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Title: Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad with Tales and Miscellanies Now First Collected - Vol. III (of 3)
Author: Jameson, Mrs. (Anna), 1794-1860
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad with Tales and Miscellanies Now First Collected - Vol. III (of 3)" ***

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  Sketch of Mrs. Siddons                                                 3
  Sketch of Fanny Kemble                                                49
  The False One                                                         93
  Halloran the Pedlar                                                  177
  The Indian Mother                                                    231
  Much Coin, Much Care                                                 263


    Page 42, line 5, _for_ the full stop _read_ a comma, and _for_ she had
      _read_ having.

     59,--4, _for_ cannot _read_ could not.


[The following little sketch was written a few days after the death of
Mrs. Siddons, and was called forth by certain paragraphs which appeared
in the daily papers. A misapprehension of the real character of this
remarkable woman, which I know to exist in the minds of many who admired
and venerated her talents, has induced me to enlarge the first very
slight sketch, into a more finished but still inadequate portrait.
I have spared no pains to verify the truth of my own conception by
testimony of every kind that was attainable. I have penned every word as
if I had been in that great final court where the thoughts of all hearts
are manifested; and those who best knew the individual I have attempted
to delineate bear witness to the fidelity of the portrait, as far as it
goes. I must be permitted to add, that in this and the succeeding sketch
I have not only been inspired by the wish to do justice to individual
virtue and talent,--I wished to impress and illustrate that important
truth, that a gifted woman may pursue a public vocation, yet preserve
the purity and maintain the dignity of her sex--that there is no
prejudice which will not shrink away before moral energy, and no
profession which may not be made compatible with the respect due to us
as women, the cultivation of every feminine virtue, and the practice of
every private duty. I might here multiply examples and exceptions, and
discuss causes and results; but it is a consideration I reserve for
another opportunity.]


"_Implora pace!_"--She, who upon earth ruled the souls and senses
of men, as the moon rules the surge of waters; the acknowledged and
liege empress of all the realms of illusion; the crowned queen; the
throned muse; the sceptred shadow of departed genius, majesty, and

What unhallowed work has been going forward in some of the daily
papers since this illustrious creature has been laid in her quiet
unostentatious grave! ay, even before her poor remains were cold!
What pains have been taken to cater trifling scandal for the blind,
heartless, gossip-loving vulgar! and to throw round the memory of a
woman, whose private life was as irreproachable as her public career was
glorious, some ridiculous or unamiable association which should tend to
unsphere her from her throne in our imagination, and degrade from her
towering pride of place, the heroine of Shakspeare, and the Muse of

That stupid malignity which revels in the martyrdom of fame--which
rejoices when, by some approximation of the mean and ludicrous with the
beautiful and sublime, it can for a moment bring down the rainbow-like
glory in which the fancy invests genius, to the drab-coloured level of
mediocrity--is always hateful and contemptible; but in the present case
it is something worse; it has a peculiar degree of _cowardly_ injustice.
If some elegant biographer inform us that the same hand which painted
the infant Hercules, or Ugolino, or Mrs. Sheridan, half seraph and half
saint--could clutch a guinea with satisfaction, or drive a bargain with
a footman; if some discreet friend, from the mere love of truth, no
doubt, reveal to us the puerile, lamentable frailties of that bright
spirit which poured itself forth in torrents of song and passion: what
then? 'tis pitiful, certainly, wondrous pitiful; but there is no great
harm done,--no irremediable injury inflicted; for there stand their
works: the poet's immortal page, the painter's breathing canvass witness
for them. "Death hath had no power yet upon _their_ beauty"--over them
scandal cannot draw her cold slimy finger;--on _them_ calumny cannot
breathe her mildew; nor envy wither _them_ with a blast from hell. There
they stand for ever to confute injustice, to rectify error, to defy
malice; to silence, and long outlive the sneer, the lie, the jest, the
reproach. But _she_--who was of painters the model, the wonder, the
despair;--she, who realised in her own presence and person the poet's
divinest dreams and noblest creations;--she, who has enriched our
language with a new epithet, and made the word _Siddonian_ synonymous
with all we can imagine of feminine grace and grandeur: she has left
nothing behind her, but the memory of a great name: she has bequeathed
it to our reverence, our gratitude, our charity, and our sympathy; and
if it is not to be sacred, I know not what is--or ever will be.

Mrs. Siddons, as an _artist_, presented a singular example of the union
of all the faculties, mental and physical, which constitute excellence
in her art, directed to the end for which they seemed created. In any
other situation or profession, some one or other of her splendid gifts
would have been misplaced or dormant. It was her especial good fortune,
and not less that of the time in which she lived, that this wonderful
combination of mental powers and external graces, was fully and
completely developed by the circumstances in which she was placed.[1]
"With the most commanding beauty of face and form, and varied grace
of action; with the most noble combination of features, and extensive
capability of expression in each of them; with an unequalled genius
for her art, the utmost patience in study, and the strongest ardour of
feeling; there was not a passion which she could not delineate; not
the nicest shade, not the most delicate modification of passion, which
she could not seize with philosophical accuracy, and render with such
immediate force of nature and truth, as well as precision, that what
was the result of profound study and unwearied practice, appeared like
sudden inspiration. There was not a height of grandeur to which she
could not soar, nor a darkness of misery to which she could not descend;
not a chord of feeling, from the sternest to the most delicate, which
she could not cause to vibrate at her will. She had reached that point
of perfection in art, where it ceases to be art, and becomes a second
nature. She had studied most profoundly the powers and capabilities of
language; so that the most critical sagacity could not have suggested a
delicacy of emphasis, by which the meaning of the author might be more
distinctly conveyed, or a shade of intonation by which the sentiment
could be more fully, or more faithfully expressed. While other performers
of the past or present time, have made approaches to excellence, or
attained it now and then, Mrs. Siddons alone was pronounced faultless;
and, in _her_, the last generation witnessed what we shall not see in
ours;--no, nor our children after us;--that amazing union of splendid
intellectual powers, with unequalled charms of person, which, in the
tragic department of her art, realized the idea of perfection."

Such was the magnificent portrait drawn of Mrs. Siddons twenty years
ago; and it will be admitted by those who remember her, and must be
believed by those who do not, that in this case, eulogy could not wander
into exaggeration, nor enthusiasm be exalted beyond the bounds of truth.

I have heard people most unreasonably surprised or displeased, because
this exceeding dignity of demeanour was not confined to the stage, but
was carried into private life. Had it been merely conventional,--a thing
put on and put off,--it might have been so; but the grandeur of her
mind, and the light of her glorious beauty, were not as a diadem and
robe for state occasions only; her's was not only dignity of manner
and person, it was moral and innate, and, I may add, hereditary. Mrs.
Siddons, with all her graces of form and feature, her magnificence of
deportment, her deep-toned, measured voice, and impressive enunciation,
was in reality a softened reflection of her more stern, stately,
majestic mother, whose genuine loftiness of spirit and of bearing, whose
rare beauty, and imperious despotism of character, have often been
described to me as absolutely awful,--even her children trembled in her

"All the Kembles," said Sir Thomas Lawrence, "have historical faces;"
and for several generations their minds seem to have been cast in a
poetical mould. It has, however, been disputed, whether Mrs. Siddons
possessed genius. Whether genius be exclusively defined as the creative
and inventive faculty of the soul, or taken, in its usual acceptation,
as "a mind of large general faculties, accidentally determined to some
particular direction," I think she did possess it in both senses. The
grand characteristic of her mind was power, but it was power of a very
peculiar kind: it was slowly roused--slowly developed--not easily moved;
her perceptions were not rapid, nor her sensations quick; she required
time for every thing,--time to think, time to comprehend, time to speak.
There was nothing superficial about her; no vivacity of manner; to petty
gossip she would not descend, and evil-speaking she abhorred; she cared
not to shine in general conversation. Like some majestic "Argosie,"
bearing freight of precious metal, she was a-ground and cumbrous and
motionless among the shallows of common life; but set her upon the deep
waters of poetry and passion--there was her element--there was her
reign. Ask her an opinion, she could not give it you till she had looked
on the subject, and considered it on every side,--then you might trust
to it without appeal. Her powers, though not easily put in motion, were
directed by an incredible energy; her mind, when called to action,
seemed to rear itself up like a great wave of the sea, and roll forwards
with an irresistible force. This prodigious intellectual power was one
of her chief characteristics. Another was _truth_, which in the human
mind is generally allied with power. It is, I think, a mistaken idea,
that habits of impersonation on the stage tend to impair the sincerity
or the individuality of a character. If any injury is done in this
way, it is by the continual and strong excitement of the vanity, the
dependence on applause, which in time _may_ certainly corrode away the
integrity of the manner, if not of the mind. It is difficult for an
admired actress not to be vain, and difficult for a very vain person to
be quite unaffected, on or off the stage; it is, however, certain that
some of the truest, most natural persons I ever met with in my life,
were actresses. In the character of Mrs. Siddons, truth, and a reverence
for truth, were commensurate with her vast power: Heaven is not
farther removed from earth than she was from falsehood. Allied to this
conscientious turn was her love of order. She was extremely punctual
in all her arrangements; methodical and exact in every thing she did;
circumstantial and accurate in all she said. In little and in great
things, in the very texture and constitution of her mind, she was
integrity itself: "It was," (said one of her most intimate friends,)
"a mind far above the average standard, not only in ability, but in moral
and religious qualities; that these should have exhausted themselves in
the world of fiction, may be regretted in reference to her individual
happiness, but she certainly exercised, during her _reign_, a most
powerful moral influence:--she excited the nobler feelings and higher
faculties of every mind which came in contact with her own. I speak with
the deepest sense of personal obligation: it was at a very early age
that she repeated to me, in a manner and tone which left an indelible

  Thou first of virtues! let no mortal leave
  Thy onward path,' &c.

and I never knew her to omit an opportunity of making her fine genius
minister to piety and virtue." Now what are the bravos of a whole

  "When all the thunder of the pit ascends,"

compared to such praise as this?

"Her mind" (again I am enabled to give the very words of one who knew
her well) "was a perfect mirror of the sublime and beautiful; like
a lake that reflected only the heavens above, or the summits of the
mountains around, nothing below a certain level could appear in it.
The ideal was her vital air. She breathed with difficulty in the
atmosphere of this 'working-day world,' and withdrew from it as much as
possible. Hence her moral principles were seldom brought to bear upon
the actual and ordinary concerns of life. She was rather the associate
of 'the mighty dead,' than the fellow-creature of the living. To the
latter she was known chiefly through others, and often through those who
were incapable of reflecting her qualities faithfully, though impressed
with the utmost veneration for her genius. In their very anxiety for
what they considered her interests, (and of her worldly interests
she took _no charge_,) they would in her name authorize prudential
arrangements, which gave rise to the suspicion of covetousness, whilst
she was sitting rapt in heavenly contemplation. Had she given her mind
to the consideration and investigation of relative claims, she might
on some occasions have acted differently--or, rather, _she_ would have
acted where in fact _others only_ acted: for never, as I have reason
to believe, was a case of distress _presented to her_ without her being
ready to give even till her 'hand lacked means.' Many of the poor in her
neighbourhood were pensioned by her.

"She was credulous--simple--to an extraordinary degree. Profession
had, therefore, too much weight with her. She was accustomed to
_manifestations_ of the sentiments she excited, and in seeking the
demonstration sometimes overlooked the silent reality;--this was a
consequence of her profession.

"She was not only exact in the performance of her religious duties; her
religion was a pervading sentiment, influencing her to the strictest
observance of truth and charity--I mean charity in judging others: the
very active and excursive benevolence which

  '_Seeks_ the duty, nay, _prevents_ the need,'

would have been incompatible with her toilsome engrossing avocations
and with the visionary tendencies of her character. But the visionary
has his own sphere of action, and can often touch the master-springs of
other minds, so as to give the first impulse to the good deeds flowing
from _them_. There are some who can trace back to the sympathies which
Mrs. Siddons awakened, their devotedness to the cause of the suffering
and oppressed. Faithfully did she perform the part in life which she
believed allotted to her; and who may presume to judge that she did not
choose the better part?"

The idea that she was a cold woman is eminently false. Her affections,
like her intellectual powers, were slow, but tenacious; they enveloped
in folds, strong as flesh and blood, those whom she had found worthy and
taken to her heart; and her happiness was more entwined with them than
those who knew her only in her professional character could have supposed;
she would return home from the theatre, every nerve thrilling with the
excitement of sympathy, and applause, and admiration, and a cold look
or word from her husband has sent her to bed in tears. She had that
sure indication of a good heart and a fine mind, an exceeding love for
children, and a power to attract and amuse them. It was remarked that
her voice always softened in addressing a child. I remember a letter of
her's relative to a young mother and her infant, in which, among other
tender and playful things, she says, "I wonder whether Lady N---- is as
good a talker of baby-nonsense as I flatter myself _I_ am!" A lady who
was intimate with her, happening to enter her bedroom early one morning,
found her with two of her little grand-children romping on her bed, and
playing with the tresses of her long dark hair, which she had let down
for their amusement. Her own children adored her; her surviving friends
refer to her with tenderness, with gratitude, even with tears. I speak
here of what I _know_. I have seldom been more touched to the heart than
by the perusal of some of her _most_ private letters and notes, which
for tenderness of sentiment, genuine feeling, and simple yet forcible
expression, could not be surpassed.[2] Actress though she was, she had
no idea of doing any thing for the sake of appearances, or of courting
popularity by any means but excellence in her art. She loved the
elegances and refinements of life--enjoyed, and freely shared what she
had toiled to obtain--and in the earlier part of her career was the
frequent victim of her own kind and careless nature. She has been known
to give generously, nobly,--to sympathize warmly; but did she deny to
greedy selfishness or spendthrift vanity the twentieth demand on her
purse or her benevolence? Was she, while absorbed in her poetical,
ideal existence, the dupe of exterior shows in judging of character?
Or did she, from total ignorance of, or indifference to, the common-place
prejudices, or customary forms of society, unconsciously wound the
_amour-propre_ of some shallow flatterer or critic,--or by bringing the
gravity and glory of her histrionic impersonations into the frivolities
and hard realities of this our world, render herself obnoxious to vulgar
ridicule?--then was she made to feel what it is to live in the public
eye: then flew round the malignant slander, the vengeful lie, the base
sneer, the impertinent misinterpretation of what few could understand
and fewer feel! Reach _her_ these libels could not--but sometimes they
reached those whose affectionate reverence fenced her round from the
rude contact of real life. In some things Mrs. Siddons was like a child.
I have heard anecdotes of her extreme simplicity, which by the force of
contrast made me smile--at _them_, not at _her_: who could have laughed
at Mrs. Siddons? I should as soon have thought of laughing at the
Delphic Sybil.

As an artist, her genius appears to have been slowly developed. She did
not, as it has been said of her niece, "spring at once into the chair
of the tragic muse;" but toiled her way up to glory and excellence in
her profession, through length of time, difficulties, and obstacles
innumerable. She was exclusively professional; and all her attainments,
and all her powers, seem to have been directed to one end and aim.
Yet I suppose no one would have said of Mrs. Siddons, that she was
a "_mere actress_," as it was usually said of Garrick, that he was a
"_mere player_;"--the most admirable and versatile actor that ever
existed; but still the mere player;--nothing more--nothing better. He
does not appear to have had a tincture of that high gentlemanly feeling,
that native elevation of character, and general literary taste which
strike us in John Kemble and his brother Charles; nor any thing of the
splendid imagination, the enthusiasm of art, the personal grace and
grandeur, which threw such a glory around Mrs. Siddons. Of John Kemble
it might be said,[3] as Dryden said of Harte in his time, that "kings
and princes might have come to him, and taken lessons how to comport
themselves with dignity." And with the noble presence of Mrs. Siddons,
we associated in public and in private, something absolutely awful. We
were accustomed to bring her before our fancy as one habitually elevated
above the sphere of familiar life,--

  "Attired in all the majesty of art--
  Crown'd with the rich traditions of a soul
  That hates to have her dignity profan'd
  By any relish of an earthly thought."[4]

Who was it?--(I think Northcote the painter,) who said he had
seen a group of young ladies of rank, Lady Fannys and Lady Marys,
peeping through the half-open door of a room where Mrs. Siddons was
sitting, with the same timidity and curiosity as if it had been some
preternatural being,--much more than if it had been the queen: which
I can easily believe. I remember that the first time I found myself in
the same room with Mrs. Siddons, (I was then about twenty,) I gazed on
her as I should have gazed at one of the Egyptian pyramids--nay, with
a deeper awe, for what is material and physical immensity, compared
with moral and poetical grandeur? I was struck with a sensation which
made my heart pause, and rendered me dumb for some minutes; and when I
was led into conversation with her, my first words came faltering and
thick,--which never certainly would have been the case in presence of
the autocratrix of all the Russias. The greatest, the noblest in the
land approached her with a deference not unmingled with a shade of
embarrassment, while she stood in regal guise majestic, with the air of
one who bestowed and never received honour.[5] Nor was this feeling of
her power, which was derived, partly from her own peculiar dignity of
deportment, partly from her association with all that was grand,
poetical, terrible, confined to those who could appreciate the full
measure of her endowments. Every member of that public, whose idol she
was, from the greatest down to the meanest, felt it more or less. I knew
a poor woman who once went to the house of Mrs. Siddons to be paid by
her daughter for some embroidery. Mrs. Siddons happened to be in the
room, and the woman perceiving who it was, was so overpowered, that she
could not count her money, and scarcely dared to draw her breath. "And
when I went away, ma'am," added she, in describing her own sensations,
"I walked all the way down the street, feeling myself a great deal
taller." This was the same unconscious feeling of the sublime, which
made Bouchardon say that, after reading the Iliad, he fancied himself
seven feet high.

She modelled very beautifully, and in this talent, which was in a manner
intuitive, she displayed a creative as well as an imitative power.
Might we not say that in the peculiar character of her genius--in the
combination of the _very_ real with the _very_ ideal, of the demonstrative
and the visionary, of vastness and symmetry, of the massive material
and the grand unearthly forms into which it shaped itself--there was
something analogous to sculpture? At all events, it is the opinion of
many who knew her, that if she had not been a great actress she would
have devoted herself to sculpture. She was never so happy as when
occupied with her modelling tools; she would stand at her work eight
hours together, scarcely turning her head. Music she passionately loved:
in her younger days her voice in singing was exquisitely sweet and
flexible. She would sometimes compose verses, and sing them to an
extemporaneous air; but I believe she did not perform on any instrument.

To complete this sketch I shall add an outline of her professional life.

Mrs. Siddons was born in 1755. She might be said, almost without
metaphor, to have been "born on the stage." All the family, I believe,
for two or three generations, had been players. In her early life she
endured many vicissitudes, and was acquainted with misery and hardship
in many repulsive forms. On this subject she had none of the pride
of a little mind; but alluded to her former situation with perfect
simplicity. The description in Mrs. Inchbald's Memoirs of "Mrs. Siddons
singing and mending her children's clothes," is from the life, and
charming as well as touching, when we consider her peculiar character
and her subsequent destinies. She was in her twenty-first year when
she made her first attempt in London, (for it was but an attempt,) in
the character of Portia. She also appeared as Lady Anne in Richard
III. and in comedy as Mrs. Strickland to Garrick's Ranger. She was
not successful: Garrick is said to have been jealous of her rising
powers: the public did not discover in her the future tragic muse, and
for herself--"She felt that she was greater than she knew." She returned
to her provincial career; she spent seven years in patient study, in
reflection, in contemplation, and in mastering the practical part of her
profession; and then she returned at the age of twenty-eight, and burst
upon the world in the prime of her beauty and transcendent powers, with
all the attributes of confirmed and acknowledged excellence.

It appears that, in her first season, she did not play one of Shakspeare's
characters: she performed Isabella, Euphrasia, Jane Shore, Calista,
and Zara. In a visit she paid to Dr. Johnson, at the conclusion of the
season, she informed him that it was her intention, the following year,
to bring out some of Shakspeare's heroines, particularly Katherine of
Arragon, to which she _then_ gave the preference as a character. Dr.
Johnson agreed with her, and added that, when she played Katherine, he
would hobble to the theatre himself to see her; but he did not live to
pay her this tribute of admiration. He, however, paid her another not
less valuable: describing his visitor after her departure, he said, "she
left nothing behind her to be censured or despised; neither praise nor
money, those two powerful corrupters of mankind, seem to have depraved
her."[6] In this interview she seems to have pleased the old critic and
moralist, who was also a severe and acute judge of human nature, and not
inclined to judge favourably of actresses, by the union of modesty with
native dignity which at all times distinguished her;--a rare union! and
most delightful in those who are the objects of the public gaze, and
when the popular enthusiasm is still in all its first intoxicating

The first of Shakspeare's characters which Mrs. Siddons performed was
Isabella, in Measure for Measure, (1784,) and the next Constance. In the
same year Sir Joshua painted her as the tragic Muse.[7] With what a deep
interest shall we now visit this her true apotheosis,--now that it has
received its last consecration! The rest of Shakspeare's characters
followed in this order: Lady Macbeth in 1785, and, soon afterwards, as
if by way of contrast, Desdemona, Ophelia, Rosalind. In 1786 she played
Imogen; in 1788 Katherine of Arragon; and, in 1789, Volumnia; and in the
same season she played Juliet, being then in her thirty-fifth year,--too
old for Juliet; nor did this ever become one of her popular parts; she
left it to her niece to identify herself for ever with the poetry and
sensibility, the youthful grace and fervid passion of Shakspeare's
Juliet; and we have as little chance of ever seeing such another Juliet
as Fanny Kemble, as of ever seeing such another Lady Macbeth as her
magnificent aunt.

A good critic, who was also a great admirer of Mrs. Siddons, asserts
that there must be something in acting which levels all poetical
distinctions, since people talked in the same breath of her Lady Macbeth
and Mrs. Beverley as being equally "fine pieces of acting." I think he
is mistaken. No one--no one at least but the most vulgar part of her
audience--ever equalized these two characters, even as pieces of acting;
or imagined for a moment that the same degree of talent which sufficed
to represent Mrs. Beverley could have grasped the towering grandeur
of such a character as Lady Macbeth;--dived into its profound and
gloomy depths--seized and reflected its wonderful gradations--displayed
its magnificence--developed its beauties, and revealed its terrors:
no such thing. She might have drawn more tears in Isabella than in
Constance--thrown more young ladies into hysterics in Belvidera than in
Katherine of Arragon; but all with whom I have conversed on the subject
of Mrs. Siddons, are agreed in this;--that her finest characters, as
pieces of art, were those which afforded the fullest scope for her
powers, and contained in themselves the largest materials in poetry,
grandeur, and passion: consequently, that her Constance, Katherine of
Arragon, Volumnia, Hermione, and Lady Macbeth stood pre-eminent. In
playing Jane de Montfort, in Joanna Baillie's tragedy, her audience
almost lost the sense of impersonation in the feeling of identity.
She _was_ Jane de Montfort--the actress, the woman, the character,
blended into each other. It is a mistaken idea that she herself
preferred the part of Aspasia (in Rowe's Bajazet) to any of these grand
impersonations. She spoke of it as one in which she had produced the
most extraordinary effect on the _nerves_ of her audience; and this is
true. "I recollect," said a gentleman to me, "being present at one of
the last representations of Bajazet: and at the moment when the order is
given to strangle Moneses, while Aspasia stands immoveable in front of
the stage, I turned my head, unable to endure more, and to my amazement
I beheld the whole pit staring ghastly, with upward faces, dilated eyes,
and mouths wide open--gasping--fascinated. Nor shall I ever forget the
strange effect produced by that sea of human faces, all fixed in one
simultaneous expression of stony horror. It realized for a moment the
fabled power of the Medusa--it was terrible!"

