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Title: Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 365, March, 1846
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 365, March, 1846" ***

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  BLACKWOOD'S

  EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.


  No. CCCLXV.          MARCH, 1846.          VOL. LIX.



CONTENTS.


  THE TWENTY-FOURTH BOOK OF HOMER'S ILIAD. (IN ENGLISH HEXAMETERS,)  259

  THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. PART V.,                                 273

  MOSES AND SON. A DIDACTIC TALE,                                    294

  VICHYANA,                                                          306

  IT'S ALL FOR THE BEST. CONCLUSION,                                 319

  THE ROMAN CAMPAGNA,                                                337

  MR BROOKE OF BORNEO,                                               356

  THE SMUGGLER'S LEAP. A PASSAGE IN THE PYRENEES,                    366

  MINISTERIAL MEASURES,                                              373



  EDINBURGH:

  WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
  AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.
  _To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed._

  SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

  PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.



  BLACKWOOD'S

  EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.


  NO. CCCLXV.          MARCH, 1846.          VOL. LIX.



THE TWENTY-FOURTH BOOK OF HOMER'S ILIAD,

ATTEMPTED IN ENGLISH HEXAMETERS.


[It may be thought idle or presumptuous to make a new attempt towards
the naturalization among us of any measure based on the ancient
hexameter. Even Mr Southey has not been in general successful in such
efforts; yet no one can deny that here and there--as, for instance, at
the opening of his _Vision of Judgment_, and in his Fragment on
_Mahomet_--he has produced English hexameters of very happy
construction, uniting vigour with harmony. His occasional success marks
a step of decided progress. Dr Whewell also, in some passages of his
_Hermann and Dorothea_, reached a musical effect sufficient to show,
that, if he had bestowed more leisure, he might have rendered the whole
of Goethe's masterpiece in its original measure, at least as agreeably
as the _Faust_ has been presented to us hitherto. Mr Coleridge's
felicity, both in the Elegiac metre and a slight variation of the
Hendecasyllabic, is universally acknowledged.

The present experiment was made before the writer had seen the German
Homer of Voss; but in revising his MS. he has had that skillful
performance by him, and he has now and then, as he hopes, derived
advantage from its study. Part of the first book of the _Iliad_ is said
to have been accomplished by Wolff in a still superior manner; but the
writer has never had the advantage of comparing it with Voss. Nor was he
acquainted, until he had finished his task, with a small specimen of the
first book in English hexameters, which occurs in the _History of
English Rhythms_, lately published by Mr E. Guest, of Caius College,
Cambridge.

Like Voss and Mr Guest, he has chosen to adhere to the Homeric names of
the deities, in place of adopting the Latin forms; and in this matter he
has little doubt that every scholar will approve his choice. Mr
Archdeacon Williams has commonly followed the same plan in those very
spirited prose translations that adorn his learned Essay, _Homerus_.

It is hardly necessary to interpret these names: as, perhaps, no one
will give much attention to the following pages, who does not already
know that ZEUS answers to Jupiter--and that KRONION is a usual Homeric
designation of Zeus, signifying the son of KRONOS = SATURN: that HERA is
Juno; POSEIDON, Neptune: ARES, Mars; ARTEMIS, Diana; APHRODITÉ, Venus;
HERMES, Mercury; and so forth.

Should this experiment be received with any favour, the writer has in
his portfolio a good deal of Homer, long since translated in the same
manner; and he would not be reluctant to attempt the completion of an
Iliad in English Hexameters, such as he can make them.
                                                           N.N.T.
  LONDON, _Jan._ 31, 1846.]

       *       *       *       *       *

  Now the assembly dissolv'd; and the multitude rose and disperst them,
  Each making speed to the ships, for the needful refreshment of nature,
  Food and the sweetness of sleep; but alone in his tent was Achilles,
  Weeping the friend that he lov'd; nor could Sleep, the subduer of all
    things,
  Master his grief; but he turn'd him continually hither and thither,
  Thinking of all that was gracious and brave in departed Patroclus,
  And of the manifold days they two had been toilfully comrades,
  Both in the battles of men and the perilous tempests of ocean.
  Now on his side, and anon on his back, or with countenance downward,
  Prone in his anguish he sank: then suddenly starting, he wander'd,
  Desolate, forth by the shore; till he noted the burst of the morning
  As on the waters it gleam'd, and the surf-beaten length of the
    sand-beach.
  Instantly then did he harness his swift-footed horses, and corded
  Hector in rear of the car, to be dragg'd at the wheels in dishonour.
  Thrice at the speed he encircled the tomb of the son of Menoetius,
  Ere he repos'd him again in his tent, and abandon'd the body,
  Flung on its face in the dust; but not unobserv'd of Apollo.
  He, though the hero was dead, with compassionate tenderness eyed him,
  And with the ægis of gold all over protected from blemish,
  Not to be mangled or marr'd in the turbulent trailing of anger.

  Thus in the rage of his mood did he outrage illustrious Hector;
  But from the mansions of bliss the Immortals beheld him with pity,
  And to a stealthy removal incited the slayer of Argus.
  This by the rest was approv'd; but neither of Hera, the white-arm'd,
  Nor of the Blue-eyed Maid, nor of Earth-disturbing Poseidon.
  Steadfast were they in their hatred of Troy, and her king, and her
    people,
  Even as of old when they swore to avenge the presumption of Paris,
  Who at his shieling insulted majestical Hera and Pallas,
  Yielding the glory to her that had bribed him with wanton allurements.
  But when suspense had endured to the twelfth reappearance of morning,
  Thus, in the midst of the Gods, outspake to them Phoebus Apollo:
  "Cruel are ye and ungrateful, O Gods! was there sacrifice never
  Either of goats or of beeves on your altars devoted by Hector,
  Whom thus, dead as he lies, ye will neither admit to be ransom'd,
  Nor to be seen of his wife, or his child, or the mother that bore him,
  Nor of his father the king, or the people, with woful concernment
  Eager to wrap him in fire and accomplish the rites of departure?
  But with the sanction of Gods ye uphold the insensate Achilles,
  Brutal, perverted in reason, to every remorseful emotion
  Harden'd his heart, as the lion that roams in untameable wildness;
  Who, giving sway to the pride of his strength and his truculent impulse,
  Rushes on sheep in the fold, and engorges his banquet of murder;
  So has the Myrmidon kill'd compassion, nor breathes in his bosom
  Shame, which is potent for good among mortals, as well as for evil.
  Dear was Patroclus to him, but the mourner that buries a brother,
  Yea, and the father forlorn, that has stood by the grave of his
    offspring,
  These, even these, having wept and lamented, are sooth'd into calmness,
  For in the spirit of man have the Destinies planted submission.
  But because Hector in battle arrested the life of his comrade,
  Therefore encircling the tomb, at the speed of his furious horses,
  Drags he the corse of the fall'n: Neither seemly the action nor prudent;
  He among Us peradventure may rouse a retributing vengeance,
  Brave though he be, that insults the insensible clay in his frenzy."

  Hera, the white-arm'd queen, thus answer'd Apollo in anger:
  "Thou of the Silvern Bow! among them shall thy word have approval,
  Who in equivalent honour have counted Achilles and Hector.
  This from a man had his blood, and was nurs'd at the breast of a woman;
  He that ye estimate with him, conceiv'd in the womb of a Goddess,
  Rear'd by myself, and assign'd by myself for the consort of Peleus,
  Whom above all of his kindred the love of Immortals exalted.
  And ye were witnesses, Gods! Thou, too, at the feast of the Bridal,
  Thou, with the lyre in thy hand, ever-treacherous, friend of the guilty!"

  But the Compeller of Clouds thus answer'd her, interposing:
  "Hera! with Gods the debate, nor beseems the upbraiding of anger.
  Not in equivalent honour the twain; yet was generous Hector
  Dearest at heart to the Gods among Ilion's blood of the death-doom'd:
  Dearest to me; for his gifts from his youth were unfailingly tender'd;
  Never to altar of mine was his dutiful sacrifice wanting,
  Savour, or costly libation; for such is our homage appointed.
  Dear was the generous Hector; yet never for that shall be sanction'd
  Stealthy removal, or aught that receives not assent from Achilles.
  Daily and nightly, be sure, in his sorrow his mother attends him;
  Swiftly some messenger hence, and let Thetis be moved to approach me:
  So may some temperate word find way to his heart, and Peleides
  Bend to the gifts of the king, and surrender the body of Hector."

  Zeus having spoken, up sprang, for his messenger, swift-footed Iris;
  And between Samos anon and the rocks of precipitous Imber
  Smote on the black sea-wave, and about her the channel resounded:
  Then, as the horn-fixt lead drops sheer from the hand of the islesman,
  Fatal to ravenous fish, plung'd she to the depth of the ocean:
  Where in a cavern'd recess, the abode of the sisterly Sea-nymphs,
  Thetis the goddess appear'd, in the midst of them sitting dejected;
  For she was ruefully brooding the fate of her glorious offspring,
  Doom'd to a Phrygian grave, far off from the land of his fathers.
  Near to her standing anon, thus summon'd her wind-footed Iris:
  "Thetis, arise! thou art calléd by Zeus whose decrees are eternal."
  But she was instantly answer'd by Thetis the silvery-footed:--
  "Why hath the Mightiest calléd for me? Overburthen'd with sorrow,
  How shall I stand in the place where the Gods are assembled in splendour?
  Yet will I go: never word that He speaketh in vain may be spoken."

  So having spoken, the Goddess in majesty peerless, arising,
  Veil'd her in mantle of black; never gloomier vesture was woven;
  And she advanced, but, for guidance, the wind-footed Iris preceded.
  Then the o'erhanging abyss of the ocean was parted before them,
  And having touched on the shore, up darted the twain into Æther;
  Where, in the mansion of Zeus Far-seeing, around him were gather'd
  All the assembly of Gods, without sorrow, whose life is eternal:
  And by the throne was she seated; for Blue-eyed Pallas Athena
  Yielded the place; and, the goblet of gold being tender'd by Hera
  Softly with comforting words, soon as Thetis had drank and restored it,
  Then did the Father of gods and of men thus open his purpose:
  "Thou to Olympus hast come, O Goddess! though press'd with affliction;
  Bearing, I know it, within thee a sorrow that ever is wakeful.
  Listen then, Thetis, and hear me discover the cause of the summons:
  Nine days agone there arose a contention among the Immortals,
  Touching the body of Hector and Town-destroying Achilles:
  Some to a stealthy removal inciting the slayer of Argus,
  But in my bosom prevailing concern for the fame of Peleides,
  Love and respect, as of old, toward Thee, and regard of hereafter.
  Hasten then, Thou, to the camp, and by Thee let thy son be admonished:
  Tell that the Gods are in anger, and I above all the Immortals,
  For that the corse is detain'd by the ships, and he spurns at a ransom;
  If there be awe toward me, let it move the surrender of Hector.
  Iris the while will I send to bid generous Priam adventure,
  That he may rescue his son, straightway to the ships of Achaia,
  Laden with gifts for Achilles, wherewith to appease and content him."

  Nor was the white-footed Thetis unsway'd by the word of Kronion;
  But she descended amain, at a leap, from the peaks of Olympus,
  And to the tent of her son went straight; and she found him within it
  Groaning in heavy unrest--but around him his loving companions
  Eager in duty appear'd, as preparing the meal for the midday.
  Bulky and woolly the sheep they within the pavilion had slaughter'd.
  Then by the side of the chief sat Thetis the mother majestic,
  And she caress'd with her hand on his cheek, and address'd him and named
    him--
  "How long wilt thou, my child, thus groan, in a pauseless affliction
  Eating thy heart, neither mindful of food nor the pillow of slumber?
  Well were it surely for thee to be mingled in love with a woman;
  Few are, bethink thee, the days thou shalt live in the sight of thy
    mother;
  Near even now stands Death, and the violent Destiny shades thee.
  Listen meantime to my word, for from Zeus is the message I bear thee;
  Wrathful, he says, are the Gods, but himself above all the Immortals,
  For that in rage thou detainest the dead, nor is ransom accepted.
  Haste thee, deliver the corse, and be sooth'd with the gifts of
    redemption."

  Ceased then Thetis divine, and Peleides the swift-footed answer'd:
  "So let it be: let a ransom be brought, and the body surrender'd,
  Since the Olympian minds it in earnest, and sends the commandment."

  Thus at the station of ships had the son and the mother communion.
  Iris from Zeus meanwhile had descended to Ilion holy:
  "Go," said he, "Iris the swift, and make speed from the seat of Olympus
  Down into Ilion, bearing my message to generous Priam.
  Forth to the ships let him fare with a ransom to soften Peleides--
  Priam alone; not a man from the gates of the city attending:
  Save that for driving the mules be some elderly herald appointed,
  Who may have charge of the wain with the treasure, and back to the city
  Carefully carry the dead that was slain by the godlike Achilles.
  Nor be there death in the thought of the king, nor confusion of terror;
  Such is the guard I assign for his guiding, the slayer of Argus,
  Who shall conduct him in peace till he reaches the ships of Achaia.
  Nor when, advancing alone, he has enter'd the tent of Peleides,
  Need there be fear that he kill: he would shield him if menac'd by
    others;
  For neither reasonless he, nor yet reckless, nor wilfully wicked:
  But when a suppliant bends at his knee he will kindly entreat him."

  Swift at the bidding of Zeus arose wind-footed Iris, and nearing
  Soon the abode of the king, found misery there and lamenting:
  Low on the ground, in the hall, sat the sons of illustrious Priam,
  Watering their raiment with tears, and in midst of his sons was the old
    man,
  Wrapt in his mantle, the visage unseen, but the head and the bosom
  Cover'd in dust, wherewith, rolling in anguish, his hands had bestrewn
    them;
  But in their chambers remote were the daughters of Priam bewailing,
  Mindful of them that, so many, so goodly, in youth had been slaughter'd
  Under the Argive hands. But the messenger charged by Kronion
  Stood by the king and in whispers address'd him, and hearing he trembled:

  "Strengthen thy spirit within thee, Dardantan Priam, and fear not:
  For with no message of evil have I to thy dwelling descended,
  But with a kindly intent, and I come from the throne of Kronion,
  Who, though afar be his seat, with concern and compassion beholds thee.
  Thee the Olympian calls to go forth for the ransom of Hector,
  Laden with gifts for Peleides, wherewith to appease and content him.
  Go thou alone: not a man from the gates of the city attending;
  Only for guiding the mules be some elderly herald appointed,
  Who may have charge of the wain with its treasure, and back to the city
  Carefully carry the dead that was slain by the godlike Achilles."

  Thus having spoken to Priam, the wind-footed Iris departed;
  And he commanded his sons straightway to make ready the mule-wain,
  Strong-built; sturdy of wheel, and upon it to fasten the coffer.
  But he himself from the hall to his odorous chamber descended,
  Cedarn, lofty of roof, wherein much treasure was garner'd,
  And unto Hecuba calling, outspake to her generous Priam:--

  "Mourner! but now at my hand hath a messenger stood from Kronion;
  Me he commands to go forth to the ships for redeeming of Hector,
  Carrying gifts for Peleides, wherewith to appease and content him.
  Answer me truly, my spouse, and declare what of this is thy judgment,
  For of a surety my heart and my spirit with vehement urgence
  Move me to go to the ships and the wide-spread host of Achaians."

  Thus did he say; but the spouse of the old man shriekt, and made answer:
  "Wo to me! whither are scatter'd the wits that were famous aforetime,
  Not with the Trojans alone, but afar in the lands of the stranger?
  Wo to me! thou to adventure, alone, to the ships of Achaia,
  Into the sight of the man by whose fierceness thy sons have been
    murder'd,
  Many, and comely, and brave! Of a surety thy heart is of iron;
  For if he holds thee but once, and his eyes have been fasten'd upon thee,
  Bloody and faithless is he, hope thou neither pity nor worship.
  Him that is taken away let us mourn for him here in our dwelling,
  Since we can see him no more; the immoveable Destiny markt him,
  And it was wove in his thread, even so, in the hour that I bare him,
  To be the portion of dogs, who shall feast on him far from his parents,
  Under the eyes of the foe: whose liver if I could but grapple
  Fast by the midst to devour, he then should have just retribution
  For what he did to my son; for in no misbehaving he slew him,
  But for the men of his land and the well-girt women of Troia
  Firm stood Hector in field; neither mindful of flight nor avoidance."

  This was her answer from Priam, the old man godlike in presence:--
  "Hold me not back when my will is to go; nor thyself in my dwelling
  Be the ill-omening bird:--howbe, thou shalt not persuade me.
  Had I been bidden to this by a mortal of earth's generation,
  Prophet, or Augur, or Priest might he be, I had deem'd him deceitful;
  Not to go forth, but to stay, had the more been the bent of my purpose:
  But having heard her myself, looking face unto face on the Goddess,
  Go I, nor shall the word be in vain; and, if Destiny will'd me,
  Going, to meet with my death at the ships of the brass-coated Argives,
  So let it be. I refuse not to die by the hand of Achilles,
  Clasping my son in mine arms, the desire of my sorrow accomplish'd."

  So having spoken, he open'd the coffers that shone in his chamber,
  Whence he selected, anon, twelve shawls surpassingly splendid;
  Delicate wool-cloaks twelve, and the like of embroidered carpets;
  Twelve fair mantles of state, and of tunics as many to match them.
  Next, having measur'd his gold, did he heap ten plentiful talents;
  Twain were the tripods he chose, twice twain the magnificent platters;
  Lastly, a goblet of price, which the chieftains of Thracia tender'd
  When he on embassy journey'd: a great gift, yet did the old man
  Grudge not to pluck from his store even this, for his spirit impell'd him
  Eager to ransom his son: But the people who look'd on his treasure
  Them did he chase from the gate, and with bitter reproaches pursued
    them:--
  "Graceless and worthless, begone! in your homes is there nothing to weep
    for,
  That ye in mine will harass me--or lacks it, to fill your contentment,
  That the Olympian god has assign'd to me this tribulation--
  Loss of a son without peer? But yourselves shall partake my affliction;
  Easier far will it be for the pitiless sword of the Argives,
  Now he is dead, to make havoc of you. For myself, ere I witness
  Ilion storm'd in their wrath, and the fulness of her desolation,
  Oh, may the Destiny yield me to enter the dwelling of Hades!"

  Speaking, he smote with his staff, and they fled from the wrath of the
    old man;
  But, when they all had disperst, he upbraided his sons and rebuked them;
  Deiphobus and Alexander, Hippothöus, generous Dius,
  Came at the call of the king, with Antiphonus, Helenus, Pammon,
  Agathon, noble of port, and Polites, good at the war-shout:--
  These were the nine that he urged and admonish'd with bitter
    reproaches:--
  "Hasten ye, profitless children and vile! if ye all had been slaughter'd,
  Fair were the tidings to me, were but Hector in place of ye skaithless!
  O, evil-destinied me! that had sons upon sons to sustain me,
  None to compare in the land, and not one that had worth is remaining!
  Mentor the gallant and goodly, and Tröilus prompt with the war-team;
  Hector, a god among men--he, too, who in nothing resembled
  Death-doom'd man's generation, but imaged the seed of Immortals--
  Battle hath reft me of these:--but the shames of my house are in safety;
  Jesters and singers enow, and enow that can dance on the feast-day;
  Scourges and pests of the realm; bold spoilers of kids and of lambkins!
  Will ye bestir ye at length, and make ready the wain and the coffer,
  Piling in all that ye see, and delay me no more from my journey?"

  So did he speak; but the sons, apprehending the wrath of their father,
  Speedfully dragg'd to the portal the mule-wain easily-rolling,
  New-built, fair to behold; and upon it the coffer was corded.
  Next from the pin they unfasten'd the mule-yoke, carv'd of the box-tree,
  Shaped with a prominent boss, and with strong rings skilfully fitted.
  Then with the bar was unfolded the nine ells' length of the yoke-band;
  But when the yoke had been placed on the smooth-wrought pole with
    adroitness,
  Back at the end of the shaft, and the ring had been turn'd on the holder,
  Hither and thither the thongs on the boss made three overlappings,
  Whence, drawn singly ahead, they were tight-knit under the collar.
  Next they produced at the portal, and high on the vehicle seemly
  Piled the uncountable worth of the king's Hectorean head-gifts.
  Then did they harness the mules, strong-hoof'd, well-matcht in their
    paces,
  Sent of the Mysi to Priam, and splendid the gift of the stranger:
  Last, to the yoke they conducted the horses which reverend Priam
  Tended and cherish'd himself, of his own hand fed at the manger;
  But in the high-built court these harness'd the king and the herald,
  None putting hand to the yoke but the old men prudent in counsel.

  Hecuba, anxious in soul, had observ'd, and anon she approach'd them,
  Goblet of gold in her hand, with the generous juice of the vine-tree,
  Careful they might not go forth without worshipful rite of libation.
  "Take," said she; "pour unto Zeus, and beseech him in mercy to shield
    thee
  Home again safe from the host, since thy vehement spirit impels thee
  Forth to the ships, and my warning avails not to stay thee from going:
  Pour it, and call on the Lord of the Black Cloud, greatest Kronion,
  Him who, on Ida enthron'd, surveys wide Troia's dominion.
  Pray for his messenger fleet to be issued in air on the right hand,
  Dearest of birds in his eyes, without peer in the might of the wingéd:
  Trustful in whom thou may'st go to the ships of the Danäid horsemen.
  But if the Thunderer God vouchsafe not his messenger freely,
  Ne'er can I will thee to go, howsoever intent on the ransom."

  Thus to her answer'd the king, old Priam, the godlike of presence:
  "Spouse, not in this shall mine ear be averse to the voice of thy
    counsel;
  Good is it, lifting our hands, to implore for the grace of the Godhead."

  Priam demanded amain of the handmaiden, chief of the household,
  Water to lave on his hands; and the handmaiden drew from the fountain
  At the command of the king, and with basin and ewer attended:
  Then having sprinkled his hands, and from Hecuba taken the wine-cup,
  Standing in midst of the court did he worship, and pour it before them,
  Fixing his eyes upon heaven, and thus audibly made supplication:

  "Father, enthron'd upon Ida, in power and in glory supremest!
  Grant me, approaching Peleides, to find with him mercy and favour.
  Now, let thy messenger fleet issue forth in the sky on the right hand,
  Dearest of birds in thine eyes, without peer in the might of the wingéd,
  Seeing and trusting in whom I may go to the ships of Achaia."

  So did he make supplication, and Zeus All-Provident heard him,
  And on the instant an eagle, of skyborne auguries noblest,
  Dark and majestic, the hunter of Æther, was sent from his footstool.
  Wide as the doorway framed for the loftiest hall of a rich man
  Shows, when the bolts are undrawn and the balancing valves are expanded,
  Such unto either extreme was the stretch of his wings as he darted
  Clear from the right, oversweeping the city: and gazing upon him,
  Comforted inly were they, every bosom with confidence gladden'd.

  Now to his sumptuous car with alacrity Priam ascending,
  Forth from the vestibule drove, and the echoing depth of the portal.
  First was the fourwheel'd wain with the strong-hoof'd Mysian mule-team,
  Guided by careful Idæus, the herald: behind him the horses,
  Whom with the scourge overstanding, alone in his chariot the old man
  Eagerly urged through the city. But many the friends that attended,
  Trooping in sorrowful throng, as if surely to death he were driving.

  These, when advancing apace he went down to the plain from the rampart,
  Turn'd them to Ilion again, both the sons and the sorrowing kindred.
  But as he enter'd the plain, he escap'd not the eye of Kronion.
  He took cognisance then, and with merciful favour beholding,
  Forthwith spake to his son, ever loving in ministry, Hermes:--
  "Go!" said he, "Hermes! for ever I know it thy chiefest contentment
  Friendly to succour mankind, and thy pity attends supplication;
  Go, and be Priam thy charge, till he reaches the ships of Achaia,
  Watching and covering so that no eye of an enemy sees him,
  None of the Danäids note, till he comes to the tent of Peleides."

  So Zeus; nor disobey'd him the kindly ambassador Hermes.
  Under his feet straightway did he fasten the beautiful sandals,
  Wingéd, Ambrosian, golden, which carry him, now over ocean,
  Now over measureless earth, with the speed of the wind in its blowing.
  Also he lifted the wand which, touching the eyelid of mortals,
  Soothes into slumber at will, or arouses the soul of the sleeper.
  Grasping it, forth did he fly in his vigour, the slayer of Argus,
  And to the Hellespont glided apace, and the shore of the Trojan;
  Walking whereon he appear'd as a stripling of parentage royal,
  Fresh with the beard first-seen, in the comeliest blossom of manhood.

  But having reach'd in their journey the mighty memorial of Ilus,
  Now were the elders at pause--while the horses and mules in the river
  Under the sepulchre drank, and around them was creeping the twilight:
  Then was the herald aware of the Argicide over against them,
  Near on the shadowy plain, and he started and whisper'd to Priam:
  "Think, Dardanides! think--for a prudent decision is urgent;
  Yonder a man is in view, and I deem he is minded to slay us.
  Come, let us flee on the horses; or instantly, bending before him,
  Supplicate, grasping his knees, if perchance he may pity the agéd."

  So did he speak; but confusion and great fear fell upon Priam,
  And every hair was erect on the tremulous limbs in his faintness.
  Dumb and bewilder'd he stood; but beneficent Hermes, approaching,
  Tenderly took by the hand, and accosted and questioned the old man:
  "Whither, O father! and why art thou driving the mules and the horses
  Through the ambrosial night, when the rest of mankind are in slumber?
  Is there no terror for thee in the pitiless host of Achaia,
  Breathing of fury and hate, and so near to thy path in their leaguer?
  Say, if but one of them see thee, 'mid night's swift-vanishing blackness,
  Urging so costly a freight, how then might thy courage avail thee?
  Thou art not youthful in years, and thy only attendant is agéd;
  How, if a spearman arise in thy way, may his arm be resisted?
  But fear nothing from me, old man; were another assailing,
  Thee would I help, for the father I love is recall'd when I view thee."

  Then to him answered Priam, the old man godlike in presence:
  "These things are of a truth, dear child, as thy speech has exprest them;
  Nevertheless, some God has extended the hand of protection;
  He that vouchsafes me to meet in my need a benevolent comrade,
  Helpful and gracious as thou, in the blossom of vigorous manhood;
  Prudent withal in thy mind--fair offspring of fortunate parents."

  Him again answer'd in turn heaven's kindly ambassador, Hermes:
  "True of a surety and wise, old man, are the words thou hast spoken;
  But now freely resolve me, and fully discover thy purpose:
  Whether the treasures thou bearest, so many, so goodly, are destined
  Forth to some distant ally, with whom these may at least be in safety?
  Or is it so that ye all are abandoning Ilion the holy--
  Stricken with dread since the bravest and best of thy sons is removéd,
  He that was ever in battle the peer of the prime of Achaia?"

  Thus unto Hermes replied old Priam, the godlike of presence:
  "Who, then, noblest! art thou, and from whom is thy worshipful lineage,
  Who makest mention so fair of the death of unfortunate Hector?"

  But to him spake yet again the ambassador mild of Kronion:
  "Dost thou inquire, O king! as to mention of Hector the godlike?
  Him have I seen full oft with mine eyes in the glorious battle,
  Yea, and when urging the chase he advanced to the ramparted galleys,
  Trampling the Argive bands, and with sharp brass strew'd them in
    slaughter.
  We, from the station observing, in wonderment gazed; for Achilles
  Held us apart from the fight in his wrath at the wrong of Atreides.
  For in his train am I named, and the same fair galley convey'd me;
  Born of the Myrmidon blood, in the house of my father, Polyctor.
  Noble and wealthy is he in the land, but like thee he is agéd:
  Six were the sons in his hall, but myself was the seventh and the
    youngest,
  Whom, when the lots had been cast, it behov'd to depart with Peleides.
  Now from the ships to the plain have I come, for to-morrow at dawning
  Close to the city again the Achaians will plant them in battle:
  Ill do they bear within ramparts to sit, and the kings of Achaia
  Now can restrain them no longer, so hot their desire for the onslaught."

  Him thus eagerly answer'd old Priam, the godlike in presence:
  "Be'st thou indeed of the train of the Peleiades Achilles?
  Come then, discover the truth: be there nothing, I pray, of concealment.
  Is my son still at the galleys, or has he already been flung forth,
  Piecemeal torn, for a feast to the dogs, by the hand of Achilles?"

  This was in turn the reply of the kindly ambassador Hermes:
  "Fear it not; neither the dogs, old man, nor the birds have devour'd him:
  Still to this hour 'mid the tents, by the black-hull'd ship of Peleides,
  He forsakenly lies: but though morning has dawn'd on him twelve times
  Since he was reft of his breath, yet the body is free from corruption;
  Nor have the worms, for whom war-slain men are a banquet, approach'd him.
  Truly Peleides, as oft as the east is revived with the day-beam,
  Ruthlessly drags him around by the tomb of his brotherly comrade;
  But yet he mars not the dead; and with wonder thine eyes would behold him
  How he in freshness lies: from about him the blood has been cleanséd,
  Dust has not tarnisht the hue, and all clos'd are the lips of the gashes,
  All that he had, and not few were the brass-beat lances that pierc'd him.
  Guarded so well is thy son by the grace of the blessed Immortals,
  Dead though he be; of a surety in life they had favour'd him dearly."

  So did he speak: but the elder was gladden'd in spirit, and answer'd:--
  "Verily, child, it is good to attend on the blessed Immortals
  Duly with reverent gifts; for my son (while, alas! he was living)
  Never forgot in his home the Supreme who inherit Olympus:
  Wherefore they think of him now, though in death's dark destiny humbled.
  But come, take from my hand this magnificent cup: it is giv'n thee
  Freely to keep for thyself; and conduct me, the Gods being gracious,
  Over the shadowy field, till I reach the abode of Peleides."

  Him thus answer'd amain the beneficent messenger Hermes:--
  "Cease, old man, from the tempting of youth--for thou shalt not persuade
    me.
  Gift will I none at thy hand without knowledge of noble Achilles.
  Great is my terror of him; and in aught to defraud him of treasure,
  Far from my breast be the thought, lest hereafter he visit with
    vengeance.
  But for conducting of thee I am ready with reverent service,
  Whether on foot or by sea, were it far as to glorious Argos.
  None shall assail thee, be sure, in contempt of thy faithful attendant."

  So did the Merciful speak: and he sprang on the chariot of Priam,
  Seizing with strenuous hand both the reins and the scourge as he mounted:
  And into horses and mules vivid energy pass'd from his breathing.
  But when at last they arrived at the fosse and the towers of the galleys,
  They that had watch at the gates were preparing the meal of the evening;
  And the Olympian guide survey'd, and upon them was slumber
  Pour'd at his will; and the bars were undone and the gates were expanded,
  And he conducted within both the king and the ransoming mule-wain.
  Swiftly advancing, anon they were near to the tent of Peleides:
  Lofty the shelter and large, for the King by the Myrmidons planted;
  Hewn of the pines of the mountain; and rough was the thatch of the
    roof-tree,
  Bulrushes mown on the meadow; and spacious the girth of the bulwark
  Spanning with close-set stakes; but the bar of the gate was a pine-beam.
  Three of the sons of Achaia were needful to lift it and fasten:
  Three to withdraw from its seat the securement huge of the closure:
  Such was the toil for the rest--but Achilles lifted it singly.
  This the beneficent guide made instantly open for Priam.
  And for the treasure of ransom wherewith he would soothe the Peleides;
  Then did the Argicide leap from the car to the ground and address'd
    him:--
  "Old man, I from Olympus descended, a god everlasting,
  Hermes, appointed the guide of thy way by my father Kronion.
  Now I return to my place, nor go in to the sight of Achilles,
  Since it beseems not Immortal of lineage divine to reveal him
  Waiting with manifest love on the frail generation of mankind.
  Enter the dwelling alone, and, embracing the knees of Peleides,
  Him by his father adjure, and adjure by the grace of his mother,
  And by the child of his love, that his mind may be mov'd at thy
    pleading."

  Thus having spoken, evanish'd, to lofty Olympus ascending,
  Hermes: but Priam delay'd not, and sprang from his car on the sea-beach;
  And, while Idæus remain'd to have care of the mules and the horses,
  On did the old man pass, and he enter'd, and found the Peleides
  Seated apart from his train: two only of Myrmidons trustful,
  Hero Automedon only, and Alkimus, sapling of Ares,
  Near to him minist'ring stood; he repos'd him but now from the meal-time,
  Sated with food and with wine, nor remov'd from him yet was the table.
  All unobserv'd of them enter'd the old man stately, and forthwith
  Grasp'd with his fingers the knees and was kissing the hands of
    Achilles--
  Terrible, murderous hands, by which son upon son had been slaughter'd.
  As when a man who has fled from his home with the curse of the
    blood-guilt,
  Kneels in a far-off land, at the hearth of some opulent stranger,
  Begging to shelter his head, there is stupor on them that behold him;
  So was Achilles dumb at the sight of majestical Priam--
  He and his followers all, each gazing on other bewilder'd.
  But he uplifted his voice in their silence, and made supplication:--
  "Think of thy father at home," (he began,) "O godlike Achilles!
  Him, my coëval, like me within age's calamitous threshold!
  Haply this day there is trouble upon him, some insolent neighbours
  Round him in arms, nor a champion at hand to avert the disaster:
  Yet even so there is comfort for him, for he hears of thee living;
  Day unto day there is hope for his heart amid worst tribulation,
  That yet again he shall see his belovéd from Troia returning.
  Misery only is mine; for of all in the land of my fathers,
  Bravest and best were the sons I begat, and not one is remaining.
  Fifty were mine in the hour that the host of Achaia descended:
  Nineteen granted to me out of one womb, royally mother'd,
  Stood by my side; but the rest were of handmaids born in my dwelling.
  Soon were the limbs of the many unstrung in the fury of Ar[=e]s:
  But one peerless was left, sole prop of the realm and the people:
  And now at last he too, the protector of Ilion, Hector,
  Dies by thy hand. For his sake have I come to the ships of Achaia,
  Eager to ransom the body with bountiful gifts of redemption.
  Thou have respect for the Gods, and on me, O Peleides! have pity,
  Calling thy father to mind; but more piteous is my desolation,
  Mine, who alone of mankind have been humbled to this of endurance--
  Pressing my mouth to the hand that is red with the blood of my children."

  Hereon Achilles, awak'd to a yearning remembrance of Peleus,
  Rose up, took by the hand, and remov'd from him gently the old man.
  Sadness possessing the twain--one, mindful of valorous Hector,
  Wept with o'erflowing tears, lowlaid at the feet of Achilles;
  He, sometime for his father, anon at the thought of Patroclus,
  Wept, and aloft in the dwelling their long lamentation ascended.
  But when the bursting of grief had contented the godlike Peleides,
  And from his heart and his limbs irresistible yearning departed,
  Then from his seat rose he, and with tenderness lifted the old man,
  Viewing the hoary head and the hoary beard with compassion:
  And he address'd him, and these were the air-wing'd words that he
    utter'd:--
  "Ah unhappy! thy spirit in truth has been burden'd with evils.
  How could the daring be thine to come forth to the ships of Achaia
  Singly, to stand in the eyes of the man by whose weapon thy children,
  Many and gallant, have died? full surely thy heart is of iron.
  But now seat thee in peace, old man, and let mourning entirely
  Pause for a space in our minds, although heavy on both be affliction;
  For without profit and vain is the fulness of sad lamentation,
  Since it was destined so of the Gods for unfortunate mortals
  Ever in trouble to live, but they only partake not of sorrow;
  For by the threshold of Zeus two urns have their station of old time,
  Whereof the one holds dolings of good, but the other of evil;
  And to whom mixt are the doles of the thunder-delighting Kronion,
  He sometime is of blessing partaker, of misery sometime;
  But if he gives of the ill, he has fixt him the mark of disaster,
  And over bountiful earth the devouring Necessity drives him,
  Wandering ever forlorn, unregarded of gods and of mortals.
  Thus of a truth did the Gods grant glorious gifts unto Peleus,
  Even from the hour of his birth, for above compare was he favour'd,
  Whether in wealth or in power, in the land of the Myrmidons reigning;
  And albeit a mortal, his spouse was a goddess appointed.
  Yet even to him of the God was there evil apportion'd--that never
  Lineage of sons should be born in his home, to inherit dominion.
  One son alone he begat, to untimely calamity foredoom'd;
  Nor do I cherish his age, since afar from the land of my fathers
  Here in the Troad I sit, to the torment of thee and thy children.
  And we have heard, old man, of thine ancient prosperity also,
  Lord of whatever is held between Lesbos the seat of the Macar,
  Up to the Phrygian bound and the measureless Hellespontos;
  Ruling and blest above all, nor in wealth nor in progeny equall'd;
  Yet from the hour that the Gods brought this visitation upon thee,
  Day unto day is thy city surrounded with battles and bloodshed.
  How so, bear what is sent, nor be griev'd in thy soul without ceasing.
  Nothing avails it, O king! to lament for the son that has fallen;
  Him thou canst raise up no more, but thyself may have new tribulation."

  So having said, he was answer'd by Priam the aged and godlike:
  "Seat not me on the chair, O belov'd of Olympus! while Hector
  Lies in the tent uninterr'd; but I pray thee deliver him swiftly,
  That I may see with mine eyes: and, accepting the gifts of redemption,
  Therein have joy to thy heart; and return thou homeward in safety,
  Since of thy mercy I live and shall look on the light of the morning."

  Darkly regarding the King, thus answer'd the rapid Achilles:
  "Stir me to anger no more, old man; of myself I am minded
  To the release of the dead, for a messenger came from Kronion
  Hither, the mother that bore me, the child of the Ancient of Ocean.
  Thee, too, I know in my mind, nor has aught of thy passage escap'd me;
  How that some God was the guide of thy steps to the ships of Achaia.
  For never mortal had dared to advance, were he blooming in manhood,
  Here to the host by himself; nor could sentinels all be avoided;
  Nor by an imbecile push might the bar be dislodg'd at my bulwark.
  Therefore excite me no more, old man, when my soul is in sorrow,
  Lest to thyself peradventure forbearance continue not alway,
  Suppliant all that thou art--but I break the behest of the Godhead."

  So did he speak; but the old man fear'd, and obey'd his commandment.
  Forth of the door of his dwelling then leapt like a lion Peleides;
  But not alone: of his household were twain that attended his going,
  Hero Automedon first, and young Alkimus, he that was honour'd
  Chief of the comrades around since the death of belovéd Patroclus.
  These from the yoke straightway unharness'd the mules and the horses,
  And they conducted within the coëval attendant of Priam,
  Bidding him sit in the tent: then swiftly their hands from the mule-wain
  Raise the uncountable wealth of the King's Hectorean head-gifts.
  But two mantles they leave and a tunic of beautiful texture,
  Seemly for wrapping the dead as the ransomer carries him homeward.
  Then were the handmaidens call'd, and commanded to wash and anoint him,
  Privately lifted aside, lest the son should be seen of the father,
  Lest in the grief of his soul he restrain not his anger within him,
  Seeing the corse of his son, but enkindle the heart of Achilles,
  And he smite him to death, and transgress the command of Kronion.
  But when the dead had been wash'd and anointed with oil by the maidens,
  And in the tunic array'd and enwrapt in the beautiful mantle,
  Then by Peleides himself was he rais'd and compos'd on the hand-bier;
  Which when the comrades had lifted and borne to its place in the
    mule-wain,
  Then groan'd he; and he call'd on the name of his friend, the belovéd:--
  "Be not wroth with me now, O Patroclus, if haply thou hearest,
  Though within Hades obscure, that I yield the illustrious Hector
  Back to his father dear. Not unworthy the gifts of redemption;
  And unto thee will I render thereof whatsoever is seemly."

  So said the noble Peleides, and ent'ring again the pavilion,
  Sat on the fair-carv'd chair from whence he had risen aforetime,
  Hard by the opposite wall, and accosted the reverend Priam:--
  "Now has thy son, old man, been restor'd to thee as thou requiredst.
  He on his bier has been laid, and thyself shall behold and remove him
  Soon as the dawning appears: but of food meanwhile be we mindful.
  For not unmindful of food in her sorrow was Niobe, fair-hair'd,
  Albeit she in her dwelling lamented for twelve of her offspring.
  Six were the daughters, and six were the sons in the flower of their
    manhood.
  These unto death went down by the silvern bow of Apollo,
  Wrathful to Niobe--those smote Artemis arrow-delighting;
  For that she vaunted her equal in honour to Leto the rosy,
  Saying her births were but twain, and herself was abundant in offspring:
  Wherefore, twain as they were, they confounded them all in destruction.
  Nine days, then, did they lie in their blood as they fell, and approach'd
    them
  None to inter, for mankind had been turn'd into stones of Kronion;
  But they had sepulture due on the tenth from the gods everlasting;
  And then, mindful of food, rose Niobe, weary of weeping.
  Yet still, far among rocks, in some wilderness lone of the mountains--
  Sipylus holds there, they say, where the nymphs in the desert repose
    them.
  They that in beauty divine lead dances beside Achelöus;--
  There still, stone though she be, doth she brood on her harm from the
    god-heads.
  But, O reverend king, let us also of needful refreshment
  Think now. Time will hereafter be thine to bewail thy belovéd;
  Home into Ilion borne--many tears may of right be his portion!"

  So did he speak; and upspringing anon, swift-footed Achilles
  Slaughter'd a white-wool'd sheep, and his followers skinn'd it expertly.
  Skilfully then they divided, and skewer'd, and carefully roasting,
  Drew from the spits; and Automedon came, bringing bread to the table,
  Piled upon baskets fair; but for all of them carv'd the Peleides;
  And each, stretching his hand, partook of the food that was offer'd.
  But when of meat and of wine from them all the desire was departed,
  Then did Dardanian Priam in wonderment gaze on Achilles,
  Stately and strong to behold, for in aspect the Gods he resembled;
  While on Dardanian Priam gazed also with wonder Achilles,
  Seeing the countenance goodly, and hearing the words of the old man.
  Till, when contemplating either the other they both were contented,
  Him thus first bespake old Priam, the godlike in presence:
  "Speedfully now let the couch be prepar'd for me, lov'd of Kronion!
  And let us taste once more of the sweetness of slumber, reclining:
  For never yet have mine eyes been clos'd for me under my eyelids,
  Never since under thy hands was out-breathéd the spirit of Hector;
  Groaning since then has been mine, and the brooding of sorrows
    unnumber'd,
  In the recess of my hall, low-rolling in dust and in ashes.
  But now of bread and of meat have I tasted again, and the black wine
  Pour'd in my throat once more--whereof, since he was slain, I partook
    not."

  So did he speak; and Achilles commanded the comrades and handmaids
  Under the porch of the dwelling to place fair couches, and spread them
  Duly with cushions on cushions of purple, and delicate carpets,
  Also with mantles of wool, to be wrapt over all on the sleepers.
  But they speedily past, bearing torches in hand, from the dwelling,
  And two couches anon were with diligence order'd and garnish'd.

  Then to the king, in a sport, thus spoke swift-footed Achilles:
  "Rest thee without, old guest, lest some vigilant chief of Achaia
  Chance to arrive, one of those who frequent me when counsel is needful;
  Who, if he see thee belike amid night's fast-vanishing darkness,
  Straightway warns in his tent Agamemnon, the Shepherd of peoples,
  And the completion of ransom meets yet peradventure with hindrance.
  But come, answer me this, and discover the whole of thy purpose,--
  How many days thou design'st for entombing illustrious Hector;
  That I may rest from the battle till then, and restrain the Achaians."

  So he; and he was answer'd by Priam, the aged and godlike:
  "If 'tis thy will that I bury illustrious Hector in honour,
  Deal with me thus, O Peleides, and crown the desire of my spirit.
  Well dost thou know how the town is begirt, and the wood at a distance,
  Down from the hills to be brought, and the people are humbled in terror.
  Nine days' space we would yield in our dwelling to due lamentation,
  Bury the dead on the tenth, and thereafter the people be feasted;
  On the eleventh let us toil till the funeral mound be completed,
  But on the twelfth to the battle once more, if the battle be needful."

  Instantly this was the answer of swift-footed noble Achilles:
  "Reverend king, be it also in these things as thou requirest;
  I for the space thou hast meted will hold the Achaians from warring."

  Thus said the noble Peleides, and, grasping the wrist of the right hand,
  Strengthen'd the mind of the king, that his fear might not linger within
    him.
  They then sank to repose forthwith in the porch of the dwelling,
  Priam the king and the herald coëval and prudent in counsel;
  But in the inmost recess of the well-built lordly pavilion
  Slept the Peleides, and by him down laid her the rosy Briséis.

  All then of Gods upon high, ever-living, and warrior horsemen,
  Slept through the livelong night in the gentle dominion of slumber;
  But never slumber approach'd to the eyes of beneficent Hermes,
  As in his mind he revolv'd how best to retire from the galleys
  Priam the king, unobserv'd of the sentinels sworn for the night-watch.
  Over his head, as he slept, stood the Argicide now, and address'd him:
  "Old man, bodings of evil disturb not thy spirit, who slumber'st
  Here among numberless foes, because noble Peleides has spared thee.
  True that thy son has been ransom'd, and costly the worth of the
    head-gifts;
  Yet would the sons that are left thee have three times more to surrender,
  Wert thou but seen by the host, and the warning convey'd to Atreides."

  Thus did he speak, but the king was in terror, and waken'd the herald.
  Then, when beneficent Hermes had harness'd the mules and the horses,
  Swiftly he drove through the camp, nor did any observe the departure.
  So did they pass to the ford of the river of beautiful waters,
  Xanthus the gulfy, begotten of thunder-delighting Kronion;
  Then from the chariot he rose and ascended to lofty Olympus.

  But now wide over earth spread morning mantled in saffron,
  As amid groaning and weeping they drew to the city; the mule-wain
  Bearing behind them the dead: Nor did any in Ilion see them,
  Either of men, as they came, or the well-girt women of Troia:
  Only Cassandra, that imaged in grace Aphrodité the golden,
  Had to the Pergamus clomb, and from thence she discover'd her father
  Standing afoot on the car, and beside him the summoning herald;
  And in the waggon behind them the wrapt corse laid on the death-bier.
  Then did she shriek, and her cry to the ends of the city resounded:

  "Come forth, woman and man, and behold the returning of Hector!
  Come, if ye e'er in his life, at his home-coming safe from the battle
  joyfully troop'd; and with joy might it fill both the town and the
    people."

  So did she cry; nor anon was there one soul left in the city,
  Woman or man, for at hand and afar was the yearning awaken'd.
  Near to the gate was the king when they met him conducting the
    death-wain.
  First rush'd, rending their hair, to behold him the wife and the mother,
  And as they handled the head, all weeping the multitude stood near:--
  And they had all day long till the sun went down into darkness
  There on the field by the rampart lamented with tears over Hector,
  But that the father arose in the car and entreated the people:
  "Yield me to pass, good friends, make way for the mules--and hereafter
  All shall have weeping enow when the dead has been borne to the
    dwelling."
  So did he speak, and they, parting asunder, made way for the mule-wain.
  But when they brought him at last to the famous abode of the princes,
  He on a fair-carv'd bed was compos'd, and the singers around him
  Rang'd, who begin the lament; and they, lifting their sorrowful voices,
  Chanted the wail for the dead, and the women bemoan'd at its pausings.
  But in the burst of her woe was the beauteous Andromache foremost,
  Holding the head in her hands as she mourn'd for the slayer of heroes:--

  "Husband! in youth hast thou parted from life, and a desolate widow
  Here am I left in our home; and the child is a stammering infant
  Whom thou and I unhappy begat, nor will he, to my thinking,
  Reach to the blossom of youth; ere then, from the roof to the basement
  Down shall the city be hurl'd--since her only protector has perish'd,
  And without succour are now chaste mother and stammering infant.
  Soon shall their destiny be to depart in the ships of the stranger,
  I in the midst of them bound; and, my child, thou go with them also,
  Doom'd for the far-off shore and the tarnishing toil of the bondman,
  Slaving for lord unkind. Or perchance some remorseless Achaian
  Hurl from the gripe of his hand, from the battlement down to perdition,
  Raging revenge for some brother perchance that was slaughter'd of Hector,
  Father, it may be, or son; for not few of the race of Achaia
  Seiz'd broad earth with their teeth, when they sank from the handling of
    Hector;
  For not mild was thy father, O babe, in the blackness of battle--
  Wherefore, now he is gone, through the city the people bewail him.
  But the unspeakable anguish of misery bides with thy parents,
  Hector! with me above all the distress that has no consolation:
  For never, dying, to me didst thou stretch forth hand from the pillow,
  Nor didst thou whisper, departing, one secret word to be hoarded
  Ever by day and by night in the tears of eternal remembrance."

  Weeping Andromache ceased, and the women bemoan'd at her pausing;
  Then in her measureless grief spake Hecuba, next of the mourners:
  "Hector! of all that I bore ever dearest by far to my heart-strings!
  Dear above all wert thou also in life to the gods everlasting;
  Wherefore they care for thee now, though in death's dark destiny humbled!
  Others enow of my sons did the terrible runner Achilles
  Sell, whomsoever he took, far over the waste of the waters,
  Either to Samos or Imber, or rock-bound harbourless Lemnos;
  But with the long-headed spear did he rifle the life from thy bosom,
  And in the dust did he drag thee, oft times, by the tomb of his comrade,
  Him thou hadst slain; though not so out of death could he rescue
    Patroclus.
  Yet now, ransom'd at last, and restored to the home of thy parents,
  Dewy and fresh liest thou, like one that has easily parted,
  Under a pangless shaft from the silvern bow of Apollo."

  So did the mother lament, and a measureless moaning received her;
  Till, at their pausing anew, spake Helena, third of the mourners:--
  "Hector! dearest to me above all in the house of my husband!
  Husband, alas! that I call him; oh! better that death had befallen!
  Summer and winter have flown, and the twentieth year is accomplish'd
  Since the calamity came, and I fled from the land of my fathers;
  Yet never a word of complaint have I heard from thee, never of hardness;
  But if another reproach'd, were it brother or sister of Paris,
  Yea, or his mother, (for mild evermore as a father was Priam,)
  Them didst thou check in their scorn, and the bitterness yielded before
    thee,
  Touch'd by thy kindness of soul and the words of thy gentle persuasion.
  Therefore I weep, both for thee and myself to all misery destined,
  For there remains to me now in the war-swept wideness of Troia,
  None either courteous or kind--but in all that behold me is horror."

  So did she cease amid tears, and the women bemoan'd at her pausing;
  But King Priam arose, and he spake in the gate to the people:--
  "Hasten ye, Trojans, arise, and bring speedily wood to the city:
  Nor be there fear in your minds of some ambush of lurking Achaians,
  For when I came from the galleys the promise was pledged of Peleides,
  Not to disturb us with harm till the twelfth reappearance of morning."

  So did he speak: and the men to their wains put the mules and the oxen,
  And they assembled with speed on the field by the gates of the city.
  Nine days' space did they labour, and great was the heap from the forest:
  But on the tenth resurrection for mortals of luminous morning,
  Forth did they carry, with weeping, the corse of the warrior Hector,
  Laid him on high on the pyre, and enkindled the branches beneath him.

  Now, with the rose-finger'd dawn once more in the orient shining,
  All reassembled again at the pyre of illustrious Hector.
  First was the black wine pour'd on the wide-spread heap of the embers,
  Quenching wherever had linger'd the strength of the glow: and thereafter,
  Brethren and comrades belov'd from the ashes collected the white bones,
  Bending with reverent tears, every cheek in the company flowing.
  But when they all had been found, and the casket of gold that receiv'd
    them,
  Carefully folded around amid fair soft veilings of purple,
  Deep in the grave they were laid, and the huge stones piled to the
    margin.

  Swiftly the earth-mound rose: but on all sides watchers were planted,
  Fearful of rush unawares from the well-greaved bands of Achaia.
  Last, when the mound was complete, and the men had return'd to the city,
  All in the halls of the King were with splendid solemnity feasted.

  Thus was the sepulture order'd of Hector the Tamer of Horses.



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA.

PART V.

  Va vienon chapelchurris
  Con corneta y clarin,
  Para entrar en Bilbao
  A beber chacolin.

  Mal chacolin tuvieron
  Y dia tan fatal,
  Que con la borrachera
  Se murió el general.

  _Christino Song._

"Ten--fifteen--thirty--all plump full-weighted coins of Fernando Septimo
and Carlos Quarto. Truly, Jaime, the trade thou drivest is a pleasant
and profitable one. Little to do, and good pay for it."

