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Title: Voltaire's Romances, Complete in One Volume
Author: Voltaire, 1694-1778
Language: English
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VOLTAIRE'S ROMANCES

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH.

_A NEW EDITION_,

WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS.



[Illustration: M. de VOLTAIRE.]


     I choose that a story should be founded on probability, and not
     always resemble a dream. I desire to find nothing in it trivial or
     extravagant; and I desire above all, that under the appearance of
     fable there may appear some latent truth, obvious to the discerning
     eye, though it escape the observation of the vulgar.--_Voltaire._

COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME.


NEW YORK:

PUBLISHED BY PETER ECKLER,

35 FULTON STREET.

1889.



[Illustration: Ancient writing implements, Pompeii.]


PUBLISHER'S PREFACE


Voltaire wrote what the people thought, and consequently his writings
were universally read. He wittily ridiculed established abuses, and
keenly satirized venerable absurdities. For this he was consigned to the
Bastile, and this distinction served to increase his popularity and
extend his influence. He was thus enabled to cope successfully with the
papal hierarchy, and laugh at the murmurs of the Vatican. The struggle
commenced in his youth, and continued till his death. It was a struggle
of light against darkness--of freedom against tyranny; and it ended in
the triumph of truth over error and of toleration over bigotry.

Educated by the Jesuits, he early learned their methods, and his great
ability enabled him to circumvent their wiles. The ceremonious
presentation of his tragedy of _Mahomet_[1] to Pope Benedict XIV., is an
example of his daring audacity;--his success with the "head of the
church" shows his intellectual superiority--whilst the gracious reply of
"his Holiness" fitly illustrates the pontiff's vanity. From priest to
bishop, from cardinal to pope, all felt his intellectual power and all
dreaded his merciless satire.

[Illustration: Voltaire at seventy.]

He was famous as poet, dramatist, historian, and philosopher. An
experienced courtier and polished writer, he gracefully and politely
conquered his clerical opponents, and with courteous irony overthrew his
literary critics. From his demeanor you could not judge of his thoughts
or intentions, and while listening to his compliments, you instinctively
dreaded his sarcasms. But venture to approach this grand seigneur, this
keen man of the world, this intellectual giant, and plead in favor of
human justice--appeal to his magnanimity and love of toleration--and you
then had no cause to question his earnestness, no reason to doubt his
sincerity. His blood boiled, says Macaulay,[2] at the sight of cruelty
and injustice, and in an age of religious persecution, judicial torture,
and arbitrary imprisonment, he made manful war, with every faculty he
possessed, on what he considered as abuses; and on many signal
occasions, placed himself gallantly between the powerful and the
oppressed. "When an innocent man was broken on the wheel at Toulouse,
when a youth, guilty only of an indiscretion, was beheaded at Abbéville,
when a brave officer, borne down by public injustice, was dragged, with
a gag in his mouth, to die on the Place de Grêve, a voice instantly went
forth from the banks of Lake Leman, which made itself heard from Moscow
to Cadiz, and which sentenced the unjust judges to the contempt and
detestation of all Europe."

"None can read these stories of the horrible religious bigotry of the
day," says Alex. A. Knox, in _The Nineteenth Century_,[3] "without
feeling for Voltaire reverence and respect."

The following extract from the above named Review will explain the
religious cruelty to which Macaulay refers:

     "Jean Calas, a Protestant, kept a small shop in Toulouse. He had a
     scape-grace of a son, Marc Antoine by name, who hanged himself in
     his father's shop. The poor father and mother were up stairs at the
     time, at supper, in company with the second son. The evidence was
     so clear that a coroner's jury at a public-house would not have
     turned round upon it. The priests and the priest party got hold of
     it, and turned it into a religious crime. The Protestant, or
     Huguenot parents were charged with murdering their son for fear he
     should turn Catholic. The body was taken to the Hôtel de Ville, and
     then escorted by priests to the cathedral. The religious
     orders--White Penitents and others--held solemn ceremonies for the
     repose of Marc Antoine's soul. The churches resounded with the
     exhortations of the priests, informing the people what evidence was
     required to procure the condemnation of the Calas, and directing
     them to come forward as witnesses. Upon such assumptions as these
     horrible people could devise, the poor old man was stretched till
     his limbs were torn out of the sockets. He was then submitted to
     the _question extraordinaire_. This consisted in pouring water into
     his mouth from a horn till his body was swollen to twice its size.
     The man had been drowned a hundred times over, but he was still
     alive. He was then carried to the scaffold and his limbs were
     broken with an iron bar, and he was left for two hours to die. He
     did not then die, and so the executioner strangled him at last; but
     he died without confessing his crime. The man was innocent; he had
     no confession to make. The poor creature by his unutterable agony
     thus saved the lives of his wife and family, all as innocent as
     himself. Two daughters were thrust into a convent: a son shammed
     conversion to Catholicism and was released. The servant escaped
     into a convent. The property of the family was confiscated. The
     poor mother slipped away unseen. Finally, another son, who had been
     apprenticed to a watchmaker of Nismes, escaped to Geneva. This is a
     picture of France in the eighteenth century.

     "Voltaire took poor young Calas into his family. He tried at once
     to interest the Cardinal de Bernis, the Duc de Choiseul, and others
     in this horrible story. He found for the widow a comfortable
     retreat at Paris; he employed the best lawyers he could find to
     give practical form to the business; he sent the daughters to join
     the mother. He paid all the expenses out of his own pocket. He
     reached the Chancellor; he made his appeal to Europe. He employed a
     clever young advocate M. Elie de Beaumont, to conduct the cast. The
     Queen of England, Frederick the Great, Catharine of Russia, were
     induced by Voltaire to help the Calas.

     "The case of the Sirvens was well-nigh as bad as that of the Calas.
     Sirven lived with his wife and three daughters, all Protestants,
     near Toulouse. The story is so illustrative of the France of the
     eighteenth century, and of what Voltaire was about, that it
     deserves a few lines. Sirven's housekeeper, a Roman Catholic, with
     the assent of the Bishop of Castres, spirited away the youngest
     daughter, and placed her in a convent of the Black Ladies with a
     view to her conversion. She returned to her parents in a state of
     insanity, her body covered with the marks of the whip. She never
     recovered from the cruelties she had endured at the convent. One
     day, when her father was absent on his professional duties, she
     threw herself into a well, at the bottom of which she was found
     drowned. It was obvious to the authorities that the parents had
     murdered their child because she wished to become a Roman Catholic.
     They most wisely did not appear, and were sentenced to be hanged
     when they could be caught. In their flight the married daughter
     gave premature birth to a child; and Madame Sirven died in despair.
     It took Voltaire ten years to get this abominable sentence
     reversed, and to turn wrong into right.

     "A Protestant gentleman, M. Espinasse, had been condemned to the
     galleys for life and his estate confiscated because he had given
     supper and lodging to a Protestant clergyman. He served
     twenty-three years; but in 1763 Voltaire obtained his release, and
     ultimately obtained back for the family a portion of their
     property.

     "The Chevalier de la Barre was another victim. Some person or
     persons unknown had hacked with a knife a wooden crucifix which
     stood on a bridge at Abbéville over the Somme. The same night a
     crucifix on one of the cemeteries was bespattered with mud. The
     bishop of the place set to work to stir up excitement, praying for
     punishment 'on those who had rendered themselves worthy of the
     severest punishment known to the world's law.' Young De la Barre
     was arrested. The evidence against him was that he, with certain
     companions, had been known to pass within thirty yards of a
     procession bearing the Sacrament without taking off their hats. It
     was further proved in evidence that he and his friends had sung
     certain objectionable songs, and that not only some novels had been
     found in his rooms, but also two small volumes of Voltaire's
     _Dictionnaire Philosophique_. On this evidence he was sentenced to
     be subjected to the torture, ordinary and extraordinary; to have
     his tongue torn out by the roots with pincers of iron, to have his
     right hand cut off at the door of the principal church at
     Abbéville, to be drawn in a cart to the market-place, and there to
     be burned to death by a slow fire. The sentence was mitigated so
     far that he was allowed to be beheaded before he was burned. This
     sentence was carried out on the 1st of July, 1766. These are
     samples of what was occurring in France. Was there not enough to
     rouse indignation to fever-heat?

     "When one reads such stories, even at this distance of time, he
     understands the French Revolution and Voltaire."

In all his writings Voltaire claimed to be religious, and was as ready
to oppose with his sarcasms the agnostic or atheist, as the catholic. In
speaking of Tully as a doubter, he makes Pococurante exclaim: "I once
had some liking for his philosophical works; but when I found he
doubted of everything, I thought I knew as much as himself, and had no
need of a guide to learn ignorance."

But while Voltaire was a Theist--as Lord Brougham says,[4] "without any
hesitation or any intermission, a Theist"--and was a firm believer in
the existence of a Creator and ruler of the universe,--he was also an
avowed opponent of Catholicism; and when not engaged in the production
of works which have added dignity to the literature of France, his life
was passed in open warfare with the church of Rome. To this church he
was as sincerely opposed as Martin Luther, and although his methods of
attack and opposition differed entirely from that of the great German
reformer, who shall say that his efforts have not proved even more
successful? Macaulay has shown[5] that no Catholic nation has become
Protestant since the period of the Reformation; while on the other hand,
no nation once Protestant, has returned to Catholicism. Each party has
retained its own territory, and the only gain has been in favor of
religious freedom. The sincere and earnest appeals of Luther, which
convulsed Germany, produced but little or no effect on the versatile
mind of France. But the brilliant writings of Voltaire were welcomed by
his countrymen, and have not been without their influence on French
civilization. And although France has not been claimed as a protestant
nation, yet freethinkers have there attained great power and influence,
whilst Germany, once the stronghold of Protestantism, is now the chosen
and hospitable home of freethought.

Voltaire in his day was an acknowledged leader of public opinion. His
thoughts engrossed the attention of the world. "Whole nations," says
Quinet,[6] "emulously repeat every syllable that falls from his pen:"
and the lapse of time has but confirmed the verdict of his
cotemporaries, that of all the great reformers, his writings are the
most useful to mankind.

"If we judge of men by what they have _done_" says Lamartine,[7] "then
Voltaire is incontestably the greatest writer of modern Europe. No one
has caused, through the powerful influence of his genius alone, and the
perseverance of his will, so great a commotion in the minds of men; his
pen aroused a world, and has shaken a far mightier empire than that of
Charlemagne, the European empire of a theocracy. His genius was not
_force_ but _light_. Heaven had destined him not to destroy but to
illuminate, and wherever he trod light followed him, for reason (which
is _light_) had destined him to be first her poet, then her apostle, and
lastly her idol."

At seventeen years of age Voltaire wrote _Œdipus_, at eighty-three he
wrote _Irène_. During the intervening years he enriched the world of
thought with seventy volumes of irresistible humor--of brilliant and
caustic wit,--in truth, a mine of literary gems undimmed with
mediocrity's prosy dullness. In fact, it was this quality of humor and
mirth that made Voltaire's writings so distasteful to his opponents--so
welcome to mankind. Other writers, who went far beyond Voltaire, were
not considered dangerous, because they were never read. They were
sincere and learned, but tedious and austere. Their disbelief was
condoned by its metaphysical obscurity--their skepticism was redeemed by
its unmitigated dullness. But with Voltaire the case was very different.
His writings were read and appreciated by old or young, grave or gay,
sage or sophist, prince or peasant. To answer him was impossible--to
abuse him was thought commendable.

"Napoleon, during fifteen years," says Lamartine,[8] "paid writers who
degrade, vilify, and deny the genius of Voltaire; he hated his name as
_might_ must ever _hate intellect_; and so long as men yet cherished the
memory of Voltaire--so long he felt his position was not secure." The
church voluntarily joined in this work of aspersion. To the priests it
was no hardship,--it was a welcome task--a labor of love. They hated the
writings they could not answer--the genius they could not destroy.

"The church," says Macaulay,[9] "made no defense, except by acts of
power. Censures were pronounced; books were seized; insults were offered
to the remains of infidel writers but no Bossuet, no Pascal, came forth
to encounter Voltaire. There appeared not a single defense of the
catholic doctrine which produced any considerable effect, or which is
even now remembered."

"His element," says Schlosser,[10] "was the lighter kind of poetry, and
his fugitive verses, his sharp wit, his bold opinions, produced effects
in his time, like flashes of lightning, for they illuminated at the same
time the night of Jesuitical superstition, and struck and shivered to
pieces the majestic towers and gothic domes of the middle ages.

"The so-called fugitive pieces alone, if he had written nothing else,
would have been sufficient to secure Voltaire's immortality; for in
these he is altogether in his sphere; he has only to think of the people
whom he calls exclusively the world, and he can direct every spark of
his genius to the production of instantaneous effect, delight his reader
by his fancy, and surprise him by his wit.

"The chief aim of each one of Voltaire's small novels is the overthrow
and refutation of some ruling opinion, and this object is admirably
attained by the story itself, and by weaving in sarcasms, because this
rendered all reply and refutation impossible. Seriousness could never
have reached the readers of these novels, or would immediately weary
them; and every attempt to rival Voltaire in a strain of pleasantry and
satire, would have been a folly.

"In _Zadig_ he shows palpably and obviously how entirely devoid of
reason and taste the usual moral and edifying considerations upon the
way of Providence, upon a God who thinks, counsels, acts, and conducts
the affairs of the world as a man, must appear to the bold scoffer.
Voltaire, we would say, confined and limited the doctrine of an
immediate guidance of human affairs by the hand of Divine Providence,
wholly to the church and to the faith of the people; he roofed it out of
higher life and out of science by means of his dreadful ridicule. By his
narratives he made that obvious, which indeed is easily made palpable
enough, because it is undeniable, that the theory of a palpable guidance
of human affairs by an ever-manifesting interposing Providence, may be
just as easily refuted as proved by history and experience. In _Memnon_
is shown, in an admirable manner, how the multitude are enamoured of
their prudence, and laugh at nature and its feelings. In the _Ingenu_,
the witty man yields himself up wholly to his humor and to accident, and
brings forth a rich abundance of wit and flashes of genius with respect
to the most various subjects."

"Voltaire had the genius of criticism," says Lamartine,[11] "that power
of raillery which withers all it overthrows. He had made human nature
laugh at itself, had felled it low in order to raise it, had laid bare
before it all errors, prejudices, iniquities, and crimes of ignorance;
he had urged it to rebellion against consecrated ideas, not by the ideal
but by sheer contempt. Destiny gave him eighty years of existence, that
he might slowly decompose the decayed age; he had the time to combat
against time, and when he fell he was the conqueror.

"Such were the elements of the revolution in religious matters. Voltaire
laid hold of them, at the precise moment, with that _coup d'œil_ of
strong instinct which sees clearer than genius itself. To an age young,
fickle, and unreflecting, he did not present reason under the form of an
austere philosophy, but beneath the guise of a facile freedom of ideas,
and a scoffing irony. He would not have succeeded in making his age
think, he did succeed in making it smile. He never attacked it in front,
nor with his face uncovered, in order that he might not set the laws in
array against him; and to avoid the fate of Servetus, he, the modern
Æsop, attacked under imaginary names the tyranny which he wished, to
destroy. He concealed his hate in history, the drama, light poetry,
romance, and even in jests. His genius was a perpetual allusion,
comprehending all his age, but impossible to be seized on by his
enemies. He struck, but his hand was concealed. Yet the struggle of a
man against a priesthood, an individual against an institution, a life
against eighteen centuries, was by no means destitute of courage.

"There is an incalculable power of conviction and devotion of idea, in
the daring of one against all. To brave at once, with no other power
than individual reason, with no other support than conscience, human
consideration, that cowardice of the mind, masked under respect for
error; to dare the hatred of earth and the anathema of heaven, is the
heroism of the writer. Voltaire was not a martyr in his body, but he
consented to be one in his name, and devoted it during his life and
after his death. He condemned his own ashes to be thrown to the winds,
and not to have either an asylum or a tomb. He resigned himself even to
lengthened exile in exchange for the liberty of a free combat. He
isolated himself voluntarily from men, in order that their too close
contact might not interfere with his thoughts.

"At eighty years of age, feeble, and feeling his death nearly
approaching, he several times made his preparations hastily, in order to
go and struggle still, and die at a distance from the roof of his old
age. The unwearied activity of his mind was never checked for a moment.
He carried his gaiety even to genius, and under that pleasantry of his
whole life we may perceive a grave power of perseverance and conviction.
Such was the character of this great man. The enlightened serenity of
his mind concealed the depth of its workings: under the joke and laugh
his constancy of purpose was hardly sufficiently recognized. He suffered
all with a laugh, and was willing to endure all, even in absence from
his native land, in his lost friendships, in his refused fame, in his
blighted name, in his memory accursed. He took all--bore all--for the
sake of the triumph of the independence of human reason."

The manners and customs of the eighteenth century differ widely from
those of the nineteenth. Certain words and phrases that were then in
common use are now wisely suppressed. Lecky says very truly,[12] that "a
Roman of the age of Pliny, an Englishman of the age of Henry VIII., and
an Englishman of our own day, would all agree in regarding humanity as a
virtue, and its opposite as a vice; but their judgments of the acts
which are compatible with a humane disposition would be widely
different."

The enemies of freethought have taken advantage of this fact--this
change in modes of expression--this refinement in literature--to defame
the memory of Voltaire. They denounce _La Pucelle_ or _The Maid of
Orleans_ for language and expressions, formerly popular in court circles
and sanctioned by the nobility and ladies of fashion, but which,
happily, have now become obsolete. They judge the license of the
eighteenth century--the license and profligacy which accompany
ecclesiasticism and monasticism--by nineteenth century standards. If the
same rule were applied to other writers, none would have cause to
complain. But, unfortunately, an exception has been unjustly made in
favor of the language employed by historians like Moses and Solomon, by
poets like Shakspeare and Pope, by theologians like Rabelais and Swift,
by novelists like Fielding and Smollett. In short, immodest language
cannot be redeemed by wit, by learning, or by pretended revelation, and
should always and invariably be suppressed; but writers should be judged
by the manners and customs of their age, and not by modern standards.
There are many passages in the old classic authors that were formerly
considered in good taste, which cannot now be commended. Still, the gold
outweighs the dross, and we should remember the laxity and
licentiousness of the times in which those books were written.

The romances and tales in this publication have been selected for their
graceful and sprightly wit, as well as genial humor and keen satire; and
further, because they are free from even a suspicion of impropriety.
They each teach a lesson of wisdom and morality--they teach courage,
fortitude and resignation, and, what is perhaps of even greater
importance, they also tend to free the mind from the baneful errors of
priestcraft and superstition.

"The most interesting adventures are related to no sort of purpose,"
says Voltaire in one of his essays, "if they do not convey, at the same
time, a description of manners. And even this is but a frivolous
amusement, if that description does not contribute to inspire us with
sentiments of virtue. I dare assert that, from the _Henriade_ to _Zara_
and down to the Chinese tragedy of _The Orphan of Tchao_ such was always
the aim I proposed, and the principle that conducted me. In the history
of the age of Louis the fourteenth, I have celebrated my king and
country, without flattering either. In these endeavors have I spent
above forty years. But here is the advice of a Chinese philosopher,
whose writings are translated into Spanish, by the famous _Navarette_:

"'If you write a book, show it only to your friends. Dread the public
and your brother authors. They will embitter your expressions,
misrepresent your meaning, and impute to you, what you never thought of.
Calumny, which has an hundred mouths, will open them against you; and
truth, which is silent, will remain with you.'"

It has been said of Voltaire that he was "not only just, but generous in
his dealings with others. With open purse and open heart, helpful to all
who approached him. Collini, his secretary, said he was a miser _only of
his time_, which was always usefully employed. But we are also told that
there was one person to whom he could not even deny his time--it was
Mademoiselle de Varicourt--_Belle-et-Bonne_--whom he had adopted, and
who was afterward married to the Marquis de Villette. "She could never
disturb him," says A.A. Knox, "not even when he was giving the last
touches to _Irène_. If he were in a passion with anybody else, and she
appeared in the room, he was at once gentle and calm. There is something
very affecting in the old man's love and tenderness for this young
girl."

After the success of the French Revolution, to which the writings of
Voltaire had so greatly contributed, when the National Assembly ordered
the removal of his remains to the Pantheon, to repose between the ashes
of Descartes and Mirabeau--when France honored herself in honoring the
great philosopher--it was _Belle-et-Bonne_--in the full splendor of her
majestic beauty--her heart overflowing with tenderness and
gratitude--her eyes dimmed with pathetic tears--who placed with loving
hands on the bier of her noble benefactor the wreath of filial
affection--the grandest tribute that humanity can bestow.

                                                 PETER ECKLER.

     _New York, Jan. 28, 1885._


[1] This work, says Prof. F.C. Schlosser in his _History of the
Eighteenth Century_, (vol. ii, p. 122.) "was sent to the pope, and very
favorably received by him; although it could not possibly escape the
notice of the pope, that the piece was indebted for its chief effect
upon the public, to the vehement expressions against religious
fanaticism which it contained. The pope felt himself flattered by the
transmission of the _Mahomet_, and notified his approbation, of which
Voltaire cunningly enough availed himself, for the advantage of his new
principles."

[2] _Critical and Historical Essays_, page 553.

[3] Vol. iv, No. 39.

[4] _Men of Letters of the time of George III._

[5] _Critical & Historical Essays_, p. 553.

[6] _Lectures on the Romish Church._

[7] _History of the Girondists_, vol. i, p. 152.

[8] _History of the Girondists_, vol. i, p. 152.

[9] _Critical and Historical Essays_, p. 553.

[10] _History of the Eighteenth Century_, vol. i, pp. 263-269.

[11] _History of the Girondists_, vol. i, pp. 15, 154, 155, 156.

[12] _History of European Morals_, vol. i, page iii.

       *       *       *       *       *

The illustrations in this work and a few notes have been added by the
publisher. The head of Voltaire in the frontispiece is from a bust by
Houdon, and is copied from an engraving published by Messrs. J. & H.L.
Hunt, London, 1824. It represents the gifted author as he appeared in
his eighty-third year. The full-length portrait of Voltaire on page iii,
shows him in his seventieth year, and the remaining portrait, on page
xii, gives his likeness in early manhood; it is from a French edition of
his works published in 1746.


[Illustration: Voltaire at thirty.]


CONTENTS.


THE WHITE BULL: A SATIRICAL ROMANCE.

CHAPTER I. How the Princess Amasidia meets a bull.
CHAPTER II. How the wise Mambres, formerly magician
  of Pharoah, knew again the old woman, and was known
  by her.
CHAPTER III. How the beautiful Amasidia had a secret
   conversation with a beautiful serpent.
CHAPTER IV. How they wanted to sacrifice the bull and
  exorcise the Princess.
CHAPTER V. How the wise Mambres conducted himself wisely.
CHAPTER VI. How Mambres met three prophets, and gave
  them a good dinner.
CHAPTER VII. How king Amasis wanted to give the White
  Bull to be devoured by the fish of Jonah, and did not
  do it.
CHAPTER VIII. How the serpent told stories to the
  Princess to comfort her.
CHAPTER IX. How the serpent did not comfort the Princess.
CHAPTER X. How they wanted to behead the Princess, and
  did not do it.
CHAPTER XI. Apotheosis of the White Bull. Triumph of the
  wise Mambres. The seven years proclaimed by Daniel are
  accomplished. Nebuchadnezzar resumes the human form, marries
  the beautiful Amasidia, and ascends the throne of Babylon.


ZADIG; OR FATE.

Approbation.
Epistle dedicatory to the Sultana Sheraa.

  I. The Blind of one Eye.
  II. The Nose.
  III. The Dog and the Horse.
  IV. The Envious Man.
  V. The Generous.
  VI. The Minister.
  VII. The Disputes and the Audiences.
  VIII. Jealousy.
  IX. The Woman Beater.
  X. Slavery.
  XI. The Funeral Pile.
  XII. The Supper.
  XIII. The Rendezvous.
  XIV. The Robber.
  XV. The Fisherman.
  XVI. The Basilisk.
  XVII. The Combats.
  XVIII. The Hermit.
  XIX. The Enigmas.

THE SAGE AND THE ATHEIST.

Introduction

CHAPTER I. Adventures of Johnny, a young Englishman,
  written by Donna Las Nalgas
CHAPTER II. Continuation of the adventures of John,
  the young Englishman; also those of his worthy father,
  D.D., M.P., and F.R.S.
CHAPTER III. Summary of the controversy of the "Buts,"
  between Mr. Freind and Don Inigo-y-Medroso, y-Comodios,
  y-Papalamiendos, Bachelor of Salamanca
CHAPTER IV. John returns to London and is led into
  bad company
CHAPTER V. They want to get John married
CHAPTER VI. A terrible adventure
CHAPTER VII. What happened in America
CHAPTER VIII. Dialogue between Freind and Birton
  on Atheism
CHAPTER IX. On Atheism
CHAPTER X. On Atheism
CHAPTER XI. Return to England--John's marriage


THE PRINCESS OF BABYLON.

I. Royal contest for the hand of Formosanta
II. The King of Babylon convenes his Council and consults
  the Oracle
III. Royal festival given in honor of the kingly visitors.
  The bird converses eloquently with Formosanta
IV. The beautiful bird is killed by the King of Egypt.
  Formosanta begins a journey. Aldea elopes with the King
  of Scythia
V. Formosanta visits China and Scythia in search of
  Amazan
VI. The Princess continues her journey
VII. Amazan visits Albion
VIII. Amazan leaves Albion to visit the land of Saturn
IX. Amazan visits Rome
X. An unfortunate adventure in Gaul
XI. Amazan and Formosanta become reconciled


THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.

I. National Poverty
II. Disaster of the Man of Forty Crowns
III. Conversation with a Geometrician
IV. An adventure with a Carmelite
V. Audience of the Comptroller General
VI. The Man of Forty Crowns marries, becomes a father,
  and discants upon the monks
VII. On taxes paid to a foreign power
VIII. On Proportions
IX. A great quarrel
X. A rascal repulsed
XI. The good sense of Mr. Andrew
XII. The good supper at Mr. Andrew's

THE HURON; OR, PUPIL OF NATURE.

I. The Huron arrives in France
II. The Huron, called the Ingenu, acknowledged by
  his relatives
III. The Huron converted
IV. The Huron baptized
V. The Huron in love
VI. The Huron flies to his mistress, and becomes
  quite furious
VII. The Huron repulses the English
XIII. The Huron goes to Court. Sups upon the road with
  some Huguenots
IX. The arrival of the Huron at Versailles. His reception
  at Court
X. The Huron is shut up in the Bastile with a Jansenist
XI. How the Huron discloses his genius
XII. The Huron's sentiments upon theatrical pieces
XIII. The beautiful Miss St. Yves goes to Versailles
XIV. Rapid progress of the Huron's intellect
XV. The beautiful Miss St. Yves visits M. de St. Pouange
XVI. Miss St. Yves consults a Jesuit
XVII. The Jesuit triumphs
XVIII. Miss St. Yves delivers her lover and a Jansenist
XIX. The Huron, the beautiful Miss St. Yves, and their
  relatives, are convened
XX. The death of the beautiful Miss St. Yves and its
  consequences


MICROMEGAS.

I. A voyage to the planet Saturn, by a native of Sirius
II. The conversation between Micromegas and the inhabitant
  of Saturn
III. The voyage of these inhabitants of other worlds
IV. What befell them upon this our globe
V. The travelers capture a vessel
VI. What happened in their intercourse with men


THE WORLD AS IT GOES

THE BLACK AND THE WHITE

MEMNON THE PHILOSOPHER

ANDRÉ DES TOUCHES AT SIAM

BABABEC


THE STUDY OF NATURE.

I. Introduction
II. The study of Nature
III. Good advice
IV. Dialogue upon the soul and other topics

  A CONVERSATION WITH A CHINESE
  PLATO'S DREAM
  PLEASURE IN HAVING NO PLEASURE
  AN ADVENTURE IN INDIA
  JEANNOT AND COLIN
  THE TRAVELS OF SCARMENTADO
  THE GOOD BRAMIN
  THE TWO COMFORTERS
  ANCIENT FAITH AND FABLE



ILLUSTRATIONS.


  Voltaire, by Houdon--_Frontispiece._
  Voltaire, at seventy
  Ancient Writing implements, from Pompeii
  Voltaire in early manhood
  The White Bull
  Apis
  Silence
  Amasidia
  The Witch of Endor
  The Serpent
  Nebuchadnezzar
  Lot and his Family
  Daniel, Ezekiel & Jeremiah
  Egyptian Priests
  Winged Bull
  The Scape Goat
  Caravan approaching Babylon
  The Cup
  Egyptian Archer
  The Funeral Pyre
  Oannes--The Fish God
  Almona
  Zadig and the Brigand
  The Basilisk
  Zadig and the Queen
  Cador concealing Astarte
  The Combats
  The Hermit
  Freind and his wayward Son
  Don Jeronimo Bueno Caracurador
  Condemned by the Inquisition
  Epictetus the Slave
  Grand Entrance to Palace
  The Phœnix
  The King of Scythia rescued from the Lion
  The Shrine at Bassora
  Consulting the Oracle
  Religious Wars in Albion
  The Old Man of the Seven Mountains
  Kissing an Old Man's Toe
  Gaiety and Frivolity
  Preservers of Ancient Customs
  Dancing a _Tambourin_
  Clio, the Muse of History
  The Tax Collector
  Barefooted Carmelites
  Entering the Convent
  The Rack
  The Priory Entrance
  The Huron Identified
  Baptism of Hercules
  The Separation
  The Confessional
  Father Tout-à-tous
  The Meeting
  Death of Miss St. Yves
  A Medieval Exploring Vessel
  Micromegas captures a Ship
  The Blank Book
  The Spiritual Rulers of Persepolis
  Burying the Dead in Churches
  Good and Evil Genii
  Young Memnon
  Memnon and the Distressed Ninevite
  Des Touches and Croutef
  Boodh supported by Serpents
  The Fakir
  The Sphinx
  The Study of Nature
  The Poor Clergyman
  Kwan-yin, Burmese, Buddha, and Chinese Ivory Figure
  The Birth of Minerva and Eve--Androgynous Deities
  Bacchus and Ariadne
  Envy
  Plato
  Visiting Seignor Pococurante
  The "Yawning Oysters"
  The School at Issoire
  Jeannot and Colin
  Religious Emblems
  Brama, Vishna, and Siva
  The happy Bigot
  The two Comforters
  The Winged Dragon



[Illustration: The White Bull. A Satyrical Romance.--"Daniel changed a
monarch into this bull, and I have changed this bull into a god!"]

     TAURUS.


     The object and significance of ancient Tauric and Phallic worship
     have been clearly set forth by Dupuis, Payne Knight, and other
     learned authors, and we have, even at the present day, a survival
     of the ancient faith, in the Mayday festivals of India and Britain,
     which were originally instituted to celebrate the entrance of the
     sun into the zodiacal sign Taurus, at the vernal equinox, when the
     god Osiris was worshiped in Egypt under the form of a bull called
     Apis.

     "The general devotion of the ancients to the worship of the BULL,"
     says the Rev. Mr. Maurice in his learned work on the _Antiquities
     of India_, "I have had frequent occasion to remark, and more
     particularly in the Indian history, by their devotion to it at that
     period 'when the Bull with his horns opened the Vernal year.' I
     observed that all nations seem anciently to have vied with each
     other in celebrating that blissful epoch; and that the moment the
     sun entered the sign Taurus, were displayed the signals of triumph
     and the incentives to passion; that memorials of the universal
     festivity indulged at that season, are to be found in the records
     and customs of people otherwise the most opposite in manners and
     most remote in situation;... that the Apis, or Sacred Bull of
     Egypt, was only the symbol of the sun in the vigor of vernal youth;
     and that the Bull of Japan, breaking with his horn the mundane egg,
     was evidently connected with the same bovine species of
     superstition, founded on the mixture of astronomy and mythology."

     "In many of the most ancient temples or India," says Godfrey
     Higgins in the _Anacalypsis_, "the Bull, as an object of adoration
     makes a most conspicuous figure. A gigantic image of one protrudes
     from the front of the temple of _the Great Creator_, called in the
     language of the country, Jaggernaut, in Orissa. This is the Bull of
     the Zodiac,--the emblem of the sun when the equinox took place in
     the first degree of the sign of the Zodiac, Taurus. In consequence
     of the precession of the equinoxes, the sun at the vernal equinox
     left Taurus, and took place in Aries, which it has left also for a
     great number of years, and it now takes place in Aquarius. Thus it
     keeps receding about one degree in seventy-two years, and about a
     whole _sign_ in 2,160 years. M. Dupuis has demonstrated that the
     labors of Hercules are nothing but a history of the passage of the
     sun through the signs of the zodiac; and that Hercules is the sun
     in Aries or the Ram, Bacchus the sun in Taurus or the Bull. The
     adoration of the Bull of the zodiac is to be met with everywhere
     throughout the world, in the most opposite climes. The examples of
     it are innumerable and incontrovertable; they admit of no dispute.

     "It appears from the book or history of the Exod, that it was on
     the leaving of Egypt that Moses changed the object of adoration
     from Taurus to Aries. It appears that the change took place on the
     mountain of _Sin_, or Nisi, or Bacchus, which was evidently its old
     name before Moses arrived there. The Israelites were punished for
     adhering to the old worship, that of the Calf, in opposition to the
     paschal Lamb, which Moses had substituted--'the Lamb which taketh
     away the sins of the world,'--in place of the Bull or Calf which
     took away the sins of the world.

     "The planets were in later times all called by names appropriated
     to the days of the week, which were dedicated by astrologers to the
     gods who were typified by the Bull: Monday to the horned _Isis_;
     Tuesday to Mercury, the same as Hermes and Osiris; Wednesday to
     Woden, Fo, Buddha, and Surya; Thursday or Thor-day, or _Tur_, or
     Taurus, or Bull-day, to Jove or Jupiter, who, as a Bull, stole
     Europa; Friday was dedicated to Venus, Ashteroth or beeve-horned
     Astarte; Saturday to Saturn, identified by Mr. Faber with Moloch
     and the _Centaur Cronus_ or Taschter; Sunday to the Sun, everywhere
     typified by Taurus. All these, I think, must have taken their names
     after the entrance of the Sun into Taurus; and before this date all
     history and even mythology fails us.

     "In ancient collections we often meet with a person in the prime of
     life killing a young bull. He is generally accompanied with a
     number of astrological emblems. This Bull was the mediatorial
     Mithra, slain to make atonement for, and to take away the sins of
     the world. This was the God Bull, to whom the prayers were
     addressed which we find in Bryant and Faber, and in which he is
     expressly called the Mediator. This is the Bull of Persia, which
     Sir. William Jones and Mr. Faber identify with Buddha or Mahabad.
     The sacrifice of the Bull, which taketh away the sins of the world,
     was succeeded by the sacrifice of the Agni or of Fire, by our
     Indians in, comparatively speaking, modern times; it was closely
     connected with the two principles spoken of above. While the sun
     was in Taurus, the Bull was slain as the vicarious sacrifice; when
     it got into Aries, the Ram or Lamb was substituted.

     "M. Dupuis observes, that the lamb was a symbol or mark of
     initiation into the Christian mysteries, a sort of proof of
     admission into the societies of the initiated of the lamb, like the
     private sign of the free-masons. It follows, then, that the
     mysteries of Christ are the mysteries of the Lamb, and that the
     mysteries of the Lamb are mysteries of the same nature as those of
     the Mithraitic Bull to which they succeeded by the effect of the
     precession of the equinoxes, which substituted the slain _lamb_ for
     the slain _bull_."--E.


[Illustration: Apis.][1]



THE WHITE BULL.



CHAPTER I.

HOW THE PRINCESS AMASIDIA MEETS A BULL.


The princess Amasidia, daughter of Amasis, King of Tanis in Egypt, took
a walk upon the highway of Peluaium with the ladies of her train. She
was sunk in deep melancholy. Tears gushed from her beautiful eyes. The
cause of her grief was known, as well as the fears she entertained lest
that grief should displease the king, her father. The old man, Mambres,
ancient magician and eunuch of the Pharoahs, was beside her, and seldom
left her. He was present at her birth. He had educated her, and taught
her all that a fair princess was allowed to know of the sciences of
Egypt. The mind of Amasidia equaled her beauty. Her sensibility and
tenderness rivaled the charms of her person; and it was this sensibility
which cost her so many tears.

The princess was twenty-four years old, the magician, Mambres, about
thirteen hundred. It was he, as every one knows, who had that famous
dispute with Moses, in which the victory was so long doubtful between
these two profound philosophers. If Mambres yielded, it was owing to
the visible protection of the celestial powers, who favored his rival.
It required gods to overcome Mambres!

Amasis made him superintendent of his daughter's household, and he
acquitted himself in this office with his usual prudence. His compassion
was excited by the sighs of the beautiful Amasidia.

"O, my lover!" said she to herself, "my young, my dear lover! O,
greatest of conquerors, most accomplished, most beautiful of men! Almost
seven years hast thou disappeared from the world. What God hath snatched
thee from thy tender Amasidia? Thou art not dead. The wise Egyptian
prophets confess this. But thou art dead to me. I am alone in the world.
To me it is a desert. By what extraordinary prodigy hast thou abandoned
thy throne and thy mistress?--thy throne, which was the first in the
world--however, that is a matter of small consequence; but to abandon
me, who adores thee! O, my dear Ne--"

She was going on.

"Tremble to pronounce that fatal name," said Mambres, the ancient eunuch
and magician of the Pharoahs. "You would perhaps be discovered by some
of the ladies of your court. They are all very much devoted to you, and
all fair ladies certainly make it a merit to serve the noble passions of
fair princesses. But there may be one among them indiscreet, and even
treacherous. You know that your father, although he loves you, has sworn
to put you to death, should you pronounce the terrible name always ready
to escape your lips. This law is severe; but you have not been educated
in Egyptian wisdom to be ignorant of the government of the tongue.
Remember that Hippocrates, one of our greatest gods, has always his
finger upon his mouth."

[Illustration: Silence.]

The beautiful Amasidia wept, and was silent.

As she pensively advanced toward the banks of the Nile she perceived at
a distance, under a thicket watered by the river, an old woman in a
tattered gray garment, seated on a hillock. This old woman had beside
her a she-ass, a dog, and a he-goat. Opposite to her was a serpent,
which was not like the common serpents; for its eyes were mild, its
physiognomy noble and engaging, while its skin shone with the liveliest
and brightest colors. A huge fish, half immersed in the river, was not
the least astonishing figure in the group; and on a neighboring tree
were perched a raven and a pigeon. All these creatures seemed to carry
on a very animated conversation.

[Illustration: Amasidia.--"O, my lover! my young, my dear lover! O,
greatest of conquerors, most accomplished, most beautiful of men!"]

"Alas!" said the princess in a low tone, "these animals undoubtedly
speak of their loves, and it is not so much as allowed me to mention the
name of mine."

The old woman held in her hand a slender steel chain a hundred fathoms
long, to which was fastened a bull who fed in the meadow. This bull was
white, perfectly well-made, plump, and at the same time agile, which is
a thing seldom to be found. He was indeed the most beautiful specimen
that was ever seen of his kind. Neither the bull of Pasiphæ, nor that in
whose shape Jupiter appeared when he carried off Europa, could be
compared to this noble animal. The charming young heifer into which Isis
was changed, would have scarce been worthy of his company.

As soon as the bull saw the princess he ran toward her with the
swiftness of a young Arabian horse, who pricks up his ears and flies
over the plains and rivers of the ancient Saana to approach the lovely
consort whose image reigns in his heart. The old woman used her utmost
efforts to restrain the bull. The serpent wanted to terrify him by its
hissing. The dog followed him and bit his beautiful limbs. The she-ass
crossed his way and kicked him to make him return. The great fish
remounted the Nile and, darting himself out of the water, threatened to
devour him. The he-goat remained immovable, apparently struck with fear.
The raven fluttered round his head as if it wanted to tear out his eyes.
The pigeon alone accompanied him from curiosity, and applauded him by a
sweet murmur.

So extraordinary a sight threw Mambres into serious reflections. In the
meanwhile, the white bull, dragging after him his chain and the old
woman, had already reached the princess, who was struck with
astonishment and fear. He threw himself at her feet. He kissed them. He
shed tears. He looked upon her with eyes in which there was a strange
mixture of grief and joy. He dared not to low, lest he should terrify
the beautiful Amasidia. He could not speak. A weak use of the voice,
granted by Heaven to certain animals, was denied him; but all his
actions were eloquent. The princess was delighted by him. She perceived
that a trifling amusement could suspend for some moments even the most
poignant grief.

"Here," said she, "is a most amiable animal. I could wish much to have
him in my stable."

At these words he bull bent himself on his knees and kissed the ground.

"He understands me," cried the princess. "He shows me that he wants to
be mine. Ah, heavenly magician! ah, divine eunuch! Give me this
consolation. Purchase this beautiful bovine. Settle the price with the
old woman, to whom he no doubt belongs. This animal must be mine. Do not
refuse me this innocent comfort."

All the ladies joined their requests to the entreaties of the princess.
Mambres yielded to them, and immediately went to speak to the old woman.


[1] According to Eschenburg, Apis is the name of the ox in which Osiris
was supposed to reside, rather than a distinct deity. The ox thus
honored was known by certain marks; his body was all black, excepting a
square spot of white on his forehead, and a white crescent or sort of
half-moon on his right side; on his back was the figure of an eagle;
under his tongue a sort of knot resembling a beetle (_cantharus_), and
two sorts of hair upon his tail. This ox was permitted to live
twenty-five years. His body was then embalmed, placed in a chest, and
buried with many solemnities. A season of mourning then followed, until
a new Apis, or ox properly marked, was discovered.--E.



CHAPTER II.

HOW THE WISE MAMBRES, FORMERLY MAGICIAN OF PHAROAH, KNEW AGAIN THE OLD
WOMAN, AND WAS KNOWN BY HER.


"Madam," said Mambres to her, "you know that ladies, and particularly
princesses, have need of amusement. The daughter of the king is
distractedly fond of your bull. I beg that you will sell him to us. You
shall be paid in ready money."

"Sir," answered the old woman, "this precious animal does not belong to
me. I am charged, together with all the beasts which you see, to keep
him with care, to watch all his motions, and to give an exact account of
them. God forbid that I should ever have any inclination to sell this
invaluable animal."

[Illustration: The remarkable witch of Endor.--"What, is it indeed you,"
cried Mambres, "who are so famous upon the banks of your little Jordan,
and the first person in the world for raising apparitions?"]

Mambres, upon this discourse, began to have a confused remembrance of
something which he could not yet properly distinguish. He eyed the old
woman in the gray cloak with greater attention.

"Respectable lady," said he to her, "I either mistake, or I have seen
you formerly."

"I make no mistake, sir," replied the old woman. "I have seen you seven
hundred years ago, in a journey which I made from Syria into Egypt some
months after the destruction of Troy, when Hiram the second reigned at
Tyre, and Nephel Keres in ancient Egypt."

"Ah! madam," cried the old man, "you are the remarkable witch of Endor."

"And you, sir," said the sorceress, embracing him, "are the great
Mambres of Egypt."

"O, unforeseen meeting! memorable day! eternal decrees!" said Mambres.
"It certainly is not without permission of the universal providence that
we meet again in this meadow upon the banks of the Nile near the noble
city of Tanis. What, is it indeed you," continued Mambres, "who are so
famous upon the banks of your little Jordan, and the first person in the
world for raising apparitions?"

"What, is it you, sir," replied Miss Endor, "who are so famous for
changing rods into serpents, the day into darkness, and rivers into
blood?"

"Yes, madam, but my great age has in part deprived me of my knowledge
and power. I am ignorant from whence you have this beautiful bull, and
who these animals are that, together with you, watch round him."

The old woman, recollecting herself, raised her eyes to heaven, and then
replied.

"My dear Mambres. We are of the same profession, but it is expressly
forbidden me to tell you who this bull is. I can satisfy you with regard
to the other animals. You will easily know them by the marks which
characterize them. The serpent is that which persuaded Eve to eat an
apple, and to make her husband partake of it. The ass, that which spoke
to your contemporary, Balaam, in a remarkable discourse. The fish, which
always carries its head above water, is that which swallowed Jonah a few
years ago. The dog is he who followed Raphael and the young Tobit in
their journey to Ragusa in Media, in the time of the great Salamanzar.
This goat is he who expiates all the sins of your nation. The raven and
the pigeon, those which were in the ark of Noah. Great event! universal
catastrophe! of which almost all the world is still ignorant. You are
now informed. But of the bull you can know nothing."

Mambres, having listened with respect, said:

"The Eternal, O illustrious witch! reveals and conceals what he thinks
proper. All these animals who, together with you, are entrusted with the
custody of the white bull, are only known to your generous and agreeable
nation, which is itself unknown to almost all the world. The miracles
which you and yours, I and mine, have performed, shall one day be a
great subject of doubt and scandal to inquisitive philosophers. But
happily these miracles shall find belief with the devout sages, who
shall prove submissive to the enlightened in one corner of the world;
and this is all that is necessary."

As he spoke these words, the princess pulled him by the sleeve, and said
to him,--

"Mambres, will you not buy my bull?"

The magician, plunged into a deep reverie, made no reply, and Amasidia
poured forth her tears.

She then addressed herself to the old woman.

"My good woman," said she, "I conjure you, by all you hold most dear in
the world, by your father, by your mother, by your nurse, who are
certainly still alive, to sell me not only your bull, but likewise your
pigeon, which seems very much attached to him.

"As for the other animals, I do not want them; but I shall catch the
vapors if you do not sell me this charming bull, who will be all the
happiness of my life."

The old woman respectfully kissed the fringe of her gauze robe, and
replied,--

"Princess, my bull is not to be sold. Your illustrious magician is
acquainted with this. All that I can do for your service is, to permit
him to feed every day near your palace. You may caress him, give him
biscuits, and make him dance about at your pleasure; but he must always
be under the eyes of all these animals who accompany me, and who are
charged with the keeping of him. If he does not endeavor to escape from
them, they will prove peaceable; but if he attempt once more to break
his chain, as he did upon seeing you, woe be unto him. I would not then
answer for his life. This large fish, which you see, will certainly
swallow him, and keep him longer than _three_ days in his belly; or this
serpent, who appears to you so mild, will give him a mortal sting."

The white bull, who understood perfectly the old woman's conversation,
but was unable to speak, humbly accepted all the proposals. He laid
himself down at her feet; he lowed softly, and, looking tenderly at
Amasidia, seemed to say to her,

"Come and see me sometimes upon the lawn."

The serpent now took up the conversation:

"Princess," said he, "I advise you to act implicitly, as mademoiselle of
Endor has told you."

The she-ass likewise put in her word, and was of the opinion of the
serpent.

Amasidia was afflicted that this serpent and this ass should speak so
well; while a beautiful bull, who had such noble and tender sentiments,
was unable to express them.

"Alas," said she, in a low voice, "nothing is more common at court. One
sees there every day fine lords who cannot converse, and contemptible
wretches who speak with assurance."

"This serpent," said Mambres, "is not a contemptible wretch. He is
perhaps the personage of the greatest importance."

The day now declined, and the princess was obliged to return home, after
having promised to come back next day at the same hour. Her ladies of
the palace were astonished, and understood nothing of what they had seen
or heard. Mambres made reflections. The princess recollecting that the
serpent called the old woman Miss, concluded at random that she was
still unmarried, and felt some affliction that such was also her own
condition. Respectable affliction! which she concealed, however, with as
much care as the name of her lover.



CHAPTER III.

HOW THE BEAUTIFUL AMASIDIA HAD A SECRET CONVERSATION WITH A BEAUTIFUL
SERPENT.


The beautiful princess recommended secrecy to her ladies with regard to
what they had seen. They all promised it, and kept their promise for a
whole day.

We may believe that Amasidia slept little that night. An inexplicable
charm continually recalled the idea of her beautiful bull. As soon,
therefore, as she was at freedom with her wise Mambres, she said to him:

"O, sage! this animal turns my head."

"He employs mine very much," said Mambres. "I see plainly that this
bovine is very much superior to those of his species. I see that there
is a great mystery, and I suspect a fatal event. Your father Amasis is
suspicious and violent; and this affair requires that you conduct
yourself with the greatest precaution."

"Ah!" said the princess, "I have too much curiosity to be prudent. It is
the only sentiment which can unite in my heart with that which preys
upon me on account of the lover I have lost. Can I not know who this
white bull is that gives me such strange disquiet?"

Mambres replied,--

"I have already confessed to you, frankly, that my knowledge declines in
proportion as my age advances; but I mistake much if the serpent is not
informed of what you are so very desirous of knowing. He does not want
sense. He expresses himself with propriety. He has been long accustomed
to interfere in the affairs of the ladies."

"Ah! undoubtedly," said Amasidia, "this is the beautiful serpent of
Egypt, who, by fixing his tail into his mouth, becomes the emblem of
eternity; who enlightens the world when he opens his eyes, and darkens
it when he shuts them?"

"No, Miss."

"It is then the serpent of Æsculapius?"

"Still less."

"It is perhaps Jupiter under the figure of a serpent?"

"Not at all."

"Ah, now I see, I see. It is the rod which you formerly changed into a
serpent?"

"No, indeed, it is not; but all these serpents are of the same family.
This one has a very high character in his own country. He passes there
for the most extraordinary serpent that was ever seen. Address yourself
to him. However, I warn you it is a dangerous undertaking. Were I in
your place, I would hardly trouble myself either with the bull, the
she-ass, the he-goat, the serpent, the fish, the raven, or the pigeon.
But passion hurries you on; and all I can do is to pity you, and
tremble."

The princess conjured him to procure her a tête-à-tête with the serpent.
Mambres, who was obliging, consented, and making profound reflections,
he went and communicated to the witch in so insinuating a manner the
whim of the princess, that the old woman told him Amasidia might lay her
commands upon her; that the serpent was perfectly well bred, and so
polite to the ladies, that he wished for nothing more than to oblige
them, and would not fail to keep the princess's appointment.

The ancient magician returned to inform the princess of this good news;
but he still dreaded some misfortune, and made reflections.

"You desire to speak with the serpent, mademoiselle. This you may
accomplish whenever your highness thinks proper. But remember you must
flatter him; for every animal has a great deal of self-love, and the
serpent in particular. It is said he was formerly driven out of heaven
for excessive pride."

"I have never heard of it," replied the princess.

"I believe it," said the old man.

He then informed her of all the reports which had been spread about this
famous serpent.

"But, my dear princess, whatever singular adventures may have happened
to him, you never can extort these secrets from him but by flattery.
Having formerly deceived women, it is equitable that a woman in her turn
should deceive him."

"I will do my utmost," said the princess; and departed with her maids of
honor. The old woman was feeding the bull at a considerable distance.

Mambres left Amasidia to herself, and went and discoursed with the
witch. One lady of honor chatted with the she-ass, the others amused
themselves with the goat, the dog, the raven, and the pigeon. As for the
large fish that frightened every body, he plunged himself into the Nile
by order of the old woman.

The serpent then attended the beautiful Amasidia into the grove, where
they had the following conversation.

SERPENT.--You cannot imagine, mademoiselle, how much I am flattered with
the honor which your highness deigns to confer upon me.

PRINCESS.--Your great reputation, sir, the beauty of your countenance,
and the brilliancy of your eyes, have emboldened me to seek for this
conversation. I know by public report (if it be not false) that you were
formerly a very great lord in the empyrean heaven.

SERPENT.--It is true, miss, I had there a very distinguished place. It
is pretended I am a disgraced favorite. This is a report which once went
abroad in India. The Brahmins were the first who gave a history of my
adventures. And I doubt not but one day or other the poets of the north
will make them the subject of an extravagant epic poem;[1] for in truth
it is all that can be made of them. Yet I am not so much fallen, but
that I have left in this globe a very extensive dominion. I might
venture to assert that the whole earth belongs to me.

PRINCESS.--I believe it; for they tell me that your powers of persuasion
are irresistible, and to please is to reign.

SERPENT.--I feel, mademoiselle, while I behold and listen to you, that
you have over me the same power which you ascribe to me over so many
others.

PRINCESS.--You are, I believe, an amiable conqueror. It is said that
your conquests among the fair sex have been numerous, and that you began
with our common mother, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten.

SERPENT.--They do me injustice. She honored me with her confidence, and
I gave her the best advice. I desired that she and her husband should
eat heartily of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. I imagined in doing
this that I should please the ruler of all things. It seemed to me that
a tree so necessary to the human race was not planted to be entirely
useless. Would the supreme being have wished to have been served by
fools and idiots? Is not the mind formed for the acquisition of
knowledge and for improvement? Is not the knowledge of good and evil
necessary for doing the one and avoiding the other? I certainly merited
their thanks.

PRINCESS.--Yet, they tell me that you have suffered for it. Probably it
is since this period that so many ministers have been punished for
giving good advice, and so many real philosophers and men of genius
persecuted for their writings that were useful to mankind.

SERPENT.--It is my enemies who have told you these stories. They say
that I am out of favor at court. But a proof that my influence there has
not declined, is their own confession that I entered into the council
when it was in agitation to try the good man Job; and I was again called
upon when the resolution was taken to deceive a certain petty king
called Ahab. I alone was charged with this honorable commission.

PRINCESS.--Ah, sir! I do not believe that you are formed to deceive. But
since you are always in the ministry, may I beg a favor of you? I hope
so amiable a lord will not deny me.

SERPENT.--Mademoiselle, your requests are laws; name your commands.

PRINCESS.--I intreat that you will tell me who this white bull is, for
whom I feel such extraordinary sentiments, which both affect and alarm
me. I am told that you would deign to inform me.

SERPENT.--Curiosity is necessary to human nature, and especially to your
amiable sex. Without it they would live in the most shameful ignorance.
I have always satisfied, as far as lay in my power, the curiosity of the
ladies. I am accused indeed of using this complaisance only to vex the
ruler of the world. I swear to you, that I could propose nothing more
agreeable to myself than to obey you; but the old woman must have
informed you that the revealing of this secret will be attended with
some danger to you.

PRINCESS.--Ah! it is that which makes me still more curious.

SERPENT.--In this I discover the sex to whom I have formerly done
service.

PRINCESS.--If you possess any feeling; if rational beings should
mutually assist each other; if you have compassion for an unfortunate
creature, do not refuse my request.

SERPENT.--You affect me. I must satisfy you; but do not interrupt me.

PRINCESS.--I promise you I will not.

SERPENT.--There was a young king, beautiful, charming, in love,
beloved--

PRINCESS.--A young king! beautiful, charming, in love, beloved! And by
whom? And who was this king? How old was he? What has become of him?
Where is his kingdom? What is his name?

SERPENT.--See, I have scarce begun, and you have already interrupted me.
Take care. If you have not more command over yourself, you are undone.

PRINCESS.--Ah, pardon me, sir. I will not repeat my indiscretion. Go on,
I beseech you.

SERPENT.--This great king, the most valiant of men, victorious wherever
he carried his arms, often dreamed when asleep, and forgot his dreams
when awake. He wanted his magicians to remember and inform him what he
had dreamed, otherwise he declared he would hang them; for that nothing
was more equitable. It is now near seven years since he dreamed a fine
dream, which he entirely forgot when he awoke; and a young Jew, full of
experience, having revealed it to him, this amiable king was immediately
changed into an ox for--

PRINCESS.--Ah! it is my dear Neb----

She could not finish, she fainted away. Mambres, who listened at a
distance, saw her fall, and believed her dead.

[Illustration: Serpent.]

[1] A prophetic reference by the serpent to Milton's _Paradise
Lost_.--E.

[Illustration: Nebuchadnezzar.--Nebuchadnezzar, transformed into a white
bull, is recognized by Amasidia.]



CHAPTER IV.

HOW THEY WANTED TO SACRIFICE THE BULL, AND EXORCISE THE PRINCESS.


Mambres runs to her weeping. The serpent is affected. He, alas, cannot
weep; but he hisses in a mournful tone. He cries out, "She is dead." The
ass repeats, "She is dead." The raven tells it over again. All the other
animals appeared afflicted, except the fish of Jonah, which has always
been merciless. The lady of honor, the ladies of the court, arrive and
tear their hair. The white bull, who fed at a distance and heard their
cries, ran to the grove dragging the old woman after him, while his loud
bellowings made the neighboring echoes resound. To no purpose did the
ladies pour upon the expiring Amasidia their bottles of rose-water, of
pink, of myrtle, of benzoin, of balm of Gilead, of amomum, of
gilly-flower, of nutmeg, of ambergris. She had not as yet given the
smallest signs of life. But as soon as she perceived that the beautiful
white bull was beside her, she came to herself, more blooming, more
beautiful and lively than ever. A thousand times did she kiss this
charming animal, who languishingly leaned his head on her snowy bosom.
She called him, "My master, my king, my dear, my life!" She throws her
fair arms around his neck, which was whiter than the snow. The light
straw does not adhere more closely to the amber, the vine to the elm,
nor the ivy to the oak. The sweet murmur of her sighs was heard. Her
eyes were seen, now sparkling with a tender flame, and now obscured by
those precious tears which love makes us shed.

We may easily judge into what astonishment the lady of honor and ladies
of her train were thrown. As soon as they entered the palace, they
related to their lovers this extraordinary adventure, and every one with
different circumstances, which increased its singularity, and which
always contributes to the variety of all histories.

No sooner was Amasis, king of Tanis, informed of these events, than his
royal breast was inflamed with just indignation. Such was the wrath of
Minos, when he understood that his daughter Pasiphæ lavished her tender
favors upon the father of the Minotaur. Thus raged Juno, when she beheld
Jupiter caressing the beautiful cow Io, daughter of the river Inachus.
Following the dictates of passion, the stern Amasis imprisoned his
unhappy daughter, the beautiful Amasidia, in her chamber and placed over
her a guard of black eunuchs. He then assembled his privy council.

The grand magician presided there, but had no longer the same influence
as formerly. All the ministers of state concluded that this white bull
was a sorcerer. It was quite the contrary. He was bewitched. But in
delicate affairs they are always mistaken at court.

It was carried by a great majority that the princess should be
exorcised, and the old woman and the bull sacrificed.

The wise Mambres contradicted not the opinion of the king and council.
The right of exorcising belonged to him. He could delay it under some
plausible pretence. The god Apis had lately died at Memphis. A god ox
dies just like another ox. And it was not allowed to exorcise any person
in Egypt until a new ox was found to replace the deceased.

It was decreed in the council to wait until the nomination should be
made of a new god at Memphis.

The good old man, Mambres, perceived to what danger his dear princess
was exposed. He knew who her lover was. The syllables NEBU----, which
had escaped her, laid open the whole mystery to the eyes of this sage.

The dynasty of Memphis belonged at that time to the Babylonians. They
preserved this remainder of the conquests they had gained under the
greatest king of the world, to whom Amasis was a mortal enemy. Mambres
had occasion for all his wisdom to conduct himself properly in the midst
of so many difficulties. If the king Amasis should discover the lover of
his daughter, her death would be inevitable. He had sworn it. The great,
the young, the beautiful king of whom she was enamored, had dethroned
the king her father, and Amasis had only recovered his kingdom about
seven years. From that time it was not known what had become of the
adorable monarch--the conqueror and idol of the nations--the tender and
generous lover of the charming Amasidia. Sacrificing the white bull
would eventually occasion the death of the beautiful princess.

[Illustration: Lot and his wayward daughters leaving Sodom.--From a
celebrated picture in S. Marks, Florence, by Domenico Cresti, named il
Passigiano.]



     DESTRUCTION OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH.

     A STRANGE METAMORPHOSIS.


     In the preceding engraving the artist has pictured the "Cities of
     the Plain" in flames, ignited by a shower of "fire and brimstone
     out of heaven." Warned by an angel, Lot and his family are fleeing
     from the conflagration. The madame has, however, unfortunately
     changed her mind, and is seen returning toward the doomed locality.
     She dearly loves her home, and braves danger--even death--in its
     protection. Her husband and her children heartlessly forsake her.
     Lot does not look like the coward he is represented to have been,
     who basely offered to surrender his daughters to the horrible abuse
     of a Sodomite mob; and the daughters--innocent and beautiful--seem
     incapable of the depravity with which they are charged in the
     nineteenth chapter of Genesis.

     The comical statement that Madame Lot was transformed into "a
     pillar of salt" for merely _looking back_ toward her old home in
     Sodom, rests on bible authority, and is believed by all the world
     excepting intelligent clergymen, scientists, philosophers and
     reasonable people.

     The assertion of Mambres, (page 15), that this estimable "pillar"
     has become "very sharp tasted," rests on the authority of certain
     eastern travelers who claim to have examined and tasted the saline
     remains of this unfortunate female. But as this last claim is based
     on a French romance and not on Hebrew revelation, readers may be
     pardoned for receiving it with the greatest caution. Indeed, all
     that is absolutely necessary for even the orthodox to believe is
     that, "once upon a time," a Sodomite matron was chemically changed
     into pure chloride of sodium, and not that said sodium still
     retains its sharp and acrid flavor.--E.

What could Mambres do in such critical circumstances? He went, after the
council had broken up, to find his dear foster daughter.

"My dear child," he says, "I will serve you; but I repeat it, they will
behead you if ever you pronounce the name of your lover."

"Ah! what signifies my neck," replied the beautiful Amasidia, "if I
cannot embrace that of Nebu--? My father is a cruel man. He not only
refuses to give me a charming prince whom I adore, but he declares war
against him; and after he was conquered by my lover, he has found the
secret of changing him into an ox. Did one ever see more frightful
malice? If my father were not my father, I do not know what I should do
to him."

"It was not your father who played him this cruel trick," said the wise
Mambres. "It was a native of Palestine, one of our ancient enemies, an
inhabitant of a little country comprehended in that crowd of kingdoms
which your lover subdued in order to polish and refine them.

"Such metamorphoses must not surprise you. You know that formerly I
performed more extraordinary. Nothing was at that time more common than
those changes which at present astonish philosophers. True history,
which we have read together, informs us that Lycaon, king of Arcadia,
was changed into a wolf; the beautiful Calista, his daughter, into a
bear; Io, the daughter of Inachus, our venerable Isis, into a cow;
Daphne into a laurel; Sirinx into a flute; the fair Edith, wife of
Lot--the best and most affectionate husband and father ever known in the
world--has she not become, in our neighborhood, a pillar of salt, very
sharp tasted, which has preserved both her likeness and form, as the
great men attest who have seen it? I was witness to this change in my
youth. I saw seven powerful cities in the most dry and parched situation
in the world, all at once transformed into a beautiful lake. In the
early part of my life, the whole world was full of metamorphoses.

"In fine, madam, if examples can soothe your grief, remember that Venus
changed Cerastes into an ox."

"I do not know," said the princess, "that examples comfort us. If my
lover were dead, could I comfort myself by the idea that all men die?"

"Your pain may at least be alleviated," replied the sage; "and since
your lover has become an ox, it is possible from an ox he may become a
man. As for me, I should deserve to be changed into a tiger or a
crocodile, if I did not employ the little power I have in the service of
a princess worthy of the adoration of the world,--if I did not labor for
the beautiful Amasidia, whom I have nursed upon my knees, and whom fatal
destiny exposes to such rude trials."



CHAPTER V.

HOW THE WISE MAMBRES CONDUCTED HIMSELF WISELY.


The sage Mambres having said every thing he could to comfort the
princess, but without succeeding in so doing, ran to the old woman.

"My companion," said he to her, "ours is a charming profession, but a
very dangerous one. You run the risk of being hanged, and your ox of
being burned, drowned or devoured, I don't know what they will do with
your other animals; for, prophet as I am, I know very little; but do you
carefully conceal the serpent, and the fish. Let not the one show his
head above water, nor the other venture out of his hole. I will place
the ox in one of my stables in the country. You shall be there with him,
since you say that you are not allowed to abandon him. The good
scape-goat may upon this occasion serve as an expiation. We will send
him into the desert loaded with the sins of all the rest. He is
accustomed to this ceremony, which does him no harm; and every one knows
that sin is expiated by means of a he-goat, who walks about for his own
amusement. I only beg of you to lend me immediately Tobit's dog, who is
a very swift greyhound; Balaam's ass, who runs better than a dromedary;
the raven and the pigeon of the ark, who fly with amazing swiftness. I
want to send them on an embassy to Memphis. It is an affair of great
consequence."

The old woman replied to the magician:

"You may dispose as you please of Tobit's dog,[1] of Balaam's ass, of
the raven and the pigeon of the ark, and of the scape-goat; but my ox
cannot enter into a stable. It is said, Daniel, v:21,--That he must be
always made fast to an iron chain, be always wet with the dew of heaven,
and eat the grass of the field, and his portion be with the wild beasts.

"He is entrusted to me, and I must obey. What would Daniel, Ezekiel, and
Jeremiah, think of me, if I trusted my ox to any other than to myself? I
see you know the secret of this extraordinary animal, but I have not to
reproach myself with having revealed it to you. I am going to conduct
him far from this polluted land, toward the lake Sirbon, where he will
be sheltered from the cruelties of the king of Tanis. My fish and my
serpent will defend me. I fear nobody when I serve my master."

"My good woman," answered the wise Mambres, "let the will of God be
done! Provided I can find your white bull again, the lake Sirbon, the
lake Maris, or the lake of Sodom, are to me perfectly indifferent. I
want to do nothing but good to him and to you. But why have you spoken
to me of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah?"

"Ah! sir," answered the old woman, "you know as well as I what concern
they have in this important affair. But I have no time to lose. I don't
desire to be hanged. I want not that my bull should be burned, drowned,
or devoured. I go to the lake Sirbon by Canopus, with my serpent and my
fish. Adieu."

The bull followed her pensively, after having testified his gratitude to
the beneficent Mambres.

The wise Mambres was greatly troubled. He saw that Amasis, king of
Tanis, distracted by the strange passion of his daughter for this
animal, and believing her bewitched, would pursue everywhere the
unfortunate bull, who would infallibly be burned as a sorcerer in the
public place of Tanis, or given to the fish of Jonah, or be roasted and
served up for food. Mambres wanted at all events to save the princess
from this cruel disaster.

He wrote a letter in sacred characters, to his friend, the high priest
of Memphis, upon the paper of Egypt, which was not yet in use. Here are
the identical words of this letter:

     "Light of the world, lieutenant of Isis, Osiris, and Horus, chief
     of the circumcised, you whose altar is justly raised above all
     thrones! I am informed that your god, the ox Apis, is dead. I have
     one at your service. Come quickly with your priests to acknowledge,
     to worship him, and to conduct him into the stable of your temple.
     May Isis, Osiris, and Horus, keep you in their holy and worthy
     protection, and likewise the priests of Memphis in their holy care.

                                   Your affectionate friend,
                                                   Mambres."


He made four copies of this letter for fear of accidents, and enclosed
them in cases of the hardest ebony. Then calling to him his four
couriers, whom he had destined for this employment, (these were the ass,
the dog, the raven, and the pigeon,) he said to the ass:

"I know with what fidelity you served Balaam my brother. Serve me as
faithfully. There is not an unicorn who equals you in swiftness. Go, my
dear friend, and deliver this letter to the person himself to whom it is
directed, and return."

The ass answered:

"Sir, as I served Balaam, I will serve you. I will go, and I will
return."

The sage put the box of ebony into her mouth, and she swiftly departed.
He then called Tobit's dog.

"Faithful dog," said Mambres, "more speedy in thy course than the
nimble-footed Achilles, I know what you performed for Tobit, son of
Tobit, when you and the angel Raphael accompanied him from Nineveh to
Ragusa in Medea, and from Ragusa to Nineveh, and that he brought back to
his father ten talents, which the slave Tobit, the father, had lent to
the slave Gabellus; for the slaves at that time were very rich. Carry
this letter as it is directed. It is much more valuable than ten talents
of silver."

The dog then replied:

"Sir, if I formerly followed the messenger Raphael, I can with equal
ease execute your commission."

Mambres put the letter into his mouth.

He next spoke in the same manner to the pigeon, who replied.

"Sir, if I brought back a bough into the ark, I will likewise bring you
back an answer."

She took the letter in her bill, and the three messengers were out of
sight in a moment. Then Mambres addressed the raven,

"I know that you fed the great prophet Elijah, when he was concealed
near the torrent of Cherith, so much celebrated in the world. You
brought him every day good bread and fat pullets. I only ask of you to
carry this letter to Memphis."

The raven answered in these words:

"It is true, sir, that I carried every day a dinner to the great prophet
Elijah the Tishbite. I saw him mount in a chariot of fire drawn by fiery
horses, although this is not the usual method of traveling. But I always
took care to eat half the dinner myself. I am very well pleased to carry
your letter, provided you make me certain of two good meals every day,
and that I am paid money in advance for my commission."

Mambres, angry, replied:

"Gluttonous and malicious creature, I am not astonished that Apollo has
made you black as a mole, after being white as a swan, as you was
formerly before you betrayed in the plains of Thessaly the beautiful
Coronis, the unfortunate mother of Æsculapius. Tell me, did you eat ribs
of beef and pullets every day when you was ten whole months in the ark?"

"Sir," said the raven, "we had there very good cheer. They served up
roast meat twice a day to all the fowls of my species who live upon
nothing but flesh, such as the vultures, kites, eagles, buzzards,
sparrow-hawks, owls, tarsels, falcons, great owls, and an innumerable
crowd of birds of prey. They furnished, with the most plentiful
profusion, the tables of the lions, leopards, tigers, panthers, hyænas,
wolves, bears, foxes, polecats, and all sorts of carnivorous quadrupeds.
There were in the ark eight persons of distinction, (and the only ones
who were then in the world,) continually employed in the care of our
table and our wardrobe; Noah and his wife, who were about six hundred
years old, their three sons and their three wives. It was charming to
see with what care, what dexterity, what cleanliness, our eight
domestics served four thousand of the most ravenous guests, without
reckoning the amazing trouble which about ten or twelve thousand other
animals required, from the elephant and the giraffe, to the silk-worm
and fly. What astonishes me is, that our purveyor Noah is unknown to all
the nations of whom he is the stem, but I don't much mind it. I had
already been present at a similar entertainment with Xesustres king of
Thrace. Such things as these happen from time to time for the
instruction of ravens. In a word, I want to have good cheer, and to be
paid in ready money."

The wise Mambres took care not to give his letter to such a discontented
and babbling animal; and they separated very much dissatisfied with each
other.

But it is necessary to know what became of the white bull, and not to
lose sight of the old woman and the serpent. Mambres ordered his
intelligent and faithful domestics to follow them; and as for himself,
he advanced in a litter by the side of the Nile, always making
reflections.

[Illustration: Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah.--"A boatman singing a
jovial song, made fast a small boat by the side of the river, and three
grave personages, half clothed in dirty, tattered garments, landed from
it; but preserved, under the garb of poverty the most majestic and
august air. These strangers were Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah."]

"How is it possible," said he to himself, "that a serpent should be
master of almost all the world, as he boasts, and as so many learned men
acknowledge, and that he nevertheless obeys an old woman? How is it,
that he is sometimes called to the council of the Most High, while he
creeps upon earth? In what manner can he enter by his power alone into
the bodies of men, and that so many men pretend to dislodge him by means
of words? In short, why does he pass with a small neighboring people,
for having ruined the human race? And how is it that the human race are
entirely ignorant of this? I am old, I have studied all my life, but I
see a crowd of inconsistencies which I cannot reconcile. I cannot
account for what has happened to myself, neither for the great things
which I long ago performed, nor those of which I have been witness.
Every thing well considered, I begin to think that this world subsists
by contradictions, _rerum concordia discors_, as my master Zoroaster
formerly said."

While he was plunged in this obscure metaphysical reasoning,--obscure
like all metaphysics,--a boatman singing a jovial song, made fast a
small boat by the side of the river, and three grave personages, half
clothed in dirty tattered garments, landed from it; but preserved, under
the garb of poverty, the most majestic and august air. These strangers
were Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah.


[1] "Histories," says Pope, in his _Poetical Works_, vol. 4, p. 245,
"are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends, but:
I will only say for the honor of dogs, that the two most ancient and
estimable books, sacred and profane, extant, viz. the Scripture and
Homer, have shown a particular regard to these animals. That of Tobit is
the most remarkable, because there seemed no manner of reason to take
notice of the dog, besides the great humanity of the author. ['And the
dog went after them,' _Tobit_, xi: 4.] Homer's account of Ulysses's dog,
Argus, is the most pathetic imaginable, all the circumstances
considered, and an excellent proof of the old bard's good nature....
Plutarch, relating how the Athenians were obliged to abandon Athens in
the time of Themistocles, steps back again out of the way of his
history, purely to describe the lamentable cries and howlings of the
poor dogs they left behind. He makes mention of one that followed his
master across the sea to Salamis, where he died, and was honored with a
tomb by the Athenians, who gave the name of the Dog's Grave to that part
of the island where he was buried. This respect to a dog, in the most
polite people of the world, is very observable. A modern instance of
gratitude to a dog is, that the chief order of Denmark, (now injuriously
called the order of the elephant), was instituted in memory of the
fidelity of a dog, named Wildbrat, to one of their kings who had been
deserted by his subjects. He gave his order this motto, or to this
effect, (which still remains), 'Wildbrat was faithful.' Sir William
Trumbull has told me a story, which he heard from one that was present.
King Charles I. being with some of his Court, during his troubles, a
discourse arose what sort of dogs deserved pre-eminence, and it being on
all hands agreed to belong either to the spaniel or greyhound, the King
gave his opinion on the part of the greyhound, because (said he) it has
all the good-nature of the other without the fawning."

This satire upon fawning would no doubt have been as applicable to the
court of king Amasis as to that of Charles I., for fawning has ever been
the besetting sin of dogs and courtiers.

It is indeed a grand testimonial to the value of the greyhound, that his
fleetness and fidelity were appreciated by Mambres, the great Egyptian
magician, five thousand years before they were endorsed by the
unfortunate English king. Miss Endor, Homer, Ulysses, Mambres, Tobit,
Plutarch, the polite Athenians, Charles I., and Alexander Pope are
certainly as respectable a list of references as the most aristocratic
greyhound could desire.--E.



CHAPTER VI.

HOW MAMBRES MET THREE PROPHETS, AND GAVE THEM A GOOD DINNER.


These three great men who had the prophetic light in their countenance,
knew the wise Mambres to be one of their brethren, by some marks of the
same light which he had still remaining, and prostrated themselves
before his litter. Mambres likewise knew them to be prophets, more by
their uncouth dress, than by those gleams of fire which proceeded from
their august heads. He conjectured that they came to learn news of the
white bull; and conducting himself with his usual propriety, he alighted
from his carriage and advanced a few steps toward them, with dignified
politeness. He raised them up, caused tents to be erected, and prepared
a dinner, of which he rightly judged that the prophets had very great
need.

He invited the old woman to it, who was only about five hundred paces
from them. She accepted the invitation, and arrived leading her white
bull.

Two soups were served up, one _de Bisque_, and the other _a la Reine_.
The first course consisted of a carp's tongue pie, livers of eel-pouts,
and pikes; fowls dressed with pistachios, pigeons with truffles and
olives; two young turkeys with gravy of cray fish, mushrooms, and
morels; and a chipotata. The second course was composed of pheasants,
partridges, quails, and ortalons, with four salads; the epergne was in
the highest taste; nothing could be more delicious than the side dishes,
nothing more brilliant and more ingenious than the dessert. But the wise
Mambres took great care to have no boiled beef, nor short ribs, nor
tongue, nor palate of an ox, nor cows' udder, lest the unfortunate
monarch near at hand should think that they insulted him.

This great and unfortunate prince was feeding near the tent; and never
did he feel in a more cruel manner the fatal revolution which had
deprived him of his throne for seven long years.

"Alas!" said he, to himself, "this Daniel who has changed me into a
bull, and this sorceress my keeper, make the best cheer in the world;
while I, the sovereign of Asia, am reduced to the necessity of eating
grass, and drinking water."

When they had drank heartily of the wine of Engaddi, of Tadmor, and of
Sebiras, the prophets and the witch conversed with more frankness than
at the first course.

"I must acknowledge," said Daniel, "that I did not live so well in the
lion's den."

"What, sir," said Mambres, "did they put you into a den of lions? How
came you not to be devoured?"

"Sir," said Daniel, "you know very well that lions never eat prophets."

"As for me," said Jeremiah, "I have passed my whole life starving of
hunger. This is the only day I ever ate a good meal; and were I to spend
my life over again, and had it in my power to choose my condition, I
must own I would much rather be comptroller-general or bishop of
Babylon, than prophet at Jerusalem."

Ezekiel cried, "I was once ordered to sleep three hundred and ninety
days upon my left side, and to eat all that time bread of wheat, and
barley, and beans, and lentiles, cooked in the strangest manner. Still I
must own that the cookery of Seigneur Mambres is much more delicate.
However, the prophetic trade has its advantages, and the proof is, that
there are many who follow it."

After they had spoken thus freely, Mambres entered upon business. He
asked the three pilgrims the reason of their journey into the dominions
of the king of Tanis. Daniel replied, "That the kingdom of Babylon had
been all in a flame since Nebuchadnezzar had disappeared: that according
to the custom of the court, they had persecuted all the prophets, who
passed their lives in sometimes seeing kings humbled at their feet, and
sometimes receiving a hundred lashes from them; that at length they had
been obliged to take refuge in Egypt for fear of being starved."

Ezekiel and Jeremiah likewise spoke a long time in such fine terms, that
it was almost impossible to understand them. As for the witch, she had
always a strict eye over her charge. The fish of Jonah continued in the
Nile, opposite to the tent, and the serpent sported upon the grass.
After drinking coffee, they took a walk by the side of the Nile; and the
white bull, perceiving the three prophets, his enemies, bellowed most
dreadfully, ran furiously at them, and gored them with his horns. As
prophets never have anything but skin upon their bones, he would
certainly have run them through; but the ruler of the world, who sees
all and remedies all, changed them immediately into magpies; and they
continued to chatter as before. The same thing happened since to the
Pierides;[1] so much has fable always imitated sacred history.

This incident caused new reflections in the mind of Mambres.

"Here," said he, "are three great prophets changed into magpies. This
ought to teach us never to speak too much, and always to observe a
suitable discretion."

He concluded that wisdom was better than eloquence, and thought
profoundly as usual; when a great and terrible spectacle presented
itself to his eyes.


[1] The nine daughters of Pierus, king of Emathia, were called Pierides.
They entered into a contest with the Muses, and being conquered were
metamorphosed into birds.--E.



CHAPTER VII.

HOW KING AMASIS WANTED TO GIVE THE WHITE BULL TO BE DEVOURED BY THE FISH
OF JONAH, AND DID NOT DO IT.


Clouds of dust floated from south to north. The noise of drums, fifes,
psalteries, harps, and sackbuts was heard. Several squadrons and
battalions advanced, and Amasis, king of Tanis, was at their head upon
an Arabian horse caparisoned with scarlet trappings embroidered with
gold. The heralds proclaimed that they should seize the white bull, bind
him, and throw him into the Nile, to be devoured by the fish of Jonah;
"for the king our lord, who is just, wants to revenge himself upon the
white bull, who has bewitched his daughter."

The good old man Mambres made more reflections than ever. He saw very
plainly that the malicious raven had told all to the king, and that the
princess ran a great risk of being beheaded.

"My dear friend," said he to the serpent, "go quickly and comfort the
fair Amasidia, my foster daughter. Bid her fear nothing whatever may
happen, and tell her stories to alleviate her inquietude; for stories
always amuse the ladies, and it is only by interesting them that one can
succeed in the world."

Mambres next prostrated himself before Amasis, king of Tanis, and thus
addressed him:

"O king, live for ever! The white bull should certainly be sacrificed,
for your majesty is always in the right, but the ruler of the world has
said, this bull must not be swallowed up by the fish of Jonah till
Memphis shall have found a god to supply the place of him who is dead.
Then thou shalt be revenged, and thy daughter exorcised, for she is
possessed. Your piety is too great not to obey the commands of the ruler
of the universe."

Amasis, king of Tanis, remained for some time silent and in deep
thought.

"The god Apis," said he, at length, "is dead! God rest his soul! When do
you think another ox will be found to reign over the fruitful Egypt?"

"Sire," replied Mambres, "I ask but eight days."

"I grant them to you," replied the king, who was very religious, "and I
will remain here the eight days. At the expiration of that time I will
sacrifice the enemy of my daughter."

Amasis immediately ordered that his tents, cooks, and musicians should
be brought, and remained here eight days, as it is related in Manethon.

The old woman was in despair that the bull she had in charge had but
eight days to live. She raised phantoms every night, in order to
dissuade the king from his cruel resolution; but Amasis forgot in the
morning the phantoms he had seen in the night; similar to
Nebuchadnezzar, who had always forgotten his dreams.



CHAPTER VIII.

HOW THE SERPENT TOLD STORIES TO THE PRINCESS TO COMFORT HER.


Meanwhile the serpent told stories to the fair Amasidia to soothe her.
He related to her how he had formerly cured a whole nation of the bite
of certain little serpents, only by showing himself at the end of a
staff. (_Num. xx:9._) He informed her of the conquests of a hero who
made a charming contrast with Amphion, architect of Thebes. Amphion
assembled hewn stones by the sound of his violin. To build a city he had
only to play a rigadoon and a minuet; but the other hero destroyed them
by the sound of rams' horns. He executed thirty-one powerful kings in a
country of four leagues in length and four in breadth. He made stones
rain down from heaven upon a battalion of routed Amorites; and having
thus exterminated them, he stopped the sun and moon at noon-day between
Gibeon and Ajalon, in the road to Beth-horon, to exterminate them still
more, after the example of Bacchus, who had stopped the sun and the moon
in his journey to the Indies.

The prudence which every serpent ought to have, did not allow him to
tell the fair Amasidia of the powerful Jephthah, who made a vow and
beheaded his daughter, because he had gained a battle. This would have
struck terror into the mind of the fair princess. But he related to her
the adventures of the great Sampson, who killed a thousand Philistines
with the jaw-bone of an ass, who tied together three hundred foxes by
the tail, and who fell into the snares of a lady, less beautiful, less
tender, and less faithful than the charming Amasidia.

He related to her the story of the unfortunate Sechem and Dinah, as well
as the more celebrated adventures of Ruth and Boaz; those of Judah and
Tamar; those even of Lot's two daughters; those of Abraham and Jacob's
servant maids; those of Reuben and Bilhah; those of David and
Bath-sheba; and those of the great king Solomon. In short, every thing
which could dissipate the grief of a fair princess.



CHAPTER IX.

HOW THE SERPENT DID NOT COMFORT THE PRINCESS.


"All these stories tire me," said Amasidia, for she had understanding
and taste. "They are good for nothing but to be commented upon among the
Irish by that madman Abbadie, or among the Welsh by that prattler
d'Houteville. Stories which might have amused the great, great, great
grandmother of my grandmother, appear insipid to me who have been
educated by the wise Mambres, and who have read _Human Understanding_ by
the Egyptian philosopher named Locke[1] and the _Matron of Ephesus_. I
choose that a story should be founded on probability, and not always
resemble a dream. I desire to find nothing in it trivial or extravagant;
and I desire above all, that under the appearance of fable there may
appear some latent truth, obvious to the discerning eye, though it
escape the observation of the vulgar."

"I am weary of a sun and of a moon which an old beldam disposes of at
her pleasure, of mountains which dance, of rivers which return to their
sources, and of dead men who rise again; but I am above measure
disgusted when such insipid stories are written in a bombastic and
unintelligible manner. A lady who expects to see her lover swallowed up
by a great fish, and who is apprehensive of being beheaded by her own
father, has need of amusement; but suit amusement to my taste."

"You impose a difficult task upon me," replied the serpent. "I could
have formerly made you pass a few hours agreeably enough, but for some
time past I have lost both my imagination and memory. Alas! what has
become of those faculties with which I formerly amused the ladies? Let
me try, however, if I can recollect one moral tale for your
entertainment.

"Five and twenty thousand years ago king Gnaof and queen Patra reigned
in Thebes with its hundred gates. King Gnaof was very handsome, and
queen Patra still more beautiful. But their home was unblest with
children, and no heirs were born to continue the royal race.

"The members of the faculty of medicine and of the academy of surgery
wrote excellent treatises upon this subject. The queen was sent to drink
mineral waters; she fasted and prayed; she made magnificent presents to
the temple of Jupiter Ammon, but all was to no purpose. At length a----"

"Mon Dieu!" said the princess, "but I see where this leads. This story
is too common, and I must likewise tell you that it offends my modesty.
Relate some very true and moral story, which I have never yet heard, to
complete the improvement of my understanding and my heart, as the
Egyptian professor Lenro says."

"Here then, madam," said the beautiful serpent, "is one most
incontestably authentic.

"There were three prophets all equally ambitious and discontented with
their condition. They had in common the folly to wish to be kings: for
there is only one step from the rank of a prophet to that of a monarch,
and man always aspires to the highest step in the ladder of fortune. In
other respects, their inclinations and their pleasures were totally
different. The first preached admirably to his assembled brethren, who
applauded him by clapping their hands; the second was distractedly fond
of music; and the third was a passionate lover of the fair sex.

"The angel Ithuriel presented himself one day to them when they were at
table discoursing on the sweets of royalty.

"'The ruler of the world,' said the angel to them, 'sends me to you to
reward your virtue. Not only shall you be kings, but you shall
constantly satisfy your ruling passions. Your first prophet, I make king
of Egypt, and you shall continually preside in your council, who shall
applaud your eloquence and your wisdom; and you, second prophet, I make
king over Persia, and you shall continually hear most heavenly music;
and you, third prophet, I make king of India, and I give you a charming
mistress who shall never forsake you.'

"He to whose lot Egypt fell, began his reign by assembling his council,
which was composed only of two hundred sages. He made them a long and
eloquent speech, which was very much applauded, and the monarch enjoyed
the pleasing satisfaction of intoxicating himself with praises
uncorrupted by flattery.

"The council for foreign affairs succeeded to the privy council. This
was much more numerous; and a new speech received still greater
encomiums. And it was the same in the other councils. There was not a
moment of intermission in the pleasures and glory of the prophet king of
Egypt. The fame of his eloquence filled the world.

"The prophet king of Persia began his reign by an Italian opera, whose
choruses were sung by fifteen hundred eunuchs. Their voices penetrated
his soul even to the very marrow of the bones, where it resides. To this
opera succeeded another, and to the second a third, without
interruption.

"The king of India shut himself up with his mistress, and enjoyed
perfect pleasure in her society. He considered the necessity of always
flattering her as the highest felicity, and pitied the wretched
situation of his two brethren, of whom one was obliged always to convene
his council, and the other to be continually at an opera.

"It happened at the end of a few days, that each of these kings became
disgusted with his occupation, and beheld from his window, certain
wood-cutters who came from an ale-house, and who were going to work in a
neighboring forest. They walked arm in arm with their sweet-hearts, with
whom they were happy. The kings begged of the angel Ithuriel, that he
would intercede with the ruler of the world, and make them
wood-cutters."

"I do not know whether the ruler of the world granted their request or
not," interrupted the tender Amasidia, "and I do not care much about it;
but I know very well that I should ask for nothing of any one, were I
with my lover, with my dear NEBUCHADNEZZAR!"

The vaults of the palace resounded this mighty name. At first Amasidia
had only pronounced Ne--, afterwards Neb--, then Nebu----. At length
passion hurried her on, and she pronounced entire the fatal name,
notwithstanding the oath she had sworn to the king, her father. All the
ladies of the court repeated Nebuchadnezzar, and the malicious raven did
not fail to carry the tidings to the king. The countenance of Amasis,
king of Tanis, sunk, because his heart was troubled. And thus it was
that the serpent, the wisest and most subtle of animals, always beguiled
the women, thinking to do them service.

Amasis, in a fury, sent twelve alguazils for his daughter. These men are
always ready to execute barbarous orders, because they are paid for it.


[1] The doctrine of metempsychosis must be relied upon to explain this
seeming anachronism.--E.

[Illustration: Egyptian priests.]



CHAPTER X.

HOW THEY WANTED TO BEHEAD THE PRINCESS, AND DID NOT DO IT.


No sooner had the princess entered the camp of the king, than he said to
her: "My daughter, you know that all princesses who disobey their
fathers are put to death; without which it would be impossible that a
kingdom could be well governed. I charged you never to mention the name
of your lover, Nebuchadnezzar, my mortal enemy, who dethroned me about
seven years ago, and disappeared. In his place, you have chosen a white
bull, and you have cried Nebuchadnezzar. It is just that I behead you."

The princess replied: "My father, thy will be done: but grant me some
time to bewail my sad fate."

"That is reasonable," said King Amasis; "and it is a rule established
among the most judicious princes. I give you a whole day to bewail your
destiny, since it is your desire. To-morrow, which is the eighth day of
my encampment, I will cause the white bull to be swallowed up by the
fish, and I will behead you precisely at nine o'clock in the morning."

The beautiful Amasidia then went forth in sorrow, to bewail her father's
cruelty, and wandered by the side of the Nile, accompanied with the
ladies of her train.

The wise Mambres pondered beside her, and reckoned the hours and the
moments.

"Well! my dear Mambres," said she to him, "you have changed the waters
of the Nile into blood, according to custom, and cannot you change the
heart of Amasis, king of Tanis, my father? Will you suffer him to behead
me to-morrow, at nine o'clock in the morning?"

"That depends," replied the reflecting Mambres, "upon the speed and
diligence of my couriers."

The next day, as soon as the shadows of the obelisks and pyramids marked
upon the ground the ninth hour of the day, the white bull was securely
bound, to be thrown to the fish of Jonah; and they brought to the king
his large sabre.

"Alas! alas!" said Nebuchadnezzar to himself, "I, a king, have been a
bull for near seven years; and scarcely have I found the mistress I had
lost when I am condemned to be devoured by a fish."

Never had the wise Mambres made such profound reflections; and he was
quite absorbed in his melancholy thoughts when he saw at a distance all
he expected. An innumerable crowd drew nigh. Three figures of Isis,
Osiris, and Horus, joined together, advanced, drawn in a carriage of
gold and precious stones, by a hundred senators of Memphis, preceded by
a hundred girls, playing upon the sacred sistrums. Four thousand
priests, with their heads shaved, were each mounted upon a hippopotamus.

At a great distance, appeared with the same pomp, the sheep of Thebes,
the dog of Babastes, the cat of Phoebe, the crocodile of Arsinoe, the
goat of Mendez, and all the inferior gods of Egypt, who came to pay
homage to the great ox, to the mighty Apis, as powerful as Isis, Osiris,
and Horus, united together.

In the midst of the demi-gods, forty priests carried an enormous basket,
filled with sacred onions. These were, it is true, gods, but they
resembled onions very much.

On both sides of this aisle of gods, followed by an innumerable crowd of
people, marched forty thousand warriors, with helmets on their heads,
scimitars upon their left thighs, quivers at their shoulders, and bows
in their hands.

All the priests sang in chorus, with a harmony which ravished the soul,
and which melted it.

     "Alas! alas! our ox is dead--
      We'll have a finer in its stead."

And at every pause was heard the sound of the sistrums, of cymbals, of
tabors, of psalteries, of bagpipes, harps, and sackbuts.

Amasis, king of Tanis, astonished at this spectacle, beheaded not his
daughter. He sheathed his scimitar.

[Illustration: Winged bull.]



CHAPTER XI.

APOTHEOSIS OF THE WHITE BULL. TRIUMPH OF THE WISE MAMBRES. THE SEVEN
YEARS PROCLAIMED BY DANIEL ARE ACCOMPLISHED. NEBUCHADNEZZAR RESUMES THE
HUMAN FORM, MARRIES THE BEAUTIFUL AMASIDIA, AND ASCENDS THE THRONE OF
BABYLON.


"Great king," said Mambres to him, "the order of things is now changed.
Your majesty must set the example. O king! quickly unbind the white
bull, and be the first to adore him."

Amasis obeyed, and prostrated himself with all his people. The high
priest of Memphis presented to the new god Apis the first handful of
hay; the Princess Amasidia tied to his beautiful horse festoons of
roses, anemonies, ranunculuses, tulips, pinks, and hyacinths. She took
the liberty to kiss him, but with a profound respect. The priests
strewed palms and flowers on the road by which they were to conduct him
to Memphis. And the wise Mambres, still making reflections, whispered to
his friend, the serpent:

"_Daniel changed this monarch into a bull, and I have changed this bull
into a god!"_

They returned to Memphis in the same order, and the king of Tanis, in
some confusion, followed the band. Mambres, with a serene and diplomatic
air, walked by his side. The old woman came after, much amazed. She was
accompanied by the serpent, the dog, the she-ass, the raven, the pigeon,
and the scape-goat. The great fish mounted up the Nile. Daniel, Ezekiel,
and Jeremiah, changed into magpies, brought up the rear.

When they had reached the frontiers of the kingdom, which are not far
distant, King Amasis took leave of the bull Apis, and said to his
daughter:

"My daughter, let us return into my dominions, that I may behead you, as
it has been determined in my royal breast, because you have pronounced
the name of Nebuchadnezzar, my enemy, who dethroned me seven years ago.
When a father has sworn to behead his daughter, he must either fulfill
his oath, or sink into hell for ever; and I will not damn myself out of
love for you."

The fair princess Amasidia replied to the King Amasis:

"My dear father, whom it pleases you go and behead, but it shall not be
me. I am now in the territories of Isis, Osiris, Horus, and Apis. I will
never forsake my beautiful white bull, and I will continue to kiss him,
till I have seen his apotheosis in his stable in the holy city of
Memphis. It is a weakness pardonable in a young lady of high birth."

Scarce had she spoken these words, when the ox Apis cried out:

"My dear Amasidia, I will love you whilst I live!"

This was the first time that the god Apis had been heard to speak during
the forty thousand years that he had been worshiped.

The serpent and the she-ass cried out, "the seven years are
accomplished!" And the three magpies repeated, "the seven years are
accomplished!"

All the priests of Egypt raised their hands to heaven.

The god on a sudden was seen to lose his two hind legs, his two fore
legs were changed into two human legs; two white strong muscular arms
grew from his shoulders; his taurine visage was changed to the face of a
charming hero; and he once more became the most beautiful of mortals.

"I choose," cried he, "rather to be the lover of the beautiful Amasidia
than a god. I am NEBUCHADNEZZAR, KING OF KINGS!"

This metamorphosis astonished all the world, except the wise Mambres.
But what surprised nobody was, that Nebuchadnezzar immediately married
the fair Amasidia in presence of this assembly.

He left his father-in-law in quiet possession of the kingdom of Tanis;
and made noble provision for the she-ass, the serpent, the dog, the
pigeon, and even for the raven, the three magpies, and the large fish;
showing to all the world that he knew how to forgive as well as to
conquer.

The old woman had a considerable pension placed at her disposal.

The scape-goat was sent for a day into the wilderness, that all past
sins might be expiated; and had afterwards twelve sprightly goats for
his companions.

The wise Mambres returned to his palace, and made reflections.

Nebuchadnezzar, after having embraced the magician, his benefactor,
governed in tranquillity the kingdoms of Memphis, Babylon, Damascus,
Balbec, Tyre, Syria, Asia Minor, Scythia, the countries of Thiras,
Mosok, Tubal, Madai, Gog, Magog, Javan, Sogdiana, Aroriana, the Indies,
and the Isles; and the people of this vast empire cried out aloud every
morning at the rising of the sun:

_"Long live great Nebuchadnezzar, king of kings, who is no longer an
ox!"_

Since which time it has been a custom in Babylon, when the sovereign,
deceived by his satraps, his magicians, treasurers or wives, at length
acknowledges his errors, and amends his conduct, for all the people to
cry out at his gate:

_Long live our great king, who is no longer an ox._

[Illustration: The scape-goat]



ZADIG; OR FATE.

AN ORIENTAL HISTORY.



     APPROBATION.

     I, the underwritten, who have obtained the character of a learned,
     and even of an ingenious man, have read this manuscript, which, in
     spite of myself, I have found to be curious, entertaining, moral,
     philosophical, and capable of affording pleasure even to those who
     hate romances. I have therefore decried it; and have assured the
     cadi-lesquier that it is an abominable performance.

       *       *       *       *       *

     EPISTLE DEDICATORY TO THE SULTANA SERAA.

     _The 18th of the month Schewal, in the 837th year of the Hegira._


     Delight of the eyes, torment of the heart, and light of the mind, I
     kiss not the dust of thy feet, because thou never walkest; or
     walkest only on the carpets of Iran, or in paths strewn with roses.

     I offer thee the translation of a book, written by an ancient sage,
     who, having the happiness to have nothing to do, amused himself in
     composing the _History of Zadig_; a work which performs more than
     it promises.

     I beseech thee to read and examine it; for, though thou art in the
     spring of life, and every pleasure courts thee to its embrace;
     though thou art beautiful, and thy beauty be embellished by thy
     admirable talents; though thou art praised from morning to evening,
     and, on all these accounts, hast a right to be devoid of common
     sense, yet thou hast a sound judgment and a fine taste; and I have
     heard thee reason with more accuracy than the old dervises, with
     their long beards and pointed bonnets.

     Thou art discreet without being distrustful; gentle without
     weakness; and beneficent with discernment. Thou lovest thy friends,
     and makest thyself no enemies. Thy wit never borrows its charms
     from the shafts of detraction. Thou neither sayest nor doest any
     ill, notwithstanding that both are so much in thy power.

     In a word, thy soul hath always appeared to me to be as pure and
     unsullied as thy beauty. Besides, thou hast some little knowledge
     in philosophy, which makes me believe that thou wilt take more
     pleasure than others of thy sex in perusing the work of this
     venerable sage.

     It was originally written in the ancient Chaldee, a language which
     neither thou nor I understand. It was afterward translated into the
     Arabic, to amuse the famous sultan Oulougbeg, much about the time
     that the Arabians and the Persians began to write the _Thousand and
     One Nights_, the _Thousand and One Days_, _etc._

     Ouloug was fond of reading _Zadig_, but the sultanas were fonder of
     the _Thousand and One_. "How can you prefer," said the wise Ouloug
     to them, "those stories which have neither sense nor meaning?" "It
     is for that very reason," replied the sultanas, "that we prefer
     them."

     I flatter myself that thou wilt not resemble these, thy
     predecessors; but that thou wilt be a true Ouloug. I even hope,
     that when thou art tired with those general conversations, which
     differ from the _Thousand and One_ in nothing but in being less
     agreeable, I shall have the honor to entertain thee for a moment
     with a rational discourse.

     Hadst thou been Thalestris in the time of Scander, the son of
     Philip; hadst thou been the Queen of Sheba in the time of Solomon;
     these are the very kings that would have paid thee a visit.

     I pray the heavenly powers, that thy pleasures may be unmixed, thy
     beauty never fading, and thy happiness without end.

                                                              SADI.


[Illustration: Caravan approaching Babylon.]



I.

THE BLIND OF ONE EYE.


There lived at Babylon, in the reign of King Moabdar, a young man, named
Zadig, of a good natural disposition, strengthened and improved by
education. Though rich and young, he had learned to moderate his
passions. He had nothing stiff or affected in his behavior. He did not
pretend to examine every action by the strict rules of reason, but was
always ready to make proper allowances for the weakness of mankind. It
was a matter of surprise, that, notwithstanding his sprightly wit, he
never exposed by his raillery those vague, incoherent, and noisy
discourses; those rash censures, ignorant decisions, coarse jests, and
all that empty jingle of words which at Babylon went by the name of
conversation. He had learned, in the first book of Zoroaster, that
self-love is a foot-ball swelled with wind, from which, when pierced,
the most terrible tempests issue forth. Above all, Zadig never boasted
of his conquests among the women, nor affected to entertain a
contemptible opinion of the fair sex. He was generous, and was never
afraid of obliging the ungrateful; remembering the grand precept of
Zoroaster, "When thou eatest, give to the dogs, should they even bite
thee." He was as wise as it is possible for man to be, for he sought to
live with the wise. Instructed in the sciences of the ancient Chaldeans,
he understood the principles of natural philosophy, such as they were
then supposed to be; and knew as much of metaphysics as hath ever been
known in any age, that is, little or nothing at all. He was firmly
persuaded, notwithstanding the new philosophy of the times, that the
year consisted of three hundred and sixty-five days and six hours, and
that the sun was the centre of the solar system. When the principal magi
told him, with a haughty and contemptuous air, that his sentiments were
of a dangerous tendency, and that it was to be an enemy to the state to
believe that the sun revolved round its own axis, and that the year had
twelve months, he held his tongue with great modesty and meekness.

Possessed as he was of great riches, and consequently of many friends,
blessed with a good constitution, a handsome figure, a mind just and
moderate, and a heart noble and sincere, he fondly imagined that he
might easily be happy. He was going to be married to Semira, who, in
point of beauty, birth, and fortune, was the first match in Babylon. He
had a real and virtuous affection for this lady, and she loved him with
the most passionate fondness. The happy moment was almost arrived that
was to unite them for ever in the bands of wedlock, when happening to
take a walk together toward one of the gates of Babylon, under the
palm-trees that adorn the banks of the Euphrates, they saw some men
approaching, armed with sabres and arrows. These were the attendants of
young Orcan, the minister's nephew, whom his uncle's creatures had
flattered into an opinion that he might do everything with impunity. He
had none of the graces nor virtues of Zadig; but thinking himself a much
more accomplished man, he was enraged to find that the other was
preferred before him. This jealousy, which was merely the effect of his
vanity, made him imagine that he was desperately in love with Semira;
and accordingly he resolved to carry her off. The ravishers seized her;
in the violence of the outrage, they wounded her, and made the blood
flow from a person, the sight of which would have softened the tigers
of mount Imaus. She pierced the heavens with her complaints. She cried
out: "My dear husband! they tear me from the man I adore!"

Regardless of her own danger, she was only concerned for the fate of her
dear Zadig, who, in the meantime, defended himself with all the strength
that courage and love could inspire. Assisted only by two faithful
slaves, he put the cowardly ravishers to flight, and carried home
Semira, insensible and bloody as she was.

"O Zadig," said she, on opening her eyes, and beholding her deliverer,
"I loved thee formerly as my intended husband, I now love thee as the
preserver of my honor and my life!"

Never was heart more deeply affected than that of Semira. Never did a
more charming mouth express more moving sentiments, in those glowing
words inspired by a sense of the greatest of all favors, and by the most
tender transports of a lawful passion. Her wound was slight, and was
soon cured. Zadig was more dangerously wounded. An arrow had pierced him
near his eye, and penetrated to a considerable depth, Semira wearied
heaven with her prayers for the recovery of her lover. Her eyes were
constantly bathed in tears; she anxiously waited the happy moment when
those of Zadig should be able to meet hers; but an abscess growing on
the wounded eye, gave everything to fear. A messenger was immediately
dispatched to Memphis, for the great physician Hermes, who came with a
numerous retinue. He visited the patient, and declared that he would
lose his eye. He even foretold the day and hour when this fatal event
would happen.

"Had it been the right eye," said he, "I could easily have cured it; but
the wounds of the left eye are incurable."

All Babylon lamented the fate of Zadig, and admired the profound
knowledge of Hermes. In two days the abscess broke of its own accord,
and Zadig was perfectly cured. Hermes wrote a book, to prove that it
ought not to have been cured. Zadig did not read it: but, as soon as he
was able to go abroad, he went to pay a visit to her in whom all his
hopes of happiness were centered, and for whose sake alone he wished to
have eyes. Semira had been in the country for three days past. He
learned on the road, that that fine lady, having openly declared that
she had an unconquerable aversion to one-eyed men, had the night before
given her hand to Orcan. At this news he fell speechless to the ground.
His sorrows brought him almost to the brink of the grave. He was long
indisposed; but reason at last got the better of his affliction; and the
severity of his fate served even to console him.

"Since," said he, "I have suffered so much from the cruel caprice of a
woman educated at court, I must now think of marrying the daughter of a
citizen."

He pitched upon Azora, a lady of the greatest prudence, and of the best
family in town. He married her, and lived with her for three months in
all the delights of the most tender union. He only observed that she had
a little levity; and was too apt to find that those young men who had
the most handsome persons were likewise possessed of the most wit and
virtue.



II.

THE NOSE.


One morning Azora returned from a walk in a terrible passion and
uttering the most violent exclamations.

"What aileth thee," said he, "my dear spouse? What is it that can thus
have disturbed thee?"

