaction is the great
end of both, but to neither is the subordinate aid of description or
pictorial embellishment denied. On the contrary, to both they constitute
one of the principal charms of this art. The sphere of description is
different, but the object and the impressions are the same. The novelist
paints individual places, and strives to transfer to the mind of the
reader a reflection of the brilliant scenes created in his own
imagination. The historian embraces a wider sphere, and aims rather at
portraying the general features of whole districts of country, or even
quarters of the globe. But a painter's eye, a poet's mind, are equally
required by both; and not the least interesting parts of the works of
either are those in which the author leaves the busy and checkered scenes
of dramatic incident, to dwell amidst the recesses of inanimate
beauty,--to traverse the Alps with their shepherds, or the Pampas with
their Gauchos, and mingle with the turbid course of human events somewhat
of the purity which breathes amidst the works of Nature.

Notwithstanding this identity of object and art, there is nothing more
certain than that romance writers in general have not made the best
historians. Poets also, whose art so closely resembles that of the
novelist, have in general failed when they invoked the historic muse.
Smollett was in many respects an admirable romance writer; but the author
of "Roderick Random" has left a History of England, which is nothing but a
compilation of parliamentary debates and gazettes. Scott's powers as a
romance writer were so great and various, and his delineations of historic
scenes, characters, and events, so graphic and powerful, that it seemed
next to impossible that he should not be equally successful as a
historian, especially when the theme was one so varied and animating as
the "Life of Napoleon." Voltaire's genius was universal, and seemed
equally adapted to every object of human pursuit; but his historical
works, though deservedly popular as school books, have never risen to an
eminence approaching that justly attained by his tragedies and critical
disquisitions.

What is very remarkable, and is just the reverse of what might _a priori_
have been expected, the point in which romance writers in general fail,
when they undertake history, is in giving sufficient life and animation to
their narrative. Like race-horses, they seem in general incapable of
carrying any considerable weight. They would break down under the panoply
which a steed of Norman or Flemish extraction can sustain without
difficulty. Their imagination is only kindled when it is at liberty to
roam at will over a world of their own creation. Confined to the narration
of actual events, limited to the delineation of real character, cramped by
the description of actual scenes, their powers fail, their ardour is
weakened, their fire is lost. A mind comparatively prosaic, subject to
such burdens, speedily out-strips them even on their own element; and the
scholar with his authorities kindles the imagination to an extent which
the poet with his verses can hardly excel. Witness Livy's pictured
pages--Gibbon's historical descriptions. Yet minds of the most elevated
cast have occasionally, though at long intervals from each other,
succeeded in uniting the historic and romantic arts. Homer's Iliad is the
annals of the Siege of Troy in verse; his Odyssey, the versified Travels
of Ulysses; and in the recent "Histoire des Girondins" by Lamartine, we
have convincing proof that it is possible to unite the most ardent and
enthusiastic poetical mind with the research, knowledge of character, and
dramatic power, requisite to make the most interesting tragic annals.

As a romance writer, Mr James unquestionably is entitled to a high place.
He has great historical information, especially of the olden times and
their leading characters; an accurate personal knowledge of various
countries, more particularly France, Flanders, and England; great
acquaintance with the dress, manners, arms, and accoutrements of former
days; and a very remarkable power of describing as well the ever-changing
events of ancient story as the varied scenes of inanimate nature. His best
novels, "Attila," "Philip Augustus," "Mary of Burgundy," "The Robbers,"
"The Smugglers," "Morley Ernstein," "Henry Masterton," are happy specimens
of the historical romance. The great and deserved success which has
attended the uniform edition of his novels now in course of publication,
sufficiently proves that his reputation rests on a broader and securer
basis than the fleeting patronage of fashion or the transient interest of
individual satire. The great risk which he runs, is from the _number_ of
his works. It is dangerous to write thirty books. The most prolific
imagination runs into repetition, when repeatedly tasked with invention.
Homer himself could not have written twenty Iliads; Shakspeare's fame has
been not a little enhanced by his having left only twenty-seven plays;
that of Sophocles, by only seven of his having come down to modern times.
Perhaps the best thing that a good fairy could do for James's fame--as was
said of Dryden--would be to withdraw two-thirds of his productions from
subsequent times.

One of the greatest charms of Mr James's writings is the beautiful ideas,
clothed in felicitous language, which are to be found profusely scattered
over them. It is not the general opinion that he excels in this respect;
on the contrary, nothing is more common in conversation than to hear it
remarked, that it is in depth of thought, and knowledge of the human
heart, that he is deficient. But this opinion arises from the frequency,
sometimes, perhaps, redundancy of his pictures of nature, and the
brilliant colours in which he never fails to array her finest scenes.
Thoughts the most beautiful are frequently concealed amidst profusion of
description, as fruit sometimes amidst luxuriance of leaves. Take for
example the following, on one of the most familiar objects in nature--a
drop of rain.

     "We spoke of the rain, and I foolishly enough, in mentioning all the
     annoyance it had occasioned me, loaded it with maledictions.

     "'Call it not accursed, my son,' said the monk. 'Oh no! remember that
     every drop that falls, bears into the bosom of the earth a quality of
     beautiful fertility. Remember that glorious tree, and herb, and
     shrub, and flower, owes to those drops its life, its freshness, and
     its beauty. Remember that half the loveliness of the green world is
     all their gift; and that, without them, we should wander through a
     dull desert, as dusty as the grave. Take but a single drop of rain
     cloistered in the green fold of a blade of grass, and pour upon it
     one ray of the morning sun, where will you get lapidary, with his
     utmost skill, to cut a diamond that shall shine like that? Oh no!
     blessed for ever be the beautiful drops of the sky, the refreshing
     soothers of the seared earth--the nourishers of the flowers--that
     calm race of beings, which are all loveliness and tranquillity,
     without passion, or pain, or desire, or disappointment--whose life is
     beauty, and whose breath is perfume."--_Henry Masterton._

Mr James cannot be considered as a historical writer of the highest class.
He gives a spirited and agreeable narrative of the events of the reign or
period which he has undertaken to describe, and in many passages the
descriptive powers of the romance writer are strikingly conspicuous. He
is diligent and worthy in the consultation of authorities, and free from
any undue bias in the drawing of characters or narrative of events. But he
has neither the philosophic glance of Guizot, nor the military fire of
Napier, nor the incomparable descriptive powers of Gibbon. His merit, and
it is a very great one, consists in the lucid and spirited telling of the
story, interspersed with interesting descriptions of the scenes of the
leading incidents, and dramatic portraiture of the principal characters.
His greatest fault--no trifling one--is the perplexity produced in the
mind of the reader by the want of proper grouping and arrangement, and the
introduction of a vast number of characters and events at once into the
story, without any preparatory description, to enable him to appreciate
the one or understand the other. This is a very natural error for a
romance writer to fall into when he undertakes history; because, in
novels, where characters are few, and the events only such as happen to
them, there is no need of previous preparation of the reader's mind, of
such grouping and perspective, for the simplification and illustration of
events. But, in history, where the events are so numerous and complicated,
and each actor in general occupies only an inconsiderable portion of the
canvass, it is indispensable, if the writer would avoid prolixity of
details, or achieve that object so well known to artists, which they
denominate _breadth_ of effect.

Biography should be, and when properly handled is, the most interesting
branch of historical composition. It has the immense advantage--the value
of which can only be properly appreciated by those who undertake to write
general history--of being limited to the leading characters who have
appeared on the theatre of the world, and consequently steering clear of
the intermediate periods of uninteresting or tedious occurrence. How to
get over these without exhausting the patience of his readers, on the one
hand, or incurring the reproach of omitting some events of importance, on
the other, is the great difficulty of general history. The biographer
seizes the finest points of the story; he dwells only on the exploits of
his hero, and casts the rest into the shade. If this style of composition
does not afford room for those general and important views on the general
march of events, or progress of our species, which constitute the most
valuable part of the highest branch of history, it presents much greater
opportunities for securing the interest of the general reader, and
awakening that sympathy in the breast of others, which it is the great
object of the fine arts to produce. It has one immense advantage--it
possesses unity of subject, it is characterised by singleness of interest.
The virtues or vices, the triumphs or misfortunes, the glories or ruin of
one individual, form the main subject of the narrative. It is on them that
the attention of the writer is fixed; it is to enhance their interest that
his efforts are exhausted. The actions of others, the surrounding events,
only require to be displayed in so far as they bear upon, or are connected
with the exploits of the hero. But as great men usually appear in, or
create by their single efforts, important eras in the annals of mankind,
it rarely happens that the characters selected for biography are not
surrounded by a cluster of others, which renders their Lives almost a
general history of the period during which they communicated their impress
to the events of the world; and thus their biography combines unity of
interest with the highest importance in event.