It was a June day, a little past the middle of the month. Just within
the forest that extended nearly up to the western wall of the Dominican
convent, upon a plot of smooth turf, under the shadow of tall bushes and
venerable trees, Jaime, the gipsy, had seated himself, and was engaged
in an occupation which, to judge from the unusually well-pleased
expression of his countenance, was highly congenial to his tastes. The
resting-place he had chosen had the double advantage of coolness and
seclusion. Whilst in the court of the convent, and in the hollow square
in the interior of the building, where the nuns cultivated a few
flowers, and which was sprinkled by the waters of a fountain, the heat
was so great as to drive the sisters to their cells and shady cloisters,
in the forest a delicious freshness prevailed. A light air played
between the moss-clad tree-trunks, and the soft turf, protected by the
foliage from the scorching rays of the sun, felt cool to the foot that
pressed it. Nay, in some places, where the shade was thickest, and where
a current of air flowed up through the long vistas of trees, might still
be seen, although the sun was in the zenith, tiny drops of the morning
dew, spangling the grass-blades. Into those innermost recesses of the
greenwood, however, the esquilador had not thought it necessary to
penetrate: habituated to the African temperature of Southern Spain, he
was satisfied with the moderate degree of shelter obtained in the little
glade he occupied; into which, although the sunbeams did not enter, a
certain degree of heat was reflected from the convent walls, of whose
grey surface he obtained a glimpse through the branches. The sheep-skin
jacket which was his constant wear--its looseness rendering it a more
endurable summer garment than might have been inferred from its warm
material--lay upon the grass beside him, exposing to view a woollen
shirt, composed of broad alternate stripes of red and white; the latter
colour having assumed, from length of wear and lack of washing, a tint
bordering upon the orange. He had untwisted the long red sash which he
wore coiled round his waist, and withdrawn from its folds, at one of its
extremities, forming a sort of purse, a goodly handful of gold coin, the
result of the more or less honest enterprises in which he had recently
been engaged. This he was counting out, and arranging according to its
kind, in glittering piles of four, eight, and sixteen-dollar pieces. A
grim contortion of feature, his nearest approach to a smile, testified
the pleasure he experienced in thus handling and reckoning his treasure;
and, in unusual contradiction to his taciturn habits, he indulged, as he
gloated over his gold, in a muttered and disjointed soliloquy.

"Hurra for the war!" so ran his monologue; "may it last till Jaime bids
it cease. 'Tis meat and drink to him--ay, and better still." Here he
glanced complacently at his wealth. "Surely 'tis rare fun to see the
foolish Busné cutting each other's throats, and the poor Zincalo reaping
the benefit. I've had fine chances certainly, and have not thrown them
away. Zumalacarregui does not pay badly; then that affair of the
Christino officer was worth a good forty ounces, between him and the
fool Paco; and now Don Baltasar--but he is the worst pay of all.
Promises in plenty; he rattles them off his tongue as glib as the old
nuns do their _paters_; but if he opens his mouth he takes good care to
keep his purse shut. A pitiful two score dollars are all I have had from
him for a month's service--I should have made more by spying for
Zumalacarregui; with more risk, perhaps--though I am not sure of that.
Both the noble colonel and myself would stretch a rope if the general
heard of our doings. And hear of them he will, sooner or later unless
Don Baltasar marries the girl by force, and cuts Paco's throat. Curse
him! why doesn't he pay me the fifty ounces he promised me? If he did
that, I would get out of the way till I heard how the thing turned. I
must have the money next time I see him, or"----

What alternative the esquilador was about to propound must remain
unknown; for, at that moment, the sound of his name, uttered near at
hand, and in a cautious tone, caused him to start violently and
interrupt his soliloquy. Hastily sweeping up his money, and thrusting it
into the end of his sash, he seized his jacket, and was about to seek
concealment in the neighbouring bushes. Before doing so, however, he
cast a glance in the direction whence the sound had proceeded, and for
the first time became aware that the spot selected for the telling of
his ill-gotten gains was not so secure from observation as he had
imagined. In the outer wall of the western wing of the convent, and at
some distance from the ground, two windows broke the uniformity of the
stone surface. Hitherto, whenever the gipsy had noticed them, they had
appeared hermetically blocked up by closely-fitting shutters, painted to
match the colour of the wall, of which they almost seemed to form a
part. On taking up his position just within the skirt of the forest, the
possibility of these casements being opened, and his proceedings
observed, had not occurred to him; and it so happened that from one of
them, through an opening in the branches, the retreat he had chosen was
completely commanded. The shutter of this window had now been pushed
open, and the lovely, but pallid and emaciated countenance of Rita, was
seen gazing through the strong bars which traversed the aperture.

"Jaime!" she repeated; "Jaime, I would speak with you."

Upon seeing whom it was who thus addressed him, the gipsy's alarm
ceased. He deliberately put on and knotted his sash; and casting his
jacket over his shoulder, turned to leave the spot.

"Jaime!" cried Rita for the third time, "come hither, I implore you."

The gipsy shook his head, and was walking slowly away, his face,
however, still turned towards the fair prisoner, when she suddenly
exclaimed--

"Behold! For one minute's conversation it is yours."

And in the shadow cast by the embrasure of the casement, Jaime saw a
sparkle, the cause of which his covetous eye at once detected. Three
bounds, and he stood under the window. Rita passed her arm through the
bars, and a jewelled ring dropped into his extended palm.

"_Hermoso!_" exclaimed the esquilador, his eyes sparkling almost as
vividly as the stones that excited his admiration. "Beautiful! Diamonds
of the finest water!"

The shock of her father's death, coupled with previous fatigue and
excitement, had thrown Rita into a delirious fever, which for more than
three weeks confined her to her bed. Within a few hours of her arrival
at the convent, Don Baltasar had been compelled to leave it to resume
his military duties; and he had not again returned, although, twice
during her illness, he sent the gipsy to obtain intelligence of her
health. On learning her convalescence, he dispatched him thither for a
third time, with a letter to Rita, urging her acceptance of his
hand--their union having been, as he assured her, her father's latest
wish. As her nearest surviving relative, he had assumed the office of
her guardian, and allotted to her the convent as a residence; until such
time as other arrangements could be made, or until she should be
willing to give him a nearer right to protect her. Jaime had now been
two days at the convent awaiting a reply to this letter, without which
Don Baltasar had forbidden him to return. This reply, however, Rita,
indignant at the restraint imposed upon her, had as yet, in spite of the
arguments of the abbess, shown no disposition to pen.

With her forehead pressed against the bars of the window, Rita noted the
delight manifested by the gipsy at the present she had made him. She had
already observed him feasting his eyes with the sight of his money; and
although she knew him to be an agent of Don Baltasar, his evident
avarice gave her hopes, that by promise of large reward she might induce
him to betray his employer and serve her. Producing a second ring, of
greater value than the one she had already bestowed upon him, she showed
it to the wondering esquilador. He held up his hands instinctively to
catch it.

"You may earn it," said Rita; "and twenty such."

And whilst with one hand she continued to expose the ring to the greedy
gaze of the gipsy, with the other she held up a letter.

"For Don Baltasar?" asked the Gitano.

"No," said she. "For Zumalacarregui."

Jaime made a step backwards, and again shook his head. Rita feared that
he was about to leave her.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, "I entreat, I beseech you, assist me in this
strait. Whatever sum your vile employer has promised you, I will give
tenfold. Take my letter, and name your reward."

"That's what the other said," muttered Jaime; "'name your reward,' but
he is in no hurry to pay it. If I thought her promises better than
his"----

And again he looked up at the window, and seemed to hesitate.

"Listen," cried Rita, who saw him waver; "I am rich--you are poor. I
have farms, estates, vineyards--you shall choose amongst them wherewith
to live happily for the rest of your days. Convey this letter safely,
and exchange your comfortless and disreputable wanderings for a settled
home and opulence."

Jaime made a gesture of refusal.

"Your lands and your vineyards, your fields and farms, are no temptation
to the Zincalo, señora. What would they avail him? Your countrymen would
say, 'Out upon the gipsy! See the thief!' and they would defraud him of
his lands, and spit on him if he complained. No, señorita, give me a
roving life, and the wealth that I can carry in my girdle, and defend
with my knife."

"It shall be as you will," cried Rita, eagerly. "Gold, jewels, whatever
you prefer. This letter will procure my freedom; and, once free, you
shall find me both able and disposed to reward you beyond your wildest
dreams."

"Yes, if the general does not hang me when he learns my share in the
business."

"I have not named you to him, nor will I. The letter is unsealed; you
can read before delivering it. Your name shall never be breathed by me,
save as that of my preserver."

There was an accent of sincerity in Rita's promises that rendered it
impossible to mistrust them. The gipsy, sorely tempted, was evidently
about to yield. He gazed wistfully at the ring, which Rita still held up
to his view; his eyes twinkled with covetousness, and he half extended
his hand. Rita slipped the ring into the fold of the letter, and threw
both down to him. Dexterously catching, and thrusting them into his
breast, he glanced furtively around, to see that he was unobserved. He
stood near the wall, just under the window, and the iron bars preventing
Rita from putting out her head, only the upper half of his figure was
visible to her. At that moment, to her infinite surprise and alarm, she
saw an extraordinary change come over his features. Their expression of
greedy cunning was replaced, with a suddenness that appeared almost
magical, by one of pain and terror; and scarcely had Rita had time to
observe the transformation, when he lay upon the ground, struggling
violently, but in vain, against some unseen power, that drew him
towards the wall. He caught at the grass and weeds, which grew in
profusion on the rarely-trodden path; he writhed, and endeavoured to
turn himself upon his face, but without success. With pale and terrified
visage, but in dogged silence, he strove against an agency invisible to
Rita, and which he was totally unable to resist. His body speedily
vanished from her sight, then his head, and finally his outstretched
arms; the rustling noise, occasioned by his passage through the herbage,
ceased; and Rita, aghast at this extraordinary and mysterious
occurrence, again found herself alone. We will leave her to her
astonishment and conjecture, whilst we follow the gipsy to the place
whither he had been so involuntarily and unceremoniously conveyed, a
description of which will furnish a key to his seemingly unaccountable
disappearance.

It was a vault of considerable extent, surrounded by casks of various
sizes, most of which would, on being touched, have given, by their
ringing sound, assurance of their emptiness. In bins, at one extremity
of the cellar, were a number of bottles, whose thick mantle of dust and
cobwebs spoke volumes for the ripe and racy nature of their contents. A
large chest of cedar-wood stood in the innermost nook of the cellar,
with raised lid, disclosing a quantity of cigars, worm-eaten and musty
from extreme age. In the massive wall, forming one end of the vault, and
which was in fact the foundation of the outer wall of the convent, was a
large doorway; but the door had been removed, and the aperture filled
with stones and plaster, forming a barrier more solid in appearance than
reality. This barrier had recently been knocked down; its materials lay
scattered on the ground, and through the opening thus made, came the
only light that was allowed to enter the vault. It proceeded from the
cell in which Paco, the muleteer, had for more than a month been
imprisoned.

Long, very long and wearisome, had that month of captivity appeared to
Paco. Accustomed to a life of constant activity and change, it would
have been difficult to devise for him a severer punishment than inaction
and confinement. The first day he passed in tolerable tranquillity of
mind, occupied by vain endeavours to conjecture the motives of the
violence offered to him, and momentarily anticipating his release; and
although evening came without its taking place, he went to sleep, fully
convinced that the next morning would be the term of his durance.
Conscious of no crime, ignorant of Count Villabuena's death, and of Don
Baltasar's designs, he was totally unable to assign a reason for his
imprisonment. The next morning came, the bolts of his dungeon-door were
withdrawn; he started from his pallet. The door opened, and a man
entered, bringing a supply of fresh water and a meagre gaspacho. This he
laid down; and was leaving the cell without replying to Paco's indignant
and loudly-uttered interrogatories; when the muleteer followed, and
attempted to force his way out. He was met by a stern "Back!" and the
muzzle of a cocked blunderbuss touched his breast. A sturdy convent
servitor barred the passage, and compelled him to retreat into his
prison.

Paco now gave free course to his impatience. During the whole of that
day he paced his cell with the wild restlessness of a newly-caged
panther; the gaspacho remained untasted, but the water-jug was quickly
drained, for his throat was dry with cursing. The next morning another
visit, another gaspacho and supply of water, and another attempt to
leave the prison, repulsed like the previous one. On the third day,
however, his hopes of a prompt liberation having melted away before the
dogged silence and methodical regularity of his jailers, Paco began to
cast about in his mind for means of liberating himself. First he shook
and examined the door, but he might as well have attempted to shake the
Pyrenees; its thick hard wood and solid fastenings mocked his efforts,
and moreover he had no instruments, not so much as a rusty nail, to aid
him in his attempt. The two side-walls next received his attention; but
they were of great blocks of stone, joined by a cement of nearly equal
hardness, and on which, although he worked till his nails were torn to
shreds, and his fingers ran blood, he could not make the slightest
impression. As to the wall opposite to the door, he did not even examine
it; for it was easy to judge, from the grass and bushes growing against
the window in its top, that it was the outer wall of the convent. On
this, since he could make nothing of the partition-walls, all labour
would of course be thrown away; and even if he could bore through it, he
must find the solid earth on the other side, and be discovered before he
could possibly burrow his way out. As to the window, or rather the
iron-barred opening through which came light and air, for any purposes
of escape it might as well not have been there, for its lower edge was
nearly fourteen feet from the ground; and although Paco, who was a
first-rate leaper, did, in his desperation, and in the early days of his
captivity, make several violent attempts to jump up and catch hold of
the grating, they were all, as may be supposed, entirely without result.

It was the thirty-fifth day of his imprisonment, an hour after daybreak.
His provisions for the next twenty-four hours had been brought to him,
and, as usual, he had made an unsuccessful effort to induce his sullen
jailer to inform him why he was confined, and when he should be
released. Gloomy and disconsolate, he seated himself on the ground, and
leaned his back against the end wall of his dreary dungeon. The light
from the window above his head fell upon the opposite door, and
illuminated the spot where he had scratched, with the shank of a button,
a line for each day of his imprisonment. The melancholy calendar already
reached one quarter across the door, and Paco was speculating and
wondering how far it might be prolonged, when he thought he felt a
stream of cold wind against his ear. He placed his hand where his ear
had been, and plainly distinguished a current of air issuing from a
small crevice in the wall, which otherwise was smooth and covered with
plaster. Without being much of a natural philosopher, it was evident to
Paco, that if wind came through, there must be a vault on the other side
of the wall, and not the solid earth, as he had hitherto believed; and
it also became probable that the wall was deficient either in thickness
or solidity. After some scratching at the plaster, he succeeded in
uncovering the side of a small stone of irregular shape. A vigorous push
entirely dislodged it, and it fell from him, leaving an opening through
which he could pass his arm. This he did, and found that although on one
side of the aperture the wall was upwards of two feet thick, on the
other it was not more than six or eight inches, and of loose
construction. By a very little labour he knocked out half-a-dozen
stones, and then, weary of thus making an opening piecemeal, he receded
as far as he could, took a short run, and threw himself against the wall
with all his force. After a few repetitions of this vigorous but not
very prudent proceeding, the frail bulwark gave way, and amidst a shower
of dust and mortar, Paco entered the vault into which he had conquered
his passage.

The vault had apparently served, during some former occupation of the
convent by monks, as the wine-cellar of the holy fathers; and had been
walled up, not improbably, to protect it from the depredations of the
French soldiery during Napoleon's occupation of Spain. As already
mentioned, it was well stocked with casks of all sorts and sizes, most
of them empty and with bottles, for the most part full. Several of the
latter Paco lost no time in decapitating; and a trial of their contents
satisfied him that the proprietors of the cellar, whatever else they
might have been, were decidedly good judges of wine. Cheered and
invigorated by the pleasant liquor of which he had now so long been
deprived, he commenced, as soon as his eyes had got a little accustomed
to the exceedingly dim twilight that reigned in the vault, a thorough
investigation of the place, in hopes of finding either an outlet, or the
means of making one. In the former part of his hopes he was
disappointed; but after a patient search, his pains were rewarded by the
discovery of several pieces of old rope, and of a wooden bar or lever,
which had probably served to raise and shift the wine-casks. The rope
did not seem likely to be of any use, but the lever was an invaluable
acquisition; and by its aid Paco entertained strong hopes of
accomplishing his escape. He at once set to work to knock down the
remainder of the stones blocking up the doorway, and when they were
cleared he began to roll and drag empty casks into his cell. Of a number
of these, and with some labour, he formed a scaffolding, by means of
which he was enabled to reach the window, taking his crowbar with him.
His hand trembled as it grasped the grating, on the possibility of whose
removal every thing depended. Viewed from the floor of his prison, the
bars appeared of a formidable thickness, and he dreaded lest the time
that would elapse till the next visit of his jailer, should be
insufficient for him to overcome the obstacle. To his unspeakable
delight, however, his first effort caused the grating to shake and
rattle. The stone into which the extremities of the bars were riveted
was of no very hard description; the iron was corroded by the rust of
centuries, and Paco at once saw, that what he had looked forward to as a
task of severe difficulty, would be accomplished with the utmost ease.
He set to work with good courage, and after a couple of hours' toil, the
grating was removed, and the passage free.

Paco's first impulse was to spring through the opening into the bright
sunshine without; but a moment's reflection checked him. He remembered
that he was unarmed and unacquainted with the neighbourhood; and his
appearance outside the convent in broad daylight, might lead to his
instant recapture by some of those, whoever they were, who found an
interest or a gratification in keeping him prisoner. He resolved,
therefore, unwillingly enough it is true, to curb his impatience, and
defer his departure till nightfall. Of a visit from his jailers he felt
no apprehension, for they had never yet shown themselves to him more
than once a-day, and that, invariably, at an early hour of the morning.
Partly, however, to be prepared for instant flight, should he hear his
dungeon door open, and still more for the sake of inhaling the warm and
aromatic breeze, which blew over to him from the neighbouring woods and
fields, he seated himself upon the top of his casks, his head just on a
level with the window, and, cautiously making a small opening in the
matted vegetable screen that grew before it, gazed out upon the face of
nature with a feeling of enjoyment, only to be appreciated by those who,
like him, have passed five weeks in a cold, gloomy, subterranean
dungeon. The little he was able to distinguish of the locality was
highly satisfactory. Within thirty paces of the convent wall was the
commencement of a thick wood, wherein he doubted not that he should find
shelter and security if observed in his flight. He would greatly have
preferred waiting the approach of night in the forest, instead of in his
cell; but with a prudence hardly to be expected from him, and which the
horror he had of a prolongation of his captivity, perhaps alone induced
him to exercise, he would not risk crossing the strip of open land
intervening between him and the wood; judging, not without reason, that
it might be overlooked by the convent windows.

For some time Paco remained seated upon his pile of casks, feasting his
eyes with the sunshine, to which they had so long been strangers; his
ear on the watch, his fingers mechanically plucking and twisting the
blades of grass that grew in through the window. He was arranging in his
mind what route he should take, and considering where he was most likely
to find Count Villabuena, when he was surprised by the sound of words,
proceeding apparently from a considerable distance above his head, but
some of which nevertheless reached his quick and practised ear. Of these
the one most distinctly spoken was the name of Jaime, and in the voice
that spoke it, Paco was convinced that he recognised that of Count
Villabuena's daughter. A few moments elapsed, something else was said,
what, he was unable to make out, and then, to his no small alarm, his
old acquaintance and recent betrayer, Jaime the esquilador, stood within
arm's length of his window. He instinctively drew back; the gipsy was so
near, that only the growth of weeds before mentioned interposed between
him and the muleteer. But Paco soon saw that his proximity was
unsuspected by Jaime, who had commenced the dialogue with Rita already
recorded. Paco at once comprehended the situation; and emboldened by the
knowledge that he, and even the aperture of the window, was concealed
from sight by the grass and bushes, he again put his head as far forward
as was prudent, and attentively listened. Not a word spoken by the
esquilador escaped him, but he could scarcely hear any thing of what
Rita said; for the distance between her and Jaime being diminished, she
spoke in a very low tone. He made out, however, that she was
endeavouring to bribe the gipsy to take a letter--to whom, he did not
hear--and a scheme occurred to him, the execution of which he only
deferred till he should see the missive in the possession of Jaime, on
whose every gesture and movement he kept a vigilant watch. At the same
instant that the letter was deposited in the gipsy's pocket, Paco thrust
both his hands through the grass, seized the naked ankles of the
esquilador in a vicelike grip, and by a sudden jerk throwing him upon
his back, proceeded to drag him through the aperture, behind which he
himself was stationed. His strength and adroitness, and the suddenness
of the attack, ensured its success; and in spite of the gipsy's
struggles, Paco speedily pulled him completely into the dungeon, upon
the ground of which he cast him down with a force that might well have
broken the bones, but, as it happened, merely took away the senses, of
the terrified esquilador.

The strange and mysterious manner of the assault, the stunning violence
of his fall, and his position on regaining the consciousness of which he
had for a brief space been deprived, combined to bewilder the gipsy, and
temporarily to quell the courage, or, as it should perhaps rather be
termed, the passive stoicism, usually exhibited by him in circumstances
of danger. He had been dragged into the wine-cellar, and seated with his
back against a cask; his wrists and ankles were bound with ropes, and
beside him knelt a man busily engaged in searching, his pockets. The
light was so faint that at first he could not distinguish the features
of this person; but when at last he recognized those of Paco, he
conjectured to a certain extent the nature of the snare into which he
had fallen, and, as he did so, his usual coolness and confidence in some
degree returned. His first words were an attempt to intimidate the
muleteer.

"Untie my hands," said he, "or I shout for help. I have only to call
out, to be released immediately."

"If that were true, you would have done it, and not told me of it,"
retorted Paco, with his usual acuteness. "The walls are thick; and the
vault deep, and I believe you might shout a long while before any one
heard you. But I advise you not to try. The first word you speak in a
louder tone than pleases me, I cut your throat like a pig; with your own
knife, too."

And, by way of confirming this agreeable assurance, he drew the cold
blade across Jaime's throat, with such a fierce determined movement,
that the startled gipsy involuntarily shrunk back. Paco marked the
effect of his menace.

"You see," said he, sticking the knife in the ground beside him, and
continuing his in investigation of the esquilador's pockets; "you had
better be quiet, and answer my questions civilly. For whom is this
letter?" continued he, holding up Rita's missive, which he had extracted
from the gipsy's jacket.

But although the esquilador (partly on account of Paco's threats, and
partly because he knew that his cries were unlikely to bring assistance)
made no attempt to call out, he did not, on the other hand, show any
disposition to communicativeness. Instead of replying to the questions
put to him, he maintained a surly, dogged silence. Paco repeated the
interrogatory without obtaining a better result, and then, as if weary
of questioning a man who would not answer, he continued his search
without further waste of words. The two rings and Rita's letter he had
already found; they were succeeded by a number of miscellaneous objects
which he threw carelessly aside; and having rummaged the esquilador's
various pockets, he proceeded to unfasten his sash. The first
demonstration of a design upon this receptacle of his wealth, produced,
on the part of the gipsy, a violent but fruitless effort to liberate his
wrists from the cords that confined them.

"Oho!" said Paco, "is that the sore place? Faith! there is reason for
your wincing," he added, as the gold contained in the girdle fell
jingling on the floor. "This was not all got by clipping mules."

"It was received from you, the greater part of it," exclaimed the gipsy,
forced out of his taciturnity by his agony at seeing Paco, after
replacing the money in the sash, deliberately bind it round his own
waist.

"I worked hard and ran risk for it, and you paid it me willingly. Surely
you will not rob me!"

Without attending to this expostulation, Paco secured the gold, and then
rising to his feet, again repeated the question he had already twice put
to his prisoner.

"To whom is this letter?" said he.

"You may read it yourself," returned Jaime, who, notwithstanding the
intelligible hint to be tractable which he had already received, found
it a hard matter to restrain his sulkiness. "It is addressed, and open."

Read it, was exactly what Paco would have done, had he been able; but it
so happened that the muleteer was a self-educated man, and that, whilst
teaching himself many things which he had on various occasions found of
much utility, he had given but a moderate share of his attention to the
acquirement of letters. When on the road with his mules, he could
distinguish the large printed capitals painted on the packages entrusted
to his care; he was also able, from long habit, fluently to read the
usual announcement of "_Vinos y licores finos_," inscribed above tavern
doors; and, when required, he could even perpetrate a hieroglyphic
intended for the signature of his name; but these were the extent of his
acquirements. As to deciphering the contents or superscription of the
letter now in his possession, he knew that it would be mere lost labour
to attempt it. He was far too wary, however, to display his ignorance to
the gipsy, and thus to strengthen him in his refusal to say for whom it
was intended.

"Of course I may read it," he replied "but here it is too dark, and I
have no mind to leave you alone. Answer me, or it will be worse for
you."

Either suspecting how the case really stood, or through mere sullenness
at the loss of his money, the gipsy remained, with lowering brow and
compressed lips, obstinately silent. For a few moments Paco awaited a
reply, and then walking to a short distance, he picked up something that
lay in a dark corner of the vault, returned to the gipsy, and placing
his hands upon the edge of the tall cask against which the latter was
seated, sprang actively upon the top of it. Soon he again descended,
and, upsetting the cask, gave it a shove with his foot that sent it
rolling into the middle of the cellar. The gipsy, although motionless,
and to all appearance inattentive to what passed, lost not one of the
muleteer's movements. His head stirred not but his sunken beadlike eyes
shifted their glances with extraordinary keenness and rapidity. At the
moment when, surprised by the sudden removal of the cask, he screwed his
head round to see what was going on behind him, a rope was passed
swiftly over his face, and the next instant he felt his neck encircled
by a halter. A number of strong hooks and wooden brackets, used to
support shelves and suspend wine-skins, were firmly fixed in the cellar
wall, at various distances from the ground. Over one of the highest of
these, Paco had cast a rope, one end of which he held, whilst the other,
as already mentioned, was fixed round the neck of the gipsy. Retiring a
couple of paces, the muleteer hauled on the rope; it tightened round the
neck of the unlucky Jaime, and even lifted him a little from the ground.
He strove to rise to his feet from the sitting posture in which he was,
but his bonds prevented him. Stumbling and helpless, he fell over on one
side, and would inevitably have been strangled, had not Paco given him
more line. The fear of death came over him. He trembled violently, and
his face, which was smeared with blood from the scratches he had
received in his passage through the bushes, became of an ash-like
paleness. He cast a piteous look at Paco, who surveyed him with
unrelenting aspect.

"Not the first time I've had you at a rope's end," said he; "although
the knot wasn't always in the same place. Come, I've no time to lose!
Will you answer, or hang?"

"What do you want to know?"

"I have already asked you three times," returned Paco, impatiently, "who
this letter is for, and what about."

"For Zumalacarregui," replied Jaime; "and now you know as much as I do."

"Why have I been kept in prison?" demanded Paco.

"Why did you come with the lady?" replied the esquilador. "Had you
stopped at Segura, no one would have meddled with you."

"I came because I was ordered. Where is Doña Rita?"

The gipsy hesitated, and then answered surlily. "I do not know."

Paco gave the rope a twitch which brought the esquilador's tongue out of
his mouth.

"Liar!" he exclaimed; "I heard you speaking to her just now. What does
she here?"

"A prisoner," muttered the half-strangled gipsy.

"Whose?"

"Colonel Villabuena's."

"And the Señor Conde. Where is he?"

"Dead."

"Dead!" repeated Paco, letting the rope go, grasping the esquilador by
the collar, and furiously shaking him. "The noble count dead! When did
he die? Or is it a lie of your invention?"

"He was dead before I fetched the young lady from Segura," said Jaime.
"The story of his being wounded, and wishing to see her, was merely a
stratagem to bring her here."

Relinquishing his hold, Paco took a step backwards, in grief and great
astonishment. The answers he had forced from Jaime, and his own natural
quickness of apprehension, were sufficient to enlighten him as to the
main outline of what he had hitherto found a mystery. He at once
conjectured Don Baltasar's designs, and the motives of Doña Rita's
imprisonment and his own. That the count was really dead he could not
doubt; for otherwise Baltasar would hardly have ventured upon his
daughter's abduction. Aware that the count's duties and usual
occupations did not lead him into actual collision with the enemy, and
that they could scarcely, except by a casualty, endanger his life, it
occurred to Paco, as highly probable, that he had met his death by
unfair means, at the hands of Don Baltasar and the gipsy. The colonel he
suspected, and Jaime he knew, to be capable of any iniquity. Such were
some of the reflections that passed rapidly through his mind during the
few moments that he stood beside Jaime, mute and motionless, meditating
on what had passed, and on what he should now do. Naturally prompt and
decided, and accustomed to perilous emergencies, he was not long in
making up his mind. Suddenly starting from his immobility, he seized the
end of the halter, and, to the horror of the gipsy, whose eyes were
fixed upon him, began pulling furiously at it, hand over hand, like a
sailor tugging at a hawser.

"_Misericordia!_" screamed the horror-stricken esquilador, as he found
himself lifted from the ground by the neck. "Mercy! mercy!"

But mercy there was none for him. His cries were stifled by the pressure
of the rope, and then he made a desperate effort to gain his feet. In
this he succeeded, and stood upright causing the noose for a moment to
slacken. He profited by the temporary relief to attempt another
ineffectual prayer for pity. A gasping, inarticulate noise in his throat
was the sole result; for the muleteer continued his vigorous pulls at
the cord, and in an instant the unhappy gipsy felt himself lifted
completely off the ground. He made one more violent strain to touch the
earth with the point of his foot; but no--all was in vain--higher and
higher he went, till the crown of his head struck against the long iron
hook through the loop of which the halter ran. When this was the case,
Paco caught his end of the rope round another hook at a less height from
the ground, twisted and knotted it securely; then stooping, he picked up
the esquilador's knife, re-entered the dungeon, and ascended the pile of
casks erected below the window. On the top of these he sat himself down
for a moment and listened. There proceeded from the wine-cellar a sort
of noise, as of a scraping and thumping against the wall. It was the
wretched gipsy kicking and struggling in his last agony.

"He dies hard," muttered Paco, a slight expression of compunction coming
over his features, "and I strung him up without priest or prayer. But,
what then! those gitanos are worse than Jews, they believe neither in
God nor devil. As for his death, he deserves it, the dog, ten times
over. And if he didn't, Doña Rita's fate depends on my escape, and I
could not leave him there to alarm the convent and have me pursued."

His scruples quieted by these arguments, the muleteer again listened.
All was silent in the vault. Paco cautiously put his head out at the
hole through which he had dragged the gipsy. The coast was clear, the
forest within thirty yards. Winding his body noiselessly through the
aperture, he sprang to his feet, and with the speed of a greyhound
sought the cover of the wood. Upon reaching the shelter of its foremost
trees he paused, and turning round, looked back at the convent, hoping
to see Rita at a window. But she had disappeared, and the shutters were
closed. It would have been folly, under the circumstances, to wait the
chance of her return; and once more turning his back upon the place of
his captivity, the muleteer, exulting in his newly recovered freedom,
plunged, with quick and elastic step, into the innermost recesses of the
forest.

Rightly conjecturing that Rita, informed of her father's death, and
having no influential friend to whom to address herself for aid, had
written to Zumalacarregui with a view to obtain her release, Paco
determined to convey the letter to its destination as speedily as
possible. To do this it was necessary, first, to ascertain the
whereabout of the Carlist general, and secondly, to avoid falling in
with Colonel Villabuena, a meeting with whom might not only prevent him
from delivering the letter, but also again endanger his liberty, perhaps
his life. Shaping his course through the forest in, as nearly as he
could judge, a westerly direction, he reached the mountains at sunset,
and continued his march along their base--avoiding the more frequented
path by which he had approached the convent--until he reached an outlet
of the valley. Through this he passed; and still keeping straight
forward, without any other immediate object than that of increasing the
distance between himself and his late prison, he found himself, some
time after midnight, clear of the lofty range of mountains, a limb of
the Spanish Pyrenees, in one of whose recesses the convent stood. The
country in front, and on both sides of him, was still mountainous, but
the elevations were less; and Paco, who had a good general knowledge of
the geography of his native province, through most parts of which his
avocations as muleteer had often caused him to travel, conjectured that
he was on the extreme verge of Navarre and about to enter the province
of Guipuzcoa. He had deemed it prudent to avoid all human habitations
whilst still in the vicinity of the convent; but having now left it half
a dozen leagues in his rear, the necessity for such caution no longer
existed, and he began to look about for a convenient place to take a few
hours' repose. At the distance of a mile he perceived the white walls of
houses shimmering in the moonlight, and he bent his steps in that
direction. It was two in the morning and the hamlet was buried in sleep;
the sharp, sudden bark of a watch-dog was the only sound that greeted
the muleteer as he passed under the irregular avenue of trees preceding
its solitary street. Entering a barn, whose door stood invitingly open,
he threw himself upon a pile of newly-made hay, and was instantly
plunged in a sleep far sounder and more refreshing than any he had
enjoyed during the whole period of his captivity.

It was still early morning when he was roused from his slumbers by the
entrance of the proprietor of the barn, a sturdy, good-humoured peasant,
more surprised, than pleased, to find upon his premises a stranger of
Paco's equivocal appearance. The muleteer's exterior was certainly not
calculated to give a high opinion of his respectability. His uniform
jacket of dark green cloth was soiled and torn; his boina, which had
served him for a nightcap during his imprisonment, was in equally bad
plight; he was uncombed and unwashed, and a beard of nearly six weeks'
growth adorned his face. It was in a tone of some suspicion that the
peasant enquired his business, but Paco had his answer ready. Taken
prisoner by the Christinos, he said, he had escaped from Pampeluna after
a confinement of some duration, and ignorant of the country, had
wandered about for two nights, lying concealed during the day, and
afraid to approach villages lest he should again fall into the hands of
the enemy. The haggard look he had acquired during his imprisonment, his
beard and general appearance, and the circumstance of his being unarmed,
although in uniform, seemed to confirm the truth of his tale; and the
peasant, who, like all of his class at that time and in that province,
was an enthusiastic Carlist, willingly supplied him with the razor and
refreshment of which he stood in pressing need. His appearance somewhat
improved, and his appetite satisfied, Paco in his turn became the
interrogator, and the first answers he received caused him extreme
surprise. The most triumphant success had waited on the Carlist arms
during the period of his captivity. The Christino generals had been on
all hands discomfited by the men at whose discipline and courage, even
more than at their poverty and imperfect resources, they affected to
sneer, and numerous towns and fortified places had fallen into the hands
of Zumalacarregui and his victorious lieutenants. The mere name of the
Carlist chief had become a tower of strength to his followers, and a
terror to his foes; and several ably managed surprises had greatly
increased the panic dread with which the news of his approach now
inspired the Christino troops. On the heights of Descarga a strong
column of the Queen's army had been attacked in the night, and routed
with prodigious loss, by the Carlist general Eraso; in the valley of the
Baztan General Oraa had been beaten by Sagastibelza, leaving ninety
officers and seven hundred men in the hands of the victors; Estella,
Vergara, Tolosa, Villafranca, and numerous other considerable towns,
were held by the soldiers of the Pretender; and, to crown all, Paco
learned, to his astonishment, that Zumalacarregui and his army were then
in front of Bilboa, vigorously besieging that rich and important city.

Towards Bilboa, then, did Paco bend his steps. The remote position of
the village where he had obtained the above information, caused it to be
but irregularly supplied with intelligence from the army; and it was not
till the evening of his first day's march, that the muleteer heard a
piece of news which redoubled his eagerness to reach the Carlist
headquarters. Zumalacarregui, he was informed, had received, whilst
directing the operations of the siege, a severe and dangerous wound.
Fearing he might die before he reached him, Paco endeavoured to hire or
purchase a horse, but all that could be spared had been taken for the
Carlist army; and he rightly judged that through so mountainous a
country he should make better progress on foot than on any Rosinante
offered to him. He pushed forward, therefore, with all possible haste;
but his feet had grown tender during his imprisonment, and he was but
indifferently satisfied with his rate of marching. On the following day,
however, his anxiety was considerably dissipated by learning that
Zumalacarregui's wound was slight, and that the surgeons had predicted a
rapid cure. He nevertheless continued his journey without abatement of
speed, and on the afternoon of the fourth day arrived on the summit of
the hills that overlook Bilboa. The suburbs were occupied by the
Carlists, whose slender battering train kept up a fire that was
vigorously replied to by the forty or fifty cannon bristling the
fortifications. Entering the faubourg known as the Barrio de Bolueta, he
approached a group of soldiers lounging in front of their quarters, and
enquired where the general was lodged. The men looked at him in some
surprise, and asked which general he meant.

"The general-in-chief, Zumalacarregui, to be sure," replied Paco
impatiently.

"Where come you from, amigo?" said one of the soldiers, "not to know
that Zumalacarregui left the lines the day after he was wounded, and is
now getting cured at Cegama?"

Great was Paco's vexation at finding that the person he had come so far
to seek, had been all the while at a village within a day's march of the
Dominican convent. His annoyance was so legibly written upon his
countenance, that one of the soldiers took upon himself to offer a word
of consolation.

"Never mind, comrade," said he, "if you want to see Tio Tomas, you can't
do better than remain here. You won't have long to wait. He has only got
a scratch on the leg, and we expect every day to see him ride into the
lines. He's not the man to be laid up long by such a trifle."

"Is Colonel Villabuena here?" said Paco, somewhat reassured by this last
information.

"What, Black Baltasar, as they call him? Ay, that he is, and be hanged
to him. It's only two days since he ordered me an extra turn of picket
for forgetting to salute him as he passed my beat. Curse him for a
soldier's plague!"

Paco left the soldiers and walked on till he came to a small house,
which the juniper bush suspended above the door proclaimed to be a
tavern. Entering the smoky low-roofed room upon the ground-floor, which
just then chanced to be unoccupied, he sat down by the open window and
called for a quartillo of wine. A measure of the vinegar-flavoured
liquid known by the name of chacolin, and drunk for wine in the province
of Biscay, was brought to him, and after washing the dust out of his
throat, he began to think what was best to do in his present dilemma. He
was desirous to get out of Don Baltasar's neighbourhood, and, moreover,
if he did not rejoin his regiment or report himself to the military
authorities, he was liable to be arrested as a deserter. In that case,
he could hardly hope that the strange story he would have to tell of his
imprisonment at the convent would find credit, and, even if it did,
delay would inevitably ensue. He finally made up his mind to remain
where he was for the night, and to start early next morning for Cegama.
A better and more speedy plan would perhaps have been to seek out one of
Zumalacarregui's aides-de-camp, relate to him his recent adventures,
produce Rita's letter in corroboration of his veracity, and request him
to forward it, or provide him with a horse to take it himself. But
although this plan occurred to him, the gain in time appeared
insufficient to compensate for the risk of meeting Don Baltasar whilst
searching for the aide-de-camp, and of being by him thrown into prison
and deprived of the letter.

The day had been most sultry, and Paco had walked, with but a ten
minutes' halt, from sunrise till afternoon. Overcome by fatigue and
drowsiness, he had no sooner decided on his future proceedings, and
emptied his quartillo, events which were about coincident, than his head
began to nod and droop, and after a few faint struggles against the
sleepy impulse, it fell forward upon the table, and he slept as men
sleep after a twelve hours' march under a Spanish sun in the month of
June. During his slumbers various persons, soldiers and others, passed
in and out of the room; but there was nothing unusual in seeing a
soldier dozing off his wine or fatigue on a tavern table, and no one
disturbed or took especial notice of him. Paco slept on.

It was evening when he awoke, and rose from his bench with a hearty
stretch of his stiffened limbs. As he did so, he heard the sound of
footsteps in the street. They ceased near the window, and a dialogue
commenced, a portion of which reached his ears.

"Have you heard the news?" said one of the speakers.

"No," was the reply, in a voice that made Paco start. "I am now going to
Eraso's quarters to get them. I am told that a courier arrived from
Durango half an hour since, covered with foam, and spurring as on a life
or death errand."

Whilst this was saying, Paco noiselessly approached the window, which
was large and square, about four feet above the street, and closed only
by a clumsy shutter, at that moment wide open. Crouching down, he
cautiously raised his head so as to obtain a view of the street, without
exposing more than the upper part of his face to the possible
observation of the persons outside. What he saw, confirmed the testimony
of his ears: two officers in staff uniforms stood within twenty paces of
the window, and in the one who had last spoken, Paco recognised Don
Baltasar. His face was towards the tavern, but his eyes were fixed upon
his interlocutor, who replied to his last observation--

"On an errand of death, indeed!" said he, in tones which, although
suppressed, were distinctly audible to the muleteer. "Zumalacarregui is
no more."

In his consternation at the intelligence thus unwittingly conveyed to
him, Paco forgot for a second the caution rendered imperative by his
position. A half-smothered exclamation escaped him, and by an
involuntary start he raised his head completely above the window-sill.
As he did so, he fancied he saw Don Baltasar glance at the window, and
in his turn slightly start; but the sun had already passed the horizon,
the light was waning fast, and Colonel Villabuena took no further
notice, but remained talking with his companion, Paco made sure that he
had either not seen him, or, what was still more probable, not
remembered his face. Nevertheless the muleteer retreated from the window
that no part of him might be seen, and strained his hearing to catch
what passed.

He missed a sentence or two, and then again heard Colonel Villabuena's
voice.

"Most disastrous intelligence, indeed!" he said, "and as unexpected as
disastrous. I will proceed to the general's quarters and get the
particulars."

The officers separated; Don Baltasar walking rapidly away, as Paco, who
now ventured to look out, was able to ascertain. Satisfied that he had
escaped the peril with which for a moment he had thought himself
menaced, he left the window and returned to his bench. But Don Baltasar
had sharper eyes and a better memory than the muleteer gave him credit
for. He had fully recognized Paco, whom he had several times seen in
attendance on the count, and, without troubling himself to reflect how
he could have made his escape, he at once decided what measures to take
to neutralize its evil consequences. Had Paco remained an instant longer
at his post of observation, he would have seen the Colonel stop at a
house near at hand, in which a number of soldiers were billeted, summon
a corporal and three men, and retrace his steps to the tavern. Leaving
two of the soldiers outside the house, with the others he burst into the
room occupied by the muleteer.

At the moment of their entrance, Paco, who, although he had heard their
footsteps in the passage, did not suspect the new-comers to be other
than some of the usual customers to the tavern, had taken up the heavy
earthen jug in which his wine had been brought, and was decanting from
it into his glass a last mouthful that still remained at the bottom. No
sooner did he behold Don Baltasar, closely followed by two soldiers with
fixed bayonets, than with his usual bold decision, and with his utmost
strength, he dashed the jug full at him. The missile struck the officer
on the chest with such force that he staggered back, and, for a moment,
impeded the advance of his followers. That moment saved Paco's
liberty--probably his life. Springing to the window, he leaped out, and
alighting upon one of the soldiers who had remained outside, knocked him
over. The other man, taken by surprise, made a feeble thrust at the
fugitive. Paco parried it with his arm, grappled the man, gave him a
kick on the shin that knocked his leg from under him, rolled him on the
ground by the side of his companion, and scudded down the street like a
hunted fox, just as Baltasar and his men jumped out of the window.

"Fire!" shouted the Colonel.

Two bullets, and then two more, struck the walls of the narrow sloping
street through which the muleteer ran, or buried themselves with a
_thud_ in the earth a short distance in front of him. Paco ran all the
faster, cleared the houses, and turning to his right, scampered down in
the direction of the town. The shouts and firing had spread an alarm in
the Carlist camp, the soldiers were turning out on all sides, and the
outposts on the alert. Paco approached the latter, and saw a sentinel in
a straight line between him and the town.

"_Quien vive?_" challenged the soldier, when the muleteer was still at a
considerable distance from him.

"_Carlos Quinto_," replied Paco.

"Halt!" thundered the sentry, bringing his musket to his shoulder with a
sharp quick rattle.

This command, although enforced by a menace, Paco was not disposed to
obey. For the one musket before him, there were hundreds behind him, and
he continued his onward course, merely inclining to his left, so as to
present a less easy mark than when bearing straight down upon the
sentry. Another "halt!" immediately followed by the report of the piece,
was echoed by a laugh of derision from Paco. "Stop him! bayonet him!"
shouted a score of voices in his rear. The sentinel rushed forward to
obey the command; but Paco, unarmed and unencumbered, was too quick for
him. Dashing past within a yard of the bayonet's point, he tore along to
the town, amidst a rain of bullets, encouraged by the cheers of the
Christinos, who had assembled in groups to watch the race; and, replying
to their shouts and applause by a yell of "_Viva la Reyna!_" he in
another minute stood safe and sheltered within the exterior
fortifications of Bilboa.

Three weeks had elapsed since the death of Zumalacarregui, and that
important event, which the partisans of the Spanish pretender had, as
long as possible, kept secret from their opponents, was now universally
known. Already did the operations of the Carlists begin to show symptoms
of the great loss they had sustained in the person of a man who, during
his brief but brilliant command, had nailed victory to his standard.
Even during his last illness, he kept up, from his couch of suffering, a
constant correspondence with General Eraso, his second in command, and
in some degree directed his proceedings; but when he died, the system of
warfare he had uniformly, and with such happy results, followed up, was
exchanged by those who came after him, for another and a less judicious
one. This, added to the immense moral weight of his loss, which filled
the Christinos with the most buoyant anticipations, whilst it was a
grievous discouragement to the Carlists, caused the tide of fortune to
turn against the latter. Dejected and disheartened, they were beaten
from before Bilboa, the town which, but for Zumalacarregui's
over-strained deference to the wishes of Don Carlos, they would never
have attacked. On the other hand, the Christinos were sanguine of
victory, and of a speedy termination to the war. The baton of command,
after passing through the hands of Rodil, Sarsfield, Mina, and other
veterans whose experience had struggled in vain against the skill and
prestige of the Carlist chief, had just been bestowed by the Queen's
government on a young general in whose zeal and abilities great reliance
was placed. On various occasions, since the death of Ferdinand, had this
officer, at the head of his brigade or division, given proof not only of
that intrepidity which, although the soldier's first virtue, should be
the general's least merit, but, as was generally believed, of military
talents of a high order.

Luis Fernandez de Cordova, the son of a poor but noble family of one of
the southern provinces of Spain, was educated at a military school,
whence he passed with an officer's commission into a regiment of the
royal guard. Endowed with considerable natural ability and tact, he
managed to win the favour of Ferdinand VII., and by that weak and fickle
monarch was speedily raised to the rank of colonel. His then bias,
however, was for diplomacy, for which, indeed, his subsequent life, and
his turn for intrigue, showed him to be well qualified; and at his
repeated instance he was sent to various courts in high diplomatic
capacities. "We are sorry to have to say," remarks a Spanish military
writer who fought in the opposite ranks, "that Cordova in part owed his
elevation to the goodness of the very prince against whom he
subsequently drew his sword." Be that as it may, at the death of
Ferdinand, Cordova, although little more than thirty years of age, was
already a general, and ambassador at Copenhagen. Ever keenly alive to
his own interest, he no sooner learned the outbreak of the civil war,
than he saw in it an opportunity of further advancement; and, without
losing a moment, he posted to Madrid, threw himself at the feet of
Christina, and implored her to give him a command, that he might have an
opportunity of proving with his sword his devotion to her and to the
daughter of his lamented sovereign. A command was given him; his talents
were by no means contemptible; his self-confidence unbounded; intrigue
and interest were not wanting to back such qualities, and at the period
now referred to, Cordova, to the infinite vexation of many a greyhaired
general who had earned his epaulets on the battle-fields of America and
the Peninsula, was appointed commander-in-chief of the army of the
north.

Upon assuming the supreme command, Cordova marched his army, which had
just compelled the Carlists to raise the siege of Bilboa, in the
direction of the Ebro. Meanwhile the Carlists, foiled in Biscay, were
concentrating their forces in central Navarre. As if to make up for
their recent disappointment, they had resolved upon the attack of a
town, less wealthy and important, it is true, than Bilboa, but which
would still have been a most advantageous acquisition, giving them, so
long as they could hold it, command of the communications between
Pampeluna and the Upper Ebro. Against Puente de la Reyna, a fortified
place upon the Arga, were their operations now directed, and there, upon
the 13th of July, the bulk of the Carlist army arrived. Don Carlos
himself accompanied it, but the command devolved upon Eraso, the
military capabilities of Charles the Fifth being limited to praying,
amidst a circle of friars and shavelings, for the success of those who
were shedding their heart's blood in his service. The neighbouring
peasants were set to work to cut trenches; and preparations were making
to carry on the siege in due form, when, on the 14th, the garrison, in a
vigorous sortie, killed the commandant of the Carlist artillery, and
captured a mortar that had been placed in position. The same day Cordova
and his army started from Lerin, which they had reached upon the 13th,
and arrived at nightfall at Larraga, a town also upon the Arga, and
within a few miles of Pueute de la Reyna.

The next day was passed by the two considerable armies, which, it was
easy to foresee, would soon come into hostile collision, in various
movements and manoeuvres, which diminished the distance between them,
already not great. The Carlists, already discouraged by the successful
sortie of the 14th, retired from before Puente de la Reyna, and, moving
southwards, occupied the town and bridge of Mendigorria. On the other
hand, two-thirds of the Christino forces crossed the Arga, and quartered
themselves in and near the town of Artajona. The plain on the left bank
of the river was evidently to be the scene of the approaching conflict.
On few occasions during the war, had actions taken place upon such level
ground as this, the superiority of the Christinos in cavalry and
artillery having induced Zumalacarregui rather to seek battle in the
mountains, where those arms were less available. But since the
commencement of 1835, the Carlist horse had improved in numbers and
discipline; several cavalry officers of rank and skill had joined it,
and assisted in its organization; and although deprived of its gallant
leader, Don Carlos O'Donnel, who had fallen victim to his own imprudent
daring in an insignificant skirmish beneath the walls of Pampeluna,
Eraso, and the other Carlist generals, had now sufficient confidence in
its efficiency to risk a battle in a comparatively level country.
Numerically, the Carlists were superior to their opponents, but in
artillery, and especially in cavalry, the Christinos had the advantage.
From various garrison towns, through which he had passed in his
circuitous route from Bilboa to Larraga, the Christino commander had
collected reinforcements, and an imposing number of squadrons, including
several of lancers and dragoons of the royal guard, formed part of the
force now assembled at Larraga and Artajona.

It was late on the evening of the 15th of July, and on a number of
gently sloping fields, interspersed with vineyards and dotted with
trees, a Christino brigade, including a regiment of cavalry, had
established its bivouac. In such weather as it then was, it became a
luxury to pass a night in the open air, with turf for a mattrass, a
cloak for a pillow, and the branches for bed-curtains, instead of being
cramped and crowded into smoky, vermin-haunted cottages; and the troops
assembled seemed to feel this, and to enjoy the light and balmy breeze
and refreshing coolness which had succeeded to the extreme heat of the
day. Few troops, if any, are so picturesque in a bivouac as Spaniards;
none, certainly, are greater adepts in rendering an out-door encampment
not only endurable but agreeable, and nothing had been neglected by the
Christinos that could contribute to the comfort of their _al-fresco_
lodging. Large fires had been lighted, composed in great part of
odoriferous shrubs and bushes abounding in the neighbourhood, which
scented the air as they burned; and around these the soldiers were
assembled cooking and eating their rations, smoking, jesting, discussing
some previous fight, or anticipating the result of the one expected for
the morrow, and which according to their sanguine calculations, could
only be favourable to them. Here was a seemingly interminable row of
muskets piled in sheaves, a perfect _chevaux-de-frise_, some hundred
yards of burnished barrels and bayonets glancing in the fire-light.
Further on, the horses of the cavalry were picketed, whilst their
riders, who had finished grooming and feeding them, looked to their arms
and saddlery, and saw that all was ready and as it should be if called
on for sudden service. On one side, at a short distance from the
bivouac, a party of men cut, with their sabres and foraging hatchet,
brushwood to renew the fires; in another direction, a train of carts
laden with straw, driven by unwilling peasants and escorted by a surly
commissary and a few dusty dragoons, made their appearance, the patient
oxen pushing and straining forwards in obedience to the goad that
tormented their flanks, the clumsy wheels, solid circles of wood,
creaking round their ungreased axles. In the distance were the enemy's
watch-fires; nearer were those of the advanced posts; and, at more than
one point of the surrounding country, a cottage or farmhouse, set on
fire by careless or mischievous marauders, fiercely flamed without any
attempt being made to extinguish the conflagration.

If the sights that met the eye were varied and numerous, the sounds
which fell upon the ear were scarcely less so. The neighing of the
picketed horses, the songs of the soldiery, the bugle-calls and signals
of the outposts, occasionally a few dropping shots exchanged between
patroles, and from time to time some favourite national melody, clanged
forth by a regimental band--all combined to render the scene one of the
most inspiriting and lively that could be imagined.

Beside a watch-fire whose smoke, curling and wavering upwards, seemed to
cling about the foliage of the large old tree near which it was lighted,
Luis Herrera had spread his cloak, and now reclined, his head supported
on his arm, gazing into the flaming pile. Several officers belonging to
the squadron he commanded were also grouped round the fire, and some of
them, less watchful or more fatigued than their leader, had rolled
themselves in their mantles, turned their feet to the flame, and with
their heads supported on saddles and valises, were already asleep. Two
or three subalterns came and went, as the exigencies of the service
required, inspecting the arrangements of the men, ascertaining that the
horses were properly cared for, giving orders to sergeants, or bringing
reports to the captains of their troops. Herrera as yet felt no
disposition to sleep. The stir and excitement of the scene around him
had not failed of their effect on his martial nature, and he felt
cheered and exhilarated by the prospect of action. It was only in
moments like these, during the fight itself, or the hours immediately
preceding it, that his character seemed to lose the gloomy tinge
imparted to it by the misfortunes which, so early in life, had darkened
his path, and to recover something of the buoyancy natural to his age.