Of all her great characters, Lord Byron, I believe, preferred Constance,
to which she gave the preference herself, and esteemed it the most
difficult and the most finished of all her impersonations; but the
general opinion stamps her Lady Macbeth as the grandest effort of her
art; and therefore, as she was the first in her art, as the _ne plus
ultra_ of acting. This at least was the opinion of one who admired her
with all the fervour of a kindred genius, and could lavish on her praise
of such "rich words composed as made the gift more sweet." Of her Lady
Macbeth, he says, "nothing could have been imagined grander,--it was
something above nature; it seemed almost as if a being of a superior
order had dropped from a higher sphere to awe the world with the majesty
of her appearance. Power was seated on her brow, passion emanated from
her breast as from a shrine. In coming on in the sleeping scene, her
eyes were open, but their sense was shut; she was like a person
bewildered: her lips moved involuntarily; all her gestures seemed
mechanical--she glided on and off the stage like an apparition. To have
seen her in that character was an event in every one's life never to be

By profound and incessant study she had brought her conception and
representation of this character to such a pitch of perfection that the
imagination could conceive of nothing more magnificent or more finished;
and yet she has been heard to say, after playing it for thirty years,
that she never read over the part without discovering in it something
new; nor ever went on the stage to perform it, without spending the
whole morning in studying and meditating it, line by line, as intently
as if she were about to act it for the first time. In this character
she bid farewell to her profession and the public, (June 29th, 1812.)
The audience, on this occasion, paid her a singular and touching tribute
of respect. On her going off in the sleeping scene, they commanded the
curtain to fall, and would not suffer the play to proceed.[8]

The idea that Mrs. Siddons was quite unmoved by the emotions she
portrayed--the sorrows and the passions she embodied with such inimitable
skill and truth, is altogether false. Fine acting may accidentally be
mere impulse; it never can be wholly mechanical. To a late period of her
life she continued to be strongly, sometimes painfully, excited by her
own acting; the part of Constance always affected her powerfully--she
invariably left the stage, her face streaming with tears; and after
playing Lady Macbeth, she could not sleep: even after reading the play
of Macbeth a feverish, wakeful night was generally the consequence.

I am not old enough to remember Mrs. Siddons in her best days; but,
judging from my own recollections, I should say that, to hear her _read_
one of Shakspeare's plays, was a higher, a more complete gratification,
and a more astonishing display of her powers than her performance of any
single character. On the stage she was the perfect actress; when she was
reading Shakspeare, her profound enthusiastic admiration of the poet,
and deep insight into his most hidden beauties, made her almost a poetess,
or at least, like a priestess, full of the god of her idolatry. Her
whole soul looked out from her regal brow and effulgent eyes; and then
her countenance!--the inconceivable flexibility and musical intonations
of her voice! there was no got-up illusion here: no scenes--no trickery
of the stage; there needed no sceptred pall--no sweeping train, nor any
of the gorgeous accompaniments of tragedy:--SHE was Tragedy! When in
reading Macbeth she said, "give me the daggers!" they gleamed before our
eyes. The witch scenes in the same play she rendered awfully terrific
by the magic of looks and tones; she invested the weird sisters with
all their own infernal fascinations; they were the serious, poetical,
tragical personages which the poet intended them to be, and the wild
grotesque horror of their enchantments made the blood curdle. When,
in King John, she came to the passage beginning--

          "If the midnight bell,
  Did with his iron tongue and brazen note," &c.

I remember I felt every drop of blood pause, and then run backwards
through my veins with an overpowering awe and horror. No scenic
representation I ever witnessed produced the hundredth part of the
effect of her reading Hamlet. This tragedy was the triumph of her art.
Hamlet and his mother, Polonius, Ophelia, were all there before us.
Those who ever heard her give Ophelia's reply to Hamlet,

    _Hamlet._ I loved you not.

    _Ophelia._ I was the more deceived!

and the lines--

  And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
  That suck'd the honey of his music vows, &c.

will never forget their exquisite pathos. What a revelation of love and
woe was there!--the very heart seemed to break upon the utterance.

Lear was another of her grandest efforts; but her rare talent was not
confined to tragedy; none could exceed her in the power to conceive and
render witty and humorous character. I thought I had never understood
or felt the comic force of such parts as Polonius, Lucio, Gratiano, and
Shakspeare's clowns, till I heard the dialogue from her lips: and to
hear her read the Merchant of Venice and As You Like It, was hardly a
less perfect treat than to hear her read Macbeth.

The following short extract from a letter of Mrs. Joanna Baillie, dated
about a year before the death of Mrs. Siddons will, I am persuaded, be
read with a double interest, for _her_ sake who penned it, not less than
hers who is the subject of it.

"The most agreeable thing I have to begin with, is a visit we paid last
week to Mrs. Siddons. We had met her at dinner at Mr. Rogers's a few
days before, and she kindly asked us, our host and his sister, the
Thursday following; an invitation which we gladly accepted, though we
expected to see much decay in her powers of expression, and consequently
to have our pleasure mingled with pain. Judge then of our delight
when we heard her read the best scenes of Hamlet, with expression of
countenance, voice, and action, that would have done honour to her
best days! She was before us as an unconquerable creature, over whose
astonishing gifts of nature time had no power.[9] She complained of her
voice, which she said was not obedient to her will; but it appeared to
my ear to be peculiarly true to nature, and the more so, because it had
lost that deep solemnity of tone which she, perhaps, had considered as
an excellence. I thought I could trace in the pity and tenderness, mixed
with her awe of the ghost, the natural feelings of one who had lost dear
friends, and expected to go to them soon; and her reading of that scene,
(the noblest which dramatic art ever achieved,) went to my heart as
it had never done before. At the end, Mr. Rogers very justly said,
'Oh, that we could have assembled a company of young people to witness
this, that they might have conveyed the memory of it down to another
generation!' In short, we left her full of admiration, as well as of
gratitude, that she had made such an exertion to gratify so small an
audience; for, exclusive of her own family, we were but five."

She continued to exercise her power of reading and reciting long after
the date of this letter, even till within a few days of her death,
although her health had long been in a declining state.[10] She died at
length on the 8th of June, 1831, after a few hours of acute suffering,
having lived nearly seventy-six years, of which forty-six were spent in
the constant presence and service of the public. She was an honour to
her profession, which was more honoured and honourable in her person and
family than it ever was before, or will be hereafter, till the stage
becomes something very different from what it now is.

And, since it has pleased some writers, (who apparently knew as little
of her real situation as of her real character,) to lament over the
misfortune of this celebrated woman, in having survived all her
children, &c. &c. it may be interesting to add that, a short time before
her death, she was seated in a room in her own house, when about thirty
of her young relatives, children, grand-children, nephews and nieces,
were assembled, and looked on while they were dancing, with great and
evident pleasure: and that her surviving daughter, Cecilia Siddons,[11]
who had been, for many years, the inseparable friend and companion of
her mother, attended upon her with truly filial devotion and reverence
to the last moment of existence. Her admirers may, therefore, console
themselves with the idea that in "love, obedience, troops of friends,"
as well as affluence and fame, she had "all that should accompany old
age." She died full of years and honours; having enjoyed, in her long
life, as much glory and prosperity as any mortal could expect: having
imparted more intense and general pleasure than ever mortal did; and
having paid the tribute of mortality in such suffering and sorrow as
wait on the widowed wife and the bereaved mother. If with such rare
natural gifts were blended some human infirmities;--if the cultivation
of the imaginative far above the perceptive faculties, hazarded
her individual happiness;--if in the course of a professional career
of unexampled continuance and splendour, the love of praise ever
degenerated into the appetite for applause;--if the worshipped actress
languished out of her atmosphere of incense,--is this to be made matter
of wonder or of ill-natured comment? Did ever any human being escape
more _intacte_ in person and mind from the fiery furnace of popular
admiration? Let us remember the severity of the ordeal to which she was
exposed; the hard lot of those who pass their lives in the full-noon
glare of public observation, where every speck is noted! What a
difference too, between the aspiration after immortality and the pursuit
of celebrity!--The noise of distant and future fame is like the sound of
the far-off sea, and the mingled roll of its multitudinous waves, which,
as it swells on the ear, elevates the soul with a sublime emotion; but
present and loud applause, flung continually in one's face, is like the
noisy dash of the surf upon the rock,--and it requires the firmness of
the rock to bear it.



  "Non piace a lei che innumerabil turba
  Viva in atto di fuor, morta di dentro,
  Le applauda a caso, e mano a man percuota;
  Ne si rallegra se le rozzi voci
  Volgano a lei quelle induiti lodi--
  --Ma la possanza del divino iugegno
  Vita di dentro."

  _Gasparo Gozzi--Sermone xiv._

It would be doing an injustice to the author of these sketches, and
something worse than injustice to her who is the subject of them,
should more be expected than the pencil could possibly convey, and
more required than the artist ever intended to execute. Their merit
consists in their fidelity, as far as they go; their interest in
conveying a lively and distinct idea of some immediate and transient
effects of grace and expression. They do not assume to be portraits of
Miss Kemble; they are merely a series of rapid outlines, caught from
her action, and exhibiting, at the first glance, just so much of the
individual and peculiar character she has thrown into her impersonation
of Juliet, as at once to be recognised by those who have seen her. To
them alone these isolated passages--linked together in the imagination
by all the intervening graces of attitude and sentiment, by the
recollection of a countenance where the kindled soul looks out through
every feature, and of a voice whose tones tremble into one's very
heart--will give some faint reflection of the effect produced by the
whole of this beautiful piece of acting,--or rather of nature, for here
"each seems either." It will be allowed, even by the most enthusiastic
lover of painting, that the merely imitative arts can do but feeble
justice to the powers of a fine actress; for what graphic skill can fix
the evanescent shades of feeling as they melt one into another?--

  "What fine chisel could ever yet cut breath?"

--and yet even those who have not witnessed and may never witness Miss
Kemble's performance, to whom her name alone can be borne through long
intervals of space and time, will not regard these little sketches
without curiosity and interest. If any one had thought of transferring
to paper a connected series of some of the awe-commanding gestures of
Mrs. Siddons in one of her great parts; or caught (flying) some of the
inimitable graces of movement and attitude, and sparkling effects of
manner, with which Mrs. Charles Kemble once enchanted the world, with
what avidity would they now be sought!--they would have served as
studies for their successors in art to the end of time.

All the fine arts, poetry excepted, possess a limited range of power.
Painting and sculpture can convey none of the graces that belong to
movement and sound: music can suggest vague sentiments and feelings, but
it cannot express incident, or situation, or form, or colour. Poetry
alone grasps an unlimited sceptre, rules over the whole visible and
intellectual universe, and knows no bounds but those of human genius.
And it is here that tragic acting, considered in its perfection, and in
its relation to the fine arts, is allied to poetry, or rather is itself
living, breathing poetry; made sensible in a degree to the hardest and
dullest minds, seizing on the dormant sympathies of our nature, and
dismissing us again to the cares of this "working-day world," if not
very much wiser, or better, or happier, at least enabled to digest with
less bitterness the mixture of our good and evil days.

But in the midst of the just enthusiasm which a great actor or actress
excites, so long as they exist to minister to our delight;--in the midst
of that atmosphere of light and life they shed around them, it is a
common subject of repining that such glory should be so transient; that
an art requiring in its perfection such a rare combination of mental
and external qualities, can leave behind no permanent monument of its
own excellence, but must depend on the other fine arts for all it can
claim of immortality: that Garrick, for instance, has become a name--no
more--his fame the echo of an echo! that Mrs. Siddons herself has
bequeathed to posterity only a pictured semblance;--that when the voice
of Pasta is heard no longer upon earth, the utmost pomp of words can
only attest her powers! The painter and the poet, struggling through
obscurity to the heights of fame, and consuming a life in the pursuit of
(perhaps) posthumous celebrity, may say to the sublime actress,--"Thou
in thy generation hast had thy meed; we have waited patiently for
ours: thou art vanished like a lost star from the firmament, into the
'uncomfortable night of nothing'; we have left the light of our souls
behind us, and survive to 'blessings and eternal praise!'" And why
should it _not_ be so? Were it otherwise, the even-handed distribution
of the best gifts of Heaven among favoured mortals might with reason be
impugned. Shall the young spirit "dampt by the necessity of oblivion"
disdain what is attainable because it cannot grasp all? Conceive for a
moment the situation of a woman, in the prime and bloom of existence,
with all her youthful enthusiasm, her unworn feelings fresh about her,
privileged to step forth for a short space out of the bounds of common
life, without o'erstepping the modesty of her feminine nature, permitted
to cast off for a while, unreproved and unrestrained, the conventional
trammels of form and manner; and called upon to realise in her own
presence and person the divinest dreams of poetry and romance; to send
forth in a word--a glance,--the electric flash which is felt through a
thousand bosoms at once, till every heart beats the same measure with
her own! Is there nothing in all this to countervail the dangers, the
evils, and the vicissitudes attendant on this splendid and public exercise
of talent? It may possibly become, in time, a thing of habitude; it
_may_ be degraded into a mere _besoin de l'amour propre_--a necessary,
yet palling excitement: but in its outset it is surely a triumph far
beyond the mere intoxication of personal vanity; and to the very last,
it must be deemed a magnificent and an enviable power.

It was difficult to select for graphic delineation any particular points
from Miss Kemble's representation of Juliet. These drawings may not,
perhaps, justify the enthusiasm she excited: but it ought to add to
their value rather than detract from it, that the causes of their
imperfection comprehend the very foundation on which the present and
future celebrity of this young actress may be said to rest. In the first
place, the power by which she seized at once on public admiration and
sympathy, was not derived from any thing external. It was not founded in
the splendour of her hereditary pretensions, though in them there was
much to fascinate: nor in the departed or fading glories of her race:
nor in the remembrance of her mother--once the young Euphrosyne of our
stage: nor in the name and high talent of her father, with whom, it was
_once_ feared the poetical and classical school of acting was destined
to perish from the scene: nor in any mere personal advantages, for in
these she has been excelled,--

  "Though on her eyelids many graces sit
  Under the shadow of those even brows:"

nor in her extreme youth, and delicacy of figure, which tell so
beautifully in the character of Juliet: nor in the acclaim of public

                        "To have all eyes
  Dazzled with admiration, and all tongues
  Shouting loud praises; to rob every heart
  Of love--
  This glory round about her hath thrown beams."

But _such_ glory has circled other brows ere now, and left them again
"shorn of their beams." No! her success was founded on a power superior
to all these--in the power of genius superadded to that moral interest
which claimed irresistibly the best sympathies of her audience. The
peculiar circumstances and feelings which brought Miss Kemble before the
public, contrary (as it is understood) to all the previous wishes and
intentions of her parents, were such as would have justified less
decided talent,--honourable to herself and to her family. The feeling
entertained towards her on this score was really delightful; it was
a species of homage, which, like the quality of mercy, was "twice
blessed;" blessing those who gave and her who received. It produced a
feeling between herself and the public, which mere admiration on the
one hand, and gratified vanity on the other, could not have excited. She
strongly felt this, and no change, no reverse, diminished her feeling of
the kindness with which she had once been received; but her own fervid
genius and sensibility did as much for her. She was herself a poetess;
her mind claimed a natural affinity with all that is feeling, passionate,
and imaginative; not her voice only, but her soul and ear were attuned
to the harmony of verse; and hence she gave forth the poetry of such
parts as Juliet and Portia with an intense and familiar power, as though
every line and sentiment in Shakspeare had been early transplanted into
her heart,--had long been brooded over in silence,--watered with her
tears,--to burst forth at last, like the spontaneous and native growth
of her own soul. An excellent critic of our own day has said, that
"poetical enthusiasm is the rarest faculty among players:" if so, it
cannot be too highly valued. Fanny Kemble possessed this rare faculty;
and in it, a power that could not be taught, or analysed, or feigned, or
put on and off with her tragic drapery;--it pervaded all she was called
upon to do. It was _this_ which in the Grecian Daughter made her look
and step so like a young Muse; which enabled her, by a single glance--a
tone--a gesture--to elevate the character far above the language--and
exalt the most common-place declamation into power and passion. The
indisputable fact, that she appeared on the stage without any previous
study or tuition, ought in justice to her to be generally known;
it is most certain that she was not nineteen when she made her first
appearance, and that six weeks before her debût there was no more
thought of her becoming an actress, than of her becoming an empress.
The assertion must appear superfluous to those who have seen her;
for what teaching, or what artificial aids, could endue her with the
advantages just described?--"unless _Philosophy_ could make a Juliet!"
or what power of pencil, though it were dipped in the rainbow and
tempered in the sunbeams, could convey this bright intelligence, or
justify the enthusiasm with which it is hailed by her audience? There
is a second difficulty which the artist has had to contend with, not
less honourable to the actress: the charm of her impersonation of Juliet
consisted not so much in any particular points, as in the general
conception of the whole part, and in the sustained preservation and
gradual development of the individual character, from the first scene to
the last. Where the merit lies in the beautiful gradations of feeling,
succeeding each other like waves of the sea, till the flood of passion
swells and towers and sweeps away all perceptible distinctions, the
pencil must necessarily be at fault; for as Madame de Staël says truly,
"_l'inexprimable est précisement ce qu'un grand acteur nous fait

The first drawing is taken from the scene in which Juliet first appears.
The actress has little to do, but to look the character;--that is, to
convey the impression of a gentle, graceful girl, whose passions and
energies lie folded up within her, like gathered lightning in the summer
cloud; all her affections "soft as dews on roses," which must ere long
turn to the fire-shower, and blast her to the earth. The moment chosen
is immediately after Juliet's expostulation to her garrulous old
nurse--"I pr'ythee, peace!"

The second, third, and fourth sketches are all from the masquerade
scene. The manner in which Juliet receives the parting salutations of
the guests has been justly admired;--nothing is denied to genius and
taste, aided by natural grace, else it might have been thought impossible
to throw so much meaning and sentiment into so common an action. The
first curtsey is to Benvolio. The second, to Mercutio, is distinctly
marked, as though in him she recognised the chosen friend of Romeo. In
the third, to Romeo himself, the bashful sinking of the whole figure,
the conscious drooping of the eyelids, and the hurried, yet graceful
recovery of herself as she exclaims--

  "Who's he that follows there that would not dance?
  Go ask his name!"

which is the subject of the third sketch; and lastly, the tone in which
she gave the succeeding lines--

                     "If he be married,
  My grave is like to be my wedding-bed!"

which seems, in its deep quiet pathos, to anticipate "some consequence
yet hanging in the stars,"--form one unbroken series of the most
beautiful and heart-felt touches of nature. The fourth sketch is from
the conclusion of the same scene, where Juliet, with reluctant steps and
many a lingering look back on the portal through which her lover has
departed, follows her nurse out of the banquet-room.

The two next drawings are from the balcony scene, which has usually been
considered the criterion of the talent of an actress in this part. The
first represents the action which accompanied the line--

  "By whose direction found'st thou out this place?"

The second is the first "Good night!"

                     "Sweet, good night!
  This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
  May prove a beauteous flower, when next we meet."

Fanny Kemble's conception of character and sentiment in this scene was
peculiarly and entirely her own. Juliet, as she properly felt, is a
young impassioned Italian girl, who has flung her heart, and soul, and
existence upon one cast.

                            "She was not made
  Thro' years or moons the inner weight to bear,
  Which colder hearts endure till they are laid
  By age in earth."

In this view, the pretty coyness, the playful _coquetterie_, which
has sometimes been thrown into the balcony scene, by way of making an
effect, is out of place, and false to the poetry and feeling of the
part: but in Fanny Kemble's delineation, the earnest, yet bashful
tenderness; the timid, yet growing confidence; the gradual swelling
of emotion from the depths of the heart, up to that fine burst of
enthusiastic passion--

                   "Swear by thy gracious self,
  That art the god of my idolatry,
  And I'll believe thee!"

were all as true to the situation and sentiment, as they were beautifully
and delicately conveyed. The whole of the speech, "Thou know'st the mask
of night is on my face," was in truth "like softest music to attending
ears," from the exquisite and various modulation of voice with which it
was uttered. Perhaps one of the most beautiful and entirely original
points in the whole scene, was the accent and gesture with which she
gave the lines--

                      "Romeo, doff thy name;
  And for that name, which is no part of thee,
  Take--all myself!"

The grace and _abandon_ in the manner, and the softness of accent, which
imparted a new and charming effect to this passage, cannot be expressed
in words; and it was so delicately touched, and so transitory,--so
dependent, like a beautiful chord in music, on that which prepared and
followed it, that it was found impossible to seize and fix it in a

From the first scene with the nurse, two drawings have been made. The
idea of Juliet discovered as the curtain rises, gazing from the window,
and watching for the return of her confidante, is perfectly new. The
attitude (or more properly, one of her attitudes, for they are various
as they are graceful and appropriate) is given in the seventh sketch,
and the artist has conveyed it with peculiar grace and truth. The action
chosen for the eighth drawing occurs immediately after Juliet's little
moment of petulance, (so justly provoked,) and before she utters in a
caressing tone, "Come, what says Romeo?" The first speech in this scene,

  "O, she is lame! love's heralds should be thoughts,
  Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams,
  Driving back shadows over low'ring hills:
  Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw love,

  And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid--wings."

--and the soliloquy in the second scene of the third act, "Gallop apace,
ye fiery-footed steeds!" in which there is no particular point of
dramatic effect to be made, are instances of that innate sense of
poetical harmony, which enabled her to impart the most exquisite
pleasure, merely by her feeling, graceful, animated delivery of these
beautiful lines. The most musical intonation of voice, the happiest
emphasis, and the utmost refinement, as well as the most expressive
grace of action, were here combined to carry passion and poetry at once
and vividly to the heart: but this perfect triumph of illusion is more
than painting could convey.

The ninth and tenth sketches are from the second scene with the nurse,
called in theatrical phrase "the Banishment Scene." One of the grandest
and most impressive passages in the whole performance was Juliet's reply
to her nurse.

    "_Nurse._      Shame come to Romeo!

    _Juliet._    Blister'd be thy tongue,
    For such a wish! he was not born to shame:
    Upon his brow shame is asham'd to sit;
    For 'tis a throne where honour may be crown'd
    Sole monarch of the universal earth."

The loftiness of look and gesture with which she pronounced the last
line, cannot be forgotten: but the effect consisted so much in the
action of the arm, as she stepped across the stage, and in the kindling
eye and brow, rather than in the attitude only, that it could not well
be conveyed in a drawing. The first point selected is from the passage,
"O break, my heart!--poor bankrupt, break at once!" in which the gesture
is full of expressive and pathetic grace. The tenth drawing represents
the action which accompanied her exclamation, "Tybalt is dead--and
Romeo--banished!" The tone of piercing anguish in which she pronounced
the last word, _banished_, and then threw herself into the arms of her
nurse, in all the helplessness of utter desolation, formed one of the
finest passages in her performance.

The scene in which the lovers part, called the Garden Scene, follows;
and the passage selected is--

  "Art thou gone so? my love, my lord, my friend?
  I must hear from thee every day i' the hour!"

The subdued and tremulous intonation with which all the speeches in
this scene were given, as though the voice were broken and exhausted
with excessive weeping; and the manner in which she still, though half
insensible in her nurse's arms, signed a last farewell to her husband,
were among the most delicate and original beauties of the character.