This was pre-eminently the case with the history of Henry IV. of France.
So important, indeed, were the events crowded into his lifetime, so great
and lasting have been the consequences of his triumph, so prodigious the
impulse which his genius communicated, not only to his own country, but to
Europe, that he may almost be said to have created an era in modern times.
The first of the Bourbon family, he was, in truth, the founder of the
French monarchy, in one sense of the term. He first gave it unity,
consistence, and power; he first rendered it formidable to the liberties
of Europe. Before his time, during the reigns of the princes of the House
of Valois, it was rather a cluster of separate and almost independent
feudatories, than a compact and homogeneous empire. So powerful were these
great vassals, so slender the force which the crown could command to
control them, that France on many occasions made the narrowest possible
escape from sharing the fate of Germany, and seeing in its chief
nobles--the Dukes of Burgundy and Brittany, the Counts of
Toulouse--independent monarchs rendering, like the electors of
Brandenberg, Saxony, and Bavaria, only a nominal allegiance to their
feudal superior. The religious wars, which broke out with the Reformation,
still farther increased the divisions, and severed the ties of this
distracted kingdom.

The contest of the rural nobility of the south, attached to the new
opinions as fervently as the Scottish Covenanters, with the more numerous
and concentrated Roman Catholics of the north, who clung with
superstitious tenacity to the pomp and ceremonies of the ancient worship,
continued through several successive generations, not only drenched the
kingdom with blood, but altered the character, and obliterated the virtues
of its inhabitants. Revenge became the only passion that retained its sway
over the human heart; cruelty so common, that its atrocity was no longer
perceived. The massacre of St Bartholomew, that lasting and indelible
stain on ancient, as the massacre in the prisons, and the Reign of Terror,
are on modern French history, is not to be regarded as the work of a
blood-thirsty tyrant, aided by a corrupt and perfidious court. The public
crimes of the rulers of men never can exceed, except by a few degrees,
those for which the nation is prepared. It is the frenzy of the general
mind which suggests and renders practicable the atrocious deeds, by which,
happily at long intervals from each other, the annals of mankind are
stained. The proscriptions of the Triumvirate, the alternate slaughters of
Marius and Sylla, the massacre of St Bartholomew, the _auto-da-fes_ of
Castile, the reign of the Duke of Alva in Flanders, the butchery of the
wars of the Roses in England, the blood shed by Robespierre in France, all
proceeded from a frenzied state of the public mind, which made the great
body of the people not only noways revolt at, but cordially support those
savage deeds, at which, when recounted in the pages of history, all
subsequent ages shudder. Even the massacre of St Bartholomew, perhaps the
most atrocious, because the most cold-blooded and perfidious, of all those
horrid deeds, excited at the time no feeling of indignation in the Roman
Catholic party throughout Europe. On the Contrary, it was universally and
cordially approved of by those of that persuasion in every country, as a
most effectual and expedient, and withal justifiable way of lopping off a
gangrened arm from the body politic, and extinguishing a pestilent heresy.
The discharges of the cannon from the castle of St Angelo, and the _Te
Deum_ sung in St Peter's, on the arrival of the glorious intelligence, by
the Head of the faithful at Rome, were re-echoed by the
acclamation--without, so far as appears, a single exception--of the whole
Romish world.[19]

It was the cessation of the hideous scenes of bloodshed and massacre which
had signalised the civil wars in the reigns of the Valois princes, and the
religious dissensions that succeeded them, which gave Henry IV. his great
and deserved reputation. Like Napoleon, he calmed, by his acquisition of
the throne, the passions of a nation in arms against itself. The
hereditary feuds, the dreadful retaliations, the mutual proscriptions, the
fierce passions, the frightful revenge of the feudal and Huguenot wars,
were stilled as if by the wand of a mighty enchanter.

Henry IV. was the man of his age; and hence it was that he achieved this
prodigy. His mental and physical qualities were precisely those which his
time demanded; and it was this combination which enabled him to achieve
his astonishing success. Bold, active, and enterprising, he presented that
mixture of warlike virtues with chivalrous graces which it is the great
object of romance to portray, and which may be said to form the ideal of
the European character. He possessed that individual gallantry, that
personal daring, that spontaneous generosity, which, even more than
commanding intellectual qualities, succeed in winning the hearts of
mankind. Ever the foremost in attack, the last in retreat, he excelled his
boldest knights in personal courage. The battle-field was to him a scene
of exultation. He had the true heroic character. Like the youth in
Tacitus, he loved danger itself, not the rewards of valour. Nor were the
mental qualities and combinations requisite in the general awanting. On
the contrary, he possessed them in the very highest degree. Active,
enterprising, indefatigable, he was ever in the field with the advanced
guard, and often ran the greatest personal danger from his anxiety to see
with his own eyes the position or forces of the enemy. His skill in
partisan strife, on which so much of success in war then depended--in the
surprise of castles, the siege of towns, the capture of convoys, the
sudden irruption into territories, equalled all that poetry had conceived
of the marvellous. His deeds, as narrated by the cool pen of Sully,
resemble rather the fabulous exploits of knight-errantry than the events
of real life. It was thus, by slow degrees and painful efforts, that he
gradually brought up his inconsiderable party, at first not a fourth part
of the forces of the League, to something like a level with his formidable
opponents; and at length was enabled to rout them in decisive battles, and
establish his fortunes on a permanent foundation in the fields of Arques
and Ivry.

The contest at first appeared to be so unequal as to be altogether
hopeless. Though the undoubted heir to the crown, his forces, when the
succession opened to him by the assassination of Henry III., were so
inconsiderable compared to those of the League, that it seemed impossible
that he could fight his way to the throne. The Huguenots were only two
millions of souls, and the Roman Catholics were eighteen millions. The
latter were in possession of the capital, wielded the resources of its
rich and ardent population, and had all the principal towns and
strongholds of the kingdom in their hands. It was in the distant
provinces, especially of the south, that the strength of the Protestants
lay: their forces were the lances of the rural nobility, and the stout
arms of the peasants in Dauphiny, the Cevennes, and around La Rochelle.
But all history, and especially that of France, demonstrates how
inadequate in general are the resources of remote and far-severed
provinces to maintain a protracted contest with an enemy in possession of
the capital, the fortresses, and ruling the standing army of the kingdom.
The forces of the Catholics in this instance were the more formidable,
that they were warlike and experienced, trained to the practical duties of
soldiers in previous civil wars, united in a league which, like the Solemn
League and Covenant in Scotland, formed an unseen bond uniting together
the most distant parts of the monarchy, and directed by the Duke of Guise,
a leader second to none in capacity and daring, and equal to any in
ruthless energy and unscrupulous wickedness.

It was the personal qualities, heroic spirit, and individual talents of
the King which enabled him to triumph over this formidable combination.
Never was evinced in a more striking light the influence of individual
gallantry and conduct on national fortunes; or a more convincing
illustration of the undoubted truth, that when important changes are about
to be made in human affairs, Providence frequently makes use of the agency
of individual greatness. But for Henry's capacity and determination, the
Protestants would have been crushed, and the civil war terminated in the
first campaign. But, like all other illustrious men, he became great in
the school of adversity. His energy, resources, and perseverance triumphed
over every difficulty, extricated him from every peril, and at length
enabled him to triumph over every opposition. It was his wonderful
partisan qualities--the secrecy, skill, and daring of his enterprises,
which first laid the foundation of his fortune, by drawing to his standard
many of those restless spirits, let loose over the country by the former
wars, who in every age are attracted by the courage, capacity, and
liberality of a leader. He was thus enabled to augment the little army of
the Huguenots by a considerable accession of bold and valuable soldiers
from the opposite faith, but who cared more for the capacity of their
leader than for either the psalms of the Huguenots or the high mass of the
Catholics.