Whilst busied with anticipations of the next day's battle, Herrera's
attention was suddenly attracted by hearing his name pronounced at a
neighbouring fire, round which a number of his troopers had established
themselves.

"Captain Herrera?" said a soldier, apparently replying to a question;
"he is not far off--what do you want?"

"To see him instantly," answered a voice not unfamiliar to the ear of
Luis. "I bring important intelligence."

"Come this way," was the reply; and then a non-commissioned officer
approached Herrera, and respectfully saluting, informed him that a
_paisano_, or civilian, wished to speak with him. Before Luis could
order the person in question to be conducted to him, a man mounted on a
rough but active mountain horse, rode out of the gloom into the
fire-light, threw himself from his saddle, and stood within three paces
of the Christino officer. By the blaze, Herrera recognized, with some
surprise, one whom he believed to be then in the Carlist ranks.

"Paco!" he exclaimed; "you here? Whence do you come, and what are your
tidings?"

The corporal, who had acted as master of the ceremonies to Paco, now
returned to his fire, and Herrera and the muleteer remained alone. The
latter had got rid of all vestiges of uniform, and appeared in the garb
which he had been accustomed to wear, before his devotion to Count
Villabuena, and the feeling of partisanship for Don Carlos, which he
shared with the majority of Navarrese, had led him to enter the ranks.

"I have much to tell you, Don Luis," said he; "and my news is bad. Count
Villabuena is dead."

Instead of manifesting astonishment or grief at this intelligence,
Herrera replied calmly, and almost with a smile, "Is that all?"

"All!" repeated Paco, aghast at such unfeeling indifference; "and
enough, too. I did not think, that because you had taken different
sides, all kindness was at an end between you and the Conde. His
señoria, heaven rest him!"--and here Paco crossed himself--"deserved
better of you, Don Luis. But for him your bones would long ago have been
picked by the crows. It was he who rescued you when you were a prisoner,
and ordered for execution."

"I know it, Paco," replied Herrera, "and I am grateful for my
deliverance both to you and him. But you are mistaken about his death. I
saw and spoke to the Count not three days ago."

"To the Count! to Count Villabuena?" exclaimed Paco. "Then that damned
gipsy lied. He told me he was killed, shot by some of your people. How
did you see him? Is he a prisoner?"

"The Count is alive and in safety, and that must satisfy you for the
moment. But you have doubtless more to tell me. What of Doña Rita? Why
and when did you leave the Carlists, and where was she when you left?"

"Since the Count is well," returned Paco, "the worst part of my news is
to come. Doña Rita's own handwriting will best answer your question."

Opening his knife, Paco ripped up a seam of his jacket, and extracted
from the lining a soiled and crumpled paper. It was the letter written
by Rita to Zumalacarregui. By the light of the fire Herrera devoured its
contents. From them he learned all that Rita herself knew of the place
and reasons of her captivity. She detailed the manner in which she had
been decoyed from Segura, described what she conjectured to be the
position of the convent, and implored Zumalacarregui to protect a
defenceless orphan, and rescue her from the prison in which she was
unjustifiably detained. After twice reading the letter, the handwriting
of which recalled a thousand tender recollections, although the
information it contained filled him with alarm and anxiety, Herrera
again addressed Paco.

"How did you get this letter?" he asked.

In few words, Paco, who saw, by the stern and hurried manner of his
interrogator, that it was no time to indulge in a lengthened narrative
of his adventures, gave a concise outline of what had occurred, from the
time of his leaving Segura with Rita, up to his desertion from the
Carlists in front of Bilboa. Upon finding himself in safety from Don
Baltasar, and released from the obligations of military service, he
deliberated on the best means to employ for the release of Doña Rita.
Amongst the Christinos the only person who occurred to him as proper to
consult, or likely to aid him, was Herrera, and him he resolved to seek.
After waiting a week at Bilboa, he procured a passage in a small vessel
sailing for Santander, and thence set out for the Ebro, in the
neighbourhood of which he had ascertained that he should find Herrera's
regiment. The money he had found in the gipsy's sash enabled him to
supply all his wants and purchase a horse, and without further delay he
started for the interior. But on reaching Miranda on the Ebro, he
learned that Herrera's squadron had marched into Biscay. Thither he
pursued it. Meanwhile the siege of Bilboa had been raised, and, whilst
he followed one road, Herrera returned towards Navarre by another. Paco
lost much time; but, though often disappointed, the faithful fellow was
never discouraged, nor did he for a moment think of desisting from the
pilgrimage he had voluntarily undertaken for the deliverance of his dead
master's daughter. He pressed onwards, sparing neither himself nor his
newly-acquired steed; but, in spite of his exertions, so rapid and
continuous were the movements of the army, it was not till the evening
now referred to that he at last caught it up.

Of all this, however, and of whatever merely concerned himself, Paco
made little mention, limiting himself to what it was absolutely
necessary that Herrera should know, clearly to understand Rita's
position. In spite of this brevity, more than one sign of impatience
escaped Luis during the muleteer's narrative. The tale told, he remained
for a minute buried in thought.

"It is three weeks since you left the convent?" he then inquired of
Paco.

"Nearly four," was the answer.

"Do you think Doña Rita is still there?"

"How can I tell?" replied Paco. "You know as much as I do of Don
Baltasar's intentions. He could hardly find a better corner to hide her
in; for it is in the very heart of the mountains, far from any town,
and, well as I know Navarre, I never saw the place till this time. So I
_should_ think it likely she is still there, unless he has taken her to
France, or forced her to marry him."

"Never!" cried Herrera, violently; "he would not dare; she would never
consent. Listen, Paco--could you guide me to that convent?"

"Certainly I could," answered the muleteer, greatly surprised, "as far
as knowing the road goes; but the country swarms with Carlist troops;
and even if we could sneak round Eraso's army, we should be sure to fall
in with some guerilla party."

"But there must be paths over the mountains," exclaimed Herrera, with
the painful eagerness of a man catching at a last faint hope; "paths
unfrequented, almost unknown, except to fellows like you, who have spent
their lives amongst then. Over those you could--you must, conduct me."

"I will try it, Don Luis, willingly," replied Paco, moved by Herrera's
evident agony of mind. "I will try it, if you choose; but I would not
give a _peseta_ for our lives. There are hundreds amongst the Carlists
who know every mountain pass and ravine as well as I do. The chances
will be all against us."

"We could lie concealed in the day," continued Herrera, pursuing the
train of his own thoughts, and scarcely hearing the muleteer's
observations. "A small party of infantry--twenty picked men will be
enough--the convent surprised at nightfall, and before morning, by a
forced march, we reach a Christino garrison. I will try it, by heaven!
at all risks. Paco, wait my return."

And before the muleteer had time to reply, the impetuous young man
snatched his horse's bridle from his hand, sprang into the saddle, and,
spurring the tired beast into a gallop, rode off in the direction of
Artajona.

The motive of Herrera's abrupt departure was to prepare for the
execution of a plan so wild and impracticable, that, in his cooler
moments, it would never have suggested itself to him, although, in his
present state of excitement, he fancied it perfectly feasible. He had
determined to proceed at once to the general-in-chief, one of whose
favourite officers he was, to acquaint him with what he had just
learned, and entreat his permission to set out that very night with a
few chosen men on an expedition into the heart of the Carlist country,
the object of it being to rescue Rita from her captivity. For reasons
which will hereafter appear, he had the worst possible opinion of Don
Baltasar, and so shocked and startled was he at hearing that the woman
to whom, in spite of their long separation, he was still devotedly and
passionately attached, was in his power, that for the time he lost all
coolness of judgment and overlooked the numerous obstacles to his
scheme. The rapid pace at which he rode, contributed perhaps to keep up
the whirl and confusion of his ideas, and he arrived at the door of
Cordova's quarters, without the impropriety and positive absurdity of
his application at such a moment having once occurred to him.

The Christino commander had taken up his quarters in the house of one of
the principal inhabitants of Artajona. At the time of Herrera's arrival,
although it was past ten o'clock, all was bustle and movement in and
about the extensive range of building; the stables crammed with horses,
the general's escort loitering in the vestibule, orderly officers and
aides-de-camp hurrying in all directions, bringing reports and conveying
orders to the different regiments and brigades; peasants, probably
spies, conversing in low earnest tones with officers of rank: here a
party of soldiers drinking, there another group gambling, in a third
place a row of sleepers stretched upon the hard ground, but soundly
slumbering in spite of its hardness and of the surrounding din. Pushing
his way through the crowd, Herrera ascended the stairs, and meeting an
orderly at the top, enquired for the general's apartments. Before the
soldier could reply, a door opened, a young officer came out, and,
perceiving Herrera, hurried towards him. The two officers shook hands.
The aide-de-camp was Mariano Torres, who had recently been appointed to
the general's staff, upon which Herrera would also have been placed had
he not preferred remaining in command of his squadron.

"What brings you here, Luis?" said Torres.

"To see the general. I have a favour to ask of him--one which he _must_
grant. Take me to him, Torres, immediately."

Struck by the wild and hurried manner of his friend, and by the
discomposure manifest in his features, Mariano took his arm, and walking
with him down the long corridor, which was dimly lighted by lanterns
suspended against the wall, led him into his own room. "The general is
particularly engaged," said he, "and I cannot venture to disturb him;
but in five minutes I will inform him of your arrival. Meanwhile, what
is the matter, Luis? What has happened thus to agitate you?"

Although chafing at the delay, Herrera could not refuse to reply to this
enquiry; and, in hurried and confused terms, he informed Torres of the
news brought by Paco, and of the plan he had devised for the rescue of
Rita. Thunderstruck at the temerity of the project, Torres undertook,
but at first with small success, to convince Herrera of its
impracticability, and induce him to abandon it, at least for the time.

"How can you possibly expect," he said, "ever to reach the convent you
have described to me? In front is the Carlist army; on all sides you
will meet bands of armed peasants, and you will throw away your own life
without a chance of accomplishing your object."

"Don't speak to me of life!" exclaimed Herrera, impetuously interrupting
him; "it is valueless. Spare yourself the trouble of argument; all that
you can urge will be in vain. Come what may, and at any risk, I will
make the attempt. Every hour is a year of torture to me whilst I know
Rita in the power of that villain."

"And much good it will do her," replied Torres, "to have you killed in
her service. As to accomplishing her rescue, it is out of the question
in the way you propose. You will inevitably be shot or taken prisoner.
If, on the contrary, you have a little patience, and wait a few days,
something may be done. This Don Baltasar, there can scarcely be a doubt,
is with the army in our front, and his prisoner must therefore be free
from his persecutions. Besides, admitting that your project had a shadow
of common sense, how can you suppose, that on the eve of a battle
against superior numbers, the general will spare even a score of men
from the ranks of his army?"

"He _will_ spare them, for me," cried Herrera. "He has known me since
the beginning of the war: I have fought by his side; and more than once
he has thanked me for my services, and expressed his willingness to
reward them. Let him grant me this request, and I will die for him
to-morrow."

"You would be likely enough to die if he did grant it," replied Torres;
"but luckily there is no chance of his doing so."

"We will see that," said Herrera, impatiently. "This is idle talk and
waste of time. You are not my friend, Mariano, thus to detain me. The
five minutes have twice elapsed. Take me at once to the general."

"I will take you to him, if you insist upon it," answered Torres. "Hear
me but one minute longer. What will be said to-morrow, when we move
forward to meet the enemy, and it is found that Luis Herrera is wanting
at his post; when it is known that he has left the camp in the
night-*time, on his own private business, only a few hours before a
battle, which all agree will be a bloody and perhaps a decisive one? His
advancement, although nobly deserved, has been rapid. There are many who
envy him, and such will not fail to attribute his absence to causes by
which his friends well know he is incapable of being influenced. It will
be pleasant for those friends to hear slanderous tongues busy with his
good name."

Mariano had at last touched the right chord, and this, his final
argument, strongly impressed Herrera. What no consideration of personal
danger could accomplish, the dread of an imputation upon his honour,
although it might be uttered but by one or two enemies, and disbelieved
by a thousand friends, went far to effect. Moreover, during the quarter
of an hour passed with Torres, his thoughts had become in some degree
collected, and the truth of the aide-de-camp's observations as to the
Quixotism and utter madness of his scheme began to dawn upon him. He
hesitated, and remained silent. Torres saw his advantage, and hastened
to follow it up.

"Hear me, Luis," said he. "You have ever found me willing to be guided
by your opinion, but at this moment you are not in a state of mind to
judge for yourself. For once then, be guided by me, and return to your
squadron. To-morrow's fight will make a mighty difference. If we gain
the day, and we are sure of it, we shall advance to Pampeluna, and you
will be at a comparatively short distance from the convent where your
mistress is detained. Then, indeed, when the Carlists are scattered and
dispirited after their defeat, the scheme you have in view may be
executed, and then, but only then, are you likely to get permission to
attempt it. I will accompany you if you wish it, and we will get some
guerilla leader, skilled in such hazardous expeditions, to join us with
his band."

By these and similar arguments, did Torres finally prevail with Herrera
to abandon his project until after the approaching action. Even then,
and even should the victory be complete and in favour of the Christinos,
Mariano was doubtful whether it would be possible to attempt the
dangerous excursion proposed by Herrera; but in the interim his friend
would have time to reflect, and Torres hoped that he might be induced
entirely to give up the plan. He, himself a light-hearted devil-may-care
fellow, taking life as it came, and with a gentle spice of egotism in
his character, was unsusceptible of such an attachment as that of
Herrera for Rita, and, being unsusceptible, he could not understand it.
The soldier's maxim of letting a new love drive out the old one,
whenever a change of garrison or other cause renders it advisable, was
what he practised, and would have wished his friend also to adopt. He
was unable to comprehend Herrera's deeply-rooted and unselfish love,
which had grown up with him from boyhood, had borne up against so many
crosses and discouragements, and which time, although it might prove its
hopelessness, could never entirely obliterate.

"Time," thought Torres, as he returned to his room, after seeing Herrera
mount his horse and ride away, "is a great healer of Cupid's wounds,
particularly a busy time, like this. A fight one day and a carouse the
next, have cured many an honest fellow of the heartache. Herrera is
pretty sure of one half of the remedy, although it might be difficult to
induce him to try the other. Well, _qui vivra verra_--I have brought him
to his senses for the present, and there'd be small use in bothering
about the future, when, by this time to-morrow, half of us may be food
for ravens."

And with this philosophical reflection, the insouciant aide-de-camp
threw himself upon his bed, to sleep as soundly as if the next day's sun
had to shine upon a feast instead of a fray.

Midnight was approaching when Herrera reached the bivouac, which had now
assumed a character of repose very different from the bustle reigning
there when he had left it. The fires were blazing far less brightly, and
some, neglected by the soldiers who lay sleeping around them, had
dwindled into heaps of ashes, over which a puff of the night breeze
would every now and then bring a red glow, driving at the same time a
long train of sparks into the faces of the neighbouring sleepers. There
was no more chattering or singing; the distant shots had ceased, the
musicians had laid aside their instruments, and were sharing the general
repose; the only sounds that broke the stillness were the distant
challenging from the outpost, the tramp of the sentry faintly audible
upon the turf, the rattling of the collar chain of some restless horse,
or the snore of the sleeping soldiery. Restoring his horse to Paco, whom
he found waiting beside the watch-fire, Herrera desired him to remain
there till morning, and then wrapping himself in his cloak, he lay down
upon the grass, to court a slumber, of which anxious and uneasy thoughts
long debarred his eyelids.



MOSES AND SON.

A DIDACTIC TALE.


CHAPTER I.

"It's no good your talking, Aby," said a diminutive gentleman, with a
Roman nose and generally antique visage; "you must do the best you can
for yourself, and get your living in a respectable sort of vay. I can't
do no more for you, so help my ----"

"You're a nice father, aint you?" interrogatively replied the gentleman
addressed--a youth of eighteen, very tall, very thin, very dressy, and
very dirty. "I should like to know why you brought me into the world at
all."

"To make a man of you, you ungrateful beast," answered the small father;
"and that's vot you'll never be, as true as my name's Moses. You aint
got it in you. You're as big a fool as any Christian in the parish."

"Thankee, old un," replied he of six feet. "'_Twas nature's fault that
made me like my father_," he added immediately, throwing himself into a
theatrical posture, and pointing irreverently to the individual referred
to.

"There he goes again!" exclaimed Moses senior, with a heavy sigh.
"That's another of his tricks that'll bring him to the gallows. Mark my
words, Aby--that acting of yours will do your business. I vish the
amytoors had been at the devil before you made their acquaintance!"

"In course you do, you illiterate old man. What do you know of
literature? Aint all them gentlemen as I plays with chice sperits and
writers? Isn't it a honour to jine 'em in the old English drammy, and to
eat of the wittles and drink of the old ancient poets?"

"Aby, my dear," proceeded the other sarcastically, "I've only two vurds
to say. You have skulked about this 'ere house for eighteen years of
your precious life, vithout doing a ha'porth of work. It's all very fine
while it lasts; but I am sorry to say it can't last much longer.
To-morrow is Sabbath, make much of it, for it's the last blessed day of
rest you'll see here. Sunday morning I'll trouble you to pack."

"Do you mean it?"

"Upon my soul--as true as I'm here."

"_Hear that, ye gods, and wonder how you made him!_" exclaimed Abraham,
turning up his nose at his parent, and then looking to the ceiling with
emotion--"You unnatural old Lear! you bloodless piece of earth!"

"Go 'long, go 'long!" said the prosaic Moses, senior; "don't talk
rubbish!"

"Father!" cried the youth, with an attitude, "when I'm gone, you'll
think of me, and want me back."

"Vait, my dear, till I send for you."

"When the woice is silent, you'll be glad to give a ten pun' note for an
echo."

"No, my boy; I don't like the security."

"When you have lost sight of these precious featers, you'll be glad to
give all you have got for a picter."

"Vot a lucky painter he'll be as draws you off!" said the stoic father.

Abraham Moses gazed upon the author of his being for one minute with
intensest disgust. Then taking a chair in his hand, he first raised it
in the air, and afterwards struck it with vehement indignation to the
ground. That done, he seated himself with a mingled expression of
injured innocence and lofty triumph.

"You old sinner," said he, "you've done for yourself."

"Sorry for it," replied the cool old gentleman.

"I've sounded you, have I? Oh! did I try to strike a chord in that
hollow buzzum, and did I think to make it answer? Now listen, you
disreputable father. I leave your house, not the day after to-morrow,
but this very hour. I shall go to that high sphere which you knows
nothing about, and is only fit for a gent of the present generation. I
don't ask you for nothing. I'm settled and provided for. If you were to
take out your cheque-book and say, 'Aby, fill it up,' I can't answer for
a impulse of nater; but I do think I should scorn the act, and feel as
though I had riz above it. You have told me, all my wretched life, that
I should take my last snooze outside o' Newgate. I always felt very much
obliged to you for the compliment; but you'll recollect that I've told
you as often that I'd live to make you take your hat off to me. The time
is come, sir! I've got an appointment! Such a one! I came to tell you of
it; but I considered it my religious duty to inwestigate your paternal
feelings concerning me aforehand. I have inwestigated 'em. I am sorry to
say it; I have put you into the weighing machine, and found you short."

"The fool's mad!"

"Is he? Wait a minute. If your shocking eddication permits, I'll trouble
you to read that there."

Mr Abraham Moses drew from his pocket a despatch, ornamented with a huge
seal, and some official red tape. The elder gentleman took it into his
hand, and gazed at his worthy son with unutterable surprise, as he read
on the outside--"_Private and confidential, House of Lords, to Abraham
Moses, Esq., &c. &c. &c._"

"Vy, vot does it all mean, my dear?" enquired the agitated parent.

"Spare your '_my dears_,' venerable apostate, and open it," said Aby.
"The seal's broke. It's private and confidential, but that means when
you are not one of the family."

Mr Methusaleh Moses did as he was bid, and read as follows:--

     "SIR,--The Usher of the Blue Rod vacates his office on Wednesday
     next, when you will be required to appear before the woolsack to
     take the usual oaths. As soon as you have entered upon your duties,
     the customary presentation to her Majesty will take place. Lord
     Downy will be prepared to conclude the preliminaries at his hotel
     at twelve o'clock to-morrow.--I am, sir, with respect, your
     obedient humble servant,
                                               "WARREN DE FITZALBERT.
       "Abraham Moses, Esq.,
           &c. &c. &c."

As little Mr Moses read the last words with a tremulous utterance, tall
Mr Moses rose to take his departure. "Vot's your hurry, Aby?" said the
former, coaxingly.

"Come, I like that. What's my hurry? Didn't you want to kick me out just
now?"

"My dear, give every dog his due. Stick to the truth, my boy, votever
you does. I axed you to stay over the Sabbath--I vish I may die if I
didn't."

Mr Abraham Moses directed towards his sire one of those decided and
deadly glances which are in so much request at the theatres, and which
undertake to express all the moral sentiments at one and the same
moment. Having paid this tribute to his wounded nature, he advanced to
the door, and said, determinedly--

"I shall go!"

"I'm blessed if you do, Aby!" exclaimed the father, with greater
resolution, and seizing his offspring by the skirts of his coat. "I'm
your father, and I knows my sitivation. You're sich a fellow! You can't
take a vurd in fun. Do you think I meant to turn you out ven I said it?
Can you stop nater, Aby? Isn't nater at vork vithin, and doesn't it tell
me if I knocks you on the nose, I hits myself in the eye? Come, sit down
my boy; tell me all about it, and let's have someting to eat."

Aby was proof against logical argument, but he could not stand up
against the "someting to eat." He sank into the chair again like an
infant. Mr Methusaleh took quick advantage of his success. Rushing
wildly to a corner cupboard, he produced from it a plate of cold crisp
fried fish, which he placed with all imaginable speed exactly under the
nose of the still vacillating Aby. He vacillated no longer. The spell
was complete. The old gentleman, with a perfect reliance upon the charm,
proceeded to prepare a cup of coffee at his leisure.

"And now, Aby," said the father, stirring the grounds of his muddy
beverage--"I'm dying to hear vot it all means. How did you manage to get
amongst dese people? You're more clever as your father." A hearty meal
of fish and coffee had considerably greased the external and internal
man of Aby Moses. His views concerning filial obligations became more
satisfactory and humane; his spirit was evidently chastened by
repletion.

"Father," said he, meaning to be very tender--"You have always been such
a fool about the company as I keep."

"Well, so I have, my dear; but don't rake up the past."

"It's owing to that very company, father, that you sees me in my proud
position."

"No!"

"It is, though. _Lend me your ears._"

"Don't be shtoopid, Aby--go on vith your story."

A slight curl might be seen playing around the dirty lip of Moses junior
at this parental ignorance of the immortal Will: a stern sacrifice of
filial reverence to poetry.

It passed away, and the youth proceeded.

"That Warren de Fitzalbert, father, as signed that dockyment, is a
buzzum friend. He see'd me one night when I played Catesby, and, after
the performance, requested the honour of an introduction, which I, in
course, could not refuse. You know how it is--men gets intimate--tells
one another their secrets--opens their hearts--and lives in one
another's societies. I never knew who he was, but I was satisfied he was
a superior gent, from the nateral course of his conversation. Everybody
said it as beautiful to see us, we was so united and unseparated. Well,
you may judge my surprise, when one day another gent, also a friend of
mine, says to me, 'Moses, old boy, do you know who Fitzalbert is?' 'No,'
says I, 'I don't.' 'Well, then,' says he, 'I'll tell you. He's a under
secretary of state.' There was a go! Only think of me being hand and
glove with a secretary of state! What does I do? Why, sir, the very next
time he and I meet, I says to him, 'Fitzalbert, it's very hard a man of
your rank can't do something for his friends.' I knew the right way was
to put the thing to him point-blank. 'So it would be,' says he, 'if it
was, but it isn't.' 'Oh, isn't it?' says I; 'then, if you are the man I
take you to be, you'll do the thing as is handsome by me.' He said
nothing then, but took hold of my hand, and shook it like a brother."

"Vell, go on, my boy; I tink they are making a fool of you."

"Are they? That's all you know. Well, a few days after this, Fitzalbert
writes me a letter to call on him directly. I goes, of course. 'Moses,'
says he, as soon as he sees me, 'you are provided for.' 'No!' says I.
'Yes,' says he. 'Lord Downy has overrun the constable; he can't stop in
England no longer; he's going to resign the blue rod; he's willing to
sell it for a song; you shall buy it, and make your fortune.'"

"But vere's your money, my dear?"

"Wait a minute. 'What's the salary?' said I. 'A thousand a-year,' says
he. 'You don't mean it?' says I again. 'Upon my soul,' says he. 'And
what will it cost?' says I. 'The first year's salary,' says he; 'and
I'll advance it, because I know you are a gentleman, and will not forget
to pay me back.' 'If I do,' says I, 'I wish I may die.' Now, father,
that there letter, as you sees, is official, and that's why he doesn't
say 'dear Moses;' but if you was to see us together, it would do your
heart good. Not that you ever will, because your unfortinate lowness of
character will compel me, as a gent, to cut your desirable acquaintance
the moment I steps into Lord Downy's Wellingtons. Now, if you have got
no more fish in that 'ere cupboard, I wish you good morning."

"Shtay, shtay, Aby, you're in such a devil of a hurry!" exclaimed
Methusaleh, holding him by the wrist. "Now, my dear boy, if you're dead
to natur, there's an end of the matter, and I've nothing more to say;
but if you've any real blood left in you, you von't break my heart. Vy
shouldn't your father have the pleasure of advancing the money? If it is
a true bill, Aby, you sha'n't be under no obligation to nobody!"

"True bill! I like that! Why, I have seen Lord Downy's own
hand-*writing; and, what's more, seen him in the House of Lords, talking
quite as familiarly, as I conwerse with you, with the Lord Chancellor,
and all the rest on 'em. I heard him make a speech--next morning I looks
into the paper--no deceit, sir--there was Lord Downy's name. Now,
to-morrow, when I'm introduced to him, don't you think I shall be able
to diskiver whether he's the same man or not?"

"Vere's the tousand pound?" inquired Mr Methusaleh.

"My friend goes with me to-morrow to hand it over. Three hundred is to
be given up at Lord Downy's hotel in Oxford Street, and the balance at
Mr Fitzalbert's chambers in Westminster, an hour afterwards, when I
receive the appointment."

"My dear Aby, I von't beat about the bush with you. I'm quite sure, my
child, ve should make it answer much better, if you'd let your father
advance the money. Doesn't it go agin the grain to vurk into the hands
of Christians against your own flesh and blood? If this Mr Fitzalbert
advances the money, depend upon it it's to make someting handsome by the
pargain. Let me go vith you to his lordship, and perhaps, if he's very
hard-up, he'll take seven hundred instead of the thousand. Ve'll divide
the three hundred between us. Don't you believe that your friend is
doing all this for love. Vot can he see, my darling, in your pretty
face, to take all this trouble for nothing? I shouldn't be at all
surprised if he's a blackguard, and means to take a cruel advantage of
his lordship's sitivation--give him perhaps only five hundred for his
tousand. Aby, let your ould father do an act of charity, and put two
hundred pounds into this poor gentleman's pockets."

Before Aby could reply to this benevolent appeal, a stop was put to the
interesting conversation, by a violent knocking at the door, on the part
of no less a gentleman than Warren de Fitzalbert himself.


CHAPTER II.

Whilst the domestic _tête-à-tête_, feebly described in the foregoing
chapter, was in progress, the nobleman, more than once referred to, was
passing miserable moments in his temporary lodgings at the Salisbury
Hotel, in Oxford Street. A more unhappy gentleman than Baron Downy it
would be impossible to find in or out of England. The inheritor of a
cruelly-burdened title, he had spent a life in adding to its
incumbrances, rather than in seeking to disentangle it from the meshes
in which it had been transmitted to him. In the freest country on the
globe, he had never known the bliss of liberty. He had moved about with
a drag-chain upon his spiritual and physical energies, as long as he
could remember his being. At school and at college, necessarily limited
in his allowance, he contracted engagements which followed him for at
least ten years after his entrance into life, and then only quitted him
to leave him bound to others far more tremendous and inextricable. His
most frequent visitors, his most constant friends, his most familiar
acquaintance, were money-lenders. He had borrowed money upon all
possible and unimaginable securities, from the life of his grandmother
down to that last resource of the needy gentleman, the family repeater,
chain, and appendages. His lordship, desperate as his position was, was
a man of breeding, a nobleman in thought and feeling. But the more
incapable of doing wrong, so much the more liable to deceit and fraud.
He had been passed, so to speak, from hand to hand by all the
representatives of the various money-lending classes that thrive in
London on the folly and necessity of the reckless and the needy. All had
now given him up. His name had an odour in the market, where his paper
was a drug. His bills of a hundred found few purchasers at a paltry five
pounds, and were positively rejected by all but wine-merchant-sheriff's
officers, who took them at nothing, and contrived to make a handsome
profit out of them into the bargain. Few had so little reason to be
proud as the man whose name had become a by-word and a joke amongst the
most detestable and degraded of their race; and yet, strange as it may
seem, few had a keener sense of their position, or could be so readily
stung by insult, let it but proceed from a quarter towards which
punishment might be directed with credit or honour. A hundred times Lord
Downy had cursed his fate, which had not made him an able-bodied porter,
or an independent labourer in the fields, rather than that saddest of
all sad contradictions, a nobleman without the means of sustaining
nobility--a man of rank with no dignity--a superior without the shadow
of pre-eminence; but for all the wealth of the kingdom, he would not
have sullied the order to which he belonged, by what he conceived to be
one act of meanness or sordid selfishness; as if there could be any
thing foul or base in any act that seeks, by honourable industry, to
repair the errors of a wayward fortune.

Upon the day of which we speak, there sat with Lord Downy a rude,
ill-favoured man, brought into juxtaposition with the peer by the
unfortunate relation that connected the latter with so many men of
similar stamp and station. He seemed more at home in the apartment than
the owner, and took some pains to over-act his part of vulgar
independence. He had never been so intimate with a nobleman
before--certainly no nobleman had ever been in his power until now. The
low and abject mind holds its jubilee when it fancies that it reduces
superiority to its own level, and can trample upon it for an hour
without fear of rebuke or opposition.

"For the love of heaven! Mr Ireton, if for no kindness towards me," said
Lord Downy, "give me one day longer to redeem those sacred pledges. They
are heirlooms--gifts of my poor dear mother. I had no right to place
them in your hands--they belong to my child."

"Then why did you? I never asked you; I could have turned my money
twenty times over since you have had it. I dare say you think I have
made a fortune out of you."

"I have always paid you liberally--and given you your terms."

"I thought so--it's always the way. The more you do for great people the
more you may. I might have taken the bed from under your lordship many a
time, if so I had been so disposed; but of course you have forgotten all
about _that_."

"About these jewels, Mr Ireton. They are not of great value, and cannot
be worth your selling. I shall receive two hundred and fifty pounds
to-morrow--it shall be made three hundred, and you shall have the whole
sum on account. Surely four-and-twenty hours are not to make you break
your faith with me?"

"As for breaking faith, Lord Downy, I should like to know what you'd do
if I were in your place and you in mine."

"I hope"--

"Oh, yes! it's easy enough to talk now, when you aint in my position;
but I know very well how you all grind down the poor fellows that are in
your power--how you make them slave on five shillings a-week, to keep
you in luxury, and all the rest of it. Not that I blame you. I know it's
human nature to get what one can out of every body, and I don't complain
to see men try it on."

"I have nothing more to say, Mr Ireton. You must do with me as you think
proper."

"I am to wait till to-morrow, you say?"

"Yes; only until to-morrow. I shall surely be in receipt of money then."

"Oh, sure of course!" said Mr Ireton. "You gentlemen are always sure
till the time comes, and then you can't make it out how it is you are
disappointed. No sort of experience conquers your spirits; but the more
your hopes are defeated, the more sanguine you get. I'll wait till
to-morrow then"--

"A thousand thanks."

"Wait a bit--on certain terms. You know as well as I do, that I could
put you to no end of expense. I don't wish to do it; but I don't prefer
to be out of pocket by the matter. I must have ten pounds for the
accommodation."

"Ten!" exclaimed poor Lord Downy.

"Yes, only ten; and I'll give you twenty if you'll pay me at once;"
added Mr Ireton--knowing very well that his victim could as easily have
paid off the national debt.

Lord Downy sighed.

"There's a slip of paper before you. Give me your I O U for the trifle,
and pay principal and interest to-morrow."

His lordship turned obediently to the table, wrote in silence the
acknowledgment required, and with a hand that trembled from vexation and
anxiety, presented the document to his tormentor. The latter vanished.
He had scarcely departed before Lord Downy rang his bell with violence,
and a servant entered.

"Are there any letters for me, Mason?" inquired his lordship eagerly.

"None, my lord," answered Mason with some condescension, and a great
deal of sternness.

Lord Downy bit his lip, and paced the room uneasily.

"My lord," said Mason, "I beg your"----

"Nothing more, nothing more;" replied the master, interrupting him.
"Should any letters arrive, let them be brought to me immediately."

"Beg your pardon, my lord," said Mason, taking no notice of the order,
"the place doesn't suit me."

"How?"

"Nothing to complain of, my lord--only wish to get into a good family."

"Sirrah!"

"It isn't the kind of thing, my lord," continued Mason, growing bolder,
"that I have been used to. I brought a character with me, and I want to
take it away again. I'm talked about already."

"What does the fellow mean?"

"I don't wish to hurt your lordship's feelings, and I'd rather not be
more particular. If it gets blown in the higher circles that I have been
here, my character, my lord, is smashed."

"You may go, sir, when your month has expired."

"I'd rather go at once, my lord, if it's all the same to you. As for the
salary, my lord, it's quite at your service--quite. I never was a
grasping man; and in your lordship's unfortunate situation,"----Lord
Downy walked to the window, flung it open, and commenced whistling a
tune----"I should know better than to take advantage," proceeded Mr
Mason. "There is a young man, my lord, a friend of mine, just entering
life, without any character at all, who would be happy, I have no doubt,
to undertake"----

Lord Downy banged the window, and turned upon the flunky with an
expression of rage that might have put a violent and ever-to-be-lamented
stop to this true history, had not the door of his lordship's apartment
opened, and _boots_ presented himself with the announcement of "MR
WARREN DE FITZALBERT."


CHAPTER III.

Twice has Mr Warren de Fitzalbert closed a chapter for us, and put us
under lasting obligation. Fain would we introduce that very important
personage to the reader's more particular acquaintance; fain describe
the fascinating form, the inimitable grace, that won all hearts, and
captivated, more particularly, every female eye. But, alas! intimacy is
forbidden. A mystery has attached itself to his life, with which we are
bound to invest his person at the present writing. We cannot promise one
syllable from his eloquent lips, or even one glimpse at his dashing
exterior. As for referring you, gentle reader, to the home of Mr de
Fitzalbert, the thing's absurd upon the very face. Home he has none,
unless Peele's coffeehouse; and all the _Bears_ of Holborn, blue, black,
and white, to which his letters are directed, assert the sacred
designation. Let us hasten back to Messrs Moses. Mr Methusaleh had not
been more successful in his attempt to catch a sight of the secretary of
state than other people. When Aby heard the double knock, he darted like
an arrow from his parent's arms, in order to prevent the entrance of his
friend, and to remove him from all possible contact with the astute and
too persuasive Moses, senior. In vain did the latter gentleman rush to
the window, and, by every soft endearment, seek to call back the
retreating forms of Aby and Fitzalbert, now arm-in-arm, making for the
corner of the street, and about to turn it. One was unconscious of the
voice--the other heard it, and defied it. What passed between father and
son, when the latter returned at night, I cannot say; but they were up
betimes the following morning, and much excited, whilst they partook
together of their morning meal.

"It's no good trying," said the elder gentleman. "I can't eat, Aby, do
vot I vill. I'm so delighted with your earthly prospects, and your
dootiful behaviour, that my appetite's clean gone."

"Don't distress yourself on that account," said Aby, "I've appetite for
two."

"You always had, my dear," replied the sire; "and vot a blessing it'll
be to gratify it at your own expense. I never begrudged you, my boy, any
victuals as I had in the house, and the thought of that ere vill be a
great consolation to me on my death-bed."

"What's o'clock, father?"

"Nine, my dear."

"It's getting on. Only think that at twelve o'clock to-day I shall have
entered into another sphere of existence."

"It's very vunderful," said Methusaleh.

"It's one of those dispensations, father, that comes like great actors,
once in a thousand years."

Mr Moses, senior, drew from his pocket a dirty cotton handkerchief, and
applied it to his eyes.

"Oh, Aby," said he, in a snivelling tone, "if your mother vos but alive
to see it. But, tank God, my dear, she's out of this vicked vorld of
sorrow and trouble. But let's talk of business," he added, in a livelier
tone. "This is a serious affair, my boy. I hope you'll take care of your
place, ven you gets it."

"Trust me for that, Septuagenarian," replied the son.

"Votever you does, do it cleverly, and don't be found out. Dere's a mint
of money to be made in more vays than one. If your friends vant cash,
bring 'em to me. I'll allow you handsome."

"Have you got the three hundred ready, father?"

"Here it is, Aby," replied Methusaleh, holding up three bank-notes of a
hundred each. "Now you know, my dear, vot ve're to do exactly; ve may,
after all, be done in this 'ere business, although I own it doesn't look
like it. Still ve can't be too cautious in our proceedings. You
remember, my boy, that ven you gives de nobleman his money, you takes
his receipt. The cheque for the balance you'll keep in your pocket till
you get the appintment. I goes vith you, and shtays outside the other
side of the vay. If any thing goes wrong, you have only to come to the
street door, and take off your hat, that vill be quite enough for me;
I'll rush in directly, and do vot's necessary."

"Father," said Aby, in a tone of reproof, "your notions of gentlemen's
conduct is so disgusting, that I can't help despising you, and giving
the honour of my birth to some other individual. No son of your's could
be elevated in his ideas. I defy him."

"Never mind, my boy, do as you are bid. You're very clever, I own, but
you have a deal to larn yet."

In this and similar conversation, time passed until the clock struck
eleven, and warned father and son of the approaching crisis. At
half-past eleven precisely they quitted their common habitation, and
were already on the road. The old gentleman had made no alteration in
his primitive attire. Even on the day which was about to prove so
eventful to the family history, he sallied forth with the same lofty
contempt of conventionalities that had characterised his very long
career. How different the elated and aspiring heir of Moses! No wonder
he spurned with indignation the offer of his seedy parent's arm. No
wonder he walked a few paces before him, and assumed that unconcerned
and vacant air which should assure all passengers of his being quite
alone in the public thoroughfare both in person and in thought. Aby had
been intensely persevering at his morning toilet. The grease of a young
bear had been expended on his woolly head; the jewellery of a Mosaic
firm scattered over his lanky personality. He wore a tightly-fitting
light blue coat with frogs; a yellow satin waistcoat with a stripe of
blue beneath; a massive cravat of real cotton velvet, held down by gilt
studs; military trousers, and shining leather boots; spurs were on the
latter, and a whip was in his hand. Part of the face was very clean; but
by some law of nature the dirt that had retreated from one spot had
affectionately attached itself to another. The cheeks were
unexceptionable for Aby; but beneath the eyes and around the ears, and
below the chin, the happy youth might still indulge his native love of
grime. It is not the custom for historians to describe the inner
clothing of their heroes. We are spared much pain in consequence.

At three minutes to twelve the worthies found themselves over against
the Salisbury Hotel in Oxford Street. The agitation of the happy youth
was visible; but the more experienced sire was admirably cool.

"There's the money, Aby," said he, handing over the three hundred
pounds. "Be a man, and do the business cleverly. Don't be done out of
the cash, and keep vide avake. If you've the slightest suspicion, rush
to the door and pull off your hat. I shall look out for the signal.
Don't think of me. I can take care of myself. Dere, listen, the clock's
striking. Now go, my boy, and God bless you!"

True enough, the clock was sounding. Aby heard the last stroke of
twelve, and then to leap across the road, and to bound into the house,
was the work of an instant.

Now, although Mr Methusaleh Moses was, as we have said, admirably cool
up to the moment of parting with his money, it by no means follows that
he was equally at his ease after that painful operation had been
performed. Avaricious and greedy, Methusaleh could risk a great deal
upon the chance of great gains, and would have parted with ten times
three hundred pounds to secure the profits which, as it seemed to him,
were likely to result from the important business on hand. He could be
extravagant in promising speculations, although he denied himself
ordinary comforts at his hearth. Strange feelings possessed him,
however, as his son tore from him, and disappeared in the hotel. The
money was out of his pocket, and in an instant might find itself in the
pocket of another without an adequate consideration. Dismal reflection!
Mr Methusaleh looked up to one of the hotel windows to get rid of it.
The boy was inexperienced, and might be in the hands of sharpers, who
would rub their hands and chuckle again at having done the "knowing
Jew." Excruciating thought! Mr Methusaleh visibly perspired as it came
and went. The boy himself was hardly to be trusted. He had been the
plague of Mr Methusaleh's life since the hour of his birth--was full of
tricks, and might have schemes to defraud his natural parent of his
hard-earned cash, like any stranger to his blood or tribe. As this
suspicion crossed the old man's brain, he clenched his fist
unconsciously, and gnashed his teeth, and knit his brow, and felt as
murderers feel when the hot blood is rampant, and gives a tone of
justice to the foulest crime. A quarter of an hour passed in this
distressing emotion. Mr Methusaleh would have sworn it was an hour, if
he had not looked at his watch. Not for one moment had he withdrawn his
eager vision from that banging door, which opened and shut at every
minute, admitting and sending forth many human shapes, but not the one
he longed yet feared to see. The old man's eyes ached with the strain,
and wearying anxiety. One good hour elapsed, and there stood Mr Moses.
He was sure his boy was still in the house. He had watched every face
closely that had entered and issued. Could he have mistaken Aby?
Impossible! I would have given a great deal to read the history of the
old man's mind during that agitated sixty minutes! I believe he could
have called to recollection every form that had passed either into or
out of the hotel, all the time that he had been on duty. How he watched
and scanned some faces! One or two looked sweetly and satisfactorily
ingenuous--the very men to spend money faster than they could get it,
and to need the benevolent aid that Mr Moses was ready to afford them.
Methusaleh's spirits and confidence rose tremendously at such
appearances. One after the other was silently pronounced "the real Lord
Downy." Then came two or three sinister visages--faces half muffled up,
with educated features, small cunning eyes, and perhaps green
spectacles--conspirators every one--villains who had evidently conspired
to reduce Mr Moses's balance at his banker's, and to get fat at his
expense. Down went the spirits faster than they had mounted. The head,
as well as eyes of Mr Moses, now was aching.

His troubles grew complicated. Have we said that the general appearance
of Mr Moses, senior, was such as not to inspire immediate confidence on
the part of mankind in general, and police-officers in particular? It
should have been mentioned. The extraordinary conduct of the agitated
little gentleman had not failed to call forth the attention and
subsequent remarks of those who have charge of the public peace. First,
he was asked, "What business he had there?" Then he was requested "to
move on." What a request to make at such a moment! _Move on!_ Would that
thoughtless policeman have given Mr Moses three hundred precious
sovereigns to put himself in locomotion? Not he. Then came two or three
mysterious individuals, travellers apparently from the east, with long
beards, heavy bags on their backs, and sonorous voices, who had
evidently letters of introduction to Methusaleh, for they deposited
their burdens before him as they passed, and entered with him into
friendly conversation, or rather sought to do so; for he was proof
against temptation, and, for the first time in his life, not to be
charmed by any eastern talk of "first-rate bargains," and victories
obtained, by guile, over Christian butlers and such like serving-men.
The more the strangers surrounded him, the more he bobbed his head, and
fixed his piercing eye upon the door that wrought him so much agony.

An hour and a half! Exactly thirty minutes later than the time
prescribed by Aby! Oh, foolish old man, to part with his money! He
turned pale as death with inward grief, and resolved to wait no longer
for the faithless child. Not faithless, old Methusaleh--for, look again!
The old man rubs his eyes, and can't believe them. He has watched so
long in vain for that form, that he believes his disordered vision now
creates it. But he deceives himself. Aby indeed appears. His hands are a
hundred miles away from his hat, and a smile sits on the surface of his
countenance. "Oh, he has done the trick! Brave boy, good child!" A
respectable gentleman is at his side. Methusaleh does not know him, but
the reader recognises that much-to-be-pitied personage, Lord Downy. Oh,
how greedily Methusaleh watches them both! "Capital boy, an
out-and-outer." Mr Moses "vishes he may die" if he isn't. But, suddenly,
the arm and hand of the youth is raised. Old Moses' heart is in his
mouth in no time. He prepares to run to his child's assistance; but the
hand stops midway between the waistcoat and the hat, and--hails a cab.
Lord Downy enters the vehicle; Aby follows, and away it drives.
Methusaleh's cab is off the stand quite as quickly. "Follow dat cab to
h--l, my man!" says he; jumps in, and never loses sight of number
forty-five.

Number forty-five proceeded leisurely down Regent Street; along Charing
Cross, and Parliament Street, until it arrived at a quiet street in
Westminster, at the corner of which it stopped. Close behind it, pulled
up the vehicle of old Methusaleh. Lord Downy and Aby entered a house
within a few yards of it, and, immediately opposite, the indefatigable
sire once more took up his position. Here, with a calm and happy spirit,
the venerable Moses reflected on the past and future--made plans of
retiring from business, and of living, with his fortunate Aby, in rural
luxury and ease, and congratulated himself on the moral training he had
given his son, and which had no doubt led to his present noble eminence.
During this happy reverie there appeared at the door of the house in
which the Moses family were at present interested, a man of fashionable
exterior--a baronet at the very least. He had a martial air and bushy
whiskers--his movements all the ease of nature added to the grace of
art. The plebeian Moses felt an involuntary respect for the august
presence, and, in the full gladness of his heart, took off his hat in
humble reverence. We promised the reader one glimpse of the incomparable
Warren de Fitzalbert. He has obtained it. That mysterious individual
acknowledges the salutation of the Hebrew, and, smiling on him
graciously, passes on. Methusaleh rubs his hands, and has a foretaste of
his coming dignity.

Another ten minutes of unmingled joy, and Aby is at the door. His
carefully combed hair is all dishevelled; his limbs are shaking; his
cheeks bloodless; and, oh, worse than all, the fatal hat is wildly
waving in the air! Methusaleh is struck with a thunderbolt; but he is
stunned for an instant only. He dashes across the road, seizes his
lawfully begotten by the throat, and drags him like a log into the
passage.

"Shpeak, shpeak! you blackguard, you villain!" exclaimed the man. "My
money, my money!"

"Oh, father!" answered the stripling, "they have robbed us--they have
taken advantage of me. I aint to blame; oh Lor'! oh Lor'!"

The little man threw his boy from him with the strength of a giant and
the anger of a fiend. The unhappy Aby spun like a top into the corner of
the passage.

"Show me the man," cried Methusaleh, "as has got my money. Take me to
him, you fool, you ass; let me have my revenge; or I'll be the death of
you."

Aby crawled away from his father, rose, and then bade his father follow
him. The father did as he was directed. He ascended a few stairs, and
entered a room on the first floor. The only living object he saw there
was Lord Downy. His lordship was very pale, and as agitated as any of
the party; but his agitation did not save him from the assaults of the
defrauded Israelite. The old man had scarcely caught sight of his prey
before he pounced upon him like a panther.

"What does this mean?" exclaimed his lordship, in amazement.

"My money!"

"Who are you?" said Lord Downy.

"My money!" repeated Moses, furiously. "Give me my money! Three hundred
pounds--bank notes! I have got the numbers; I've stopped the payment.
Give me my money!"

"Is this your son, sir?" said Lord Downy, pointing to the wretched Aby,
who stood in a corner of the apartment, looking like a member of the
swell mob, very sea-sick.

"Never mind him!" cried the old man, energetically. "The money is mine,
not his'n. I gave it him to take up a bill. If you have seduced him
here, and robbed him of it, it's transportation. I knows the law. It's
the penal shettlements!"

"Good heaven, sir! What language do you hold to me?"

"Never mind my language. It vill be vorse by and by. Dis matter shall be
settled before the magistrate. Come along to Bow Street!"

And so saying, Mr Moses, who all this time had held his lordship fast by
the collar of his coat, urged him forwards to the door.

"I tell you, sir," said the nobleman, "whoever you may be, you are
labouring under a mistake. I am not the person that you take me for. I
am a peer of the realm."

"If you vos the whole House of Commons," continued Methusaleh, without
relaxing his grasp, "vith Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Vellington
into the pargain, you should go to Bow Street. Innoshent men aint to be
robbed like tieves."

"Oh, heaven! my position! What will the world say?"

"That you're a d--d rogue, sir, and shwindled a gentleman out of his
money."

"Listen to me for one moment," said Lord Downy, earnestly, "and I will
accompany you whithersoever you please. Believe me, you are mistaken. If
you have suffered wrong through me, I am, at least, innocent.
Nevertheless, as far as I am able, justice shall be done you." Mr Moses
set his prisoner at liberty. "There, sir," said he, "I am a man of
peace. Give me the three hundred pounds, and I'll say no more about it."

"We are evidently playing at cross purposes," said the nobleman. "Suffer
me, Mr ----," His lordship stopped.

"Oh, you knows my name well enough. It's Mr Moses."

"Then, Mr Moses," continued Lord Downy, "suffer me to tell my story, and
then favour me with yours."

"Go on, sir," said Methusaleh. "Mind, vot you says vill go as evidence
agin you. I don't ask you to speak. I don't vant to compromise."

"I have nothing but truth to utter. Some days ago I saw an advertisement
in the newspaper, offering to advance money to gentlemen on their
personal security. I answered the advertisement, and the following day
received a visit from Mr Fitzalbert, the advertiser. I required a
thousand pounds. He had not the money, he said, at his command; but a
young friend of his, for whom, indeed, he acted as agent, would advance
the sum as soon as all preliminaries were arranged. We did arrange the
preliminaries, as I believe, to Mr Fitzalbert's perfect satisfaction,
and this morning was appointed for a meeting and a settlement."

"Yes; but didn't you promise to get me situation," interposed Aby from
the corner, in a tremulous tone.

"Hold your tongue, you fool!" exclaimed Methusaleh. "Read that letter,"
he continued, turning to Lord Downy, and presenting him with the note
addressed to Moses, junior, by Warren de Fitzalbert. Lord Downy read it
with unfeigned surprise, and shook his head when he had finished.

"It is my usual fate" he said, with a sigh. "I have fallen again into
the hands of a sharper. Mr Moses, we have been both deceived. I have
nothing to do with rods, blue or black. I am not able to procure for
your worthy son any appointment whatever. I never engaged to do so. The
letter is a lie from beginning to end, and this Mr Fitzalbert is a
clever rogue and an impostor."

Mr Moses, senior, turned towards his son one of those expressive looks
which Aby, in his boyhood, had always translated--"a good thrashing, my
fine fellow, at the first convenient opportunity." Aby, utterly beaten
by disappointment, vexation, and fear, roared like a distressed bear.

"Come, come!" said Lord Downy; "matters may not be as bad as they seem.
The lad has been cruelly dealt by. I will take care to set him right. I
received of your three hundred pounds this morning, Mr Moses, two
hundred and fifty; the remaining fifty were secured by Mr Fitzalbert as
a bonus. That sum is here. I have the most pressing necessity for it;
but I feel it is not for me to retain it for another instant. Take it. I
have five-and-twenty pounds more at the Salisbury hotel, which, God
knows, it is almost ruin to part with, but they are yours also, if you
will return with me. I give you my word I have not, at the present
moment, another sixpence in the world. I have a few little matters,
however, worth ten times the amount, which I beg you will hold in
security, until I discharge the remaining five-and-twenty pounds. I can
do no more."

"Vell, as you say, we have been both deceived by a great blackguard, and
by that 'ere jackass in the corner. You've shpoken like a gentleman,
vich is alvays gratifying to the feelings. To show you that I am not to
be outdone in generosity, I accept your terms."

Lord Downy was not moved to tears by this disinterested conduct on the
part of Mr Moses, but he gladly availed himself of any offer which would
save him from exposure. A few minutes saw them driving back to Oxford
Street; Methusaleh and Lord Downy occupying the inside of a cab, whilst
Aby was mounted on the box. The features of the interesting youth were
not visible during the journey, by reason of the tears that he shed, and
the pocket-handkerchief that was held up to receive them.