The two next drawings are from the fifth scene of the third act. The
latter part of this scene contained many new and beautiful touches of
feeling which originated with Miss Kemble herself. It is here that the
real character of Juliet is first developed;--it is here that, abandoned
by the whole world, and left to struggle alone with her fearful destiny,
the high-souled and devoted woman takes place of the tender, trembling
girl. The confiding, helpless anguish with which she at first throws
herself upon her nurse--("Some comfort, nurse!")--the gradual relaxing
of her embrace, as the old woman counsels her to forget Romeo and marry
Paris--the tone in which she utters the question--

        "Speakest thou from thy heart?

  _Nurse._ From my soul too,
  Or else beshrew them both!"

And then the gathering up of herself with all the majesty of offended
virtue, as she pronounces that grand "Amen!"--the effect of which was
felt in every bosom----these were _revelations_ of beauty and feeling
which we owed to Fanny Kemble alone. They were points which had never
before been felt or conveyed in the same manner. The shrinking up wholly
into herself, and the concentrated scorn with which she uttered the

                         "Go, counsellor!
  Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain!"

are very spiritedly given in the fourteenth drawing.

From the scene with the friar, in the fourth act, the action selected
is where she grasps her poniard with the resolution of despair--

    "Give me some present counsel; or, behold,
  'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
  Shall play the umpire!"

One of the most original effects of feeling and genius in the whole play
occurred in the course of this scene; but, unfortunately, it was not
found susceptible of graphic delineation. It was the peculiar manner
with which she uttered the words--

  "Are you at leisure, holy father, now?
  Or shall I come to you at evening mass?"

The question in itself is nothing; but what a volume of misery and
dread suspense was in that look with which she turned from Paris to the
friar, and the tone with which she uttered those simple words! This was
beyond the pencil's art to convey, and could but be felt and remembered.
The next drawing is therefore from the scene in which she drinks the
sleeping potion. The idea of speaking the first part of the soliloquy
seated, and with the calmness of one settled and bent up "to act a
dismal scene alone," until her fixed meditation on the fearful issue,
and the horrible images crowding on her mind, work her up to gradual
frenzy, was new, and originated with Miss Kemble. The attitude expressed
in the drawing--"O look, methinks I see my cousin's ghost,"--was always
hailed with an excess of enthusiasm of which I thought many parts of her
performance far more deserving.

The eighteenth sketch is from the sleeping scene; and the last two
drawings are from the tomb scene. The merits of this last scene were
chiefly those of attitude, look, and manner; and the whole were at
once so graceful and beautiful, as well as terribly impressive, that
they afforded some relief from the horrors of the situation, and the
ravings of Romeo. The alteration of Shakspeare, in the last act, is
certainly founded on the historical tale of the Giulietta: but though the
circumstances are borrowed, yet the spirit in which they are related by
the ancient novelist, has not been taken into consideration by those who
manufactured this additional scene of superfluous horror.[13] In Juliet's
death, Miss Kemble seized an original idea, and worked it up with the
most powerful and beautiful effect; but this effect consisted not so
much in one attitude or look, as in a progressive series of action and
expression, so true--so painfully true, that as one of the chief beauties
was the rapidity with which the whole passed from the fascinated yet
aching sight--the artist has relinquished any attempt to fix it on

       *       *       *       *       *

Fanny Kemble made her first appearance in the character of Juliet,
October 6th, 1829, and bid a last farewell to her London audience
in May, 1832: during these three years she played through a very
diversified range of parts, both in tragedy and high comedy.[14]
Sustained by her native genius and good taste, and by the kindly feeling
of her audience, she could not be said to have failed in any, not even
in those which her inexperience and extreme youth rendered _premature_,
to say the least. She never--except in one or two instances[15]--had a
voice in the selection of her parts, which, I think, was in some cases
exceedingly injudicious, as far as her individual powers were concerned.
I know that she played in several contrary to her own opinion, taste,
and judgment, and from a principle of duty. Not _duty_ only, but a
feeling of delicacy, natural to a generous mind, which disdained the
appearance of presuming on her real power, rendered her docile, in some
instances, to a degree which I regretted while I loved her for it. She
had a perception of some of the traditional absurdities of dress, and
ridiculous technical anomalies of theatrical arrangements, which she had
not power to alter, and which I have seen her endure with wondrous good
temper. Had she remained on the stage, her fine taste and original and
powerful mind would have carried the public with her in some things
which she contemplated: for instance, she had an idea of restoring
King Lear, as originally written by Shakspeare, and playing the _real_
Cordelia to her father's Lear. When left to her own judgment, she ever
thought more of what was worthy and beautiful in itself, than she
calculated on the amount of vulgar applause it might attract, or the
sums it might bring to the treasury. Thus, for her first benefit she
played Portia, a character which no vain, self-confident actress would
have selected for such an occasion, because, as the play is now
performed, the part is comparatively short, is always considered of
secondary importance, and affords but few effective points: this was
represented to her; but she persisted in her choice: and how she played
it out of her own heart and soul! how she revelled in the poetry of
the part, with a conscious sense and enjoyment of its beauty, which
was communicated to her audience! Self, after the first tremor, was
forgotten, and vanity lost in her glowing perception of the charm of the
character. She lamented over every beautiful line and passage which had
been "_cut out_" by profane hands.[16] To those which remained, the rich
and mellow tones of her voice gave added power, blending with the music
of the verse. It was by her own earnest wish that she played Camiola,
in Massinger's Maid of Honour, and this was certainly one of her most
exquisite and most finished parts; but the quiet elegance, the perfect
delicacy of the delineation were never appreciated. She was aware of
this: she said, "The first rows of the pit, and the first few boxes will
understand me; for the rest of that great theatre, I ought to play as
they paint the scenes--in great splashes of black and white." Bianca, in
Millman's Fazio, was another of her finest parts, and as it contained
more stage effect, it told more with the public. In this character she
certainly took even her greatest admirers by surprise. The expression
of slumbering passion, and its gradual developement, were so fervently
portrayed, and yet so nicely shaded; the frenzy of jealousy, and the
alienation of intellect, so admirably discriminated, and so powerfully
given, that when the first emotions had subsided, not admiration only,
but wonder seized upon her audience: nor shall I easily forget the
pale composure with which she bore this--one of her most intoxicating

In Constance, in Queen Katherine, in Lady Macbeth, the want of amplitude
and maturity of person, of physical weight and power, and a deficiency
both of experience and self-confidence, were against her; but her
conception of character was so _true_, and her personal resemblance to
her aunt so striking, in spite of her comparatively diminutive features
and figure, that one of the best and severest of our dramatic critics
said, "it was like looking at Mrs. Siddons through the wrong end of
an opera-glass."[17] She had conceived the idea of giving quite a new
reading, which undoubtedly would have been the _true_ reading, of the
character of Katherine of Arragon, and instead of playing it with the
splendid poetical colouring in which Mrs. Siddons had arrayed it, bring
it down to the prosaic delineation which Shakspeare really gave, and
history and Holbein have transmitted to us; but the experiment was
deemed too hazardous; and it was so. The public at large would never
have understood it. The character of the queen mother, in her own
tragedy of Francis I., was another part of which the weight seemed
to overwhelm her youthful powers, and after the first few nights she
ceased to play it.

While on the English stage, she never became so far the finished artist
as to be independent of her own emotions, her own individual sentiments.
It was not only necessary that she should understand a character, it was
necessary that she should _feel_ it. She invariably excelled in those
characters in which her sympathies were awakened. In Juliet, in Portia,
in Camiola, in Julia,[18] (perhaps the most _popular_ of all her parts,)
and I believe I may add, in Bianca, she will not soon or easily be
surpassed. For the same reason, if she could be said to have failed in
any part, it was in that of Calista, which she abhorred, and never, I
believe, could comprehend. Isabella[19] was another part which I think
she never really felt; she never could throw her powers into it. The
bald style and the prosaic monotonous misery of the first acts, in which
her aunt called forth such torrents of tears, wearied her; though the
tragic of the situations in the last act roused her, and was given most
effectively. She had not, at the time she took leave of us, conquered
the mechanical part of her profession--the last, but not the least
necessary department of her art, which it had taken her aunt Siddons
seven years, and Pasta almost as long, to achieve; she was too much
under the influence of her own nerves and moods of feeling; the warm
blushes, the hot tears, the sob, the tremor, were at times too real.
After playing in Mrs. Beverly, Bianca, and Julia, the physical suffering
and excitement were sometimes most painful; and the performance of
Constance actually deprived her of her hearing for several hours, and
rendered her own voice inaudible to her; this, it will be allowed, was
paying somewhat dear for her laurels, even though she had valued them
more than in truth she ever did.

Fanny Kemble, as one of a gifted race, "the latest born of all
Olympus' faded hierarchy," had really a just pride in the professional
distinction of her family. She was proud of being a Kemble, and not
insensible to the idea of treading in the steps of her aunt. But she had
seen the stage desecrated, and never for a moment indulged the thought
that she was destined to regenerate it. She felt truly her own position.
Her ambition was not professional. She had always the consciousness of
a power--of which she has already given evidence--to ensure to herself
a higher, a more real immortality than that which the stage can bestow.
She had a very high idea, abstractedly, of the capabilities of her
art; but the native elegance of her mind, her poetical temperament, her
profound sense of the _serious ideal_, rendered her extremely, and at
times painfully sensitive, to the prosaic drawbacks which attended its
exercise in public, and her strong understanding showed her its possible
evils. She feared for the effect that incessant praise, incessant
excitement, might at length produce on her temper. "I am in dismay,"
said she, (I give her _own_ words,) "when I think that all this may
become necessary to me. Could I be sure of retaining my love for higher
and better occupations, and my desire for a nobler, though more distant
fame, I should not have these apprehensions; but I am cut off by constant
labour from those pursuits which I love and honour, and neither they,
nor any of our capabilities, can outlive long neglect and disuse." Thus
she felt, and thus she expressed herself at the age of twenty, and even
while enjoying her success with a true girlish buoyancy of spirit,
the more delightful, the more interesting, inasmuch as it seemed to
tremble at itself. I have actually heard her reproached for not being
_sufficiently_ elated and excited by the public homage; but, the truth
is, she was grateful for praise, rather than intoxicated by it--more
pleased with her success than proud of it.[20] "I dare not," said she,
"feel all I _could_ feel: I must watch myself." And by a more exact
attention to her religious duties, and by giving as much time as
possible to the cultivation of many resources and accomplishments, she
endeavoured to preserve the command over her own faculties, and the even
balance of her mind. I am persuaded that this lofty tone of feeling,
this mixture of self-subjection and self-respect, gave to her general
deportment on the stage that indescribable charm, quite apart from any
grace of person or action, which all who have seen her must have felt,
and none can have forgotten.

And now, what shall I say more? If I dared to violate the sacredness
of private intercourse, I could indeed say much--_much_ more. That she
came forward and devoted herself for her family in times of trial and
trouble--that twice she saved them from ruin--that she has achieved two
fortunes, besides a brilliant fame, and by her talents won independence
for herself and those she loved,--and that she has done all this
before the age of five-and-twenty, is known to many; but few are aware
how much more admirable, more respectable, than any of her mental
gifts and her well-earned distinction, were the moral strength with
which she sustained the severest ordeal to which a youthful character
could be exposed; the simplicity with which she endured--half
recoiling--the incessant adulation which beset her from morn to
night;[21] her self-command in success; her gentle dignity in reverse; her
straightforward integrity, which knew no turning nor shadow of turning;
her noble spirit, which disdained all petty rivalry; her earnest sense
of religion, "to which alone she trusted to keep her right."[22] Suddenly
she became the idol of the public; suddenly she was transplanted into a
sphere of society, where, as long as she could administer excitement to
fashionable inanity, she was worshipped. She carried into those circles
all the freshness of her vigorous and poetical mind--all the unworn
feelings of her young heart. So much genuine simplicity, such perfect
innocence and modesty, allied to such rare powers, and to an habitual
familiarity with the language of poetry and the delineation of passion,
was not _there_ understood, or rather, was _mis_-understood--and no
wonder! To the _blasé_ men, the vapid girls, and artificial women, who
then surrounded her, her generous feelings, "when the bright soul broke
forth on every side," appeared mere acting; they were indeed constrained
to believe it such; for if for a moment they had deemed it all real,
it must have forced on them comparisons by no means favourable to
themselves. If, under these circumstances, her quick sensibility to
pleasurable emotion of all kinds, and her ready sympathy with all the
_external_ refinement, splendour, and luxury of aristocratic life,
conspired for a moment to dazzle her imagination, she recovered herself
immediately, and from first to last, her warm and strong affections, the
moral texture of her character; the refinement, which was as native to
her mind, "as fragrance to the rose," remained unimpaired. These--a rich
dower--she is about to carry into the shades of domestic life. Another
land will be her future home. By another name shall fame speak of her,
who was endeared to us as FANNY KEMBLE: and _she_, who with no steady
hand pens this slight tribute to the virtues she loved, bids to that


  And give you, mix'd with western sentimentalism,
  Some samples of the finest orientalism.

                                       LORD BYRON.

Akbar, the most enlightened and renowned among the sovereigns of the
East, reigned over all those vast territories, which extend from the
Indus to the Ganges, and from the snowy mountains of the north to the
kingdoms of Guzerat and Candeish on the south. After having subdued the
factious omrahs, and the hereditary enemies of his family, and made
tributary to his power most of the neighbouring kingdoms, there occurred
a short period of profound peace. Assisted by able ministers, Akbar
employed this interval in alleviating the miseries, which half a century
of war and ravage had called down upon this beautiful but ever wretched
country. Commerce was relieved from the heavy imposts, which had
hitherto clogged its progress; the revenues of the empire were improved
and regulated; by a particular decree, the cultivators of the earth were
exempted from serving in the imperial armies; and justice was every
where impartially administered; tempered, however, with that extreme
clemency, which in the early part of his reign, Akbar carried to an
excess almost injurious to his interests. India, so long exposed to the
desolating inroads of invaders, and torn by internal factions, began, at
length, to "wear her plumed and jewelled turban with a smile of peace;"
and all the various nations united under his sway--the warlike Afghans,
the proud Moguls, the gentle-spirited Hindoos, with one voice blessed
the wise and humane government of the son of Baber, and unanimously
bestowed upon him the titles of AKBAR, or the GREAT, and JUGGUT GROW,

Meantime the happiness, which he had diffused among millions, seemed to
have fled from the bosom of the sovereign. Cares far different from
those of war, deeper than those of love, (for the love of eastern monarchs
is seldom shadowed by anxiety,) possessed his thoughtful soul. He had
been brought up in the strictest forms of the Mohammedan religion, and
he meditated upon the text, which enjoins the extermination of all who
rejected his prophet, till his conscience became like a troubled lake.
He reflected that in his vast dominions there were at least fifteen
different religions, which were subdivided into about three hundred
and fifty sects: to extirpate thousands and tens of thousands of his
unoffending subjects, and pile up pyramids of human heads in honour of
God and his prophet, as his predecessors had done before him, was, to
his mild nature, not only abhorrent, but impossible. Yet as his power
had never met with any obstacle, which force or address had not subdued
before him, the idea of bringing this vast multitude to agree in one
system of belief and worship appeared to him not utterly hopeless.

He consulted, after long reflection, his favourite and secretary, Abul
Fazil, the celebrated historian, of whom it was proverbially said, that
"the monarchs of the East feared more the pen of Abul Fazil than the
sword of Akbar." The acute mind of that great man saw instantly the wild
impracticability of such a scheme; but willing to prove it to his master
without absolutely contradicting his favourite scheme, he proposed, as a
preparatory step, that the names of the various sects of religion known
to exist in the sultan's dominions should be registered, and the tenets
of their belief contained in their books of law, or promulgated by their
priests, should be reviewed and compared; thence it would appear how far
it was possible to reconcile them one with another.

This suggestion pleased the great king: and there went forth a decree
from the imperial throne, commanding that all the religions and sects
of religion to be found within the boundaries of the empire should send
deputies, on a certain day, to the sultan, to deliver up their books of
law, to declare openly the doctrines of their faith, and be registered
by name in a volume kept for this purpose--whether they were followers
of Jesus, of Moses, or of Mohammed; whether they worshipped God in the
sun, in the fire, in the image, or in the stream; by written law or
traditional practice: true believer or pagan infidel, none were excepted.
The imperial mandate was couched in such absolute, as well as alluring
terms, that it became as impossible as impolitic to evade it; it was
therefore the interest of every particular sect, to represent in the
most favourable light the mode of faith professed by each. Some thought
to gain favour by the magnificence of their gifts; others, by the
splendour of their processions. Some rested their hopes on the wisdom
and venerable appearance of the deputies they selected to represent
them; and others, (they were but few,) strong in their faith and
spiritual pride, deemed all such aids unnecessary, and trusted in
the truth of the doctrines they professed, which they only waited an
opportunity to assert, secure that they needed only to be heard, to
convert all who had ears to hear.

On the appointed day, an immense multitude had assembled from all the
quarters of the empire, and pressed through the gates and streets
of Agra, then the capital and residence of the monarch. The principal
durbar, or largest audience-court of the palace, was thrown open on this
occasion. At the upper end was placed the throne of Akbar. It was a
raised platform, from which sprung twelve twisted pillars of massy gold,
all radiant with innumerable gems, supporting the golden canopy, over
which waved the white umbrella, the insignia of power; the cushions upon
which the emperor reclined, were of cloth of gold, incrusted with rubies
and emeralds; six pages, of exquisite beauty, bearing fans of peacocks'
feathers, were alone permitted to approach within the silver balustrade,
which surrounded the seat of power. On one side stood the vizir Chan
Azim, bold and erect of look, as became a warrior, and Abul Fazil, with
his tablets in his hand, and his eyes modestly cast down: next to him
stood Dominico Cuença, the Portuguese missionary, and two friars of his
order, who had come from Goa by the express command of the sultan; on
the other side, the muftis and doctors of the law. Around were the great
omrahs, the generals, governors, tributary princes, and ambassadors. The
ground was spread with Persian carpets of a thousand tints, sprinkled
with rose-water, and softer beneath the feet than the velvety durva
grass; and clouds of incense, ambergris, and myrrh, filled the air. The
gorgeous trappings of eastern splendour, the waving of standards, the
glittering of warlike weapons, the sparkling of jewelled robes, formed a
scene, almost sublime in its prodigal and lavish magnificence, such as
only an oriental court could show.

Seven days did the royal Akbar receive and entertain the religious
deputies: every day a hundred thousand strangers feasted at his expense;
and every night the gifts he had received during the day, or the value
of them, were distributed in alms to the vast multitude, without any
regard to difference of belief. Seven days did the royal Akbar sit on
his musnud, and listen graciously to all who appeared before him. Many
were the words spoken, and marvellous was the wisdom uttered; sublime
were the doctrines professed, and pure the morality they enjoined: but
the more the royal Akbar heard, the more was his great mind perplexed;
the last who spoke seemed ever in the right, till the next who appeared
turned all to doubt again. He was amazed, and said within himself, like
the judge of old, "_What is truth?_"

It was observed, that the many dissenting or heterodox sects of the
Mohammedan religion excited infinitely more indignation among the
orthodox muftis, than the worst among the pagan idolaters. Their hearts
burned within them through impatience and wrath, and they would almost
have died on the spot for the privilege of confuting those blasphemers,
who rejected Abu Becker; who maintained, with Abu Zail, that blue was
holier than green; or with Mozar, that a sinner was worse than an
infidel; or believed with the Morgians, that in paradise God is beheld
only with the eyes of our understanding; or with the Kharejites, that a
prince who abuses his power may be deposed without sin. But the sultan
had forbidden all argument in his presence, and they were constrained
to keep silence, though it was pain and grief to them.

The Seiks from Lahore, then a new sect, and since a powerful nation,
with their light olive complexions, their rich robes and turbans all
of blue, their noble features and free undaunted deportment, struck the
whole assembly with respect, and were received with peculiar favour
by the sultan. So also were the Ala-ilahiyahs, whose doctrines are a
strange compound of the Christian, the Mohammedan, and the Pagan creeds;
but the Sactas, or Epicureans of India, met with a far different
reception. This sect, which in secret professed the most profane and
detestable opinions, endeavoured to obtain favour by the splendid
offerings they laid at the foot of the throne, and the graceful and
seducing eloquence of their principal speaker. It was, however, in vain,
that he threw over the tenets of his religion, as publicly acknowledged,
the flimsy disguise of rhetoric and poetry; that he endeavoured to
prove, that all happiness consisted in enjoying the world's goods, and
all virtue in mere abstaining from evil; that death is an eternal sleep;
and therefore to reject the pleasures of this life, in any shape, the
extreme of folly; while at every pause of his oration, voices of the
sweetest melody chorussed the famous burden:

  "May the hand never shake which gather'd the grapes!
  May the foot never slip which press'd them!"

Akbar commanded the Sactas from his presence, amid the murmurs and
execrations of all parties: and though they were protected for the
present by the royal passport, they were subsequently banished beyond
the frontiers of Cashmere.

The fire-worshippers, from Guzerat, presented the books of their famous
teacher, Zoroaster; to them succeeded the Jainas, the Buddhists, and
many more, innumerable as the leaves upon the banyan tree--countless as
the stars at midnight.

Last of all came the deputies of the Brahmans. On their approach there
was a hushed silence, and then arose a suppressed murmur of amazement,
curiosity, and admiration. It is well known with what impenetrable
secrecy the Brahmans guard the peculiar mysteries of their religion. In
the reigns of Akbar's predecessors, and during the first invasions of
the Moguls, many had suffered martyrdom in the most horrid forms, rather
than suffer their sanctuaries to be violated, or disclose the contents
of their Vedas or sacred books. Loss of caste, excommunication in this
world, and eternal perdition in the next, were the punishments awarded
to those, who should break this fundamental law of the Brahminical
faith. The mystery was at length to be unveiled; the doubts and
conjectures, to which this pertinacious concealment gave rise, were
now to be ended for ever. The learned doctors and muftis bent forward
with an attentive and eager look--Abul Fazil raised his small, bright,
piercing eyes, while a smile of dubious import passed over his
countenance--the Portuguese monk threw back his cowl, and the calm and
scornful expression of his fine features changed to one of awakened
curiosity and interest: even Akbar raised himself from his jewelled
couch as the deputies of the Brahmans approached. A single delegate had
been chosen from the twelve principal temples and seats of learning, and
they were attended by forty aged men, selected from the three inferior
castes, to represent the mass of the Indian population--warriors,
merchants, and husbandmen. At the head of this majestic procession was
the Brahman Sarma, the high priest, and principal _Gooroo_ or teacher of
theology at Benares. This singular and venerable man had passed several
years of his life in the court of the sultan Baber; and the dignity and
austerity, that became his age and high functions, were blended with a
certain grace and ease in his deportment, which distinguished him above
the rest.

When the sage Sarma had pronounced the usual benediction, "May the
king be victorious!" Akbar inclined his head with reverence. "Wise
and virtuous Brahmans!" he said, "our court derives honour from your
illustrious presence. Next to the true faith taught by our holy Prophet,
the doctrines of Brahma must exceed all others in wisdom and purity,
even as the priests of Brahma excel in virtue and knowledge the wisest
of the earth: disclose, therefore, your sacred Sastras, that we may
inhale from them, as from the roses of paradise, the precious fragrance
of truth and of knowledge!"