"Alas!" said she, "thou wouldst have been as much enraged as I am, hadst
thou seen what I have just beheld. I have been to comfort the young
widow Cosrou, who, within these two days, hath raised a tomb to her
young husband, near the rivulet that washes the skirts of this meadow.
She vowed to heaven, in the bitterness of her grief, to remain at this
tomb whilst the water of the rivulet should continue to run near it."

"Well," said Zadig, "she is an excellent woman, and loved her husband
with the most sincere affection."

"Ah!" replied Azora, "didst thou but know in what she was employed when
I went to wait upon her!"

"In what, pray tell me, beautiful Azora? Was she turning the course of
the rivulet?"

Azora broke out into such long invectives, and loaded the young widow
with such bitter reproaches, that Zadig was far from being pleased with
this ostentation of virtue.

Zadig had a friend named Cador; one of those young men in whom his wife
discovered more probity and merit than in others. He made him his
confidant, and secured his fidelity as much as possible by a
considerable present. Azora, having passed two days with a friend in the
country, returned home on the third. The servants told her, with tears
in their eyes, that her husband died suddenly the night before; that
they were afraid to send her an account of this mournful event; and that
they had just been depositing his corpse in the tomb of his ancestors,
at the end of the garden. She wept, she tore her hair, and swore she
would follow him to the grave. In the evening, Cador begged leave to
wait upon her, and joined his tears with hers. Next day they wept less,
and dined together. Cador told her, that his friend had left him the
greater part of his estate; and that he should think himself extremely
happy in sharing his fortune with her. The lady wept, fell into a
passion, and at last became more mild and gentle. They sat longer at
supper than at dinner. They now talked with greater confidence. Azora
praised the deceased; but owned that he had many failings from which
Cador was free.

During supper, Cador complained of a violent pain in his side. The lady,
greatly concerned, and eager to serve him, caused all kinds of essences
to be brought, with which she anointed him, to try if some of them might
not possibly ease him of his pain. She lamented that the great Hermes
was not still in Babylon. She even condescended to touch the side in
which Cador felt such exquisite pain.

"Art thou subject to this cruel disorder?" said she to him, with a
compassionate air.

"It sometimes brings me," replied Cador, "to the brink of the grave; and
there is but one remedy that can give me relief--and that is, to apply
to my side the nose of a man who is lately dead."

"A strange remedy, indeed!" said Azora.

"Not more strange," replied he, "than the satchels of Arnou, against the
apoplexy."

This reason, added to the great merit of the young man, at last
determined the lady.

"After all," says she, "when my husband shall cross the bridge Tchinavar
in his journey to the other world, the angel Asrael will not refuse him
a passage because his nose is a little shorter in the second life than
it was in the first."

She then took a razor, went to her husband's tomb, bedewed it with her
tears, and drew near to cut off the nose of Zadig, whom she found
extended at full length in the tomb. Zadig arose, holding his nose with
one hand, and putting back the razor with the other.

"Madam," said he, "don't exclaim so violently against the widow Cosrou.
The project of cutting off my nose is equal to that of turning the
course of a rivulet."



III.

THE DOG AND THE HORSE.


Zadig found by experience, that the first month of marriage, as it is
written in the book of Zend, is the moon of honey, and that the second
is the moon of wormwood. He was some time after obliged to repudiate
Azora, who became too difficult to be pleased; and he then sought for
happiness in the study of nature.

"No man," said he, "can be happier than a philosopher, who reads in this
great book, which God hath placed before our eyes. The truths he
discovers are his own; he nourishes and exalts his soul; he lives in
peace; he fears nothing from men; and his tender spouse will not come to
cut off his nose."

Possessed of these ideas, he retired to a country house on the banks of
the Euphrates. There he did not employ himself in calculating how many
inches of water flow in a second of time under the arches of a bridge,
or whether there fell a cube-line of rain in the month of the mouse
more than in the month of the sheep. He never dreamed of making silk of
cobwebs, or porcelain of broken bottles: but he chiefly studied the
properties of plants and animals; and soon acquired a sagacity that made
him discover a thousand differences where other men see nothing but
uniformity.

One day, as he was walking near a little wood, he saw one of the queen's
eunuchs running toward him, followed by several officers, who appeared
to be in great perplexity, and who ran to and fro like men distracted,
eagerly searching for something they had lost of great value.

"Young man," said the first eunuch, "hast thou seen the queen's dog?"

"It is a bitch," replied Zadig, with great modesty, "and not a dog."

"Thou art in the right," returned the first eunuch.

"It is a very small she-spaniel," added Zadig; "she has lately whelped;
she limps on the left fore-foot, and has very long ears."

"Thou hast seen her," said the first eunuch, quite out of breath.

"No," replied Zadig, "I have not seen her, nor did I so much as know
that the queen had a bitch."

Exactly at the same time, by one of the common freaks of fortune, the
finest horse in the king's stable had escaped from the jockey in the
plains of Babylon. The principal huntsman, and all the other officers,
ran after him with as much eagerness and anxiety as the first eunuch had
done after the bitch. The principal huntsman addressed himself to Zadig,
and asked him if he had not seen the king's horse passing by.

"He is the fleetest horse in the king's stable," replied Zadig, "he is
five feet high, with very small hoofs, and a tail three feet and an half
in length; the studs on his bit are gold, of twenty-three carats, and
his shoes are silver of eleven penny-weights."

"What way did he take? where is he?" demanded the chief huntsman.

"I have not seen him," replied Zadig, "and never heard talk of him
before."

The principal huntsman and the first eunuch never doubted but that
Zadig had stolen the king's horse and the queen's bitch. They therefore
had him conducted before the assembly of the grand desterham, who
condemned him to the knout, and to spend the rest of his days in
Siberia. Hardly was the sentence passed, when the horse and the bitch
were both found. The judges were reduced to the disagreeable necessity
of reversing their sentence; but they condemned Zadig to pay four
hundred ounces of gold for having said that he had not seen what he had
seen. This fine he was obliged to pay; after which, he was permitted to
plead his cause before the counsel of the grand desterham, when he spoke
to the following effect.

"Ye stars of justice, abyss of sciences, mirrors of truth, who have the
weight of lead, the hardness of iron, the splendor of the diamond, and
many of the properties of gold; since I am permitted to speak before
this august assembly, I swear to you by Oromazes, that I have never seen
the queen's respectable bitch, nor the sacred horse of the king of
kings. The truth of the matter is as follows: I was walking toward the
little wood, where I afterward met the venerable eunuch, and the most
illustrious chief huntsman. I observed on the sand the traces of an
animal, and could easily perceive them to be those of a little dog. The
light and long furrows impressed on little eminences of sand between the
marks of the paws, plainly discovered that it was a bitch, whose dugs
were hanging down, and that therefore she must have whelped a few days
before. Other traces of a different kind, that always appeared to have
gently brushed the surface of the sand near the marks of the fore-feet,
showed me that she had very long ears; and as I remarked that there was
always a slighter impression made on the sand by one foot than by the
other three, I found that the bitch of our august queen was a little
lame, if I may be allowed the expression. With regard to the horse of
the king of kings, you will be pleased to know, that walking in the
lanes of this wood, I observed the marks of a horse's shoes, all at
equal distances. This must be a horse, said I to myself, that gallops
excellently. The dust on the trees in a narrow road that was but seven
feet wide, was a little brushed off, at the distance of three feet and
a half from the middle of the road. This horse, said I, has a tail
three feet and a half long, which, being whisked to the right and left,
has swept away the dust. I observed under the trees that formed an arbor
five feet in height, that the leaves of the branches were newly fallen,
from whence I inferred that the horse had touched them, and that he must
therefore be five feet high. As to his bit, it must be gold of
twenty-three carats, for he had rubbed its bosses against a stone which
I knew to be a touchstone, and which I have tried. In a word, from a
mark made by his shoes on flints of another kind, I concluded that he
was shod with silver eleven deniers fine."

All the judges admired Zadig for his acute and profound discernment. The
news of this speech was carried even to the king and queen. Nothing was
talked of but Zadig in the anti-chambers, the chambers, and the cabinet;
and though many of the magi were of opinion that he ought to be burnt as
a sorcerer, the king ordered his officers to restore him the four
hundred ounces of gold which he had been obliged to pay. The register,
the attorneys, and bailiffs, went to his house with great formality to
carry him back his four hundred ounces. They only retained three hundred
and ninety-eight of them to defray the expenses of justice; and then
their servants demanded their fees.

Zadig saw how extremely dangerous it sometimes is to appear too knowing,
and therefore resolved, that on the next occasion of the like nature he
would not tell what he had seen.

Such an opportunity soon offered. A prisoner of state made his escape
and passed under the windows of Zadig's house. Zadig was examined and
made no answer. But it was proved that he had looked at the prisoner
from this window. For this crime he was condemned to pay five hundred
ounces of gold; and, according to the polite custom of Babylon, he
thanked his judges for their indulgence.

"Great God!" said he to himself, "what a misfortune it is to walk in a
wood through which the queen's bitch or the king's horse have passed!
how dangerous to look out at a window! and how difficult to be happy in
this life!"



IV.

THE ENVIOUS MAN.


Zadig resolved to comfort himself by philosophy and friendship for the
evils he had suffered from fortune. He had in the suburbs of Babylon a
house elegantly furnished, in which he assembled all the arts and all
the pleasures worthy the pursuit of a gentleman. In the morning his
library was open to the learned. In the evening his table was surrounded
by good company. But he soon found what very dangerous guests these men
of letters are. A warm dispute arose on one of Zoroaster's laws, which
forbids the eating of a griffin.

"Why," said some of them, "prohibit the eating of a griffin, if there is
no such animal in nature?"

"There must necessarily be such an animal," said the others, "since
Zoroaster forbids us to eat it."

Zadig would fain have reconciled them by saying:

"If there are no griffins, we cannot possibly eat them; and thus either
way we shall obey Zoroaster."

A learned man, who had composed thirteen volumes on the properties of
the griffin, and was besides the chief theurgite, hasted away to accuse
Zadig before one of the principal magi, named Yebor, the greatest
blockhead, and therefore the greatest fanatic among the Chaldeans. This
man would have empaled Zadig to do honor to the sun, and would then have
recited the breviary of Zoroaster with greater satisfaction. The friend
Cador (a friend is better than a hundred priests) went to Yebor, and
said to him:

"Long live the sun and the griffins; beware of punishing Zadig; he is a
saint; he has griffins in his inner court, and does not eat them; and
his accuser is an heretic, who dares to maintain that rabbits have
cloven feet, and are not unclean."

"Well," said Yebor, shaking his bald pate, "we must empale Zadig for
having thought contemptuously of griffins, and the other party for
having spoken disrespectfully of rabbits."

Cador hushed up the affair by appealing to a person who had great
interest in the college of the magi. Nobody was empaled. This lenity
occasioned a great murmuring among some of the doctors, who from thence
predicted the fall of Babylon.

"Upon what does happiness depend?" said Zadig; "I am persecuted by
everything in the world, even on account of beings that have no
existence."

He cursed those men of learning, and resolved for the future to live
with none but good company.

He assembled at his house the most worthy men, and the most beautiful
ladies of Babylon. He gave them delicious suppers, often preceded by
concerts of music, and always animated by polite conversation, from
which he knew how to banish that affectation of wit, which is the surest
method of preventing it entirely, and of spoiling the pleasure of the
most agreeable society. Neither the choice of his friends, nor that of
the dishes, was made by vanity; for in everything he preferred the
substance to the shadow; and by these means he procured that real
respect to which he did not aspire.

Opposite to his house lived one Arimazes, a man whose deformed
countenance was but a faint picture of his still more deformed mind. His
heart was a mixture of malice, pride, and envy. Having never been able
to succeed in any of his undertakings, he revenged himself on all around
him, by loading them with the blackest calumnies. Rich as he was, he
found it difficult to procure a set of flatterers. The rattling of the
chariots that entered Zadig's court in the evening, filled him with
uneasiness; the sound of his praises enraged him still more. He
sometimes went to Zadig's house, and sat down at table without being
desired; where he spoiled all the pleasure of the company, as the
harpies are said to infect the viands they touch.

It happened that one day he took it in his head to give an entertainment
to a lady, who, instead of accepting it, went to sup with Zadig. At
another time, as he was talking with Zadig at court, a minister of state
came up to them, and invited Zadig to supper, without inviting Arimazes.
The most implacable hatred has seldom a more solid foundation. This man,
who in Babylon was called the _envious_, resolved to ruin Zadig,
because he was called the _happy_. "The opportunity of doing mischief
occurs a hundred times in a day, and that of doing good but once a year,
as sayeth the wise Zoroaster."

The envious man went to see Zadig, who was walking in his garden with
two friends and a lady, to whom he said many gallant things, without any
other intention than that of saying them. The conversation turned upon a
war which the king had just brought to a happy conclusion against the
prince of Hircania, his vassal. Zadig, who had signalized his courage in
this short war, bestowed great praises on the king, but greater still on
the lady. He took out his pocket-book, and wrote four lines extempore,
which he gave to this amiable person to read. His friends begged they
might see them; but modesty, or rather a well-regulated self-love, would
not allow him to grant their request. He knew that extemporary verses
are never approved by any but by the person in whose honor they are
written. He therefore tore in two the leaf on which he had written them,
and threw both the pieces into a thicket of rose bushes where the rest
of the company sought for them in vain. A slight shower falling soon
after, obliged them to return to the house.

The envious man, who remained in the garden, continued to search, till
at last he found a piece of the leaf. It had been torn in such a manner,
that each half of a line formed a complete sense, and even a verse of a
shorter measure; but what was still more surprising, these short verses
were found to contain the most injurious reflections on the king. They
ran thus:

     To flagrant crimes
       His crown he owes,
     To peaceful times
       The worst of foes.

The envious man was now happy for the first time in his life. He had it
in his power to ruin a person of virtue and merit. Killed with this
fiend-like joy, he found means to convey to the king the satire written
by the hand of Zadig, who was immediately thrown into prison, together
with the lady and Zadig's two friends.

His trial was soon finished without his being permitted to speak for
himself. As he was going to receive his sentence, the envious man threw
himself in his way, and told him with a loud voice, that his verses were
good for nothing. Zadig did not value himself on being a good poet; but
it filled him with inexpressible concern to find that he was condemned
for high treason; and that the fair lady and his two friends were
confined in prison for a crime of which they were not guilty. He was not
allowed to speak, because his writing spoke for him. Such was the law of
Babylon. Accordingly he was conducted to the place of execution through
an immense crowd of spectators, who durst not venture to express their
pity for him, but who carefully examined his countenance to see if he
died with a good grace. His relations alone were inconsolable; for they
could not succeed to his estate. Three-fourths of his wealth were
confiscated into the king's treasury, and the other fourth was given to
the envious man.

Just as he was preparing for death, the king's parrot flew from its
cage, and alighted on a rose bush in Zadig's garden. A peach had been
driven thither by the wind from a neighboring tree, and had fallen on a
piece of the written leaf of the pocket-book to which it stuck. The bird
carried off the peach and the paper, and laid them on the king's knee.
The king took up the paper with great eagerness, and read the words,
which formed no sense, and seemed to be the endings of verses. He loved
poetry; and there is always some mercy to be expected from a prince of
that disposition. The adventure of the parrot caused him to reflect.

The queen, who remembered what had been written on the piece of Zadig's
pocket-book, ordered it to be brought. They compared the two pieces
together, and found them to tally exactly. They then read the verses as
Zadig had written them.

     Tyrants are prone to flagrant crimes;
       To clemency his crown he owes;
     To concord and to peaceful times
       Love only is the worst of foes.

The king gave immediate orders that Zadig should be brought before him,
and that his two friends and the lady should be set at liberty. Zadig
fell prostrate on the ground before the king and queen, humbly begged
their pardon for having made such bad verses, and spoke with so much
propriety, wit, and good sense, that their majesties desired they might
see him again. He did himself that honor, and insinuated himself still
farther into their good graces. They gave him all the wealth of the
envious man; but Zadig restored him back the whole of it; and this
instance of generosity gave no other pleasure to the envious man than
that of having preserved his estate. The king's esteem for Zadig
increased every day. He admitted him into all his parties of pleasure,
and consulted him in all affairs of state. From that time the queen
began to regard him with an eye of tenderness, that might one day prove
dangerous to herself, to the king her august consort, to Zadig, and to
the kingdom in general. Zadig now began to think that happiness was not
so unattainable as he had formerly imagined.



V.

THE GENEROUS.


The time had now arrived for celebrating a grand festival, which
returned every five years. It was a custom in Babylon solemnly to
declare, at the end of every five years, which of the citizens had
performed the most generous action. The grandees and the magi were the
judges. The first satrap, who was charged with the government of the
city, published the most noble actions that had passed under his
administration. The competition was decided by votes; and the king
pronounced the sentence. People came to this solemnity from the
extremities of the earth. The conqueror received from the monarch's
hands a golden cup adorned with precious stones, his majesty at the same
time making him this compliment: "Receive this reward of thy generosity,
and may the gods grant me many subjects like to thee."

This memorable day having come, the king appeared on his throne,
surrounded by the grandees, the magi, and the deputies of all the
nations that came to these games, where glory was acquired not by the
swiftness of horses, nor by strength of body, but by virtue. The first
satrap recited, with an audible voice, such actions as might entitle
the authors of them to this invaluable prize. He did not mention the
greatness of soul with which Zadig had restored the envious man his
fortune, because it was not judged to be an action worthy of disputing
the prize.

He first presented a judge, who having made a citizen lose a
considerable cause by a mistake, for which, after all, he was not
accountable, had given him the whole of his own estate, which was just
equal to what the other had lost.

He next produced a young man, who being desperately in love with a lady
whom he was going to marry, had yielded her up to his friend, whose
passion for her had almost brought him to the brink of the grave, and at
the same time had given him the lady's fortune.

He afterwards produced a soldier, who, in the wars of Hircania, had
given a still more noble instance of generosity. A party of the enemy
having seized his mistress, he fought in her defence with great
intrepidity. At that very instant he was informed that another party, at
the distance of a few paces, were carrying off his mother; he therefore
left his mistress with tears in his eyes, and flew to the assistance of
his mother. At last he returned to the dear object of his love, and
found her expiring. He was just going to plunge his sword in his own
bosom; but his mother remonstrating against such a desperate deed, and
telling him that he was the only support of her life, he had the courage
to endure to live.

The judges were inclined to give the prize to the soldier. But the king
took up the discourse, and said:

"The action of the soldier, and those of the other two, are doubtless
very great, but they have nothing in them surprising. Yesterday, Zadig
performed an action that filled me with wonder. I had a few days before
disgraced Coreb, my minister and favorite. I complained of him in the
most violent and bitter terms; all my courtiers assured me that I was
too gentle, and seemed to vie with each other in speaking ill of Coreb.
I asked Zadig what he thought of him, and he had the courage to commend
him. I have read in our histories of many people who have atoned for an
error by the surrender of their fortune; who have resigned a mistress;
or preferred a mother to the object of their affection, but never
before did I hear of a courtier who spoke favorably of a disgraced
minister, that labored under the displeasure of his sovereign. I give to
each of those whose generous actions have been now recited, twenty
thousand pieces of gold; but the cup I give to Zadig."

"May it please your majesty," said Zadig, "thyself alone deservest the
cup. Thou hast performed an action of all others the most uncommon and
meritorious, since, notwithstanding thy being a powerful king, thou wast
not offended at thy slave, when he presumed to oppose thy passion."

The king and Zadig were equally the object of admiration. The judge who
had given his estate to his client; the lover who had resigned his
mistress to his friend, and the soldier, who had preferred the safety of
his mother to that of his mistress, received the king's presents, and
saw their names enrolled in the catalogue of generous men. Zadig had the
cup, and the king acquired the reputation of a good prince, which he did
not long enjoy. The day was celebrated by feasts that lasted longer than
the law enjoined; and the memory of it is still preserved in Asia. Zadig
said: "Now I am happy at last." But he found himself fatally deceived.



VI.

THE MINISTER.


The king had lost his first minister, and chose Zadig to supply his
place. All the ladies in Babylon applauded the choice; for, since the
foundation of the empire, there had never been such a young minister.
But all the courtiers were filled with jealousy and vexation. The
envious man, in particular, was troubled with a spitting of blood, and a
prodigious inflammation in his nose. Zadig, having thanked the king and
queen for their goodness, went likewise to thank the parrot.

"Beautiful bird," said he, "tis thou that hast saved my life, and made
me first minister. The queen's bitch and the king's horse did me a great
deal of mischief; but thou hast done me much good. Upon such slender
threads as these do the fates of mortals hang! but," added he, "this
happiness perhaps will vanish very soon."

[Illustration: The cup.--"May it please your majesty," said Zadig,
"thyself alone deservest the cup."]

"Soon," replied the parrot.

Zadig was somewhat startled at this word. But as he was a good natural
philosopher, and did not believe parrots to be prophets, he quickly
recovered his spirits, and resolved to execute his duty to the best of
his power.

He made every one feel the sacred authority of the laws, but no one felt
the weight of his dignity. He never checked the deliberations of the
divan; and every vizier might give his opinion without fear of incurring
the minister's displeasure. When he gave judgment, it was not he that
gave it; it was the law; the rigor of which, however, whenever it was
too severe, he always took care to soften; and when laws were wanting,
the equity of his decisions was such as might easily have made them pass
for those of Zoroaster.

It is to him that the nations are indebted for this grand principle, to
wit, that it is better to run the risk of sparing the guilty than to
condemn the innocent. He imagined that laws were made as well to secure
the people from the suffering of injuries as to restrain them from the
commission of crimes. His chief talent consisted in discovering the
truth, which all men seek to obscure. This great talent he put in
practice from the very beginning of his administration.

A famous merchant of Babylon, who died in the Indies, divided his estate
equally between his two sons, after having disposed of their sister in
marriage, and left a present of thirty thousand pieces of gold to that
son who should be found to have loved him best. The eldest raised a tomb
to his memory; the youngest increased his sister's portion, by giving
her a part of his inheritance. Every one said that the eldest son loved
his father best, and the youngest his sister; and that the thirty
thousand pieces belonged to the eldest.

Zadig sent for both of them, the one after the other. To the eldest he
said:

"Thy father is not dead; but has survived his last illness, and is
returning to Babylon."

"God be praised," replied the young man; "but his tomb cost me a
considerable sum."

Zadig afterwards repeated the same story to the youngest son.

"God be praised," said he; "I will go and restore to my father all that
I have; but I could wish that he would leave my sister what I have given
her."

"Thou shalt restore nothing," replied Zadig, "and thou shalt have the
thirty thousand pieces, for thou art the son who loves his father best."

A widow, having a young son, and being possessed of a handsome fortune,
had given a promise of marriage to two magi; who were both desirous of
marrying her.

"I will take for my husband," said she, "the man who can give the best
education to my beloved son."

The two magi contended who should bring him up, and the cause was
carried before Zadig. Zadig summoned the two magi to attend him.

"What will you teach your pupil?" said he to the first.

"I will teach him," said the doctor, "the eight parts of speech, logic,
astrology, pneumatics, what is meant by substance and accident, abstract
and concrete, the doctrine of the monades, and the pre-established
harmony."

"For my part," said the second, "I will endeavor to give him a sense of
justice, and to make him worthy the friendship of good men."

Zadig then cried:

"Whether thou art the child's favorite or not, thou shalt have his
mother."



VII.

THE DISPUTES AND THE AUDIENCES.


In this manner he daily discovered the subtlety of his genius and the
goodness of his heart. The people at once admired and loved him. He
passed for the happiest man in the world. The whole empire resounded
with his name. All the ladies ogled him. All the men praised him for his
justice. The learned regarded him as an oracle; and even the priests
confessed that he knew more than the old arch-magi Yebor. They were now
so far from prosecuting him on account of the griffins, that they
believed nothing but what he thought credible.

There had continued at Babylon, for the space of fifteen hundred years,
a violent contest that had divided the empire into two sects. The one
pretended that they ought to enter the temple of Mithra with the left
foot foremost; the other held this custom in detestation, and always
entered with the right foot first. The people waited with great
impatience for the day on which the solemn feast of the sacred fire was
to be celebrated, to see which sect Zadig would favor. All the world had
their eyes fixed on his two feet, and the whole city was in the utmost
suspense and perturbation. Zadig jumped into the temple with his feet
joined together; and afterward proved, in an eloquent discourse, that
the Sovereign of heaven and earth, who accepteth not the persons of men,
maketh no distinction between the right and the left foot. The envious
man and his wife alleged that his discourse was not figurative enough,
and that he did not make the rocks and mountains dance with sufficient
agility.

"He is dry," said they, "and void of genius. He does not make the sea to
fly, and stars to fall, nor the sun to melt like wax. He has not the
true oriental style."

Zadig contented himself with having the style of reason. All the world
favored him, not because he was in the right road, or followed the
dictates of reason, or was a man of real merit, but because he was prime
vizier.

He terminated with the same happy address the grand dispute between the
black and the white magi. The former maintained that it was the height
of impiety to pray to God with the face turned toward the east in
winter; the latter asserted that God abhorred the prayers of those who
turned toward the west in summer. Zadig decreed that every man should be
allowed to turn as he pleased.

Thus he found out the happy secret of finishing all affairs, whether of
a private or a public nature, in the morning. The rest of the day he
employed in superintending and promoting the embellishments of Babylon.
He exhibited tragedies that drew tears from the eyes of the spectators,
and comedies that shook their sides with laughter,--a custom which had
long been disused, and which his good taste now induced him to revive.
He never affected to be more knowing in the polite arts than the artists
themselves. He encouraged them by rewards and honors, and was never
jealous of their talents. In the evening the king was highly entertained
with his conversation, and the queen still more.

"Great minister!" said the king.

"Amiable minister!" said the queen; and both of them added, "It would
have been a great loss to the state had such a man been hanged."

Meanwhile Zadig perceived that his thoughts were always distracted, as
well when he gave audience as when he sat in judgment. He did not know
to what to attribute this absence of mind, and that was his only sorrow.

He had a dream, in which he imagined that he laid himself down upon a
heap of dry herbs, among which there were many prickly ones that gave
him great uneasiness, and that he afterward reposed himself on a soft
bed of roses, from which there sprung a serpent that wounded him to the
heart with its sharp venomed fangs. "Alas," said he, "I have long lain
on these dry and prickly herbs, I am now on the bed of roses; but what
shall be the serpent?"



VIII.

JEALOUSY.


Zadig's calamities sprung even from his happiness, and especially from
his merit. He every day conversed with the king and his august consort.
The charms of Zadig's conversation were greatly heightened by that
desire of pleasing which is to the mind what dress is to beauty. His
youth and graceful appearance insensibly made an impression on Astarte,
which she did not at first perceive. Her passion grew and flourished in
the bosom of innocence. Without fear or scruple, she indulged the
pleasing satisfaction of seeing and hearing a man who was so dear to her
husband, and to the empire in general. She was continually praising him
to the king. She talked of him to her women, who were always sure to
improve on her praises. And thus everything contributed to pierce her
heart with a dart, of which she did not seem to be sensible. She made
several presents to Zadig, which discovered a greater spirit of
gallantry than she imagined. She intended to speak to him only as a
queen satisfied with his services; and her expressions were sometimes
those of a woman in love.

Astarte was much more beautiful than that Semira who had such a strong
aversion to one-eyed men, or that other woman who had resolved to cut
off her husband's nose. Her unreserved familiarity, her tender
expressions, at which she began to blush; and her eyes, which, though
she endeavored to divert them to other objects, were always fixed upon
his, inspired Zadig with a passion that filled him with astonishment. He
struggled hard to get the better of it. He called to his aid the
precepts of philosophy, which had always stood him in stead; but from
thence, though he could derive the light of knowledge, he could procure
no remedy to cure the disorders of his love-sick heart. Duty, gratitude,
and violated majesty, presented themselves to his mind, as so many
avenging gods. He struggled, he conquered. But this victory, which he
was obliged to purchase afresh every moment, cost him many sighs and
tears. He no longer dared to speak to the queen with that sweet and
charming familiarity which had been so agreeable to them both. His
countenance was covered with a cloud. His conversation was constrained
and incoherent. His eyes were fixed on the ground; and when, in spite of
all his endeavors to the contrary, they encountered those of the queen,
they found them bathed in tears, and darting arrows of flame. They
seemed to say, We adore each other, and yet are afraid to love; we are
consumed with a passion which we both condemn.

Zadig left the royal presence full of perplexity and despair, and having
his heart oppressed with a burden which he was no longer able to bear.
In the violence of his perturbation he involuntarily betrayed the secret
to his friend Cador, in the same manner as a man, who, having long
endured a cruel disease, discovers his pain by a cry extorted from him
by a more severe attack, and by the cold sweat that covers his brow.

"I have already discovered," said Cador, "the sentiments which thou
wouldst fain conceal from thyself. The symptoms by which the passions
show themselves are certain and infallible. Judge, my dear Zadig, since
I have read thy heart, whether the king will not discover something in
it that may give him offence. He has no other fault but that of being
the most jealous man in the world. Thou canst resist the violence of thy
passion with greater fortitude than the queen, because thou art a
philosopher, and because thou art Zadig. Astarte is a woman. She suffers
her eyes to speak with so much the more imprudence, as she does not as
yet think herself guilty. Conscious of her own innocence, she unhappily
neglects those external appearances which are so necessary. I shall
tremble for her so long as she has nothing wherewithal to reproach
herself. A growing passion which we endeavor to suppress, discovers
itself in spite of all our efforts to the contrary."

Meanwhile, the queen mentioned the name of Zadig so frequently, and with
such a blushing and downcast look. She was sometimes so lively, and
sometimes so perplexed, when she spoke to him in the king's presence,
and was seized with such a deep thoughtfulness at his going away, that
the king began to be troubled. He believed all that he saw, and imagined
all that he did not see. He particularly remarked, that his wife's shoes
were blue, and that Zadig's shoes were blue; that his wife's ribbons
were yellow, and that Zadig's bonnet was yellow, and these were terrible
symptoms to a prince of so much delicacy. In his jealous mind suspicion
was turned into certainty.

All the slaves of kings and queens are so many spies over their hearts.
They soon observed that Astarte was tender, and that Moabdar was
jealous. The envious man persuaded his wife to send anonymously to the
king her garter, which resembled those of the queen; and to complete the
misfortune, this garter was blue. The monarch now thought of nothing but
in what manner he might best execute his vengeance. He one night
resolved to poison the queen, and in the morning to put Zadig to death
by the bowstring. The orders were given to a merciless eunuch, who
commonly executed his acts of vengeance.

There happened at that time to be in the king's chamber a little dwarf,
who, though dumb, was not deaf. He was allowed, on account of his
insignificance, to go wherever he pleased; and, as a domestic animal,
was a witness of what passed in the most profound secrecy.

This little mute was strongly attached to the queen and Zadig. With
equal horror and surprise, he heard the cruel orders given; but how
could he prevent the fatal sentence that in a few hours was to be
carried into execution? He could not write, but he could paint; and
excelled particularly in drawing a striking resemblance. He employed a
part of the night in sketching out with his pencil what he meant to
impart to the queen. The piece represented the king in one corner,
boiling with rage, and giving orders to the eunuch; a blue bowstring,
and a bowl on a table, with blue garters and yellow ribbons; the queen
in the middle of the picture, expiring in the arms of her woman, and
Zadig strangled at her feet. The horizon represented a rising sun, to
express that this shocking execution was to be performed in the morning.
As soon as he had finished the picture, he ran to one of Astarte's
women, awoke her, and made her understand that she must immediately
carry it to the queen.

At midnight a messenger knocks at Zadig's door, awakes him, and gives
him a note from the queen. He doubts whether it is not a dream; and
opens the letter with a trembling hand. But how great was his surprise,
and who can express the consternation and despair into which he was
thrown upon reading these words? "Fly, this instant, or thou art a dead
man! Fly, Zadig, I conjure thee by our mutual love and my yellow
ribbons. I have not been guilty, but I find that I must die like a
criminal."

Zadig was hardly able to speak. He sent for Cador, and, without uttering
a word, gave him the note. Cador forced him to obey, and forthwith to
take the road to Memphis.

"Shouldst thou dare," said he, "to go in search of the queen, thou wilt
hasten her death. Shouldst thou speak to the king, thou wilt infallibly
ruin her. I will take upon me the charge of her destiny; follow thy own.
I will spread a report that thou hast taken the road to India. I will
soon follow thee, and inform thee of all that shall have passed in
Babylon."

At that instant, Cador caused two of the swiftest dromedaries to be
brought to a private gate of the palace. Upon one of these he mounted
Zadig, whom he was obliged to carry to the door, and who was ready to
expire with grief. He was accompanied by a single domestic, and Cador,
plunged in sorrow and astonishment, soon lost sight of his friend.

This illustrious fugitive arriving on the side of a hill, from whence he
could take a view of Babylon, turned his eyes toward the queen's palace,
and fainted away at the sight; nor did he recover his senses but to shed
a torrent of tears, and to wish for death. At length, after his thoughts
had been long engrossed in lamenting the unhappy fate of the loveliest
woman and the greatest queen in the world, he for a moment turned his
views on himself, and cried:

"What then is human life? O virtue, how hast thou served me? Two women
have basely deceived me; and now a third, who is innocent, and more
beautiful than both the others, is going to be put to death! Whatever
good I have done hath been to me a continual source of calamity and
affliction; and I have only been raised to the height of grandeur, to be
tumbled down the most horrid precipice of misfortune."

Filled with these gloomy reflections, his eyes overspread with the veil
of grief, his countenance covered with the paleness of death, and his
soul plunged in an abyss of the blackest despair, he continued his
journey toward Egypt.



IX.

THE WOMAN BEATER.


Zadig directed his course by the stars. The constellation of Orion, and
the splendid Dogstars, guided his steps toward the pole of Canopæa. He
admired those vast globes of light which appear to our eyes as so many
little sparks, while the earth, which in reality is only an
imperceptible point in nature, appears to our fond imaginations as
something so grand and noble. He then represented to himself the human
species, as it really is, as a parcel of insects devouring one another
on a little atom of clay. This true image seemed to annihilate his
misfortunes, by making him sensible of the nothingness of his own being,
and that of Babylon. His soul launched out into infinity, and detached
from the senses, contemplated the immutable order of the universe. But
when afterward, returning to himself, and entering into his own heart,
he considered that Astarte had perhaps died for him, the universe
vanished from his sight, and he beheld nothing in the whole compass of
nature but Astarte expiring, and Zadig unhappy.

While he thus alternately gave up his mind to this flux and reflux of
sublime philosophy and intolerable grief, he advanced toward the
frontiers of Egypt; and his faithful domestic was already in the first
village, in search of a lodging.

Meanwhile, as Zadig was walking toward the gardens that skirted the
village, he saw, at a small distance from the highway, a woman bathed in
tears and calling heaven and earth to her assistance, and a man in a
furious passion pursuing her.

This madman had already overtaken the woman, who embraced his knees,
notwithstanding which he loaded her with blows and reproaches. Zadig
judged by the frantic behavior of the Egyptian, and by the repeated
pardons which the lady asked him, that the one was jealous, and the
other unfaithful. But when he surveyed the woman more narrowly, and
found her to be a lady of exquisite beauty, and even to have a strong
resemblance to the unhappy Astarte, he felt himself inspired with
compassion for her, and horror toward the Egyptian.

"Assist me," cried she to Zadig, with the deepest sighs, "deliver me
from the hands of the most barbarous man in the world. Save my life."

Moved by these pitiful cries, Zadig ran and threw himself between her
and the barbarian. As he had some knowledge of the Egyptian language, he
addressed him in that tongue.

"If," said he, "thou hast any humanity, I conjure thee to pay some
regard to her beauty and weakness. How canst thou behave in this
outrageous manner to one of the masterpieces of nature, who lies at thy
feet, and hath no defence but her tears?"

"Ah, ah!" replied the madman, "thou art likewise in love with her. I
must be revenged on thee too."

So saying, he left the lady, whom he had hitherto held with his hand
twisted in her hair, and taking his lance attempted to stab the
stranger. Zadig, who was in cold blood, easily eluded the blow aimed by
the frantic Egyptian. He seized the lance near the iron with which it
was armed. The Egyptian strove to draw it back; Zadig to wrest it from
the Egyptian; and in the struggle it was broken in two. The Egyptian
draws his sword; Zadig does the same. They attack each other. The former
gives a hundred blows at random; the latter wards them off with great
dexterity. The lady, seated on a turf, re-adjusts her head-dress, and
looks at the combatants. The Egyptian excelled in strength: Zadig in
address. The one fought like a man whose arm was directed by his
judgment; the other like a madman, whose blind rage made him deal his
blows at random. Zadig closes with him, and disarms him; and while the
Egyptian, now become more furious, endeavors to throw himself upon him,
he seizes him, presses him close, and throws him down; and then holding
his sword to his breast, offers him his life. The Egyptian, frantic with
rage, draws his poniard, and wounds Zadig at the very instant that the
conqueror was granting a pardon. Zadig, provoked at such brutal
behavior, plunged his sword in the bosom of the Egyptian, who giving a
horrible shriek and a violent struggle, instantly expired. Zadig then
approached the lady, and said to her with a gentle tone:

"He hath forced me to kill him. I have avenged thy cause. Thou art now
delivered from the most violent man I ever saw. What further, madam,
wouldest thou have me do for thee?

"Die, villain," replied she, "thou hast killed my lover. O that I were
able to tear out thy heart!"

"Why truly, madam," said Zadig, "thou hadst a strange kind of a man for
a lover; he beat thee with all his might, and would have killed thee,
because thou hadst entreated me to give thee assistance."

"I wish he were beating me still," replied the lady with tears and
lamentation. "I well deserved it; for I had given him cause to be
jealous. Would to heaven that he was now beating me, and that thou wast
in his place."

Zadig, struck with surprise, and inflamed with a higher degree of
resentment than he had ever felt before, said:

"Beautiful as thou art, madam, thou deservest that I should beat thee in
my turn for thy perverse and impertinent behavior. But I shall not give
myself the trouble."

So saying, he remounted his camel, and advanced toward the town. He had
proceeded but a few steps, when he turned back at the noise of four
Babylonian couriers, who came riding at full gallop. One of them, upon
seeing the woman, cried:

"It is the very same. She resembles the description that was given us."

They gave themselves no concern about the dead Egyptian, but instantly
seized the lady. She called out to Zadig:

"Help me once more, generous stranger. I ask pardon for having
complained of thy conduct. Deliver me again, and I will be thine for
ever."

Zadig was no longer in the humor of fighting for her.

"Apply to another," said he, "thou shalt not again ensnare me in thy
wiles."

Besides, he was wounded; his blood was still flowing, and he himself had
need of assistance: and the sight of four Babylonians, probably sent by
King Moabdar, filled him with apprehension. He therefore hastened toward
the village, unable to comprehend why four Babylonian couriers should
come and seize this Egyptian woman, but still more astonished at the
lady's behavior.



X.

SLAVERY.


As he entered the Egyptian village, he saw himself surrounded by the
people. Every one said:

"This is the man who carried off the beautiful Missouf, and assassinated
Clitofis."

"Gentleman," said he, "God preserve me from carrying off your beautiful
Missouf. She is too capricious for me. And with regard to Clitofis, I
did not assassinate him, I only fought with him in my own defence. He
endeavored to kill me, because I humbly interceded for the beautiful
Missouf, whom he beat most unmercifully. I am a stranger, come to seek
refuge in Egypt; and it is not likely, that in coming to implore your
protection, I should begin by carrying off a woman, and assassinating a
man."

The Egyptians were then just and humane. The people conducted Zadig to
the town-house. They first of all ordered his wound to be dressed, and
then examined him and his servant apart, in order to discover the truth.
They found that Zadig was not an assassin; but as he was guilty of
having killed a man, the law condemned him to be a slave. His two camels
were sold for the benefit of the town: all the gold he had brought with
him was distributed among the inhabitants; and his person, as well as
that of the companion of his journey, was exposed for sale in the
market-place. An Arabian merchant, named Setoc, made the purchase; but
as the servant was fitter for labor than the master, he was sold at a
higher price. There was no comparison between the two men. Thus Zadig
became a slave subordinate to his own servant. They were linked together
by a chain fastened to their feet, and in this condition they followed
the Arabian merchant to his house.

By the way Zadig comforted his servant, and exhorted him to patience;
but he could not help making, according to his usual custom, some
reflections on human life. "I see," said he, "that the unhappiness of my
fate hath an influence on thine. Hitherto everything has turned out to
me in a most unaccountable manner. I have been condemned to pay a fine
for having seen the marks of a bitch's feet. I thought that I should
once have been empaled alive on account of a griffin. I have been sent
to execution for having made some verses in praise of the king. I have
been on the point of being strangled, because the queen had yellow
ribbons; and now I am a slave with thee, because a brutal wretch beat
his mistress. Come, let us keep a good heart; all this will perhaps have
an end. The Arabian merchants must necessarily have slaves; and why not
me as well as another, since, as well as another, I am a man? This
merchant will not be cruel. He must treat his slaves well if he expects
any advantage from them."

But while he spoke thus, his heart was entirely engrossed by the fate of
the queen of Babylon.

Two days after, the merchant Setoc set out for Arabia Deserta, with his
slaves and his camels. His tribe dwelt near the desert of Oreb. The
journey was long and painful. Setoc set a much greater value on the
servant than the master, because the former was more expert in loading
the camels, and all the little marks of distinction were shown to him. A
camel having died within two days journey of Oreb, his burden was
divided and laid on the backs of the servants; and Zadig had his share
among the rest. Setoc laughed to see all his slaves walking with their
bodies inclined. Zadig took the liberty to explain to him the cause, and
inform him of the laws of the balance. The merchant was astonished, and
began to regard him with other eyes. Zadig, finding he had raised his
curiosity, increased it still further by acquainting him with many
things that related to commerce; the specific gravity of metals and
commodities under an equal bulk; the properties of several useful
animals; and the means of rendering those useful that are not naturally
so.

At last Setoc began to consider Zadig as a sage, and preferred him to
his companion, whom he had formerly so much esteemed. He treated him
well, and had no cause to repent of his kindness.

As soon as Setoc arrived among his own tribe he demanded the payment of
five hundred ounces of silver, which he had lent to a Jew in presence of
two witnesses; but as the witnesses were dead, and the debt could not be
proved, the Hebrew appropriated the merchant's money to himself, and
piously thanked God for putting it in his power to cheat an Arabian.
Setoc imparted this troublesome affair to Zadig, who had now become his
counsel.

"In what place," said Zadig, "didst thou lend the five hundred ounces to
this infidel?"

"Upon a large stone," replied the merchant, "that lies near the mountain
of Oreb."

"What is the character of thy debter?" said Zadig.

"That of a knave," returned Setoc.

"But I ask thee, whether he is lively or phlegmatic; cautious or
imprudent?"

"He is, of all bad payers," said Setoc, "the most lively fellow I ever
knew."

"Well," resumed Zadig, "allow me to plead thy cause."

In effect, Zadig having summoned the Jew to the tribunal, addressed the
judge in the following terms:

"Pillow of the throne of equity, I come to demand of this man, in the
name of my master, five hundred ounces of silver, which he refuses to
repay."

"Hast thou any witnesses?" said the judge.

"No, they are dead; but there remains a large stone upon which the money
was counted; and if it please thy grandeur to order the stone to be
sought for, I hope that it will bear witness. The Hebrew and I will
tarry here till the stone arrives. I will send for it at my master's
expense."

"With all my heart," replied the judge, and immediately applied himself
to the discussion of other affairs.

When the court was going to break up, the judge said to Zadig:

"Well, friend, hath not thy stone yet arrived?"

The Hebrew replied with a smile:

"Thy grandeur may stay here till to-morrow, and after all not see the
stone. It is more than six miles from hence and it would require fifteen
men to move it."

"Well," cried Zadig, "did I not say that the stone would bear witness?
Since this man knows where it is, he thereby confesses that it was upon
it that the money was counted."

The Hebrew was disconcerted, and was soon after obliged to confess the
truth. The judge ordered him to be fastened to the stone, without meat
or drink, till he should restore the five hundred ounces, which were
soon after paid.

The slave Zadig and the stone were held in great repute in Arabia.

[Illustration: Egyptian archer.]



XI.

THE FUNERAL PILE.


Setoc, charmed with the happy issue of this affair, made his slave his
intimate friend. He had now conceived as great an esteem for him as ever
the king of Babylon had done; and Zadig was glad that Setoc had no wife.
He discovered in his master a good natural disposition, much probity of
heart, and a great share of good sense; but he was sorry to see that,
according to the ancient custom of Arabia, he adored the host of heaven;
that is, the sun, moon, and stars. He sometimes spoke to him on this
subject with great prudence and discretion. At last he told him that
these bodies were like all other bodies in the universe, and no more
deserving of our homage than a tree or a rock.

"But," said Setoc, "they are eternal beings; and it is from them we
derive all we enjoy. They animate nature; they regulate the seasons;
and, besides, are removed at such an immense distance from us, that we
cannot help revering them."

"Thou receivest more advantage," replied Zadig, "from the waters of the
Red Sea, which carry thy merchandize to the Indies. Why may not it be as
ancient as the stars? and if thou adorest what is placed at a distance
from thee, thou shouldest adore the land of the Gangarides, which lies
at the extremity of the earth."

"No," said Setoc, "the brightness of the stars commands my adoration."

At night Zadig lighted up a great number of candles in the tent where he
was to sup with Setoc; and the moment his patron appeared, he fell on
his knees before these lighted tapers, and said:

"Eternal and shining luminaries! be ye always propitious to me."

Having thus said, he sat down at the table, without taking the least
notice of Setoc.

"What art thou doing?" said Setoc in amaze[TR: amazement?].

"I act like thee," replied Zadig, "I adore these candles, and neglect
their master and mine."

Setoc comprehended the profound sense of this apologue. The wisdom of
his slave sunk deep into his soul. He no longer offered incense to the
creatures, but he adored the eternal Being who made them.

There prevailed at that time in Arabia a shocking custom, sprung
originally from Scythia, and which, being established in the Indies by
the credit of the Brahmins, threatened to over-run all the East. When a
married man died, and his beloved wife aspired to the character of a
saint, she burned herself publicly on the body of her husband. This was
a solemn feast, and was called the Funeral Pile of Widowhood; and that
tribe in which most women had been burned was the most respected. An
Arabian of Setoc's tribe being dead, his widow, whose name was Almona,
and who was very devout, published the day and hour when she intended to
throw herself into the fire, amidst the sound of drums and trumpets.

Zadig remonstrated against this horrible custom. He showed Setoc how
inconsistent it was with the happiness of mankind to suffer young widows
to burn themselves--widows who were capable of giving children to the
state, or at least of educating those they already had; and he convinced
him that it was his duty to do all that lay in his power to abolish such
a barbarous practice.

"The women," said Setoc, "have possessed the right of burning themselves
for more than a thousand years; and who shall dare to abrogate a law
which time hath rendered sacred? Is there anything more respectable than
ancient abuses?"

"Reason is more ancient," replied Zadig: "meanwhile, speak thou to the
chiefs of the tribes, and I will go to wait on the young widow."

Accordingly, he was introduced to her, and after having insinuated
himself into her good graces by some compliments on her beauty, and told
her what a pity it was to commit so many charms to the flames, he at
last praised her for her constancy and courage.

"Thou must surely have loved thy husband," said he to her, "with the
most passionate fondness."

"Who, I?" replied the lady, "I loved him not at all. He was a brutal,
jealous, and insupportable wretch; but I am firmly resolved to throw
myself on his funeral pile."

[Illustration: The funeral pyre.--"The women," said Setoc, "have
possessed the right of burning themselves for more than a thousand
years; and who shall dare to abrogate a law which time hath rendered
sacred? Is there anything more respectable than ancient abuses?"]

"It would appear then," said Zadig, "that there must be a very delicious
pleasure in being burnt alive."

"Oh! it makes me shudder," replied the lady, "but that must be
overlooked. I am a devotee; I should lose my reputation; and all the
world would despise me, if I did not burn myself."

Zadig having made her acknowledge that she burned herself to gain the
good opinion of others, and to gratify her own vanity, entertained her
with a long discourse calculated to make her a little in love with life,
and even went so far as to inspire her with some degree of good will for
the person who spoke to her.

"And what wilt thou do at last," said he, "if the vanity of burning
thyself should not continue?"

"Alas!" said the lady, "I believe I should desire thee to marry me."

Zadig's mind was too much engrossed with the idea of Astarte not to
elude this declaration; but he instantly went to the chiefs of the
tribes, told them what had passed, and advised them to make a law by
which a widow should not be permitted to burn herself, till she had
conversed privately with a young man for the space of an hour. Since
that time not a single widow hath burned herself in Arabia. They were
indebted to Zadig alone for destroying in one day a cruel custom that
had lasted for so many ages; and thus he became the benefactor of
Arabia.



XII.

THE SUPPER.


Setoc, who could not separate himself from this man in whom dwelt
wisdom, carried Zadig to the great fair of Balzora, whither the richest
merchants of the earth resorted. Zadig was highly pleased to see so many
men of different countries united in the same place. He considered the
whole universe as one large family assembled at Balzora. The second day
he sat at table with an Egyptian, an Indian, an inhabitant of Cathay, a
Greek, a Celtic, and several other strangers, who, in their frequent
voyages to the Arabian Gulf, had learned enough of the Arabic to make
themselves understood.

The Egyptian seemed to be in a violent passion. "What an abominable
country," said he, "is Balzora! They refuse me a thousand ounces of gold
on the best security in the world."

"How!" said Setoc. "On what security have they refused thee this sum?"

"On the body of my aunt," replied the Egyptian. "She was the most
notable woman in Egypt; she always accompanied me in my journeys; she
died on the road. I have converted her into one of the nest mummies in
the world; and in my own country I could obtain any amount by giving her
as a pledge. It is very strange that they will not here lend me a
thousand ounces of gold on such a solid security."

Angry as he was, he was going to help himself to a bit of excellent
boiled fowl, when the Indian, taking him by the hand, cried out in a
sorrowful tone, "Ah! what art thou going to do?"

"To eat a bit of this fowl," replied the man who owned the mummy.

"Take care that thou dost not," replied the Indian. "It is possible that
the soul of the deceased may have passed into this fowl; and thou
wouldst not, surely, expose thyself to the danger of eating thy aunt? To
boil fowls is a manifest outrage on nature."

"What dost thou mean by thy nature and thy fowls?" replied the choleric
Egyptian. "We adore a bull, and yet we eat heartily of beef."

"You adore a bull! is it possible?" said the Indian.

"Nothing is more possible," returned the other; "we have done so for
these hundred and thirty-five thousand years; and nobody amongst us has
ever found fault with it."

"A hundred and thirty-five thousand years!" said the Indian. "This
account is a little exaggerated. It is but eighty thousand years since
India was first peopled, and we are surely more ancient than you are.
Brahma prohibited our eating of ox-flesh before you thought of putting
it on your spits or altars."

[Illustration: Oannes--the Fish God.--"Thou art mistaken," said a
Chaldean. "It is to the fish Oannes that we owe these great advantages;
and it is just that we should render homage to none but him. All the
world will tell thee, that he is a divine being, with a golden tail, and
a beautiful human head; and that for three hours every day he left the
water to preach on dry land."]



     OANNES--THE FISH AVATAR.

     "The accompanying engraving of the fish-god is from a drawing by
     Gentil, given in _Calmet's Dictionary_. The god was worshiped under
     the name of Dagon by the Syrians, and Oannes by the Chaldeans. The
     image represented the body of a fish with the head and arms of a
     man; and while all figures of the god are not exactly alike, they
     all combine a human form with that of a fish.

     "Owing to the precession of the equinoxes," says the Rev. Mr.
     Maurice in the _Antiquities of India_, "after the rate of
     seventy-two years to a degree, a total alteration has taken place
     through all the signs of the ecliptic, insomuch that those stars
     which formerly were in Aries have now got into Taurus, and those of
     Taurus into Gemini. Now the vernal equinox, after the rate of that
     precession, could not have coincided with the first of May less
     than 4000 years before Christ."

     An Avatar in the form of the celestial _Taurus_ (♉) then occurred,
     and Osiris was worshiped in the form of a bull, by credulous
     believers. Next in the course of revolving years, we have the
     celestial _Aries_, (♈) and the god then became incarnate in the
     form of a lamb, and in that form received the adoration of devout
     multitudes. Later still the Zodiacal sign had progressed to
     _Pisces_, (♓) and mankind were then called upon to worship the
     astrological emblem of the amphibious being called Oannes--the
     sacred god of the land and the sea--whose representative on earth
     still claims to be the _Great Fisherman_, and who has entangled in
     the meshes of his net of faith the intellects and consciences of
     innumerable devotees.

     "In Berosus and other authors," says Godfrey Higgins in the
     _Anacalypsis_, "the being half man, half fish, called Oannes, is
     said to have come out of the Erythræan Sea, and to have taught the
     Babylonians all kinds of useful knowledge. This is clearly the fish
     Avatar of India; whether or not it be the I-oannes of Jonas I leave
     to the reader. I apprehend it is the same as the Dagon of Pegu and
     the fish sign of the Zodiac. Very little is known about it, but it
     exactly answers the description of an Avatar.

     "The apostles of Jesus, I believe, were most of them fishermen.
     There are many stories of miraculous draughts of fish, and other
     matters connected with fishes, in the Gospel histories; and Peter,
     the son of John, I-oannes or Oannes, the great fisherman, inherited
     the power of ruling the church from the Lamb of God. The fisherman
     succeeded to the shepherd. The Pope calls himself the great
     fisherman, and boasts of the contents of his Poitrine.

     "In the Pentateuch, which is the sacred book of the Israelites, we
     meet with no Dagon, Fish or God. But we do meet with it in the book
     of Judges. I believe this Dagon to be the fish Avatar of India--the
     Dagon of Syrian in Pegu; in fact the emblem of the entrance of the
     sun into Pisces.

     "In the earliest time, perhaps, of which we have any history, God
     the creator was adored under the form or emblem of a Bull. After
     that, we read of him under the form of a calf or two calves,
     afterward in the form of the Ram and the Lamb, and the devotees
     were called lambs: then came the fish or two fishes. It is a fact,
     not a theory, that he was called a fish, and that the devotees were
     called Pisciculi or little fishes. I suppose few persons will
     attribute these appearances of system to accident. As we have
     _lambs_ and _little fishes_ in the followers of the Ram, Aries, and
     the constellation Pisces, it is only in character to have the
     followers of the Bull called _calves_, and I am by no means certain
     that we have not them in the Cyclops.

     "At first, no doubt, my reader will be very much surprised at the
     idea of the devotees having converted Jesus into the _fish_ Avatar:
     but why was he called the lamb? And why were his followers called
     his flock, and his sheep, and his lambs? Not many circumstances are
     more striking than that of Jesus Christ being originally worshiped
     under the form of a Lamb--the actual lamb of God which taketh away
     the sins of the world. It does not appear to me to be more
     extraordinary that his followers, as it is admitted that they did,
     should call him a _fish_ and the believers in him pisciculi, than
     that they should call him a lamb, and his followers lambs. He was
     originally represented as a lamb until one of the popes changed his
     effigy to that of a man on a cross. Applying the astronomical
     emblem of Pisces (♓) to Jesus, does not seem more absurd than
     applying the astronomical emblem of the Lamb (♈) They applied to
     him the monogram of Bacchus, ΙΗΣ; the astrological and alchymical
     mark or sign of Aries, or the Ram (♈) and, in short, what was there
     that was Heathenish that they have not applied to him? They have
     actually loaded his simple and sublime religion with every
     absurdity of Gentilism. I know not one absurdity that can be
     excepted."

     In one of the windows of the Magnificent Cathedral of the
     Incarnation, erected by Mrs. A.T. Stewart, at Garden City, N.Y., is
     a painting representing the Sea of Tiberias. The "risen Lord,"
     clothed in rich robes of green, scarlet, and gold, is standing on
     the seashore, with four of the apostles. Prominent among them is
     the _great fisherman_ St. Peter, who is grasping the end of a
     seine. In the background is seen the mast and rigging of a fishing
     boat. At the feet of Christ a fire is burning, and on the coals are
     _two fishes_, like the two fishes in the Zodiacal sign _Pisces_
     (♓). The artist has thus reproduced the ancient myth, regardless of
     its astrological origin, and the mythical fishes of the zodiac,
     with other ancient Pagan emblems, now symbolize Christian faith in
     the so-called Cathedral of the Incarnation.--E.



"This Brahma of yours," said the Egyptian, "is a pleasant sort of an
animal, truly, to compare with our Apis. What great things hath your
Brahma done?"

"It was he," replied the Brahmin, "that taught mankind to read and
write, and to whom the world is indebted for the game of chess."

"Thou art mistaken," said a Chaldean who sat near him. "It is to the
fish Oannes that we owe these great advantages; and it is just that we
should render homage to none but him. All the world will tell thee, that
he is a divine being, with a golden tail, and a beautiful human head;
and that for three hours every day he left the water to preach on dry
land. He had several children, who were kings, as every one knows. I
have a picture of him at home, which I worship with becoming reverence.
We may eat as much beef as we please; but it is surely a great sin to
dress fish for the table. Besides, you are both of an origin too recent
and ignoble to dispute with me. The Egyptians reckon only a hundred and
thirty-five thousand years, and the Indians but eighty thousand, while
we have almanacs of four thousand ages. Believe me; renounce your
follies; and I will give to each of you a beautiful picture of Oannes."

The man of Cathay took up the discourse, and said:

"I have a great respect for the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the Greeks,
the Celtics, Brahma, the bull Apis, and the beautiful fish Oannes; but I
could think that Li, or Tien, as he is commonly called, is superior to
all the bulls on the earth, or all the fish in the sea. I shall say
nothing of my native country; it is as large as Egypt, Chaldea, and the
Indies put together. Neither shall I dispute about the antiquity of our
nation; because it is of little consequence whether we are ancient or
not; it is enough if we are happy. But were it necessary to speak of
almanacs, I could say that all Asia takes ours, and that we had very
good ones before arithmetic was known in Chaldea."

"Ignorant men, as ye all are," said the Greek; "do you not know that
Chaos is the father of all; and that form and matter have put the world
into its present condition?"

The Greek spoke for a long time, but was at last interrupted by the
Celtic, who, having drank pretty deeply while the rest were disputing,
imagined he was now more knowing than all the others, and said, with an
oath, that there were none but Teutat and the mistletoe of the oak that
were worth the trouble of a dispute; that, for his own part, he had
always some mistletoe in his pocket, and that the Scythians, his
ancestors, were the only men of merit that had ever appeared in the
world; that it was true they had sometimes eaten human flesh, but that,
notwithstanding this circumstance, his nation deserved to be held in
great esteem; and that, in fine, if any one spoke ill of Teutat, he
would teach him better manners.

The quarrel had now become warm, and Setoc feared the table would be
stained with blood.

Zadig, who had been silent during the whole dispute, arose at last. He
first addressed himself to the Celtic, as the most furious of the
disputants. He told him that he had reason on his side, and begged a few
mistletoes. He then praised the Greek for his eloquence, and softened
all their exasperated spirits. He said but little to the man of Cathay,
because he had been the most reasonable of them all. At last he said:

"You were going, my friends, to quarrel about nothing; for you are all
of one mind."

At this assertion they all cried out in dissent.

"Is it not true," said he to the Celtic, "that you adore not this
mistletoe, but him that made both the mistletoe and the oak?"

"Most undoubtedly," replied the Celtic.

"And thou, Mr. Egyptian, dost not thou revere, in a certain bull, him
who created the bulls?"

"Yes," said the Egyptian.

"The fish Oannes," continued he, "must yield to him who made the sea and
the fishes. The Indian and the Cathaian," added he, "acknowledge a first
principle. I did not fully comprehend the admirable things that were
said by the Greek; but I am sure he will admit a superior being on whom
form and matter depend."

The Greek, whom they all admired, said that Zadig had exactly taken his
meaning.

"You are all then," replied Zadig, "of one opinion and have no cause to
quarrel."

All the company embraced him.

Setoc, after having sold his commodities at a very high price, returned
to his own tribe with his friend Zadig; who learned, upon his arrival,
that he had been tried in his absence and was now going to be burned by
a slow fire.



XIII.

THE RENDEZVOUS.


During his journey to Balzora the priests of the stars had resolved to
punish Zadig. The precious stones and ornaments of the young widows whom
they sent to the funeral pile belonged to them of right; and the least
they could now do was to burn Zadig for the ill office he had done them.
Accordingly they accused him of entertaining erroneous sentiments of the
heavenly host. They deposed against him, and swore that they had heard
him say that the stars did not set in the sea. This horrid blasphemy
made the judges tremble; they were ready to tear their garments upon
hearing these impious words; and they would certainly have torn them had
Zadig had wherewithal to pay them for new ones. But, in the excess of
their zeal and indignation, they contented themselves with condemning
him to be burnt by a slow fire. Setoc, filled with despair at this
unhappy event, employed all his interest to save his friend, but in
vain. He was soon obliged to hold his peace. The young widow, Almona,
who had now conceived a great fondness for life, for which she was
obliged to Zadig, resolved to deliver him from the funeral pile, of the
abuse of which he had fully convinced her. She resolved the scheme in
her own mind, without imparting it to any person whatever. Zadig was to
be executed the next day. If she could save him at all, she must do it
that very night; and the method taken by this charitable and prudent
lady was as follows:

She perfumed herself, she heightened her beauty by the richest and
gayest apparel, and went to demand an audience of the chief priest of
the stars. As soon as she was introduced to the venerable old man, she
addressed him in these terms:

"Eldest son of the great bear, brother of the bull, and cousin of the
great dog, (such were the titles of this pontiff,) I come to acquaint
thee with my scruples. I am much afraid that I have committed a heinous
crime in not burning myself on the funeral pile of my dear husband; for,
indeed, what had I worth preserving? Perishable flesh, thou seest, that
is already entirely withered." So saying, she drew up her long sleeves
of silk, and showed her naked arms, which were of an elegant shape and a
dazzling whiteness. "Thou seest," said she, that these are little worth.
The priest found in his heart that they were worth a great deal. He
swore that he had never in his life seen such beautiful arms. "Alas!"
said the widow, "my arms, perhaps, are not so bad as the rest; but thou
wilt confess that my neck is not worthy of the least regard." She then
discovered the most charming neck that nature had ever formed. Compared
to it a rose-bud on an apple of ivory would have appeared like madder on
the box-tree, and the whiteness of new-washed lambs would have seemed of
a dusky yellow. Her large black eyes, languishing with the gentle lustre
of a tender fire; her cheeks animated with the finest pink, mixed with
the whiteness of milk; her nose, which had no resemblance to the tower
of Mount Lebanon; her lips, like two borders of coral, inclosing the
nest pearls in the Arabian Sea; all conspired to make the old man fancy
and believe that he was young again. Almona, seeing his admiration, now
entreated him to pardon Zadig. "Alas!" said he, "my charming lady,
should I grant thee his pardon, it would be of no service, as it must
necessarily be signed by three others, my brethren." "Sign it, however,"
said Almona. "With all my heart," said the priest. "Be pleased to visit
me," said Almona, "when the bright star of Sheat shall appear in the
horizon."

Almona then went to the second pontiff. He assured her that the sun, the
moon, and all the luminaries of heaven, were but glimmering meteors in
comparison to her charms. She asked the same favor of him, and he also
granted it readily. She then appointed the second pontiff to meet her at
the rising of the star Algenib. From thence she went to the third and
fourth priest, always taking their signatures, and making an appointment
from star to star. She then sent a message to the judges, entreating
them to come to her house on an affair of great importance. They
obeyed her summons. She showed them the four names, and told them that
the priests had granted the pardon of Zadig. Each of the pontiffs
arrived at the hour appointed. Each was surprised at finding his
brethren there, but still more at seeing the judges also present. Zadig
was saved; and Setoc was so charmed with the skill and address of Almona
that he at once made her his wife.

[Illustration: Almona.--Almona, seeing his admiration, now entreated him
to pardon Zadig. "Alas!" said he, "my charming lady, should I grant thee
his pardon, it would be of no service, as it must necessarily be signed
by three others, my brethren. Sign it, however," said Almona.]

Business affairs now required Setoc's presence in the island of
Serendib; but during the first month of his marriage--the month which is
called the honeymoon--he could not permit himself to leave Almona, nor
even to think he could ever leave her, and he requested Zadig to make
the journey in his place. "Alas!" said Zadig, "must I put a still
greater distance between the beautiful Astarte and myself? But it would
be ungrateful not to serve my friend, and I will endeavor to do my
duty."

Setoc and Zadig now took leave of each other with tears in their eyes,
both swearing an eternal friendship, and promising to always share their
fortunes with each other. Zadig then, after having thrown himself at the
feet of his fair deliverer, set out on his journey to Serendib, still
musing on the unhappy Astarte, and meditating on the severity of
fortune, which seemed to persistently make him the sport of her cruelty
and the object of her persecution.

"What!" said he to himself, "fined four hundred ounces of gold for
having observed a bitch! condemned to lose my head for four bad verses
in praise of the king! sentenced to be strangled because the queen had
shoes the color of my turban! reduced to slavery for having succored a
woman who was beaten! and on the point of being burned for having saved
the lives of all the young widows of Arabia!"


       *       *       *       *       *

XIII.(1)

THE DANCE.


Arriving in due time at the island of Serendib, Zadig's merits were at
once recognized, and he was popularly regarded as an extraordinary man.
He became the friend of the wise and learned, the arbitrator of
disputes, and the advisor of the small number of those who were willing
to take advice. He was duly presented to the king, who was pleased with
his affability, and soon chose him for his friend. But this royal favor
caused Zadig to tremble; for he well remembered the misfortunes which
the kindness of king Moabdar had formerly brought upon him. "I please
the king," said he; "shall I not therefore be lost?" Still he could not
refuse the king's friendship, for it must be confessed that Nabussan,
king of Serendib, son of Nassanab, son of Nabassun, son of Sanbusna, was
one of the most amiable princes in Asia.

But this good prince was always flattered, deceived, and robbed. It was
a contest who should most pillage the royal treasury. The example set by
the receiver-general of Serendib was universally followed by the
inferior officers.

This the king knew. He had often changed his treasurers, but had never
been able to change the established custom of dividing the revenues into
two unequal parts, of which the smaller came to his majesty, and the
larger to his officers.

This custom Nabussan explained to Zadig. "You, whose knowledge embraces
so many subjects," said he, "can you not tell me how to select a
treasurer who will not rob me?" "Assuredly," said Zadig; "I know a sure
method for finding you a man who will keep his hands clean."

The king was charmed, and asked, while he embraced him, how this was to
be done.

"You have only," said Zadig, "to cause all those who apply for the
office of treasurer to dance. He who dances the lightest will surely
prove to be the most honest man."

"You jest," said the king. "A strange way, certainly, of choosing a
receiver of my revenues. What! do you pretend that he who cuts the
neatest caper will be the most just and skillful financier?"

"I will not answer," returned Zadig, "for his being the most skillful,
but I assure you he will be the most honest."

Zadig spoke with so much confidence that the king imagined he had some
supernatural test for selecting honest financiers.

"I do not like the supernatural," said Zadig: "people and books dealing
in prodigies have always displeased me. If your majesty will permit me
to make the test, you will be convinced it is the easiest and simplest
thing possible."

Nabussan consented, and was more astonished to hear that the test was
simple, than if it had been claimed as a miracle.

"Leave all the details to me," said Zadig: "You will gain more by this
trial than you imagine."

The same day he made proclamation in the king's name, that all
candidates for the office of receiver-in-chief of the revenues of his
gracious majesty Nabussan, son of Nussanab, must present themselves in
dresses of light silk, on the first day of the month of the crocodile,
in the king's anti-chamber. The candidates came, accordingly, to the
number of sixty-four. Musicians were placed in an adjoining room, and
all was prepared for the dance. As the door of the saloon was closed, it
was necessary, in order to enter it, to pass through a small gallery
which was slightly darkened. An usher directed each candidate in
succession through this obscure passage, in which he was left alone for
some moments. The king, being aware of the plan, had temptingly spread
out in this gallery many of his choicest treasures. When all the
candidates were assembled in the saloon, the king ordered the band to
play and the dance to begin. Never had dancers performed more
unwillingly or with less grace. Their heads were down, their backs bent,
their hands pressed to their sides.

"What rascals!" murmured Zadig.

One alone danced with grace and agility,--his head up, his look assured,
his body erect, his arms free, his motions natural.

"Ah, the honest man, the excellent man!" cried Zadig.

The king embraced this upright dancer, appointed him treasurer, and
punished all the others with the utmost justice, for each one had, while
passing through the gallery, filled his pockets till he could hardly
walk. His majesty was distressed at this exhibition of dishonesty, and
regretted that among these sixty-four dancers there should be
sixty-three thieves. This dark gallery was then named the Corridor of
Temptation.

In Persia these sixty-three lords would have been impaled; in other
countries a chamber of justice would have consumed in costs three times
the money stolen, replacing nothing in the king's coffers; in yet
another kingdom they would have been honorably acquitted, and the light
dancer disgraced; in Serendib they were only sentenced to add to the
public treasure, for Nabussan was very indulgent.

He was also very grateful, and willingly gave Zadig a larger sum than
any treasurer had ever stolen from the revenue. This wealth Zadig used
to send a courier to Babylon to learn the fate of queen Astarte. His
voice trembled when directing the courier. His blood seemed to stagnate
in his veins. His heart almost ceased to beat. His eyes were suffused
with tears.



XIII.(2)

BLUE EYES.


After the courier had gone, Zadig returned to the palace; and forgetting
that he was not in his own room, almost unconsciously uttered the word
LOVE.

"Ah! love," exclaimed the king, "that is indeed the cause of my
unhappiness. You have divined what it is that causes me pain. You are
indeed a great man. I hope you will assist me in my search for a woman,
perfect in all respects, and of whose affection I may feel assured. You
have proved your ability for this service by selecting for me an honest
financier, and I have entire confidence in your success."

Zadig, having recovered his composure, promised to serve the king in
love as he had in finance, although the task seemed to him far more
difficult.

"The body and the heart," said the king.

At these words Zadig could not refrain from interrupting his majesty:
"You show good taste," said he, "by not saying the mind and the heart;
for we hear nothing but these words in the talk of Babylon. We see
nothing but books which treat of the heart and mind, written by people
who have neither the one nor the other: but pardon me, sire, and deign
to continue."

"I have in my palace," said the king, "one hundred women who are all
called charming, graceful, beautiful, affectionate even, or pretending
to be so when in my company; but I have too often realized that it is to
the king of Serendib they pay court, and that they care very little for
Nabussan. This pretended affection does not satisfy my desires. I would
find a consort that loves me for myself, and who would willingly be all
my own. For such a treasure I would joyfully barter the hundred
beauties whose forced smiles afford me no delight. Let us see if out of
these hundred queens you can select one true woman to bless me with her
love."

Zadig replied to him as he had previously done in regard to the
finances: "Sire, allow me to make the attempt, and permit me to again
use the treasure formerly displayed in the Corridor of Temptation. I
will render you a faithful account."

The king willingly acceded to this request, and permitted Zadig to do as
he desired. He first chose thirty-three of the ugliest little hunchbacks
that could be procured in Serendib, then thirty-three of the handsomest
pages to be found, and, lastly, thirty-three bonzes, (priests), the most
eloquent and robust he could select. He gave them all liberty to enter
the king's private apartments in the palace, and secure a partner if
they so desired. Each little hunchback had four thousand gold pieces
given to him: and on the first day each had secured a companion. The
pages, who had nothing to give but themselves, did not succeed in many
cases until the end of two or three days. The priests had still more
trouble in obtaining partners, but, finally, thirty-three devotees
joined their fortunes with these pious suitors. The king, through the
blinds which opened into his apartments, saw all these trials, and was
astounded. Of these hundred women, ninety-nine discarded his protection.
There still remained one, however, still quite young, with whom his
majesty had never conversed. They sent to her one, two, three
hunchbacks, who displayed before her twenty thousand pieces of gold. She
still remained firm, and could not refrain from laughing at the idea of
these cripples, that wealth could change their appearance. They then
presented before her the two most beautiful pages. She said she thought
the king was still more beautiful. They attacked her with the most
eloquent of the priests, and afterward with the most audacious. She
found the first a prattler, and could not perceive any merit in the
second.

"The heart," said she, "is everything. I will never yield to the
hunchbacks' gold, the pages' vanity, or the pompous prattle of the
priests. I love only Nabussan, son of Nussanab, and I will wait until he
condescends to love me in return."

The king was transported with joy, astonishment, and love. He took back
all the money that had brought success to the hunchbacks, and made a
present of it the beautiful Falide, which was the name of this charming
lady. He gave her his heart, which she amply deserved, for never were
glances from female eyes more brilliant than her own, nor the charms of
youthful beauty more enchanting. Envy, it is true, asserted that she
courtesied awkwardly; but candor compels the admission that she danced
like the fairies, acted like the graces, sang like the sirens, and that
she was in truth the very embodiment of intelligence and virtue.
Nabussan loved and adored her; but, alas! she had BLUE EYES, and this
apparently trivial fact was the cause of the gravest misfortunes.

There was an old law in Serendib forbidding the kings to marry those to
whom the Greeks applied the word [Greek: _boôpis_] _Βοῶπις_.[1] A
high-priest had established this law thousands of years ago. He had
anathematized blue eyes in order that he might secure for himself the
hand of the king's favorite. The various orders of the empire now
remonstrated with Nabussan for disregarding this organic law and loving
the beautiful Falide. They publicly asserted that the last days of the
kingdom had arrived--that this act of royal love was the height of
sacrilege--that all nature was threatened with a sinister ending--and
all because Nabussan, son of Nussanab, loved two magnificent blue eyes.
The cripples, the capitalists, the bonzes and the brunettes filled the
kingdom with their complaints.

The barbarians of the northern provinces profited by the general
discontent. They invaded the territory of the good Nabussan and demanded
a tribute from his subjects. The priests, who possessed half the
revenues of the state, contented themselves with raising their hands to
heaven, and refused to put them in their coffers to aid the king. They
chanted beautiful prayers, and left the state a prey to the invaders.

"Oh! my dear Zadig," sadly cried Nabussan, "can you not rescue me from
this impending danger?"

"Very willingly," replied Zadig: "you shall have for your defence as
much money from the priests as you may desire. Leave, I pray you,
without guard the property of the bonzes, and defend only your own
possessions."

Nabussan wisely followed this advice. The priests became alarmed, threw
themselves at his feet and implored his protection. The king replied
with agreeable music, and chanted forth prayers and invocations to
heaven with much sweetness and melody; finally, the priests reluctantly
contributed the money, and the king brought the war to a happy
termination.

Thus Zadig by his sensible advice and judicious services drew upon
himself the enmity of the most powerful parties in the state. The bonzes
and the brunettes swore to destroy him; the capitalists and the cripples
did not spare him. They caused the good Nabussan to suspect him.
"Services rendered often remain in the anti-chamber, and distrust enters
into the cabinet." So said Zoroaster. Every day there were fresh
accusations: the first is repelled; the second is lightly thought of;
the third wounds; the fourth kills.

Zadig was dismayed, and having now satisfactorily arranged Setoc's
affairs, he only thought of leaving the island in safety.

"But where shall I go?" said he. "If I remain in Serendib the priests
will doubtless have me impaled; in Egypt I would probably be enslaved,
burnt, according to all appearances, in Arabia; strangled in Babylon.
However, I must learn what has become of Queen Astarte, and will go on
and see what sad fate destiny has still in store for me."


[1] Having large, full, finely rounded eyes. In Homer, always applied to
females, and most frequently to the goddess Juno, as a point of majestic
beauty.--E.



XIV.

THE ROBBER.


Arriving on the frontiers which divide Arabia Petræa from Syria, he
passed by a very strong castle from which a party of armed Arabians
sallied forth. They instantly surrounded him and cried:

"All thou hast belongs to us, and thy person is the property of our
master."

Zadig replied by drawing his sword; his servant, who was a man of
courage, did the same. They killed the first Arabians that presumed to
lay hands on them; and though the number was redoubled, they were not
dismayed, but resolved to perish in the conflict. Two men defended
themselves against a multitude; but such combat could not last long,
the master of the castle, whose name was Arbogad, having observed from a
window the prodigies of valor performed by Zadig, conceived a high
esteem for this heroic stranger. He descended in haste, and went in
person to call off his men and deliver the two travelers.

"All that passes over my lands," said he, "belongs to me, as well as
what I find upon the lands of others; but thou seemest to be a man of
such undaunted courage, that I will exempt thee from the common law."

He then conducted him to his castle, ordering his men to treat him well;
and in the evening Arbogad supped with Zadig. The lord of the castle was
one of those Arabians who are commonly called robbers; but he now and
then performed some good actions amidst a multitude of bad ones. He
robbed with a furious rapacity, and granted favors with great
generosity. He was intrepid in action; affable in company; a debauchee
at table, but gay in his debauchery; and particularly remarkable for his
frank and open behavior. He was highly pleased with Zadig, whose lively
conversation lengthened the repast. At last Arbogad said to him:

"I advise thee to enroll thy name in my catalogue. Thou canst not do
better. This is not a bad trade, and thou mayest one day become what I
am at present."

"May I take the liberty of asking thee," said Zadig, "how long thou hast
followed this noble profession?"

"From my most tender youth," replied the lord, "I was servant to a
petty, good-natured Arabian, but could not endure the hardships of my
situation. I was vexed to find that fate had given me no share of the
earth which equally belongs to all men. I imparted the cause of my
uneasiness to an old Arabian, who said to me:

"'My son, do not despair; there was once a grain of sand that lamented
that it was no more than a neglected atom in the deserts; at the end of
a few years it became a diamond, and it is now the brightest ornament in
the crown of the king of the Indies.'

[Illustration: Zadig and The Brigand.--"I advise thee to enroll thy name
in my catalogue. Thou canst not do better," said the robber, "This is
not a bad trade, and thou mayest one day become what I am at present."]

"This discourse made a deep impression on my mind. I was the grain of
sand, and I resolved to become the diamond. I began by stealing two
horses. I soon got a party of companions. I put myself in a condition to
rob small caravans; and thus, by degrees, I destroyed the difference
which had formerly subsisted between me and other men. I had my share of
the good things of this world; and was even recompensed with usury for
the hardships I had suffered. I was greatly respected, and became the
captain of a band of robbers. I seized this castle by force. The satrap
of Syria had a mind to dispossess me of it; but I was too rich to have
any thing to fear. I gave the satrap a handsome present, by which means
I preserved my castle, and increased my possessions. He even appointed
me treasurer of the tributes which Arabia Petræa pays to the king of
kings. I perform my office of receiver with great punctuality; but take
the freedom to dispense with that of paymaster.

"The grand Desterham of Babylon sent hither a petty satrap in the name
of king Moabdar, to have me strangled. This man arrived with his orders.
I was apprised of all. I caused to be strangled in his presence the four
persons he had brought with him to draw the noose; after which I asked
him how much his commission of strangling me might be worth. He replied,
that his fees would amount to above three hundred pieces of gold. I then
convinced him that he might gain more by staying with me. I made him an
inferior robber; and he is now one of my best and richest officers. If
thou wilt take my advice, thy success may be equal to his. Never was
there a better season for plunder, since king Moabdar is killed, and all
Babylon thrown into confusion."

"Moabdar killed!" said Zadig, "and what has become of queen Astarte?"

"I know not," replied Arbogad. "All I know is, that Moabdar lost his
senses and was killed; that Babylon is a scene of disorder and
bloodshed; that all the empire is desolated; that there are some fine
strokes to be made yet; and that, for my own part, I have struck some
that are admirable."

"But the queen," said Zadig; "for heaven's sake, knowest thou nothing of
the queen's fate?"

"Yes," replied he, "I have heard something of a prince of Plircania. If
she was not killed in the tumult, she is probably one of his
concubines. But I am much fonder of booty than news. I have taken
several women in my excursions, but I keep none of them. I sell them at
a high price when they are beautiful, without enquiring who they are. In
commodities of this kind rank makes no difference, and a queen that is
ugly will never find a merchant. Perhaps I may have sold queen Astarte;
perhaps she is dead; but, be it as it will, it is of little consequence
to me, and I should imagine of as little to thee."

So saying, he drank a large draught, which threw all his ideas into such
confusion that Zadig could obtain no farther information.

Zadig remained for some time without speech, sense, or motion. Arbogad
continued drinking, constantly repeated that he was the happiest man in
the world; and exhorted Zadig to put himself in the same condition. At
last the soporiferous fume of the wine lulled him into a gentle repose.
Zadig passed the night in the most violent perturbation.

"What," said he, "did the king lose his senses? and is he killed? I
cannot help lamenting his fate. The empire is rent in pieces: and this
robber is happy. O fortune! O destiny! A robber is happy, and the most
beautiful of nature's works hath perhaps perished in a barbarous manner,
or lives in a state worse than death. O Astarte! what has become of
thee?"

At day break, he questioned all those he met in the castle; but they
were all busy and he received no answer. During the night they had made
a new capture, and they were now employed in dividing the spoil. All he
could obtain in this hurry and confusion was an opportunity of
departing, which he immediately embraced, plunged deeper than ever in
the most gloomy and mournful reflections.

Zadig proceeded on his journey with a mind full of disquiet and
perplexity, and wholly employed on the unhappy Astarte on the king of
Babylon, on his faithful friend Cador, on the happy robber Arbogad, on
that capricious woman whom the Babylonians had seized on the frontiers
of Egypt. In a word, on all the misfortunes and disappointments he had
hitherto suffered.



XV.

THE FISHERMAN.


At few leagues distance from Arbogad's castle he came to the banks of a
small river, still deploring his fate, and considering himself as the
most wretched of mankind. He saw a fisherman lying on the bank of the
river, scarcely holding in his weak and feeble hand a net which he
seemed ready to drop, and lifting up his eyes to heaven.

"I am certainly," said the fisherman, "the most unhappy man in the
world. I was universally allowed to be the most famous dealer in
cream-cheese in Babylon, and yet I am ruined. I had the most handsome
wife that any man in my situation could have; and by her I have been
betrayed. I had still left a paltry house, and that I have seen pillaged
and destroyed. At last I took refuge in this cottage, where I have no
other resource than fishing, and yet I cannot catch a single fish. Oh,
my net! no more will I throw thee into the water; I will throw myself in
thy place."

So saying, he arose and advanced forward, in the attitude of a man ready
to throw himself into the river, and thus to finish his life.

"What," said Zadig, "are there men as wretched as I?"

His eagerness to save the fisherman's life was as sudden as this
reflection. He runs to him, stops him, and speaks to him with a tender
and compassionate air. It is commonly supposed that we are less
miserable when we have companions in our misery. This, according to
Zoroaster, does not proceed from malice, but necessity. We feel
ourselves insensibly drawn to an unhappy person as to one like
ourselves. The joy of the happy would be an insult; but two men in
distress are like two slender trees, which, mutually supporting each
other, fortify themselves against the tempest.

"Why," said Zadig to the fisherman, "dost thou sink under thy
misfortunes?"

"Because," replied he, "I see no means of relief. I was the most
considerable man in the village of Derlback, near Babylon, and with the
assistance of my wife I made the best cream-cheese in the empire. Queen
Astarte, and the famous minister, Zadig, were extremely fond of them. I
had sent them six hundred cheeses, and one day went to the city to
receive my money; but, on my arrival at Babylon, was informed that the
queen and Zadig had disappeared. I ran to the house of Lord Zadig, whom
I had never seen; and found there the inferior officers of the grand
Desterham, who being furnished with a royal license, were plundering it
with great loyalty and order. From thence I flew to the queen's kitchen,
some of the lords of which told me that the queen was dead; some said
she was in prison; and others pretended that she had made her escape;
but they all agreed in assuring me that I would not be paid for my
cheese. I went with my wife to the house of Lord Orcan, who was one of
my customers, and begged his protection in my present distress. He
granted it to my wife, but refused it to me. She was whiter than the
cream-cheeses that began my misfortune, and the lustre of the Tyrian
purple was not more bright than the carnation which animated this
whiteness. For this reason Orcan detained her, and drove me from his
house. In my despair I wrote a letter to my dear wife. She said to the
bearer, 'Ha, ha! I know the writer of this a little. I have heard his
name mentioned. They say he I makes excellent cream-cheeses. Desire him
to send me some and he shall be paid.'

"In my distress I resolved to apply to justice. I had still six ounces
of gold remaining. I was obliged to give two to the lawyer whom I
consulted, two to the procurator who undertook my cause, and two to the
secretary of the first judge. When all this was done, my business was
not begun; and I had already expended more money than my cheese and my
wife were worth. I returned to my own village, with an intention to sell
my house, in order to enable me to recover my wife.

"My house was well worth sixty ounces of gold; but as my neighbors saw
that I was poor and obliged to sell it, the first to whom I applied
offered me thirty ounces, the second twenty, and the third ten. Bad as
these offers were, I was so blind that I was going to strike a bargain,
when a prince of Hircania came to Babylon, and ravaged all in his way.
My house was first sacked and then burned.

"Having thus lost my money, my wife, and my house, I retired into this
country, where thou now seest me. I have endeavored to gain a
subsistence by fishing; but the fish make a mock of thee as well as the
men. I catch none; I die with hunger; and had it not been for thee,
august comforter, I should have perished in the river."

The fisherman was not allowed to give this long account without
interruption; at every moment, Zadig, moved and transported, said:

"What! knowest thou nothing of the queen's fate?"

"No my lord," replied the fisherman; "but I know that neither the queen
nor Zadig have paid me for my cream-cheeses; that I have lost my wife,
and am now reduced to despair."

"I flatter myself," said Zadig, "that thou wilt not lose all thy money.
I have heard of this Zadig; he is an honest man; and if he return to
Babylon, as he expects, he will give thee more than he owes thee. But
with regard to thy wife, who is not so honest, I advise thee not to seek
to recover her. Believe me, go to Babylon; I shall be there before thee,
because I am on horseback, and thou art on foot. Apply to the
illustrious Cador. Tell him thou hast met his friend. Wait for me at his
house. Go, perhaps thou wilt not always be unhappy.

"O powerful Oromazes!" continued he, "thou employest me to comfort this
man. Whom wilt thou employ to give me consolation?"

So saying, he gave the fisherman half the money he had brought from
Arabia. The fisherman, struck with surprise and ravished with joy,
kissed the feet of the friend of Cador, and said:

"Thou art surely an angel sent from heaven to save me!" Meanwhile Zadig
continued to make fresh inquiries and to shed tears. "What! my lord,"
cried the fisherman, "and art thou then so unhappy, thou who bestowest
favors?"

"A hundred times more unhappy than thee," replied Zadig.

"But how is it possible," said the good man, "that the giver can be more
wretched than the receiver?"

"Because," replied Zadig, "thy greatest misery arose from poverty, and
mine is seated in the heart."

"Did Orcan take thy wife from thee?" said the fisherman.

This word recalled to Zadig's mind the whole of his adventures. He
repeated the catalogue of his misfortunes, beginning with the queen's
bitch and ending with his arrival at the castle of the robber Arbogad.

"Ah!" said he to the fisherman, "Orcan deserves to be punished: but it
is commonly such men as those that are the favorites of fortune.
However, go thou to the house of Lord Cador, and there await my
arrival."

They then parted: the fisherman walked, thanking heaven for the
happiness of his condition; and Zadig rode, accusing fortune for the
hardness of his lot.



XVI.

THE BASILISK.


Arriving in a beautiful meadow, he there saw several women, who were
searching for something with great application. He took the liberty to
approach one of them, and to ask if he might have the honor to assist
them in their search.

"Take care that thou dost not," replied the Syrian. "What we are
searching for can be touched only by women."

"Strange," said Zadig. "May I presume to ask thee what it is that women
only are permitted to touch?"

"It is a basilisk," said she.

"A basilisk, madam! and for what purpose, pray, dost thou seek for a
basilisk?"

"It is for our lord and master, Ogul, whose castle thou seest on the
bank of that river, at the end of that meadow. We are his most humble
slaves. The lord Ogul is sick. His physician hath ordered him to eat a
basilisk, stewed in rose-water; and as it is a very rare animal, and can
only be taken by women, the lord Ogul hath promised to choose for his
well-beloved wife the woman that shall bring him a basilisk. Let me go
on in my search; for thou seest what I shall lose if I am forestalled by
my companions."

[Illustration: THE BASILISK.]



     THE BASILISK, OR COCKATRICE.


     The Basilisk, called "Cockatrice" in "holy writ," was first
     described by certain ancient historians of unquestioned imaginative
     ability, but of very doubtful veracity; and they have also enriched
     the popular mythology with minute descriptions of the Phoenix, the
     Griffin, the Centaur, the Chimera, the Unicorn, and many other
     fanciful and mythical creations.

     The learned and pious naturalist, Charles Owen, D.D., of London,
     England, (from whose celebrated _Essay Towards a Natural History of
     Serpents_, published in 1742, the preceding engraving has been
     copied), tells us that "the Basilisk is a serpent of the Draconick
     line--the property of Africa; that in shape it resembles a cock,
     the tail excepted; that the Egyptians say it springs from the egg
     of the bird Ibis, and others, from eggs of a cock; that it is gross
     in body, of fiery eyes and sharp head, on which it wears a crest
     like a cock's comb; that it has the honor to be styled Regulus by
     the Latins--_the little king of serpents_; that it is terrible to
     them, and its voice puts them to flight, that, as tradition adds,
     its eyes and breath are killing; that dreadful things are
     attributed to it by the poets; and that, according to Pliny, the
     venom of the Basilisk is said to be so exalted, that if it bites a
     staff 'twill kill the person that makes use of it; but this,"
     continues the reverend doctor of divinity, "is tradition without a
     voucher."

     The "inspired" prophet Isaiah, whose writings are venerated by both
     Jews and Christians, and whose prophetic utterances have so long
     been discussed with more zeal than discretion by the sectarians,
     tells us, (Isaiah xiv. 29), that "Out of the serpent's root shall
     come forth a Cockatrice, and his fruit _shall be_ a fiery, flying
     serpent." This somewhat incoherent prediction has never been
     satisfactorily explained by the learned commentators who are
     specially educated in our colleges for solving theological enigmas,
     and who have failed to show, to the confusion of scientists and the
     admiration of a believing world, how a Cockatrice may emerge from a
     "serpent's root," and why a Cockatrice's "fiery and flying fruit"
     should have formed a theme for prophetic inspiration.--E.



[Illustration: Zadig discovers Queen Astarte.--"In her hand she held a
small rod with which she was tracing characters on the fine sand that
lay between the turf and the brook."]

Zadig left her and the other Assyrians to search for their basilisk, and
continued his journey through the meadow; when coming to the brink of a
small rivulet, he found a lady lying on the grass, and who was not
searching for any thing. Her person seemed majestic; but her face was
covered with a veil. She was inclined toward the rivulet, and profound
sighs proceeded from her bosom. In her hand she held a small rod with
which she was tracing characters on the fine sand that lay between the
turf and the brook.

Zadig had the curiosity to examine what this woman was writing. He drew
near. He saw the letter Z, then an A; he was astonished: then appeared a
D; he started. But never was surprise equal to his, when he saw the two
last letters of his name. He stood for some time immovable. At last
breaking silence with a faltering voice:

"Oh! generous lady!" pardon a stranger, an unfortunate man, for
presuming to ask thee by what surprising adventure I here find the name
of Zadig traced out by thy divine hand?'

At this voice and these words, the lady lifted up the veil with a
trembling hand, looked at Zadig, sent forth a cry of tenderness,
surprise, and joy, and sinking under the various emotions which at once
assaulted her soul fell speechless into his arms. It was Astarte
herself; it was the queen of Babylon; it was she whom Zadig adored, and
whom he had reproached himself for adoring; it was she whose misfortunes
he had so deeply lamented, and for whose fate he had been so anxiously
concerned. He was for a moment deprived of the use of his senses, when
he had fixed his eyes on those of Astarte, which now began to open again
with a languor mixed with confusion and tenderness:

"O ye immortal powers!" cried he, "who preside over the fates of weak
mortals; do ye indeed restore Astarte to me? At what a time, in what a
place, and in what a condition do I again behold her?"

He fell on his knees before Astarte, and laid his face in the dust at
her feet. The queen of Babylon raised him up, and made him sit by her
side on the brink of the rivulet. She frequently wiped her eyes, from
which the tears continued to flow afresh. She twenty times resumed her
discourse, which her sighs as often interrupted. She asked by what
strange accident they were brought together, and suddenly prevented his
answer by other questions. She waived the account of her own
misfortunes, and desired to be informed of those of Zadig. At last, both
of them having a little composed the tumult of their souls, Zadig
acquainted her in a few words by what adventure he was brought into that
meadow.

"But, O unhappy and respectable queen! by what means do I find thee in
this lonely place, clothed in the habit of a slave, and accompanied by
other female slaves, who are searching for a basilisk, which, by order
of the physician, is to be stewed in rose-water?"

"While they are searching for their basilisk," said the fair Astarte, "I
will inform thee of all I have suffered, for which heaven has
sufficiently recompensed me, by restoring thee to my sight. Thou knowest
that the king, my husband, was vexed to see thee, the most amiable of
mankind; and that for this reason he one night resolved to strangle thee
and poison me. Thou knowest how heaven permitted my little mute to
inform me of the orders of his sublime majesty. Hardly had the faithful
Cador obliged thee to depart, in obedience to my command, when he
ventured to enter my apartment at midnight by a secret passage. He
carried me off, and conducted me to the temple of Oromazes, where the
magi, his brother, shut me up in that huge statue, whose base reaches to
the foundation of the temple, and whose top rises to the summit of the
dome. I was there buried in a manner; but was served by the magi, and
supplied with all the necessaries of life. At break of day his majesty's
apothecary entered my chamber with a potion composed of a mixture of
henbane, opium, hemlock, black hellebore, and aconite; and another
officer went to thine with a bowstring of blue silk. Neither of us were
to be found. Cador, the better to deceive the king, pretended to come
and accuse us both. He said that thou hadst taken the road to the
Indies, and I that to Memphis; on which the king's guards were
immediately dispatched in pursuit of us both.

[Illustration: Cador concealing Astarte in the Temple of Oromazes.]

"The couriers who pursured me did not know me. I had hardly ever shown
my face to any but thee, and to thee only in the presence and by the
order of my husband. They conducted themselves in the pursuit by the
description that had been given of my person. On the frontiers of Egypt
they met with a woman of the same stature with me, and possessed perhaps
of greater charms. She was weeping and wandering. They made no doubt but
that this woman was the queen of Babylon, and accordingly brought her to
Moabdar. Their mistake at first threw the king into a violent passion;
but having viewed this woman more attentively, he found her extremely
handsome, and was comforted. She was called Missouf. I have since been
informed that this name in the Egyptian language signifies the
capricious fair one. She was so in reality; but she had as much cunning
as caprice. She pleased Moabdar, and gained such an ascendency over him
as to make him choose her for his wife. Her character then began to
appear in its true colors. She gave herself up, without scruple, to all
the freaks of a wanton imagination. She would have obliged the chief of
the magi, who was old and gouty, to dance before her; and on his
refusal, she persecuted him with the most unrelenting cruelty. She
ordered her master of the horse to make her a pie of sweetmeats. In vain
did he represent that he was not a pastry-cook. He was obliged to make
it, and lost his place because it was baked a little too hard. The post
of master of the horse she gave to her dwarf, and that of Chancellor to
her page. In this manner did she govern Babylon. Every body regretted
the loss of me. The king, who till the moment of his resolving to poison
me and strangle thee had been a tolerably good kind of man, seemed now
to have drowned all his virtues in his immoderate fondness for this
capricious fair one. He came to the temple on the great day of the feast
held in honor of the sacred fire. I saw him implore the gods in behalf
of Missouf, at the feet of the statue in which I was inclosed. I raised
my voice; I cried out:

"'The gods reject the prayers of a king who is now become a tyrant, and
who attempted to murder a reasonable wife, in order to marry a woman
remarkable for nothing but her folly and extravagance.'

"At these words Moabdar was confounded and his head became disordered.
The oracle I had pronounced, and the tyranny of Missouf, conspired to
deprive him of his judgment, and in a few days his reason entirely
forsook him.

"His madness, which seemed to be the judgment of heaven, was the signal
for a revolt. The people rose, and ran to arms; and Babylon, which had
been so long immersed in idleness and effeminacy, became the theatre of
a bloody civil war. I was taken from the heart of my statue and placed
at the head of a party. Cador flew to Memphis to bring thee back to
Babylon. The prince of Hircania, informed of these fatal events,
returned with his army and made a third party in Chaldea. He attacked
the king, who fled before him with his capricious Egyptian. Moabdar died
pierced with wounds. Missouf fell into the hands of the conqueror. I
myself had the misfortune to be taken by a party of Hircanians, who
conducted me to their prince's tent, at the very moment that Missouf was
brought before him. Thou wilt doubtless be pleased to hear that the
prince thought me more beautiful than the Egyptian; but thou wilt be
sorry to be informed that he designed me for his seraglio. He told me,
with a blunt and resolute air, that as soon as he had finished a
military expedition, which he was just going to undertake, he would come
to me. Judge how great must have been my grief. My ties with Moabdar
were already dissolved; I might have been the wife of Zadig; and I was
fallen into the hands of a barbarian. I answered him with all the pride
which my high rank and noble sentiment could inspire. I had always heard
it affirmed that heaven stamped on persons of my condition a mark of
grandeur, which, with a single word or glance, could reduce to the
lowliness of the most profound respect those rash and forward persons
who presume to deviate from the rules of politeness. I spoke like a
queen, but was treated like a maid-servant. The Hircanian, without even
deigning to speak to me, told his black eunuch that I was impertinent,
but that he thought me handsome. He ordered him to take care of me and
to put me under the regimen of favorites, that, so my complexion being
improved, I might be the more worthy of his favors when he should be at
leisure to honor me with them. I told him, that, rather than submit to
his desires, I would put an end to my life. He replied with a smile,
that women, he believed, were not so blood-thirsty, and that he was
accustomed to such violent expressions; and then left me with the air of
a man who had just put another parrot into his aviary. What a state for
the first queen in the universe, and, what is more, for a heart devoted
to Zadig!"

At these words Zadig threw himself at her feet, and bathed them with his
tears. Astarte raised him with great tenderness, and thus continued her
story:

"I now saw myself in the power of a barbarian, and rival to the foolish
woman with whom I was conned. She gave me an account of her adventures
in Egypt. From the description she gave of your person, from the time,
from the dromedary on which you were mounted, and from every other
circumstance, I inferred that Zadig was the man who had fought for her.
I doubted not but that you were at Memphis, and therefore resolved to
repair thither. 'Beautiful Missouf,' said I, 'thou art more handsome
than I, and will please the prince of Hircania much better. Assist me in
contriving the means of my escape. Thou wilt then reign alone. Thou wilt
at once make me happy and rid thyself of a rival.'

"Missouf concerted with me the means of my flight; and I departed
secretly with a female slave. As I approached the frontiers of Arabia, a
famous robber, named Arbogad, seized me and sold me to some merchants
who brought me to this castle where ford Ogul resides. He bought me
without knowing who I was. He is a voluptuary, ambitious of nothing but
good living, and thinks that God sent him into the world for no other
purpose than to sit at table. He is so extremely corpulent, that he is
always in danger of suffocation. His physician, who has but little
credit with him when he has a good digestion, governs him with a
despotic sway when he has eaten too much. He has persuaded him that a
basilisk stewed in rose-water will effect a complete cure. The ford Ogul
hath promised his hand to the female slave that brings him a basilisk.
Thou seest that I leave them to vie with each other in meriting this
honor; and never was I less desirous of finding the basilisk than since
heaven hath restored thee to my sight."

This account was succeeded by a long conversation between Astarte and
Zadig, consisting of every thing that their long suppressed sentiments,
their great sufferings, and their mutual love, could inspire into
hearts the most noble and tender, and the genii who preside over love
carried their words to the sphere of Venus.

The women returned to Ogul without having found the basilisk. Zadig was
introduced to this mighty lord, and spoke to him in the following terms:

"May immortal health descend from heaven to bless all thy days! I am a
physician. At the first report of thy indisposition I flew to thy
castle, and have now brought thee a basilisk stewed in rose-water. Not
that I pretend to marry thee. All I ask is the liberty of a Babylonian
slave, who hath been in thy possession for a few days; and, if I should
not be so happy as to cure thee, magnificent Lord Ogul, I consent to
remain a slave in her place."

The proposal was accepted. Astarte set out for Babylon with Zadig's
servant, promising, immediately upon her arrival, to send a courier to
inform him of all that had happened. Their parting was as tender as
their meeting. The moment of meeting, and that of parting are the two
greatest epochs of life as sayeth the great book of Zend. Zadig loved
the queen with as much ardor as he professed; and the queen loved Zadig
more than she thought proper to acknowledge.

Meanwhile Zadig spoke thus to Ogul:

"My lord, my basilisk is not to be eaten; all its virtues must enter
through thy pores. I have inclosed it in a little ball, blown up and
covered with a fine skin. Thou must strike this ball with all thy might,
and I must strike it back for a considerable time; and by observing this
regimen for a few days, thou wilt see the effects of my art."

The first day Ogul was out of breath, and thought he should have died
with fatigue. The second, he was less fatigued, and slept better. In
eight days he recovered all the strength, all the health, all the
agility and cheerfulness of his most agreeable years.

"Thou hast played at ball, and hast been temperate," said Zadig. "Know
that there is no such thing in nature as a basilisk; that temperance and
exercise are the two great preservatives of health; and that the art of
reconciling intemperance and health is as chimerical as the
philosopher's stone, judicial astrology, or the theology of the magi."

Ogul's first physician observing how dangerous this man might prove to
the medical art, formed a design, in conjunction with the apothecary, to
send Zadig to search for a basilisk in the other world. Thus, after
having suffered such a long train of calamities on account of his good
actions, he was now upon the point of losing his life for curing a
gluttonous lord. He was invited to an excellent dinner, and was to have
been poisoned in the second course; but, during the first, he happily
received a courier from the fair Astarte.

"When one is beloved by a beautiful woman," says the great Zoroaster,
"he hath always the good fortune to extricate himself out of every kind
of difficulty and danger."



XVII.

THE COMBATS.


The queen was received at Babylon with all those transports of joy which
are ever felt on the return of a beautiful princess who hath been
involved in calamities. Babylon was now in greater tranquillity. The
prince of Hircania had been killed in battle. The victorious Babylonians
declared that the queen should marry the man whom they should choose for
their sovereign. They were resolved that the first place in the world,
that of being husband to Astarte and king of Babylon, should not depend
on cabals and intrigues. They swore to acknowledge for king the man who,
upon trial, should be found to be possessed of the greatest valor and
the greatest wisdom. Accordingly, at the distance of a few leagues from
the city, a spacious place was marked out for the list, surrounded with
magnificent amphitheatres. Thither the combatants were to repair in
complete armor. Each of them had a separate apartment behind the
amphitheatres, where they were neither to be seen nor known by any one.
Each was to encounter four knights; and those that were so happy as to
conquer four, were then to engage with one another: so that he who
remained the last master of the field, would be proclaimed conqueror at
the games. Four days after he was to return to the same place, and to
explain the enigmas proposed by the magi. If he did not explain the
enigmas, he was not king; and the running at the lances was to begin
afresh, till a man should be found who was conqueror in both these
combats; for they were absolutely determined to have a king possessed of
the greatest wisdom and the most invincible courage. The queen was all
the while to be strictly guarded. She was only allowed to be present at
the games, and even there she was to be covered with a veil; but was not
allowed to speak to any of the competitors, that so they might neither
receive favor, nor suffer injustice.

These particulars Astarte communicated to her lover, hoping that, in
order to obtain her, he would show himself possessed of greater courage
and wisdom than any other person.

Zadig set out on his journey, beseeching Venus to fortify his courage
and enlighten his understanding. He arrived on the banks of the
Euphrates on the eve of this great day. He caused his device to be
inscribed among those of the combatants, concealing his face and his
name, as the law ordained; and then went to repose himself in the
apartment that fell to him by lot. His friend, Cador, who after the
fruitless search he had made for him in Egypt, had now returned to
Babylon, sent to his tent a complete suit of armor, which was a present
from the queen; as also from himself, one of the finest horses in
Persia. Zadig presently perceived that these presents were sent by
Astarte; and from thence his courage derived fresh strength, and his
love the most animating hopes.