By degrees, many even of the Romish nobility, penetrated with admiration
at the manner in which the heir of the crown combated for his rights,
joined his standard, in the secret hope that when he came to the throne he
would revert to the faith of the majority of his subjects. He won all
hearts, even in the enemy's ranks, by his generosity, humanity, and heroic
spirit. The soldiers worshipped the hero who shared all their hardships,
and whose greatest pleasure was ever to be the first in advancing into the
enemy's fire; the officers were filled with enthusiasm for the prince who
treated them all with the hearty courtesy of the camp, and claimed no
distinction save that which all felt to be due to pre-eminent valour and
never-failing capacity. Even his weaknesses augmented the general interest
in his character; and when it was known that the leader whose exploits
riveted the attention of all Europe, not unfrequently stole from the
council-board or the tent to pursue some fugitive fair one through a
forest, or subdue the obduracy of high-born beauty, by watching all night
before her castle walls, the age of romance seemed to have returned to the
earth, and all hearts were interested in the hero who appeared to unite
the greatness of ancient patriotism with the spirit of modern chivalry.

Nor did Henry's conduct, when he had taken Paris and conquered the throne,
belie the expectations formed by this brilliant dawn of his career. He
proved not merely a warrior, but the father of his people. Great projects
of amelioration were set on foot--greater still were in preparation, when
he perished by the hand of Ravaillac. His celebrated saying, that he
"hoped to see the time when every peasant should have his fowl in his
pot," reveals the paternal spirit of his government. It is vain to say
these were the acts of his ministers; that Sully was the real sovereign.
The answer of Queen Elizabeth, when the success of her reign was imputed
to the capacity of her ministers, "Did you ever know a fool choose a wise
one?" affords the decisive reply to all such depreciatory attempts. Under
his beneficent rule, industry was protected, commerce revived; canals,
roads, and bridges penetrated the country in every direction; and, most
marvellous of all, religious schisms were healed and religious fury
stilled. The abjuration by the successful monarch of the faith in which he
had been bred, and the warriors of which had combated for him, was
unquestionably a measure called for, in a temporal view, by the interest
of his dominions at the time, not less than by his own tenure of the
throne. When it is recollected that the Huguenots did not at that period
exceed two millions, among twenty which France contained, it becomes at
once apparent, that, in a country so recently convulsed by the passions of
religious and civil dissension, conformity with the faith of the great
majority was the sole condition on which tranquillity could have been
restored, discord appeased, a stable government established, or the crown
transmitted to the descendants of the reigning monarch. And, while his
biographer must lament the necessity to which he was subjected, of bending
religious conviction to political expedience, all must admire the wisdom
of the Edict of Nantes, which, without shocking the prejudices of the
Catholics, secured liberty of conscience and just immunities to the
Protestants; and which, if adhered to by succeeding monarchs, on the
equitable spirit in which it had been conceived by its author, would
probably have left the direct heirs of Henry IV. still on the throne of
France, and averted all the bloodshed and horrors of the Revolution.

Henry IV., however, was not a perfect character; had he been so, he would
not have been a child of Adam. He had the usual proportion of the
weaknesses, some of the faults, of humanity. They were, for the most part,
however, of that kind which are nearly allied to virtues, and to which
heroic characters have, in every age, in a peculiar manner been subject.
Heroism, love, and poetry, ever have and ever will be found united: they
are, in truth, as Lamartine has expressed it, twin sisters of each other;
they issued at a single birth from the same parents. We may regret that it
is so; but if we do, we had better extend our regrets a little farther,
and lament that we are not all immaculate as our First Parents were in the
bowers of Paradise. His irregularities are universally known, and have,
perhaps, rendered him as celebrated in France as his warlike exploits or
pacific virtues; for they fell in with the prevailing passion of the
nation, and were felt by all to be some excuse for their own indulgences.
They are celebrated even in the well-known air which has become, in a
manner, the National Anthem:--

  "Vive Henri IV.!
  Vive le roi vaillant!
  Ce Diable à quatre
  A le triple talent
  De boire et de battre,
  Et d'être vert galant."

Henry IV., however, had more apology than most men for these frailties. He
lived in an age, and had been bred up in a court, in which female virtue
was so rare that it had come to pass for a chimera, and licentious
indulgence so frequent that it had become a habit, and ceased to be a
subject of reproach. Naturally ardent, susceptible, and impetuous, he was
immersed in a society in which intrigue with high-born beauty was
universally considered as the great object and chief employment of life.
The poetry and romances which were in every hand inculcated nothing else.
His own Queen, Margaret of Valois, gave him the first example of such
irregularities, and while she set no bounds to her jealousy of his
mistresses, particularly La Belle Gabrielle, who so long held the monarch
captive, she had no hesitation in bestowing her own favours on successive
lovers with as little scruple as the King himself. In some instances,
however, he was more completely inexcusable. It is remarkable that the
attachments of Henry became more violent as he advanced in life, and had
attained the period when the passions are usually found to cool. In some
instances they impelled him into acts of vehemence and oppression wholly
unworthy of his character and heart. His passion, late in years, for the
young Princess of Condé--a child of seventeen, who might have been his
granddaughter--and which prompted her flight with her husband to the Low
Countries, on which he was preparing war for her recovery when cut short
by death, was ridiculous in one of his age, and grossly criminal to one in
her circumstances. But these passions pursued him to the very last; and
when his tomb was broken open, and remained exposed, by the Parisian mob
during the fury of the Revolution, the nicely combed and highly perfumed
beard, the scent of which filled the air, proved that the dagger of
Ravaillac had struck him while still immersed in the frivolities which
tarnished his heroic exploits.[20]

In truth, without detracting from the many great and good qualities of the
hero of the Bourbon family, it may safely be affirmed that his fame in
subsequent times has been to the full as great as he deserved. Many
circumstances have contributed to this happy partiality of subsequent
times. His reign was filled with great and glorious actions; and that
endeared him to the heroic and the brave. His court was the abode of
gallantry--his life devotion to beauty; and that won for him the applause
of the fair. He did wonders, and designed still greater, for the internal
improvement of his dominions and the increase of his people's happiness;
and that secured for him the approbation of the philanthropic and
thoughtful. He gained for the Protestants religious freedom and immunity
from persecution; and that secured their eternal gratitude. He restored
to the Church of Rome the religious supremacy which had been so fiercely
disputed, and in so many other countries had been lost; and that shut the
mouths of the Catholics. He stilled the fury of civil, and pacified the
fierceness of religious discord; and that justly won for him the gratitude
of all. His reign formed a bright contrast to the frightful civil wars and
universal bloodshed which had preceded it. Like Napoleon, he closed the
gulf of revolution; and the admiration of subsequent times was the worthy
meed of the inestimable service thus rendered to humanity. They have not
diminished, perhaps exaggerated, the tribute. He was the first of a race
of sovereigns who for two centuries sat in the direct line on the throne
of France, and the collateral descendants of whom still hold it. Family
partiality, courtly panegyric, thus came to be largely mingled with the
just tribute of a nation's gratitude. The writers of other countries,
particularly England and Germany, joined in the chorus of applause to the
prince who had secured to the Protestant faith its just rights in so
important a kingdom as France. The vices or weakness of subsequent
sovereigns--the feeble rule of Louis XIII.; the tyrannical conduct, the
splendid talents of Louis XIV.; the corruptions of the Regent Orleans; the
disgraceful sensuality of Louis XV.; the benevolent heart, but passive
resignation of Louis XVI.--rose up successively in striking contrast to
his heroic deeds, vigorous government, and equitable administration. But,
without disregarding the influence of these circumstances in brightening
the halo which still surrounds the memory of Henry IV., the sober voice of
distant and subsequent history must pronounce him one of the greatest
princes who have adorned modern history, and certainly the greatest, after
Charlemagne and Napoleon, who ever sat on the throne of France.