The Brahman replied, in the soft and musical tones of his people, "O
king of the world! we are not come before the throne of power to betray
the faith of our fathers, but to die for it, if such be the will of the
sultan!" Saying these words, he and his companions prostrated themselves
upon the earth, and, taking off their turbans, flung them down before
them: then, while the rest continued with their foreheads bowed to the
ground, Sarma arose, and stood upright before the throne. No words can
describe the amazement of Akbar. He shrunk back and struck his hands
together; then he frowned, and twisted his small and beautifully curled

mustachios:--"The sons of Brahma mock us!" said he at length; "is it
thus our imperial decrees are obeyed?"

"The laws of our faith are immutable," replied the old man, calmly, "and
the contents of the Vedas were pre-ordained from the beginning of time
to be revealed to the TWICE-BORN alone. It is sufficient, that therein
are to be found the essence of all wisdom, the principles of all virtue,
and the means of acquiring immortality."

"Doubtless, the sons of Brahma are pre-eminently wise," said Akbar,
sarcastically; "but are the followers of the Prophet accounted as fools
in their eyes? The sons of Brahma are excellently virtuous, but are
all the rest of mankind vicious? Has the most high God confined the
knowledge of his attributes to the Brahmans alone, and hidden his face
from the rest of his creatures? Where, then, is his justice? where his
all-embracing mercy?"

The Brahman, folding his arms, replied: "It is written, Heaven is a
palace with many doors, and every man shall enter by his own way. It is
not given to mortals to examine or arraign the decrees of the Deity, but
to hear and to obey. Let the will of the sultan be accomplished in all
things else. In this let the God of all the earth judge between the king
and his servants."

"Now, by the head of our Prophet! shall we be braved on our throne by
these insolent and contumacious priests? Tortures shall force the seal
from those lips!"

"Not so!" said the old Brahman, drawing himself up with a look of
inexpressible dignity. "It is in the power of the Great King to deal
with his slaves as seemeth good to him; but fortitude is the courage of
the weak; and the twice-born sons of Brahma can suffer more in the cause
of truth, than even the wrath of Akbar can inflict."

At these words, which expressed at once submission and defiance, a
general murmur arose in the assembly. The dense crowd became agitated
as the waves of the Ganges just before the rising of the hurricane. Some
opened their eyes wide with amazement at such audacity, some frowned
with indignation, some looked on with contempt, others with pity. All
awaited in fearful expectation, till the fury of the sultan should burst
forth and consume these presumptuous offenders. But Akbar remained
silent, and for some time played with the hilt of his poniard, half
unsheathing it, and then forcing it back with an angry gesture. At
length he motioned to his secretary to approach; and Abul Fazil,
kneeling upon the silver steps of the throne, received the sultan's
commands. After a conference of some length, inaudible to the attendants
around, Abul Fazil came forward, and announced the will of the sultan,
that the durbar should be presently broken up. The deputies were
severally dismissed with rich presents; all, except the Brahmans, who
were commanded to remain in the quarter assigned to them during the
royal pleasure; and a strong guard was placed over them.

Meantime Akbar withdrew to the private apartments of his palace, where
he remained for three days inaccessible to all, except his secretary
Abul Fazil, and the Christian monk. On the fourth day he sent for the
high priest of Benares, and successively for the rest of the Brahmans,
his companions; but it was in vain he tried threats and temptations,
and all his arts of argument and persuasion. They remained calmly and
passively immoveable. The sultan at length pardoned and dismissed them
with many expressions of courtesy and admiration. The Brahman Sarma
was distinguished among the rest by gifts of peculiar value and
magnificence, and to him Akbar made a voluntary promise, that, during
his reign, the cruel tax, called the Kerea, which had hitherto been
levied upon the poor Indians whenever they met to celebrate any of their
religious festivals, should be abolished.

But all these professions were hollow and insidious. Akbar was not
a character to be thus baffled; and assisted by the wily wit of Abul
Fazil, and the bold intriguing monk, he had devised a secret and subtle
expedient, which should at once gratify his curiosity, and avenge his
insulted power.

Abul Fazil had an only brother, many years younger than himself, whom
he had adopted as his son, and loved with extreme tenderness. He had
intended him to tread, like himself, the intricate path of state policy;
and with this view he had been carefully educated in all the learning of
the East, and had made the most astonishing progress in every branch of
science. Though scarcely past his boyhood, he had already been initiated
into the intrigues of the court; above all, he had been brought up
in sentiments of the most profound veneration and submission for the
monarch he was destined to serve. In some respects Faizi resembled his
brother: he possessed the same versatility of talents, the same acuteness
of mind, the same predilection for literary and sedentary pursuits, the
same insinuating melody of voice and fluent grace of speech; but his
ambition was of a nobler cast, and though his moral perceptions had been
somewhat blunted by a too early acquaintance with court diplomacy, and
an effeminate, though learned education, his mind and talents were
decidedly of a higher order. He also excelled Abul Fazil in the graces
of his person, having inherited from his mother (a Hindoo slave of
surpassing loveliness) a figure of exquisite grace and symmetry, and
features of most faultless and noble beauty.

Thus fitted by nature and prepared by art for the part he was to
perform, this youth was secretly sent to Allahabad, where the deputies
of the Brahmans rested for some days on their return to the Sacred City.
Here Abul Fazil, with great appearance of mystery and circumspection,
introduced himself to the chief priest, Sarma, and presented to him his
youthful brother as the orphan son of the Brahman Mitra, a celebrated
teacher of astronomy in the court of the late sultan. Abul Fazil had
artfully prepared such documents, as left no doubt of the truth of his
story. His pupil in treachery played his part to admiration, and the
deception was complete and successful.

"It was the will of the Great King," said the wily Abul Fazil, "that
this fair youth should be brought up in his palace, and converted to
the Moslem faith; but, bound by my vows to a dying friend, I have for
fourteen years eluded the command of the sultan, and in placing him
under thy protection, O most venerable Sarma! I have at length discharged
my conscience, and fulfilled the last wishes of the Brahman Mitra. Peace
be with him! If it seem good in thy sight, let this remain for ever a
secret between me and thee. I have successfully thrown dust in the eyes
of the sultan, and caused it to be reported, that the youth is dead of
a sudden and grievous disease. Should he discover, that he has been
deceived by his slave; should the truth reach his mighty ears, the head
of Abul Fazil would assuredly pay the forfeit of his disobedience."

The old Brahman replied with many expressions of gratitude and
inviolable discretion; and, wholly unsuspicious of the cruel artifice,
received the youth with joy. He carried him to Benares, where some
months afterwards he publicly adopted him as his son, and gave him the
name of Govinda, "the Beloved," one of the titles under which the Indian
women adore their beautiful and favourite idol, the god Crishna.

Govinda, so we must now call him, was set to study the sacred language,
and the theology of the Brahmans as it is revealed in their Vedas and
Sastras. In both he made quick and extraordinary progress; and his
singular talents did not more endear him to his preceptor, than his
docility, and the pensive, and even melancholy sweetness of his temper
and manner. His new duties were not unpleasing or unsuited to one of his
indolent and contemplative temper. He possibly felt, at first, a holy
horror at the pagan sacrifices, in which he was obliged to assist, and
some reluctance to feeding consecrated cows, gathering flowers, cooking
rice, and drawing water for offerings and libations: but by degrees he
reconciled his conscience to these occupations, and became attached to
his Gooroo, and interested in his philosophical studies. He would have
been happy, in short, but for certain uneasy sensations of fear and
self-reproach, which he vainly endeavoured to forget or to reason down.

Abul Fazil, who dreaded not his indiscretion or his treachery, but his
natural sense of rectitude, which had yielded reluctantly, even to the
command of Akbar, maintained a constant intercourse with him by means
of an intelligent mute, who, hovering in the vicinity of Benares,
sometimes in the disguise of a fisherman, sometimes as a coolie, was a
continual spy upon all his movements; and once in every month, when the
moon was in her dark quarter, Govinda met him secretly, and exchanged
communications with his brother.

The Brahman Sarma was rich; he was proud of his high caste, his spiritual
office, and his learning; he was of the tribe of Narayna, which for a
thousand years had filled the offices of priesthood, without descending
to any meaner occupation, or mingling blood with any inferior caste.
He maintained habitually a cold, austere, and dignified calmness of
demeanour; and flattered himself, that he had attained that state of
perfect indifference to all worldly things, which, according to the
Brahminical philosophy, is the highest point of human virtue; but,
though simple, grave, and austere in his personal habits, he lived
with a splendour becoming his reputation, his high rank, and vast
possessions. He exercised an almost princely hospitality; a hundred
mendicants were fed morning and evening at his gates. He founded and
supported colleges of learning for the poorer Brahmans, and had numerous
pupils, who had come from all parts of India to study under his direction.
These were lodged in separate buildings. Only Govinda, as the adopted
son of Sarma, dwelt under the same roof with his Gooroo, a privilege
which had unconsciously become most precious to his heart: it removed
him from the constrained companionship of those he secretly despised,
and it placed him in delicious and familiar intercourse with one, who
had become too dearly and fatally beloved.

The Brahman had an only child, the daughter of his old age. She had
been named, at her birth, Priyamvada; (or _softly speaking_;) but her
companions called her Amrà, the name of a graceful tree bearing blossoms
of peculiar beauty and fragrance, with which the Camdeo (Indian Cupid)
is said to tip his arrows. Amrà was but a child when Govinda first
entered the dwelling of his preceptor; but as time passed on, she
expanded beneath his eye into beauty and maturity, like the lovely
and odoriferous flower, the name of which she bore.

The Hindoo women of superior rank and unmixed caste are in general
of diminutive size; and accordingly the lovely and high-born Amrà was
formed upon the least possible scale of female beauty: but her figure,
though so exquisitely delicate, had all the flowing outline and rounded
proportions of complete womanhood. Her features were perfectly regular,
and of almost infantine minuteness, except her eyes: those soft oriental
eyes, not sparkling, or often animated, but large, dark, and lustrous;
as if in their calm depth of expression slept unawakened passions, like
the bright deity Heri reposing upon the coiled serpent. Her eyebrows
were finely arched, and most delicately pencilled; her complexion, of a
pale and transparent olive, was on the slightest emotion suffused with
a tint, which resembled that of the crimson water-lily as seen through
the tremulous wave; her lips were like the buds of the Camàlata, and
unclosed to display a row of teeth like seed-pearl of Manar. But one of
her principal charms, because peculiar and unequalled, was the beauty
and redundance of her hair, which in colour and texture resembled black
floss silk, and, when released from confinement, flowed downwards over
her whole person like a veil, and swept the ground.

Such was Amrà: nor let it be supposed, that so perfect a form was allied
to a merely passive and childish mind. It is on record, that, until the
invasion of Hindostan by the barbarous Moguls, the Indian women enjoyed
comparative freedom: it is only since the occupation of the country by
the Europeans, that they have been kept in entire seclusion. A plurality
of wives was discouraged by their laws; and, among some of the tribes
of Brahmans, it was even forbidden. At the period of our story, that
is, in the reign of Akbar, the Indian women, and more particularly the
Brahminees, enjoyed much liberty. They were well educated, and some
of them, extraordinary as it may seem, distinguished themselves in
war and government. The Indian queen Durgetti, whose history forms a
conspicuous and interesting episode in the life of Akbar, defended her
kingdom for ten years against one of his most valiant generals. Mounted
upon an elephant of war, she led her armies in person; fought several
pitched battles; and being at length defeated in a decisive engagement,
she stabbed herself on the field, rather than submit to her barbarous
conqueror. Nor was this a solitary instance of female heroism and mental
energy: and the effect of this freedom, and the respect with which they
were treated, appeared in the morals and manners of the women.

The gentle daughter of Sarma was not indeed fitted by nature either to
lead or to govern, and certainly had never dreamed of doing either. Her
figure, gestures, and movements, had that softness at once alluring and
retiring, that indolent grace, that languid repose, common to the women
of tropical regions.

  "All her affections like the dews on roses,
  Fair as the flowers themselves; as soft, as gentle."

Her spirit, in its "mildness, sweetness, blessedness," seemed as
flexible and unresisting as the tender Vasanta creeper. She had indeed
been educated in all the exclusive pride of her caste, and taught to
regard all who were not of the privileged race of Brahma as _frangi_
(or impure;) but this principle, though so early instilled into her mind
as to have become a part of her nature, was rather passive than active;
it had never been called forth. She had never been brought into contact
with those, whose very look she would have considered as pollution; for
she had no intercourse but with those of her own nation, and watchful
and sustaining love were all around her. Her learned accomplishments
extended no farther than to read and write the Hindostanee tongue. To
tend and water her flowers, to feed her birds, which inhabited a gaily
gilded aviary in her garden, to string pearls, to embroider muslin, were
her employments; to pay visits and receive them, to lie upon cushions,
and be fanned asleep by her maids, or listen to the endless tales of her
old nurse, Gautami, whose memory was a vast treasure of traditional
wonders--these were her amusements. That there were graver occupations,
and dearer pleasures, proper to her sex, she knew; but thought not of
them, till the young Govinda came to disturb the peace of her innocent
bosom. She had been told to regard him as a brother; and, as she had
never known a brother, she believed, that, in lavishing upon him all the
glowing tenderness of her young heart, she was but obeying her father's
commands. If her bosom fluttered when she heard his footsteps; if she
trembled upon the tones of his voice; if, while he was occupied in the
services of the temple, she sat in her veranda awaiting his return,
and, the moment he appeared through the embowering acacias, a secret
and unaccountable feeling made her breathe quick, and rise in haste
and retire to her inner apartments, till he approached to pay the
salutations due to the daughter of his preceptor; what was it, what
_could_ it be, but the tender solicitude of a sister for a new-found
brother? But Govinda himself was not so entirely deceived. His boyhood
had been passed in a luxurious court, and among the women and slaves
of his brother's harem; and though so young, he was not wholly
inexperienced in a passion, which is the too early growth of an eastern
heart. He knew why he languished in the presence of his beautiful
sister; he could tell why the dark splendour of Amrà's eyes pierced his
soul like the winged flames shot into a besieged city. He could guess,
too, why those eyes kindled with a softer fire beneath his glance: but
the love he felt was so chastened by the awe which her serene purity,
and the dignity of her sweet and feminine bearing shed around her; so
hallowed by the nominal relationship in which they stood; so different,
in short, from any thing he had ever felt, or seen, or heard of, that,
abandoned to all the sweet and dream-like enchantment of a boyish
passion, Govinda was scarcely conscious of the wishes of his own heart,
until accident in the same moment disclosed his secret aspirations to
himself, and bade him for ever despair of their accomplishment.

On the last day of the dark half of the moon, it was the custom of
the wise and venerable Sarma to bathe at sunset in the Ganges, and
afterwards retire to private meditation upon the thousand names of God,
by the repetition of which, as it is written, a man insures to himself
everlasting felicity. But while Sarma was thus absorbed in holy
abstraction, where were Govinda and Amrà?

In a spot fairer than the poet's creative pencil ever wrought into a
picture for fancy to dwell on--where, at the extremity of the Brahman's
garden, the broad and beautiful stream that bounded it ran swiftly to
mingle its waves with those of the thrice-holy Ganges; where mangoes
raised their huge twisted roots in a thousand fantastic forms, while
from their boughs hung suspended the nests of the little Baya birds,
which waved to and fro in the evening breeze--there had Amrà and Govinda
met together, it might be, without design. The sun had set, the Cistus
flowers began to fall, and the rich blossoms of the night-loving Nilica
diffused their rich odour. The Peyoo awoke to warble forth his song, and
the fire-flies were just visible, as they flitted under the shade of the
Champac trees. Upon a bank, covered with that soft and beautiful grass,
which, whenever it is pressed or trodden on, yields a delicious perfume,
were Amrà and Govinda seated side by side. Two of her attendants, at
some little distance, were occupied in twining wreaths of flowers. Amrà
had a basket at her feet, in which were two small vessels of porcelain.
One contained cakes of rice, honey, and clarified butter, kneaded by her
own hand; in the other were mangoes, rose-apples, and musk-melons; and
garlands of the holy palàsa blossoms, sacred to the dead, were flung
around the whole. This was the votive offering, which Amrà had prepared
for the tomb of her mother, who was buried in the garden. And now, with
her elbow resting on her knee, and her soft cheek leaning on her hand,
she sat gazing up at the sky, where the stars came flashing forth one
by one; and she watched the auspicious moment for offering her pious
oblation. But Govinda looked neither on the earth, nor on the sky.
What to him were the stars, or the flowers, or the moon rising in dewy
splendour? His eyes were fixed upon one, who was brighter to him than
the stars, lovelier than the moon when she drives her antelopes through
the heavens, sweeter than the night-flower which opens in her beam.

"O Amrà!" he said, at length, and while he spoke his voice trembled even
at its own tenderness, "Amrà! beautiful and beloved sister! thine eyes
are filled with the glory of that sparkling firmament! the breath of the
evening, which agitates the silky filaments of the Seris, is as pleasant
to thee as to me: but the beauty, which I see, thou canst not see; the
power of deep joy, which thrills over my heart like the breeze over
those floating lotuses--oh! _this_ thou canst not feel!--Let me take
away those pearls and gems scattered among thy radiant tresses, and
replace them with these fragrant and golden clusters of Champac flowers!
If ever there were beauty, which could disdain the aid of ornament, is
it not that of Amrà? If ever there were purity, truth, and goodness,
which could defy the powers of evil, are they not thine? O, then, let
others braid their hair with pearls, and bind round their arms the
demon-scaring amulet, my sister needs no spells to guard her innocence,
and cannot wear a gem that does not hide a charm!"

The blush, which the beginning of this passionate speech had called up
to her cheek, was changed to a smile, as she looked down upon the mystic
circle of gold, which bound her arm.

"It is not a talisman," said she, softly; "it is the Tali, the nuptial
bracelet, which was bound upon my arm when I was married."

"_Married!_" the word rent away from the heart of Govinda that veil,
with which he had hitherto shrouded his secret hopes, fears, wishes, and
affections. His mute agitation sent a trouble into her heart, she knew
not why. She blushed quick-kindling blushes, and drooped her head.

"Married!" he said, after a breathless pause; "when? to whom? who is
the possessor of a gem of such exceeding price, and yet forbears to
claim it?"

She replied, "To Adhar, priest of Indore, and the friend of Sarma. I was
married to him while yet an infant, after the manner of our tribe." Then
perceiving his increasing disturbance, she continued, hurriedly, and
with downcast eyes:--"I have never seen him; he has long dwelt in the
countries of the south, whither he was called on an important mission;
but he will soon return to reside here in the sacred city of his fathers,
and will leave it no more. Why then should Govinda be sad?" She laid her
hand timidly upon his arm, and looked up in his face.

Govinda would fain have taken that beautiful little hand, and covered
it with kisses and with tears; but he was restrained by a feeling of
respect, which he could not himself comprehend. He feared to alarm her;
he contented himself with fixing his eyes on the hand which rested on
his arm; and he said, in a soft melancholy voice, "When Adhar returns,
Govinda will be forgotten."

"O never! never!" she exclaimed with sudden emotion, and lifting towards
him eyes, that floated in tears. Govinda bent down his head, and pressed
his lips upon her hand. She withdrew it hastily, and rose from the

At that moment her nurse, Gautami, approached them. "My child," said
she, in a tone of reproof, "dost thou yet linger here, and the auspicious
moment almost past? If thou delayest longer, evil demons will disturb and
consume the pious oblation, and the dead will frown upon the abandoned
altar. Hasten, my daughter; take up the basket of offerings, and walk
before us."

Amrà, trembling, leaned upon her maids, and prepared to obey; but when
she had made a few steps, she turned back, as if to salute her brother,
and repeated in a low emphatic tone the word "_Never!_"--then turned
away. Govinda stood looking after the group, till the last wave of their
white veils disappeared; and listened till the tinkling of their silver
anklets could no longer be distinguished. Then he started as from a dream:
he tossed his arms above his head; he flung himself upon the earth in
an agony of jealous fury; he gave way to all the pent-up passions, which
had been for years accumulating in his heart. All at once he rose: he
walked to and fro; he stopped. A hope had darted into his mind, even
through the gloom of despair. "For what," thought he, "have I sold myself?
For riches! for honour! for power! Ah! what are they in such a moment?
Dust of the earth, toys, empty breath! For what is the word of the Great
King pledged to me? Has he not sworn to refuse me nothing? All that is
most precious between earth and heaven, from the mountain to the sea,
lies at my choice! One word, and she is mine! and I hesitate? Fool! she
_shall_ be mine!"

He looked up towards heaven, and marked the places of the stars. "It is
the appointed hour," he muttered, and cautiously his eye glanced around,
and he listened; but all was solitary and silent. He then stole along
the path, which led through a thick grove of Cadam trees, intermingled
with the tall points of the Cusa grass, that shielded him from all
observation. He came at last to a little promontory, where the river we
have mentioned threw itself into the Ganges. He had not been there above
a minute, when a low whistle, like the note of the Chacora, was heard.
A small boat rowed to the shore, and Sahib stood before him. Quick
of eye and apprehension, the mute perceived instantly that something
unusual had occurred. He pointed to the skiff; but Govinda shook his
head, and made signs for a light and the writing implements. They were
quickly brought; and while Sahib held the lamp, so that its light
was invisible to the opposite shore, Govinda wrote, in the peculiar
cipher they had framed for that purpose, a few words to his brother,
sufficiently intelligible in their import, though dictated by the
impassioned and tumultuous feelings of the moment. When he had finished,
he gave the letter to Sahib, who concealed it carefully in the folds of
his turban, and then, holding up the fingers of both hands thrice over,
to intimate, that in thirty days he would bring the answer, he sprung
into the boat, and was soon lost under the mighty shadow of the trees,
which stretched their huge boughs over the stream.

Govinda slowly returned; but he saw Amrà no more that night. They met
the next day, and the next; but Amrà was no longer the same: she was
silent, pensive; and when pressed or rebuked, she became tearful and
even sullen. She was always seen with her faithful Gautami, upon whose
arm she leaned droopingly, and hung her head like her own neglected
flowers. Govinda was almost distracted: in vain he watched for a moment
to speak to Amrà alone; the vigilant Gautami seemed resolved, that they
should never meet out of her sight. Sometimes he would raise his eyes to
her as she passed, with such a look of tender and sorrowful reproach,
that Amrà would turn away her face and weep: but still she spoke not:
and never returned his respectful salutation farther than by inclining
her head.

The old Brahman perceived this change in his beloved daughter; but not
for some time: and it is probable, that, being absorbed in his spiritual
office and sublime speculations, he would have had neither leisure nor
penetration to discover the cause, if the suspicions of the careful
Gautami had not awakened his attention. She ventured to suggest the
propriety of hastening the return of his daughter's betrothed husband;
and the Brahman, having taken her advice in this particular, rested
satisfied; persuading himself, that the arrival of Adhar would be a
certain and all-sufficient remedy for the dreaded evil, which in his
simplicity he had never contemplated, and could scarcely be made to

A month had thus passed away, and again that appointed day came round,
on which Govinda was wont to meet his brother's emissary: even on
ordinary occasions he could never anticipate it without a thrill of
anxiety,--now every feeling was wrought up to agony; yet it was necessary
to control the slightest sign of impatience, and wear the same external
guise of calm, subdued self-possession, though every vein was burning
with the fever of suspense.

It was the hour when Sarma, having risen from his mid-day sleep, was
accustomed to listen to Govinda while he read some appointed text.
Accordingly Govinda opened his book, and standing before his preceptor
in an attitude of profound humility, he read thus:

"Garuna asked of the Crow Bushanda, 'What is the most excellent of
natural forms? the highest good? the chief pain? the dearest pleasure?
the greatest wickedness? the severest punishment?

"And the Crow Bushanda answered him: 'In the three worlds, empyreal,
terrestrial, and infernal, no form excels the human form.