Next day, the queen being seated under a canopy of jewels, and the
amphitheatres filled with all the gentlemen and ladies of rank in
Babylon, the combatants appeared in the circus. Each of them came and
laid his device at the feet of the grand magi. They drew their devices
by lot; and that of Zadig was the last. The first who advanced was a
certain lord, named Itobad, very rich and very vain, but possessed of
little courage, of less address, and scarcely of any judgment at all.
His servants had persuaded him that such a man as he ought to be king.
He had said in reply, "Such a man as I ought to reign;" and thus they
had armed him cap-a-pie. He wore an armor of gold enameled with green, a
plume of green feathers, and a lance adorned with green ribbons. It
was instantly perceived by the manner in which Itobad managed his horse,
that it was not for such a man as him that heaven reserved the sceptre
of Babylon. The first knight that ran against him threw him out of his
saddle: the second laid him flat on his horse's buttocks, with his legs
in the air, and his arms extended. Itobad recovered himself, but with so
bad a grace, that the whole amphitheatre burst out a laughing. The third
knight disdained to make use of his lance; but, making a pass at him,
took him by the right leg, and wheeling him half round, laid him
prostrate on the sand. The squires of the games ran to him laughing, and
replaced him in his saddle. The fourth combatant took him by the left
leg, and tumbled him down on the other side. He was conducted back with
scornful shouts to his tent, where, according to the law, he was to pass
the night; and as he limped along with great difficulty, he said: "What
an adventure for such a man as I!"

[Illustration: The combats.]

The other knights acquitted themselves with greater ability and success.
Some of them conquered two combatants; a few of them vanquished three;
but none but prince of Otamus conquered four. At last Zadig fought in
his turn. He successively threw four knights off their saddles with all
the grace imaginable. It then remained to be seen who should be
conqueror, of Otamus or Zadig. The arms of the first were gold and blue,
with a plume of the same color; those of the last were white. The wishes
of all the spectators were divided between the knight in blue and the
knight in white. The queen, whose heart was in a violent palpitation,
offered prayers to heaven for the success of the white color.

The two champions made their passes and vaults with so much agility,
they mutually gave and received such dexterous blows with their lances,
and sat so firmly in their saddles, that every body but the queen wished
there might be two kings in Babylon. At length, their horses being tired
and their lances broken, Zadig had recourse to this stratagem: He passed
behind the blue prince; springs upon the buttocks of his horse; seizes
him by the middle; throws him on the earth; places himself in the
saddle, and wheels around Otamus as he lay extended on the ground. All
the amphitheatre cried out, "Victory to the white knight!" Otamus rises
in a violent passion, and draws his sword; Zadig leaps from his horse
with his sabre in his hand. Both of them are now on the ground, engaged
in a new combat, where strength and agility triumph by turns. The plumes
of their helmets, the studs of their bracelets, and the rings of their
armor are driven to a great distance by the violence of a thousand
furious blows. They strike with the point and the edge; to the right, to
the left; on the head, on the breast; they retreat; they advance; they
measure swords; they close; they seize each other; they bend like
serpents; they attack like lions; and the fire every moment flashes from
their blows. At last Zadig, having recovered his spirits, stops; makes a
feint; leaps upon Otamus; throws him on the ground and disarms him; and
Otamus cries out:

"It is thou alone, O white knight, that oughtest to reign over Babylon!"

The queen was now at the height of her joy. The knight in blue armor,
and the knight in white, were conducted each to his own apartment, as
well as all the others, according to the intention of the law. Mutes
came to wait upon them, and to serve them at table. It may be easily
supposed that the queen's little mute waited upon Zadig. They were then
left to themselves to enjoy the sweets of repose till next morning, at
which time the conqueror was to bring his device to the grand magi, to
compare it with that which he had left, and make himself known.

Zadig, though deeply in love, was so much fatigued that he could not
help sleeping. Itobad, who lay near him, never closed his eyes. He arose
in the night, entered his apartment, took the white arms and the device
of Zadig, and put his green armor in their place. At break of day, he
went boldly to the grand magi, to declare that so great a man as he was
conqueror. This was little expected; however, he was proclaimed while
Zadig was still asleep. Astarte, surprised and filled with despair,
returned to Babylon. The amphitheatre was almost empty when Zadig awoke;
he sought for his arms but could find none but the green armor. With
this he was obliged to cover himself, having nothing else near him.
Astonished and enraged, he put it on in a furious passion and advanced
in this equipage.

The people that still remained in the amphitheatre and the circus
received him with hoofs and hisses. They surrounded him, and insulted
him to his face. Never did man suffer such cruel mortifications. He lost
his patience; with his sabre he dispersed such of the populace as dared
to affront him; but he knew not what course to take. He could not see
the queen; he could not claim the white armor she had sent him without
exposing her; and thus, while she was plunged in grief, he was filled
with fury and distraction. He walked on the banks of the Euphrates,
fully persuaded that his star had destined him to inevitable misery; and
revolving in his mind all his misfortunes, from the adventure of the
woman who hated one-eyed men, to that of his armor:

"This," said he, "is the consequence of my having slept too long. Had I
slept less, I should now have been king of Babylon, and in possession of
Astarte. Knowledge, virtue, and courage, have hitherto served only to
make me miserable."

He then let fall some secret murmurings against providence, and was
tempted to believe that the world was governed by a cruel destiny, which
oppressed the good, and prospered knights in green armor.



XVIII.

THE HERMIT.


One of Zadig's greatest mortifications was his being obliged to wear
that green armor which had exposed him to such contumelious treatment.
A merchant happening to pass by, he sold it to him for a trifle, and
bought a gown and a long bonnet. In this garb he proceeded along the
banks of the Euphrates, filled with despair, and secretly accusing
providence, which thus continued to persecute him with unremitting
severity.

While he was thus sauntering along, he met a hermit whose white and
venerable beard hung down to his girdle. He held a book in his hand,
which he read with great attention. Zadig stopped, and made him a
profound obeisance. The hermit returned the compliment with such a noble
and engaging air, that Zadig had the curiosity to enter into
conversation with him. He asked him what book it was that he had been
reading.

"It is the book of destinies," said the hermit. "Wouldst thou choose to
look into it?"

He put the book into the hands of Zadig, who, thoroughly versed as he
was in several languages, could not decipher a single character of it.
This only redoubled his curiosity.

"Thou seemest," said the good father, "to be in great distress."

"Alas!" replied Zadig, "I have but too much reason."

"If thou wilt permit me to accompany thee," resumed the old man,
"perhaps I may be of some service to thee. I have often poured the balm
of consolation into the bleeding heart of the unhappy."

Zadig felt himself inspired with respect for the dignity, the beard, and
the book of the hermit. He found, in the course of the conversation,
that he was possessed of superior degrees of knowledge. The hermit
talked of fate, of justice, of morals, of the chief good, of human
weakness, and of virtue and vice, with such a spirited and moving
eloquence, that Zadig felt himself drawn toward him by an irresistible
charm. He earnestly entreated the favor of his company till their return
to Babylon.

"I ask the same favor of thee," said the old man. "Swear to me by
Oromazes that, whatever I do, thou wilt not leave me for some days."

Zadig swore, and they set out together. In the evening the two travelers
arrived at a superb castle. The hermit entreated a hospitable reception
for himself and the young man who accompanied him. The porter, whom one
might have mistaken for a great lord, introduced them with a kind of
disdainful civility. He presented them to a principal domestic, who
showed them his master's magnificent apartments. They were admitted to
the lower end of the table, without being honored with the least mark of
regard by the lord of the castle; but they were served, like the rest,
with delicacy and profusion. They were then presented, in a golden basin
adorned with emeralds and rubies, with water to wash their hands. At
last they were conducted to bed in a beautiful apartment; and in the
morning a domestic brought each of them a piece of gold, after which
they took their leave and departed.

"The master of the house," said Zadig, as they were proceeding on the
journey, "appears to be a generous man, though somewhat too proud. He
nobly performs the duties of hospitality."

At that instant he observed that a kind of large pocket, which the
hermit had, was filled and distended; and upon looking more narrowly, he
found that it contained the golden basin adorned with precious stones,
which the hermit had stolen. He durst not then take any notice of it;
but he was filled with a strange surprise.

About noon the hermit came to the door of a paltry house, inhabited by a
rich miser, and begged the favor of an hospitable reception for a few
hours. An old servant, in a tattered garb, received them with a blunt
and rude air, and led them into the stable, where he gave them some
rotten olives, sour wine, and mouldy bread. The hermit ate and drank
with as much seeming satisfaction as he had done the evening before, and
then addressing himself to the old servant who watched them both to
prevent them stealing anything, and had rudely pressed them to depart,
he gave him the two pieces of gold he had received in the morning, and
thanked him for his great civility.

"Pray," added he, "allow me to speak to thy master."

The servant, filled with astonishment, introduced the two travelers.

"Magnificent lord!" said the hermit, "I cannot but return thee my most
humble thanks for the noble manner in which thou hast entertained us. Be
pleased to accept of this golden basin as a small mark of my gratitude."

The miser started, and was ready to fall backwards; but the hermit,
without giving him time to recover from his surprise, instantly departed
with his young fellow traveler.

"Father," said Zadig, "what is the meaning of all this? Thou seemest to
me to be entirely different from other men. Thou stealest a golden basin
adorned with precious stones, from a lord who received thee
magnificently, and givest it to a miser who treats thee with
indignity."

"Son," replied the old man, "this magnificent lord, who receives
strangers only from vanity and ostentation, will hereby be rendered more
wise; and the miser will learn to practice the duties of hospitality. Be
surprised at nothing, but follow me."

Zadig knew not as yet whether he was in company with the most foolish or
the most prudent of mankind' but the hermit spoke with such an
ascendency that Zadig, who was moreover bound by his oath, could not
refuse to follow him.

In the evening they arrived at a house built with equal elegance and
simplicity, where nothing savored either of prodigality or avarice. The
master of it was a philosopher who had retired from the world, and who
cultivated in peace the study of virtue and wisdom, without any of that
rigid and morose severity so commonly found in men of his character. He
had chosen to build this fine house in which he received strangers with
a generosity free from ostentation. He went himself to meet the two
travelers, whom he led into a commodious apartment, and desired them to
repose themselves. Soon after he came and invited them to a decent and
well ordered repast, during which he spoke with great judgment of the
last revolutions in Babylon. He seemed to be strongly attached to the
queen, and wished that Zadig had appeared in the lists to contend for
the crown.

"But the people," added he, "do not deserve to have such a king as
Zadig."

Zadig blushed and felt his griefs redoubled. They agreed, in the course
of the conversation, that the things of this world did not always answer
the wishes of the wise. The hermit maintained that the ways of
providence were inscrutable; and that men were in the wrong to judge of
a whole, of which they understood but the smallest part. They talked of
the passions.

"Ah," said Zadig, "how fatal are their effects!"

"They are the winds," replied the hermit, "that swell the sails of the
ship; it is true, they sometimes sink her, but without them she could
not sail at all. The bile makes us sick and choleric but without the
bile we could not live. Everything in this world is dangerous, and yet
everything in it is necessary."

The conversation turned on pleasure; and the hermit proved that it was a
present bestowed by the deity.

"For," said he, "man cannot either give himself sensations or ideas: he
receives all; and pain and pleasure proceed from a foreign cause as well
as his being."

Zadig was surprised to see a man who had been guilty of such extravagant
actions, capable of reasoning with so much judgment and propriety. At
last, after a conversation equally entertaining and instructive, the
host led back his two guests to their apartment, blessing heaven for
having sent him two men possessed of so much wisdom and virtue. He
offered them money with such an easy and noble air that it could not
possibly give any offence. The hermit refused it, and said that he must
now take his leave of him, as he proposed to set out for Babylon in the
morning before it was light. Their parting was tender. Zadig especially
felt himself filled with esteem and affection for a man of such an
amiable character.

When he and the hermit were alone in their apartment they spent a long
time in praising their host. At break of day the old man awakened his
companion.

"We must now depart," said he; "but while all the family are still
asleep, I will leave this man a mark of my esteem and affection."

So saying he took a candle and set fire to the house. Zadig, struck with
horror, cried aloud, and endeavored to hinder him from committing such a
barbarous action; but the hermit drew him away by a superior force, and
the house was soon in flames. The hermit, who, with his companion, was
already at a considerable distance, looked back to the conflagration
with great tranquillity.

"Thanks be to God," said he, "the house of my dear host is entirely
destroyed! Happy man!"

At these words Zadig was at once tempted to burst out in laughing, to
reproach the reverend father, to beat him, and to run away. But he did
none of all these; for still subdued by the powerful ascendancy of the
hermit, he followed him, in spite of himself, to the next stage.

This was at the house of a charitable and virtuous widow, who had a
nephew fourteen years of age, a handsome and promising youth, and her
only hope. She performed the honors of the house as well us she could.
Next day, she ordered her nephew to accompany the strangers to a bridge,
which being lately broken down, was become extremely dangerous in
passing. The young man walked before them with great alacrity. As they
were crossing the bridge, the hermit said to the youth:

"Come, I must show my gratitude to thy aunt."

He then took him by the hair, and plunged him into the river. The boy
sank, appeared again on the surface of the water, and was swallowed up
by the current.

"O monster! O thou most wicked of mankind!" cried Zadig.

"Thou promised to behave with greater patience," said the hermit,
interrupting him. "Know, that under the ruins of that house which
providence hath set on fire, the master hath found an immense treasure I
know, that this young man, whose life providence hath shortened, would
have assassinated his aunt in the space of a year, and thee in that of
two."

"Who told thee so, barbarian?" cried Zadig, "and though thou hadst read
this event in thy book of destinies, art thou permitted to drown a youth
who never did thee any harm?"

While the Babylonian was thus exclaiming, he observed that the old man
had no longer a beard, and that his countenance assumed the features and
complexion of youth. The hermit's habit disappeared, and four beautiful
wings covered a majestic body resplendent with light.

"O sent of heaven! O divine angel!" cried Zadig, humbly prostrating
himself on the ground, "Hast thou then descended from the empyrean to
teach a weak mortal to submit to the eternal decrees of providence?"

"Men," said the angel Jesrad, "judge of all without knowing any thing;
and, of all men, thou best deservest to be enlightened."

Zadig begged to be permitted to speak:

"I distrust myself," said he, "but may I presume to ask the favor of
thee to clear up one doubt that still remains in my mind. Would it not
have been better to have corrected this youth, and made him virtuous,
than to have drowned him?"

[Illustration: The hermit.]

     The poem, called _The Hermit_, by Thomas Parnell, D.D., expresses
     views in regard to providence similar to those of Voltaire. The
     same thoughts may also be found in the _Divine Dialogues_ of Henry
     Moore. Indeed this "tale to prose-men known to verse-men fam'd,"
     has been used by many authors. Pope says "the story was written
     originally in Spanish;" Goldsmith, in his _Life of Parnell_,
     intimates that it was originally of Arabian invention, while, in
     fact, it seems to bear internal evidence of Persian or Hindoo
     origin.--E.

"Had he become virtuous," replied Jesrad, "and enjoyed a longer life, it
would have been his fate to have been assassinated himself, together
with the wife he would have married, and the child he would have had by
her."

"But why," said Zadig, "is it necessary that there should be crimes and
misfortunes, and that these misfortunes should fall on the good?"

"The wicked," replied Jesrad, "are always unhappy. They serve to prove
and try the small number of the just that are scattered through the
earth; and there is no evil that is not productive of some good."

"But," said Zadig, "suppose there was nothing but good and no evil at
all."

"Then," replied Jesrad, "this earth would be another earth: the chain of
events would be ranged in another order and directed by wisdom. But this
other order, which would be perfect, can exist only in the eternal abode
of the Supreme Being, to which no evil can approach. The Deity hath
created millions of worlds, among which there is not one that resembles
another. This immense variety is the effect of his immense power. There
are not two leaves among the trees of the earth, nor two globes in the
unlimited expanse of heaven, that are exactly similar; and all that thou
seest on the little atom in which thou art born, ought to be, in its
proper time and place, according to the immutable decrees of him who
comprehends all. Men think that this child, who hath just perished, is
fallen into the water by chance; and that it is by the same chance that
this house is burned. But there is no such thing as chance. All is
either a trial, or a punishment, or a reward, or a foresight. Remember
the fisherman, who thought himself the most wretched of mankind.
Oromazes sent thee to change his fate. Cease then, frail mortal, to
dispute against what thou oughtest to adore."

"But," said Zadig--

As he pronounced the word "But," the angel took his flight toward the
tenth sphere. Zadig on his knees adored providence, and submitted. The
angel cried to him from on high:

"Direct thy course toward Babylon."



XIX.

THE ENIGMAS.


Zadig, entranced as it were, and like a man about whose head the thunder
had burst, walked at random. He entered Babylon on the very day when
those who had fought at the tournaments were assembled in the grand
vestibule of the palace to explain the enigmas, and to answer the
questions of the grand magi. All the knights were already present,
except the knight in green armor. As soon as Zadig appeared in the city,
the people crowded around him; every eye was fixed on him, every mouth
blessed him, and every heart wished him the empire. The envious man saw
him pass; he frowned and turned aside. The people conducted him to the
place where the assembly was held. The queen, when informed of his
arrival, became a prey to the most violent agitations of hope and fear.
She was filled with anxiety and apprehension. She could not comprehend
why Zadig was without arms, nor why Itobad wore the white armor.

When the knights who had fought were directed to appear in the assembly,
Zadig said. "I have fought as well as the other knights, but another
here wears my arms; and while I wait for the honor of proving the truth
of my assertion, I demand the liberty of presenting myself to explain
the enigmas."

The question was put to vote, and his reputation for probity was so well
established, that they admitted him without scruple.

The first question proposed by the grand magi, was: "What, of all things
in the world, is the longest and the shortest, the swiftest and the
slowest, the most divisible and the most extended, the most neglected
and the most regretted, without which nothing can be done, which devours
all that is little, and enlivens all that is great?"

Itobad was to speak. He replied, that so great a man as he did not
understand enigmas; and that it was sufficient for him to have conquered
by his strength and valor. Some said that the meaning of the enigma was
fortune; some, the earth; and others, the light. Zadig said that it was
time.

"Nothing," added he, "is longer, since it is the measure of eternity.
Nothing is shorter, since it is insufficient for the accomplishment of
our projects. Nothing more slow to him that expects, nothing more rapid
to him that enjoys. In greatness it extends to infinity, in smallness it
is infinitely divisible. All men neglect it, all regret the loss of it;
nothing can be done without it. It consigns to oblivion whatever is
unworthy of being transmitted to posterity, and it immortalizes such
actions as are truly great."

The assembly acknowledged that Zadig was in the right.

The next question was: "What is the thing which we receive without
thanks, which we enjoy without knowing how, and which we lose without
perceiving it?"

Every one gave his own explanation. Zadig alone guessed that it was
life; and he explained all the other enigmas with the same facility.
Itobad always said that nothing was more easy, and that he could have
answered them with the same readiness, had he chosen to have given
himself the trouble. Questions were then proposed on justice, on the
sovereign good, and on the art of government. Zadig's answers were
judged to be the most solid, and the people exclaimed:

"What a pity it is, that so great a genius should be so bad a knight!"

"Illustrious lords," said Zadig, "I have had the honor of conquering in
the tournaments. It is to me that the white armor belongs. Lord Itobad
took possession of it during my sleep. He probably thought it would fit
him better than the green. I am now ready to prove in your presence,
with my gown and sword, against all that beautiful white armor which he
took from me, that it is I who have had the honor of conquering the
brave of Otamus."

Itobad accepted the challenge with the greatest confidence. He never
doubted but that, armed as he was with a helmet, a cuirass, and
brassarts, he would obtain an easy victory over a champion in a cap and
a night-gown. Zadig drew his sword, saluting the queen, who looked at
him with a mixture of fear and joy. Itobad drew his, without saluting
any one. He rushed upon Zadig, like a man who had nothing to fear; he
was ready to cleave him in two. Zadig knew how to ward off his blows, by
opposing the strongest part of his sword to the weakest of that of his
adversary, in such a manner that Itobad's sword was broken. Upon which
Zadig, seizing his enemy by the waist, threw him on the ground; and
fixing the point of his sword at the extremity of his breast-plate,
exclaimed: "Suffer thyself to be disarmed, or thou art a dead man."

Itobad greatly surprised at the disgrace that happened to such a man as
he, was obliged to yield to Zadig, who took from him with great
composure, his magnificent helmet, his superb cuirass, his fine
brassarts, his shining cuisses; clothed himself with them, and in this
dress ran to throw himself at the feet of Astarte. Cador easily proved
that the armor belonged to Zadig. He was acknowledged king by the
unanimous consent of the whole nation, and especially by that of
Astarte, who, after so many calamities, now tasted the exquisite
pleasure of seeing her lover worthy, in the eyes of the world, to be her
husband. Itobad went home to be called lord in his own house. Zadig was
king, and was happy. He recollected what the angel Jesrad had said to
him. He even remembered the grain of sand that became a diamond. He sent
in search of the robber Arbogad, to whom he gave an honorable post in
his army, promising to advance him to the first dignities, if he behaved
like a true warrior; and threatening to hang him, if he followed the
profession of a robber.

Setoc, with the fair Almona, was called from the heart of Arabia, and
placed at the head of the commerce of Babylon. Cador was preferred and
distinguished according to his great services. He was the friend of the
king; and the king was then the only monarch on earth that had a friend.
The little mute was not forgotten. A fine house was given to the
fisherman; and Orcan was condemned to pay him a large sum of money, and
to restore him his wife; but the fisherman, who had now become wise,
took only the money.

The beautiful Semira could not be comforted for having believed that
Zadig would be blind of an eye; nor did Azora cease to lament her
attempt to cut off his nose: their griefs, however, he softened by his
presents. The capricious beauty, Missouf, was left unnoticed. The
envious man died of rage and shame. The empire enjoyed peace, glory, and
plenty. This was the happiest age of the earth. It was governed by love
and justice. The people blessed Zadig, and Zadig blessed heaven.


[Illustration: Freind and his wayward son.]



THE SAGE AND THE ATHEIST.



INTRODUCTION.


You request me, sir, to give you some account of our worthy friend, and
his singular son. The leisure that the retirement of Lord Peterborough
now affords me, places it in my power to oblige you. You will be as
astonished as I was, and perhaps adopt my opinion on the subject.

You scarcely knew the young and unfortunate Johnny, Freind's only son,
whom his father took with him to Spain when he received the appointment
of chaplain to our armies, in 1705. You started for Aleppo, before my
lord besieged Barcelona; yet you were right when you said, John's
countenance was amiable and interesting, and that he gave proofs of
intelligence and courage. It was quite true. Every one who knew him,
loved him. At first he was intended for the church; but, as he
manifested much aversion for that profession, which, indeed, requires
great skill, management, and finesse, his prudent father considered it a
folly and a crime to oppose his inclination.

John was not twenty years old when he assisted, as a volunteer, at the
attack on Mont-Joui, which was captured, and where the Prince of Hesse
lost his life. Our poor Johnny was wounded, taken prisoner, and carried
into the town. The following is an account of his adventures from the
attack of Mont-Joui till the taking of Barcelona. It is as told by a
Catalonian lady, a little too free and too simple. Such stories do not
find a way to the hearts of your wise men. I received it from her when I
entered Barcelona in the suite of Lord Peterborough. You must read it
without offence, as a true description of the manners of the country.



CHAPTER I.

ADVENTURES OF JOHNNY, A YOUNG ENGLISHMAN. WRITTEN BY DONNA LAS NALGAS.


When we were informed that the same savages who came through the air to
seize on Gibraltar, were come to besiege our beautiful Barcelona, we
began to offer prayers at Notre Dame de Manreze--assuredly the best mode
of defence.

These people, who come from so far, are called by a name very hard to
pronounce, that is, English. Our reverend father inquisitor, Don
Jeronimo Bueno Caracucarador, preached against these brigands. He
anathematized them in Notre Dame d'Elpino. He assured us that the
English had monkey-tails, bears' paws, and parrot-heads; that they
sometimes spoke like men, but invariably made a great hissing; that they
were moreover notorious heretics; that though the Blessed Virgin was
often indulgent to poor sinners, she never forgave heretics, and that
consequently they would all be infallibly exterminated, especially if
they presumed to appear before Mont-Joui. He had scarcely finished his
sermon when he heard that Mont-Joui was taken by storm.

The same evening we learned that a young Englishman, who had been
wounded in the assault, was our prisoner. Throughout the town arose
cries of victory! victory! And the illuminations were very general.

Donna Boca Vermeja, who had the honor to be the reverend inquisitor's
favorite, was very desirous to see what the English animal and heretic
was like. She was my intimate friend. I shared her curiosity. We were
oblished to wait till his wound was cured; and this did not take very
long.

[Illustration: Don Jeronimo Bueno Caracucarador.]

Soon after, we learned that he was in the habit of visiting daily at the
residence of Elbob, my cousin german, who, as every one knows, is the
best surgeon in the town. My friend Boca Vermeja's impatience to see
this singular monster increased two-fold. We had no rest ourselves, and
gave none to our cousin, the surgeon, till he allowed us to conceal
ourselves in a small closet, which we entered on tiptoe without saying a
word and scarcely venturing to breathe, just as the Englishman arrived.
His face was not turned toward us. He took off a small cap which
enclosed his light hair, which then fell in thick curls down the finest
neck I ever beheld. His form presented a plumpness, a finish, an
elegance, approaching, in my opinion, the Apollo Belvidere at Rome--a
copy of which my uncle the sculptor possesses.

Donna Boca Vermeja was transported with surprise, and delighted. I
shared her ecstacy, and could not forbear exclaiming: "O che hermoso
Muchacho!"

These words made the young man turn round. We then saw the face of an
Adonis on the body of a young Hercules. Donna Boca Vermeja nearly fell
backwards at the sight:

"St. James!" she exclaimed, "Holy Virgin! is it possible heretics are
such fine men? How we have been deceived about them."

Donna Boca was soon violently in love with the heretical monster. She is
handsomer than I am, I must confess; and I must also confess that I
became doubly jealous of her on that account. I took care to show her
that to forsake the reverend father inquisitor, Don Jeronimo Bueno
Caracucarador, for an Englishman, would be a crime falling nothing short
of damnation.

"Ah! my dear Las Nalgas," she said, (Las Nalgas is my name) "I would
forsake Melchizedek himself for so fine a young man."

One of the inquisitors who attended four masses daily, to obtain from
Our Lady of Manreze the destruction of the English, heard of our
admiration. The Reverend Father Don Caracucarador whipped us both, and
had our dear Englishman arrested by twenty-four Alguazils of St.
Hermandad. Johnny killed four; and was at length captured by the
remaining twenty. He was confined in a very damp cellar, and sentenced
to be burnt the following Sunday, in full ceremony, clothed in a
San-bénito, wearing a sugar-loaf cap, in honor of our Savior and the
Virgin Mary, his mother. Don Caracucarador prepared a fine sermon, but
had no occasion for it, as the town was taken at four o'clock on the
Sunday morning.

Here Donna Las Nalgas's tale terminates. This lady was not without a
description of wit, which in Spain we call agudéza.



CHAPTER II.

CONTINUATION OF THE ADVENTURES OF JOHN, THE YOUNG ENGLISHMAN; ALSO THOSE
OF HIS WORTHY FATHER, D.D., M.P., AND F.R.S.


You know the skillful conduct of the Earl of Peterborough after he took
Barcelona, how successfully he prevented pillage, restored order, and
rescued the Duchess of Popoli from the hands of some drunken Germans,
who robbed and abused her. Conceive the surprise, grief, rage, and
tears, of our friend Freind, on learning that John was confined in the
dungeons of the holy inquisition, and condemned to the stake. You know
that cold temperaments are frequently most energetic when great events
call them into action. You should have seen this distracted father, whom
you were accustomed to think imperturbable, fly to the dungeon of his
son more rapidly than the horses at Newmarket hasten to the goal. The
fifty soldiers who went with him were soon out of breath, and always a
hundred paces behind. At length he reached the cell and entered it. What
a scene! what tears! what joy! Twenty victims, devoted to the same
ceremony, are delivered. All the prisoners take arms and fight with our
soldiers. The buildings of the holy office are destroyed in ten minutes,
and they breakfasted beside the ruins, on the wine and ham of the
inquisitors.

[Illustration: Condemned by the Inquisition.--He was confined to a very
damp cellar, and sentenced to be burnt the following Sunday, in full
ceremony, clothed in a San-bénito, wearing a sugar-loaf cap, in honor of
our Savior and the Virgin Mary, his mother.]

In the midst of the roar of cannon, the sound of trumpets and drums,
announcing our victory to Catalonia, our friend Freind recovered his
accustomed tranquillity of manner. He was as calm as the sky after a day
of storm. He was raising to God a heart as serene as his countenance,
when he perceived a black spectral figure, clad in a surplice, issue
from a vault, and fall at his feet, crying for mercy.

"Who are you?" said our friend. "Do you come from Hades?"

"Almost," rejoined the other. "I am Don Jeronimo Bueno Caracucarador,
inquisitor. I solicit most humbly your forgiveness for wishing to roast
your son in public. I took him for a Jew."

"Supposing that to be the case," said our friend with his customary sang
froid, "does it become you, Señor Caracucarador, to roast people alive
because they are descended from a sect that formerly inhabited a rocky
canton near the Syrian desert? What does it matter to you whether a man
is circumcised or not? that he observe Easter at the full of the moon,
or on the following Sunday? It is very bad reasoning to say, 'That man
is a Jew; therefore I must have him burnt, and take his property.' The
Royal Society of London do not reason in that way.

"Do you know, Señor Caracucarador, that Jesus Christ was a Jew--that he
was born, lived, and died a Jew? that he observed the passover like a
Jew, at the full of the moon? that all his apostles were Jews? that they
went to the temple after his death, as we are expressly told? that the
first fifteen secret bishops of Jerusalem were Jews? But my son is no
Jew; he belongs to the established church. How came it into your head to
burn him alive?"

The inquisitor, overawed by the learning of Monsieur Freind, and still
prostrate at his feet, replied:

"Alas! sir, we know nothing about this at the University of Salamanca.
Forgive me, once more. The true reason is, your son took from me my
favorite, Donna Boca Vermeja."

"Ah! if he took your favorite, that's another thing. We should never
take 'our neighbor's goods.' That is not, however, a sufficient reason
for burning a young man to death. As Leibnitz says, 'The punishment
should be in proportion to the crime.' You Christians on the other side
of the British Channel, especially toward the South, make no more of
roasting each other, be it the Counsellor Dubourg, M. Servetus, or those
who were burned in the reign of Philippe II., surnamed El Discreto, than
we do of roasting a joint of beef in London. But bring Miss Boca Vermeja
before me, that I may learn the truth from her own mouth."

Boca Vermeja appeared weeping, looking the handsomer for her tears, as
women generally do.

"Is it true, Miss, that you are devotedly attached to M. Caracucarador,
and that my son has abducted you?"

"Abducted me? The English gentleman! I never met with any one so amiable
and good-looking as your son. You are very fortunate in being his
father. I could follow him to the world's end. I always hated that ugly
inquisitor, who whipped me and Mademoiselle Las Nalgas till he nearly
brought blood. If you wish to make me happy, you will cause the old
fellow to be hanged at my bedroom window."

Just as Boca Vermeja was thus speaking, the Earl of Peterborough sent
for the inquisitor Caracucarador, to have him hanged. You will not be
surprised to hear that Mr. Freind firmly opposed this measure.

"Let your just displeasure," said he, "give way to generous feelings. A
man should never be put to death but when it is absolutely necessary for
the safety of others. The Spaniards say the English are barbarians, who
kill all the priests that come in their way. This might have injured the
cause of the arch-duke, for whom you have taken Barcelona. I have
sufficient satisfaction in rescuing my son, and putting it out of the
power of this rascally monk to exercise his inquisitorial functions."

In a word, the wise and charitable Freind was contented with getting
Caracucarador flogged, as he had whipped Miss Boca Vermeja and Miss Las
Nalgas.

Such clemency affected the Catalonians. The persons rescued from the
inquisition felt that our religion was better than theirs. Nearly all
requested to be admitted members of the established church; even some
bachelors of the University of Salamanca, who chanced to be at
Barcelona, requested instruction. The greater part soon became
enlightened, with the exception of a certain Don Inigo-y-Medroso,
y-Comodios, y-Papalamiendos, who obstinately adhered to his opinions.



CHAPTER III.

SUMMARY OF THE CONTROVERSY OF THE "BUTS," BETWEEN MR. FREIND AND DON
INIGO-Y-MEDROSO, Y-COMODIOS, Y-PAPALAMIENDOS, BACHELOR OF SALAMANCA.


The following is a summary of the pleasant disputation, which our dear
friend Freind and the Bachelor Don Papalamiendos held, in the presence
of the Earl of Peterborough. This familiar conversation was called the
dialogue of the "Buts." As you read it you will discover why.

THE BACHELOR.--But, sir, notwithstanding all the fine things you have
said, you must admit that your respectable established church did not
exist before the time of Don Luther and Don Ecolampade; consequently, it
is quite new, and can hardly be said to belong to the family.

FREIND.--You might as well say I am not a descendant of my grandfather,
because another branch of the family, living in Italy, seized on his
will, and my claims. I have fortunately found them again; and it is now
quite clear that I am my grandfather's grandson. You and I are, as it
were, of the same family; but with this difference. We read our
grandfather's testament in our mother tongue, while you are forbidden to
read it in yours. You are the slaves of a foreigner; we listen to the
dictates of reason.

THE BACHELOR.--But suppose your reason should lead you astray? For, in a
word, you have no faith in our University of Salamanca, which has
declared the infallibility of the pope, and his indisputable control of
the past, the present, the future, and the paulo-post-future.

FREIND.--Neither did the apostles. It is written that Peter, who denied
his master Jesus, was severely rebuked by Paul. I have not examined the
case to see which was in the wrong; perhaps, as is the case in most
disputes, neither was right; but I do not find one passage in the Acts
of the Apostles to prove that Peter was considered the master of his
companions, and of the paulo-post-future.

THE BACHELOR.--But St. Peter was certainly archbishop of Rome; for
Sanchez tells us that this great man came there in the reign of Nero,
and filled the archbishop's throne twenty-five years under the same
Nero, who only reigned thirteen. Besides, it is a matter of faith, and
Don Gullandus, the prototype of the inquisition, affirms it (for we
never read the Holy Bible), that St. Peter was at Rome during a certain
year, for he dates one of his letters from Babylon. Now, since Babylon
is visibly the anagram of Rome, it is clear that the pope by divine
right is lord of the world; moreover, all the licentiates of Salamanca
have shown that Simon Grace-of-God, first sorcerer and counsellor of
state at the court of Nero, sent his compliments by his dog to Simon
Barjona, otherwise called St. Peter, as soon as he came to Rome; that
St. Peter, who was scarcely less polite, sent also his dog to compliment
Simon Grace-of-God; and then they diverted themselves by trying which
could soonest raise from the dead a cousin german of Nero's; that
Grace-of-God only succeeded in effecting a partial restoration, while
Barjona won the game by wholly restoring the dead man to life; that
Grace-of-God sought to have his revenge by flying through the air like
Saint Dædalus; and that Barjona broke his legs, by making him fall. On
this account St. Peter received the Martyr's crown, being crucified with
his heels upward. Therefore we have proved that his holiness the pope
ought to reign over all who wear crowns; that he is lord of the past,
the present, and of all the futures in the world.

FREIND.--It is clear these things happened in the days when Hercules
separated at a stroke the two mountains Calpe and Abyla, and crossed the
straits of Gibraltar in his goblet. But it is not on such histories,
however authentic they may be, that we base our religion. We found it on
the gospel.

THE BACHELOR.--But, sir, on what passages of the gospel? I have read a
portion of the gospel in our theological tracts. Do you base it on the
descent of the angel to announce to the Virgin Mary that she had
conceived by the Holy Ghost? On the journey of the three kings after the
star? On the massacre of all the children of the country? On the trouble
the devil took to carry God into the wilderness, to place him on a
pinnacle of the temple, and on the summit of a mountain from whence he
beheld all the kingdoms of the world? On the miracle of water changed
into wine at a village wedding? On the miracle of two thousand pigs
drowned by the devil in a lake at the command of Jesus? On--?

FREIND.--Sir, we respect these things because they are in the gospel;
but we never speak of them, because they are too far above our weak
human reason.

THE BACHELOR.--But they say you never call the Holy Virgin, Mother of
God?

FREIND.--We revere and cherish her. But we think she cares very little
for the titles given her in this world. She is never styled the Mother
of God in the gospel. In the year 431, there was a great dispute at the
council of Ephesus to ascertain if Mary was Theotocos; and if Jesus
Christ, being at the same time God and the son of Mary, Mary could be at
the same time mother of God the Father and God the Son. We do not enter
into these disputes of Ephesus. The Royal Society at London does not
concern itself with such controversies.

THE BACHELOR.--But, sir, you talk of Theotocos. What may Theotocos mean,
if you please?

FREIND.--It means Mother of God. What, are you a Bachelor of Salamanca,
and don't understand Greek?

THE BACHELOR.--But Greek! Of what use can Greek be to a Spaniard? But,
sir, do you believe that Jesus Christ has one nature, one person, and
one will; or two natures, two persons, and two wills; or, one will, one
nature, and two persons; or, two wills, two persons and one nature;
or,--?

FREIND.--This, also, belongs to the Ephesian controversy and does not
concern us.

THE BACHELOR.--But what does concern you, then? Do you suppose there are
only three persons in God, or that there are three Gods in one person?
Does the second person proceed from the first person, and the third from
the two others, or from the second _intrinsecus_, or only from the
first? Has the father all the attributes of the son except paternity?
And does the third person proceed by infusion, by identification, or by
spiration?

FREIND.--This question is not mooted in the gospel. St. Paul never wrote
the name of the Trinity.

THE BACHELOR.--But, you always refer to the gospel, and never make
mention of St. Bonaventura, of Albert the Great, of Tambourini, of
Gullandus, of Escobar.

FREIND.--Because I do not call myself a Dominican, a Franciscan, or a
Jesuit. I am satisfied with being a Christian.

THE BACHELOR.--But if you are a Christian, tell me if you
conscientiously think the rest of mankind will be damned?

FREIND.--It does not become me to limit the compassion or the justice of
God.

THE BACHELOR.--But to come to the point, if you are a Christian, what do
you believe?

FREIND.--I believe with Jesus Christ that we ought to love God and our
neighbor, forgive our enemies, and do good for evil. These are the
maxims of Jesus. So true are they, that no legislator, no philosopher,
ever had other principles before him, and it is impossible that there
can be any other. These truths never have and never can meet with
contradiction, save from our passions.

THE BACHELOR.--But, in regard to the passions, is it true that your
bishops, priests, and deacons are all married?

FREIND.--Quite true. St. Joseph, who passed for the father of Jesus, was
married. James the Less, surnamed Oblia, brother of our Lord, was his
son, who, after the death of Jesus, spent his life in the temple. St.
Paul--the great St. Paul--was a married man.

THE BACHELOR.--But Grillandus and Molina assert the contrary.

FREIND.--Let them say what they please, I prefer believing St. Paul
himself on the subject. In _I. Corinthians, ix: 4-7._ he says: "Have we
not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister,
a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the lord, and
Cephas. Or I only and Barnabas, have we not power to forbear working?
Who goeth a warfare at any time at his own charges? Who planteth a
vineyard and eateth not of the fruit thereof?"

THE BACHELOR.--But, sir, did St. Paul really say that?

FREIND.--Yes, he said that and very much more.

THE BACHELOR.--But, really, that prodigy of the efficacy of grace?--

FREIND.--It is true, sir, that his conversion was a great miracle. I
admit, from the _Acts of the Apostles_, that he was the most cruel
satellite of the enemies of Jesus. The _Acts_ say that he assisted at
the stoning of Stephen. He admits himself, that when the Jews condemned
to death a follower of Christ, he would see to the execution of the
sentence, "detuli sententiam", I admit that Abdia, his disciple, and the
translator Julius, the African, accused him of putting to death James
Oblia, the brother of our Lord; but his persecutions increase the wonder
of his conversion, and by no means prevented his having a wife. I assure
you he was married. St. Clement of Alexandria expressly declares it.

THE BACHELOR.--But St. Paul, then, was a worthy man of God! Really, I am
grieved to think he assassinated St. Stephen, and St. James, and am
surprised to find he traveled to the third heaven. But pray continue.

FREIND.--We gather from St. Clement of Alexandria that St. Peter had
children; one St. Petronilla is mentioned among them. Eusebius, in his
_History of the Church_ says that St. Nicolas, one of the first
disciples, had a very handsome wife; and that the disciples blamed him
for being over-fond and jealous. "Sirs," said he, "let any one take her
who likes; I give her to you."

In the Jewish economy, which should have lasted for ever, but to which
nevertheless the Christian dispensation succeeded, marriage was not only
permitted, but expressly enjoined on priests, since they were always of
the same race. Celibacy was considered infamous.

It is certain that celibacy could not have been considered a very pure
and honorable state by the first Christians, since we find among the
bishops excommunicated by the first councils, chiefly those who oppose
the marriage of priests; such as Saturnians, Basilidians, Montanists,
Encrasists, and other ans and ists. This accounts for the wife of
Gregory of Nazianze bearing another Gregory of Nazianze, and enjoying
the inestimable felicity of being at one and the same time the wife and
mother of a canonized saint,--a privilege which even St. Monica, the
mother of St. Augustin, did not enjoy.

By the same reason I might name as many and even more of the ancient
bishops who were married, and account for your not having had in the
earlier ages of the church bishops and popes who indulged in
fornication, adultery, and even worse crimes. Things are not so now.
This is also the reason why the Greek church, the mother of the Latin
church, allows priests to marry. In a word, the reason why I myself am
married, and have a son, as fine a fellow as you can wish to see.

Besides, my dear bachelor, have you not in your church seven sacraments
which are outward signs of things invisible? Does not a bachelor of
Salamanca enjoy the advantage of baptism as soon as he comes into the
world; of confirmation as soon as he has committed a few follies or
understands those of others; of communion, though a little different
from ours, when he is fourteen years of age; of holy orders, when they
shave the crown of his head and give him a living of twenty, thirty, or
forty thousand piastres; and lastly of extreme unction, when he is ill?
Must he then be deprived of the sacrament of marriage, when he is in
health? Especially when God united Adam and Eve in marriage: Adam, the
first bachelor in the world, since, according to your schools, he had
knowledge by infusion; Eve, the first _female_ bachelor, since she
tasted the tree of knowledge before her husband.

THE BACHELOR.--But, if things are so, I may cease my "Buts." This is
certain, I adopt your religion; I will belong to the established church
of England; will marry an honest woman, who at least will pretend to
love me while I am young, take care of me when I grow old, and whom I
will bury decently, should I survive her. I think this is better than
roasting men and enticing girls after the fashion of my cousin Don
Caracucarador, the inquisitor of the faith.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is a faithful summary of the conversation between Mr. Freind and
the Bachelor Don Papalamiendos, since called by us Papa Dexando. This
curious dialogue was drawn up by Jacob Hull, one of my lord's
secretaries.

After this conversation the Bachelor took me aside and said:

"This Englishman, whom I took at first for an anthropagus, must be a
very good man; for he is a theologian and can keep his temper."

I informed him that Mr. Freind was tolerant, or a quaker, and a
descendant of the daughter of William Penn, who founded Philadelphia.
"Quaker, Philadelphia," he cried, "I never heard of those sects."

I gave him some information on the subject. He could scarcely believe
me. It seemed to him like another universe. And, indeed, he was in the
right.



CHAPTER IV.

JOHN RETURNS TO LONDON, AND IS LED INTO BAD COMPANY.


While our worthy philosopher Freind was enlightening the priests of
Barcelona, and his son John delighting the ladies, Lord Peterborough
lost all favor with the queen and arch-duke for seizing Barcelona for
them. The courtiers censured him for taking the city contrary to all
rule, with an army less strong by half than the garrison. At first the
arch-duke was highly incensed; and our friend was obliged to print an
apology for the general. Yet this arch-duke, who had come to conquer
Spain, had not the worth of his chocolate. All Queen Anne had given him
was squandered.

Montecuculi, in his _Memoirs_, says three things are necessary to
maintain a war; 1st, money, 2nd, money, and 3rd, money. The arch-duke
wrote from Guadalaxara, where he was on the 11th of August, 1706, to
Lord Peterborough, a long letter signed "Yo el Rey," in which he begged
him to hasten to Genoa and raise on credit £100,000. So our Sartorius,
from general of an army, thus became a Genoese banker. He communicated
his distress to our friend Freind. They started for Genoa. I went with
them, for you know my heart leads me thither. I admired the skill and
spirit of conciliation my friend displayed in this delicate business. I
saw at once that intelligence may meet every exigency. Our great Locke
was a physician; he became the first metaphysician in Europe, and
restored the value of the British coinage. In three days Freind raised
the £100,000; but the court of Charles the VI. contrived to squander it
in three weeks. After this, the general, accompanied by his theologian,
was obliged to repair to London to justify himself before the parliament
for conquering Catalonia against all rule, and for ruining himself in
the common cause. The affair was protracted and vexatious, as are all
party disputes.

You know that Mr. Freind was a member of parliament before he became a
priest; and he is the only person who has been allowed to combine
functions so opposed. One day, when Freind was thinking over a speech he
intended to deliver in the house (of which he was a most respectable
member), a Spanish lady was announced as desirous of seeing him on
particular business. It was Donna Boca Vermeja herself, and in tears.
Our good friend ordered a luncheon. She took some refreshment, dried her
eyes, and thus began:

"You will remember, sir, when you went to Genoa, you ordered your son
John to leave Barcelona for London, and to commence his duties as a
clerk in the exchequer, a post which your influence had obtained for
him. He embarked in the Triton with a young bachelor of arts, Don Papa
Dexando, and others whom you had converted. You may well suppose that I,
with my dear friend Las Nalgas, accompanied them."

Boca Vermeja then told him, again shedding tears, how John was jealous,
or affected to be jealous, of the bachelor,--how a certain Madame
Clive-Hart, a very bold, spiteful, masculine, young married lady, had
enslaved his mind,--how he lived with libertines who had no fear of
God,--how, in a word, he neglected Boca Vermeja for the artful
Clive-Hart; and all because Clive-Hart had a little more red and white
in her complexion than poor Boca Vermeja.

"I will look into the matter at leisure," said the worthy Mr. Freind. "I
must now attend parliament, to look after Lord Peterborough's business."

Accordingly, to parliament he went; where I heard him deliver a firm and
concise discourse, free from commonplace epithets, and circumlocutions.
He never _invoked_ a law or a testimony. He quoted, enforced, and
applied them. He did not say they had taken the religion of the court by
surprise, by accusing lord Peterborough of exposing Queen Anne's troops
to risk; because it had nothing to do with religion. He did not call a
conjecture a demonstration, nor forget his respect to an august
parliament, by using common jokes. He did not call Lord Peterborough his
client, because client signifies a plebian protected by a senator.
Freind spoke with confidence and modesty; he was listened to in silence,
only disturbed by cries of "Hear him, hear him."

The House of Commons passed a vote of thanks to Earl Peterborough,
instead of condemning him. His lordship obtained the same justice from
the House of Peers, and prepared to set out with his dear Freind to
deliver the kingdom of Spain to the arch-duke. This did not take place,
solely because things do not always turn out as we wish them to.

On leaving the house, our first care was to enquire after the health of
John. We learnt that he was leading a dissipated and debauched life with
Mrs. Clive-Hart, and a party of young men,--intelligent,--but atheists,
who believed:

"That man is in no respect superior to the brutes;--that he lives and
dies as they do;--that both spring from and both return to the
earth;--that wisdom and virtue consist in enjoyment and in living with
those we love, as Solomon says at the end of the 'Coheleth,' which we
call 'Ecclesiastes.'"

These sentiments were chiefly advanced among them by one Warburton,[1] a
very forward licentious fellow. I have glanced at some of the poor
author's MSS., which heaven grant may not one day be printed. Warburton
pretends that Moses did not believe in the immortality of the soul,
because he never speaks of it, and considers that to be the only proof
of his divine mission. This absurd conclusion leads to the supposition
that the religion of the Jews is false. Infidels thence argue that ours,
being founded thereon, is false also; and _ours_, which is the best of
all, being false, all others are, if possible, still more false:
therefore there is no religion. Hence some conclude that there is no
God. Let us add to these conclusions, that this little Warburton is an
intriguing, slandering fellow. See what peril!

But worse than all, John was head over ears in debt, and had a strange
way of paying. One of his creditors came to him with a claim for a
hundred guineas, while we were in the house. John, who always appeared
polite and gentle, fought his creditor, and paid him with a sword-wound.
It was apprehended the wounded man would die; and John, notwithstanding
lord Peterborough's protection, ran the risk of imprisonment and
hanging.


[1] In 1737 Bishop Warburton published his famous work, _The Divine
Legation of Moses_, in which he asserted, "that the doctrine of a future
state of reward and punishment was omitted in the books of Moses," and
then proceeded to demonstrate "from that very omission, that a system
which could dispense with a doctrine, the very bond and cement of human
society, must have come from God, and that the people to whom it was
given must have been placed under His immediate superintendence." In
other words, the divine origin of the Mosaic "system" is demonstrated,
because Moses did not teach to the chosen people the doctrine of a
future life beyond the grave. Voltaire clearly saw the fallacy of this
fantastic argument, and has not failed to severely satirize the right
reverend author.

Robert Carruthers, Esq., in his _Life of Alexander Pope_ styles Bishop
Warburton "a learned, turbulent, ambitious adventurer"--"an
indefatigable and unscrupulous divine," and says of _The Divine Legation
of Moses_, that it was "so learned, so novel, so paradoxical, so
arrogant and absurd, that it took the world as it were by storm, and
challenged universal attention."

Dr. Johnson says that Warburton's "diction is coarse and impure, and his
sentences are unmeasured;" and a writer in the seventh volume of the
_Quarterly Review_ (as quoted by George Godfrey Cuningham, Esq., in his
_Lives of Eminent and illustrious Englishmen_) says: "the rudeness and
vulgarity of his manners as a controvertist, removed all restraints of
decency or decorum in scattering his jests about him. His taste seems to
have been neither just nor delicate." He combined "the powers of a giant
with the temper of a ruffian."

Gibbon, in his _History of Christianity_, pointedly alludes to the
author of _The Divine Legation of Moses_, and satirically styles the
omission of the doctrine of immortality from the law of Moses, as "a
mysterious dispensation of providence." "The real merit of Warburton,"
he says, "was degraded by the pride and presumption with which he
pronounced his infallible decrees."--E.



CHAPTER V.

THEY WANT TO GET JOHN MARRIED.


You remember the anguish of the venerable Freind when he learned that
John was in the prison of the inquisition at Barcelona. Imagine his rage
when he learned of the debauchery and dissipation of the unfortunate
lad, his way of paying debts, and his danger of getting hanged! Yet
Freind restrained himself. This excellent man's self-command is really
astonishing. His reason regulates his heart, as a good master rules his
servants. He does every thing reasonably, and judges wisely with as much
celerity as hasty people act rashly.

"This is no time to lecture John," said he. "We must snatch him from the
precipice."

You must know that the day previously, our friend had come into a
handsome sum, left him by George Hubert, his uncle. He went himself in
search of our great surgeon, Cheselden. We found him at home, and then
proceeded together to the wounded creditor. The wound was inspected. It
was not dangerous. Freind gave the sufferer a hundred guineas as a first
step, and fifty others by way of reparation, and then asked forgiveness
for his son. Indeed, he expressed his regret so touchingly, that the
poor man embraced him, and, weeping, wished to return the money.

This sight moved and surprised young Mr. Cheselden, whose reputation is
becoming very great, and whose heart is as kind as his hand is skillful.

I was carried beyond myself; never had I admired and loved our friend so
much.

On returning home, I asked him if he did not intend to send for his son,
and to admonish him.

"No," said he. "Let him feel his faults before I speak of them. Let us
sup together to-night. We will see what in honesty I ought to do.
Examples correct better than reprimands."

While waiting for supper, I called on John. I found him in the state
which all men experience after their first crime,--that is, pale, with
sunken eyes and hoarse voice,--absent, and answering at random when
spoken to.

I told him what his father had just done.

He looked at me steadily, then turned away to dash a tear from his eye.
I argued well from this, and began to hope that John would yet prove a
worthy man. I felt ready to clasp him in my arms, when Madame Clive-Hart
came in, accompanied by a wild fellow, called Birton.

"Well," said the lady, laughing, "have you really killed a man to-day?
Some tiresome fellow. 'Tis well to rid the world of such people. When
you are next in the killing mood, pray think of my husband. He plagues
me to death."

I surveyed this woman from head to foot. She was handsome, but there was
something sinister in her countenance. John dared not reply, and,
confused by my presence, looked downward.

"What's the matter?" said Birton. "You look as if you had done something
wrong. I come to give you absolution. Here is a little book I have just
bought at Lintot's. It proves as clearly as two and two make four, that
there is neither God, nor vice, nor virtue,--a very consoling fact! So,
let us drink together."

On hearing this singular discourse, I withdrew quickly, and represented
to Mr. Freind how much his son required his advice.

"I see it as clearly as you do," said this kind father; "but let us
begin by paying his debts."

They were all discharged the next day. John came and threw himself at
his father's feet. Will you believe it? The father made no reproaches.
He left him to conscience; only observing, "Remember, my son, there is
no happiness apart from virtue."

Mr. Freind then saw that the bachelor married Boca Vermeja, who really
loved him, notwithstanding her tears for John. Women know how to confuse
such feelings wonderfully. One would almost say that their hearts are a
bundle of contradictions, perhaps because they were originally formed
from one of our ribs.

Our generous Freind gave her also a dowry, and took care to secure
places for his converts. It is not enough to take care of people's
souls, if we neglect to provide for their present wants.

After performing these good actions, with his astonishing _sang froid_,
he concluded he had nothing more to do to restore his son to virtue,
than to marry him to a young person of beauty, virtue, talents, and some
wealth. This, indeed, was the only way to wean him from the detestable
Clive-Hart, and others, whom he frequented.

I had heard speak of a Miss Primerose, a young heiress, brought up by
her relative, Lady Hervey. The Earl of Peterborough introduced me to
Lady Hervey. I saw Miss Primerose, and considered her a proper person to
fulfill the wishes of my friend. John, in the midst of his dissipation,
had great reverence and even affection for his father. He was chiefly
affected that his father had never blamed him for his follies. Debts
paid without informing him; wise counsels seasonably given, and without
reprimand; proofs of friendship given from time to time, yet free from
the familiarity which might depreciate them. All this went to John's
heart, for he was both intelligent and sensitive.

Lord Peterborough introduced the father and son to Lady Hervey. I
perceived that the extreme beauty of John soon made a favorable
impression on Miss Primerose; for I saw her look stealthily at him and
blush. John seemed only polite; and Primerose admitted to Lady Hervey
that she wished his politeness might become love.

The young man soon discovered the worth of this charming girl, though he
was the complete slave of Clive-Hart. He was like the Indian invited to
gather celestial fruit, but restrained by the claws of a dragon.

But here the recollection of what I witnessed overwhelms me. Tears
moisten my paper. When I recover, I will resume my tale.



CHAPTER VI.

A TERRIBLE ADVENTURE.


The marriage of John and the lovely Primerose was about to be
celebrated. Freind never felt more joy. I shared it. But the occasion
was changed into one of deep sorrow and suffering.

Clive-Hart loved John, though constantly faithless. They say this is the
lot of those women who, violating modesty, renounce their honor.
Especially she deceived John for her dear Birton and for another of the
same school. They lived together in debauch; and, what is perhaps
peculiar to our nation, they had all of them sense and worth.
Unfortunately, they employed their sense against God. Madame
Clive-Hart's house was a rendezvous for atheists. Well for them had they
been such atheists as Epicurus, Leontium, Lucretius, Memmius, and
Spinoza,--the most upright man of Holland,--or Hobbes, so faithful to
his unfortunate king, Charles I.

But however it may be, Clive-Hart, jealous of the pure and gentle
Primerose, could not endure the marriage. She devised a vengeance, which
I conceive to be unsurpassed even in London, where I believe our fathers
have witnessed crimes of every kind. She learned that Miss Primerose,
returning from shopping, would pass by her door. She took advantage of
the opportunity, and had a sewer opened, communicating with her
premises.

Miss Primerose's carriage, on its return, was obliged to draw up at this
obstruction. Clive-Hart goes out, and entreats her to alight and take
some refreshment, while the passage is being cleared. This invitation
made Miss Primerose hesitate; but she perceived John standing in the
hall, and, yielding to an impulse stronger than her discretion, she got
out. John offered her his hand. She enters. Clive-Hart's husband was a
silly drunkard, as hateful to his wife as he was submissive and
troublesome by his civility. He presents refreshments to the young lady,
and drinks after her. Mrs. Clive-Hart takes them away instantly and
brings others. By this time the street is cleared. Miss Primerose enters
her carriage, and drives to her mother's.

She soon falls sick, and complains of giddiness. They suppose it is
occasioned by the motion of the carriage. But the illness increased, and
the next day she was dying.

Mr. Freind and I hastened to the house. We found the lovely creature
pale and livid, a prey to convulsions,--her lips open, her eyes glazed,
and always staring. Black spots disfigured her face and throat. Her
mother had fainted on her bed. Cheselden employed in vain all the
resources of his art. I will not attempt to describe Freind's anguish.
It was intense. I hurried to Clive-Hart's house, and found that the
husband was just dead, and that the wife had fled.

I sought John. He could not be found. A servant told me that his
mistress had besought him not to leave her in her misfortune, and that
they had gone off together, accompanied by Birton, no one knew whither.

Overcome by these rapid and numerous shocks, terrified at the frightful
suspicions which haunted me, I hastened to the dying lady.

"Yet," said I to myself, "if this abominable woman threw herself on
John's generosity, it does not follow that he is an accomplice. John is
incapable of so horrible and cowardly a crime, which he had no interest
in committing, which deprives him of a charming wife, and renders him
odious to the human race. Weak, he has allowed himself to be drawn away
by a wretch, of whose crime he was ignorant. He did not see, as I have
done, Primerose dying; he never would have deserted her pillow to
accompany the poisoner of his bride. Oppressed by these thoughts, I
entered, shuddering, the room which I expected contained a corpse."

She was still living. Old Clive-Hart died soon, because his constitution
was worn out by debauchery; but young Primerose was sustained by a
temperament as robust as her blood was pure. She saw me, and enquired,
in a tender tone, after John. A flood of tears gushed from my eyes. I
could not reply. I was unable to speak to the father. I was obliged to
leave her to the faithful hands that served her.

We went to inform his lordship of this disaster. He is as kind to his
friends as terrible to his foes. Never was there a more compassionate
man with so stern a countenance. He took as much pains to assist the
dying lady, and to overtake the abandoned woman, and discover John, as
he had done to give Spain to the arch-duke. But all our search proved in
vain. I thought it would kill Freind. Now we flew to the residence of
Miss Primerose, whose dying was protracted, now to Rochester, Dover,
Portsmouth. Couriers were dispatched every where. We wandered about at
random, like dogs that have lost the scent;--while the unfortunate
mother expected hourly the death of her child.

At length we learned that a handsome lady, accompanied by three young
men and some servants, had embarked at Newport, in Monmouthshire, in a
little smuggling vessel that was in the roads, and had sailed for North
America.

Freind sighed deeply at this intelligence, then suddenly recovering
himself, and pressing my hand, he said:

"I must go to America."

I replied, weeping with admiration: "I will not leave you. But what can
you do?"

"Restore my only son," said he, "to virtue and his country, or bury
myself with him."

Indeed, from our information, we could not doubt but he had fled thither
with that horrible woman, Birton, and the other villains of the party.

The good father took leave of Lord Peterborough, who returned soon after
to Catalonia; and we went to Bristol and freighted a ship for the
Delaware and the bay of Maryland.

Freind, knowing these coasts to be in the heart of the English
possessions, thought it right to go thither, whether his son had sought
concealment in the North or South.

He supplied himself with money, letters of credit, and provisions, and
left a confidential servant in London, to write to him by ships that
were leaving every week for Maryland or Pennsylvania.

We started. The crew, judging from the placid countenance of my friend,
thought we were on an excursion of pleasure. But when he was alone with
me, his sighs expressed the depth of his anguish. At times I
congratulated myself on the happiness of consoling such a noble mind.

A west wind kept us a long time about the Sorlingues. We were obliged to
steer for New England. What enquiries we made on every coast! What time
and toil were thrown away! At length a northeast wind arising, we
steered for Maryland. There, it was said, John and his companions had
taken refuge.

The fugitives had sojourned on the coast more than a month, and had
astonished the whole colony by indulgences in luxury and debauch, till
then unknown in that part of the world. Then they disappeared; no one
knew whither.

We advanced into the bay, intending to go to Baltimore for fresh
information.



CHAPTER VII.

WHAT HAPPENED IN AMERICA.


On the way we found, to the right, a very handsome house. It was low,
but convenient and neat, placed between a spacious barn and a large
stable; the whole enclosed by a garden, well stocked with fruits of the
country. It belonged to an old man, who invited us to alight at his
retreat. He did not look like an Englishman; his accent showed us he was
a foreigner. We anchored and went on shore. The old man welcomed us
cordially, and gave us the best cheer to be had in the New World.

We discreetly insinuated our wish to know to whom we were indebted for
so kind a reception.

"I am," said he, "of the race you call savages. I was born on the Blue
Mountains, which bound this country in the west. In my childhood I was
bitten by a rattlesnake, and abandoned. I was on the point of death. The
father of the present Lord Baltimore, falling in with me, confided me to
his physician; and to him I owe my life. I soon discharged the debt; for
I have saved his in a skirmish with the neighboring tribes. He gave me,
in return, this habitation."

Mr. Freind enquired if he was of Lord Baltimore's religion?

"How," said he, "would you have me profess another man's religion? I
have my own."

This short and energetic answer made us reflect a little.

"You have, then," said I, "your own law and your own God?"

"Yes," he replied, with an assurance wholly free from pride. "My God is
there," and he pointed to heaven. "My law is here," and he put his hand
on his breast.

My friend was struck with admiration, and, pressing my hand, he said:

"This simple nature reasons more wisely than all the bachelors with whom
we conversed at Barcelona."

He was anxious to know if he could gain any information respecting his
son John. It was a weight that oppressed him. He enquired if his host
had heard speak of some young people, who had made a great noise in the
neighborhood.

"Indeed I have," said he, "I received them in my house; and they were so
satisfied with the reception I gave them, that they have carried away
one of my daughters."

Judge of my friend's distress at this intelligence. In his emotion, he
could not avoid exclaiming:

"What! Has my son run away with your daughter?"

"Good Englishman," said the host, "do not let that grieve you. I am glad
to find he is your son. He is handsome, well made, and seems courageous.
He did not run away with my dear Parouba; for you must know that Parouba
is her name, because it is mine. Had he taken off Parouba, it would have
been a robbery; and my five sons, who are now hunting some forty or
fifty miles from here, would not have endured such an affront. It is a
great sin to thieve. My daughter went of her own accord with these young
people. She has gone to see the country, a pleasure one cannot deny to
one of her age. These travelers will bring her back to me before a month
is passed. I am sure of it. They promised to do so."

These words would have made me laugh, had not the evident distress of my
friend severely afflicted me.

In the evening, just as we were about to start to take advantage of the
wind, one of Parouba's sons arrived out of breath, his face expressing
horror and despair.

"What is the matter, my son? I thought you were hunting far away. Are
you wounded by some savage beast?"

"No, father,--not wounded, yet in pain."

"But whence do you come, son?"

"From a distance of forty miles, without stopping; and I am almost
dead."

The aged father makes him sit down. They give him restoratives. Mr.
Freind and I, his little brothers and sisters, with the servants, crowd
around him. When he recovered his breath, he exclaimed:

"Alas, my sister Parouba is a prisoner of war, and will no doubt be
killed."

The worthy Parouba was grieved at this recital. Mr. Freind, feeling for
him as a father, was struck to the very heart. At last, the son informed
us that a party of silly young Englishmen had attacked, for diversion,
the people of the mountains. He said, they had with them a very
beautiful lady and her maid; and he knew not how his sister came to be
with them. The handsome English lady had been scalped and killed; and
his sister captured.

"I come here for aid against the people of the Blue Mountains. I will
kill them too, and will retake my dear sister, or perish."

Mr. Friend's habits of self-command supported him in this trying moment.

"God has given me a son," said he. "Let him take both father and son,
when the eternal decree shall go forth. My friend, I am tempted to think
God sometimes acts by a special providence, since he avenges in America
crimes committed in Europe, and since this wicked Clive-Hart died as she
deserved. Perhaps the Sovereign of the universe does in his government
punish even in this world crimes committed here. I dare not assert; I
wish to think so; indeed I should believe it, were not such an opinion
opposed to all metaphysical laws."

After these sad reflections on an event common in America, Freind
resumed his usual demeanor.

"I have a good ship," said he to his host, "with abundant stores. Let us
go up the gulf as near as we may to the Blue Mountains. My most anxious
business now is to save your daughter. Let us go to your countrymen, say
I bear the pipe of peace--that I am the grandson of Penn. That name
alone will suffice."

At the name of Penn, so much revered throughout North America, the
worthy Parouba and his son felt the greatest respect and the greatest
hope. We embarked, and in thirty-six hours reached Baltimore.

We were scarcely in sight of this almost desert place, when we saw in
the distance a numerous band of mountaineers descending to the plain,
armed with axes, tomahawks, and those muskets which Europeans so
foolishly sold to them, to procure skins. Already you might hear their
frightful howlings. From another side we saw four persons approaching on
horseback, accompanied by others on foot. We were taken for people of
Baltimore, come there for the purpose of fighting. The horsemen galloped
toward us, sword in hand. Our companions prepared to receive them. Mr.
Freind, observing them steadily, shuddered for a moment; but soon
resuming his sang-froid.

"Do not stir, my friends," said he. "Leave all to me."

He advanced alone and unarmed toward the party. In a moment, we saw the
chief let fall the bridle from his horse, spring to the ground, and fall
prostrate. We uttered a cry of surprise, and advanced. It was John
himself, who, bathed in tears, had fallen at the feet of his father.
Neither of them was able to speak. Birton, and the two horsemen with
him, alighted. But Birton, in his characteristic way, said:

"My dear Freind, I did not expect to see you here. You and I seem born
for adventures. I am glad to see you."

Freind, without deigning to reply, looked toward the army of
mountaineers, now approaching us. He walked toward them, accompanied by
Parouba, who acted as interpreter.

"Fellow countrymen," said Parouba, "behold a descendant of Penn, who
brings you the pipe of peace."

At these words, the eldest of the tribe raising his hands and eyes to
heaven, exclaimed:

"A son of Penn! He is welcome! May the Penns live for ever! The great
Penn is our Manitou, our god. He and his were the only Europeans who did
not deceive us, and seize on our land. He bought the territory we gave
up to him; he paid for it liberally; he maintained peace among us; he
brought us remedies for the few diseases we had caught from the
Europeans. He taught us new arts. We never dug up against him and
against his children the hatchet of war. For the Penns we always
entertain respect."

Freind immediately sent for thirty hams, as many pies and fowls, with
two hundred bottles of Pontac, from the ship. He seated himself close to
the chief of the Blue Mountains. John and his companions assisted at the
festival. John would rather have been a hundred feet under the earth.
His father said nothing to him; and this silence increased his
confusion.

Birton, who cared for nothing, seemed very jovial. Freind, before he
began to eat, said to Parouba:

"One person, very dear to you, is waiting here. I mean your daughter."

The chief of the Blue Mountains ordered her to be brought. She had
suffered no injury; she smiled to her brother and father, as if she had
only returned from a walk.

I took advantage of the freedom of the meal, to enquire why the warriors
of the Blue Mountains had put to death Madame Clive-Hart, and had done
nothing to Parouba's daughter.

"Because we are just," returned the chief. "That proud English woman
belonged to the party that attacked us. She killed one of our men by
firing a pistol behind him. We did nothing to Parouba, as soon as we
ascertained that she was a daughter of our tribes, and only came here
for diversion. Every one should be treated according to his desert."

Freind was affected by this maxim, but he represented to them that the
custom of burning captives at the stake, was degrading to worthy people;
and that, with so much virtue, they should be less ferocious.

The chief then asked us what we did with those whom we killed in battle.

"We bury them."

"I understand. You leave them for worms to eat. Cannibals think proper
to give themselves the preference. Their stomachs are a more honorable
grave."

Birton supported with pleasure the opinions of the mountaineer. He said,
the custom of boiling and roasting a neighbor must be both ancient and
natural, since it prevailed in both hemispheres; and therefore it must
be an innate idea;--that men were hunted before beasts, because it was
easier to kill men than wolves;--that if the Jews, in their books, so
long unknown, imagined that a certain Cain killed a certain Abel, it
could only be with a view to eat him--that the same Jews admit they had
often fed on human flesh;--that the best historians describe the Jews as
eating the bleeding flesh of Romans, whom they massacred in Egypt,
Cyprus, and Asia, in their revolts against the emperors Trajan and
Adrian.

We allowed him to indulge in these coarse jokes, which, though
unfortunately true at the bottom, had neither Grecian wit nor Roman
urbanity.

Freind, without answering him, addressed the natives. Parouba
translated, phrase by phrase. Tillotson himself never spoke with more
force. The insinuating Smaldridge never displayed more touching graces.
The great secret of eloquence is to convince. He proved to them,
accordingly, that the execrable custom of burning captives, inspired a
ferocity destructive to the human race; for this reason, they were
strangers to the comforts of society and the tillage of the ground.

At last, they all swore by their great Manitou, that they would not burn
men and women again.

Thus, from a single conversation, Freind became their legislator, like
an Orpheus taming tigers. In vain may the Jesuits describe their
miracles in letters which are rarely curious or edifying; they can never
equal our good friend.

After loading the chiefs of the Blue Mountains with presents, he
conducted the worthy Parouba back to his residence. Young Parouba, with
his sister, accompanied us. The others went hunting in the distant
forest.

John, Birton, and his companions, also embarked in the ship.

Freind persisted in his plan of not reproaching his son, whenever the
young scamp did wrong. He left him to self-examination, and to consume
his heart, as Pythagoras has it. Nevertheless, he took up the letter
thrice, which had been received from England, and looked at his son as
he read it. The young man would then cast his eyes on the ground; and
respect and repentance might be read on his face.

Birton continued as gay and noisy as if he had just returned from the
play. He was in character like the late Duke of Rochester, extreme in
debauchery, bravery, sentiments, language, and, in his Epicurean
philosophy, attaching himself only to the extraordinary and soon
disgusted even then; having the turn of mind that mistakes probabilities
for demonstrations; more wise and eloquent than any young man of his
age; but too indolent to be profound in any thing.

While dining with us on board, Mr. Freind said to me:

"Indeed, my dear friend, I hope God will inspire these young people with
purer morals, and that Clive-Hart's terrible example will be a lesson to
them."

Birton, hearing these words, said, in a disdainful tone:

"For a long time I had been dissatisfied with that wicked Clive-Hart.
Indeed, I scarcely care more for her than I do for a trussed fowl. But
do you believe there exists (I don't know where) a being perpetually
occupied in punishing the wicked men and women who people and depopulate
the four quarters of our little world? Do you forget that the terrible
Mary, daughter of Henry VIII., was happy till her death? and yet she had
caused the execution of eight hundred citizens, of both sexes, on the
pretext that they did not believe in transubstantiation and the pope.
Her father, nearly as cruel, and her husband, more profoundly wicked,
spent their lives in enjoyment. Pope Alexander IV., worse than these,
was still more fortunate. All his crimes succeeded. He died at the age
of seventy-two, rich and powerful, courted by the kings of the age.
Where, then, is this just and avenging God?"

Mr. Freind, with austerity and calmness, replied:

"It seems to me, sir, you ought not to say 'there is no God.' Remember,
Locke and Newton never pronounced that word but in a tone of reverence,
that every one remarked."

"What care I," returned Birton, "for two men's grimaces? How did Newton
look, when he wrote his _Commentary on the Apocalypse_? Or Locke, when
he wrote the _Dialogue between a Parrot and the Prince Maurice_?"

Then Freind repeated the golden words which should be graven on every
heart:

"Let us forget the dreams of great men; and remember the truths they
have taught us."

This reply gave way to a well-sustained conversation, more interesting
than that of the bachelor of Salamanca. I sat in a corner and took
notes. The company drew round the disputants. The worthy Parouba, his
son, and daughter, John's debauched companions, and John himself, with
his head resting on his hands,--all listened with eager attention.



CHAPTER VIII.

DIALOGUE BETWEEN FREIND AND BIRTON ON ATHEISM.


FREIND.--I will not repeat to you, sir, the metaphysical arguments of
our celebrated Clarke; I only exhort you to read them again. They are
rather intended to convince than affect you. I shall confine myself to
arguments calculated to touch your heart.

BIRTON.--You will gratify me very much. I like to be amused and
interested. I hate sophisms. Metaphysical arguments seem to me like
balloons filled with air used between the disputants. The bladders
burst; and nothing remains.

FREIND.--It is possible there may be some obscurity--some bladders--in
the deep things of Clarke, the respectable Arian. Perhaps he was
deceived on the subject of actual infinity. Perhaps, when he took upon
himself to comment on God, he follows too closely a commentator of
Homer, who attributes ideas to his author which he never entertained.

At the words "infinity," "Homer," "commentators," the worthy Parouba and
his daughter, and even a few of the English, seemed disposed to go and
take an airing on the deck. But Freind promising to be intelligible,
they consented to remain. I explained in a whisper to Parouba scientific
expressions, which a native of the Blue Mountains was not likely to
understand so well as a doctor of Oxford or Cambridge.

FREIND.--It would be sad, indeed, if we could not be sure of the
existence of God without being metaphysicians. In all England, scarcely
a hundred minds would be found capable of fathoming the mysteries of the
_for_ and _against_; and the rest of the world would be enveloped in
ignorance,--a prey to brutal passions,--swayed by instinct alone,--and
only capable of reasoning on the vulgar notions of their carnal
interests. To find out God, I only require you to make one effort,--to
open your eyes.

BIRTON.--I see your aim. You are returning to the worn-out arguments
that the sun turns on its axis in twenty-five days and a half, in spite
of the absurd inquisition of Rome;--that the light comes to us reflected
from Saturn in fifteen minutes, in spite of the absurd supposition of
Descartes;--that every fixed star is a sun, like ours, surrounded by
planets; that the countless stars, scattered through space, obey
mathematical laws, discovered and proved by the great Newton;--that a
catechist announces God to children, and that Newton reveals him to the
sage, as a philosophical Frenchman said, who was persecuted in his own
country for asserting as much. Do not trouble yourself to bring before
me the ceaseless order which prevails in all parts of the universe. All
that exists must have order of some sort. Rarefied matter must take a
higher place than denser substances. The strongest press upon the
weakest. Bodies moved with a greater impulse, progress more rapidly than
those moved with less. Things arrange themselves in this way of their
own accord. In vain, after drinking a pint of wine, like Esdras, would
you talk to me for a hundred and sixty hours together without shutting
the mouth, I should not be convinced. Do you wish me to adopt an eternal
being, infinite and immutable, who saw fit, (I do not know when,) to
create from nothing, things which change every moment, and spiders to
disembowel flies? Would you have me suppose, with the gossip Niewentyt,
that God gave us ears that we might have faith? since faith cometh by
hearing. No! No! I will not believe these quacks who have sold their
drugs at a good price to fools. I keep to the little book of a
Frenchman, who maintains that nothing exists nor can exist but nature;
that nature does all, and is _all_; that it is impossible and
contradictory that any thing can exist beyond ALL. In a word, I only
believe in nature.

FREIND.--What if I tell you there is no such thing as nature; and that
in us, around us, a thousand millions of leagues from us, all is art,
without any exception.

BIRTON.--What? All art! That's something new.

FREIND.--Few observe that. Nothing, however, is more true. I shall
always say, make use of your eyes, and you will recognize and adore God.
Think how those vast globes, which you see revolve in their immense
orbits, observe deep mathematical laws. There is then a great calculator
whom Plato called the eternal geometrician. You admire those newly
invented machines, called orreries, because Lord Orrery invented them by
imitating the maker. It is a feeble copy of our planetary system and its
revolutions; also the periods of the changes of the solstice and equinox
which bring us from day to day a new polar planet. This period, this
slow course of about twenty-six thousand years, could not be effected in
our feeble hands by human orreries. The machine is very imperfect; it
must be turned by a handle; yet it is a _chef-d'œuvre_ of the skill
of our artisans. Conceive, then, the power and patience, the genius, of
the eternal architect, if we may apply such terms to the supreme being.

When I described an orrery to Parouba, he said:

"If the copy indicates genius, how much more must there be in the
original?"

All present, English and American, felt the force of these words, and
raised their hands to heaven.

Birton remained thoughtful. Then he cried:

"What, all art? Nature the result of art? Can it be possible?"

FREIND.--Now, consider yourself; examine with what art, never
sufficiently explored, all is constructed within and without for all
your wishes and actions. I do not pretend now to lecture on anatomy. You
know well enough there is not one superfluous vessel, nor one that does
not, in the exercise of its functions, depend on neighboring vessels. So
artificial is the arrangement throughout the body, that there is not a
single vein without valves and sluices, making a passage for the blood.
From the roots of the hair to the toes, all is art, design, cause, and
effect. Indeed, we cannot suppress feelings of indignation toward those
who presume to deny final causes, and have the rashness to say that the
mouth was not made to eat and speak with--that the eyes are not
admirably contrived for seeing, the ears for hearing, the nerves for
feeling. Such audacity is madness. I cannot conceive it.

Let us admit that every animal renders testimony to the supreme
fabricator.

The smallest herb perplexes human intellect. So true is this that the
aggregate toil of all men could not create a straw unless the seed be
sown in the earth. Let it not be said that the seed must rot in the
earth to produce. Such nonsense should not be listened to now.

       *       *       *       *       *

The company felt the force of these proofs more forcibly than the
others, because they were more palpable. Birton murmured: "Must I then
acknowledge God? We shall see. It is not yet proved."

John remained thoughtful, and seemed affected.

       *       *       *       *       *

FREIND.--No, my friends. We make nothing, we can do nothing. It is in
our power to arrange, unite, calculate, weigh, measure, but, _to make_!
What a word! The essential Being, existing by Himself, alone can make.
This is why quacks, who labor at the philosopher's stone, prove
themselves such fools. They boast that they create gold, and they cannot
even create clay. Let us then confess, my friends, that there is a
necessary and incomprehensible Being who made us.

BIRTON.--If he exist, where is he? Why is he concealed? Has any one ever
seen him? Should the creator of good hide himself?

FREIND.--Did you ever see Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of Saint
Paul's, when you were in London? Yet it is clear that church is the work
of a great architect.

BIRTON.--Every one knows that Wren erected, at a great expense, the vast
edifice in which Burgess, when he preaches, sends us to sleep. We know
very well why and how our fathers built it. But why and how did God make
the universe from nothing? You know well the ancient maxim: "Nothing can
create nothing; nothing returns to nothing." No one ever doubted that
truth. Your Bible itself says that your God made heaven and earth,
though the heaven, that is, the assemblage of stars, is as superior to
the earth, as the earth itself is to one blade of grass. But your Bible
does not tell us that God made heaven and earth from nothing. It does
not pretend that the Lord made woman from nothing. She was kneaded in a
very singular way, from a rib taken from her husband's side. According
to the Bible, chaos existed before the world; therefore matter must be
as eternal as your God.

       *       *       *       *       *

A slight murmur then went round the company; "Birton might be right,"
they said.

       *       *       *       *       *

FREIND.--I think I have proved to you that there is a supreme
intelligence; an eternal power to whom we owe our passing existence. I
have not engaged to tell you the how and the why. God has given me
sufficient reason to know that he exists, but not enough to discover
whether matter has been subject to him from eternity, or whether he
created it in time. What have you to do with the creation of matter,
provided you acknowledge a God the ruler of matter and of yourself? You
ask me where God is? I do not know. I ought not to know. I know that he
is; I know that he is my maker; that he makes all, and that we ought to
depend on his goodness.

BIRTON.--His goodness! Are you jesting with me? Did you not tell me to
make use of my eyes? Make use of yours. Glance at the world, and then
talk of the goodness of God.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Freind saw that he had now reached the most difficult part of the
dispute, and that Birton was preparing a rude assault. He saw that the
hearers, especially the Americans, together with himself, required a
little respite. Recommending himself therefore to God, they went on deck
for exercise. When tea was served, the disputation was renewed.



CHAPTER IX.

ON ATHEISM.


BIRTON.--You must not expect such success, sir, on the subject of
goodness, as you have had on ingenuity and power. First, I shall touch
on the misconstructions of our globe, in many instances opposed to the
cleverness so much boasted of; then I intend to dwell on the perpetual
crimes and misfortunes of the inhabitants; and you will judge of the
great ruler's paternal affection for them.

I shall begin by telling you that in Gloucestershire, my county, when we
breed horses, we rear them with care, in fine pasturage and good
stables, with hay and oats. Pray, what shelter and food had these poor
Americans, when we discovered their continent? They were obliged to
scour over thirty or forty miles for food. All the northern coast of the
old world is exposed to the same cruel necessity; and from Swedish
Laponia to the Sea of Japan, a hundred tribes spend a life as short as
it is wretched, in the most complete want, amidst eternal snows.

Fine climates are continually exposed to destructive scourges. There we
walk over burning precipices, covered by fertile plains, which prove but
deadly snares. There is no hell but this, doubtless; and it opens a
hundred times beneath our feet.

They tell us of an universal deluge, an event physically impossible, and
at which all sensible people laugh. But they console us by saying it
only lasted ten months. I wonder it did not put out the fires which have
since destroyed so many flourishing towns. Your St. Augustin tells us of
a hundred cities burnt or swallowed up in Lydia, by an earthquake.
Volcanoes have several times devastated lovely Italy. As a crowning
misfortune, the inhabitants of the Arctic Circle are not exempt from
these subterranean fires. The Icelander, always in alarm, has hunger
staring him in the face, and a hundred feet of flame or ice to the right
or left, under their Mount Hecla; for the great volcanoes are always
found among terrible mountains.

It is in vain to say that mountains of two thousand toises in elevation
are nothing on a globe nine thousand miles in diameter, or like the
irregularities of an orange compared with the bulk of that fruit--that
it is scarcely one foot to every three thousand feet. Alas! What then
are we, if high mountains are but as figures one foot high for every
three thousand feet, or four inches for every nine thousand inches? We
are then animals absolutely imperceptible; yet we are liable to be
crushed by all that surrounds us, though our infinite littleness, so
closely bordering on nothing, might seem to secure us from all
accidents. Besides the countless cities, destroyed and re-destroyed like
as many ant-hills, what shall we say to the seas of sand that cross the
centre of Africa, and whose burning waves, raised by the wind, have
buried entire armies? What is the use of the vast deserts on the borders
of Syria,--deserts so horrible that the ferocious animals, called Jews,
imagined they had reached Paradise when they passed from these scenes of
horror into a little corner of land where they could cultivate a few
acres? It is not enough that man (the noble creature) should be so ill
lodged, clothed, and fed, for so many ages. He comes into the world to
live for a few days, perplexed by deceitful hopes and real vexations.
His body, contrived with useless art, is a prey to all the ills
resulting from that very art. He lives between the dangers of poison and
plague. No one can remember the list of ills we are subject to; and the
modest doctors of Switzerland pretend they can cure them all.

       *       *       *       *       *

While Birton said this, the company listened with attention and even
emotion. Parouba said "Let us see how the doctor will get over this."

Even John said in a low tone: "On my word, he is right. I was a fool to
be so soon touched by my father's conversation."

Mr. Freind waited till their imaginations were a little recovered from
the assault, and then resumed the discussion.

       *       *       *       *       *

FREIND.--A young theologian would answer these sad truths by sophisms,
backed with quotations from St. Basil and St. Cyril. For my part, I
shall admit that there are many physical evils in the world. I will not
even lessen the number, though Mr. Birton has seen fit to exaggerate. I
ask you, my dear Parouba, is not your climate made for you? It cannot
be injurious, since neither you nor your companions wish to leave it.
Esquimaux, Icelanders, Laplanders, Asiatics, and Indians, never think of
leaving theirs. The reindeer, which God has sent to clothe and feed
them, die when transported to another zone. Laplanders themselves die in
southern climates. The south of Siberia is too warm for them; here they
would be burnt. It is evident that God made every kind of animal and
vegetable for the clime in which it thrives. Negroes, a race of men so
different to ours, are so thoroughly formed for their country, that
thousands of them have preferred death to slavery elsewhere. The camel
and ostrich are quite at home in the sands of Africa. The bull abounds
in fertile countries, where the grass is ever fresh for his nourishment.
Cinnamon and spice only grow in India. Barley is only useful in those
countries where God has appointed it to grow. From one end of America to
the other, you have different kinds of food. The vine cannot be brought
to perfection in England, nor in Sweden and Canada. This is the reason
that in some countries the elements of religious rites consist in bread
and wine; and they do well to thank God for the food and beverage his
goodness has provided; and Americans would do well to thank him for
their Indian corn and arrow-root. Throughout the world God has suited
all animals, from the snail to man, to the countries in which he has
placed them. Let us not reproach Providence when we owe him praises.

But to consider scourges, such as inundations, volcanoes, earthquakes.
If you confine your attention to the accidents which sometimes happen to
the wheels of the eternal machine, you may well consider God as a
tyrant; but observe his ceaseless benefits, and he becomes a
compassionate father. You have quoted Augustin and his account of the
destruction of a hundred cities; but remember the African rhetorician
often contradicts himself and was prodigal of exaggerations in his
writings. He wrote of earthquakes as he did of the efficacy of grace,
and the damnation of children dying without baptism. Has he not said in
his thirty-seventh sermon, that he had seen people at Ethiopia with one
eye in the middle of the forehead like the Cyclops, and a whole race
without heads?

We, who are not fathers of the church, ought not to go beyond nor to
stop short of truth; and the truth is, that of the houses destroyed, we
cannot reckon that more than one out of every hundred thousand, is
destroyed by the fires necessary to the due performance of the
operations of the world.

So essential to the nature of the universe is fire, that but for it
there would be no sun nor stars, no animals, vegetables, or minerals.
The fire, placed under the earth, is subject to fixed natural laws. Some
disasters may nevertheless occur. You cannot say a man is a poor artisan
when an immense machine, formed by him, lasts unimpaired for years. If a
man invented a hydraulic engine to water a province, would you disparage
his work because it destroys some insects?

I have shown you that the machine of the world is the work of an
intelligent and powerful being; you, who are intelligent, ought to
admire him,--you, who are laden with his gifts, ought to adore him.

But how, you inquire, can the wretches who are condemned to languish
under incurable evils--how can they admire and love? I must tell you,
that such ills are generally brought on ourselves, or come to us from
our fathers, who abused their bodies, and not from the great fabricator.
No disease but decrepitude was known in America till we introduced
strong liquors, the source of all evils.

Let us remember that in Milton's Poem, the simple Adam is made to
inquire if he will live long. Yes, is the reply, if you take nothing to
excess. Observe this rule, my friends. Can you require that God should
let you live for ages, as the reward of your gluttony, your drunkenness,
your incontinence, and your indulgence in infamous passions, which
corrupt the blood and necessarily shorten life?

       *       *       *       *       *

I approved of this reply. Parouba liked it; but Birton was not moved. I
read in John's eyes that he was still doubtful. Birton rejoined in these
terms:

BIRTON.--Since you have made use of common arguments, with a few novel
remarks, I may be allowed to follow your plan. If so good and powerful a
God existed, surely he would not have suffered evil to enter the world,
nor have devoted his creatures to grief and crime. If he cannot prevent
evil, he is not almighty; if he will not, he is cruel.

The annals of the Brahmins only extend back 8,000 years; those of the
Chinese only 5,000. Our knowledge is but of yesterday; but, in that
brief space, all is horror. Murder has been the practice from one end of
the earth to the other; and men have been weak enough to give to those
men who slew the greatest number of their fellow creatures, the titles
of heroes, demi-gods, and even gods.

In America there were left two great nations, beginning to enjoy the
sweets of peace and civilization, when the Spaniards came there to slay
eleven millions. They hunted men down with dogs; and King Ferdinand of
Castile gave those dogs pensions for their services.

The heroes who subdued the New World, massacred innocent and helpless
babes, murdered peaceable and defenceless Indians, and committed the
most inhuman barbarities! They roasted King Guatimozin, in Mexico, on a
gridiron. They hastened to Peru to convert the Inca, Atahualpa. A
priest, named Almagro, son of a priest condemned to be hanged in Spain
for highway robbery, went there with one Pizarro, to inform the Emperor
of the Peruvians, by the voice of another priest, that a third priest,
named Alexander IV., polluted by incest, assassination, and homicide,
had given, with his full consent (_proprio motu_) and with full power,
not only Peru, but one half of the New World, to the King of Spain; and
that Atahualpa ought instantly to submit, under pain of suffering the
indignation of the apostles Peter and Paul. But as this king knew as
little of Latin as the priest who read the papal bull, he was instantly
declared heretical and incredulous.

They burned Atahualpa, as they had burned Guatimozin. They slew his
people; and all to gain that hard and yellow earth which has only served
to depopulate and impoverish Spain; for it has made her neglect the
cultivation of the earth, which really nourishes man.

Now, my dear Mr. Freind, if the fantastic and ridiculous being men call
the devil, had wished to make men in his image, would he have made them
otherwise? Do not, then, attribute such an abominable work to God.

       *       *       *       *       *

This speech brought the party round again to Birton's views. I saw John
rejoice in himself; even young Parouba heard with horror of the priest
Almagro--of the priest who read the Latin bull--of the priest Alexander
IV.---of all Christians who committed, under pretence of devotion, such
crimes to obtain gold. I confess, I trembled for Freind. I despaired of
his cause. He replied, however, without embarrassment.

FREIND.--Remember, my friends, there is a God. This I proved to you, you
agreed to it, and after being driven to admit that he exists, you strive
to find out his imperfections, vices, and wickedness.

I am far from asserting, with some reasoners, that private ills form the
general good. This is too ridiculous a sentiment. I admit, with grief,
that the world contains much moral and physical evil: but, since it is
certain that God exists, it is also certain that all these evils cannot
prevent God's existence. He cannot be cruel. What interest could make
him so? There are horrible evils in the world, my friends. Let us not
swell their number. It is impossible that God can be other than good;
but men are perverse, and make a detestable use of the liberty that God
has given and ought to have given,--that is, the power of exercising
their wills, without which they would be simple machines, formed by a
wicked being, to be broken at his caprice.

All enlightened Spaniards agree that a small number of their ancestors
abused this liberty so far as to commit crimes that make human nature
shudder. The second Don Carlos did what he could to repair the
atrocities committed by the Spaniards under Ferdinand and Charles V.

If there be crime in the world, my friends, there is virtue as well.

BIRTON.--Ah! ha! virtue! A good joke! I should like to see this virtue.
Where is she to be found?

At these words I could not contain myself.

"You may find her," said I, "in the worthy Mr. Freind, in Parouba, even
in yourself when your heart is cleansed of its vices."

He blushed; and John also. The latter looked down and seemed to feel
remorse. His father surveyed him with compassion and resumed.

FREIND.--Yes, dear friends. If there have always been crimes; there have
always been virtues too. Athens had such men as Socrates, as well as
such as Anitus. Rome had Catos, as well as Syllas. Nero frightened the
world by his atrocities, but Titus, Trajan, and the Antonines, consoled
it by their benevolence, My friend will explain to Parouba who these
great men were. Fortunately, I have Epictetus in my pocket. Epictetus
was a slave, but the equal of Marcus Aurelius in mind. Listen; and may
all who pretend to teach men hear what Epictetus says to himself,--"God
made me; I feel this; and shall I dare to dishonor him by infamous
thoughts, criminal actions, and base desires?" His mind agreed with his
conversation. Marcus Aurelius, on the throne of Europe and two parts of
our hemisphere, did not think otherwise than the slave Epictetus. The
one was never humiliated by meanness, nor the other dazzled by
greatness; and when they wrote their thoughts it was for the use of
their disciples, and not to be extolled in the papers. Pray, in your
opinion, were not Locke, Newton, Tillotson, Penn, Clarke, the good man
called "The Man of Ross," and many others, in and beyond your island,
models of virtue?

You have alluded to the cruel and unjust wars of which so many nations
have been guilty. You have described the abominations of Christians in
Mexico and Peru; you might add the St. Bartholomew of France and the
Irish massacre. But are there not people who have always held in
abhorrence the shedding of blood? Have not the Brahmins in all ages
given this example to the world? and, even in this country, have we not
near us, in Pennsylvania, our Philadelphians, whom they attempt in vain
to ridicule by the name of Quakers, and who have always hated war?

Have we not the Carolinas, where the great Locke dictated laws? In these
two lands of virtue, all citizens are equal; all consciences are free;
all religions good; provided they worship God. There all men are
brethren. You have seen, Mr. Birton, the inhabitants of the Blue
Mountains lay down their arms before a descendant of Penn. They felt the
force of virtue. You persist in disavowing it. Because the earth
produces poisons as well as wholesome plants, will you prefer the
poisons?

BIRTON.--Oh, sir, your poisons are not to the point. If God made them,
they are his work. He is master, and does all. His hand directs
Cromwell's, when he signs the death warrant of Charles I. His arm
conducts the headsman's, who severs his head from the body. No, I cannot
admit that God is a homicide.

FREIND.--Nor I. Pray, hear me. You will admit that God governs by
general laws. According to these laws, Cromwell, a monster of fanaticism
and envy, determines to sacrifice Charles I. to his own interest, which,
no doubt, all men seek to promote, though they do not understand it
alike. According to the laws of motion established by God, the
executioner cuts off his head. But assuredly it is not God who commits
the assassination by a particular act of his will. God was not Cromwell,
nor Ravaillac, nor Balthazar Gerard, nor the preaching friar, James
Clement. God does not permit, nor command, nor authorize crime. But he
has made man; he has established laws of motion; and these eternal laws
are equally executed by the good man who stretches out his hand to the
poor, and by the hand of a villain who assassinates his brother. In the
same way that God did not extinguish the sun, or swallow up Spain, to
punish Cortez, Almagro, and Pizarro, so, also, he does not send a
company of angels to London, nor make a hundred thousand pipes of
Burgundy to descend from heaven to delight the hearts of his dear
Englishmen, when they do good. His general providence would become
ridiculous, if thus made manifest to every individual; and this is so
striking, that God never punishes a criminal immediately, by a decided
stroke of his power. He lets the sun shine on the evil and the good. If
some wretches expire in their crimes, it is by the general laws that
govern the world. I have read in a great book, by a Frenchman called
Mézeray, that God caused our Henry V. to suffer a painful death, because
he dared to sit on the throne of a Christian king.

The physical part of a bad action is the effect of the primary laws
given to matter by the hand of God. All moral evil is the effect of the
liberty which man abuses.

In a word, without plunging into the fogs of metaphysics, let us
remember that the existence of God is proved. We have no longer to argue
on that point. Take God from the world, and does the assassination of
Charles I. become more lawful? Do you feel less aversion toward his
executioner? God exists. Enough. If he exists, he is just. Be, then,
just also.

BIRTON.--Your argument has strength and force, though it does not
altogether exonerate God from being the author of physical and moral
evil. I see your way of justifying him makes an impression on the
assembly; but might it not be contrived that these laws should not
involve such particular misfortunes? You have proved to me a powerful
and eternal God, and I was almost on the point of believing. But I have
some terrible objections to make. Come, John, courage; let us not be
cast down.



CHAPTER X.

ON ATHEISM.


Night closed in beautifully. The atmosphere presented a vault of
transparent azure, spangled with golden stars. Such a spectacle always
affects man, and inspires him with pleasant reveries. The worthy Parouba
admired the heavens, like a German when he beholds St. Peter's at Rome,
or the Opera at Naples, for the first time.

"What a boldly arched vault," said he to Freind.

"It is no arch at all," replied Freind. "The blue dome you behold is
nothing more than a collection of vapors, which God has so disposed and
combined with the mechanism of your eyes, that, wherever you may be, you
are still in the centre of your promenade, and perceive what is called
heaven, arched above your head."

"And those stars, Mr. Freind?"

"As I have already said, they are so many suns, round which other worlds
revolve. Far from being attached to that blue vault, remember that they
are at various and prodigious distances from us. That star is twelve
hundred millions of miles from our sun."

Then, showing him the telescope he had brought, he pointed out to him
the planets;--Jupiter, with his four moons; Saturn, with his five moons
and mysterious ring.

"It is the same light," said he, "which proceeds from all these
luminaries, and comes to us from this planet, in a quarter of an hour,
and from that star, in six months."

Parouba was deeply impressed, and said: "The heavens proclaim a God."
All the crew looked on with admiration. But the pertinacious Birton,
unmoved, continued as follows:

BIRTON.--Be it so! There is a God, I grant it. But what is that to you
and me? What connection is there between the superior Being and worms of
the earth? What relation is there between his essence and ours?
Epicurus, when he supposed a God in the planets, did well to conclude
that he took no part in our horrors and follies; that we could neither
please nor offend him; that he had no need of us; nor we of him. You
admit a God, more worthy of the human mind than the God of Epicurus, or
the gods of the east and west: but if you assert, with so many others,
that God made the world and man for his own glory; that he formerly
required sacrifices of oxen for his glory; that he appeared for his
glory in our biped form, you would, I think, be asserting an absurdity.
The love of glory is nothing but pride. A proud man is a conceited
fellow, such as Shakespeare would introduce in his plays. This epithet
cannot suit God--it does not agree with the divine nature--any more than
injustice, cruelty or inconstancy. If God condescended to regulate the
universe, it could only be to make others happy. Has he done so?

FREIND.--He has doubtless succeeded with all just spirits. They will be
happy one day; if they are not so now.

BIRTON.--Happy! How? When? Who told you so?

FREIND.--His justice.

BIRTON.--Will you tell me that we shall live eternally--that we have
immortal souls, after admitting that the Jews, whom you boast of having
succeeded, did not entertain this notion of immortality up to the time
of Herod? This idea of an immortal soul was invented by the Brahmins,
adopted by the Persians, Chaldeans, and Greeks, and was for a long time
unknown to the insignificant and superstitious Jewish tribes. Alas! sir,
how do we know that we have souls? or how do we know but other animals,
who have similar passions, wills, appetites, and memories, so
incomprehensible to us, have not souls as well?

Hitherto I have thought that there is in nature a power by which we have
the faculty of life in all our body,--walking with our feet,--taking
with our hands,--seeing with our eyes, feeling with our nerves,
thinking with our brain,--and that all this is called the soul, which is
merely a vague word, signifying the unknown principle of our faculties.
With you, I will call God the intelligent principle animating nature;
but has he condescended to reveal himself to us?

FREIND. Yes, by his works.

BIRTON.--Has he revealed his laws, or spoken to us?

FREIND.--Yes, by the voice of conscience. Is it true, that, if you
killed your Father and mother, your conscience would be a prey to a
remorse as terrible as it would be involuntary? Is not this truth avowed
and felt throughout the world? To come down to lesser crimes,--do they
not all revolt us at the first glance,--make us turn pale when we commit
them for the first time,--and leave in our hearts the stings of
repentance?

BIRTON.--I must confess it.

FREIND.--God, in thus speaking to your heart, has commanded you to
abstain from crime. As for equivocal actions, which some condemn and
others approve, what can we do better than follow the grand rule of
Zoroaster,--"When you are not sure whether the action you are about to
commit is good or bad, abstain from it."

BIRTON.--An admirable maxim, and doubtless the most beautiful ever
advanced in morals. I admit that, from time to time, God has raised up
men to teach virtue to their degraded fellows. I apologize to you for
speaking lightly of virtue.

FREIND.--Rather apologize to the Supreme Being, who can reward and
punish eternally.

BIRTON.--What! will God punish me for yielding to passions he has given
me?

FREIND.--He has given you passions, with which you can do both good and
evil. I do not tell you he will punish eternally; nor how he will
punish; for no one can know that. The Brahmins were the first to
conceive a place of imprisonment for those who had revolted from God;
they were shut up in a description of hell, called Onderah, but were
gradually liberated at various periods. Hence we have our mixture of
virtues, vices, pleasures, and calamities. This conceit is
ingenious;--and that of Pandora and Prometheus more so. Less polished
nations have vulgurly imitated the same fable. These inventions are the
fancies of Eastern philosophy. All I can say is, that if by abusing
your liberty you have done evil, you cannot say God will not punish you.

BIRTON.--I have tried to convince myself that he could not; but in vain.
I confess I have abused my liberty, and that God may well punish me. But
I cannot be punished when I have ceased to exist.

FREIND.--The best course is to do well, while you exist.

BIRTON.--To do well! Well, I confess I think you are right. It is the
best course.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish, my dear friend, you had witnessed the effect of Freind's
discourse on both the English and Americans. The light saucy Birton
became thoughtful and modest. John fell at his father's feet, with tears
in his eyes, and his father embraced him. I shall now proceed to relate
the last scene of this interesting disputation.

       *       *       *       *       *

BIRTON.--I conceive that the great master of the universe is eternal;
but we, who are but of yesterday, may we presume to expect immortality?
All beings around us perish, from the insect devoured by the swallow, to
the elephant, eaten by worms.

FREIND.--Nothing perishes; but all things change. The genus of animals
and vegetables subsist, develop, and multiply. Why can you not allow
that God might preserve the principle which makes us act and think, of
whatever nature it may be? God preserve me from making a system; but
certainly there is in us something that wills and thinks. This
something, formerly called a monad, is imperceptible. God has given it
us, or, rather, God has given us to it. Are you sure he cannot preserve
it in being? Can you give me any proof?

BIRTON.--No! I have sought for a proof in all the atheistical books
within my reach; and especially in the third _Book of Lucrece_; but I
never found any thing but conjectures.

FREIND.--And shall we on simple conjecture give ourselves up to fatal
passions, and live like brutes, with no other restraint upon us than the
fear of men, rendered eternally cruel to each other by their mutual
dread? For we always wish to destroy what we fear. Think, sir! think
seriously, my son John. To expect neither reward nor punishment is the
true spirit of atheism. What is the use of a God who has no power over
you? As though one should say, "There is a very powerful king in
China," I reply, "Success to him, let him keep in his territory,--I, in
mine. I care no more for him than he cares for me. He has no more
control over me than a canon of Windsor over a member of parliament."
Then should I be a God to myself,--Sacrificing the whole world to my
caprice? And, recognizing no law, I should only consider myself? If
others are sheep, I should become the wolf. If they choose to play the
chicken, I should play the fox.

I will presume, (God forbid it), that all Englishmen are atheists. I
will allow that there may be some peaceable citizens, quiet by nature,
rich enough to be honest, regulated by honor, and so attentive to
demeanor, that they contrive to live together in society. They cultivate
the arts which improve morals; they live at peace in the innocent gaiety
of honest people. But the poor and needy atheist, sure of impunity,
would be a fool if he did not assassinate or steal to get money. Then
would all the bonds of society be sundered. All secret crimes would
inundate the world, and, like locusts, though at first imperceptible,
would overspread the earth. The common people would become hordes of
thieves, like those of our day, of whom not a tenth part are hung at our
sessions. They would pass their wretched lives in taverns, with bad
women. They would fight together, and fall down drunk amidst the pewter
pots with which they break each other's heads. Nor would they rise but
to steal and murder again,---to recommence the same round of hideous
brutality. Who, then, would restrain great kings in their fury? An
atheist king is more dangerous than a fanatical Ravaillac.

Atheism abounded in Italy during the fifteenth century. What was the
consequence? It was as common a matter to poison another, as to invite
him to supper. The stroke of the stiletto was as frequent as an embrace.
There were then professors of crime; as we now have professors of music
and mathematics. Churches, even, were the favorite scenes of murder, and
princes were slain at the altar. In this way, Pope Sextus IV. and
archbishop of Pisa put to death two of the most accomplished princes of
Europe. Explain, my dear friend, to Parouba and his children, what I
mean by a pope and an archbishop; but tell them we have no such monsters
now. But to resume: A Duke of Milan was also slain in a church. Every
one knows the astonishing horrors of Alexander VI. Had such morals
continued, Italy would have been more desolate than Peru after the
invasion.