But it is time to put a period to this general disquisition, to give some
extracts from the work of our author, in justice both to its own merits
and the character of the hero which it is intended to portray.

Mr James gives the following interesting particulars concerning the birth
and early years of Henry:--

     "The Duchess of Vendome was at this time with her husband in Picardy,
     but at her father's summons she set out for the south of France in
     the wintry month of November; and, displaying that hardy and vigorous
     constitution which she transmitted to her son, she traversed the wide
     extent of country which lay between the extreme frontier of France
     and her father's territories in the short space of eighteen days,
     arriving at Pau not quite a fortnight before the birth of her third
     child. There is reason to believe that various motives, besides that
     attachment to her parent which she had always displayed, induced
     Jeanne d'Albret to undertake so long and fatiguing a journey at so
     critical a period. Information had reached her, we find, that the
     King of Navarre had fallen under the influence of a lady of Bearn,
     who had employed her power over his mind, as is usual in such
     connexions, to enrich herself; and also that the Prince, with
     weakness not uncommon even in great men, had made a will in favour of
     his mistress, which was likely to deprive his daughter and her
     husband of a considerable portion of their expected inheritance. The
     natural anxiety of Jeanne d'Albret to see this will was communicated
     by some of the court to the old King, and he in reply assured her
     that he would place it in her hands as soon as he beheld the child
     she was about to bear, upon the condition that she should sing him a
     song in the pains of labour: 'In order,' he said, 'that thou mayest
     not give me a crying and a puny child.'

     "The Duchess promised to perform the task, and at the moment of the
     birth of her son, as soon as she heard her father's foot in the
     chamber, she saluted him with one of the songs of her native country.
     When the child was shown to him, Henry d'Albret took him joyfully in
     his arms, and remembering the sneer of the Spaniards, he exclaimed,
     as if with a foresight of what he would become, 'My sheep has borne
     me a lion!' Then giving his will to his daughter, he continued;
     'There, my child, that is for thee, but this is for me,'--and
     carrying the boy, wrapped in a fold of his dressing gown, into his
     own chamber, he rubbed his lips with a piece of garlic, and gave him
     from his own golden cup some drops of wine.

     "Whether the King of Navarre did or did not imagine, as has been
     asserted, that such unusual treatment of a newborn infant would
     ensure to his grandson a hardy and a vigorous constitution, it
     certainly indicated the course of education which he wished to be
     pursued; and nothing was left undone that could strengthen the
     corporeal frame of the young prince, and prepare him for the
     hardships and exertions of a military career. Though a strong and
     powerful child, some difficulty was at first found in rearing him;
     and, perhaps, too high a degree of anxiety in regard to his health,
     caused the frequent change of nurses, which was of course detrimental
     to the infant.

     "Great rejoicings took place on the occasion of his baptism; and his
     grandfather displayed all the splendour of the little court of
     Navarre, which the Emperor Charles V. once declared, had received him
     in his passage through France with greater magnificence than any
     other court he had visited. His godfathers were Henry II. of France
     and Henry d'Albret of Navarre; and the rite, which was performed
     according to the usages of the Church of Rome, was administered by
     the Cardinal of Armagnac, Vice-legate of Avignon.

     "From the castle of Pau the prince was speedily removed to that of
     Coarasse, situated nearly at the mouth of the beautiful valley of
     Lourdes; and there, under the immediate superintendence of his
     grandfather and a distant relation, Susannah de Bourbon, Baroness de
     Miossens, commenced that hardy education which lasted till after the
     death of the King of Navarre. That monarch, we are told by a
     contemporary author, 'reproached his daughter and son-in-law with
     having lost several of their children by French delicacies; and in
     fact,' the same writer goes on to say, 'he brought up his grandson
     after the fashion of Bearn, with naked feet and head, very often with
     as little refinement as peasants' children are nurtured.' No rich
     clothing, no playthings were given to him; and Henry d'Albret
     especially commanded that he should neither be flattered nor treated
     as a prince, but fed upon the ordinary diet of the country, and
     dressed in the simplest manner. He was allowed to climb the rocks and
     mountains, and try his limbs in robust exercises from the earliest
     period of life; and all that could be done to invigorate mind or
     body, appears to have been strictly attended to in his years of
     infancy."

At a subsequent period, when he had attained the era, and was engaged in
the studies of youth, his character and pursuits are thus described.

     "We learn that he was at this time a very lively, quick, and
     beautiful boy, full of vigour and activity of mind and body, apt to
     receive instruction, and giving every promise of attaining great
     proficiency in letters. La Gaucherie took every pains to render the
     study of the learned languages agreeable to him; not teaching him in
     the ordinary method, by filling his mind with long and laborious
     rules, difficult to remember, and still more difficult to apply, but
     following more the common course by which we acquire our maternal
     language; and storing his mind with a number of Greek and Latin
     sentences, which the Prince afterwards wrote down and analysed. The
     first work which he seems to have translated regularly was Cæsar's
     Commentaries; a version of several books of which was seen by the
     biographer of the Duke of Nevers in his own handwriting; and his
     familiarity with the Greek was frequently shown in the sports and
     pastimes of the court where mottoes in the learned languages were
     frequently required.

     "It is customary for the historians and eulogists of great men to
     point out, after their acts have rendered them famous those slight
     indications which sometimes in youth give promise of future eminence;
     and thus, we are told the favourite motto, of Henry in his boyhood
     was, [Greek: ê nikan ê apothanein], to conquer or to die. The fact,
     however, is worthy of remark, not so much perhaps because it showed
     the boy's aspirations for military glory, as because his frequent use
     of this sentence seems to have created some uneasiness in the mind of
     Catherine de Medicis, who forbade his masters to teach him such
     apophthegms for the future, saying that they were only calculated to
     render him obstinate.

     "It is not probable that the Queen-mother would have taken notice of
     such a sentence on the lips of any ordinary child; but it is evident,
     not only from the accounts of those biographers, whose works were
     composed after the Prince of Bearn had risen into renown as King of
     France, but by letters written while he was yet in extreme youth,
     that there was something in his whole manner and demeanour which
     impressed all those who knew him with a conviction of his future
     greatness. We shall have hereafter to cite several of these epistles,
     which give an accurate picture of the Prince at the age of thirteen
     years; but before that time he had undergone a long course of
     desultory instruction. At one period his education was carried on in
     the chateau of Vincennes, where he remained for more than a year with
     the royal children; and at another we find him studying in the
     college of Navarre, together with the Duke of Anjou, who afterwards
     became King under the name of Henry III., and with Henry, eldest son
     of the Duke of Guise, against whom he was destined to take so
     prominent a part in arms. At this early age, however, no enmity or
     rivalry was apparent between the three Princes; but on the contrary,
     to use the words of the memoirs of Nevers, the three Henrys had the
     same affection and the same pleasures, and always displayed for one
     another so uncommon a degree of complaisance, that not the slightest
     dispute took place between them during the whole time they were at
     the college. In regard to the course of instruction pursued with the
     Prince of Bearn we have no farther information, and only know that he
     acquired a sufficient knowledge of the Latin language to translate
     with ease all the best writers of Rome; and that he applied himself,
     though apparently with no great perseverance, to the art of drawing,
     in which he displayed a considerable degree of talent--the Duke of
     Nevers, or his biographer, having seen an antique vase which he had
     sketched in pen and ink with a masterly hand, and under which he had
     written, _Opus principis otiosi_."

The Massacre of St Bartholomew, which has given an infamous immortality to
the name of Charles IX., was unquestionably the great cause of reviving
the religious wars which in the early part of his reign seemed to have
been in a great measure stilled. Mr James does not add much to the
information on the subject already furnished by the French historians, but
he sums it up in a dramatic and interesting manner.