"'Supreme felicity, on earth, is found in the conversation of a virtuous

"'The keenest pain is inflicted by extreme poverty.

"'The worst of sins is uncharitableness; and to the uncharitable is
awarded the severest punishment: for while the despisers of their
spiritual guides shall live for a thousand centuries as frogs, and
those who contemn the Brahmans as ravens, and those who scorn other
men as blinking bats, the uncharitable alone shall be condemned to the
profoundest hell, and their punishment shall last for ever.'"[24]

Govinda closed his book; and the old Brahman was proceeding to make an
elaborate comment on this venerable text, when, looking up in the face
of his pupil, he perceived that he was pale, abstracted, and apparently
unconscious that he was speaking. He stopped: he was about to rebuke
him, but he restrained himself; and after reflecting for a few moments,
he commanded the youth to prepare for the evening sacrifice: but first
he desired him to summon Amrà to her father's presence.

At this unusual command Govinda almost started. He deposited the sacred
leaves in his bosom, and, with a beating heart and trembling steps,
prepared to obey. When he reached the door of the zenana, he gently
lifted the silken curtain which divided the apartments, and stood for a
few moments contemplating, with silent and sad delight, the group that
met his view.

Amrà was reclining upon cushions, and looking wan as a star that fades
away before the dawn. Her head drooped upon her bosom, her hair hung
neglected upon her shoulders: yet was she lovely still; and Govinda,
while he gazed, remembered the words of the poet Calidas: "The water-lily,
though dark moss may settle on its head, is nevertheless beautiful; and
the moon, with dewy beams, is rendered yet brighter by its dark spots."
She was clasping round her delicate wrist a bracelet of gems; and when
she observed, that ever as she placed it on her attenuated arm it fell
again upon her hand, she shook her head and smiled mournfully. Two
of her maids sat at her feet, occupied in their embroidery; and old
Gautami, at her side, was relating, in a slow, monotonous recitative,
one of her thousand tales of wonder, to divert the melancholy of her
young mistress. She told how the demi-god Rama was forced to flee
from the demons who had usurped his throne, and how his beautiful and
faithful Seita wandered over the whole earth in search of her consort;
and, being at length overcome with grief and fatigue, she sat down in
the pathless wilderness and wept; and how there arose from the spot,
where her tears sank warm into the earth, a fountain of boiling water
of exquisite clearness and wondrous virtues; and how maidens, who make
a pilgrimage to this sacred well and dip their veils into its wave with
pure devotion, ensure themselves the utmost felicity in marriage: thus
the story ran. Amrà, who appeared at first abstracted and inattentive,
began to be affected by the misfortunes and the love of the beautiful
Seita; and at the mention of the fountain and its virtues, she lifted
her eyes with an expression of eager interest, and met those of Govinda
fixed upon her. She uttered a faint cry, and threw herself into the arms
of Gautami. He hastened to deliver the commands of his preceptor, and
then Amrà, recovering her self-possession, threw her veil round her,
arose, and followed him to her father's presence.

As they drew near together, the old man looked from one to the other.
Perhaps his heart, though dead to all human passions, felt at that
moment a touch of pity for the youthful, lovely, and loving pair who
stood before him; but his look was calm, cold, and serene, as usual.

"Draw near, my son," he said; "and thou, my beloved daughter, approach,
and listen to the will of your father. The time is come, when we must
make ready all things for the arrival of the wise and honoured Adhar.
My daughter, let those pious ceremonies, with which virtuous women
prepare themselves ere they enter the dwelling of their husband, be duly
performed: and do thou, Govinda, son of my choice, set my household
in order, that all may be in readiness to receive with honour the
bridegroom, who comes to claim his betrothed. To-morrow we will
sacrifice to Ganesa, who is the guardian of travellers: this night

must be given to penance and holy meditation. Amrà, retire: and thou,
Govinda, take up that fagot of Tulsi-wood, with the rice and the flowers
for the evening oblation, and follow me to the temple." So saying, the
old man turned away hastily; and without looking back, pursued his path
through the sacred grove.

Alas for those he had left behind! Govinda remained silent and
motionless. Amrà would have obeyed her father, but her limbs refused
their office. She trembled--she was sinking: she timidly looked up to
Govinda as if for support; his arms were extended to receive her: she
fell upon his neck, and wept unrestrained tears. He held her to his
bosom as though he would have folded her into his inmost heart, and
hidden her there for ever. He murmured passionate words of transport
and fondness in her ear. He drew aside her veil from her pale brow,
and ventured to print a kiss upon her closed eyelids. "To-night," he
whispered, "in the grove of mangoes by the river's bank!" She answered
only by a mute caress; and then supporting her steps to her own
apartments, he resigned her to the arms of her attendants, and hastened
after his preceptor. He forgot, however, the materials for the evening
sacrifice, and in consequence not only had to suffer a severe rebuke
from the old priest, but the infliction of a penance extraordinary,
which detained him in the presence of his preceptor till the night was
far advanced. At length, however, Sarma retired to holy meditation and
mental abstraction, and Govinda was dismissed.

He had hitherto maintained, with habitual and determined self-command,
that calm, subdued exterior, which becomes a pupil in the presence
of his religious teacher; but no sooner had he crossed the threshold,
and found himself alone breathing the free night-air of heaven, than
the smothered passions burst forth. He paused for one instant, to
anathematise in his soul the Sastras and their contents, the gods and
their temples, the priests and the sacrifices; the futile ceremonies
and profitless suffering to which his life was abandoned, and the cruel
policy to which he had been made an unwilling victim. Then he thought
of Amrà, and all things connected with her changed their aspect.

In another moment he was beneath the shadow of the mangoes on the
river's brink. He looked round, Amrà was not there: he listened, there
was no sound. The grass bore marks of having been recently pressed,
and still its perfume floated on the air. A few flowers were scattered
round, fresh gathered, and glittering with dew. Govinda wrung his hands
in despair, and flung himself upon the bank, where a month before they
had sat together. On the very spot where Amrà had reclined, he perceived
a lotos-leaf and a palàsa flower laid together. Upon the lotos-leaf
he could perceive written, with a thorn or some sharp point, the word
AMRÀ; and the crimson palasa-buds were sacred to the dead. It was
sufficient: he thrust the leaf and the flowers into his bosom; and, "swift
as the sparkle of a glancing star," he flew along the path which led to
the garden sepulchre.

The mother of Amrà had died in giving birth to her only child. She was
young, beautiful, and virtuous; and had lived happily with her husband
notwithstanding the disparity of age. The pride and stoicism of his
caste would not allow him to betray any violence of grief, or show
his affection for the dead, otherwise than by raising to her memory a
beautiful tomb. It consisted of four light pillars, richly and grotesquely
carved, supporting a pointed cupola, beneath which was an altar for
oblations: the whole was overlaid with brilliant white stucco, and
glittered through the gloom. A flight of steps led up to this edifice:
upon the highest step, and at the foot of the altar, Amrà was seated
alone and weeping.

Love--O love! what have I to do with thee? How sinks the heart, how
trembles the hand as it approaches the forbidden theme! Of all the gifts
the gods have sent upon the earth thou most precious--yet ever most
fatal! As serpents dwell among the odorous boughs of the sandal-tree,
and alligators in the thrice sacred waters of the Ganges, so all that is
sweetest, holiest, dearest upon earth, is mixed up with sin, and pain,
and misery, and evil! Thus hath it been ordained from the beginning; and
the love that hath never mourned, is not love.

How sweet, yet how terrible, were the moments that succeeded! While
Govinda, with fervid eloquence, poured out his whole soul at her feet,
Amrà alternately melted with tenderness, or shrunk with sensitive alarm.
When he darkly intimated the irresistible power he possessed to overcome
all obstacles to their union--when he spoke with certainty of the time
when she should be his, spite of the world and men--when he described
the glorious height to which his love would elevate her--the delights
and the treasures he would lavish around her, she, indeed, understood
not his words; yet, with all a woman's trusting faith in him she loves,
she hung upon his accents--listened and believed. The high and passionate
energy, with which his spirit, so long pent up and crushed within him,
now revealed itself; the consciousness of his own power, the knowledge
that he was beloved, lent such a new and strange expression to his
whole aspect, and touched his fine form and features with such a proud
and sparkling beauty, that Amrà looked up at him with a mixture of
astonishment, admiration, and deep love, not wholly unmingled with fear;
almost believing, that she gazed upon some more than mortal lover, upon
one of those bright genii, who inhabit the lower heaven, and have been
known in the old time to leave their celestial haunts for love of the
earth-born daughters of beauty.

Amrà did not speak, but Govinda felt his power. He saw his advantage,
and, with the instinctive subtlety of his sex, he pursued it. He sighed,
he wept, he implored, he upbraided. Amrà, overpowered by his emotion
and her own, had turned away her head, and embraced one of the pillars
of her mother's tomb, as if for protection. In accents of the most
plaintive tenderness she entreated him to leave her--to spare her--and
even while she spoke her arm relaxed its hold, and she was yielding to
the gentle force with which he endeavoured to draw her away; when at
this moment, so dangerous to both, a startling sound was heard--a
rustling among the bushes, and then a soft, low whistle. Govinda started
up at that well-known signal, and saw the head of the mute appearing
just above the altar. His turban being green, was undistinguishable
against the leafy back-ground; and his small black eyes glanced and
glittered like those of a snake. Govinda would willingly have annihilated
him at that moment. He made a gesture of angry impatience, and motioned
him to retire; but Sahib stood still, shook his hand with a threatening
expression, and made signs, that he must instantly follow him.

Amrà, meantime, who had neither seen nor heard any thing, began to
suspect, that Govinda was communing with some invisible spirit; she
clung to him in terror, and endeavoured to recall his attention to
herself by the most tender and soothing words and caresses. After some
time he succeeded in calming her fears; and with a thousand promises of
quick return, he at length tore himself away, and followed through the
thicket the form of Sahib, who glided like a shadow before him.

When they reached the accustomed spot, the mute leapt into the canoe,
which he had made fast to the root of a mango-tree, and motioning
Govinda to follow him, he pushed from the shore, and rowed rapidly till
they reached a tall, bare rock near the centre of the stream, beneath
the dark shadow of which Sahib moored his little boat, out of the
possible reach of human eye or ear.

All had passed so quickly, that Govinda felt like one in a dream; but
now, awakening to a sense of his situation, he held out his hand for the
expected letter from his brother, trembling to learn its import, upon
which he felt that more than his life depended. Sahib, meanwhile, did
not appear in haste to obey. At length, after a pause of breathless
suspense, Govinda heard a low and well-remembered voice repeat an
almost-forgotten name: "Faizi!" it said.

"O Prophet of God! my brother!" and he was clasped in the arms of Abul

After the first transports of recognition had subsided, Faizi (it is
time to use his real name) sank from his brother's arms to his feet: he
clasped his knees. "My brother!" he exclaimed, "what is now to be my
fate? You have not lightly assumed this disguise, and braved the danger
of discovery! You know all, and have come to save me--to bless me? Is it
not so?"

Abul Fazil could not see his brother's uplifted countenance, flushed
with the hectic of feverish impatience, or his imploring eyes, that
floated in tears; but his tones were sufficiently expressive.

"Poor boy!" he said, compassionately, "I should have foreseen this. But
calm these transports, my brother! nothing is denied to the sultan's
power, and nothing will he deny thee."

"He knows all, then?"

"All--and by his command am I come. I had feared, that my brother had
sold his vowed obedience for the smile of a dark-eyed girl--what shall
I say?--I feared for his safety!"

"O my brother! there is no cause!"

"I know it--enough!--I have seen and heard!"

Faizi covered his face with his hands.

"If the sultan----"

"Have no doubts," said Abul Fazil: "nothing is denied to the sultan's
power, nothing will be denied to thee."

"And the Brahman Adhar?"

"It has been looked to--he will not trouble thee."

"_Dead?_ O merciful Allah! crime upon crime!"

"His life is cared for," said Abul Fazil, calmly: "ask no more."

"It is sufficient. O my brother! O Amrà!"--

"She is thine!--Now hear the will of Akbar." Faizi bowed his head with
submission. "Speak!" he said; "the slave of Akbar listens."

"In three months from this time," continued Abul Fazil, "and on this
appointed night, it will be dark, and the pagodas deserted. Then, and
not till then, will Sahib be found at the accustomed spot. He will
bring in the skiff a dress, which is the sultan's gift, and will be
a sufficient disguise. On the left bank of the stream there shall be
stationed an ample guard, with a close litter and a swift Arabian. Thou
shalt mount the one, and in the other shall be placed this fair girl.
Then fly: having first flung her veil upon the river to beguile pursuit;
the rest I leave to thine own quick wit. But let all be done with secrecy
and subtlety; for the sultan, though he can refuse thee nothing, would
not willingly commit an open wrong against a people he has lately
conciliated; and the violation of a Brahminee woman were enough to raise
a province."

"It shall not need," exclaimed the youth, clasping his hands: "she loves
me! She shall live for me--only for me--while others weep her dead!"

"It is well: now return we in silence, the night wears fast away." He
took one of the oars, Faizi seized the other, and with some difficulty
they rowed up the stream, keeping close under the overshadowing banks.
Having reached the little promontory, they parted with a strict and mute

Faizi looked for a moment after his brother, then sprung forward to the
spot where he had left Amrà; but she was no longer there: apparently she
had been recalled by her nurse to her own apartments, and did not again
make her appearance.

Three months more completed the five years which had been allotted for
Govinda's Brahminical studies; they passed but too rapidly away. During
this time the Brahman Adhar did not arrive, nor was his name again
uttered: and Amrà, restored to health, was more than ever tender and
beautiful, and more than ever beloved.

The old Brahman, who had hitherto maintained towards his pupil and adopted
son a cold and distant demeanour, now relaxed from his accustomed
austerity, and when he addressed him it was in a tone of mildness, and
even tenderness. Alas for Govinda! every proof of this newly-awakened
affection pierced his heart with unavailing remorse. He had lived long
enough among the Brahmans, to anticipate with terror the effects of his
treachery, when once discovered; but he repelled such obtrusive images,
and resolutely shut his eyes against a future, which he could neither
control nor avert. He tried to persuade himself, that it was now too
late; that the stoical indifference to all earthly evil, passion,
and suffering, which the Pundit Sarma taught and practised, would
sufficiently arm him against the double blow preparing for him. Yet, as
the hour approached, the fever of suspense consumed his heart. Contrary
passions distracted and bewildered him: his ideas of right and wrong
became fearfully perplexed. He would have given the treasures of Istakar
to arrest the swift progress of time. He felt like one entangled in the
wheels of some vast machine, and giddily and irresistibly whirled along
he knew not how nor whither.

At length the day arrived: the morning broke forth in all that splendour
with which she descends upon "the Indian steep." Govinda prepared
for the early sacrifice, the last he was to perform. In spite of the
heaviness and confusion which reigned in his own mind, he could perceive
that something unusual occupied the thoughts of his preceptor: some
emotion of a pleasurable kind had smoothed the old man's brow. His
voice was softened; and though his lips were compressed, almost a smile
lighted up his eyes, when he turned them on Govinda. The sacrifice was
one of unusual pomp and solemnity, in honour of the goddess Parvati, and
lasted till the sun's decline. When they returned to the dwelling of
Sarma he dismissed his pupils from their learned exercises, desiring
them to make that day a day of rest and recreation, as if it were the
festival of Sri, the goddess of learning, when books, pens, and paper,
being honoured as her emblems, remain untouched, and her votaries enjoy
a sabbath. When they were departed, the old Brahman commanded Govinda to
seat himself on the ground opposite to him. This being the first time he
had ever sat in the presence of his preceptor, the young man hesitated;
but Sarma motioned him to obey, and accordingly he sat down at a
respectful distance, keeping his eyes reverently cast upon the ground.
The old man then spoke these words:

"It is now five years since the son of Mitra entered my dwelling. He was
then but a child, helpless, orphaned, ignorant of all true knowledge;
expelled from the faith of his fathers and the privileges of his high
caste. I took him to my heart with joy, I fed him, I clothed him, I
opened his mind to truth, I poured into his soul the light of knowledge:
he became to me a son. If in any thing I have omitted the duty of a
father towards him, if ever I refused to him the wish of his heart or
the desire of his eyes, let him now speak!"

"O my father!"--

"No more," said the Brahman, gently, "I am answered in that one word;
but all that I have yet done seems as nothing in mine eyes: for the love
I bear my son is wide as the wide earth, and my bounty shall be as the
boundless firmament. Know that I have read thy soul! Start not! I have
received letters from the south country. Amrà is no longer the wife of
Adhar; for Adhar has vowed himself to a life of penance and celibacy in
the temple of Indore, by order of an offended prince;--may he find peace!
The writings of divorce are drawn up, and my daughter being already past
the age when a prudent father hastens to marry his child, in order that
the souls of the dead may be duly honoured by their posterity, I have
sought for her a husband, such as a parent might desire; learned in the
sciences, graced with every virtue; of unblemished life, of unmixed
caste, and rich in the goods of this world."

The Brahman stopped short. Faizi, breathing with difficulty, felt his
blood pause at his heart.

"My son!" continued the old man, "I have not coveted possessions or
riches, but the gods have blessed me with prosperity; be they praised
for their gifts! Look around upon this fair dwelling, upon those fertile
lands, which spread far and wide, a goodly prospect; and the herds that
feed on them, and the bondsmen who cultivate them; with silver and gold,
and garments, and rich stores heaped up, more than I can count--all
these do I give thee freely: possess them! and with them I give thee a
greater gift, and one that I well believe is richer and dearer in thine
eyes--my daughter, my last and best treasure! Thus do I resign all
worldly cares, devoting myself henceforth solely to pious duties and
religious meditation: for the few days he has to live, let the old man
repose upon thy love! A little water, a little rice, a roof to shelter
him, these thou shalt bestow--he asks no more."

The Brahman's voice faltered. He rose, and Govinda stood up, trembling
in every nerve. The old priest then laid his hand solemnly upon his
bowed head and blessed him. "My son! to me far better than many sons, be
thou blest as thou hast blessed me! The just gods requite thee with full
measure all thou hast done! May the wife I bestow on thee bring to thy
bosom all the felicity thou broughtest to me and mine, and thy last
hours be calm and bright, as those thy love has prepared for me!"

"Ah, curse me not!" exclaimed Govinda, with a cry of horror; for in
the anguish of that moment he felt as if the bitter malediction, thus
unconsciously pronounced, was already fulfilling. He flung himself upon
the earth in an agony of self-humiliation; he crawled to the feet of
his preceptor, he kissed them, he clasped his knees. In broken words he
revealed himself, and confessed the treacherous artifice of which he
was at once the instrument and the victim. The Brahman stood motionless,
scarcely comprehending the words spoken. At length he seemed to awaken
to the sense of what he heard, and trembled from head to foot with an
exceeding horror; but he uttered no word of reproach: and after a pause,
he suddenly drew the sacrificial poniard from his girdle, and would have
plunged it into his own bosom, if Faizi had not arrested his arm, and
without difficulty snatched the weapon from his shaking and powerless

"If yet there be mercy for me," he exclaimed, "add not to my crimes
this worst of all--make me not a sacrilegious murderer! Here," he
added, kneeling, and opening his bosom, "strike! satisfy at once a just
vengeance, and end all fears in the blood of an abhorred betrayer!
Strike, ere it be too late!"

The old man twice raised his hand, but it was without strength. He
dropped the knife, and folding his arms, and sinking his head upon his
bosom, he remained silent.

"O yet!" exclaimed Faizi, lifting with reverence the hem of his robe and
pressing it to his lips, "if there remain a hope for me, tell me by what
penance--terrible, prolonged, and unheard-of--I may expiate this sin;
and hear me swear, that, henceforth, neither temptation, nor torture,
nor death itself, shall force me to reveal the secrets of the Brahmin
faith, nor divulge the holy characters in which they are written: and
if I break this vow, may I perish from off the earth like a dog!"

The Brahman clasped his hands, and turned his eyes for a moment on the
imploring countenance of the youth, but averted them instantly with a

"What have I to do with thee," he said, at length, "thou serpent! Well
is it written--'Though the upas-tree were watered with nectar from
heaven instead of dew, yet would it bear poison.' Yet swear--"

"I do--I will--"

"Never to behold my face again, nor utter with those guileful and
polluted lips the name of my daughter."

"My father!"

"Father!" repeated the old man, with a flash of indignation, but it
was instantly subdued. "Swear!" he repeated, "if vows can bind a thing
so vile!"

"My father, I embrace thy knees! Not heaven itself can annul the past,
and Amrà is mine beyond the power of fate or vengeance to disunite
us--but by death!"

"Hah!" said the Brahman, stepping back, "it is then as I feared! and
this is well too!"--he muttered; "Heaven required a victim!"

He moved slowly to the door, and called his daughter with a loud voice:
Amrà heard and trembled in the recesses of her apartments. The voice was
her father's, but the tones of that voice made her soul sicken with
fear; and, drawing her drapery round to conceal that alteration in her
lovely form which was but too apparent, she came forth with faltering

"Approach!" said the Brahman, fixing his eyes upon her, while those of
Faizi, after the first eager glance, remained rivetted to the earth.
She drew near with affright, and gazed wildly from one to the other.

"Ay! look well upon him! whom dost thou behold?"

"My father!--Ah! spare me!"

"Is he your husband?"

"Govinda! alas!--speak for us!"--

"Fool!"--he grasped her supplicating hands,--"say but the word--are you
a wife?"

"I am! I am! _his_, before the face of Heaven!"

"No!"--he dropped her hands, and spoke in a rapid and broken voice:
"No! Heaven disclaims the monstrous mixture! hell itself rejects it! Had
he been the meanest among the sons of Brahma, I had borne it: but an
Infidel, a base-born Moslem, has contaminated the stream of my life!
Accursed was the hour when he came beneath my roof, like a treacherous
fox and a ravening wolf, to betray and to destroy! Accursed was the
hour, which mingled the blood of Narayna with that of the son of a
slave-girl! Shall I live to look upon a race of outcasts, abhorred on
earth and excommunicate from heaven, and say, 'These are the offspring
of Sarma?' Miserable girl! thou wert preordained a sacrifice! Die! and
thine infamy perish with thee!" Even while he spoke he snatched up the
poniard which lay at his feet, but this he needed not--the blow was
already struck home, and to her very heart. Before the vengeful steel
could reach her, she fell, without a cry--a groan--senseless, and, as
it seemed, lifeless, upon the earth.

Faizi, almost with a shriek, sprang forward; but the old man interposed:
and, with the strong grasp of supernatural strength--the strength of
despair--held him back. Meantime the women, alarmed by his cries,
rushed wildly in, and bore away in their arms the insensible form of
Amrà. Faizi strove to follow; but, at a sign from the Brahman, the door
was quickly closed and fastened within, so that it resisted all his
efforts to force it. He turned almost fiercely--"She will yet live!"
he passionately exclaimed; and the Brahman replied, calmly and
disdainfully, "If she be the daughter of Sarma, she will die!" Then
rending his garments, and tearing off his turban, he sat down upon the
sacrificial hearth; and taking up dust and ashes, scattered them on his
bare head and flowing beard: he then remained motionless, with his chin
upon his bosom, and his arms crossed upon his knees. In vain did Faizi
kneel before him, and weep, and supplicate for one word, one look: he
was apparently lost to all consciousness, rigid, torpid; and, but that
he breathed, and that there was at times a convulsive movement in his
eyelids, it might have been thought, that life itself was suspended, or
had altogether ceased.