A little family plate, to the value of a hundred pounds, was, after much
haggling from Methusaleh, received as a pledge for the small deficiency;
which, by the way, had increased since the return of the party to the
Salisbury Hotel, to thirty-four pounds fifteen shillings and sixpence;
Mr Moses having first left it to Lord Downy's generosity to give him
what he thought proper for his trouble in the business, and finally made
out an account as follows--

  Commission,          L.5  0  0
  Loss of time,          2  0  0
  Do., Aby,              2  0  0
  Hire of cab,           0 15  6
                       ---------
                       L.9 15  6

"I hope you thinks," said Methusaleh, packing up the plate, "that I have
taken no advantage. Five hundred pounds voudn't pay me for all as I have
suffered in mind this blessed day, let alone the vear and tear of body."

Lord Downy made no reply. He was heartsick. He heard upon the stairs,
footsteps which he knew to belong to Mr Ireton. That gentleman, put off
from day to day with difficulty and fearful bribes, was not the man to
melt at the tale which his lordship had to offer instead of cash, or to
put up with longer delay. His lordship threw himself into a chair, and
awaited the arrival of his creditor with as much calmness as he could
assume. The door opened, and Mr Mason entered. He held in his hand a
letter, which had arrived by that morning's post. The writing was known.
Lord Downy trembled from head to foot as he broke the seal, and read the
glad tidings that met his eye. His uncle, the Earl of ----, had received
his appeal, and had undertaken to discharge his debts, and to restore
him to peace and happiness. The Earl of ----, a member of the
government, had obtained for his erring nephew an appointment abroad,
which he gave him, in the full reliance that his promise of amendment
should be sacredly kept.

"It shall! it shall!" said his lordship, bursting into tears, and
enjoying, for the first time in his life, the bliss of liberty. Need we
say that Mr Ireton, to his great surprise, was fully satisfied, and Mr
Moses in receipt of his thirty-four pounds fifteen shillings and
sixpence, long before he cared to receive the money? These things need
not be reported, nor need we mention how Lord Downy kept faith with his
relative, and, once rid of his disreputable acquaintances, became
himself a reputable and useful man.

Moses and Son dissolved their connexion upon the afternoon of that day
which had risen so auspiciously for the junior member. When Methusaleh
had completed the packing up of Lord Downy's family plate, he turned
round and requested Aby not to sit there like a wretch, but to give his
father a hand. He was not sitting there either as a wretch or in any
other character. The youth had taken his opportunity to decamp. Leaving
the hotel, he ran as fast as he could to the parental abode, and made
himself master of such loose valuables as might be carried off, and
turned at once into money. With the produce of this stolen property, Aby
extravagantly purchased a passage to New South Wales. Landing at Sydney,
he applied for and obtained a situation at the theatre. His face secured
him all the "sentimental villains;" and his success fully entitles him,
at the present moment, to be regarded as the "acknowledged hero" of
"domestic (Sydney) melodrama."



VICHYANA.


No watering-place so popular in France as Vichy; in England few so
little known! Our readers will therefore, we doubt not, be glad to learn
something of the _sources_ and _re_sources of Vichy; and this we hope to
give them, in a general way, in our present Vichyana. What further we
may have to say hereafter, will be chiefly interesting to our medical
friends, to whom the _waters_ of Vichy are almost as little known as
they are to the public at large. The name of the town seems to admit,
like its waters, of analysis; and certain grave antiquaries dismember it
accordingly into two Druidical words, "Gurch" and "I;" corresponding,
they tell us, to our own words, "Power" and "Water;" which, an' it be
so, we see not how they can derive _Vichy_ from this source. Others,
with more plausibility, hold Vichy to be a corruption of _Vicus_. That
these springs were known to the Romans is indisputable; and, as they are
marked _Aquæ calidæ_ in the Theodosian tables, they were, in all
probability, frequented; and the word _Vicus_, Gallicised into Vichy,
would then be the designation of the hamlet or watering-place raised in
their neighbourhood. Two of the principal springs are close upon the
river; ascertaining, with tolerable precision, not only the position of
this _Vicus_, but also of the ancient bridge, which, in the time of
Julius Cæsar, connected, as it now does, the town with the road on the
opposite bank of the Allier, (Alduer fl.,) leading to Augusta Nemetum,
or Clermont. The road on _this_ side of the bridge was then, as now, the
high one (_via regia_) to Lugdunum, or Lyons.

Vichy, if modern geology be correct, was not always _thus_ a
watering-place; but seems, for a long period, to have been a _place
under water_. The very stones prate of Neptune's whereabouts in days of
langsyne. No one who has seen what heaps of _rounded_ pebbles are
gleaned from the corn-fields, or become familiar with the copious
remains of _fresh water_ shells and insects, which are kneaded into the
calcareous deposits a little below the surface of the soil, can help
fetching back in thought an older and drearier dynasty. Vulcan here, as
in the Phlegrian and Avernian plains, succeeded with great labour, and
not without reiterated struggles, in wresting the region from his uncle,
and proved himself the better earth-shaker of the two; first, by means
of subterranean fires, he threw up a great many small islands, which,
rising at his bidding, as thick as mushrooms after a thunder-storm,
broke up the continuous expanse of water into lakes; and by continual
perseverance in this plan, he at last rescued the _whole_ plain from his
antagonist, who, marshaling his remaining forces into a narrow file, was
fain to retreat under the high banks of the Allier, and to evacuate a
large tract of country, which had been his own for many centuries.


NATURAL HISTORY, &c.

The natural history of Vichy--that is, so much of it as those who are
not naturalists will care to know--is given in a few sentences. Its
Fauna contains but few kinds of quadrupeds, and no great variety of
birds; amongst reptiles again, while snakes abound as to number, the
variety of species is small. You see but few fish at market or at table;
and a like deficiency of land and fresh water mollusks is observable;
while, in compensation for all these deficiencies, and in consequence,
no doubt, of some of them, insects abound. So great, indeed, is the
superfoetation of these tribes, that the most unwearying collector
will find, all the summer through, abundant employment for his _two_
nets. If the Fauna, immediately around Vichy, must be conceded to be
small, her Flora, till recently, was much more copious and interesting;
_was_--since an improved agriculture, here as every where, has rooted
out, in its progress, many of the original occupants of the ground, and
colonized it with others--training hollyhocks and formal sunflowers to
supplant pretty Polygalas and soft Eufrasies; and instructing Ceres so
to fill the open country with her standing armies, that Flora,
_outbearded_ in the plain, should retire for shelter to the hills, where
she now holds her court. Spring sets in early at Vichy; sometimes in the
midst of _February_ the surface of the hills is already hoar with almond
blossoms. Early in April, anemones and veronicas dapple the greensward;
and the willows, deceived by the promise of warm weather, which is not
to last, put forth their _blossoms_ prematurely, and a month later put
forth _their leaves_ to weep over them. By the time May has arrived, the
last rude easterly gale, so prevalent here during the winter months, has
swept by, and there is to be no more cold weather; tepid showers vivify
the ground, an exuberant botany begins and continues to make daily
claims both on your notice and on your memory; and so on till the
swallows are gone, till the solitary _tree aster_ has announced October,
and till the pale petals of the autumnal colchicum begin to appear; a
month after Gouts and Rheumatisms, for which they grow, have left Vichy
and are returned to Paris for the winter. We arrived long before this,
in the midst of the butterfly month of July. It was warm enough then for
a more southern summer, and both insect and vegetable life seemed at
their acme. The flowers, even while the scythes were gleaming that were
shortly to unfound their several pretensions in that leveller of all
distinctions, _Hay_, made great muster, as if it had been for some
horticultural show-day. Amongst then we particularly noticed the purple
orchis and the honied daffodil, fly-swarming and bee-beset, and the
stately thistle, burnished with many a _panting goldfinch_, resting
momentarily from his butterfly hunt, and clinging timidly to the slender
stem that bent under him. Close to the river were an immense number of
_yellow_ lilies, who had placed themselves there for the sake, as it
seemed, of trying the effect of _hydropathy_ in improving their
_complexions_. But what was most striking to the eye was the appearance
of the immense white flowers (whitened sepulchres) of the _Datura
strammonium_, growing high out of the shingles of the river; and on this
same Seriphus, outlawed from the more gentle haunts of their innocuous
brethren, congregated his associates, the other prisoners, of whom, both
from his size and bearing, he is here the chief!


THE CONTRAST.

What a change from the plains of Latium!-a change as imposing in its
larger and more characteristic features, as it is curious in its
minutest details; and who that has witnessed the return of six summers
calling into life the rank verdure of the Colosseum, can fail to
contrast these jocund revels of the advancing year in this gay region of
France, with the blazing Italian summers, coming forth with no other
herald or attendant than the gloomy green of the "_hated_ cypress," and
the unrelieved glare of the interminable Campagna? Bright, indeed, was
that Italian heaven, and deep beyond all language was its blue; but the
spirit of transitory and changeable creatures is quelled and
overmastered by this permanent and immutable scene! It is like the
contrast between the dappled sky of cheerful morning, when eye and ear
are on the alert to catch any transitory gleam and to welcome each
distant echo, and the awful immovable stillness of noon, when Pan is
sleeping, and will be wroth if he is awakened, when the whole life of
nature is still, and we look down shuddering into its unfathomable
depth! Standing on the heights of Tusculum, or on the sacred pavement of
the Latian Jupiter, every glance we send forth into the objects around
us, returns laden with matter to cherish forebodings and despondencies.
The ruins speak of an immovable past, the teeming growths which mantle
them, the abundant source of future malaria, of a destructive future,
and _activity_, the only spell by which we can evoke the cheerful spirit
of the present--activity within us, or around us, there is _none_. What
wonder if we now feel as though the weight of all those grim ruins had
been heaved from off the mind, and left it buoyant and eager to greet
the present as though we were but the creatures of it! Whatever denizen
of the vegetable or the animal kingdom we were familiar with in Italy
and miss hereabouts, is replaced by some more cheerful race. What a
_variety_ of trees! and how various their _shades_ of green! Though not
equal to thy pines, Pamfili, and to thy fair cypresses, Borghese, whose
feet lie cushioned in crocuses and anemones, yet a fine tree is the
poplar; and yonder, extending for a couple of miles, is an avenue of
their stateliest masts. The leaves of those nearest to us are put into a
tremulous movement by a breeze too feeble for our skins to feel it; and
as the rustling foliage from above gently _purrs_ as instinct with life
from _within_, this peculiar sound comes back to us like a voice we have
heard and forgotten. No "marble wilderness" or olive-darkened upland, no
dilapidated "Osterie," famine within doors and fever without, here press
desolation into the service of the picturesque. Neither here have we
those huge masses of arched brickwork, consolidated with Roman cement,
pierced by wild fig-trees, crowned with pink valerians or acanthus, and
giving issue to companies of those gloomy funeral-paced insects of the
_Melasome_ family, (the Avis, the Pimelia, and the Blaps,) whose dress
is _deep mourning_, and whose favoured haunt is the tomb! But in their
place, a richly endowed, thickly inhabited plain, filled with cottages
and their gardens, farms and their appurtenances, ponds screaming with
dog-defying geese, and barnyards commingling all the mixed noises of
their live stock together. Encampments of ants dressed out in uniforms
quite unlike those worn by the _Formicary_ legions in Italy; gossamer
cradles nursing progenies of _our Cisalpine_ caterpillars, and spiders
with new arrangements of their _eight pairs of eyes_, forming new
arrangements of meshes, and _hunting_ new flies, are here. Here too,
once again, we behold, not without emotion, (for, _small_ as he is, this
creature has conjured up to us former scenes and associations of eight
years ago,) that tiny light-blue butterfly, that hovers over our
ripening corn, and is not known but as a stranger, in the south; also,
that minute diamond beetle[1] who always plays at bo-peep with you from
behind the leaves of his favourite hazel, and the burnished corslet and
metallic elytra of the pungent unsavoury _gold beetle_;[2] while we miss
the _grillus_ that leaps from hedge to hedge; the thirsty dragon-fly,
restless and rustling on his silver wings; the hoarse cicadæ, whose
"time-honoured" noise you _durst_ not find fault with, even if you
would, and which you come insensibly to like; and that huge long-bodied
hornet,[3] that angry and terrible disturber of the peace, borne on
wings, as it were, of the wind, and darting through space like a meteor!


MISCELLANEA.

Though the "Flora" round about Vichy be, as we have said it is, very
rich and various, it attracts no attention. The fat Boeotian cattle
that feed upon it, look upon and _ruminate_ with more complacency over
it than the ordinary visitors of the place. The only flowers the ladies
cultivate an acquaintance with, are those manufactured in Paris;
_artificial_ passion flowers, and false "forget-me-nots," which are
about as true to nature as they that wear them. Of fruits every body is
a judge; and those of a sub-acid kind--the only ones permitted by the
doctors to the patients--are in great request. Foremost amongst them,
after the month of June, are to be reckoned the dainty fresh-dried
fruits from Clermont; of which, again, the prepared pulp of the mealy
wild apricot of the district is the best. This _pâté d'abricot_ is
justly considered by the French one of the best _friandises_ they have,
and is not only sold in every _department_ there, but finds its way to
England also. Eaten, as we ate it, fresh from Clermont twice a-week, it
is soft and pulpy; but soon becoming candied, loses much of its fruity
flavour, and is converted into a sweetmeat.

We should not, in speaking of Vichy to a friend, ever designate it as a
_comfortable_ resort for a family; which, according to our English
notion of the thing, implies both privacy and detachment. Here you can
have neither. You must consider yourself as so much public property,
must do what others do--_i. e._ live in public, and make the best of it.
No place can be better off for hotels, and few so ill off for
lodgings--the latter are only to be had in small dingy houses opening
upon the street. They are, of course, very noisy; nor are the let-ters
of them at any pains to induce you by the modesty of their demands to
drop a veil over this defect. Defect, quotha! say, rather misery,
plague, torture. Can any word be an over-exaggeration for an incessant
_tintamare_, of which dogs, ducks, and drums are the leading
instruments, enough to try the most patient ears? The hotels begin to
receive candidates for the waters in May; but the season is reputed not
to commence till a month later, and ends with September. During this
period, many thousand visitors, including some of the ministers of the
day; a royal duke; half the Institute; poets, a few; _hommes des
lettres_, many; _agents de change_, most of all; deputies, wits, and
dandies; in fact, all the _élite_, both of Paris and of the provinces,
pay the same sum of seven francs per man, per diem; and, with the
exception of the duke, assemble, not to say fraternize, at the same
table. But though the guests be not formal, the "Mall," where every body
walks, is extremely so. A very broad right-angled [Illustration: m][**]
intersected by broad staring paths, cut across by others into smaller
squares, compels you either to be for ever throwing off at right angles
to your course, or to turn out of the enclosure. When the proclamation
for the opening of the season has been _tamboured_ through the
streets--with the doctors rests the announcement of the day--immediately
orders are issued for clean _shaving_ the grass-plats, lopping off
redundant branches, to recall the growth of trees to sound orthopedic
principles, and to reduce that wilderness of impertinent forms,
wherewith nature has disfigured her own productions, into the figures of
pure geometry! Hither, into this out-of-doors drawing-room, at the
fashionable hour of four P.M., are poured out, from the _embouchures_ of
all the hotels, all the inhabitants of them; all the tailor's gentlemen
of the Boulevard des Italiens, and all the _modisterie_ of the
Tuileries.


OUR AMUSEMENTS.

Pair by pair, as you see them _costumés_ in the fashions of the month;
pinioned arm to arm, but looking different ways; leaning upon polished
reeds as light and as expensive as themselves--behold the chivalry of
the land! The hand of _Barde_ is discernible in their _paletots_. The
spirit of _Staub_ hovers over those _flowery waistcoats_; who but
_Sahoski_ shall claim the curious felicity of _those heels_? and
Hippolyte has come bodily from Paris on purpose to do their hair. "_Un
sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l'admire_," says Boileau, and here,
in supply exactly equal to the demand, come forth, rustling and
_bustling_ to see them, bevies of long-tongued belles, who ever, as they
walk and meet their acquaintance, are announcing themselves in swift
alternation "_charmées_," with a blank face, and "_toutes desolées_,"
with the _best good-will_! Here you learn to value a red riband at its
"juste prix," which is just what it will fetch per ell; specimens of it
in button-holes being as frequent as poppies amidst the corn.
Pretending to hide themselves from remark, which they intend but to
provoke, here public characters do private theatricals _a little à
l'écart_. Actors gesticulate as they rehearse their parts under the
trees. Poets

  "Rave and recite, and madden as they stand;"

and honourable members read aloud from the _Débats_ that has just
arrived, the speech which they spoke yesterday "_en Deputés_." Our
promenade here lacks but a few more Saxon faces amidst the crowd, and a
greater latitude of extravagance in some of its costumes, to complete
the illusion, and to make you imagine that this public garden, flanked
as it is on one side by a street of hotels, and on the opposite by the
bank of the Allier, is the Tuilleries with its Sunday population sifted.

Twenty-five francs secures you admission to the "Cercle" or club-house,
a large expensive building, which, like most buildings raised to answer
a variety of ends, leaves the main one of architectural propriety wholly
out of account. But when it is considered how many interests and
caprices the architect had to consult, it may be fairly questioned,
whether, so hampered, Vitruvius could have done it better; for the
_ground floor_ was to be cut up into corridors and bathing cells; while
the ladies requested a ball and anteroom; and the gentlemen two
"billiards" and a reading-room, with detached snuggeries for
smoking--_all_ on the _first floor_.

Public places, excepting the above-mentioned "Cercle," exist not at
Vichy, and as nobody thinks of paying visits save only to the doctor and
the springs, "_on s'ennui très considerablement à Vichy_." If it be
true, that, in some of the lighter annoyances of life, fellowship is
decidedly preferable to solitude, _ennui_ comes not within the
number--every attempt to divide it with one's neighbours only makes it
worse; as Charles Lamb has described the _concert_ of silence at a
Quakers' meeting, the intensity increases with the number, and every new
accession raises the public stock of distress, which again redounds with
a surplus to each individual, "_chacun en a son part, et tous l'ont tout
entier_."[4] What a chorus of yawns is there; and mutual yawns, you
know, are the dialogue of ennui. No wonder; for the physicians don't
permit their patients to read any books but novels. They seek to array
the "Understanding" against him who wrote so well concerning its laws;
Bacon, as _intellectual food_, they consider difficult of digestion; and
even for their own La Place there is no place at Vichy! Every unlucky
headache contracted here, is placed to the account of _thinking_ in the
bath. If Dr P---- suspects any of his patients of thinking, he asks
them, like Mrs Malaprop, "what business they have to think?" "_Vous êtes
venu ici pour prendre les eaux, et pour vous desennuyer, non pas pour
penser! Que le Diable emporte la Pensée!_" And so he _does_ accordingly!

How _we_ got through the twenty-four hours of each day, is still a
problem to us; after making due deductions for the time consumed in
eating, drinking, and sleeping. Occasionally we tried to "_beat time_"
by _versifying_ our own and our neighbours' "experiences" of Vichy. But
soon finding the "_quicquid agunt homines_" of those who in fact did
nothing, was beyond our powers of _description_, gave up, as abortive,
the attempt to maintain our "suspended animation" on means so artificial
and precarious. When little is to be told, few words will suffice. If
the word fisherman be derived from _fishing_, and not from _fish_, we
had a great many such fishermen at Vichy; who, though they could neither
scour a worm, nor splice the rod that their clumsiness had broken, nor
dub a fly, nor land a fish of a pound weight, if any such had had the
mind to try them, were vain enough to beset the banks of the Allier at a
very early hour in the morning. As they all fished with "flying lines,"
in order to escape the fine imposed on those that are _shotted_, and
seemed to prefer standing in their own light--a rare fault in
Frenchmen--with their backs to the sun; the reader will readily
understand, if he be an angler, what sport they might expect. Against
them and _their lines_, we quote a few _lines_ of _our own_ spinning:--

  Now full of hopes, they loose the lengthing twine,
  Bait harmless hooks, and launch a _leadless_ line!
  Their shadows on the stream, the sun behind--
  Egregious anglers! are the fishes blind?
  Gull'd by the sportings of the frisking bleak,
  That now assemble, now disperse, in freak;
  They see not _deeper_, where the quick-eyed trout,
  Has chang'd his route, and turned him quick about;
  See not those scudding shoals, that mend their pace,
  Of frighten'd bream, and silvery darting dace!
  Baffled at last, they quit the ungrateful shore,
  Curse what they fail to catch--and fish no more!
  Yet fish there be, though these unsporting wights
  Affect to doubt what Rondolitier[5] writes;
  Who tells, "how, moved by soft Cremona's string,
  Along these banks he saw the _Allice_ spring;
  Whilst active hands, t' anticipate their fall,
  Spread wide their nets, and draw an ample haul."

Our sportsmen do not confine themselves to the gentle art of
angling--they _shoot_ also; and some of them even acquire a sort of
celebrity for the precision of their aim. This class of sportsmen may be
divided into the _in_, and the _out_-door marksmen. _These_, innocuous,
and confining their operations principally to small birds in trees;
those, to the knocking the heads off small plaster figures from a stand.
The following brief notice of _them_ we transcribe from our Vichy
note-book:--

  Those of bad blood, and mischievously gay,
  Haunt "_tirs au pistolets_," and kill--the day!
  There, where the rafters tell the frequent crack,
  To fire with steady hand, acquire the knack,
  From rifle barrels, twenty feet apart,
  On gypsum warriors exercise their art,
  Till ripe proficients, and with skill elate,
  Their aimless mischief turns to deadly hate.
  Perverted spirits; reckless, and unblest;
  Ye slaves to lust; ye duellists profess'd;
  Vainer than woman; more unclean than hogs;
  Your life the felon's; and your death the dog's!
  Fight on! while honour disavow your brawl,
  And outraged courage disapprove the call--
  Till, steep'd in guilt, the devil sees his time,
  And sudden death shall close a life of crime.

In front of some of the hotels you always observe a number of persons
engaged successively in throwing a ring, with which each endeavours to
encircle a knife handle, on a board, stuck all over with blades. If he
succeeds, he may pocket the knife; if not he pays half a franc, and is
free to throw again. It is amusing to observe how many half franc pieces
a Frenchman's vanity will thus permit him to part with, before he gives
over, consigning the ring to its owner, and the blades to his electrical
anathema of "_mille tonnerres!_" A little farther on, just beyond the
enclosure, is another knot of people. What are they about? They are
congregated to see what passengers embark or disembark (their voyage
accomplished) from the gay vessels, the whirligigs or merry-go-rounds
(which is the classical expression, let _purists_ decide _for
themselves_) which, gaily painted as a Dutch humming-top, sail overhead,
and go round with the rapidity of windmills.

  In hopes to cheat their nation's fiend, "Ennui,"
  _These_ cheat themselves, and _seem_ to go to sea!
  Their galley launch'd, its rate of sailing fast,
  Th' _Equator_ soon, and soon the _Poles_ they've past,
  And here they come to anchorage at last!
  _These_, tightly stirrupt on a wooden horse,
  Ride at a ring--and spike it, as they course.
  Thus with the aid that ships and horses give,
  Life passes on; 'tis labour, but they live.--
  And some lead "bouledogues" to the water's edge,
  There hunt, _à l'Anglais_, rats amidst the sedge;
  And some to "pedicures" present--their corns,
  And some at open windows practise--horns!
  In noisy trictrac, or in quiet whist,
  These pass their time--and, to complete our list,
  There are who flirt with milliners or books,
  Or else with nature 'mid her meads and brooks.

But Gauthier's was our lounge, and therefore, in common gratitude, are
we bound particularly to describe it. Had we been Dr Darwin we had done
it better. As it is, the reader must content himself with _Scuola di
Darwin_--

  In Gauthier's shop, arranged in storied box
  Of triple epoch, we survey the rocks,
  A learned nomenclature! Behold in time
  Strange forms imprison'd, forms of every clime!
  The Sauras quaint, daguerrotyped on slate,
  Obsolete birds and mammoths out of date;
  Colossal bones, that, once before our flood,
  Were clothed in flesh, and warm'd with living blood;
  And tiny creatures, crumbling into dust,
  All mix'd and kneaded in one common crust!
  Here tempting shells exhibit mineral stores,
  Of crystals bright and scintillating ores!
  Of milky _mesotypes_, the various sorts,
  The _blister'd silex_ and the _smoke-stain'd quartz_;
  Thy _phosphates lead!_ bedeck'd with _needles green_,
  Of _Elbas speculum_ the _steely sheen_,
  Of _copper ores_, the poison'd "_greens_" and "_blues_,"
  Dark _Bismuth's cubes_, and Chromium's _changing_ hues.

Here, too, (emblematical of our own position with respect to Ireland,)
we see _silver alloyed with lead_. In the "repeal of such union," where
the _silver_ has every thing to _gain_ and the _lead_ every thing to
_lose_, it is remarkable at what a _very dull heat_ ('tis scarcely
superior to that by which O'Connell manages to inflame Ireland) the
_baser metal_ melts, and would forsake the other, by its incorporation
with which it derives so large a portion of its intrinsic value,
whatever that may be!

Here, too, we pass in frequent review a vast series of casts from the
antique; they come from Clermont, and are produced by the dripping of
water, strongly impregnated with the carbonate of lime, on moulds placed
under it with this view. Some of these impressions were coarse and
rusty, owing to the presence of iron in the water; but where the
necessary precautions had been taken to precipitate this, the casts came
out with a highly polished surface, together with a sharpness of outline
and a precision of detail, that left no room for competition to
_Odellis_, else unrivalled Roman casts, which, confronted with these,
look like impressions of impressions derived through a hundred
successive stages; add, too, that these have the _solid_ advantage over
the others of being in marble in place of washed sulphur.

Thus much concerning _us_ and _our_ pastimes, from which it will have
appeared that the _gentlemen_ at Vichy pass half the day in _nothings_,
the other half _in nothing_. As to the ladies, who lead the same kind of
out doors life with us, and only don't smoke or play billiards, we see
and note as much of their occupations or listlessness as we list.

  In unzoned robes, and loosest dishabille,
  They show the world they've nothing to conceal!
  But sit abstracted in their own _George Sand_,
  And dote on Vice in sentiment so bland!
  To necklaced Pug appropriate a chair,
  Or sit alone, _knit_, _shepherdise_, and _stare!_
  These seek _for fashion_ in a _mourning dress_,
  (_Becoming_ mourning makes affliction less.)
  With mincing manner, both of ton and town,
  Some lead their _Brigand_ children up and down;
  Invite attention to small girls and boys,
  Dress'd up like dolls, a silly mother's toys;
  Or follow'd by their _Bonne, in Norman cap_,
  Affect to take their first-born to their lap--
  To gaze enraptured, think you, on a face,
  In which a husband's lineaments they trace?
  Smiling, to win the notice of their elf?
  No! but to draw the gaze of crowds on _Self_.

Sunday, which is always in France a _jour de fête_, and a _jour de bal_
into the bargain, is kept at Vichy, and in its neighbourhood, with great
apparent gaiety and enjoyment by the lower orders, who unite their
several _arrondissements_, and congregate here together.

  Comes Sunday, long'd for by each smart coquette,
  Of Randan, Moulins, Ganat, and Cusset.
  In Janus hats,[6] with beaks that point both ways,
  Then lively rustics dance their gay _Bourrées_;[7]
  With painted sabots strike the noisy ground,
  While bagpipes squeal, and hurdy-gurdies sound.
  Till sinks the sun--then stop--the poor man's fête
  Begins not early, and must end not late.
  Whilst Paris belle in costliest silk array'd,
  Runs up, and walks in stateliest parade;
  Each comely damsel insolently kens;
  (So silver pheasants strut 'midst modest hens!)
  And marvels much what men _can_ find t' admire,
  In such coarse hoydens, clad in such attire!

  And now 'tis night; beneath the bright saloon,
  All eyes are raised to see the fire balloon,
  Till swells the silk 'midst acclamations loud,
  And the light lanthorn shoots above the crowd!
  Here, 'neath the lines, Hygeia's fount that shade,
  Smart booths allure the lounger on parade.
  _Bohemia's glass_, and _Nevers' beaded wares_,
  _Millecour's fine lace_, and _Moulins' polish'd shears_;
  And crates of painted wicker without flaw,
  And fine mesh'd products of _Germania's_ straw,
  Books of dull trifling, misnamed "reading light,"
  And foxy maps, and prints in damaged plight,
  Whilst up and down to rattling _castanettes_,
  The active hawker sells his "_oubliettes!_"

We have our shows at Vichy, and many an itinerant tent incloses
something worth giving half a franc to see; most of them we had already
seen over and over again. What then? one can't invent new monsters every
year, nor perform new feats; and so we pay our respects to the _walrus_
woman, and to the "anatomie _vivante_." We look _up_ to the Swiss
giantess, and down upon the French dwarf; we inspect the feats of the
village Milos, and of those equestrians, familiar to "every circus" at
home and abroad, who

  Ride four horses galloping; then stoop,
  Vault from their backs, and spring thro' narrow hoop;
  Once more alight upon their coursers' backs,
  Then follow, scampering round the oft trod tracks.
  And that far travell'd pig--_that_ pig of parts,
  Whose eye aye glistens on _that_ Queen of hearts;
  While wondering visitors the feat regard,
  And tell by _looks_ that that's the very card!

Behold, too, another curiosity in natural history, well deserving of
"notice" and of "note," which we append accordingly--

  From Auvergne's heights, their mother lately slain,
  Six surly wolf cubs by their owner ta'en;
  Her own pups drown'd, a foster bitch supplies,
  And licks the churlish brood with fond maternal eyes![8]

Finally, and to wind up--

  Who dance on ropes, who rouged and roaring stand,
  Who cheat the eyes by wondrous sleight of hand,
  From whose wide mouth the ready riband falls,
  Who swallow swords, or urge the flying balls,
  Here with French poodles vie, and harness'd fleas,
  Nor strive in vain our easy tastes to please.
  Whilst rival pupils of the great Daguerre,
  In rival shops, display their rivals fair!


OUR FIRST TABLE D'HÒTE DINNER AT VICHY.

We arrived at Vichy from Roanne just in time to dress for dinner. As
every body dines _en table d'hôte_., we were not wrong in supposing that
this would be a good opportunity for studying the habits, "USAGES DE
SOCIÉTÉ" and what not, of a tolerably large party (fifty was to be the
number) of the better class of French PROPRIÈTAIRES. On entering the
room, we found the guests already assembled; and everybody in full talk
already, before the bell had done ringing, or the tureens been
uncovered. The habit of general sufferance and free communion of tongue
amongst guests at dinner, forms an agreeable episode in the life of him
whom education and English reserve have _inured_, without ever
reconciling, to a different state of things at home. The difference of
the English and French character peeps out amusingly at this critical
time of the day; when, oh! commend _us_ to a Frenchman's vanity, however
grotesque it may sometimes be, rather than to our own reserve, shyness,
formality, or under whatever other name we please to designate, and seek
to hide its unamiable synonym, pride. Vanity, always a free, is not
seldom an agreeable talker; but pride is ever laconic; while the few
words he utters are generally so constrained and dull, that you would
gladly absolve him altogether from so painful an effort as that of
opening his mouth, or forcing it to articulate. Self-love may be a large
ingredient in both pride and vanity; but the difference of comfort,
according as you have to sit down with one or the other at table, is
indeed great. For whilst pride sits stiff, guarded, and ungenial,
_radiating coldness around him_, which requires at least a bottle of
champagne and an arch coquette to disperse; vanity, on the other hand,
being a _female_, (a sort of Mrs Pride,) has her _conquests to make_,
and loves making them; and accordingly must study the ways and means of
pleasing; which makes _her_ an agreeable _voisine_ at table. As she
never doubts either her own powers to persuade, or yours to appreciate
them, her language is at once self-complacent, and full of good-will to
her neighbour; whilst the vanity of a Frenchman thus leads him to seek
popularity, it seems enough to an Englishman that he is one entitled to
justify himself, in his own eyes, for being as disagreeable as he
pleases.

On the present occasion, not to have joined in a conversation which was
general, at whatever disadvantage we might have to enter into it, would,
we felt, have been to subject ourselves to remark after dinner; so
putting off restraint, and putting on the best face we could, we began
at once to address some remarks to our neighbours. We were not aware at
the moment how far the _Anglomania_, which _began_ to prevail some seven
years ago in Paris, had spread since we left the French capital. There
it began, we remember, with certain members of the medical profession,
who had learned to give calomel in _English_ doses. The public next
lauded Warren's blacking--_Cirage national de Warren_--and then
proceeded to eat raw crumpets as an English article of luncheon. But
things had gone farther since that time than we were prepared to expect.
At the _table d'hôte_ of to-day, we found every body had something civil
to say about English products; frequently for no other reason than that
they were English, it being obvious that they themselves had never seen
the articles, whose excellence they all durst swear for, though not a
man of them knew wherefore. We had not sat five minutes at table (the
stringy _bouilli_ was still going round) when a count, a gentleman used
to good breeding and _feeding_, opened upon us with a compliment which
we knew neither how to disclaim nor to appropriate, in declaring in
presence of the table that he was a decided partisan for English
"Rosbiff;" confirming his perfect sincerity to us, by a "_c'est vrai_,"
on perceiving some slight demur to the announcement at _mine host's_ end
of the table. We had scarce time to recover from this unexpected sally
of the count, when a young _notabilité_, a poet of the romantic school
of France, whose face was very pale, who wore a Circassian profusion of
_black_ hair over his shoulders, a satin waistcoat over his breast, and
Byron-tie (_noeud Byron_) round his neck--permitted his muse to say
something flattering to us across the table about Shakspeare. Again we
had not what to say, nor knew how to return thanks for our "immortal
bard;" and this, our shyness, we had the mortification to see was put
down to _English coldness_; for how _could_ we else have seemed so
insensible to a compliment so personal? nor were we relieved from our
embarrassment till a dark-whiskered man, in sporting costume, (who had
brought every thing appertaining thereto to table except his gun, which
was in a corner,) gave out, in a somewhat oracular manner, his opinion,
that there were no sporting dogs _out of_ England; whistling, as he
spoke to Foxe, and to Miss Dashe, to rise and show their noses above the
table! The countess next spoke tenderly of _English soap_, and almost
sighed over the soft whiteness of her hands, which she indulgently
attributed to the constant use of soap prepared by "_Mr Brown de
Vindsor_." This provoked a man of cultivated beard to declare, that he
found it impossible to shave with any razors but _English_ "_ones_;"
concluding with this general remark on French and English manufactures,
that the French _invented_ things, but that the English improved them.
(_Les Français inventent, mais les Anglais perfectionnent._) Even
English medicine found its advocates--here were we sitting in the midst
of Dr Morison's patients! A lady, who had herself derived great
advantage from their use, was desirous of knowing whether our Queen took
them, or Prince Albert! It was also asked of us, whether Dr Morison
(whom they supposed to be the court physician) was _Sir_ Dr Morison,
(Bart.,) or _tout simplement_ doctor! and they spoke favourably of some
other English inventions--as of Rogers' teeth, Rowland's macassar, &c.;
and were continuing to do so, when a fierce-looking demagogue, seeing
how things were going, and what concessions were being made, roused
himself angrily; and, to show us that _he_ at least was no Anglo-maniac,
shot at us a look fierce as any bonassus; while he asked, abruptly, what
we thought in England of one whom he styled the "Demosthenes of
Ireland"--looked at us for an answer. As it would have been unsafe to
have answered _him_ in the downright, offhand manner, in which we like
both to deal and to be dealt by, we professed that we knew but one
Demosthenes, and he not an Irishman, but a Greek; which, by securing us
his contempt, kept us safe from the danger of something worse; but, our
Demosthenic friend excepted, it was a pleasant, unceremonious dinner;
and we acquitted ourselves just sufficiently well not to make any one
feel we were in the way. A lady now asked, in a whisper, whom _we_ look
upon as the first poet, Shakspeare, Dumas, or Lord Byron; and whether
the _two_ English poets were _both_ dead. A reply from a more knowing
friend saved our good breeding at this pinch. As a proof of our having
made our own way amongst the guests at table, we may mention that one
sallow gentleman, who had been surveying us once or twice already, at
length invited us to tell him, across the table, what case is ours, and
who our physician? To be thus obliged to confess our weak organ in
public is not pleasant; but _every_ body here does it, and what every
body does must be right. A gentleman who speaks broken English favours
the table with a conundrum. Another (the young poet) presents us with a
brace of dramas, bearing the auspicious titles of "La Mort de Socrate,"
and "Catilina Romantique"--_of which anon_. But, before we rise from our
dessert, here is the conundrum as it was proposed to us:--"What
gentleman always follow what lady?" Do you give it up? _Sur-Prise_
always follow _Misse-Take!!_

So much for our amusements at Vichy; but our Vichyana would be
incomplete, unless we added a few words touching those far-famed sources
for which, and not for its amusements, so many thousands flock hither
every year. The following, then, may be considered as a brief and
desultory selection of such remarks only as are likely to interest the
general reader, from a body of notes of a more professional character,
of which the destination is different:--Few springs have been so
celebrated as those at Vichy, and no mineral waters, perhaps, have
performed so many real "Hohenlohes," or better deserved the reputation
they have earned and maintained, now for so many centuries! Gentle,
indeed, is their surgery; they will penetrate to parts that no _steel_
may reach, and do good, irrespective of persons, alike to Jew or
Gentile; but then they should be "drunk on the premises"--exported to a
distance (and they are exported every where) they are found to have
lost--their chemical constitution remaining unchanged--a good deal of
their efficacy. Little, however, can Hygeia have to do with chemistry;
for the chemical analysis of _all_ these springs is the same while the
_modus operandi_ of each, in particular, is so distinct, that if gout
ails you, you must go to the "Grande grille;" if dyspepsia, to the
"Hôpital;" or, if yours be a kidney case, to the "Celestius," to be
cured--facts which should long ago have convinced the man of retorts and
crucibles at home (who affirms that 'tis but taking soda after all),
that he speaks _beyond_ his warrant. Did ever lady patroness, desirous
of filling her rooms on a route night, invite to that end so many as
Hygeia invites to come and benefit by these springs? And what though she
reserve the right of patent in their preparation to herself, does she
not generously yield the products of her discovery in the restoration of
health and comfort to thousands, whom neither nostrum nor prescription,
the recipe nor the fiat, could restore? In cases, too, beyond her
control, does she not mitigate many sufferings that may not be removed?
To all that are galled with gall-stones, to those whom the _Chameleon
litmus paper_ of "coming events casts their shadows before;" to Indian
_livers_ condemned, else hopelessly, to the fate of Prometheus, preyed
upon by that vulture _Hepatitis_, in its _gnawing_ and chronic forms;
and to the melancholy hypochondriac, steeped at once both in sadness and
in pains--she calls, and calls loudly, that all these should come and
see what great and good things are in store for them at Vichy. And
finally, difficult though gouty gentlemen be to manage, Hygeia, nothing
daunted on that score, shrinks not from inviting that large army of
_involuntary_ martyrs to repair thither at once. Yes! even gout, that
has so long laughed out at all pharmacopoeias, and tortured us from the
time "when our wine and our oil increased"--Gout, that colchicum would
vainly attempt to baffle, that no nepenthe soothes, no opium can send to
sleep--Gout, that makes as light of the medical practitioner as of his
patient; that murdered _Musgrave_, and seized her very own historian by
the hip[9]--this, our most formidable foe, is to be conquered at Vichy!
Here, in a brief time, the iron gyves of _Podagra_ are struck _off_, and
_Cheiragra's manacles_ are unbound; enabling old friends, who had
hitherto shaken their _heads_ in despondency, once more to shake
_hands_.

But Vichy, be it understood, neither cures, nor undertakes to cure,
every body; her waters have nothing to do with your head, your heart, or
your lungs; their empire begins and ends below the _diaphragm_; it is
here, and here alone, that her mild control quells dangerous internal
commotions, establishes quiet in irritated organs, and restores health
on the firm basis of _constitutional principles_. The real _doctors_ at
Vichy are the _waters_; and much is it to be regretted that they should
not find that co-operation and assistance in those who administer them,
which Hippocrates declares of such paramount importance in the
management of all disease; for here (alas! for the inconsistency of man)
the two physicians _prescribed_ to us by the government, while they
gravely tell their patients that no good can happen to such as will
think, fret, or excite themselves, while they formally interdict all
_sour_ things at table, (shuddering at a cornichon if they detect one on
the plate of a rebellious water-drinker, and denouncing honest
fruiterers as poisoners,) yet foment sour discord, and keep their
patients in perpetual hot water, alike _in the bath_ and _out of the
bath_; more tender in their regard for _another_ generation, they
recommend all nurses to undergo a slight course of the springs to _keep
their milk_ from turning sour, yet will curdle the _milk of human
kindness_ in our lacteals by instilling therein the sour asperity which
they entertain towards each other, and which, notwithstanding the
efforts of the ladies to keep peace between them, by christening one
their "_beau médecin_," and the other their "_bon médecin_," has arrived
at such a pitch that they refuse to speak French, or issue one "_fiat_"
in common.[10]

A remarkable fact connected with the natural history of the Vichy waters
is the following:--Whenever the electrical condition of the atmosphere
undergoes a change, in consequence of the coming on of a storm, they
disengage a large quantity of carbonic acid, while a current of
electricity passes off from the surface. At such times baths are borne
with difficulty, the patients complaining of præcordial distress, which
amounts sometimes to a feeling of suffocation; the like unpleasant
sensations being also communicated, though to a less extent, to those
who are drinking the waters.[11]

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Polydrusus sericea.]

[Footnote 2: Carabus auratus.]

[Footnote 3: Scholia flavicomis.]

[Footnote 4: Victor Hugo's beautiful line on _maternal affection_.]

[Footnote 5: Rondolitier was a celebrated ichthyologist and sportsman of
the old school; and those desirous of further information respecting the
capture of fish by "fiddling to them," may be referred to his work on
fishes, _ad locum_.]

[Footnote 6: These hats are very peculiar; they are highly ornamented
with ribands, and have acquired, from their peculiarity in having a
double front--"chapeaux a deux bonjours."]

[Footnote 7: For a lively description of this dance _vide_ Madame de
Sevigne's _Letters to her Daughter_. That ecstatic lady, who always
wrote more or less under the influence of St Vitus, was in her time an
_habituée_ at Vichy.]

[Footnote 8: These wolves were six weeks old, in fine condition, and
clung to the teats of their foster parent with wolf-like pertinacity. As
long as she lay licking their little black bodies and dark chestnut
heads, or permitted them to hide their sulky faces and ugly bare tails
under her body, they lay quiet enough, but when she raised her emaciated
form to stretch her legs, or to take an airing, at first they hung to
her dugs by their teeth; but gradually falling off, barked as she
proceeded, and would snap at your fingers if you went to lay hold of
them. Out of the six, one was gentle and affectionate, would lick your
hand, slept with the owner, and played with his ears in the morning,
without biting; if his own ears were pulled, he took it as a dog would
have done, and seemed to deprecate all unkindness by extreme gentleness
of manner, for which he was finely bullied by his brother wolves
accordingly. The bitch seemed equally attached to all the litter; for
_instinctive_, unlike _rational_ affection, has no favourites. At first
the wolves boarded in the same house with us, which afforded abundant
opportunity for our visiting them, _a l'improvisto_, whenever we
pleased. On one of these occasions we saw two rabbits, lately introduced
into their society, crunching carrots, _demissis auribus_, and quite at
their ease, while two little "wolves" were curiously snuffing about; at
first looking at the rabbits, and then _imitating_ them, by taking up
some of their _prog_, which tasting and not approving, they spat
out--then, as if suspecting the rabbits to have been playing them a
trick, one of them comes up stealthily, and brings his own nose in close
proximity to that of one of the rabbits, who, quite unmoved at this act
of familiarity, continues to munch on. The wolf contemplates him for a
short time in astonishment, and seeing that the carrots actually
disappear down his "oesophagus," returns to the other wolf to tell him
so. His next step is to paw his friend a little, by way of encouraging
him to advance. So encouraged he goes up, and straight lays hold of the
rabbit's ear, and a pretty plaything it would have made had the rabbit
been in the humour! In place of which he _thumps_ the ground with his
hind legs, rises almost perpendicularly, and the next moment is down
like lightning upon the head of the audacious wolf, who on thus
unexpectedly receiving a double "colaphus" retreats, yelping! The other
wolf is more successful; having crept up stealthily to the remaining
rabbit, he seizes him by his furry rump--off bounds he in a fright,
while the other plants himself down like a _sphinx_, erects his ears,
and seems highly pleased at what he has been doing! We used sometimes to
visit the wolves while they slept; on these occasions a slight whistle
was at first sufficient to make them start upon their legs; at last,
like most sounds with which the ear becomes familiar, they heard it
passively. All our attempts to frighten the rabbits by noises _while
they were engaged in munching_, proved unsuccessful.]

[Footnote 9: Sydenham.]

[Footnote 10: So notorious and violent has this hydromachia become, that
it has at length called forth a poem, styled the _Vichyade_, of which
the two resident physicians are the Achilles and Hector. The poem, which
is as coarse and personal as the _Bath Guide_, is not so clever, but is
much read here, _non obstant_.]

[Footnote 11: An ingenious physician assures us, that he has for years
past been in the habit of consulting his patients in place of his
barometer, and has thus been enabled to foretell vicissitudes of weather
before they had manifested themselves, by attending to the accounts they
gave of their sensations in the bath. There are seven springs, whose
united volumes of water, in twenty-four hours, fill a chamber of twenty
feet dimensions, in every direction.]



IT'S ALL FOR THE BEST.

PART THE LAST.


CHAPTER VI.

It was a lovely morning, notwithstanding it was November--the rain had
wholly ceased, and the clear and almost cloudless sky showed every
indication of a fine day; so that Frank had an excellent opportunity of
witnessing the view of the sea to which the squire had alluded, and with
which he was very much gratified. But, for all this, our little hero was
looking forward to a far more interesting sight, in the persons of the
fair ladies he had fully made up his mind to meet that morning at
breakfast; though the altered tones of their voices still exceedingly
puzzled him. Wishing, however, to appear to the greatest possible
advantage, he no sooner got back to the house, than, under the pretext
of just seeing Vernon for a minute, he took the opportunity of brushing
up his hair, and all that sort of thing. Having so done, and being by no
means dissatisfied with the result, he again descended the stairs, and,
with a throbbing heart, entered the breakfast room. Here he found the
master of the house, with his amiable little wife, and three young
ladies, already seated around the table--yes, three young
ladies--actually one more in number than he had anticipated; but, alas!
how different from those he had hoped to see. Instead of the lovely
forms he and Vernon had been so forcibly struck with the day before, he
perceived three very indifferent-looking young women--one, a thin little
crooked creature, with sharp contracted features, which put him in mind
of the head of a skinned rabbit--another with an immense flat unmeaning
face; and the third, though better-looking than her two companions, was
a silly little flippant miss in her teens, rejoicing in a crop of
luxuriant curls which swept over her shoulders as she returned Frank's
polite bow--when the squire introduced him to the assembled company--as
much as to say, "I'm not for you, sir, at any price; so, pray don't for
a moment fancy such a thing." The other two spinsters returned his
salutation less rudely; but he set down the whole trio as the most
uninteresting specimens of womankind he had ever met.

"Come," said the squire addressing himself to Frank, who, surprised as
well as disappointed, was looking a little as if he couldn't help it,
"Come, come Mr Trevelyan, here we are all assembled at last; so make the
best use of your time, and then for waging war against the partridges."

Frank did make the best use of his time, and a most excellent breakfast,
though he puzzled his brains exceedingly during the whole time he was so
occupied with turning it over in his mind, how it was possible that such
a delightful couple as the founders of the feast, could have produced so
unprepossessing a progeny; whilst Timothy--who, though it was no part of
his duty to wait at table, which was performed by a well-dressed
man-servant out of livery--managed, on some pretext or other, to be
continually coming in and out of the room, and every time contrived to
catch Frank's eye, and, by a knowing grin, to let him know that he both
understood the cause, and was exceedingly amused at his perplexity.

No sooner had Frank eaten and drank to his heart's content, than he
declared his readiness to attend the squire to the field. Here they fell
in with several coveys of partridges, and the squire, being an excellent
shot, brought down his birds in fine style; added to which he knocked
over a woodcock and several snipes; but it was otherwise with Frank,
whose shooting experience being rather limited, after missing several
easy shots, terminated the day by wounding a cow slightly, and killing a
guinea-hen that flew out of a hedge adjoining a farm-yard the sportsmen
were passing, which, mistaking for some wild gallinaceous animal or
other, he blazed away at, without inquiring as to the particular species
to which it might possibly belong. But so far from being cast down with
his ill success, or the laughter his more effective shots had raised at
his expense, he enjoyed the day amazingly, fully resolved to have
another bout at it on the morrow; and so he and the worthy squire
returned homewards together in the best possible humour with each other;
the latter delighted with Frank, and Frank equally well pleased with the
squire.

But Frank felt very sheepish about what his friend Vernon Wycherley
would say as to the result of the predictions he had that morning made,
and how he should manage to put a bold front upon the matter, so as to
have the laugh all on his own side; a sort of thing he couldn't arrange
any how; but still he would not pass so near his friend's bedroom,
without looking in to ask him how he was getting on, when, to his great
surprise, he found not only the bed, but even the apartment unoccupied.

"Ah, well!" said Frank, "I'm rejoiced, poor fellow, he's so much better
than I expected; and _it's all for the best_ that I find the bird flown,
which spares me the vexation of confessing to him the blunder I made in
my calculations this morning, which he must have found out long before
this."

Having relieved his mind by these observations, he repaired to his own
room, and having shifted his attire, and made the best of himself his
limited wardrobe would admit, was again in the act of descending the
stairs, when he encountered Timothy, who, with a grin that distended his
mouth wellnigh from ear to ear, begged to direct him to the
drawing-room, which was on the same floor with the bed chambers, where,
he informed him, "the gen'lman was a-laying up top o' the sofer, and
a-telkin' away brave with the young ladies--I say," observed Timothy,
winking his eye to give greater expression to his words--"I say--he's a
ben there for hours, bless'ee; for no sooner did mun[12] hear their
sweet voices a-passing long the passage, than ha ups a-ringing away to
the bell, which I takes care to answer; so ha tips me yef-a-crown to
help mun on we us cloaz, which I did ready and wullin'; and then,
guessing what mun 'ud like to be yefter, I ups with my gen'lman
pick-a-back, and puts[13] mun with ma right into drawing-room, an drops
mun flump down all vittey[14] amongst the ladies a-top of the sofer; and
if you wants to see a body look plazed, just step in yer"--added he,
laying his hand on the lock of the door, which they had then
reached--"only just step in yer, and look to mun."

"Then most heartily do I pity his taste," thought Frank; but he didn't
say so, and passed through the door Timothy had opened for him, who duly
announced him to the party within. But how shall we attempt to describe
Frank's amazement, when he discovered of whom the party consisted? He
had indeed been surprised at meeting persons so totally different from
what he had expected that morning at breakfast, but he was now perfectly
thunderstruck at the sight which burst upon his astonished vision.

There was Mr Vernon Wycherley reclining at his ease on an elegant sofa,
his head comfortably propped up with pillows, and as far, at any rate,
as face was concerned, appearing not a bit the worse for his late
accident, and making himself quite at home; and there, too, seated near
him, were those lovely creatures who had excited the admiration of our
two young heroes on the preceding day: there they were, both of them,
dressed most becomingly, and looking most bewitchingly lady-like,
employed about some of those little matters of needlework, which afford
no impediment to conversation, chatting away with their new acquaintance
in the most friendly and agreeable manner possible.


CHAPTER VII.

Frank Trevelyan was so much taken aback by a sight so totally
unexpected, that his confident assurance for the moment forsook him, and
with a countenance suffused with blushes, and a perfect consciousness
all the time that he was looking like a fool, he stood stock-still
within a few paces from the door, as if uncertain whether to pluck up
sufficient courage to advance, or to turn tail and make a run of it; his
comfort all this time in nowise enhanced, by detecting the air of
triumphant satisfaction with which Mr Vernon Wycherley was witnessing
and enjoying his confusion. Fortunately, however, for Frank, the ladies
had more compassion, and by their pleasing affability of manner,
speedily relieved him from his embarrassment--so speedily indeed, that
in the course of five minutes he had not only conquered every bashful
feeling, but had acquired so great a degree of easy self-possession,
that Vernon Wycherley actually began to wonder at what he was pleased in
his own mind to style, "the little rascal's cool impudence"----But he
only thought so whilst Frank was devoting his sole attentions to the
darker beauty, with whom the young poet had already chosen to fancy
himself in love; for when, at the expiration of this five minutes, his
friend transferred his civilities to her fair sister, Mr Wycherley
returned to his original opinion, formed upon a close intimacy of
several years, which was, that friend Frank was one of the best-hearted,
good-humoured, and entertaining little fellows that ever existed.