Our space will not permit of our quoting the entire passage, and we shall
rather proceed to the period when the assassination of Henry III. opened
to the King of Navarre the throne of France. The situation of the monarch,
when this brilliant but perilous succession opened to him, is thus justly
described by Mr James:--

     "The situation of Henry IV., on his accession to the throne, was
     probably the most perilous in which a new monarch was ever placed.
     The whole kingdom was convulsed, from end to end, by factions, the
     virulence of which against each other had been nourished during many
     years of civil war, and not one element of discord and confusion
     seemed wanting to render the state of turbulence and anarchy which
     existed of long duration. Not only the fierce and relentless spirit
     of religious fanaticism, not only the grasping cupidity of selfish
     and unprincipled nobles, not only the ambition of powerful and
     distinguished leaders entered as ingredients into the strange mass of
     contending passions which the country presented, but the long
     indulgence of lawless courses, the habits of strife and bloodshed,
     the want of universally recognised tribunals, the annihilation of
     external commerce, and the utter destitution of financial resources
     on all parts, seemed to place insurmountable obstacles in the way of
     any speedy restoration of order and prosperity.

     "The capital was in a state of rebellion against its legitimate
     sovereign; the large towns were, in many instances, held forcibly by
     the party opposed to the great majority of the inhabitants; the small
     towns and villages were generally disaffected to the royal cause, or
     wavering between opposite factions; and the rural districts were
     divided in their affections, sometimes presenting three or four
     different shades of opinion within the space of as many leagues. One
     province was nearly entirely Protestant, another almost altogether
     Catholic, another equally divided between the two religions. The
     Parliament of Paris thundered against the Parliament of Tours; the
     partisans of the late king looked with scarcely less jealousy upon
     their new sovereign than upon their enemies of the League; and many
     of those who were indifferent upon the subject of religion, made it
     their first inquiry how they could sell their services to the best
     advantage.

     "The preceding reigns had extinguished all respect for the law; the
     vices of the court had banished all notions of morality; and years of
     license had left barely the sense of common decency amongst the
     higher classes of the kingdom. Complete disorganisation, in short,
     existed throughout the whole fabric of society; and no common
     principle of action could be found as a permanent bond in uniting the
     members of any great party together. The League itself contained most
     discordant materials; but it was far more harmonious in its character
     than the great body of the Royalists; for community of religion at
     least afforded an apparent motive for combination where more
     substantial ties were wanting, while difference of faith in the camp
     of the King was at all times a pretext for dissensions which at any
     moment might produce disorders, if not actual hostility.

     "Such was the state of affairs which Henry knew to exist at the
     moment when he received the announcement that he had so suddenly
     become King of France. The generous devotion, indeed, of a few loyal
     and high-minded men tended greatly to encourage him in the
     commencement of his career; but apprehension and perplexity must have
     been the first emotions by which he was affected on entering the
     Hotel de Gondi and learning that Henry III. was dead. He found still
     greater alarm, however, reigning amongst the courtiers of the late
     King. Everything was confusion and disarray, and his presence did not
     tend to produce harmony and order.

     "The moment that his arrival was known, the Scotch guard came and
     threw themselves at his feet, exclaiming, 'Oh! Sire, you are now our
     king and our master;' and the active and energetic character of the
     monarch at once displayed itself in a remarkable manner. Without
     losing the time of action in thought, he applied himself to take
     advantage of the consternation of others, and secure the fidelity of
     the troops and of the court as far as possible, in order that the
     death of Henry III. might not altogether dissolve the bonds which
     held together the Royalist party, and overthrow the monarchy itself.
     He sent directly to the quarters of the Swiss and the French guard,
     to Marshal D'Aumont, to Biron, and to all in whom he could trust. He
     wrote during the same night to England, to Flanders, to Switzerland,
     Germany, and Venice, announcing his accession to the throne, stating
     his indisputable title, and requesting immediate aid to make it good
     against his enemies.

     "But on entering the chamber of the deceased King a strange and
     fearful scene presented itself. The room was filled with the Catholic
     nobility of France; the minions were at the foot of the bed, with
     tapers in their hands, singing the service of the dead; and all the
     rest, 'amidst howlings of despair, were drawing down their hats, or
     casting them on the ground, clenching their fists, plotting together,
     giving each other the hand, making vows and promises, of which
     nothing was heard but the ending words--"rather die a thousand
     deaths."' One voice, however, gave the interpretation of all: a
     gentleman exclaiming aloud, at ten paces from the King, that he would
     rather give himself up to any enemies than suffer a Huguenot
     monarch."

The battle of Arques was the first in which the great martial and heroic
qualities of the King were displayed in their full lustre; and there Mr
James's animated pen finds a fit subject for description. We pass on,
however, to the battle of Ivry, which was, if possible, yet more
marvellous and decisive; for the superiority of force on the part of the
League was still greater; and Henry's heroic band had dwindled away to
little more than one of Napoleon's divisions.

     "The numbers of the army of the League it is very difficult to
     discover, and, indeed, we can very seldom depend upon the statements
     even of contemporaries regarding the forces engaged in any battle. In
     one place, Davila reckons the army of Mayenne at four thousand five
     hundred horse, and twenty thousand foot; but he evidently greatly
     exaggerates the strength of the infantry, while Aubigné states the
     numbers at five thousand cavalry, and eight thousand foot, and Cayet
     says that Mayenne was accompanied by more than four thousand horse,
     and twelve thousand foot. Henry himself, in his despatch to Monsieur
     de la Verune, governor of Caen, does not venture even to guess at the
     numbers of his adversary, but merely says, that the prisoners state
     their army to have consisted of four thousand horse, and twelve
     thousand foot, thus confirming the account of Victor Cayet. The
     Royalist force did not amount to more than two thousand horse, and
     about eight thousand foot. Just as the battle was about to commence,
     however, Sully arrived from Pacy, bringing with him his own company,
     and two companies of English horse arquebusiers, under Colonel James.
     Several other reinforcements joined during the morning; and it cannot
     be doubted that the flocking in of zealous friends, while Henry
     occupied the plain of Ivry, tended greatly to encourage his forces,
     and to make them forget the superiority of the enemy. As at Coutras,
     the army of the League appeared covered with glittering trappings,
     lace and embroidery, while that of the King displayed nothing but
     cold gray steel.

     "As soon as his troops had taken up their position, Henry rode along
     the line, mounted on a powerful bay charger, clothed in complete
     armour, but with his head bare, speaking words of hope and confidence
     to the soldiers, and exhorting them to show the same valour here that
     they had already displayed in many a perilous enterprise. His
     countenance was bold and fearless; but it was remarked, that, moved
     by his own words, his eyes more than once filled with tears. He
     represented to his troops, that the road to safety, as well as to
     glory, lay before them; that the crown of France depended upon their
     swords; that there were no new armies to fall back upon in case of
     defeat: no other nobles in France to take the field for him, if they
     who surrounded him should fail. He then put himself at the head of
     the line, where he could be seen by all, and heard by many, and with
     his hands clasped and his eyes raised to heaven, he exclaimed: 'I
     pray thee, oh God, who alone knowest the intentions of man's heart,
     to do thy will upon me as thou shalt judge necessary for the weal of
     Christendom, and to preserve me so long as thou knowest I am needful
     for the happiness and repose of this land, and no longer.' Then
     turning to his own squadron, he took his casque, surmounted by a
     large plume of white feathers, and said: 'Companions, God is with us,
     there stand his enemies and ours. Here is your king. Upon them! and
     if you lose your cornets, rally to my white plume. You will find it
     in the road to victory and honour.' During some part of the morning
     one of his officers remarked to him that he had provided no place of
     retreat, but Henry replied: 'There is no other retreat than the field
     of battle.'

     "Before commencing the engagement, the King performed one of those
     generous and honourable acts, so well calculated to win all hearts,
     and carry the love of his people along with him. It would seem that
     Schomberg, who commanded the Germans in his service, had previously
     demanded the pay of his troops, which was long in arrear, and that
     Henry had replied sharply: 'No brave man ever asked for money on the
     eve of a battle.' At this moment of peril the King's heart smote him
     for what he had said; and approaching the old officer, he spoke thus:
     'Monsieur de Schomberg, I have injured you. This day may be the last
     of my life, and I would not take away the honour of any gentleman. I
     know your valour and your merit, and I beseech you to pardon and
     embrace me.'