Faith, then, in a God who rewards good actions, punishes the bad, and
forgives lesser faults, is most useful to mankind. It is the only
restraint on powerful men, who insolently commit crimes on the public,
and on others who skillfully perpetrate offences. I do not tell you to
mingle, with this necessary faith, superstitious notions that disgrace
it. Atheism is a monster that would prey on mankind only to satisfy its
voracity. Superstition is another phantom, preying upon men as a deity.
I have often observed that an atheist may be cured; but we rarely cure
superstition radically. The atheist is generally an inquiring man, who
is deceived; the superstitious man is a brutal fool, having no ideas of
his own. An atheist might assault Ephigenia when on the point of
marrying Achilles; but a fanatic would piously sacrifice her on the
altar, and think he did service to Jupiter. An atheist would steal a
golden vessel from the altar to feast his favorites, but the fanatic
would celebrate an _auto-da-fe_ in the same church, and sing hymns while
he was causing Jews to be burned alive. Yes, my friends, superstition
and atheism are the two poles of a universe in confusion. Tread these
paths with a firm step; believe in a good God, and _be_ good. This is
all that the great philosophers, Penn and Locke, require of their
people.

Answer me, Mr. Birton,--and you, my friends,--what harm can the worship
of God, joined to the happiness of a virtuous life, do you? We might be
seized with mortal sickness, even now while I am speaking; who, then,
would not wish to have lived innocently? Read, in Shakespeare, the death
of our wicked Richard III., and see how the ghosts of those he had
murdered haunted his imagination. Witness the death of Charles IX. after
the horrors of St. Bartholomew. In vain his chaplain assured him he had
done well. His blood started from every pore; all the blood he had shed
cried out against him! Believe me, all these monsters were tortured by
remorse, and died in despair.

Birton and his friends could contain themselves no longer. They fell at
Freind's feet, "Yes," said Birton, "I believe in God, and I believe
you."



CHAPTER XI.

RETURN TO ENGLAND--JOHN'S MARRIAGE.


We were already near Parouba's house; and we supped there. John could
eat nothing. He sat apart in tears. His father went to console him.

"Ah!" said John, "I do not deserve such a father. I shall die of shame
for yielding to the fascination of that wicked Clive-Hart. I am the
cause of Miss Primerose's death; just now, when you talked of poison, I
shuddered; for I thought I saw Clive-Hart presenting the horrible
draught to Primerose. How could I have so far lost myself as to
accompany so vile a creature? I was blind. I did not discover my error
till she was taken by the savages. In a fit of rage she almost admitted
her guilt. From that moment, I have loathed her; and, for a punishment,
the form of Primerose is ever before me, and seems to say, 'I died
because I loved you.'" His father said a blameless life could alone
repair his past errors.

The next day we sailed for England, after giving presents to the
Paroubas. Tears mingled with our adieus; and Birton, who had been only
giddy, already seemed a reasonable person.

When we were out at sea, Freind said to John, in my presence: "Do you
still cherish the memory of the amiable Primerose?" These words so wrung
the heart of the young man, that I feared he would throw himself into
the sea.

"Console yourself, then," said Freind. "Miss Primerose is alive, and
loves you still."

Freind had received certain information on this subject from his
servant, who had written to him punctually by every ship. Mr. Mead, who
has since acquired so great a reputation by his skill in the
counteraction of poisons, had saved the young lady's life. In a moment,
John passed from despair to extreme joy. I will not attempt to describe
the change. It was the happiest moment of his life. Birton and his
friends shared his joy. What more shall I say? The worthy Freind was as
a father to all. The wedding was celebrated at Dr. Mead's. Birton, now
another man, also married; and he and John are now among the best people
in England.

Admit, that a wise man can instruct fools.

[Illustration: Epictetus, the slave. From a painting by Giuseppe
Rossi.--Marcus Aurelius, on the throne of Europe and two parts of our
hemisphere, did not think otherwise than the slave Epictetus.]

[Illustration: Grand entrance to palace. (From Layard's Discoveries
among the ruins of Nineveh and Babylon.)]



PRINCESS OF BABYLON

[Illustration: The Phœnix][1]



I.

ROYAL CONTEST FOR THE HAND OF FORMOSANTA.


The aged Belus, king of Babylon, thought himself the first man upon
earth; for all his courtiers told him so, and his historians proved it.
We know that his palace and his park, situated at a few parafangs from
Babylon, extended between the Euphrates and the Tigris, which washed
those enchanted banks. His vast house, three thousand feet in front,
almost reached the clouds. The platform was surrounded with a balustrade
of white marble, fifty feet high, which supported colossal statues of
all the kings and great men of the empire. This platform, composed of
two rows of bricks, covered with a thick surface of lead from one
extremity to the other, bore twelve feet of earth; and upon the earth
were raised groves of olive, orange, citron, palm, cocoa, and cinnamon
trees, and stock gillyflowers, which formed alleys that the rays of the
sun could not penetrate.

The waters of the Euphrates running, by the assistance of pumps, in a
hundred canals, formed cascades of six thousand feet in length in the
park, and a hundred thousand _jets d'eau_, whose height was scarce
perceptible. They afterward flowed into the Euphrates, from whence they
came. The gardens of Semiramis, which astonished Asia several ages
after, were only a feeble imitation of these ancient prodigies, for in
the time of Semiramis, every thing began to degenerate amongst men and
women.

But what was more admirable in Babylon, and eclipsed every thing else,
was the only daughter of the king, named Formosanta. It was from her
pictures and statues, that in succeeding times Praxiteles sculptured his
Aphrodita, and the Venus of Medicis. Heavens! what a difference between
the original and the copies! so that king Belus was prouder of his
daughter than of his kingdom. She was eighteen years old. It was
necessary she should have a husband worthy of her; but where was he to
be found? An ancient oracle had ordained, that Formosanta could not
belong to any but him who could bend the bow of Nimrod.

This Nimrod, "a mighty hunter before the Lord," (_Gen. x:9_), had left a
bow seventeen Babylonian feet in length, made of ebony, harder than the
iron of mount Caucasus, which is wrought in the forges of Derbent; and
no mortal since Nimrod could bend this astonishing bow.

It was again said, "that the arm which should bend this bow would kill
the most terrible and ferocious lion that should be let loose in the
Circus of Babylon." This was not all. The bender of the bow, and the
conquerer of the lion, should overthow all his rivals; but he was above
all things to be very sagacious, the most magnificent and most virtuous
of men, and possess the greatest curiosity in the whole universe.

Three kings appeared, who were bold enough to claim Formosanta. Pharaoh
of Egypt, the Shah of India, and the great Khan of the Scythians. Belus
appointed the day and place of combat, which was to be at the extremity
of his park, in the vast expanse surrounded by the joint waters of the
Euphrates and the Tigris. Round the lists a marble amphitheatre was
erected, which might contain five hundred thousand spectators. Opposite
the amphitheatre was placed the king's throne. He was to appear with
Formosanta, accompanied by the whole court; and on the right and left
between the throne and the amphitheatre, there were other thrones and
seats for the three kings, and for all the other sovereigns who were
desirous to be present at this august ceremony.

The king of Egypt arrived the first, mounted upon the bull Apis, and
holding in his hand the cithern of Isis. He was followed by two thousand
priests, clad in linen vestments whiter than snow, two thousand eunuchs,
two thousand magicians, and two thousand warriors.

The king of India came soon after in a car drawn by twelve elephants. He
had a train still more numerous and more brilliant than Pharaoh of
Egypt.

The last who appeared was the king of the Scythians. He had none with
him but chosen warriors, armed with bows and arrows. He was mounted upon
a superb tiger, which he had tamed, and which was as tall as any of the
finest Persian horses. The majestic and important mien of this king
effaced the appearance of his rivals; his naked arms, as nervous as they
were white, seemed already to bend the bow of Nimrod.

These three lovers immediately prostrated themselves before Belus and
Formosanta. The king of Egypt presented the princess with two of the
finest crocodiles of the Nile, two sea horses, two zebras, two Egyptian
rats, and two mummies, with the books of the great Hermes, which he
judged to be the scarcest things upon earth.

The king of India offered her a hundred elephants, each bearing a wooden
gilt tower, and laid at her feet the _vedam_, written by the hand of
Xaca himself.

The king of the Scythians, who could neither write nor read, presented a
hundred warlike horses with black fox skin housings.

The princess appeared with a downcast look before her lovers, and
reclined herself with such a grace as was at once modest and noble.

Belus ordered the kings to be conducted to the thrones that were
prepared for them. "Would I had three daughters," said he to them, "I
should make six people this day happy!" He then made the competitors
cast lots which should try Nimrod's bow first. Their names inscribed
were put into a golden casque. That of the Egyptian king came out first,
then the name of the King of India appeared. The king of Scythia,
viewing the bow and his rivals, did not complain at being the third.

Whilst these brilliant trials were preparing, twenty thousand pages and
twenty thousand youthful maidens distributed, without any disorder,
refreshments to the spectators between the rows of seats. Every one
acknowledged that the gods had instituted kings for no other cause than
every day to give festivals, upon condition they should be
diversified--that life is too short for any other purpose--that
lawsuits, intrigues, wars, the altercations of theologists, which
consume human life, are horrible and absurd--that man is born only for
happiness that he would not passionately and incessantly pursue
pleasure, were he not designed for it--that the essence of human nature
is to enjoy ourselves, and all the rest is folly. This excellent moral
was never controverted but by facts.

Whilst preparations were making for determining the fate of Formosanta,
a young stranger, mounted upon an unicorn, accompanied by his valet,
mounted on a like animal, and bearing upon his hand a large bird,
appeared at the barrier. The guards were surprised to observe in this
equipage, a figure that had an air of divinity. He had, as hath been
since related, the face of Adonis upon the body of Hercules; it was
majesty accompanied by the graces. His black eye-brows and flowing fair
tresses, wore a mixture of beauty unknown at Babylon, and charmed all
observers. The whole amphitheatre rose up, the better to view the
stranger. All the ladies of the court viewed him with looks of
astonishment. Formosanta herself, who had hitherto kept her eyes fixed
upon the ground, raised them and blushed. The three kings turned pale.
The spectators, in comparing Formosanta with the stranger, cried out,
"There is no other in the world, but this young man, who can be so
handsome as the princess."

The ushers, struck with astonishment, asked him if he was a king? The
stranger replied, that he had not that honor, but that he had come from
a distant country, excited by curiosity, to see if there were any king
worthy of Formosanta. He was introduced into the first row of the
amphitheatre, with his valet, his two unicorns, and his bird. He
saluted, with great respect, Belus, his daughter, the three kings, and
all the assembly. He then took his seat, not without blushing. His two
unicorns lay down at his feet; his bird perched upon his shoulder; and
his valet, who carried a little bag, placed himself by his side.

The trials began. The bow of Nimrod was taken out of its golden case.
The first master of the ceremonies, followed by fifty pages, and
preceded by twenty trumpets, presented it to the king of Egypt, who made
his priests bless it; and supporting it upon the head of the bull Apis,
he did not question his gaining this first victory. He dismounted, and
came into the middle of the circus. He tries, exerts all his strength,
and makes such ridiculous contortions, that the whole amphitheatre
re-echoes with laughter, and Formosanta herself could not help smiling.

His high almoner approached him:

"Let your majesty give up this idle honor, which depends entirely upon
the nerves and muscles. You will triumph in every thing else. You will
conquer the lion, as you are possessed of the favor of Osiris. The
Princess of Babylon is to belong to the prince who is most sagacious,
and you have solved enigmas. She is to wed the most virtuous: you are
such, as you have been educated by the priests of Egypt. The most
generous is to marry her, and you have presented her with two of the
handsomest crocodiles, and two of the finest rats in all the Delta. You
are possessed of the bull Apis, and the books of Hermes, which are the
scarcest things in the universe. No one can hope to dispute Formosanta
with you."

"You are in the right," said the King of Egypt, and resumed his throne.

The bow was then put in the hands of the king of India. It blistered his
hands for a fortnight; but he consoled himself in presuming that the
Scythian King would not be more fortunate than himself.

The Scythian handled the bow in his turn. He united skill with strength.
The bow seemed to have some elasticity in his hands. He bent it a
little, but he could not bring it near a curve. The spectators, who had
been prejudiced in his favor by his agreeable aspect, lamented his ill
success, and concluded that the beautiful princess would never be
married.

The unknown youth leaped into the arena and addressing himself to the
king of Scythia said:

"Your majesty need not be surprised at not having entirely succeeded.
These ebony bows are made in my country. There is a peculiar method in
using them. Your merit is greater in having bent it, than if I were to
curve it."

He then took an arrow and placing it upon the string, bent the bow of
Nimrod, and shot the arrow beyond the gates. A million hands at once
applauded the prodigy. Babylon re-echoed with acclamations; and all the
ladies agreed it was fortunate for so handsome a youth to be so strong.

He then took out of his pocket a small ivory tablet, wrote upon it with
a golden pencil, fixed the tablet to the bow, and then presented it to
the princess with such a grace as charmed every spectator. He then
modestly returned to his place between his bird and his valet. All
Babylon was in astonishment; the three kings were confounded, whilst the
stranger did not seem to pay the least attention to what had happened.

Formosanta was still more surprised to read upon the ivory tablet, tied
to the bow, these lines, written in the best Chaldean:

     L'arc de Nembrod est celui de la guerre;
     L'arc de l'amour est celui du bonheur;
     Vous le portez. Par vous ce Dieu vainqueur
     Est devenu le maitre de la terre.
     Trois Rois puissants, trois rivaux aujourd'hui,
     Osent pretendre a l'honneur de vous plaire.
     Je ne sais pas qui votre cœur prefere,
     Mais l'univers sera jaloux de lui.

    [The bow of Nimrod is that of war;
     The bow of love is that of happiness
     Which you possess. Through you this conquering God
     Has become master of the earth.
     Three powerful kings,--three rivals now,
     Dare aspire to the honor of pleasing you.
     I know not whom your heart may prefer,
     But the universe will be jealous of him.]

This little madrigal did not displease the princess; but it was
criticised by some of the lords of the ancient court, who said that, in
former times, Belus would have been compared to the sun, and Formosanta
to the moon; his neck to a tower, and her breast to a bushel of wheat.
They said the stranger had no sort of imagination, and that he had lost
sight of the rules of true poetry, but all the ladies thought the verses
very gallant. They were astonished that a man who handled a bow so well
should have so much wit. The lady of honor to the princess said to her:

"Madam, what great talents are here entirely lost? What benefit will
this young man derive from his wit, and his skill with Nimrod's bow?"

"Being admired!" said Formosanta.

"Ah!" said the lady, "one more madrigal, and he might well be beloved."

The king of Babylon, having consulted his sages, declared that though
none of these kings could bend the bow of Nimrod, yet, nevertheless, his
daughter was to be married, and that she should belong to him who could
conquer the great lion, which was purposely kept in training in his
great menagerie.

The king of Egypt, upon whose education all the wisdom of Egypt had been
exhausted, judged it very ridiculous to expose a king to the ferocity of
wild beasts in order to be married. He acknowledged that he considered
the possession of Formosanta of inestimable value; but he believed that
if the lion should strangle him, he could never wed this fair
Babylonian. The king of India held similar views to the king of Egypt.
They both concluded that the king of Babylon was laughing at them, and
that they should send for armies to punish him--that they had many
subjects who would think themselves highly honored to die in the service
of their masters, without it costing them a single hair of their sacred
heads,--that they could easily dethrone the king of Babylon, and then
they would draw lots for the fair Formosanta.

This agreement being made, the two kings sent each an express into his
respective country, with orders to assemble three hundred thousand men
to carry off Formosanta.

However, the king of Scythia descended alone into the arena, scimitar in
hand. He was not distractedly enamored with Formosanta's charms. Glory
till then had been his only passion, and it had led him to Babylon. He
was willing to show that if the kings of India and Egypt were so prudent
as not to tilt with lions, he was courageous enough not to decline the
combat, and he would repair the honor of diadems. His uncommon valor
would not even allow him to avail himself of the assistance of his
tiger. He advanced singly, slightly armed with a shell casque ornamented
with gold, and shaded with three horses' tails as white as snow.

One of the most enormous and ferocious lions that fed upon the
Antilibanian mountains was let loose upon him. His tremendous paws
appeared capable of tearing the three kings to pieces at once, and his
gullet to devour them. The two proud champions fled with the utmost
precipitancy and in the most rapid manner to each other. The courageous
Scythian plunged his sword into the lion's mouth; but the point meeting
with one of those thick teeth that nothing can penetrate, was broken;
and the monster of the woods, more furious from his wound, had already
impressed his fearful claws into the monarch's sides.

The unknown youth, touched with the peril of so brave a prince, leaped
into the arena swift as lightning, and cut off the lion's head with as
much dexterity as we have lately seen, in our carousals, youthful
knights knock off the heads of black images.

Then drawing out a small box, he presented it to the Scythian king,
saying to him.

"Your majesty will here find the genuine dittany, which grows in my
country. Your glorious wounds will be healed in a moment. Accident alone
prevented your triumph over the lion. Your valor is not the less to be
admired."

The Scythian king, animated more with gratitude than jealousy, thanked
his benefactor; and, after having tenderly embraced him, returned to his
seat to apply the dittany to his wounds.

The stranger gave the lion's head to his valet, who, having washed it at
the great fountain which was beneath the amphitheatre, and drained all
the blood, took an iron instrument out of his little bag, with which
having drawn the lion's forty teeth, he supplied their place with forty
diamonds of equal size.

His master, with his usual modesty, returned to his place; he gave the
lion's head to his bird:--"Beauteous bird," said he, "carry this small
homage, and lay it at the feet of Formosanta."

[Illustration: "The unknown youth, touched with the peril of so brave a
prince, leaped into the arena swift as lightning, and cut off the lion's
head."]

The bird winged its way with the dreadful triumph in one of its talons,
and presented it to the princess; bending with humility his neck, and
crouching before her. The sparkling diamonds dazzled the eyes of every
beholder. Such magnificence was unknown even in superb Babylon. The
emerald, the topaz, the sapphire, and the pyrope, were as yet considered
as the most precious ornaments. Belus and the whole court were struck
with admiration. The bird which presented this present surprised them
still more. It was of the size of an eagle, but its eyes were as soft
and tender as those of the eagle are fierce and threatening. Its bill
was rose color, and seemed somewhat to resemble Formosanta's handsome
mouth. Its neck represented all the colors of Iris, but still more
striking and brilliant. Gold, in a thousand shades, glittered upon its
plumage. Its feet resembled a mixture of silver and purple. And the
tails of those beautiful birds, which have since drawn Juno's car, did
not equal the splendor of this incomparable bird.

The attention, curiosity, astonishment, and ecstasy of the whole court
were divided between the jewels and the bird. It had perched upon the
balustrade between Belus and his daughter Formosanta. She petted it,
caressed it, and kissed it. It seemed to receive her attentions with a
mixture of pleasure and respect. When the princess gave the bird a kiss,
it returned the embrace, and then looked upon her with languishing eyes.
She gave it biscuits and pistachios, which it received in its
purple-silvered claw, and carried to its bill with inexpressible grace.

Belus, who had attentively considered the diamonds, concluded that
scarce any one of his provinces could repay so valuable a present. He
ordered that more magnificent gifts should be prepared for the stranger
than those destined for the three monarchs, "This young man," said he,
"is doubtless son to the emperor of China; or of that part of the world
called Europe, which I have heard spoken of; or of Africa, which is said
to be in the vicinity of the kingdom of Egypt."

He immediately sent his first equerry to compliment the stranger, and
ask him whether he was himself the sovereign, or son to the sovereign of
one of those empires; and why, being possessed of such surprising
treasures, he had come with nothing but his valet and a little bag?

Whilst the equerry advanced toward the amphitheatre to execute his
commission, another valet arrived upon an unicorn. This valet,
addressing himself to the young man, said. "Ormar, your father is
approaching the end of his life: I am come to acquaint you with it."

The stranger raised his eyes to heaven, whilst tears streamed from them,
and answered only by saying, "_Let us depart_."

The equerry, after having paid Belus's compliments to the conqueror of
the lion, to the giver of the forty diamonds, and to the master of the
beautiful bird, asked the valet, "Of what kingdom was the father of this
young hero sovereign?"

The valet replied:

"His father is an old shepherd, who is much beloved in his district."

During this conversation, the stranger had already mounted his unicorn.
He said to the equerry:

"My lord, vouchsafe to prostrate me at the feet of King Belus and his
daughter. I must entreat her to take particular care of the bird I leave
with her, as it is a nonpareil like herself."

In uttering these last words he set off, and flew like lightning. The
two valets followed him, and in an instant he was out of sight.

Formosanta could not refrain from shrieking. The bird, turning toward
the amphitheatre where his master had been seated, seemed greatly
afflicted to find him gone; then viewing steadfastly the princess, and
gently rubbing her beautiful hand with his bill, he seemed to devote
himself to her service.

Belus, more astonished than ever, hearing that this very extraordinary
young man was the son of a shepherd, could not believe it. He dispatched
messengers after him; but they soon returned with the information, that
the three unicorns, upon which these men were mounted, could not be
overtaken; and that, according to the rate they went, they must go a
hundred leagues a day.

Every one reasoned upon this strange adventure, and wearied themselves
with conjectures. How can the son of a shepherd make a present of forty
large diamonds? How comes it that he is mounted upon an unicorn? This
bewildered them, and Formosanta, whilst she caressed her bird, was sunk
into a profound reverie.


[1] The phœix--born of myth and fable--was supposed to have originated
in Arabia. In size it resembled an eagle, and was said to exist singly.
At the end of six hundred years, it built for itself a nest filled with
myrrh and the choicest spices. This was ignited by the ardent rays of
the sun, and in it the phœnix was consumed in flames of fragrance. It
was believed, however, that it soon rose again, from its own ashes, in
renewed youth, strength, and beauty; and therefore it was considered by
the ancients as symbolical of "the resurrection" and also of
immortality.--E.



II.

THE KING OF BABYLON CONVENES HIS COUNCIL, AND CONSULTS THE ORACLE.


Princess Aldea, Formosanta's cousin-german, who was very well shaped,
and almost as handsome as the King's daughter, said to her:

"Cousin, I know not whether this demi-god be the son of a shepherd, but
methinks he has fulfilled all the conditions stipulated for your
marriage. He has bent Nimrod's bow; he has conquered the lion; he has a
good share of sense, having written for you extempore a very pretty
madrigal. After having presented you with forty large diamonds, you
cannot deny that he is the most generous of men. In his bird he
possessed the most curious thing upon earth. His virtue cannot be
equaled, since he departed without hesitation as soon as he learned his
father was ill, though he might have remained and enjoyed the pleasure
of your society. The oracle is fulfilled in every particular, except
that wherein he is to overcome his rivals. But he has done more; he has
saved the life of the only competitor he had to fear; and when the
object is to surpass the other two, I believe you cannot doubt but that
he will easily succeed."

"All that you say is very true," replied Formosanta: "but is it possible
that the greatest of men, and perhaps the most amiable too, should be
the son of a shepherd?"

The lady of honor, joining in the conversation, said that the title of
shepherd was frequently given to kings--that they were called shepherds
because they attended very closely to their flocks--that this was
doubtless a piece of ill-timed pleasantry in his valet--that this young
hero had not come so badly equipped, but to show how much his personal
merit alone was above the fastidious parade of kings. The princess made
no answer, but in giving her bird a thousand tender kisses.

A great festival was nevertheless prepared for the three kings, and for
all the princes who had come to the feast. The king's daughter and niece
were to do the honors. The king distributed presents worthy the
magnificence of Babylon. Belus, during the time the repast was being
served, assembled his council to discuss the marriage of the beautiful
Formosanta, and this is the way he delivered himself as a great
politician:

"I am old: I know not what is best to do with my daughter, or upon whom
to bestow her. He who deserves her is nothing but a mean shepherd. The
kings of India and Egypt are cowards. The king of the Scythians would be
very agreeable to me, but he has not performed any one of the conditions
imposed. I will again consult the oracle. In the meantime, deliberate
among you, and we will conclude agreeably to what the oracle says; for a
king should follow nothing but the dictates of the immortal gods."

He then repaired to the temple: the oracle answered in few words
according to custom: _Thy daughter shall not be married until she hath
traversed the globe_. In astonishment, Belus returned to the council,
and related this answer.

All the ministers had a profound respect for oracles. They therefore all
agreed, or at least appeared to agree, that they were the foundation of
religion--that reason should be mute before them--that it was by their
means that kings reigned over their people--that without oracles there
would be neither virtue nor repose upon earth.

At length, after having testified the most profound veneration for them,
they almost all concluded that this oracle was impertinent, and should
not be obeyed--that nothing could be more indecent for a young woman,
and particularly the daughter of the great king of Babylon, than to run
about, without any particular destination--that this was the most
certain method to prevent her being married, or else engage her in a
clandestine, shameful, and ridiculous union that,--in a word, this
oracle had not common sense.

The youngest of the ministers, named Onadase, who had more sense than
the rest, said that the oracle doubtless meant some pilgrimage of
devotion, and offered to be the princess's guide. The council approved
of his opinion, but every one was for being her equerry. The king
determined that the princess might go three hundred parasangs upon the
road to Arabia, to the temple whose saint had the reputation of
procuring young women happy marriages, and that the dean of the council
should accompany her. After this determination they went to supper.

[Illustration: The Shrine at Bassora.--A devotee at the shrine imploring
the felicity of a happy marriage.]



III.

ROYAL FESTIVAL GIVEN IN HONOR OF THE KINGLY VISITORS. THE BIRD CONVERSES
ELOQUENTLY WITH FORMOSANTA.


In the centre of the gardens, between two cascades, an oval saloon,
three hundred feet in diameter was erected, whose azure roof,
intersected with golden stars, represented all the constellations and
planets, each in its proper station; and this ceiling turned about, as
well as the canopy, by machines as invisible as those which direct the
celestial spheres. A hundred thousand flambeaux, inclosed in rich
crystal cylinders, illuminated the gardens and the dining-hall. A
buffet, with steps, contained twenty thousand vases and golden dishes;
and opposite the buffet, upon other steps, were seated a great number of
musicians. Two other amphitheatres were decked out; the one with the
fruits of each season, the other with crystal decanters, that sparkled
with the choicest wines.

The guests took their seats round a table divided into compartments that
resembled flowers and fruits, all in precious stones. The beautiful
Formosanta was placed between the kings of India and Egypt--the amiable
Aldea next the king of Scythia. There were about thirty princes, and
each was seated next one of the handsomest ladies of the court. The king
of Babylon, who was in the middle, opposite his daughter, seemed divided
between the chagrin of being yet unable to effect her marriage, and the
pleasure of still beholding her. Formosanta asked leave to place her
bird upon the table next her; the king approved of it.

The music, which continued during the repast, furnished every prince
with an opportunity of conversing with his female neighbor. The festival
was as agreeable as it was magnificent. A ragout was served before
Formosanta, which her father was very fond of. The princess said it
should be carried to his majesty. The bird immediately took hold of it,
and carried it in a miraculous manner to the king. Never was any thing
more astonishing witnessed. Belus caressed it as much as his daughter
had done. The bird afterward took its flight to return to her. It
displayed, in flying, so fine a tail, and its extended wings set forth
such a variety of brilliant colors--the gold of its plumage made such a
dazzling eclat, that all eyes were fixed upon it. All the musicians were
struck motionless, and their instruments afforded harmony no longer.
None ate, no one spoke, nothing but a buzzing of admiration was to be
heard. The Princess of Babylon kissed it during the whole supper,
without considering whether there were any kings in the world. Those of
India and Egypt felt their spite and indignation rekindle with double
force, and they resolved speedily to set their three hundred thousand
men in motion to obtain revenge.

As for the king of Scythia, he was engaged in entertaining the beautiful
Aldea. His haughty soul despising, without malice, Formosanta's
inattention, had conceived for her more indifference than resentment.
"She is handsome," said he, "I acknowledge: but she appears to me one of
those women who are entirely taken up with their own beauty, and who
fancy that mankind are greatly obliged to them when they deign to appear
in public. I should prefer an ugly complaisant woman, that exhibited
some amiability, to that beautiful statue. You have, madam, as many
charms as she possesses, and you, at least, condescend to converse with
strangers. I acknowledge to you with the sincerity of a Scythian, that I
prefer you to your cousin."

He was, however, mistaken in regard to the character of Formosanta. She
was not so disdainful as she appeared. But his compliments were very
well received by the princess Aldea. Their conversation became very
interesting. They were well contented, and already certain of one
another before they left the table. After supper the guests walked in
the groves. The king of Scythia and Aldea did not fail to seek for a
place of retreat. Aldea, who was sincerity itself, thus declared herself
to the prince:

"I do not hate my cousin, though she be handsomer than myself, and is
destined for the throne of Babylon. The honor of pleasing you may very
well stand in the stead of charms. I prefer Scythia with you, to the
crown of Babylon without you. But this crown belongs to me by right, if
there be any right in the world; for I am of the elder branch of the
Nimrod family, and Formosanta is only of the younger. Her grandfather
dethroned mine, and put him to death."

"Such, then, are the rights of inheritance in the royal house of
Babylon!" said the Scythian. "What was your grandfather's name?"

"He was called Aldea, like me. My father bore the same name. He was
banished to the extremity of the empire with my mother; and Belus, after
their death, having nothing to fear from me, was willing to bring me up
with his daughter. But he has resolved that I shall never marry."

"I will avenge the cause of your grandfather--of your father and also
your own cause," said the king of Scythia. "I am responsible for your
being married. I will carry you off the day after to-morrow by
day-break--for we must dine to-morrow with the king of Babylon--and I
will return and support your rights with three hundred thousand men."

"I agree to it," said the beauteous Aldea: and, after having mutually
pledged their words of honor, they separated.

The incomparable Formosanta, before retiring to rest, had ordered a
small orange tree, in a silver case, to be placed by the side of her
bed, that her bird might perch upon it. Her curtains had long been
drawn, but she was not in the least disposed to sleep. Her heart was
agitated, and her imagination excited. The charming stranger was ever in
her thoughts. She fancied she saw him shooting an arrow with Nimrod's
bow. She contemplated him in the act of cutting off the lion's head. She
repeated his madrigal. At length, she saw him retiring from the crowd
upon his unicorn. Tears, sighs, and lamentations overwhelmed her at this
reflection. At intervals, she cried out: "Shall I then never see him
more? Will he never return?"

"He will surely return," replied the bird from the top of the orange
tree. "Can one have seen you once, and not desire to see you again?"

"Heavens! eternal powers! my bird speaks the purest Chaldean." In
uttering these words she drew back the curtain, put out her hand to him,
and knelt upon her bed, saying:

"Art thou a god descended upon earth? Art thou the great Oromasdes
concealed under this beautiful plumage? If thou art, restore me this
charming young man."

"I am nothing but a winged animal," replied the bird; "but I was born at
the time when all animals still spoke; when birds, serpents, asses,
horses, and griffins, conversed familiarly with man. I would not speak
before company, lest your ladies of honor should have taken me for a
sorcerer. I would not discover myself to any but you."

Formosanta was speechless, bewildered, and intoxicated with so many
wonders. Desirous of putting a hundred questions to him at once, she at
length asked him how old he was.

"Only twenty-seven thousand nine hundred years and six months. I date my
age from the little revolution of the equinoxes, and which is
accomplished in about twenty-eight thousand of your years. There are
revolutions of a much greater extent, so are there beings much older
than me. It is twenty-two thousand years since I learnt Chaldean in one
of my travels. I have always had a very great taste for the Chaldean
language, but my brethren, the other animals, have renounced speaking in
your climate."

"And why so, my divine bird?"

"Alas! because men have accustomed themselves to eat us, instead of
conversing and instructing themselves with us. Barbarians! should they
not have been convinced, that having the same organs with them, the same
sentiments, the same wants, the same desires, we have also what is
called a soul, the same as themselves;--that we are their brothers, and
that none should be dressed and eaten but the wicked? We are so far your
brothers, that the Supreme Being, the Omnipotent and Eternal Being,
having made a compact with men, expressly comprehended us in the treaty.
He forbade you to nourish yourselves with our blood, and we to suck
yours.

"The fables of your ancient Locman, translated into so many languages,
will be a testimony eternally subsisting of the happy commerce you
formerly carried on with us. They all begin with these words: 'In the
time when beasts spoke.' It is true, there are many families among you
who keep up an incessant conversation with their dogs; but the dogs have
resolved not to answer, since they have been compelled by whipping to go
a hunting, and become accomplices in the murder of our ancient and
common friends, stags, deers, hares, and partridges.

"You have still some ancient poems in which horses speak, and your
coachmen daily address them in words; but in so barbarous a manner, and
in uttering such infamous expressions, that horses, though formerly
entertaining so great a kindness for you, now detest you.

"The country which is the residence of your charming stranger, the most
perfect of men, is the only one in which your species has continued to
love ours, and to converse with us; and this is the only country in the
world where men are just."

"And where is the country of my dear incognito? What is the name of his
empire? For I will no more believe he is a shepherd than that you are a
bat."

"His country, is that of the Gangarids, a wise, virtuous, and invincible
people, who inhabit the eastern shore of the Ganges. The name of my
friend is Amazan. He is no king; and I know not whether he would so
humble himself as to be one. He has too great a love for his fellow
countrymen. He is a shepherd like them. But do not imagine that those
shepherds resemble yours; who, covered with rags and tatters, watch
their sheep, who are better clad than themselves; who groan under the
burden of poverty, and who pay to an extortioner half the miserable
stipend of wages which they receive from their masters. The Gangaridian
shepherds are all born equal, and own the innumerable herds which cover
their vast fields and subsist on the abundant verdure. These flocks are
never killed. It is a horrid crime, in that favored country, to kill and
eat a fellow creature. Their wool is finer and more brilliant than the
finest silk, and constitutes the greatest traffic of the East. Besides,
the land of the Gangarids produces all that can flatter the desires of
man. Those large diamonds that Amazan had the honor of presenting you
with, are from a mine that belongs to him. An unicorn, on which you saw
him mounted, is the usual animal the Gangarids ride upon. It is the
finest, the proudest, most terrible, and at the same time most gentle
animal that ornaments the earth. A hundred Gangarids, with as many
unicorns,[1] would be sufficient to disperse innumerable armies. Two
centuries ago, a king of India was mad enough to attempt to conquer
this nation. He appeared, followed by ten thousand elephants and a
million of warriors. The unicorns pierced the elephants, just as I have
seen upon your table beads pierced in golden brochets. The warriors fell
under the sabres of the Gangarids like crops of rice mowed by the people
of the East. The king was taken prisoner, with upwards of six thousand
men. He was bathed in the salutary water of the Ganges, and followed the
regimen of the country, which consists only of vegetables, of which
nature hath there been amazingly liberal to nourish every breathing
creature. Men who are fed with carnivorous aliments, and drenched with
spirituous liquors, have a sharp adust blood, which turns their brains a
hundred different ways. Their chief rage is a fury to spill their
brother's blood, and, laying waste fertile plains, to reign over
church-yards. Six full months were taken up in curing the king of India
of his disorder. When the physicians judged that his pulse had become
natural, they certified this to the council of the Gangarids. The
council then followed the advice of the unicorns and humanely sent back
the king of India, his silly court, and impotent warriors, to their own
country. This lesson made them wise, and from that time the Indians
respected the Gangarids, as ignorant men, willing to be instructed,
revere the philosophers they cannot equal.

"Apropos, my dear bird," said the princess to him, "do the Gangarids
profess any religion? have they one?"

"Yes, we meet to return thanks to God on the days of the full moon; the
men in a great temple made of cedar, and the women in another, to
prevent their devotion being diverted. All the birds assemble in a
grove, and the quadrupeds on a fine down. We thank God for all the
benefits he has bestowed upon us. We have in particular some parrots
_that preach wonderfully well_.

"Such is the country of my dear Amazan; there I reside. My friendship
for him is as great as the love with which he has inspired you. If you
will credit me, we will set out together, and you shall pay him a
visit."

"Really, my dear bird, this is a very pretty invitation of yours,"
replied the princess smiling, and who flamed with desire to undertake
the journey, but did not dare say so.

"I serve my friend," said the bird; "and, after the happiness of loving
you, the greatest pleasure is to assist you."

Formosanta was quite fascinated. She fancied herself transported from
earth. All she had seen that day, all she then saw, all she heard, and
particularly what she felt in her heart, so ravished her as far to
surpass what those fortunate Mussulmen now feel, who, disencumbered from
their terrestrial ties, find themselves in the ninth heaven in the arms
of their Houris, surrounded and penetrated with glory and celestial
felicity.


[1] Pliny, the Roman naturalist, describes the unicorn as "a very
ferocious beast, similar in the rest of its body to a horse, with the
head of a deer, the feet of an elephant, the tail of a boar, a deep
bellowing voice, and a single black horn, two cubits in length, standing
out in the middle of its forehead." A familiar representation of this
"ferocious beast" may be seen on the English coat of arms.--E.



IV.

THE BEAUTIFUL BIRD IS KILLED BY THE KING OF EGYPT. FORMOSANTA BEGINS A
JOURNEY. ALDEA ELOPES WITH THE KING OF SCYTHIA.


Formosanta passed the whole night in speaking of Amazan. She no longer
called him any thing but her shepherd; and from this time it was that
the names of shepherd and lover were indiscriminately used throughout
every nation.

Sometimes she asked the bird whether Amazan had had any other
mistresses. It answered, "No," and she was at the summit of felicity.
Sometimes she asked how he passed his life; and she, with transport,
learned, that it was employed in doing good; in cultivating arts, in
penetrating into the secrets of nature, and improving himself. She at
times wanted to know if the soul of her lover was of the same nature as
that of her bird; how it happened that it had lived twenty thousand
years, when her lover was not above eighteen or nineteen. She put a
hundred such questions, to which the bird replied with such discretion
as excited her curiosity. At length sleep closed their eyes, and yielded
up Formosanta to the sweet delusion of dreams sent by the gods, which
sometimes surpass reality itself, and which all the philosophy of the
Chaldeans can scarce explain.

Formosanta did not awaken till very late. The day was far advanced when
the king, her father, entered her chamber. The bird received his majesty
with respectful politeness, went before him, fluttered his wings,
stretched his neck, and then replaced himself upon his orange tree. The
king seated himself upon his daughter's bed, whose dreams had made her
still more beautiful. His large beard approached her lovely face, and
after having embraced her, he spoke to her in these words:

"My dear daughter, you could not yesterday find a husband agreeable to
my wishes; you nevertheless must marry; the prosperity of my empire
requires it. I have consulted the oracle, which you know never errs, and
which directs all my conduct. His commands are, that you should traverse
the globe. You must therefore begin your journey."

"Ah! doubtless to the Gangarids," said the princess; and in uttering
these words, which escaped her, she was sensible of her indiscretion.
The king, who was utterly ignorant of geography, asked her what she
meant by the Gangarids? She easily diverted the question. The king told
her she must go on a pilgrimage, that he had appointed the persons who
were to attend her--the dean of the counsellors of state, the high
almoner, a lady of honor, a physician, an apothecary, her bird, and all
necessary domestics.

Formosanta, who had never been out of her father's palace, and who, till
the arrival of the three kings and Amazan, had led a very insipid life,
according to the _etiquette_ of rank and the parade of pleasure, was
charmed at setting out upon a pilgrimage. "Who knows," said she,
whispering to her heart, "if the gods may not inspire Amazan with the
like desire of going to the same chapel, and I may have the happiness of
again seeing the pilgrim?" She affectionately thanked her father, saying
she had always entertained a secret devotion for the saint she was going
to visit.

Belus gave an excellent dinner to his guests, who were all men. They
formed a very ill assorted company--kings, ministers, princes,
pontiffs--all jealous of each other; all weighing their words, and
equally embarassed with their neighbors and themselves. The repast was
very gloomy, though they drank pretty freely. The princesses remained in
their apartments, each meditating upon her respective journey. They
dined at their little cover. Formosanta afterward walked in the gardens
with her dear bird, which, to amuse her, flew from tree to tree,
displaying his superb tail and divine plumage.

The king of Egypt, who was heated with wine, not to say drunk, asked one
of his pages for a bow and arrow. This prince was, in truth, the most
unskillful archer in his whole kingdom. When he shot at a mark, the
place of the greatest safety was generally the spot he aimed at. But the
beautiful bird, flying as swiftly as the arrow, seemed to court it, and
fell bleeding in the arms of Formosanta. The Egyptian, bursting into a
foolish laugh, retired to his place. The princess rent the skies with
her moans, melted into tears, tore her hair, and beat her breast. The
dying bird said to her, in a low voice:

"Burn me, and fail not to carry my ashes to the east of the ancient city
of Aden or Eden, and expose them to the sun upon a little pile of cloves
and cinnamon." After having uttered these words it expired. Formosanta
was for a long time in a swoon, and revived again only to burst into
sighs and groans. Her father, partaking of her grief, and imprecating
the king of Egypt, did not doubt but this accident foretold some fatal
event. He immediately went to consult the oracle, which replied: _A
mixture of everything--life and death, infidelity and constancy, loss
and gain, calamities and good fortune_. Neither he nor his council could
comprehend any meaning in this reply; but, at length, he was satisfied
with having fulfilled the duties of devotion.

His daughter was bathed in tears, whilst he consulted the oracle. She
paid the funeral obsequies to the bird, which it had directed, and
resolved to carry its remains into Arabia at the risk of her life. It
was burned in incombustible flax, with the orange-tree on which it used
to perch. She gathered up the ashes in a little golden vase, set with
rubies, and the diamonds taken from the lion's mouth. Oh! that she
could, instead of fulfilling this melancholy duty, have burned alive the
detestable king of Egypt! This was her sole wish. She, in spite, put to
death the two crocodiles, his two sea horses, his two zebras, his two
rats, and had his two mummies thrown into the Euphrates. Had she
possessed his bull Apis, she would not have spared him.

The king of Egypt, enraged at this affront, set out immediately to
forward his three hundred thousand men. The king of India, seeing his
ally depart, set off also on the same day, with a firm intention of
joining his three hundred thousand Indians to the Egyptian army, the
king of Scythia decamped in the night with the princess Aldea, fully
resolved to fight for her at the head of three hundred thousand
Scythians, and to restore to her the inheritance of Babylon, which was
her right, as she had descended from the elder branch of the Nimrod
family.

As for the beautiful Formosanta, she set out at three in the morning
with her caravan of pilgrims, flattering herself that she might go into
Arabia, and execute the last will of her bird; and that the justice of
the gods would restore her the dear Amazan, without whom life had become
insupportable.

When the king of Babylon awoke, he found all the company gone.

"How mighty festivals terminate," said he; "and what a surprising vacuum
they leave when the hurry is over."

But he was transported with a rage truly royal, when he found that the
princess Aldea had been carried off. He ordered all his ministers to be
called up, and the council to be convened. Whilst they were dressing, he
failed not to consult the oracle; but the only answer he could obtain
was in these words, so celebrated since throughout the universe: _When
girls are not provided for in marriage by their relatives, they marry
themselves_.

Orders were immediately issued to march three hundred thousand men
against the king of Scythia. Thus was the torch of a most dreadful war
lighted up, which was caused by the amusements of the finest festival
ever given upon earth. Asia was upon the point of being over-run by four
armies of three hundred thousand men each. It is plain that the war of
Troy, which astonished the world some ages after, was mere child's play
in comparison to this; but it should also be considered, that in the
Trojans quarrel, the object was nothing more than a very immoral old
woman, who had contrived to be twice run away with; whereas, in this
case, the cause was tripartite--two girls and a bird.

The king of India went to meet his army upon the large fine road which
then led straight to Babylon, at Cachemir. The king of Scythia flew with
Aldea by the fine road which led to Mount Imaus. Owing to bad
government, all these fine roads have disappeared in the lapse of time.
The king of Egypt had marched to the west, along the coast of the little
Mediterranean sea, which the ignorant Hebrews have since called the
Great Sea.

[Illustration: Consulting the Oracle.]

As to the charming Formosanta, she pursued the road to Bassora, planted
with lofty palm trees, which furnished a perpetual shade, and fruit at
all seasons. The temple in which she was to perform her devotions, was
in Bassora itself. The saint to whom this temple had been dedicated, was
somewhat in the style of him who was afterward adored at Lampsacus, and
was generally successful in procuring husbands for young ladies. Indeed,
he was the holiest saint in all Asia.

Formosanta had no sort of inclination for the saint of Bassora. She only
invoked her dear Gangaridian shepherd, her charming Amazan. She proposed
embarking at Bassora, and landing in Arabia Felix, to perform what her
deceased bird had commanded.

At the third stage, scarce had she entered into a fine inn, where her
harbingers had made all the necessary preparations for her, when she
learned that the king of Egypt had arrived there also. Informed by his
emissaries of the princess's route, he immediately altered his course,
followed by a numerous escort. Having alighted, he placed sentinels at
all the doors; then repaired to the beautiful Formosanta's apartment,
when he addressed her by saying:

"Miss, you are the lady I was in quest of. You paid me very little
attention when I was at Babylon. It is just to punish scornful
capricious women. You will, if you please, be kind enough to sup with me
to-night; and I shall behave to you according as I am satisfied with
you."

Formosanta saw very well that she was not the strongest. She judged that
good sense consisted in knowing how to conform to one's situation. She
resolved to get rid of the king of Egypt by an innocent stratagem. She
looked at him through the corners of her eyes, (which in after ages has
been called ogling,) and then she spoke to him, with a modesty, grace,
and sweetness, a confusion, and a thousand other charms, which would
have made the wisest man a fool, and deceived the most discerning:

"I acknowledge, sir, I always appeared with a downcast look, when you
did the king, my father, the honor of visiting him. I had some
apprehensions for my heart. I dreaded my too great simplicity. I
trembled lest my father and your rivals should observe the preference I
gave you, and which you so highly deserved. I can now declare my
sentiments. I swear by the bull Apis, which after you is the thing I
respect the most in the world, that your proposals have enchanted me. I
have already supped with you at my father's, and I will sup with you
again, without his being of the party. All that I request of you is,
that your high almoner should drink with us. He appeared to me at
Babylon to be an excellent guest. I have some Chiras wine remarkably
good. I will make you both taste it. I consider you as the greatest of
kings, and the most amiable of men."

This discourse turned the king of Egypt's head. He agreed to have the
almoner's company.

"I have another favor to ask of you," said the princess, "which is to
allow me to speak to my apothecary. Women have always some little ails
that require attention, such as vapors in the head, palpitations of the
heart, colics, and the like, which often require some assistance. In a
word, I at present stand in need of my apothecary, and I hope you will
not refuse me this slight testimony of confidence."

"Miss," replied the king of Egypt, "I know life too well to refuse you
so just a demand. I will order the apothecary to attend you whilst
supper is preparing. I imagine you must be somewhat fatigued by the
journey; you will also have occasion for a chambermaid; you may order
her you like best to attend you. I will afterward wait your commands and
convenience."

He then retired, and the apothecary and the chambermaid, named Irla,
entered. The princess had an entire confidence in her. She ordered her
to bring six bottles of Chiras wine for supper, and to make all the
sentinels, who had her officers under arrest, drink the same. Then she
recommended her apothecary to infuse in all the bottles certain
pharmaceutic drugs, which make those who take them sleep twenty-four
hours, and with which he was always provided. She was implicitly obeyed.
The king returned with his high almoner in about half an hour's time.
The conversation at supper was very gay. The king and the priest emptied
the six bottles, and acknowledged there was not such good wine in
Egypt. The chambermaid was attentive to make the servants in waiting
drink. As for the princess, she took great care not to drink any
herself, saying that she was ordered by her physician a particular
regimen. They were all presently asleep.

The king of Egypt's almoner had one of the finest beards that a man of
his rank could wear. Formosanta lopped it off very skillfully; then
sewing it to a ribbon, she put it on her own chin. She then dressed
herself in the priest's robes, and decked herself in all the marks of
his dignity, and her waiting maid clad herself like the sacristan of the
goddess Isis. At length, having furnished herself with his urn and
jewels, she set out from the inn amidst the sentinels, who were asleep
like their master. Her attendant had taken care to have two horses ready
at the door. The princess could not take with her any of the officers of
her train. They would have been stopped by the great guard.

Formosanta and Irla passed through several ranks of soldiers, who,
taking the princess for the high priest, called her, "My most Reverend
Father in God," and asked his blessing. The two fugitives arrived in
twenty-four hours at Bassora, before the king awoke. They then threw off
their disguise, which might have created some suspicion. They fitted out
with all possible expedition a ship, which carried them, by the Straits
of Ormus, to the beautiful banks of Eden in Arabia Felix. This was that
Eden, whose gardens were so famous, that they have since been the
residence of the best of mankind. They were the model of the Elysian
fields, the gardens of the Hesperides, and also those of the Fortunate
Islands. In those warm climates men imagined there could be no greater
felicity than shades and murmuring brooks. To live eternally in heaven
with the Supreme Being, or to walk in the garden of paradise, was the
same thing to those who incessantly spoke without understanding one
another, and who could scarce have any distinct ideas or just
expressions.

As soon as the princess found herself in this land, her first care was
to pay her dear bird the funeral obsequies he had required of her. Her
beautiful hands prepared a small quantity of cloves and cinnamon. What
was her surprise, when, having spread the ashes of the bird upon this
funeral pyre, she saw it blaze of itself! All was presently consumed.
In the place of the ashes there appeared nothing but a large egg, from
whence she saw her bird issue more brilliant than ever. This was one of
the most happy moments the princess had ever experienced in her whole
life. There was but another that could ever be dearer to her; it was the
object of her wishes, but almost beyond her hopes.

"I plainly see," said she, to the bird, "you are the phœnix which I
have heard so much spoken of. I am almost ready to expire with joy and
astonishment. I did not believe in your resurrection; but it is my good
fortune to be convinced of it."

"Resurrection, in fact," said the phœnix to her, "is one of the most
simple things in the world. There is nothing more in being born twice
than once. Every thing in this world is the effect of resurrection.
Caterpillars are regenerated into butterflies; a kernel put into the
earth is regenerated into a tree. All animals buried in the earth
regenerate into vegetation, herbs, and plants, and nourish other
animals, of which they speedily compose part of the substance. All
particles which compose bodies are transformed into different beings. It
is true, that I am the only one to whom Oromasdes[1] has granted the
favor of regenerating in my own form."

Formosanta, who from the moment she first saw Amazan and the phœnix,
had passed all her time in a round of astonishment, said to him:

"I can easily conceive that the Supreme Being may form out of your ashes
a phœnix nearly resembling yourself; but that you should be precisely
the same person, that you should have the same soul, is a thing, I
acknowledge, I cannot very clearly comprehend. What became of your soul
when I carried you in my pocket after your death?"

"Reflect one moment! Is it not as easy for the great Oromasdes to
continue action upon a single atom of my being, as to begin afresh this
action? He had before granted me sensation, memory, and thought. He
grants them to me again. Whether he united this favor to an atom of
elementary fire, latent within me, or to the assemblage of my organs,
is, in reality, of no consequence. Men, as well as phœnixes, are
entirely ignorant how things come to pass, but the greatest favor the
Supreme Being has bestowed upon me, is to regenerate me for you. Oh!
that I may pass the twenty-eight thousand years which I have still to
live before my next resurrection, with you and my dear Amazan."

"My dear phœnix, remember what you first told me at Babylon, which I
shall never forget, and which flattered me with the hope of again seeing
my dear shepherd, whom I idolize; 'we must absolutely pay the Gangarids
a visit together,' and I must carry Amazan back with me to Babylon."

"This is precisely my design," said the phœnix. "There is not a
moment to lose. We must go in search of Amazan by the shortest road,
that is, through the air. There are in Arabia Felix two griffins,[2] who
are my particular friends, and who live only a hundred and fifty
thousand leagues from here. I am going to write to them by the pigeon
post, and they will be here before night. We shall have time to make you
a convenient palankeen, with drawers, in which you may place your
provisions. You will be quite at your ease in this vehicle, with your
maid. These two griffins are the most vigorous of their kind. Each of
them will support one of the poles of the canopy between their claws.
But, once for all, time is very precious."

He instantly went with Formosanta to order the carriage at an
upholsterer's of his acquaintance. It was made complete in four hours.
In the drawers were placed small fine loaves, biscuits superior to those
of Babylon, large lemons, pine-apples, cocoa, and pistachio nuts, Eden
wine, which is as superior to that of Chiras, as Chiras is to that of
Surinam.

The two griffins arrived at Eden at the appointed time. The vehicle was
as light as it was commodious and solid, and Formosanta and Irla placed
themselves in it. The two griffins carried it off like a feather. The
phœnix sometimes flew after it, and sometimes perched upon its roof.
The two griffins winged their way toward the Ganges with the velocity of
an arrow which rends the air. They never stopped but a moment at night
for the travelers to take some refreshment, and the carriers to take a
draught of water.

They at length reached the country of the Gangarids. The princess's
heart palpitated with hope, love, and joy. The phœnix stopped the
vehicle before Amazan's house; but Amazan had been absent from home
three hours, without any one knowing whither he had gone.

There are no words, even in the Gangaridian language, that could express
Formosanta's extreme despair.

"Alas! this is what I dreaded," said the phœnix: "the three hours
which you passed at the inn, upon the road to Bassora, with that
wretched king of Egypt, have perhaps been at the price of the happiness
of your whole life. I very much fear we have lost Amazan, without the
possibility of recovering him."

He then asked the servants if he could salute the mother of Amazan? They
answered, that her husband had died only two days before, and she could
speak to no one. The phœnix, who was not without influence in the
house, introduced the princess of Babylon into a saloon, the walls of
which were covered with orange-tree wood inlaid with ivory. The inferior
shepherds and shepherdesses, who were dressed in long white garments,
with gold colored trimmings, served up, in a hundred plain porcelain
baskets, a hundred various delicacies, amongst which no disguised
carcasses were to be seen. They consisted of rice, sago, vermicelli,
macaroni, omelets, milk, eggs, cream, cheese, pastry of every kind,
vegetables, fruits, peculiarly fragrant and grateful to the taste, of
which no idea can be formed in other climates; and they were accompanied
with a profusion of refreshing liquors superior to the finest wine.

Whilst the princess regaled herself, seated upon a bed of roses, four
peacocks, who were luckily mute, fanned her with their brilliant wings;
two hundred birds, one hundred shepherds and shepherdesses, warbled a
concert in two different choirs; the nightingales, thistlefinches,
linnets, chaffinches, sung the higher notes with the shepherdesses, and
the shepherds sung the tenor and bass. The princess acknowledged, that
if there was more magnificence at Babylon, nature was infinitely more
agreeable among the Gangarids; but whilst this consolatory and
voluptuous music was playing, tears flowed from her eyes, whilst she
said to the damsel Irla:

"These shepherds and shepherdesses, these nightingales, these linnets,
are making love; and for my part, I am deprived of the company of the
Gangaridian hero, the worthy object of my most tender thoughts."

Whilst she was taking this collation, her tears and admiration kept pace
with each other, and the phœnix addressed himself to Amazan's mother,
saying:

"Madam, you cannot avoid seeing the princess of Babylon; you know--"

"I know every thing," said she, "even her adventure at the inn, upon the
road to Bassora. A blackbird related the whole to me this morning; and
this cruel blackbird is the cause of my son's going mad, and leaving his
paternal abode."

"You have not been informed, then, that the princess regenerated me?"

"No, my dear child, the blackbird told me you were dead, and this made
me inconsolable. I was so afflicted at this loss, the death of my
husband, and the precipitate flight of my son, that I ordered my door to
be shut to every one. But since the princess of Babylon has done me the
honor of paying me a visit, I beg she may be immediately introduced. I
have matters of great importance to acquaint her with, and I choose you
should be present."

She then went to meet the princess in another saloon. She could not walk
very well. This lady was about three hundred years old; but she had
still some agreeable vestiges of beauty. It might be conjectured, that
about her two hundred and fortieth, or two hundred and fiftieth year,
she must have been a most charming woman. She received Formosanta with a
respectful nobleness, blended with an air of interest and sorrow, which
made a very lively impression upon the princess.

Formosanta immediately paid her the compliments of condolence upon her
husband's death.

"Alas!" said the widow, "you have more reason to lament his death than
you imagine."

"I am, doubtless, greatly afflicted," said Formosanta; "he was father
to--." Here a flood of tears prevented her from going on. "For his sake
only I undertook this journey, in which I have so narrowly escaped many
dangers. For him I left my father, and the most splendid court in the
universe. I was detained by a King of Egypt, whom I detest. Having
escaped from this tyrant, I have traversed the air in search of the only
man I love. When I arrive, he flies from me!" Here sighs and tears
stopped her impassioned harangue.

His mother then said to her:

"When the king of Egypt made you his prisoner,--when you supped with him
at an inn upon the road to Bassora,--when your beautiful hands filled
him bumpers of Chiras wine, did you observe a blackbird that flew about
the room?"

"Yes, really," said the princess, "I now recollect there was such a
bird, though at that time I did not pay it the least attention. But in
collecting my ideas, I now remember well, that at the instant when the
king of Egypt rose from the table to give me a kiss, the blackbird flew
out at the window giving a loud cry, and never appeared after."

"Alas! madam," resumed Amazan's mother, "this is precisely the cause of
all our misfortunes; my son had dispatched this blackbird to gain
intelligence of your health, and all that passed at Babylon. He proposed
speedily to return, throw himself at your feet, and consecrate to you
the remainder of his life. You know not to what a pitch he adores you.
All the Gangarids are both loving and faithful; but my son is the most
passionate and constant of them all. The blackbird found you at an inn,
drinking very cheerfully with the king of Egypt and a vile priest; he
afterward saw you give this monarch who had killed the phœnix,--the
man my son holds in utter detestation,--a fond embrace. The blackbird,
at the sight of this, was seized with a just indignation. He flew away
imprecating your fatal error. He returned this day, and has related
every thing. But, just heaven, at what a juncture! At the very time that
my son was deploring with me the loss of his father and that of the wise
phœnix, the very instant I had informed him that he was your cousin
german--"

"Oh heavens! my cousin, madam, is it possible? How can this be? And am I
so happy as to be thus allied to him, and yet so miserable as to have
offended him?"

"My son is, I tell you," said the Gangaridian lady, "your cousin, and I
shall presently convince you of it; but in becoming my relation, you rob
me of my son. He cannot survive the grief that the embrace you gave to
the king of Egypt has occasioned him."

"Ah! my dear aunt," cried the beautiful Formosanta, "I swear by him and
the all-powerful Oromasdes, that this embrace, so far from being
criminal, was the strongest proof of love your son could receive from
me. I disobeyed my father for his sake. For him I went from the
Euphrates to the Ganges. Having fallen into the hands of the worthless
Pharaoh of Egypt, I could not escape his clutches but by artifice. I
call the ashes and soul of the phœnix, which were then in my pocket,
to witness. He can do me justice. But how can your son, born upon the
banks of the Ganges, be my cousin? I, whose family have reigned upon the
banks of the Euphrates for so many centuries?"

"You know," said the venerable Gangaridian lady to her, "that your grand
uncle, Aldea, was king of Babylon, and that he was dethroned by Belus's
father?"

"Yes, madam."

"You know that this Aldea had in marriage a daughter named Aldea,
brought up in your court? It was this prince, who, being persecuted by
your father, took refuge under another name in our happy country. He
married me, and is the father of the young prince Aldea Amazan, the most
beautiful, the most courageous, the strongest, and most virtuous of
mortals; and at this hour the most unhappy. He went to the Babylonian
festival upon the credit of your beauty; since that time he idolizes
you, and now grieves because he believes that you have proved unfaithful
to him. Perhaps I shall never again set eyes upon my dear son."

She then displayed to the princess all the titles of the house of Aldea.
Formosanta scarce deigned to look at them.

"Ah! madam, do we examine what is the object of our desire? My heart
sufficiently believes you. But where is Aldea Amazan? Where is my
kinsman, my lover, my king? Where is my life? What road has he taken? I
will seek for him in every sphere the Eternal Being hath framed, and of
which he is the greatest ornament. I will go into the star Canope, into
Sheath, into Aldebaran; I will go and tell him of my love and convince
him of my innocence."

The phœnix justified the princess with regard to the crime that was
imputed to her by the blackbird, of fondly embracing the king of Egypt;
but it was necessary to undeceive Amazan and recall him. Birds were
dispatched on every side. Unicorns sent forward in every direction. News
at length arrived that Amazan had taken the road toward China.

"Well, then," said the princess, "let us set out for China. I will seek
him in defiance of both difficulty and danger. The journey is not long,
and I hope I shall bring you back your son in a fortnight at farthest."

At these words tears of affection streamed from his mother's eyes and
also from those of the princess. They most tenderly embraced, in the
great sensibility of their hearts.

The phœnix immediately ordered a coach with six unicorns. Amazan's
mother furnished two thousand horsemen, and made the princess, her
niece, a present of some thousands of the finest diamonds of her
country. The phœnix, afflicted at the evil occasioned by the
blackbird's indiscretion, ordered all the blackbirds to quit the
country; and from that time none have been met with upon the banks of
the Ganges.


[1] The god Ormuzd, (called Oromasdes by the Greeks), was regarded by
the Magi as the source of all good. His followers were in reality
worshipers of nature, and used neither temples, altars, nor statues, but
performed their simple rites on mountain tops. They adored Oromasdes as
the source of all light and purity, and regarded the sun and fire as
symbols of the divinity. They were, in the language of Wadsworth:

                   "--zealous to reject
      Altar and Image, and the inclusive walls
      And roofs of temples built by human hands,--
      The loftiest heights ascending,
      Presented sacrifice to Moon and Stars
      And to the Winds and mother Elements,
      And the whole circle of the Heavens, for him
      A sensitive existence and a God."

Byron, in Childe Harold, contrasts the "unwalled temples," of the
worshipers of Nature, with the "idol-dwellings," where images are
adored:

     "Not vainly did the early Persian make
      His altar the high places and the peak
      Of earth-o'er-gazing mountains, and thus take
      A fit and unwalled temple, there to seek
      The Spirit, in whose honor shrines are weak,
      Upreared of human hands. Come and compare
      Columns and idol-dwellings, Goth or Greek,
      With Nature's realms of worship, earth and air,
      Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy prayer."

In Moore's Lalla Rookh will be found an exquisite sketch of the Magi, or
ancient Fire Worshipers,--

     "Those slaves of Fire, that morn and even
      Hal their creator's dwelling-place
      Among the living lights of heaven."--E.


[2] On ancient coins and armorial bearings, the Griffin is represented
as having the head and wings of an eagle, joined to the body and paws of
a lion, thus representing strength and swiftness combined. It was
supposed to watch over mines of gold, and also whatever was secretly
hidden. It built its nest like a bird, using gold as the material, and
hence it was necessary to vigilantly guard its treasures from the
rapacity of mankind--who, says Milton, in _Paradise Lost_, "by stealth
purloined its guarded gold." The poets intimate that the chariot of
Apollo, the god of the sun, was drawn by griffins.--E.



V.

FORMOSANTA VISITS CHINA AND SCYTHIA IN SEARCH OF AMAZAN.


The unicorns, in less than eight days, carried Formosanta, Irla, and the
phœnix, to Cambalu, the capital of China. This city was larger than
that of Babylon, and in appearance quite different. These fresh objects,
these strange manners, would have amused Formosanta could any thing but
Amazan have engaged her attention.

As soon as the emperor of China learned that the princess of Babylon was
at the city gates, he dispatched four thousand Mandarins in ceremonial
robes to receive her. They all prostrated themselves before her, and
presented her with an address written in golden letters upon a sheet of
purple silk. Formosanta told them, that if she were possessed of four
thousand tongues, she would not omit replying immediately to every
Mandarin; but that having only one, she hoped they would be satisfied
with her general thanks. They conducted her, in a respectful manner, to
the emperor.

He was the wisest, most just and benevolent monarch upon earth. It was
he who first tilled a small field with his own imperial hands, to make
agriculture respectable to his people. Laws in all other countries were
shamefully confined to the punishment of crimes: he first allotted
premiums to virtue. This emperor had just banished from his dominions a
gang of foreign Bonzes, who had come from the extremities of the West,
with the frantic hope of compelling all China _to think like
themselves_; and who, under pretence of teaching truths, had already
acquired honors and riches. In expelling them, he delivered himself in
these words, which are recorded in the annals of the empire:

_"You may here do us much harm as you have elsewhere. You have come to
preach dogmas of intolerance, to the most tolerant nation upon earth. I
send you back, that I may never be compelled to punish you. You will be
honorably conducted to my frontiers. You will be furnished with every
thing necessary to return to the confines of the hemisphere from whence
you came. Depart in peace, if you can be at peace, and never return."_

The princess of Babylon heard with pleasure of this speech and
determination. She was the more certain of being well received at court,
as she was very far from entertaining any dogmas of intolerance. The
emperor of China, in dining with her _tête-à-tête_, had the politeness
to banish all disagreeable _etiquette_. She presented the phœnix to
him, who was gently caressed by the emperor, and who perched upon his
chair. Formosanta, toward the end of the repast, ingenuously acquainted
him with the cause of her journey, and entreated him to search for the
beautiful Amazan in the city of Cambalu; and in the meanwhile she
acquainted the emperor with her adventures, without concealing the fatal
passion with which her heart burned for this youthful hero.

"He did me the honor of coming to my court," said the emperor of China.
"I was enchanted with this amiable Amazan. It is true that he is deeply
afflicted; but his graces are thereby the more affecting. Not one of my
favorites has more wit. There is not a gown Mandarin who has more
knowledge,--not a military one who has a more martial or heroic air. His
extreme youth adds an additional value to all his talents. If I were so
unfortunate, so abandoned by the Tien and Changti, as to desire to be a
conqueror, I would wish Amazan to put himself at the head of my armies,
and I should be sure of conquering the whole universe. It is a great
pity that his melancholy sometimes disconcerts him."

"Ah! sir," said Formosanta, with much agitation and grief, blended with
an air of reproach, "why did you not request me to dine with him? This
is a cruel stroke you have given me. Send for him immediately, I entreat
you."

"He set out this very morning," replied the emperor, "without
acquainting me with his destination."

Formosanta, turning toward the phœnix, said to him:

"Did you ever know so unfortunate a damsel as myself?" Then resuming the
conversation, she said:

"Sir, how came he to quit in so abrupt a manner, so polite a court, in
which, methinks, one might pass one's life?"

"The case was as follows," said he. "One of the most amiable of the
princesses of the blood, falling desperately in love with him, desired
to meet him at noon. He set out at day-break, leaving this billet for
my kinswoman, whom it hath cost a deluge of tears:

     "Beautiful princess of the mongolian race. You are deserving of a
     heart that was never offered up at any other altar. I have sworn to
     the immortal gods never to love any other than Formosanta, princess
     of Babylon, and to teach her how to conquer one's desires in
     traveling. She has had the misfortune to yield to a worthless king
     of Egypt. I am the most unfortunate of men; having lost my father,
     the phœnix, and the hope of being loved by Formosanta. I left my
     mother in affliction, forsook my home and country, being unable to
     live a moment in the place where I learned that Formosanta loved
     another than me. I swore to traverse the earth, and be faithful.
     You would despise me, and the gods punish me, if I violated my
     oath. Choose another lover, madam, and be as faithful as I am."

"Ah! give me that miraculous letter," said the beautiful Formosanta; "it
will afford me some consolation. I am happy in the midst of my
misfortunes. Amazan loves me! Amazan, for me, renounces the society of
the princesses of China. There is no one upon earth but himself endowed
with so much fortitude. He sets me a most brilliant example. The
phœnix knows I did not stand in need of it. How cruel it is to be
deprived of one's lover for the most innocent embrace given through pure
fidelity. But, tell me, whither has he gone? What road has he taken?
Deign to inform me, and I will immediately set out."

The emperor of China told her, that, according to the reports he had
received, her lover had taken the road toward Scythia. The unicorns were
immediately harnessed, and the princess, after the most tender
compliments, took leave of the emperor, and resumed her journey with the
phœnix, her chambermaid Irla, and all her train.

As soon as she arrived in Scythia, she was more convinced than ever how
much men and governments differed, and would continue to differ, until
noble and enlightened minds should by degrees remove that cloud of
darkness which has covered the earth for so many ages; and until there
should be found in barbarous climes, heroic souls, who would have
strength and perseverance enough to transform brutes into men. There are
no cities in Scythia, consequently no agreeable arts. Nothing was to be
seen but extensive fields, and whole tribes whose sole habitations were
tents and chars. Such an appearance struck her with terror. Formosanta
enquired in what tent or char the king was lodged? She was informed that
he had set out eight days before with three hundred thousand cavalry to
attack the king of Babylon, whose niece, the beautiful princess Aldea,
he had carried off.

"What! did he run away with my cousin?" cried Formosanta. "I could not
have imagined such an incident. What! has my cousin, who was too happy
in paying her court to me, become a queen, and I am not yet married?"
She was immediately conducted, by her desire, to the queen's tent.

Their unexpected meeting in such distant climes--the uncommon
occurrences they mutually had to impart to each other, gave such charms
to this interview, as made them forget they never loved one another.
They saw each other with transport; and a soft illusion supplied the
place of real tenderness. They embraced with tears, and there was a
cordiality and frankness on each side that could not have taken place in
a palace.

Aldea remembered the phœnix and the waiting maid Irla. She presented
her cousin with zibelin skins, who in return gave her diamonds. The war
between the two kings was spoken of. They deplored the fate of soldiers
who were forced into battle, the victims of the caprice of princes, when
two honest men might, perhaps, settle the dispute in less than an hour,
without a single throat being cut. But the principal topic was the
handsome stranger, who had conquered lions, given the largest diamonds
in the universe, written madrigals, and had now become the most
miserable of men from believing the statements of a blackbird.

"He is my dear brother," said Aldea. "He is my lover," cried Formosanta.
"You have, doubtless, seen him. Is he still here? for, cousin, as he
knows he is your brother, he cannot have left you so abruptly as he did
the king of China.

"Have I seen him? good heavens! yes. He passed four whole days with me.
Ah! cousin, how much my brother is to blame. A false report has
absolutely turned his brain. He roams about the world, without knowing
whither he is destined. Imagine to yourself his distraction of mind,
which is so great, that he has refused to meet the handsomest lady in
all Scythia. He set out yesterday, after writing her a letter which has
thrown her into despair. As for him, he has gone to visit the
Cimmerians."

"God be thanked!" cried Formosanta, "another refusal in my favor. My
good fortune is beyond my hopes, as my misfortunes surpass my greatest
apprehensions. Procure me this charming letter, that I may set out and
follow him, loaded with his sacrifices. Farewell, cousin. Amazan is
among the Cimmerians, and I fly to meet him."

Aldea judged that the princess, her cousin, was still more frantic than
her brother Amazan. Hut as she had herself been sensible of the effects
of this epidemic contagion, having given up the delights and
magnificence of Babylon for a king of Scythia; and as the women always
excuse those follies that are the effects of love, she felt for
Formosanta's affliction, wished her a happy journey, and promised to be
her advocate with her brother, if ever she was so fortunate as to see
him again.



VI.

THE PRINCESS CONTINUES HER JOURNEY.


From Scythia the princess of Babylon, with her phœnix, soon arrived
at the empire of the Cimmerians, now called Russia; a country indeed
much less populous than Scythia, but of far greater extent.

After a few days' journey, she entered a very large city, which has of
late been greatly improved by the reigning sovereign. The empress,
however, was not there at that time, but was making a journey through
her dominions, on the frontiers of Europe and Asia, in order to judge of
their state and condition with her own eyes,--to enquire into their
grievances, and to provide the proper remedies for them.

The principal magistrate of that ancient capital, as soon as he was
informed of the arrival of the Babylonian lady and the phœnix, lost
no time in paying her all the honors of his country; being certain that
his mistress, the most polite and generous empress in the world, would
be extremely well pleased to find that he had received so illustrious a
lady with all that respect which she herself, if on the spot, would have
shown her.

The princess was lodged in the palace, and entertained with great
splendor and elegance. The Cimmerian lord, who was an excellent natural
philosopher, diverted himself in conversing with the phœnix, at such
times as the princess chose to retire to her own apartment. The
phœnix told him, that he had formerly traveled among the Cimmerians,
but that he should not have known the country again.

"How comes it," said he, "that such prodigious changes have been brought
about in so short a time? Formerly, when I was here, about three hundred
years ago, I saw nothing but savage nature in all her horrors. At
present, I perceive industry, arts, splendor, and politeness."

"This mighty revolution," replied the Cimmerian, "was begun by one man,
and is now carried to perfection by one woman;--a woman who is a greater
legislator than the Isis of the Egyptians, or the Ceres of the Greeks.
Most law-givers have been, unhappily, of a narrow genius and an
arbitrary disposition, which conned their views to the countries they
governed. Each of them looked upon his own race as the only people
existing upon the earth, or as if they ought to be at enmity with all
the rest. They formed institutions, introduced customs, and established
religions exclusively for themselves. Thus the Egyptians, so famous for
those heaps of stones called pyramids, have dishonored themselves with
their barbarous superstitions. They despise all other nations as
profane; refuse all manner of intercourse with them; and, excepting
those conversant in the court, who now and then rise above the
prejudices of the vulgar, there is not an Egyptian who will eat off a
plate that has ever been used by a stranger. Their priests are equally
cruel and absurd. It were better to have no laws at all, and to follow
those notions of right and wrong engraven on our hearts by nature, than
to subject society to institutions so inhospitable.

"Our empress has adopted quite a different system. She considers her
vast dominions, under which all the meridians on the globe are united,
as under an obligation of correspondence with all the nations dwelling
under those meridians. The first and most fundamental of her laws, is an
universal toleration of all religions, and an unbounded compassion for
every error. Her penetrating genius perceives, that though the modes of
religious worship differ, yet morality is every where the same. By this
principle, she has united her people to all the nations on earth, and
the Cimmerians will soon consider the Scandinavians and the Chinese as
their brethren. Not satisfied with this, she has resolved to establish
this invaluable toleration, the strongest link of society, among her
neighbors. By these means, she obtained the title of the parent of her
country; and, if she persevere, will acquire that of the benefactress of
mankind.

"Before her time, the men, who were unhappily possessed of power, sent
out legions of murderers to ravage unknown countries, and to water with
the blood of the children the inheritance of their fathers. Those
assassins were called heroes, and their robberies accounted glorious
achievements. But our sovereign courts another sort of glory. She has
sent forth her armies to be the messengers of peace; not only to prevent
men from being the destroyers, but to oblige them to be the benefactors
of one another. Her standards are the ensigns of public tranquillity."

The phœnix was quite charmed with what he heard from this nobleman.
He told him, that though he had lived twenty-seven thousand nine hundred
years and seven months in this world, he had never seen any thing like
it. He then enquired after his friend Amazan. The Cimmerian gave the
same account of him that the princess had already heard from the Chinese
and the Scythians. It was Amazan's constant practice to run away from
all the courts he visited, the instant any lady noticed him in
particular and seemed anxious to make his acquaintance. The phœnix
soon acquainted Formosanta with this fresh instance of Amazan's
fidelity--a fidelity so much the more surprising, since he could not
imagine his princess would ever hear of it.

Amazan had set out for Scandinavia, where he was entertained with sights
still more surprising. In this place, he beheld monarchy and liberty
subsisting together in a manner thought incompatible in other states;
the laborers of the ground shared in the legislature with the grandees
of the realm. In another place he saw what was still more extraordinary;
a prince equally remarkable for his extreme youth and uprightness, who
possessed a sovereign authority over his country, acquired by a solemn
contract with his people.

Amazan beheld a philosopher on the throne of Sarmatia, who might be
called a king of anarchy; for he was the chief of a hundred thousand
petty kings, one of whom with his single voice could render ineffectual
the resolution of all the rest. Eolus had not more difficulty to keep
the warring winds within their proper bounds, than this monarch to
reconcile the tumultuous discordant spirits of his subjects. He was the
master of a ship surrounded with eternal storms. But the vessel did not
founder, for he was an excellent pilot.

In traversing those various countries, so different from his own, Amazan
persevered in rejecting all the advances made to him by the ladies,
though incessantly distracted with the embrace given by Formosanta to
the king of Egypt, being resolved to set Formosanta an amazing example
of an unshaken and unparalleled fidelity.

The princess of Babylon was constantly close at his heels, and scarcely
ever missed of him but by a day or two; without the one being tired of
roaming, or the other losing a moment in pursuing him.

Thus he traversed the immense continent of Germany, where he beheld with
wonder the progress which reason and philosophy had made in the north.
Even their princes were enlightened, and had become the patrons of
freedom of thought. Their education had not been trusted to men who had
an interest in deceiving them, or who were themselves deceived. They
were brought up in the knowledge of universal morality, and in the
contempt of superstition.

They had banished from all their estates a senseless custom which had
enervated and depopulated the southern countries. This was to bury alive
in immense dungeons, infinite numbers of both sexes who were eternally
separated from one another, and sworn to have no communication together.
This madness had contributed more than the most cruel wars to lay waste
and depopulate the earth.

In opposing these barbarous institutions, so inimical to the laws of
nature and the best interests of society, the princes of the north had
become the benefactors of their race. They had likewise exploded other
errors equally absurd and pernicious. In short, men had at last
ventured to make use of their reason in those immense regions; whereas
it was still believed almost every where else, that they could not be
governed but in proportion to their ignorance.



VII.

AMAZAN VISITS ALBION.


From Germany, Amazan arrived at Batavia; where his perpetual chagrin was
in a good measure alleviated, by perceiving among the inhabitants a
faint resemblance to his happy countrymen, the Gangarids. There he saw
liberty, security, and equality,--with toleration in religion; but the
ladies were so indifferent, that none made him any advances; an
experience he had not met with before. It is true, however, that had he
been inclined to address them, they would not have been offended;
though, at the same time, not one would have been the least in love; but
he was far from any thoughts of making conquests.

Formosanta had nearly caught him in this insipid nation. He had set out
but a moment before her arrival.

Amazan had heard so much among the Batavians in praise of a certain
island called Albion, that he was led by curiosity to embark with his
unicorns on board a ship, which, with a favorable easterly wind, carried
him in a few hours to that celebrated country, more famous than Tyre, or
Atlantis.

The beautiful Formosanta, who had followed him, as it were on the scent,
to the banks of the Volga, the Vistula, the Elbe, and the Weser, and had
never been above a day or two behind him, arrived soon after at the
mouth of the Rhine, where it disembogues its waters into the German
Ocean.

Here she learned that her beloved Amazan had just set sail for Albion.
She thought she saw the vessel on board of which he was, and could not
help crying out for joy; at which the Batavian ladies were greatly
surprised, not imagining that a young man could possibly occasion so
violent a transport. They took, indeed, but little notice of the
phœnix, as they reckoned his feathers would not fetch near so good a
price as those of their own ducks, and other water fowl. The princess
of Babylon hired two vessels to carry herself and her retinue to that
happy island, which was soon to possess the only object of her desires,
the soul of her life, and the god of her idolatry.

An unpropitious wind from the west suddenly arose, just as the faithful
and unhappy Amazan landed on Albion's sea-girt shore, and detained the
ships of the Babylonian princess just as they were on the point of
sailing. Seized with a deep melancholy, she went to her room, determined
to remain there till the wind should change; but it blew for the space
of eight days, with an unremitting violence. The princess, during this
tedious period, employed her maid of honor, Irla, in reading romances;
which were not indeed written by the Batavians; but as they are the
factors of the universe, they traffic in the wit as well as commodities
of other nations. The princess purchased of Mark Michael Rey, the
bookseller, all the novels which had been written by the Ausonians and
the Welch, the sale of which had been wisely prohibited among those
nations to enrich their neighbors, the Batavians. She expected to find
in those histories some adventure similar to her own, which might
alleviate her grief. The maid of honor read, the phœnix made
comments, and the princess, finding nothing in the _Fortunate Country
Maid_, in _Tansai_, or in the _Sopha_, that had the least resemblance to
her own affairs, interrupted the reader every moment, by asking how the
wind stood.



VIII.

AMAZAN LEAVES ALBION TO VISIT THE LAND OF SATURN.


In the mean time Amazan was on the road to the capital of Albion, in his
coach and six unicorns, all his thoughts employed on his dear princess.
At a small distance he perceived a carriage overturned in a ditch. The
servants had gone in different directions in quest of assistance, but
the owner kept his seat, smoking his pipe with great tranquillity,
without manifesting the smallest impatience. His name was my lord
What-then, in the language from which I translate these memoirs.

Amazan made all the haste possible to help him, and without assistance
set the carriage to rights, so much was his strength superior to that of
other men. My lord What-then took no other notice of him, than saying,
"a stout fellow, by Jove!" In the meantime the neighboring people,
having arrived, flew into a great passion at being called out to no
purpose, and fell upon the stranger. They abused him, called him an
outlandish dog, and challenged him to strip and box.

Amazan seized a brace of them in each hand, and threw them twenty paces
from him; the rest seeing this, pulled off their hats, and bowing with
great respect, asked his honor for something to drink. His honor gave
them more money than they had ever seen in their lives before. My lord
What-then now expressed great esteem for him, and asked him to dinner at
his country house, about three miles off. His invitation being accepted,
he went into Amazan's coach, his own being out of order from the
accident.

After a quarter of an hour's silence, my lord What-then, looking upon
Amazan for a moment, said. "How d'ye do?" which, by the way, is a phrase
without any meaning, adding, "You have got six fine unicorns there."
After which he continued smoking as usual.

The traveler told him his unicorns were at his service, and that he had
brought them from the country of the Gangarids. From thence he took
occasion to inform him of his affair with the princess of Babylon, and
the unlucky kiss she had given the king of Egypt; to which the other
made no reply, being very indifferent whether there were any such people
in the world, as a king of Egypt, or a princess of Babylon.

He remained dumb for another quarter of an hour; after which he asked
his companion a second time how he did, and whether they had any good
roast beef among the Gangarids.

Amazan answered with his wonted politeness, "that they did not eat their
brethren on the banks of the Ganges." He then explained to him that
system which many ages afterward was surnamed the Pythagorean
philosophy. But my lord fell asleep in the meantime, and made but one
nap of it till he came to his own house.

He was married to a young and charming woman, on whom nature had
bestowed a soul as lively and sensible as that of her husband was dull
and stupid. A few gentlemen of Albion had that day come to dine with
her; among whom there were characters of all sorts; for that country
having been almost always under the government of foreigners, the
families that had come over with these princes had imported their
different manners. There were in this company some persons of an amiable
disposition, others of superior genius, and a few of profound learning.

The mistress of the house had none of that awkward stiffness, that false
modesty, with which the young ladies of Albion were then reproached. She
did not conceal by a scornful look and an affected taciturnity, her
deficiency of ideas: and the embarrassing humility of having nothing to
say. Never was a woman more engaging. She received Amazan with a grace
and politeness that were quite natural to her. The extreme beauty of
this young stranger, and the involuntary comparison she could not help
making between him and her prosaic husband, did not increase her
happiness or content.

Dinner being served, she placed Amazan at her side, and helped him to a
variety of puddings, he having informed her that the Gangarids never
dined upon any thing which had received from the gods the celestial gift
of life. The events of his early life, the manners of the Gangarids, the
progress of arts, religion, and government, were the subjects of a
conversation equally agreeable and instructive all the time of the
entertainment, which lasted till night: during which my lord What-then
did nothing but push the bottle about, and call for the toast.

After dinner, while my lady was pouring out the tea, still feeding her
eyes on the young stranger, he entered into a long conversation with a
member of parliament; for every one knows that there was, even then, a
parliament called Wittenagemot, or the assembly of wise men. Amazan
enquired into the constitution, laws, manners, customs, forces, and
arts, which made this country so respectable; and the member answered
him in the following manner.

"For a long time we went stark naked, though our climate is none of the
hottest. We were likewise for a long time enslaved by a people who came
from the ancient country of Saturn, watered by the Tiber. But the
mischief we have done one another has greatly exceeded all that we
ever suffered from our first conquerors. One of our princes carried his
superstition to such a pitch, as to declare himself the subject of a
priest, who dwells also on the banks of the Tiber, and is called the Old
Man of the Seven Mountains. It has been the fate of the seven mountains
to domineer over the greatest part of Europe, then inhabited by brutes
in human shape.

[Illustration: Religious wars in Albion.]

"To those times of infamy and debasement, succeeded the ages of
barbarity and confusion. Our country, more tempestuous than the
surrounding ocean, has been ravaged and drenched in blood by our civil
discords. Many of our crowned heads have perished by a violent death.
Above a hundred princes of the royal blood have ended their days on the
scaffold, whilst the hearts of their adherents have been torn from their
breasts, and thrown in their faces. In short, it is the province of the
hangman to write the history of our island, seeing that this personage
has finally determined all our affairs of moment.

"But to crown these horrors, it is not very long since some fellows
wearing black mantles, and others who cast white shirts over their
jackets, having become aggressive and intolerent, succeeded in
communicating their madness to the whole nation. Our country was then
divided into two parties, the murderers and the murdered, the
executioners and the sufferers, plunderers and slaves; and all in the
name of God, and whilst they were seeking the Lord.

"Who would have imagined, that from this horrible abyss, this chaos of
dissension, cruelty, ignorance, and fanaticism, a government should at
last spring up, the most perfect, it may be said, now in the world; yet
such has been the event. A prince, honored and wealthy, all-powerful to
do good, but without power to do evil, is at the head of a free,
warlike, commercial, and enlightened nation. The nobles on one hand, and
the representatives of the people on the other, share the legislature
with the monarch.

"We have seen, by a singular fatality of events, disorder, civil wars,
anarchy and wretchedness, lay waste the country, when our kings aimed at
arbitrary power: whereas tranquillity, riches, and universal happiness,
have only reigned among us, when the prince has remained satisfied with
a limited authority. All order had been subverted whilst we were
disputing about mysteries, but was re-established the moment we grew
wise enough to despise them. Our victorious fleets carry our flag on
every ocean; our laws place our lives and fortunes in security; no judge
can explain them in an arbitrary manner, and no decision is ever given
without the reasons assigned for it. We should punish a judge as an
assassin, who should condemn a citizen to death without declaring the
evidence which accused him, and the law upon which he was convicted.

"It is true, there are always two parties among us, who are continually
writing and intriguing against each other, but they constantly re-unite,
whenever it is needful to arm in defence of liberty and our country.
These two parties watch over one another, and mutually prevent the
violation of the sacred _deposit_ of the laws. They hate one another,
but they love the state. They are like those jealous lovers, who pay
court to the same mistress, with a spirit of emulation.

"From the same fund of genius by which we discovered and supported the
natural rights of mankind, we have carried the sciences to the highest
pitch to which they can attain among men. Your Egyptians, who pass for
such great mechanics--your Indians, who are believed to be such great
philosophers--your Babylonians, who boast of having observed the stars
for the course of four hundred and thirty thousand years--the Greeks,
who have written so much, and said so little, know in reality nothing in
comparison to our inferior scholars, who have studied the discoveries of
Our great masters. We have ravished more secrets from nature in the
space of an hundred years, that the human species had been able to
discover in as many ages.

"This is a true account of our present state. I have concealed from you
neither the good nor the bad; neither our shame nor our glory; and I
have exaggerated nothing."

At this discourse Amazan felt a strong desire to be instructed in those
sublime sciences his friend had spoken of; and if his passion for the
princess of Babylon, his filial duty to his mother whom he had quitted,
and his love for his native country, had not made strong remonstrances
to his distempered heart, he would willingly have spent the remainder of
his life in Albion. But that unfortunate kiss his princess had given
the king of Egypt, did not leave his mind at sufficient ease to study
the abstruse sciences.

"I confess," said he, "having made a solemn vow to roam about the world,
and to escape from myself. I have a curiosity to see that ancient land
of Saturn--that people of the Tiber and of the Seven Mountains, who have
been heretofore your masters. They must undoubtedly be the first people
on earth."

"I advise you by all means," answered the member, "to take that journey,
if you have the smallest taste for music or painting. Even we ourselves
frequently carry our spleen and melancholy to the Seven Mountains. But
you will be greatly surprised when you see the descendants of our
conquerors."

This was a long conversation, and Amazan had spoken in so agreeable a
manner; his voice was so charming; his whole behavior so noble and
engaging, that the mistress of the house could not resist the pleasure
of having a little private chat with him in her turn. She accordingly
sent him a little billet-doux intimating her wishes in the most
agreeable language. Amazan had once more the courage to resist the
fascination of female society, and, according to custom, wrote the lady
an answer full of respect,--representing to her the sacredness of his
oath, and the strict obligation he was under to teach the princess of
Babylon to conquer her passions by his example; after which he harnessed
his unicorns and departed for Batavia, leaving all the company in deep
admiration of him, and the lady in profound astonishment. In her
confusion she dropped Amazan's letter. My lord What-then read it next
morning:

"D--n it," said he, shrugging up his shoulders, "what stuff and nonsense
have we got here?" and then rode out a fox hunting with some of his
drunken neighbors.

Amazan was already sailing upon the sea, possessed of a geographical
chart, with which he had been presented by the learned Albion he had
conversed with at lord What-then's. He was extremely astonished to find
the greatest part of the earth upon a single sheet of paper.

His eyes and imagination wandered over this little space; he observed
the Rhine, the Danube, the Alps of Tyrol, there specified under their
different names, and all the countries through which he was to pass
before he arrived at the city of the Seven Mountains. But he more
particularly fixed his eyes upon the country of the Gangarids, upon
Babylon, where he had seen his dear princess, and upon the country of
Bassora, where she had given a fatal kiss to the king of Egypt. He
sighed, and tears streamed from his eyes at the unhappy remembrance. He
agreed with the Albion who had presented him with the universe in
epitome, when he averred that the inhabitants of the banks of the Thames
were a thousand times better instructed than those upon the banks of the
Nile, the Euphrates, and the Ganges.

As he returned into Batavia, Formosanta proceeded toward Albion with her
two ships at full sail. Amazan's ship and the princess's crossed one
another and almost touched; the two lovers were close to each other,
without being conscious of the fact. Ah! had they but known it! But this
great consolation tyrannic destiny would not allow.



IX.

AMAZAN VISITS ROME.


No sooner had Amazan landed on the flat muddy shore of Batavia, than he
immediately set out toward the city of the Seven Mountains. He was
obliged to traverse the southern part of Germany. At every four miles he
met with a prince and princess, maids of honor, and beggars. He was
greatly astonished every where at the coquetries of these ladies and
maids of honor, in which they indulged with German good faith. After
having cleared the Alps he embarked upon the sea of Dalmatia, and landed
in a city that had no resemblance to any thing he had heretofore seen.
The sea formed the streets, and the houses were erected in the water.
The few public places, with which this city was ornamented, were filled
with men and women with double faces--that which nature had bestowed on
them, and a pasteboard one, ill painted, with which they covered their
natural visage; so that this people seemed composed of spectres. Upon
the arrival of strangers in this country, they immediately purchase
these visages, in the same manner as people elsewhere furnish themselves
with hats and shoes. Amazan despised a fashion so contrary to nature. He
appeared just as he was.

Many ladies were introduced, and interested themselves in the handsome
Amazan. But he fled with the utmost precipitancy, uttering the name of
the incomparable princess of Babylon, and swearing by the immortal gods,
that she was far handsomer than the Venetian girls.

"Sublime traitoress," he cried, in his transports, "I will teach you to
be faithful!"

Now the yellow surges of the Tiber, pestiferous fens, a few pale
emaciated inhabitants clothed in tatters which displayed their dry
tanned hides, appeared to his sight, and bespoke his arrival at the gate
of the city of the Seven Mountains,--that city of heroes and legislators
who conquered and polished a great part of the globe.

He expected to have seen at the triumphal gate, five hundred battalions
commanded by heroes, and in the senate an assembly of demi-gods giving
laws to the earth. But the only army he found consisted of about thirty
tatterdemalions, mounting guard with umbrellas for fear of the sun.
Having arrived at a temple which appeared to him very fine, but not so
magnificent as that of Babylon, he was greatly astonished to hear a
concert performed by men with female voices.

"This," said he, "is a mighty pleasant country, which was formerly the
land of Saturn. I have been in a city where no one showed his own face;
here is another where men have neither their own voices nor beards."

He was told that these eunuchs had been trained from childhood, that
they might sing the more agreeably the praises of a great number of
persons of merit. Amazan could not comprehend the meaning of this.

They then explained to him very pleasantly, and with many
gesticulations, according to the custom of their country, the point in
question. Amazan was quite confounded.

"I have traveled a great way," said he, "but I never before heard such a
whim."

After they had sung a good while, the Old Man of the Seven Mountains
went with great ceremony to the gate of the temple. He cut the air in
four parts with his thumb raised, two fingers extended and two bent, in
uttering these words in a language no longer spoken: "_To the city and
to the universe_." Amazan could not see how two fingers could extend so
far.

He presently saw the whole court of the master of the world file off.
This court consisted of grave personages, some in scarlet, and others in
violet robes. They almost all eyed the handsome Amazan with a tender
look; and bowed to him, while commenting upon his personal appearance.

The zealots whose vocation was to show the curiosities of the city to
strangers, very eagerly offered to conduct him to several ruins, in
which a muleteer would not choose to pass a night, but which were
formerly worthy monuments of the grandeur of a royal people. He moreover
saw pictures of two hundred years standing, and statues that had
remained twenty ages, which appeared to him masterpieces of their kind.

"Can you still produce such work?" said Amazan.

"No, your excellency," replied one of the zealots; "but we despise the
rest of the earth, because we preserve these rarities. We are a kind of
old clothes men, who derive our glory from the cast-off garbs in our
warehouses."

Amazan was willing to see the prince's palace, and he was accordingly
conducted thither. He saw men dressed in violet colored robes, who were
reckoning the money of the revenues of the domains of lands, some
situated upon the Danube, some upon the Loire, others upon the
Guadalquivir, or the Vistula.

"Oh! Oh!" said Amazan, having consulted his geographical map, "your
master, then, possesses all Europe, like those ancient heroes of the
Seven Mountains?"

"He should possess the whole universe by divine right," replied a
violet-livery man; "and there was even a time when his predecessors
nearly compassed universal monarchy, but their successors are so good as
to content themselves at present with some monies which the kings, their
subjects, pay to them in the form of a tribute."

"Your master is then, in fact, the king of kings. Is that his title?"
said Amazan.

[Illustration: The Old Man of The Seven Mountains.--"The Old Man of the
Seven Mountains went with great ceremony to the gate of the temple. He
cut the air in four parts with his thumb raised, two fingers extended
and two bent, in uttering these words in a language no longer spoken:
'To the city and to the universe.'"]

"Your excellency, his title is _the servant of servants_! He was
originally a fisherman and porter, wherefore the emblems of his dignity
consist of keys and nets; but he at present issues orders to every
king in Christendom. It is not a long while since he sent one hundred
and one mandates to a king of the Celts, and the king obeyed."



     THE SERVANT OF SERVANTS.

     The personal service of Pius IX. as it existed in 1873, without
     counting Swiss gensdarmes, palatine guards, &c., is thus described
     by the author of _The Religion of Rome_, page 21.

     "The pope for his own exclusive personal service has four palatine
     cardinals, three prelates and a master, ten prelates of the private
     chamber, amongst whom are a cup-bearer, and a keeper of the
     wardrobe; then two hundred and fifteen domestic prelates. Then
     follow two hundred and forty-nine supernumerary prelates of the
     private chamber, four private chamberlains of the sword and cloak,
     Roman patricians, one of whom is a master of Santo Ospizto.

     "What things are these? what service do these private chamberlains
     render? what is the use of this cloak and sword? We will undertake
     to say that they do not know themselves. Let us proceed. Then come
     next a quarter-master major, a correspondent general of the post,
     and one hundred and thirty fresh private chamberlains of the sword
     and cloak! Oh! it is a labor to count them! Next come two hundred
     and sixty-five honorary monsignori _extra urbem_, six honorary
     chamberlains of the sword and cloak, then eight private chaplains.
     What a number of _private_ affairs must the pope have? Then
     eighty-one honorary chaplains _extra urbem_; then--but enough,
     enough, enough!

     "No! not enough for the pope. Then come two private monsignori of
     the tonsure--still private!--then eighteen supernumeraries: two
     adjutants of the chamber, a private steward--again private!--then
     nineteen ushers, participants, and twenty-four supernumeraries.
     Then--ah! there are no more. Let us cast up those we have named;
     they amount only to a bagatelle of one thousand and twenty-five
     persons! And take note, that there are not included in this list
     the palatine administration, and the tribunal of the majordomo, the
     Swiss guards, the gensdarmes, etc., etc.

     "If it be difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of
     heaven, how shall he who inhabits the Vatican enter there?--who has
     treasures of all sorts, money, precious gems, precious and
     countless works of art, vessels of silver and gold, and who has on
     his head not one crown but three? who causes himself to be borne on
     the shoulders of men; who causes them to kiss his feet; who has
     millions of income, and a thousand persons to attend upon him?

     "There is, in fact, nothing to be compared with the effrontery with
     which the Vatican enacts the comedy of poverty. Yes, it has reason
     to believe still in miracles; it is an actual miracle which the
     Roman court works, in drawing from the pockets of the poor the
     obolus necessary to buy them bread, to spend it before their faces
     in Sybaritic luxury, in a palace of _The Thousand and One Nights_.
     On the day of Epiphany, the Jesuits sent to the Vatican some
     hundreds of women and children of the Trastevere, to carry to the
     pope a gift of money. The children to succor the poverty of the
     pope, who consumes on himself and household enough to maintain a
     whole city, gave him the money which they had received in gifts
     from their parents, and the women of the Trastevere, the few pence
     that they had laid aside for the needs of their families.

     "But what is most extraordinary is, that these women and children
     who bestowed their charity on the pope, went to do it into halls
     full of gold, marble, precious stones, velvet, silk, embroidery,
     paintings, and statues, into the Vatican, that gigantic palace,
     which occupies a space of fifteen hundred feet in length, and eight
     hundred in breadth, with twenty courts, two hundred staircases,
     eleven thousand rooms, galleries and halls full of treasures, and
     the construction of which has cost hundreds of millions. These
     children and these women passing through so much wealth never were
     struck with the idea that Pius IX. ought to be something more than
     a beggar; that there is no monarch in the world who has an abode
     like the popes of Rome--the very sight of the gifts sent by all the
     world to Pius IX. being enough to strike them dumb with
     astonishment.

     "Now these women and these children don't comprehend this, and here
     is the miracle. This Pius IX. ought to go into the cottages of
     these poor women and take them money, instead of their going to
     carry it into the luxurious palace of the pope.

     "The miracle becomes still greater every time that the Pope,
     replying to those who bring money, talks of Jesus; for Jesus was in
     a stable, not in a palace of eleven thousand rooms. Jesus would at
     once have sent away the Swiss, the gensdarmes, the palatine guards,
     the chamberlains private and not private, etc., and would have said
     to the people of the Trastevere, and of the quarters of the poor:
     'Come here into the Vatican, poor people, leave those wretched
     cabins where you suffer so much; come to me; I have eleven thousand
     rooms to offer you, one of which is quite enough for me, and so I
     will divide these amongst those who have none.' This would have
     been said by Christ, whom Pius IX. invokes so often, calling
     himself His vicar or steward. But try, ye poor, to enter into the
     Vatican, and you will find at once at the door a Swiss, who will
     chase you away by blows of his halberd. He will let in anyone who
     comes to bring money, but not a soul who comes to ask for it."--E.



"Your fisherman must then have sent five or six hundred thousand men to
put these orders in execution?"

"Not at all, your excellency. Our holy master is not rich enough to keep
ten thousand soldiers on foot: but he has five or six hundred thousand
divine prophets dispersed in other countries. These prophets of various
colors are, as they ought to be, supported at the expense of the people
where they reside. They proclaim, from heaven, that my master may, with
his keys, open and shut all locks, and particularly those of strong
boxes. A Norman priest, who held the post of confident of this king's
thoughts, convinced him he ought to obey, without questioning, the one
hundred and one thoughts of my master; for you must know that one of the
prerogatives of the Old Man of the Seven Mountains is never to err,
whether he deigns to speak or deigns to write."

"In faith," said Amazan, "this is a very singular man; I should be
pleased to dine with him."

"Were your excellency even a king, you could not eat at his table. All
that he could do for you, would be to allow you to have one served by
the side of his, but smaller and lower. But if you are inclined to have
the honor of speaking to him, I will ask an audience for you on
condition of the _buona mancia_, which you will be kind enough to give
me." "Very readily," said the Gangarid. The violet-livery man bowed: "I
will introduce you to-morrow," said he. "You must make three very low
bows, and you must kiss the feet of the Old Man of the Seven Mountains."
At this information Amazan burst into so violent a fit of laughing that
he was almost choked; which, however, he surmounted, holding his sides,
whilst the violent emotions of the risible muscles forced the tears down
his cheeks, till he reached the inn, where the fit still continued upon
him.

At dinner, twenty beardless men and twenty violins produced a concert.
He received the compliments of the greatest lords of the city during the
remainder of the day; but from their extravagant actions, he was
strongly tempted to throw two or three of these violet-colored gentry
out of the window. He left with the greatest precipitation this city of
the masters of the world, where young men were treated so whimsically,
and where he found himself necessitated to kiss an old man's toe, as if
his cheek were at the end of his foot.



X.

AN UNFORTUNATE ADVENTURE IN GAUL.


In all the provinces through which Amazan passed, he remained ever
faithful to the princess of Babylon, though incessantly enraged at the
king of Egypt. This model of constancy at length arrived at the new
capital of the Gauls. This city, like many others, had alternately
submitted to barbarity, ignorance, folly, and misery. The first name it
bore was Dirt and Mire; it then took that of Isis, from the worship of
Isis, which had reached even here. Its first senate consisted of a
company of watermen. It had long been in bondage, and submitted to the
ravages of the heroes of the Seven Mountains; and some ages after, some
other heroic thieves who came from the farther banks of the Rhine, had
seized upon its little lands.

Time, which changes all things, had formed it into a city, half of which
was very noble and very agreeable, the other half somewhat barbarous and
ridiculous. This was the emblem of its inhabitants. There were within
its walls at least a hundred thousand people, who had no other
employment than play and diversion. These idlers were the judges of
those arts which the others cultivated. They were ignorant of all that
passed at court; though they were only four short miles distant from it:
but it seemed to them at least six hundred thousand miles off.
Agreeableness in company, gaiety and frivolty, formed the important and
sole considerations of their lives. They were governed like children,
who are extravagantly supplied with gewgaws, to prevent their crying. If
the horrors were discussed, which two centuries before had laid waste
their country, or if those dreadful periods were recalled, when one half
of the nation massacred the other for sophisms, they, indeed, said,
"this was not well done;" then, presently, they fell to laughing again,
or singing of catches.

[Illustration: Kissing an old man's toe.]



     KISSING THE POPE'S FOOT.

     On page 181 of _The Religion of Rome_, the author asks the
     questions: "Why does the pope cause his foot, or rather his
     slipper, to be kissed? And when did this custom begin?" His
     explanation is as follows:

     "Theophilus Rainaldo and the Bollandist fathers, as well as other
     Roman Catholic authors, tell us a gallant story of Pope St. Leo I.,
     called the Great, which, if it were true, might show the origin of
     the practice. They say that a young and very handsome devotee was
     admitted on Easter day, to kiss the hand of Pope St. Leo after the
     mass. The pope felt himself very much excited by this kiss, and
     remembering the words of the Savior, 'If thy hand offend thee, cut
     it off, and cast it from thee' (Matt. v. 30), he at once cut off
     his hand. But as he was unable to perform mass with only one hand,
     the people were in a great rage. The pope therefore prayed to God
     to restore his hand, and God complied: his hand was again united to
     the stump. And to avoid such dilemmas in future, Leo ordered that
     thereafter no one should kiss his hand, but only his foot. A very
     little common sense is sufficient to make us understand that such
     was not the origin of this custom.