Thus did this long and most miserable day wear away, and night came on.
Faizi--who had spent the hours in walking to and fro like a troubled
demon, now listening at the door of the zenana, from which no sound
proceeded, now endeavouring in vain to win, by the most earnest
entreaties, some sign of life or recognition from the old man--could
no longer endure the horror of his own sensations. He stepped into the
open air, and leaned his head against the porch. The breeze, which blew
freshly against his parched lips and throbbing temples, revived his
faculties. After a few moments he thought he could distinguish voices,
and the trampling of men and horses, borne on the night air. He raised
his hands in ecstacy. Again he bent his ear to listen: he heard the
splash of an oar. "They come!" he exclaimed, almost aloud, "one more
plunge, and it is done! This hapless and distracted old man I will save
from his own and other's fury, and still be to him a son, in his own
despite. And, Amrà! my own! my beautiful! my beloved! oh, how richly
shall the future atone for these hours of anguish! In these arms the
cruel pride and prejudices of thy race shall be forgotten. At thy feet
I will pour the treasures of the world, and lift thee to joys beyond
the brightest visions of youthful fancy! But--O merciful Allah!"--

At the same moment a long, loud, and piercing shriek was heard from the
women's apartments, followed by lamentable wailings. He made but one
bound to the door. It resisted, but his despair was strong. He rushed
against it with a force, that burst it from its hinges, and precipitated
him into the midst of the chamber. It was empty and dark; so was the
next, and the next. At last he reached the inner and most sacred
apartment. He beheld the lifeless form of Amrà extended on the ground.
Over her face was thrown an embroidered veil: her head rested on the lap
of her nurse, whose features appeared rigid with horror. The rest of the
women, who were weeping and wailing, covered their heads, and fled at
his approach. Faizi called upon the name of her he loved: he snatched
the veil from that once lovely face--that face which had never been
revealed to him but in tender and soul-beaming beauty. He looked, and
fell senseless on the floor.

The unhappy Amrà, in recovering from her long swoon, had fallen into
a stupor, which her attendants mistook for slumber, and left her for a
short interval. She awoke, wretched girl! alone, she awoke to the sudden
and maddening sense of her lost state, to all the pangs of outraged
love, violated faith, shame, anguish, and despair. In a paroxysm of
delirium, when none were near to soothe or to save, she had made her own
luxuriant and beautiful tresses the instrument of her destruction, and
choked herself by swallowing her hair.

When the emissaries of the sultan entered this house of desolation, they
found Faizi still insensible at the side of her he had so loved. He was
borne away before recollection returned, placed in the litter which had
been prepared for Amrà, and earned to Ferrukabad, where the sultan was
then hunting with his whole court. What became of the old Brahman is
not known. He passed away like a shadow from the earth, "and his place
knew him not." Whether he sought a voluntary death, or wore away his
remaining years in secret penance, can only be conjectured, for all
search was vain.

Eastern records tell, that Faizi kept his promise sacred, and never
revealed the mysteries intrusted to him. Yet he retained the favour of
Akbar, by whose command he translated from the Sanscrit tongue several
poetical and historical works into the choicest Persian. He became himself
an illustrious poet; and, like other poets of greater fame, created
"an immortality of his tears." He acquired the title of _Sheich_, or
"the learned," and rose to the highest civil offices of the empire. All
outward renown, prosperity, and fame, were his; but there was, at least,
retributive justice in his early and tragical death.

Towards the conclusion of Akbar's reign, Abul Fazil was sent upon a
secret mission into the Deccan, and Faizi accompanied him. The favour
which these celebrated brothers enjoyed at court, their influence over
the mind of the sultan, and their entire union, had long excited the
jealousy of Prince Selim,[25] the eldest son of Akbar, and he had vowed
their destruction. On their return from the south, with a small escort,
they were attacked by a numerous band of assassins, disguised as robbers,
and both perished. Faizi was found lying upon the body of Abul Fazil,
whom he had bravely defended to the last. The death of these illustrious
brothers was lamented, not only within the bounds of the empire, but
through all the kingdoms of the East, whither their fame had extended;
and by the sultan's command they were interred together, and with
extraordinary pomp. One incident only remains to be added. When the
bodies were stripped for burial, there was found within the inner vest
of the Sheich Faizi, and close to his heart, a withered Lotus leaf
inscribed with certain characters. So great was the fame of the dead for
wisdom, learning, and devotion, that it was supposed to be a talisman
endued with extraordinary virtues, and immediately transmitted to the
sultan. Akbar considered the relic with surprise. It was nothing but
a simple Lotus leaf, faded, shrivelled, and stained with blood; but on
examining it more closely, he could trace, in ill-formed and scarcely
legible Indian letters, the word AMRÀ.

And when Akbar looked upon this tender memorial of a hapless love, and
undying sorrow, his great heart melted within him, and he wept.


"It grieves me," said an eminent poet once to me, "it grieves and
humbles me to reflect how much our moral nature is in the power of
circumstances. Our best faculties would remain unknown even to ourselves
did not the influences of external excitement call them forth like
animalculæ, which lie torpid till awakened into life by the transient

This is generally true. How many walk through the beaten paths of
every-day life, who but for the novelist's page would never weep or
wonder; and who would know nothing of the passions but as they are
represented in some tragedy or stage piece? not that they are incapable
of high resolve and energy; but because the finer qualities have never
been called forth by imperious circumstances; for while the wheels of
existence roll smoothly along, the soul will continue to slumber in her
vehicle like a lazy traveller. But for the French revolution, how many
hundreds--_thousands_--whose courage, fortitude, and devotedness have
sanctified their names, would have frittered away a frivolous, useless,
or vicious life in the saloons of Paris! We have heard of death in its
most revolting forms braved by delicate females, who would have screamed
at the sight of the most insignificant reptile or insect; and men
cheerfully toiling at mechanic trades for bread, who had lounged away
the best years of their lives at the toilettes of their mistresses. We
know not of what we are capable till the trial comes;--till it comes,
perhaps, in a form which makes the strong man quail, and turns the
gentler woman into a heroine.

The power of outward circumstances suddenly to awaken dormant
faculties--the extraordinary influence which the mere instinct of
self-preservation can exert over the mind, and the triumph of mind thus
excited over physical weakness, were never more truly exemplified than
in the story of HALLORAN THE PEDLAR.

The real circumstances of this singular case, differing essentially from
the garbled and incorrect account which appeared in the newspapers some
years ago, came to my knowledge in the following simple manner. My
cousin George C * * *, an Irish barrister of some standing, lately
succeeded to his family estates by the death of a near relative; and no
sooner did he find himself in possession of independence than, abjuring
the bar, where, after twenty years of hard struggling, he was just
beginning to make a figure, he set off on a tour through Italy and
Greece, to forget the wrangling of courts, the contumely of attornies,
and the impatience of clients. He left in my hands a mass of papers,
to burn or not, as I might feel inclined: and truly the contents of
his desk were no bad illustration of the character and pursuits of
its owner. Here I found abstracts of cases, and on their backs copies
of verses, sketches of scenery, and numerous caricatures of judges,
jurymen, witnesses, and his brethren of the bar--a bundle of old briefs,
and the beginnings of two tragedies; with a long list of Lord N----'s
best jokes to serve his purposes as occasion might best offer. Among
these heterogeneous and confused articles were a number of scraps
carefully pinned together, containing notes on a certain trial, the first
in which he had been retained as counsel for the crown. The intense
interest with which I perused these documents, suggested the plan of
throwing the whole into a connected form, and here it is for the
reader's benefit.

In a little village to the south of Clonmell lived a poor peasant named
Michael, or as it was there pronounced Mickle Reilly. He was a labourer
renting a cabin and a plot of potatoe-ground; and, on the strength
of these possessions, a robust frame which feared no fatigue, and a
sanguine mind which dreaded no reverse, Reilly paid his addresses to
Cathleen Bray, a young girl of his own parish, and they were married.
Reilly was able, skilful, and industrious; Cathleen was the best spinner
in the county, and had constant sale for her work at Clonmell: they
wanted nothing; and for the first year, as Cathleen said, "There wasn't
upon the blessed earth two happier souls than themselves, for Mick was
the best boy in the world, and hadn't a fault to _spake_ of--barring
he took a drop now and then; an' why wouldn't he?" But as it happened,
poor Reilly's love of "_the drop_" was the beginning of all their
misfortunes. In an evil hour he went to the Fair of Clonmell to sell a
dozen hanks of yarn of his wife's spinning, and a fat pig, the produce
of which was to pay half a year's rent, and add to their little
comforts. Here he met with a jovial companion, who took him into a
booth, and treated him to sundry potations of whiskey; and while in his
company his pocket was picked of the money he had just received, and
something more; in short, of all he possessed in the world. At that
luckless moment, while maddened by his loss and heated with liquor, he
fell into the company of a recruiting serjeant. The many-coloured and
gaily fluttering cockade in the soldier's cap shone like a rainbow of
hope and promise before the drunken eyes of Mickle Reilly, and ere
morning he was enlisted into a regiment under orders for embarkation,
and instantly sent off to Cork.

Distracted by the ruin he had brought upon himself, and his wife,
(whom he loved a thousand times better than himself,) poor Reilly sent a
friend to inform Cathleen of his mischance, and to assure her that on a
certain day, in a week from that time, a letter would await her at the
Clonmell post-office: the same friend was commissioned to deliver her
his silver watch, and a guinea out of his bounty-money. Poor Cathleen
turned from the gold with horror, as the price of her husband's blood,
and vowed that nothing on earth should induce her to touch it. She
was not a good calculator of time and distance, and therefore rather
surprised that so long a time must elapse before his letter arrived.
On the appointed day she was too impatient to wait the arrival of the
carrier, but set off to Clonmell herself, a distance of ten miles: there,
at the post-office, she duly found the promised letter; but it was not
till she had it in her possession that she remembered she could not
read: she had therefore to hasten back to consult her friend Nancy, the
schoolmaster's daughter, and the best scholar in the village. Reilly's
letter, on being deciphered with some difficulty even by the learned
Nancy, was found to contain much of sorrow, much of repentance, and yet
more of affection: he assured her that he was far better off than he had
expected or deserved; that the embarkation of the regiment to which he
belonged was delayed for three weeks, and entreated her, if she could
forgive him, to follow him to Cork without delay, that they might "part
in love and kindness, and then come what might, he would demane himself
like a man, and die asy," which he assured her he could not do without
embracing her once more.

Cathleen listened to her husband's letter with clasped hands and drawn
breath, but quiet in her nature, she gave no other signs of emotion than
a few large tears which trickled slowly down her cheeks. "And will I
see him again?" she exclaimed; "poor fellow! poor boy! I knew the heart
of him was sore for me! and who knows, Nancy dear, but they'll let me
go out with him to the foreign parts? Oh! sure they wouldn't be so
hard-hearted as to part man and wife that way!"

After a hurried consultation with her neighbours, who sympathised with
her as only the poor sympathise with the poor, a letter was indited by
Nancy and sent by the carrier that night, to inform her husband that she
purposed setting off for Cork the next blessed morning, being Tuesday,
and as the distance was about forty-eight miles English, she reckoned
on reaching that city by Wednesday afternoon; for as she had walked to
Clonmell and back (about twenty miles) that same day, without feeling
fatigued at all, "_to signify_," Cathleen thought there would be no
doubt that she could walk to Cork in less than two days. In this
sanguine calculation she was, however, overruled by her more experienced
neighbours, and by their advice appointed Thursday as the day on which
her husband was to expect her, "God willing."

Cathleen spent the rest of the day in making preparations for her
journey: she set her cabin in order, and made a small bundle of a few
articles of clothing belonging to herself and her husband. The watch and
the guinea she wrapped up together, and crammed into the toe of an old
shoe, which she deposited in the said bundle, and the next morning, at
"sparrow chirp," she arose, locked her cabin door, carefully hid the
key in the thatch, and with a light expecting heart commenced her long

It is worthy of remark, that this poor woman, who was called upon to
play the heroine in such a strange tragedy, and under such appalling
circumstances, had nothing heroic in her exterior: nothing that in
the slightest degree indicated strength of nerve or superiority of
intellect. Cathleen was twenty-three years of age, of a low stature, and
in her form rather delicate than robust: she was of ordinary appearance;
her eyes were mild and dove-like, and her whole countenance, though not
absolutely deficient in intelligence, was more particularly expressive
of simplicity, good temper, and kindness of heart.

It was summer, about the end of June: the days were long, the weather
fine, and some gentle showers rendered travelling easy and pleasant.
Cathleen walked on stoutly towards Cork, and by the evening she had
accomplished, with occasional pauses of rest, nearly twenty-one miles.
She lodged at a little inn by the road side, and the following day set
forward again, but soon felt stiff with the travel of two previous days:
the sun became hotter, the ways dustier; and she could not with all
her endeavours get farther than Rathcormuck, eighteen miles from Cork.
The next day, unfortunately for poor Cathleen, proved hotter and more
fatiguing than the preceding. The cross road lay over a wild country,
consisting of low bogs and bare hills. About noon she turned aside to
a rivulet bordered by a few trees, and sitting down in the shade, she
bathed her swollen feet in the stream: then overcome by heat, weakness,
and excessive weariness, she put her little bundle under her head for
a pillow, and sank into a deep sleep.

On waking she perceived with dismay that the sun was declining: and
on looking about, her fears were increased by the discovery that her
bundle was gone. Her first thought was that the good people, (i. e.
_the fairies_) had been there and stolen it away; but on examining
farther she plainly perceived large foot-prints in the soft bank,
and was convinced it was the work of no unearthly marauder. Bitterly
reproaching herself for her carelessness, she again set forward; and
still hoping to reach Cork that night, she toiled on and on with
increasing difficulty and distress, till as the evening closed her
spirits failed, she became faint, foot-sore and hungry, not having
tasted any thing since the morning but a cold potatoe and a draught
of buttermilk. She then looked round her in hopes of discovering
some habitation, but there was none in sight except a lofty castle
on a distant hill, which raising its proud turrets from amidst the
plantations which surrounded it, glimmered faintly through the gathering
gloom, and held out no temptation for the poor wanderer to turn in there
and rest. In her despair she sat her down on a bank by the road side,
and wept as she thought of her husband.

Several horsemen rode by, and one carriage and four attended by
servants, who took no farther notice of her than by a passing look;
while they went on their way like the priest and the Levite in the
parable, poor Cathleen dropped her head despairingly on her bosom.
A faintness and torpor seemed to be stealing like a dark cloud over
her senses, when the fast approaching sound of footsteps roused her
attention, and turning, she saw at her side a man whose figure, too
singular to be easily forgotten, she recognized immediately: it was
Halloran the Pedlar.

Halloran had been known for thirty years past in all the towns and
villages between Waterford and Kerry. He was very old, he himself did
not know his own age; he only remembered that he was a "tall slip of a
boy" when he was one of the ---- regiment of foot, and fought in America
in 1778. His dress was strange, it consisted of a woollen cap, beneath
which strayed a few white hairs, this was surmounted by an old military
cocked hat, adorned with a few fragments of tarnished gold lace; a frieze
great coat with the sleeves dangling behind, was fastened at his throat,
and served to protect his box of wares which was slung at his back; and
he always carried a thick oak stick or _kippeen_ in his hand. There was
nothing of the infirmity of age in his appearance: his cheek, though
wrinkled and weather-beaten, was still ruddy: his step still firm, his
eyes still bright: his jovial disposition made him a welcome guest in
every cottage, and his jokes, though not equal to my Lord Norbury's,
were repeated and applauded through the whole country. Halloran was
returning from the fair of Kilkenny, where apparently his commercial
speculations had been attended with success, as his pack was considerably
diminished in size. Though he did not appear to recollect Cathleen, he
addressed her in Irish, and asked her what she did there: she related
in a few words her miserable situation.

"In troth, then, my heart is sorry for ye, poor woman," he replied,
compassionately; "and what will ye do?"

"An' what _can_ I do?" replied Cathleen, disconsolately; "and how will
I even find the ford and get across to Cork, when I don't know where
I am this blessed moment?"

"Musha, then, it's little ye'll get there this night," said the pedlar,
shaking his head.

"Then I'll lie down here and die," said Cathleen, bursting into fresh

"Die! ye wouldn't!" he exclaimed, approaching nearer; "is it to me,
Peter Halloran, ye spake that word; and am I the man that would lave a
faymale at this dark hour by the way-side, let alone one that has the
face of a friend, though I cannot remember me of your name either, for
the soul of me. But what matter for that?"

"Sure, I'm Katty Reilly, of Castle Conn."

"Katty Reilly, sure enough! and so no more talk of dying; cheer up, and
see, a mile farther on, isn't there Biddy Hogan's? _Was_, I mane, if
the house and all isn't gone: and it's there we'll get a bite and a
sup, and a bed, too, please God. So lean upon my arm, ma vourneen, it's
strong enough yet."

So saying, the old man, with an air of gallantry, half rustic, half
military, assisted her in rising; and supporting her on one arm, with
the other he flourished his kippeen over his head, and they trudged on
together, he singing Cruiskeen-lawn at the top of his voice, "just,"
as he said, "to put the heart into her."

After about half an hour's walking, they came to two crossways,
diverging from the high road: down one of these the pedlar turned, and
in a few minutes they came in sight of a lonely house, situated at a
little distance from the way-side. Above the door was a long stick
projecting from the wall, at the end of which dangled a truss of straw,
signifying that within there was entertainment (good or bad) for man
and beast. By this time it was nearly dark, and the pedlar going up
to the door, lifted the latch, expecting it to yield to his hand; but
it was fastened within: he then knocked and called, but there was no
answer. The building, which was many times larger than an ordinary
cabin, had once been a manufactory, and afterwards a farm-house. One end
of it was deserted, and nearly in ruins; the other end bore signs of
having been at least recently inhabited. But such a dull hollow echo
rung through the edifice at every knock, that it seemed the whole place
was now deserted.

Cathleen began to be alarmed, and crossed herself, ejaculating, "O God
preserve us!" But the pedlar, who appeared well acquainted with the
premises, led her round to the back part of the house, where there were
some ruined out-buildings, and another low entrance. Here, raising his
stout stick, he let fall such a heavy thump on the door that it cracked
again; and a shrill voice from the other side demanded who was there?
After a satisfactory answer, the door was slowly and cautiously opened,
and the figure of a wrinkled, half-famished, and half-naked beldam
appeared, shading a rush candle with one hand. Halloran, who was of a
fiery and hasty temper, began angrily: "Why, then, in the name of the
great devil himself, didn't you open to us?" But he stopped suddenly,
as if struck with surprise at the miserable object before him.

"Is it Biddy Hogan herself, I see!" he exclaimed, snatching the candle
from her hand, and throwing the light full on her face. A moment's
scrutiny seemed enough, and too much; for, giving it back hastily, he
supported Cathleen into the kitchen, the old woman leading the way, and
placed her on an old settle, the first seat which presented itself. When
she was sufficiently recovered to look about her, Cathleen could not
help feeling some alarm at finding herself in so gloomy and dreary a
place. It had once been a large kitchen, or hall: at one end was an
ample chimney, such as are yet to be seen in some old country houses.
The rafters were black with smoke or rottenness: the walls had been
wainscoted with oak, but the greatest part had been torn down for
firing. A table with three legs, a large stool, a bench in the chimney
propped up with turf sods, and the seat Cathleen occupied, formed the
only furniture. Every thing spoke utter misery, filth, and famine--the
very "abomination of desolation."

"And what have ye in the house, Biddy, honey?" was the pedlar's first
question, as the old woman set down the light. "Little enough, I'm

"Little! It's nothing, then--no, not so much as a midge would eat have
I in the house this blessed night, and nobody to send down to Balgowna."

"No need of that, as our good luck would have it," said Halloran, and
pulling a wallet from under his loose coat, he drew from it a bone of
cold meat, a piece of bacon, a lump of bread, and some cold potatoes.
The old woman, roused by the sight of so much good cheer, began to blow
up the dying embers on the hearth; put down among them the few potatoes
to warm, and busied herself in making some little preparations to
entertain her guests. Meantime the old pedlar, casting from time to time
an anxious glance towards Cathleen, and now and then an encouraging
word, sat down on the low stool, resting his arms on his knees.

"Times are sadly changed with ye, Biddy Hogan," said he at length, after
a long silence.

"Troth, ye may say so," she replied, with a sort of groan. "Bitter bad
luck have we had in this world, any how."

"And where's the man of the house? And where's the lad, Barny?"

"Where are they, is it? Where should they be? may be gone down to

"But what's come of Barny? The boy was a stout workman, and a good
son, though a devil-may-care fellow, too. I remember teaching him the
soldier's exercise with this very blessed stick now in my hand; and by
the same token, him doubling his fist at me when he wasn't bigger than
the turf-kish yonder; aye, and as long as Barny Hogan could turn a sod
of turf on my lord's land, I thought his father and mother would never
have wanted the bit and sup while the life was in him."

At the mention of her son, the old woman looked up a moment, but
immediately hung her head again.

"Barny doesn't work for my lord now," said she.

"And what for, then?"

The old woman seemed reluctant to answer--she hesitated.

"Ye didn't hear, then, how he got into trouble with my lord; and
how--myself doesn't know the rights of it--but Barny had always a bit of
wild blood about him; and since that day he's taken to bad ways, and the
ould man's ruled by him quite entirely; and the one's glum and fierce
like--and t'other's bothered; and, oh! bitter's the time I have 'twixt
'em both!"

While the old woman was uttering these broken complaints, she placed the
eatables on the table; and Cathleen, who was yet more faint from hunger
than subdued by fatigue, was first helped by the good-natured pedlar to
the best of what was there: but, just as she was about to taste the food
set before her, she chanced to see the eyes of the old woman fixed upon
the morsel in her hand with such an envious and famished look, that from
a sudden impulse of benevolent feeling, she instantly held it out to
her. The woman started, drew back her extended hand, and gazed at her

"What is it then ails ye?" said Cathleen, looking at her with wonder;
then to herself, "hunger's turned the wits of her, poor soul! Take
it--take it, mother," added she aloud: "eat, good mother; sure there's
plenty for us all, and to spare," and she pressed it upon her with all
the kindness of her nature. The old woman eagerly seized it.

"God reward ye," said she, grasping Cathleen's hand, convulsively, and
retiring to a corner, she devoured the food with almost wolfish

While they were eating, the two Hogans, father and son, came in. They
had been setting snares for rabbits and game on the neighbouring hills;
and evidently were both startled and displeased to find the house
occupied; which, since Barny Hogan's disgrace with "my lord," had been
entirely shunned by the people round about. The old man gave the pedlar
a sulky welcome. The son, with a muttered curse, went and took his seat
in the chimney, where, turning his back, he set himself to chop a billet
of wood. The father was a lean stooping figure, "bony, and gaunt, and
grim:" he was either deaf, or affected deafness. The son was a short,
brawny, thickset man, with features not naturally ugly, but rendered
worse than ugly by an expression of louring ferocity disgustingly
blended with a sort of stupid drunken leer, the effect of habitual

Halloran stared at them awhile with visible astonishment and indignation,
but pity and sorrow for a change so lamentable, smothered the old man's
wrath; and as the eatables were by this time demolished, he took from
his side pocket a tin flask of whiskey, calling to the old woman to boil
some water "screeching hot," that he might make what he termed "a jug of
stiff punch--enough to make a cat _spake_." He offered to share it with
his hosts, who did not decline drinking; and the noggin went round to all
but Cathleen, who, feverish with travelling, and, besides, disliking
spirits, would not taste it. The old pedlar, reconciled to his old
acquaintances by this show of good fellowship, began to grow merry under
the influence of his whiskey-punch: he boasted of his late success in
trade, showed with exultation his almost empty pack, and taking out the
only two handkerchiefs left in it, threw one to Cathleen, and the other
to the old woman of the house; then slapping his pocket, in which a
quantity of loose money was heard to jingle, he swore he would treat
Cathleen to a good breakfast next morning; and threw a shilling on the
table, desiring the old woman would provide "stirabout for a dozen,"
and have it ready by the first light.