And now, how shall we attempt to describe these lovely young creatures,
whose charms were, by this time, playing sad havoc with the hearts of Mr
Vernon Wycherley, and his friend Mr Francis Trevelyan. First, then, the
elder sister, Miss Mary.--Her features were regular, with the true
Madonna cast of countenance, beautiful when in a state of repose, but
still more lovely when lighted up by animation. Her cheek, though pale,
indicated no symptom of ill health, and her complexion was remarkably
clear, which was beautifully contrasted with her raven hair, dark eyes,
and long silken eyelashes. Her sister, who was but a year younger, owed
more of her beauty to a certain sweetness of expression it is impossible
to describe, than to perfect regularity of feature. Her eyes were
dark-blue, and her hair of a dark-golden brown; her complexion fair and
clear, and her mouth and lips the most perfect that can be conceived.
Both sisters had excellent teeth, but in other respects their features
were totally dissimilar. They were about the middle height--and their
figures faultless, which, added to a lady-like carriage and engaging
manners, untainted with affectation, rendered them perfectly
fascinating. Such was, at any rate, the opinion each of our two heroes
had formed of _her_ to whom he had been pleased to devote his
thoughts--Frank of the gentle Bessie, and Vernon of the lovely Mary--for
none but the squire before her face, and Timothy behind her back, ever
dared to call her Miss Molly; so that before Squire Potts, or his good
lady, joined the young folks, which they did ere one delightful half
hour had passed away, both our young men were deeply in for it--the poet
resigned to pine away the rest of his days in solitary grief, and to
write sonnets on his sorrows; and Frank resolved to try all he could do
to win the lady over to be of the same mind with himself, and then to do
every thing in his power, with the respective governors on both sides,
to bring things to a happy conclusion as speedily as possible.

Oh! they were nice people were the Potts's--father, mother, and
daughters; and how delighted Frank was when he sate down to the
dinner-table with them--never were such nice people, thought Frank--and
he wasn't far wide of the mark either. And how disconsolate poor Vernon
felt in being compelled to rough it all alone, for that day at least,
upon water-gruel above stairs! But the ladies, taking compassion upon
his forlorn condition, and sympathizing with him for the dangers he had
past, left the table very early, and favoured him with their company,
leaving the squire below to amuse friend Frank.

But the squire and Frank were not left long alone together, for the
village doctor dropped in just as the ladies had departed to inquire how
Vernon was getting on, and was easily prevailed upon to help the squire
and his guest out with their wine; and then came the clergyman of the
parish, and his three or four private pupils, who had come to finish
letting off the fireworks, which they had favoured the squire with
partially exhibiting on the previous evening; but which the news of
Vernon's misadventure had prematurely cut short--and so the remainder of
the exhibition was postponed to the following evening--and that time
having then arrived, all the rest of the combustibles went off, one
after another, with very great _eclat_.

But where are those three uninteresting young damsels all this
time?--What has become of them? some of our readers may be inclined to
ask. For their satisfaction we beg to inform them, that these three
unprepossessing personages were merely acquaintances, who had dropped in
unexpectedly the evening before, and made use of the squire's residence
as a kind of inn or half-way house, on the way to visit some friends
some ten miles further on, to which place they had betaken themselves
soon after breakfast. And by way of clearing up as we go--The Misses
Potts, (for Potts they were called, there's no disguising that fact,)
the Misses Potts, we say, were at the time our two heroes first met them
returning homewards from a long ride; shortly after which, being
overtaken by a heavy shower, they betook themselves to a friend's house
not very far distant, where, owing to the unfavourable appearance of the
weather, they were induced to remain for the night, and Timothy was
accordingly sent home with a message to that effect.

They were very nice people indeed were the Potts's; and not only did
their two guests think so, but the whole country, far and wide around,
entertained precisely the same opinion. It is not, therefore, surprising
that two young men like Frank and Vernon should be well pleased with
their quarters, or that, having so early gotten into the slough of love,
they should daily continue to sink deeper into the mire. The young
poet's lame leg, though not a very serious affair, was still sufficient
to keep him for several days a close prisoner to the house; but if any
one had asked him--no, we don't go so far as to say that, for if any one
had so asked him he would not have answered truly; but if he had
seriously proposed the question to himself, his heart would have told
him, that notwithstanding all the pain and inconvenience attendant on
his then crippled state, he wouldn't have changed with his friend Frank,
to have been compelled to ramble abroad with the father, instead of
remaining at home to enjoy the society of his daughters.

As for Frank, he was equally well pleased to let matters be as they
were; he shot with the squire, accompanied him on his walks about his
farm; and occasionally, when the weather permitted, attended the young
ladies in their rides; and then, and then only, did Vernon envy him, or
repine at his own lame and helpless condition. But whatever the opinion
of the latter might have been, never in all his born days did Mr Frank
Trevelyan spend his time so much to his satisfaction.

Now we must not suppose that Squire Potts had, like an old blockhead,
admitted these two young men into such close terms of intimacy with his
family, upon no further acquaintance than was furnished him by his
having helped the one out of a lead shaft, and the other to a dry
rig-out after the duckings he had encountered in seeking the necessary
aid--quite the contrary; for though the nature of the accident, and the
forlorn condition of our pedestrians, would have insured them both food
and shelter till the patient could have been safely removed elsewhere;
yet the squire would never have admitted any one to the society of the
female part of his family, whose respectability and station in society
he was at all doubtful about. He had therefore, during supper-time on
the night of his arrival, but in polite manner, put several pumping
questions to Frank, who very readily answered them; from which he
discovered that Frank's father, though personally unacquainted with, he
knew by reputation to be a highly respectable person and a county
magistrate; nor was even Frank's name wholly unknown to him, and the
little he had heard was highly in his favour. He, therefore, passed
muster very well; and, during the course of the shooting expedition on
the following morning, the squire had also contrived to elicit from his
young companion, that Vernon Wycherley's father, who had died some years
before, had been both an intimate and valued friend of his own early
years.

By this means a great portion of the reserve, often attendant upon an
acquaintance recently formed, wore off; so that our two heroes felt
themselves, in the course of a few days, as much at home with their
newly-made friends, as if they had been on terms of intimacy with them
from their childhood. There was, however, one serious drawback to the
poet's felicity. The comedy upon which he had designed to establish his
future fame, was nowhere to be found; and there was every reason to
believe, that it was reposing in the shaft from which its author had
been so providentially rescued, where no one would venture down to seek
it on account of the foul air that was known to prevail near the bottom.

"Well, never mind," said Vernon, who, when informed of his probable
loss, was reclining very comfortably on the drawing-room sofa, taking
tea with his kind entertainers,--"Well, never mind," he said, "I must be
thankful to Heaven for my own preservation, and, practising a little of
friend Frank's philosophy, try to believe that what has happened _is all
for the best_."

"And so I've no doubt it is," interposed Frank; "for you must either
have been doomed to disappointment by your failure, or, if you had
succeeded in being the fortunate competitor out of the hundred
candidates who are striving for the prize, you would, as a matter of
course, have incurred the everlasting enmity of the disappointed
ninety-nine, to say nothing of their numerous friends and allies; why,
you would be cut up to minced meat amongst them all; and nine-tenths of
the reviews and newspapers would be ringing their changes of abuse upon
your name, as one of the most blundering blockheads that ever spoilt
paper."

"Enough, Frank, enough--I give in," interrupted Mr Wycherley; "quite
enough said on the subject, and perhaps you may be right too in this
instance; but I verily believe, that if the direst misfortune were to
happen to one, you would strive to convince him, or at any rate set it
down in our own mind, that it was _all for the best_."

"And if he did so," said the squire, "he might be less distant from the
truth than you imagine. I myself indeed could mention an instance, where
a man at last happily discovered that a circumstance he had set down in
his own mind as the ruling cause of every subsequent misfortune,
eventually proved the instrument of producing him a greater degree of
happiness than often falls to the lot of the most fortunate of mankind."

Frank and Vernon both expressed a wish to hear the tale, which the
squire, who was a rare hand at telling a story, proceeded forthwith to
recount; but as, for reasons we forbear mentioning at present, he
glossed over some important parts, and touched but lightly on others
equally material, we purpose, instead of recording the tale in his own
words, to state the facts precisely as they occurred, the subject of
which will form the contents of the two next following chapters.


CHAPTER VIII.--THE SQUIRE'S TALE.

In a town that shall be nameless, but which was situate somewhere or
other in the West of England, there lived some years since--no matter
how many--a young man, called Job Vivian, who practised as a surgeon,
apothecary, and so forth. He was about two or three and twenty years of
age when he first commenced his professional career in this place, and
very shortly afterwards he married the girl of his affections, to whom
he had been sincerely attached from his very boyhood; and as they were
both exceedingly good-looking--in fact, she was beautiful--they of
course made what the world terms an imprudent marriage. But Job himself
thought very differently, and amidst all the cares and vicissitudes that
attended several years of his wedded life, he never passed a day without
breathing a prayer of thankfulness to Heaven for having blessed him with
so excellent a helpmate. But though rich in domestic comforts, all the
rest of Job's affairs, for a long time, went on unprosperously. He
certainly acquired sufficient practice in the course of a few years to
occupy a great portion of his time, by night as well as by day, but then
it was not what is termed a paying practice. In fact, nearly the whole
of his business was either amongst the poorer classes, who couldn't pay,
the dishonest, who wouldn't, or the thoughtless and dilatory, who, if
they did so, took a very long time about it. In spite, therefore, of all
his labour and assiduity, the actual amount he received from his
practice fell short of his yearly expenditure, which obliged him to dip
into his small independent property, consisting of a few houses in an
obscure part of the town; which, as he became every year more heavily
involved, he was erelong compelled to mortgage so deeply, that what
between some of his tenants running away without paying their rent, the
costs of repairs, and money to be paid for interest, a very small
portion of the annual proceeds ever reached Job's pockets; and at last,
to complete the whole, a virulent fever broke out in the very midst of
this precious property, of so obstinate and dangerous a kind, as for
some months to defy the skill of all the medical men of the place,
nearly depopulating the whole neighbourhood, which in consequence became
all but deserted.

Just at this critical time poor Job Vivian received a notice from his
mortgagee--a rich old timber merchant, who lived and carried on his
business in the same town with him--to pay off his mortgage; which he
being unable to do, or to obtain any body to advance the required amount
on the security of property which had then become so depreciated in
value, the sordid worshipper of mammon, though rolling in wealth, and
not spending one-tenth part of his income, and with neither wife nor
children to provide for, nor a soul on earth he cared a straw for, was
resolved, as he was technically pleased to term it, to sell up the
doctor forthwith; to accomplish which he commenced an action of
ejectment to recover the possession of the premises, though Job had
voluntarily offered to give them up to him, and also an action of
covenant for non-payment of the mortgage money, whilst at the same time
he filed his bill in Chancery to foreclose the mortgage; which combined
forces, legal and equitable, proved so awful a floorer to a sinking man,
that, in order to get clear of them, he was glad at the very outset, not
only to give up all claim to the property, but even to consent to pay
£100 out of his own pocket for the costs said to have been incurred in
thus depriving him of his possessions.

These costs proved an unceasing millstone about the unfortunate doctor's
neck. In order to pay them, he had been obliged to leave more just
demands undischarged; and thus he became involved in difficulties he
strove in vain to extricate himself from. Yet in spite of all this, Job
and his good little wife were a far happier couple than most of their
richer neighbours. The constant hope that things would soon begin to
take a more prosperous turn, reconciled them to their present
perplexities; there was but one drawback they considered to render their
bliss complete; and Job used to say, that he had never met with an
instance of a man who hadn't a drawback to perfect happiness in some
shape or other and that, take it for all in all, they had, thank God, a
pretty fair allowance of the world's comforts.

"So we have, my dear Job," said his pretty little wife Jessie, in reply
to a remark of this kind he had been just then making--"and only think
how far happier we are than most of the people around us. Only think of
Mr Belasco, who, with all his money and fine estates, is so unhappy,
that his family are in constant dread of his destroying himself."

"And poor Sir Charles Deacon," interposed Job, "a man so devotedly fond
of good eating and drinking as he is, and yet to be compelled to live on
less than even workhouse allowance for fear of the gout--and then that
silly Lord Muddeford, who's fretting himself to death because ministers
wouldn't make him an earl--Mrs Bundy, with her two thousand a-year,
making herself miserable because the Grandisons, and my Lord and Lady
Muddeford, and one or two others of the grand folks, every one of whom
she dislikes, won't visit her. Then the squire at Mortland is troubled
with a son that no gentleman will be seen speaking to; and the rich
rector of"----Job nodded his head, but didn't say where--"has a
tipsy-getting wife--and poor Squire Taylor's wife stark mad--Mr Gribbs
also, with his fine unencumbered property, has two idiot children, and
another deaf and dumb, and the other--the only sane child he has, is
little better than a fool. Then the Hoblers are rendered miserable by
the disobedience and misconduct of their worthless children; and the
Dobsons are making themselves wretched because they've no such creatures
to trouble themselves about. The only man of property I can name in the
whole country round who seems free from care, is our fox-hunting squire
at Abbot's Beacon, who really does enter into the life of the sport, has
plenty of money to carry it on with, and has besides one of the nicest
places I think I ever saw."

"But then," interposed Job's better half, "his wife, every body says,
doesn't care a fig for him."

"Then a fig for all his happiness," said Job; "I wouldn't change places
with him for ten thousand times ten thousand his wealth and possessions,
and a dukedom thrown into the bargain;" and Job told the truth too, and
kissed his wife by way of confirmation; for he couldn't help it for the
very life of him, Job couldn't.

"And then only to consider," said Mrs Job Vivian, as she smilingly
adjusted her hair--and very nice hair she had, and kept it very nicely
too, though her goodman had just then tumbled it pretty
considerably--"only think what two lovely children we have; every one
who sees them is struck with their remarkable beauty." This was
perfectly true, by the way, notwithstanding the observation proceeded
from a mother's lips.

"And so good, too, my dear Jessie," continued Job; "I wonder," he
proudly said, "if any father in the land, besides myself, can truly
boast of children who have had the use of their tongues so long, and who
yet, amidst all their chattering and prattling, have never told a
falsehood--so that, amidst all the cares that Providence has been
pleased to allot us, we never can be thankful enough for the actual
blessings we enjoy."

"We never can, indeed," said Jessie. And thus, in thankfulness for the
actual comforts they possessed, they forgot all the troubles that
surrounded them, and, happily, were ignorant of how heavily they would
soon begin to press upon them.

And now, we must state here, that, although generally unfortunate in his
worldly undertakings, a young colt, which the young doctor had himself
reared, seemed to form an exception to the almost general rule, for he
turned out a most splendid horse; and as his owner's patients were
distributed far and wide over a country in which an excellent pack of
hounds was kept; and Job himself, not only fond of the sport, but also a
good rider, who could get with skill and judgment across a country, his
colt, even at four years' old, became the first-rate hunter of the
neighbourhood; so much so, indeed, that a rich country squire one
day--and that at the very close of the hunting season--witnessing his
gallant exploits in the field, was so pleased with the horse, that he
offered Job £150 for him.

Now, Job thought his limited circumstances would never justify his
riding a horse worth £150; yet he was so much attached to the animal he
had reared, that, greatly as he then wanted money, he felt grieved at
the idea of parting with him, and, at the instant of the offer, he could
not in fact make up his mind to do. Promising, therefore, to give an
answer in the course of a day or two, he returned home, by no means a
happier man in the consciousness of the increased value of his steed;
nor could he muster sufficient courage to tell his wife, who was almost
as fond of the horse as he himself was, of the liberal price that had
been offered for him. But the comfortable way in which Jessie had gotten
every thing ready for him against his return, dispelled a great portion
of his sadness; and her cheerful looks and conversation, added to the
pleasing pranks of his little children, had all but chased away the
remainder, when he received a summons to attend a sick patient, living
at least three miles away, in the country.

"This really is very provoking," said Job; "and the worst part of the
business is, that I can do no good whatever--the poor creature is too
far gone in consumption for the skill of the whole faculty put together
to save her life; and, bless me, my poor Selim has not only carried me
miles and miles over the road to-day, but, like an inconsiderate
blockhead, I must gallop him after the hounds, across the country. But
there, I suppose, I must go; I ought not to stay away from doing an act
of charity, because I am certain not to be paid, or perhaps even thanked
for my pains. Had it been a rich patient, I should have started readily
enough, and so I will now for my poor one. But as Selim has had
something more than a fair day's work of it, I must even make a walk of
it, and be thankful I've such a good pair of legs to carry me."

Job had a very good pair of legs, and the consciousness of this gave him
very great satisfaction; and so, having talked himself into a good
humour, and into the mind for his work, and fearing lest pondering too
long over the matter might induce him to change his resolution, he
caught up his hat, and at once prepared to make a start of it; but, in
his haste, he tripped over two or three steps of the stair, and falling
down the remainder, sprained his ankle so badly, as to render his
walking impracticable. Determined, however, not to abandon a duty he had
made up his mind to perform, and having no other horse at his command,
Selim was again saddled, who, even with only an hour's rest and
grooming, looked nearly as fresh as if he had not been out of his stable
for the day. Never was a man more pleased with a horse than Job was with
the noble animal he then bestrode, and deeply did he regret the urgent
necessity which compelled him to part with him. "Had it not been for
that old miserly fellow in there, I might still have kept my poor
Selim," said Job to himself, as he rode by a large mansion at the verge
of the town; "that £100," continued Job, "he obliged me to pay him or
his attorney, for taking away the remnant of my little property, is the
cause of those very embarrassments which compel me to sell this dear
good horse of mine."

Just as he had so said, an incident occurred which stopped his further
remarks; but, before we mention what this incident was, we must state
what was occurring within this said house at the time Job was in the act
of riding past it.

The proprietor and occupant of this mansion--one of the best in the
place--was, as our readers may have already suspected, the selfsame old
timber merchant who had dealt so hardly with our friend Job, by taking
advantage of a temporary depreciation in the value of his mortgaged
property to acquire the absolute ownership--well knowing, that, in a
very short time, the premises would fetch at least three times the
amount of what he had advanced upon them; in fact, he sold them for more
than four times that sum in less than six months afterwards: but that is
not the matter we have now to deal with. We must therefore introduce our
readers into one of the front rooms of this mansion, in which its
master, (an elderly person, with the love of money--Satan's sure
mark--deeply stamped upon his ungainly countenance,) was closeted with
his attorney; the latter of whom was in the act of taking the necessary
instructions for making the rich man's will--a kind of job the intended
testator by no means relished, and which no power on earth, save the
intense hatred he bore to the persons upon whom his property would
otherwise devolve, could have forced him to take in hand.

"'Tis a bitter thing, Mr Grapple," said the monied man, addressing
himself to the attorney, "a bitter thing to give away what one's been
the best part of one's life trying to get together; and not only to
receive nothing in return, but even to have to pay a lawyer for taking
it away."

"But I'm sure, my good friend, you'll hardly begrudge my two guineas for
this," observed the lawyer--"only think what a capital business I made
in getting you into all Job Vivian's property."

"Well, but you got a hundred pounds for your trouble, didn't you?"
observed the timber-merchant impatiently.

"Yes, my dear sir; but none of that came out of your own pocket,"
interposed the attorney.

"And didn't you promise nothing ever should?" rejoined the old man;
"but never mind--business is business--and, when upon business, stick to
the business you're on, that's my rule; so now to proceed--but mind, I
say, them two guineas includes the paper."

"Oh yes, paper of course!" replied the man of law, "and nothing to pay
for stamps; and this will enable you to dispose of every penny of your
money; and, my dear sir, consider--only for one moment consider your
charities--how they'll make all the folks stare some day or other!"

"Ay, ay, you're right," said the client, a faint smile for the first
time that day enlivening his iron features. "Folks will stare indeed;
and, besides, 'tis well know'd--indeed the Scripturs says, that charity
do cover a multitude of sins."

"To be sure they do; and then only think of the name you'll leave behind
to be handed down to posterity. Such munificent bequests nobody
hereabouts ever heard of before."

"There's a satisfaction in all you say, I confess," observed the
intended donor of all these good gifts; "and who can then say I wasn't
the man to consider the wants of the poor? I always did consider the
poor." So he did, an old scoundrel, and much misery the unhappy
creatures endured in consequence.

"And then," resumed Mr Grapple, "only consider again the tablets in
which all your pious bequests will be stuck up in letters of gold, just
under the church organ, where they will be read and wondered at, not
only by all the townsfolk for hundreds of years to come, but also by all
the strangers that pass through and come to look at the church."

"Very satisfactory that--very!" said the intended testator; "but are you
still sure I can't give my land as well as my money in charities?"

"Only by deed indented, and enrolled within six months after execution,
and to take effect immediately," replied the attorney.

"By which you mean, I suppose, that I must give it out and out, slap
bang all at once, and pass it right away in the same way as if I sold it
outright?"

Lawyer Grapple replied in the affirmative; at which information his
client got very red in the face, and exclaimed, with considerable
warmth--"Before I do that, I'd see all the charities in ----" he didn't
say where; and, checking himself suddenly, continued, in a milder
tone--"That is, I could hardly be expected to make so great a sacrifice
as that in my lifetime; so, as I can't dispose of my lands in the way I
wish, I'll tie 'em up from being made away with as long as I can: for
having neither wife, chick, nor child, nor any one living soul as I care
a single farthing about, it's no pleasure to me to leave it to any body;
but howsomever, as relations is in some shape, as the saying is, after a
manner a part of one's own self, I suppose I'd better leave it to one of
they."

"Your nephew who resides in Mortimer Street, is, I believe, your
heir-at-law?" suggested Mr Grapple.

"He be blowed!" retorted the timber-merchant, petulantly; "he gave me
the cut t'other day in Lunnun streets, for which I cuts he off with a
shilling. Me make he my heir!--see he doubly hanged first, and wouldn't
do it then."

The attorney next mentioned another nephew, who had been a major in the
East India Company's service, and was then resident at Southampton.

"He!" vociferated the uncle, "a proud blockhead; I heerd of his goings
on. He, the son of a hack writer in a lawyer's office! he to be the one,
of all others, to be proposing that all the lawyers and doctors should
be excluded from the public balls! I've a-heerd of his goings on. He
have my property! Why, he'd blush to own who gid it to him. He have it!
No; I'd rather an earthquake swallowed up every acre of it, before a
shovel-full should come to his share."

"Then your other nephew at Exeter?" observed the attorney.

"Dead and buried, and so purvided for," said the timber-merchant.

"I beg your pardon, sir--I had for the moment forgotten that
circumstance; but there's his brother, Mr Montague Potts Beverley, of
Burton Crescent?"

"Wuss and wuss," interrupted the testy old man. "Me give any thing to an
ungrateful dog like that? Why, I actelly lent he money on nothing but
personal security, to set him up in business; and the devil of a
ha-penny could I ever screw out of him beyond principal and legal
interest at five per cent; and, now he's made his forten, he's ashamed
of the name that made it for him--a mean-spirited, henpecked booby, that
cast his name to the dogs to please a silly wife's vanity. He have my
property! I rather calculate not! And so, having disposed of all they, I
think I'll leave my estates to some of brother Thomas's sons. Now,
Grapple, mind me; this is how I'll have it go. In the first place,
intail it on my nephew Thomas, that's the tailor in Regent Street, who,
they says, is worth some thousands already; so what I intends to give
him, will come in nicely;--failing he and his issue, then intail it on
Bill--you knows Bill--he comes here sometimes--travels for a house in
the button line;--failing he and his issue, then upon Bob the letenant
in the navy; he's at sea now, though I be hanged if I know the name of
the ship he belongs to."

Mr Grapple observed that this was unimportant, and then asked if he
should insert the names of any other persons.

"I don't know, really, or very much care whether you does or not,"
replied the timber-merchant. "My late brother Charles," he continued,
"left three sons; but what's become of they all, or whether they be dead
or alive, any of them, I can hardly tell, nor does it very much signify;
for they were a set of extravagant, low-lived, drunken fellows, every
one of them, and not very likely to mend either."

"Then, perhaps you'd rather your heirs at-law should take?" remarked the
attorney.

"No, I'll be hanged if I should!" answered the vender of deals and
mahogany; "so put in all brother Charles's sons, one after t'other, in
the same manner as they before--let me see, what's their names? Oh,
George first, then Robert, and then Richard, and that's the whole of
they."

"I believe, sir," said the attorney, "before I can do so, I must beg the
favour of a candle, for it's growing so dark I am unable to see what I
write."

"Then come nigher to the winder," said the testator, pushing forward the
table in that direction--"Hallo!" he exclaimed, "what can all this yer
row and bustle be about outside?"--and, looking into the street, he
discovered poor Selim lying prostrate in the middle of the road, from
whence some persons were raising up Job himself, who was stunned and
bleeding from the violence of his fall. A young lad had accidentally
driven his hoop between the horse's legs, which threw the unlucky animal
with such violence to the ground as to fracture one of its fore-legs,
and inflict several other dreadful injuries, far beyond all power or
hope of cure. But the man of wealth contemplated the passing scene with
that species of complacent satisfaction, with which men like-minded with
himself are ever found to regard the misfortunes of others, when they
themselves can by no possibility be prejudiced thereby. This selfish old
villain, therefore, instead of evincing any sympathy, was highly amused
at what was going on, and every now and then passed some remark or other
indicative of those feelings, of which the following, amongst others,
afford a pretty fair specimen:--

"Well," he said, "pride they say must have a fall, and a fine fall we've
had here to be sure. Well, who'd a-thought it? But what I say is, that
for a man that can't pay his way as he goes--and his twenty shillings in
the pound whenever he's called upon for it--what I mean to say is, if a
fellow like he will ride so fine a horse, why, it serves him parfectly
right if he gets his neck broke. Oh, then, I see your neck ar'n't broke
this time, after all! Getting better, b'aint you?--pity, isn't it? Oh
dear! what can the matter be? I'll be hanged if he isn't a-crying like a
babbey that's broke his pretty toy. Ay, my master, cry your eyes out,
stamp and whop your head--'twont mend matters, I promise ye. Clear case
of total loss, and no insurance to look to, eh! And that's the chap as
had the himpudence but t'other day to call me a hard-hearted old
blackguard, and that before our whole board of guardians, too--just
because I proposed doctoring the paupers by tender, and that the lowest
tender should carry the day--a plan that would hactelly have saved the
parish pounds and pounds; and he--that blubbering fellow
there--hactelly, as I was a-saying, called me a hard-hearted old
blackguard for proposing it. Oh! I see; here comes Timson the butcher,
what next then? Oh! just as I expected--it's a done job with my nag, I
see. Steady, John Donnithorne, and hold down his head. Come, Timson, my
good man--come, bear a hand, and whip the knife into the throat of
un--skilfully done, wasn't it, doctor? Oh dear! can't bear the sight;
too much for the doctor's nerves. Ay--well, that's a good one--that's
right; turn away your head and pipe your eye, my dear, I dare say it
will do ye good. It does me, I know--he! he! he! Hallo! what have we
here--is it a horse or is it a jackass? Well, I'm sure here's a
come-down with a vengeance--a broken-knee'd, spavined jade of a pony,
that's hardly fit for carrion. Oh! it's yours, Master Sweep, I s'pose.
Ay, that's the kind of nag the doctor ought to ride; clap on the saddle,
my boys--that's your sort; just as it should be. No, you can't look that
way, can't ye? Well, then, mount and be off with ye--that's right; off
you goes, and if you gets back again without a shy-off, it's a pity."
And the hard-hearted old sinner laughed to that degree, that the tears
ran down in streams over his deeply-furrowed countenance.


CHAPTER IX.

The two years that followed Job's untoward accident, instead of mending
his fortunes, had only added to his embarrassments--all owing to his
being just a hundred pounds behind the mark, which, as he often said,
the price he could have obtained for poor Selim would have effectually
prevented. His circumstances daily grew worse and worse, and at last
became so desperate, that this patient and amiable couple were almost
driven to their wits' end. Creditors, becoming impatient, at last
resorted to legal remedies to recover their demands, until all his
furniture was taken possession of under judicial process, which, being
insufficient to discharge one half the debts for which judgments had
been signed against him, he had no better prospect before his eyes than
exchanging the bare walls of his present abode for the still more gloomy
confines of a debtor's prison.

He had striven hard, but in vain, to bear all these trials with
fortitude; and even poor Jessie--she who had hitherto never repined at
the hardness of her lot, and who, to cheer her husband's drooping
spirits, had worn a cheerful smile upon her countenance, whilst a load
of sorrow pressed heavily upon her heart--even she now looked pale and
sad, as with an anxious eye she stood by and watched poor Job, leaning
with his back against the wall in an up-stairs room, now devoid of every
article of furniture. And there he had been for hours, completely
overcome by the accumulation of woes he saw no loophole to escape from;
whilst his two little girls, terrified at the desolate appearance of
every thing around them, and at the unusual agitation of their parents,
were crouched together in a corner, fast grasped together, as if for
mutual protection, in each other's arms.

Not a morsel of food had that day passed the lips of any member of that
unhappy family, and every moveable belonging to the house had been taken
away at an early hour in the morning; so that nothing but the bare walls
were left for shelter, and hard boards for them to lie upon. Often had
poor Jessie essayed to speak some words of comfort to her husband's ear;
but even these, which had never before failed, were no longer at her
command; for when some cheering thought suggested itself, a choking
sensation in her throat deprived her of the power of uttering it. At
length a loud single rap at the street door caused Job to start, whilst
a hectic flush passed over his pale cheek, and a violent tremor shook
his frame, as the dread thought of a prison occurred to him.

"Don't be alarmed, my dearest," said his wife, "it's only some people
with something or other to sell; I dare say they'll go away again when
they find that no one answers the door."

"It's a beggar," said one of the children, who, hearing the sound, had
looked out of the window; "poor man, he looks miserably cold! I wish
we'd something to give him."

"Beggar, did the child say?" demanded Job, gazing wildly round the room.
"Beggar!" he repeated. "And what are we all but beggars? Are we not
stripped of every thing? Are we not actually starving for want of the
daily bread that I have toiled so hard for, and prayed unceasingly to
heaven to afford us; whilst those who never use their Maker's name
except in terms of blasphemy, have loads of affluence heaped into their
laps. Oh! it's enough to make one doubt"----

"Oh, no, no, no! don't, for the love you bear me--don't utter those
awful words!" cried out Jessie, rushing upon her husband, and throwing
her arms around his neck. "As you love me, don't repine at the will of
heaven, however hard our trials may seem now to bear on us. I can endure
all but this. Let us hope still. We have all of us health and strength;
and we have many friends who, if they were only aware of the extent of
our distress, would be sure to relieve us. There's your good friend Mr
Smith, he most probably will return from London to-morrow; and you know,
in his letter, he told you to keep up your spirits, for that there was
yet good-luck in store for you; and I am sure you must have thought so
then, or you never would have returned him the money he so kindly
remitted us. So, don't be cast down in almost your first hour of trial;
we shall be happy yet--I know we shall; let us then still put our trust
in God. Don't answer me, my dear Job--don't answer me; I know how much
you are excited, and that you are not now yourself; for my sake, for our
dear children's sake, try to be tranquil but for to-night; and let us
yet hope that there is some comfort yet in store for us on the morrow."

"I will strive to, my dearest Jessie," he replied. "I'll not add another
drop of bitterness to your cup of sorrow, because I am unable to relieve
you from it.--But hark! what's this coming, and stopping here too?--what
can be the meaning of this?"

Just as he uttered these last words the sound of carriage-wheels was
heard rapidly approaching, and a post-chaise drew up in front of the
house. Job trembled violently, and leant upon his wife for support,
whilst a thundering rap was heard at the door; the children both rushed
to the window; and one of them, to the great relief of their parents,
exclaimed, "Oh! my dear papa! Mr Smith's come, and he's looking up here
smiling so good-naturedly; he looks as if he was just come off a
journey, and he's beckoning me to come down and let him in."

"God be praised!" exclaimed Jessie; "I told you, my dear Job, that
relief was near at hand, and here it comes in the person of your
excellent friend;" and she darted out of the room, and hurried down the
stairs to admit the welcome visitor. Jessie soon returned with Mr Smith,
a handsome gentlemanly-looking man, who ran forward with extended hands
to his disconsolate friend, whom he greeted in so kind a manner, and
with a countenance so merry and happy, that the very look of it seemed
enough to impart some spirit of consolation even to a breaking heart--at
any rate it did to Job's. "My dear fellow!" exclaimed the welcome
visitor, "how on earth did you allow things to come to this pass without
even hinting any thing of the kind to me? I never heard it till the day
I left town. How could you return me the remittance I sent you, which
should have been ten times as much had I known the full extent of your
wants? But enough of this now; we won't waste time in regrets for the
past, and as for the future, leave that to me. I'll soon set things all
straight and smooth again for you. And now, my dear Mrs Vivian," added
he, addressing himself to Jessie, "do you go and do as you promised."

Jessie smiled assent, and, looking quite happy again, she took her two
daughters by the hand and led them out of the room.

"But, my dear Smith," said Job, as soon as the two friends were alone,
"you can have no idea how deeply I am involved. I can tax your
generosity no further--even what you have already done for me, I can
never repay."

"Nor do I intend you ever shall," rejoined the worthy attorney--for
such was Mr Smith--"particularly," he added, "as there's a certain debt
I owe you, which I neither can nor will repay, and that I candidly tell
you."

"Indeed! what do you mean?" asked Job, looking very puzzled; "I'm rather
dull of apprehension to-day." And verily he was so, for his troubles had
wellnigh driven him mad.

"My life, Job, that's all," replied the attorney; "_that_ I owe to you,
and can't repay you--and won't either, that's more. Had it not been for
your skill," he added in a graver tone, "and the firmness you displayed
in resolutely opposing the treatment those two blackguards, Dunderhead
and Quackem, wished to adopt in my case, I must have died a most
distressing and painful death, and my poor wife and children would have
been left perfectly destitute."

The consciousness of the truth of this grateful remark infused a
cheering glow to Job's broken spirit, and even raised a faint smile upon
his care-worn countenance; which his visitor perceiving, went on to say,
"And now, my good doctor, owing you so deep a debt of gratitude as I do,
make your mind easy about the past; what you've had from me is a mere
trifle. Why, my good fellow, I'm not the poor unhappy dog I was when you
told me never to mind when I paid you. I'm now getting on in the world,
and shall fancy by and by that I'm getting rich; and, what's more, I
expect soon to see my friend Job Vivian in circumstances so much more
thriving than my own, that if I didn't know him to be one of the
sincerest fellows in the world, and one whom no prosperity could spoil,
I should begin to fear he might be ashamed to acknowledge his old
acquaintance."

The good-natured attorney had proved more of a Job's comforter in the
literal sense of the term, than he had intended; in fact he had overdone
it--the picture was too highly coloured to appear natural, and at once
threw back poor Job upon a full view of all his troubles, which Mr Smith
perceiving, mildly resumed, "I'm not surprised, my good fellow, at your
being excited, from the violent shock your feelings must have sustained;
but you may rest assured--mind I speak confidently, and will vouch for
the truth of what I'm going to say--when I tell you that the worst of
your troubles are past, and that, before the week is out, you will be
going on all right again; but really you are so much depressed now, that
I'm afraid to encourage you too much; for I believe you doctors consider
that too sudden a transition from grief to joy often produces dangerous,
and sometimes even fatal, consequences?"

"It's a death I stand in no dread of dying," said Job with a melancholy
smile.

"You don't know your danger perhaps," interposed the attorney; "but at
the same time you sha'n't die through my means; so, if I had even a
berth in store for you that I thought might better your condition, I
wouldn't now venture to name it to you."

"It might be almost dangerous," said Job; "any thing that would procure
the humblest fare, clothing, and shelter, for myself and family, would
confer a degree of happiness far beyond my expectation."

"Why, if you are so easily satisfied," rejoined the attorney, "I think I
can venture to say, that these, at least, may be obtained for you
forthwith; but come, here's the chaise returned again, which has just
taken your good little wife and children to my house, where they're all
now expecting us. In fact, I haven't yet crossed my own threshold, for I
picked up my old woman as I came along, and she has taken your folks
back with her; so come along, Job, we'll talk matters over after
dinner--come along, my dear fellow--come along, come along."

Job suffered himself to be led away, hardly knowing what he was about,
or what was going on, until he found himself seated in the post-chaise;
which, almost before he had time to collect his scattered ideas, drew up
at the attorney's door. Here he met his Jessie, her handsome and
expressive countenance again radiant with smiles; for in that short
interval she had heard enough to satisfy her mind that better times were
approaching, and her only remaining anxiety was on poor Job's account,
who seemed so stunned by the heavy blow of misfortune, as to appear more
like one wandering in a dream than a man in his right senses. But a
change of scene, and that the pleasing one of a comfortable family
dinner, with sincere friends, effected a wonderful alteration; and the
ladies withdrawing early, in order that the gentlemen might talk over
their business together, Mr Smith at once entered into the subject, by
telling Job that he thought he could, as he had before hinted, put him
into a way of bettering his condition.

"I trust you may be able to do so," replied Job; "I'm sure there's no
labour I would shrink from, could I attain so desirable an object."

"But you mistake me there," interrupted the attorney; "I don't mean to
better your condition by making you work yourself to death--far from it;
your labours shall be but light, and your time pretty much at your
command; but you'll want, perhaps, a little money to begin with."

"And where, in the world, am I to procure it?" asked Job.

"You might raise it upon the interest you take in the landed property
under the old timber-merchant's will," observed the attorney.

"You can hardly be serious, my dear Smith," replied Job; "why, the old
fellow--God forgive him as freely as I do--merely put in my name with a
bequest of a shilling, to bring me better luck, as a poor insult upon my
misfortunes. And as to his mentioning my name in connexion with his
landed property, which I was to take after the failure of issue of at
least half a dozen other people--you yourself told me was only put in to
show his nearest heirs, that rather than his property should descend
upon them, they should go to the person--Heaven help the man!--he was
pleased to call his greatest enemy, and that my chance of ever
succeeding to the property wasn't worth twopence."

"Whatever his motive was is immaterial now," interposed Mr Smith; "and
since I expressed the opinion you allude to, so many of the previous
takers have died off, that I have no hesitation in saying that your
interest is worth money now, and that, if you wished it, I could insure
you a purchaser."

"Oh, then, sell it by all means!" exclaimed Job.

"Not quite so fast, my friend," answered the attorney; "before you think
of selling, would it not be prudent to ascertain the value, which
depends in a great measure on the number of preceding estates that have
determined since the testator's decease."

"Of course it must," rejoined Job; "but any thing I could obtain from
that quarter I should esteem a gain. I've lost enough from it in all
conscience; in fact, the old man's harsh proceedings towards me were the
foundation of all my subsequent difficulties. The old fellow did,
indeed, boast to the clergyman who visited him in his last illness, that
he had made me ample amends in his will for any injustice he might have
done me in his lifetime, and that his mind was quite easy upon that
score; and I'm sure mine will be, when I find that I actually can gain
something by him."

"Then listen to me patiently, and I'll tell you just what you'll gain;
but first help yourself, and pass me the wine. You'll gain a larger
amount than you would guess at, if you were to try for a week. Much more
than sufficient to pay every one of your creditors their full twenty
shillings in the pound."

"Will it indeed?" exclaimed Job; "then may God forgive me as one of the
most ungrateful of sinners, who had almost begun to think that the
Almighty had deserted him."

"Forgive you, to be sure," said the kind-hearted lawyer; "why, even your
holy namesake, the very pattern of patient resignation, would grumble a
bit now and then, when his troubles pinched him in a particularly sore
place. So take another glass whilst I proceed with our subject: and so
you see, doctor, your debts are paid--that's settled. Hold your tongue,
Job; don't interrupt me, and drink your wine; that's good port, isn't
it? the best thing in the world for your complaint. Well, then, all this
may be done without selling your chance outright; and in case you should
want to do so, lest you should part with it too cheaply, we'll just see
how many of the preceding estates have already determined. First, the
testator himself must be disposed of; he died, as we all know, and
nobody sorry, within six weeks after he had made his will. Then the
tailor in Regent Street, he had scarcely succeeded to the property when
he suddenly dropped down dead in his own shop. His son and heir, and
only child, before he had enjoyed the property six months, wishing to
acquire some fashionable notoriety, purposely got into a quarrel with a
profligate young nobleman well known about town, who killed him in a
duel the next morning. The traveller in the button line, on whom the
property next devolved, was in a bad state of health when he succeeded
to it, and died a bachelor about three months since; and his brother,
the lieutenant, who was also unmarried, had died of a fever on the coast
of Africa some time before; so that you see your chance seems to be
bettered at least one half, in the course of little more than a couple
of twelvemonths."

"So it has, indeed," said Job; "but who, with the other three remainder
men, as you call them, and their issue in the way, would give any thing
for my poor chance?"

"But suppose," resumed Mr Smith, "the other three should happen to die,
and leave no issue."

"That's a species of luck not very likely to fall to my lot," replied
Job.

"Then I must at once convince you of your error," rejoined Mr Smith;
"and, so to cut short what I've been making a very long story of--the
remaining three of the testator's nephews, upon whom the property was
settled, not one of whom was ever married, got drunk together at a
white-bait dinner at Greenwich, which their elder brother gave to
celebrate his accession to the property, and, returning towards town in
that state in a wherry, they managed between them to upset the boat, and
were all drowned. That I've ascertained--such, in fact, being my sole
business in town; and now, my dear Job, let me congratulate you on being
the proprietor of at least five thousand a-year."

AND SO HE WAS!

"And thus you see," said the squire, in whose own words we conclude the
tale--"the being dispossessed of his houses, and the loss of his
valuable horse, to which he attributed all his misfortunes, in the end
proved the source of his greatest gain; and now, throughout the whole
length and breadth of the land, I don't think you'll find two persons
better satisfied with their lot than Job and his little wife Jessie,
notwithstanding the timber-merchant made it a condition, that if Job
Vivian should ever succeed to his property, he should take the
testator's surname of Potts--not a pretty one, I confess--and thus Job
Vivian, surgeon, apothecary, &c., has become metamorphosed into the Job
Vivian Potts, Esquire, who has now the honour to address you. His worthy
friend, Smith--now, alas! no more--who, like my self, was induced to
change his name, was Mr Vernon Wycherley's father. I told you, my dear
sir, before, how valued a friend your late father was of mine, and how
much I stood indebted to him; but this is the first time I have made you
acquainted with any of the particulars, and now I fear I've tired you
with my tedious narration."

"Indeed you have not!" exclaimed both the young men, whilst Vernon
added, that he only regretted not knowing who the parties were during
the progress of the tale, which, had he done, he should have listened to
it with redoubled interest; for who amongst the thousands of Smiths
dispersed about the land, though he had once a father of the name, could
be expected to recognise him as part hero of a tale he had never heard
him allude to; "but pray tell me," he added, "about the poor girl you
went to see at the time the accident occurred to your horse? Did she
ever recover?"

"No," replied the squire, "she died within a few days afterwards. In
fact, as I believe I before stated, I knew she was past all hope of
recovery at the time I set off to visit her."

"And the little broken-knee'd and spavined pony you were compelled to
borrow--do pray tell us how he carried you?" interposed Frank, looking
as demure and innocent as possible.

"Badly, very badly, indeed!" replied the squire; "for the sorry brute
stumbled at nearly every third step, and at last tumbling down in real
earnest, threw me sprawling headlong into the mud; and then favoured me
with a sight of his heels, with the prospect of a couple of miles before
me to hobble home through the rain."


CHAPTER X.

Frank Trevelyan, one morning on opening his eyes, was surprised to
discover his friend, Mr Vernon Wycherley, (whose lameness was by this
time sufficiently amended to permit him to move about with the aid of a
stick,) sitting half dressed by his bedside--a very cool attire for so
chill a morning, and looking very cold and miserable.

"Hallo! old fellow, what on earth brought you here at this time of day?"
asked Frank. "The first morning visit, I believe, you've honoured me
with since we took up our quarters in this neighbourhood."

"I'm very wretched," said the poet in a faltering tone--"very unhappy."

"Unhappy!" reiterated Frank; "why, what on earth have you to make you
so, unless it be the apprehension that you may jump out of your skin for
joy at your splendid prospects! Unhappy indeed!--the notion's too absurd
to obtain a moment's credit."

"Can a man suffering under a hopeless attachment for an object too pure
almost to tread the earth--can a man, whose affections are set upon an
unattainable object, be otherwise than unhappy?" asked Vernon in a
solemn tone, no bad imitation of Macready; indeed the speaker, whilst
uttering these sentiments, thought it sounded very like it; for he had
often seen that eminent tragedian, and greatly admired his style of
acting.

"But how have you ascertained that the object is so unattainable?"
demanded Frank. "Come now--have you ever yet asked the young lady the
question?"

"Asked her!" repeated Vernon, perfectly amazed that his friend could
have supposed such a thing possible--"How could I presume that so
angelic a creature would love such a fellow as me--or, even supposing
such a thing were possible, what would our good friend the squire say to
my ingratitude for his great kindness; and to my presumption--a mere
younger son without a profession, and scarcely a hundred pounds a-year
to call his own, to think of proposing to one of his daughters, who
would be an honour to the noblest and richest peer of the realm?"

"Well, well, Vernon--one thing first--and you shall have my answers to
all. First, then, as to the fair lady liking you--that I must say,
judging from your looks, is what no one would have thought a very
probable circumstance; but then your poetical talents must be taken into
calculation."

"Oh, don't mention them!" said Vernon. "Worse than good-for-nothing.
_She_ esteems such talents very lightly, and I shall even lose the small
solace to my sorrows I had hoped they would have afforded me. Even this
sad consolation is denied me. My Mary is indifferent to poetry--she
holds sonnets upon hopeless love in utter contempt--entertains no higher
opinion of the writers of them--and considers publishing any thing of
the kind as a downright ungentlemanly act; bringing, as she says it
does, a lady's name before the public in the most indelicate and
unwarrantable manner."

"But is she really serious in these sentiments?" asked Frank. Oh, Frank,
Frank, you're a sad fellow to pump and roast your friend in this way!

"Serious," repeated Vernon, and looking very so himself, "serious--ah!
indeed she is--and expressed herself with more warmth upon the subject
than I could have supposed a being so mild and amiable was capable of."

"But how came all this?" asked Frank--"what were you talking about that
could have caused her to make these remarks?" and this he said in a very
grave and quiet tone of voice, trying to entrap his poetic friend into
telling him much more than the latter was inclined to do, who,
therefore, declined entering more fully into the subject.

"Then, if you won't tell me, I have still the privilege of guessing,"
rejoined Frank; "and now I've found you out, Master Vernon; you've been
attempting acrostics after the Petrarch style[15]--a style in which she
didn't approve of being held forth to the admiring notice of the present
and future generations. Vernon blushed to the very tips of his fingers,
and averted his head that his friend might not perceive how very foolish
he was looking, whilst the latter continued--"Very pretty stanzas, I've
no doubt. How nice they would have come out in a neat little 12mo, price
2s. 6d., boards. Let me see--M--O--L, Mol--that's three; L--Y, ly--two
more, makes Molly; and three and two make five. P--O double T--S,
Potts--that's five more, and five and five make ten. But then that's a
couple of letters too many. Petrarch's Lauretta, you know, only made
eight. Yet, after all, if you liked it, you might leave out the Y and
the S at the end of each name, without at all exceeding the usual
poetical license. Let me see, M--O double L, Moll; P--O double T,
Pott--Moll Pott; or you might retain the Y and leave out the last
T--S--or you might"--

Vernon could bear no more; and having risen abruptly with the intention
of making a bolt of it, was in the act of hobbling out of the room as
fast as his lameness would allow him, when Frank entreated him to stay
but one minute; promising to spare his jokes, for that he really wished
to speak seriously with him; and, having succeeded in pacifying the
enraged poet, proceeded to ask him what he actually intended doing.

"To leave this either to-day or to-morrow," replied Vernon in a
tremulous voice, and with a quivering lip.

"But not without breaking your mind to your lady love?"

"Why, alas! should I do so--why pain her by confessing to her my unhappy
attachment, which I know it is hopeless to expect her to return."

"I'll be hanged," said Frank, "if I think you know any thing at all
about the matter."

"Not know, indeed! How, alas! could any one suppose that an angelic
creature like her could love me?"

"Not many, I grant; but then, as old Captain Growler used to say--never
be astonished at any thing a woman does in that way--

  'Pan may win where Phoebus woos in vain.'

And so the lovely Miss Moll--I beg your pardon, Mary, I mean--may in
like manner, do so differently from what any one could have suspected,
as to be induced at last to listen to her Vernon's tale of love."

The lover here alluded to hardly knew whether to treat the matter as a
joke or to get very angry; and so he did neither, whilst Frank went
on--"I'm sure you needn't despair either, as far as looks go. There's
pretty, smiling, little Bessie--in my opinion the prettiest girl of the
two"--Vernon shook his head with mournful impatience--"Well, you think
yours prettiest, and I'll think mine," continued Frank; "that's just as
it should be; and as I was about to say, if the lovely Bessie can smile
upon your humble servant when he talked of love, I don't see why her
sister might not be induced to smile upon his companion if he did the
like."

"How! what? Why, you surely don't mean to say that you've told Miss
Bessie that you love her?"

"Yes, I do," replied Frank. "I told her so yesterday afternoon as we
walked home from church, behind the rest of the party, across the
fields. Thought I wouldn't do it then either, as there were so many
people about--never said a word about the matter over two fields--helped
her over the stiles, too, and talked--no, I be hanged if I think we said
a word, either of us--till as I was helping her to jump down the third,
out it bounced, all of a sudden."

"And what did you say?" asked Wycherley.

"Catch a weasel asleep, Mr Vernon," was Frank's reply.

"But the squire, how will you manage with him, do you suppose?"

"Managed with him already," replied Frank; "settled every thing last
night over a glass of port, after you'd bundled your lazy carcass off to
bed. That is, one glass didn't quite complete the business, for it took
two or three to get my courage up to concert pitch. Then another or two
to discuss the matter--and then a bumper to drink success--and then
another glass"--

"Another!" interrupted Vernon; "why, you little drunken rascal, what
pretext could you have for that?"

"I've a great mind not to tell you for your rude question," resumed
Frank laughing; "but never mind, old fellow, you've borne a great deal
from me before now, and there's probably more in store for you yet; so
without further preamble I'll at once answer your question, by informing
you that the pretext for my last glass was to wet a dry discourse about
the affairs of one Mr Vernon Wycherley. Now, hold your tongue, and don't
interrupt me, or swallow me either, which you appear to be meditating.
And so the squire asked me if I had known him long, and about his
principles, religious and moral; his worldly prospects, and so forth. To
all of which I replied by stating, that, with the exception of being
addicted to flirting a little with the Muses, which old women might
consider as only one step removed from absolute profligacy, he was a
well-disposed young man, and would doubtless grow wiser as he increased
in years; but that his fortune was very limited, and that all his
expectations in that way wouldn't fill a nutshell."

"Ah, there's the rub!" interposed Vernon; "how can a poor fellow with my
small pittance pretend to aspire to the hand of one with such splendid
expectations? My poverty, as I've long foreseen, must mar my every hope,
even if every other obstacle could be removed."

"I don't see that exactly," rejoined Frank; "for, when I told the squire
what your circumstances actually were, and that you had managed to live
creditably upon your small income without getting into debt, he said, if
your head wasn't crammed so confoundedly full of poetical nonsense,
which set you always hunting after shadows, instead of grasping
substances, he should be exceedingly rejoiced to have you for a
son-in-law. So, if you could make up your mind to relinquish your love
for writing poetry"--

"The poetry be hanged!" interrupted Vernon with considerable vehemence.
"I'll cast it to the dogs--the winds--send it to Halifax, Jericho, any
where. Oh! my dear Frank, what a happy fellow you've made me!"

"Which just finished the bottle," continued Frank; "and I find that
somehow or other I've got a precious headach this morning. I wonder how
the squire feels to-day. Will you Vernon, that's a good fellow, give me
a glass of water?"

"There's nothing on earth I wouldn't give you now, my dear Frank, except
my dear Mary; but do you think she will ever consent?"

"Yes, to be sure she will," answered Frank. "I know she will, and that
she is by no means best pleased at your hanging fire so long. I know
this to be the fact, though I mustn't tell you how, why, or wherefore;
but if you don't propose soon she'll consider you are acting neither
fairly nor honourably to her."

"I'll do the deed to-day," said Vernon resolutely.

And so he did.

       *       *       *       *       *

A very few months more had passed away, before our two heroes were on
the same day united to the fair objects of their choice; and the
generous old squire settled a handsome sum upon them both, sufficient to
supply them with all the essential comforts of life.

"And now, friend Frank," said Vernon Wycherley, "I believe, after all,
you will make a convert of me; for I find that the attachment I had
indulged in, until despair of obtaining the loved object made me fancy
myself the most miserable wretch alive, and that I had incurred the
worst evil that could have befallen me, has made me the happiest of
mankind, and has indeed turned out to be ALL FOR THE BEST; nor can I
think of my blundering fall into the lead shaft in any other light; as,
but for that accident, I should probably never have formed the
acquaintance to which I owe all my good fortune."

"Then, for the future," said the worthy squire, "let us put all our
trust in Heaven, and rest assured that whatever may be the will of
Providence, IT'S ALL FOR THE BEST."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 12: _Cornice_--"him."]