     "The first who invented this degrading act of kissing feet was the
     Emperor Caligula. He, in his quality of Pontifex Maximus, ordered
     the people to kiss his foot. Succeeding emperors refused such an
     act of base slavery. But Heliogabalus, as emperor, and Pontifex
     Maximus, again introduced it. After him, the custom fell into
     disuse; but the Christian emperors retaining some of the wicked
     fables given to the pagan emperors, permitted the kissing of the
     foot as a compliment on the presentation of petitions. We may cite
     a few instances. The acts of the Council of Chalcedon say that
     Fazius, Bishop of Tyre, in his petition to the emperor, said, 'I
     supplicate, prostrate, at your immaculate and divine feet.'
     Bassianus, Bishop of Ephesus, says, 'I prostrate myself at your
     feet.' Eunomius, Bishop of Nicomedia, says, 'I prostrate myself
     before the footsteps of your power.' The Abbot Saba says, 'I am
     come to adore the footsteps of your piety. Prococius, in his
     _History of Mysteries_, says that the Emperor Justinian, at the
     instigation of the proud Theodora, his wife, was the first amongst
     the Christian emperors who ordered prostrations before himself and
     his wife, and the kissing of their feet.

     "The ecclesiastics, the bishops, and, finally, the popes, were not
     exempt from paying this homage to the emperors. The prelates of
     Syria held this language to the Emperor Justinian. 'The pope of
     holy memory, and the archbishop of ancient Rome, has come to your
     pious conversation, and has been honored by your holy feet.' Pope
     Gregory I., writing to Theodorus, the physician of the Emperor
     Mauritius, in the year A.D. 593, said: 'My tongue cannot
     sufficiently express the great benefits that I have received from
     God Almighty and from our great emperor, for which I can only love
     him and kiss his feet.' In the year A.D. 681 Pope Agathon, sending
     his legates to the sixth council, writes to the Emperor Constantine
     Pogonatus: 'As prostrate in your presence, and embracing your feet,
     I implore you,' etc. In the seventh century, therefore, not only
     did the popes not have their feet kissed, but they themselves were
     obliged to kiss those of the emperor. Becoming sovereigns of Rome,
     they soon began to adopt the same custom. Pope Eugenius II., who
     died in 827, was the first who made it the law to kiss the papal
     foot. From that time it was necessary to kneel before the popes.
     Gregory VII. ordered all princes to submit to this practice.

     "From what we have said it is clear that the origin of feet-kissing
     was entirely pagan and idolatrous. That this custom is in total
     contradiction to the precepts of the Gospel would be a waste of
     words to assert. Jesus Christ was so far from desiring people to
     kiss his feet, that he set himself on one occasion to wash the feet
     of his disciples. These are the words of the Gospel: 'He riseth
     from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel and
     girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began
     to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel
     wherewith he was girded.'

     "This act of Jesus Christ is in perfect keeping (John xiii. 4.5)
     with all his precepts, with his inculcations of modesty, equality,
     humility, and with his condemnation of those who set themselves
     above others. Who would have said that a day would come in which
     those claiming to be his vicars should cause people to kiss their
     feet? How thoroughly has Catholicism borrowed from paganism its
     idolatries? And notwithstanding this flagrant violation of the
     religion of Christ, what a herd of people go and press their lips
     on the slipper of the pope, as was done formerly to the Roman
     emperors, the pontifices maximi, that is to say, the priests of
     Jove."--E.



In proportion as the idlers were polished, agreeable, and amiable, it
was observed that there was a greater and more shocking contrast between
them and those who were engaged in business.

Among the latter, or such as pretended so to be, there was a gang of
melancholy fanatics, whose absurdity and knavery divided their
character,--whose appearance alone diffused misery,--and who would have
overturned the world, had they been able to gain a little credit. But
the nation of idlers, by dancing and singing, forced them into obscurity
in their caverns, as the warbling birds drive the croaking bats back to
their holes and ruins.

A smaller number of those who were occupied, were the preservers of
ancient barbarous customs, against which nature, terrified, loudly
exclaimed. They consulted nothing but their worm-eaten registers. If
they there discovered a foolish or horrid custom, they considered it as
a sacred law. It was from this vile practice of not daring to think for
themselves, but extracting their ideas from the ruins of those times
when no one thought at all, that in the metropolis of pleasure there
still remained some shocking manners. Hence it was that there was no
proportion between crimes and punishments. A thousand deaths were
sometimes inflicted upon an innocent victim, to make him acknowledge a
crime he had not committed.

The extravagancies of youth were punished with the same severity as
murder or parricide. The idlers screamed loudly at these exhibitions,
and the next day thought no more about them, but were buried in the
contemplation of some new fashion.

This people saw a whole age elapse, in which the fine arts attained a
degree of perfection that far surpassed the most sanguine hopes.
Foreigners then repaired thither, as they did to Babylon, to admire the
great monuments of architecture, the wonders of gardening, the sublime
efforts of sculpture and painting. They were charmed with a species of
music that reached the heart without astonishing the ears.

True poetry, that is to say, such as is natural and harmonious, that
which addresses the heart as well as the mind, was unknown to this
nation before this happy period. New kinds of eloquence displayed
sublime beauties. The theatres in particular reëchoed with masterpieces
that no other nation ever approached. In a word, good taste prevailed in
every profession to that degree, that there were even good writers among
the Druids.

So many laurels that had branched even to the skies, soon withered in an
exhausted soil. There remained but a very small number, whose leaves
were of a pale dying verdure. This decay was occasioned by the facility
of producing; laziness preventing good productions, and by a satiety of
the brilliant, and a taste for the whimsical. Vanity protected arts that
brought back times of barbarity; and this same vanity, in persecuting
persons of real merit, forced them to quit their country. The hornets
banished the bees.

There were scarce any real arts, scarce any real genius, talent now
consisted in reasoning right or wrong upon the merit of the last age.
The dauber of a sign-post criticised with an air of sagacity the works
of the greatest painters; and the blotters of paper disfigured the works
of the greatest writers. Ignorance and bad taste had other daubers in
their pay. The same things were repeated in a hundred volumes under
different titles. Every work was either a dictionary or a pamphlet. A
Druid gazetteer wrote twice a week the obscure annals of an unknown
people possessed with the devil, and of celestial prodigies operated in
garrets by little beggars of both sexes. Other Ex-Druids, dressed in
black, ready to die with rage and hunger, set forth their complaints in
a hundred different writings, that they were no longer allowed to cheat
mankind--this privilege being conferred on some goats clad in grey; and
some Arch-Druids were employed in printing defamatory libels.

Amazan was quite ignorant of all this, and even if he had been
acquainted with it, he would have given himself very little concern
about it, having his head filled with nothing but the princess of
Babylon, the king of Egypt, and the inviolable vow he had made to
despise all female coquetry in whatever country his despair should drive
him.

The gaping ignorant mob, whose curiosity exceeds all the bounds of
nature and reason, for a long time thronged about his unicorns. The more
sensible women forced open the doors of his _hotel_ to contemplate his
person.

[Illustration: Gaiety and frivolity.--"There are within its walls at
least a hundred thousand people, who had no other employment than play
and diversion."]

He at first testified some desire of visiting the court; but some of the
idlers, who constituted good company and casually went thither, informed
him that it was quite out of fashion, that times were greatly changed,
and that all amusements were confined to the city. He was invited that
very night to sup with a lady whose sense and talents had reached
foreign climes, and who had traveled in some countries through which
Amazan had passed. This lady gave him great pleasure, as well as the
society he met at her house. Here reigned a decent liberty, gaiety
without tumult, silence without pedantry, and wit without asperity. He
found that _good company_ was not quite ideal, though the title was
frequently usurped by pretenders. The next day he dined in a society far
less amiable, but much more voluptuous. The more he was satisfied with
the guests, the more they were pleased with him. He found his soul
soften and dissolve, like the aromatics of his country, which gradually
melt in a moderate heat, and exhale in delicious perfumes.

After dinner he was conducted to a place of public entertainment which
was enchanting; but condemned, however, by the Druids, because it
deprived them of their auditors, which, therefore, excited their
jealousy. The representation here consisted of agreeable verses,
delightful songs, dances which expressed the movements of the soul, and
perspectives that charmed the eye in deceiving it. This kind of pastime,
which included so many kinds, was known only under a foreign name. It
was called an _Opera_, which formerly signified, in the language of the
Seven Mountains, work, care, occupation, industry, enterprise, business.
This exhibition enchanted him. A female singer, in particular, charmed
him by her melodious voice, and the graces that accompanied her. This
child of genius, after the performance, was introduced to him by his new
friends. He presented her with a handful of diamonds; for which she was
so grateful, that she could not leave him all the rest of the day. He
supped with her and her companions, and during the delightful repast he
forgot his sobriety, and became heated and oblivious with wine. What an
instance of human frailty!

The beautiful princess of Babylon arrived at this juncture, with her
phœnix, her chambermaid Irla, and her two hundred Gangaridian
cavaliers mounted on their unicorns. It was a long while before the
gates were opened. She immediately asked, if the handsomest, the most
courageous, the most sensible, and the most faithful of men was still in
that city? The magistrates readily concluded that she meant Amazan. She
was conducted to his _hotel_. How great was the palpitation of her
heart!--the powerful operation of the tender passion. Her whole soul was
penetrated with inexpressible joy, to see once more in her lover the
model of constancy. Nothing could prevent her entering his chamber; the
curtains were open; and she saw the beautiful Amazan asleep and
stupefied with drink.

Formosanta expressed her grief with such screams as made the house echo.
She swooned into the arms of Irla. As soon as she had recovered her
senses, she retired from this fatal chamber with grief blended with
rage.

"Oh! just heaven; oh, powerful Oromasdes!" cried the beautiful princess
of Babylon, bathed in tears. "By whom, and for whom am I thus betrayed?
He that could reject for my sake so many princesses, to abandon me for
the company of a strolling Gaul! No! I can never survive this affront."

"This is the disposition of all young people," said Irla to her, "from
one end of the world to the other. Were they enamoured with a beauty
descended from heaven, they would at certain moments forget her
entirely."

"It is done," said the princess, "I will never see him again whilst I
live. Let us depart this instant, and let the unicorns be harnessed."

The phœnix conjured her to stay at least till Amazan awoke, that he
might speak with him.

"He does not deserve it," said the princess. "You would cruelly offend
me. He would think that I had desired you to reproach him, and that I am
willing to be reconciled to him. If you love me, do not add this injury
to the insult he has offered me."

The phœnix, who after all owed his life to the daughter of the king
of Babylon, could not disobey her. She set out with all her attendants.

"Whither are you going?" said Irla to her.

"I do not know," replied the princess; "we will take the first road we
find. Provided I fly from Amazan for ever, I am satisfied."

[Illustration: Ancient barbarous customs.]

     ANCIENT BARBAROUS CUSTOMS.

     William Howitt, in a note to his translation of _The Religion of
     Rome_, (page 19), points out very clearly the evils which have
     resulted to man from the sinister teaching of the upholders of
     ancient barbarous customs:--

     "If anyone would satisfy himself of what Popery is at its centre;
     what it does where it has had its fullest sway, let him make a tour
     into the mountains in the vicinity of Rome, and see in a country
     exceedingly beautiful by nature, what is the condition of an
     extremely industrious population. In the rock towns of the Alban,
     Sabine, and Volscian hills, you find a swarming throng of men,
     women, and children, asses, pigs, and hens, all groveling in
     inconceivable filth, squalor, and poverty. Filth in the streets, in
     the houses, everywhere; fleas, fever, and small-pox, and the
     densest ignorance darkening minds of singular natural cleverness. A
     people brilliant in intellect, totally uneducated, and steeped in
     the grossest superstition.

     "These dens of dirt, disease and, till lately, or brigandage, are
     the evidences of a thousand years of priestly government! They, and
     the country around them, are chiefly the property of the great
     princely and ducal families which sprung out of the papal neposm of
     Rome, and have by successive popes, their founders, been loaded
     with the wealth of the nation. These families live in Rome, in
     their great palaces, amidst every luxury and splendor, surrounded
     by the finest works of art, and leave their tenants and dependents
     without any attention from them. Some steward or middleman screws
     the last soldo from them for rent; and when crops fail, lifts not a
     finger to alleviate their misery.

     "And the Papal Government, too--a government pretendedly based on
     the direct ordination of Him who went about doing good--what has it
     done for them? Nothing but debauch their minds with idle ceremonies
     and unscriptural dogmas,--legends, priests, monks and beggary! The
     whole land is a land of beggars, made so by inculcated notions of a
     spurious charity. Every countrywoman, many men, and every child,
     boy or girl, are literally beggars--beggars importunate,
     unappeasable, irrepressible! What a condition of mind for a
     naturally noble and capable people to be reduced to by--a
     religion!"



The phœnix, who was wiser than Formosanta, because he was divested of
passion, consoled her upon the road. He gently insinuated to her that it
was shocking to punish one's self for the faults of another; that Amazan
had given her proofs sufficiently striking and numerous of his fidelity,
so that she should forgive him for having forgotten himself for one
moment in social company; that this was the only time in which he had
been wanting of the grace of Oromasdes; that it would render him only
the more constant in love and virtue for the future; that the desire of
expiating his fault would raise him beyond himself; that it would be the
means of increasing her happiness; that many great princesses before her
had forgiven such slips, and had had no reason to be sorry afterward;
and he was so thoroughly possessed of the art of persuasion, that
Formosanta's mind grew more calm and peaceable. She was now sorry she
had set out so soon. She thought her unicorns went too fast, but she did
not dare return. Great was the conflict between her desire of forgiving
and that of showing her rage--between her love and vanity. However, her
unicorns pursued their pace; and she traversed the world, according to
the prediction of her father's oracle.

When Amazan awoke, he was informed of the arrival and departure of
Formosanta and the phœnix. He was also told of the rage and
distraction of the princess, and that she had sworn never to forgive
him.

"Then," said he, "there is nothing left for me to do, but follow her,
and kill myself at her feet."

The report of this adventure drew together his festive companions, who
all remonstrated with him. They said that he had much better stay with
them; that nothing could equal the pleasant life they led in the centre
of arts and refined delicate pleasures; that many strangers, and even
kings, preferred such an agreeable enchanting repose to their country
and their thrones. Moreover, his vehicle was broken, and another was
being made for him according to the newest fashion; that the best tailor
of the whole city had already cut out for him a dozen suits in the
latest style; that the most vivacious, amiable, and fashionable ladies,
at whose houses dramatic performances were represented, had each
appointed a day to give him a regale. The girl from the opera was in the
meanwhile drinking her chocolate, laughing, singing, and ogling the
beautiful Amazan--who by this time clearly perceived she had no more
sense than a goose.

A sincerity, cordiality, and frankness, as well as magnanimity and
courage, constituted the character of this great prince, he related his
travels and misfortunes to his friends. They knew that he was
cousin-german to the princess. They were informed of the fatal kiss she
had given the king of Egypt. "Such little tricks," said they, "are often
forgiven between relatives, otherwise one's whole life would pass in
perpetual uneasiness."

Nothing could shake his design of pursuing Formosanta; but his carriage
not being ready, he was compelled to remain three days longer among the
idlers, who were still feasting and merry-making. He at length took his
leave of them, by embracing them and making them accept some of his
diamonds that were the best mounted, and recommending to them a
constant pursuit of frivolity and pleasure, since
they were thereby made more agreeable and happy.

"The Germans," said he, "are the greyheads of Europe; the people of
Albion are men formed; the inhabitants of Gaul are the children,--and I
love to play with children."



XI.

AMAZAN AND FORMOSANTA BECOME RECONCILED.


The guides had no difficulty in following the route the princess had
taken. There was nothing else talked of but her and her large bird. All
the inhabitants were still in a state of fascination. The banks of the
Loire, of the Dordogue--the Garonne, and the Gironde, still echoed with
acclamation.

When Amazan reached the foot of the Pyrenees, the magistrates and Druids
of the country made him dance, whether he would or not, a _Tambourin_;
but as soon as he cleared the Pyrenees, nothing presented itself that
was either gay or joyous. If he here and there heard a peasant sing,
it was a doleful ditty. The inhabitants stalked with much gravity,
having a few strung beads and a girted poniard. The nation dressed in
black, and appeared to be in mourning.

[Illustration: Dancing a tambourin.--"When Amazan reached the foot of
the Pyrenees, the magistrates and druids of the country made him dance,
whether he would or not, a Tambourin; but as soon as he cleared the
Pyrenees, nothing presented itself that was either gay or joyous."]

If Amazan's servants asked passengers any questions, they were answered
by signs; if they went into an inn, the host acquainted his guests in
three words, that there was nothing in the house, but that the things
they so pressingly wanted might be found a few miles off.

When these votaries to taciturnity were asked if they had seen the
beautiful princess of Babylon pass, they answered with less brevity than
usual: "We have seen her--she is not so handsome--there are no beauties
that are not tawny--she displays a bosom of alabaster, which is the most
disgusting thing in the world, and which is scarce known in our
climate."

Amazan advanced toward the province watered by the Betis. The Tyrians
discovered this country about twelve thousand years ago, about the time
they discovered the great Atlantic Isle, inundated so many centuries
after. The Tyrians cultivated Betica, which the natives of the country
had never done, being of opinion that it was not their place to meddle
with anything, and that their neighbors, the Gauls, should come and reap
their harvests. The Tyrians had brought with them some Palestines, or
Jews, who, from that time, have wandered through every clime where money
was to be gained. The Palestines, by extraordinary usury, at fifty per
cent., had possessed themselves of almost all the riches of the country.
This made the people of Betica imagine the Palestines were sorcerers;
and all those who were accused of witchcraft were burnt, without mercy,
by a company of Druids, who were called the Inquisitors, or the
_Anthropokaies_. These priests immediately put their victims in a
masquerade habit, seized upon their effects, and devoutly repeated the
Palestines' own prayers, whilst burning them by a slow fire, _por l'amor
de Dios_.

The princess of Babylon alighted in that city which has since been
called Sevilla. Her design was to embark upon the Betis to return by
Tyre to Babylon, and see again king Belus, her father; and forget, if
possible, her perdious lover--or, at least, to ask him in marriage. She
sent for two Palestines, who transacted all the business of the court.
They were to furnish her with three ships. The phœnix made all the
necessary contracts with them, and settled the price after some little
dispute.

The hostess was a great devotee, and her husband, who was no less
religious, was a Familiar: that is to say, a spy of the Druid
Inquisitors or _Anthropokaies_.

He failed not to inform them, that in his house was a sorceress and two
Palestines, who were entering into a compact with the devil, disguised
like a large gilt bird.

The Inquisitors having learned that the lady possessed a large quantity
of diamonds, swore point blank that she was a sorceress. They waited
till night to imprison the two hundred cavaliers and the unicorns,
(which slept in very extensive stables), for the Inquisitors are
cowards.

Having strongly barricaded the gates, they seized the princess and Irla;
but they could not catch the phœnix, who flew away with great
swiftness. He did not doubt of meeting with Amazan upon the road from
Gaul to Sevilla.

He met him upon the frontiers of Betica, and acquainted him with the
disaster that had befallen the princess.

Amazan was struck speechless with rage. He armed himself with a steel
cuirass damasquined with gold, a lance twelve feet long, two javelins,
and an edged sword called the Thunderer, which at one single stroke
would rend trees, rocks, and Druids. He covered his beautiful head with
a golden casque, shaded with heron and ostrich feathers. This was the
ancient armor of Magog, which his sister Aldea gave him when upon his
journey in Scythia. The few attendants he had with him all mounted their
unicorns.

Amazan, in embracing his dear phœnix, uttered only these melancholy
expressions: "I am guilty! Had I not dined with the child of genius from
the opera, in the city of the idlers, the princess of Babylon would not
have been in this alarming situation. Let us fly to the
_Anthropokaies_." He presently entered Sevilla. Fifteen hundred
Alguazils guarded the gates of the inclosure in which the two hundred
Gangarids and their unicorns were shut up, without being allowed
anything to eat. Preparations were already made for sacrificing the
princess of Babylon, her chambermaid Irla, and the two rich Palestines.

The high _Anthropokaie_, surrounded by his subaltern _Anthropokaies_,
was already seated upon his sacred tribunal. A crowd of Sevillians,
wearing strung beads at their girdles, joined their two hands, without
uttering a syllable, when the beautiful Princess, the maid Irla, and the
two Palestines were brought forth, with their hands tied behind their
backs and dressed in masquerade habits.

The phœnix entered the prison by a dormer window, whilst the
Gangarids began to break open the doors. The invincible Amazan shattered
them without. They all sallied forth armed, upon their unicorns, and
Amazan put himself at their head. He had no difficulty in overthrowing
the Alguazils, the Familiars, or the priests called _Anthropokaies_.
Each unicorn pierced dozens at a time. The thundering Amazan cut to
pieces all he met. The people in black cloaks and dirty frize ran away,
always keeping fast hold of their blest beads, _por l'amor de Dios_.

Amazan collared the high Inquisitor upon his tribunal, and threw him
upon the pile, which was prepared about forty paces distant; and he also
cast upon it the other Inquisitors, one after the other. He then
prostrated himself at Formosanta's feet. "Ah! how amiable you are," said
she; "and how I should adore you, if you had not forsaken me for the
company of an opera singer."

Whilst Amazan was making his peace with the princess, whilst his
Gangarids cast upon the pile the bodies of all the _Anthropokaies_, and
the flames ascended to the clouds, Amazan saw an army that approached
him at a distance. An aged monarch, with a crown upon his head, advanced
upon a car drawn by eight mules harnessed with ropes. An hundred other
cars followed. They were accompanied by grave looking men in black
cloaks or frize, mounted upon very fine horses. A multitude of people,
with greasy hair, followed silently on foot.

Amazan immediately drew up his Gangarids about him, and advanced with
his lance couched. As soon as the king perceived him, he took off his
crown, alighted from his car, and embraced Amazan's stirrup, saying to
him: "Man sent by the gods, you are the avenger of human kind, the
deliverer of my country. These sacred monsters, of which you have
purged the earth, were my masters, in the name of the Old Man of the
Seven Mountains. I was forced to submit to their criminal power. My
people would have deserted me, if I had only been inclined to moderate
their abominable crimes. From this moment I breathe, I reign, and am
indebted to you for it."

He afterward respectfully kissed Formosanta's hand, and entreated her to
get into his coach (drawn by eight mules) with Amazan, Irla, and the
phœnix.

The two Palestine bankers, who still remained prostrate on the ground
through fear and terror, now raised their heads. The troop of unicorns
followed the king of Betica into his palace.

As the dignity of a king who reigned over a people of characteristic
brevity, required that his mules should go at a very slow pace, Amazan
and Formosanta had time to relate to him their adventures. He also
conversed with the phœnix, admiring and frequently embracing him. He
easily comprehended how brutal and barbarous the people of the west
should be considered, who ate animals, and did not understand their
language; that the Gangarids alone had preserved the nature and dignity
of primitive man; but he particularly agreed, that the most barbarous of
mortals were the _Anthropokaies_, of whom Amazan had just purged the
earth. He incessantly blessed and thanked him. The beautiful Formosanta
had already forgotten the affair in Gaul, and had her soul filled with
nothing but the valor of the hero who had preserved her life. Amazan
being made acquainted with the innocence of the embrace she had given to
the king of Egypt, and being told of the resurrection of the phœnix,
tasted the purest joy, and was intoxicated with the most violent love.

They dined at the palace, but had a very indifferent repast. The cooks
of Betica were the worst in Europe. Amazan advised the king to send for
some from Gaul. The king's musicians performed, during the repast, that
celebrated air which has since been called _the Follies of Spain_. After
dinner, matters of business came upon the carpet.

The king enquired of the handsome Amazan, the beautiful Formosanta, and
the charming phœnix, what they proposed doing. "For my part," said
Amazan, "my intention is to return to Babylon, of which I am the
presumptive heir, and to ask of my uncle Belus the hand of my
cousin-german, the incomparable Formosanta."

"My design certainly is," said the princess, "never to separate from my
cousin-germain. But I imagine he will agree with me, that I should
return first to my father, because he only gave me leave to go upon a
pilgrimage to Bassora, and I have wandered all over the world."

"For my part," said the phœnix, "I will follow every where these two
tender, generous lovers."

"You are in the right," said the king of Betica; "but your return to
Babylon is not so easy as you imagine. I receive daily intelligence from
that country by Tyrian ships, and my Palestine bankers, who correspond
with all the nations of the earth. The people are all in arms toward the
Euphrates and the Nile. The king of Scythia claims the inheritance of
his wife, at the head of three hundred thousand warriors on horseback.
The kings of Egypt and India are also laying waste the banks of the
Tygris and the Euphrates, each at the head of three hundred thousand
men, to revenge themselves for being laughed at. The king of Ethiopia is
ravaging Egypt with three hundred thousand men, whilst the king of Egypt
is absent from his country. And the king of Babylon has as yet only six
hundred thousand men to defend himself.

"I acknowledge to you," continued the king, "when I hear of those
prodigious armies which are disembogued from the east, and their
astonishing magnificence--when I compare them to my trifling bodies of
twenty or thirty thousand soldiers, which it is so difficult to clothe
and feed; I am inclined to think the eastern subsisted long before the
western hemisphere. It seems as if we sprung only yesterday from chaos
and barbarity."

"Sire," said Amazan, "the last comers frequently outstrip those who
first began the career. It is thought in my country that man was first
created in India; but this I am not certain of."

"And," said the king of Betica to the phœnix, "what do you think?"

"Sire," replied the phœnix, "I am as yet too young to have any
knowledge concerning antiquity. I have lived only about twenty-seven
thousand years; but my father, who had lived five times that age, told
me he had learned from his father, that the eastern country had always
been more populous and rich than the others. It had been transmitted to
him from his ancestors, that the generation of all animals had begun
upon the banks of the Ganges. For my part, said he, I have not the
vanity to be of this opinion. I cannot believe that the foxes of Albion,
the marmots of the Alps, and the wolves of Gaul, are descended from my
country. In the like manner, I do not believe that the firs and oaks of
your country descended from the palm and cocoa trees of India."

"But from whence are we descended, then?" said the king.

"I do not know," said the phœnix; "all I want to know is, whither the
beautiful princess of Babylon and my dear Amazan may repair."

"I very much question," said the king, "whether with his two hundred
unicorns he will be able to destroy so many armies of three hundred
thousand men each."

"Why not?" said Amazan. The king of Betica felt the force of this
sublime question, "Why not?" but he imagined sublimity alone was not
sufficient against innumerable armies.

"I advise you," said he, "to seek the king of Ethiopia. I am related to
that black prince through my Palestines. I will give you recommendatory
letters to him. As he is at enmity with the king of Egypt, he will be
but too happy to be strengthened by your alliance. I can assist you with
two thousand sober, brave men; and it will depend upon yourself to
engage as many more of the people who reside, or rather skip, about the
foot of the Pyrenees, and who are called Vasques or Vascons. Send one of
your warriors upon an unicorn, with a few diamonds. There is not a
Vascon that will not quit the castle, that is, the thatched cottage of
his father, to serve you. They are indefatigable, courageous, and
agreeable; and whilst you wait their arrival, we will give you
festivals, and prepare your ships. I cannot too much acknowledge the
service you have done me."

Amazan realized the happiness of having recovered Formosanta, and
enjoyed in tranquillity her conversation, and all the charms of
reconciled love,--which are almost equal to a growing passion.

A troop of proud, joyous Vascons soon arrived, dancing a _tambourin_.
The haughty and grave Betican troops were now ready. The old sun-burnt
king tenderly embraced the two lovers. He sent great quantities of arms,
beds, chests, boards, black clothes, onions, sheep, fowls, flour, and
particularly garlic, on board the ships, and wished them a happy voyage,
invariable love, and many victories.

Proud Carthage was not then a sea-port. There were at that time only a
few Numidians there, who dried fish in the sun. They coasted along
Bizacenes, the Syrthes, the fertile banks where since arose Cyrene and
the great Chersonese.

They at length arrived toward the first mouth of the sacred Nile. It was
at the extremity of this fertile land that the ships of all commercial
nations were already received in the port of Canope, without knowing
whether the god Canope had founded this port, or whether the inhabitants
had manufactured the god--whether the star Canope had given its name to
the city, or whether the city had bestowed it upon the star. All that
was known of this matter was, that the city and the star were both very
ancient; and this is all that can be known of the origin of things, of
what nature soever they may be.

It was here that the king of Ethiopia, having ravaged all Egypt, saw the
invincible Amazan and the adorable Formosanta come on shore. He took one
for the god of war, and the other for the goddess of beauty. Amazan
presented to him the letter of recommendation from the king of Spain.
The king of Ethiopia immediately entertained them with some admirable
festivals, according to the indispensable custom of heroic times. They
then conferred about their expedition to exterminate the three hundred
thousand men of the king of Egypt, the three hundred thousand of the
emperor of the Indies, and the three hundred thousand of the great Khan
of the Scythians, who laid siege to the immense, proud, voluptuous city
of Babylon.

The two hundred Spaniards, whom Amazan had brought with him, said that
they had nothing to do with the king of Ethiopia's succoring Babylon;
that it was sufficient their king had ordered them to go and deliver it;
and that they were formidable enough for this expedition.

The Vascons said they had performed many other exploits; that they
would alone defeat the Egyptians, the Indians, and the Scythians; and
that they would not march unless the Spaniards were placed in the
rear-guard.

The two hundred Gangarids could not refrain from laughing at the
pretensions of their allies, and they maintained that with only one
hundred unicorns, they could put to flight all the kings of the earth.
The beautiful Formosanta appeased them by her prudence, and by her
enchanting discourse. Amazan introduced to the black monarch his
Gangarids, his unicorns, his Spaniards, his Vascons, and his beautiful
bird.

Every thing was soon ready to march by Memphis, Heliopolis, Arsinoe,
Petra, Artemitis, Sora, and Apamens, to attack the three kings, and to
prosecute this memorable war, before which all the wars ever waged by
man sink into insignificance.

Fame with her hundred tongues has proclaimed the victories Amazan gained
over the three kings, with his Spaniards, his Vascons, and his unicorns.
He restored the beautiful Formosanta to her father. He set at liberty
all his mistress's train, whom the king of Egypt had reduced to slavery.
The great Khan of the Scythians declared himself his vassal; and his
marriage was confirmed with princess Aldea. The invincible and generous
Amazan, was acknowledged the heir to the kingdom of Babylon, and entered
the city in triumph with the phœnix, in the presence of a hundred
tributary kings. The festival of his marriage far surpassed that which
king Belus had given. The bull Apis was served up roasted at table. The
kings of Egypt and India were cup-bearers to the married pair; and these
nuptials were celebrated by five hundred illustrious poets of Babylon.

Oh, Muses! daughters of heaven, who are constantly invoked at the
beginning of a work, I only implore you at the end. It is needless to
reproach me with saying grace, without having said _benedicite_. But,
Muses! you will not be less my patronesses. Inspire, I pray you, the
_Ecclesiastical Gazetteer_, the illustrious orator of the
_Convulsionnaires_, to say every thing possible against _The Princess of
Babylon_, in order that the work may be condemned by the Sorbonne, and,
therefore, be universally read. And prevent, I beseech you, O chaste and
noble Muses, any supplemental scribblers spoiling, by their fables, the
truths I have taught mortals in this faithful narrative.

[Illustration: Clio, the Muse of History. From a painting by Antonio
Canova.--"Prevent, I beseech you, O chaste and noble Muses, any
supplemental scribblers spoiling, by their fables, the truths I have
taught mortals in this faithful narrative."]

[Illustration: The Tax Collector.]



THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.



I.

NATIONAL POVERTY.


An old man, who is forever _pitying the present times, and extolling the
past_, was saying to me: "Friend, France is not so rich as it was under
Henry the IVth."

"And why?"

"Because the lands are not so well cultivated; because hands are wanting
for the cultivation; and because the day-laborer having raised the price
of his work, many land owners let their inheritances he fallow."

"Whence comes this scarcity of hands?"

"From this, that whoever finds in himself anything of a spirit of
industry, takes up the trades of embroiderer, chaser, watchmaker, silk
weaver, attorney, or divine. It is also because the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes has left a great void in the kingdom; because nuns and
beggars of all kinds have greatly multiplied; because the people in
general avoid as much as possible the hard labor of cultivation, for
which we are born by God's destination, and which we have rendered
ignominious by our own opinions; so very wise are we!

"Another cause of our poverty lies in our new wants. We pay our
neighbors four millions of livres on one article, and five or six upon
another, such, for example, as a stinking powder for stuffing up our
noses brought from America. Our coffee, tea, chocolate, cochineal,
indigo, spices, cost us above sixty millions a year. All these were
unknown to us in the reign of Henry the IVth, except the spices, of
which, however, the consumption was not so great as it is now. We burn a
hundred times more wax-lights than were burnt then; and get more than
the half of the wax from foreign countries, because we neglect our own
hives. We see a hundred times more diamonds in the ears, round the
necks, and on the hands of our city ladies of Paris, and other great
towns, than were worn by all the ladies of Henry the IVth's court, the
Queen included. Almost all the superfluities are necessarily paid for
with ready specie.

"Observe especially that we pay to foreigners above fifteen millions of
annuities on the _Hôtel-de-Ville_; and that Henry the IVth, on his
accession, having found two millions of debt in all on this imaginary
_Hôtel_, very wisely paid off a part, to ease the state of this burden.

"Consider that our civil wars were the occasion of the treasures of
Mexico being poured into the kingdom, when Don Philip _el Discreto_ took
it into his head to buy France, and that since that time, our foreign
wars have eased us of a good half of our money.

"These are partly the causes of our poverty; a poverty which we hide
under varnished ceilings, or with the help of our dealers in fashion. We
are poor with taste. There are some officers of revenue, there are
contractors or jobbers, there are merchants, very rich; their children,
their sons-in-law, are also very rich, but the nation in general is
unfortunately not so."

This old man's discourse, well or ill grounded, made a deep impression
on me; for the curate of my parish, who had always had a friendship for
me, had taught me a little of geometry and of history: and I begin to
reflect a little, which is very rare in my province. I do not know
whether he was right or not in every thing, but being very poor, I could
very easily believe that I had a great many companions of my misery.



II.

DISASTER OF THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.


I very readily make known to the _universe_ that I have a landed estate
which would yield me forty crowns a year, were it not for the tax laid
on it.

There came forth several edicts from certain persons, who, having
nothing better to do, govern the state at their fire-side, the preamble
of these edicts was, "that the legislative and executive was born, _jure
divino_, the co-proprietor of my land;" and that I owe it at least the
half of what I possess. The enormity of this legislative and executive
power made me bless myself. What would it be if that power which
presides over "the essential order of society," were to take the whole
of my little estate? The one is still more divine than the other.

The comptroller general knows that I used to pay, in all, but twelve
livres; that even this was a heavy burden on me, and that I should have
sunk under it, if God had not given me the talent of making wicker
baskets, which helped to carry me through my trials. But how should I,
on a sudden, be able to give the king twenty crowns?

The new ministers also said in their preamble, that it was not fit to
tax anything but the land, because every thing arises from the land,
even rain itself, and consequently that nothing was properly liable to
taxation, but the fruits of the land.

During the last war, one of their collectors came to my house, and
demanded of me, for my quota, three measures of corn, and a sack of
beans, the whole worth twenty crowns, to maintain the war--of which I
never knew the reason, having only heard it said, that there was nothing
to be got by it for our country, and a great deal to lose. As I had not
at that time either corn, or beans, or money, the legislative and
executive power had me dragged to prison; and the war went on as well as
it could.

On my release from the dungeon, being nothing but skin and bone, whom
should I meet but a jolly fresh colored man in a coach and six? He had
six footmen, to each of whom he gave for his wages more than the double
of my revenue. His head-steward, who, by the way, looked in as good
plight as himself, had of him a salary of two thousand livres, and
robbed him every year of twenty thousand more. His mistress had in six
months stood him in forty thousand crowns. I had formerly known him when
he was less well to pass than myself. He owned, by way of comfort to me,
that he enjoyed four hundred thousand livres a year.

"I suppose, then," said I, "that you pay out of this income two hundred
thousand to the state, to help to support that advantageous war we are
carrying on; since I, who have but just a hundred and twenty livres a
year, am obliged to pay half of them."

"I," said he, "I contribute to the wants of the state? You are surely
jesting, my friend. I have inherited from an uncle his fortune of eight
millions, which he got at Cadiz and at Surat; I have not a foot of land;
my estate lies in government contracts, and in the funds. I owe the
state nothing. It is for you to give half of your substance,--you who
are a proprietor of land. Do you not see, that if the minister of the
revenue were to require anything of me in aid of our country, he would
be a blockhead, that could not calculate? for every thing is the produce
of the land. Money and the paper currency are nothing but pledges of
exchange. If, after having laid the sole tax, the tax that is to supply
the place of all others, on those commodities, the government were to
ask money of me; do you not see, that this would be a double load? that
it would be asking the same thing twice over? My uncle sold at Cadiz to
the amount of two millions of your corn, and of two millions of stuffs
made of your wool; upon these two articles he gained cent. per cent. You
must easily think that this profit came out of lands already taxed. What
my uncle bought for tenpence of you, he sold again for above fifty
livres at Mexico; and thus he made a shift to return to his own country
with eight millions clear.

"You must be sensible, then, that it would be a horrid injustice to
re-demand of him a few farthings on the tenpence he paid you. If twenty
nephews like me, whose uncles had gained each eight millions at Buenos
Ayres, at Lima, at Surat, or at Pondicherry, were, in the urgent
necessities of the state, each to lend to it only two hundred thousand
livres, that would produce four millions. But what horror would that
be! Pay then thou, my friend, who enjoyest quietly the neat and clear
revenue of forty crowns; serve thy country well, and come now and then
to dine with my servants in livery."

This plausible discourse made me reflect a good deal, but I cannot say
it much comforted me.



III.

CONVERSATION WITH A GEOMETRICIAN.


It sometimes happens that a man has no answer to make, and yet is not
persuaded. He is overthrown without the feeling of being convinced. He
feels at the bottom of his heart a scruple, a repugnance, which hinders
him from believing what has been proved to him. A geometrician
demonstrates to you, that between a circle and a tangent, you may thread
a number of curves, and yet cannot get one straight line to pass. Your
eyes, your reason, tell you the contrary. The geometrician gravely
answers you, that it is an infinitesimal of the second order. You stare
in stupid silence, and quit the field all astonished, without having any
clear idea, without comprehending anything, and without having any reply
to make.

Consult but a geometrician of more candor, and he explains the mystery
to you.

"We suppose," says he, "what cannot be in nature, lines which have
length without breadth. Naturally and philosophically speaking, it is
impossible for one real line to penetrate another. No curve, nor no
right line can pass between two real lines that touch one another. These
theorems that puzzle you are but sports of the imagination, ideal
chimeras. Whereas true geometry is the art of measuring things actually
existent."

I was perfectly well satisfied with the confession of the sensible
mathematician, and, with all my misfortune, could not help laughing on
learning that there was a quackery even in that science, which is called
the sublime science. My geometrician was a kind of philosophical
patriot, who had deigned to chat with me sometimes in my cottage. I said
to him:

"Sir, you have tried to enlighten the cockneys of Paris, on a point of
the greatest concern to mankind, that of the duration of human life. It
is to you alone that the ministry owes its knowledge of the due rate of
annuities for lives, according to different ages. You have proposed to
furnish the houses in town with what water they may want, and to deliver
us at length from the shame and ridicule of hearing water cried about
the streets, and of seeing women inclosed within an oblong hoop,
carrying two pails of water, both together of about thirty pounds
weight, up to a fourth story. Be so good, in the name of friendship, to
tell me, how many two-handed bipeds there may be in France?"

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--It is assumed, that there may be about twenty
millions, and I am willing to adopt this calculation as the most
probable, till it can be verified, which it would be very easy to do,
and which, however, has not hitherto been done, because _one does not
always think of every thing_.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--How many acres, think you, the whole territory
of France contains?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--One hundred and thirty millions, of which almost the
half is in roads, in towns, villages, moors, heaths, marshes, sands,
barren lands, useless convents, gardens of more pleasure than profit,
uncultivated grounds, and bad grounds ill cultivated. We might reduce
all the land which yields good returns to seventy-five millions of
square acres; but let us state them at fourscore millions. One cannot do
too much for one's country.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--How much may you think each acre brings in
yearly, one year with another, in corn, seeds of all kinds, wine,
fish-ponds, wood, metals, cattle, fruit, wool, silk, oil, milk, clear of
all charges, without reckoning the tax?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Why, if they produce each twenty-five livres, (about
twenty English shillings), it is a great deal; but not to discourage our
countrymen, let us put them at thirty livres. There are acres which
produce constantly regenerating value, and which are estimated at three
hundred livres: there are others which only produce three livres. The
mean proportion between three and three hundred is thirty; for you must
allow that three is to thirty as thirty is to three hundred. If, indeed,
there were comparatively many acres at thirty livres, and very few at
three hundred, our account would not hold good; but, once more, I would
not be over punctilious.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Well, sir; how much will these fourscore
millions of acres yield of revenue, estimated in money?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--The account is ready made; they will produce two
thousand four hundred millions of livres of the present currency.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--I have read that Solomon possessed, of his own
property, twenty-five thousand millions of livres, in ready money; and
certainly there are not two thousand four hundred millions of specie
circulating in France, which, I am told, is much greater and much richer
than Solomon's country.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--There lies the mystery. There may be about nine
hundred millions circulating throughout the kingdom; and this money,
passing from hand to hand, is sufficient to pay for all the produce of
the land, and of industry. The same crown may pass ten times from the
pocket of the cultivator, into that of the ale-housekeeper, and of the
tax-gatherer.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--I apprehend you. But you told me that we are,
in all, about twenty millions of inhabitants, men, women, old and young.
How much, pray, do you allow for each?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--One hundred and twenty livres, or forty crowns.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--You have just guessed my revenue. I have four
acres, which, reckoning the fallow years with those of produce, bring me
in one hundred and twenty livres; which is little enough, God knows.

But if every individual were to have his contingent, would that be no
more than five louis d'ors a year?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Certainly not, according to our calculation, which I
have a little amplified. Such is the state of human nature. Our life and
our fortune have narrow limits. In Paris, they do not, one with another,
live above twenty-two or twenty-three years, and, one with another,
have not, at the most, above a hundred and twenty livres a year to
spend. So that your food, your raiment, your lodging, your movables, are
all represented by the sum of one hundred and twenty livres.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Alas! What have I done to you, that you thus
abridge me of my fortune and life? Can it then be true, that I have but
three and twenty years to live, unless I rob my fellow-creatures of
their share?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--This is incontestable in the good city of Paris. But
from these twenty-three years you must deduct ten, at the least, for
your childhood, as childhood is not an enjoyment of life; it is a
preparation; it is the porch of the edifice; it is the tree that has not
yet given fruits; it is the dawn of a day. Then again, from the thirteen
years which remain to you, deduct the time of sleep, and that of
tiresomeness of life, and that will be at least a moiety. You will then
have six years and a half left to pass in vexation, in pain, in some
pleasures, and in hopes.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Merciful heaven! At this rate, your account
does not allow us above three years of tolerable existence.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.---That is no fault of mine. Nature cares very little
for individuals. There are insects which do not live above one day, but
of which the species is perpetual. Nature resembles those great princes,
who reckon as nothing the loss of four hundred thousand men, so they but
accomplish their august designs.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Forty Crowns and three years of life! What
resource can you imagine against two such curses?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--As to life, it would be requisite to render the air
of Paris more pure--that men should eat less and take more
exercise--that mothers should suckle their own children--that people
should be no longer so ill-advised as to dread inoculation. This is what
I have already said; and as to fortune, why, even marry and rear a
family.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--How! Can the way to live more at ease be to
associate to my own bad circumstances those of others?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Five or six bad circumstances put together form a
tolerable establishment. Get a good wife, and we will say only two sons
and two daughters; this will make seven hundred and twenty livres for
your little family, that is to say, if distributive justice were to take
place, and that each individual had an hundred and twenty livres a year.
Your children, in their infancy, stand you in almost nothing; when grown
up they will ease and help you. Their mutual aid will save you a good
part of your expenses, and you may live very happy, like a philosopher.
Always provided, however, that those worthy gentlemen who govern the
state have not the barbarity to extort from each of you twenty crowns a
year. But the misfortune is, we are no longer in the golden age, where
the men, born all equals, had an equal part in the nutritive productions
of uncultivated land. The case is now far from being so good a one, as
that every two-handed biped possesses land to the value of an hundred
and twenty livres a year.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--'Sdeath! You ruin us. You said but just now,
that in a country of fourscore millions of inhabitants, each of them
ought to enjoy an hundred and twenty livres a year, and now you take
them away from us again!

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--I was computing according to the registers of the
golden age, but we must reckon according to that of iron. There are many
inhabitants who have but the value of ten crowns a year, others no more
than four or five, and above six millions of men who have absolutely
nothing.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Nothing? Why they would perish of hunger in
three days' time.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Not in the least. The others, who possess their
portions, set them to work, and share with them. It is from this
arrangement that the pay comes for the divine, the confectioner, the
apothecary, the preacher, the actor, the attorney, and the
hackney-coachman. You thought yourself very ill off, to have no more
than a hundred and twenty livres a year, reduced to a hundred and eight
by your tax of twelve livres. But consider the soldiers who devote their
blood to their country at the rate of fourpence a day. They have not
above sixty-three livres a year for their livelihood, and yet they make
a comfortable shift, by a number of them joining their little stock and
living in common.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--So then an ex-Jesuit has more than five times
the pay of a soldier. And yet the soldiers have done more service to the
state under the eyes of the king at Fontenoy, at Laufelt, at the siege
of Fribourg, than the reverend Father Le Valette ever did in his life.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Nothing can be truer: nay, every one of these
turned-adrift Jesuits, having now become free, has more to spend than
what he cost his convent. There are even some among them who have gained
a good deal of money by scribbling pamphlets against the parliaments, as
for example, the reverend father Patouillet, and the reverend father
Monote. In short, in this world every one sets his wits to work for a
livelihood. One is at the head of a manufactory of stuffs; another of
porcelain; another undertakes the opera; another the _Ecclesiastical
Gazette_; another a tragedy in familiar life, or a novel or romance in
the English style; this maintains the stationer, the ink-maker, the
bookseller, the hawker, who might else be reduced to beggary. There is
nothing, then, but the restitution of the hundred and twenty livres to
those who have nothing, that makes the state flourish.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--A pretty way of flourishing, truly!

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--And yet there is no other. In every country it is the
rich that enable the poor to live. This is the sole source of the
industry of commerce. The more industrious a nation itself is, the more
it gains from foreign countries. Could we, on our foreign trade, get ten
millions a year by the balance in our favor, there would, in twenty
years, be two hundred millions more in the nation. This would afford ten
livres a head more, on the supposition of an equitable distribution;
that is to say, that the dealers would make each poor person earn ten
livres the more, once paid, in the hopes of making still more
considerable gains. But commerce, like the fertility of the earth, has
its bounds, otherwise its progression would be _ad infinitum_. Nor,
besides, is it clear, that the balance of our trade is constantly
favorable to us; there are times in which we lose.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--I have heard much talk of population. If our
inhabitants were doubled, so that we numbered forty millions of people
instead of twenty, what would be the consequence?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--It would be this: that, one with another, each would
have, instead of forty, but twenty crowns to live upon; or that the land
should produce double the crops it now does; or that there should be
double the national industry, or of gain from foreign countries; or that
half of the people should be sent to America; or that one half of the
nation should eat the other.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Let us then remain satisfied with our twenty
millions of inhabitants, and with our hundred and twenty livres a head,
distributed as it shall please the Lord. Yet this situation is a sad
one, and your iron age is hard indeed.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--There is no nation that is better off; and there are
many that are worse. Do you believe that there is in the North
wherewithal to afford to each inhabitant the value of an hundred and
twenty of our livres a year? If they had had the equivalent of this, the
Huns, the Vandals, and the Franks would not have deserted their country,
in quest of establishments elsewhere, which they conquered, fire and
sword in hand.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--If I were to listen to you, you would persuade
me presently that I am happy with my hundred and twenty livres.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--If you would but think yourself happy, you would then
be so.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--A man cannot imagine what actually is not,
unless he be mad.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--I have already told you, that in order to be more at
your ease, and more happy than you are, you should take a wife; to which
I tack, however, this clause, that she has, as well as you, one hundred
and twenty livres a year; that is to say, four acres at ten crowns an
acre. The ancient Romans had each but one. If your children are
industrious, they can each earn as much by their working for others.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--So that they may get money, without others
losing it.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Such is the law of all nations: there is no living
but on these terms.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--And must my wife and I give each of us the
half of our produce to the legislative and executive power, and the new
ministers of state rob us of the price of our hard labor, and of the
substance of our poor children, before they are able to get their
livelihood? Pray, tell me, how much money will these new ministers of
ours bring into the king's coffers, by this _jure divino_ system?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--You pay twenty crowns on four acres, which bring you
in forty. A rich man, who possesses four hundred acres will, by the new
tariff, pay two thousand crowns; and the whole fourscore millions of
acres will yield to the king, twelve hundred millions of livres a year,
or four hundred millions of crowns.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--That appears to me impracticable and
impossible.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--And very much you are in the right to think so: and
this impossibility is a geometrical demonstration that there is a
fundamental defect in the calculation of our new ministers.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Is not there also demonstrably a prodigious
injustice in taking from me the half of my corn, of my hemp, of the wool
of my sheep, etc., and, at the same time, to require no aid from those
who shall have gained ten, twenty, or thirty thousand livres a year, by
my hemp, of which they will have made linen,--by my wool, of which they
will have made cloth,--by my corn, which they will have sold at so much
more than it cost them?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--The injustice of this administration is as evident as
its calculation is erroneous. It is right to favor industry; but opulent
industry ought to contribute to support the state. This industry will
have certainly taken from you a part of your one hundred and twenty
livres, and appropriated that part to itself, in selling you your shirts
and your coat twenty times dearer than they would have cost you, if you
had made them yourself. The manufacturer who shall have enriched
himself, at your expense, will, I allow, have also paid wages to his
workmen, who had nothing of themselves, but he will, every year, have
sunk, and put by a sum that will, at length, have produced to him thirty
thousand livres a year. This fortune then he will have acquired at your
expense. Nor can you ever sell him the produce of your land dear enough
to reimburse you for what he will have got by you; for were you to
attempt such an advance of your price, he would procure what he wanted
cheaper from other countries. A proof of which is, that he remains
constantly possessor of his thirty thousand livres a year, and you of
your one hundred and twenty livres, that often diminish, instead of
increasing.

It is then necessary and equitable, that the refined industry of the
trader should pay more than the gross industry of the farmer. The same
is to be said of the collectors of the revenue. Your tax had previously
been but twelve livres, before our great ministers were pleased to take
from you twenty crowns. On these twelve livres, the collector retained
tenpence, or ten _sols_ for himself. If in your province there were five
hundred thousand souls, he will have gained two hundred and fifty
thousand livres a year. Suppose he spends fifty thousand, it is clear,
that at the end of ten years he will be two millions in pocket. It is
then but just that he should contribute his proportion, otherwise, every
thing would be perverted, and go to ruin.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--I am very glad you have taxed the officer of
the revenue. It is some relief to my imagination. But since he has so
well increased his superfluity, what shall I do to augment my small
modicum?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--I have already told you, by marrying, by laboring, by
trying to procure from your land some sheaves of corn in addition to
what it previously produced.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Well! granted then that I shall have been duly
industrious; that all my countrymen will have been so too; and that the
legislative and executive power shall have received a good round tax;
how much will the nation have gained at the end of the year?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Nothing at all; unless it shall have carried on a
profitable foreign trade. But life will have been more agreeable in it.
Every one will, respectively, in proportion, have had more clothes, more
linen, more movables than he had before. There will have been in the
nation a more abundant circulation. The wages would have been, in
process of time, augmented, nearly in proportion to the number of the
sheaves of corn, of the tods of wool, of the ox-hides, of the sheep and
goats, that will have been added, of the clusters of grapes that will
have been squeezed in the wine-press. More of the value of commodities
will have been paid to the king in money, and the king will have
returned more value to those he will have employed under his orders; but
there will not be half a crown the more in the kingdom.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.---What will then remain to the government at
the end of the year?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Once more, nothing. This is the case of government in
general. It never lays by anything. It will have got its living, that is
to say, its food, raiment, lodging, movables. The subject will have done
so too. Where a government amasses treasure, it will have squeezed from
the circulation so much money as it will have amassed. It will have made
so many wretched, as it will have put by forty crowns in its coffers.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--At this rate, then, Henry IV. was but a
mean-spirited wretch, a miser, a plunderer, for I have been told that he
had chested up in the Bastile, above fifty millions of livres according
to our present currency.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--He was a man as good, and as prudent, as he was
brave. He was preparing to make a just war, and by amassing in his
coffers twenty-two millions of the currency of that time, besides which
he had twenty more to receive, which he left in circulation, he spared
the people above a hundred millions that it would have cost, if he had
not taken those useful measures. He made himself morally sure of success
against an enemy who had not taken the like precaution. The
probabilities were prodigiously in his favor. His twenty-two millions,
in bank, proved that there was then in this kingdom, twenty-two millions
of surplusage of the territorial produce, so that no one was a sufferer.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--My father then told me the truth, when he said
that the subject was in proportion more rich under the administration of
the Duke of Sully than under that of our new ministers, who had laid on
the _single_ tax, the _sole_ tax, and who, out of my forty crowns, have
taken away twenty. Pray, tell me, is there another nation in the world
that enjoys this precious advantage of the _sole tax_?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Not one opulent nation. The English, who are not much
giving to laughing, could not, however, help bursting out, when they
heard that men of intelligence, among us, had proposed this kind of
administration. The Chinese exact a tax from all the foreign trading
ships that resort to Canton. The Dutch pay, at Nangazaqui, when they are
received in Japan, under pretext that they are not Christians. The
Laplanders, and the Samoieds, are indeed subjected to a sole tax in
sables or marten-skins. The republic of St. Marino pays nothing more
than tithes for the maintenance of that state in its splendor.

There is, in Europe, a nation celebrated for its equity and its valor,
that pays no tax. This is Switzerland. But thus it has happened. The
people have put themselves in the place of the Dukes of Austria and of
Zeringue. The small cantons are democratical, and very poor. Each
inhabitant pays but a trifling sum toward the support of this little
republic. In the rich cantons, the people are charged, for the state,
with those duties which the Archdukes of Austria and the lords of the
land used to exact. The protestant cantons are, in proportion, twice as
rich as the catholic, because the state, in the first, possesses the
lands of the monks. Those who were formerly subjects to the Archdukes of
Austria, to the Duke of Zeringue, and to the monks, are now the subjects
of their own country. They pay to that country the same tithes, the same
fines of alienation, that they paid to their former masters; and as the
subjects, in general, have very little trade, their merchandise is
liable to no charges, except some small staple duties. The men make a
trade of their courage, in their dealings with foreign powers, and sell
themselves for a certain term of years, which brings some money into
their country at our expense: and this example is as singular a one in
the civilized world, as is the sole tax now laid on by our new
legislators.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--So, sir, the Swiss are not plundered, _jure
divino_, of one-half of their goods; and he that has four cows in
Switzerland is not obliged to give two of them to the state?

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--Undoubtedly, not. In one canton, upon thirteen tons
of wine, they pay one, and drink the other twelve. In another canton,
they pay the twelfth, and drink the remaining eleven.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--Why am not I a Swiss? That cursed tax, that
single and singularly iniquitous tax, that has reduced me to beggary!
But then again, three or four hundred taxes, of which it is impossible
for me to retain or pronounce the bare names, are they more just and
more tolerable? Was there ever a legislator, who, in founding a state,
wished to create counselors to the king, inspectors of coal-meters,
gaugers of wine, measurers of wood, searchers of hog-tongues,
comptrollers of salt butter? or to maintain an army of rascals, twice as
numerous as that of Alexander, commanded by sixty generals, who lay the
country under contribution, who gain, every day, signal victories, who
take prisoners, and who sometimes sacrifice them in the air, or on a
boarded stage, as the ancient Scythians did, according to what my vicar
told me?

Now, was such a legislation, against which so many outcries were raised,
and which caused the shedding of so many tears, much better than the
newly imposed one, which at one stroke, cleanly and quietly takes away
half of my subsistence? I am afraid, that on a fair liquidation, it will
be found that under the ancient system of the revenue, they used to
take, at times and in detail, three-quarters of it.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--_Iliacos intra muros peccatur et extra. Est modus in
retus. Caveas fine quidnimie._

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--I have learned a little of history, and
something of geometry; but I do not understand a word of Latin.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--The sense is, pretty nearly, as follows. _There is
wrong on both sides. Keep to a medium in every thing. Nothing too much._

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--I say, nothing too much; that is really my
situation; but the worst of it is, I have not enough.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--I allow that you must perish of want, and I too, and
the state too, if the new administration should continue only two years
longer; but it is to be hoped heaven will have mercy on us.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS.--We pass our lives in hope, and die hoping to
the last. Adieu, sir, you have enlightened me, but my heart is grieved.

THE GEOMETRICIAN.--This is, indeed, often the fruit of knowledge.

[Illustration: Palace of the barefooted Carmelites.--"What would you
please to have, my son?"--"A morsel of bread, my reverend father. The
new edicts have stripped me of everything."--"Son, know that we
ourselves beg charity; we do not bestow it."]



IV.

AN ADVENTURE WITH A CARMELITE.


When I had thanked the academician of the Academy of Sciences, for
having set me right, I went away quite out of heart, praising
providence, but muttering between my teeth these doleful words: "_What!
to have no more than forty crowns a year to live on, nor more than
twenty-two years to live!_ Alas! may our life be yet shorter, since it
is to be so miserable!"

As I was saying this, I found myself just opposite a very superb house.
Already was I feeling myself pressed by hunger. I had not so much as the
hundred and twentieth part of the sum that by right belongs to each
individual. But as soon as I was told that this was the palace of my
reverend fathers, the bare-footed Carmelites, I conceived great hopes,
and said to myself, since these saints are humble enough to go
bare-footed, they will be charitable enough to give me a dinner.

I rang. A Carmelite came to the door.

"What would you please to have, my son?"

"A morsel of bread, my reverend father. The new edicts have stripped me
of every thing."

"Son, know that we ourselves beg charity; we do not bestow it."[1]

"What! while your holy institute forbids you to wear shoes, you have the
house of a prince, and can you refuse to me a meal?"

"My son, it is true, we go without stockings and shoes; that is an
expense the less; we feel no more cold in our feet than in our hands.
As to our fine house, we built it very easily, as we have a hundred
thousand livres a year of income from houses in the same street."

"So, then! you suffer me to die of hunger, while you have an income of a
hundred thousand livres! I suppose you pay fifty thousand of these to
the new government?"

"Heaven preserve us from paying a single farthing! It is only the
produce of the land cultivated by laborious hands, callous with work,
and moistened with tears, that owes taxes to the legislative and
executive power. The alms which have been bestowed upon us, have enabled
us to build those houses, by the rent of which we get a hundred thousand
livres a year. But these alms, coming from the fruits of the earth, and
having, consequently, already paid the tax, ought not to pay twice. They
have sanctified the faithful believers, who have impoverished themselves
to enrich us, and we continue to beg charity, and to lay under
contribution the Fauxbourg of St. Germain, in order to sanctify a still
greater number of the faithful believers."[2]

Having thus spoken, the Carmelite politely shut the door in my face.

I then passed along and stopped before the _Hôtel_ of the _Mousquetaires
gris_, and related to those gentlemen what had just happened to me. They
gave me a good dinner and half a crown, (_un ecu_). One of them proposed
to go directly and set fire to the convent; but a musqueteer, more
discreet than he, remonstrated with him, insisting that the time for
action had not yet arrived, and implored him to wait patiently a little
longer.[3]


[1] Victor Hugo in his poem, _Christ at the Vatican_, (translated by
G.B. Burleigh,) rebukes this inhuman spirit of monkish greed and
avarice, which always receives but neves gives in return. In the poem,
Christ is represented as saying:

                               "----I have said,
     'I will have mercy and not sacrifice;'--
     Have said, 'Give freely what, without a price,
     Was given to you.' To my redeemed, instead,
     You sell baptism upon their natal bed;
     Sell to the sinner void indulgences;
     To lovers sell the natural right to wed;
     Sell to the dying the privilege of decease,
     And sell your funeral masses to the dead!
     Your prayers and masses and communions sell;
     Beads, benedictions, crosses; in your eyes
     Nothing is sacred,--all is merchandise."--E.


[2] In a recent number of _The Nineteenth Century_, Mr. Alex. A. Knox,
in an able criticism on the writings of Voltaire, says very truly:

"It should not be forgotten that in his day a very large portion of the
soil of France was in the hands of the clergy, free from all burdens,
save in so far as the clergy chose to execute them by the way of
'gratuitous gifts.' The condition of the French peasant was frightful.
Arthur Young, Dr. Moore, and others have described it at a somewhat
later date, but it was even so in Voltaire's time. Of course the
'clerical immunities' were far from being the only cause of all this
misery; but they were a frightful addition to it."

[3] The degradation of labor, and the corruption and injustice of the
papal priesthood, were the inciting causes of the great revolution in
France, which at length overturned the monarchy, and convulsed, for so
long a period, every nation in Europe. In reading this romance of the
hardships of the laborer, we may learn to comprehend the true principles
of Voltaire, and recognize his great benevolence and sympathy with
suffering and distress. We may also listen to the first faint mutterings
of the terrible storm of blood and retribution, that was so soon to
burst over unhappy France, and overwhelm in its lurid course all ranks
and conditions of mankind--the innocent and the guilty, the oppressed
and the oppressor, the peasant and the priest.--E.



V.

AUDIENCE OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL.


I went, with my half-crown, to present a petition to the comptroller
general, who was that day giving audience.

His anti-chamber was filled with people of all kinds. There were there
especially some with more bluff faces, more prominent bellies, and more
arrogant looks than my man of eight millions. I durst not draw near to
them; I saw them, but they did not observe me.

A monk, a great man for tithes, had begun a suit at law against certain
subjects of the state, whom he called his tenants. He had already a
larger income than the half of his parishioners put together, and was
moreover lord of the manor. His claim was, that whereas his vassals had,
with infinite pains, converted their heaths into vineyards, they owed
him a tithe of the wine, which, taking into the account the price of
labor, of the vine-props, of the casks and cellarage, would carry off
above a quarter of the produce.

"But," said he, "as the tithes are due, _jure divino_, I demand the
quarter of the substance of my tenants, in the name of God."

The minister of the revenue said to him, "I see how charitable you are."

A farmer-general, extremely well-skilled in assessments, interposed,
saying:

"Sir, that village can afford nothing to this monk; as I have, but the
last year, made the parishioners pay thirty-two taxes on their wine,
besides their over-consumption of the allowance for their own drinking.
They are entirely ruined. I have seized and sold their cattle and
movables, and yet they are still my debtors. I protest, then, against
the claim of the reverend father."

"You are in the right," answered the minister of the revenue, "to be his
rival; you both equally love your neighbor, and you both edify me."

A third, a monk and lord of the manor, whose tenants were in mortmain,
was waiting for a decree of the council that should put him in
possession of all the estate of a Paris cockney, who having,
inadvertently, lived a year and a day in a house subject to this
servitude, and inclosed within the hands of this priest, had died at the
year's end. The monk was claiming all the estate of this cockney, and
claiming it _jure divino_.

The minister found by this, that the heart of this monk was as just and
as tender as those of the others.

A fourth, who was comptroller of the royal domains, presented a specious
memorial, in which he justified himself for his having reduced twenty
families to beggary. They had inherited from their uncles, their aunts,
their brothers, or cousins; and were liable to pay the duties. The
officers of the domain had generously proved to them, that they had not
set the full value on their inheritances,--that they were much richer
than they believed, and, consequently, having condemned them to a triple
fine, ruined them in charges, and threw the heads of the families into
jail, he had bought their best possessions without untying his
purse-strings.

The comptroller general said to him, in a tone indeed rather bitter:

_"Euge, controlleur bone et fidelis, quia supra pauca fuisti fidelis,
fermier-general te constituam."_

But to a master of the requests, who was standing at his side, he said
in a low voice:

"We must make these blood-suckers, sacred and profane, disgorge. It is
time to give some relief to the people, who, without our care, and our
equity, would have nothing to live upon in this world at least, however
they might fare in the other."

Some, of profound genius, presented projects to him. One of them had
imagined a scheme to lay a tax on wit. "All the world," said he, "will
be eager to pay, as no one cares to pass for a fool."

The minister declared to him, "I exempt you from the tax."

Another proposed to lay the _only_ tax upon songs and laughing, in
consideration that we were the merriest nation under the sun, and that a
song was a relief and comfort for every thing. But the minister
observed, that of late there were hardly any songs of pleasantry made;
and he was afraid that, to escape the tax, we would become too serious.

The next that presented himself, was a trusty and loyal subject, who
offered to raise for the king three times as much, by making the nation
pay three times less. The minister advised him to learn arithmetic.

A fourth proved to the king in the way of _friendship_, that he could
not raise above seventy-five millions, but that he was going to procure
him two hundred and twenty-five. "You will oblige me in this," said the
minister, "as soon as we shall have paid the public debts."

At length, who should appear but a deputy of the new author, who makes
the legislative power co-proprietor of all our lands, _jure divino_, and
who was giving the king twelve hundred millions of revenue. I knew the
man again who had flung me into prison for not having paid my twenty
crowns, and throwing myself at the feet of the comptroller general, I
implored his justice; upon which, he burst out a laughing, and telling
me, it was a trick that had been played me, he ordered the doers of this
mischief in jest to pay me a hundred crowns damages, and exempted me
from the land-tax for the rest of my life. I said to him, "God bless
your honor!"



VI.

THE MAN OF FORTY CROWNS MARRIES, BECOMES A FATHER, AND DESCANTS UPON THE
MONKS.


The Man of Forty Crowns having improved his understanding, and having
accumulated a moderate fortune, married a very pretty girl, who had an
hundred crowns a year of her own. As soon as his son was born, he felt
himself a man of some consequence in the state. He was famous for making
the best baskets in the world, and his wife was an excellent seamstress.
She was born in the neighborhood of a rich abbey of a hundred thousand
livres a year. Her husband asked me one day, why those gentlemen, who
were so few in number, had swallowed so many of the forty crown lots?
"Are they more useful to their country than I am?" "No, dear neighbor."
"Do they, like me, contribute at least to the population of it?" "No."
"Do they cultivate the land? Do they defend the state when it is
attacked?" "No, they pray to God for us." "Well, then, I will pray to
God for us." "Well, then, I will pray to God for them, in return."

QUESTION.--How many of these useful gentry, men and women, may the
convents in this kingdom contain?

ANSWER.--By the lists of the superintendents, taken toward the end of
the last century, there were about ninety thousand.

QUESTION.--According to our ancient account, they ought not, at forty
crowns a head, to possess above ten millions eight hundred thousand
livres. Pray, how much have they actually?

ANSWER.--They have to the amount of fifty millions, including the
masses, and alms to the mendicant monks, who really lay a considerable
tax on the people. A begging friar of a convent in Paris, publicly
bragged that his wallet was worth fourscore thousand livres a year.

QUESTION.--Let us now consider how much the repartition of fifty
millions among ninety thousand shaven crowns gives to each? Let us see,
is it not five hundred and fifty-five livres?

ANSWER.--Yes, and a considerable sum it is in a numerous society, where
the expenses even diminish by the quantity of consumers; for ten persons
may live together much cheaper than if each had his separate lodging and
table.

QUESTION.--So that the ex-Jesuits, to whom there is now assigned a
pension of four hundred livres, are then really losers by the bargain.

ANSWER.--I do not think so; for they are almost all of them retired
among their friends, who assist them. Several of them say masses for
money, which they did not do before; others get to be preceptors; some
are maintained by female bigots; each has made a shift for himself: and,
perhaps, at this time, there are few of them, who have tasted of the
world, and of liberty, that would resume their former chains. The
monkish life, whatever they may say, is not at all to be envied. It is a
maxim well known, that the monks are a kind of people who assemble
without knowing, live without loving, and die without regretting each
other.

QUESTION.--You think, then, that it would be doing them a great service,
to strip them of all their monks' habits?

ANSWER.--They would undoubtedly gain much by it, and the state still
more. It would restore to the country a number of subjects, men and
women, who have rashly sacrificed their liberty, at an age to which the
laws do not allow a capacity of disposing of tenpence a year income. It
would be taking these corpses out of their tombs, and afford a true
resurrection. Their houses might become hospitals, or be turned into
places for manufactures. Population would be increased. All the arts
would be better cultivated. One might at least diminish the number of
these voluntary victims by fixing the number of novices. The country
would have subjects more useful, and less unhappy. Such is the opinion
of all the magistrates, such the unanimous wish of the public, since its
understanding is enlightened. The example of England, and other states,
is an evident proof of the necessity of this reformation. What would
England do at this time, if, instead of forty thousand seamen, it had
forty thousand monks? The more they are multiplied, the greater need
there is of a number of industrious subjects. There are undoubtedly
buried in the cloisters many talents, which are lost to the state. To
make a kingdom nourish, there should be the fewest priests and the most
artisans possible. So far ought the ignorance and barbarism of our
forefathers to be from being any rule for us, that they ought rather to
be an admonition to us, to do what they would do, if they were in our
place, with our improvements in knowledge.

QUESTION.--It is not then out of hatred to monks that you wish to
abolish them, but out of love to your country? I think as you do. I
would not have my son a monk. And if I thought I was to rear children
for nothing better than a cloister, I would not wish to become a father.

ANSWER.--Where in fact, is that good father of a family that would not
groan to see his son and daughter lost to society? This is seeking the
safety of the soul. It may be so, but a soldier that seeks the safety of
his body, when his duty is to fight, is punished. We are all soldiers of
the state; we are in the pay of society; we become deserters when we
quit it.

Why, then, has monkishness prevailed? Because, since the days of
Constantine, the government has been everywhere absurd and detestable;
because the Roman empire came to have more monks than soldiers; because
there were a hundred thousand of them in Egypt alone; because they were
exempt from labor and taxes; because the chiefs of those barbarous
nations which destroyed the empire, having turned Christians, in order
to govern Christians, exercised the most horrid tyranny; because, to
avoid the fury of these tyrants, people threw themselves in crowds into
cloisters, and so, to escape one servitude, put themselves into another;
because the popes, by instituting so many different orders of sacred
drones, contrived to have so many subjects to themselves in other
states; because a peasant likes better to be called reverend father, and
to give his benedictions, than to follow a plough's tail; because he
does not know that the plough is nobler than a monk's habit; because he
had rather live at the expense of fools than by a laborious occupation;
in short, because he does not know that, in making a monk of himself, he
is preparing for himself unhappy days, of which the sad groundwork will
be nothing but a _tedium vitæ_ and repentance.

QUESTION.--I am satisfied. Let us have no monks, for the sake of their
own happiness, as well as ours. But I am sorry to hear it said by the
landlord of our village, who is father to four boys and three girls,
that he does not know how to dispose of his daughters, unless he makes
nuns of them.

ANSWER.--This too often repeated plea is at once inhuman, detrimental to
the country, and destructive to society. Every time that it can be said
of any condition of life whatever, that if all the world were to embrace
it mankind would perish, it is proved that that condition is a worthless
one, and that whoever embraces it does all the mischief to mankind that
in him lies.

Now, it being a clear consequence that if all the youth of both sexes
were to shut themselves up in cloisters the world would perish, monkery
is, if it were but in that light alone, the enemy to human nature,
independently of the horrid evils it has formerly caused.

QUESTION.--Might not as much be said of soldiers?

[Illustration: Entering the convent.--"There is a necessity for houses
of retreat for old age, for infirmity, for deformity. But by the most
detestable of all abuses, these foundations are for well-made persons.
Let a hump-backed woman present herself to enter into a cloister, and
she will be rejected with contempt, unless she will give an immense
portion to the house."]

ANSWER. Certainly not; for if every subject carried arms in his turn, as
formerly was the practice in all republics, and especially in that of
Rome, the soldier is but the better farmer for it. The soldier, as a
good subject ought to do, marries, and fights for his wife and children.
Would it were the will of heaven that every laborer was a soldier and a
married man! They would make excellent subjects. But a monk, merely in
his quality of a monk, is good for nothing but to devour the substance
of his countryman. There is no truth more generally acknowledged.

QUESTION.--But, sir, the daughters of poor gentlemen, who cannot portion
them off in marriage, what are they to do?

ANSWER.---Do! They should do, as has a thousand times been said, like
the daughters in England, in Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Holland,
half Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Tartary, Turkey, Africa, and in
almost all the rest of the globe. They will prove much better wives,
much better mothers, when it shall have been the custom, as in Germany,
to marry women without fortune. A woman, industrious and a good
economist, will do more good in a house, than a daughter of a farmer of
the revenue, who spends more in superfluities than she will have brought
of income to her husband.

There is a necessity for houses of retreat for old age, for infirmity,
for deformity. But by the most detestable of all abuses, these
foundations are for well-made persons. Let a hump-backed old woman
present herself to enter into a cloister, and she will be rejected with
contempt, unless she will give an immense portion to the house. But what
do I say? Every nun must bring her dower with her; she is else the
refuse of the convent. Never was there a more intolerable abuse.

QUESTION.--Thank you, sir. I swear to you that no daughter of mine shall
be a nun. They shall learn to spin, to sew, to make lace, to embroider,
to render themselves useful. I look on the vows of convents to be crimes
against one's country and one's self. Now, sir, I beg you will explain
to me, how comes it that a certain writer, in contradiction to human
kind, pretends that monks are useful to the population of a state,
because their buildings are kept in better repair than those of the
nobility, and their lands better cultivated?

ANSWER.---He has a mind to divert himself; he knows but too well, that
ten families who have each five thousand livres a year in land, are a
hundred, nay, a thousand times more useful than a convent that enjoys
fifty thousand livres a year, and which has always a secret hoard. He
cries up the fine houses built by the monks, and it is precisely those
fine houses that provoke the rest of the subjects; it is the very cause
of complaint to all Europe. The vow of poverty condemns those palaces,
as the vow of humility protests against pride, and as the vow of
extinguishing one's race is in opposition to nature.

QUESTION.--Bless me! Who can this be that advances so strange a
proposition?

ANSWER. It is the _friend of mankind_, [Monsieur le M. de Mirabeau, in
his book entitled _L'Ami des Hommes_. It is against this marquis that the
jest on the _only tax_ is leveled; a tax proposed by him], or rather the
friend of the monks.

QUESTION.--I begin to think it advisable to be very distrustful of
books.

ANSWER.--The best way is to make use, with regard to them, of the same
caution, as with men. Choose the most reasonable, examine them, and
never yield unless to evidence.



VII.

ON TAXES PAID TO A FOREIGN POWER.


About a month ago, the Man of Forty Crowns came to me, holding both his
sides, which seemed ready to burst with laughing. In short, he laughed
so heartily that I could not help laughing also, without knowing at
what. So true it is, that man is born an imitative animal, that instinct
rules us, and that the great emotions of the soul are catching. _Ut
ridentibus arrident, ita flentibus adflent, Humani vultus._

When he had had his laugh out, he told me that he had just come from
meeting with a man who called himself the prothonotary of the Holy See,
and that this personage was sending away a great sum of money to an
Italian, three hundred leagues off, in the name and behalf of a
Frenchman, on whom the king had bestowed a small fief or fee; because
the said Frenchman could never enjoy this benefit of the king's
conferring, if he did not give to this Italian the first year's income.

"The thing," said I, "is very true; but it is not quite such a laughing
matter either. It costs France about four hundred thousand livres a
year, in petty duties of this kind; and in the course of two centuries
and a half, that this custom has lasted, we have already sent to Italy
fourscore millions."

"Heavenly Father!" he exclaimed, "how many forty crowns would that make?
Some Italian, then, subdued us, I suppose, two centuries and a half ago,
and laid that tribute upon us!"

"In good faith," answered I, "he used to impose on us in former times,
in a much more burthensome way. That is but a trifle in comparison to
what, for a long time, he levied on our poor nations of Europe."

Then I related to him how those holy usurpations had taken place, and
came to be established. He knows a little of history, and does not want
for sense. He easily conceived that we had been slaves, and that we were
still dragging a little bit of our chain that we could not get rid of.
He spoke much and with energy, against this abuse; but with what respect
for religion in general. With what reverence did he express himself for
the bishops! How heartily did he wish them many forty crowns a year,
that they might spend them in their dioceses in good works.

He also wished that all the country vicars might have a number of forty
crowns, that they might live with decency.

"It is a sad thing," said he, "that a vicar should be obliged to dispute
with his flock for two or three sheaves of corn, and that he should not
be amply paid by the country. These eternal contests for imaginary
rights, for the tithes, destroy the respect that is owing to them. The
unhappy cultivator who shall have already paid to the collectors his
tenth penny, and the twopence a livre, and the tax, and the capitation,
and the purchase of his exemption from lodging soldiers,--after he shall
have lodged soldiers,--for this unfortunate man, I say, to see the vicar
take away in addition the tithe of his produce, he can no longer look on
him as his pastor, but as one that flays him alive,--that tears from
him the little skin that is left him. He feels but too sensible, that
while they are, _jure divino_, robbing him of his tenth sheaf, they have
the diabolical cruelty not to give him credit for all that it will have
cost him to make that sheaf grow. What then remains to him for himself
and family? Tears, want, discouragement, despair, and thus he dies of
fatigue and misery. If the vicar were paid by the country, he would be a
comfort to his parishioners, instead of being looked on by them as their
enemy."

The worthy man melted as he uttered these words; he loved his country,
and the public good was his idol. He would sometimes emphatically say,
"What a nation would the French be if it pleased!" We went to see his
son, whom the mother, a very neat and clean woman, was nursing. "Alas!"
said the father, "here thou art, poor child, and hast nothing to pretend
to but twenty-three years of life, and forty crowns a year."



VIII.

ON PROPORTIONS.


The produce of the extremes is equal to the produce of the means: but
two sacks of corn stolen, are not, to those who stole them, as the loss
of their lives is to the interest of the person from whom they were
stolen.

The prior of ----, from whom two of his domestic servants in the country
had stolen two measures of corn, has just had the two delinquents
hanged. This execution has cost him more than all his harvest has been
worth to him; and since that time he has not been able to get a servant.

If the laws had ordained that such as stole their master's corn should
work in his grounds, during their lives in fetters, and with a bell at
their neck fixed to a collar, the prior would have been a considerable
gainer by it.

"Terror should be preventively employed against crimes;" very true: but
work, on compulsion, and lasting shame, strike more terror than the
gallows.

[Illustration: The rack.--"I was summoned to give evidence against a
miller, who has been put to the torture, ordinary and extraordinary, and
who has been found innocent. I saw him faint away under redoubled
tortures. I heard the crash of his bones. His outcries and screams of
agony are not yet out of my ears; they haunt me. I shed tears for pity,
and shudder with horror."]

There was, some months ago at London, a malefactor who had been
condemned to be transported to America to work there at the sugar works
with the negroes. In England, any criminal, as in many other countries,
may get a petition presented to the king, either to obtain a free
pardon, or a mitigation of the sentence. This one presented a petition
to be hanged, alleging that he mortally hated work, and that he had
rather suffer strangling for a minute, than to make sugar all his
lifetime.

Others may think otherwise, every one to his taste. But it has been
already said, and cannot be too often repeated, that a man hanged is
good for nothing, and that punishments ought to be useful.

Some years ago, in Turkey, two young men were condemned to be impaled,
for having, (without taking off their caps,) stood to see the procession
of the Lama pass by. The Emperor of China, who is a man of very good
sense, said, that for his part, he should have condemned them to walk
bareheaded, in every public procession, for three months afterwards.

"Proportion punishments to crimes," says the Marquis Beccaria; but those
who made the laws were not geometricians.

       *       *       *       *       *

I hate the laws of Draco, which punish equally crimes and faults,
wickedness and folly. Let us,--especially in all litigations,--in all
dissensions, in all quarrels,--distinguish the aggressor from the party
offended, the oppressor from the oppressed. An offensive war is the
procedure of a tyrant; he who defends himself is in the character of a
just man.

As I was absorbed in these reflections, the Man of Forty Crowns came to
me all in tears. I asked, with emotion, if his son, who was by right to
live twenty-three years, was dead?

"No," said he, "the little one is very well, and so is my wife; but I
was summoned to give evidence against a miller, who has been put to the
torture, ordinary and extraordinary, and who has been found innocent. I
saw him faint away under redoubled tortures. I heard the crash of his
bones. His outcries and screams of agony are not yet out of my ears;
they haunt me. I shed tears for pity, and shudder with horror."

His tears drew mine. I trembled, too, like him; for I have naturally an
extreme sensibility.

My memory then represented to me the dreadful fate of the Calas family!
A virtuous mother in irons,--her children in tears, and forced to fly,
her house given up to pillage,--a respectable father of a family broken
with torture, agonizing on a wheel, and expiring in the flames; a son
loaded with chains, and dragged before the judges, one of whom said to
him:

_"We have just now broken your father on the wheel; we will break you
alive too."_

I remembered the family of Sirven, who one of my friends met with among
the mountains covered with ice, as they were flying from the persecution
of a judge as ignorant as he was unjust. This judge (he told me) had
condemned an innocent family to death on a supposition, without the
least shadow of proof, that the father and mother, assisted by two of
their daughters, had cut the throat of the third, and drowned her
besides, for going to mass. I saw in judgments of this kind, at once an
excess of stupidity, of injustice, and of barbarity.

The Man of Forty Crowns joined with me in pitying human nature. I had in
my pocket the discourse of an attorney-general of Dauphiny, which turned
upon very important matters. I read to him the following passages:

"Certainly those must have been truly great men, who, at first, dared to
take upon themselves the office of governing their fellow creatures, and
to set their shoulders to the burthen of the public welfare; who, for
the sake of the good they meant to do to men, exposed themselves to
their ingratitude, and for the public repose renounced their own; who
made themselves, as one may say, middle-men between their
fellow-creatures and Providence, to compose for them, by artifice, a
happiness which Providence seems otherwise to have refused to them by
any other means.

"What magistrate, was ever so careless of his responsibilities and
duties to humanity as to entertain such ideas? Could he, in the solitude
of his closet, without shuddering with horror and pity, cast his eyes on
those papers, the unfortunate monuments of gilt or of innocence? Should
he not think he hears a plaintive voice and groans issue from those
fatal writings, and press him to decide the destiny of a subject, of a
husband, of a father, or of a whole family? What judge can be so
unmerciful (if he is charged with but one single process) as to pass in
cold blood before the door of a prison? Is it I (must he say to himself)
who detain in that execrable place my fellow-creature, perhaps my
countryman, one of humankind, in short? Is it I that confine him every
day,--that shut those execrable doors upon him? Perhaps despair will
have seized him. He sends up to heaven my name loaded with his curses;
and doubtless calls to witness against me that great Judge of the world,
who observes us, and will judge us both."

"Here a dreadful sight presents itself on a sudden to my eyes: The
judge, tired with interrogating bywords, has recourse to interrogation
by tortures. Impatient in his inquiries and researches, and perhaps
irritated at their inutility, he has brought to him torches, chains,
levers, and all those instruments invented for producing pain. An
executioner comes to interpose in the functions of the magistracy, and
terminates by violence a judicial interrogation.

"Gentle philosophy! Thou who never seekest truth but with attention and
patience, couldst thou expect, in an age that takes thy name, that such
instruments would be employed to discover that truth?

"Can it be really true, that our laws approve this inconceivable method,
and that custom consecrates it?

"Their laws imitate their prejudices; their public punishments are as
cruel as their private vengeance; and the acts of their reason are
scarce less unmerciful than those of their passions. What can be the
cause of this strange contrariety? It is because our prejudices are
ancient, and our morality new; it is because we are as penetrated with
our opinions as we are inattentive to our ideas; it is because our
passion for pleasures hinders us from reflecting on our wants, and that
we are more eager to live than to direct ourselves right; it is, in a
word, because our morals are gentle without being good; it is because we
are polite, and are not so much as humane."

These fragments, which eloquence had dictated to humanity, filled the
heart of my friend with a sweet consolation. He admired with tenderness.

"What!" said he, "are such masterpieces as these produced in a province?
I had been told that Paris was all the world, or the only place in it."

"It is," said I, "the only place for producing comic operas; but there
are at this time, in the provinces, magistrates who think, with the same
virtue and express themselves with the same force. Formerly, the oracles
of justice, like those of morality, were nothing but matter of mere
ridicule. Dr. Balordo declaimed at the bar, and Harlequin in the pulpit.
Philosophy has at length come, and has said, 'Do not speak in public,
unless to set forth new and useful truths, with the eloquence of
sentiment and of reason.'"

But, say the praters, if we have nothing new to say, what then? Why,
hold your tongues, replies philosophy. All those vain discourses for
parade, that contain nothing but phrases, are like the fire on the eve
of St. John's, kindled on that day of the year in which there is the
least want of it to heat one's self--it causes no pleasure, and not so
much as the ashes of it remain.

Let all France read good books. But notwithstanding all the progress of
the human understanding, there are few that read; and among those who
sometimes seek instruction, the reading for the most part is very ill
chosen. My neighbors, men and women, pass their time, after dinner, at
playing an English game, which I have much difficulty to pronounce,
since they call it whist. Many good citizens, many thick heads, who take
themselves for good heads, tell you, with an air of importance, that
books are good for nothing. But, Messieurs, the critics, do not you know
that you are governed only by books? Do not you know that the statutes,
the military code, and the gospel, are books on which you continually
depend? Read; improve yourselves. It is reading alone that invigorates
the understanding; conversation dissipates it; play contracts it.

Thus it was that the Man of Forty Crowns proceeded to form, as one may
say, his head and his heart. He not only succeeded to the inheritance of
his two fair cousins, but he came also to a fortune left by a very
distant relation, who had been a sub-farmer of the military hospitals,
where he had fattened himself on the strict abstinence to which he had
put the wounded soldiers. This man never would marry, he never would own
any of his relations. He lived in the height of debauchery, and died at
Paris of a surfeit. He was, as any one may see, a very useful member of
the state.

Our new philosopher was obliged to go to Paris to get possession of the
inheritance of this relative. At first, the farmers of the domain
disputed it with him. He had the good luck, however, to gain his cause,
and the generosity to give to the poor of his neighborhood, who had not
their contingent of forty crowns a year, a part of the spoils of the
deceased son of fortune. After which he set himself about satisfying his
passion for having a library.

He read every morning and made extracts. In the evening, he consulted
the learned to know in what language the serpent had talked to our good
mother; whether the soul is in the callous body, or in the pineal gland;
whether St. Peter lived five and twenty years at Rome; what specific
difference there is between a throne and a dominion; and why the negroes
have a flat nose. He proposed to himself, besides, never to govern the
state, nor to write any pamphlets against new dramatic pieces. He was
called Mr. Andrew, which was his Christian name. Those who have known
him, do justice to his modesty and to his qualities, both natural and
acquired.



IX.

A GREAT QUARREL.


During the stay of Mr. Andrew at Paris, there happened a very important
quarrel. The point was, to decide whether Marcus Antoninus was an honest
man, and whether he was in hell, or in purgatory, or in limbo, waiting
till the day of resurrection. All the men of sense took the part of
Marcus Antoninus. They said: Antoninus has been always just, temperate,
chaste, and beneficent. It is true, he has not so good a place in
paradise as St. Anthony; for proportions ought to be observed, as has
been before recommended. But certainly the soul of Antoninus is not
roasting on a spit in hell. If he is in purgatory, he ought to be
delivered out of it; there need only be masses said for him. Let the
Jesuits, who have no longer anything to do, say three thousand masses
for the repose of the soul of Marcus Antoninus. Putting each mass at
fifteen pence, they will get two thousand two hundred and fifty livres
by it. Besides, some respect is owing to a crowned head. He should not
be lightly damned.

The party opposed to these good people pretended, on the contrary, that
no compounding for salvation ought to be allowed to Marcus Antoninus;
that he was a heretic; that the Carpocratians and the Alcgi were not so
bad as he; that he had died without confession; that it was necessary to
make an example; that it was right to damn him, if but to teach better
manners to the emperors of China and Japan,--to those of Persia, Turkey,
and Morocco,--to the kings of England, Sweden, Denmark, and Prussia, to
the stadtholder of Holland,--to the avoyers of the Canton of Berne, who
no more go to confession than did the Emperor Marcus Antoninus; that, in
short, there is an unspeakable pleasure in passing sentence against a
dead sovereign, which one could not fulminate against him in his
lifetime, for fear of losing one's ears.

This quarrel became as furious as was formerly that of the Ursulines and
the Annonciades. In short, it was feared that it would come to a schism,
as in the time of the hundred and one Mother Goose's tales, and of
certain bills payable to the bearer in the other world. To be sure, a
schism is something very terrible. The meaning of the word is a division
in opinion, and till this fatal moment all men had been agreed to think
the same thing.

Mr. Andrew, who was an excellent member of society, invited the chiefs
of the two parties to sup with him. He is one of the best companions
that we have. His humor is gentle and lively; his gaiety is not noisy;
he is open, frank, and easy. He has not that sort of wit which seems to
aim at stifling that of others. The authority which he conciliates to
himself is due to nothing but his graceful manner, to his moderation,
and to a round good-natured face, which is quite persuasive. He could
have brought to sup cheerfully together a Corsican and a Genoese,--a
representative of Geneva and a negative man, the mufti and an
archbishop. He managed so dextrously, as to make the first stroke that
the disputants of both parties aimed at each other fall to the ground,
by turning off the discourse, and by telling a very diverting tale,
which pleased equally the damning and the damned. In short, when they
had got a little good-humored and elevated with wine, he made them sign
an agreement, that the soul of Marcus Antoninus should remain in _status
quo_--that is to say, nobody knows where,--till the day of final
judgment.

The souls of the doctors of divinity returned quietly to their limbos
after supper, and all was calm. This adjustment of the quarrel did great
honor to the Man of Forty Crowns; and, since then, whenever any very
peevish virulent dispute arose among men of letters, or among men not of
letters, the advice given was, "_Gentlemen, go and sup at Master
Andrew's!_"



X.

A RASCAL REPULSED.


The reputation which Mr. Andrew had acquired for pacifying quarrels,--by
giving good suppers,--drew upon him last week a singular visit. A dark
complexioned man, shabbily enough dressed, rather crook-backed, with his
head leaning toward one shoulder, a haggard eye, and dirty hands, asked
to be invited to a supper with his enemies.

"Who are your enemies?" said Mr. Andrew, "and who are you?"

"Alas, sir," said he, "I am forced to confess that I am taken for one of
those wretches that compose libels to get bread, and who are forever
crying out,--'Religion,--Religion,--Religion,' in order to come at some
little benefice. I am accused of having caluminated some of the most
truly religious subjects, the most sincere adorers of divinity, and the
most honest men of the kingdom. It is true, sir, that in the heat of
composition, there often fall from the pen of those of my trade, certain
little inadvertencies or slips, which are taken for gross errors; and
some liberties taken with the truth, which are termed impudent lies. Our
zeal is looked upon in the light of a horrid mixture of villainy and
fanaticism. It has been alleged, that while we are insnaring the easy
faith of some silly old women, we are the scorn and execration of all
the men of worth who can read.

"My enemies are the principal members of the most illustrious academies
of Europe, writers much esteemed, and beneficent members of society. I
have but just published a book under the title of _Anti-philosophical_.
I had nothing but the best intentions, and yet no one would buy my book.
Those to whom I made presents of it, threw it into the fire, telling me
it was not only anti-reasonable, but anti-christian, and extremely
anti-decent."

"Well, then!" said Mr. Andrew to him, "follow the example of those to
whom you presented your libel, throw it into the fire, and let no more
be said of it. It is unnecessary to ask you to sup with men of wit, who
can never be your enemies, since they will never read you."

"Could not you, sir, at least," said the hypocrite to him, "reconcile me
with the relations of the deceased Monsieur de Montesquieu, to whose
memory I offered an indignity, that I might give honor and glory to the
reverend father Rout."

"Zounds!" said Mr. Andrew, "the reverend father Rout has been dead this
long time; go and sup with him."



XI.

THE GOOD SENSE OF MR. ANDREW.


But how greatly did the sense of Mr. Andrew improve in vigor from the
time he procured a library! He lives with books as with men, and is
careful in his choice of them. What a pleasure it is to gain
instruction, to enlarge one's mind by studying the best works of the
greatest authors.

He congratulates himself on being born at a time when human reason is
tending toward perfection. "How unhappy should I have been," he used to
say, "if the age I live in had been that in which they used to condemn
to the galleys those who wrote against the categories of Aristotle."

Distress had weakened the springs of Mr. Andrew's soul; but good fortune
restored their elasticity. There are many Andrews in the world to whom
nothing is wanting but a turn of the wheel of fortune to make of them
men of true merit. He is now well acquainted with all the affairs of
Europe, and especially with the progress of the human understanding.

He recently remarked to me, that Reason travels by slow journeys from
north to south, in company with her two intimate friends, Experience and
Toleration. Agriculture and Commerce attend them. When Reason presented
herself in Italy, the congregation of the Index sternly repulsed her.
All she could do, was to secretly send some of her agents, who, in spite
of her enemies, do some good. Let but some years more pass, and it is to
be hoped that the country of the Scipios will no longer be that of
harlequins in monks' habits.

She has sometimes met with cruel foes in France; but she has now so many
friends in that kingdom, that she stands a good chance of at length
becoming first minister there.

When she presented herself in Bavaria and Austria, she found two or
three great wig-blocks that stared at her with stupid and astonished
eyes. Their greeting was: "Madam, we never heard of you; we do not know
you." Her answer to which was: "Gentlemen, in time you will come to know
me, and to love me. I have been well received at Berlin, at Moscow, at
Copenhagen, at Stockholm. It is long ago that I have been naturalized by
Act of Parliament in England, through the labors of Locke, Gordon,
Trenchard, Lord Shaftsbury, and a number of others of the same nation.
You will, some day or other, confer on me the like grant. I am the
daughter of Time. I expect every thing from my father."

When she passed over the frontiers of Spain and Portugal, she blessed
God on observing that the fires of the Inquisition were less frequently
kindled. She rejoiced on seeing the Jesuits expelled; but was afraid
that, while the country had been cleared of the foxes, it was still left
exposed to the ravages of wolves.

If she makes any fresh attempts to gain entrance into Italy it is
thought she will begin by establishing herself at Venice; and that she
will take up her abode in the kingdom of Naples, in spite of the
liquefaction of the saint's blood in that country, which awakens in her
mind mournful reflections on human credulity. It is pretended, that she
has an infallible secret for untying the strings of a crown, which are
entangled, nobody knows how, in those of a mitre.



XII.

The GOOD SUPPER AT MR. ANDREW'S.


We supped at Mr. Andrew's yesterday, together with a Doctor Sorbonne,
with Monsieur Pinto, the celebrated Jew, with the Chaplain of the
Protestant chapel of the Dutch Embassador, the secretary of the Prince
Galitzin of the Greek church, a Calvinist Swiss Captain, two
philosophers, and three Ladies of great wit.

The supper was a very long one; and yet, so polite it must be owned we
are grown--so much is one afraid at supper to give any cause of offence
to one's brethren, that there was no more disputing upon religion than
as if not one of those at table had ever had any. It is not so with the
Regent Coge, and the ex-Jesuit Patouillet, and with all the animals of
that kind. Those pitiful creatures will say more stupidly abusive things
in one pamphlet of two pages, than the best company in Paris can say
agreeable and instructive ones in a supper of four hours. And what is
stranger yet, they dare not tell a man to his face, what they have the
impudence to print.

The conversation turned at first on a piece of pleasantry in the Persian
Letters, in which it is repeated, after a number of grave personages,
that the world is not only growing worse, but that it is becoming
depopulated, so that if the proverb should have any truth in it, that
"the more fools there are," "the more laughter," laughing is likely to
be soon banished from the face of the earth.

The Doctor of Sorbonne assured us that, in fact, the world was almost
reduced to nothing. He quoted the Father Petavius, who demonstrates that
in less than three hundred years, the descendants of one of the sons of
Noah (I forget whether it was Shem or Japhet), amounted to six hundred
and twelve millions three hundred and fifty-eight thousand true
believers within two hundred and eighty-five years after the universal
deluge.

Mr. Andrew asked, why in the time of Philip de Bel, that is to say,
about three hundred years after Hugh Capet, there were not six hundred
and twenty-three thousand millions of princes of the royal family?

"It is," said the Doctor of Sorbonne, "because the stock of faith has
greatly decreased."

A great deal was said about Thebes and its hundred gates, and of the
million of soldiers that issued out of those gates with the twenty
thousand chariots of war.

"Shut the book there," said Mr. Andrew. "Since I have taken to reading,
I beg to suspect that the same genius that wrote Garagantua, used of
yore to write all the histories."

"But, in short," said one of the company, "Thebes, Memphis, Babylon,
Nineveh, Troy, Seleucia, were great cities once, and now no longer
exist."

"Granted," answered the secretary of the Prince Galitzin; "but Moscow,
Constantinople, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Lyons, (which is better than
ever Troy was,) and all the towns of France, Germany, Spain, and the
North, were then deserts."

The Swiss captain, a gentleman of great knowledge, owned to us, that
when his ancestors took it into their heads to quit their mountains and
their precipices, to go and take forcible possession, as was but
reasonable, of a finer country, Cæsar, who saw with his own eyes the
list of those emigrants, found that their number amounted to three
hundred and sixty-eight thousand, inclusive of the old, the children,
and the women. At this time, the single canton of Berne possesses as
many inhabitants, which is not quite the half of Switzerland, and I can
assure you, that the thirteen cantons have above seven hundred and
twenty thousand souls, including the natives who are serving or carrying
on business in other countries. From such data, gentlemen of learning
make absurd calculations, and they base fallacious systems on no better
footing.

The question next agitated was, whether the citizens of Rome, in the
time of the Cæsars, were richer than the citizens of Paris, in the time
of Monsieur Silhouette?

"Oh," says Mr. Andrew, "this is a point on which I have some call to
speak. I was a long time the Man of Forty Crowns; but I conceive that
the citizens of Rome had more. Those illustrious robbers on the highway
pillaged the finest countries of Asia, of Africa, and of Europe. They
lived splendidly on the produce of their rapines; but yet there were
doubtless some beggars at Rome. I am persuaded that, among those
conquerors of the world, there were some reduced to an income of forty
Crowns a year, as I formerly was."

"Do you know," said a learned member of the Academy of Inscriptions and
Belles Lettres, "that it cost Lucullus for every supper he gave in the
saloon of Apollo, thirty-nine thousand three hundred and twelve livres
of our money; but that the celebrated epicurean Atticus did not expend
above two hundred and thirty livres a month for his table."

"If that be true," said I, "he deserved to be president of the
Miser-society, lately established in Italy. I have read, as you have
done, in Florus, that incredible anecdote; but, perhaps Florus had never
supped with Atticus, or else his text, like so many others, has been
corrupted by copyists. No Florus shall ever make me believe that the
friend of Cæsar and of Pompey, of Cicero and of Antony, all of whom were
often entertained at his house, got off for something less than ten
Louis d'ors a month. _But thus exactly 'tis that history is written._"

Madam Andrew, for her part, told the learned member of the Academy, that
if he would keep her table for ten times as much, she would be greatly
obliged to him.

I am persuaded, that this evening at Mr. Andrew's cost him as much as
the monthly expense of Atticus. As for the ladies, they expressed a
doubt whether the suppers of Rome were more agreeable than those of
Paris. The conversation was very gay, though leaning a little to the
learned. There was no talk of new fashions, nor of the ridiculous part
of any one's character or conduct, nor of the scandalous history of the
day.

The question upon luxury was discussed and searched to the bottom. It
was mooted whether or not luxury had been the ruin of the Roman empire;
and it was proved that the two empires of the east and west owed their
destruction to nothing but to religious controversies, and to the monks;
and, in fact, when Alaric took Rome, its whole attention was engrossed
by theological disputes; when Mahomet took Constantinople, the monks
defended much better the eternity of the light of Mount Thabor, which
they saw on their navel,[1] than they defended the town against the
Turks.

One of our men of learning made a very significant remark. It was that
those two great empires were annihilated, but that the works of Virgil,
Horace, and Ovid still exist.

From the age of Augustus, they made but one skip to the age of Louis the
XIVth. A lady put the question, why it was that with a great deal of wit
there was no longer produced scarcely any work of genius?

Mr. Andrew answered, that it was because such works had been produced in
the last age. This idea was fine spun, and yet solidly true. It bore a
thorough handling. After that, they fell with some harshness upon a
Scotchman, who had taken it into his head to give rules to taste, and to
criticise the most admirable passages of Racine, without understanding
French. But there was one Denina still more severely treated. He had
abused Montesquieu's _Spirit of Laws_, without comprehending him, and
had especially censured what is the most liked and approved in that
work.

This recalled to my mind Boileau's making a parade of his affected
contempt of Tasso. One of the company advanced that Tasso, with all his
faults, was as superior to Homer, as Montesquieu, with his still greater
imperfections, was above the farrago of Grotius. But there was presently
a strong opposition made to these false criticisms, dictated by national
hatred and prejudice. The Seignior Denina was treated as he deserved,
and as pedants ought to be by men of wit.

It was especially remarked, with much sagacity, that the greatest part
of the literary works of this age, as well as of the conversations,
turned on the examination of the masterpieces of the last century; in
which we are like disinherited children, who are taking an estimate of
their father's estate. It was confessed that philosophy had made great
progress, but that the language and style was somewhat corrupted.

It is the nature of all these conversations, to make transitions from
one subject to another. All these objects of curiosity, of science, and
of taste, soon vanished, to give way to the great scene which the
Empress of Russia, and the King of Poland, were giving to the world.
They had been just raising up and restoring the rights of oppressed
humanity, and establishing liberty of conscience in a part of the globe
of a much greater extent than the old Roman Empire. This service done
to human kind, this example given to so many courts, was mentioned with
the applause it deserved. Healths were drank to the philosophical
empress, to the royal philosopher, and to the philosophical primate,
with the wish of their having many imitators. Even the doctors of
Sorbonne admired them; for there are some persons of good sense in that
body, as there were formerly some men of wit among the Bœotians.

The Russian secretary astonished us with a recital of the great
establishments they were forming in Russia. It was asked, why people
were in general more fond of reading the history of Charles the XIIth,
who passed his life in destroying, than that of Peter the Great, who
consumed his in creating? On this we concluded, that weakness and a
frivolous turn of mind are the causes of this preference; that Charles
the XIIth was the Don Quixote, and Peter the Solon of the North; that
superficial understandings prefer a wild extravagant heroism, to the
great views of a legislator: that the particulars of the foundation of a
town are less pleasing to them, than the rashness of a man, who, at the
head of only his domestics, braves an army of ten thousand Turks; and
that, in short, most readers love amusement better than instruction.
Thence it is, that a hundred women read _The Thousand and One Arabian
Nights_, for one that reads two chapters of Locke.

What was not talked of at this supper? of which I shall long retain the
remembrance. It was also in course to say a word of the actors and
actresses, that eternal subject of the table-talk of Versailles and of
Paris. It was agreed, that a good declaimer was as rare as a good poet.
For my part, I must own that Plato's banquet could not have given me
more pleasure than that of Monsieur and Madame Andrew.

Our very pretty gentlemen, and our very fine ladies, would, doubtless,
have found it dull, and been tired with it. They pretend to be the only
good company: but neither Mr. Andrew nor I ever willingly sup with that
kind of good company.


[1] See Gibbon's _History of Christianity_, page 777, for an account of
the monks of Mount Athos, who adored the divine light, as above
stated.--E.


[Illustration: The Priory entrance]



THE HURON; OR, PUPIL OF NATURE.[1]



I.

THE HURON ARRIVES IN FRANCE.


One day, Saint Dunstan, an Irishman by nation, and a saint by trade,
left Ireland on a small mountain, which took its route toward the coast
of France, and set his saintship down in the bay of St. Malo. When he
had dismounted, he gave his blessing to the mountain, which, after some
profound bows, took its leave, and returned to its former place.

Here St. Dunstan laid the foundation of a small priory, and gave it the
name of the Priory Mountain, which it still keeps, as every body knows.

In the year 1689, the fifteenth day of July, in the evening, the abbot
Kerkabon, prior of our Lady of the Mountain, happened to take the air
along the shore with Miss Kerkabon, his sister. The prior, who was
becoming aged, was a very good clergyman, beloved by his neighbors. What
added most to the respect that was paid him, was, that among all his
clerical neighbors, he was the only one that could walk to his bed after
supper. He was tolerably read in theology; and when he was tired of
reading St. Augustin, he refreshed himself with Rabelais. All the world
spoke well of him.