Cathleen listened to this rhodomontade in some alarm; she fancied she
detected certain suspicious glances between the father and son, and
began to feel an indescribable dread of her company. She arose from the
table, urging the pedlar good-humouredly to retire to rest, as they
intended to be up and away so early next morning: then concealing her
apprehensions under an affectation of extreme fatigue and drowsiness,
she desired to be shown where she was to sleep. The old woman lighted
a lanthorn, and led the way up some broken steps into a sort of loft,
where she showed her two beds standing close together; one of these she
intimated was for the pedlar, and the other for herself. Now Cathleen
had been born and bred in an Irish cabin, where the inmates are usually
lodged after a very promiscuous fashion; our readers, therefore, will
not wonder at the arrangement. Cathleen, however, required that, if
possible, some kind of skreen should be placed between the beds. The old
hag at first replied to this request with the most disgusting impudence;
but Cathleen insisting, the beds were moved asunder, leaving a space of
about two feet between them; and after a long search a piece of old
frieze was dragged out from among some rubbish, and hung up to the low
rafters, so as to form a curtain or partition half-way across the room.
Having completed this arrangement, and wished her "a sweet sleep and a
sound, and lucky dreams," the old woman put the lanthorn on the floor,
for there was neither chair nor table, and left her guest to repose.

Cathleen said her prayers, only partly undressed herself, and lifting
up the worn-out coverlet, lay down upon the bed. In a quarter of an hour
afterwards the pedlar staggered into the room, and as he passed the foot
of her bed, bid God bless her, in a low voice. He then threw himself
down on his bed, and in a few minutes, as she judged by his hard and
equal breathing, the old man was in a deep sleep.

All was now still in the house, but Cathleen could not sleep. She was
feverish and restless; her limbs ached, her head throbbed and burned,
undefinable fears beset her fancy; and whenever she tried to compose
herself to slumber, the faces of the two men she had left below flitted
and glared before her eyes. A sense of heat and suffocation, accompanied
by a parching thirst, came over her, caused, perhaps, by the unusual
closeness of the room. This feeling of oppression increased till the
very walls and rafters seemed to approach nearer and close upon her
all around. Unable any longer to endure this intolerable smothering
sensation, she was just about to rise and open the door or window,
when she heard the whispering of voices. She lay still and listened.
The latch was raised cautiously,--the door opened, and the two Hogans
entered: they trod so softly that, though she saw them move before
her, she heard no foot-fall. They approached the bed of Halloran, and
presently she heard a dull heavy blow, and then sounds--appalling
sickening sounds--as of subdued struggles and smothered agony, which
convinced her that they were murdering the unfortunate pedlar.

Cathleen listened, almost congealed with horror, but she did not
swoon: her turn, she thought, must come next, though in the same instant
she felt instinctively that her only chance of preservation was to
counterfeit profound sleep. The murderers, having done their work on the
poor Pedlar, approached her bed, and threw the gleam of their lanthorn
full on her face; she lay quite still, breathing calmly and regularly.
They brought the light to her eye-lids, but they did not wink or
move;--there was a pause, a terrible pause, and then a whispering;--and
presently Cathleen thought she could distinguish a third voice, as of
expostulation, but all in so very low a tone that though the voices
were close to her she could not hear a word that was uttered. After
some moments, which appeared an age of agonising suspense, the wretches
withdrew, and Cathleen was left alone, and in darkness. Then, indeed,
she felt as one ready to die: to use her own affecting language, "the
heart within me," said she, "melted away like water, but I was resolute
not to swoon, and I _did not_. I knew that if I would preserve my life,
I must keep the sense in me, and _I did_."

Now and then she fancied she heard the murdered man move, and creep
about in his bed, and this horrible conceit almost maddened her with
terror: but she set herself to listen fixedly, and convinced her reason
that all was still--that all was over.

She then turned her thoughts to the possibility of escape. The window
first suggested itself: the faint moon-light was just struggling
through its dirty and cobwebbed panes: it was very small, and Cathleen
reflected, that besides the difficulty, and, perhaps, impossibility of
getting through, it must be some height from the ground: neither could
she tell on which side of the house it was situated, nor in what direction
to turn, supposing she reached the ground: and, above all, she was aware
that the slightest noise must cause her instant destruction. She thus
resolved upon remaining quiet.

It was most fortunate that Cathleen came to this determination, for
without the slightest previous sound the door again opened, and in the
faint light, to which her eyes were now accustomed, she saw the head of
the old woman bent forward in a listening attitude: in a few minutes
the door closed, and then followed a whispering outside. She could not
at first distinguish a word until the woman's sharper tones broke out,
though in suppressed vehemence, with "If ye touch her life, Barny, a
mother's curse go with ye! enough's done."

"She'll live, then, to hang us all," said the miscreant son.

"Sooner than that, I'd draw this knife across her throat with my own
hands; and I'd do it again and again, sooner than they should touch your
life, Barny, jewel: but no fear, the creature's asleep or dead already,
with the fright of it."

The son then said something which Cathleen could not hear; the old woman

"Hisht! I tell ye, no,--no; the ship's now in the Cove of Cork that's to
carry her over the salt seas far enough out of the way: and haven't we
all she has in the world? and more, didn't she take the bit out of her
own mouth to put into mine?"

The son again spoke inaudibly; and then the voices ceased, leaving
Cathleen uncertain as to her fate.

Shortly after the door opened, and the father and son again entered, and
carried out the body of the wretched pedlar. They seemed to have the art
of treading without noise, for though Cathleen saw them move, she could
not hear a sound of a footstep. The old woman was all this time standing
by her bed, and every now and then casting the light full upon her eyes;
but as she remained quite still, and apparently in a deep calm sleep,
they left her undisturbed, and she neither saw nor heard any more of
them that night.

It ended at length--that long, long night of horror. Cathleen lay quiet
till she thought the morning sufficiently advanced. She then rose, and
went down into the kitchen: the old woman was lifting a pot off the
fire, and nearly let it fall as Cathleen suddenly addressed her, and
with an appearance of surprise and concern, asked for her friend the
pedlar, saying she had just looked into his bed, supposing he was still
asleep, and to her great amazement had found it empty. The old woman
replied, that he had set out at early daylight for Mallow, having only
just remembered that his business called him that way before he went to
Cork. Cathleen affected great wonder and perplexity, and reminded the
woman that he had promised to pay for her breakfast.

"An' so he did, sure enough," she replied, "and paid for it too; and by
the same token didn't I go down to Balgowna myself for the milk and the
_male_ before the sun was over the tree tops; and here it is for ye, ma
colleen:" so saying, she placed a bowl of stirabout and some milk before
Cathleen, and then sat down on the stool opposite to her, watching her

Poor Cathleen! she had but little inclination to eat, and felt as if
every bit would choke her: yet she continued to force down her breakfast,
and apparently with the utmost ease and appetite, even to the last
morsel set before her. While eating, she inquired about the husband and
son, and the old woman replied, that they had started at the first burst
of light to cut turf in a bog, about five miles distant.

When Cathleen had finished her breakfast, she returned the old woman many
thanks for her kind treatment, and then desired to know the nearest way
to Cork. The woman Hogan informed her that the distance was about seven
miles, and though the usual road was by the high-way from which they
had turned the preceding evening, there was a much shorter way across
some fields which she pointed out. Cathleen listened attentively to
her directions, and then bidding farewell with many demonstrations of
gratitude, she proceeded on her fearful journey. The cool morning air,
the cheerful song of the early birds, the dewy freshness of the turf,
were all unnoticed and unfelt: the sense of danger was paramount, while
her faculties were all alive and awake to meet it, for a feverish and
unnatural strength seemed to animate her limbs. She stepped on, shortly
debating with herself whether to follow the directions given by the old
woman. The high-road appeared the safest; on the other hand, she was
aware that the slightest betrayal of mistrust would perhaps be followed
by her destruction; and thus rendered brave even by the excess of her
fears, she determined to take the cross path. Just as she had come to
this resolution, she reached the gate which she had been directed to
pass through; and without the slightest apparent hesitation, she turned
in, and pursued the lonely way through the fields. Often did she fancy
she heard footsteps stealthily following her, and never approached a
hedge without expecting to see the murderers start up from behind it;
yet she never once turned her head, nor quickened nor slackened her

  Like one that on a lonesome road
    Doth walk in fear and dread,
  Because he knows a frightful fiend
    Doth close behind him tread.

She had proceeded in this manner about three-quarters of a mile, and
approached a thick and dark grove of underwood, when she beheld seated
upon the opposite stile an old woman in a red cloak. The sight of a
human being made her heart throb more quickly for a moment; but on
approaching nearer, with all her faculties sharpened by the sense of
danger, she perceived that it was no old woman, but the younger Hogan,
the murderer of Halloran, who was thus disguised. His face was partly
concealed by a blue handkerchief tied round his head and under his chin,
but she knew him by the peculiar and hideous expression of his eyes: yet
with amazing and almost incredible self-possession, she continued to
advance without manifesting the least alarm, or sign of recognition;
and walking up to the pretended old woman, said in a clear voice, "The
blessing of the morning on ye, good mother! a fine day for travellers
like you and me!"

"A fine day," he replied, coughing and mumbling in a feigned voice, "but
ye see, hugh, ugh! ye see I've walked this morning from the Cove of Cork,
jewel, and troth I'm almost spent, and I've a bad cowld, and a cough on
me, as ye may hear," and he coughed vehemently. Cathleen made a motion
to pass the stile, but the disguised old woman stretching out a great
bony hand, seized her gown. Still Cathleen did not quail. "Musha, then,
have ye nothing to give a poor ould woman?" said the monster, in a
whining, snuffling tone.

"Nothing have I in this wide world," said Cathleen, quietly disengaging
her gown, but without moving. "Sure it's only yesterday I was robbed of
all I had but the little clothes on my back, and if I hadn't met with
charity from others, I had starved by the way-side by this time."

"Och! and is there no place hereby where they would give a potatoe and
a cup of cowld water to a poor old woman ready to drop on her road?"

Cathleen instantly pointed forward to the house she had just left, and
recommended her to apply there. "Sure they're good, honest people,
though poor enough, God help them," she continued, "and I wish ye,
mother, no worse luck than myself had, and that's a good friend to treat
you to a supper--aye, and a breakfast too; there it is, ye may just see
the light smoke rising like a thread over the hill, just fornent ye; and
so God speed ye!"

Cathleen turned to descend the stile as she spoke, expecting to be again
seized with a strong and murderous grasp; but her enemy, secure in his
disguise, and never doubting her perfect unconsciousness, suffered her
to pass unmolested.

Another half-mile brought her to the top of a rising ground, within
sight of the high-road; she could see crowds of people on horseback and
on foot, with cars and carriages passing along in one direction; for it
was, though Cathleen did not then know it, the first day of the Cork
Assizes. As she gazed, she wished for the wings of a bird that she might
in a moment flee over the space which intervened between her and safety;
for though she could clearly see the high-road from the hill on which
she stood, a valley of broken ground at its foot, and two wide fields
still separated her from it; but with the same unfailing spirit, and at
the same steady pace, she proceeded onwards: and now she had reached the
middle of the last field, and a thrill of new-born hope was beginning to
flutter at her heart, when suddenly two men burst through the fence at
the farther side of the field, and advanced towards her. One of these
she thought at the first glance resembled her husband, but that it
_was_ her husband himself was an idea which never entered her mind. Her
imagination was possessed with the one supreme idea of danger and death
by murderous hands; she doubted not that these were the two Hogans in
some new disguise, and silently recommending herself to God, she steeled
her heart to meet this fresh trial of her fortitude; aware, that however
it might end, it _must_ be the last. At this moment one of the men
throwing up his arms, ran forward, shouting her name, in a voice--a dear
and well-known voice, in which she _could_ not be deceived:--it was her

The poor woman, who had hitherto supported her spirits and her
self-possession, stood as if rooted to the ground, weak, motionless, and
gasping for breath. A cold dew burst from every pore; her ears tingled,
her heart fluttered as though it would burst from her bosom. When she
attempted to call out, and raise her hand in token of recognition, the
sounds died away, rattling in her throat; her arm dropped powerless at
her side; and when her husband came up, and she made a last effort to
spring towards him, she sank down at his feet in strong convulsions.

Reilly, much shocked at what he supposed the effect of sudden surprise,
knelt down and chafed his wife's temples; his comrade ran to a
neighbouring spring for water, which they sprinkled plentifully over
her: when, however, she returned to life, her intellects appeared to
have fled for ever, and she uttered such wild shrieks and exclamations,
and talked so incoherently, that the men became exceedingly terrified,
and poor Reilly himself almost as distracted as his wife. After vainly
attempting to soothe and recover her, they at length forcibly carried
her down to the inn at Balgowna, a hamlet about a mile farther on,
where she remained for several hours in a state of delirium, one fit
succeeding another with little intermission.

Towards evening she became more composed, and was able to give some
account of the horrible events of the preceding night. It happened,
opportunely, that a gentleman of fortune in the neighbourhood, and a
magistrate, was riding by late that evening on his return from the
Assizes at Cork, and stopped at the inn to refresh his horse. Hearing
that something unusual and frightful had occurred, he alighted, and
examined the woman himself, in the presence of one or two persons.
Her tale appeared to him so strange and wild from the manner in which
she told it, and her account of her own courage and sufferings so
exceedingly incredible, that he was at first inclined to disbelieve the
whole, and suspected the poor woman either of imposture or insanity.
He did not, however, think proper totally to neglect her testimony, but
immediately sent off information of the murder to Cork. Constables with
a warrant were despatched the same night to the house of the Hogans,
which they found empty, and the inmates already fled: but after a long
search, the body of the wretched Halloran, and part of his property,
were found concealed in a stack of old chimneys among the ruins; and
this proof of guilt was decisive. The country was instantly _up_; the
most active search after the murderers was made by the police, assisted
by all the neighbouring peasantry; and before twelve o'clock the
following night, the three Hogans, father, mother, and son, had been
apprehended in different places of concealment, and placed in safe
custody. Meantime the Coroner's inquest having sat on the body, brought
in a verdict of wilful murder.

As the judges were then at Cork, the trial came on immediately; and from
its extraordinary circumstances, excited the most intense and general
interest. Among the property of poor Halloran discovered in the house,
were a pair of shoes and a cap which Cathleen at once identified as
belonging to herself, and Reilly's silver watch was found on the younger
Hogan. When questioned how they came into his possession, he sullenly
refused to answer. His mother eagerly, and as if to shield her son,
confessed that she was the person who had robbed Cathleen in the former
part of the day, that she had gone out on the Carrick road to beg, having
been left by her husband and son for two days without the means of
support; and finding Cathleen asleep, she had taken away the bundle,
supposing it to contain food; and did not recognize her as the same
person she had robbed, till Cathleen offered her part of her supper.

The surgeon, who had been called to examine the body of Halloran,
deposed to the cause of his death;--that the old man had been first
stunned by a heavy blow on the temple, and then strangled. Other
witnesses deposed to the finding of the body: the previous character of
the Hogans, and the circumstances attending their apprehension; but the
principal witness was Cathleen. She appeared, leaning on her husband,
her face was ashy pale, and her limbs too weak for support; yet she,
however, was perfectly collected, and gave her testimony with that
precision, simplicity, and modesty, peculiar to her character. When she
had occasion to allude to her own feelings, it was with such natural
and heart-felt eloquence that the whole court was affected; and when
she described her rencontre at the stile, there was a general pressure
and a breathless suspense: and then a loud murmur of astonishment and
admiration fully participated by even the bench of magistrates. The
evidence was clear and conclusive; and the jury, without retiring,
gave their verdict, guilty--Death.

When the miserable wretches were asked, in the usual forms, if they had
any thing to say why the awful sentence should not be passed upon them,
the old man replied by a look of idiotic vacancy, and was mute--the
younger Hogan answered sullenly, "Nothing:" the old woman, staring wildly
on her son, tried to speak; her lips moved, but without a sound--and she
fell forward on the bar in strong fits.

At this moment Cathleen rushed from the arms of her husband, and throwing
herself on her knees, with clasped hands, and cheeks streaming with
tears, begged for mercy for the old woman. "Mercy, my lord judge!" she
exclaimed. "Gentlemen, your honours, have mercy on her. She had mercy
on me! She only did _their_ bidding. As for the bundle, and all in it,
I give it to her with all my soul, so it's no robbery. The grip of
hunger's hard to bear; and if she hadn't taken it then, where would I
have been now? Sure they would have killed me for the sake of the watch,
and I would have been a corpse before your honours this moment. O mercy!
mercy for her! or never will I sleep asy on this side of the grave!"

The judge, though much affected, was obliged to have her forcibly
carried from the court, and justice took its awful course. Sentence of
death was pronounced on all the prisoners; but the woman was reprieved,
and afterwards transported. The two men were executed within forty-eight
hours after their conviction, on the Gallows Green. They made no public
confession of their guilt, and met their fate with sullen indifference.
The awful ceremony was for a moment interrupted by an incident which
afterwards furnished ample matter for wonder and speculation among the
superstitious populace. It was well known that the younger Hogan had
been long employed on the estate of a nobleman in the neighbourhood;
but having been concerned in the abduction of a young female, under
circumstances of peculiar atrocity, which for want of legal evidence
could not be brought home to him, he was dismissed; and, finding himself
an object of general execration, he had since been skulking about the
country, associating with housebreakers and other lawless and abandoned
characters. At the moment the hangman was adjusting the rope round his
neck, a shrill voice screamed from the midst of the crowd, "Barny Hogan!
do ye mind Grace Power, and the last words ever she spoke to ye?" There
was a general movement and confusion; no one could or would tell whence
the voice proceeded. The wretched man was seen to change countenance for
the first time, and raising himself on tiptoe, gazed wildly round upon
the multitude: but he said nothing; and in a few minutes he was no more.

The reader may wish to know what has become of Cathleen, our _heroine_,
in the true sense of the word. Her story, her sufferings, her
extraordinary fortitude, and pure simplicity of character, made her an
object of general curiosity and interest: a subscription was raised
for her, which soon amounted to a liberal sum; they were enabled to
procure Reilly's discharge from the army, and with a part of the money,
Cathleen, who, among her other perfections, was exceedingly pious after
the fashion of her creed and country, founded yearly masses for the soul
of the poor pedlar; and vowed herself to make a pilgrimage of thanksgiving
to St. Gobnate's well. Mr. L., the magistrate who had first examined
her in the little inn at Balgowna, made her a munificent present; and
anxious, perhaps, to offer yet farther amends for his former doubts of
her veracity, he invited Reilly, on very advantageous terms, to settle
on his estate, where he rented a neat cabin, and a _handsome_ plot of
potatoe ground. There Reilly and his Cathleen were living ten years ago,
with an increasing family, and in the enjoyment of much humble happiness;
and there, for aught I know to the contrary, they may be living at this


  There is a comfort in the strength of love,
  Making that pang endurable, which else
  Would overset the brain--or break the heart.


The monuments which human art has raised to human pride or power may
decay with that power, or survive to mock that pride; but sooner or
later they perish--their place knows them not. In the aspect of a
ruin, however imposing in itself, and however magnificent or dear the
associations connected with it, there is always something sad and
humiliating, reminding us how poor and how frail are the works of man,
how unstable his hopes, and how limited his capacity compared to his
aspirations! But when man has made to himself monuments of the works
of God; when the memory of human affections, human intellect, human
power, is blended with the immutable features of nature, they consecrate
each other, and both endure together to the end. In a state of high
civilization, man trusts to the record of brick and marble--the pyramid,
the column, the temple, the tomb:

              "Then the bust
  And altar rise--then sink again to dust."

In the earlier stages of society, the isolated rock--the mountain,
cloud-encircled--the river, rolling to its ocean-home--the very stars
themselves--were endued with sympathies, and constituted the first,
as they will be the last, witnesses and records of our human destinies
and feelings. The glories of the Parthenon shall fade into oblivion; but
while the heights of Thermopylæ stand, and while a wave murmurs in the
gulph of Salamis, a voice shall cry aloud to the universe--"Freedom
and glory to those who can dare to die!--woe and everlasting infamy to
him who would enthral the unconquerable spirit!" The Coliseum with its
sanguinary trophies is crumbling to decay; but the islet of Nisida,
where Brutus parted with his Portia--the steep of Leucadia, still remain
fixed as the foundations of the earth; and lasting as the round world
itself shall be the memories that hover over them! As long as the waters
of the Hellespont flow between Sestos and Abydos, the fame of the love
that perished there shall never pass away. A traveller, pursuing his
weary way through the midst of an African desert--a barren, desolate,
and almost boundless solitude--found a gigantic sculptured head, shattered
and half-buried in the sand; and near it the fragment of a pedestal, on
which these words might be with pain deciphered: "_I am Ozymandias, King
of kings; look upon my works, ye mighty ones, and despair!_" Who was
Ozymandias?--where are now his works?--what bond of thought or feeling,
links his past with our present? The Arab, with his beasts of burthen,
tramples unheeding over these forlorn vestiges of human art and human
grandeur. In the wildest part of the New Continent, hidden amid the
depths of interminable forests, there stands a huge rock, hallowed by
a tradition so recent that the man is not yet grey-headed who was born
its contemporary; but that rock, and the tale which consecrates it, shall
carry down to future ages a deep lesson--a moral interest lasting as
itself--however the aspect of things and the conditions of people change
around it. Henceforth no man shall gaze on it with careless eye; but
each shall whisper to his own bosom--"What is stronger than love in a
mother's heart?--what more fearful than power wielded by ignorance?--or
what more lamentable than the abuse of a beneficent name to purposes of
selfish cruelty?"

Those vast regions which occupy the central part of South America,
stretching from Guinea to the foot of the Andes, overspread with
gigantic and primeval forests, and watered by mighty rivers--those
solitary wilds where man appears unessential in the scale of creation,
and the traces of his power are few and far between--have lately occupied
much of the attention of Europeans; partly from the extraordinary events
and unexpected revolutions which have convulsed the nations round them;
and partly from the researches of enterprising travellers who have
penetrated into their remotest districts. But till within the last
twenty years these wild regions have been unknown, except through the
means of the Spanish and Portuguese priests, settled as missionaries
along the banks of the Orinoco and the Paraguay. The men thus devoted to
utter banishment from all intercourse with civilized life, are generally
Franciscan or Capuchin friars, born in the Spanish Colonies. Their pious
duties are sometimes voluntary, and sometimes imposed by the superiors
of their order; in either case their destiny appears at first view
deplorable, and their self-sacrifice sublime; yet, when we recollect
that these poor monks generally exchanged the monotonous solitude of
the cloister for the magnificent loneliness of the boundless woods and
far-spreading savannahs, the sacrifice appears less terrible; even where
accompanied by suffering, privation, and occasionally by danger. When
these men combine with their religious zeal some degree of understanding
and enlightened benevolence, they have been enabled to enlarge the
sphere of knowledge and civilization, by exploring the productions and
geography of these unknown regions; and by collecting into villages and
humanizing the manners of the native tribes, who seem strangely to unite
the fiercest and most abhorred traits of savage life, with some of the
gentlest instincts of our common nature. But when it has happened that
these priests have been men of narrow minds and tyrannical tempers, they
have on some occasions fearfully abused the authority entrusted to them;
and being removed many thousand miles from the European settlements and
the restraint of the laws, the power they have exercised has been as far
beyond control as the calamities they have caused have been beyond all
remedy and all relief.