     "'Sire,' answered Schomberg, 'you wounded me the other day it is
     true, but to-day you kill me; for the honour you do me will force me
     to die for your service.'

     "It is probable that immediately after this incident a movement in
     advance, mentioned by the king in all his despatches, was made on the
     part of the royal army, for, till between ten and eleven o'clock, the
     forces of the League were at such a distance, that it was possible
     for Mayenne to avoid a battle. The King still apparently imagined
     that such might be his adversary's intention, for he says in his
     circular letter respecting the great victory of Ivry, that the
     enemy's troops having appeared still farther off than they had been
     on the preceding evening, he resolved to approach so close that they
     must of necessity fight; and having, in consequence, gone to seek
     them even to the spot where they had planted themselves, 'from which
     they never advanced but so far as was necessary to come to the
     charge,' the battle took place. Judging from this adherence to his
     position, and from the stillness of his skirmishers, that Mayenne was
     determined not to commence the engagement, Henry took advantage of an
     error which the Duke had committed in the choice of his ground, and
     which exposed his cavalry, scattered over the face of a slope. He
     accordingly ordered his artillery to open a fire upon the adverse
     squadrons, which was executed by M. de la Guiche with great precision
     and effect, nine discharges taking place before the Leaguers could
     fire a gun. Nearly at the same time, news was brought that Monsieur
     de Humières, Mouy, and about three hundred horse, were hurrying up to
     join the King, and were barely a mile distant; but Henry would not
     delay the engagement.

     "The battle was now begun by the light horse advancing on the part of
     the League, followed by a heavy body of lanzknechts; but they were
     met in full career by Marshal D'Aumont, at the head of about three
     hundred men-at-arms, and driven back in confusion to the edge of the
     wood, called La Haye des près, where D'Aumont, according to the
     commands he had previously received from Henry, halted his small
     force, and returned in good order. While this was taking place on the
     left of the King's army, a body of reiters from the enemy's right,
     advanced against the light horse of Givri and the Grand Prior, but
     were repulsed; and having made their charge and fired their pistols,
     retired, as was the common practice of the German troopers, to form
     behind the men-at-arms. The Royalist light horse, however, had been
     thrown into some disorder by this attack, and were immediately after
     assailed by a squadron of heavy cavalry, consisting of Walloons and
     Flemings, who, with their long lances, bade fair to overthrow Givri
     and the Grand Prior, when the Baron de Biron, by a well-timed charge
     in flank, broke through their ranks, receiving two wounds in his
     advance. Montpensier now moved forward to encounter the same corps in
     front, and after having his horse killed under him, succeeded in
     restoring the advantage to the Royalists in that part of the field.
     Before this was accomplished, Mayenne, with the great bulk of his
     cavalry, advanced against the King himself. He was accompanied by
     Count Egmont, the Duke of Nemours, and the Chevalier D'Aumale, and
     had on his left a body of five hundred carabineers, on horseback, all
     picked men, well armed and mounted, who, galloping forward till they
     were within twenty yards of Henry's division, poured a tremendous
     fire upon it, and then gave place to the men-at-arms. At that moment,
     however, the King spurred on his horse two lengths before any of his
     troops, and, followed by his whole squadron, 'plunged,' to use the
     words of Aubigné, 'into the forest of lances,' which lay before him.
     Even that bitter satirist cannot avoid giving way to some enthusiasm
     in describing the charge of his royal master. 'By the first strokes,'
     he says, 'appeared what quality can effect against quantity.' For
     more than a quarter of an hour the struggle was fierce, and the small
     squadron of the King was lost to the sight of the rest of the army in
     the dense cloud of Mayenne's cavalry.

     "At length the Leaguers were seen to waver; some fled, others
     followed, and in an instant after, all was rout and confusion amongst
     the immense body of horse, which a few minutes before had moved up so
     gallantly to the assault. But as the enemy fled from before him,
     Henry was exposed to a new danger, and found that the battle was not
     yet won. As he issued forth from the midst of the flying masses of
     Mayenne's horse, with but twelve or fifteen companions at his side,
     and exactly between the two regiments of adverse Swiss, three troops
     of Walloons, who as yet had not taken any share in the battle,
     appeared ready to charge his little band. D'Aumont, however, with the
     Grand Prior, Tremouille, and the gallant Givri, advanced to his
     deliverance, and this fresh body of cavalry was routed in a moment.
     In the heat of the mélée Henry's standard-bearer was killed, and one
     of his pages, who bore in his casque a white plume similar to that of
     the King, fell beside him. A report had spread instantly that the
     King was slain, and a momentary panic had seized the persons round
     the spot where he was supposed to have fallen. But when he reappeared
     from amidst the dense crowd of enemies, covered with blood and dust,
     a loud shout of 'Vive le Roi!' burst from the ranks of the Royalists,
     and added speed to the flight of the enemy. Marshal Biron, who had
     remained immoveable, watching the progress of the fight, and ready to
     act wherever a great necessity presented itself, now joined the
     monarch, saying, 'This day, sire, you have performed the part of
     Marshal Biron, and Marshal Biron that of the King.'

     "'Let us praise God, Marshal,' answered Henry, 'for the victory is
     his.'"

Henry's generous temper, and, withal, turn for fun and drollery, is well
depicted in the account of his forgiveness of Mayenne, the ablest of his
opponents--

     "In the meantime, negotiations went on for the reconciliation of the
     Duke of Mayenne with his sovereign. His demands were greater,
     perhaps, than were justified by his position; but Gabrielle d'
     Estrées, who was now with the monarch, exerted all her influence to
     render him favourable to the Duke, and Henry consented, at length, to
     a treaty, by which it was declared, in regard to the death of Henry
     III., that, all things weighed, and the evidence examined, it
     appeared to the King, that the Princes and the Princesses of the
     League had taken no part in that crime. The Parliaments of the realm
     were consequently forbidden to proceed against them. Three places
     were given to the Duke in Burgundy and Champagne, as security for six
     years, the King burthened himself with the debts which Mayenne had
     contracted during the war, and a term of six weeks was granted to the
     other Leaguers, who were still in arms, to give in their adhesion to
     the treaty of peace.

     "This having been settled, and Mayenne feeling deeply the clemency of
     the monarch, who had thus, in fact, loaded him with favours, when he
     had nothing to expect but disgrace and punishment, set out to make
     his submission in person to the King, who was then at Monceaux with
     the fair Gabrielle. When he arrived, Henry was in the beautiful park
     of that place, attended only by Sully, and on his approach the
     monarch advanced to meet him. Mayenne knelt before the King, and
     embraced his knees, assuring him of his fidelity for the future, and
     thanking him for having delivered him 'from the arrogance of the
     Spaniards, and the cunning of the Italians.' The King then hastened
     to raise him, and embraced him three times with the utmost
     cordiality, after which, taking him by the hand, and changing the
     subject, he led him through the park, pointing out the changes and
     improvements he intended to make. The King walked with his usual
     rapid pace; Mayenne, who had become excessively fat, and was troubled
     both with gout and sciatica, followed with difficulty, panting,
     limping, and growing red in the face. With good-humoured malice,
     Henry continued this exercise for some time, whispering to Sully, 'If
     I walk this great body much longer, I shall avenge myself without
     much trouble;' and then, turning to Mayenne, he added, 'Tell the
     truth, cousin, do I not go somewhat fast for you?' The Duke replied
     that he was ready to expire.

     "'There is my hand,' replied the King, embracing him again; 'take it,
     for on my life this is all the vengeance that I shall ever seek.'"