Miss Kerkabon, who had never been married, notwithstanding her hearty
wishes so to be, had preserved a freshness of complexion in her
forty-fifth year. Her character was that of a good and sensible woman.
She was fond of pleasure, and was a devotee.

As they were walking, the prior, looking on the sea, said to his sister:

"It was here, alas! that our poor brother embarked with our dear
sister-in-law, Madam Kerkabon, his wife, on board the frigate 'Swallow,'
in 1669, to serve the king in Canada. Had he not been killed, probably
he would have written to us."

"Do you believe," says Miss Kerkabon, "that our sister-in-law has been
eaten by the Cherokees, as we have been told?"

"Certain it is, had she not been killed, she would have come back. I
shall weep for her all my lifetime. She was a charming woman; and our
brother, who had a great deal of wit, would no doubt have made a
fortune."

Thus were they going on with mutual tenderness, when they beheld a small
vessel enter the bay of Rence with the tide. It was from England, and
came to sell provisions. The crew leaped on shore without looking at the
prior or Miss, his sister, who were shocked at the little attention
shown them.

That was not the behavior of a well-made youth, who, darting himself
over the heads of his companions, stood on a sudden before Miss
Kerkabon. Being unaccustomed to bowing, he made her a sign with his
head. His figure and his dress attracted the notice of brother and
sister. His head was uncovered, and his legs bare. Instead of shoes, he
wore a kind of sandals. From his head his long hair flowed in tresses, A
small close doublet displayed the beauty of his shape. He had a sweet
and martial air.[2] In one hand he held a small bottle of Barbadoes
water, and in the other a bag, in which he had a goblet, and some sea
biscuit. He spoke French very intelligibly. He offered some of his
Barbadoes to Miss Kerkabon and her brother. He drank with them, he made
them drink a second time, and all this with an air of such native
simplicity, that quite charmed brother and sister. They offered him
their service, and asked him who he was, and whither going? The young
man answered: That he knew not where he should go; that he had some
curiosity; that he had a desire to see the coast of France; that he had
seen it, and should return.

The prior, judging by his accent that he was not an Englishman, took the
liberty of asking of what country he was.

"I am a Huron," answered the youth.

Miss Kerkabon, amazed and enchanted to see a Huron who had behaved so
politely to her, begged the young man's company to supper. He complied
immediately, and all three went together to the priory of our Lady of
the Mountain. This short and round Miss devoured him with her little
eyes, and said from time to time to her brother:

"This tall lad has a complexion of lilies and roses. What a fine skin he
has for a Huron!"

"Very true, sister," says the prior.

She put a hundred questions, one after another, and the traveler
answered always pertinently.

The report was soon spread that there was a Huron at the priory. All the
genteel company of the country came to supper. The abbot of St. Yves
came with Miss, his sister, a fine, handsome, well-educated girl. The
bailiff, the tax-gatherer, and their wives, came all together. The
foreigner was seated between Miss Kerkabon and Miss St. Yves. The
company eyed him with admiration. They all questioned him together.
This did not confound the Huron. He seemed to have taken Lord
Bolingbroke's motto, _Nil admirari_. But at last, tired out with so much
noise, he told them in a sweet, but serious tone:

"Gentlemen, in my country one talks after another. How can I answer you,
if you will not allow me to hear you?"

Reasoning always brings people to a momentary reflection. They were all
silent.

Mr. Bailiff, who always made a property of a foreigner wherever he found
him, and who was the first man for asking questions in the province,
opening a mouth of large size, began:

"Sir, what is your name?"

"I have always been called the _Ingenu_," answered the Huron; "and the
English have confirmed that name, because I always speak as I think, and
act as I like."

"But, being born a Huron, how could you come to England?"

"I have been carried thither. I was made prisoner by the English after
some resistance, and the English, who love brave people, because they
are as brave and honest as we, proposed to me, either to return to my
family, or go with them to England. I accepted the latter, having
naturally a relish for traveling."

"But, sir," says the bailiff, with his usual gravity, "how could you
think of abandoning father and mother?"

"Because I never knew either father or mother," says the foreigner.

This moved the company; they all repeated:

"Neither father nor mother!"

"We will be in their stead," says the mistress of the house, to her
brother, the prior: "How interesting this Huron gentleman is!"

The _Ingenu_ thanked her with a noble and proud cordiality, and gave her
to understand, that he wanted the assistance of nobody.

"I perceive, Mr. Huron," said the huge bailiff, "that you talk better
French than can be expected from an Indian."

"A Frenchman," answered he, "whom they had made prisoner when I was a
boy, and with whom I contracted a great friendship, taught it me. I
rapidly learn what I like to learn. When I came to Plymouth, I met with
one of your French refugees, whom you, I know not why, call Huguenots.
He improved my knowledge of your language; and as soon as I could
express myself intelligibly, I came to see your country, because I like
the French well enough, if they do not put too many questions."

Notwithstanding this candid remark, the abbé of St. Yves asked him,
which of the three languages pleased him best, the Huron, English, or
French?

"The Huron, to be sure," answered the _Ingenu_.

"Is it possible?" cried Miss Kerkabon. "I always thought the French was
the first of all languages, after that of Low Britany."

Then all were eager to know how, in Huron, they asked for snuff? He
replied:

"_Taya_."

"What signifies to eat?"

"_Essenten_."

Miss Kerkabon was impatient to know how they called, to make love?

He informed her, _Trovander_; and insisted on it, not without reason,
that these words were well worth their synonyms in French and English.
_Trovander_, especially, seemed very pretty to all the company. The
prior, who had in his library a Huron grammar, which had been given him
by the Rev. Father Sagar Theodat, a Recollet and famous missionary, rose
from the table to consult it. He returned quite panting with tenderness
and joy. He acknowledged the foreigner for a true Huron. The company
speculated a little on the multiplicity of languages; and all agreed,
that had it not been for the unfortunate affair of the Tower of Babel,
all the world would have spoken French.

The inquisitive bailiff, who till then had some suspicions of the
foreigner, conceived the deepest respect for him. He spoke to him with
more civility than before, and the Huron took no notice of it.

Miss St. Yves was very curious to know how people made love among the
Hurons.

"In performing great actions to please such as resemble you." All the
company admired and applauded. Miss St. Yves blushed, and was extremely
well pleased. Miss Kerkabon blushed likewise, but was not so well
pleased. She was a little piqued that this gallantry was not addressed
to her; but she was so good-natured, that her affection for the Huron
was not diminished at all. She asked him, with great complacency, how
many mistresses he had at home.

"Only one," answered the foreigner; "Miss Abacaba, the good friend of my
dear nurse. The reed is not straighter, nor is ermine whiter,--no lamb
meeker, no eagle fiercer, nor a stag swifter, than was my Abacaba. One
day she pursued a hare not above fifty leagues from my habitation: a
base Algonquin, who dwells an hundred leagues further, took her hare
from her. I was told of it; I ran thither, and with one stroke of my
club leveled him with the ground. I brought him to the feet of my
mistress, bound hand and foot. Abacaba's parents were for burning him,
but I always had a disrelish for such scenes. I set him at liberty. I
made him my friend. Abacaba was so pleased with my conduct, that she
preferred me to all her lovers. And she would have continued to love me,
had she not been devoured by a bear! I slew the bear, and wore his skin
a long while; but that has not comforted me."

Miss St. Yves felt a secret pleasure at hearing that Abacaba had been
his only mistress, and that she was no more; yet she understood not the
cause of her own pleasure. All eyes were riveted on the Huron, and he
was much applauded for delivering an Algonquin from the cruelty of his
countrymen.

The merciless bailiff had now grown so furious, that he even asked the
Huron what religion he was of; whether he had chosen the English, the
French, or that of the Huguenots?

"I am of my own religion," said he, "just as you are of yours."

"Lord!" cried Miss Kerkabon, "I see already that those wretched English
have not once thought of baptizing him!"

"Good heavens," said Miss St. Yves, "how is it possible? How is it
possible the Hurons should not be Roman Catholics? Have not those
reverend fathers, the Jesuits, converted all the world?"

The Huron assured her, that no true American had ever changed his
opinion, and that there was not in their language a word to express
inconstancy.

These last words extremely pleased Miss St. Yves.

"Oh! we'll baptize him, we'll baptize him," said Miss Kerkabon to the
prior. "You shall have that honor, my dear brother, and I will be his
god-mother. The Abbot St. Yves shall present him to the font. It will
make a fine appearance: it will be talked of all over Britany, and do us
the greatest honor."

The company were all of the same mind with the mistress of the house;
they all cried:

"We'll baptize him."

The Huron interrupted them by saying, that in England every one was
allowed to live as he pleased. He rather showed some aversion to the
proposal which was made, and could not help telling them, that the laws
of the Hurons were to the full as good as those of Low Britany. He
finished with saying, that he should return the next day. The bottles
grew empty, and the company went to bed.

After the Huron had been conducted to his room, they saw that he spread
the blankets on the floor, and laid himself down upon them in the finest
attitude in the world.


[1] _Le Huron_ was dramatized, under the name of _Civilization_, by Mr.
John H. Wilkins, and successfully produced at the City of London
Theatre, on Wednesday, November 10, 1852. Mr. James Anderson enacted the
part of _Hercule, the Huron_, and added to his well-earned reputation by
his correct conception and representation of the Indian character.

Mr. James Wallack, Jr., afterward introduced the play to a New York
audience at Burton's old Chambers Street Theatre, where it was also
received with great favor. Unfortunately for dramatic literature, the
promising young author of _Civilisation_ did not long survive his
success, but soon filled an early grave.--E.

[2] In Mr. Wilkins's dramatic version of this romance, the Huron is
described as

     "A modell'd Hercules! Mien, stature, glance,
      That are the blazons of the inner man,
      And voice it to the stars! A hero born,
      Whose air commands respect above a king's;
      Bearing the stamp from the great mint of heaven,
      And current to the world!"--E.



II.

THE HURON, CALLED THE INGENU, ACKNOWLEDGED BY HIS RELATIONS.


The _Ingenu_, according to custom, awoke with the sun, at the crowing of
the cock, which is called in England and Huronia, "the trumpet of the
day." He did not imitate what is styled good company, who languish in
the bed of indolence till the sun has performed half its daily journey,
unable to sleep, but not disposed to rise, and lose so many precious
hours in that doubtful state between life and death, and who
nevertheless complain that life is too short.

He had already traversed two or three leagues, and killed fifteen brace
of game with his rifle, when, upon his return, he found the prior of the
Lady of the Mountain, with his discreet sister, walking in their
nightcaps in their little garden. He presented them with the spoils of
his morning labor, and taking from his bosom a kind of little talisman,
which he constantly wore about his neck, he entreated them to accept of
it as an acknowledgment for the kind reception they had given him.

"It is," said he, "the most valuable thing I am possessed of. I have
been assured that I shall always be happy whilst I carry this little toy
about me; and I give it you that you may be always happy."

The prior and Miss smiled with pity at the frankness of the _Ingenu_.
This present consisted of two little portraits, poorly executed, and
tied together with a greasy string.

Miss Kerkabon asked him, if there were any painters in Huronia?

"No," replied the _Ingenu_, "I had this curiosity from my nurse. Her
husband had obtained it by conquest, in stripping some of the French of
Canada, who had made war upon us. This is all I know of the matter."

The prior looked attentively upon these pictures, whilst he changed
color; his hands trembled, and he seemed much affected.

"By our Lady of the Mountain," he cried out, "I believe these to be the
faces of my brother, the captain, and his lady."

Miss, after having consulted them with the like emotion, thought the
same. They were both struck with astonishment and joy blended with
grief. They both melted, they both wept, their hearts throbbed, and
during their disorder, the pictures were interchanged between them at
least twenty times in a second. They seemed to devour the Huron's
pictures with their eyes. They asked one after another, and even both at
once, at what time, in what place, and how these miniatures fell into
the hands of the nurse? They reckoned and computed the time from the
captain's departure; they recollected having received notice that he had
penetrated as far as the country of the Hurons; and from that time they
had never heard anything more of him.

The Huron had told them, that he had never known either father or
mother. The prior, who was a man of sense, observed that he had a little
beard, and he knew very well that the Hurons never had any. His chin was
somewhat hairy; he was therefore the son of an European. My brother
and sister-in-law were never seen after the expedition against the
Hurons, in 1669. My nephew must then have been nursing at the breast.
The Huron nurse has preserved his life, and been a mother to him. At
length, after an hundred questions and answers, the prior and his sister
concluded that the Huron was their own nephew. They embraced him, whilst
tears streamed from their eyes: and the Huron laughed to think that an
Indian should be nephew to a prior of Lower Britany.

[Illustration: The Huron identified.--"By our Lady of the Mountain," he
cried out, "I believe these to be the faces of my brother, the captain,
and his lady."]

All the company went down stairs. Mr. de St. Yves, who was a great
physiognomist, compared the two pictures with the Huron's countenance.
They observed, very skillfully, that he had the mother's eyes, the
forehead and nose of the late Captain Kerkabon, and the cheeks common to
both.

Miss St. Yves, who had never seen either father or mother, was
strenuously of opinion, that the young man had a perfect resemblance of
them. They all admired Providence, and wondered at the strange events of
this world. In a word, they were so persuaded, so convinced of the birth
of the Huron, that he himself consented to be the prior's nephew,
saying, that he would as soon have him for his uncle as another.

The prior went to return thanks in the church of our Lady of the
Mountain; whilst the Huron, with an air of indifference, amused himself
with drinking in the house.

The English who had brought him over, and who were ready to set sail,
came to tell him that it was time to depart.

"Probably," said he to them, "you have not met with any of your uncles
and aunts. I shall stay here. Go you back to Plymouth. I give you all my
clothes, as I have no longer occasion for anything in this world, since
I am the nephew of a prior."

The English set sail, without being at all concerned whether the Huron
had any relations or not in Lower Britany.

After the uncle, the aunt, and the company had sung _Te Deum_; after the
bailiff had once more overwhelmed the Huron with questions, after they
had exhausted all their astonishment, joy, and tenderness, the prior of
the Mountain and the Abbé of St. Yves concluded that the Huron should be
baptized with all possible expedition. But the case was very different
with a tall robust Indian of twenty-two, and an infant who is
regenerated without his knowing anything of the matter. It was necessary
to instruct him, and this appeared difficult; for the Abbé of St. Yves
supposed that a man who was not born in France, could not be endowed
with common sense.

The prior, indeed, observed to the company, that though, in fact, the
ingenious gentleman, his nephew, was not so fortunate as to be born in
Lower Britany, he was not, upon that account, any way deficient in
sense; which might be concluded from all his answers; and that,
doubtless, nature had greatly favored him, as well on his father's as on
his mother's side?

He then was asked if he had ever read any books? He said, he had read
Rabelais translated into English, and some passages in Shakespeare,
which he knew by heart; that these books belonged to the captain, on
board of whose ship he came from America to Plymouth; and that he was
very well pleased with them. The bailiff failed not to put many
questions to him concerning these books.

"I acknowledge," said the Huron, "I thought, in reading them, I
understood some things, but not the whole."

The Abbé of St. Yves reflected upon this discourse, that it was in this
manner he had always read, and that most men read no other way.

"You have," said he, to the Huron, "doubtless read the bible?"

"Never, Mr. Abbé: it was not among the captain's books. I never heard it
mentioned."

"This is the way with those cursed English," said Miss Kerkabon; "they
think more of a play of Shakespeare's, a plum pudding, or a bottle of
rum, than they do of the Pentateuch. For this reason they have never
converted any Indians in America. They are certainly cursed by God; and
we shall conquer Jamaica and Virginia from them in a very short time."

Be this as it may, the most skillful tailor in all St. Malo was sent for
to dress the Huron from head to foot. The company separated, and the
bailiff went elsewhere to display his inquisitiveness. Miss St. Yves, in
parting, returned several times to observe the young stranger, and made
him lower courtesies than ever she did any one in her life.

The bailiff, before he took his leave, presented to Miss St. Yves a
stupid dolt of a son, just come from college; but she scarce looked at
him, so much was she taken up with the politeness of the Huron.



III.

THE HURON CONVERTED.


The prior finding that he was somewhat advanced in years, and that God
had sent him a nephew for his consolation, took it into his head that he
would resign his benefice in his favor, if he succeeded in baptizing him
and of making him enter into orders.

The Huron had an excellent memory. A good constitution, inherited from
his ancestors of Lower Britany, strengthened by the climate of Canada,
had made his head so vigorous that when he was struck upon it he scarce
felt it; and when any thing was graven in it, nothing could efface it.
Nothing had ever escaped his memory. His conception was the more sure
and lively, because his infancy had not been loaded with useless
fooleries, which overwhelm ours. Things entered into his head without
being clouded. The prior at length resolved to make him read the New
Testament. The Huron devoured it with great pleasure; but not knowing at
what time, or in what country all the adventures related in this book
had happened, he did not in the least doubt that the scene of action had
been in Lower Britany; and he swore, that he would cut off Caiphas and
Pontius Pilate's ears, if ever he met those scoundrels.

His uncle, charmed with this good disposition, soon brought him to the
point. He applauded his zeal, but at the same time acquainted him that
it was needless, as these people had been dead upwards of 1690 years.
The Huron soon got the whole book by heart. He sometimes proposed
difficulties that greatly embarrassed the prior. He was often obliged to
consult the Abbé St. Yves, who, not knowing what to answer, brought a
Jesuit of Lower Britany to perfect the conversion of the Huron.

Grace, at length, operated; and the Huron promised to become a
Christian. He did not doubt but that the first step toward it was
circumcision.

"For," said he, "I do not find in the book that was put into my hands a
single person who was not circumcised. It is therefore evident, that I
must make a sacrifice to the Hebrew custom, and the sooner the better."

He sent for the surgeon of the village, and desired him to perform the
operation. The surgeon, who had never performed such an operation,
acquainted the family, who screamed out. The good Miss Kerkabon trembled
lest her nephew, whom she knew to be resolute and expeditious, should
perform the operation unskillfully himself; and that fatal consequences
might ensue.

The prior rectified the Huron's mistake, representing to him, that
circumcision was no longer in fashion; that baptism was much more gentle
and salutary; that the law of grace was not like the law of rigor. The
Huron, who had much good sense, and was well disposed, disputed, but
soon acknowledged his error, which seldom happens in Europe among
disputants. In a word, he promised to let himself be baptized whenever
they pleased.

But before baptism it was necessary that he should go to confession, and
this was the greatest difficulty to surmount. The Huron had still in his
pocket the book his uncle gave him. He did not there find that a single
apostle had ever been confessed, and this made him very restive. The
prior silenced him, by showing him, in the epistle of St. James the
Minor, these words: "Confess your sins to one another." The Huron was
mute, and confessed his sins to a Recollet. When he had done, he dragged
the Recollet from the confessional chair, and seizing him with a
vigorous arm, placed himself in his seat, making the Recollet kneel
before him:

"Come, my friend, it is said, 'we must confess our sins to one another;'
I have related to you my sins, and you shall not stir till you recount
yours."

Whilst he said this, he fixed his great knee against his adversary's
stomach. The Recollet roared and groaned, till he made the church
re-echo. The noise brought people to his assistance, who found the
catechumen cuffing the monk in the name of St. James the Minor. The joy
diffused at the baptizing at once a Low-Breton, a Huron, and an
Englishman, surmounted all these singularities. There were even some
theologians of opinion that confession was not necessary, as baptism
supplied the place of every thing.

The Bishop of St. Malo was chosen for the ceremony, who flattered, as
may be believed, at baptizing a Huron, arrived in a pompous equipage,
followed by his clergy. Miss St. Yves put on her best gown to bless God,
and sent for a hair dresser from St. Malo's, to shine at the ceremony.
The inquisitive bailiff brought the whole country with him. The church
was magnificently ornamented. But when the Huron was summoned to attend
the baptismal font, he was not to be found.

His uncle and aunt sought for him every where. It was imagined that he
had gone a hunting, according to his usual custom. Every one present at
the festival, searched the neighboring woods and villages; but no
intelligence could be obtained of the Huron. They began to fear he had
returned to England. Some remembered that he had said he was very fond
of that country. The prior and his sister were persuaded that nobody was
baptized there, and were troubled for their nephew's soul. The bishop
was confounded, and ready to return home. The prior and the Abbé St.
Yves were in despair. The bailiff interrogated all passengers with his
usual gravity. Miss Kerkabon melted into tears. Miss St. Yves did not
weep, but she vented such deep sighs, as seemed to testify her
sacramental disposition. They were walking in this melancholy mood,
among the willows and reeds upon the banks of the little river Rence,
when they perceived, in the middle of the stream, a large figure,
tolerably white, with its two arms across its breast. They screamed out,
and ran away. But, curiosity being stronger than any other
consideration, they advanced softly amongst the reeds; and when they
were pretty certain they could not be seen, they were willing to descry
what it was.



IV.

THE HURON BAPTIZED.


The prior and the abbé having run to the river side, they asked the
Huron what he was doing?

"In faith," said he, "gentlemen, I am waiting to be baptized. I have
been an hour in the water, up to my neck, and I do not think it is civil
to let me be quite exhausted."

"My dear nephew," said the prior to him, tenderly, "this is not the way
of being baptized in Lower Britany. Put on your clothes, and come with
us."

Miss St. Yves, listening to the discourse, said in a whisper to her
companion:

"Miss, do you think he will put his clothes on in such a hurry?"

The Huron, however, replied to the prior:

"You will not make me believe now as you did before. I have studied very
well since, and I am very certain there is no other kind of baptism. The
eunuch of Queen Candace was baptized in a rivulet. I defy you to show
me, in the book you gave me, that people were ever baptized in any other
way. I either will not be baptized at all, or the ceremony shall be
performed in the river."

It was in vain to remonstrate to him that customs were altered. He
always recurred to the eunuch of Queen Candace. And though Miss and his
aunt, who had observed him through the willows, were authorized to tell
him, that he had no right to quote such a man, they, nevertheless, said
nothing;--so great was their discretion. The bishop came himself to
speak to him, which was a great thing; but he could not prevail. The
Huron disputed with the bishop.

"Show me," said he, "in the book my uncle gave me, one single man that
was not baptized in a river, and I will do whatever you please."

His aunt, in despair, had observed, that the first time her nephew
bowed, he made a much lower bow to Miss St. Yves, than to any one in the
company--that he had not even saluted the bishop with so much respect,
blended with cordiality, as he did that agreeable young lady. She
thought it advisable to apply to her in this great embarrassment. She
earnestly entreated her to use her influence to engage the Huron to be
baptized according to the custom of Britany, thinking that her nephew
could never be a Christian if he persisted in being christened in the
stream.

[Illustration: The Huron baptized.--"I have been an hour in the water,
up to my neck, and I do not think it is civil to let me be quite
exhausted."]

Miss St. Yves blushed at the secret joy she felt in being appointed to
execute so important a commission. She modestly approached the Huron,
and squeezing his hand in quite a noble manner, she said to him.

"What, will you do nothing to please me?"

And in uttering these words, she raised her eyes from a downcast look,
into a graceful tenderness.

"Oh! yes, Miss, every thing you require, all that you command, whether
it is to be baptized in water, fire, or blood;--there is nothing I can
refuse you."

Miss St. Yves had the glory of effecting, in two words, what neither the
importunities of the prior, the repeated interrogations of the bailiff,
nor the reasoning of the bishop, could effect. She was sensible of her
triumph; but she was not yet sensible of its utmost latitude.

Baptism was administered, and received with all the decency,
magnificence, and propriety possible. His uncle and aunt yielded to the
Abbé St. Yves and his sister the favor of supporting the Huron upon the
font. Miss St. Yves's eyes sparkled with joy at being a god-mother. She
was ignorant how much this high title compromised her. She accepted the
honor, without being acquainted with its fatal consequences.

As there never was any ceremony that was not followed by a good dinner,
the company took their seats at table after the christening. The
humorists of Lower Britany said, "they did not choose to have their wine
baptized." The prior said, "that wine, according to Solomon, cherished
the heart of man." The bishop added, "that the Patriarch Judah ought to
have tied his ass-colt to the vine, and steeped his cloak in the blood
of the grape; and that he was sorry the same could not be done in Lower
Britany, to which God had not allotted vines." Every one endeavored to
say a good thing upon the Huron's christening, and strokes of gallantry
to the god-mother. The bailiff, ever interrogating, asked the Huron, "if
he was faithful in keeping his promises?"

"How," said he, "can I fail keeping them, since I have deposited them in
the hands of Miss St. Yves?"

The Huron grew warm; he had drank repeatedly his god-mother's health.

"If," said he, "I had been baptized with your hand, I feel that the
water which was poured on the nape of my neck would have burnt me."

The bailiff thought that this was too poetical, being ignorant that
allegory is a familiar figure in Canada. But his god-mother was very
well pleased.

The Huron had, at his baptism, received the name of Hercules. The bishop
of St. Malo frequently enquired, who was this tutelar saint, whom he had
never heard mentioned before? The Jesuit, who was very learned, told
him, "that he was a saint who had wrought twelve miracles." There was a
thirteenth, which was well worth the other twelve, but it was not proper
for a Jesuit to mention it. This was the marriage of fifty girls at one
time--the daughters of king Thespius. A wag, who was present, related
this miracle very feelingly. And all judged, from the appearance of the
Huron, that he was a worthy representative of the saint whose name he
bore.



V.

THE HURON IN LOVE.


It must be acknowledged, that from the time of this christening and this
dinner, Miss St. Yves passionately wished that the bishop would again
make her an assistant with Mr. Hercules in some other fine
ceremony--that is, the marriage ceremony. However, as she was well
brought up, and very modest,--she did not entirely agree with herself in
regard to these tender sentiments; but if a look, a word, a gesture, a
thought, escaped from her, she concealed it admirably under the veil of
modesty. She was tender, lively, and sagacious.

As soon as the bishop was gone, the Huron and Miss St. Yves met
together, without thinking they were in search of one another. They
spoke together, without premeditating what they said. The sincere youth
immediately declared, "that he loved her with all his heart; and that
the beauteous Abacaba, with whom he had been desperately in love in his
own country, was far inferior to her." Miss replied, with her usual
modesty, "that the prior, her uncle, and the lady, her aunt, should be
spoken to immediately; and that, on her side, she would say a few words
to her dear brother, the Abbé of St. Yves, and that she flattered
herself it would meet with no opposition."

The youth replied: "that the consent of any one was entirely
superfluous; that it appeared to him extremely ridiculous to go and ask
others what they were to do; that when two parties were agreed, there
was no occasion for a third, to accomplish their union."

"I never consult any one," said he, "when I have a mind to breakfast, to
hunt, or to sleep. I am sensible, that in love it is not amiss to have
the consent of the person whom we wish for; but as I am neither in love
with my uncle nor my aunt, I have no occasion to address myself to them
in this affair; and if you will believe me, you may equally dispense
with the advice of the Abbé of St. Yves."

It may be supposed that the young lady exerted all the delicacy of her
wit, to bring her Huron to the terms of good breeding. She was very
angry, but soon softened. In a word, it cannot be said how this
conversation would have ended, if the declining day had not brought the
Abbé to conduct his sister home. The Huron left his uncle and aunt to
rest, they being somewhat fatigued with the ceremony, and long dinner.
He passed part of the night in writing verses in the Huron language,
upon his well-beloved; for it should be known, that there is no country
where love has not rendered lovers poets.[1]

The next day his uncle spoke to him in the following manner. "I am
somewhat advanced in years. My brother has left only a little bit of
ground, which is a very small matter. I have a good priory. If you will
only make yourself a sub-deacon, as I hope you will, I will resign my
priory in your favor; and you will live quite at your ease, after
having been the consolation of my old age."

The Huron replied:

"Uncle, much good may it do you; live as long as you can. I do not know
what it is to be a sub-deacon, or what it is to resign, but every thing
will be agreeable to me, provided I have Miss St. Yves at my disposal."

"Good heavens, nephew! what is it you say? Do you love that beautiful
young lady so earnestly?"

"Yes, uncle."

"Alas! nephew, it is impossible you should ever marry her."

"It is very possible, uncle; for she did not only squeeze my hand when
she left me, but she promised she would ask me in marriage. I certainly
shall wed her."

"It is impossible, I tell you, she is your god-mother. It is a dreadful
sin for a god-mother to give her hand to her god-son. It is contrary to
all laws, human and divine."

"Why the deuce, uncle, should it be forbidden to marry one's god-mother,
when she is young and handsome? I did not find, in the book you gave me,
that it was wrong to marry young women who assisted at christenings. I
perceive, every day, that an infinite number of things are done here
which are not in your book, and nothing is done that is said in it. I
must acknowledge to you, that this astonishes and displeases me. If I am
deprived of the charming Miss St. Yves on account of my baptism, I give
you notice, that I will run away with her and unbaptize myself."

The prior was confounded; his sister wept.

"My dear brother," said she, "our nephew must not damn himself; our holy
father the pope can give him a dispensation, and then he may be happy,
in a christian-like manner, with the person he likes."

The ingenuous Hercules embraced his aunt:

"For goodness sake," said he, "who is this charming man, who is so
gracious as to promote the amours of girls and boys? I will go and speak
to him this instant."

The dignity and character of the pope was explained to him, and the
Huron was still more astonished than before.

"My dear uncle," said he, "there is not a word of all this in your
book; I have traveled, and am acquainted with the sea; we are now upon
the coast of the ocean, and I must leave Miss St. Yves, to go and ask
leave to marry her of a man who lives toward the Mediterranean, four
hundred leagues from hence, and whose language I do not understand! This
is most incomprehensibly ridiculous! But I will go first to the Abbé St.
Yves, who lives only a league from hence; and I promise you I will wed
my mistress before night."

Whilst he was yet speaking, the bailiff entered, and, according to his
usual custom, asked him where he was going?

"I am going to get married," replied the ingenuous Hercules, running
along; and in less than a quarter of an hour he was with his charming
dear mistress, who was still asleep.

"Ah! my dear brother," said Miss Kerkabon to the prior, "you will never
make a sub-deacon of our nephew."

The bailiff was very much displeased at this journey; for he laid claim
to Miss St. Yves in favor of his son, who was a still greater and more
insupportable fool than his father.


[1] "Love," says Robert G. Ingersoll, "writes every poem, sings every
song, paints every picture, chisels every statue--makes kings and queens
of common clay, and is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the human
heart."--E.



VI.

THE HURON FLIES TO HIS MISTRESS, AND BECOMES QUITE FURIOUS.


No sooner had the ingenuous Hercules reached the house, than having
asked the old servant, which was his mistress's apartment, he forced
open the door, which was badly fastened, and flew toward the bed. Miss
St. Yves, startled out of her sleep, cried.

"Ah! what, is it you! Stop, what are you about?" He answered:

"I am going to marry."

She opposed him with all the decency of a young lady so well educated;
but the Huron did not understand raillery, and found all evasions
extremely disagreeable.

"Miss Abacaba, my first mistress," said he, "did not behave in this
manner; you have no honesty; you promised me marriage, and you will not
marry; this is being deficient in the first laws of honor."

The outcries of the lady, brought the sagacious Abbé de St. Yves with
his housekeeper, an old devotee servant, and the parish priest. The
sight of these moderated the courage of the assailant.

"Good heavens!" cried the Abbé, "my dear neighbor, what are you about?"

"My duty," replied the young man, "I am fulfilling my promises, which
are sacred."

Miss St. Yves adjusted herself, not without blushing. The lover was
conducted into another apartment. The Abbé remonstrated to him on the
enormity of his conduct. The Huron defended himself upon the privileges
of the law of nature, which he understood perfectly well. The Abbé
maintained, that the law positive should be allowed all its advantages;
and that without conventions agreed on between men, the law of nature
must almost constantly be nothing more than natural felony. Notaries,
priests, witnesses, contracts, and dispensations, were absolutely
necessary.

The ingenuous Hercules made answer with the observation constantly
adopted by savages:

"You are then very great rogues, since so many precautions are
necessary."

This remark somewhat disconcerted the Abbé.

"There are, I acknowledge, libertines and cheats among us, and there
would be as many among the Hurons, if they were united in a great city:
but, at the same time, we have direct, honest, enlightened people; and
these are the men who have framed the laws. The more upright we are, the
more readily we should submit to them, as we thereby set an example to
the vicious, who respect those bounds which virtue has given herself."

This answer struck the Huron. It has already been observed, that his
mind was well disposed. He was softened by flattering speeches, which
promised him hopes; all the world is caught in these snares; and Miss
St. Yves herself appeared, after having been at her toilet. Every thing
was now conducted with the utmost good breeding.

[Illustration: The separation.]

It was with much difficulty that Hercules was sent back to his
relations. It was again necessary for the charming Miss St. Yves to
interfere; the more she perceived the influence she had upon him, the
more she loved him. She made him depart, and was much affected at it. At
length, when he was gone, the Abbé, who was not only Miss St. Yves's
elder brother by many years, but was also her guardian, endeavored to
wean his ward from the importunities of this dreadful lover. He went to
consult the bailiff, who had always intended his son for the Abbé's
sister, and who advised him to place the poor girl in a convent. This
was a terrible stroke. Such a measure would, to a young lady unaffected
with any particular passion, have been inexpressible punishment; but to
a love-sick maid, equally sagacious and tender, it was despair itself.

When the ingenuous Hercules returned to the Prior's, he related all that
had happened with his usual frankness. He met with the same
remonstrances, which had some effect upon his mind, though none upon his
senses; but the next day, when he wanted to return to his mistress, in
order to reason with her upon the law of nature and the law of
convention, the bailiff acquainted him, with insulting joy, that she was
in a convent.

"Very well," said he, "I'll go and reason with her in this convent."

That cannot be, said the bailiff; and then entered into a long
explanation of the nature of a convent, telling him that this word was
derived from _conventus_, in the Latin, which signifies "an assembly;"
and the Huron could not comprehend, why he might not be admitted into
this assembly. As soon as he was informed that this assembly was a kind
of prison, in which girls were shut up, a shocking institution, unknown
in Huronia and England; he became as furious as was his patron Hercules,
when Euritus, king of Œchalia, no less cruel than the Abbé of St.
Yves, refused him the beauteous Iola, his daughter, not inferior in
beauty to the Abbé's sister. He was upon the point of going to set fire
to the convent to carry off his mistress, or be burnt with her. Miss
Kerkabon, terrified at such a declaration, gave up all hopes of ever
seeing her nephew a sub-deacon; and, sadly weeping, she exclaimed: "The
devil has certainly been in him since he has been christened."



VII.

THE HURON REPULSES THE ENGLISH.


The ingenuous Hercules walked toward the sea-coast wrapped in deep and
gloomy melancholy, with his double charged fusee upon his shoulder, and
his cutlass by his side, shooting now and then a bird, and often tempted
to shoot himself; but he had still some affection for life, for the sake
of his dear mistress; by turns execrating his uncle and aunt, all Lower
Britany, and his christening; then blessing them, as they had introduced
him to the knowledge of her he loved. He resolved upon going to burn the
convent, and he stopped short for fear of burning his mistress. The
waves of the Channel are not more agitated by the easterly and westerly
winds, than was his heart by so many contrary emotions.

He was walking along very fast, without knowing whither he was going,
when he heard the beat of a drum. He saw, at a great distance, a vast
multitude, part of whom ran toward the coast, and the other part in the
opposite direction.

A thousand shrieks re-echoed on every side. Curiosity and courage
hurried him, that instant, toward the spot where the greatest clamor
arose, which he attained in a few leaps. The commander of the militia,
who had supped with him at the Prior's, knew him immediately, and he ran
to the Huron with open arms:

"Ah! it is the sincere American: he will fight for us."

Upon which the militia, who were almost dead with fear, recovered
themselves, crying with one voice:

"It is the Huron, the ingenuous Huron."

"Gentlemen," said he, "what is the matter? Why are you frightened? Have
they shut your mistresses up in convents?"

Instantly a thousand confused voices cried out:

"Do you not see the English, who are landing?"

"Very well," replied the Huron, "they are a brave people; they never
proposed making me a sub-deacon; they never carried off my mistress."

The commander made him understand, that they were coming to pillage the
Abbé of the Mountain, drink his uncle's wine, and perhaps carry off
Miss St. Yves; that the little vessel which set him on shore in Britany
had come only to reconnoitre the coast; that they were committing acts
of hostility, without having declared war against France; and that the
province was entirely exposed to them.

"If this he the case," said he, "they violate the law of nature: let me
alone; I lived a long time among them; I am acquainted with their
language, and I will speak to them. I cannot think they can have so
wicked a design."

During this conversation the English fleet approached; the Huron ran
toward it, and having jumped into a little boat, soon rowed to the
Admiral's ship, and having gone on board, asked "whether it was true,
that they were come to ravage the coast, without having honestly
declared war?"

The Admiral and all his crew burst out into laughter, made him drink
some punch, and sent him back.

The ingenuous Hercules, piqued at this reception, thought of nothing
else but beating his old friends for his countrymen and the Prior. The
gentlemen of the neighborhood ran from all quarters, and joined them;
they had some cannon, and he discharged them one after the other. The
English landed, and he flew toward them, when he killed three of them
with his own hand. He even wounded the Admiral, who had made a joke of
him. The entire militia were animated with his prowess. The English
returned to their ships, and went on board; and the whole coast
re-echoed with the shouts of victory, "Live the king! live the ingenuous
Hercules!"

Every one ran to embrace him; every one strove to stop the bleeding of
some slight wounds he had received.

"Ah!" said he, "if Miss St. Yves were here, she would put on a plaster
for me."

The bailiff, who had hid himself in his cellar during the battle, came
to pay his compliments like the rest. But he was greatly surprised, when
he heard the ingenuous Hercules say to a dozen young men, well disposed
for his service, who surrounded him:

"My friends, having delivered the Abbé of the Mountain is nothing; we
must rescue a nymph."

The warm blood of these youths was fired at the expression. He was
already followed by crowds, who repaired to the convent. If the bailiff
had not immediately acquainted the commandant with their design, and he
had not sent a detachment after the joyous troop, the thing would have
been done. The Huron was conducted back to his uncle and aunt, who
overwhelmed him with tears and tenderness.

"I see very well," said his uncle, "that you will never be either a
sub-deacon or a prior; you will be an officer, and one still braver than
my brother the Captain, and probably as poor."

Miss Kerkabon could not stop an incessant flood of tears, whilst she
embraced him, saying, "he will be killed too, like my brother; it were
much better he were a sub-deacon."

The Huron had, during the battle, picked up a purse full of guineas,
which the Admiral had probably lost. He did not doubt but that this
purse would buy all Lower Britany, and, above all, make Miss St. Yves a
great lady. Every one persuaded him to repair to Versailles, to receive
the recompense due to his services. The commandant, and the principal
officers, furnished him with certificates in abundance. The uncle and
aunt also approved of this journey. He was to be presented to the king
without any difficulty. This alone would give him great weight in the
province. These two good folks added to the English purse a considerable
present out of their savings. The Huron said to himself, "When I see the
king, I will ask Miss St. Yves of him in marriage, and certainly he will
not refuse me." He set out accordingly, amidst the acclamations of the
whole district, stifled with embraces, bathed in tears by his aunt,
blessed by his uncle, and recommending himself to the charming Miss St.
Yves.



VIII.

THE HURON GOES TO COURT. SUPS UPON THE ROAD WITH SOME HUGUENOTS.


The ingenuous Hercules took the Saumur road in the coach, because there
was at that time no other convenience. When he came to Saumur, he was
astonished to find the city almost deserted, and to see several families
going away. He was told, that half a dozen years before, Saumur
contained upwards of fifty thousand inhabitants, and that at present
there were not six thousand. He mentioned this at the inn, whilst at
supper. Several Protestants were at table; some complained bitterly,
others trembled with rage, others, weeping, said, _Nos dulcia linquimus
arva, nos patriam fugimus_. The Huron, who did not understand Latin, had
these words explained to him, which signified, "We abandon our sweet
fields;--We fly from our country."

"And why do you fly from your country, gentlemen?"

"Because we must otherwise acknowledge the Pope."

"And why not acknowledge him? You have no god-mothers, then, that you
want to marry; for, I am told it is he that grants this permission."

"Ah! sir, this Pope says, that he is master of the domains of kings."

"But, gentlemen, what religion are you of?"

"Why, sir, we are for the most part drapers and manufacturers."

"If the Pope, then, is not the master of your clothes and manufactures,
you do very well not to acknowledge him; but as to kings, it is their
business, and why do you trouble yourselves about it?"

Here a little black man took up the argument, and very learnedly set
forth the grievances of the company. He talked of the revocation of the
edict of Nantes with so much energy; he deplored, in so pathetic a
manner, the fate of fifty thousand fugitive families, and of fifty
thousand others converted by dragoons; that the ingenuous Hercules could
not refrain from shedding tears.

"Whence arises it," said he, "that so great a king, whose renown expands
itself even to the Hurons, should thus deprive himself of so many hearts
that would have loved him, and so many arms that would have served him."

"Because he has been imposed upon, like other great kings," replied the
little orator, "He has been made to believe, that as soon as he utters a
word, all people think as he does; and that he can make us change our
religion, just as his musician Lulli, in a moment, changes the
decorations of his opera. He has not only already lost five or six
hundred thousand very useful subjects, but he has turned many of them
into enemies; and King William, who is at this time master of England,
has formed several regiments of these identical Frenchmen, who would
otherwise have fought for their monarch.

"Such a disaster is more astonishing, as the present Pope, to whom Louis
XIV. sacrifices a part of his people, is his declared enemy. A violent
quarrel has subsisted between them for nearly nine years. It has been
carried so far, that France was in hopes of at length casting off the
yoke, by which it has been kept in subjection for so many ages to this
foreigner, and, more particularly, of not giving him any more money,
which is the _primum mobile_ of the affairs of this world. It,
therefore, appears evident, that this great king has been imposed on, as
well with respect to his interest, as the extent of his power, and that
even the magnanimity of his heart has been struck at."

The Huron, becoming more and more interested, asked:

"Who were the Frenchmen who thus deceived a monarch so dear to the
Hurons?"

"They are the Jesuits," he was answered, "and, particularly, Father la
Chaise, the kings confessor. It is to be hoped that God will one day
punish them for it, and that they will be driven out, as they now drive
us. Can any misfortune equal ours? Mons. de Louvois besets us on all
sides with Jesuits and dragoons."

"Well gentlemen," replied the Huron, "I am going to Versailles to
receive the recompense due to my services; I will speak to Mons. de
Louvois. I am told it is he who makes war from his closet. I shall see
the king, and I will acquaint him with the truth. It is impossible not
to yield to this truth, when it is felt. I shall return very soon to
marry Miss St. Yves, and I beg you will be present at our nuptials."

These good people now took him for some great Lord, who traveled
_incognito_ in the coach. Some took him for the king's fool.

There was at table a disguised Jesuit, who acted as a spy to the
Reverend Father de la Chaise. He gave him an account of everything that
passed, and Father de la Chaise reported it to M. de Louvois. The spy
wrote. The Huron and the letter arrived almost at the same time at
Versailles.



IX.

THE ARRIVAL OF THE HURON AT VERSAILLES. HIS RECEPTION AT COURT.


The ingenuous Hercules was set down from a public carriage, in the court
of the kitchens. He asks the chairmen, what hour the king can be seen?
The chairmen laugh in his face, just as the English Admiral had done:
and he treated them in the same manner--he beat them. They were for
retaliation, and the scene had like to have proved bloody, if a soldier,
who was a gentleman of Britany, had not passed by, and who dispersed the
mob.

"Sir," said the traveler to him, "you appear to me to be a brave man. I
am nephew to the Prior of our Lady of the Mountain. I have killed
Englishmen, and I am come to speak to the king. I beg you will conduct
me to his chamber."

The soldier, delighted to find a man of courage from his province, who
did not seem acquainted with the customs of the court, told him it was
necessary to be presented to M. de Louvois.

"Very well, then, conduct me to M. de Louvois, who will doubtless
conduct me to the king."

"It is more difficult to speak to M. de Louvois than the king. But I
will conduct you to Mr. Alexander, first commissioner of war, and this
will be just the same as if you spoke to the minister."

They accordingly repair to Mr. Alexander's, who is first clerk, but they
cannot be introduced, he being closely engaged in business with a lady
of the court, and no person is allowed admittance.

"Well," said the soldier, "there is no harm done, let us go to Mr.
Alexander's first clerk. This will be just the same as if you spoke to
Mr. Alexander himself."

The Huron quite astonished, followed him. They remained together half an
hour in a little anti-chamber.

"What is all this?" said the ingenuous Hercules. "Is all the world
invisible in this country? It is much easier to fight in Lower Britany
against Englishmen, than to meet with people at Versailles, with whom
one hath business."

He amused himself for some time with relating his amours to his
countryman; but the clock striking, recalled the soldier to his post,
when a mutual promise was given of meeting on the morrow.

The Huron remained another half hour in the anti-chamber, meditating
upon Miss St. Yves, and the difficulty of speaking to kings and first
clerks.

At length the patron appeared.

"Sir," said the ingenuous Hercules, "If I had waited to repulse the
English as long as you have made me wait for my audience, they would
certainly have ravaged all Lower Britany without opposition."

These words impressed the clerk. He at length said to the inhabitant of
Britany, "What is your request?"

"A recompense," said the other: "these are my titles;" showing his
certificates.

The clerk read, and told him, "that probably he might obtain leave to
purchase a lieutenancy."

"Me? what, must I pay money for having repulsed the English? Must I pay
a tax to be killed for you, whilst you are peaceably giving your
audience here? You are certainly jesting. I require a company of cavalry
for nothing. I require that the king shall set Miss St. Yves at liberty
from the convent, and give her to me in marriage. I want to speak to the
king in favor of fifty thousand families, whom I propose restoring to
him. In a word, I want to be useful. Let me be employed and advanced."

"What is your name, sir, who talk in such a high style?"

"Oh! oh!" answered the Huron; "you have not then read my certificates?
This is the way they are treated. My name is _Hercules de Kerkabon_. I
am christened, and I lodge at the Blue Dial." The clerk concluded, like
the people at Saumur, that his head was turned, and did not pay him any
further attention.

The same day, the Reverend Father de la Chaise, confessor to Louis XIV.,
received his spy's letter, which accused the Breton Kerkabon of favoring
in his heart the Huguenots, and condemning the conduct of the Jesuits.
M. de Louvois had, on his side, received a letter from the inquisitive
bailiff, which depicted the Huron as a wicked, lewd fellow, inclined to
burn convents, and carry off the nuns.

Hercules, after having walked in the gardens of Versailles, which had
become irksome to him; after having supped like a native of Huronia and
Lower Britany: had gone to rest, in the pleasant hope of seeing the king
the next day; of obtaining Miss St. Yves in marriage; of having, at
least, a company of cavalry; and of setting aside the persecution
against the Huguenots. He was rocking himself asleep with these
flattering ideas, when the _Marechaussée_ entered his chamber, and
seized upon his double-charged fusee and his great sabre.

They took an inventory of his ready money, and then conducted him to the
castle erected by King Charles V., son to John II., near the street of
St. Antoine, at the gate des Tournelles.

What was the Huron's astonishment in his way thither the reader is left
to imagine. He at first fancied it was all a dream; and remained for
some time in a state of stupefaction. Presently, transported with rage,
that gave him more than common strength, he collared two of his
conductors who were with him in the coach, flung them out of the door,
cast himself after them, and then dragged the third, who wanted to hold
him. He fell in the attempt, when they tied him, and replaced him in the
carriage.

"This, then," said he, "is what one gets for driving the English out of
Lower Britany! What wouldst thou say, charming Miss St. Yves, if thou
didst see me in this situation?"

They at length arrived at the place of their destination. He was carried
without any noise into the chamber in which he was to be locked up, like
a dead corpse going to the grave. This room was already occupied by an
old solitary student of Port Royal, named Gordon, who had been
languishing here for two years.

"See," said the chief of the Marechaussée, "here is company I bring
you;" and immediately the enormous bolts of this strong door, secured
with large iron bars, were fastened upon them. These two captives were
thus separated from all the universe besides.



X.

THE HURON IS SHUT UP IN THE BASTILE WITH A JANSENIST.


Mr. Gordon was a healthy old man, of a serene disposition, who was
acquainted with two great things; the one was, to bear adversity; the
other, to console the afflicted. He approached his companion with an
open sympathizing air, and said to him, whilst he embraced him:

"Whoever thou art that is come to partake of my grave, be assured, that
I shall constantly forget myself to soften thy torments in the infernal
abyss where we are plunged. Let us adore Providence that has conducted
us here. Let us suffer in peace, and trust in hope."

These words had the same effect upon the youth as cordial drops, which
recall a dying person to life, and show to his astonished eyes a glimpse
of light.

After the first compliments were over, Gordon, without urging him to
relate the cause of his misfortune, inspired him by the sweetness of his
discourse and by that interest which two unfortunate persons share with
each other, with a desire of opening his heart and of disburdening
himself of the weight which oppressed him; but he could not guess the
cause of his misfortune, and the good man Gordon was as much astonished
as himself.

"God must, doubtless," said the Jansenist to the Huron, "have great
designs upon you, since he conducted you from Lake Ontario into England,
from thence to France; caused you to be baptized in Lower Britany, and
has now lodged you here for your salvation."

"I' faith," replied Hercules, "I believe the devil alone has interfered
in my destiny.[1] My countrymen in America would never have treated me
with the barbarity that I have here experienced; they have not the least
idea of it. They are called savages;--they are good people, but rustic,
and the men of this country are refined villains. I am indeed, greatly
surprised to have come from another world, to be shut up in this, under
four bolts with a priest; but I consider what an infinite number of men
set out from one hemisphere to go and get killed in the other, or are
cast away in the voyage, and are eaten by the fishes. I cannot discover
the gracious designs of God over all these people."

Their dinner was brought them through a wicket. The conversation turned
upon Providence, _lettres de cachet_, and upon the art of not sinking
under disgrace, to which all men in this world are exposed.

"It is now two years since I have been here," said the old man, "without
any other consolation than myself and books; and yet I have never been a
single moment out of temper."

"Ah! Mr. Gordon," cried Hercules, "you are not then in love with your
god-mother. If you were as well acquainted with Miss St. Yves as I am,
you would be in a state of desperation."

At these words he could not refrain from tears, which greatly relieved
him from his oppression.

"How is it then that tears solace us?" said the Huron, "It seems to me
that they should have quite an opposite effect."

"My son," said the good old man, "every thing is physical about us; all
secretions are useful to the body, and all that comforts it, comforts
the soul. We are the machines of Providence."

The ingenuous Huron, who, as we have already observed more than once,
had a great share of understanding, entered deeply into the
consideration of this idea, the seeds whereof appeared to be in himself.
After which he asked his companion.

"Why his machine had for two years been confined by four bolts?"

"By effectual grace," answered Gordon; "I pass for a Jansenist; I know
Arnaud and Nicole; the Jesuits have persecuted us. We believe that the
Pope is nothing more than a bishop, like another, and therefore Father
la Chaise has obtained from the king, his penitent, an order for
robbing me without any form of justice, of the most precious inheritance
of man--liberty!"

"This is very strange," said the Huron, "all the unhappy people I have
met with have been made so solely by the Pope. With respect to your
effectual grace, I acknowledge I do not understand what you mean. But I
consider it as a very great favor, that God has let me, in my
misfortunes, meet with a man, who pours into my heart such consolation
as I thought myself incapable of receiving."

The conversation became each day more interesting and instructive. The
souls of the two captives seemed to unite in one body. The old man had
acquired knowledge, and the young man was willing to receive
instruction. At the end of the first month, he eagerly applied himself
to the study of geometry. Gordon made him read _Rohault's Physics_,
which book was still in fashion, and he had good sense enough to find in
it nothing but doubts and uncertainties.

He afterward read the first volume of the _Enquiry After Truth_. This
instructive work gave him new light.

"What!" said he, "do our imagination and our senses deceive us to that
degree? What, are not our ideas formed by objects, and can we not
acquire them by ourselves?"

When he had gone through the second volume, he was not so well
satisfied; and he concluded it was much easier to destroy than to build.

His colleague, astonished that a young ignoramus should make such a
remark, conceived a very high opinion of his understanding, and was more
strongly attached to him.

"Your Malebranche," said he to Gordon one day, "seems to have written
half his book whilst he was in possession of his reason, and the other
half with the assistance only of imagination and prejudice."

Some days after, Gordon asked him what he thought of the soul, and the
manner in which we receive our ideas of volition, grace, and free
agency.

"Nothing," replied the Huron. "If I think sometimes, it is that we are
under the power of the Eternal Being, like the stars and the
elements--that he operates everything in us--that we are small wheels of
the immense machine, of which he is the soul--that he acts according to
general laws, and not from particular views. This is all that appears to
me intelligible; all the rest is to me a dark abyss."

"But this, my son, would be making God the author of sin!"

"But, father, your effectual grace would equally make him the author of
sin; for certainly all those to whom this grace was refused, would sin;
and is not an all-powerful being who permits evil, virtually the author
of evil?"

This sincerity greatly embarrassed the good man; he found that all his
endeavors to extricate himself from this quagmire were ineffectual; and
he heaped such quantities of words upon one another, which seemed to
have meaning, but which in fact had none, that the Huron could not help
pitying him. This question evidently determined the origin of good and
evil; and poor Gordon was reduced to the necessity of recurring to
Pandora's box--Oromasdes's egg pierced by Arimanes--the enmity between
Typhon and Osiris--and, at last, original sin; and these he huddled
together in profound darkness, without their throwing the least
glimmering light upon one another. However, this romance of the soul
diverted their thoughts from the contemplation of their own misery; and,
by a strange magic, the multitude of calamities dispersed throughout the
world diminished the sensation of their own miseries. They did not dare
complain when all mankind was in a state of sufferance.

But in the repose of night, the image of the charming Miss St. Yves
effaced from the mind of her lover every metaphysical and moral idea. He
awoke with his eyes bathed in tears; and the old Jansenist forgot his
effectual grace, and the Abbé of St. Cyran, and even Jansenius himself,
to afford consolation to a youth whom he had judged guilty of a mortal
sin.

After these lectures and their reasonings were over, their adventures
furnished them with subjects of conversation; after this store was
exhausted, they read together, or separately. The Huron's understanding
daily increased; and he would certainly have made great progress in
mathematics, if the thought of Miss St. Yves had not frequently
distracted him.

He read histories, which made him melancholy. The world appeared to him
too wicked and too miserable. In fact, history is nothing more than a
picture of crimes and misfortunes. The crowd of innocent and peaceable
men are always invisible upon this vast theatre. The _dramatis personæ_
are composed of ambitious, perverse men. The pleasure which history
affords is derived from the same source as tragedy, which would languish
and become insipid, were it not inspired with strong passions, great
events, and piteous misfortunes. Clio must be armed with a poniard as
well as Melpomene.

Though the history of France is not less filled with horror than those
of other nations, it nevertheless appeared to him so disgusting in the
beginning, so dry in the continuation, and so trifling in the end, (even
in the time of Henry IV.); ever destitute of grand monuments, or foreign
to those fine discoveries which have illustrated other nations; that he
was obliged to resolve upon not being tired, in order to go through all
the particulars of obscure calamities confined to a little corner of the
world.

Gordon thought like him. They both laughed with pity when they read of
the sovereigns of Fezensacs, Fesansaguet, and Astrac: such a study could
be relished only by their heirs, if they had any. The brilliant ages of
the Roman Republic made him sometimes quite indifferent as to any other
part of the globe. The spectacle of victorious Rome, the lawgiver of
nations, engrossed his whole soul. He glowed in contemplating a people
who were governed for seven hundred years by the enthusiasm of liberty
and glory.

Thus rolled days, weeks, and months; and he would have thought himself
happy in the sanctuary of despair, if he had not loved.

The natural goodness of his heart was softened still more when he
reflected upon the Prior of our Lady of the Mountain, and the sensible
Kerkabon.

"What must they think," he would often repeat, "when they can get no
tidings of me? They must think me an ungrateful wretch." This idea
rendered him inconsolable. He pitied those who loved him much more than
he pitied himself.


[1] In the play called _Civilization_, Hercules uses the following
language:

     "In my barbarian days, I spoke the truth:
      Wrong'd not my neighbor: paid back benefits,
      With benefit and gratitude to boot;
      Dealt justly: held a friend to be a gift,
      Precious as stars dropt down from heaven: bowed
      Before the works of God: beheld in them
      His presence, palpable, as at an altar:
      And worshipp'd heaven at the mountain's foot.
                                          But this
      Was Barbarism, I am wiser now;
      More civilized. I know the way to lie,
      To cheat, deceive, and be a zealous Christian!"--E.



XI.

HOW THE HURON DISCLOSES HIS GENIUS.


Reading aggrandizes the soul, and an enlightened friend affords
consolation. Our captive had these two advantages in his favor which he
had never expected.

"I shall begin to believe in the Metamorphoses," said he, "for I have
been transformed from a brute into a man."

He formed a chosen library with part of the money which he was allowed
to dispose of. His friend encouraged him to commit to writing such
observations as occurred to him. These are his notes upon ancient
history:

"I imagine that nations were for a long time like myself; that they did
not become enlightened till very late; that for many ages they were
occupied with nothing but the present moment which elapsed: that they
thought very little of what was past, and never of the future. I have
traversed five or six hundred leagues in Canada, and I did not meet with
a single monument: no one is the least acquainted with the actions of
his predecessors. Is not this the natural state of man? The human
species of this continent appears to me superior to that of the other.
They have extended their being for many ages by arts and knowledge. Is
this because they have beards upon their chins and God has refused this
ornament to the Americans? I do not believe it; for I find the Chinese
have very little beard, and that they have cultivated arts for upwards
of five thousand years. In effect, if their annals go back upwards of
four thousand years, the nation must necessarily have been united and in
a flourishing state more than five hundred centuries.

"One thing particularly strikes me in this ancient history of China,
which is, that almost every thing is probable and natural. I admire it
because it is not tinctured with anything of the marvelous.

"Why have all other nations adopted fabulous origins? The ancient
chronicles of the history of France, which, by the by, are not very
ancient, make the French descend from one Francus, the son of Hector.
The Romans said they were the issue of a Phrygian, though there was not
in their whole language a single word that had the least connection
with the language of Phrygia. The gods had inhabited Egypt for ten
thousand years, and the devils Scythia, where they had engendered the
Huns. I meet with nothing before Thucydides but romances similar to the
Amadis, and far less amusing. Apparitions, oracles, prodigies, sorcery,
metamorphoses, are interspersed throughout with the explanation of
dreams, which are the bases of the destiny of the greatest empires and
the smallest states. Here are speaking beasts, there brutes that are
adored, gods transformed into men, and men into gods. If we must have
fables, let us, at least, have such as appear the emblem of truth. I
admire the fables of philosophers, but I laugh at those of children, and
hate those of impostors."

He one day hit upon a history of the Emperor Justinian. It was there
related, that some Appedeutes of Constantinople had delivered, in very
bad Greek, an edict against the greatest captain of the age, because
this hero had uttered the following words in the warmth of conversation:
"Truth shines forth with its proper light, and people's minds are not
illumined with flaming piles." The Appedeutes declared that this
proposition was heretical, bordering upon heresy, and that the contrary
action was catholic, universal, and Grecian: "The minds of the people
are enlightened but with flaming piles, and truth cannot shine forth
with its own light." These Linostolians thus condemned several
discourses of the captain, and published an edict.

"What!" said the Huron, with much emotion, "shall such people publish
edicts?"

"They are not edicts," replied Gordon: "they are contradictions, which
all the world laughed at in Constantinople, and the Emperor the first.
He was a wise prince, who knew how to reduce the Linostolian Appedeutes
to a state incapable of doing anything but good. He knew that these
gentlemen, and several other Pastophores, had tired the patience of the
Emperors, his predecessors, with contradictions in more serious
matters."

"He did quite right," said the Huron, "the Pastophores should not be
supported, but constrained."

He committed several other observations to paper, which astonished old
Gordon. "What," said he to himself, "have I consumed fifty years in
instruction and not attained to the degree of natural good sense of this
child, who is almost a savage? I tremble to think I have so arduously
strengthened prejudices, and he listens to simple nature only."

The good man had some little books of criticism, some of those
periodical pamphlets wherein men, incapable of producing anything
themselves, blacken the productions of others; where a Vise insults a
Racine, and a Faidit a Fénelon. The Huron ran over some of them. "I
compare them," said he, "to certain gnats that lodge their eggs in the
nostrils of the finest horses, which do not, however, retard their
speed."

The two philosophers scarce deigned to cast their eyes upon these dregs
of literature.

They soon after went through the elements of astronomy. The Huron sent
for some globes: he was ravished at this great spectacle.

"How hard it is," said he, "that I should only begin to be acquainted
with heaven, when the power of contemplating it is ravished from me!
Jupiter and Saturn revolve in these immense spaces;--millions of suns
illumine myriads of worlds; and, in this corner of the earth on which I
am cast, there are beings that deprive me of seeing and studying those
worlds to which my eye might reach, and even that in which God has
placed me. The light created for the whole universe is lost to me. It
was not hidden from me in the northern horizon, where I passed my
infancy and youth. Without you, my dear Gordon, I should be
annihilated."



XII.

THE HURON'S SENTIMENTS UPON THEATRICAL PIECES.


The young Huron resembled one of those vigorous trees, which,
languishing in an ungrateful soil, extend in a little time their roots
and branches when transplanted to a more favorable spot; and it was very
extraordinary that this favorable spot should be a prison.

Among the books which employed the leisure of the two captives were some
poems and also translations of Greek tragedies, and some dramatic
pieces in French. Those passages that dwelt on love communicated at once
pleasure and pain to the soul of the Huron. They were but so many images
of his dear Miss St. Yves. The fable of the two pigeons rent his heart:
for he was far estranged from his tender dove.

Molière enchanted him. He taught him the manners of Paris and of human
nature.

"To which of his comedies do you give the preference?"

"Doubtless to his _Tartuffe_."

"I am of your opinion," said Gordon; "it was a Tartuffe that flung me
into this dungeon, and perhaps they were Tartuffes who have been the
cause of your misfortunes."

"What do you think of these Greek tragedies?"

"They are very good for Grecians."

But when he read the modern _Iphigenia, Phædrus, Andromache_, and
_Athalia_, he was in ecstacy, he sighed, he wept,--and he learned them
by heart, without having any such intention.

"Read _Rodogune_," said Gordon; "that is said to be a capital
production; the other pieces which have given you so much pleasure, are
trifles compared to this."

The young man had scarce got through the first page, before he said,
"This is not written by the same author."

"How do you know it?"

"I know nothing yet; but these lines neither touch my ear nor my heart."

"O!" said Gordon, "the versification does not signify." The Huron asked,
"What must I judge by then?"

After having read the piece very attentively without any other design
than being pleased, he looked steadfastly at his friend with much
astonishment, not knowing what to say. At length, being urged to give
his opinion with respect to what he felt, this was the answer he made:
"I understood very little of the beginning; the middle disgusted me; but
the last scene greatly moved me, though there appears to me but little
probability in it. I have no prejudices for or against any one, but I do
not remember twenty lines, I, who recollect them all when they please
me."

"This piece, nevertheless, passes for the best upon our stage."

"If that be the case," said he, "it is perhaps like many people who are
not worthy of the places they hold. After all, this is a matter of
taste, and mine cannot yet be formed. I may be mistaken; but you know I
am accustomed to say what I think or rather what I feel. I suspect that
illusion, fashion, caprice, often warp the judgments of men."

Here he repeated some lines from _Iphigenia_, which he was full of; and
though he declaimed but indifferently, he uttered them with such truth
and emotion that he made the old Jansenist weep. He then read _Cinna_,
which did not excite his tears, but his admiration.



XIII.

THE BEAUTIFUL MISS ST. YVES GOES TO VERSAILLES.


Whilst the unfortunate Hercules was more enlightened than consoled;
whilst his genius, so long stifled, unfolded itself with so much
rapidity and strength; whilst nature, which was attaining a degree of
perfection in him, avenged herself of the outrages of fortune; what
became of the Prior, his good sister, and the beautiful recluse, Miss
St. Yves? The first month they were uneasy, and the third they were
immersed in sorrow. False conjectures, ill-grounded reports, alarmed
them. At the end of six months, it was concluded he was dead. At length,
Mr. and Miss Kerkabon learned, by a letter of ancient date, which one of
the king's guards had written to Britany, that a young man resembling
the Huron arrived one night at Versailles, but that since that time no
one had heard him spoken of.

"Alas," said Miss Kerkabon, "our nephew has done some ridiculous thing,
which has brought on some terrible consequences. He is young, a _Low
Breton_, and cannot know how to behave at court. My dear brother, I
never saw Versailles nor Paris; here is a fine opportunity, and we shall
perhaps find our poor nephew. He is our brother's son, and it is our
duty to assist him. Who knows? we may perhaps at length prevail upon him
to become a sub-deacon when the fire of youth is somewhat abated. He was
much inclined to the sciences. Do you recollect how he reasoned upon
the Old and New Testaments? We are answerable for his soul. He was
baptized at our instigation. His dear mistress Miss St. Yves does
nothing but weep incessantly. Indeed, we must go to Paris. If he is
concealed in any of those infamous houses of pleasure, which I have
often heard of, we will get him out."

The Prior was affected at his sister's discourse. He went in search of
the Bishop of St. Malo's, who had baptized the Huron, and requested his
protection and advice. The Prelate approved of the journey. He gave the
Prior letters of recommendation to Father la Chaise, the king's
confessor, who was invested with the first dignity in the kingdom; to
Harlai, the Archbishop of Paris, and to Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux.

At length, the brother and sister set out; but when they came to Paris,
they found themselves bewildered in a great labyrinth without clue or
end. Their fortune was but middling, and they had occasion every day for
carriages to pursue their discovery, which they could not accomplish.

The Prior waited upon the Reverend Father la Chaise; he was with
Mademoiselle du Tron, and could not give audience to Priors. He went to
the Archbishop's door: the Prelate was shut up with the beautiful
Mademoiselle de Lesdiguières about church matters. He flew to the
country house of the Bishop of Meaux: he was engaged in a close
examination with Mademoiselle de Mauleon, of the mystery relating to
Mademoiselle Guyon. At length, however, he gained access to these two
prelates; they both declared they could not interfere with regard to his
nephew, as he was not a sub-deacon.

He at length saw the Jesuit, who received him with open arms, protesting
he had always entertained the greatest private esteem for him, though he
had never known him. He swore that his society had always been attached
to the inhabitants of Lower Britany.

"But," said he, "has not your nephew the misfortune of being a
Huguenot?"

"No, certainly, Reverend Father."

"May he not be a Jansenist?"

"I can assure your Reverence, that he is scarce a Christian. It is about
eleven months since he was christened."

"This is very well;--we will take care of him. Is your benefice
considerable?"

"No, a very trifle, and our nephew costs us a great deal."

"Are there any Jansenists in your neighborhood? Take great care, my dear
Mr. Prior, they are more dangerous than Huguenots, or even Atheists."

"My Reverend Father, we have none; it is not even known at our Lady of
the Mountain what Jansenism is."

"So much the better; go, there is nothing I will not do for you."

He dismissed the Prior in this affectionate manner, but thought no more
about him.

Time slipped away, and the Prior and his good sister were almost in
despair.

In the meanwhile, the cursed bailiff urged very strenuously the marriage
of his great booby son with the beautiful Miss St. Yves, who was taken
purposely out of the convent. She always entertained a passion for her
god-son in proportion as she detested the husband who was designed for
her. The insult that had been offered her, by shutting her up in a
convent, increased her affection; and the mandate for wedding the
bailiff's son completed her antipathy for him. Chagrin, tenderness, and
terror, racked her soul. Love, we know, is much more inventive and more
daring in a young woman than friendship in an aged Prior and an aunt
upwards of forty-five. Besides, she had received good instructions in
her convent with the assistance of romances, which she read by stealth.

The beautiful Miss St. Yves remembered the letter that had been sent by
one of the king's guards to Lower Britany, which had been spoken of in
the province. She resolved to go herself and gain information at
Versailles; to throw herself at the minister's feet, if her husband
should be in prison as it was said, and obtain justice for him. I know
not what secret intelligence she had gained that at court nothing is
refused to a pretty woman; but she knew not the price of these boons.

Having taken this resolution, it afforded her some consolation; and she
enjoyed some tranquillity without upraiding Providence with the severity
of her lot. She receives her detested intended father-in-law, caresses
her brother, and spreads happiness throughout the house. On the day
appointed for the ceremony, she secretly departs at four o'clock in the
morning, with the little nuptial presents she has received, and all she
could gather. Her plan was so well laid, that she was about ten leagues
upon her journey, when, about noon, her absence was discovered, and when
every one's consternation and surprise was inexpressible. The
inquisitive bailiff asked more questions that day than he had done for a
week before; the intended bridegroom was more stupefied than ever. The
Abbé St. Yves resolved in his rage to pursue his sister. The bailiff and
his son were disposed to accompany him. Thus fate led almost the whole
canton of Lower Britany to Paris.

The beautiful Miss St. Yves was not without apprehensions that she
should be pursued. She rode on horseback, and she got all the
intelligence she could from the couriers, without being suspected. She
asked if they had not met a fat abbé, an enormous bailiff, and a young
booby, galloping as fast as they could to Paris. Having learned, on the
third day, that they were not far behind, she took quite a different
road, and was skillful and lucky enough to arrive at Versailles, whilst
they were in a fruitless pursuit after her, at Paris. But how was she to
behave at Versailles? Young, handsome, untutored, unsupported, unknown,
exposed to every danger, how could she dare go in search of one of the
king's guards? She had some thoughts of applying to a Jesuit of low
rank, for there were some for every station of life; as God, they say,
has given different aliments to every species of animals. He had given
the king his confessor, who was called, by all solicitors of benefices,
the head of the Gallican Church. Then came the princes' confessors. The
ministers had none, they were not such dupes. There were Jesuits for the
genteel mob, and particularly those for chambermaids, by whom were known
the secrets of their mistresses; and this was no small vocation, the
beautiful Miss St. Yves addressed herself to one of these last, who was
called _Father Tout-à-tous_ (all to every one). She confessed to him,
set forth her adventure, her situation, her danger, and conjured him to
get her a lodging with some good devotee, who might shelter her from
temptation.

[Illustration: The Confessional.]

Father _Tout-à-tous_ introduced her to the wife of the cup-bearer, one
of his most trusty penitents. From the moment Miss St. Yves became her
lodger, she did her utmost to obtain the confidence and friendship of
this penitent. She gained intelligence of the Breton-Guard, and invited
him to visit her. Having learned from him that her lover had been
carried off after having had a conference with one of the clerks, she
flew to this clerk. The sight of a fine woman softened him, for it must
be allowed God created woman only to tame mankind.

The scribe, thus mollified, acknowledged to her every thing.

"Your lover has been in the bastile almost a year, and without your
intercession he would, perhaps, have ended hid days there."

The tender Miss St. Yves swooned at this intelligence. When she had
recovered herself, her informer told her:

"I have no power to do good; all my influence extends to doing harm.
Take my advice, wait upon M. de St. Pouange, who has the power of doing
both good and ill; he is Mons. de Louvois's cousin and favorite. This
minister has two souls: the one is M. de St. Pouange, and Mademoiselle
de Belle is the other, but she is at present absent from Versailles; so
that you have nothing to do but captivate the protector I have pointed
out to you."

The beautiful Miss St. Yves, divided between some trifling joy and
excessive grief, between a glimmering of hope and dreadful
apprehensions,--pursued by her brother, idolizing her lover, wiping her
tears, which flowed in torrents; trembling and feeble, yet summoning all
her courage;--in this situation, she flew on the wings of love to M. de
St. Pouange's.



XIV.

RAPID PROGRESS OF THE HURON'S INTELLECT.


The ingenuous youth was making a rapid progress in the sciences, and
particularly in the science of man. The cause of this sudden disclosure
of his understanding was as much owing to his savage education as to the
disposition of his soul; for, having learned nothing in his infancy, he
had not imbibed any prejudices. His mind, not having been warped by
error, had retained all its primitive rectitude. He saw things as they
were; whereas the ideas that are communicated to us in our infancy make
us see them all our life in a false light.

"Your persecutors are very abominable wretches," said he to his friend
Gordon. "I pity you for being oppressed, but I condemn you for being a
Jansenist. All sects appear to me to be founded in error. Tell me if
there be any sectaries in geometry?"

"No, my child," said the good old Gordon, heaving a deep sigh; "all men
are agreed concerning truth when demonstrated, but they are too much
divided about latent truths."

"If there were but one single hidden truth in your load of arguments,
which have been so often sifted for such a number of ages, it would
doubtless have been discovered, and the universe would certainly have
been unanimous, at least, in that respect. If this truth had been as
necessary as the sun is to the earth, it would have been as brilliant as
that planet. It is an absurdity, an insult to human nature--it is an
attack upon the Infinite and Supreme Being to say there is a truth
essential to the happiness of man which God conceals."

All that this ignorant youth, instructed only by nature, said, made a
very deep impression upon the mind of the old unhappy scholiast.

"Is it really certain," he cried, "that I should have made myself truly
miserable for mere chimeras? I am much more certain of my misery than of
effectual grace. I have spent my time in reasoning about the liberty of
God and human nature, but I have lost my own. Neither St. Augustine nor
St. Prosner will extricate me from my present misfortunes."

The ingenuous Huron, who gave way to his natural instincts, at length
said:

"Will you give me leave to speak to you boldly and frankly? Those who
bring upon themselves persecution for such idle disputes seem to me to
have very little sense; those who persecute, appear to me very
monsters."

The two captives entirely coincided with respect to the injustice of
their captivity.

"I am a hundred times more to be pitied than you," said the Huron; "I am
born free as the air: I had two lives, liberty and the object of my
love; and I am deprived of both. We are both in fetters, without
knowing who put them on us, or without being able to enquire. It is said
that the Hurons are barbarians, because they avenge themselves on their
enemies; but they never oppress their friends. I had scarce set foot in
France, before I shed my blood for this country. I have, perhaps,
preserved a whole province, and my recompense is imprisonment. In this
country men are condemned without being heard. This is not the case in
England. Alas! it was not against the English that I should have
fought."

Thus his growing philosophy could not brook nature being insulted in the
first of her rights, and he gave vent to his just indignation.

His companion did not contradict him. Absence ever increases ungratified
love, and philosophy does not diminish it. He as frequently spoke of his
dear Miss St. Yves, as he did of morality or metaphysics. The more he
purified his sentiments, the more he loved. He read some new romances;
but he met with few that depicted to him the real state of his soul. He
felt that his heart stretched beyond the bounds of his author.

"Alas!" said he, "almost all these writers have nothing but wit and
art."

At length, the good Jansenist priest became, insensibly, the confident
of his tenderness. He was already acquainted with love as a sin with
which a penitent accuses himself at confession. He now learned to know
it as a sentiment equally noble and tender; which can elevate the soul
as well as soften it, and can at times produce virtues. In fine, for the
last miracle, a Huron converted a Jansenist.



XV.

THE BEAUTIFUL MISS ST. YVES VISITS M. DE ST. POUANGE.


The charming Miss St. Yves, still more afflicted than her lover, waited
accordingly upon M. de St. Pouange, accompanied by her friend with whom
she lodged, each having their faces covered with their hoods. The first
thing she saw at the door was the Abbé St. Yves, her brother coming out.
She was terrified, but her friend supported her spirits.

"For the very reason," said she, "that people have been speaking
against you, speak to him for yourself. You may he assured, that the
accusers in this part of the world are always in the right, unless they
are immediately detected. Besides, your presence will have greater
effect, or else I am much mistaken, than the words of your brother."

Ever so little encouragement to a passionate lover makes her intrepid.
Miss St. Yves appears at the audience. Her youth, her charms, her
languishing eyes, moistened with some involuntary tears, attract every
one's attention. Every sycophant to the deputy minister forgot for an
instant the idol of power to contemplate that of beauty. St. Pouange
conducted her into a closet. She spoke with an affecting grace. St.
Pouange felt some emotion. She trembled, but he told her not to be
afraid.

"Return to-night," said he; "your business requires some reflection, and
it must be discussed at leisure. There are too many people here at
present. Audiences are rapidly dispatched. I must get to the bottom of
all that concerns you."

He then paid her some compliments upon her beauty and address, and
advised her to come at seven in the evening.

She did not fail attending at the hour appointed, and her pious friend
again accompanied her; but she remained in the hall, where she read the
_Christian Pedagogue_, whilst St. Pouange and the beauteous Miss St.
Yves were in the back closet. He began by saying:

"Would you believe it, Miss, that your brother has been to request me to
grant him a _lettre de cachet_ against you; but, indeed, I would sooner
grant one to send him back to Lower Britany."

"Alas! sir," said she, "_lettres de cachet_ are granted very liberally
in your offices, since people come from the extremity of the kingdom to
solicit them like pensions. I am very far from requesting one against my
brother, yet I have much reason to complain of him. But I respect the
liberty of mankind; and, therefore, supplicate for that of a man whom I
want to make my husband; of a man to whom the king is indebted for the
preservation of a province; who can beneficially serve him; and who is
the son of an officer killed in his service. Of what is he accused? How
could he be treated so cruelly without being heard?"

The deputy minister then showed her the letter of the spy Jesuit, and
that of the perfidious bailiff.

"What!" said she with astonishment, "are there such monsters upon earth?
and would they force me to marry the stupid son of a ridiculous, wicked
man? and is it upon such evidence that the fate of citizens is
determined?"

She threw herself upon her knees, and with a flood of tears solicited
the freedom of a brave man who adored her. Her charms appeared to the
greatest advantage in such a situation. She was so beautiful, that St.
Pouange, bereft of all shame, used words with some reserve, which
brought on others less delicate, which were succeeded by those still
more expressive. The revocation of the _lettre de cachet_ was proposed,
and he at length went so far as to state the only means of obtaining the
liberty of the man whose interest she had so violently and
affectionately at heart.

This uncommon conversation continued for a long time. The devotee in the
anti-chamber, in reading her _Christian Pedagogue_, said to herself:

"My Lord St. Pouange never before gave so long an audience. Perhaps he
has refused every thing to this poor girl, and she is still entreating
him."

At length her companion came out of the closet in the greatest
confusion, without being able to speak. She was lost in deep meditation
upon the character of the great and the half great, who so slightly
sacrifice the liberty of men and the honor of women.

She did not utter a syllable all the way back. But having returned to
her friend's, she burst out, and told all that had happened. Her pious
friend made frequent signs of the cross.

"My dear friend," said she, "you must consult to-morrow Father
_Tout-à-tous_, our director. He has much influence over M. de St.
Pouange. He is confessor of many of the female servants of the house. He
is a pious accommodating man, who has also the direction of some women
of fashion. Yield to him; this is my way; and I always found myself
right. We weak women stand in need of a man to lead us: and so, my dear
friend, I'll go to-morrow in search of Father _Tout-à-tous_."



XVI.

MISS ST. YVES CONSULTS A JESUIT.


No sooner was the beautiful and disconsolate Miss St. Yves with her holy
confessor, than she told him, "that a powerful, voluptuous man, had
proposed to her to set at liberty the man whom she intended making her
lawful husband, and that he required a great price for his service; that
she held such infidelity in the highest detestation; and that if her
life only had been required, she would much sooner have sacrificed it
than to have submitted."

"This is a most abominable sinner," said Father _Tout-à-tous_, "You
should tell me the name of this vile man. He must certainly be some
Jansenist. I will inform against him to his Reverence, Father de la
Chaise, who will place him in the situation of your dear beloved
intended bridegroom."

The poor girl, after much hesitation and embarrassment, at length
mentioned St. Pouange.

"My Lord St. Pouange!" cried the Jesuit, "Ah! my child, the case is
quite different. He is cousin to the greatest minister we have ever had;
a man of worth, a protector of the good cause, a good Christian. He
could not entertain such a thought. You certainly must have
misunderstood him."

"Oh! Father, I did but understand him too well. I am lost on which ever
side I turn. The only alternative I have to choose is misery or shame;
either my lover must be buried alive, or I must make myself unworthy of
living. I cannot let him perish, nor can I save him."

Father _Tout-à-tous_ endeavored to console her with these gentle
expressions:

"In the _first place_, my child, never use the word lover. It intimates
something worldly, which may offend God. Say my husband. You consider
him as such, and nothing can be more decent.

"_Secondly_: Though he be ideally your husband, and you are in hopes he
will be such eventually, yet he is not so in reality, consequently, you
are still free and the mistress of your own conduct.

[Illustration: Father Tout-à-tous.]

"_Thirdly_: Actions are not maliciously culpable, when the intention is
virtuous; and nothing can be more virtuous than to procure your husband
his liberty.

"_Fourthly_: You have examples in holy antiquity, that miraculously
serve you for a guide. St. Augustin relates, that under the proconsulate
of Septimius Acyndius, in the thirty-fourth year of our salvation, a
poor man could not pay unto Cæsar what belonged to Cæsar, and was justly
condemned to die, notwithstanding the maxim, 'Where there is nothing,
the king must lose his right.' The object in question was a pound of
gold. The culprit had a wife in whom God had united beauty and prudence.

"You may assure yourself, my child, that when a Jesuit quotes St.
Augustin, that saint must certainly have been in the right. I advise you
to nothing. You are prudent, and it is to be presumed that you will do
your husband a service. My Lord St. Pouange is an honest man. He will
not deceive you. This is all I can say. I will pray to God for you, and
I hope every thing will take place for his glory."

The beautiful Miss St. Yves, who was no less terrified with the Jesuit's
discourse than with the proposals of the deputy minister, returned in
despair to her friend. She was tempted to deliver herself by death from
the horror of her situation.



XVII.

THE JESUIT TRIUMPHS.


The unfortunate Miss St. Yves entreated her friend to kill her; but this
lady, who was fully as indulgent as the Jesuit, spoke to her still more
clearly.

"Alas!" said she, "at this agreeable, gallant, and famous court,
business is always thus transacted. The most considerable, as well as
the most indifferent places are seldom given away without a
consideration. The dignities of war are solicited by the queen of love,
and, without regard to merit, a place is often given to him who has the
handsomest advocate.

"You are in a situation that is extremely critical. The object is to
restore your lover to liberty, and to marry him. It is a sacred duty
that you are to fulfill. The world will applaud you. It will be said,
that you only allowed yourself to be guilty of a weakness, through an
excess of virtue."

"Heavens!" cried Miss St. Yves, "What kind of virtue is this? What a
labyrinth of distress! What a world! What men to become acquainted with!
A Father de la Chaise and a ridiculous bailiff imprison my lover; I am
persecuted by my family; assistance is offered me, only that I may be
dishonored! A Jesuit has ruined a brave man, another Jesuit wants to
ruin me. On every side snares are laid for me, and I am upon the very
brink of destruction! I must even speak to the king; I will throw myself
at his feet as he goes to mass or to the theatre."

"His attendants will not let you approach," said her good friend; "and
if you should be so unfortunate as to speak to him, M. de Louvois, or
the Reverend Father de la Chaise, might bury you in a convent for the
rest of your days."

Whilst this generous friend thus increased the perplexities of Miss St.
Yves's tortured soul, and plunged the dagger deeper in her heart, a
messenger arrived from M. de St. Pouange with a letter, and two fine
pendant earrings. Miss St. Yves, with tears, refused to accept of any
part of the contents of the packet; but her friend took the charge of
them upon herself.

As soon as the messenger had gone, the _confidante_ read the letter, in
which a _petit-souper_ (a little supper) was proposed to the two friends
for that night. Miss St. Yves protested she would not go, whilst her
pious friend endeavored to make her try on the diamond earrings; but
Miss St. Yves could not endure them, and opposed it all the day long;
being entirely wrapped up in the contemplation of her lover's
imprisonment. At length, after a long resistance--after sighs, moans,
and torrents of tears--driven by excitement almost to the verge of
insanity--weakened with the conflict, overwhelmed and irresolute, the
innocent victim, not knowing whether she was going, was dragged by this
artful woman to the fatal supper of the "good Christian and protector of
the good cause," M. de St. Pouange.

[Illustration: The meeting.]



XVIII.

MISS ST. YVES DELIVERS HER LOVER AND A JANSENIST.


At day-break she fled to Paris with the minister's mandate. It would be
difficult to depict the agitation of her mind in this journey. Imagine a
virtuous and noble soul, humbled by its own reproaches, intoxicated with
tenderness, distracted with the remorse of having betrayed her lover,
and elated with the pleasure of releasing the object of her adoration.
Her torments and conflicts by turns engaged her reflections. She was no
longer that innocent girl whose ideas were confined to a provincial
education. Love and misfortunes had united to remould her. Sentiment had
made as rapid a progress in her mind, as reason had in that of her
lover.

Her dress was dictated by the greatest simplicity. She viewed with
horror the trappings with which she had appeared before her fatal
benefactor. Her companion had taken the earrings without her having
looked at them. Anxious and confused, idolizing the Huron and detesting
herself, she at length arrived at the gate of that dreadful castle--the
palace of vengeance--where crimes and innocence are alike immured.

When she was upon the point of getting out of the coach her strength
failed her. Some people came to her assistance. She entered, whilst her
heart was in the greatest palpitation, her eyes streaming, and her whole
frame bespoke the greatest consternation. She was presented to the
governor. He was going to speak to her, but she had lost all power of
expression: she showed her order, whilst, with great difficulty, she
articulated some accents. The governor entertained a great esteem for
his prisoner, and he was greatly pleased at his being released. His
heart was not callous, like those of most of his brethren, who think of
nothing but the fees their captives are to pay them; extort their
revenues from their victims; and living by the misery of others,
conceive a horrid joy at the lamentations of the unfortunate.

He sent for the prisoner into his apartment. The two lovers swooned at
the sight of each other. The beautiful Miss St. Yves remained for a long
time motionless, without any symptoms of life; the other soon recalled
his fortitude.

"This lady," said the governor, "is probably your wife. You did not tell
me you were married. I am informed that it is through her generous
solicitude that you have obtained your liberty."

"Alas!" said the beautiful Miss St. Yves, in a faltering voice, "I am
not worthy of being his wife;" and swooned again.

When she recovered her senses, she presented, with a trembling hand and
averted eyes, the grant and written promise of a company.

The Huron, equally astonished and affected, awoke from one dream to fall
into another.

"Why was I shut up here? How could you deliver me? Where are the
monsters that immured me? You are a divinity sent from heaven to succor
me."

The beautiful Miss St. Yves, with a dejected air, looked at her lover,
blushed, and instantly turned away her streaming eyes. In a word, they
told him all she knew, and all she had undergone, except what she was
willing to conceal forever, but which any other than the Huron, more
accustomed to the world and better acquainted with the customs of
courts, would easily have guessed.

"Is it possible," said he, "that a wretch like the bailiff can have
deprived me of my liberty?

"Alas! I find that men, like the vilest of animals, can all injure.

"But is it possible that a monk, a Jesuit, the king's confessor, should
have contributed to my misfortunes as much as the bailiff, without my
being able to imagine under what pretence this detestable knave has
persecuted me? Did he make me pass for a Jansenist? In fine, how came
you to remember me? I did not deserve it; I was then only a savage.

"What! could you, without advice, without assistance, undertake a
journey to Versailles?

"You there appeared, and my fetters were broken!

"There must then be in beauty and virtue an invincible charm, that opens
gates of adamant and softens hearts of steel."

At the word virtue, a flood of tears issued from the eyes of the
beautiful Miss St. Yves. She did not know how far she had been virtuous
in the crime with which she reproached herself.

Her lover thus continued:

"Thou angel, who hast broken my chains, if thou hast had sufficient
influence (which I cannot yet comprehend) to obtain justice for me,
obtain it likewise for an old man who first taught me to think, as thou
didst to love. Misfortunes have united us; I love him as a father; I can
neither live without thee nor him."

"I solicit?"

"The same man."

"Who!"

"Yes, I will be beholden to you for everything, and I will owe nothing
to any one but yourself. Write to this man in power. Overwhelm me with
kindness--complete what you have begun--perfect your miracle."

She was sensible she ought to do everything her lover desired. She
wanted to write, but her hand refused its office. She began her letter
three times, and tore it as often. At length she got to the end, and the
two lovers left the prison, after having embraced the old martyr to
efficacious grace.

The happy yet disconsolate Miss St. Yves knew where her brother lodged:
thither she repaired; and her lover took an apartment at the same house.

They had scarce reached their lodging, before her protector sent the
order for releasing the good old Gordon, at the same time making an
appointment with her for the next day.

She gave the order of release to her lover, and refused the appointment
of a benefactor whom she could no more see without expiring with shame
and grief.

Her lover would not have left her upon any other errand than to release
his friend. He flew to the place of his confinement and fulfilled this
duty, reflecting, meanwhile, upon the strange vicissitudes of this
world, and admiring the courageous virtue of a young lady, to whom two
unfortunate men owed more than life.



XIX.

THE HURON, THE BEAUTIFUL MISS ST. YVES, AND THEIR RELATIONS, ARE
CONVENED.


The generous and respectable, but injured girl, was with her brother the
Abbé de St. Yves, the good Prior of the Mountain, and Lady de Kerkabon.
They were equally astonished, but their situations and sentiments were
very different. The Abbé de St. Yves was expiating the wrongs he had
done his sister at her feet, and she pardoned him. The prior and his
sympathizing sister likewise wept, but it was for joy. The filthy
bailiff and his insupportable son did not trouble this affecting scene.
They had set out upon the first report that their antagonist had been
released. They flew to bury in their own province their folly and fear.

The four _dramatis personæ_, variously agitated, were waiting for the
return of the young man who had gone to deliver his friend. The Abbé de
St. Yves did not dare to raise his eyes to meet those of his sister. The
good Kerkabon said:

"I shall then see once more my dear nephew."

"You will see him again," said the charming Miss St. Yves, "but he is no
longer the same man. His behavior, his manners, his ideas, his sense,
have all undergone a complete mutation. He has become as respectable, as
he was before ignorant and strange to everything. He will be the honor
and consolation of your family; would to heaven that I might also be the
honor of mine!"

"What, are you not the same as you were?" said the prior. "What then has
happened to work so great a change?"

During this conversation the Huron returned in company with the
Jansenist. The scene was now changed, and became more interesting. It
began by the uncle and aunt's tender embraces. The Abbé de St. Yves
almost kissed the knees of the ingenuous Huron, who, by the by, was no
longer ingenuous. The language of the eyes formed all the discourse of
the two lovers, who, nevertheless, expressed every sentiment with which
they were penetrated. Satisfaction and acknowledgment sparkled in the
countenance of the one, whilst embarrassment was depicted in Miss St.
Yves's melting but half averted eyes. Every one was astonished that she
should mingle grief with so much joy.

The venerable Gordon soon endeared himself to the whole family. He had
been unhappy with the young prisoner, and this was a sufficient title to
their esteem. He owed his deliverance to the two lovers, and this alone
reconciled him to love. The acrimony of his former sentiments was
dismissed from his heart--he was converted by gratitude, as well as the
Huron. Every one related his adventures before supper. The two Abbés and
the aunt listened like children to the relation of stories of ghosts,
and both were deeply interested.

"Alas!" said Gordon, "there are perhaps upwards of five hundred virtuous
people in the same fetters as Miss St. Yves has broken. Their
misfortunes are unheeded. Many hands are found to strike the unhappy
multitude,--how seldom one to succor them."

This very just reflection increased his sensibility and gratitude.
Everything heightened the triumph of the beautiful Miss St. Yves. The
grandeur and intrepidity of her soul were the subject of each one's
admiration. This admiration was blended with that respect which we feel
in spite of ourselves for a person who we think has some influence at
court. But the Abbé de St. Yves enquired:

"What could my sister do to obtain this influence so soon?"

Supper being ready, every one was already seated, when, lo! the worthy
_confidante_ of Versailles arrived, without being acquainted with
anything that had passed. She was in a coach and six, and it was easily
seen to whom the equipage belonged. She entered with that air of
authority assumed by people in power who have a great deal of
business--saluted the company with much indifference, and, pulling the
beautiful Miss St. Yves on one side, said:

"Why do you make people wait so long? Follow me. There are the diamonds
you forgot."

However softly she uttered these expressions, the Huron, nevertheless,
overheard them. He saw the diamonds. The brother was speechless. The
uncle and aunt exhibited the surprise of good people, who had never
before beheld such magnificence. The young man, whose mind was now
formed by an experience of twelve months, could not help making some
reflections against his will, and was for a moment in anxiety. His
mistress perceived it, and a mortal paleness spread itself over her
countenance; a tremor seized her, and it was with difficulty she could
support herself.

"Ah! madam," said she to her fatal friend, "you have ruined me--you have
given me the mortal blow."

These words pierced the heart of the Huron: but he had already learned
to possess himself. He did not dwell upon them, lest he should make his
mistress uneasy before her brother, but turned pale as well as she.

Miss St. Yves, distracted with the change she perceived in her lover's
countenance, pulled the woman out of the room into the passage, and
there threw the jewels at her feet, saying:

"Alas! these were not my seducers, as you well know: but he that gave
them shall never set eyes on me again."

Her friend took them up, whilst Miss St. Yves added:

"He may either take them again, or give them to you. Begone, and do not
make me still more odious to myself."

The ambassadress at length departed, not being able to comprehend the
remorse to which she had been witness.

The beautiful Miss St. Yves, greatly oppressed and feeling a revolution
in her body that almost suffocated her, was compelled to go to bed; but
that she might not alarm any one she kept her pains and sufferings to
herself: and under pretence of only being weary, she asked leave to take
a little rest. This, however, she did not do till she had reanimated the
company with consolatory and flattering expressions, and cast such a
kind look upon her lover as darted fire into his soul.

The supper, of which she did not partake, was in the beginning gloomy;
but this gloominess was of that interesting kind which inspires
reflection and useful conversation, so superior to that frivolous
excitement commonly exhibited, and which is usually nothing more than a
troublesome noise.

Gordon, in a few words, gave the history of Jansenism and Molinism; of
those persecutions with which one party hampered the other; and of the
obstinacy of both. The Huron entered into a criticism thereupon, pitying
those men who, not satisfied with all the confusion occasioned by these
opposite interests, create evils by imaginary interests and
unintelligible absurdities. Gordon related--the other judged. The guests
listened with emotion, and gained new lights. The duration of
misfortunes, and the shortness of life, then became the topics. It was
remarked that all professions have peculiar vices and dangers annexed to
them; and that from the prince down to the lowest beggar, all seemed
alike to accuse providence. How happens it that so many men, for so
little, perform the office of persecutors, sergeants, and executioners,
to others? With what inhuman indifference does a man in authority sign
papers for the destruction of a family; and with what joy, still more
barbarous, do mercenaries execute them.

"I saw in my youth," said the good old Gordon, "a relation of the
Marshal de Marillic, who, being prosecuted in his own province on
account of that illustrious but unfortunate man, concealed himself under
a borrowed name in Paris. He was an old man near seventy-two years of
age. His wife, who accompanied him, was nearly of the same age. They had
a libertine son, who at fourteen years of age absconded from his
father's house, turned soldier, and deserted. He had gone through every
gradation of debauchery and misery; at length, having changed his name,
he was in the guards of Cardinal Richelieu, (for this priest, as well as
Mazarine, had guards) and had obtained an exempt's staff in their
company of sergeants.

"This adventurer was appointed to arrest the old man and his wife, and
acquitted himself with all the obduracy of a man who was willing to
please his master. As he was conducting them, he heard these two victims
deplore the long succession of miseries which had befallen them from
their cradle. This aged couple reckoned as one of their greatest
misfortunes the wildness and loss of their son. He recollected them, but
he nevertheless led them to prison; assuring them, that his Reverence
was to be served in preference to every body else. His Eminence rewarded
his zeal.

"I have seen a spy of Father de la Chaise betray his own brother, in
hopes of a little benefice, which he did not obtain; and I saw him die,
not of remorse, but of grief at having been cheated by the Jesuit.

"The vocation of a confessor, which I for a long while exercised, made
me acquainted with the secrets of families. I have known very few, who,
though immersed in the greatest distress, did not externally wear the
mask of felicity and every appearance of joy; and I have always observed
that great grief was the fruit of our unconstrained desires."

"For my part," said the Huron, "I imagine, that a noble, grateful,
sensible man, may always be happy; and I hope to enjoy an uncheckered
felicity with the charming, generous Miss St. Yves. For I flatter
myself," added he, in addressing himself to her brother with a friendly
smile, "that you will not now refuse me as you did last year: besides, I
shall pursue a more decent method."

The Abbé was confounded in apologies for the past, and in protesting an
eternal attachment.

Uncle Kerkabon said this would be the most glorious day of his whole
life. His good aunt Kerkabon, in ecstasies of joy, cried out:

"I always said you would never be a sub-deacon. This sacrament is
preferable to the other; would to God I had been honored with it! but I
will serve you for a mother."

And now all vied with each other in applauding the gentle Miss St. Yves.

Her lover's heart was too full of what she had done for him, and he
loved her too much, for the affair of the jewels to make any permanent
impression on him. But those words, which he too well heard, "_you have
given me the mortal blow_", still secretly terrified him, and
interrupted all his joy; whilst the eulogiums paid his beautiful
mistress still increased his love. In a word, nothing was thought of but
her,--nothing was mentioned but the happiness those two lovers deserved.
A plan was agitated to live altogether at Paris, and schemes of grandeur
and fortune were formed. These hopes, which the smallest ray of
happiness engenders, were predominant. But the Huron felt, in the secret
recesses of his heart, a sentiment that exploded the illusion. He read
over the promises signed by St. Pouange, and the commission signed
Louvois. These men were painted to him such as they were, or such as
they were thought to be. Every one spoke of the ministers and
administration with the freedom of convivial conversation, which is
considered in France as the most precious liberty to be obtained on
earth.

"If I were king of France," said the Huron, "this is the kind of
minister that I would choose for the war department. I would have a man
of the highest birth, as he is to give orders to the nobility. I would
require that he should himself have been an officer, and have passed
through the various gradations; or, at least, that he had attained the
rank of Lieutenant General, and was worthy of being a Marshal of France.
For, to be acquainted with the details of the service, is it not
necessary that he himself should have served? and will not officers
obey, with a hundred times more alacrity, a military man, who like
themselves has been signalized by his courage, rather than a mere man of
the cabinet, who, whatever natural ability he may possess, can, at most,
only guess at the operations of a campaign? I should not be displeased
at my minister's generosity, even though it might sometimes embarrass a
little the keeper of the royal treasure. I should desire him to have a
facility in business, and that he should distinguish himself by that
kind of gaiety of mind, which is the lot of men superior to business,
which is so agreeable to the nation, and which renders the performance
of every duty less irksome."

This is the character he would have chosen for a minister, as he had
constantly observed that such an amiable disposition is incompatible
with cruelty.

Monsieur de Louvois would not, perhaps, have been satisfied with the
Huron's wishes. His merit lay in a different walk. But whilst they were
still at table, the disorder of the unhappy Miss St. Yves took a fatal
turn. Her blood was on fire,--the symptoms of a malignant fever had
appeared. She suffered, but did not complain, being unwilling to disturb
the pleasure of the guests.

Her brother, thinking that she was not asleep, went to the foot of her
bed. He was astonished at the condition he found her in. Every body flew
to her. Her lover appeared next to her brother. He was certainly the
most alarmed, and the most affected of any one; but he had learned to
unite discretion to all the happy gifts nature had bestowed upon him,
and a quick sensibility of decorum began to prevail over him.

A neighboring physician was immediately sent for. He was one of those
itinerant doctors who confound the last disorder they were consulted
upon with the present;--who follow a blind practice in a science from
which the most mature investigations and careful observations do not
preclude uncertainty and danger. He greatly increased the disorder by
prescribing a fashionable nostrum. Can fashion extend to medicine? This
frenzy was then too prevalent in Paris.

The grief of Miss St. Yves contributed still more than her physician to
render her disorder fatal. Her body suffered martyrdom in the torments
of her mind. The crowd of thoughts which agitated her breast,
communicated to her veins a more dangerous poison than that of the most
burning fever.



XX.

THE DEATH OF THE BEAUTIFUL MISS ST. YVES, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.


Another physician was called in. But, instead of assisting nature and
leaving it to act in a young person whose organs recalled the vital
stream, he applied himself solely to counteract the effects of his
brother's prescription. The disorder, in two days, became mortal. The
brain, which is thought to be the seat of the mind, was as violently
affected as the heart, which, we are told, is the seat of the passions.
By what incomprehensible mechanism are our organs held in subjection to
sentiment and thought? How is it that a single melancholy idea shall
disturb the whole course of the blood; and that the blood should in turn
communicate irregularities to the human understanding? What is that
unknown fluid which certainly exists and which, quicker and more active
than light, flies in less than the twinkling of an eye into all the
channels of life,--produces sensations, memory, joy or grief, reason or
frenzy,--recalls with horror what we would choose to forget; and renders
a thinking animal, either a subject of admiration, or an object of pity
and compassion?

These were the reflections of the good old Gordon; and these
observations, so natural, which men seldom make, did not prevent his
feeling upon this occasion; for he was not of the number of those gloomy
philosophers who pique themselves upon being insensible.

He was affected at the fate of this young woman, like a father who sees
his dear child yielding to a slow death. The Abbé de St. Yves was
desperate; the prior and his sister shed floods of tears; but who could
describe the situation of her lover? All expression falls far short of
the intensity of his affliction.

His aunt, almost lifeless, supported the head of the departing fair in
her feeble arms; her brother was upon his knees at the foot of the bed;
her lover squeezed her hand, which he bathed in tears; his groans rent
the air, whilst he called her his guardian angel, his life, his hope,
his better half, his mistress, his wife. At the word wife, a sigh
escaped her, whilst she looked upon him with inexpressible tenderness,
and then abruptly gave a horrid scream. Presently in one of those
intervals when grief, the oppression of the senses, and pain subside and
leave the soul its liberty and powers, she cried out:

"I your wife? Ah! dear lover, this name, this happiness, this felicity,
were not destined for me! I die, and I deserve it. O idol of my heart! O
you, whom I sacrificed to infernal demons--it is done--I am
punished--live and be happy!"

These tender but dreadful expressions were incomprehensible; yet they
melted and terrified every heart. She had the courage to explain
herself, and her auditors quaked with astonishment, grief, and pity.
They with one voice detested the man in power, who repaired a shocking
act of injustice only by his crimes, and who had forced the most amiable
innocence to be his accomplice.

"Who? you guilty?" said her lover, "no, you are not. Guilt can only be
in the heart;--yours is devoted solely to virtue and to me."

This opinion he corroborated by such expressions as seemed to recall the
beautiful Miss St. Yves back to life. She felt some consolation from
them and was astonished at being still beloved. The aged Gordon would
have condemned her at the time he was only a Jansenist; but having
attained wisdom, he esteemed her, and wept.

In the midst of these lamentations and fears, whilst the dangerous
situation of this worthy girl engrossed every breast, and all were in
the greatest consternation, a courier arrived from court.

"A courier? from whom, and upon what account?"

He was sent by the king's confessor to the Prior of the Mountain. It was
not Father de la Chaise who wrote, but brother Vadbled, his valet de
chambre, a man of great consequence at that time, who acquainted the
archbishops with the reverend Father's pleasure, who gave audiences,
promised benefices, and sometimes issued _lettres de cachet_.

He wrote to the Abbé of the Mountain, "that his reverence had been
informed of his nephew's exploits: that his being sent to prison was
through mistake; that such little accidents frequently happened, and
should therefore not be attended to; and, in fine, it behoved him, the
prior, to come and present his nephew the next day: that he was to bring
with him that good man Gordon; and that he, brother Vadbled, should
introduce them to his reverence and M. de Louvois, who would say a word
to them in his anti-chamber."

To which he added, "that the history of the Huron, and his combat
against the English, had been related to the king; that doubtless the
king would deign to take notice of him in passing through the gallery,
and perhaps he might even nod his head to him."

The letter concluded by flattering him with hopes that all the ladies of
the court would show their eagerness to recognize his nephew; and that
several among them would say to him, "Good day, Mr. Huron;" and that he
would certainly be talked of at the king's supper.

The letter was signed, "Your affectionate brother Jesuit, Vadbled."