[Footnote 13: "Put"--_Cornice_--to take or carry.]

[Footnote 14: Cleverly.]

[Footnote 15: Commencing each line with a letter of the loved one's
name.]



THE ROMAN CAMPAGNA.


There is no district in Europe which is more remarkable, or has more
strongly impressed the minds of men in modern times, than the ROMAN
CAMPAGNA. Independent of the indelible associations with which it is
connected, and the glorious deeds of which it has been the theatre, its
appearance produces an extraordinary impression on the mind of the
beholder. All is silent; the earth seems struck with
sterility--desolation reigns in every direction. A space extending from
Otricoli to Terracina, above sixty miles in length, and on an average
twenty in breadth, between the Apennines and the sea, containing nearly
four thousand square miles, in the finest part of Italy, does not
maintain a single peasant.[16] A few tombs lining the great roads which
issued from the forum of Rome to penetrate to the remotest parts of
their immense empire; the gigantic remains of aqueducts striding across
the plain, which once brought, and some of which still bring, the
pellucid fountains of the Apennines to the Eternal City, alone attest
the former presence of man. Nothing bespeaks his present existence. Not
a field is ploughed, not a blade of corn grows, hardly a house is to be
seen, in this immense and dreary expanse. On entering it, you feel as if
you were suddenly transported from the garden of Europe to the wilds of
Tartary. Shepherds armed with long lances, as on the steppes of the Don,
and mounted on small and hardy horses, alone are occasionally seen
following, or searching in the wilds for the herds of savage buffaloes
and cattle which pasture the district. The few living beings to be met
with at the post-houses, have the squalid melancholy look which attests
permanent wretchedness, and the ravages of an unhealthy atmosphere.

But though the curse of Providence seems to have fallen on the land, so
far as the human race is concerned, it is otherwise with the power of
physical nature. Vegetation yearly springs up with undiminished vigour.
It is undecayed since the days of Cincinnatus and the Sabine farm. Every
spring the expanse is covered with a carpet of flowers, which enamel the
turf and conceal the earth with a profusion of varied beauty. So rich is
the herbage which springs up with the alternate heats and rains of
summer, that it becomes in most places rank, and the enormous herds
which wander over the expanse are unable to keep it down. In autumn this
rich grass becomes russet-brown, and a melancholy hue clothes the slopes
which environ the Eternal City. The Alban Mount, when seen from a
distance, clothed as it is with forests, vineyards, and villas,
resembles a green island rising out of a sombre waste of waters. In the
Pontine marshes, where the air is so poisonous in the warm months that
it is dangerous, and felt as oppressive even by the passing traveller,
the prolific powers of nature are still more remarkable. Vegetation
there springs up with the rapidity, and flourishes with the luxuriance,
of tropical climates. Tall reeds, in which the buffaloes are hid, in
which a rhinoceros might lie concealed, spring up in the numerous pools
or deep ditches with which the dreary flat surface is sprinkled. Wild
grapes of extraordinary fecundity grow in the woods, and ascend in
luxuriant clusters to the tops of the tallest trees. Nearer the sea, a
band of noble chestnuts and evergreen oaks attests the riches of the
soil, which is capable of producing such magnificent specimens of
vegetable life; and over the whole plain the extraordinary richness of
the herbage, and luxuriance of the aquatic plants, bespeaks a region
which, if subjected to a proper culture and improvement, would, like the
Delta of Egypt, reward eighty and an hundred fold the labours of the
husbandman.

It was not thus in former times. The Campagna now so desolate, the
Pontine marshes now so lonely, were then covered with inhabitants. Veiæ,
long the rival of Rome, and which was only taken after a siege as
protracted as that of Troy by Camillus at the head of fifty thousand
men, stood only ten miles from the Capitol. The Pontine marshes were
inhabited by thirty nations. The freehold of Cincinnatus, the Sabine
farm, stood in the now desolate plain at the foot of the Alban Mount. So
rich were the harvests, so great the agricultural booty to be gathered
in the plains around Rome, that for two hundred years after the
foundation of the city, it was the great object of their foreign wars to
gain possession of it, and on that account they were generally begun in
autumn. Montesquieu has observed, that it was the long and desperate
wars which the Romans carried on for three centuries with the Sabines,
Latines, Veientes, and other people in their neighbourhood, which by
slow degrees gave them the hardihood and discipline which enabled them
afterwards to subdue the world. The East was an easy conquest, the Gauls
themselves could be repelled, Hannibal in the end overcome, after the
tribes of Latium had been vanquished. But the district in which the
hardy races dwelt, who so long repelled, and maintained a doubtful
conflict with the future masters of the world, is now a desert. It could
not in its whole extent furnish men to fill a Roman cohort. Rome has
emerged from its long decay after the fall of the Western Empire; the
terrors of the Vatican, the shrine of St Peter, have again attracted the
world to the Eternal City; and the most august edifice ever raised by
the hands of man to the purposes of religion, has been reared within its
walls. But the desolate Campagna is still unchanged.

Novelists and romance-writers have for centuries exhausted their
imaginative and descriptive powers in developing the feelings which this
extraordinary phenomenon, in the midst of the classic land of Italy,
awakens. They have spoken of desolation as the fitting shroud of
departed greatness; of the mournful feelings which arise on approaching
the seat of lost empire; of the shades of the dead alone tenanting the
scene of so much glory. Such reflections arise unbidden in the mind; the
most unlettered traveller is struck with the melancholy impression. An
eloquent Italian has described this striking spectacle:--"A vast
solitude, stretching for miles, as far as the eye can reach. No shelter,
no resting-place, no defence for the wearied traveller; a dead silence,
interrupted only by the sound of the wind which sweeps over the plain,
or the trickling of a natural fountain by the wayside; not a cottage nor
the curling of smoke to be seen; only here and there a cross on a
projecting eminence to mark the spot of a murder; and all this in gentle
slopes, dry and fertile plains, and up to the gates of great city."[17]
The sight of the long lines of ruined aqueducts traversing the deserted
Campagna, of the tombs scattered along the lines of the ancient
_chaussées_ across its dreary expanse, of the dome of St Peter's alone
rising in solitary majesty over its lonely hills, forcibly impress the
mind, and produce an impression which no subsequent events or lapse of
time are able to efface. At this moment the features of the scene, the
impression it produces, are as present to the mind of the writer as when
they were first seen thirty years ago.

But striking as these impressions are, the Roman Campagna is fraught
with instruction of a more valuable kind. It stands there, not only a
monument of the past, but a beacon for the future. It is fraught with
instruction, not only to the ancient but the modern world. The most
valuable lessons of political wisdom which antiquity has bequeathed to
modern times, are to be gathered amidst its solitary ruins.

In investigating the causes of this extraordinary desolation of a
district, in ancient times the theatre of such busy industry, and which,
for centuries, maintained so great and flourishing a rural population,
there are several observations to be made on the principle, as logicians
call it, of _exclusion_, in order to clear the ground before the real
cause is arrived at.

The first of these is, that the causes, whatever they are, which
produced the desolation of the Campagna, had begun to operate, and their
blasting effect was felt, in _ancient_ times, and long before a single
squadron of the barbarians had crossed the Alps. In fact, the Campagna
was a scene of active agricultural industry only so long as Rome was
contending with its redoubtable Italian neighbours--the Latins, the
Etruscans, the Samnites, and the Cisalpine Gauls. From the time that, by
the conquest of Carthage, they obtained the mastery of the shore of the
Mediterranean, _agriculture_ in the neighbourhood of Rome began to
decline. Pasturage was found to be a more profitable employment of
estates; and the vast supplies of grain, required for the support of the
citizens of Rome, were obtained by importation from Lybia and Egypt,
where they could be raised at a less expense. "At, Hercule," says
Tacitus, "olim ex Italia legionibus longinquas in provincias commeatus
portabantur; _nec nunc infecunditate laboratur: sed Africam potius et
Egyptum exercemus, navibusque et casibus vita populi Romani permissa
est_."[18] The expense of cultivating grain in a district where
provisions and wages were high because money was plentiful, speedily led
to the abandonment of tillage in the central parts of Italy, when the
unrestrained importation of grain from Egypt and Lybia, where it could
be raised at less expense in consequence of the extension of the Roman
dominions over those regions, took place. "More lately," says Sismondi,
"the gratuitous distributions of grain made to the Roman people,
rendered the cultivation of grain in Italy still more unprofitable: it
then became absolutely impossible for the little proprietors to maintain
themselves in the neighbourhood of Rome; they became insolvent, and
their patrimonies were sold to the rich. Gradually the abandonment of
agriculture extended from one district to another. The true country of
the Romans--central Italy--_had scarcely achieved the conquest of the
globe, when it found itself without an agricultural population_. In the
provinces peasants were no longer to be found to recruit the legions; as
few corn-fields to nourish them. Vast tracts of pasturage, where a few
slave shepherds conducted herds of thousands of horned cattle, had
supplanted the nations who had brought their greatest triumphs to the
Roman people."[19] These great herds of cattle were then, as now, in the
hands of a few great proprietors. This was loudly complained of, and
signalized as the cancer which would ruin the Roman empire, even so
early as the time of Pliny. "Verumque confitentibus," says he,
"_latifunda perdidêre Italiam; imo ac provincias_."[20]

All the historians of the decline and fall of the Roman empire, have
concurred in ascribing to these two causes--viz. the decay of
agriculture and ruin of the agricultural population in Italy, and
consequent engrossing of estates in the hands of the rich--the ruin of
its mighty dominion. But it is not generally known how wide-spread had
been the desolation thus produced; how deep and incurable the wounds
inflicted on the vitals of the state--by the simple consequences of its
extension, which enabled the grain growers of the distant provinces of
the empire to supplant the cultivators of its heart by the unrestricted
admission of foreign corn, before the invasion of the northern nations
commenced. In fact, however, the evil was done before they appeared on
the passes of the Alps; it was the weakness thus brought on the central
provinces which rendered them unable to contend with enemies whom they
had often, in former times, repelled and subdued. A few quotations from
historians of authority, will at once establish this important
proposition.

"_Since the age of Tiberius_," says Gibbon, "the decay of agriculture
had been felt in Italy; and it was a just subject of complaint, that the
laws of the Roman people depended on the accidents of the winds and the
waves. In the division and decline of the empire, _the tributary
harvests of Egypt and Africa_ were withdrawn; the numbers of the
inhabitants continually diminished with the means of subsistence; and
the country was exhausted by the irretrievable losses of war, pestilence
and famine. Pope Gelasius was a subject of Odoacer, and he affirms, with
strong exaggeration, that in Emilia, Tuscany, and the adjacent
provinces, the human species was almost extirpated."[21] Again the same
accurate author observes in another place--"Under the emperors the
agriculture of the Roman provinces was _insensibly ruined_; and the
government was obliged to make a merit of remitting tributes which
_their subjects were utterly unable to pay_. Within sixty years of the
death of Constantine, and on the evidence of an actual survey, an
exemption was granted in favour of three hundred and thirty thousand
English acres of desert and uncultivated land _in the fertile and happy
Campania_, which amounted to an eighth of the whole province. As the
footsteps of the barbarians had not yet been seen in Italy, the cause of
_this amazing desolation, which is recorded in the laws_,[22] can be
ascribed only to the administration of the Roman emperors."[23]

The two things which, beyond all question, occasioned this extraordinary
decline of domestic agriculture in Italy before the invasion of the
barbarians commenced, were the weight of _direct taxation_, and the
_decreasing value of agricultural produce_, owing to the constant
importation of grain from Egypt and Lybia, where, owing to the cheapness
of labour and the fertility of the soil in those remote provinces, so
burdensome did the first become, that Gibbon tells us that, in the time
of Constantine, in Gaul it amounted to _nine pounds sterling of gold_ on
every freeman.[24] The periodical distribution of grain to the populace
of Rome, all of which, from its greater cheapness, was brought by the
government from Egypt and Africa, utterly extinguished the market for
corn to the Italian farmers, though Rome, at its capture by Alaric,
still contained 1,200,000 inhabitants. "All the efforts of the Christian
emperors," says Michelet, "to arrest the depopulation of the country,
were as nugatory as those of their heathen predecessors had been.
Sometimes alarmed at the depopulation, they tried to mitigate the lot of
the farmer, to shield him against the landlord; upon this the proprietor
exclaimed, _he could no longer pay the taxes_. At other times they
strove to chain the cultivators to the soil; but they became bankrupts
or fled, and the land became deserted. Pertinax granted an immunity of
taxes to such _cultivators from distant provinces_ as would occupy the
deserted lands of Italy. Aurelian did the same. Probus, Maximian, and
Constantine, were obliged to transport men and oxen from Germany to
cultivate Gaul. But all was in vain. _The desert extended daily._ The
people in the fields surrendered themselves in despair, as a beast of
burden lies down beneath his load and refuses to rise."[25]

Gibbon has told us what it was which occasioned this constant
depopulation of the country, and ruin of agriculture in the Italian
provinces. "The Campagna of Rome," says he, "about the close of the
sixth century, was reduced to a state of _dreary wilderness_, in which
the air was infectious, the land barren, and the waters impure. Yet the
number of citizens still exceeded the measure of subsistence; _their
precarious food was supplied from the harvests of Lybia and Egypt_; and
the frequent recurrence of famine, betrayed the inattention of the
emperor at Constantinople to the wants of a distant province."[26] Nor
was Italy the only province in the heart of the empire which was ruined
by those foreign importations. Greece suffered not less severely under
it. "In the latter stages of the empire," says Michelet, "_Greece was
supported almost entirely by corn raised in the plains of Poland_."[27]

These passages, to which, did our limits permit, innumerable others to
the same purpose might be added, explain the causes of the decay and
ultimate ruin of agriculture in the central provinces of the Roman
empire, as clearly as if one had arisen from the dead to unfold it. It
was the weight of _direct taxation_, and the want of remunerating prices
to the _grain cultivators_, which occasioned the evil. The first arose
from the experienced impossibility of raising additional taxes on
industry by indirect taxation: the unavoidable consequence of the
contraction of the currency, owing to the habits of hoarding which the
frequent incursions of the barbarians produced; and of the free
importation of African grain, which the extension of the empire over its
northern provinces, and the clamours of the Roman populace for cheap
bread, occasioned. The second arose directly from that importation
itself. The Italian cultivator, oppressed with direct taxes, and tilling
a comparatively churlish soil, found himself utterly unable to compete
with the African cultivators, with whom the process of production was so
much cheaper owing to the superior fertility of the soil under the sun
of Lybia, or the fertilizing floods of the Nile. Thence the increasing
weight of direct taxation, the augmented importation of foreign grain,
the disappearance of free cultivators in the central provinces, the
impossibility of recruiting the legions with freemen, and the ruin of
the empire.

And that it was something pressing upon the cultivation of _grain_, not
of agriculture generally, which occasioned these disastrous results, is
decisively proved by the fact, that, down to the fall of the empire, the
cultivation of land _in pasturage_ continued to be a _highly profitable_
employment in Italy. It is recorded by Ammianus Marcellinus, that when
Rome was taken by Alaric, it was inhabited by 1,200,000 persons, who
were maintained almost entirely by the expenditure of 1780 patrician
families holding estates in Italy and Africa, many of whom had above
£160,000 yearly of rent from land. Their estates were almost entirely
managed in pasturage, and conducted by slaves.[28] Here, then, is
decisive evidence, that down to the very close of the empire, the
managing of estates _in pasturage_ was not only profitable, but
eminently so in Italy--though all attempts at raising grain were
hopeless. It is not an unprofitable cultivation which can yield £160,000
a-year, equivalent to above £300,000 annually of our money, to a single
proprietor, and maintain 1700 of them in such affluence that they
maintained, in ease and luxury, a city not then the capital of the
empire, containing 1,200,000 inhabitants, or considerably more than
Paris at this time. It was not slavery, therefore, which ruined Italian
cultivation; for the whole pasture cultivation which yielded such
immense profits was conducted by slaves. It was the Lybian and Egyptian
harvests, freely imported into the Tiber, which occasioned the ruin of
agriculture in the Latian plains; and, with the consequent destruction
of the race of rural freemen, brought on the ruin of the empire. But
this importation could not injure pasturage; for cattle Africa had none,
and therefore estates in grass still continued to yield great returns.

The second circumstance worthy of notice in this inquiry is, that the
cause of the present desolation of the Campagna, whatever it is, is
something which is _peculiar to that district_, and has continued to act
with as great force in _modern_ as in ancient times. It is historically
known, indeed, that the sanguinary contests of the rival houses of
Orsini and Colonna, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, produced
the most dreadful ravages in the Campagna, and extinguished, for the
time at least, any attempts to reclaim or restore to cultivation this
desolate region. But many centuries have elapsed since this desolating
warfare has entirely ceased; and under the shelter of peace and
tranquillity, agricultural industry in other parts of Italy has
flourished to such a degree as to render it the garden of the world:
witness the rich plain of Lombardy, the incomparable terrace cultivation
of the Tuscan hills, the triple harvests of the Terra di Lavoro, near
Naples. The desolation of the Campagna, therefore, must have been owing
to some causes peculiar to the Roman States, or rather to that part of
those states which adjoins the city of Rome; for in other parts of the
ecclesiastical territories, particularly in the vicinity of Ancona, and
the slope of the Apennines towards Bologna, agriculture is in the most
flourishing state. The hills and declivities are there cut out into
terraces, and cultivated with garden husbandry in as perfect style as in
the mountains of Tuscany. The marches of Ancona contain 426,222
inhabitants, spread over 2111 square miles, which is about 200 to the
square mile; but, considering how large a part of the territory is
barren rock, the proportion on the fertile parts is about 300 to the
square mile, while the average of England is only 260. The soil is
cultivated to the depth of two and three feet.[29] It is in vain,
therefore, to say, that it is the oppression of the Papal government,
the indolence of the cardinals, and the evils of an elective monarchy,
which have been the causes of the ruin of agricultural industry in the
vicinity of Rome. These causes operate just as strongly in the other
parts of the Papal States, where cultivation, instead of being in a
languishing, is in the most flourishing condition. In truth, so far from
having neglected agriculture in this blasted district, the Papal
government, for the last two centuries, has made greater efforts to
encourage it than all the other powers of Italy put together. Every
successive Pope has laboured at the Pontine marshes, but in vain.
Nothing can be more clear, than that the causes which have destroyed
agriculture in the Campagna, are some which were known in the days of
the Roman Republic; gradually came into operation with the extension of
the empire; and have continued in modern times to press upon this
particular district of the Papal States, in a much greater degree than
among other provinces of a similar extent in Italy.

The last circumstance which forces itself upon the mind, in the outset
of this inquiry, is, that the desolation of the Campagna is owing to
moral or political, not physical causes. Naturalists and physicians have
exhausted all their energies for centuries in investigating the causes
of the _malaria_, which is now felt with such severity in Rome in the
autumnal months, and renders health so precarious there at that period;
and the soil has been analyzed by the most skillful chemists, to see
whether there is any peculiarity in the earth, from its volcanic
character, which either induces sterility in the crops, or proves fatal
to the cultivators. But nothing has been discovered that in the
slightest degree explains the phenomena. There is no doubt that the
Campagna is extremely unhealthy in the autumnal months, and the Pontine
marshes still more so; but that is no more than is the case with every
low plain on the shores of the Mediterranean: it obtains in Lombardy,
Greece, Sicily, Asia Minor, and Spain, as well as in the Agro Romano. If
any one doubt it, let him lie down to sleep in his cloak in any of these
places in a night of September, and see what state he is in in the
morning. Clarke relates, that intermittent fevers are universal in the
Grecian plains in the autumnal months: in Estremadura, in September
1811, on the banks of the Guadiana, nine thousand men fell sick in
Wellington's army in three days. The savannas of America, where "death
bestrides the evening gale," when first ploughed up, produce
intermittent fevers far more deadly than the malaria of the Roman
Campagna. But the energy of man overcomes the difficulty, and, ere a few
years have passed away, health and salubrity prevail in the regions of
former pestilence. It was the same with the Roman Campagna in the early
days of the Republic; it is the same now with the Campagna of Naples,
and the marshy plains around Parma and Lodi, to the full as unhealthy in
a desert state as the environs of Rome. It would be the same with the
Agro Romano, if moral causes did not step in to prevent the efforts and
industry of man, from here, as elsewhere, correcting the insalubrity of
uncultivated nature.

And for decisive evidence that this desolation of the Campagna is owing
to moral or political, not physical causes, and that, under a different
system of administration, it might be rendered as salubrious and
populous as it was in the early days of the Roman Republic, reference
may be made to the fact, that in many parts of Italy, equally unhealthy
and in this desert state, cultivation has taken place, a dense
population has arisen, and the dangerous qualities of the atmosphere
have disappeared. Within the last twenty years, the district called
Grosseté has been reclaimed, in the most pestilential part of the
Maremma of Tuscany, by an industrious population, which has succeeded in
introducing agriculture and banishing the malaria; and the ruins of the
Roman villas on the banks of the Tiber, near the sea, prove that the
Romans went to seek salubrity and the healthful breezes of the sea,
where now they could meet with nothing but pestilence and death. The
rocky and dry slopes of the Campagna are admirably adapted for raising
olives and vines; while the difference of the soil and exposure in
different places, promises a similar variety in their wines. The Pontine
marshes themselves, and the vast plain which extends from them to the
foot of the cluster of hills called the Alban Mount, are not more
oppressed by water, or lower in point of level, than the plains of Pisa;
and yet there the earth yields magnificent crops of grain and succulent
herbs, while the poplars, by which the fields are intersected, support
to their very summits the most luxuriant vines. The Campagna of Naples
is more volcanic and level than that of Rome; the hills and valleys of
Baiæ are nothing but the cones and craters of extinguished volcanoes;
and if we would see what such a district becomes when left in a desert
state, we have only to go to the Maremma of Pestum, now as desolate and
unhealthy as the Pontine marshes themselves. But in the Campagna of
Naples an industrious population has overcome all these obstacles, and
rendered the land, tenanted only by wild boars and buffaloes in the
fourth century, the garden of Europe, known over all the world, from its
riches, by the name of the Campagna Felice.

Nay, the Agro Romano itself affords equally decisive proof, that where
circumstances will permit the work of cultivation to be commenced so as
to be carried on at a profit, the malaria and desolation speedily
disappear before the persevering efforts of human industry. In many
parts of the district, the custom of granting perpetual leases at a
fixed rate prevails, the _Emphyteutis_ of the Roman law, the sources of
the prosperity of the cultivators in Upper and Lower Austria, and well
known in Scotland under the name of feus. Sismondi has given the
following account of the effect of the establishment of a permanent
interest in the soil in arresting the effects of the malaria, and
spreading cultivation over the land:--"The Emphyteutic cultivator has a
permanent interest in the soil: he labours, therefore, unceasingly for
the good of his family. He cuts out his slope into terraces, covers it
with trees, fruits, and garden-stuffs: he takes advantage of every
leisure moment, either in himself, his wife, or children, to advance the
common cultivation. Industry and abundance reign around. Whenever you
ascend the volcanic hills of Latium, or visit those ravishing slopes
which so many painters have illustrated, around the lakes of Castel
Gandolfo or Nemi, at L'Aricia, Rocca di Papa, Marino, and Frescati;
whenever you meet with a smiling cultivation, healthy air, and the
marks of general abundance, you may rest assured the cultivator is
proprietor of the fruits of the soil. The bare right of property, or
superiority, as the lawyers term it, belongs to some neighbouring lord;
but the real property, "il miglioramento," belongs to the cultivator. In
this way, in these happy districts, the great estates, the _latifundia_
of Pliny, have been practically distributed among the peasantry; and,
whenever this is the case, you hear no more of the malaria. Agriculture
has caused to arise in those localities a numerous population, which
multiplies with singular rapidity, and for ages has furnished
cultivators not only for the mountains where it has arisen, but bands of
adventurers, who in every age have filled the ranks of the Italian
armies."[30]

But while those examples, to which, did our limits permit, many others
might be added, decisively demonstrate that human industry can
effectually overcome the physical difficulties or dangers of the Roman
Campagna; yet it is clear that some great and overwhelming cause is at
work, which prevents agriculture flourishing, by means of tenants or
_métayers_, in the plains of the Campagna. The plains, it is true, are
in the hands of a few great proprietors, but their tenants are extremely
rich, often more so, Sismondi tells us, than their landlords. What is
it, then, which for so long a period has chained the Campagna to
pasturage, and rendered all attempts to restore it to the plough
abortive? The answer is plain: It is the same cause now which binds it
to pasturage, which did so under the Romans from the time of
Tiberius--_it is more profitable to devote the land to grass than to
raise grain._ And it is so, not because the land will not bear grain
crops, for it would do now even better than it did in the days of the
Etruscans and the Sabines; since so many centuries of intervening
pasturage have added so much to its fertility. It is so, because the
weakness of the Papal government, yielding, like the Imperial in ancient
days, to the cry for cheap bread among the Roman populace, has fed the
people, from time immemorial, with foreign grain, instead of that of its
own territory. The evidence on this subject is as clear and more
detailed in modern, than it was in ancient times; and both throw a broad
and steady light on the final results of that system of policy, which
purchases the present support of the inhabitants of cities, by
sacrificing the only lasting and perennial sources of strength derived
from the industry and population of the country.

During the confusion and disasters consequent on the fall of the Empire,
after the capture of Rome by the Goths, the Campagna remained entirely a
desert; but it continued in the hands of the successors of the great
senatorial families who held it in the last days of the Empire. "The
Agro Romano," says Sismondi, "almost a desert, had been long exposed to
the ravages of the barbarians, who in 846 pillaged the Vatican, which
led Pope Leo IV., in the following year, to enclose that building within
the walls of Rome. For an hundred years almost all the hills which
border the horizon from Rome were crowned with forts; the ancient walls
of the Etruscans were restored, or rebuilt from their ruins; the old
hill strengths, where the Sabines, the Hernici, the Volscians, the
Coriolani, had formerly defended their independence, again offered
asylums to the inhabitants of the plains. But the great estates, the
bequest of ancient Rome, remained undivided. With the first dawn of
history in the middle ages, we see the great house of the Colonna master
of the towns of Palestrina, Genazzano, Zagorole; that of Orsini, of the
territories of the republics of Veiæ and Ceres, and holding the
fortresses of Bracciano, Anguetta, and Ceri. The Monte-Savili, near
Albano, still indicates the possessions of the Savili, which
comprehended the whole ancient kingdom of Turnus; the Frangipani were
masters of Antium, Astura, and the sea-coast; the Gaetani, the
Annibaldeschi of the Castles which overlook the Pontine marshes; while
Latium was in the hands of a smaller number of feudal families than it
had formerly numbered republics within its bounds."[31]

But while divided among these great proprietors, the Roman Campagna was
still visited, as in the days of the emperor, with the curse of cheap
grain, imported from the other states bordering on the Mediterranean,
and was in consequence exclusively devoted to the purposes of pasturage.
An authentic document proves that this was the case so far down as the
fifteenth century. In the year 1471, Pope Sextus IV. issued a bull,
which was again enforced by Clement VII. in 1523, and which bore these
remarkable words:--"Considering the frequent famines to which Rome has
been exposed in late years, _arising chiefly from the small amount of
lands which have been sown or laid down in tillage_, and that their
owners _prefer allowing them to remain uncultivated, and pastured only
by cattle_, than to cultivate for the use of men, on the ground _that
the latter mode of management is more profitable than the former_."[32]
The decree ordered the cultivation of a large portion of the Campagna in
grain under heavy penalties.

And that this superior profit of pasturage to tillage has continued to
the present time, and is the real cause of the long-continued and
otherwise inexplicable desolation of this noble region, has been clearly
demonstrated by a series of important and highly interesting official
decrees and investigations, which, within this half century, have taken
place by order of the Papal government. Struck with the continued
desolation of so large and important a portion of their territory, the
popes have both issued innumerable edicts to enforce tillage, and set on
foot the most minute inquiries to ascertain the causes of their failure.
It is only necessary to mention one. Pius VI., in 1783, took a new and
most accurate survey or _cadastre_ of the Agro Romano, and ordained the
proprietors to sow annually 17,000 _rubbi_ (85,000 acres) with
grain.[33] This decree, however, like those which had preceded it, was
not carried into execution. "The proprietors and farmers," says Nicolai,
"equally opposed themselves to its execution; the former declaring that
they must have a higher rent for the land if laid down in tillage, than
the latter professed themselves able to pay."[34]

To ascertain the cause of this universal and insurmountable resistance
of all concerned to the cultivation of the Campagna, the Papal
government in 1790 issued a commission to inquire into the matter, and
the proprietors prescribe to two memoirs on the subject, which at once
explained the whole difficulty. The one set forth the cost and returns
of 100 rubbi (500 acres) in grain tillage in the Roman Campagna; the
other, the cost and returns of a flock of 2500 sheep in the same
circumstances. The result of the whole was, that while the grain
cultivation would with difficulty, on an expenditure of 8000 crowns
(£2000,) bring in a clear profit _of thirty crowns_ (£7, 10s.) to the
farmer, and nothing at all to the landlord, the other would yield
between them a profit _of 1972 crowns_, (£496.)[35] Well may Sismondi
exclaim:--"These two reports are of the very highest importance. They
explain the constant invincible resistance which the proprietors and
farmers of the Roman Campagna have opposed to the extension of grain
cultivation; they put in a clear light the opposite interest of great
capitalists and the interest of the state; they give in authentic
details, which I have personally verified, and found to be still
entirely applicable and correct, on the causes which have reduced the
noble district of the Roman Campagna to its desolate state, and still
retain it in that condition. Incredible as the statements may appear,
they are amply borne out by everyday experience. In effect, all the
farmers whom I have consulted, affirm, that they invariably lose by
grain cultivation, and that they never resort to it, but to prevent the
land from being overgrown by brushwood or forests, and rendered unfit
for profitable pasturage."[36]

Extraordinary as these facts are, as to the difference between the
profits of pasturage and tillage in the Agro Romano, it is only by the
most rigid economy, and reducing the shepherds to the lowest amount of
subsistence consistent with the support of life, that the former yields
any profits at all. The wages of the shepherds are only fifty-three
francs (£2) for the winter season, and as much for the summer; the
proprietors, in addition, furnishing them with twenty ounces of bread
a-day, a half-pound of salt meat, a little oil and salt a-week. As to
wine, vinegar, or fermented liquors, they never taste any of them from
one year's end to another. Such as it is, their food is all brought to
them from Rome; for in the whole Campagna there is not an oven, a
kitchen, or a kitchen-garden, to furnish an ounce of vegetables or
fruits. The clothing of these shepherds is as wretched as their fare. It
consists of sheep-skin, with the wool outside; a few rags on their legs
and thighs, complete their vesture. Lodging or houses they have none;
they sleep in the open air, or nestle into some sheltered nook among the
ruined tombs or aqueducts which are to be met with in the wilderness, in
some of the caverns, which are so common in that volcanic region, or
beneath the arches of the ancient catacombs. A few spoons and coarse
jars form their whole furniture; the cost of that belonging to
twenty-nine shepherds, required for the 2500 sheep, is only 159 francs
(£7.) The sum total of the expense of the whole twenty-nine persons,
including wages, food, and every thing, is only 1038 crowns, or £250
a-year; being about £8, 10s. a-head annually. The produce of the flock
is estimated at 7122 crowns (£1780) annually, and the annual profit 1972
crowns, or £493.[37]

The other table given by Nicolai, exhibits, on a similar expenditure of
capital, the profit of tillage; and it is so inconsiderable, as rarely,
and that only in the most favourable situations, to cover the expense of
cultivation. The labourers, who almost all come from the neighbouring
hills, above the level of the malaria, are obliged to be brought from a
distance at high wages for the time of their employment; sometimes in
harvest wages are as high as five francs, or four shillings a-day. The
wages paid to the labourers on a grain farm on which £2000 has been
expended on 500 acres, amount to no less than 4320 crowns, or £1080
sterling, annually; being above four times the cost of the shepherds for
a similar expenditure of capital, though they wander over ten times the
surface of ground. The labourers never remain in the fields; they set
off to the hills when their grain is sown, and only return in autumn to
cut it down. They do not work above twenty or thirty days in the year;
and therefore, though their wages for that period are so high, they are
in misery all the rest of the season. But though so little is done for
the land, the price received for the produce is so low, that cultivation
in grain brings no profit, and is usually carried on at a loss. The
peasants who conduct it never go to Rome--have often never seen it; they
make no purchases there; and _the most profitable of all trades in a
nation, that between the town and the country, is unknown in the Roman
States_.[38]

Here, then, the real cause of the desolation of the Campagna stands
revealed in the clearest light, and on the most irrefragable evidence.
It is not cultivated for grain crops, because remunerating prices for
that species of produce cannot be obtained. It is exclusively kept in
pasturage, because it is in that way only that a profit can be obtained
from the land. And that it is this cause, and not any deficiency of
capital or skill on the part of the tenantry, which occasions the
phenomenon, is further rendered apparent by the wealth, enterprize, and
information on agricultural subjects, of the great farmers in whose
lands the land is vested. "The conductors," says Sismondi, "of rural
labour in the Roman States, called _Mercanti di Tenute_ or _di
Campagne_, are men possessed of great capital, and who have received the
very best education. Such, indeed, is their opulence, that it is
probable they will, erelong, acquire the property of the land of which
at present they are tenants. Their number, however, does not exceed
eighty. They are acquainted with the most approved methods of
agriculture in Italy and other countries; they have at their disposal
all the resources of science, art, and immense capital; have availed
themselves of all the boasted advantages of centralization, of a
thorough division of labour, of a most accurate system of accounts, and
checking of inferior functionaries. The system of great farms has been
carried to perfection in their hands. But, with all these advantages,
they cannot in the Agro Romano, _once so populous, still so fertile,
raise grain to a profit_. The labourers cost more than they are worth,
more than their produce is worth; while on a soil not richer, and under
the same climate and government, in the marches of Ancona, agriculture
maintains two hundred souls the square mile, in comfort and
opulence."[39]

What, then, is the explanation which is to be given of this
extraordinary impossibility of raising grain with a profit in the Roman
Campagna; while in a similar climate, and under greater physical
disadvantages, it is in the neighbouring plains of Pisa, and the
Campagna Felice of Naples, the most profitable of all species of
cultivation, and therefore universally resorted to? The answer is
obvious--It is the cry for cheap bread in Rome, the fatal bequest of the
strength of the Imperial, to the weakness of the Papal government, which
is the cause. It is the necessity under which the ecclesiastical
government felt itself, of yielding every thing to _the clamour for a
constant supply of cheap bread for the people of the town_ which has
done the whole. It is the ceaseless importation of foreign grain into
the Tiber by government, to provide cheap food for the people, which has
reduced the Campagna to a wilderness, and rendered Rome in modern, not
less than Tadmor in ancient times, a city in the desert.

It has been already noticed, that in the middle of the fifteenth century
Sextus IV. issued a decree, ordaining the proprietors of lands in the
Campana to lay down a third of their estates yearly in tillage. But the
Papal government, not resting on the proprietors of the soil, but
mainly, in so far as temporal power went, on the populace of Rome, was
under the necessity of making at the same time extraordinary efforts to
obtain supplies of foreign grain. A free trade in grain was permitted to
the Tiber, or rather the government purchased foreign grain wherever
they could find it cheapest, as the emperors had from a similar
apprehension done in ancient times, and retailed it at a moderate price
to the people. They became themselves the great corn-merchant. This
system, of course, prevented the cultivation of the Campagna, and
rendered the decree of Sextus IV. nugatory; for no human laws can make
men continue a course of labour at a loss to themselves. Thence the
citizens of Rome came to depend entirely on foreign supplies of grain
for their daily food; and the consumption of the capital had no more
influence on the agriculture of the adjoining provinces, than it had on
that of Hindostan or China. Again, as in the days of Tacitus, the lives
of the Roman people were exposed to the chances of the winds and the
waves. As this proved a fluctuating and precarious source of supply, a
special board, styled the _Casa Annonaria_, was constituted by
government for the regular importation of foreign grain, and retailing
of it at a fixed and low price to the people. This board has been in
operation for nearly two hundred and fifty years; and it is the system
it has pursued which has prevented all attempts to cultivate the
Campagna, by rendering it impossible to do so at a profit. The details
of the proceedings of this board--this "_chamber of commerce_" of Rome,
are so extremely curious and instructive, that we must give them in the
authentic words of Sismondi.

"Having failed in all their attempts to bring about the cultivation of
the Campagna, the popes of the 17th and 18th centuries endeavoured to
secure abundance in the markets by other means. The motive was
legitimate and praiseworthy; but the means taken failed in producing the
desired effect, because they sacrificed the future to the present, and,
_in the anxiety to secure the subsistence of the people, compromised
those who raised food for them_. Pope Pius VI., who reigned from 1600 to
1621, instituted the _Casa Annonaria_ of the apostolic chamber, which
was charged with the duty of providing subsistence for the inhabitants
of Rome. This board being desirous, above all things, of avoiding
seditions and discontent, established it as a principle, that whatever
the cost of production was, or the price in a particular year, bread
should be sold at certain public bake-houses at a certain price. This
price was fixed at a Roman baiocco, a tenth more than the sous of
France, (1/2 d. English,) for eight ounces of bread. _This price has now
been maintained constantly the same for two hundred years_; and it is
still kept at the same level, with the difference only of a slight
diminution in the weight of the bread sold for the _baiocco_ in years of
scarcity.

"As a necessary consequence of this regulation, the apostolic chamber
soon found itself under the necessity of taking entire possession of the
commerce of grain. It not only bought up the whole which was to be
obtained in the country, but provided for the public wants _by large
importation_. Regulations for the import and export of grain were made
by it; sometimes, it was said, through the influence of those who
solicited exemptions. Whether this was the case or not is uncertain, and
not very material. What is certain is, that the rule by which the
chamber was invariably regulated, viz. _that of consulting no other
interest but that of the poor consumer_, is as vicious and ruinous as
the one so much approved of now-a-days, of attending only to the
interest of the proprietors and producers. Government, doubtless, should
attend to the vital matter of the subsistence of the people; but it
should do so with a view to the interest of all, not a single section of
society.

"At what price soever bread was bought by them, the _Casa Annonaria_
sold it to the bakers at seven Roman crowns (30 f.) the _rubbio_, which
weighs 640 kilograms, (1540 lbs.) That price was not much different from
the average one; and the apostolic chamber sustained no great loss till
1763, by its extensive operations in the purchase and sale of grain. But
at that period the price of wheat began to rise, and it went on
continually advancing to the end of the century. Notwithstanding its
annual losses, however, the apostolic chamber was too much afraid of
public clamour to raise the price of bread. It went on constantly
retailing it at the same price to the people; and the consequence was,
that its losses in 1797, when the pontifical government was overturned,
had accumulated to no less than 17,457,485 francs, or £685,000."[40]

It might naturally have been imagined, that after so long an experience
of the effects of a forcible reduction of the price of grain below the
level at which it could be raised at a profit by home cultivators, the
ecclesiastical government would have seen what was the root of the evil,
and applied themselves to remedy it, by giving some protection to native
industry. But though the evil of the desolation of the Campagna was felt
in its full extent by government in subsequent times; yet as the first
step in the right course, viz. protecting native industry by stopping
the sales of bread by government at lower prices than it could be raised
at home, was likely to occasion great discontent, it was never
attempted. Such a step, dangerous in the firmest and best established,
was impossible in an elective monarchy of old Popes, feeble cardinals,
and a despicable soldiery. They went on deploring the evil, but never
once ventured to face the remedy. In 1802, Pius VII., a most
public-spirited and active pontiff, issued an edict, in which he
declared, "We are firmly persuaded that if we cannot succeed in applying
a remedy the abandonment and depopulation of the Campagna will go on
increasing, till the country becomes a fearful desert. _Fatal experience
leaves no doubt on that point._ We see around us, above all in the
Campagna, a number of estates entirely depopulated and abandoned to
grass, which, in the memory of man, were rich in agricultural
productions, and crowded with inhabitants, as is clearly established by
the seignorial rights attached to them. Population had been introduced
into these domains by agriculture, which employed a multitude of hands,
being in a flourishing state. But now the obstacles opposed to the
interior commerce of grain, _and the forced prices fixed by government,
have caused agriculture to perish_. Pasturage has come every where to
supplant it; and the great proprietors and farmers living in Rome, have
abandoned all thought of dividing their possessions among cultivators,
and sought only to diminish the cost of the flocks to which they have
devoted their estates. But if that system has proved profitable to them,
it has been fatal to the state, which it has deprived of its true
riches, the produce of agriculture, and of the industry of the rural
population."[41] But it was all in vain. The measures adopted by Pius
VII. to resuscitate agriculture in the Campagna, have proved all
nugatory like those of all his predecessors; the importation of foreign
grain into the Tiber, the forced prices at which it was sold by the
government at Rome, rendered it impossible to prosecute agriculture to a
profit; and the Campagna has become, and still continues, a desert.[42]

Here, then, the real cause of the long-continued desolation of the Agro
Romano, both in ancient and modern times, becomes perfectly apparent. It
is the cry for cheap bread in Rome which has done the whole. To stifle
this cry in the dreaded populace of the Eternal City, the emperors
imported grain largely from Egypt and Lybia, and distributed it at an
elusory price, or gratuitously, to the people. The unrestricted
importation of foreign grain, in consequence of those provinces becoming
parts of the empire, enabled the cultivators and merchants of Africa to
deluge the Italian harbours with corn at a far cheaper rate than it
could be raised in Italy itself, where labour bore a much higher price,
in consequence of money being more plentiful in the centre than the
extremities of the empire. Thus the market of its towns was lost to the
Italian cultivators, and gained to those of Egypt and Lybia, where a
vertical sun, or the floods of the Nile, almost superseded the expense
of cultivation. Pasturage became the only way in which land could be
managed to advantage in the Italian fields; because live animals and
dairy produce do not admit of being transported from a distance by sea,
with a profit to the importer, and the sunburnt shores of Africa yielded
no herbage for their support. Agriculture disappeared in Italy, and with
it the free and robust arms which conducted it; pasturage succeeded, and
yielded large rentals to the great proprietors, into whose hands, on the
ruin of the little freeholders by foreign importation, the land had
fallen. But pasturage could not nourish a bold peasantry to defend the
state; it could only produce the riches which might attract its enemies.
Hence the constant complaint, that Italy had ceased to be able to
furnish soldiers to the legionary armies; hence the entrusting the
defence of the frontier to mercenary barbarians, and the ruin of the
empire.

In modern times the same ruinous system has been continued, and hence
the continued desolation of the Campagna, so pregnant with weakness and
evil to the Roman states. The people never forgot the distribution of
grain by government in the time of the emperors; the Papal authorities
never had strength sufficient to withstand the menacing cry for cheap
bread. Anxious to keep the peace in Rome, and depending little on the
barons of the country, the ecclesiastical government saw no resource but
to import grain themselves from any countries where they could get it
cheapest, and sell it at a fixed price to the people. This price, down
to 1763, was just the price at which _it could be imported with a fair
profit_; as is proved by the fact, that down to that period the _Casa
Annonaria_ sustained no loss. But it was lower than the rate at which it
could be raised even in the fertile plains of the Campagna, where labour
was dearer and taxes heavier than in Egypt and the Ukraine, from whence
the grain was imported by government; and consequently cultivation could
not be carried on in the Agro Romano but at a loss. It of course ceased
altogether; and the land, as in ancient times, has been entirely devoted
to pasturage, to the extinction of the rural population, and the
infinite injury of the state.

And this explains how it has happened, that in other parts of the Papal
states, particularly in the marches on the other side of the Apennines,
between Bologna and Ancona, agriculture is not only noways depressed,
but flourishing; and the same is the case with the slopes of the Alban
Mount, even in the Agro Romano. In the first situation, the necessity of
bending to the cry for cheap bread in the urban population was not felt,
as the marches contained no great towns, and the weight of influence was
in the rural inhabitants. There was no _Casa Annonaria_, or fixed price
of bread there; and therefore agriculture flourished as it did in
Lombardy, the Campagna Felice of Naples, the plain of Pisa, or any other
prosperous part of Italy. In the latter, it was in _garden cultivation_
that the little proprietors, as in nearly the whole slopes of the
Apennines, were engaged. The enchanting shores of the lakes of Gandolfo
and Nemi, the hills around L'Aricia and Marino, are all laid out in the
cultivation of grapes, olives, fruits, vegetables, and chestnuts. No
competition from without was to be dreaded by them, as at least, until
the introduction of steam, it was impossible to bring such productions
by distant sea voyages, so as to compete with those raised in equally
favourable situations within a few miles of the market at home. In these
places, therefore, the peculiar evil which blasted all attempts at grain
cultivation in the Campagna was not felt; and hence, though in the Roman
states, and subject, in other respects, to precisely the same government
as the Agro Romano, they exhibit not merely a good, but the most
admirable cultivation.

If any doubt could exist on the subject, it would be removed by two
other facts connected with agriculture on the shores of the
Mediterranean; one in ancient and one in modern times.

The first of these is that while agriculture declined _in Italy_, as has
been shown from the time of Tiberius, until at length nearly the whole
plains of that peninsula were turned into grass, it, from the same date,
took an extraordinary start in Spain and Lybia. And to such a length had
the improvement of Africa, under the fostering influence of the market
of Rome and Italy gone, that it contained, at the time of its invasion
by the Vandals under Genseric, in the year 430 of the Christian era,
twenty millions of inhabitants, and had come to be regarded with reason
as the garden of the human race. "The long and narrow tract," says
Gibbon, "of the African coast was filled, when the Vandals approached
its shores, with frequent monuments of Roman art and magnificence; and
the respective degrees of improvement might be accurately measured by
the distance from Carthage and the Mediterranean. A simple reflection
will impress every thinking mind with the clearest idea of its fertility
and cultivation. The country was extremely populous; the inhabitants
reserved a liberal supply for their own use; _and the annual
exportation_, PARTICULARLY OF WHEAT, _was so regular and plentiful, that
Africa deserved the name of the common granary of Rome and of
mankind_."[43] Nor had Spain flourished less during the long
tranquillity and protection of the legions. In the year 409 after
Christ, when it was first invaded by the barbarians, its situation is
thus described by the great historian of the _Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire_. "The situation of Spain, separated on all sides from the
enemies of Rome by the sea, by the mountains, and by intermediate
provinces, had secured the long tranquillity of that remote and
sequestered country; and we may observe, as a sure symptom of _domestic
happiness_, that in a period of 400 years, Spain furnished very few
materials to the history of the Roman empire. The cities of Merida,
Cordova, Seville, and Tarragona, were numbered with the most illustrious
of the Roman world. The various plenty of the animal, _vegetable_, and
mineral kingdoms was improved and manufactured by the skill of an
industrious people, and the peculiar advantages of naval stores
contributed to support an extensive and profitable trade." And he adds,
in a note, many particulars relative to the _fertility_ and trade of
Spain, may be found in Huet's _Commerce des Anciens_, c. 40, p. 228.[44]

These facts are very remarkable, and worthy of the most profound
attention; for they point in a decisive manner, they afford the
_experimentum crucis_ as to the real cause of the long-continued and
frightful decay of Italian agriculture during the reign of the emperors.
For here, it appears, that during the four hundred years that the
Western Empire endured, while the cultivation of grain in Italy was
constantly declining, and at last wholly ceased, insomuch that the
country relapsed entirely into a state of nature, or was devoted to the
mere raising of grass for sheep and cattle, _agriculture was flourishing
in the highest degree in the remoter provinces of the Empire_; and the
exportation of grain from Africa had become so great and regular, that
it had come to be regarded as the granaries of Rome and of the world!
The government was the same, the slavery was the same, in Africa as in
Italy. Yet in the one country agriculture rose, during four centuries,
to the highest point of elevation; while in the other, during the same
period, it sunk to the lowest depression, until it became wellnigh
extinct, so far as the raising of grain was concerned. How did this come
to pass? It could not have been that the labour of slaves was too costly
to raise grain; for it was raised at a great profit, and to a prodigious
extent, _almost entirely by slaves_, in Egypt and Lybia. What was it,
then, which destroyed agriculture in Italy and Greece, while, under
circumstances precisely similar in all respects _but one_, it was, at
the very same time, rising to the very highest prosperity in Egypt,
Lybia, and Spain? Evidently _that one circumstance_, and that was--that
Italy and Greece were the heart of the empire, the theatre of
long-established civilization, the abode of opulence, the seat of
wealth, the centre to which riches flowed from the extremities of the
empire. Pounds were plentiful there, and, consequently, labour was dear;
in the provinces pence were few, and, therefore, it was cheap. It was
impossible, under a free trade in grain, for the one to compete with the
other. It is for the same reason that agricultural labour is now
sixpence a-day in Poland, tenpence in Ireland, and two shillings in
Great Britain.

The peculiar conformation of the Roman empire, while it facilitated in
many respects its growth and final settlement under the dominion of the
Capitol, led by a process not less certain, and still more rapid, to its
ruin, when that empire was fully extended. If any one will look at the
map, he will see that the Roman empire spread outwards from the shores
of the Mediterranean. It embraced all the monarchies and republics
which, in the preceding ages of the world, had grown up around that
inland sea. Water, therefore, afforded the regular, certain, and cheap
means of conveying goods and troops from one part of the empire to the
other. Nature had spread out a vast system of internal navigation,
which brought foreign trade in a manner to every man's door. The legions
combated alternately on the plains of Germany, in the Caledonian woods,
on the banks of the Euphrates, and at the foot of Mount Atlas. But much
as this singular and apparently providential circumstance aided the
growth, and for a season increased the strength of the empire, it
secretly but certainly undermined its resources, and in the end proved
its ruin. The free trade in grain which it necessarily brought with it,
when the same dominion stretched over all Spain and Africa, and
long-continued peace had brought their crops to compete with the Italian
in the supply of the Roman, or the Grecian in that of the
Constantinopolitan markets, destroyed the fabric the legions had reared.
Italy could not compete with Lybia, Greece with Poland. Rome was
supplied by the former, Constantinople by the latter. If the
Mediterranean wafted the legions out in the rise of the empire, _it
wafted foreign grain in_ in its later stages, and the last undid all
that the former had done. The race of _agricultural freemen_ in Italy,
the bone and muscle of the legions which had conquered the world, became
extinct; the rabble of towns were unfit for the labours, and averse to
the dangers of war; mercenaries became the only resource.

The fact in modern times, which illustrates and confirms the same view
of the chief cause of the ruin of the Roman empire, is, that a similar
effect has taken place, and is at this moment in full operation in
Romelia, and all the environs of Constantinople. Every traveller in the
East knows that desolation as complete as that of the Campagna of Rome
pervades the whole environs of Constantinople; that the moment you
emerge from the gates of that noble city, you find yourself in a
wilderness, and that the grass comes up to our horse's girths all the
way to Adrianople. "Romelia," says Slade, "if cultivated, would become
the granary of the East;" _whereas Constantinople depends on Odessa for
daily bread_. The burial-grounds, choked with weeds and underwood,
constantly occurring in every traveller's route, far remote from
habitations, are eloquent testimonials of continued depopulation. The
living, too, are far apart; a town about every fifty miles; _a village
every ten miles_, is deemed close; and horsemen meeting on the highway
regard each other as objects of curiosity.[45] This is the Agro Romano
over again. Nor will it do to say, that it is the oppression of the
Turkish government which occasions this desolation and destruction of
the rural population; for many parts of Turkey are not only well
cultivated but most densely peopled; as, for example, the broad tract of
Mount Hoemus, where agriculture is in as admirable a state as in the
mountains of Tuscany or Switzerland. "No peasantry in the world," says
Slade, "are so well off as those of Bulgaria; the lowest of them has
abundance of every thing--meat, poultry, eggs, milk, rice, cheese, wine,
bread, good clothing, a warm dwelling, and a horse to ride; where is the
tyranny under which the Christian subjects of the Porte are generally
supposed to dwell? Among the Bulgarians certainly. I wish that, in every
country, a traveller could pass from one end to the other, and find a
good supper and warm fire in every cottage, as he can in this part of
European Turkey."[46] Clarke gives the same account of the peasantry of
Parnassus and Olympia; and it is true generally of almost all the
_mountain_ districts of Turkey. How, then, does it happen that the rich
and level plains of Romelia, at the gates of Constantinople, and thence
over a breadth of an hundred and twenty miles to Adrianople, is a
desert? Slade has explained it in a word. "_Constantinople depends on
Odessa for its daily bread._" The cry for cheap bread in Constantinople,
its noble harbour, and ready communication by water with Egypt on the
one hand, and the Ukraine on the other, have done the whole. Romelia,
like the Campagna of Rome, is a desert, because the market of
Constantinople is lost to the Turkish cultivators; because grain can be
brought cheaper from the Nile and the Wolga than raised at home, in
consequence of the cheapness of labour in those remote provinces; and
because the Turkish government, dreading an insurrection in the capital,
have done nothing to protect native industry.