A most imperfect idea of Henry's character, however, would be formed, if
his gallantry in action, conduct in war, and generosity in victory alone
are taken into view. His pacific administration, and plans of social
improvement, are also worthy of the very highest admiration; and his
premature death is, perhaps, chiefly to be lamented, because it prevented
so many of them from being carried into full effect. They are thus
sketched by Mr James on the authority of Sully, the King's prime
minister:--

     "It is difficult to arrive at any precise notion of Henry's ultimate
     views; and the want of full information has induced many writers to
     disbelieve the fact of his having entertained any of the definite and
     extensive schemes attributed to him by contemporaries; but the
     concurring testimony of those who knew him best, leads me to believe,
     that a favourite project, of a comprehensive and extraordinary
     character, occupied many of his thoughts from the moment that he felt
     himself firmly seated on the throne of France. Sully seems to think
     that the scheme was perfectly practicable; but whether the object was
     limited, as some have asserted, to reducing the power of the house of
     Austria, or whether it extended to the partition of Europe into
     fifteen great monarchies, and to the establishment of a 'Christian
     Republic,' (by means of a general council, representing those powers,
     and sitting permanently,) as others affirm--whether the one design
     was a fixed and clearly defined resolution, and the other merely a
     brilliant but evanescent fancy, it would be very difficult in these
     days to ascertain. Certain it is, that Henry demanded from his
     minister Sully various written schemes and statements, as steps to
     the execution of some very great and difficult design, which would
     require the whole resources of France to be economised for many
     years; and, from the plans thus formed, issued a number of most
     beneficial projects, few of which, unhappily for posterity, were
     carried into effect. In the joint labours of the King and his
     minister, new objects, new regulations, presented themselves every
     hour; memorial brought forth memorial; one scheme branched out into
     half a dozen others; institutions were conceived; laws were drawn up;
     and a completely new organisation of society, founded on notions of
     transcendent excellence, such as the world has never seen, appeared
     as visions to the eyes of the monarch and his friend.

     "To afford some idea of the vastness and also of the visionary
     character of these designs, I will give, in a somewhat abbreviated
     form, part of the account furnished by Sully himself, of the contents
     of a cabinet to be prepared for the King in one of the halls of the
     Louvre, which were to comprise, arranged in drawers and cases, all
     the memoirs and reports about to be collected. 'The labour required
     was immense. To obtain a notion of it, without repetitions, let one
     imagine every thing connected, immediately or remotely with the
     finances, with war, with the artillery, with the navy, commerce and
     police, with the coinage, with the mines, and, in a word, with every
     part of government, interior and exterior, ecclesiastic, civil,
     political, and domestic. Every one of all these parts had its
     separate place in this state cabinet, so that all the documents
     concerning it would be found ready to the hand at a glance, in
     whatever quantity they might be. On the side appropriated to the
     finances, were seen the collection of different regulations, records
     of financial operations, changes made or to be made, the sums to
     receive or to be paid, and an almost innumerable mass of statements,
     memorials, totals, and summaries, more or less abridged.

     "In regard to military matters, besides the accounts, details, and
     memorials, marking the actual state of things, there would have been
     found the edicts and state papers, works upon tactics, plans, maps,
     and charts of France and other parts of the world. Large copies of
     these maps, mixed with various pieces of painting, were to be placed
     in the great gallery. The idea also was entertained of appropriating
     one of the large halls below, with the floor above, to the purposes
     of a museum of models and specimens of all the most curious machines
     destined to be used in war, the arts, and different trades, and in
     all sorts of exercises, noble, liberal, or mechanical, in order that
     those who sought; perfection might come and without trouble instruct
     themselves in this silent school. The lower story would have served
     for the heavier things, and the higher for the lighter. An exact
     inventory of both was to have been amongst the documents of the
     cabinet of which I am speaking.

     "Lists of all the benefices of the kingdom, with their denomination
     and just appreciation, reports of the whole ecclesiastical body,
     secular and regular, from the highest prelate to the lowest clerk,
     with the distinction of native and foreigner, and of both religions,
     would not have been amongst the least curious documents of those
     referring to the ecclesiastical government.

     "'This labour was the model of another affecting the police, by which
     the king would have been able to see, to an individual, the number of
     the nobility of the whole realm, divided into classes, and specified
     by the difference of titles, estates, &c.; an idea the more agreeable
     to the King, as he had been meditating for a long time the plan of a
     new order of knighthood, together with that of an academy, a college,
     and a royal hospital, destined for the nobility alone, without this
     useful and honourable institution being chargeable to the public or
     burdensome to the finances. It was proposed at the same time to form
     a camp or permanent corps of six thousand infantry, a thousand horse,
     and six pieces of artillery, completely equipped. Twelve ships and
     twelve galleys kept in good order, corresponded in the naval
     department to this new military establishment.

The close of this glorious and beneficent reign is thus described:--

     "Certain it is that Henry's mind was filled with gloomy anticipations
     which neither business nor pleasure could banish; for the moment he
     was unoccupied dark and bitter meditations fell upon him, from which
     he found it impossible to rouse himself. Intimations of coming
     danger, too, were frequent; a courier from France carried news of his
     death to Germany eight days before it happened. On the altar, at
     Montargis, was found a paper, announcing that in a few days he would
     perish by the hand of an assassin. Public prayers were offered up in
     some parts of the Spanish territory for the success of a great
     enterprise to be carried on in France; and many warnings were given
     to Henry himself. The monarch, however, would pay no attention to
     them, notwithstanding the presentiment with which he himself was
     filled; and it is said that when, on the day of his death, his son,
     the Duke of Vendome, came to tell him that La Brosse, the astrologer,
     had predicted that great danger menaced him that day, Henry merely
     laughed, saying, 'La Brosse is an old fox who wishes to have your
     money, and you a young fool to believe him. Our days are counted
     before God.' Perhaps more attention might often have been paid to
     astrologers by great men if they had recollected that such
     intimations may sometimes come from other sources than the stars, and
     that many of those persons looked upon it as a part of their trade to
     obtain intelligence of meditated designs in support of their
     pretended science.

     "The coronation of the Queen passed off without any accident; and her
     ceremonious entrance into Paris was appointed for the 16th of the
     month. The troops of the crown were already assembled on the
     frontier, fifty pieces of artillery had been sent on to wait the
     coming of the King, and he was to set out immediately after the
     approaching pageant, in order to put himself at the head of his
     troops: but, to the surprise of all, Spain and the Low Countries
     remained in a state of the most perfect tranquillity; no preparations
     for resistance were seen, no movement was made to turn away the
     coming storm. This is the only circumstance which could throw the
     slightest suspicion on the Archduke of taking any part in the crime
     about to be perpetrated. On the 14th of May the King showed himself
     restless and uneasy, but nevertheless he went, as usual, to hear mass
     at the church of the Feuillans, and returned in safety to the palace.
     The Queen, frightened by the predictions of the astrologers, besought
     him not to go out any more that day. Henry laughed at her fears, but
     still showed himself gloomy and disquieted, walked in an agitated
     manner into the gardens of the Tuileries, talked more than once of
     death: and when Bassompierre represented to him the immense
     prosperity to which he had attained, and asked him what he could
     desire more, he replied, with a deep sigh, 'My friend, all this must
     be quitted.'

     "He twice cast himself upon his bed to seek sleep, but in vain; and
     about four o'clock demanded his coach, to proceed to the arsenal, in
     order to confer with Sully, who was unwell. As soon as the carriage
     was ready, he descended to the court and entered the vehicle,
     accompanied by the Dukes of Epernon and Montbazon, with Roquelaure,
     Lavardin, and La Force, giving some orders to Vitry, captain of the
     guard, before he set out. He was followed by a small troop of
     gentlemen on horseback, and the carriage was surrounded by a number
     of running footmen.

     "The large coaches of that day could be entirely closed by a sort of
     door, or blind, which let down from the top: but the day being hot,
     and Henry wishing to see the preparations which were going on for the
     Queen's public entry, the carriage was left open on both sides, and
     he himself remained exposed to the gaze of the people. Passing down
     the Rue St Honoré, the royal party turned into the Rue de la
     Feronnerie, in itself narrow, and still farther straitened by a
     number of small shops, built against the wall of the cemetery of the
     Innocents, which Henry, some time before, had ordered to be pulled
     down. At the moment the carriage entered the street, a cart, loaded
     with barrels of wine, was on the right side, and another, filled with
     hay, upon the left, so that the coachman was obliged to stop, while
     the footmen ran round by the cemetery to remove the obstruction.