The prior having read the letter aloud, his furious nephew for an
instant suppressed his rage, and said nothing to the bearer: but turning
toward the companion of his misfortunes, asked him, what he thought of
that communication? Gordon replied:

"This, then, is the way that men are treated! They are first beaten and
then, like monkeys, they dance."

The Huron resuming his character, which always returned in the great
emotions of his soul, tore the letter to bits, and threw them in the
courier's face:

"There is my answer," said he.

[Illustration: Death of Miss St. Ives.--"When the fatal moment came, all
around her most feelingly expressed their grief by incessant tears and
lamentations. The Huron was senseless. Great souls feel more violent
sensations than those of less tender dispositions."]

His uncle was in terror, and fancied he saw thunderbolts, and twenty
_lettres de cachet_ at once fall upon him. He immediately wrote the best
excuse he could for these transports of passion in a young man, which he
considered as the ebullition of a great soul.

But a solicitude of a more melancholy stamp now seized every heart. The
beautiful and unfortunate Miss St. Yves was already sensible of her
approaching end; she was serene, but it was that kind of shocking
serenity, the result of exhausted nature being no longer able to
withstand the conflict.

"Oh, my dear lover!" said she, in a faltering voice, "death punishes me
for my weakness; but I expire with the consolation of knowing you are
free. I adored you whilst I betrayed you, and I adore you in bidding you
an eternal adieu."

She did not make a parade of a ridiculous fortitude; she did not
understand that miserable glory of having some of her neighbors say,
"she died with courage." Who, at twenty, can be at once torn from her
lover, from life, and what is called honor, without regret, without some
pangs? She felt all the horror of her situation, and made it felt by
those expiring looks and accents which speak with so much energy. In a
word, she shed tears like other people at those intervals that she was
capable of giving vent to them.

Let others strive to celebrate the pompous deaths of those who
insensibly rush into destruction. This is the lot of all animals. We die
like them only when age or disorders make us resemble them by the
paralysis of our organs. Whoever suffers a great loss must feel great
regrets. If they are stifled, it is nothing but vanity that is pursued,
even in the arms of death.

When the fatal moment came, all around her most feelingly expressed
their grief by incessant tears and lamentations. The Huron was
senseless. Great souls feel more violent sensations than those of less
tender dispositions. The good old Gordon knew enough of his companion to
dread that when he came to himself he would be guilty of suicide. All
kinds of arms were put out of his way, which the unfortunate young man
perceived. He said to his relations and Gordon, without shedding any
tears, without a groan, or the least emotion:

"Do you then think that any one upon earth hath the right and power to
prevent my putting an end to my life?"

Gordon took care to avoid making a parade of those commonplace
declamations and arguments which are relied on to prove that we are not
allowed to exercise our liberty in ceasing to be when we are in a
wretched situation; that we should not leave the house when we can no
longer remain in it; that a man is like a soldier at his post; as if it
signified to the Being of beings whether the conjunction of the
particles of matter were in one spot or another. Impotent reasons, to
which a firm and concentrated despair disdains to listen, and to which
Cato replied only with the use of a poniard.

The Huron's sullen and dreadful silence, his doleful aspect, his
trembling lips, and the shivering of his whole frame, communicated to
every spectator's soul that mixture of compassion and terror, which
fetters all our powers, precludes discourse, or compels us to speak only
in faltering accents. The hostess and her family were excited. They
trembled to behold the state of his desperation, yet all kept their eyes
upon him, and attended to all his motions. The ice-cold corpse of the
beautiful Miss St. Yves had already been carried into a lower hall out
of the sight of her lover, who seemed still in search of it, though
incapable of observing any object.

In the midst of this spectacle of death, whilst the dead body was
exposed at the door of the house; whilst two priests by the side of the
holy water-pot were repeating prayers with an air of distraction; whilst
some passengers, through idleness, sprinkled the bier with some drops of
holy water, and others went their ways quite indifferent; whilst her
relations were drowned in tears, and every one thought the lover would
not survive his loss;--in this situation St. Pouange arrived with his
female Versailles friend.

He alighted from his coach; and the first object that presented itself
was a bier: he turned away his eyes with that simple distaste of a man
bred up in pleasures, and who thinks he should avoid a spectacle which
might recall him to the contemplation of human misery. He is inclined to
go up stairs, whilst his female friend enquires through curiosity whose
funeral it is. The name of Miss St. Yves is pronounced. At this name she
turned, and gave a piercing shriek. St. Pouange now returns, whilst
surprise and grief possess his soul. The good old Gordon stood with
streaming eyes. He for a moment ceased his lamentations, to acquaint the
courtier with all the circumstances of this melancholy catastrophe. He
spoke with that authority which is the companion to sorrow and virtue.
St. Pouange was not naturally wicked. The torrent of business and
amusements had hurried away his soul, which was not yet acquainted with
itself. He did not border upon that grey age which usually hardens the
hearts of ministers. He listened to Gordon with a downcast look, and
some tears escaped him, which he was surprised to shed. In a word, he
repented.

"I will," said he, "absolutely see this extraordinary man you have
mentioned to me. He affects me almost as much as this innocent victim,
whose death I have occasioned."

Gordon followed him as far as the chamber in which the Prior Kerkabon,
the Abbé St. Yves, and some neighbors, were striving to recall to life
the young man, who had again fainted.

"I have been the cause of your misfortunes," said the deputy minister,
when the Huron had regained consciousness, "and my whole life shall be
employed in making reparation for my error."

The first idea that struck the Huron was to kill him and then destroy
himself. But he was without arms, and closely watched. St. Pouange was
not repulsed with refusals accompanied with reproach, contempt, and the
insults he deserved, which were lavished upon him. Time softens
everything. Mons. de Louvois at length succeeded in making an excellent
officer of the Huron, who has appeared under another name at Paris and
in the army, respected by all honest men, being at once a warrior and an
intrepid philosopher.

He never mentioned this adventure without being greatly affected, and
yet his greatest consolation was to speak of it. He cherished the memory
of his beloved Miss St. Yves to the last moment of his life.[1]

The Abbé St. Yves and the Prior were each provided with good livings.
The good Kerkabon rather chose to see his nephew invested with military
honors than in the sub-deaconry. The devotee of Versailles kept the
diamond earrings, and received besides a handsome present. Father
_Tout-à-tous_ had presents of chocolate, coffee, and confectionery, with
the _Meditations of the Reverend Father Croiset_, and the _Flower of the
Saints_, bound in Morocco. Good old Gordon lived with the Huron till his
death, in the most friendly intimacy: he had also a benefice, and
forgot, forever, essential grace, and the concomitant concourse. He took
for his motto, "Misfortunes are of some use." How many worthy people are
there in the world who may justly say, "Misfortunes are good for
nothing?"


[1] In the Play, _Civilization_, the Huron musingly soliloquizes:

     "And what is love to man? An only gift
      Too precious to be idly thrown away!
      For is it not as precious as our land,
      Which, heeding not another's golden sky--
      Soft airs, sweet flowers, hill and dale conjoin'd
      By nature's cunning past comparison--
      Is still our land; and, as our land, surpasses
      Far such fairy worlds?

     "There are some dreams that last a life--mine
      Is one of these. I shall dream on till death
      Shall end the vision!

     "It is not hard to die! And life is but
      A shadow on the wall--a falling leaf
      Toy'd with by autumn winds--a flower--a star
      Among the infinite, infinitesimal!
      We are but breath whispering against the wind,--
      Sand in the desert!--dew upon the sea!"--E.



MICROMEGAS:

A SATIRE ON THE PHILOSOPHY, IGNORANCE. AND SELF-CONCEIT OF MANKIND.



[Illustration: A medieval exploring vessel.][1]



I.

A VOYAGE TO THE PLANET SATURN, BY A NATIVE OF SIRIUS.


In one of the planets that revolve round the star known by the name of
Sirius, was a certain young gentleman of promising parts, whom I had the
honor to be acquainted with in his last voyage to this our little
ant-hill. His name was Micromegas, an appellation admirably suited to
all great men, and his stature amounted to eight leagues in height, that
is, twenty-four thousand geometrical paces of five feet each.

Some of your mathematicians, a set of people always useful to the
public, will, perhaps, instantly seize the pen, and calculate that Mr.
Micromegas, inhabitant of the country of Sirius, being from head to foot
four and twenty thousand paces in length, making one hundred and twenty
thousand royal feet, that we, denizens of this earth, being at a medium
little more than five feet high, and our globe nine thousand leagues in
circumference: these things being premised, they will then conclude that
the periphery of the globe which produced him must be exactly one and
twenty millions six hundred thousand times greater than that of this our
tiny ball. Nothing in nature is more simple and common. The dominions of
some sovereigns of Germany or Italy, which may be compassed in half an
hour, when compared with the empires of Ottoman, Russia, or China, are
no other than faint instances of the prodigious difference that nature
hath made in the scale of beings. The stature of his excellency being of
these extraordinary dimensions, all our artists will agree that the
measure around his body might amount to fifty thousand royal feet--a
very agreeable and just proportion.

His nose being equal in length to one-third of his face, and his jolly
countenance engrossing one-seventh part of his height, it must be owned
that the nose of this same Sirian was six thousand three hundred and
thirty-three royal feet to a hair, which was to be demonstrated. With
regard to his understanding, it is one of the best cultivated I have
known. He is perfectly well acquainted with abundance of things, some of
which are of his own invention; for, when his age did not exceed two
hundred and fifty years, he studied, according to the custom of the
country, at the most celebrated university of the whole planet, and by
the force of his genius discovered upwards of fifty propositions of
Euclid, having the advantage by more than eighteen of Blaise Pascal,
who, (as we are told by his own sister,) demonstrated two and thirty for
his amusement and then left off, choosing rather to be an indifferent
philosopher than a great mathematician.

About the four hundred and fiftieth year of his age, or latter end of
his childhood, he dissected a great number of small insects not more
than one hundred feet in diameter, which are not perceivable by ordinary
microscopes, of which he composed a very curious treatise, which
involved him in some trouble. The mufti of the nation, though very old
and very ignorant, made shift to discover in his book certain lemmas
that were suspicious, unseemly, rash, heretic, and unsound, and
prosecuted him with great animosity, for the subject of the author's
inquiry was whether, in the world of Sirius, there was any difference
between the substantial forms of a flea and a snail.

Micromegas defended his philosophy with such spirit as made all the
female sex his proselytes; and the process lasted two hundred and twenty
years; at the end of which time, in consequence of the mufti's interest,
the book was condemned by judges who had never read it, and the author
expelled from court for the term of eight hundred years.

Not much affected at his banishment from a court that teemed with
nothing but turmoils and trifles, he made a very humorous song upon the
mufti, who gave himself no trouble about the matter, and set out on his
travels from planet to planet, in order (as the saying is) to improve
his mind and finish his education. Those who never travel but in a
post-chaise or berlin, will, doubtless, be astonished at the equipages
used above; for we that strut upon this little mole hill are at a loss
to conceive anything that surpasses our own customs. But our traveler
was a wonderful adept in the laws of gravitation, together with the
whole force of attraction and repulsion, and made such seasonable use of
his knowledge, that sometimes by the help of a sunbeam, and sometimes by
the convenience of a comet, he and his retinue glided from sphere to
sphere, as the bird hops from one bough to another. He in a very little
time posted through the milky way, and I am obliged to own he saw not a
twinkle of those stars supposed to adorn that fair empyrean, which the
illustrious Dr. Derham brags to have observed through his telescope. Not
that I pretend to say the doctor was mistaken. God forbid! But
Micromegas was upon the spot, an exceeding good observer, and I have no
mind to contradict any man. Be that as it may, after many windings and
turnings, he arrived at the planet Saturn; and, accustomed as he was to
the sight of novelties, he could not for his life repress a supercilious
and conceited smile, which often escapes the wisest philosopher, when he
perceived the smallness of that globe, and the diminutive size of its
inhabitants; for really Saturn is but about nine hundred times larger
than this our earth, and the people of that country mere dwarfs, about a
thousand fathoms high. In short, he at first derided those poor pigmies,
just as an Indian fiddler laughs at the music of Lully, at his first
arrival in Paris: but as this Sirian was a person of good sense, he soon
perceived that a thinking being may not be altogether ridiculous, even
though he is not quite six thousand feet high; and therefore he became
familiar with them, after they had ceased to wonder at his extraordinary
appearance. In particular, he contracted an intimate friendship with the
secretary of the Academy of Saturn, a man of good understanding, who,
though in truth he had invented nothing of his own, gave a very good
account of the inventions of others, and enjoyed in peace the reputation
of a little poet and great calculator. And here, for the edification of
the reader, I will repeat a very singular conversation that one day
passed between Mr. Secretary and Micromegas.


[1] The Gazettes record that this vessel ran ashore on the coast of
Bothnia, when returning from the polar circle with a party of
philosophers on board who had been making observations, for which nobody
has hitherto been the wiser; but, according to this romance, the vessel
was illegally captured in the Baltic sea by the Sirian giant Micromegas
and the Saturnian dwarf.--E.



II.

THE CONVERSATION BETWEEN MICROMEGAS AND THE INHABITANT OF SATURN.


His excellency having laid himself down, and the secretary approached
his nose:

"It must be confessed," said Micromegas, "that nature is full of
variety."

"Yes," replied the Saturnian, "nature is like a parterre, whose
flowers--"

"Pshaw!" cried the other, "a truce with your parterres."

"It is," resumed the secretary, "like an assembly of fair and brown
women, whose dresses--"

"What a plague have I to do with your brunettes?" said our traveler.

"Then it is like a gallery of pictures, the strokes of which--"

"Not at all," answered Micromegas, "I tell you once for all, nature is
like nature, and comparisons are odious."

"Well, to please you," said the secretary--

"I won't be pleased," replied the Sirian, "I want to be instructed;
begin, therefore, without further preamble, and tell me how many senses
the people of this world enjoy."

"We have seventy and two," said the academician, "but we are daily
complaining of the small number, as our imagination transcends our
wants, for, with the seventy-two senses, our five moons and ring, we
find ourselves very much restricted; and notwithstanding our curiosity,
and the no small number of those passions that result from these few
senses, we have still time enough to be tired of idleness."

"I sincerely believe what you say," cried Micromegas "for, though we
Sirians have near a thousand different senses, there still remains a
certain vague desire, an unaccountable inquietude incessantly
admonishing us of our own unimportance, and giving us to understand that
there are other beings who are much our superiors in point of
perfection. I have traveled a little, and seen mortals both above and
below myself in the scale of being, but I have met with none who had not
more desire than necessity, and more want than gratification. Perhaps I
shall one day arrive in some country where nought is wanting, but
hitherto I have had no certain information of such a happy land."

The Saturnian and his guest exhausted themselves in conjectures upon
this subject, and after abundance of argumentation equally ingenious and
uncertain, were fain to return to matter of fact.

"To what age do you commonly live?" said the Sirian.

"Lack-a-day! a mere trifle," replied the little gentleman.

"It is the very same case with us," resumed the other, "the shortness of
life is our daily complaint, so that this must be an universal law in
nature."

"Alas!" cried the Saturnian, "few, very few on this globe outlive five
hundred great revolutions of the sun; (these, according to our way of
reckoning, amount to about fifteen thousand years.) So, you see, we in a
manner begin to die the very moment we are born: our existence is no
more than a point, our duration an instant, and our globe an atom.
Scarce do we begin to learn a little, when death intervenes before we
can profit by experience. For my own part, I am deterred from laying
schemes when I consider myself as a single drop in the midst of an
immense ocean. I am particularly ashamed, in your presence, of the
ridiculous figure I make among my fellow-creatures."

To this declaration, Micromegas replied.

"If you were not a philosopher, I should be afraid of mortifying your
pride by telling you that the term of our lives is seven hundred times
longer than the date of your existence: but you are very sensible that
when the texture of the body is resolved, in order to reanimate nature
in another form, which is the consequence of what we call death--when
that moment of change arrives, there is not the least difference betwixt
having lived a whole eternity, or a single day. I have been in some
countries where the people live a thousand times longer than with us,
and yet they murmured at the shortness of their time. But one will find
every where some few persons of good sense, who know how to make the
best of their portion, and thank the author of nature for his bounty.
There is a profusion of variety scattered through the universe, and yet
there is an admirable vein of uniformity that runs through the whole:
for example, all thinking beings are different among themselves, though
at bottom they resemble one another in the powers and passions of the
soul. Matter, though interminable, hath different properties in every
sphere. How many principal attributes do you reckon in the matter of
this world?"

"If you mean those properties," said the Saturnian, "without which we
believe this our globe could not subsist, we reckon in all three
hundred, such as extent, impenetrability, motion, gravitation,
divisibility, et cætera."

"That small number," replied the traveler, "probably answers the views
of the creator on this your narrow sphere. I adore his wisdom in all his
works. I see infinite variety, but every where proportion. Your globe is
small: so are the inhabitants. You have few sensations; because your
matter is endued with few properties. These are the works of unerring
providence. Of what color does your sun appear when accurately
examined?"

"Of a yellowish white," answered the Saturnian, "and in separating one
of his rays we find it contains seven colors."

"Our sun," said the Sirian, "is of a reddish hue, and we have no less
than thirty-nine original colors. Among all the suns I have seen there
is no sort of resemblance, and in this sphere of yours there is not one
face like another."

After divers questions of this nature, he asked how many substances,
essentially different, they counted in the world of Saturn; and
understood that they numbered but thirty: such as God; space; matter;
beings endowed with sense and extension; beings that have extension,
sense, and reflection; thinking beings who have no extension; those that
are penetrable; those that are impenetrable, and also all others. But
this Saturnian philosopher was prodigiously astonished when the Sirian
told him they had no less than three hundred, and that he himself had
discovered three thousand more in the course of his travels. In short,
after having communicated to each other what they knew, and even what
they did not know, and argued during a complete revolution of the sun,
they resolved to set out together on a small philosophical tour.



III.

THE VOYAGE OF THESE INHABITANTS OF OTHER WORLDS.


Our two philosophers were just ready to embark for the atmosphere of
Saturn, with a large provision of mathematical instruments, when the
Saturnian's mistress, having got an inkling of their design, came all in
tears to make her protests. She was a handsome brunette, though not
above six hundred and threescore fathoms high; but her agreeable
attractions made amends for the smallness of her stature.

"Ah! cruel man," cried she, "after a courtship of fifteen hundred years,
when at length I surrendered, and became your wife, and scarce have
passed two hundred more in thy embraces, to leave me thus, before the
honeymoon is over, and go a rambling with a giant of another world! Go,
go, thou art a mere virtuoso, devoid of tenderness and love! If thou
wert a true Saturnian, thou wouldst be faithful and invariable. Ah!
whither art thou going? what is thy design? Our five moons are not so
inconstant, nor our ring so changeable as thee! But take this along with
thee, henceforth I ne'er shall love another man."

The little gentleman embraced and wept over her, notwithstanding his
philosophy; and the lady, after having swooned with great decency, went
to console herself with more agreeable company.

Meanwhile our two virtuosi set out, and at one jump leaped upon the
ring, which they found pretty flat, according to the ingenious guess of
an illustrious inhabitant of this our little earth. From thence they
easily slipped from moon to moon; and a comet chancing to pass, they
sprang upon it with all their servants and apparatus. Thus carried about
one hundred and fifty million of leagues, they met with the satellites
of Jupiter, and arrived upon the body of the planet itself, where they
continued a whole year; during which they learned some very curious
secrets, which would actually be sent to the press, were it not for fear
of the gentlemen inquisitors, who have found among them some corollaries
very hard of digestion. Nevertheless, I have read the manuscript in the
library of the illustrious archbishop of ---- who, with that generosity
and goodness which should ever be commended, has granted me permission
to peruse his books; wherefore I promise he shall have a long article in
the next edition of Moreri, and I shall not forget the young gentlemen,
his sons, who give us such pleasing hopes of seeing perpetuated the race
of their illustrious father. But to return to our travelers. When they
took leave of Jupiter, they traversed a space of about one hundred
millions of leagues, and coasting along the planet Mars, which is well
known to be five times smaller than our little earth, they descried two
moons subservient to that orb, which have escaped the observation of all
our astronomers. I know father Castel will write, and that pleasantly
enough, against the existence of these two moons; but I entirely refer
myself to those who reason by analogy. Those worthy philosophers are
very sensible that Mars, which is at such a distance from the sun, must
be in a very uncomfortable situation, without the benefit of a couple of
moons. Be that as it may, our gentlemen found the planet so small, that
they were afraid they should not find room to take a little repose; so
that they pursued their journey like two travelers who despise the
paltry accommodation of a village, and push forward to the next market
town. But the Sirian and his companion soon repented of their delicacy,
for they journeyed a long time without finding a resting place, till at
length they discerned a small speck, which was the Earth. Coming from
Jupiter, they could not but be moved with compassion at the sight of
this miserable spot, upon which, however, they resolved to land, lest
they should be a second time disappointed. They accordingly moved toward
the tail of the comet, where, finding an Aurora Borealis ready to set
sail, they embarked, and arrived on the northern coast of the Baltic on
the fifth day of July, new style, in the year 1737.



IV.

WHAT BEFELL THEM UPON THIS OUR GLOBE.


Having taken some repose, and being desirous of reconnoitering the
narrow field in which they were, they traversed it at once from north to
south. Every step of the Sirian and his attendants measured about thirty
thousand royal feet: whereas, the dwarf of Saturn, whose stature did not
exceed a thousand fathoms, followed at a distance quite out of breath;
because, for every single stride of his companion, he was obliged to
make twelve good steps at least. The reader may figure to himself, (if
we are allowed to make such comparisons,) a very little rough spaniel
dodging after a captain of the Prussian grenadiers.

As those strangers walked at a good pace, they compassed the globe in
six and thirty hours; the sun, it is true, or rather the earth,
describes the same space in the course of one day; but it must be
observed that it is much easier to turn upon an axis than to walk
a-foot. Behold them then returned to the spot from whence they had set
out, after having discovered that almost imperceptible sea, which is
called the Mediterranean; and the other narrow pond that surrounds this
mole-hill, under the denomination of the great ocean; in wading through
which the dwarf had never wet his mid-leg, while the other scarce
moistened his heel. In going and coming through both hemispheres, they
did all that lay in their power to discover whether or not the globe was
inhabited. They stooped, they lay down, they groped in every corner, but
their eyes and hands were not at all proportioned to the small beings
that crawl upon this earth; and, therefore, they could not find the
smallest reason to suspect that we and our fellow-citizens of this globe
had the honor to exist.

The dwarf, who sometimes judged too hastily, concluded at once that
there was no living creatures upon earth; and his chief reason was, that
he had seen nobody. But Micromegas, in a polite manner, made him
sensible of the unjust conclusion:

"For," said he, "with your diminutive eyes you cannot see certain stars
of the fiftieth magnitude, which I easily perceive; and do you take it
for granted that no such stars exist?"

"But I have groped with great care?" replied the dwarf.

"Then your sense of feeling must be bad," said the other.

"But this globe," said the dwarf, "is ill contrived; and so irregular in
its form as to be quite ridiculous. The whole together looks like a
chaos. Do but observe these little rivulets; not one of them runs in a
straight line; and these ponds which are neither round, square, nor
oval, nor indeed of any regular figure, together with these little sharp
pebbles, (meaning the mountains,) that roughen the whole surface of the
globe, and have torn all the skin from my feet. Besides, pray take
notice of the shape of the whole, how it flattens at the poles, and
turns round the sun in an awkward oblique manner, so as that the polar
circles cannot possibly be cultivated. Truly, what makes me believe
there is no inhabitant on this sphere, is a full persuasion that no
sensible being would live in such a disagreeable place."

"What then?" said Micromegas, "perhaps the beings that inhabit it come
not under that denomination; but, to all appearance, it was not made for
nothing. Everything here seems to you irregular; because you fetch all
your comparisons from Jupiter or Saturn. Perhaps this is the very reason
of the seeming confusion which you condemn; have I not told you, that in
the course of my travels I have always met with variety?"

The Saturnian replied to all these arguments; and perhaps the dispute
would have known no end, if Micromegas, in the heat of the contest, had
not luckily broken the string of his diamond necklace, so that the
jewels fell to the ground; they consisted of pretty small unequal
karats, the largest of which weighed four hundred pounds, and the
smallest fifty. The dwarf, in helping to pick them up, perceived, as
they approached his eye, that every single diamond was cut in such a
manner as to answer the purpose of an excellent microscope. He therefore
took up a small one, about one hundred and sixty feet in diameter, and
applied it to his eye, while Micromegas chose another of two thousand
five hundred feet. Though they were of excellent powers, the observers
could perceive nothing by their assistance, so they were altered and
adjusted. At length, the inhabitant of Saturn discerned something almost
imperceptible moving between two waves in the Baltic. This was no other
than a whale, which, in a dexterous manner, he caught with his little
finger, and, placing it on the nail of his thumb, showed it to the
Syrian, who laughed heartily at the excessive smallness peculiar to
the inhabitants of this our globe. The Saturnian, by this time convinced
that our world was inhabited, began to imagine we had no other animals
than whales; and being a mighty debater, he forthwith set about
investigating the origin and motion of this small atom, curious to know
whether or not it was furnished with ideas, judgment, and free will.
Micromegas was very much perplexed upon this subject. He examined the
animal with the most patient attention, and the result of his inquiry
was, that he could see no reason to believe a soul was lodged in such a
body. The two travelers were actually inclined to think there was no
such thing as mind in this our habitation, when, by the help of their
microscope, they perceived something as large as a whale floating upon
the surface of the sea. It is well known that, at this period, a flight
of philosophers were upon their return from the polar circle, where they
had been making observations, for which nobody has hitherto been the
wiser. The gazettes record, that their vessel ran ashore on the coast of
Bothnia and that they with great difficulty saved their lives; but in
this world one can never dive to the bottom of things. For my own part,
I will ingenuously recount the transaction just as it happened, without
any addition of my own; and this is no small effort in a modern
historian.



V.

THE TRAVELERS CAPTURE A VESSEL.


Micromegas stretched out his hand gently toward the place where the
object appeared, and advanced two fingers, which he instantly pulled
back, for fear of being disappointed, then opening softly and shutting
them all at once, he very dexterously seized the ship that contained
those gentlemen, and placed it on his nail, avoiding too much pressure,
which might have crushed the whole in pieces.

"This," said the Saturnian dwarf, "is a creature very different from the
former."

Upon which the Sirian placing the supposed animal in the hollow of his
hand, the passengers and crew, who believed themselves thrown by a
hurricane upon some rock, began to put themselves in motion. The sailors
having hoisted out some casks of wine, jumped after them into the hand
of Micromegas: the mathematicians having secured their quadrants,
sectors, and Lapland servants, went overboard at a different place, and
made such a bustle in their descent, that the Sirian at length felt his
fingers tickled by something that seemed to move. An iron bar chanced to
penetrate about a foot deep into his forefinger; and from this prick he
concluded that something had issued from the little animal he held in
his hand; but at first he suspected nothing more: for the microscope,
that scarce rendered a whale and a ship visible, had no effect upon an
object so imperceptible as man.

I do not intend to shock the vanity of any person whatever; but here I
am obliged to beg your people of importance to consider that, supposing
the stature of a man to be about five feet, we mortals make just such a
figure upon the earth, as an animal the sixty thousandth part of a foot
in height, would exhibit upon a bowl ten feet in circumference. When you
reflect upon a being who could hold this whole earth in the palm of his
hand, and is provided with organs proportioned to those we possess, you
will easily conceive that there must be a great variety of created
substances;--and pray, what must such beings think of those battles by
which a conqueror gains a small village, to lose it again in the
sequel?

[Illustration: Micromegas captures a ship.]

I do not at all doubt, but if some captain of grenadiers should chance
to read this work, he would add two large feet at least to the caps of
his company; but I assure him his labor will be in vain; for, do what he
will, he and his soldiers will never be other than infinitely diminutive
and inconsiderable.

What wonderful address must have been inherent in our Sirian
philosopher, that enabled him to perceive those atoms of which we have
been speaking. When Leuwenhoek and Hartsoecker observed the first
rudiments of which we are formed, they did not make such an astonishing
discovery. What pleasure, therefore, was the portion of Micromegas, in
observing the motion of those little machines, in examining all their
pranks, and following them in all their operations! With what joy did he
put his microscope into his companion's hand; and with what transport
did they both at once exclaim:

"I see them distinctly,--don't you see them carrying burdens, lying down
and rising up again?"

So saying, their hands shook with eagerness to see, and apprehension to
lose such uncommon objects. The Saturnian, making a sudden transition
from the most cautious distrust to the most excessive credulity,
imagined he saw them engaged in their devotions and cried aloud in
astonishment.

Nevertheless, he was deceived by appearances: a case too common, whether
we do or do not make use of microscopes.



VI.

WHAT HAPPENED IN THEIR INTERCOURSE WITH MEN.


Micromegas being a much better observer than the dwarf, perceived
distinctly that those atoms spoke; and made the remark to his companion,
who was so much ashamed of being mistaken in his first suggestion, that
he would not believe such a puny species could possibly communicate
their ideas: for, though he had the gift of tongues, as well as his
companion, he could not hear those particles speak; and therefore
supposed they had no language.

"Besides, how should such imperceptible beings have the organs of
speech? and what in the name of Jove can they say to one another? In
order to speak, they must have something like thought, and if they
think, they must surely have something equivalent to a soul. Now, to
attribute anything like a soul to such an insect species appears a mere
absurdity."

"But just now," replied the Sirian, "you believed they were engaged in
devotional exercises; and do you think this could be done without
thinking, without using some sort of language, or at least some way of
making themselves understood? Or do you suppose it is more difficult to
advance an argument than to engage in physical exercise? For my own
part, I look upon all faculties as alike mysterious."

"I will no longer venture to believe or deny," answered the dwarf. "In
short I have no opinion at all, let us endeavor to examine these
insects, and we will reason upon them afterward."

"With all my heart," said Micromegas, who, taking out a pair of scissors
which he kept for paring his nails, cut off a paring from his thumb
nail, of which he immediately formed a large kind of speaking trumpet,
like a vast tunnel, and clapped the pipe to his ear: as the
circumference of this machine included the ship and all the crew, the
most feeble voice was conveyed along the circular fibres of the nail; so
that, thanks to his industry, the philosopher could distinctly hear the
buzzing of our insects that were below. In a few hours he distinguished
articulate sounds, and at last plainly understood the French language.
The dwarf heard the same, though with more difficulty.

The astonishment of our travelers increased every instant. They heard a
nest of mites talk in a very sensible strain: and that _Lusus Naturæ_?
seemed to them inexplicable. You need not doubt but the Sirian and his
dwarf glowed with impatience to enter into conversation with such atoms.
Micromegas being afraid that his voice, like thunder, would deafen and
confound the mites, without being understood by them, saw the necessity
of diminishing the sound; each, therefore, put into his mouth a sort of
small toothpick, the slender end of which reached to the vessel. The
Sirian setting the dwarf upon his knees, and the ship and crew upon his
nail, held down his head and spoke softly. In fine, having taken these
and a great many more precautions, he addressed himself to them in these
words:

"O ye invisible insects, whom the hand of the Creator hath deigned to
produce in the abyss of infinite littleness! I give praise to his
goodness, in that he hath been pleased to disclose unto me those secrets
that seemed to be impenetrable."

If ever there was such a thing as astonishment, it seized upon the
people who heard this address, and who could not conceive from whence it
proceeded. The chaplain of the ship repeated exorcisms, the sailors
swore, and the philosophers formed a system; but, notwithstanding all
their systems, they could not divine who the person was that spoke to
them. Then the dwarf of Saturn, whose voice was softer than that of
Micromegas, gave them briefly to understand what species of beings they
had to do with. He related the particulars of their voyage from Saturn,
made them acquainted with the rank and quality of Monsieur Micromegas;
and, after having pitied their smallness, asked if they had always been
in that miserable state so near akin to annihilation; and what their
business was upon that globe which seemed to be the property of whales.
He also desired to know if they were happy in their situation? if they
were inspired with souls? and put a hundred questions of the like
nature.

A certain mathematician on board, braver than the rest, and shocked to
hear his soul called in question, planted his quadrant, and having taken
two observations of this interlocutor, said: "You believe then, Mr.,
what's your name, that because you measure from head to foot a thousand
fathoms--"

"A thousand fathoms!" cried the dwarf, "good heavens! How should he know
the height of my stature? A thousand fathoms! My very dimensions to a
hair. What, measured by a mite! This atom, forsooth, is a geometrician,
and knows exactly how tall I am; while I, who can scarce perceive him
through a microscope, am utterly ignorant of his extent!"

"Yes, I have taken your measure," answered the philosopher, "and I will
now do the same by your tall companion."

The proposal was embraced: his excellency reclined upon his side; for,
had he stood upright, his head would have reached too far above the
clouds. Our mathematicians planted a tall tree near him, and then, by a
series of triangles joined together, they discovered that the object of
their observation was a strapping youth, exactly one hundred and twenty
thousand royal feet in length. In consequence of this calculation,
Micromegas uttered these words:

"I am now more than ever convinced that we ought to judge of nothing by
its external magnitude. O God! who hast bestowed understanding upon such
seemingly contemptible substances, thou canst with equal ease produce
that which is infinitely small, as that which is incredibly great: and
if it be possible, that among thy works there are beings still more
diminutive than these, they may nevertheless, be endued with
understanding superior to the intelligence of those stupendous animals I
have seen in heaven, a single foot of whom is larger than this whole
globe on which I have alighted."

One of the philosophers assured him that there were intelligent beings
much smaller than men, and recounted not only Virgil's whole fable of
the bees, but also described all that Swammerdam hath discovered, and
Réaumur dissected. In a word, he informed him that there are animals
which bear the same proportion to bees, that bees bear to man; the same
as the Sirian himself compared to those vast beings whom he had
mentioned; and as those huge animals are to other substances, before
whom they would appear like so many particles of dust. Here the
conversation became very interesting, and Micromegas proceeded in these
words:

"O ye intelligent atoms, in whom the Supreme Being hath been pleased to
manifest his omniscience and power, without all doubt your joys on this
earth must be pure and exquisite: for, being unincumbered with matter,
and, to all appearance, little else than soul, you must spend your lives
in the delights of pleasure and reflection, which are the true
enjoyments of a perfect spirit. True happiness I have no where found;
but certainly here it dwells."

At this harangue all the philosophers shook their heads, and one among
them, more candid than his brethren, frankly owned, that excepting a
very small number of inhabitants who were very little esteemed by their
fellows, all the rest were a parcel of knaves, fools, and miserable
wretches.

"We have matter enough," said he, "to do abundance of mischief, if
mischief comes from matter; and too much understanding, if evil flows
from understanding. You must know, for example, that at this very
moment, while I am speaking, there are one hundred thousand animals of
our own species, covered with hats, slaying an equal number of their
fellow-creatures, who wear turbans; at least they are either slaying or
being slain; and this hath usually been the case all over the earth from
time immemorial."

The Sirian, shuddering at this information, begged to know the cause of
those horrible quarrels among such a puny race; and was given to
understand that the subject of the dispute was a pitiful mole-hill
[called Palestine,] no larger than his heel. Not that any one of those
millions who cut one another's throats pretends to have the least claim
to the smallest particle of that clod. The question is, whether it shall
belong to a certain person who is known by the name of Sultan, or to
another whom (for what reason I know not) they dignify with the
appellation of Pope. Neither the one nor the other has seen or ever will
see the pitiful corner in question; and probably none of these wretches,
who so madly destroy each other, ever beheld the ruler on whose account
they are so mercilessly sacrificed!

"Ah, miscreants!" cried the indignant Sirian, "such excess of desperate
rage is beyond conception. I have a good mind to take two or three
steps, and trample the whole nest of such ridiculous assassins under my
feet."

"Don't give yourself the trouble," replied the philosopher, "they are
industrious enough in procuring their own destruction. At the end of ten
years the hundredth part of those wretches will not survive; for you
must know that, though they should not draw a sword in the cause they
have espoused, famine, fatigue, and intemperance, would sweep almost all
of them from the face of the earth. Besides, the punishment should not
be inflicted upon them, but upon those sedentary and slothful
barbarians, who, from their palaces, give orders for murdering a million
of men and then solemnly thank God for their success."

Our traveler was moved with compassion for the entire human race, in
which he discovered such astonishing contrasts. "Since you are of the
small number of the wise," said he, "and in all likelihood do not engage
yourselves in the trade of murder for hire, be so good as to tell me
your occupation."

"We anatomize flies," replied the philosopher, "we measure lines, we
make calculations, we agree upon two or three points which we
understand, and dispute upon two or three thousand that are beyond our
comprehension."

"How far," said the Sirian, "do you reckon the distance between the
great star of the constellation Gemini and that called Caniculæ?"

To this question all of them answered with one voice: "Thirty-two
degrees and a half."

"And what is the distance from hence to the moon?"

"Sixty semi-diameters of the earth."

He then thought to puzzle them by asking the weight of the air; but they
answered distinctly, that common air is about nine hundred times
specifically lighter than an equal column of the lightest water, and
nineteen hundred times lighter than current gold. The little dwarf of
Saturn, astonished at their answers, was now tempted to believe those
people sorcerers, who, but a quarter of an hour before, he would not
allow were inspired with souls.

"Well," said Micromegas, "since you know so well what is without you,
doubtless you are still more perfectly acquainted with that which is
within. Tell me what is the soul, and how do your ideas originate?"

Here the philosophers spoke altogether as before; but each was of a
different opinion. The eldest quoted Aristotle; another pronounced the
name of Descartes; a third mentioned Mallebranche; a fourth Leibnitz;
and a fifth Locke. An old peripatecian lifting up his voice, exclaimed
with an air of confidence. "The soul is perfection and reason, having
power to be such as it is, as Aristotle expressly declares, page 633, of
the Louvre edition:

     "_Εντελεχεῖά τις ἐστι, καὶ λόγος τοὖ δύναμιν ἓχοντος_
      _τοιοὗδι εἷ ταἷ_."

"I am not very well versed in Greek," said the giant.

"Nor I either," replied the philosophical mite.

"Why then do you quote that same Aristotle in Greek?" resumed the
Sirian.

"Because," answered the other, "it is but reasonable we should quote
what we do not comprehend in a language we do not understand."

Here the Cartesian interposing: "The soul," said he, "is a pure spirit
or intelligence, which hath received before birth all the metaphysical
ideas; but after that event it is obliged to go to school and learn
anew the knowledge which it hath lost."

"So it was necessary," replied the animal of eight leagues, "that thy
soul should be learned before birth, in order to be so ignorant when
thou hast got a beard upon thy chin. But what dost thou understand by
spirit?"

"I have no idea of it," said the philosopher, "indeed it is supposed to
be immaterial."

"At least, thou knowest what matter is?" resumed the Sirian.

"Perfectly well," answered the other. "For example: that stone is gray,
is of a certain figure, has three dimensions, specific weight, and
divisibility."

"I want to know," said the giant, "what that object is, which, according
to thy observation, hath a gray color, weight, and divisibility. Thou
seest a few qualities, but dost thou know the nature of the thing
itself?"

"Not I, truly," answered the Cartesian.

Upon which the Sirian admitted that he also was ignorant in regard to
this subject. Then addressing himself to another sage, who stood upon
his thumb, he asked "what is the soul? and what are her functions?"

"Nothing at all," replied this disciple of Mallebranche; "God hath made
everything for my convenience. In him I see everything, by him I act; he
is the universal agent, and I never meddle in his work."

"That is being a nonentity indeed," said the Sirian sage; and then,
turning to a follower of Leibnitz, he exclaimed: "Hark ye, friend, what
is thy opinion of the soul?"

"In my opinion," answered this metaphysician, "the soul is the hand that
points at the hour, while my body does the office of the clock; or, if
you please, the soul is the clock, and the body is the pointer; or
again, my soul is the mirror of the universe, and my body the frame. All
this is clear and uncontrovertible."

A little partisan of Locke who chanced to be present, being asked his
opinion on the same subject, said: "I do not know by what power I think;
but well I know that I should never have thought without the assistance
of my senses. That there are immaterial and intelligent substances I do
not at all doubt; but that it is impossible for God to communicate the
faculty of thinking to matter, I doubt very much. I revere the eternal
power, to which it would ill become me to prescribe bounds. I affirm
nothing, and am contented to believe that many more things are possible
than are usually thought so."

The Sirian smiled at this declaration, and did not look upon the author
as the least sagacious of the company: and as for the dwarf of Saturn,
he would have embraced this adherent of Locke, had it not been for the
extreme disproportion in their respective sizes. But unluckily there was
another animalcule in a square cap, who, taking the word from all his
philosophical brethren, affirmed that he knew the whole secret, which
was contained in the abridgment of St. Thomas. He surveyed the two
celestial strangers from top to toe, and maintained to their faces that
their persons, their fashions, their suns and their stars, were created
solely for the use of man. At this wild assertion our two travelers were
seized with a fit of that uncontrollable laughter, which (according to
Homer) is the portion of the immortal gods: their bellies quivered,
their shoulders rose and fell, and, during these convulsions, the vessel
fell from the Sirian's nail into the Saturnian's pocket, where these
worthy people searched for it a long time with great diligence. At
length, having found the ship and set everything to rights again, the
Sirian resumed the discourse with those diminutive mites, and promised
to compose for them a choice book of philosophy which would demonstrate
the very essence of things. Accordingly, before his departure, he made
them a present of the book, which was brought to the Academy of Sciences
at Paris, but when the old secretary came to open it he saw nothing but
blank paper, upon which:--

"Ay, ay," said he, "this is just what I suspected."



THE WORLD AS IT GOES.

THE VISION OF BABOUC.


[Illustration: The spiritual rulers of Persepolis.][1]

Among the genii who preside over the empires of the earth, Ithuriel held
one of the first ranks, and had the department of Upper Asia. He one
morning descended into the abode of Babouc, the Scythian, who dwelt on
the banks of the Oxus, and said to him:

"Babouc, the follies and vices of the Persians have drawn upon them our
indignation. Yesterday an assembly of the genii of Upper Asia was held,
to consider whether we would chastise Persepolis or destroy it entirely.
Go to that city; examine everything; return and give me a faithful
account; and, according to thy report, I will then determine whether to
correct or extirpate the inhabitants."

"But, my lord," said Babouc with great humility, "I have never been in
Persia, nor do I know a single person in that country."

"So much the better," said the angel, "thou wilt be the more impartial:
thou hast received from heaven the spirit of discernment, to which I now
add the power of inspiring confidence. Go, see, hear, observe, and fear
nothing. Thou shalt everywhere meet with a favorable reception."

Babouc mounted his camel, and set out with his servants. After having
traveled some days, he met, near the plains of Senaar, the Persian army,
which was going to attack the forces of India. He first addressed
himself to a soldier, whom he found at a distance from the main army,
and asked him what was the occasion of the war?

"By all the gods," said the soldier, "I know nothing of the matter. It
is none of my business. My trade is to kill and to be killed, to get a
livelihood. It is of no consequence to me whom I serve. To-morrow,
perhaps, I may go over to the Indian camp; for it is said that they give
their soldiers nearly half a copper drachma a day more than we have in
this cursed service of Persia. If thou desirest to know why we fight,
speak to my captain."

Babouc, having given the soldier a small present, entered the camp. He
soon became acquainted with the captain, and asked him the cause of the
war.

"How canst thou imagine that I should know it?" said the captain, "or of
what importance is it to me? I live about two hundred leagues from
Persepolis: I hear that war is declared. I instantly leave my family,
and, having nothing else to do, go, according to our custom, to make my
fortune, or to fall by a glorious death."

"But are not thy companions," said Babouc, "a little better informed
than thee?"

"No," said the officer, "there are none but our principal satraps that
know the true cause of our cutting one another's throats."

Babouc, struck with astonishment, introduced himself to the generals,
and soon became familiarly acquainted with them. At last one of them
said:

"The cause of this war, which for twenty years past hath desolated Asia,
sprang originally from a quarrel between a eunuch belonging to one of
the concubines of the great king of Persia, and the clerk of a factory
belonging to the great king of India. The dispute was about a claim
which amounted nearly to the thirtieth part of a daric. Our first
minister, and the representative of India, maintained the rights of
their respective masters with becoming dignity. The dispute grew warm.
Both parties sent into the field an army of a million of soldiers. This
army must be recruited every year with upwards of four hundred thousand
men. Massacres, burning of houses, ruin and devastation, are daily
multiplied; the universe suffers; and their mutual animosity still
continues. The first ministers of the two nations frequently protest
that they have nothing in view but the happiness of mankind; and every
protestation is attended with the destruction of a town, or the
desolation of a province."

Next day, on a report being spread that peace was going to be concluded,
the Persian and Indian generals made haste to come to an engagement. The
battle was long and bloody. Babouc beheld every crime, and every
abomination. He was witness to the arts and stratagems of the principal
satraps, who did all that lay in their power to expose their general to
the disgrace of a defeat. He saw officers killed by their own troops,
and soldiers stabbing their already expiring comrades in order to strip
them of a few bloody garments torn and covered with dirt. He entered the
hospitals to which they were conveying the wounded, most of whom died
through the inhuman negligence of those who were well paid by the king
of Persia to assist these unhappy men.

"Are these men," cried Babouc, "or are they wild beasts? Ah! I plainly
see that Persepolis will be destroyed."

Full of this thought, he went over to the camp of the Indians, where,
according to the prediction of the genii, he was as well received as in
that of the Persians; but he saw there the same crimes which had already
filled him with horror.

"Oh!" said he to himself, "if the angel Ithuriel should exterminate the
Persians, the angel of India must certainly destroy the Indians."

But being afterward more particularly informed of all that passed in
both armies, he heard of such acts of generosity, humanity, and
greatness of soul, as at once surprised and charmed him:

"Unaccountable mortals! as ye are," cried he, "how can you thus unite so
much baseness and so much grandeur, so many virtues and so many vices?"

Meanwhile the peace was proclaimed; and the generals of the two armies,
neither of whom had gained a complete victory, but who, for their own
private interest, had shed the blood of so many of their
fellow-creatures, went to solicit their courts for rewards. The peace
was celebrated in public writings which announced the return of virtue
and happiness to the earth.

"God be praised," said Babouc, "Persepolis will now be the abode of
spotless innocence, and will not be destroyed, as the cruel genii
intended. Let us haste without delay to the capital of Asia."

       *       *       *       *       *

He entered that immense city by the ancient gate, which was entirely
barbarous, and offended the eye by its disagreeable rusticity. All that
part of the town savored of the time when it was built; for,
notwithstanding the obstinacy of men in praising ancient at the expense
of modern times, it must be owned that the first essays in every art are
rude and unfinished.

Babouc mingled in a crowd of people composed of the most ignorant, dirty
and deformed of both sexes, who were thronging with a stupid air into a
large and gloomy inclosure. By the constant hum; by the gestures of the
people; by the money which some persons gave to others for the liberty
of sitting down, he imagined that he was in a market, where chairs were
sold: but observing several women fall down on their knees with an
appearance of looking directly before them, while in reality they were
leering at the men by their sides, he was soon convinced that he was in
a temple. Shrill, hoarse, savage and discordant voices made the vault
re-echo with ill articulated sounds, that produced the same effect as
the braying of asses, when, in the plains of Pictavia, they answer the
cornet that calls them together. He stopped his ears; but he was ready
to shut his mouth and hold his nose, when he saw several laborers enter
into the temple with picks and spades, who removed a large stone, and
threw up the earth on both sides, from whence exhaled a pestilential
vapor. At last some others approached, deposited a dead body in the
opening, and replaced the stone upon it.

"What!" cried Babouc, "do these people bury their dead in the place
where they adore the deity? What! are their temples paved with
carcasses? I am no longer surprised at those pestilential diseases
that frequently depopulate Persepolis. The putrefaction of the dead, and
the infected breath of such numbers of the living, assembled and crowded
together in the same place, are sufficient to poison the whole
terrestial globe. Oh! what an abominable city is Persepolis! The angels
probably intend to destroy it in order to build a more beautiful one in
its place, and to people it with inhabitants who are more virtuous and
better singers. Providence may have its reasons for so doing; to its
disposal let us leave all future events."

[Illustration: Burying the dead in churches.--"What!" cried Babouc, "do
these people bury their dead in the place where they adore the deity?
What! are their temples paved with carcasses?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile the sun approached his meridian height. Babouc was to dine at
the other end of the city with a lady for whom her husband, an officer
in the army, had given him some letters: but he first took several turns
in Persepolis, where he saw other temples, better built and more richly
adorned, filled with a polite audience, and resounding with harmonious
music. He beheld public fountains, which, though ill-placed, struck the
eye by their beauty; squares where the best kings that had governed
Persia seemed to breathe in bronze, and others where he heard the people
crying out:

"When shall we see our beloved master?"

He admired the magnificent bridges built over the river; the superb and
commodious quays; the palaces raised on both sides; and an immense
house, where thousands of old soldiers, covered with scars and crowned
with victory, offered their daily praises to the god of armies. At last
he entered the house of the lady, who, with a set of fashionable people,
waited his company to dinner. The house was neat and elegant; the repast
delicious; the lady young, beautiful, witty, and engaging; and the
company worthy of her; and Babouc every moment said to himself:

"The angel Ithuriel has little regard for the world, or he would never
think of destroying such a charming city."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the meantime he observed that the lady, who had begun by tenderly
asking news about her husband, spoke more tenderly to a young magi,
toward the conclusion of the repast. He saw a magistrate, who, in
presence of his wife, paid his court with great vivacity to a widow,
while the indulgent widow held out her hand to a young citizen,
remarkable for his modesty and graceful appearance.

Babouc then began to fear that the genius Ithuriel had but too much
reason for destroying Persepolis. The talent he possessed of gaining
confidence let him that same day into all the secrets of the lady. She
confessed to him her affection for the young magi, and assured him that
in all the houses in Persepolis he would meet with similar examples of
attachment. Babouc concluded that such a society could not possibly
survive: that jealousy, discord, and vengeance must desolate every
house; that tears and blood must be daily shed; and, _in fine_, that
Ithuriel would do well to destroy immediately a city abandoned to
continual disasters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such were the gloomy ideas that possessed his mind, when a grave man in
a black gown appeared at the gate and humbly begged to speak to the
young magistrate. Phis stripling, without rising or taking the least
notice of the old gentleman, gave him some papers with a haughty and
careless air, and then dismissed him. Babouc asked who this man was. The
mistress of the house said to him in a low voice:

"He is one of the best advocates in the city, and hath studied the law
these fifty years. The other, who is but twenty-five years of age, and
has only been a satrap of the law for two days, hath ordered him to make
an extract of a process he is going to determine, though he has not as
yet examined it."

"This giddy youth acts wisely," said Babouc, "in asking counsel of an
old man. But why is not the old man himself the judge?"

"Thou art surely in jest," said they; "those who have grown old in
laborious and inferior posts are never raised to places of dignity. This
young man has a great post, because his father is rich; and the right of
dispensing justice is purchased here like a farm."

"O unhappy city!" cried Babouc, "this is surely the height of anarchy
and confusion. Those who have thus purchased the right of judging will
doubtless sell their judgments; nothing do I see here but an abyss of
iniquity!"

While he was thus expressing his grief and surprise, a young warrior,
who that very day had returned from the army, said to him:

"Why wouldst thou not have seats in the courts of justice offered for
sale? I myself purchased the right of braving death at the head of two
thousand men who are under my command. It has this year cost me forty
daracs of gold to lie on the earth thirty nights successively in a red
dress, and at last to receive two wounds with an arrow, of which I still
feel the smart. If I ruin myself to serve the emperor of Persia, whom I
never saw, the satrap of the law may well pay something for enjoying the
pleasure of giving audience to pleaders."

Babouc was filled with indignation, and could not help condemning a
country, where the highest posts in the army and the law were exposed
for sale. He at once concluded that the inhabitants must be entirely
ignorant of the art of war, and the laws of equity; and that, though
Ithuriel should not destroy them, they must soon be ruined by their
detestable administration.

He was still further confirmed in his bad opinion by the arrival of a
fat man, who, after saluting all the company with great familiarity,
went up to the young officer and said:

"I can only lend thee fifty thousand darics of gold; for indeed the
taxes of the empire have this year brought me in but three hundred
thousand."

Babouc inquired into the character of this man who complained of having
gained so little, and was informed that in Persepolis there were forty
plebian kings who held the empire of Persia by lease, and paid a small
tribute to the monarch.

       *       *       *       *       *

After dinner he went into one of the most superb temples in the city,
and seated himself amidst a crowd of men and women, who had come thither
to pass away the time. A magi appeared in a machine elevated above the
heads of the people, and talked a long time of vice and virtue. He
divided into several parts what needed no division at all: he proved
methodically what was sufficiently clear, and he taught what everybody
knew. He threw himself into a passion with great composure, and went
away perspiring and out of breath. The assembly then awoke and imagined
they had been present at a very instructive discourse. Babouc said:

"This man had done his best to tire two or three hundred of his
fellow-citizens; but his intention was good, and there is nothing in
this that should occasion the destruction of Persepolis."

Upon leaving the assembly he was conducted to a public entertainment,
which was exhibited every day in the year. It was in a kind of great
hall, at the end of which appeared a palace. The most beautiful women of
Persepolis and the most considerable satraps were ranged in order, and
formed so fine a spectacle that Babouc at first believed that this was
all the entertainment. Two or three persons, who seemed to be kings and
queens, soon appeared in the vestibule of their palace. Their language
was very different from that of the people; it was measured, harmonious,
and sublime. Nobody slept. The audience kept a profound silence which
was only interrupted by expressions of sensibility and admiration. The
duty of kings, the love of virtue, and the dangers arising from
unbridled passions, were all described by such lively and affecting
strokes, that Babouc shed tears. He doubted not but that these heroes
and heroines, these kings and queens whom he had just heard, were the
preachers of the empire; he even purposed to engage Ithuriel to come and
hear them, being content that such a spectacle would forever reconcile
him to the city.

As soon as the entertainment was finished, he resolved to visit the
principal queen, who had recommended such pure and noble morals in the
palace. He desired to be introduced to her majesty, and was led up a
narrow staircase to an ill-furnished apartment in the second story,
where he found a woman in a mean dress, who said to him with a noble and
pathetic air:

"This employment does not afford me a sufficient maintenance. I want
money, and without money there is no comfort."

Babouc gave her an hundred darics of gold, saying:

"Had there been no other evil in the city but this, Ithuriel would have
been to blame for being so much offended."

From thence he went to spend the evening at the house of a tradesman
who dealt in magnificent trifles. He was conducted thither by a man of
sense, with whom he had contracted an acquaintance. He bought whatever
pleased his fancy; and the toy man with great politeness sold him
everything for more than it was worth. On his return home his friends
showed him how much he had been cheated. Babouc set down the name of the
tradesman in his pocket-book, in order to point him out to Ithuriel as
an object of peculiar vengeance on the day when the city should be
punished. As he was writing, he heard somebody knock at the door: this
was the toy man himself, who came to restore him his purse, which he had
left by mistake on the counter.

"How canst thou," cried Babouc, "be so generous and faithful, when thou
hast had the assurance to sell me these trifles for four times their
value?"

"There is not a tradesman," replied the merchant, "of ever so little
note in the city, that would not have returned thee thy purse; but
whoever said that I sold thee these trifles for four times their value
is greatly mistaken: I sold them for ten times their value; and this is
so true, that wert thou to sell them again in a month hence, thou
wouldst not get even this tenth part. But nothing is more just. It is
the variable fancies of men that set a value on these baubles; it is
this fancy that maintains an hundred workmen whom I employ; it is this
that gives me a fine house and a handsome chariot and horses; it is
this, in fine, that excites industry, encourages taste, promotes
circulation, and produces abundance.

"I sell the same trifles to the neighboring nation at a much higher rate
than I have sold them to thee, and by these means I am useful to the
empire."

Babouc, after having reflected a moment, erased the tradesman's name
from his tablets.

       *       *       *       *       *

Babouc, not knowing as yet what to think of Persepolis, resolved to
visit the magi and the men of letters; for, as the one studied wisdom
and the other religion, he hoped that they in conjunction would obtain
mercy for the rest of the people. Accordingly, he went next morning into
a college of magi. The archimandrite confessed to him, that he had an
hundred thousand crowns a year for having taken the vow of poverty, and
that he enjoyed a very extensive empire in virtue of his vow of
humility; after which he left him with an inferior brother, who did him
the honors of the place.

While the brother was showing him the magnificence of this house of
penitence, a report was spread abroad that Babouc was come to reform all
these houses. He immediately received petitions from each of them, the
substance of which was, "Preserve us and destroy all the rest." On
hearing their apologies, all these societies were absolutely necessary:
on hearing their mutual accusations, they all deserved to be abolished.
He was surprised to find that all the members of these societies were so
extremely desirous of edifying the world, that they wished to have it
entirely under their dominion.

Soon after a little man appeared, who was a demi-magi, and who said to
him:

"I plainly see that the work is going to be accomplished: for Zerdust is
returned to earth; and the little girls prophecy, pinching and whipping
themselves. We therefore implore thy protection against the great lama."

"What!" said Babouc, "against the royal pontiff, who resides at Tibet?"

"Yes, against him, himself."

"What! you are then making war upon him, and raising armies!"

"No, but he says that man is a free agent, and we deny it. We have
written several pamphlets against him, which he never read. Hardly has
he heard our name mentioned. He has only condemned us in the same manner
as a man orders the trees in his garden to be cleared from
caterpillars."

Babouc was incensed at the folly of these men who made profession of
wisdom; and at the intrigues of those who had renounced the world; and
at the ambition, pride and avarice of such as taught humility and a
disinterested spirit: from all which he concluded that Ithuriel had good
reason to destroy the whole race.

       *       *       *       *       *

On his return home, he sent for some new books to alleviate his grief,
and in order to exhilarate his spirits, invited some men of letters to
dine with him; when, like wasps attracted by a pot of honey, there came
twice as many as he desired. These parasites were equally eager to eat
and to speak; they praised two sorts of persons, the dead and
themselves; but none of their contemporaries, except the master of the
house. If any of them happened to drop a smart and witty expression, the
rest cast down their eyes and bit their lips out of mere vexation that
it had not been said by themselves. They had less dissimulation than the
magi, because they had not such grand objects of ambition. Each of them
behaved at once with all the meanness of a valet and all the dignity of
a great man. They said to each other's face the most insulting things,
which they took for strokes of wit. They had some knowledge of the
design of Babouc's commission; one of them entreated him in a low voice
to extirpate an author who had not praised him sufficiently about five
years before; another requested the ruin of a citizen who had never
laughed at his comedies; and the third demanded the destruction of the
academy because he had not been able to get admitted into it. The repast
being ended, each of them departed by himself; for in the whole crowd
there were not two men that could endure the company or conversation of
each other, except at the houses of the rich, who invited them to their
tables. Babouc thought that it would be no great loss to the public if
all these vermin were destroyed in the general catastrophe.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having now got rid of these men of letters, he began to read some new
books, where he discovered the true spirit by which his guests had been
actuated. He observed with particular indignation those slanderous
gazettes, those archives of bad taste, dictated by envy, baseness, and
hunger; those ungenerous satires, where the vulture is treated with
lenity, and the dove torn in pieces; and those dry and insipid romances,
filled with characters of women to whom the author was an utter
stranger.

All these detestable writings he committed to the flames, and went to
pass the evening in walking. In this excursion he was introduced to an
old man possessed of great learning, who had not come to increase the
number of his parasites. This man of letters always fled from crowds;
he understood human nature, availed himself of his knowledge, and
imparted it to others with great discretion. Babouc told him how much he
was grieved at what he had seen and read.

"Thou hast read very despicable performances," said the man of letters;
"but in all times, in all countries, and in all kinds of literature, the
bad swarm and the good are rare. Thou hast received into thy house the
very dregs of pedantry. In all professions, those who are least worthy
of appearing are always sure to present themselves with the greatest
impudence. The truly wise live among themselves in retirement and
tranquillity; and we have still some men and some books worthy of thy
attention."

While he was thus speaking, they were joined by another man of letters;
and the conversation became so entertaining and instructive, so elevated
above vulgar prejudices, and so conformable to virtue, that Babouc
acknowledged he had never heard the like.

"These are men," said he to himself, "whom the angel Ithuriel will not
presume to touch, or he must be a merciless being indeed."

Though reconciled to men of letters, he was still enraged against the
rest of the nation.

"Thou art a stranger," said the judicious person who was talking to him;
"abuses present themselves to thy eyes in crowds, while the good, which
lies concealed, and which is even sometimes the result of these very
abuses, escapes thy observation."

He then learned that among men of letters there were some who were free
from envy; and that even among the magi themselves there were some men
of virtue. In fine, he concluded that these great bodies, which by their
mutual shocks seemed to threaten their common ruin, were at bottom very
salutary institutions; that each society of magi was a check upon its
rivals; and that though these rivals might differ in some speculative
points, they all taught the same morals, instructed the people, and
lived in subjection to the laws; not unlike to those preceptors who
watch over the heir of a family while the master of the house watches
over them. He conversed with several of these magi, and found them
possessed of exalted souls. He likewise learned that even among the
fools who pretended to make war on the great lama there had been some
men of distinguished merit; and from all these particulars he
conjectured that it might be with the manners of Persepolis as it was
with the buildings; some of which moved his pity, while others filled
him with admiration.

       *       *       *       *       *

He said to the man of letters:

"I plainly see that these magi, whom I at first imagined to be so
dangerous, are in reality extremely useful; especially when a wise
government hinders them from rendering themselves too necessary; but
thou wilt at least acknowledge that your young magistrates, who purchase
the office of a judge as soon as they can mount a horse, must display in
their tribunals the most ridiculous impertinence and the most iniquitous
perverseness. It would doubtless be better to give these places
gratuitously to those old civilians who have spent their lives in the
study of the law."

The man of letters replied:

"Thou hast seen our army before thy arrival at Persepolis; thou knowest
that our young officers fight with great bravery, though they buy their
posts; perhaps thou wilt find that our young magistrates do not give
wrong decisions, though they purchase the right of dispensing justice."

He led him next day to the grand tribunal, where an affair of great
importance was to be decided. The cause was known to all the world. All
the old advocates that spoke on the subject were wavering and unsettled
in their opinions. They quoted an hundred laws, none of which were
applicable to the question. They considered the matter in a hundred
different lights, but never in its true point of view. The judges were
more quick in their decisions than the advocates in raising doubts. They
were unanimous in their sentiments. They decided justly, because they
followed the light of reason. The others reasoned falsely because they
only consulted their books.

Babouc concluded that the best things frequently arose from abuses. He
saw the same day that the riches of the receivers of the public revenue,
at which he had been so much offended, were capable of producing an
excellent effect; for the emperor having occasion for money, he found in
an hour by their means what he could not have procured in six months by
the ordinary methods. He saw that those great clouds, swelled with the
dews of the earth, restored in plentiful showers what they had thence
derived. Besides, the children of these new gentlemen, who were
frequently better educated than those of the most ancient families, were
sometimes more useful members of society; for he whose father hath been
a good accountant may easily become a good judge, a brave warrior, and
an able statesman.

       *       *       *       *       *

Babouc was insensibly brought to excuse the avarice of the farmer of the
revenues, who in reality was not more avaricious than other men, and
besides was extremely necessary. He overlooked the folly of those who
ruined themselves in order to obtain a post in the law or army; a folly
that produces great magistrates and heroes. He forgave the envy of men
of letters, among whom there were some that enlightened the world; and
he was reconciled to the ambitious and intriguing magi, who were
possessed of more great virtues than little vices. But he had still many
causes of complaint. The gallantries of the ladies especially, and the
fatal effects which these must necessarily produce, filled him with fear
and terror.

As he was desirous of prying into the characters of men of every
condition, he went to wait on a minister of state; but trembled all the
way, lest some wife should be assassinated by her husband in his
presence. Having arrived at the statesman's, he was obliged to remain
two hours in the anti-chamber before his name was sent in, and two hours
more after that was done. In this interval, he resolved to recommend to
the angel Ithuriel both the minister and his insolent porters. The
anti-chamber was filled with ladies of every rank, magi of all colors,
judges, merchants, officers, and pedants, and all of them complained of
the minister. The miser and the usurer said:

"Doubtless this man plunders the provinces."

The capricious reproached him with fickleness; the voluptuary said:

"He thinks of nothing but his pleasure."

The factious hoped to see him soon ruined by a cabal; and the women
flattered themselves that they should soon have a younger minister.

Babouc heard their conversation, and could not help saying:

"This is surely a happy man; he hath all his enemies in his
anti-chamber; he crushes with his power those that envy his grandeur; he
beholds those who detest him groveling at his feet."

At length he was admitted into the presence-chamber, where he saw a
little old man bending under the weight of years and business, but still
lively and full of spirits.

The minister was pleased with Babouc, and to Babouc he appeared a man of
great merit. The conversation became interesting. The minister confessed
that he was very unhappy; that he passed for rich, while in reality he
was poor; that he was believed to be all-powerful, and yet was
constantly contradicted; that he had obliged none but a parcel of
ungrateful wretches; and that, in the course of forty years labor, he
had hardly enjoyed a moment's rest. Babouc was moved with his
misfortunes; and thought that if this man had been guilty of some
faults, and Ithuriel had a mind to banish him, he ought not to cut him
off, but to leave him in possession of his place.

       *       *       *       *       *

While Babouc was talking to the minister, the beautiful lady with whom
he had dined entered hastily, her eyes and countenance showing all the
symptoms of grief and indignation. She burst into reproaches against the
statesman; she shed tears; she complained bitterly that her husband had
been refused a place to which his birth allowed him to aspire, and which
he had fully merited by his wounds and his service. She expressed
herself with such force; she uttered her complaints with such a graceful
air; she overthrew objections with so much address, and enforced her
arguments with so much eloquence, that she did not leave the chamber
till she had made her husband's fortune.

Babouc gave her his hand, and said: "Is it possible, madam, that thou
canst take so much pains to serve a man whom thou dost not love, and
from whom thou hast everything to fear?"

"A man whom I do not love!" cried she "know, sir, that my husband is the
best friend I have in the world; and there is nothing I would not
sacrifice for him, except my own inclinations."

The lady conducted Babouc to her own house. The husband, who had at last
arrived overwhelmed with grief, received his wife with transports of joy
and gratitude. He embraced by turns his wife, the little magi, and
Babouc. Wit, harmony, cheerfulness, and all the graces, embellished the
repast.

Babouc, though a Scythian, and sent by a geni, found, that should he
continue much longer in Persepolis, he would forget even the angel
Ithuriel. He began to grow fond of a city, the inhabitants of which were
polite, affable, and beneficent, though fickle, slanderous, and vain. He
was much afraid that Persepolis would be condemned. He was even afraid
to give in his account.

This, however, he did in the following manner. He caused a little
statue, composed of different metals, of earth, and stones, the most
precious and the most vile, to be cast by one of the best founders in
the city, and carried it to Ithuriel.

"Wilt thou break," said he, "this pretty statue, because it is not
wholly composed of gold and diamonds?"

Ithuriel immediately understood his meaning, and resolved to think no
more of punishing Persepolis, but to leave "The world as it goes."

"For," said he, "if all is not well, all is passable."

Thus Persepolis was suffered to remain; nor did Babouc complain like
Jonas, who, [according to the scriptures,] was highly incensed at the
preservation of Nineveh.


[1] When Babouc visited the college of the magi, "the archimandrite [the
chief of the monks] confessed to him, that he had an hundred thousand
crowns a year for having taken the vow of poverty, and that he enjoyed a
very extensive empire in virtue of his vow of humility." (See page
365.)--E.

[Illustration: The scales of justice.]



THE BLACK AND THE WHITE.



[Illustration: Procession of Souls to Judgment with Good and Evil
Genii. From Frieze in the Grotto del Cardinale.]


The adventure of the youthful Rustan is generally known throughout the
whole province of Candahar. He was the only son of a Mirza of that
country. The title of Mirza there is much the same as that of Marquis
among us, or that of Baron among the Germans. The mirza, his father, had
a handsome fortune. Young Rustan was to be married to a mirzasse, or
young lady of his own rank. The two families earnestly desired their
union. Rustan was to become the comfort of his parents, to make his wife
happy, and to live blest in her possession.

But he had unfortunately seen the princess of Cachemire at the fair of
Kaboul, which is the most considerable fair in the world, and much more
frequented than those of Bassora and Astracan. The occasion that brought
the old prince of Cachemire to the fair with his daughter was as
follows:

He had lost the two most precious curiosities of his treasury; one of
them was a diamond as thick as a man's thumb, upon which the figure of
his daughter was engraved by an art which was then possessed by the
Indians, and has since been lost; the other was a javelin, which went of
itself wherever its owner thought proper to send it. This is nothing
very extraordinary among us, but it was thought so at Cachemire.

A fakir belonging to his highness stole these two curiosities; he
carried them to the princess:

"Keep these two curiosities with the utmost care; your destiny depends
upon them;" said he, and then departed.

The Duke of Cachemire, in despair, resolved to visit the fair of Kaboul,
in order to see whether there might not, among the merchants who go
thither from all quarters of the world, be some one possessed of his
diamond and his weapon. The princess carried his diamond well fastened
to her girdle; but the javelin, which she could not so easily hide, she
had carefully locked up at Cachemire, in a large chest.

Rustan and she saw each other at Kaboul. They loved one another with all
the sincerity of persons of their age, and all the tenderness of
affection natural to those of their country. The princess gave Rustan
her diamond as a pledge of her love, and he promised at his departure to
go incognito to Cachemire, in order to pay her a visit.

The young mirza had two favorites, who served him as secretaries,
grooms, stewards, and valets de chambre. The name of one was Topaz; he
was handsome, well-shaped, fair as a Circassian beauty, as mild and
ready to serve as an Armenian, and as wise as a Gueber. The name of the
other was Ebene; he was a very beautiful negro, more active and
industrious than Topaz, and one that thought nothing difficult. The
young mirza communicated his intention of traveling to these. Topaz
endeavored to dissuade him from it, with the circumspect zeal of a
servant who was unwilling to offend him. He represented to him the great
danger to which he exposed himself. He asked him how he could leave two
families in despair? how he could pierce the hearts of his parents? He
shook the resolution of Rustan; but Ebene confirmed it anew, and
obviated all his objections.

The young man was not furnished with money to defray the charge of so
long a voyage. The prudent Topaz would not have lent him any; Ebene
supplied him. He with great address stole his master's diamond, made a
false one exactly like it which he put in its place, and pledged the
true one to an Armenian for several thousand rupees.

As soon as the marquis possessed these rupees, all things were in
readiness for his departure. An elephant was loaded with his baggage.
His attendants mounted on horseback.

Topaz said to his master: "I have taken the liberty to expostulate with
you upon your enterprise, but after expostulating it is my duty to obey.
I am devoted to you, I love you, I will follow you to the extremity of
the earth; but let us by the way consult the oracle that is but two
parasongs distant from here."

Rustan consented. The answer returned by the oracle, was:

"If you go to the east you will be at the west."

Rustan could not guess the meaning of this answer. Topaz maintained that
it boded no good. Ebene, always complaisant to his master, persuaded him
that it was highly favorable.

There was another oracle at Kaboul; they went to it. The oracle of
Kaboul made answer in these words:

"If you possess, you will cease to possess; if you are conqueror, you
will not conquer, if you are Rustan, you will cease to be so."

This oracle seemed still more unintelligible than the former.

"Take care of yourself," said Topaz.

"Fear nothing," said Ebene; and this minister, as may well be imagined,
was always thought in the right by his master, whose passions and hopes
he encouraged. Having left Kaboul, they passed through a vast forest.
They seated themselves upon the grass in order to take a repast, and
left their horses grazing. The attendants were preparing to unload the
elephant which carried the dinner, the table, cloth, plates, &c., when,
all on a sudden, Topaz and Ebene were perceived by the little caravan to
be missing. They were called, the forest resounded with the names of
Topaz and Ebene; the lackeys seek them on every side, and fill the
forest with their cries; they return without having seen anything, and
without having received any answer.

"We have," said they to Rustan, "found nothing but a vulture that fought
with an eagle, and stripped it of all its feathers."

The mention of this combat excited the curiosity of Rustan; he went on
foot to the place; he perceived neither vulture nor eagle; but he saw
his elephant, which was still loaded with baggage, attacked by a huge
rhinoceros: one struck with its horn, the other with its proboscis. The
rhinoceros desisted upon seeing Rustan; his elephant was brought back,
but his horses were not to be found.

"Strange things happen in forests to travelers," cried Rustan.

The servants were in great consternation, and the master in despair from
having at once lost his horse, his dear negro, and the wise Topaz, for
whom he still entertained a friendship, though always differing from him
in opinion.

The hope of being soon at the feet of the beautiful princess still
consoled the mirza, who, journeying on, now met with a huge streaked
ass, which a vigorous two-handed country clown beat with an oaken
cudgel. The asses of this sort are extremely beautiful, very scarce, and
beyond comparison swift in running. The ass resented the repeated blows
of the clown by kicks which might have rooted up an oak. The young
mirza, as was reasonable, took upon him the defence of the ass, which
was a charming creature, the clown betook himself to flight, crying to
the ass, "You shall pay for this."

The ass thanked her deliverer in her own language, and approaching him,
permitted his caresses and caressed him in her turn. After dinner,
Rustan mounted her, and took the road to Cachemire with his servants,
who followed him, some on foot and some upon the elephant. Scarce had he
mounted his ass, when that animal turned toward Kaboul, instead of
proceeding to Cachemire. It was to no purpose for her master to turn the
bridle, to kick, to press the sides of the beast with his knees, to
spur, to slacken the bridle, to pull toward him, to whip both on the
right and the left. The obstinate animal persisted in running toward
Kaboul.

Rustan in despair fretted and raved, when he met with a dealer in
camels, who said to him:

"Master, you have there a very malicious beast, that carries you where
you do not choose to go. If you will give it to me, I will give you the
choice of four of my camels."

Rustan thanked providence for having thrown so good a bargain in the
way.

"Topaz was very much in the wrong," said he, "to tell me that my journey
would prove unprosperous."

He mounts the handsome camel, the others follow; he rejoins his caravan
and fancies himself on the road to happiness.

Scarce had he journeyed four parasongs, when he was stopped by a deep,
broad, and impetuous torrent, which rolled over huge rocks white with
foam. The two banks were frightful precipices which dazzled the sight
and made the blood run cold. To pass was impracticable; to go to the
right or to the left was impossible.

"I am beginning to be afraid," said Rustan, "that Topaz was in the right
in blaming my journey, and that I was in the wrong in undertaking it. If
he were still here he might give me good advice. If I had Ebene with me,
he would comfort me and find expedients; but everything fails me."

This perplexity was increased by the consternation of his attendants.
The night was dark, and they passed it in lamentations. At last fatigue
and dejection made the amorous traveler fall asleep. He awoke at
day-break, and saw, spanning the torrent, a beautiful marble bridge
which reached from shore to shore.

Nothing was heard but exclamations, cries of astonishment and joy. Is it
possible? Is this a dream? What a prodigy is this! What an enchantment!
Shall we venture to pass? The whole company kneeled, rose up, went to
the bridge, kissed the ground, looked up to heaven, stretched out their
hands, set their feet on it with trembling, went to and fro, fell into
ecstasies; and Rustan said:

"At last heaven favors me. Topaz did not know what he was saying. The
oracles were favorable to me. Ebene was in the right, but why is he not
here?"

Scarce had the company got beyond the torrent, when the bridge sunk into
the water with a prodigious noise.

"So much the better, so much the better," cried Rustan. "Praised be God,
blessed be heaven; it would not have me return to my country, where I
should be nothing more than a gentleman. The intention of heaven is,
that I should wed her I love. I shall become prince of Cachemire; thus
in possessing my mistress I shall cease to possess my little marquisate
at Candahar. 'I shall be Rustan, and I shall not be Rustan,' because I
shall have become a great prince: thus is a great part of the oracle
clearly explained in my favor. The rest will be explained in the same
manner. I am very happy. But why is not Ebene with me? I regret him a
thousand times more than Topaz."

He proceeded a few parasongs farther with the greatest alacrity
imaginable; but, at the close of day, a chain of mountains more rugged
than a counterscarp, and higher than the tower of Babel would have been
had it been finished, stopped the passage of the caravan, which was
again seized with dread.

All the company cried out: "It is the will of God that we perish here!
he broke the bridge merely to take from us all hopes of returning; he
raised the mountain for no other reason than to deprive us of all means
of advancing. Oh, Rustan! oh, unhappy marquis! we shall never see
Cachemire; we shall never return to the land of Candahar."

The most poignant anguish, the most insupportable dejection, succeeded
in the soul of Rustan, to the immoderate joy which he had felt, to the
hopes with which he had intoxicated himself. He was no longer disposed
to interpret the prophecies in his favor.

"Oh, heavens! oh, God of my fathers!" said he, "must I then lose my
friend Topaz!"

As he pronounced these words, fetching deep sighs and shedding tears in
the midst of his disconsolate followers, the base of the mountain
opened, a long gallery appeared to the dazzled eyes in a vault lighted
with a hundred thousand torches. Rustan immediately begins to exult, and
his people to throw themselves upon their knees and to fall upon their
backs in astonishment, and cry out, "A miracle! a miracle! Rustan is the
favorite of Witsnow, the well-beloved of Brahma. He will become the
master of mankind."

Rustan believed it; he was quite beside himself; he was raised above
himself.

"Alas, Ebene," said he, "my dear Ebene, where are you? Why are you not
witness of all these wonders? How did I lose you? Beauteous princess of
Cachemire, when shall I again behold your charms!"

He advances with his attendants, his elephants, and his camels, under
the hollow of the mountain; at the end of which he enters into a meadow
enameled with flowers and encompassed with rivulets. At the extremity of
the meadows are walks of trees to the end of which the eye cannot reach,
and at the end of these alleys is a river, on the sides of which are a
thousand pleasure houses with delicious gardens. He everywhere hears
concerts of vocal and instrumental music; he sees dances; he makes haste
to go upon one of the bridges of the river; he asks the first man he
meets what fine country that is?

He whom he addressed himself to answered:

"You are in the province of Cachemire; you see the inhabitants immersed
in joy and pleasure. We celebrate the marriage of our beauteous
princess, who is going to be married to the lord Barbabou, to whom her
father promised her. May God perpetuate their felicity!"

At these words Rustan fainted away, and the Cachemirian lord thought he
was troubled with the falling sickness. He caused him to be carried to
his house, where he remained a long time insensible. He sent in search
of the two most able physicians in that part of the country. They felt
the patient's pulse, who having somewhat recovered his spirits, sobbed,
rolled his eyes, and cried from time to time, "Topaz, Topaz, you were
entirely in the right!"

One of the two physicians said to the Cachemirian lord:

"I perceive, by this young man's accent, that he is from Candahar, and
that the air of this country is hurtful to him. He must be sent home. I
perceive by his eyes that he has lost his senses. Entrust me with him, I
will carry him back to his own country, and cure him."

The other physician maintained that grief was his only disorder; and
that it was proper to carry him to the wedding of the princess, and make
him dance. Whilst they were in consultation, the patient recovered his
health. The two physicians were dismissed, and Rustan remained along
with his host.

"My lord," said he, "I ask your pardon for having been so free as to
faint in your presence. I know it to be a breach of politeness. I
entreat you to accept of my elephant, as an acknowledgment of the
kindness you have shown me."

He then related to him all his adventure, taking particular care to
conceal from him the occasion of his journey.

"But, in the name of Witsnow and Brahma," said he to him, "tell me who
is this happy Barbabou, who is to marry the princess of Cachemire? Why
has her father chosen him for his son-in-law, and why has the princess
accepted of him for an husband?"

"Sir," answered the Cachemirian, "the princess has by no means accepted
of Barbabou. She is, on the contrary, in tears, whilst the whole
province joyfully celebrates her marriage. She has shut herself up in a
tower of her palace. She does not choose to see any of the rejoicings
made upon the occasion."

Rustan, at hearing this, perceived himself revived. The bloom of his
complexion, which grief had caused to fade, appeared again upon his
countenance.

"Tell me, I entreat you," continued he, "why the prince of Cachemire is
obstinately bent upon giving his daughter to lord Barbabou whom she does
not love?"

"This is the fact," answered the Cachemirian. "Do you know that our
august prince lost a large diamond and a javelin which he considered as
of great value?"

"Ah! I very well know that," said Rustan.

"Know then," said his host, "that our prince, being in despair at not
having heard of his two precious curiosities, after having caused them
to be sought for all over the world, promised his daughter to whoever
should bring him either the one or the other. A lord Barbabou came who
had the diamond, and he is to marry the princess to-morrow."

Rustan turned pale, stammered out a compliment, took leave of his host,
and galloped upon his dromedary to the capital city, where the ceremony
was to be performed. He arrives at the palace of the prince, he tells
him he has something of importance to communicate to him, he demands an
audience. He is told that the prince is taken up with the preparations
for the wedding.

"It is for that very reason," said he, "that I am desirous of speaking
to him." Such is his importunity, that he is at last admitted.

"Prince," said he, "may God crown all your days with glory and
magnificence! Your son-in-law is a knave."

"What! a knave! how dare you speak in such terms? Is that a proper way
of speaking to a duke of Cachemire of a son-in-law of whom he has made
choice?"

"Yes, he is a knave," continued Rustan; "and to prove it to your
highness, I have brought you back your diamond."

The duke, surprised at what he heard, compared the two diamonds; and as
he was no judge of precious stones, he could not determine which was the
true one.

"Here are two diamonds," said he, "and I have but one daughter, I am in
a strange perplexity."

He sent for Harbabou, and asked him if he had not imposed upon him,
Harbabou swore he had bought his diamond from an Armenian; the other did
not tell him who he had his from; but he proposed an expedient, which
was that he should engage his rival in single combat.

"It is not enough for your son-in-law to give a diamond," said he, "he
should also give proofs of valor. Do not you think it just that he who
kills his rival should marry the princess?"

"Undoubtedly," answered the prince. "It will be a fine sight for the
court. Fight directly. The conqueror shall take the arms of the
conquered according to the customs of Cachemire, and he shall marry my
daughter."

The two pretenders to the hand of the princess go down into the court.
Upon the stairs there was a jay and a raven. The raven cried, "Fight,
fight." The jay cried, "Don't fight."

This made the prince laugh; the two rivals scarce took any notice of it.
They begin the combat. All the courtiers made a circle round them. The
princess, who kept herself constantly shut up in her tower, did not
choose to behold this sight. She never dreampt that her lover was at
Cachemire, and she hated Barbabou to such a degree, that she could not
bear the sight of him. The combat had the happiest result imaginable.
Barbabou was killed outright; and this greatly rejoiced the people,
because he was ugly and Rustan was very handsome. The favor of the
public is almost always determined by this circumstance.

The conqueror put on the coat of mail, scarf, and the casque of the
conquered, and came, followed by the whole court, to present himself
under the windows of his mistress. The multitude cried aloud: "Beautiful
princess, come and see your handsome lover, who has killed his ugly
rival." These words were re-echoed by her women. The princess unluckily
looked out of the window, and seeing the armor of a man she hated, she
ran like one frantic to her strong box and took out the fatal javelin,
which flew to pierce Rustan, notwithstanding his cuirass. He cried out
loudly, and at this cry the princess thought she again knew the voice of
her unhappy lover.

She ran down stairs, with her hair disheveled, and death in her eyes as
well as her heart. Rustan had already fallen, all bloody, into the arms
of his attendants. She sees him. Oh, moment! oh, sight! oh, discovery of
inexpressible grief, tenderness and horror! She throws herself upon him,
and embraces him.

"You receive," said she, "the first and last kisses of your mistress and
your murderer."

She pulls the dart from the wound, plunges it in her heart, and dies
upon the body of the lover whom she adores. The father, terrified, in
despair, and ready to die like his daughter, tries in vain to bring her
to life. She was no more. He curses the fatal dart, breaks it to pieces,
throws away the two fatal diamonds; and whilst he prepared the funeral
of his daughter instead of her marriage, he caused Rustan, who weltered
in his blood and had still some remains of life, to be carried to his
palace.

He was put into bed. The first objects he saw on each side of his
deathbed were Topaz and Ebene. This surprise made him in some degree
recover his strength.

"Cruel men," said he, "why did you abandon me? Perhaps the princess
would still be alive if you had been with the unhappy Rustan."

"I have not forsaken you a moment," said Topaz.

"I have always been with you," said Ebene.

"Ah! what do you say? why do you insult me in my last moments?" answered
Rustan, with a languishing voice.

"You may believe me," said Topaz. "You know I never approved of this
fatal journey, the dreadful consequences of which I foresaw. I was the
eagle that fought with the vulture and stripped it of its feathers; I
was the elephant that carried away the baggage, in order to force you to
return to your own country; I was the streaked ass that carried you,
whether you would or no, to your father; it was I that made your horses
go astray; it was I that caused the torrent that prevented your passage;
it was I that raised the mountain which stopped up a road so fatal to
you; I was the physician that advised you to return to your own country;
I was the jay that cried to you not to fight."

"And I," said Ebene, "was the vulture that he stripped of his feathers,
the rhinoceros who gave him a hundred strokes with the horn, the clown
that beat the streaked ass, the merchant who made you a present of
camels to hasten you to your destruction; I dug the cavern that you
crossed, I am the physician that encouraged you to walk, the raven that
cried out to you to combat."

"Alas!" said Topaz, "remember the oracles: 'If you go to the east you
will be at the west.'"

"Yes," said Ebene, "here the dead are buried with their faces turned to
the west. The oracle was plain enough, though you did not understand it.
You possessed, and you did not possess; for though you had the diamond,
it was a false one, and you did not know it. You are conqueror, and you
die; you are Rustan, and you cease to be so: all has been accomplished."

Whilst he spoke thus, four white wings covered the body of Topaz, and
four black ones that of Ebene.

"What do I see?" cried Rustan.

Topaz and Ebene answered together: "You see your two geniuses."

"Good gentlemen," cried the unhappy Rustan, "how came you to meddle; and
what occasion had a poor man for two geniuses?"

"It is a law," answered Topaz; "every man has too geniuses. Plato was
the first man who said so, and others have repeated it after him. You
see that nothing can be more true. I who now speak to you, am your good
genius. I was charged to watch over you to the last moment of your life.
Of this task I have faithfully acquitted myself."

"But," said the dying man, "if your business was to serve me, I am of a
nature much superior to yours. And then how can you have the assurance
to say you are my good genius, since you have suffered me to be deceived
in everything I have undertaken, and since you suffer both my mistress
and me to die miserably?"

"Alas!" said Topaz, "it was your destiny."

"If destiny does all," answered the dying man, "what is a genius good
for? And you, Ebene, with your four black wings, you are, doubtless, my
evil genius."

"You have hit it," answered Ebene.

"Then I suppose you were the evil genius of my princess likewise," said
Rustan.

"No," replied Ebene, "she had an evil genius of her own, and I seconded
him perfectly."

"Ah! cursed Ebene," said Rustan, "if you are so malicious, you don't
belong to the same master with Topaz: you have been formed by two
different principles, one of which is by nature good, the other evil."

"That does not follow," said Ebene, "this is a very knotty point."

"It is not possible," answered the dying man, "that a benevolent being
could create so destructive a genius."

"Possible or not possible," replied the genius, "the thing is just as I
say."

"Alas!" said Topaz, "my poor unfortunate friend, don't you see that that
rogue is so malicious as to encourage you to dispute, in order to
inflame your blood and hasten your death?"

"Get you gone," said the melancholy Rustan, "I am not much better
satisfied with you than with him. He at least acknowledges that it was
his intention to hurt me; and you, who pretended to defend me, have done
me no service at all."

"I am very sorry for it," said the good genius.

"And I too," said the dying man; "there is something at the bottom of
all this which I cannot comprehend."

"Nor I neither," said the good genius.

"I shall know the truth of the matter in a moment," said Rustan. "We
shall see that," said Topaz.

The whole scene then vanished. Rustan again found himself in the house
of his father, which he had not quitted, and in his bed, where he had
slept an hour.

He awakes in astonishment, perspiring all over, and quite wild. He rubs
himself, he calls, he rings the bell. His valet de chambre, Topaz, runs
in, in his nightcap, and yawning.

"Am I dead or alive?" cried out Rustan, "shall the beauteous princess of
Cachemire escape?

"Does your lordship rave?" answered Topaz, coldly.

"Ah!" cried Rustan, "what then is become of this barbarous Ebene, with
his four black wings! It is he that makes me die by so cruel a death."

"My lord," answered Topaz, "I left him snoring up stairs. Would you have
me bid him come down?"

"The villain," said Rustan, "has persecuted me for six months together.
It was he who carried me to the fatal fair of Kaboul; it is he that
cheated me of the diamond which the princess presented me; he is the
sole cause of my journey, of the death of my princess, and of the wound
with a javelin, of which I die in the flower of my age."

"Take heart," said Topaz, "you were never at Kaboul; there is no
princess of Cachemire; her father never had any children but two boys,
who are now at college; you never had a diamond; the princess cannot be
dead, because she never was born; and you are in perfect health."

"What! is it not then true that you attended me whilst dying, and in the
bed of the prince of Cachemire? Did you not acknowledge to me, that, in
order to preserve me from so many dangers, you were an eagle, an
elephant, a streaked ass, a physician, and a jay?"

"My lord, you have dreampt all this," answered Topaz; "our ideas are no
more of our own creating whilst we are asleep than whilst we are awake.
God has thought proper that this train of ideas should pass in your
head, most probably to convey some instruction to you, of which you may
make a good use."

"You make a jest of me," replied Rustan, "how long have I slept?"

"My lord," said Topaz, "you have not yet slept an hour."

"Cursed reasoner," returned Rustan, "how is it possible that I could be
in the space of an hour at the fair of Kaboul six months ago; that I
could have returned from thence, have traveled to Cachemire, and that
Barbabou, the princess, and I, should have died?"

"My lord," said Topaz, "nothing can be more easy and more common; and
you might have traveled around the world, and have met with a great many
more adventures in much less time. Is it not true that you can, in an
hour's time, read the abridgment of the Persian history, written by
Zoroaster? yet this abridgment contains eight hundred thousand years.
All these events pass before your eyes one after another, in an hour's
time. Now you must acknowledge, that it is as easy to Brahma to confine
them to the space of an hour, as to extend them to the space of eight
hundred thousand years. It is exactly the same thing. Imagine to
yourself that time turns upon a wheel whose diameter is infinite. Under
this vast wheel is a numerous multitude of wheels one within another.
That in the centre is imperceptible, and goes round an infinite number
of times, whilst the great wheel performs but one revolution. It is
evident that all the events which have happened from the beginning of
the world, to its end, might have happened in much less time than the
hundred thousandth part of a second; and one may even go so far as to
assert that the thing is so."

"I cannot comprehend all this," said Rustan.

"If you want information," said Topaz, "I have a parrot that will easily
explain it to you. He was born some time before the deluge; he has been
in the ark; he has seen a great deal; yet he is but a year and a half
old. He will relate to you his history, which is extremely interesting."

"Go fetch your parrot," said Rustan, "it will amuse me till I again find
myself disposed to sleep."

"It is with my sister, the nun," said Topaz: "I will go and fetch it. It
will please you; its memory is faithful, it relates in a simple manner,
without endeavoring to show wit at every turn."

"So much the better," said Rustan, "I like that manner of telling
stories."

The parrot being brought to him, spoke in this manner:

       *       *       *       *       *

N.B. Mademoiselle Catherine Vade could never find the history of the
parrot in the commonplace-book of her late cousin Anthony Vade, author
of that tale. This is a great misfortune, considering what age that
parrot lived in.

[Illustration: The parrot.]



[Illustration: Young Memnon.[1]]



MEMNON THE PHILOSOPHER.


Memnon one day took it into his head to become a great philosopher. "To
be perfectly happy," said he to himself, "I have nothing to do but to
divest myself entirely of passions; and nothing is more easy, as
everybody knows. In the first place, I will never be in love; for, when
I see a beautiful woman, I will say to myself, these cheeks will one day
grow sallow and wrinkled, these eyes be encircled with vermilion, that
bosom become lean and emaciated, that head bald and palsied. Now I have
only to consider her at present in imagination as she will afterwards
appear in reality, and certainly a fair face will never turn my head.

"In the second place, I shall always be temperate. It will be in vain to
tempt me with good cheer, with delicious wines, or the charms of
society, I will have only to figure to myself the consequences of
excess--an aching head, a loathing stomach, the loss of reason, of
health, and of time: I will then only eat to supply the waste of nature;
my health will be always equal, my ideas pure and luminous. All this is
so easy that there is no merit in accomplishing it."

"But," says Memnon, "I must think a little of how I am to regulate my
fortune: why, my desires are moderate, my wealth is securely placed with
the Receiver General of the finances of Nineveh. I have wherewithal to
live independent; and that is the greatest of blessings. I shall never
be under the cruel necessity of dancing attendance at court. I will
never envy any one, and nobody will envy me. Still all this is easy. I
have friends, and I will preserve them, for we shall never have any
difference. I will never take amiss anything they may say or do; and
they will behave in the same way to me. There is no difficulty in all
this."

Having thus laid this little plan of philosophy in his closet, Memnon
put his head out of the window. He saw two women walking under the
plane-trees near his house. The one was old, and appeared quite at her
ease. The other was young, handsome, and seemingly much agitated. She
sighed, she wept, and seemed on that account still more beautiful. Our
philosopher was touched, not, to be sure, with the lady, (he was too
much determined not to feel any uneasiness of that kind) but with the
distress which he saw her in. He came down stairs, and accosted the
young Ninevite, designing to console her with philosophy. That lovely
person related to him, with an air of the greatest simplicity, and in
the most affecting manner, the injuries she sustained from an imaginary
uncle--with what art he had deprived her of some imaginary property, and
of the violence which she pretended to dread from him.

"You appear to me," said she, "a man of such wisdom, that if you will
come to my house and examine into my affairs, I am persuaded you will be
able to relieve me from the cruel embarrassment I am at present involved
in."

Memnon did not hesitate to follow her, to examine her affairs
philosophically, and to give her sound counsel.

The afflicted lady led him into a perfumed chamber, and politely made
him sit down with her on a large sofa, where they both placed themselves
opposite to each other, in the attitude of conversation; the one eager
in telling her story, the other listening with devout attention. The
lady spoke with downcast eyes, whence there sometimes fell a tear, and
which, as she now and then ventured to raise them, always met those of
the sage Memnon. Their discourse was full of tenderness, which redoubled
as often as their eyes met. Memnon took her affairs exceedingly to
heart, and felt himself every instant more and more inclined to oblige a
person so virtuous and so unhappy. By degrees, in the warmth of
conversation they drew nearer. Memnon counseled her with great wisdom,
and gave her most tender advice.

At this interesting moment, as may easily be imagined, who should come
in but the uncle. He was armed from head to foot, and the first thing he
said was, that he would immediately sacrifice, as was just, both Memnon
and his niece. The latter, who made her escape, knew that he was
disposed to pardon, provided a good round sum were offered to him.
Memnon was obliged to purchase his safety with all he had about him. In
those days people were happy in getting so easily quit. America was not
then discovered, and distressed ladies were not then so dangerous as
they are now.

Memnon, covered with shame and confusion, got home to his own house. He
there found a card inviting him to dinner with some of his intimate
friends.

"If I remain at home alone," said he, "I shall have my mind so occupied
with this vexatious adventure, that I shall not be able to eat a bit,
and I shall bring upon myself some disease. It will therefore be prudent
in me to go to my intimate friends and partake with them of a frugal
repast. I shall forget, in the sweets of their society, the folly I have
this morning been guilty of."

Accordingly he attends the meeting; he is discovered to be uneasy at
something, and he is urged to drink and banish care.

"A little wine, drank in moderation, comforts the heart of God and man:"
so reasoned Memnon the philosopher, and he became intoxicated. After the
repast, play is proposed.

"A little play, with one's intimate friends, is a harmless pastime." He
plays and loses all in his purse, and four times as much on his word. A
dispute arises on some circumstance in the game, and the disputants grow
warm. One of his intimate friends throws a dice-box at his head, and
strikes out one of his eyes. The philosopher Memnon is carried home
drunk and penniless, with the loss of an eye.

He sleeps out his debauch, and, when his head becomes clear, he sends
his servant to the Receiver General of the finances of Nineveh, to draw
a little money to pay his debt of honor to his intimate friends. The
servant returns and informs him, that the Receiver General had that
morning been declared a fraudulent bankrupt, and that by this means an
hundred families are reduced to poverty and despair. Memnon, almost
beside himself, puts a plaster on his eye and a petition in his pocket,
and goes to court to solicit justice from the king against the bankrupt.
In the saloon he meets a number of ladies, all in the highest spirits,
and sailing along with hoops four-and-twenty feet in circumference. One
of them, slightly acquainted with him, eyed him askance, and cried
aloud: "Ah! what a horrid monster!"

Another, who was better acquainted with him, thus accosts him:
"Good-morrow, Mr. Memnon, I hope you are well, Mr. Memnon. La! Mr.
Memnon, how did you lose your eye?" and turning upon her heel, she
tripped unconcernedly away.

Memnon hid himself in a corner, and waited for the moment when he could
throw himself at the feet of the monarch. That moment at last arrived.
Three times he kissed the earth, and presented his petition. His
gracious majesty received him very favorably, and referred the paper to
one of his satraps. The satrap takes Memnon aside, and says to him with
a haughty air and satirical grin:

"Hark ye, you fellow with the one eye, you must be a comical dog indeed,
to address yourself to the king rather than to me: and still more so, to
dare to demand justice against an honest bankrupt, whom I honor with my
protection, and who is also a nephew to the waiting-maid of my mistress.
Proceed no further in this business, my good friend, if you wish to
preserve the eye you have left."

Memnon having thus, in his closet, resolved to renounce women, the
excess of the table, play, and quarreling, but especially having
determined never to go to court, had been in the short space of
four-and-twenty hours duped and robbed by a gentle dame, had got drunk,
had gamed, had been engaged in a quarrel, had got his eye knocked out,
and had been at court, where he was sneered at and insulted.

Petrified with astonishment, and his heart broken with grief, Memnon
returns homeward in despair. As he was about to enter his house, he is
repulsed by a number of officers who are carrying off his furniture for
the benefit of his creditors. He falls down almost lifeless under a
plane-tree. There he finds the fair dame of the morning, who was walking
with her dear uncle; and both set up a loud laugh on seeing Memnon with
his plaster. The night approached, and Memnon made his bed on some straw
near the walls of his house. Here the ague seized him, and he fell
asleep in one of the fits, when a celestial spirit appeared to him in a
dream.

It was all resplendent with light: it had six beautiful wings, but
neither feet, nor head, and could be likened to nothing.

"What art thou?" said Memnon.

"Thy good genius," replied the spirit.

"Restore me then my eye, my health, my fortune, my reason," said Memnon;
and he related how he had lost them all in one day. "These are
adventures which never happen to us in the world we inhabit," said the
spirit.

"And what world do you inhabit?" said the man of affliction.

"My native country," replied the other, "is five hundred millions of
leagues distant from the sun, in a little star near Sirius, which you
see from hence."

"Charming country!" said Memnon. "And are there indeed with you no jades
to dupe a poor devil, no intimate friends that win his money and knock
out an eye for him, no fraudulent bankrupts, no satraps, that make a
jest of you while they refuse you justice?"

"No," said the inhabitant of the star, "we have nothing of the kind. We
are never duped by women, because we have none among us; we never commit
excesses at table, because we neither eat nor drink; we have no
bankrupts, because with us there is neither silver nor gold; our eyes
cannot be knocked out, because we have not bodies in the form of yours;
and satraps never do us injustice, because in our world we are all
equal."

"Pray my lord," said Memnen, "without women and without eating how do
you spend your time?"

"In watching, over the other worlds that are entrusted to us; and I am
now come to give you consolation."

"Alas!" replied Memnon, "why did you not come yesterday to hinder me
from committing so many indiscretions?"

"I was with your elder brother Hassan," said the celestial being. "He is
still more to be pitied than you are. His most gracious majesty, the
sultan of the Indies, in whose court he has the honor to serve, has
caused both his eyes to be put out for some small indiscretion; and he
is now in a dungeon, his hands and feet loaded with chains."

"'Tis a happy thing, truly," said Memnon, "to have a good genius in
one's family, when out of two brothers, one is blind of an eye, the
other blind of both; one stretched upon straw, the other in a dungeon."

"Your fate will soon change," said the spirit of the star. "It is true
you will never recover your eye; but, except that, you may be
sufficiently happy if you never again take it into your head to be a
perfect philosopher."

"Is it then impossible?" said Memnon.

"As impossible as to be perfectly wise, perfectly strong, perfectly
powerful, perfectly happy. We ourselves are very far from it. There is a
world indeed where all this takes place; but, in the hundred thousand
millions of worlds dispersed over the regions of space, everything goes
on by degrees. There is less philosophy and less enjoyment in the second
than in the first, less in the third than in the second, and so forth
till the last in the scale, where all are completely fools."

"I am afraid," said Memnon, "that our little terraqueous globe here is
the madhouse of those hundred thousand millions of worlds, of which your
lordship does me the honor to speak."

"Not quite," said the spirit, "but very nearly; everything must be in
its proper place."

"But are those poets and philosophers wrong, then, who tell us that
everything is for the best?"

"No, they are right, when we consider things in relation to the
gradation of the whole universe."

"Oh! I shall never believe it till I recover my eye again," said the
unfortunate Memnon.


[1] The above engraving from Chamber's Guide to the British Museum,
represents a head and bust of Memnon, "formed of a single block of fine
syene granite, one piece of which is red, while the rest is blue or
grayish. The sculptor, with admirable taste, used the red part for the
head, and the darker part for the breast. Although the statue has all
the characteristics of Egyptian sculpture--the projecting eyes, thick
lips, high ears, and small chin--yet such is the beauty of the
execution, so much sweetness and mildness is there in the expression of
the countenance, that the effect is, on the whole, extremely pleasing.
Here, in short, we have the masterpiece of some Egyptian sculptor of
superior genius, whose name has perished. Here also, if we are to accept
the statue as a genuine likeness, we behold the features of the great
Egyptian Pharaoh, at whose name, some fourteen centuries before Christ,
the Mediterranean nations trembled. Doubtless on such a subject the
sculptor would do his best; striving, while transmitting the features of
the hero to posterity, to produce also a countenance that would be the
ideal of Egyptian beauty."--E.

[Illustration: Memnon and the distressed Ninevite.--"The afflicted lady
led him into a perfumed chamber, where they both placed themselves
opposite to each other, in the attitude of conversation; the one eager
in telling her story, the other listening with devout attention.]



[Illustration: Destouches and Croutef.]



ANDRÉ DES TOUCHES AT SIAM.


André Des Touches was a very agreeable musician in the brilliant reign
of Louis XIV. before the science of music was perfected by Rameau; and
before it was corrupted by those who prefer the art of surmounting
difficulties to nature and the real graces of composition.

Before he had recourse to these talents he had been a musketeer, and
before that, in 1688, he went into Siam with the Jesuit Tachard, who
gave him many marks of his affection, for the amusement he afforded on
board the ship; and Des Touches spoke with admiration of father Tachard
for the rest of his life.

At Siam he became acquainted with the first commissary of Barcalon,
whose name was Croutef; and he committed to writing most of those
questions which he asked of Croutef, and the answers of that Siamese.
They are as follows:

DES TOUCHES.--How many soldiers have you?

CROUTEF.--Fourscore thousand, very indifferently paid.

DES TOUCHES.--And how many Talapolins?

CROUTEF.--A hundred and twenty thousand, very idle and very rich. It is
true that in the last war we were beaten, but our Talapolins have lived
sumptuously, and built fine houses.

DES TOUCHES.--Nothing could have discovered more judgment. And your
finances, in what state are they?

CROUTEF.--In a very bad state. We have, however, about ninety thousand
men employed to render them prosperous, and if they have not succeeded,
it has not been their fault; for there is not one of them who does not
honorably seize all that he can get possession of, and strip and plunder
those who cultivate the ground for the good of the state.

DES TOUCHES.--Bravo! And is not your jurisprudence as perfect as the
rest of your administration?

CROUTEF.--It is much superior. We have no laws, but we have five or six
thousand volumes on the laws. We are governed in general by customs; for
it is known that a custom, having been established by chance, is the
wisest principle that can be imagined. Besides, all customs being
necessarily different in different provinces, the judges may choose at
their pleasure a custom which prevailed four hundred years ago, or one
which prevailed last year. It occasions a variety in our legislation,
which our neighbors are forever admiring. This yields a certain fortune
to practitioners. It is a resource for all pleaders who are destitute of
honor, and a pastime of infinite amusement for the judges, who can with
safe consciences decide causes without understanding them.