There are many countries to whom the most unlimited freedom in the
importation of corn can do no injury. There are, in the first place, the
great grain countries, such as Poland and the Ukraine: they have no more
reason to dread the importation of grain than Newcastle that of coals,
or the Scotch Highlands that of moor-game. In the next place, countries
which _are poor_ need never fear the importation of corn from abroad;
for they have no money to pay for it; and, if they had, it would not be
brought in at a profit, because currency being scarce, of course the
price will be low. Lastly, Countries which have vast inland tracts, like
Russia, Austria, France, and America, especially if no extensive system
of water communication exists in their interior, have little reason to
apprehend injury from the most unrestricted commerce in grain; because
the cost of inland carriage on so bulky and heavy an article as corn is
so considerable, that the produce of foreign harvests can never
penetrate far into the interior, or come to supply a large portion of
the population with food.

The countries which have reason to apprehend injury, and in the end
destruction, to their native agriculture, from the unrestricted
admission of foreign corn, are those which, though they may possess a
territory in many places well adapted for the raising of grain crops,
are yet rich, far advanced in civilization, with a narrow territory, and
their principal towns on the sea-coast. They have every thing to dread
from foreign importation; because both the plenty of currency, which
opulence brings in its train, and the heavy public burdens with which it
is invariably attended, render labour dear at home, by lowering the
value of money, and raising the weight of taxation. If long continued,
an unrestricted foreign importation cannot fail to ruin agriculture, and
destroy domestic strength in such a state. Italy and Greece stood
eminently in such a situation; for all their great towns were upon the
sea-coast, their territory was narrow, and being successively the seats
of empire, and the centres of long-continued opulence, money was more
plentiful, and therefore production dearer than in those remote and
poorer states from which grain might be brought to their great towns by
sea carriage. In the present circumstances of this country, we would do
well to bear in mind the following reflections of Sismondi, "It is not
to no purpose that we have entered into the foregoing details concerning
the state of agriculture in the neighbourhood of Rome; for we are
persuaded that a universal tendency in Europe _menaces us with the same
calamities_, even in those countries which at present seem to adopt an
entirely opposite system; _only the Romans have gone through the career,
while we are only entering upon it_."[47]

The times are past, indeed, when gratuitous distributions of grain will
be made to an idle population, as under the Roman emperors, or bread be
sold for centuries by government at a fixed and low price, as under
their papal successors. But the same causes which produced these effects
are still in full operation. The cry for cheap bread in a popular state,
is as menacing as it was to the emperors or popes of Rome. The only
difference is, the sacrifice of domestic industry is now more disguised.
The thing is done, but it is done not openly by public deliveries of the
foreign grain at low prices, but indirectly under the specious guise of
free trade. Government does not say, "We will import Polish grain, and
sell it permanently at thirty-six or forty shillings a quarter;" but it
says, "we will open our harbours to the Polish farmers who can do so. We
will admit grain duty free from a country where wages are sixpence
a-day, and rents half-a-crown an acre." They thus force down the price
of grain to the foreign level, augmented only by the cost and profit of
importations, as effectually as ever did the emperors or _Casa
Annonaria_of Rome.

And what has Rome--the urban population of Rome--for whose supposed
interests, and in obedience to whose menacing cry, the Roman market has
for eighteen centuries been supplied with foreign bread--what have they
gained by this long continuation of government to their wishes? Sismondi
has told us in one word--"In Rome there _is no commerce between the town
and the country_." They would have foreign grain with its consequences,
and _they have had foreign grain with its consequences_. And what have
been these consequences? Why, that the Eternal City, which, even when
taken by the Goths, had 1,200,000 inhabitants within its walls, can now
scarcely number 170,000, and they almost entirely in poverty, and mainly
supported by the influx and expenditure of foreigners. The Campagna,
once so fruitful and so peopled, has become a desert. No inhabitant of
the Roman states buys any thing in Rome. Their glory is departed--it has
gone to other people and other lands. And what would have been the
result if this wretched concession to the blind and unforeseeing popular
clamour had not taken place? Why, that Rome would have been what
Naples--where domestic industry is protected--has become; it would have
numbered 400,000 busy and active citizens within its walls. The Campagna
would have been what the marches of Ancona now are. Between Rome and the
Campagna, a million of happy and industrious human beings would have
existed in the Agro Romano, independent of all the world, mutually
nourishing and supporting each other; instead of an hundred and seventy
thousand indolent and inactive citizens of a town, painfully dependent
on foreign supplies for bread, and on foreign gold for the means of
purchasing it.

Disastrous as have been the consequences of a free trade in grain to the
Roman States, alike in ancient and modern times, it was introduced by
its rulers in antiquity under the influence of noble and enlightened
principles. The whole civilized world was then one state; the banks of
the Nile and the plains of Lybia acknowledged the sway of the emperors,
as much as the shores of the Tiber or the fields of the Campagna. When
the Roman government, ruling so mighty a dominion, permitted the
harvests of Africa and the Ukraine to supplant those of Italy and
Greece, they did no more than justice to their varied subjects.
Magnanimously overlooking local interests and desires, they extended
their vision over the whole civilized world, and

  "View'd with equal eyes, as lords of all,"

their subjects, whether in Italy, Spain, Egypt, or Lybia. Though the
seat of government was locally on the Tiber, they administered for the
interest of the whole civilized world, alike far and near. If the
Campagna was ruined, the Delta of Egypt flourished! If the plains of
Umbria were desolate, those of Lybia and Spain, equally parts of the
empire, were waving with grain. But can the same be said of England, now
proclaiming a free trade in grain, not merely with her colonies or
distant provinces, but with her rivals or her enemies? Not merely with
Canada and Hindostan, but with Russia and America? With countries
jealous of her power, envious of her fame, covetous of her riches. What
should we have said of the wisdom of the Romans, if they had sacrificed
Italian to African agriculture in the days of Hannibal? If they had put
it into the power of the Carthaginian Senate to have said, "We will not
arm our galleys; we will not levy armies; we will prohibit the
importation of African grain, and starve you into submission?" How is
England to maintain her independence, if the autocrat of Russia, by
issuing his orders from St Petersburg, can at any moment stop the
importation of ten millions of quarters of foreign grain, that is, a
sixth of our whole annual consumption? And are we to render penniless
our home customers, not in order to promote the interest of the distant
parts of our empire, but in order to enrich and vivify our enemies?

It is said public opinion runs in favour of such a change; that the
manufacturing has become the dominant interest in the state; that wages
must at all hazards be beat down to the continental level; and that,
right or wrong, the thing must be done. Whether this is the case or not,
time, and possibly a general election, will show. Sometimes those who
are the most noisy, are not the most numerous. Certain it is, that in
1841 a vast majority both of the electors and the people were unanimous
in favour of protection. But, be the present opinion of the majority
what it may, that will not alter the nature of things--It will not
render that wise which is unwise. Public opinion in Athens, in the time
of Demosthenes, was nearly unanimous to apply the public funds to the
support of the theatres instead of the army, and they got the battle of
Chæronea, and subjection by Philip, for their reward. Public opinion in
Europe was unanimous in favour of the Crusades, and millions of brave
men left their bones in Asia in consequence. The Senate of Carthage,
yielding to the wishes of the majority of their democratic community,
refused to send succours to Hannibal in Italy; and they brought, in
consequence, the legions of Scipio Africanus round their walls. Public
opinion in France was unanimous in favour of the expedition to Moscow.
"They regarded it," says Segur, "as a mere hunting party of six months;"
but that did not hinder it from bringing the Cossacks to Paris. The old
Romans were unanimous in their cry for cheap bread, and they brought the
Gothic trumpet to their gates from its effects. A vast majority of the
electors of Great Britain in 1831, were in favour of Reform: out of 101,
98 county members were returned in the liberal interest; and now they
have got their reward, in seeing the Reformed Parliament preparing to
abolish all protection to native industry. All the greatest and most
destructive calamities recorded in history have been brought about, not
only with the concurrence, but in obedience to the fierce demand of the
majority. Protection to domestic industry, at home or colonial, is the
unseen but strongly felt bond which unites together the far distant
provinces of the British empire by the firm bond of mutual interest.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 16: The Agro Romano, the Sabina, the Campagna Maritima, and
the Patrimonio di San Pietro, which make up the Campagna of Rome,
contain 3881 square miles, or about 3,000,000 acres.--Sismondi's
_Essais_, ii, 10.]

[Footnote 17: Barbieri à Sismondi.--Sismondi's _Essais_, li. 11.]

[Footnote 18: Tacitus, _Annal_. xii. 43. But, by Hercules, formerly
provisions were sent for the legions from Italy into distant provinces;
nor even now is it afflicted by sterility: but we prefer purchasing it
from Africa and Egypt, and the lives of the Roman people have been
committed to ships and the chances of the waves.]

[Footnote 19: Sismondi, _Essais_, ii. 25.]

[Footnote 20: To confess the truth, the great estates have ruined Italy;
ay, and the provinces too.--_Plin_. 1. xviii. c. 6.]

[Footnote 21: Gibbon, vi. c. 36.]

[Footnote 22: "Quingena viginti millia quadringenti duo jugera quæ
Campania provincia, juxta inspectorum relationem, in desertis et
squalidis locis habere dignoscitur, eisdem provinciabilibus
concessum."--_Cod. Theod._ ix. c. 38, c. 2.]

[Footnote 23: Gibbon, iii. c. 18.]

[Footnote 24: _Ibid._ iii. 88. c. 17.]

[Footnote 25: Michelet, _Histoire de France_, i. 104-108.]

[Footnote 26: Gibbon, VIII. c. xiv.]

[Footnote 27: Michelet's _Histoire de France_, i. 277.]

[Footnote 28: Ammianus Marcellinus, c. xvi; see also Gibbon, vi. 264.]

[Footnote 29: Sismondi's _Essais_, ii. 57.]

[Footnote 30: Sismondi's _Essais_, ii. 33.]

[Footnote 31: Sismondi's _Essais_, ii. 29, 30.]

[Footnote 32: Nicolai, _dell' Agro Romano_, ii. 30, 31.]

[Footnote 33: The rubbi is equal to two French hectares, or five English
acres.]

[Footnote 34: Nicolai, iii 133.]

[Footnote 35: _Ibid._, c. in. 167. _Et subseq_.]

[Footnote 36: Sismondi's _Essais_, ii, 46, 47.]

[Footnote 37: Nicolai, _dell' Agro Romano_, iii. 167, 175.]

[Footnote 38: Nicolai, iii. 174, 178.]

[Footnote 39: Sismondi's _Essais_, ii, 56, 57.]

[Footnote 40: Nicolai, _del' Agro Romano_, iii. 153. Sismondi's
_Essais_, ii. 44.]

[Footnote 41: Motu proprio de Pius VII.--Nicolai, ii. 163, 185.]

[Footnote 42: Sismondi's _Essais_, ii. 71.]

[Footnote 43: Gibbon, chap. 33, Vol. vi. p. 20.]

[Footnote 44: Gibbon, c. 31, Vol. v. p. 351.]

[Footnote 45: Slade's _Travels in the East_, ii 15.]

[Footnote 46: Slade, ii. 97.]

[Footnote 47: Sismondi's _Essais_, ii. 71.]



MR BROOKE OF BORNEO.


[48]On the 19th of August last, some twenty boats belonging to her
Majesty's ships, _Agincourt_, _Vestal_, _Dædalus_, _Wolverine_,
_Cruiser_, and _Vixen_, and containing about five hundred men, attacked
and destroyed in the _Malladu_, a river of the Eastern Archipelago, the
forts of Seriff Housman, a notorious and daring pirate, whose crimes had
paralysed the commerce of the seas of Borneo, and finally rendered
British interference absolutely necessary for the security of British
life and property. The action was one of the many that the suppression
of piracy in these regions has demanded--was gallantly fought, and full
reported in the journals of the time;--a narrow river, with two forts
mounting eleven or twelve heavy guns, (and defended by from five hundred
to one thousand fighting men,) protected by a strong and well-contrived
boom, was the position of the enemy. The English boats took the bull by
the horns--cut away part of the boom under a heavy fire; advanced and
carried the place in a fight protracted for fifty minutes. The enemy
fought well, and stood manfully to their guns. The mate of the
_Wolverine_ fell mortally wounded whilst working at the boom, axe in
hand; but his death was avenged by a wholesale slaughter of the pirates.
At two minutes to nine, those who had remained on board the _Vixen_
heard the report of the first heavy gun, and the first column of black
smoke proclaimed that the village was fired. On the evening of the 19th,
a detachment of ten boats, with fresh men and officers, quitted the
_Vixen_, and arrived at the forts shortly after daylight. The work of
destruction was complete. The boom, above spoken of, was ingeniously
fastened with the chain-cable of a vessel of three hundred or four
hundred tons; other chains, for darker purposes, were discovered in the
town; a ship's long-boat; two ship's bells, one ornamented with grapes
and vine leaves, and marked "_Wilhelm Ludwig, Bremen_," and every other
description of ship's furniture. Some piratical boats were burned,
twenty-four brass guns captured; the other guns spiked or otherwise
destroyed. Malladu ceased to exist; the power of Seriff Housman was
extinguished in a day.

Small wars, as well as great, have their episodes of touching
tenderness. Twenty-four hours after the action, a poor woman, with her
child of two years of age, was discovered in a small canoe; her arm was
shattered at the elbow by a grape-shot, and the poor creature lay dying
for want of water, in an agony of pain, with her child playing around
her, and endeavouring to derive the sustenance which the mother could no
longer give. The unfortunate woman was taken on board the _Vixen_, and
in the evening her arm was amputated. On board the _Vixen_ she met with
one who offered to convey her to the Borneon town of _Sar[=a]wak_, where
she would find protection. To have left her where she was, would have
been to leave her to die. To the stranger's kind offers she had but one
answer to give. "If you please to take me, I shall go. I am a woman, and
not a man; I am a slave, and not a free woman--do as you like." The
woman recovered, was grateful for the kindness shown her, and was
deposited faithfully and well in the town already named, by the stranger
already introduced.

Let us state at once that the object of this article is to bring to
public notice, as shortly as we may, the history of this stranger, and
to demand for it the reader's warmest sympathy. Full accounts of the
doings of her Majesty's ship Dido will no doubt be reported elsewhere,
with the several engagements which Mr Keppel's book so graphically
describes. Let them receive the attention that they merit. We cannot
afford to meddle with them now. "Metal more attractive" lies in the
adventures of a man who has devoted his fortune and energies to the
cause of humanity, and has purchased with both the amelioration of a
large portion of his suffering fellow-creatures.

We know not when, since our boyhood, we have met with an adventurer more
ardent and daring, a companion more fascinating and agreeable, than MR
BROOKE, the Rajah or Governor of Sar[=a]wak. Essentially British, in as
much as he practises our national virtues when circumstances call them
into action, he reminds us at all times of those Eastern men, famous in
their generation, who delighted us many years ago, and secured our
wonder by their devoted love of enterprise, and the moral ascendency
that waited on their efforts. In truth, Mr Brooke belongs not to the
present generation. His energy, his perseverance, which nothing can
subdue, his courage which no dangers can appal, his simplicity which no
possession of power and authority can taint, his integrity and honest
mind, all belong to a more masculine and primitive age, and constitute a
rare exception for our respect and gratitude in this. We take the
earliest opportunity afforded us to pay our humble tribute to worth that
cannot be questioned, to heroic virtue that cannot be surpassed.

Whatsoever humanity and civilisation may gain in the extermination of
odious crimes upon the shores of BORNEO, whatsoever advantages England
may hereafter obtain from British settlements in the island, and from a
peaceful trade carried on around it, to Mr Brooke, and to that gentleman
alone, will belong the glory and the honour of such acquisitions.
Inspired by his vigorous nature, but more by the dictates of true
benevolence, unaided and unprotected, save by his own active spirit and
the blessing of Providence, he undertook a mission on behalf of mankind,
with perils before him which the stoutest could not but feel, and
achieved a success which the most sanguine could hardly have
anticipated.

Mr Brooke was born on the 29th of April 1803, and is therefore now in
his 43d year. He is the second son of the late Thomas Brooke, Esq., who
held an appointment in the civil service of the East India Company. At
an early age he went out to India as a cadet, served with distinction in
the Burmese war, was wounded, and returned to England for the recovery
of his health. In the year 1830, Mr Brooke relinquished the service
altogether, and quitted Calcutta for China, again in search of health.
During his voyage, he saw, for the first time, the islands of the
Asiatic Archipelago; almost unknown, even at that recent period, to
Europeans generally. Such information as was before the world he
obtained, and carefully considered; and the result of his reflections
was a determination to carry to Borneo, an island of some magnitude, and
terribly afflicted in more respects than one, such knowledge and
instruction as might help to elevate its people from the depravity in
which they lived, and the horrors to which they were hourly subjected.
This was in 1830. In the year 1838, he quitted England to fulfil his
purpose. For eight years he had patiently and steadily worked towards
his object, and gathered about him all that was necessary for its
accomplishment. Nothing had been omitted to insure success. A man of
fortune, he had been prodigal of his wealth; free from professional and
other ties, he had given up his time wholly to the cause. One year was
passed in the Mediterranean, that his vessel, _The Royalist_, might be
put to the severest tests. Three years were spent in educating a crew
worthy of an undertaking that promised so little sudden prosperity, that
exacted so much immediate self-denial, threatened so many hardships. The
men were happy and contented, cheerful and willing. The vessel belonged
to the royal yacht squadron, was a fast sailer, armed with six
six-pounders, a number of swivels and small arms, carried four boats,
and provisions for as many months. On the 27th of October 1838, the
adventurous company left the river. A fortunate passage carried them in
safety to Rio Janeiro, and on the 29th of March 1839, they were sailing
from the Cape of Good Hope. A six weeks' passage brought them to Java
Head, and on the 1st of June they reached that "pivot of the liberal
system in the Archipelago," the island of Singapore. It was not until
the 27th of July that Mr Brooke quitted Singapore. Five days afterwards,
the _Royalist_ was anchored off the coast of Borneo!

At the period of Mr Brooke's arrival, Borneo Proper,[49] once the seat
of piracy, which few vessels could approach with safety, was under the
government of the rajah MUDA HASSIM. Report spoke favourably of this
rajah's character. A vessel had been wrecked on his coast, and the crew,
who had been saved with difficulty, had taken shelter in the jungle.
Muda Hassim, hearing of their fate, caused them to be brought to his
town of Sar[=a]wak, collected as much as could be saved from the wreck,
clothed the sufferers, fed them, and sent then free of expense to
Singapore. Moreover, for reasons known to himself, the rajah was well
disposed towards the English. These important circumstances were borne
in mind by Mr Brooke. The rajah was now at Sar[=a]wak, and the
adventurer determined to enter the river of that name, and to proceed as
far as the town. He was well supplied with presents; gaudy silks of
Surat, scarlet cloth, stamped velvet, gunpowder, confectionery, sweets,
ginger, jams, dates, and syrups for the governor, and a huge box of
China toys for the governor's children. From Mr Brooke's own diary, we
extract the following account of his position and feelings at this
interesting moment of his still doubtful undertaking:--

     "_August 1st._--I am, then, at length, anchored off the coast of
     Borneo! not under very pleasant circumstances, for the night is
     pitchy dark, with thunder, lightning, rain, and squalls of wind.

     "_2d._--Squally bad night. This morning, the clouds clearing away,
     was delightful, and offered for our view the majestic scenery of
     Borneo. At nine got under weigh, and ran in on an east-by-south
     course four and a half or five miles towards Tanjong Api. Came to
     an anchor about five miles from the land, and dispatched the boat
     to take sights ashore, in order to form a base line for
     triangulation. The scenery may really be called majestic. The low
     and wooded coast about Tanjong Api is backed by a mountain called
     Gunong Palo, some 2000 feet in height, which slopes down behind the
     point, and terminates in a number of hummocks, showing from a
     distance like islands.

     "The coast, unknown, and represented to abound in shoals and reefs,
     is the harbour for pirates of every description. Here every man's
     hand is raised against his brother man; and here sometimes the
     climate wars upon the excitable European, and lays many a white
     face and gallant heart low on the distant strand.

     "_3d._--Beating between Points Api and Datu. The bay, as far as we
     have seen, is free from danger; the beach is lined by a feathery
     row of beautiful casuarinas, and behind is a tangled jungle,
     without fine timber; game is plentiful, from the traces we saw on
     the sand; hogs in great numbers; troops of monkeys, and the print
     of an animal with cleft hoofs, either a large deer, tapir, or cow.
     We saw no game save a tribe of monkeys, one of which, a female, I
     shot, and another quite young, which we managed to capture alive.
     The captive, though the young of the black monkey, is greyish, with
     the exception of the extremities, and a stripe of black down his
     back and tail.

     "We witnessed, at the same time, an extraordinary and fatal leap
     made by one of these monkeys. Alarmed by our approach, he sprang
     from the summit of a high tree at the branch of one lower, and at
     some distance. He leaped short, and came clattering down sixty or
     seventy feet amid the jungle. We were unable to penetrate to the
     spot, on account of a deep swamp, to ascertain his fate.

     "A river flows into the sea not far from where we landed--the water
     is sweet, and of that clear brown colour so common in Ireland. This
     coast is evidently the haunt of native _prahns_, whether piratical
     or other. Print of men's feet were numerous and fresh, and traces
     of huts, fires, and parts of boots, some of them ornamented after
     their rude fashion. A long pull of five miles closed the day.

     "_Sunday, 4th._--Performed divine service myself! manfully
     overcoming that horror which I have to the sound of my own voice
     before an audience. In the evening landed again more to the
     westward. Shore skirted by rocks; timber noble, and the forest
     clear of brushwood, enabling us to penetrate with ease as far as
     caution permitted. Traces of wild beasts numerous and recent, but
     none discovered. Fresh-water streams coloured as yesterday, and the
     trail of an alligator from one of them to the sea. This dark
     forest, where the trees shoot up straight and tall, and are
     succeeded by generation after generation varying in stature, but
     struggling upward, strikes the imagination with pictures trite yet
     true. It was thus I meditated in my walk. The foot of European, I
     said, has never touched where my foot now presses--seldom the
     native wanders here. Here, I, indeed, behold nature fresh from the
     bosom of creation, unchanged by man, and stamped with the same
     impress she originally bore! Here I behold God's design when He
     formed this tropical land, and left its culture and improvement to
     the agency of man! The Creator's gift as yet neglected by the
     creature; and yet the time may be confidently looked for when the
     axe shall level the forest, and the plough turn the ground."

Upon the 5th of August, a boat was sent to the island of Tulang-Talang,
where some Malays were seen; they were civil, and offered their
assistance. On the following morning the _bandar_ (or chief steward) of
the place came off in his canoe, and welcomed the new-comers. He assured
them of a happy reception from the Rajah, and took his leave, after
having been sumptuously entertained with sweetmeats and syrups, and
handsomely provided with three yards of red cloth, some tea, and a
little gunpowder. The great man himself, Muda Hassim, was, visited in
his town of Sar[=a]wak on the morning of the 15th. He received his
visitors in state, seated in his hall of audience, a large shed, erected
on piles. Sar[=a]wak is only the occasional residence of the Rajah, and
at the time of the ship's arrival he was detained there by a rebellion
in the interior. The town was found to be a mere collection of mud-huts,
containing about 1500 persons, and inhabited for the most part by the
Rajah, his family, and their attendants. The remaining population were
poor and squalid. "We sat," says Mr Brooke, "in easy and unreserved
converse, out of hearing of the rest of the circle. He expressed great
kindness to the English nation; and begged me to tell him _really_,
which was the most powerful nation, England or Holland; or, as he
significantly expressed, which is the 'cat and which is the rat?' I
assured him that England was the mouser, though in this country Holland
had most territory. We took our leave after he had intimated his
intention of visiting us to-morrow morning."

The visit was duly paid, and as duly returned. Tea, cigars, scissors,
knives, and biscuits, were distributed amongst the rajah and his suite,
and the friendliest understanding was maintained. Mr Brooke, however,
had come to Borneo for more serious business. Ceremonies being over, he
dispatched his interpreter, an Englishman, (Mr. Williamson by name,) to
the rajah, intimating his desire to travel to some of the Malay towns,
and especially into the country of the _Dyaks_. The request, it was
fully believed, would be refused; but, to the surprise of the asker,
leave was given, with the accompanying assurance, however, that the
Rajah was powerless amongst many Dyak tribes, and could not answer for
the adventurer's safety. Mr Brooke availed himself of the license, and
undertook to provide in other respects for himself. The _Dyaks_ are the
aborigines of Borneo, and share the country with the Malays and Chinese
who have made their homes in it. "There be land rats, and there be water
rats." There be also land Dyaks and water Dyaks; or, to use the language
of the country, _Dyak Darrat_ and _Dyak Laut_. Those of the sea vary in
their character and prospects, but, for the most part, they are powerful
communities, and desperate pirates, ravaging the coasts in immense
fleets, and robbing and murdering without discrimination. Their
language is similar to the Malay. The name of God amongst them is
Battara (the Avatara of the Hindoos.) They bury their dead, and in the
graves deposit a large portion of the property of the deceased,
consisting of gold ornaments, brass guns, jars, and arms. "Their
marriage ceremony consists in two fowls being killed, and the forehead
and breast of the young couple being touched with the blood; after which
the chief, or an old man, knocks their heads together several times, and
the ceremony is completed with mirth and feasting." The Dyak Darrats
inhabit an inconsiderable portion of the island, and are composed of
numerous tribes, all agreeing in their customs, and speaking the same
dialect. They are regarded as slaves by the Malays, and treated and
disposed of like beasts of burden. "We do not live," said one, "like
men; we are like monkeys; we are hunted from place to place; we have no
houses; and when we light a fire, we fear the smoke will draw our
enemies upon us." The appearance of these Dyaks, we are told, is very
prepossessing. They are of middle height, active, and good-natured in
their expression; the women not so good-looking, but as cheerful
tempered. "The dress of the men consists of a piece of cloth, about
fifteen feet long, passed between the legs, and fastened round the
loins, with the ends hanging before and behind; the head-dress is
composed of bark cloth, dyed bright yellow, and stuck up in front, so as
to resemble a tuft of feathers. The arms and legs are often ornamented
with rings of silver, brass, or shell; and necklaces are worn, made of
human teeth, or those of bears or dogs, or of white beads, in such
numberless strings as to conceal the throat. A sword on one side, a
knife and small betel-basket on the other, completes the ordinary
equipment of the males; but when they travel, they carry a basket slung
from the forehead, on which is a palm mat, to protect the owner and his
property from the weather. The women wear a short and scanty petticoat,
reaching from the loins to the knees, and a pair of black bamboo stays,
which are never removed except the wearer be _enceinte_. They have rings
of brass and red bamboo about the loins, and sometimes ornaments on the
arms; the hair is worn long; the ears of both sexes are pierced, and
ear-rings of brass inserted occasionally; the teeth of the young people
are sometimes filed to a point and discoloured, as they say that 'dogs
have white teeth.' They frequently dye their feet and hands of a bright
red or yellow colour; and the young people, like those of other
countries, affect a degree of finery and foppishness, whilst the elders
invariably lay aside all ornaments as unfit for a wise person, or one
advanced in years." The character given of these Dyaks is highly
favourable. They are pronounced grateful for kindness, industrious,
honest, simple, mild, tractable and hospitable, when well used. The word
of one may be taken before the oath of half a dozen Borneons. Their
ideas are limited enough; they reckon with their fingers and toes, and
few are arithmeticians beyond counting up to twenty. They can repeat the
operation, but they must record each twenty by making a knot in a
string.

It was to these people that Mr Brooke made more than one excursion
during his first visit to Sar[=a]wak. He met with no disaster, but he
stored up useful information for future conduct. Great morality and the
practice of many virtues distinguished the tribes he encountered,
although degraded as low as oppression and utter ignorance could bring
them. The men, he found, married but one wife, and concubinage was
unknown in their societies; cases of seduction and adultery were very
rare, and the chastity of the Dyak women was proverbial even amongst
their Malay rulers. Miserable as was the lot of these people, Mr Brooke
gathered from their morality and simplicity, hopes of their future
elevation. They have no forms of worship, no idea of future
responsibility; but they are likewise free from prejudice of every kind,
and therefore open, under skilful hands and tender applications, to the
conviction of truth, and to religious impressions. One tribe, the
Sibnowans, particularly struck Mr Brooke by their gentleness and
sweetness of disposition. But,

"Like the rest of the Dyaks," he informs us, "the Sibnowans _adorn_
their houses with the heads of their enemies; yet with them this custom
exists in a modified form. Some thirty skulls," he adds, "were hanging
from the roof of one apartment; and I was informed that they had many
more in their possession; all however, the heads of enemies, chiefly of
the tribe of Sazebus. On enquiring, I was told that it is indispensably
necessary a young man should procure a skull before he gets married. On
my urging that the custom would be more honoured in the breach than in
the observance, they replied, that it was established from time
immemorial, and could not be dispensed with. Subsequently, however,
Sejugali allowed that heads were very difficult to obtain now, and a
young man might sometimes get married by giving presents to his
ladye-love's parents; at all times they denied warmly ever obtaining any
heads but those of their enemies; adding, they were bad people, and
deserved to die.

"I asked a young unmarried man whether he would be obliged to get a head
before he could obtain a wife. He replied, 'Yes.' 'When would he get
one?' 'Soon.' 'Where would he go to get one?' 'To the Sazebus river.' I
mention these particulars in detail, as I think, had their practice
extended to taking the head of any defenceless traveller, or any Malay
surprised in his dwelling or boat, I should have wormed the secret out
of them."

The Dyaks, generally, are celebrated for the manufacture of iron. Their
forge is the simplest possible, and is formed by two hollow trees, each
about seven feet high, placed upright, side by side, in the ground. From
the lower extremity of these, two pipes of bamboo are conducted through
a clay bank three inches thick, into a charcoal fire; a man is perched
at the top of the trees, and pumps with two pistons, the suckers of
which are made with cocks' feathers, which, being raised and depressed
alternately, blow a regular stream of air into the fire. The soil
cultivated by these people was found to be excellent. In the course of
his wanderings, Mr Brooke lighted upon a Chinese colony, who, as is
customary with our new allies, were making the most of their advantages.
The settlement consisted of thirty men, genuine Chinese, and five women
of the mixed breed of Sambas. They had been but four or five months in
the country, and many acres were already cleared and under cultivation.
The head of the settlement, a Chinese of Canton, spoke of gold mines
which were abundant in the Sar[=a]wak mountains, and of antimony ore and
diamonds; the former, he said, might be had in any quantities.

Upon his return to Sar[=a]wak, Mr Brooke opened to the rajah the
business which had chiefly conducted him to his shores. He informed his
highness that, being a private gentleman, he had no interest in the
communication he was about to make; and that, being in no way connected
with government, his words came with no authority. At the same time, he
was, anxious for the interests of mankind, and more especially for the
wellbeing of the inhabitants of Borneo, which was the last Malay state
possessing any power, that the resources of a country so favoured by
Providence should be brought into the fullest play. To this end, he
suggested the opening of a trade with individual European merchants.
Sar[=a]wak was rich, and the territory around it produced many articles
well adapted for commercial intercourse--such as bees' wax, birds'
nests, rattans, antimony ore, and sago, which constituted the staple
produce of the country. And, in return for such commodities, merchants
of Singapore would gladly send from Europe such articles as would be
highly serviceable to the people of Borneo--gunpowder, muskets, and
cloths. Both parties would be benefited, and the comfort and happiness
of the Borneons greatly enhanced. There was much discussion on the
proposal, timidity and apprehension characterizing the questions and
answers of the Rajah.

The important interview at an end, Mr Brooke prepares for a return to
Singapore. "Never," says that gentleman, "was such a blazing as when we
left Sar[=a]wak; twenty-one guns I fired to the Rajah, and he fired
forty-two to me--at least we counted twenty-four, and they went on
firing afterwards, as long as ever we were in sight. The last words the
Rajah, Muda Hassim, said, as I took my leave, were--'Tuan Brooke, do not
forget me.'"

In August 1840, Mr Brooke arrived in Sar[=a]wak for the second time. He
had passed many months in cruising about the Archipelago, obtaining
valuable information respecting the language, habits, and history of the
race for whom he was concerned, and in collecting specimens of natural
history, which are said to be interesting in the highest degree. The
position of the Rajah had altered during his absence. The civil war or
rebellion which had, in the first instance, forced the governor to
reside in Sar[=a]wak, was not yet quelled. The rebels, indeed, were
within thirty miles of the rajah, and threatening an immediate attack.
Nothing could be more opportune than the return of Mr Brooke at this
critical moment. Muda Hassim begged his ancient friend not to desert him
in his extremity, and appealed to his honour, as a gentleman from
England, whether it would be fair to suffer him to be vanquished by the
traitorous revolt of his people. Mr Brooke felt that it would not, and
resolved to stand by the governor.

"A grand council of war," writes Mr Brooke in his journal, "was held, at
which were present Macota, Subtu, Abong Mia, and Datu Naraja, two
Chinese leaders, and myself--certainly a most incongruous mixture, and
one rarely to be met with. After much discussion, a move close to the
enemy was determined on for to-morrow; and on the following day to take
up a position near the defences. To judge by the sample of the council,
I should form very unfavourable expectations of their conduct in action.
Macota is lively and active; but, whether from indecision or want of
authority, undecided. The Capitan China is lazy and silent; Subtu
indolent and self-indulgent; Abong Mia and Datu Maraja stupid."

The army set off, and Mr Brooke availed himself of a friendly hill to
obtain a view of the country, and of the enemy's forts. The fort of
Balidah was the strongest of their defences, and a moment's observation
convinced him that a company of military might put an end to the war in
a few hours. This fort was situated at the water edge, on a slight
eminence on the right bank of a river; a few swivels and a gun or two
were in it, and around it a breast-work of wood, six or seven feet high.
The remaining defences were even more insignificant; and the enemy's
artillery was reported to consist of three six-pounders, and numerous
swivels. The number of fighting men amounted to about five hundred,
about half of whom were armed with muskets, while the rest carried
swords and spears. _Ranjows_ were stuck in every direction. "These
ranjows are made of bamboo, pointed fine, and stuck in the ground; and
there are, besides, holes of about three feet deep filled with these
spikes, and afterwards lightly covered, which are called patobong." The
army of the rajah was scarcely more formidable than that of the enemy.
It consisted of two hundred Chinese, excellent workmen and bad soldiers,
two hundred and fifty Malays, and some two hundred friendly Dyaks; a few
brass guns composed the artillery; and the boats were furnished with
swivels. Mr Brooke suggested an attack of the detached defences--a
proposition that was treated as that of a madman, the Rajah's army
having no notion of fighting except from behind a wall. A council of war
decided that advances should be made from the hill behind the rajah's
fort to Balidah by a chain of posts, the distance being a short mile, in
which space the enemy would probably erect four or five forts; "and
then," says Mr Brooke, "would come a bombardment, noisy, but harmless."

Insignificant as the account may read, the difficulties of Mr Brooke, as
commander-in-chief, were formidable enough, surrounded as he was by
perils threatening not only from the enemy, but from the rank cowardice
of his supporters, and the envy, spite, hatred, and machinations of his
allies, the Rajah's ministers. The operations are admirably described in
Mr Brooke's journal. Let it suffice to say, that the energy and bravery
of the English leader brought them to a satisfactory issue, and,
finally, the war to a happy close. At his intercession the lives of many
of the offenders were spared, and the rebels suffered to deliver up
their arms, and to return in peace to Sar[=a]wak.

It is now necessary to state, that at the commencement of the war, Muda
Hassim, unsolicited by Mr Brooke, had undertaken to confer upon the
latter the governorship of Sar[=a]wak, in the event of success crowning
the efforts of his "friend from England." Mr Brooke had not demanded
from the unfortunate Rajah a written agreement to this effect; nor at
the time even desired a recompense, which was likely to bring with it
much more of difficulty and vexation than profit and power. He
respectfully declined an honour which he informed the Rajah it did not
become him to accept whilst his highness was in his hands. The war being
over, and Muda Hassim reinstated, the negotiation recommenced. No sooner
was it discussed, however, than Mr Brooke informed the rajah that Malay
institutions were so faulty, the high being allowed by them so much
license, and the poor so oppressed, that any attempt to govern without a
removal of abuses, was, on his part at least, impossible; and as a
condition of his acceptance, he insisted that the Rajah should use all
his exertions to establish the principle, that one man must not take
from another, and that all men were free to enjoy the produce of their
labour, save and except when they were working for the revenue. This
revenue, too, he submitted, it was necessary to fix at a certain amount
for three years, as well as the salaries of the government officers. The
same rights should be conceded to the Dyak and Malay, and the property
of the former must be protected, their taxes fixed, and labour free. The
rajah acquiesced in the propriety of these measures, and bargained only
for the maintenance of the national faith and customs. Mr Brooke
remained in Sar[=a]wak, but the office which had been offered with so
much eagerness and pressing love, was after all slow in being conferred.
Bad advisers, envious ministers, and weakness in Muda Hassim himself,
all prevented the conclusion of a business upon which Mr Brooke had
never entered of his own accord; but which, having entered upon it, had
rendered him liable for many engagements which his anticipated new
position had made essential.

"I found myself," writes Mr Brooke, "clipped like Samson, while delay
was heaped upon delay, excuse piled upon excuse. It was provoking beyond
sufferance. I remonstrated firmly but mildly on the waste of my money,
and on the impossibility of any good to the country whilst the rajah
conducted himself as he had done. I might as well have whistled to the
winds, or have talked reason to stones. I had trusted--my eyes gradually
opened--I feared I was betrayed and robbed, and had at length determined
to be observant and watchful." Upon the faith of the Rajah, Mr Brooke
had purchased in Singapore a schooner of ninety tons, called _The
Swift_, which he had laden with a suitable cargo. Upon its arrival at
Sar[=a]wak, the rajah petitioned to have the cargo ashore, assuring Mr
Brooke of a good and quick return: part of such return being immediately
promised in the shape of antimony ore. Three months elapsed, and the
rajah's share in this mercantile transaction had yet to be fulfilled.
Disgusted with his treatment, and hopeless of justice, Mr Brooke
dispatched the _Swift_ to Singapore; and hearing that the crew of a
shipwrecked vessel were detained in Borneo Proper, sent his only
remaining vessel, the _Royalist_, to the city of Borneo, in order to
obtain such information as might lead to the rescue of his countrymen.
"I resolved," the journal informs us, "to remain here, to endeavour, if
I could, to obtain _my own_. Each vessel was to return as quickly as
possible from her place of destination; and I then determined to give
two additional months to the rajah, and to urge him in every way in my
power to do what he was bound to do as an act of common honesty. Should
these means fail, after making the strongest representations, and giving
amplest time, I considered myself free to extort by force what I could
not gain by fair means."

"I need hardly remark," writes Captain Keppel, "on the singular courage
and disregard of personal safety, and life itself, evinced by my friend
on this occasion. At issue with the rajah on points of great temptation
to him, beset by intrigues, and surrounded by a fierce and lawless
people, Mr Brooke did not hesitate to dispatch his vessels and
protectors,--the one on a mission of pure humanity, and the other in
calm pursuance of the objects he had proposed to himself to accomplish;
and, with three companions, place himself at the mercy of such
circumstances, regardless of the danger, and relying on the overruling
Providence in which he trusted, to bring him safely through all his
difficulties and perils."

On the 16th of August 1841, the Royalist returned, and three days
afterwards it was followed by the Swift. The former reported that the
prisoners had been heard of in Borneo, but, unfortunately, not released.
The Swift was accompanied by the Diana steamer. The formidable squadron
alarmed the rajah and his ministers. Mr Brooke learned that the
difficulties of the rajah's situation were increased, and his conduct
towards himself, in a manner, excused, by the intrigues and evil doings
of the latter. Macota, of whom mention has been made, was the most
vindictive and unscrupulous amongst them. He had attempted to poison the
interpreter of Mr Brooke, and had been discovered as the abettor of even
more fearful crimes. Mr Brooke, strengthened by his late arrivals,
resolved to bring matters to a crisis, and to test at once the strength
of the respective parties. He landed a party of men fully armed, and
loaded the ship's guns with grape and canister; he then proceeded to
Muda Hassim, protested that he was well disposed towards the rajah, but
assured him, at the same time, that neither he nor himself was safe
against the practices of the artful and desperate Macota. Muda Hassim
was frightened. One of the Dyak tribes took part with Mr Brooke, two
hundred of them, with their chiefs, placing themselves unreservedly at
his disposal, whilst Macota was deserted by all but his immediate
slaves. The Chinese and the rest of the inhabitants looked on. The
upshot may be anticipated. The rajah became suddenly active and eager
for an arrangement. The old agreement was drawn out, sealed, and signed;
guns fired, flags waved, and on the 24th of September 1841 Mr Brooke
became Rajah of Sar[=a]wak.

The first acts of Mr Brooke, after his accession to power, were
suggested by humanity, and a tender consideration for the savage people
whom he so singularly and unexpectedly had been called upon to govern.
He inquired into the state of the Dyaks, endeavoured to gain their
confidence, and to protect them from the brutal onslaught of the Malays
and of each other, and at once relieved them of the burdens of taxation
which weighed so cruelly upon them. He opened a court for the
administration of justice, at which he presided with the late rajah's
brothers, and maintained strict equity amongst the highest and lowest of
his people. He decreed that murder, robbery, and other heinous crimes,
should, for the future, be punished according to the written law of
Borneo; that all men, irrespectively of race, should be permitted to
trade and labour according to their pleasure, and to enjoy their gains;
that all roads should be open, and that all boats coming to the river
should be free to enter and depart without let or hindrance; that trade
should be free; that the Dyaks should be suffered to live unmolested;
together with other salutary measures for the general welfare.
Difficulty and vexation met the governor at every step; but he
persevered in his schemes of amelioration, and with a success which is
not yet complete, and for years cannot be fairly estimated.

MUDA HASSIM, the former rajah of Sar[=a]wak, was also presumptive heir
to the throne of Borneo; but, unfortunately for him, under the
displeasure of his nephew, the reigning sultan. The confirmation of Mr
Brooke's appointment, it was absolutely necessary to receive from the
latter; and Mr Brooke accordingly resolved to pay a visit to the prince,
in the first place, to obtain a reconciliation, if possible, with the
offending Muda, and secondly, to consolidate his own infant government.
There was another object, too. The sultan had power to release the
prisoners who had been spared in the wreck already mentioned; and this
power Mr Brooke hoped, by discretion, to prevail upon his majesty to
exercise. The picture of this potentate is thus drawn by Mr Brooke:

     "The sultan is a man past fifty years of age, short and puffy in
     person, with a countenance which expresses, very obviously, the
     imbecility of his mind. His right hand is garnished with an extra
     diminutive thumb--the natural member being crooked and distorted.
     His mind, indeed, by his face, seems to be a chaos of
     confusion--without acuteness, without dignity, and without good
     sense. He can neither read nor write; is guided by the last
     speaker; and his advisers, as might be expected, are of the lower
     order, and mischievous from their ignorance and greediness. He is
     always talking, and generally joking; and the most serious subjects
     never meet with five minutes' consecutive attention. The favourable
     side of his character is, that he is good-tempered and
     good-natured--by no means cruel--and, in a certain way, generous,
     though rapacious to as high a degree. His rapacity, indeed, is
     carried to such an excess as to astonish a European, and is evinced
     in a thousand mean ways. The presents I made him were
     unquestionably handsome; but he was not content without begging
     from me the share I had reserved for the other Pangerans; and
     afterwards, through Mr Williamson, solicited more trifles--such as
     sugar, penknives, and the like. I may note one other feature that
     marks the man. He requested as the greatest favour--he urged with
     the earnestness of a child--that I would send back the schooner
     before the month Ramban, (Ramadan of the Turks,) remarking, 'What
     shall I do during the fast without soft sugar and dates?'"

The delivery of the prisoners, and the forgiveness of Muda Hassim, were
quickly obtained; the more personal matter found opposition with the
advisers of the Crown, but was ultimately conceded. On the 1st of August
1842, the letters to Muda Hassim were sealed and signed; and at the same
council the contract, which gave Mr Brooke the government of Sar[=a]wak,
was fully discussed; and by ten o'clock at night was signed, sealed and
witnessed. Mr Brooke returned to his government and people on the
following day.

On the 1st of January 1843, the following entry appears in the diary so
often quoted:--"Another year passed and gone!--a year with all its
anxieties, its troubles, its dangers, upon which I can look back with
satisfaction--a year in which I have been usefully employed in doing
good to others. Since I last wrote, the Dyaks have been quiet, settled,
and improving; the Chinese advancing towards prosperity; and the
Sar[=a]wak people wonderfully contented and industrious, relieved from
oppression, and fields of labour allowed them. Justice I have executed
with an unflinching hand."

It was in the month of March 1843, at the conclusion of the Chinese war,
that Captain Keppel was ordered in the Dido to the Malacca Straits and
the island of Borneo. Daring acts of piracy had been committed, and were
still committing, on the Borneon coast; and, becoming engaged in the
suppression of these crimes, he fell in with the English rajah of
Sar[=a]wak, and obtained from him the information which he has recently
given to the world, and enabled us to place succinctly before our
readers.

The piracy of the Eastern Archipelago is very different to that of the
western world. The former obtains an importance unknown to the latter.
The hordes who conduct it issue from their islands and coasts in fleets,
rove from place to place, intercept the native trade, enslave whole
towns at the entrance of rivers, and attack ill-armed or stranded
European vessels. The native governments, if they are not participators
in the crime, are made its victims, and in many cases, we are told, they
are both--purchasing from one set of pirates, and plundered and enslaved
by another. Captain Keppel has well related more than one engagement in
which he was concerned with the ferocious marauders of these eastern
seas--scenes of blood and horror, justified only by the enormity of the
offence, and the ultimate advantages likely to be obtained from an
extirpation of the deeply-rooted evil. As we have hinted at the
commencement of this article, our present object is not so much to draw
attention to the battle-scenes described by Mr Keppel, and which may be
read with peculiar though painful interest in his book, as to obtain for
Mr Brooke, the peaceful and unselfish disposer of so many blessings
amongst a benighted and neglected people, that admiration and regard
which he has so nobly earned. He has done much, but our government may
enable him to do more. He has shown the capabilities of his distant
home, and called upon his mother-country to improve them to the
uttermost. We hear that her Majesty's government have not been deaf to
his appeal, and that aid will be given for the development of his plans,
equal to his warmest expectations. We trust it may be so. Nothing is
wanting but the assistance which a government alone can afford, to
render Borneo a friendly and valuable ally, and to constitute Mr Brooke
one of the most useful benefactors of modern times; a benefactor in the
best sense of the term--an improver of his species--an intelligent
messenger and expounder of God's purpose to man.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 48: _The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido, for the
Suppression of Piracy, &c. &c_. By Capt. the Hon. HENRY KEPPEL, R.N.
London, 1846.]

[Footnote 49: _Borneo Proper_ is the northern and north-western part of
the island, and an independent Malay state.]



THE SMUGGLER'S LEAP.

A PASSAGE IN THE PYRENEES.


"Oh! there's not in this wide world," I exclaimed, quite unintentionally
quoting Tom Moore; "there never has been, nor can ever be again, so
charming a creature. No nymph, or sylph, or winged Ariel, or syren with
song and mirror, was ever so fascinating--no daughter of Eve so pretty
and provoking!"

This apostrophe, which certainly appears, now that in cooler moments I
recall it, rather rhapsodical, was not uttered _viva voce_, nor even
_sotto voce_, seeing that its object, Miss Dora M'Dermot, was riding
along only three paces in front of me, whilst her brother walked by my
side. It was a mere mental ejaculation, elicited by the surpassing
perfections of the aforesaid Dora, who assuredly was the most charming
girl I had ever beheld. But for the Pyrenean scenery around us, and the
rough ill-conditioned mule, with its clumsy side-saddle of discoloured
leather, on which she was mounted, instead of the Spanish jennet or
well-bred English palfrey that would best have suited so fair an
equestrian, I could, without any great exertion of fancy, have dreamed
myself back to the days of the M'Gregor, and fancied that it was Die
Vernon riding up the mountain side, gaily chatting as she went with the
handsome cavalier who walked by her stirrup, and who might have been
Frank Osbaldistone, only that he was too manly-looking for Scott's
somewhat effeminate hero. How beautifully moulded was the form which her
dark-green habit set off to such advantage; how fairy-like the foot that
pressed the clumsy stirrup; how slender the fingers that grasped the
rein! She had discarded the heavy riding-hat and senseless bonnet, those
graceless inventions of some cunning milliner, and had adopted a
head-dress not unusual in the country in which she then was. This was a
_beret_ or flat cap, woven of snow-white wool, and surmounted by a
crimson tassel spread out over the top. From beneath this elegant
_coiffure_ her dark eyes flashed and sparkled, whilst her luxuriant
chestnut curls fell down over her neck, the alabaster fairness of which
made her white head-dress look almost tawny. Either because the air,
although we were still in the month of September, was fresh on the
mountains, or else because she was pretty and a woman, and therefore not
sorry to show herself to the best advantage, she had twisted round her
waist a very long cashmere scarf, previously passing it over one
shoulder in the manner of a sword-belt, the ends hanging down nearly to
her stirrup; and this gave something peculiarly picturesque, almost
fantastical, to her whole appearance.

Upon the second day of my arrival at the baths of St Sauveur, in the
Pyrenees, I had fallen in with my old friend and college chum, Jack
M'Dermot, who was taking his sister the round of the French
watering-places. Dora's health had been delicate, the faculty had
recommended the excursion; and Jack, who doated upon his only sister,
had dragged her away from the gaieties of London and brought her off to
the Pyrenees. M'Dermot was an excellent fellow, neither a wit nor a
Solomon; but a good-hearted dog who had been much liked at Trin. Coll.,
Dublin, where he had thought very little of his studies, and a good deal
of his horses and dogs. An Irishman, to be sure, occasionally a slight
touch of the brogue was perceptible in his talk; but from this his
sister, who had been brought up in England, was entirely free. Jack had
a snug estate of three thousand a-year; Miss Dora had twenty thousand
pounds from her mother. She had passed two seasons in London; and if she
was not already married, it was because not one of the fifty aspirants
to her hand had found favour in her bright eyes. Lively and
high-spirited, with a slight turn for the satirical, she loved her
independence, and was difficult to please.

I had been absent from England for nearly two years, on a continental
tour; and although I had heard much of Miss M'Dermot, I had never seen
her till her brother introduced me to her at St Sauveur. I had not known
her an hour, before I found myself in a fair way to add another to the
list of the poor moths who had singed their wings at the perilous light
of her beauty. When M'Dermot, learning that, like themselves, I was on a
desultory sort of ramble, and had not marked out any particular route,
offered me a seat in their carriage, and urged me to accompany them,
instead of prudently flying from the danger, I foolishly exposed myself
to it, and lo! what might have been anticipated came to pass. Before I
had been two days in Dora's society, my doom was sealed; I had ceased to
belong to myself; I was her slave, the slave of her sunny smile and
bright eyes--talisman more potent than any lamp or ring that djinn or
fairy ever obeyed.

A fortnight had passed, and we were at B----. During that time, the
spell that bound me had been each day gaining strength. As an intimate
friend of her brother, I was already, with Dora, on the footing of an
old acquaintance; she seemed well enough pleased with my society, and
chatted with me willingly and familiarly; but in vain did I watch for
some slight indication, a glance or an intonation, whence to derive
hope. None such were perceptible; nor could the most egregious coxcomb
have fancied that they were. We once or twice fell in with other
acquaintances of her's and her brother's, and with them she had just the
same frank friendly manner, as with me. I had not sufficient vanity,
however, to expect a woman, especially one so much admired as Miss
M'Dermot, to fall in love at first sight with my humble personality, and
I patiently waited, trusting to time and assiduity to advance my cause.

Things were in this state, when one morning, whilst taking an early walk
to the springs, I ran up against an English friend, by name Walter
Ashley. He was the son of a country gentleman of moderate fortune, at
whose house I had more than once passed a week in the shooting season.
Walter was an excellent fellow, and a perfect model of the class to
which he belonged. By no means unpolished in his manners, he had yet a
sort of plain frankness and _bonhomie_, which was peculiarly agreeable
and prepossessing. He was not a university man, nor had he received an
education of the highest order; spoke no language but his own with any
degree of correctness; neither played the fiddle, painted pictures, nor
wrote poetry. On the other hand, in all manly exercises he was a
proficient; shot, rode, walked, and danced to perfection; and the fresh
originality, and pleasant tone of his conversation, redeemed any
deficiency of reading or accomplishment. In personal appearance he was a
splendid fellow, nearly six feet in his boots, strongly, but, at the
same time, symmetrically built; although his size of limb and width of
shoulder rendered him, at six-and-twenty, rather what is called a fine
man, than a slender or elegant one. He had the true Anglo-Saxon
physiognomy, blue eyes, and light brown hair that waved, rather than
curled, round his broad handsome forehead. And, then, what a mustache
the fellow had! (He was officer in a crack yeomanry corps.) Not one of
the composite order, made up of pomatum and lamp-black, such as may be
seen sauntering down St James's Street on a spring afternoon, with
incipient guardsmen behind them--but worthy of an Italian painter or
Hungarian hussar; full, well-grown, and glossy. Who was the idiot who
first set afloat the notion--now become an established prejudice in
England--that mustaches were unseemly? To nine faces out of ten, they
are a most becoming addition, increasing physiognomical character,
almost giving it where there is none; relieving the monotony of broad
flat cheeks, and abridging the abomination of a long upper-lip.
Uncleanly, say you? Not a bit of it, if judiciously trimmed and trained.
What, Sir! are they not at least as proper looking as those foxy
thickets extending from jawbone to temple, which you yourself, each
morning of your life, take such pains to comb and curl into shape?