     "At that moment a man, who had followed the carriage from the Louvre,
     put one foot upon the front wheel, the other upon a stone at the
     side, and, reaching into the carriage, struck the King a violent blow
     with a knife. Henry immediately exclaimed, 'I am wounded;' but
     notwithstanding the number of persons who were with him, the assassin
     was suffered to repeat the blow, which now pierced the King to the
     heart. A third blow was caught in the sleeve of one of the
     attendants; and, instead of throwing down the knife and flying, the
     man who had done the deed stood with the bloody weapon in his hand,
     and calmly allowed himself to be seized by those who ran up at the
     outcry which took place. The guards would have instantly put him to
     death; but Epernon, fortunately for his own reputation, interfered,
     and ordered him to be secured.

     "In the meantime Henry uttered not a word, and the report forthwith
     spread that the King was killed. His officers, however, wisely
     assured the people that he was only wounded, and called loudly for
     some wine, while the blinds of the carriage were let down, and the
     vehicle turned towards the Louvre. The body was immediately removed
     from the coach and laid upon a bed. Surgeons and physicians hurried
     to the room; and we are informed by Bassompierre, who was present,
     that Henry breathed one sigh after he was brought in. Life, however,
     was probably extinguished at once by the second blow; for he never
     uttered a word after he received it, but fell upon the shoulder of
     the Duke of Epernon, with the blood flowing from his mouth as well as
     from the wound.

     "Thus died Henry IV. of France, in the fifty-seventh year of his age,
     one of the greatest, and certainly one of the most beloved Kings of
     France, on whom contemporaries bestowed the title of the Great, but
     who was known to his people, and is ever mentioned in history, by the
     name of Henri Quatre, a term connected in the mind of every Frenchman
     with the ideas of goodness, benevolence, sincerity, and courage.
     After having to fight for his throne against the fierce opposition of
     fanaticism; after having to contend with the arms and the intrigues
     of the Roman Catholic world; after having to struggle with the hatred
     of a great part of his people, excited by the wild declamations of
     preachers and demagogues, and with the coldness and indifference of
     almost all the rest, he had succeeded, not only in obtaining the
     crown to which he was entitled, not only in vanquishing his enemies
     in the field, in subduing his rebellious subjects, in repulsing his
     foreign foes, and overcoming the prejudices of his people, but in
     gaining their devoted love, the esteem of all his allies, and the
     reverence even of those opposed to him."

The extracts we have now given, will convey to our readers a fair idea of
this very interesting and valuable work. We earnestly recommend it to
their attention: when once in their hands, it will speak for itself.
Several emendations, some in the composition, others in the construction,
will, doubtless, in another edition, suggest themselves to the judgment
and good taste of the author. There are no arguments to chapters, no
index, and no table of contents. These, in a work of history, are
indispensable, and should be added forthwith. A novelist who brings five
or six characters on the stage, can afford to let them explain their own
story; but a historian, who is involved in the transactions of five or six
hundred, has need of every mechanical aid which industry can furnish, to
enable his readers to follow the complicated thread of events, or turn to
them again, when required on reference. It is to be wished, also, that Mr
James would intersperse his spirited narrative, especially in the scenes
of memorable events, with a few of those beautiful descriptions of Nature
with which his novels abound, and which would be peculiarly appropriate in
a work on French history, from his intimate acquaintance with the
topography and scenery of the places where his story is laid.


_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._



Footnotes:

[1] "Gentlemen," said a quondam acquaintance of ours, rising to return
thanks to a party of fox-hunters who had proposed his health--"I thank you
all for drinking my health, and E. for speaking as he has just done of my
riding. You all know that a younger son has not much choice in
horse-flesh; but should it please Providence to take my elder brother, you
would see me differently mounted, and I might then, perhaps, be able to do
something more worthy of your commendation; so allow me to propose in
return for your kindness, '_The chances of the chase_.'"

[2] _Out-doors_--because, as we have said in _Birboniana_, it would take
years to explore the numismatic and other treasures of the museums.

[3] _Anas Boschias._

[4] In allusion to the ancient name of Paris, "Lutetia,"--from _lutum_,
_mud_.

[5] "Invitâ que Jovi nectar Junone ministrat."--OVID.

[6] Divine honours were first paid to this snake in Rome on occasion of a
great pestilence which prevailed during the consulate of Q. Fabius and J.
Brutus. His form, rudely sculptured, and much water-worn, is still to be
made out on the side of a stone barque, stranded in a Tiber-washed garden
belonging to a convent of Franciscans, which convent, rich in Christian as
well as these Pagan relics, possesses the complete osteology of two of the
Apostles.

[7] See the Affiche of the Parisian _Sage Femme; passim_.

[8] Colubraria insula maris Balearinci colubris scatens, vulg. Dragonera.

[9] Vide _Aulus Gellius_, lib. vi.

[10] _Materials for a History of Oil Painting._ By C. L. EASTLAKE, R.A.

[11] We venture to throw out a conjecture respecting this Ludius, (by the
bye, there were two of that name,) as an attempt to throw some light upon
a passage in the "Sirmio" of Catullus, which has puzzled and led the
commentators into very far-fetched explanations. The lines are--

  "Salve, O venusta Sirmio! atque hero gaude:
  Gaudete, vosque, _Ludiæ lacus undæ_:
  Ridete, quidquid est domi cachinnorum."

I have adopted the word Ludiæ, before it is so in some editions given.
Catullus, returning from his profitless expedition into Asia Minor,
addresses his home (his villa) with affectionate address of a weary and
longing traveller. He speaks of his home delights, his accustomed
bed,--and then terminates with the above lines. What were the "Ludiæ lacus
undæ?" May it allude to the pictures painted on the walls of his villa;
and very probably by this Ludius--for the word _domi_ would seem to
indicate something within his dwelling, and this idea answers accurately
to the sort of pictures which Pliny represents Ludius to have painted.
Though Catullus is said to have died in his forty-sixth year, B.C. 40, and
Augustus, A.D. 14, it is very possible that Ludius, who is said to have
lived in the time of Augustus, may have ornamented with his pictures the
villa of Catullus. We offer this conjecture for no more than it is
worth--it may be at least as probable as many others which have been made.

[12] "Some of the English painters," says Tingry, "too anxious to receive
the fruits of their composition, neglect this precaution, (preserving the
colours in newly painted pictures before they are varnished, by covering
them with white of egg.) Several artists even paint in varnish, and _apply
it with their colors_. This precipitate method gives brilliancy to their
compositions at the very moment of their being finished; but their lustre
is temporary and of short duration. It renders it impossible for them to
clean their paintings, which are, besides, liable to crack and lose their
colour. In a word, it is not uncommon to see an artist survive his own
works."

[13] Van Stry asserted that copal was constantly used by Cuyp--his
pictures are remarkably hard.

[14] _Adventures on the Western Coast of South America, &c._ By JOHN
COULTER, M.D. London: 1847.

[15] See No. CCCLXXXI, page 21.

[16] _Byways of History, from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century._ By
Mrs PERCY SINNETT.

[17] See Sismondi's _History of the Italian Republics_, vol. iii. p. 58.

[18] _Life of Henry IV. of France._ By G. P. R. JAMES, Esq. 3 Vols.
London, 1847.

[19] See Capefigue, _Hist. de la Ligue et de Henry IV._, iii. 239. He is a
Roman Catholic writer, and therefore cannot be suspected of Huguenot
partiality, or aversion to the Church of Rome.

[20] Lamartine's _Histoire des Girondins_, vii. 374. We hope ere long to
make our readers acquainted with this magnificent work.



Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version these
letters have been replaced with transliterations.

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "for for" corrected to "for" (page 262)
  "of of" corrected to "of" (page 349)
  "protraiture" corrected to "portraiture" (page 373)

Other than the corrections listed above, inconsistencies in spelling and
hyphenation have been retained from the original.





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