DES TOUCHES.--But in criminal cases--you have laws which may be depended
upon.

CROUTEF.--God forbid! We can condemn men to exile, to the galleys, to be
hanged; or we can discharge them, according to our own fancy. We
sometimes complain of the arbitrary power of the Barcalon; but we choose
that all our decisions should be arbitrary.

DES TOUCHES.--That is very just. And the torture--do you put people to
the torture?

CROUTEF.--It is our greatest pleasure. We have found it an infallible
secret to save a guilty person, who has vigorous muscles, strong and
supple hamstrings, nervous arms, and firm loins; and we gaily break on
the wheel all those innocent persons to whom nature has given feeble
organs. It is thus we conduct ourselves with wonderful wisdom and
prudence. As there are half proofs, I mean half truths, it is certain
there are persons who are half innocent and half guilty. We commence,
therefore, by rendering them half dead; we then go to breakfast;
afterwards ensues entire death, which gives us great consideration in
the world, which is one of the most valuable advantages of our offices.

DES TOUCHES.--It must be allowed that nothing can be more prudent and
humane. Pray tell me what becomes of the property of the condemned?

CROUTEF.--The children are deprived of it. For you know that nothing can
be more equitable than to punish the single fault of a parent on all his
descendants.

DES TOUCHES.--Yes. It is a great while since I have heard of this
jurisprudence.

CROUTEF.--The people of Laos, our neighbors, admit neither the torture,
nor arbitrary punishments, nor the different customs, nor the horrible
deaths which are in use among us; but we regard them as barbarians who
have no idea of good government. All Asia is agreed that we dance the
best of all its inhabitants, and that, consequently, it is impossible
they should come near us in jurisprudence, in commerce, in finance, and,
above all, in the military art.

DES TOUCHES.--Tell me, I beseech you, by what steps men arrive at the
magistracy in Siam.

CROUTEF.--By ready money. You perceive that it may be impossible to be a
good judge, if a man has not by him thirty or forty thousand pieces of
silver. It is in vain a man may be perfectly acquainted with all our
customs; it is to no purpose that he has pleaded five hundred causes
with success--that he has a mind which is the seat of judgment, and a
heart replete with justice; no man can become a magistrate without
money. This, I say, is the circumstance which distinguishes us from all
Asia, and particularly from the barbarous inhabitants of Laos, who have
the madness to recompense all kinds of talents, and not to sell any
employment.

André des Touches, who was a little off his guard, said to the Siamese,
that most of the airs which he had just sung sounded discordant to him;
and wished to receive information concerning real Siamese music. But
Croutef, full of his subject, and enthusiastic for his country,
continued in these words:

"What does it signify that our neighbors, who live beyond our mountains,
have better music than we have, or better pictures; provided we have
always wise and humane laws? It is in that circumstance we excel. For
example:

"If a man has adroitly stolen three or four hundred thousand pieces of
gold, we respect him, and we go and dine with him. But if a poor servant
gets awkwardly into his possession three or four pieces of copper out of
his mistress's box, we never fail of putting that servant to a public
death; first, lest he should not correct himself; secondly, that he may
not have it in his power to produce a great number of children for the
state, one or two of whom might possibly steal a few little pieces of
copper, or become great men; thirdly, because it is just to proportion
the punishment to the crime, and that it would be ridiculous to give any
useful employment in a prison to a person guilty of so enormous a crime.

"But we are still more just, more merciful, more reasonable in the
chastisements which we inflict on those who have the audacity to make
use of their legs to go wherever they choose. We treat those warriors so
well who sell us their lives, we give them so prodigious a salary, they
have so considerable a part in our conquests, that they must be the most
criminal of all men to wish to return to their parents on the recovery
of their reason, because they had been enlisted in a state of
intoxication. To oblige them to remain in one place, we lodge about a
dozen leaden balls in their heads; after which they become infinitely
useful to their country.

"I will not speak of a great number of excellent institutions, which do
not go so far as to shed the blood of men, but which render life so
pleasant and agreeable that it is impossible the guilty should avoid
becoming virtuous. If a farmer has not been able to pay promptly a tax
which exceeds his ability, we sell the pot in which he dresses his food;
we sell his bed, in order that, being relieved of all his superfluities,
he may be in a better condition to cultivate the earth."

DES TOUCHES.--That is extremely harmonious!

CROUTEF.--To comprehend our profound wisdom, you must know that our
fundamental principle is to acknowledge in many places as our sovereign,
a shaven-headed foreigner who lives at the distance of nine hundred
miles from us. When we assign some of our best territories to any of our
Talapolins, which it is very prudent in us to do, that Siamese Talapolin
must pay the revenue of his first year to that shaven-headed Tartar,
without which it is clear our lands would be unfruitful.

But the time, the happy time, is no more, when that tonsured priest
induced one half of the nation to cut the throats of the other half, in
order to decide whether Sammonocodom had played at leap-frog or at some
other game; whether he had been disguised in an elephant or in a cow; if
he had slept three hundred and ninety days on the right side, or on the
left. Those grand questions, which so essentially affect morality,
agitated all minds; they shook the world; blood flowed plentifully for
it; women were massacred on the bodies of their husbands; they dashed
out the brains of their little infants on the stones, with a devotion,
with a grace, with a contrition truly angelic. Woe to us! degenerate
offspring of pious ancestors, who never offer such holy sacrifices! But,
heaven be praised, there are yet among us at least a few good souls, who
would imitate them if they were permitted.

DES TOUCHES.--Tell me, I beseech you, sir, if at Siam you divide the
tone major into two commas, or into two semi-commas; and if the progress
of the fundamental sounds are made by one, three, and nine?

CROUTEF. By Sammonocodom, you are laughing at me. You observe no bounds.
You have interrogated me on the form of our government, and you speak to
me of music!

DES TOUCHES.---Music is everything. It was at the foundation of all the
politics of the Greeks. But I beg your pardon; you have not a good ear;
and we will return to our subject. You said, that in order to produce a
perfect harmony--

CROUTEF.--I was telling you, that formerly the tonsured Tartar pretended
to dispose of all the kingdoms of Asia; which occasioned something very
different from perfect harmony. But a very considerable benefit resulted
from it; for people were then more devout toward Sammonocodom and his
elephant than they are now; for, at the present time, all the world
pretends to common sense, with an indiscretion truly pitiable. However,
all things go on; people divert themselves, they dance, they play, they
dine, they sup, they make love; this makes every man shudder who
entertains good intentions.

DES TOUCHES.--And what would you have more? You only want good music. If
you had good music, you might call your nation the happiest in the
world.



THE BLIND PENSIONERS AT QUINZE VINGT.


A SHORT DIGRESSION.--When the hospital of the Quinze Vingt was first
founded, the pensioners were all equal, and their little affairs were
concluded upon by a majority of votes. They distinguished perfectly by
the touch between copper and silver coin; they never mistook the wine of
Brie for that of Burgundy. Their sense of smelling was finer than that
of their neighbors who had the use of two eyes. They reasoned very well
on the four senses; that is, they knew everything they were permitted to
know, and they lived as peaceably and as happily as blind people could
be supposed to do. But unfortunately one of their professors pretended
to have clear ideas in respect to the sense of seeing, he drew
attention; he intrigued; he formed enthusiasts; and at last he was
acknowledged chief of the community. He pretended to be a judge of
colors, and everything was lost.

This dictator of the Quinze Vingt chose at first a little council, by
the assistance of which he got possession of all the alms. On this
account, no person had the resolution to oppose him. He decreed, that
all the inhabitants of the Quinze Vingt were clothed in white. The blind
pensioners believed him; and nothing was to be heard but their talk of
white garments, though, in fact, they possessed not one of that color.
All their acquaintance laughed at them. They made their complaints to
the dictator, who received them very ill; he rebuked them as innovators,
freethinkers, rebels, who had suffered themselves to be seduced by the
errors of those who had eyes, and who presumed to doubt that their chief
was infallible. This contention gave rise to two parties.

To appease the tumult, the dictator issued a decree, importing that all
their vestments were red. There was not one vestment of that color in
the Quinze Vingt. The poor men were laughed at more than ever.
Complaints were again made by the community. The dictator rushed
furiously in; and the other blind men were as much enraged. They fought
a long time; and peace was not restored until the members of the Quinze
Vingt were permitted to suspend their judgments in regard to the color
of their dress.

A deaf man, reading this little history, allowed that these people,
being blind, were to blame in pretending to judge of colors; but he
remained steady to his own opinion, that those persons who were deaf
were the only proper judges of music.

[Illustration: Boodh resting "upon the face of the waters," supported by
serpents.][1]


[1] Boodhism, is described in _Webster's Dictionary_ as "a system of
religion in Eastern Asia, embraced by more than one third of the human
race. It teaches that, at distant intervals, a Boodh, or deity, appears,
to restore the world from a state of ignorance and decay, and then sinks
into a state of entire non-existence, or rather, perhaps, of bare
existence without attributes, action, or consciousness. This state,
called _Nirvana_, or _Nicban_, is regarded as the ultimate supreme good,
and the highest reward of virtue among men. Four Boodhs have thus
appeared in the world, and passed into _Nirvana_, the last of whom,
Gaudama, became incarnate about 500 years before Christ, from his death,
in 543 B.C., many thousand years will elapse before the appearance of
another; so that the system, in the mean time, is practically one of
pure atheism."

The serpent has ever been a significant emblem in religion and
mythology. Being "the most subtle beast of the field," it was naturally
accepted as the emblem of wisdom. With its tail in its mouth it formed a
circle, which was regarded by the ancients as the emblem of eternity.
Moses set up a brazen serpent on a cross in the wilderness as an emblem
of healing. Æsculapius, the god of medicine, is seen on ancient statues
with a serpent twining around a staff by his side, symbolizing health,
prudence and foresight. Hygiea, the goddess of health, is represented in
works of art as a virgin dressed in a long robe and feeding a serpent
from a cup. Mercury is always shown holding in his right hand a wand
with two twined serpents. The nine coiled serpents in the above
engraving, correspond with the nine muses in the Grecian mythology. The
cobra, whose poison is death, is an emblem of the destroying power, and
destruction, or rather change, symbolizes new formation, renovation or
creation. Thus eternal formation, proceeds from eternal destruction. The
serpent also figures in a beautiful allegory concerning the introduction
of knowledge among mankind, _i.e._, "the knowledge of good and
evil."--E.



BABABEC.


When I was in the city of Benarez, on the borders of the Ganges, the
country of the ancient Brahmins, I endeavored to instruct myself in
their religion and manners. I understood the Indian language tolerably
well. I heard a great deal, and remarked everything. I lodged at the
house of my correspondent Omri, who was the most worthy man I ever knew.
He was of the religion of the Brahmins: I have the honor to be a
Mussulman. We never exchanged one word higher than another about Mahomet
or Brahma. We performed our ablutions each on his own side; we drank of
the same sherbet, and we ate of the same rice, as if we had been two
brothers.

One day we went together to the pagoda of Gavani. There we saw several
bands of Fakirs. Some of whom were Janguis, that is to say,
contemplative Fakirs; and others were disciples of the ancient
Gymnosophists, who led an active life. They all have a learned language
peculiar to themselves; it is that of the most ancient Brahmins; and
they have a book written in this language, which they call the _Shasta_.
It is, beyond all contradiction, the most ancient book in all Asia, not
excepting the _Zend_.

I happened by chance to cross in front of a Fakir, who was reading in
this book.

"Ah! wretched infidel!" cried he, "thou hast made me lose a number of
vowels that I was counting, which will cause my soul to pass into the
body of a hare instead of that of a parrot, with which I had before the
greatest reason to flatter myself."

I gave him a rupee to comfort him for the accident. In going a few paces
farther, I had the misfortune to sneeze. The noise I made roused a
Fakir, who was in a trance.

"Heavens!" cried he, "what a dreadful noise. Where am I? I can no longer
see the tip of my nose,--the heavenly light has disappeared."

"If I am the cause," said I, "of your not seeing farther than the length
of your nose, here is a rupee to repair the great injury I have done
you. Squint again, my friend, and resume the heavenly light."

Having thus brought myself off discreetly enough, I passed over to the
side of the Gymnosophists, several of whom brought me a parcel of mighty
pretty nails to drive into my arms and thighs, in honor of Brahma. I
bought their nails, and made use of them to fasten down my boxes. Others
were dancing upon their hands, others cut capers on the slack rope, and
others went always upon one foot. There were some who dragged a heavy
chain about with them, and others carried a packsaddle; some had their
heads always in a bushel--the best people in the world to live with. My
friend Omri took me to the cell of one of the most famous of these. His
name was Bababec: he was as naked as he was born, and had a great chain
about his neck, that weighed upwards of sixty pounds. He sat on a wooden
chair, very neatly decorated with little points of nails that penetrated
into his flesh; and you would have thought he had been sitting on a
velvet cushion. Numbers of women flocked to him to consult him. He was
the oracle of all the families in the neighborhood; and was, truly
speaking, in great reputation. I was witness to a long conversation that
Omri had with him.

[Illustration: The Fakir.]



     RELIGIOUS ZEAL.


     The most earnest and zealous advocates of modern Christianity are,
     undoubtedly, to be found in the ranks of that grotesque
     organization known as the "Salvation Army"; but the wildest efforts
     of these misguided propagandists fall far short of the intense
     religious fervor displayed by the zealous followers of Brahma.

     A contributor to Cassell's _Illustrated Travels_ describes a
     religious festival which he witnessed a few years ago at Hurdwar on
     the Ganges, while on an elephant shooting expedition in the Dehra
     Dhoon, Northern India, which vividly illustrates the folly and
     fanaticism of these degraded religious devotees, and which is only
     second in repulsiveness to the horrible ceremonies of Juggernaut.

     "There is," says this writer, "a religious festival every year at
     Hurdwar, but every sixth year the ceremonies are more holy and the
     crowd of pilgrims larger. The _Koom Mela_, a religious feast of
     great holiness in native eyes, occurs every eleven years, and the
     pilgrims on such occasions arrive from every part of India. The
     crowd usually numbers over two millions. But it is when the
     festivals occurring at intervals of six years and at intervals of
     eleven years happen to meet in the same year that the crowd is the
     largest, the importance of the fair greatest, and the concourse of
     fanatic fakirs and holy Brahmins, from every hole and corner of
     India, the most striking and remarkable. Merchants arrive from the
     most distant countries; not from different parts of India only, but
     from Persia, Thibet, China, Afghanistan, and even from Russia. It
     was one of these festivals and giant fairs that we had the good
     fortune to see.

     "As the day of the great festival approaches, the fakirs--who by
     the way are always stark naked, and generally as disgusting
     specimens of humanity as it is possible to conceive--and the
     Brahmins, excite their hearers by increasingly-fervent speeches, by
     self-applied tortures, frightful contortions, and wild dances and
     gestures, to which the crowd loudly responds by shouts and wild
     yells. Early on the morning of the day which to their mind is more
     holy than any other in their whole lifetime, the assembled people
     to the number of two or even three millions, repair to the ghauts
     and patiently wait for the signal, to begin their work of
     regeneration and salvation. This desirable end is attained by each
     and every individual who within a certain time, during the tinkling
     of a well-known bell, precipitates himself into the river, washes
     himself thoroughly, and repeats a short prayer. This done, the
     pilgrim must leave the river again, and if he has not entered it
     until the bell began to tinkle, and has succeeded in going through
     his performance and left the water again before the sound of the
     bell has ceased, his sins from his birth are remitted and washed
     away, and his happy future after death is assured, unless he
     commits some specifically named and very enormous sins. The other
     pilgrims, who by reason of the great crowd cannot reach the water
     in time to go through the whole performance as required by the
     Brahmins, receive blessings commensurate with the length of their
     stay in the water while the bell was ringing. Even the unfortunate
     pilgrims who altogether fail to enter the water at the right
     moment, are consoled by the partial removal of their load of
     wickedness; but the blessings which accompany a full performance of
     what the Brahmins require, are so superior to the favors following
     an incomplete or tardy immersion, that it is not strange
     extraordinary efforts are made to enter the water at the first
     sound of the bells and gongs.

     "The crowd was made up of men and women of half-a-hundred tribes of
     nations, in every variety of dress and partial nakedness. Many men
     wore their loincloths only; the women's hair was loose and flying
     to the wind; all were newly and hideously painted; many were
     intoxicated, not only with opium and spirits, but with religious
     frenzy and impatient waiting. As the exciting moment approached
     shouts rent the air; the priests harangued louder and louder; the
     fakirs grew wilder and more incoherent; then gradually the great
     noise subsided, when suddenly a single bell, immediately followed
     by a hundred more, broke the silence, and with one accord, shouting
     like madmen, the people rushed forward and the foremost ranks threw
     themselves into the water. Then there arose a mighty shout, the
     many gongs joined in, and the bells redoubled their efforts. But
     the confusion, the crushing, the struggling for very life, the
     surging of the mad masses at the water's edge, defy all
     description.

     "As the first rows of men and women reached the water they were
     upset and overturned by the people in their rear, who passed over
     them into still deeper water, and in their turn suffered the same
     fate at the bands of the on-rushing crowd behind them, until deep
     water was reached.... The shouts of excitement were changed to
     shrieks and passionate cries for help; the men under water
     struggled with those above them: weak women were carried out by the
     stream or trampled on; men pulled each other down, and in their mad
     fear exerted their utmost strength without object or purpose. Then
     the survivors, trying to escape from the water, met the yet dry
     crowd still charging down to death, and this increased the dire
     confusion. It was a horrid sight, and one I was quite unprepared
     for, notwithstanding all I had heard before."--E.



"Do you think, father," said my friend, "that after having gone through
seven metempsichoses, I may at length arrive at the habitation of
Brahma?"

"That is as it may happen," said the Fakir. "What sort of life do you
lead?"

"I endeavor," answered Omri, "to be a good subject, a good husband, a
good father, and a good friend. I lend money without interest to the
rich who want it, and I give it to the poor: I always strive to preserve
peace among my neighbors."

"But have you ever run nails into your flesh?" demanded the Brahmin.

"Never, reverend father."

"I am sorry for it," replied the father; "very sorry for it, indeed. It
is a thousand pities; but you will certainly not reach above the
nineteenth heaven."

"No higher!" said Omri. "In truth, I am very well contented with my lot.
What is it to me whether I go into the nineteenth or the twentieth,
provided I do my duty in my pilgrimage, and am well received at the end
of my journey? Is it not as much as one can desire, to live with a fair
character in this world, and be happy with Brahma in the next? And pray
what heaven do you think of going to, good master Bababec, with your
chain?"

"Into the thirty-fifth," said Bababec.

"I admire your modesty," replied Omri, "to pretend to be better lodged
than me. This is surely the result of an excessive ambition. How can
you, who condemn others that covet honors in this world, arrogate such
distinguished ones to yourself in the next? What right have you to be
better treated than me? Know that I bestow more alms to the poor in ten
days, than the nails you run into your flesh cost for ten years? What is
it to Brahma that you pass the whole day stark naked with a chain about
your neck? This is doing a notable service to your country, doubtless! I
have a thousand times more esteem for the man who sows pulse or plants
trees, than for all your tribe, who look at the tips of their noses, or
carry packsaddles, to show their magnanimity."

Having finished this speech, Omri softened his voice, embraced the
Brahmin, and, with an endearing sweetness, besought him to throw aside
his nails and his chain, to go home with him, and live with decency and
comfort.

The Fakir was persuaded, he was washed clean, rubbed with essences and
perfumes, and clad in a decent habit; he lived a fortnight in this
manner, behaved with prudence and wisdom, and acknowledged that he was a
thousand times happier than before; but he lost his credit among the
people, the women no longer crowded to consult him; he therefore quitted
the house of the friendly Omri, and returned to his nails and his chain,
_to regain his reputation_.

[Illustration: Sphinx.]

[Illustration: The study of nature.]



THE STUDY OF NATURE.



I.

INTRODUCTION.


There can be no doubt that everything in the world is governed by
fatality. My own life is a convincing proof of this doctrine. An English
lord, with whom I was a great favorite, had promised me that I should
have the first living that fell to his gift. An old incumbent of eighty
happened to die, and I immediately traveled post to London to remind the
earl of his promise. I was honored with an immediate interview, and was
received with the greatest kindness. I informed his lordship of the
death of the rector, and of the hope I cherished relative to the
disposal of the vacant living. He replied that I really looked very ill.
I answered that, thanks to God, my greatest affliction was poverty. I am
sorry for you, said his lordship, and he politely dismissed me with a
letter of introduction to a Mr. Sidrac, who dwelt in the vicinity of
Guildhall. I ran as fast as I could to this gentleman's house, not
doubting but that he would immediately install me in the wished for
living. I delivered the earl's letter, and Mr. Sidrac, who had the honor
to be my lord's surgeon, asked me to sit down, and, producing a case of
surgical instruments, began to assure me that he would perform an
operation which he trusted would very soon relieve me.

You must know, that his lordship had understood that I was suffering
from some dreadful complaint, and that he generously intended to have me
cured at his own expense. The earl had the misfortune to be as deaf as a
post, a fact with which I, alas! had not been previously acquainted.

During the time which I lost in defending myself against the attacks of
Mr. Sidrac, who insisted positively upon curing me, whether I would or
no, one out of the fifty candidates who were all on the lookout, came to
town, flew to my lord, begged the vacant living--and obtained it.

I was deeply in love with an interesting girl, a Miss Fidler, who had
promised to marry me upon condition of my being made rector. My
fortunate rival not only got the living, but also my mistress into the
bargain!

My patron, upon being told of his mistake, promised to make me ample
amends, but alas! he died two days afterwards.

Mr. Sidrac demonstrated to me that, according to his organic structure,
my good patron could not have lived one hour longer. He also clearly
proved that the earl's deafness proceeded entirely from the extreme
dryness of the drums of his ears, and kindly offered, by an application
of spirits of wine, to harden both of my ears to such a degree that I
should, in one month only, become as deaf as any peer of the realm.

I discovered Mr. Sidrac to be a man of profound knowledge. He inspired
me with a taste for the study of nature, and I could not but be sensible
of the valuable acquisition I had made in acquiring the friendship of a
man who was capable of relieving me, should I need his services.
Following his advice, I applied myself closely to the study of nature,
to console myself for the loss of the rectory and of my enchanting Miss
Fidler.



II.

THE STUDY OF NATURE.


After making many profound observations upon nature, (having employed in
the research, my five senses, my spectacles, and a very large
telescope,) I said one day to Mr. Sidrac, unless I am much deceived,
philosophy laughs at us. I cannot discover any trace of what the world
calls nature; on the contrary, everything seems to me to be the result
of art. By art the planets are made to revolve around the sun, while the
sun revolves on its own axis. I am convinced that some genius has
arranged things in such a manner, that the square of the revolutions of
the planets is always in proportion to the cubic root from their
distance to their centre, and one had need be a magician to find out how
this is accomplished. The tides of the sea are the result of art no less
profound and no less difficult to explain.

All animals, vegetables and minerals are arranged with due regard to
weight and measure, number and motion. All is performed by springs,
levers, pullies, hydraulic machines, and chemical combinations, from the
insignificant flea to the being called man, from the grass of the field
to the far spreading oak, from a grain of sand to a cloud in the
firmament of heaven. Assuredly, everything is governed by art, and the
word _nature_ is but a chimera.

What you say, answered Mr. Sidrac, has been said many years ago, and so
much the better, for the probability is greater that your remark is
true. I am always astonished when I reflect, that a grain of wheat cast
into the earth will produce in a short time above a handful of the same
corn. Stop, said I, foolishly, you forget that wheat must die before it
can spring up again, at least so they say at college. My friend Sidrac,
laughing heartily at this interruption, replied. That assertion went
down very well a few years ago, when it was first published by an
apostle called Paul; but in our more enlightened age, the meanest
laborer knows that the thing is altogether too ridiculous even for
argument.

My dear friend, said I, excuse the absurdity of my remark, I have
hitherto been a theologian, and one cannot divest one's self in a moment
of every silly opinion.



III.

GOOD ADVICE.


Some time after this conversation between the disconsolate person, whom
we shall call Goodman, and the clever anatomist, Mr. Sidrac, the latter,
one fine morning, observed his friend in St. James's Park, standing in
an attitude of deep thought. What is the matter? said the surgeon. Is
there anything amiss? No, replied Goodman, but I am left without a
patron in the world since the death of my friend, who had the misfortune
to be so deaf. Now supposing there be only ten thousand clergymen in
England, and granting these ten thousand have each two patrons, the odds
against my obtaining a bishopric are twenty thousand to one; a
reflection quite sufficient to give any man the blue-devils. I remember,
it was once proposed to me, to go out as cabin-boy to the East Indies. I
was told that I should make my fortune. But as I did not think I should
make a good admiral, whenever I should arrive at the distinction, I
declined; and so, after turning my attention to every profession under
the sun, I am fixed for life as a poor clergyman, good for nothing.

Then be a clergyman no longer! cried Sidrac, and turn philosopher: what
is your income? Only thirty guineas a year, replied Goodman; although at
the death of my mother, it will be increased to fifty. Well, my dear
Goodman, continued Sidrac, that sum is quite sufficient to support you
in comfort. Thirty guineas are six hundred and thirty shillings, almost
two shillings a day. With this fixed income, a man need do nothing to
increase it, but is at perfect liberty to say all he thinks of the East
India Company, the House of Commons, the king and all the royal family,
of man generally and individually, and lastly, of God and his
attributes; and the liberty we enjoy of expressing our thoughts upon
these most interesting topics, is certainly very agreeable and amusing.

Come and dine at my table every day. That will save you some little
money. We will afterwards amuse ourselves with conversation, and your
thinking faculty will have the pleasure of communicating with mine by
means of speech, which is certainly a very wonderful thing, though its
advantages are not duly appreciated by the greater part of mankind.

[Illustration: The poor clergyman.--"I remember, it was once proposed to
me, to go out as cabin-boy to the East Indies. I was told that I should
make my fortune. But as I did not think I should make a good admiral,
whenever I should arrive at the distinction, I declined; and so, after
turning my attention to every profession under the sun, I am fixed for
life as a poor clergyman, good for nothing."]



IV.

DIALOGUE UPON THE SOUL AND OTHER TOPICS.


GOODMAN.--But my dear Sidrac, why do you always say _my thinking
faculty_ and not _my soul_? If you used the latter term I should
understand you much better.

SIDRAC.--And for my part, I freely confess, I should not understand
myself. I _feel_, I _know_, that God has endowed me with the faculties
of thinking and speaking, but I can neither _feel_ nor _know_ that God
has given me a thing called a soul.

GOODMAN.--Truly upon reflection, I perceive that I know as little about
the matter as you do, though I own that I have, all my life, been bold
enough to believe that I knew. I have often remarked that the eastern
nations apply to the soul the same word they use to express life. After
their example, the Latins understood the word _anima_ to signify the
life of the animal. The Greeks called the breath the soul. The Romans
translated the word breath by _spiritus_, and thence it is that the word
spirit or soul is found in every modern nation. As it happens that no
one has ever seen this spirit or breath, our imagination has converted
it into a being, which it is impossible to see or touch. The learned
tell us, that the soul inhabits the body without having any place in it,
that it has the power of setting our different organs in motion without
being able to reach and touch them, indeed, what has not been said upon
the subject? The great Locke knew into what a chaos these absurdities
had plunged the human understanding. In writing the only reasonable book
upon metaphysics that has yet appeared in the world, he did not compose
a single chapter on the soul; and if by chance he now and then makes use
of the word, he only introduces it to stand for intellect or mind.

In fact, every human being, in spite of Bishop Berkeley, is sensible
that he has a mind, and that this mind or intellect is capable of
receiving ideas; but no one can feel that there is another being--a
soul,--within him, which gives him motion, feeling and thought. It is,
in fact, ridiculous to use words we do not understand, and to admit the
existence of beings of whom we cannot have the slightest knowledge.

SIDRAC.--We are then agreed upon a subject which, for so many centuries,
has been a matter of dispute.

GOODMAN.--And I must observe that I am surprised we should have agreed
upon it so soon.

SIDRAC. Oh! that is not so astonishing. We really wish to know what is
truth. If we were among the Academies, we should argue like the
characters in Rabelais. If we had lived in those ages of darkness, the
clouds of which so long enveloped Great Britain, one of us would very
likely have burned the other. We are so fortunate as to be born in an
age comparatively reasonable; we easily discover what appears to us to
be truth, and we are not afraid to proclaim it.

GOODMAN.--You are right, but I fear, that, after all, the truth we have
discovered is not worth much. In mathematics, indeed, we have done
wonders; from the most simple causes we have produced effects that would
have astonished Apollonius or Archimedes: but what have we proved in
metaphysics? Absolutely nothing but our own ignorance.

SIDRAC.--And do you call that nothing? You grant the supreme Being has
given you the faculties of feeling and thinking, he has in the same
manner given your feet the faculty of walking, your hands their
wonderful dexterity, your stomach the capability of digesting food, and
your heart the power of throwing arterial blood into all parts of your
body. Everything we enjoy is derived from God, and yet we are totally
ignorant of the means by which he governs and conducts the universe. For
my own part, as Shakespeare says, I thank him for having taught me that,
of the principles of things, I know absolutely nothing. It has always
been a question, in what manner the soul acted upon the body. Before
attempting to answer this question, I must be convinced that I have a
soul. Either God has given us this wonderful spark of intellect, or he
has gifted us with some principle that answers equally well. In either
case, we are still the creatures of his divine will and goodness, and
that is all I know about the matter.

GOODMAN.--But if you do not know, tell me at least, what you are
inclined to think upon the subject. You have opened skulls, and
dissected the human fœtus. Have you ever, in these, dissections,
discovered any appearance of a soul?

SIDRAC.--Not the least, and I have not been able to understand how an
immortal and spiritual essence, could dwell for months together in a
membrane. It appears to me difficult to conceive that this pretended
soul existed before the foundation of the body; for in what could it
have been employed during the many ages previous to its mysterious union
with flesh? Again! how can we imagine a spiritual principle waiting
patiently in idleness during a whole eternity, in order to animate a
mass of matter for a space of time, which, compared with eternity, is
less than a moment?

It is worse still, when I am told that God forms immortal souls out of
nothing, and then cruelly dooms them to an eternity of flames and
torments. What? burn a spirit, in which there can be nothing capable of
burning; how can he burn the sound of a voice, or the wind that blows?
though both the sound and wind were material during the short time of
their existence; but a pure spirit--a thought--a doubt--I am lost in the
labyrinth; on whichever side I turn, I find nothing but obscurity and
absurdity, impossibility and contradiction. But I am quite at ease when
I say to myself God is master of all. He who can cause each star to hold
its particular course through the broad expanse of the firmament, can
easily give to us sentiments and ideas, without the aid of this atom,
called the soul. It is certain that God has endowed all animals, in a
greater or lesser degree, with thought, memory, and judgment; he has
given them life; it is demonstrated that they have feeling, since they
possess all the organs of feeling; if then they have all this without a
soul, why is it improbable that we have none? and why do mankind flatter
themselves that they alone are gifted with a spiritual and immortal
principle?

GOODMAN.--Perhaps this idea arises from their inordinate vanity. I am
persuaded that if the peacock could speak, he would boast of his soul,
and would affirm that it inhabited his magnificent tail. I am very much
inclined to believe with you, that God has created us thinking
creatures, with the faculties of eating, drinking, feeling, &c., without
telling us one word about the matter. We are as ignorant as the peacock
I just mentioned, and he who said that we live and die without knowing
how, why, or wherefore, spoke nothing but the truth.

SIDRAC.--A celebrated author, whose name I forget, calls us nothing more
than the puppets of Providence, and this seems to me to be a very good
definition. An infinity of movements are necessary to our existence, but
we did not ourselves invent and produce motion. There is a Being who
has created light, caused it to move from the sun to our eyes in about
seven minutes. It is only by means of motion that my five senses are put
in action, and it is only by means of my senses that I have ideas, hence
it follows that my ideas are derived from the great author of motion,
and when he informs me how he communicates these ideas to me, I will
most sincerely thank him.

GOODMAN.--And so will I. As it is I constantly thank him for having
permitted me, as Epictetus says, to contemplate for a period of some
years this beautiful and glorious world. It is true that he could have
made me happier by putting me in possession of Miss Fidler and a good
rectory; but still, such as I am, I consider myself as under a great
obligation to God's parental kindness and care.

SIDRAC.--You say that it is in the power of God to give you a good
living, and to make you still happier than you are at present. There are
many persons who would not scruple flatly to contradict this proposition
of yours. Do you forget that you yourself sometimes complain of
fatality? A man, and particularly a priest, ought never to contradict
one day an assertion he has perhaps made the day before. All is but a
succession of links, and God is wiser than to break the eternal chain of
events, even for the sake of my dear friend Goodman.

GOODMAN.--I did not foresee this argument when I was speaking of
fatality; but to come at once to the point, if it be so, God is as much
a slave as myself.

SIDRAC.--He is the slave of his will, of his wisdom, and of the laws
which he has himself instituted; and it is impossible that he can
infringe upon any of them; because it is impossible that he can become
either weak or inconsistent.

GOODMAN.--But, my friend, what you say would tend to make us
irreligious, for, if God cannot change any of the affairs of the world,
what is the use of teasing him with prayers, or of singing hymns to his
praise?

SIDRAC.--Well! who bids you worship or pray to God? We praise a man
because we think him vain; we entreat of him when we think him weak and
likely to change his purpose on account of our petitions. Let us do our
duty to God, by being just and true to each other. In that consists our
real prayers, and our most heartfelt praises.

[Illustration: Kwan-yin, the goddess of mercy.--Burmese Buddha.--Chinese
figure in ivory.][1]



A CONVERSATION WITH A CHINESE.


In the year 1723, there was a Chinese in Holland, who was both a learned
man and a merchant, two things that ought by no means to be
incompatible; but which, thanks to the profound respect that is shown to
money, and the little regard that the human species pay to merit, have
become so among us.

This Chinese, who spoke a little Dutch, happened to be in a bookseller's
shop at the same time that some literati were assembled there. He asked
for a book; they offered him Bossuet's _Universal History_, badly
translated. At the title _Universal History_--

"How pleased am I," cried the Oriental, "to have met with this book. I
shall now see what is said of our great empire; of a nation that has
subsisted for upwards of fifty thousand years; of that long dynasty of
emperors who have governed us for such a number of ages. I shall see
what these Europeans think of the religion of our literati, and of that
pure and simple worship we pay to the Supreme Being. What a pleasure
will it be for me to find how they speak of our arts, many of which are
of a more ancient date with us than the eras of all the kingdoms of
Europe! I fancy the author will be greatly mistaken in relation to the
war we had about twenty-two thousand five hundred and fifty-two years
ago, with the martial people of Tonquin and Japan, as well as the solemn
embassy that the powerful emperor of Mogulitian sent to request a body
of laws from us in the year of the world 500000000000079123450000."

"Lord bless you," said one of the literati, "there is hardly any mention
made of that nation in this world, the only nation considered is that
marvelous people, the Jews."

"The Jews!" said the Chinese, "those people then must certainly be
masters of three parts of the globe at least."

"They hope to be so some day," answered the other; "but at present they
are those pedlars you see going about here with toys and nicknacks, and
who sometimes do us the honor to clip our gold and silver."

"Surely you are not serious," exclaimed the Chinese. "Could those people
ever have been in possession of a vast empire?"

Here I joined in the conversation, and told him that for a few years
they were in possession of a small country to themselves; but that we
were not to judge of a people from the extent of their dominions, any
more than of a man by his riches.

"But does not this book take notice of some other nations?" demanded the
man of letters.

"Undoubtedly," replied a learned gentleman who stood at my elbow; "it
treats largely of a small country about sixty leagues wide, called
Egypt, in which it is said that there is a lake of one hundred and fifty
leagues in circumference, made by the hands of man."

"My God!" exclaimed the Chinese, "a lake of one hundred and fifty
leagues in circumference within a spot of ground only sixty leagues
wide! This is very curious!"

"The inhabitants of that country," continued the doctor, "were all
sages."

"What happy times were those!" cried the Chinese; "but is that all?"

"No," replied the other, "there is mention made of those famous people
the Greeks."

"Greeks! Greeks!" said the Asiatic, "who are those Greeks?"

"Why," replied the philosopher, "they were masters of a little province,
about the two hundredth part as large as China, but whose fame spread
over the whole world."

"Indeed!" said the Chinese, with an air of openness and ingenuousness;
"I declare I never heard the least mention of these people, either in
the Mogul's country, in Japan, or in Great Tartary."

"Oh, the barbarian! the ignorant creature!" cried out our sage very
politely. "Why then, I suppose you know nothing of Epaminondas the
Theban, nor of the Pierian Heaven, nor the names of Achilles's two
horses, nor of Silenus's ass? You have never heard speak of Jupiter, nor
of Diogenes, nor of Lais, nor of Cybele, nor of--"

"I am very much afraid," said the learned Oriental, interrupting him,
"that you know nothing of that eternally memorable adventure of the
famous Xixofon Concochigramki, nor of the masteries of the great
Fi-psi-hi-hi! But pray tell me what other unknown things does this
_Universal History_ treat of?"

Upon this my learned neighbor harangued for a quarter of an hour
together about the Roman republic, and when he came to Julius Cæsar the
Chinese stopped him, and very gravely said.

"I think I have heard of him, was he not a Turk?"

"How!" cried our sage in a fury, "don't you so much as know the
difference between Pagans, Christians, and Mahometans? Did you never
hear of Constantine? Do you know nothing of the history of the popes?"

"We have heard something confusedly of one Mahomet," replied the
Asiatic.

"It is surely impossible," said the other, "but that you must have heard
at least of Luther, Zuinglius, Bellarmin, and Œcolampadius."

"I shall never remember all those names," said the Chinese, and so
saying he quitted the shop, and went to sell a large quantity of Pekoa
tea, and fine calico, and then after purchasing what merchandise he
required, set sail for his own country, adoring _Tien_, and recommending
himself to Confucius.

As to myself, the conversation I had been witness to plainly discovered
to me the nature of vain glory; and I could not forbear exclaiming:

"Since Cæsar and Jupiter are names unknown to the finest, most ancient,
most extensive, most populous, and most civilized kingdom in the
universe, it becomes ye well, O ye rulers of petty states! ye pulpit
orators of a narrow parish, or a little town! ye doctors of Salamanca,
or of Bourges! ye trifling authors, and ye heavy commentators!--it
becomes you well, indeed, to aspire to fame and immortality."


[1] According to Chambers' work on _The British Museum_, from which the
above cuts are copied, "the Chinese, are a vast nation of some
300,000,000 of souls, nearly a third part of the whole human race. The
entire population is subject to the supreme and despotic authority of a
single hereditary ruler who resides at Pekin, the chief city of the
whole empire. Under him the government is administered by a descending
hierarchy of officials or mandarins, who are chosen from all ranks of
the people, according to their talents as displayed in the course, first
of their education at school and college, and afterwards of their public
life. The officials are, in short, the men in highest repute for
scholarship and accomplishments in the empire; and the whole system of
the government is that of promotion upwards from the ranks of the
people, according to merit. The Chinese generally are remarkable for
common sense, orderliness, and frugal prudential habits. Printing and
paper being cheap among them, and education universal, they have an
immense literature, chiefly in the departments of the drama, the novel,
and the moral essay; their best writers of fiction are said to resemble
Richardson in style, and their best moralists Franklin. The greatest
name in their literature, or indeed in their history, is that of
Confucius, a philosopher and religious teacher who lived about 500 years
B.C., and who left a number of books expounding and enforcing the great
maxims of morality. During all the revolutions that have since elapsed,
the doctrines of Confucius have retained their hold of the Chinese mind,
and the religion of China consists in little more than an attachment to
these doctrines, and a veneration for their founder. With abstract
notions of the Deity, and of the destiny of man when he quits this life,
the Chinese do not trouble themselves; a moral, correct life, and
especially an honorable discharge of the duties of a son and a citizen,
is the whole aim of their piety. There are, however, some voluntary
sects among them, who superinduce articles of speculative belief on the
prosaic code of morality established by Confucius; and forms of
religious worship are practised over the whole country under the direct
sanction of the government. There are a number of figures, larger and
smaller, of Chinese divinities, some of which are very neatly carved in
ivory, wood, and stone. With what precise feelings the more educated
Chinese address these images in prayer--whether they look upon them as
symbols, or whether, like Polytheists generally, they actually view the
carved figures themselves as gifted with powers--it would be difficult
to say; the mass of the people, however, probably never ask the
question, but, from the mere force of custom, come to regard such
objects as the figure of Kwan-yin, the goddess of mercy, and the larger
gilt figures of the god and goddess, precisely as the Polytheistic
Greeks or Romans regarded their statues in their temples; that is, as
real divinities with power for good or evil. The religious sentiment,
however, sits very lightly on the Chinese. Absence of any feeling of the
supernatural is perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Chinese
character.

"Buddhism, was founded, as is generally believed, some centuries before
Christ by a Hindoo prince and sage named Gautama. As originally
propounded, Buddhism is supposed to have been a purer and more
reasonable form of faith than Brahminism, recognising more clearly the
spiritual and moral aims of religion; but, having been expelled from
Hindostan during the early centuries of our era, after having undergone
severe persecution from the Brahmins--at whose power it struck, by
proscribing the system of castes---it sought refuge in the eastern
peninsula, Ceylon, Thibet, Japan, and China, where it has been modified
and corrupted into various forms."--E.

[Illustration: The Birth of Minerva from the Brain of Jove.]

[Illustration: The Birth of Eve from the Side Of Adam.]



     ANDROGYNOUS DEITIES.


     The ancients ascribed the existence of the universe to the fiat of
     omnipotence. Almighty power conjoined with infinite wisdom had
     produced the world and all that it inhabits. Man, the head of
     visible creation, was formed in the image of the gods, but the gods
     only were endowed with generative or creative power. These gods
     were androgynous--that is, male and female--containing in one
     person both the paternal and maternal attributes. Plato taught that
     mankind, like the gods, were originally androgynous, and Moses
     tells us that Eve, in matured wisdom and beauty, sprang forth from
     the side of Adam, even as

           "From great Jove's head, the armed Minerva sprung
           With awful shout."

     "The thought of God as the Divine Mother," says a sincere and
     intelligent clergyman in a sermon recently published, "is a very
     ancient one, found in the most early nature worships." "We thank
     Thee O God," says the Rev. Theodore Parker, "that Thou art our
     Father and our Mother." "O God," says St. Augustine, "Thou art the
     Father, Thou the Mother of Thy children."

     The preceding illustration of the birth of Minerva,--the goddess of
     wisdom,--_i.e. wisdom issuing from the brain of Jove_, is from
     Falkener's _Museum of Classical Antiquities_. It is taken from an
     ancient Etruscan patera (mirror), now in the Museum at Bologna, and
     is supposed to have been copied from the pediment of the eastern or
     main entrance to the Parthenon, or temple of Minerva. This pediment
     was the work of Phidias, and, like so many of the former monuments
     of ancient art and civilization, is now forever lost to mankind.

     "The goddess," says the distinguished architect and antiquary M. De
     Quincy, "is shown issuing from the head of Jupiter. She has a
     helmet on her head, buckler on her arm, and spear in her hand.
     Jupiter is seated, holding a sceptre in one hand and a thunderbolt
     in the other. On the right of the new born goddess is Juno, whose
     arms are elevated, and who seems to have assisted at the
     extraordinary childbirth. On the left of Jupiter is Venus,
     recognizable by a sprig of myrtle and a dove. Behind Juno is
     Vulcan, still armed with the axe which has cleft the head of the
     god, and seeming to regard with admiration the success of his
     operations."

     The engraving representing the birth of Eve, is from the _Speculum
     Salutis, or the Mirror of Salvation_, of which many manuscript
     copies were issued, for the instruction of the mendicant friars,
     between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. "Heineken describes a
     copy in the imperial library of Vienna, which he attributes to the
     twelfth century. He says, such was the popularity of the work with
     the Benedictines that almost every monastery possessed a copy of
     it. Of the four manuscript copies owned by the British Museum, one
     is supposed to have been written in the thirteenth century, another
     copy is in the Flemish writing of the fifteenth century." This
     work, which contains several engravings and forty-five chapters of
     barbarous Latin rhymes, presents a good illustration of Christian
     art as it existed during the period immediately preceding the
     revival of letters, when the barbarism and ignorance of the dark
     ages had supplanted the artistic culture of ancient Greece and
     Rome.

     Unprejudiced readers will doubtless admit that the birth of Minerva
     from the brain of Jove greatly resembles the birth of Eve from the
     side of Adam, and these myths show the analogy existing between the
     Jewish and Pagan mythologies; but the design and execution of the
     respective engravings, show the retrogression in art that had taken
     place between the time of the immortal Phidias and that of Pope
     Innocent III.[1]--between Pagan civilization as it existed prior to
     the Christian era, and the medieval barbarism of the successors of
     St. Peter.

     "God created man in his own image," says Godfrey Higgins in the
     _Anacalypsis_, (vol. 2, p. 397.) "Everything was supposed to be in
     the image of God; and thus man was created double--the male and
     female in one person, or androgynous like God. By some uninitiated
     Jews, of about the time of Christ, this double being was supposed
     to have been created back to back [see the bearded Bacchus and
     Ariadne on the following page]; but I believe, from looking at the
     twins in all ancient zodiacs, it was side by side; precisely as we
     have seen the Siamese boys,--but still _male_ and _female_.
     Besides, the book of Genesis implies that they were side by side,
     by the woman being taken from the _side_ of man. Among the Indians
     the same doctrine is found, as we might expect."

     "We must rise to man," says the eloquent clergyman previously
     referred to, "in order to know rightly what God is. Humanity
     plainly images a power which is at once the source and pattern of
     the womanly as well as of the manly qualities, inasmuch as woman as
     well as man is needed to fill out the idea of humanity. The womanly
     traits--pity, forgiveness, gentleness, patience, sympathy,
     unselfishness--are as worthy of the Divine Being as the manly
     traits."--E.



     [1] "It was," says Gibbon, "at the feet of his legate that John of
England surrendered his crown; and Innocent may boast of the two most
signal triumphs over sense and humanity, the establishment of
transsubstantiation, and the origin of the inquisition."



[Illustration: Bacchus and Ariadne.][1]



PLATO'S DREAM.


Plato was a great dreamer, as many others have been since his time. He
dreampt that mankind were formerly double; and that, as a punishment for
their crimes, they were divided into male and female.

He undertook to prove that there can be no more than five perfect
worlds, because there are but five regular mathematical bodies. His
Republic was one of his principal dreams. He dreampt, moreover, that
watching arises from sleep, and sleep from watching; and that a person
who should attempt to look at an eclipse, otherwise than in a pail of
water, would surely lose his sight. Dreams were, at that time, in great
repute.

Here follows one of his dreams, which is not one of the least
interesting. He thought that the great Demiurgos, the eternal geometer,
having peopled the immensity of space with innumerable globes, was
willing to make a trial of the knowledge of the genii who had been
witnesses of his works. He gave to each of them a small portion of
matter to arrange, nearly in the same manner as Phidias and Zeuxis would
have given their scholars a statue to carve, or a picture to paint, if
we may be allowed to compare small things to great.

[Illustration: Envy.]

Demogorgon had for his lot the lump of mould, which we call the Earth;
and having formed it, such as it now appears, he thought he had executed
a masterpiece. He imagined he had silenced Envy herself, and expected to
receive the highest panegyrics, even from his brethren; but how great
was his surprise, when, at his next appearing among them, they received
him with a general hiss.

One among them, more satirical than the rest, accosted him thus:

"Truly you have performed mighty feats! you have divided your world into
two parts; and, to prevent the one from having communication with the
other, you have carefully placed a vast collection of waters between the
two hemispheres. The inhabitants must perish with cold under both your
poles, and be scorched to death under the equator. You have, in your
great prudence, formed immense deserts of sand, so that all who travel
over them may die with hunger and thirst. I have no fault to find with
your cows, your sheep, your cocks, and your hens; but can never be
reconciled to your serpents and your spiders. Your onions and your
artichokes are very good things, but I cannot conceive what induced you
to scatter such a heap of poisonous plants over the face of the earth,
unless it was to poison its inhabitants. Moreover, if I am not mistaken,
you have created about thirty different kinds of monkeys, a still
greater number of dogs, and only four or five species of the human race.
It is true, indeed, you have bestowed on the latter of these animals a
faculty by you called Reason; but, in truth, this same reason is a very
ridiculous thing, and borders very near upon folly. Besides, you do not
seem to have shown any very great regard to this two-legged creature,
seeing you have left him with so few means of defense; subjected him to
so many disorders, and provided him with so few remedies; and formed him
with such a multitude of passions, and so small a portion of wisdom or
prudence to resist them. You certainly was not willing that there should
remain any great number of these animals on the earth at once; for,
without reckoning the dangers to which you have exposed them, you have
so ordered matters that, taking every day through the year, the small
pox will regularly carry off the tenth part of the species, and sister
maladies will taint the springs of life in the nine remaining parts; and
then, as if this was not sufficient, you have so disposed things, that
one-half of those who survive will be occupied in going to law with each
other, or cutting one another's throats.

"Now, they must doubtless be under infinite obligations to you, and it
must be owned you have executed a masterpiece."

Demogorgon blushed. He was sensible there was much moral and physical
evil in this affair; but still he insisted there was more good than ill
in it.

"It is an easy matter to find fault, good folks," said the genii; "but
do you imagine it is so easy to form an animal, who, having the gift of
reason and free-will, shall not sometimes abuse his liberty? Do you
think that, in rearing between nine and ten thousand different plants,
it is so easy to prevent some few from having noxious qualities? Do you
suppose that, with a certain quantity of water, sand, and mud, you could
make a globe that should have neither seas nor deserts?"

"As for you, my sneering friend, I think you have just finished the
planet Jupiter. Let us see now what figure you make with your great
belts, and your long nights, with four moons to enlighten them. Let us
examine your worlds, and see whether the inhabitants you have made are
exempt from follies or diseases."

Accordingly the genii fell to examining the planet Jupiter, when the
laugh went strongly against the laugher. The serious genii who had made
the planet Saturn, did not escape without his share of the censure, and
his brother operators, the makers of Mars, Mercury, and Venus, had each
in his turn some reproaches to undergo.

Several large volumes, and a great number of pamphlets, were written on
this occasion; smart sayings and witty repartees flew about on all
sides; they railed against and ridiculed each other; and, in short, the
disputes were carried on with all the warmth of party heat, when the
eternal Demiurgos thus imposed silence on them all:

"In your several performances there is both good and bad, because you
have a great share of understanding, but at the same time fall short of
perfection. Your works will not endure above an hundred millions of
years, after which you will acquire more knowledge, and perform much
better. It belongs to me alone to create things perfect and immortal."

This was the doctrine Plato taught his disciples. One of them, when he
had finished his harangue, cried out, "_And so you then awoke?_"


[1] The above representation of a bearded Bacchus and Ariadne is from
Falkener's _Museum of Classical Antiquities_. The statue was found at
Pompeii in 1847.--E.

[Illustration: Plato.]

[Illustration: Visiting Seignior Pococurante.]



PLEASURE IN HAVING NO PLEASURE.


"Hitherto," said Candide to Martin, "I have met with none but
unfortunate people in the whole habitable globe, except in El Dorado,
but, observe those gondoliers, are they not perpetually singing?"

"You do not see them," answered Martin, "at home with their wives and
brats. The doge has his chagrin, gondoliers theirs. Nevertheless, in the
main, I look upon the gondolier's life as preferable to that of the
doge; but the difference is so trifling, that it is not worth the
trouble of examining into."

"I have heard great talk," said Candide, "of the Senator Pococurante,
who lives in that fine house at the Brenta, where, they say, he
entertains foreigners in the most polite manner. They pretend this man
is a perfect stranger to uneasiness."

"I should be glad to see so extraordinary a being," said Martin.

Candide thereupon sent a messenger to Seignior Pococurante, desiring
permission to wait on him the next day.

Accordingly, Candide and his friend Martin went in a gondola on the
Brenta, and arrived at the palace of the noble Pococurante. The gardens
were laid out in elegant taste, and adorned with fine marble statues;
his palace was built after the most approved rules in architecture. The
master of the house, who was a man of sixty, and very rich, received our
two travelers with great politeness, but without much ceremony, which
somewhat disconcerted Candide, but was not at all displeasing to Martin.

As soon as they were seated, two very pretty girls, neatly dressed,
brought in chocolate, which was extremely well frothed. Candide could
not help making encomiums upon their beauty and graceful carriage.

"The creatures are well enough," said the senator, "but I am heartily
tired of women, of their coquetry, their jealousy, their quarrels, their
humors, their vanity, their pride, and their folly; I am weary of making
sonnets, or of paying for sonnets to be made on them; and, after all,
those two girls begin to grow very indifferent to me."

After having refreshed himself, Candide walked into a large gallery,
where he was struck with the sight of a fine collection of paintings.

"Pray," said Candide, "by what master are the first two of these?"

"They are Raphael's," answered the senator. "I gave a great deal of
money for them seven years ago, purely out of curiosity, as they were
said to be the finest pieces in Italy; but I cannot say they please me:
the coloring is dark and heavy; the figures do not swell nor come out
enough, and the drapery is very bad. In short, notwithstanding the
encomiums lavished upon them, they are not, in my opinion, a true
representation of nature. I approve of no paintings but where I think I
behold nature herself; and there are very few, if any, of that kind to
be met with. I have what is called a fine collection, but it affords me
no delight."

While dinner was getting ready, Pococurante ordered a concert. Candide
praised the music to the skies.

"This noise," said the noble Venetian, "may amuse one for a little time,
but if it were to last above half an hour, it would grow very tiresome,
though perhaps no one would care to own it. Music has become the art of
executing that which is difficult. Now whatever is difficult cannot long
continue pleasing. I might take more pleasure in an opera if they had
not made that species of dramatic entertainment so shockingly monstrous;
and I am amazed that people can bear to see wretched tragedies set to
music, where the scenes are contrived for no other purpose than to lug
in, as it were by the ears, three or four ridiculous songs, to give a
favorite actress an opportunity of exhibiting her voice. Let who will or
can die away in raptures at the trills of an eunuch quavering the
majestic part of Cæsar or Cato, and strutting in a foolish manner on the
stage; for my part, I have long ago renounced these paltry
entertainments, which constitute the glory of modern Italy, and are so
dearly purchased by crowned heads."

Candide opposed these sentiments; but he did it in a discreet manner; as
for Martin, he was entirely of the old senator's opinion.

Dinner being served up, they sat down to table, and after a very hearty
repast returned to the library. Candide observing Homer richly bound,
commended the noble Venetian's taste.

"This," said he, "is a book that was once the delight of the great
Pangloss, the best philosopher in Germany."

"Homer is no favorite of mine," answered Pococurante, very coolly: "I
was made to believe once that I took a pleasure in reading him; but his
continual repetitions of battles have all such a resemblance with each
other; his gods, that are forever in a hurry and bustle without ever
doing anything; his Helen, that is the cause of the war, and yet hardly
acts in the whole performance; his Troy, that holds out so long, without
being taken; in short, all these things together make the poem very
insipid to me. I have asked some learned men, whether they are not in
reality as much tired as myself with reading this poet? Those who spoke
ingenuously, assured me that he had made them fall asleep; and yet, that
they could not well avoid giving him a place in their libraries; but it
was merely as they would do an antique, or those rusty medals which are
kept only for curiosity, and are of no manner of use in commerce."

"But your excellency does not surely form this same opinion of Virgil?"
said Candide.

"Why, I grant," replied Pococurante, "that the second, third, fourth,
and sixth book, of his Æneid are excellent; but as for his pious Æneas,
his strong Cloanthus, his friendly Achates, his boy Ascanius, his silly
King Latinus, his ill-bred Amata, his insipid Lavinia, and some other
characters much in the same strain, I think there cannot be in nature
anything more flat and disagreeable. I must confess, I much prefer Tasso
to him; nay, even that sleepy tale-teller Ariosto."

"May I take the liberty to ask if you do not receive great pleasure from
reading Horace?" said Candide.

"There are maxims in this writer," replied Pococurante, "from whence a
man of the world may reap some benefit; and the short measure of the
verse makes them more easy to retain in the memory. But I see nothing
extraordinary in his journey to Brundusium, and his account of his bad
dinner; nor in his dirty low quarrel between one Rupilius, whose words,
as he expresses it, were full of poisonous filth; and another, whose
language was dipped in vinegar. His indelicate verses against old women
and witches have frequently given me great offense; nor can I discover
the great merit of his telling his friend Mecænas, that if he will but
rank him in the class of lyric poets, his lofty head shall touch the
stars. Ignorant readers are apt to praise everything by the lump in a
writer of reputation. For my part, I read only to please myself. I like
nothing but that which makes for my purpose."

Candide, who had been brought up with a notion of never making use of
his own judgment, was astonished at what he had heard; but Martin found
there was a good deal of reason in the senator's remarks.

"O! here is a Tully," said Candide: "this great man, I fancy, you are
never tired of reading?"

"Indeed, I never read him at all," replied Pococurante. "What is it to
me whether he pleads for Rabirius or Cluentius? I try causes enough
myself. I had once some liking for his philosophical works; but when I
found he doubted of everything, I thought I knew as much as himself,
_and had no need of a guide to learn ignorance_.

"Ha!" cried Martin, "here are fourscore volumes of the _Memoirs of the
Academy of Sciences_. Perhaps there may be something curious and
valuable in this collection."

"Yes," answered Pococurante, "so there might, if any one of these
compilers of this rubbish had only invented the art of pin-making; but
all these volumes are filled with mere chimerical systems, without one
single article conducive to real utility."

"I see a prodigious number of plays," said Candide, "in Italian,
Spanish, and French."

"Yes," replied the Venetian, "there are, I think, three thousand, and
not three dozen of them good for anything. As to these huge volumes of
divinity, and those enormous collections of sermons, they are not
altogether worth one single page in Seneca; and I fancy you will readily
believe that neither myself, nor any one else, ever looks into them."

Martin, perceiving some shelves filled with English books, said to the
senator:

"I fancy that a republican must be highly delighted with those books,
which are most of them written with a noble spirit of freedom."

"It is noble to write as we think," said Pococurante; "it is the
privilege of humanity. Throughout Italy we write only what we do not
think; and the present inhabitants of the country of the Cæsars and
Antoninuses dare not acquire a single idea without the permission of a
father dominican. I should be enamoured of the spirit of the English
nation, did it not utterly frustrate the good effects it would produce,
by passion and the spirit of party."

Candide, seeing a Milton, asked the senator if he did not think that
author a great man?

"Who?" said Pococurante, sharply; "that barbarian who writes a tedious
commentary in ten books of rambling verse on the first chapter of
Genesis? that slovenly imitator of the Greeks, who disfigures the
creation by making the Messiah take a pair of compasses from heaven's
armory to plan the world; whereas Moses represented the Deity as
producing the whole universe by his fiat? Can I, think you, have any
esteem for a writer who has spoiled Tasso's hell and the devil? who
transforms Lucifer sometimes into a toad, and at others, into a pigmy?
who makes him say the same thing over again an hundred times? who
metamorphoses him into a school-divine? and who, by an absurdly serious
imitation of Ariosto's comic invention of fire-arms, represents the
devils and angels cannonading each other in heaven? Neither I nor any
other Italian can possibly take pleasure in such melancholy reveries;
but the marriage of sin and death, and snakes issuing from the womb of
the former, are enough to make any person sick that is not lost to all
sense of delicacy. This obscene, whimsical, and disagreeable poem, met
with the neglect it deserved at its first publication; and I only treat
the author now as he was treated in his own country by his
contemporaries."

Candide was sensibly grieved at this speech, as he had a great respect
for Homer, and was very fond of Milton.

"Alas!" said he softly to Martin, "I am afraid this man holds our German
poets in great contempt."

"There would be no such great harm in that," said Martin.

"O, what a surprising man!" said Candide still to himself; "what a
genius is this Pococurante! nothing can please him."

After finishing their survey of the library, they went down into the
garden, when Candide commended the several beauties that offered
themselves to his view.

"I know nothing upon earth laid out in such bad taste," said
Pococurante; "everything about it is childish and trifling; but I shall
soon have another laid out upon a nobler plan."

"Well," said Candide to Martin, as soon as our two travelers had taken
leave of his excellency: "I hope you will own, that this man is the
happiest of all mortals, for he is above everything he possesses."

"But do you not see," said Martin, "that he likewise dislikes everything
he possesses? It was an observation of Plato, long since, that those are
not the best stomachs that reject, without distinction, all sorts of
aliments."

"True," said Candide; "but still there must certainly be a pleasure in
criticising everything, and in perceiving faults where others think they
see beauties."

"That is," replied Martin, "there is a pleasure in having no pleasure."

[Illustration: The "yawning oysters" discovered by Pythagoras.]



AN ADVENTURE IN INDIA.


All the world knows that Pythagoras, while he resided in India, attended
the school of the Gymnosophists, and learned the language of beasts and
plants.[1] One day, while he was walking in a meadow near the seashore,
he heard these words:

"How unfortunate that I was born an herb! I scarcely attain two inches
in height, when a voracious monster, an horrid animal, tramples me under
his large feet; his jaws are armed with rows of sharp scythes, by which
he cuts, then grinds, and then swallows me. Men call this monster a
sheep. I do not suppose there is in the whole creation a more detestable
creature."

Pythagoras proceeded a little way and found an oyster yawning on a small
rock. He had not yet adopted that admirable law, by which we are
enjoined not to eat those animals which have a resemblance to us.[2] He
had scarcely taken up the oyster to swallow it, when it spoke these
affecting words:

"O, Nature, how happy is the herb, which is, as I am, thy work! though
it be cut down, it is regenerated and immortal; and we, poor oysters, in
vain are defended by a double cuirass: villains eat us by dozens at
their breakfast, and all is over with us forever. What an horrible fate
is that of an oyster, and how barbarous are men!"

Pythagoras shuddered; he felt the enormity of the crime he had nearly
committed; he begged pardon of the oyster with tears in his eyes, and
replaced it very carefully on the rock.

As he was returning to the city, profoundly meditating on this
adventure, he saw spiders devouring flies; swallows eating spiders, and
sparrow-hawks eating swallows. "None of these," said he, "are
philosophers."

On his entrance, Pythagoras was stunned, bruised, and thrown down by a
lot of tatterdemalions, who were running and crying: "Well done, he
fully deserved it." "Who? What?" said Pythagoras, as he was getting up.
The people continued running and crying: "O how delightful it will be to
see them boiled!"

Pythagoras supposed they meant lentiles, or some other vegetables: but
he was in an error; they meant two poor Indians. "Oh!" said Pythagoras,
"these Indians, without doubt, are two great philosophers weary of their
lives, they are desirous of regenerating under other forms; it affords
pleasure to a man to change his place of residence, though he may be but
indifferently lodged: there is no disputing on taste."[3]

He proceeded with the mob to the public square, where he perceived a
lighted pile of wood, and a bench opposite to it, which was called a
tribunal. On this bench judges were seated, each of whom had a cow's
tail in his hand, and a cap on his head, with ears resembling those of
the animal which bore Silenus when he came into that country with
Bacchus, after having crossed the Erytrean sea without wetting a foot,
and stopping the sun and moon; as it is recorded with great fidelity in
the Orphicks.

Among these judges there was an honest man with whom Pythagoras was
acquainted. The Indian sage explained to the sage of Samos the nature of
that festival to be given to the people of India.

"These two Indians," said he, "have not the least desire to be committed
to the flames. My grave brethren have adjudged them to be burnt; one for
saying, that the substance of Xaca is not that of Brahma; and the other
for supposing, that the approbation of the Supreme Being was to be
obtained at the point of death without holding a cow by the tail;
'Because,' said he, 'we may be virtuous at all times, and we cannot
always have a cow to lay hold of just when we may have occasion.' The
good women of the city were greatly terrified at two such heretical
opinions; they would not allow the judges a moment's peace until they
had ordered the execution of those unfortunate men."

Pythagoras was convinced that from the herb up to man, there were many
causes of chagrin. However, he obliged the judges and even the devotees
to listen to reason, which happened only at that time.

He went afterwards and preached toleration at Crotona; but a bigot set
fire to his house, and he was burnt--the man who had delivered the two
Hindoos from the flames? Let those save themselves who can![4]


[1] Perhaps it would be impossible at the present day to convince
scientists that oysters formerly conversed intelligibly with mankind and
protested eloquently against human injustice; but all men are not
scientists, and there are many worthy people who still have implicit
faith in ancient Semitic records--who firmly believe in miracles and
prodigies--and who would consider it rank heresy to doubt that the
serpent, though now as mute as an oyster, formerly held a very animated
conversation, in the original Edenic language, with the inexperienced
and confiding female who then graced with her charming presence the
bowers of Paradise; and this sacred narrative of the "maiden and the
reptile" is quite as repugnant to modern science as the sentimental fish
story of "Pythagoras and the oyster".

As a matter of fact, the doctrine of the metempsichosis, as taught by
the Samian sage, was formerly held in great repute by the most civilized
nations of antiquity, and it is surely as easy to credit the assertion
of our author, that the ancient Gymnosophists "had learned the language
of beasts and plants" as to believe the unquestioned and orthodox
statement that a certain quadruped, (_Asinus vulgaris_,) --whose
romantic history is recorded in the twenty-second chapter of
Numbers,--was once upon a time able to converse in very good Hebrew with
Monsieur Balaam, an ancient prophet of great merit and renown.--E.

[2] The resemblance of oysters to mankind, here implied, can only be
apparent to the "eye of faith," and lovers of these delicious bivalves
will fail to recognize the family likeness.--E.

[3] Pythagoras was born at Samos, about 590 years before the Christian
era. He received an education well calculated to enlighten his mind and
invigorate his body. He studied poetry, music, eloquence and astronomy,
and became so proficient in gymnastic exercises, that in his eighteenth
year he won the prize for wrestling at the Olympic games. He then
visited Egypt and Chaldea, and gaining the confidence of the priests,
learned from them the artful policy by which they governed the people.
On his return to Samos he was saluted by the name of _Sophist_, or wise
man, but he declined the name, and was satisfied with that of
philosopher, or the _friend of wisdom_. He ultimately fixed his
residence in Magna Græcia, in the town of Crotona, where he founded the
school called _the Italian_.

This school became very prosperous, and hundreds of pupils received the
_secret instructions_ of Pythagoras, who taught by the use of ciphers or
numbers, and hieroglyphic writings. His pupils were thus enabled to
correspond together in unknown characters; and, by the signs and words
employed, they could discover among strangers those who had been
educated in the Pythagorean school. All the pupils of the philosopher
greatly reverenced their teacher, and deemed it a crime to dispute his
word. One of their expressions "_thus saith the Master_," has been
adopted by modern sects.

The Samian sage taught the doctrine of the metempsichosis, or the
transmigration of the soul into different bodies, which he had probably
learned from the Brahmins; who believed that, in these various
peregrinations, the soul or thinking principle was purged from all evil,
and was ultimately absorbed into the Divine substance from which it was
supposed to have emanated.

Godfrey Higgins in the _Anacalypsis_ cites authorities to prove that the
doctrine of the metempsichosis was held by "many of the early fathers of
the Christians, which they defended on several texts of the New
Testament. It was held by Origin, Calcidius, Synesius, and by the
Simonians, Basilidians, Valentiniens, Marcionites, and the Gnostics in
general. It was also held by the Pharisees among the Jews, and by the
most learned of the Greeks, and by many Chinese, Hindoos and Indians.

"When all the circumstances relating to Pythagoras and to his doctrines,
both in moral and natural philosophy, are considered," continues
Higgins, "nothing can be more striking than the exact conformity of the
latter to the received opinions of the moderns, and of the former to the
moral doctrines of Jesus Christ."

"The pupils of Pythagoras," says Eschenburg, _Manual of Classical
Literature_, "soon amounted to 600, dwelt in one public building, and
held their property in common. Under philosophy, the Italic school
included every object of human knowledge. But Pythagoras considered
music and astronomy of special value. He is supposed to have had some
very correct views of astronomy, agreeing with the true Copernican
system. The beautiful fancy of the music of the spheres is attributed to
him. The planets striking on the ether, through which they pass, must
produce a sound; this must vary according to their different magnitudes,
velocities, and relative distances; these differences were all adjusted
with perfect regularity and exact proportions, so that the movements of
the bodies produced the richest tones of harmony; not heard, however, by
mortal ears."

Pythagoras taught, and his followers maintained, the absolute equality
of property, "all their worldly possessions being brought into a common
store". The early Christians had also "all things in common," and the
doctrines of Jesus and Pythagoras have many points of resemblance. Both
were reformers, both sought to benefit the poor and the oppressed, both
taught and practised the doctrines now known as Communism, and both, for
their love to the human race, suffered a cruel martyrdom from an
orthodox and vindictive priesthood.

In obedience to an oracle, the Romans, long after the death of
Pythagoras, erected a statue to his memory as the wisest of mankind.--E.

[4] Godfrey Higgins in the _Anacalypsis_ draws aside the veil of Isis,
and explains in a satisfactory manner the reason why Pythagoras, like
Socrates and Jesus, was condemned to death by the established
priesthood. Each of these great reformers had been initiated into the
_sacred mysteries_, and each taught his followers by secret symbols or
parables that contained a hidden meaning; so "that seeing the
_uninitiated_ might see and not perceive, and hearing might hear and not
understand." The reason that Jesus gave for following this method was
"because it is given unto you (_i.e._ the initiated) to know the
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them (_i.e._ the people) it
is not given." (Matt. XIII: II.) The mass of mankind, being excluded
from this secret knowledge, were kept in a state of debasement as
compared with the favored few who were acquainted with the jealously
guarded secrets of the Cabala; and the earnest desire of these great
reformers--of these noble men who cheerfully gave their lives to benefit
their race--was, without divulging the secrets of their initiation, to
teach mankind to partake of the forbidden fruit of the tree of
knowledge, and to learn "that a virtuous life would secure eternal
happiness." Such philanthropic doctrines were denounced as wicked and
heretical by the orthodox priesthood, who instinctively oppose human
progress, and who, like the silversmith of Ephesus, described by St.
Paul, felt that "this our craft is in danger" should the people become
enlightened. They therefore, excited a popular clamor, and aroused the
worst passions and prejudices of their followers; who, inspired with
fanatic zeal, cruelly and wickedly burned Pythagoras of Crotona,
poisoned Socrates of Athens, and crucified Jesus of Nazareth.--E.



[Illustration: The school at Issoire.]



JEANNOT AND COLIN.


Many persons, worthy of credit, have seen Jeannot and Colin at school in
the town of Issoire, in Auvergne, France,--a town famous all over the
world for its college and its caldrons.

Jeannot was the son of a dealer in mules of great reputation; and Colin
owed his birth to a good substantial farmer in the neighborhood, who
cultivated the land with four mules; and who, after he had paid all
taxes and duties at the rate of a sol per pound, was not very rich at
the year's end.

Jeannot and Colin were very handsome, considering they were natives of
Auvergne; they dearly loved each other. They had many enjoyments in
common, and certain little adventures of such a nature as men always
recollect with pleasure when they afterwards meet in the world.

Their studies were nearly finished, when a tailor brought Jeannot a
velvet suit of three colors, with a waistcoat from Lyons, which was
extremely well fancied. With these came a letter addressed to Monsieur
de la Jeannotière.

Colin admired the coat, and was not at all jealous; but Jeannot assumed
an air of superiority, which gave Colin some uneasiness. From that
moment Jeannot abandoned his studies; he contemplated himself in a
glass, and despised all mankind.

Soon after, a valet-de-chambre arrived post-haste, and brought a second
letter to the Marquis de la Jeannotière; it was an order from his
father, who desired the young marquis to repair immediately to Paris.
Jeannot got into his chaise, giving his hand to Colin with a smile,
which denoted the superiority of a patron. Colin felt his littleness,
and wept. Jeannot departed in all the pomp of his glory.

Such readers as take a pleasure in being instructed should be informed
that Monsieur Jeannot the father, had, with great rapidity, acquired an
immense fortune by business. You will ask how such great fortunes are
made? My answer is, by luck. Monsieur Jeannot had a good person, so had
his wife; and she had still some freshness remaining. They went to Paris
on account of a law-suit, which ruined them; when fortune, which raises
and depresses men at her pleasure, presented them to the wife of an
undertaker belonging to one of the hospitals for the army. This
undertaker, a man of great talents, might make it his boast, that he had
buried more soldiers in a year than cannons destroy in ten. Jeannot
pleased the wife; the wife of Jeannot interested the undertaker. Jeannot
was employed in the undertaker's business; this introduced him to other
business. When our boat runs with wind and stream, we have nothing to do
but let it sail on. We then make an immense fortune with ease. The poor
creatures who from the shore see you pursue your voyage with full sail,
stare with astonishment; they cannot conceive to what you owe your
success; they envy you instinctively, and write pamphlets against you
which you never read.

This is just what happened to Jeannot the father, who soon became
Monsieur de la Jeannotière; and who having purchased a marquisate in six
months time, took the young marquis, his son, from school, in order to
introduce him to the polite world at Paris.

Colin, whose heart was replete with tenderness, wrote a letter of
compliments to his old companion, and congratulated him on his good
fortune. The little marquis did not reply. Colin was so much affected at
this neglect that he was taken ill.

The father and mother immediately consigned the young marquis to the
care of a governor. This governor, who was a man of fashion, and who
knew nothing, was not able to teach his pupil anything.

The marquis would have had his son learn Latin; this his lady opposed.
They then referred the matter to the judgment of an author, who had at
that time acquired great reputation by his entertaining writings. This
author was invited to dinner. The master of the house immediately
addressed him thus:

"Sir, as you understand Latin, and are a man acquainted with the
court,--"

"I understand Latin! I don't know one word of it," answered the wit,
"and I think myself the better for being unacquainted with it. It is
very evident that a man speaks his own language in greater perfection
when he does not divide his application between it and foreign
languages. Only consider our ladies; they have a much more agreeable
turn of wit than the men, their letters are written with a hundred times
the grace of ours. This superiority they owe to nothing else but their
not understanding Latin."

"Well, was I not in the right?" said the lady. "I would have my son
prove a notable man, I would have him succeed in the world; and you see
that if he was to understand Latin he would be ruined. Pray, are plays
and operas performed in Latin? Do lawyers plead in Latin? Do men court a
mistress in Latin?"

The marquis, dazzled by these reasons, gave up the point, and it was
resolved, that the young marquis should not misspend his time in
endeavoring to become acquainted with Cicero, Horace and Virgil.

"Then," said the father, "what shall he learn? For he must know
something. Might not one teach him a little geography?"

"Of what use will that be?" answered the governor. "When the marquis
goes to his estate, won't the postillion know the roads? They certainly
will not carry him out of his way. There is no occasion for a quadrant
to travel thither; and one can go very commodiously from Paris to
Auvergne without knowing what latitude one is in."

"You are in the right," replied the father; "but I have heard of a
science, called astronomy, if I am not mistaken."

"Bless me!" said the governor, "do people regulate their conduct by the
influence of the stars in this world? And must the young gentleman
perplex himself with the calculation of an eclipse, when he finds it
ready calculated to his hand in an almanac, which, at the same time,
shows him the movable feasts, the age of the moon, and also that of all
the princesses in Europe?"

The lady agreed perfectly with the governor; the little marquis was
transported with joy; the father remained undetermined. "What then is my
son to learn?" said he.

"To become amiable," answered the friend who was consulted, "and if he
knows how to please, he will know all that need be known. This art he
will learn in the company of his mother, without either he or she being
at any trouble."

The lady, upon hearing this, embraced the ignorant flatterer, and said:
"It is easy to see, sir, that you are the wisest man in the world. My
son will be entirely indebted to you for his education. I think,
however, it would not be amiss if he was to know something of history."

"Alas, madam, what is that good for," answered he; "there certainly is
no useful or entertaining history but the history of the day; all
ancient histories, as one of our wits has observed, are only fables that
men have agreed to admit as true. With regard to modern history, it is a
mere chaos, a confusion which it is impossible to make anything of. Of
what consequence is it to the young marquis, your son, to know that
Charlemagne instituted the twelve peers of France, and that his
successor stammered?"

"Admirably said," cried the governor; "the genius of young persons is
smothered under a heap of useless knowledge; but of all sciences, the
most absurd, and that which, in my opinion, is most calculated to stifle
genius of every kind, is geometry. The objects about which this
ridiculous science is conversant, are surfaces, lines, and points, that
have no existence in nature. By the force of imagination, the
geometrician makes a hundred thousand curved lines pass between a circle
and a right line that touches it, when, in reality, there is not room
for a straw to pass there. Geometry, if we consider it in its true
light, is a mere jest, and nothing more."

The marquis and his lady did not well understand the governor's meaning,
yet they were entirely of his opinion.

"A man of quality, like the young marquis," continued he, "should not
rack his brains with useless sciences. If he should ever have occasion
for a plan of the lands of his estate, he may have them correctly
surveyed without studying geometry. If he has a mind to trace the
antiquity of his noble family, which leads the inquirer back to the most
remote ages, he will send for a Benedictine. It will be the same thing
with regard to all other wants. A young man of quality, endowed with a
happy genius, is neither a painter, a musician, an architect, nor a
graver; but he makes all these arts flourish by generously encouraging
them. It is, doubtless, better to patronize than to practice them. It is
enough for the young marquis to have a taste; it is the business of
artists to exert themselves for him; and it is in this sense that it is
said very justly of people of quality, (I mean those who are very rich),
that they know all things without having learnt anything; for they, in
fact, come at last to know how to judge concerning whatever they order
or pay for."

The ignorant man of fashion then spoke to this purpose:

"You have very justly observed, madam, that the grand end which a man
should have in view is to succeed in the world. Can it possibly be said
that this success is to be obtained by cultivating the sciences? Did
anybody ever so much as think of talking of geometry in good company?
Does anyone ever inquire of a man of the world, what star rises with the
sun? Who enquires at supper, whether the long-haired Clodio passed the
Rhine?"

"No, doubtless," cried the marchioness, whom her charms had in some
measure initiated into the customs of the polite world; "and my son
should not extinguish his genius by the study of all this stuff. But
what is he, after all, to learn? for it is proper that a young person of
quality should know how to shine upon an occasion, as my husband
observes. I remember to have heard an abbé say, that the most delightful
of all the sciences, is something that begins with a _B_."

"With a B, madam? Is it not botany you mean?"

"No, it was not botany he spoke of; the name of the science he mentioned
began with _B_, and ended with _on_."

"Oh, I comprehend you, madam," said the man of fashion; "it is _Blason_
you mean. It is indeed a profound science; but it is no longer in
fashion, since the people of quality have ceased to cause their arms to
be painted upon the doors of their coaches. It was once the most useful
thing in the world, in a well regulated state. Besides, this study would
be endless. Now-a-days there is hardly a barber that has not his coat of
arms; and you know that whatever becomes common is but little esteemed."

In fine, after they had examined the excellencies and defects of all the
sciences, it was determined that the young marquis should learn to
dance.

Nature, which does all, had given him a talent that quickly displayed
itself surprisingly; it was that of singing ballads agreeably. The
graces of youth, joined to this superior gift, caused him to be looked
upon as a young man of the brightest hopes. He was admired by the women;
and having his head full of songs, he composed some for his mistress. He
stole from the song "_Bacchus and Love_" in one ballad; from that of
"_Night and Day_" in another; from that of "_Charms and Alarms_" in a
third. But as there were always in his verses some superfluous feet, or
not enough, he had them corrected for twenty louis-d'ors a song; and in
the annals of literature he was put upon a level with the La Fares,
Chaulieus, Hamiltons, Sarrazins, and Voitures.

The marchioness then looked upon herself as the mother of a wit, and
gave a supper to the wits of Paris. The young man's brain was soon
turned; he acquired the art of speaking without knowing his own meaning,
and he became perfect in the habit of being good for nothing. When his
father found he was so eloquent, he very much regretted that his son had
not learned Latin; for he would have bought him a lucrative place among
the gentry of the long robe. The mother, who had more elevated
sentiments, undertook to procure a regiment for her son; and in the
meantime, courtship was his occupation. Love is sometimes more expensive
than a regiment. He was very improvident, whilst his parents exhausted
their finances still more, by expensive living.

A young widow of fashion, their neighbor, who had but a moderate
fortune, had an inclination to secure the great wealth of Monsieur and
Madame de la Jeannotière, and appropriating it to herself, by a marriage
with the young marquis. She allured him to visit her; she admitted his
addresses; she showed that she was not indifferent to him; she led him
on by degrees; she enchanted and captivated him without much difficulty.
Sometimes she lavished praises upon him, sometimes she gave him advice.
She became the most intimate friend of both the father and mother.

An elderly lady, who was their neighbor, proposed the match. The
parents, dazzled by the glory of such an alliance, accepted the proposal
with joy. They gave their only son to their intimate friend.

The young marquis was now on the point of marrying a woman whom he
adored, and by whom he was beloved; the friends of the family
congratulated them; the marriage articles were just going to be drawn
up, whilst wedding clothes were being made for the young couple, and
their epithalamium composed.

The young marquis was one day upon his knees before his charming
mistress, whom love, esteem, and friendship were going to make all his
own. In a tender and spirited conversation, they enjoyed a foretaste of
their coming happiness, they concerted measures to lead a happy life.
When all on a sudden a valet-de-chambre belonging to the old
marchioness, arrived in a great fright.

"Here is sad news," said he, "officers have removed the effects of my
master and mistress; the creditors have seized upon all by virtue of an
execution; and I am obliged to make the best shift I can to have my
wages paid."

"Let's see," said the marquis, "what is this? What can this adventure
mean?"

"Go," said the widow, "go quickly, and punish those villains."

He runs, he arrives at the house; his father is already in prison; all
the servants have fled in different ways, each carrying off whatever he
could lay his hands upon. His mother is alone, without assistance,
without comfort, drowned in tears. She has nothing left but the
remembrance of her fortune, of her beauty, her faults, and her
extravagant living.

After the son had wept a long time with his mother, he at length said to
her:

"Let us not give ourselves up to despair. This young widow loves me to
excess; she is more generous than rich, I can answer for her; I will go
and bring her to you."

He returns to his mistress, and finds her in company with a very amiable
young officer.

"What, is it you, M. de la Jeannotière," said she; "what brings you
here? Is it proper to forsake your unhappy mother in such a crisis? Go
to that poor, unfortunate woman, and tell her that I still wish her
well. I have occasion for a chamber-maid, and will give her the
preference."

"My lad," said the officer, "you are well shaped. Enlist in my company;
you may depend on good usage."

The marquis, thunderstruck, and with a heart enraged, went in quest of
his old governor, made him acquainted with his misfortune, and asked his
advice. The governor proposed that he should become a tutor, like
himself.

"Alas!" said the marquis, "I know nothing; you have taught me nothing,
and you are the first cause of my misfortunes." He sobbed when he spoke
thus.

"Write romances," said a wit who was present; "it is an admirable
resource at Paris."

The young man, in greater despair than ever, ran to his mother's
confessor. This confessor was a Theatin of great reputation, who
directed the consciences only of women of the first rank. As soon as he
saw Jeannot, he ran up to him:

"My God, Mr. Marquis," said he, "where is your coach? How is the good
lady your mother?"

The poor unfortunate young man gave him an account of what had befallen
his family. In proportion as he explained himself the Theatin assumed an
air more grave, more indifferent, and more defiant.

"My son," said he, "it is the will of God that you should be reduced to
this condition; riches serve only to corrupt the heart. God, in his
great mercy, has then reduced your mother to beggary?"

[Illustration: Jeannot and Colin.]

"Yes, sir," answered the marquis.

"So much the better," said the confessor, "her election is the more
certain."

"But father," said the marquis, "is there in the mean time no hopes of
some assistance in this world?"

"Farewell, my son," said the confessor; "a court lady is waiting for
me."

The marquis was almost ready to faint. He met with much the same
treatment from all; and acquired more knowledge of the world in half a
day than he had previously learned in all the rest of his life.

Being quite overwhelmed with despair, he saw an old-fashioned chaise
advance, which resembled an open wagon with leather curtains; it was
followed by four enormous carts which were loaded. In the chaise there
was a young man, dressed in the rustic manner, whose fresh countenance
was replete with sweetness and gaiety. His wife, a little woman of a
brown complexion and an agreeable figure, though somewhat stout, sat
close by him. As the carriage did not move on like the chaise of a
petit-maître, the traveler had sufficient time to contemplate the
marquis, who was motionless and immersed in sorrow.

"Good God," cried he, "I think that is Jeannot." Upon hearing this name,
the marquis lifts up his eyes, the carriage stops, and Colin cries out,
"'Tis Jeannot, 'tis Jeannot himself."

The little fat bumpkin gave but one spring from the chaise and ran to
embrace his old companion. Jeannot recollected his friend Colin, while
his eyes were blinded with tears of shame.

"You have abandoned me," said Colin; "but, though you are a great man, I
will love you forever."

Jeannot, confused and affected, related to him with emotion a great part
of his history.

"Come to the inn where I lodge, and tell me the rest of it," said Colin;
"embrace my wife here, and let us go and dine together." They then went
on foot, followed by their baggage.

"What is all this train," said Jeannot; "is it yours?"

"Yes," answered Colin, "it all belongs to me and to my wife. We have
just come in from the country. I am now at the head of a large
manufactory of tin and copper. I have married the daughter of a merchant
well provided with all things necessary for the great as well as the
little. We work a great deal; God blesses us; we have not changed our
condition; we are happy; we will assist our friend Jeannot. Be no longer
a marquis; all the grandeur in the world is not to be compared to a good
friend. You shall return with me to the country. I will teach you the
trade; it is not very difficult; I will make you my partner, and we will
live merrily in the remote corner where we were born."

Jeannot, quite transported, felt emotions of grief and joy, tenderness
and shame; and he said within himself: "My fashionable friends have
betrayed me, and Colin, whom I despised, is the only one who comes to
relieve me." What instruction does not this narrative afford!

Colin's goodness of heart caused the seeds of a virtuous disposition,
which the world had not quite stifled in Jeannot, to revive. He was
sensible that he could not forsake his father and mother.

"We will take care of your mother," said Colin; "and as to the good man
your father, who is now in jail, his creditors, seeing he has nothing,
will compromise matters for a trifle. I know something of business, and
will take the whole affair upon myself."

Colin found means to procure the father's enlargement. Jeannot returned
to the country with his relatives, who resumed their former way of life.
He married a sister of Colin, and she, being of the same temper with her
brother, made him completely happy.

Jeannot the father, Jeannote the mother, and Jeannot the son, were thus
convinced that happiness is not the result of vanity.

[Illustration: Religious emblems.]



THE HISTORY OF THE TRAVELS OF SCARMENTADO.[1]


I was born in Candia, in the year 1600. My father was governor of the
city; and I remember that a poet of middling parts, and of a most
unmusical ear, whose name was Iro, composed some verses in my praise, in
which he made me to descend from Minos in a direct line; but my father
being afterwards disgraced, he wrote some other verses, in which he
derived my pedigree from no nobler an origin than the amours of Pasiphæ
and her gallant. This Iro was a most mischievous rogue, and one of the
most troublesome fellows in the island.

My father sent me at fifteen years of age to prosecute my studies at
Rome. There I arrived in full hopes of learning all kinds of truth; for
I had hitherto been taught quite the reverse, according to the custom of
this lower world from China to the Alps. Monsignor Profondo, to whom I
was recommended, was a man of a very singular character, and one of the
most terrible scholars in the world. He was for teaching me the
categories of Aristotle; and was just on the point of placing me in the
category of his minions; a fate which I narrowly escaped. I saw
processions, exorcisms, and some robberies.

It was commonly said, but without any foundation, that la Signora
Olympia, a lady of great prudence, had deceived many lovers, she being
both inconstant and mercenary. I was then of an age to relish such
comical anecdotes.

A young lady of great sweetness of temper, called la Signora Fatelo,
thought proper to fall in love with me. She was courted by the reverend
father Poignardini, and by the reverend father Aconiti,[2] young monks
of an order now extinct; and she reconciled the two rivals by declaring
her preference for me; but at the same time I ran the risk of being
excommunicated and poisoned. I left Rome highly pleased with the
architecture of St. Peter.

I traveled to France. It was during the reign of Louis the Just. The
first question put to me was, whether I chose to breakfast on a slice of
the Marshal D'Ancre,[3] whose flesh the people had roasted and
distributed with great liberality to such as chose to taste it.

This kingdom was continually involved in civil wars, sometimes for a
place at court, sometimes for two pages of theological controversy. This
fire, which one while lay concealed under the ashes, and at another
burst forth with great violence, had desolated these beautiful provinces
for upwards of sixty years. The pretext was, defending the liberties of
the Gallican church. "Alas!" said I, "these people are nevertheless born
with a gentle disposition. What can have drawn them so far from their
natural character? They joke and keep holy days.[4] Happy the time when
they shall do nothing but joke!"

I went over to England, where the same disputes occasioned the same
barbarities. Some pious Catholics had resolved, for the good of the
church, to blow up into the air with gunpowder the king, the royal
family, and the whole parliament, and thus to deliver England from all
these heretics at once. They showed me the place where Queen Mary of
blessed memory, the daughter of Henry VIII., had caused more than five
hundred, of her subjects to be burnt. An Irish priest assured me that it
was a very good action; first, because those who were burnt were
Englishmen; and secondly, because they did not make use of holy water,
nor believe in St. Patrick. He was greatly surprised that Queen Mary was
not yet canonized; but he hoped she would receive that honor as soon as
the cardinal should be a little more at leisure.

From thence I went to Holland, where I hoped to find more tranquillity
among a people of a more cold and phlegmatic temperament. Just as I
arrived at the Hague, the people were cutting off the head of a
venerable old man. It was the bald head of the prime minister Barnevelt;
a man who deserved better treatment from the republic. Touched with pity
at this affecting scene, I asked what was his crime, and whether he had
betrayed the state.

"He has done much worse," replied a preacher in a black cloak; "he
believed that men may be saved by good works as well as by faith. You
must be sensible," adds he, "that if such opinions were to gain ground,
a republic could not subsist; and that there must be severe laws to
suppress such scandalous and horrid blasphemies."

A profound politician said to me with a sigh: "Alas! sir, this happy
time will not last long; it is only by chance that the people are so
zealous. They are naturally inclined to the abominable doctrine of
toleration, and they will certainly at last grant it." This reflection
set him a groaning. For my own part, in expectation of that fatal period
when moderation and indulgence should take place, I instantly quitted a
country where severity was not softened by any lenitive, and embarked
for Spain.

The court was then at Seville, the galleons had just arrived; and
everything breathed plenty and gladness, in the most beautiful season of
the year. I observed at the end of an alley of orange and citron trees,
a kind of large ring, surrounded with steps covered with rich and costly
cloth. The king, the queen, the infants, and the infantas, were seated
under a superb canopy. Opposite to the royal family was another throne,
raised higher than that on which his majesty sat. I said to a
fellow-traveler: "Unless this throne be reserved for God, I don't see
what purpose it can serve."

This unguarded expression was overheard by a grave Spaniard, and cost me
dear. Meanwhile, I imagined we were going to a carousal, or a match of
bull-baiting, when the grand inquisitor appeared in that elevated
throne, from whence he blessed the king and the people.

Then came an army of monks, who led off in pairs, white, black, grey,
shod, unshod, bearded, beardless, with pointed cowls, and without cowls.
Next followed the hangman; and last of all were seen, in the midst of
the guards and grandees, about forty persons clad in sackcloth, on which
were painted the figures of flames and devils. Some of these were Jews,
who could not be prevailed upon to renounce Moses entirely; others were
Christians, who had married women with whom they had stood sponsors to a
child; who had not adored our Lady of Atocha; or who had refused to part
with their ready money in favor of the Hieronymite brothers. Some pretty
prayers were sung with much devotion, and then the criminals were burnt
at a slow fire; a ceremony with which the royal family seemed to be
greatly edified.

As I was going to bed in the evening, two members of the inquisition
came to my lodging with a figure of St. Hermandad. They embraced me with
great tenderness, and conducted me in solemn silence to a well-aired
prison, furnished with a bed of mat, and a beautiful crucifix. There I
remained for six weeks; at the end of which time the reverend father,
the Inquisitor, sent for me. He pressed me in his arms for some time
with the most paternal affection, and told me that he was sorry to hear
that I had been so ill lodged; but that all the apartments of the house
were full, and hoped I should be better accommodated the next time. He
then asked me with great cordiality if I knew for what reason I was
imprisoned.

I told the reverend father that it was evidently for my sins.

"Very well," said he, "my dear child; but for what particular sin? Speak
freely."

I racked my brain with conjectures, but could not possibly guess. He
then charitably dismissed me. At last I remembered my unguarded
expression. I escaped with a little bodily correction, and a fine of
thirty thousand reals. I was led to make my obeisance to the grand
Inquisitor, who was a man of great politeness. He asked me how I liked
his little feast. I told him it was a most delicious one; and then went
to press my companions to quit the country, beautiful as it was.

They had, during my imprisonment, found time to inform themselves of all
the great things which the Spaniards had done for the interest of
religion. They had read the memoirs of the famous bishop of Chiapa, by
which it appears that they had massacred, or burnt, or drowned, about
ten millions of infidels in America, in order to convert them. I believe
the accounts of the bishop are a little exaggerated; but suppose we
reduce the number of victims to five millions, it will still be a most
glorious achievement.

The impulse for traveling still possessed me. I had proposed to finish
the tour of Europe with Turkey, and thither we now directed our course.
I made a firm resolution not to give my opinion of any public feasts I
might see in the future. "These Turks," said I to my companions, "are a
set of miscreants that have not been baptized, and therefore will be
more cruel than the reverend fathers the inquisitors. Let us observe a
profound silence while we are among the Mahometans." When we arrived
there, I was greatly surprised to see more Christian churches in Turkey
than in Candia. I saw also numerous troops of monks, who were allowed to
pray to the virgin Mary with great freedom, and to curse Mahomet--some
in Greek, some in Latin, and others in Armenian. "What good-natured
people are these Turks," cried I.

The Greek christians, and the Latin christians in Constantinople were
mortal enemies. These sectarians persecuted each other in much the same
manner as dogs fight in the streets, till their masters part them with a
cudgel.

The grand vizier was at that time the protector of the Greeks. The Greek
patriarch accused me of having supped with the Latin patriarch; and I
was condemned in full divan to receive an hundred blows on the soles of
my feet, redeemable for five hundred sequins. Next day the grand vizier
was strangled. The day following his successor, who was for the Latin
party, and who was not strangled till a month after, condemned me to
suffer the same punishment, for having supped with the Greek patriarch.
Thus was I reduced to the sad necessity of absenting myself entirely
from the Greek and Latin churches.

In order to console myself for this loss, I frequently visited a very
handsome Circassian. She was the most entertaining lady I ever knew in a
private conversation, and the most devout at the mosque. One evening she
received me with tenderness and sweetly cried, "Alla, Illa, Alla."

These are the sacramental words of the Turks. I imagined they were the
expressions of love, and therefore cried in my turn, and with a very
tender accent, "Alla, Illa, Alla."

"Ah!" said she, "God be praised, thou art then a Turk?"

I told her that I was blessing God for having given me so much
enjoyment, and that I thought myself extremely happy.

In the morning the inman came to enroll me among the circumcised, and as
I made some objection to the initiation, the cadi of that district, a
man of great loyalty, proposed to have me impaled. I preserved my
freedom by paying a thousand sequins, and then fled directly into
Persia, resolved for the future never to hear Greek or Latin mass, nor
to cry "Alla, Illa, Alla," in a love encounter.

On my arrival at Ispahan, the people asked me whether I was for white or
black mutton? I told them that it was a matter of indifference to me,
provided it was tender. It must be observed that the Persian empire was
at that time split into two factions, that of the white mutton and that
of the black. The two parties imagined that I had made a jest of them
both; so that I found myself engaged in a very troublesome affair at the
gates of the city, and it cost me a great number of sequins to get rid
of the white and the black mutton.

I proceeded as far as China, in company with an interpreter, who assured
me that this country was the seat of gaiety and freedom. The Tartars had
made themselves masters of it, after having destroyed everything with
fire and sword.

The reverend fathers, the Jesuits, on the one hand, and the reverend
fathers, the Dominicans, on the other, alleged that they had gained many
souls to God in that country, without any one knowing aught of the
matter. Never were seen such zealous converters. They alternately
persecuted one another; they transmitted to Rome whole volumes of
slander; and treated each other as infidels and prevaricators for the
sake of one soul. But the most violent dispute between them was with
regard to the manner of making a bow. The Jesuits would have the
Chinese to salute their parents after the fashion of China, and the
Dominicans would have them to do it after the fashion of Rome.

I happened unluckily to be taken by the Jesuits for a Dominican. They
represented me to his Tartarian majesty as a spy of the pope. The
supreme council charged a prime mandarin, who ordered a sergeant, who
commanded four shires of the country, to seize me and bind me with great
ceremony. In this manner I was conducted before his majesty, after
having made about an hundred and forty genuflections. He asked me if I
was a spy of the pope's, and if it was true that that prince was to come
in person to dethrone him. I told him that the pope was a priest of
seventy years of age; that he lived at the distance of four thousand
leagues from his sacred Tartaro-Chinese majesty; that he had about two
thousand soldiers, who mounted guard with umbrellas; that he never
dethroned anybody; and that his majesty might sleep in perfect security.

Of all the adventures of my life this was the least fatal. I was sent to
Macao, and there I took shipping for Europe.

My ship required to be refitted on the coast of Golconda. I embraced
this opportunity to visit the court of the great Aureng-Zeb, of whom
such wonderful things have been told, and which was then in Delphi. I
had the pleasure to see him on the day of that pompous ceremony in which
he receives the celestial present sent him by the Sherif of Mecca. This
was the besom with which they had swept the holy house, the Caaba, and
the Beth Alla. It is a symbol that sweeps away all the pollutions of the
soul.

Aureng-Zeb seemed to have no need of it. He was the most pious man in
all Indostan. It is true, he had cut the throat of one of his brothers,
and poisoned his father. Twenty Rayas, and as many Omras, had been put
to death; but that was a trifle. Nothing was talked of but his devotion.
No king was thought comparable to him, except his sacred majesty Muley
Ismael, the most serene emperor of Morocco, who always cut off some
heads every Friday after prayers.

I spoke not a word. My travels had taught me wisdom. I was sensible that
it did not belong to me to decide between these august sovereigns. A
young Frenchman, a fellow-lodger of mine, was, however, greatly wanting
in respect to both the emperor of the Indies and to that of Morocco. He
happened to say very imprudently, that there were sovereigns in Europe
who governed their dominions with great equity, and even went to church
without killing their fathers or brothers, or cutting off the heads of
their subjects.

This indiscreet discourse of my young friend, the interpreter at once
translated. Instructed by former experience, I instantly caused my
camels to be saddled, and set out with my Frenchman. I was afterwards
informed that the officers of the great Aureng-Zeb came that very night
to seize me, but finding only the interpreter, they publicly executed
him; and the courtiers all claimed, very justly, that his punishment was
well deserved.

I had now only Africa to visit in order to enjoy all the pleasures of
our continent; and thither I went to complete my voyage. The ship in
which I embarked was taken by the Negro corsairs. The master of the
vessel complained loudly, and asked why they thus violated the laws of
nations. The captain of the Negroes thus replied:

"You have a long nose and we have a short one. Your hair is straight and
ours is curled; your skin is ash-colored and ours is of the color of
ebon; and therefore we ought, by the sacred laws of nature, to be always
at enmity. You buy us in the public markets on the coast of Guinea like
beasts of burden, to make us labor in I don't know what kind of
drudgery, equally hard and ridiculous. With the whip held over our
heads, you make us dig in mines for a kind of yellow earth, which in
itself is good for nothing, and is not so valuable as an Egyptian onion.
In like manner wherever we meet you, and are superior to you in
strength, we make you slaves, and oblige you to cultivate our fields, or
in case of refusal we cut off your nose and ears."

To such a learned discourse it was impossible to make any answer. I
submitted to labor in the garden of an old negress, in order to save my
nose and ears. After continuing in slavery for a whole year, I was at
length happily ransomed.

As I had now seen all that was rare, good, or beautiful on earth, I
resolved for the future to see nothing but my own home. I took a wife,
and soon suspected that she deceived me; but, notwithstanding this
doubt, I still found that of all conditions of life this was much the
happiest.


[1] The reader will perceive that this is a spirited satire on mankind
in general, and particularly on persecution for conscience
sake.--_Trans._

[2] Alluding to the infamous practice of poisoning and assassination at
that time prevalent in Rome.--_Trans._

[3] This was the famous Concini, who was murdered on the draw-bridge of
the Louvre, by the intrigues of De Luines, not without the knowledge of
the king, Louis XIII. His body, which had been secretly interred in the
church of St. Germain de l'Auxerrois, was next day dug up by the
populace, who dragged it through the streets, then burned the flesh, and
threw the bones into the river. The marshal's greatest crime was his
being a foreigner.--_Tr._

[4] Referring to the massacre of Protestants, on the eve of St.
Bartholomew.--_Tr._


[Illustration: Brahma, _the Creator_.--Vishnu, _the Preserver_. --Siva,
_the Destroyer_.]



THE GOOD BRAMIN.

DOES HAPPINESS RESULT FROM IGNORANCE OR FROM KNOWLEDGE?


In my travels I once happened to meet with an aged Bramin. This man had
a great share of understanding and prudence, and was very learned. He
was also very rich, and his riches added greatly to his popularity; for,
wanting nothing that wealth could procure, he had no desire to defraud
any one. His family was admirably managed by three handsome wives, who
always studied to please him; and when he was weary of their society, he
had recourse to the study of philosophy.

Not far from his house, which was handsome, well-furnished and
embellished with delightful gardens, dwelt an old Indian woman who was a
great bigot, ignorant, and withall very poor.

"I wish," said the Bramin to me one day, "I had never been born!"

"Why so?" said I.

"Because," replied he, "I have been studying these forty years, and I
find it has been so much time lost. While I teach others I know nothing
myself. The sense of my condition is so humiliating, it makes all things
so distasteful to me, that life has become a burden. I have been born,
and I exist in time, without knowing what time is. I am placed, as our
wise men say, in the confines between two eternities, and yet I have no
idea of eternity. I am composed of matter, I think, but have never been
able to satisfy myself what it is that produces thought. I even am
ignorant whether my understanding is a simple faculty I possess, like
that of walking and digesting, or if I think with my head in the same
manner as I take hold of a thing with my hands. I am not only thus in
the dark with relation to the principles of thought, but the principles
of my motions are entirely unknown to me. I do not know why I exist, and
yet I am applied to every day for a solution of the enigma. I must
return an answer, but can say nothing satisfactory on the the subject. I
talk a great deal, and when I have done speaking remain confounded and
ashamed of what I have said."

"I am in still greater perplexity when I am asked if Brama was produced
by Vishnu, or if they have both existed from eternity. God is my judge
that I know nothing of the matter, as plainly appears by my answers.
'Reverend father,' says one, 'be pleased to inform me how evil is spread
over the face of the earth.' I am as much at a loss as those who ask the
question. Sometimes I tell them that every thing is for the best; but
those who have the gout or the stone--those who have lost their fortunes
or their limbs in the wars--believe as little of this assertion as I do
myself. I retire to my own house full of curiosity, and endeavor to
enlighten my ignorance by consulting the writings of our ancient sages,
but they only serve to bewilder me the more. When I talk with my
brethren upon this subject, some tell me we ought to make the most of
life and laugh at the world. Others think they know something, and lose
themselves in vain and chimerical hypotheses. Every effort I make to
solve the mystery adds to the load I feel. Sometimes I am ready to fall
into despair when I reflect that, after all my researches, I neither
know from whence I came, what I am, whither I shall go, or what is to
become of me."

The condition in which I saw this good man gave me real concern. No one
could be more rational, no one more open and honest. It appeared to me
that the force of his understanding and the sensibility of his heart
were the causes of his misery.

       *       *       *       *       *

The same day I had a conversation with the old woman, his neighbor. I
asked her if she had ever been unhappy for not underst