Delighted to meet Ashley, I dragged him off to the hotel, to introduce
him to M'Dermot and his sister. As a friend of mine they gave him a
cordial welcome, and we passed that day and the following ones together.
I soon, however, I must confess, began to repent a little having brought
my handsome friend into the society of Dora. She seemed better pleased
with him than I altogether liked, nor could I wonder at it. Walter
Ashley was exactly the man to please a woman of Dora's character. She
was of rather a romantic turn, and about him there was a dash of the
chivalrous, well calculated to captivate her imagination. Although
perfectly feminine, she was an excellent horsewoman, and an ardent
admirer of feats of address and courage, and she had heard me tell her
brother of Ashley's perfection in such matters. On his part, Ashley,
like every one else who saw her, was evidently greatly struck with her
beauty and fascination of manner. I cannot say that I was jealous; I had
no right to be so, for Dora had never given me encouragement; but I
certainly more than once regretted having introduced a third person into
what--honest Jack M'Dermot counting, of course, for nothing--had
previously been a sort of _tête-à-tête_ society. I began to fear that,
thanks to myself, my occupation was gone, and Ashley had got it.

It was the fifth day after our meeting with Walter, and we had started
early in the morning upon an excursion to a neighbouring lake, the
scenery around which, we were told, was particularly wild and beautiful.
It was situated on a piece of table-land on the top of a mountain, which
we could see from the hotel window. The distance was barely ten miles,
and the road being rough and precipitous, M'Dermot, Ashley, and myself,
had chosen to walk rather than to risk our necks by riding the
broken-knee'd ponies that were offered to us. A sure-footed mule, and
indifferent side-saddle, had been procured for Miss M'Dermot, and was
attended by a wild-looking Bearnese boy, or gossoon, as her brother
called him, a creature like a grasshopper, all legs and arms, with a
scared countenance, and long lank black hair hanging in irregular shreds
about his face.

There is no season more agreeable in the Pyrenees than the month of
September. People are very apt to expatiate on the delights of autumn,
its mellow beauty, pensive charms, and suchlike. I confess that in a
general way I like the youth of the year better than its decline, and
prefer the bright green tints of spring, with the summer in prospective,
to the melancholy autumn, its russet hues and falling leaves; its
regrets for fine weather past, and anticipations of bad to come. But if
there be any place where I should be tempted to reverse my judgment, it
would be in Southern France, and especially its western and central
portion. The clear cloudless sky, the moderate heat succeeding to the
sultriness, often overpowering, of the summer months, the magnificent
vineyards and merry vintage time, the noble groves of chestnut, clothing
the lower slopes of the mountains, the bright streams and
flower-spangled meadows of Bearn and Languedoc, render no part of the
year more delightful in those countries than the months of September and
October.

As before mentioned, Dora rode a little in front, with Ashley beside
her, pointing out the beauties of the wild scenery through which we
passed, and occasionally laying a hand upon her bridle to guide the mule
over some unusually rugged portion of the almost trackless mountain.
M'Dermot and I were walking behind, a little puffed by the steepness of
the ascent; our guide, whose name was Cadet, a name answered to by every
second man one meets in that part of France, strode along beside us,
like a pair of compasses with leathern lungs. Presently the last-named
individual turned to me--

"_Ces messieurs veulent-ils voir le Saut de lou Contrabandiste?_" said
he, in the barbarous dialect of the district, half French, half patois,
with a small dash of Spanish.

"_Le Saut du Contrebandier_, the Smuggler's Leap--What is that?" asked
Dora, who had overheard the question, turning round her graceful head,
and dazzling us--me at least--by a sudden view of her lovely face, now
glowing with exercise and the mountain air.

The smuggler's leap, so Cadet informed us, was a narrow cleft in the
rock, of vast depth, and extending for a considerable distance across a
flank of the mountain. It owed its name to the following incident:--Some
five years previously, a smuggler, known by the name of Juan le Negre,
or Black Juan, had, for a considerable period, set the custom-house
officers at defiance, and brought great discredit on them by his success
in passing contraband goods from Spain. In vain did they lie in ambush
and set snares for him; they could never come near him, or if they did
it was when he was backed by such a force of the hardy desperadoes
carrying on the same lawless traffic, that the douaniers were either
forced to beat a retreat or got fearfully mauled in the contest that
ensued. One day, however, three of these green-coated guardians of the
French revenue caught a sight of Juan alone and unarmed. They pursued
him, and a rare race he led them, over cliff and crag, across rock and
ravine, until at last they saw with exultation that he made right for
the chasm in question, and there they made sure of securing him. It
seemed as if he had forgotten the position of the cleft, and only
remembered it when he got within a hundred yards or thereabouts, for
then he slackened his pace. The douaniers gained on him, and expected
him to desist from his flight, and surrender. What was their surprise
and consternation when they saw him, on reaching the edge of the chasm,
spring from the ground with lizardlike agility, and by one bold leap
clear the yawning abyss. The douaniers uttered a shout of rage and
disappointment, and two of them ceased running; but the third, a man of
great activity and courage, and who had frequently sworn to earn the
reward set on the head of Juan, dared the perilous jump. He fell short;
his head was dashed against the opposite rock, and his horror-struck
companions, gazing down into the dark depth beneath, saw his body strike
against the crags on its way to the bottom of the abyss. The smuggler
escaped, and the spot where the tragical incident occurred was
thenceforward known as "_Le Saut du Contrebandier_."

Before our guide had finished his narrative, we were unanimous in our
wish to visit its scene, which we reached by the time he had brought the
tale to a conclusion. It was certainly a most remarkable chasm, whose
existence was only to be accounted for by reference to the volcanic
agency of which abundant traces exist in Southern France. The whole side
of the mountain was cracked and rent asunder, forming a narrow ravine of
vast depth, in the manner of the famous Mexican _barrancas_. In some
places might be traced a sort of correspondence on the opposite sides; a
recess on one side into which a projection on the other would have
nearly fitted, could some Antæus have closed the fissure. This, however,
was only here and there; generally speaking, the rocky brink was worn by
the action of time and water, and the rock composing it sloped slightly
downwards. The chasm was of various width, but was narrowest at the spot
at which we reached it, and really did not appear so very terrible a
leap as Cadet made it out to be. On looking down, a confusion of
bush-covered crags was visible; and now that the sun was high, a narrow
stream was to be seen, flowing, like a line of silver, at the bottom;
the ripple and rush of the water, repeated by the echoes of the ravine,
ascending to our ears with noise like that of a cataract. On large
fragment of rock, a few yards from the brink, was rudely carved a date,
and below it two letters. They were the initials, so our guide informed
us, of the unfortunate douanier who had there met his death.

We had remained for half a minute or so gazing down into the ravine,
when Ashley, who was on the right of the party, broke silence.

"Pshaw!" said he, stepping back from the edge, "that's no leap. Why,
I'll jump across it myself."

"For heaven's sake!" cried Dora.

"Ashey!" I exclaimed, "don't be a fool!"

But it was too late. What mad impulse possessed him I cannot say; but
certain I am, from my knowledge of his character, that it was no foolish
bravado or schoolboy desire to show off, that seduced him to so wild a
freak. The fact was, but for the depth below, the leap did not look at
all formidable; not above four or five feet, but in reality it was a
deal wider. It was probably this deceitful appearance, and perhaps the
feeling which Englishmen are apt to entertain, that for feats of
strength and agility no men surpass them, that convinced Walter of the
ease With which he could jump across. Before we could stop him, he took
a short run, and jumped.

A scream from Dora was echoed by an exclamation of horror from M'Dermot
and myself. Ashley had cleared the chasm and alighted on the opposite
edge, but it was shelving and slippery, and his feet slid from under
him. For one moment it appeared as if he would instantly be dashed to
pieces, but in falling he managed to catch the edge of the rock, which
at that place formed an angle. There he hung by his hands, his whole
body in the air, without a possibility of raising himself; for below the
edge the rock was smooth and receding, and even could he have reached
it, he would have found no foot-hold. One desperate effort he made to
grasp a stunted and leafless sapling that grew in a crevice at not more
than a foot from the edge, but it failed, and nearly caused his instant
destruction. Desisting from further effort, he hung motionless, his
hands convulsively cramped to the ledge of rock, which afforded so
slippery and difficult a hold, that his sustaining himself by it at all
seemed a miracle, and could only be the result of uncommon muscular
power. It was evident that no human strength could possibly maintain him
for more than a minute or two in that position; below was an abyss, a
hundred or more feet deep--to all appearance his last hour was come.

M'Dermot and I stood aghast and helpless, gazing with open mouths and
strained eyeballs at our unhappy friend. What could we do? Were we to
dare the leap, which one far more active and vigorous than ourselves had
unsuccessfully attempted? It would have been courting destruction,
without a chance of saving Ashley. But Dora put us to shame. One scream,
and only one, she uttered, and then, gathering up her habit, she sprang
unaided from her mule. Her cheek was pale as the whitest marble, but her
presence of mind was unimpaired, and she seemed to gain courage and
decision in the moment of peril.

"Your cravats, your handkerchiefs!" cried she, unfastening, as she
spoke, her long cashmere scarf. Mechanically M'Dermot and myself obeyed.
With the speed of light and a woman's dexterity, she knotted together
her scarf, a long silk cravat which I gave her, M'Dermot's handkerchief
and mine, and securing--how, I know not--a stone at either extremity of
the rope thus formed, she threw one end of it, with sure aim and steady
hand, across the ravine and round the sapling already referred to. Then
leaning forward till I feared she would fall into the chasm, and sprang
forward to hold her back, she let go of the other end. Ashley's hold was
already growing feeble, his fingers were torn by the rock, the blood
started from under his nails, and he turned his face towards us with a
mute prayer for succour. At that moment the two ends of the shawl fell
against him, and he instinctively grasped them. It was a moment of
fearful suspense. Would the knots so hastily made resist the tension of
his weight? They did so; he raised himself by strength of wrist. The
sapling bent and bowed, but his hand was now close to it. He grasped it;
another powerful effort, the last effort of despair, and he lay
exhausted and almost senseless upon the rocky brink. At the same moment,
with a cry of joy, Dora fell fainting into her brother's arms.

Of that day's adventures little remains to tell. A walk of a mile
brought Ashley to a place where a bridge, thrown over the ravine,
enabled him to cross it. I omit his thanks to Dora, his apologies for
the alarm he had caused her, and his admiring eulogy of her presence of
mind. Her manner of receiving them, and the look she gave him when, on
rejoining us, he took her hand, and with a natural and grateful courtesy
that prevented the action from appearing theatrical or unusual, pressed
it to his lips, were any thing but gratifying to me, whatever they may
have been to him. She seemed no way displeased at the freedom. I was
most confoundedly, but that Walter did not seem to observe.

The incident that had occurred, and Dora's request, brought our
excursion to an abrupt termination, and we returned homewards. It
appeared as if this were doomed to be a day of disagreeables. On
reaching the inn, I found a letter which, thanks to my frequent change
of place, and to the dilatoriness of continental post-offices, had been
chasing me from town to town during the previous three weeks. It was
from a lawyer, informing me of the death of a relative, and compelling
me instantly to return to England to arrange some important business
concerning a disputed will. The sum at stake was too considerable for me
to neglect the summons, and with the worst possible grace I prepared to
depart. I made some violent attempts to induce Ashley to accompany me,
talked myself hoarse about fox-hunting and pheasant-shooting, and other
delights of the approaching season; but all in vain. His passion for
field-sports seemed entirely cooled; he sneered at foxes, treated
pheasants with contempt, and professed to be as much in love with the
Pyrenees as I began to fear he was with Dora. There was nothing for it
but to set out alone, which I accordingly did, having previously
obtained from M'Dermot the plan of their route, and the name of the
place where he and his sister thought of wintering. I was determined, so
soon as I had settled my affairs, to return to the continent and propose
for Dora.

Man proposes and God disposes, says the proverb. In my case, I am
prepared to prove that the former part of the proverb lied abominably.
Instead of a fortnight in London being, as I had too sanguinely hoped,
sufficient for the settlement of the business that took me thither, I
was detained several months, and compelled to make sundry journeys to
the north of England. I wrote several times to M'Dermot, and had one
letter from him, but no more. Jack was a notoriously bad correspondent,
and I scarcely wondered at his silence.

Summer came--my lawsuit was decided, and sick to death of briefs and
barristers, parchments and attorneys, I once more found myself my own
master. An application to M'Dermot's London banker procured me his
address. He was then in Switzerland, but was expected down the Rhine,
and letters to Wiesbaden would find him. That was enough for me; my
head and heart were still full of Dora M'Dermot; and two days after I
had obtained information, the "Antwerpen" steamer deposited me on
Belgian ground.

"Mr M'Dermot is stopping here?" I enquired of, or rather affirmed to,
the head waiter at the Four Seasons hotel at Wiesbaden. If the fellow
had told me he was not, I believe I should have knocked him down.

"He is, sir. You will find him in the Cursaal gardens with madame _sa
soeur_."

Off I started to the gardens. They were in full bloom and beauty,
crowded with flowers and _fraüleins_ and foreigners of all nations. The
little lake sparkled in the sunshine, and the waterfowl skimmed over it
in all directions. But it's little I cared for such matters. I was
looking for Dora, sweet Dora--Dora M'Dermot.

At the corner of a walk I met her brother.

"Jack!" I exclaimed, grasping his hand with the most vehement affection,
"I'm delighted to see you."

"And I'm glad to see you, my boy," was the rejoinder. "I was wondering
you did not answer my last letter, but I suppose you thought to join us
sooner."

"Your last letter!" I exclaimed. "I have written three times since I
heard from you."

"The devil you have!" cried Jack. "Do you mean to say you did not get
the letter I wrote you from Paris a month ago, announcing"----

I did not hear another word, for just then, round a corner of the
shrubbery, came Dora herself, more charming than ever, all grace and
smiles and beauty. But I saw neither beauty nor smiles nor grace; all I
saw was, that she was leaning on the arm of that provokingly handsome
dog Walter Ashley. For a moment I stood petrified, and then extending my
hand,

"Miss M'Dermot!"----I exclaimed.

She drew back a little, with a smile and a blush. Her companion stepped
forward.

"My dear fellow," said he, "there is no such person. Allow me to
introduce you to Mrs Ashley."

If any of my friends wish to be presented to pretty girls with twenty
thousand pounds, they had better apply elsewhere than to me. Since that
day I have forsworn the practice.



MINISTERIAL MEASURES.


Not enviable, in our apprehension, at the present crisis, is the
position of a young man whose political education has been framed upon
Conservative principles, and whose personal experience and recollections
go little further back than the triumph of those principles over others
which he has been early taught to condemn. His range of facts may be
limited, but at the same time it is very significant. He has seen his
party--for a season excluded from power--again re-assume the reigns of
government at the call of a vast majority of the nation. He remembers
that that call was founded upon the general desire that a period of
tranquil stability should succeed to an interval of harassing
vacillation; and that the only general pledge demanded from the
representatives of the people was an adherence to certain principles of
industrial protection, well understood in the main, if not thoroughly
and accurately defined. We shall suppose a young man of this stamp
introduced into the House of Commons, deeply impressed with the full
import and extent of his responsibilities--fortified in his own opinions
by the coinciding votes and arguments of older statesmen, on whose
experience he is fairly entitled to rely--regarding the leader of his
party with feelings of pride and exultation, because he is the champion
of a cause identified with the welfare of the nation--and unsuspicious
of any change in those around him, and above. Such was, we firmly
believe, the position of many members of the present Parliament, shortly
before the opening of this session, when, on a sudden, rumours of some
intended change began to spread themselves abroad. An era of conversion
had commenced. In one and the same night, some portentous dream
descended upon the pillows of the Whig leaders, and whispered that the
hour was come. By miraculous coincidence--co-operation being studiously
disclaimed--Lord John Russell, Lord Morpeth,

     "And other worthy fellows that were _out_,"

gave in their adhesion, nearly on the same day, to the League--thereby,
as we are told, anticipating the unanimous wish of their followers. Then
came, on the part of Ministers, a mysterious resignation--an episodical
and futile attempt to re-construct a Whig government--and the return of
Sir Robert Peel to power. Still there was no explanation. Men were left
to guess, as they best might, at the Eleusinian drama performing behind
the veil of Isis--to speculate for themselves, or announce to others at
random the causes of this huge mystification. "The oracles were dumb."
This only was certain, that Lord Stanley was no longer in the Cabinet.

Let us pass over the prologue of the Queen's speech, and come at once to
the announcement of his financial measures by the Minister. What need to
follow him through the circumlocutions of that speech--through the
ostentatiously paraded details of the measure that was to give
satisfaction to all or to none? What need to revert to the manner in
which he paced around his subject, pausing ever and anon to exhibit some
alteration in the manufacturing tariff? The catalogue was protracted,
but, like every thing else, it had an end; and the result, in so far as
the agricultural interest is concerned, was the proposed abolition of
all protective duties upon the importation of foreign grain.

Our opinion upon that important point has been repeatedly expressed. For
many years, and influenced by no other motive than our sincere belief in
the abstract justice of the cause, this Magazine has defended the
protective principle from the assaults which its enemies have made. Our
views were no doubt fortified by their coincidence with those
entertained and professed by statesmen, whose general policy has been
productive of good to the country; but they were based upon higher
considerations than the mere approbation of a party. Therefore, as we
did not adopt these views loosely, we shall not lightly abandon then. On
the contrary, we take leave to state here, in _limine_, that, after
giving our fullest consideration to the argument of those who were
formerly, like us, the opponents, but are now the advisers of the
change, we can see no substantial reason for departing from our
deliberate views, and assenting to the abandonment of a system which
truth and justice have alike compelled us to uphold.

We can, however, afford to look upon these things philosophically, and
to content ourselves with protesting against the change. Very different
is the situation of those Conservative members of Parliament who are now
told that their eyes must be couched for cataract, in order that they
may become immediate recipients of the new and culminating light.
CONVERSION is no doubt an excellent thing; but, as we have hitherto
understood it, the quality of CONVICTION has been deemed an
indispensable preliminary. Conversion without conviction is hypocrisy,
and a proselyte so obtained is coerced and not won. We are not
insensible to the nature of the ties which bind a partisan to his
leader. Their relative strength or weakness are the tests of the
personal excellence of the latter--of the regard which his talents
inspire--of the veneration which his sagacity commands. Strong indeed
must be the necessity which on any occasion can unloose them; nor can
it, in the ordinary case, arise except from the fault of the leader. For
the leader and the follower, if we consider the matter rightly, are
alike bound to common allegiance: some principle must have been laid
down as terms of their compact, which both are sworn to observe; and the
violation of this principle on either side is a true annulment of the
contract. No mercy is shown to the follower when he deserts or
repudiates the common ground of action;--is the leader, who is presumed
to have the maturer mind, and more prophetic eye, entitled to a larger
indulgence?

Whilst perusing the late debates, we have repeatedly thought of a
pregnant passage in Schiller. It is that scene in "The Piccolomini,"
where Wallenstein, after compromising himself privately with the enemy,
attempts to win over the ardent and enthusiastic Max, the nursling of
his house, to the revolt. It is so apposite to the present situation of
affairs, that we cannot forbear from quoting it.


WALLENSTEIN.

  Yes, Max! _I have delay'd to open it to thee,
  Even till the hour of acting 'gins to strike_.
  Youth's fortunate feeling doth seize easily
  The absolute right; yea, and a joy it is
  To exercise the single apprehension
  Where the sums square in proof;--
  But where it happens, that _of two sure evils
  One must be taken_, where the heart not wholly
  Brings itself back from out the strife of duties,
  _There 'tis a blessing to have no election,
  And blank necessity is grace and favour._
  --This is now present: do not look behind thee,--
  It can no more avail thee. Look thou forwards!
  _Think not! judge not! prepare thyself to act!
  The Court--it hath determined on my ruin,
  Therefore will I to be beforehand with them._
  We'll join THE SWEDES--right gallant fellows are they,
  And our good friends.

For "the Swedes" substitute "the League," and there is not one word of
the foregoing passage that might not have been uttered by Sir Robert
Peel. For, most assuredly, until "the hour of acting" struck, was the
important communication delayed; and no higher or more comprehensive
argument was given to the unfortunate follower than this, "that of two
sure evils one must be taken." But is it, therefor, such a blessing "to
have no election," and is "blank necessity," therefore, such a special
"grace and favour?"--say, _is_ it necessity, when a clear, and
consistent, and honourable course remains open? The evil on one side is
clear: it is the loss of self-respect--the breach of pledges--the
forfeiture of confidence--the abandonment of a national cause. On the
other it is doubtful; it rests but on personal feeling, which may be
painful to overcome, but which ought not to stand for a moment in the
way of public duty.

Far be it from us to say, that amongst those who have cast their lot on
the opposite side, there are not many who have done so from the best and
the purest motives. The public career of some, and the private virtues
of others, would belie us if we dared to assert the contrary. With them
it may be conviction, or it may be an overruling sense of
expediency--and with either motive we do not quarrel--but surely it is
not for them, the new converts, to insinuate taunts of interested
motives and partial construction against those who maintain the deserted
principle. "For whom are you counsel now?" interrupted Sir Robert Peel,
in the midst of the able, nay chivalrous speech of Mr Francis Scott, the
honourable member for Roxburghshire. Admitting that the question was
jocularly put and good-humouredly meant, we yet admire the spirit of the
reply. "I am asked for whom I am the counsel. I am the counsel for my
opinions. I am no delegate in this assembly. I will yield to no man in
sincerity. I am counsel for no man, no party, no sect. I belong to no
party. I followed, and was proud to follow, that party which was led so
gloriously--the party of the constitution, which was led by the Right
Honourable Baronet. I followed under his banner, and was glad to serve
under it. I would have continued to serve under his banner if he had
hoisted and maintained the same flag!" Can it be that the Premier, who
talks so largely about his own wounded feelings, can make no allowance
for the sorrow, or even the indignation of those who are now restrained
by a sense of paramount duty from following him any further? Can he
believe that such a man as Mr Stafford O'Brien would have used such
language as this, had he not been stung by the injustice of the course
pursued towards him and his party:--"We will not envy you your
triumph--we will not participate in your victory. Small in numbers, and,
it may be, uninfluential in debate, we will yet stand forward to protest
against your measures. You will triumph; yes, and you will triumph over
men whose moderation in prosperity, and whose patience under adversity
has commanded admiration--but whose fatal fault was, that they trusted
you. You will triumph over them in strange coalition with men, who, true
to their principles, can neither welcome you as a friend, nor respect
you as an opponent; and of whom I must say, that the best and most
patriotic of them all will the least rejoice in the downfall of the
great constitutional party you have ruined, and will the most deplore
the loss of public confidence in public men!"

We may ask, are such men, speaking under such absolute conviction of the
truth, to be lightly valued or underrated? Are their opinions, because
consistent, to be treated with contempt, and consistency itself to be
sneered at as the prerogative of obstinacy and dotage? Was there no
truth, then, in the opinions which, on this point of protection, the
Premier has maintained for so many years; or, if not, is their fallacy
so very glaring, that he can expect all the world at once to detect the
error, which until now has been concealed even from his sagacious eye?
Surely there must be something very specious in doctrines to which he
has subscribed for a lifetime, and without which he never would have
been enabled to occupy his present place. We blame him not if, on mature
reflection, he is now convince of his error. It is for him to reconcile
that error with his reputation as a statesman. But we protest against
that blinding and coercing system which of late years has been unhappily
the vogue, and which, if persevered in, appears to us of all things the
most likely to sap the foundations of public confidence, in the
integrity as well as the skill of those who are at the helm of the
government.

We have given the speech of Wallenstein-let us now subjoin the reply of
Piccolomini. Mark how appropriate it is, with but the change of a single
word--

  MAX.

  My General; this day thou makest me
  Of age to speak in my own right and person.
  For till this day I have been spared the trouble
  To find out my own road. _Thee have I follow'd
  With most implicit, unconditional faith,
  Sure of the right path if I follow'd thee._
  To-day, for the first time, dost thou refer
  Me to myself, and forcest me to make
  Election between thee and my own heart--
  _Is that a good war, which against the Empire
  Thou wagest with the Empire's own array?_
  O God of heaven! what a change is this!
  Beseems it me to offer such persuasion
  To thee, who like the fix'd star of the pole
  Wert all I gazed at on life's trackless ocean;
  Oh, what a rent thou makest in my heart!
  The engrain'd instinct of old reverence,
  The holy habit of obediency,
  Must I pluck live asunder from thy name?
  Oh, do it not!--I pray thee do it not!--
  Thou wilt not--
  Thou canst not end in this! It would reduce
  All human creatures to disloyalty
  Against the nobleness of their own nature.
  'Twill justify the vulgar misbelief
  Which holdeth nothing noble in free-will,
  And trusts itself to impotence alone,
  Made powerful only in an unknown power!

These quotations may look strangely in such an article as this; but
there are many within the walls of St Stephens's who must acknowledge
the force of the allusion, and the truth of the sentiments they convey.
The language we intend to use is less that of reproach than sorrow: for
whatever may be the practical result of this measure--however it may
affect the great industrial interest of the country, it is impossible
not to see that, from the mere manner of its proposal, it has
disorganized the great Conservative party, and substituted mistrust and
confusion for the feeling of entire confidence which formerly was
reposed in its leaders.

The change, however has been proposed, and we shall not shrink from
considering it. The scheme of Sir Robert Peel is reducible to a few
points, which we shall now proceed to review _seriatim_. First--let us
regard it with a view to its _nature_; secondly, as to its _necessity_
under existing circumstances.

The Premier states, that this is a great _change_. We admit that fully.
A measure which contains within itself a provision, that at the end of
three years agricultural industry within this country shall be left
without any protection at all, and that, in the interim, the mode of
protection shall not only be altered but reduced, is necessarily a
prodigious _change_. It is one which is calculated to affect agriculture
directly, and home consumption of manufactures indirectly; to reduce the
price of bread in this country--otherwise it is a useless change--by the
introduction of foreign grain, and therefore to lower the profits of one
at least of three classes, the landlord, the tenant, or the labourer,
which classes consume the greater part of our manufactures. So far it is
distinctly adverse to the agricultural interest, for we cannot exactly
understand how a measure can be at once favourable and unfavourable to a
particular party--how the producer of corn can be benefited by the
depreciation of the article which he raises, unless, indeed, the
reduction of the price of the food which he consumes himself be taken
as an equivalent. Very likely this is what is meant. If so, it partakes
of the nature of a principle, and must hold good in other instances.
Apply it to the manufacturer; tell him that, by reducing the cost of his
cottons one-half, he will be amply compensated, because in that event
his shirts will cost him only a half of the present prices, and his wife
and children can be sumptuously clothed for a moiety. His immediate
answer would be this: "By no means. I an manufacturing not for myself
but for others. I deal on a large scale. I supply a thousand customers;
and the profit I derive from that is infinitely greater than the saving
I could effect by the reduced price of the articles which I must consume
at home." The first view is clearly untenable. We may, therefore,
conclude at all events that some direct loss must, under the operation
of the new scheme, fall upon the agricultural classes; and it is of some
moment to know how this loss is to be supplied. For we take the opening
statement of Sir Robert Peel as we find it; and he tells us that _both_
classes, the agriculturists and the manufacturers, are "to make
sacrifices." Now, in these three words lies the germ of a most
important--nay paramount--consideration, which we would fain have
explained to us before we go any further. For, according to our ideas of
words, a sacrifice means a loss, which, except in the case of deliberate
destruction, implies a corresponding gain to a third party. Let us,
then, try to discover who is to be the gainer. Is it the state--that is,
the British public revenue? No--most distinctly not; for while, on the
one side, the corn duties are abolished, on the other the tariff is
relaxed. Is the sacrifice to be a mutual one--that is, is the
agriculturist to be compensated by cheaper _home_ manufactures, and the
manufacturer to be compensated by cheaper _home-grown bread_? No--the
benefit to either class springs from no such source. _The duties on the
one side are to be abolished, and on the other side relaxed, in order
that the agriculturist may get cheap foreign manufactures, and the
manufacturer cheap foreign grain._ If there is to be a sacrifice upon
both sides, as was most clearly enunciated, it must just amount to this,
that the interchange between the classes at home is to be closed, and
the foreign markets opened as the great sources of supply.

Having brought the case of the "mutual sacrifices" thus far, is there
one of our readers who does not see a rank absurdity in the attempt to
insinuate that a compensation is given to the labourer? This measure, if
it has meaning at all, is framed with the view of benefiting the
manufacturing interest, of course at the expense of the other. Total
abolition of protective duties in this country must lower the price of
corn, and that is the smallest of the evils we anticipate;--for an evil
it is, if the effect of it be to reduce the labourer's wages--and it
must also tend to throw land out of cultivation. _But what will the
relaxation of the tariff do?_ Will it lower the price of manufactured
goods in this country to the agricultural labourer?--that is, after the
diminished duty is paid, can foreign manufactures be imported here _at a
price which shall compete with the home manufactures_? If so, the home
consumption of our manufactures, which is by far the most important
branch of them, is ruined. "Not so!" we hear the modern economist
exclaim; "the effect of the foreign influx of goods will merely be a
stimulant to the national industry, and a consequent lowering of our
prices." Here we have him between the horns of a plain and palpable
dilemma. If the manufacturer for the home market will be compelled, as
you say he must be, to lower his prices at home, in order to meet the
competition of foreign imported manufactured goods, which are still
liable in a duty, WHAT BECOMES OF YOUR FOREIGN MARKET AFTER YOU HAVE
ANNIHILATED OR EQUALIZED THE HOME ONE? If the foreigner can afford to
pay the freight and the duties, and still to undersell you at home, how
can you possibly contrive to do the same by him? If his goods are
cheaper than yours in this country, when all the costs are included, how
can you compete with him in his market? The thing is a dream--a
delusion--a palpable absurdity. The fact is either this--that not only
the foreign agriculturist but the foreign manufacturer can supply us
with either produce cheaper than we can raise it at home--in which case
we have not a foreign manufacturing market--or that the idea of "mutual
sacrifices" is a mere colour and pretext, and that to all practical
intents and purposes the agriculturist is to be the only sufferer.

A great change, however, does not necessarily imply a great measure.
This proposal of Sir Robert Peel does not, as far as we can see, embody
any principle; it merely surrenders the interests of one class for the
apparent aggrandizement of another. We use the word "apparent"
advisedly; for, looking to the nature and the extent of home
consumption, we believe that the effects of the measure would ultimately
be felt most severely by the manufacturers themselves. The agriculturist
of Great Britain is placed in a peculiarly bad position. In the first
place, he has to rear his produce in a more variable climate, and a soil
less naturally productive, than many which exist abroad. In the second
place, he has to bear his proportion of the enormous taxation of the
country, for the interest of the national debt, and the expense of the
executive government--now amounting to nearly fifty millions per annum.
It is on these grounds, especially the last, that he requires some
protection against the cheap-grown grain of the Continent, with which he
cannot otherwise compete; and this was most equitably afforded by the
sliding scale, which, in our view, ought to have been adhered to as a
satisfactory settlement of the matter. In a late paper upon this
subject, we rested our vindication of protection upon the highest
possible ground--namely, that it was indispensable for the stability and
independence of the country, that it should depend upon its own
resources for the daily food of its inhabitants. There is a vast degree
of misconception on this point, and the statistics are but little
understood. Some men argue as if this country were incapable, at the
present time, of producing food for its inhabitants, whilst others
assert that it cannot long continue to do so. To the first class we
reply with the pregnant fact, that at this moment there is not more
foreign grain consumed in Great Britain, than the quantity which is
required for production of the malt liquors which we export. To the
second we say--if your hypothesis is correct, the present law is
calculated to operate both as an index and a remedy; but we broadly
dispute your assertions. Agriculture has hitherto kept steady pace with
the increase of the population; new land has been taken into tillage,
and vast quantities remain which are still improveable. The railways, by
making distance a thing of no moment, and by lowering land-carriage,
will, if fair play be given to the enterprise of the agriculturist,
render any apprehension of scarcity at home ridiculous. As to famine,
there is no chance whatever of that occurring, provided the
agriculturists are let alone. But, on the contrary, there is a chance
not of one future famine, but of many, if the protective duties are
removed, and the land at present under tillage permitted to fall back.
You talk of the present distress and low wages of the agricultural
laborer. It is a favourite theme with a certain section of
philanthropists, whose hatred to the aristocracy of this country is only
equalled by their ignorance and consummate assurance. Is that, or can
that be made--supposing that it generally exists--an argument for a
repeal of the corn-laws? If the condition of the labouring man be now
indifferent, what will it become if you deprive him of that employment
from which he now derives his subsistence? Agriculture is subject to the
operation of the laws which govern every branch of industrial labour. It
must either progress or fall back--it cannot by possibility stand still.
It will progress if you give it fair play; if you check it, it will
inevitably decline. What provision do you propose to make for the
multitude of labourers who will thus be thrown out of employment?
They--the poor--are by far more deeply interested in this question than
the rich. Every corn field converted into pasture, will throw some of
these men loose upon society. What do you propose do with them? Have you
poor's-houses--new Bastilles--large enough to contain them? are they to
be desired to leave their homes, desert their families, and seek
employment in the construction of railways--a roving and a houseless
gang? These are very serious considerations, and they require something
more than a theoretical answer. You are not dealing here with a
fractional or insignificant interest, but with one which, numerically
speaking, is the most important of any in the empire. The number of
persons in the United Kingdom immediately supported by agriculture, is
infinitely greater than that dependent in like manner upon manufactures.
It is a class which you do not count by thousands, but by millions; so
that the experiment must be made upon the broadest scale, and the danger
of its failure is commensurate. Rely upon it, this is not a subject with
which legislators may venture to trifle. If the land of this country is
once allowed to recede--as it must do if the power of foreign
competition in grain should prove too much for native industry--the
consequences may be more ruinous than any of us can yet foresee.

We need hardly say that a period of agricultural depression is of all
things that which the manufacturer has most reason to dread. Exportation
never can be carried to such a height, that the home consumption shall
be a matter of indifference. At present, from eight to nine-tenths of
the manufacturing population are dependent for support upon articles
consumed at home. Any depression, therefore, of agriculture--any measure
which has tendency to throw the other class of labourers out of
employment--must be to them productive of infinite mischief. If the
customer has no means of buying, the dealer cannot get quit of his
goods. This surely is a self-evident proposition; and yet it is now
coolly proposed, that for the benefit of the dealer, the resources of
the principal customer must be so far crippled that even the employment
is rendered precarious.

The abolition of the protective duties upon corn, is unquestionably the
leading feature of the scheme which the Premier has brought forward.
There are, however, other parts of it with which the agriculturist has
little or nothing to do, but which may appear equally objectionable to
isolated interests. Such is the proposal to allow foreign manufactured
papers to be admitted at a nominal duty, in the teeth of the present
excise regulations, which, of themselves, have been a grievous burden
upon this branch of home industry--the reduction of the duties upon
manufactured silks, linens, shoes, &c.--all of which are now to be
brought into direct competition with our home productions. Brandy,
likewise, is to supersede home-made spirits, whilst the excise is not
removed from the latter. For these and other alterations, it is
difficult to find out any thing like a principle, unless indeed some of
them are to be considered as baits thrown out to foreign states for the
purpose of tempting them to reciprocity. We should, however, have
preferred some distinct negotiation on this subject before the
reductions were actually made; for we have no confidence in the scheme
of tacit subsidies, without a clear understanding or promise of
repayment. Indeed the whole success of this measure, if its effects are
prospectively traced, must ultimately depend upon its reception by the
foreign powers. No doubt, our abandonment of protection upon grain will
be considered by them as a valuable boon; for either their agriculture
will increase in a ratio corresponding to the decline of our own, which
would clearly be their wisest policy, or they will transfer the system
of protective duties to the other side of the seas, and establish a
sliding scale on exports, which may actually prevent us from getting
their grain any cheaper than at present, whilst our public revenue will
thereby be materially diminished. Looking to the commercial jealousy of
our neighbours--to the Zollverein, the various independent tariffs, and
the care and anxiety with which they are shielding their rising
manufactures from our competition--we are inclined to think the last
hypothesis the more probable of the two. The vast success of English
manufacture, and the strenuous efforts which she has latterly made to
command the markets of the world, have not been lost upon the European
or the American sates. They are now far less solicitous about the
improvement of their agriculture, than for the increase of their
manufactures; and some of them--Belgium for example--are already
beginning in certain branches to rival us. This scheme of concession
which is now agitating us will not, as some suppose, resolve itself into
a matter of simple barter, as if Britain with the one hand were
demanding corn, and with the other were proffering the equivalent of a
cotton bale. We are indeed about to demand corn, but the answer of the
foreigner will be this,--"You want grain, for your population is
increasing, your land has gone out of cultivation, and you cannot
support yourselves. Well, we have a superfluity of grain which we can
give you--in fact we have grown it for you--but then it is for us to
select the equivalent. We shall not take those goods which you offer in
exchange. Twelve years ago we set up cotton manufactories. We had not
the same advantages which you possessed in coal and iron, and machinery;
but labour was cheaper with us, and we have prospered. Our manufactures
are now sufficient to supply ourselves--nay, we have begun to export.
Your cotton goods, therefore, are worthless to us, and we must have
something else for our corn." Gold, therefore, the common equivalent,
will be demanded; and the price of corn in this country will, like every
other article, be regulated by the amount and the exigency of the
demand. The regulating power, however, will not then be with us, but
with the parties who furnish the supply.

But, supposing that no protective duties upon the exportation of grain
shall be levied abroad--which certainly is the view of the free-traders,
and, we presume, also of the Ministry--and, supposing that corn is
imported from abroad at no very great rise of price, then the evil will
come upon us in all its naked deformity. It is very well for certain
politicians to say, that it is an utter absurdity to maintain that cheap
bread can affect the interests of the country; but the men who can argue
thus, have not advanced a step beyond the threshold of social economy.
Let them take the converse of the proposition. If there existed abroad a
manufacturing state which could supply the people of this country with
clothing and every article of manufactured luxury, at a ratio thirty per
cent cheaper than these could be produced in this country, would it be a
measure of wise policy to abandon a system of protective duties? Would
it be wise in the agriculturist to insist upon such an abandonment, in
order that he might wear a cheaper dress, whilst the practical effect of
the measure must be to annihilate the capital now invested in
manufactures, to starve the workman, and of course to narrow within the
lowest limits his capability of purchasing food? In like manner we say,
that it is not wise in the manufacturer to co-operate in this scheme;
for sooner or later the evil effects of it must fall upon his own head.
Cheap bread may be an evil, and a great one. Mr Hudson, no mean
authority in the absence of all official information upon the point, but
a man who has personally dealt in grain, informs us that the probable
price of wheat will be from 35s. to 40s. a quarter. We shall adopt his
calculation, and the more readily because we firmly believe that foreign
grain will at first be imported at some such price, although the spirit
of avarice may combine with the necessity of expending capital in
improvement, to raise it considerably afterwards. But let us assume that
as the probable starting price. No man who knows any thing at all upon
the subject, will venture to say that, at such a price, the agriculture
of the country can be maintained. It _must_ go back. The immediate
consequence is not a prophecy, but a statement of natural effect. Much
land will go out of cultivation. Pauperism will increase in the country
on account of agricultural distress, and the home market for
manufactures will suffer accordingly.

Is cheap bread a blessing to the labourer, let his labour be what it
may? Let us consider that point a little. And, first, what is meant by
cheap bread? Cheapness is a relative term, and we cannot disconnect it
as a matter of _price_, from the counter element of _wages_. If a
labourer earns but a shilling a-day, and the loaf costs seven-pence, he
will no doubt be materially benefited by a reduction of twopence upon
its price. But if he only earns tenpence, and the loaf is reduced to
fivepence, it is clear to the meanest capacity that he is nothing the
gainer. Nay, he may be a loser. For the grower of the loaf is more
likely, on account of his extra price, to be a purchaser of such
commodities as the other labourer is producing, than if he were ground
down to the lowest possible margin. But, setting that aside, the
consideration comes to be, does price regulate labour, or labour
regulate price? In such a country as this, we apprehend there can be no
doubt that price is the regulating power. At the present moment,
peculiar and extraordinary causes are at work, which, in some degree,
render this question of less momentary consequence. Undoubtedly there is
a stimulus within the country, caused by new improvement, which alters
ordinary calculations, but which cannot be expected to last. We never
yet had so great a demand for labour. But let a period of distress
come--such as we had four years ago--and the political problem revives.
We are undoubtedly an overgrown country. Periods of distress constantly
occur. The slightest check in our machinery, sometimes in parts
apparently trivial, is sufficient to derange the whole of our industrial
system, and to throw the labourer entirely at the mercy of the
capitalist. It is _then_ that the relative value of wages and prices is
developed. The standard which is invariably fixed upon to regulate the
rate of the former, is the price of bread. No class understand this
better than the master-manufacturers, who have the command of capital,
and are not only the council, but the absolute incarnation of the
League. It is in these circumstances that the labouring artisan is
driven to the lowest possible rate of wages, which is calculated simply
upon the price of the quartern loaf. In order to work he must live. That
is a fact which the tyrants of the spinneries do not overlook, but they
take care that the livelihood shall be as scant as possible. The
labourer is desired to work for his daily bread, to which the wages are
made to correspond, and, of course, the cheaper bread is, the greater
are the profits of the master.

Where the different industrial classes of a nation purchase from each
other, there is a mutual benefit--when either deserts the home market,
and has recourse to a foreign one, the benefit is totally neutralized.
There is no greater fallacy than the proposition, that it is best to buy
in the cheapest and to sell in the dearest market. There is a
preliminary consideration to this--which is your best, your steadiest,
and your most unfailing customer? None knows better than the
manufacturer, that he depends, _ante omnia_, upon the home market. Is
not this the very interest which is now assailed and threatened with
ruin? There is not a man in this country, whatever be his condition, who
would escape without scaith a period of agricultural depression; and how
infinitely more dangerous is the prospect, when the period appears to be
without a limit! The longer we reflect upon this measure, the more are
we convinced of its wantonness, and of the dangerous nature of the
experiment upon every industrial class in this great and prospering
country.

There is one objection to the Ministerial scheme which, strange to say,
is open to both Protectionist and the Free-trader. The landowner has
reason to object to it both as an active and a passive measure--it
professes to leave him to his own resources, but it does not remove his
restrictions. Surely if the foreigner and the colonists are to be
permitted to compete on equal terms with him in the production of the
great necessary of life, his ingenuity ought to have free scope in other
things, more especially as he labours under the disadvantage of an
inferior soil and climate. Why may he not be allowed, if he pleases, to
attempt the culture of tobacco? The coarser kinds can be grown and
manufactured in many parts of England and Scotland, and if we are to
have free trade, why not carry out the principle to its fullest extent?
Why not allow us to grow hops duty free? Why not relieve us of the
malt-tax and of many other burdens? The answer is one familiar to
us--the revenue would suffer in consequence. No doubt it would, and so
it suffers from every commercial change. But these changes have now
gone so far, that--especially if you abolish this protective duty upon
corn--we are entitled to demand a return from the present cumbrous,
perplexing, and expensive mode of taxation, to the natural cheap and
simple one of poll or property-tax. At present no man knows what he is
paying towards the expense of government. He is reached in every way
indirectly through the articles he consumes. The customs furnish
occupation for one most expensive staff; the excise for another; nowhere
is the machinery of collection attempted to be simplified. Then comes
the assessed-taxes, the income-tax, land-tax--and what not--all
collected by different staffs--the cost of the preventive guard is no
trifle--in fact, there are as many parasites living upon the taxation of
this country as there are insects on a plot of unhealthy rose-trees. If
we are to have free trade, let it be free and unconditional, and rid us
of these swarms of unnecessary vermin. Open the ports by all means, but
open them to every thing. Let the quays be as free for traffic as the
Queen's highway; let us grow what we like, consume what we please, and
tax us in one round sum according to each man's means and substance, and
then at all events there can be no clashing of interests. This is the
true principle of free trade, carried to its utmost extent, and we
recommend it now to the serious consideration of Ministers.

We have not in these pages ventured to touch upon the interests which
the national churches have in this important measure, because hitherto
we have been dealing with commercial matters exclusively. May we hope
they will be better cared for elsewhere than in our jarring House of
Commons.

As to the necessity of the measure, more especially at the present time,
we can find no shadow of a reason. We can understand conversions under
very special circumstances. Had it been shown that the agriculturists,
notwithstanding their protection, were remiss in their duties--that they
had neglected improvement--that thereby the people of this country, who
looked to them for their daily supply of bread, were stinted or forced
pay a most exorbitant price, then there might have been some shadow of
an argument for the change at the present moment. We say a shadow, for
in reality there is no argument at all. The sliding-scale was
constructed, we presume, for the purpose of preventing exorbitant
prices, by admitting foreign grain duty free after our averages reached
a certain point, _and that point they have never yet reached_. Was,
then, the probability of such prices never in the mind of the framers,
and was the sliding-scale merely a temporary delusion and not a
settlement? So it would seem. The agriculturists are chargeable with no
neglect. The attempt some three or four months ago to get up a cry of
famine on account of the failure of the crops, has turned out a gross
delusion. Every misrepresentation on this head was met by overwhelming
facts; and the consequence is, that the Premier did not venture, in his
first speech, to found upon a scarcity as a reason for proposing his
measure. Something, indeed, was said about the possibility of a pressure
occurring before the arrival of the next harvest--it was perhaps
necessary to say so; but no man who has studied the agricultural
statistics of last harvest, can give the slightest weight to that
assertion. His second speech has just been put into our hands. Here
certainly he is more explicit. With deep gravity, and a tone of the
greatest deliberation, he tells the House of Commons, that before the
month of May shall arrive, the pressure will be upon us. We read that
announcement, so confidently uttered, with no slight amount of misgiving
as to the opinions we have already chronicled, but the next half column
put us right. There is, after all, no considerable deficiency in the
grain crop. It may be that the country has raised that amount of corn
which is necessary for its ordinary consumption, but the potato crop in
Ireland has failed! This, then--the failure of the potato crop in
Ireland--is the immediate cause, the necessity, of abolishing the
protections to agriculture in Great Britain! Was there ever such logic?
What has the murrain in potatoes to do with the question of foreign
competition, as applied to English, Scottish, nay, Irish corn? We are
old enough to recollect something like a famine in the Highlands, when
the poor were driven to such shifts as humanity shudders to recall; but
we never heard that distress attributed to the fact of English
protection. If millions of the Irish will not work, and will not grow
corn--if they prefer trusting to the potato, and the potato happens to
fail--are _we_ to be punished for that defect, be it one of
carelessness, of improvidence, or of misgovernment? Better that we had
no reason at all than one so obviously flimsy. If we turn to the
petitions which, about the end of autumn, were forwarded from different
towns, praying for that favourite measure of the League, the opening of
the ports, it will be seen that one and all of them were founded on the
assumed fact, that the grain crop was a deficient one. That has proved
to be fallacy, and is of course no longer tenable; but now we are asked
to take, as a supplementary argument, the state of the potatoes in
Ireland, and to apply it not to the opening of the ports for an
exigency, but to the total abolition of the protective duties upon
grain!

Of the improvidence of the peasantry of Ireland we never entertained a
doubt. To such a scourge as this they have been yearly exposed; but how
their condition is to be benefited by the repeal of the Corn-laws, is a
matter which even Sir Robert Peel has not condescended to explain. For
it is a notorious and incontrovertible fact, that if foreign corn were
at this moment exposed at their doors duty free, they could not purchase
it. We shall give full credit to the government for its intention to
introduce the flour of Indian corn to meet, if possible, the exigency.
It was a wise and a kind thought, objectionable on no principle
whatever; and, had an Order in Council been issued to that effect, we
believe there is not one man in the country who would not have applauded
it. But why was this not done, more especially when the crisis is so
near? If the Irish famine is to begin in May, or even earlier, surely it
was not a very prudent or paternal act to mix up the question with
another, which obviously could not be settled so easily and so soon. It
is rather too much to turn now upon the agriculturists, and say--"You
see, gentlemen, what is the impending condition of Ireland. You have it
in your power to save the people from the consequences of their own
neglect. Adopt our scheme--admit Indian corn free of duty--and you will
rescue thousands from starvation." The appeal, we own, would be
irresistible, _were it made singly_. But if--mixed up as it were and
smothered with maize-flour--the English agriculturist is asked at the
same time to pass another measure which he believes to be suicidal to
his interest, and detrimental to that of the country, he may well be
excused if he pauses before taking so enthusiastic a step. Let us have
this maize by all means; feed the Irish as you best can; do it
liberally; but recollect that there is also a population in this country
to be cared for, and that we cannot in common justice be asked to
surrender a permanent interest, merely because a temporary exigency,
caused by no fault of ours, has arisen elsewhere.

Apart from this, where was the necessity for the change at the present
moment? We ask that question, not because we are opposed to change when
a proper cause has been established, but because we have been taught--it
would seem somewhat foolishly--to respect consistency, and because we
see ground for suspicion in the authenticity of all these sudden and
unaccountable conversions. This is the first time, so far as we can
recollect, that Ministers, carried into power expressly for their
adherence to certain tangible principles, have repudiated these without
any intelligible cause, or any public emergency which they might seize
as a colourable pretext. The sagacity of some, the high character and
stainless honour of others--for we cannot but look upon the whole
Cabinet as participators in this measure--render the supposition of any
thing like deliberate treachery impossible. It is quite clear from what
has already transpired, that the private opinions of some of them remain
unchanged. They have no love for this measure--they would avoid it if
they could--they cannot look upon its results without serious
apprehension. Some of them, we know, care nothing for power--they would
surrender, not sacrifice it, at any time cheerfully--most of all at a
crisis when its retention might subject them to the reproach of a broken
pledge. Neither do we believe that this is a faint-hearted Cabinet, or
that its members are capable of yielding their opinions to the _brutum
fulmen_ of the League. That body is by no means popular. The great bulk
of the manufacturing artisans are totally indifferent to its
proceedings; for they know well that self-interest, and not
philanthropy, is the motive which has regulated that movement, and that
the immediate effect of cheap bread would be a reduction of the
workman's wages. We cannot, therefore, admit that any pressure from
without has wrought this change of opinion, about which there seems to
be a mystery which may never be properly explained. Perhaps it is best
that it should remain so. Enough are already implicated in this
question, on one side or the other. The facts and the arguments are
before us, and we have but to judge between them.

Of the probable fate of this measure we shall venture no opinion. The
enormous amount of private business which of late years has been brought
before the Houses of Parliament--the importance and the number of the
internal improvements which depend upon their sanction, and in which
almost every man of moderate means has a stake, are strong probabilities
against any immediate dissolution of Parliament, or an appeal to the
judgment of the country. But there is no policy equal to truth, no line
of conduct at all comparable to consistency. We have not hesitated to
express our extreme regret that this measure should have been so
conceived and ushered in; both because we think these changes of opinion
on the part of public men, when unaccompanied by sufficient outward
motives, and in the teeth of their own recorded words and actions, are
unseemly in themselves, and calculated to unsettle the faith of the
country in the political morality of our statesmen--and because we fear
that a grievous, if not an irreparable division has been thereby caused
amongst the ranks of the Conservative party. Neither have we
hesitated--after giving all due weight to the arguments adduced in its
favour--to condemn that measure, as, in our humble judgment, uncalled
for and attended with the greatest risk of disastrous consequences to
the nation. If this departure from the protective principle should
produce the effect of lessening the tillage of our land, converting
corn-fields into pasture, depriving the labourer of his employment, and
permanently throwing us upon the mercy of foreign nations for our daily
supply of corn, it is impossible to over-estimate the evil. If, on the
contrary, nothing of this should take place--if it should be
demonstrated by experience that the one party has been grasping at a
chimera, and the other battling for the retention of an imaginary
bulwark, then--though we may rejoice that the delusion has been
dispelled--we may well be pardoned some regret that the experiment was
not left to other hands. Our proposition is simply this, that if we
cannot gain cheap bread without resorting to other countries for it, we
ought to continue as we are. Further, we say, that were we to be
supplied with cheap bread on that condition, not only our agricultural
but our manufacturing interest would be deeply and permanently injured;
and that no commercial benefit whatever could recompense us for the
sacrifice of our own independence, and the loss of our native resources.


_Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work._

  Transcriber's note:

  In this etext a macron is represented thus [=a].





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