Unfortunately for those who were trusted to his charge, Father Gomez was
a missionary of this character. He was a Franciscan friar of the order
of Observance, and he dwelt in the village of San Fernando, near the
source of the Orinoco, whence his authority extended as president over
several missions in the neighbourhood of which San Fernando was the
capital. The temper of this man was naturally cruel and despotic; he was
wholly uneducated, and had no idea, no feeling, of the true spirit of
christian benevolence: in this respect, the savages whom he had been
sent to instruct and civilize were in reality less savage and less
ignorant than himself.

Among the passions and vices which Father Gomez had brought from his
cell in the convent of Angostara, to spread contamination and oppression
through his new domain, were pride and avarice; and both were interested
in increasing the number of his converts, or rather, of his slaves. In
spite of the wise and humane law of Charles the Third, prohibiting the
conversion of the Indian natives by force, Gomez, like others of his
brethren in the more distant missions, often accomplished his purpose by
direct violence. He was accustomed to go, with a party of his people,
and lie in wait near the hordes of unreclaimed Indians: when the men
were absent he would forcibly seize on the women and children, bind
them, and bring them off in triumph to his village. There, being
baptized and taught to make the sign of the cross, they were _called_
Christians, but in reality were slaves. In general, the women thus
detained pined away and died; but the children became accustomed to
their new mode of life, forgot their woods, and paid to their Christian
master a willing and blind obedience; thus in time they became the
oppressors of their own people.

Father Gomez called these incursions, _la conquista espiritual_--the
conquest of souls.

One day he set off on an expedition of this nature, attended by twelve
armed Indians; and after rowing some leagues up the river Guaviare,
which flows into the Orinoco, they perceived, through an opening in the
trees, and at a little distance from the shore, an Indian hut. It is
the custom of these people to live isolated in families; and so strong
is their passion for solitude, that when collected into villages they
frequently build themselves a little cabin at a distance from their
usual residence, and retire to it, at certain seasons, for days
together. The cabin of which I speak was one of these solitary
_villas_--if I may so apply the word. It was constructed with peculiar
neatness, thatched with palm leaves, and overshadowed with cocoa trees
and laurels; it stood alone in the wilderness, embowered in luxuriant
vegetation, and looked like the chosen abode of simple and quiet
happiness. Within this hut a young Indian woman (whom I shall call
Guahiba, from the name of her tribe) was busied in making cakes of the
cassava root, and preparing the family meal, against the return of her
husband, who was fishing at some distance up the river; her eldest
child, about five or six years old, assisted her; and from time to time,
while thus employed, the mother turned her eyes, beaming with fond
affection, upon the playful gambols of two little infants, who, being
just able to crawl alone, were rolling together on the ground, laughing
and crowing with all their might.

Their food being nearly prepared, the Indian woman looked towards the
river, impatient for the return of her husband. But her bright dark
eyes, swimming with eagerness and affectionate solicitude, became fixed
and glazed with terror when, instead of him she so fondly expected, she
beheld the attendants of Father Gomez, creeping stealthily along the
side of the thicket towards her cabin. Instantly aware of her danger
(for the nature and object of these incursions were the dread of all the
country round) she uttered a piercing shriek, snatched up her infants
in her arms, and, calling on the other to follow, rushed from the hut
towards the forest. As she had considerably the start of her pursuers,
she would probably have escaped, and have hidden herself effectually in
its tangled depths, if her precious burthen had not impeded her flight;
but thus encumbered she was easily overtaken. Her eldest child, fleet
of foot and wily as the young jaguar, escaped to carry to the wretched
father the news of his bereavement, and neither father nor child were
ever more beheld in their former haunts.

Meantime, the Indians seized upon Guahiba--bound her, tied her two
children together, and dragged her down to the river, where Father Gomez
was sitting in his canoe, waiting the issue of the expedition. At the
sight of the captives his eyes sparkled with a cruel triumph; he thanked
his patron saint that three more souls were added to his community;
and then, heedless of the tears of the mother, and the cries of her
children, he commanded his followers to row back with all speed to San

There Guahiba and her infants were placed in a hut under the guard of
two Indians; some food was given to her, which she at first refused, but
afterwards, as if on reflection, accepted. A young Indian girl was then
sent to her--a captive convert of her own tribe, who had not yet quite
forgotten her native language. She tried to make Guahiba comprehend that
in this village she and her children must remain during the rest of
their lives, in order that they might go to heaven after they were dead.
Guahiba listened, but understood nothing of what was addressed to her;
nor could she be made to conceive for what purpose she was torn from her
husband and her home, nor why she was to dwell for the remainder of her
life among a strange people, and against her will. During that night she
remained tranquil, watching over her infants as they slumbered by her
side; but the moment the dawn appeared she took them in her arms and ran
off to the woods. She was immediately brought back; but no sooner were
the eyes of her keepers turned from her than she snatched up her children,
and again fled;--again--and again! At every new attempt she was punished
with more and more severity; she was kept from food, and at length
repeatedly and cruelly beaten. In vain!--apparently she did not even
understand why she was thus treated; and one instinctive idea alone,
the desire of escape, seemed to possess her mind and govern all her
movements. If her oppressors only turned from her, or looked another
way, for an instant, she invariably caught up her children and ran off
towards the forest. Father Gomez was at length wearied by what he termed
her "blind obstinacy;" and, as the only means of securing all three, he
took measures to separate the mother from her children, and resolved to
convey Guahiba to a distant mission, whence she should never find her
way back either to them or to her home.

In pursuance of this plan, poor Guahiba, with her hands tied behind her,
was placed in the bow of a canoe. Father Gomez seated himself at the
helm, and they rowed away.

The few travellers who have visited these regions agree in describing
a phenomenon, the cause of which is still a mystery to geologists,
and which imparts to the lonely depths of these unappropriated and
unviolated shades an effect intensely and indescribably mournful. The
granite rocks which border the river, and extend far into the contiguous
woods, assume strange, fantastic shapes; and are covered with a black
incrustation, or deposit, which contrasted with the snow-white foam of
the waves breaking on them below, and the pale lichens which spring from
their crevices and creep along their surface above, give these shores an
aspect perfectly funereal. Between these melancholy rocks--so high and
so steep that a landing-place seldom occurred for leagues together--the
canoe of Father Gomez slowly glided, though urged against the stream by
eight robust Indians.

The unhappy Guahiba sat at first perfectly unmoved, and apparently
amazed and stunned by her situation; she did not comprehend what they
were going to do with her; but after a while she looked up towards the
sun, then down upon the stream; and perceiving, by the direction of the
one and the course of the other, that every stroke of the oar carried
her farther and farther from her beloved and helpless children, her
husband, and her native home, her countenance was seen to change and
assume a fearful expression. As the possibility of escape, in her
present situation, had never once occurred to her captors, she had been
very slightly and carelessly bound. She watched her opportunity, burst
the withes on her arms, with a sudden effort flung herself overboard,
and dived under the waves; but in another moment she rose again at a
considerable distance, and swam to the shore. The current, being rapid
and strong, carried her down to the base of a dark granite rock which
projected into the stream; she climbed it with fearless agility, stood
for an instant on its summit, looking down upon her tyrants, then
plunged into the forest, and was lost to sight.

Father Gomez, beholding his victim thus unexpectedly escape him, sat
mute and thunderstruck for some moments, unable to give utterance to the
extremity of his rage and astonishment. When, at length, he found voice,
he commanded his Indians to pull with all their might to the shore; then
to pursue the poor fugitive, and bring her back to him, dead or alive.

Guahiba, meantime, while strength remained to break her way through
the tangled wilderness, continued her flight; but soon exhausted and
breathless, with the violence of her exertions, she was obliged to relax
in her efforts, and at length sunk down at the foot of a huge laurel
tree, where she concealed herself, as well as she might, among the
long, interwoven grass. There, crouching and trembling in her lair,
she heard the voices of her persecutors hallooing to each other through
the thicket. She would probably have escaped but for a large mastiff
which the Indians had with them, and which scented her out in her
hiding-place. The moment she heard the dreaded animal snuffing in the
air, and tearing his way through the grass, she knew she was lost. The
Indians came up. She attempted no vain resistance; but, with a sullen
passiveness, suffered herself to be seized and dragged to the shore.

When the merciless priest beheld her, he determined to inflict on her
such discipline as he thought would banish her children from her memory,
and cure her for ever of her passion for escaping. He ordered her to be
stretched upon that granite rock where she had landed from the canoe, on
the summit of which she had stood, as if exulting in her flight,--THE ROCK
OF THE MOTHER, as it has ever since been denominated--and there flogged
till she could scarcely move or speak. She was then bound more securely,
placed in the canoe, and carried to Javita, the seat of a mission far up
the river.

It was near sunset when they arrived at this village, and the inhabitants
were preparing to go to rest. Guahiba was deposited for the night in a
large barn-like building, which served as a place of worship, a public
magazine, and, occasionally, as a barrack. Father Gomez ordered two or
three Indians of Javita to keep guard over her alternately, relieving
each other through the night; and then went to repose himself after the
fatigues of his voyage. As the wretched captive neither resisted nor
complained, Father Gomez flattered himself that she was now reduced to
submission. Little could he fathom the bosom of this fond mother! He
mistook for stupor, or resignation, the calmness of a fixed resolve.
In absence, in bonds, and in torture, her heart throbbed with but one
feeling; one thought alone possessed her whole soul:--her children--her
children--and still her children!

Among the Indians appointed to watch her was a youth, about eighteen
or nineteen years of age, who, perceiving that her arms were miserably
bruised by the stripes she had received, and that she suffered the most
acute agony from the savage tightness with which the cords were drawn,
let fall an exclamation of pity in the language of her tribe. Quick she
seized the moment of feeling, and addressed him as one of her people.

"Guahibo," she said, in a whispered tone, "thou speakest my language,
and doubtless thou art my brother! Wilt thou see me perish without pity,
O son of my people? Ah, cut these bonds which enter into my flesh!
I faint with pain! I die!"

The young man heard, and, as if terrified, removed a few paces from her
and kept silence. Afterwards, when his companions were out of sight,
and he was left alone to watch, he approached, and said, "Guahiba!--our
fathers were the same, and I may not see thee die; but if I cut these
bonds, white man will flog me:--wilt thou be content if I loosen them,
and give thee ease?" And as he spoke, he stooped and loosened the thongs
on her wrists and arms; she smiled upon him languidly, and appeared

Night was now coming on. Guahiba dropped her head on her bosom, and
closed her eyes, as if exhausted by weariness. The young Indian, believing
that she slept, after some hesitation laid himself down on his mat. His
companions were already slumbering in the porch of the building, and all
was still.

Then Guahiba raised her head. It was night--dark night--without moon or
star. There was no sound, except the breathing of the sleepers around
her, and the humming of the mosquitoes. She listened for some time with
her whole soul; but all was silence. She then gnawed the loosened thongs
asunder with her teeth. Her hands once free, she released her feet; and
when the morning came she had disappeared. Search was made for her in
every direction, but in vain; and Father Gomez, baffled and wrathful,
returned to his village.

The distance between Javita and San Fernando, where Guahiba had left her
infants, is twenty-five leagues in a straight line. A fearful wilderness
of gigantic forest trees, and intermingling underwood, separated these
two missions;--a savage and awful solitude, which, probably, since
the beginning of the world, had never been trodden by human foot. All
communication was carried on by the river; and there lived not a man,
whether Indian or European, bold enough to have attempted the route
along the shore. It was the commencement of the rainy season. The sky,
obscured by clouds, seldom revealed the sun by day; and neither moon
nor gleam of twinkling star by night. The rivers had overflowed, and
the lowlands were inundated. There was no visible object to direct
the traveller; no shelter, no defence, no aid, no guide. Was it
Providence--was it the strong instinct of maternal love, which led
this courageous woman through the depths of the pathless woods--where
rivulets, swollen to torrents by the rains, intercepted her at every
step; where the thorny lianas, twining from tree to tree, opposed an
almost impenetrable barrier; where the mosquitoes hung in clouds upon
her path; where the jaguar and the alligator lurked to devour her; where
the rattle-snake and the water-serpent lay coiled up in the damp grass,
ready to spring at her; where she had no food to support her exhausted
frame, but a few berries, and the large black ants which build their
nests on the trees? How directed--how sustained--cannot be told: the
poor woman herself could not tell. All that can be known with any
certainty is, that the fourth rising sun beheld her at San Fernando; a
wild, and wasted, and fearful object; her feet swelled and bleeding--her
hands torn--her body covered with wounds, and emaciated with famine and
fatigue;--but once more near her children!

For several hours she hovered round the hut in which she had left them,
gazing on it from a distance with longing eyes and a sick heart, without
daring to advance: at length she perceived that all the inhabitants
had quitted their cottages to attend vespers; then she stole from the
thicket, and approached, with faint and timid steps, the spot which
contained her hearths treasures. She entered, and found her infants left
alone, and playing together on a mat: they screamed at her appearance,
so changed was she by suffering; but when she called them by name, they
knew her tender voice, and stretched out their little arms towards her.
In that moment, the mother forgot all she had endured--all her anguish,
all her fears, every thing on earth but the objects which blessed her
eyes. She sat down between her children--she took them on her knees--she
clasped them in an agony of fondness to her bosom--she covered them with
kisses--she shed torrents of tears on their little heads, as she hugged
them to her. Suddenly she remembered where she was, and why she was
there: new terrors seized her; she rose up hastily, and, with her babies
in her arms, she staggered out of the cabin--fainting, stumbling, and
almost blind with loss of blood and inanition. She tried to reach the
woods, but too feeble to sustain her burthen, which yet she would not
relinquish, her limbs trembled, and sank beneath her. At this moment
an Indian, who was watching the public oven, perceived her. He gave the
alarm by ringing a bell, and the people rushed forth, gathering round
Guahiba with fright and astonishment. They gazed upon her as if upon
an apparition, till her sobs, and imploring looks, and trembling and
wounded limbs, convinced them that she yet lived, though apparently nigh
to death. They looked upon her in silence, and then at each other; their
savage bosoms were touched with commiseration for her sad plight, and
with admiration, and even awe, at this unexampled heroism of maternal

While they hesitated, and none seemed willing to seize her, or to take
her children from her, Father Gomez, who had just landed on his return
from Javita, approached in haste, and commanded them to be separated.
Guahiba clasped her children closer to her breast, and the Indians
shrunk back.

"What!" thundered the monk: "will ye suffer this woman to steal two
precious souls from heaven?--two members from our community? See ye not,
that while she is suffered to approach them, there is no salvation for
either mother or children?--part them, and instantly!"

The Indians, accustomed to his ascendancy, and terrified at his voice,
tore the children of Guahiba once more from her feeble arms: she uttered
nor word nor cry, but sunk in a swoon upon the earth.

While in this state, Father Gomez, with a cruel mercy, ordered her
wounds to be carefully dressed: her arms and legs were swathed with
cotton bandages; she was then placed in a canoe, and conveyed to a
mission, far, far off, on the river Esmeralda, beyond the Upper Orinoco.
She continued in a state of exhaustion and torpor during the voyage;
but after being taken out of the boat and carried inland, restoratives
brought her back to life, and to a sense of her situation. When she
perceived, as reason and consciousness returned, that she was in a
strange place, unknowing how she was brought there--among a tribe who
spoke a language different from any she had ever heard before, and from
whom, therefore, according to Indian prejudices, she could hope nor
aid nor pity;--when she recollected that she was far from her beloved
children;--when she saw no means of discovering the bearing or the
distance of their abode--no clue to guide her back to it:--_then_,
and only then, did the mother's heart yield to utter despair; and
thenceforward refusing to speak or to move, and obstinately rejecting
all nourishment, thus she died.

The boatman, on the river Atabapo, suspends his oar with a sigh as he
passes the ROCK OF THE MOTHER. He points it out to the traveller, and
weeps as he relates the tale of her sufferings and her fate. Ages hence,
when these solitary regions have become the seats of civilization, of
power, and intelligence; when the pathless wilds, which poor Guahiba
traversed in her anguish, are replaced by populous cities, and smiling
gardens, and pastures, and waving harvests,--still that dark rock shall
stand, frowning o'er the stream; tradition and history shall preserve
its name and fame; and when even the pyramids, those vast, vain monuments
to human pride, have passed away, it shall endure, to carry down to the
end of the world the memory of the Indian Mother.





    DICK, the Cobbler, a very honest man, and very merry withal,
    much given to singing.

    MARGERY, his wife, simple and affectionate, and one of the best
    women in the world.

    LADY AMARANTHE, a fine lady, full of airs and affectation, but
    not without good feeling.

    MADEMOISELLE JUSTINE, her French maid, very like other French maids.

The SCENE lies partly in the Garret of the Cobbler, and partly in LADY
AMARANTHE's Drawing-room.



    _A Garret meanly furnished; several pairs of old shoes, a coat,
    hat, bonnet, and shawl hanging against the Wall. DICK is seated
    on a low stool in front. He works, and sings._

  As she lay on that day
  In the Bay of Biscay O!

Now that's what _I_ call a good song; but my wife, she can't abear them
blusteration songs, she says; she likes something tender and genteel,
full of fine words. (_Sings in a mincing voice._)

  Vake, dearest, vake, and again united
  Ve'll vander by the sea-he-he-e.

Hang me, if I can understand a word of it! but when my wife sings it
out with her pretty little mouth, it does one's heart good to hear her;
and I could listen to her for ever: but, for my own part, what I like
is a song that comes thundering out with a meaning in it! (_Sings, and
flourishes his hammer with enthusiasm, beating time upon the shoe._)

  March! march! Eskdale and Tiviotdale,
  All the blue bonnets are over the border!

MARGERY--(_from within._)

Dick! Dick! what a noise you do keep!


A noise, eh? Why, Meg, you didn't use to think it a noise: you used to
like to hear me sing!


And so I did, and so I do. I loves music with all my heart; but the whole
parish will hear you if you go for to bawl out so monstrous loud.


And let them! who cares?

                                               [_He sings, she laughs._


Nay, sing away if you like it!

DICK--(_stopping suddenly._)

I won't sing another bit if you don't like it, Meg.


Oh, I do like! Lord bless us! not like it! it sounds so merry! Why,
Dick, love, every body said yesterday that you sung as well as Mr.
Thingumee at Sadler's Wells, and says they, "Who is that young man
as sings like any nightingale?" and I says (_drawing herself up_),
"That's my husband!"


Ay! flummery!--But, Meg, I say, how did you like the wedding yesterday?


Oh, hugeously! such heaps of smart people, as fine as fivepence, I
warrant; and such gay gowns and caps! and plenty to eat and drink!--But
what I liked best was the walking in the gardens at Bagnigge Wells, and
the tea, and the crumpets!


And the punch!


Yes--ha! ha! I could see you thought _that_ good! and then the dancing!


Ay, ay; and there wasn't one amongst them that footed it away like my
Margery. And folks says to me, "Pray, who is that pretty modest young
woman as hops over the ground as light as a feather?" says they; and
says I, "Why, that there pretty young woman is my wife, to be sure!"


Ah, you're at your jokes, Dick!


I'll be hanged then!

MARGERY--(_leaning on his shoulder._)

Well, to be sure, we were happy yesterday. It's good to make holiday
just now and then, but some how I was very glad to come home to our own
little room again. O Dick!--did you mind that Mrs. Pinchtoe, that gave
herself such grand airs?--she in the fine lavender silk gown--that
turned up her nose at me so, and all because she's a master shoemaker's
wife! and you are only--only--a cobbler!--(_sighs_) I wish _you_ were a
master shoemaker, Dick.


That you might be a master shoemaker's wife, hay! and turn up your nose
like Mrs. Pinchtoe?


No, no; I have more manners.


Would you love me better, Meg, if I were a master shoemaker?


No, I couldn't love you better if you were a king; and that you know,
Dick; and, after all, we're happy now, and who knows what might be if
he were to change?


Ay, indeed! who knows? you might grow into a fine lady like she over the
way, who comes home o'nights just as we're getting up in the morning,
with the flams flaring, and blazing like any thing; and that puts me in


Of what, Dick? tell me!


Why, cousin Tom's wedding put it all out of my head last night; but
yesterday there comes over to me one of those fine bedizened fellows we
see lounging about the door there, with a cocked hat, and things like
stay laces dangling at his shoulder.


What could he want, I wonder!


O! he comes over to me as I was just standing at the door below, a
thinking of nothing at all, and singing Paddy O'Raffety to myself, and
says he to me, "You cobbler fellor," says he, "don't you go for to keep
such a bawling every morning, awakening people out of their first
sleep," says he, "for if you do, my lord will have you put into the
stocks," says he.


The stocks! O goodness gracious me! and what for, pray?

DICK--(_with a grin._)

Why, for singing, honey! So says I, "Hark 'ee, Mr. Scrape-trencher,
there go words to that bargain: what right have you to go for to speak
in that there way to me?" says I; and says he, "We'll have you 'dited
for a nuisance, fellor," says he.

MARGERY--(_clasping her hands._)

A nuisance! my Dick a nuisance! O Lord a' mercy!


Never fear, girl; I'm a free-born Englishman, and I knows the laws well
enough: and says I, "No more a fellor than yourself; I'm an honest man,
following an honest calling, and I don't care _that_ for you nor your
lord neither; and I'll sing _when_ I please, and I'll sing _what_ I
please, and I'll sing as loud as I please; I will, by jingo!" and so he
lifts me up his cane, and I says quite cool, "This house is my castle;
and if you don't take yourself out of that in a jiffey, why, I'll give
your laced jacket such a dusting as it never had before in its life--I


O, Dick! you've a spirit of your own, I warrant. Well, and then?


Oh, I promise you he was off in the twinkling of a bed-post, and I've
heard no more of him; but I was determined to wake you this morning with
a thundering song; just to show 'em I didn't care for 'em--ha! ha! ha!


Oh, ho! that was the reason, then, that you bawled so in my ear, and
frightened me out of my sleep--was it? Oh, well, I forgive you; but
bless me! I stand chattering here, and it's twelve o'clock, as I live!
I must go to market--(_putting on her shawl and bonnet._) What would you
like to have for dinner, Dick, love? a nice rasher of bacon, by way of
a relish?

DICK--(_smacking his lips._)

Just the very thing, honey.


Well, give me the shilling, then.

DICK--(_scratching his head._)

What shilling?


Why, the shilling you had yesterday.

DICK--(_feeling in his pockets._)

A shilling!


Yes, a shilling. (_Gaily._) To have meat, one must have money; and folks
must eat as well as sing, Dick, love. Come, out with it!


But suppose I haven't got it?


How! what! you don't mean for to say that the last shilling that you put
in your pocket, just to make a show, is gone?

DICK--(_with a sigh._)

But I do, though--it's gone.


What shall we do?


I don't know. (_A pause. They look at each other._) Stay, that's lucky.
Here's a pair of dancing pumps as belongs to old Mrs. Crusty, the
baker's wife at the corner--


We can't eat _them_ for dinner, I guess.


No, no; but I'm just at the last stitch.



DICK--(_speaking and working in a hurry._)

And so you'll take them home--




And tell her I must have seven-pence halfpenny for them. (_Gives them._)

MARGERY--(_examining the shoes._)

But, Dick, isn't that some'at extortionate, as a body may say?
seven-pence halfpenny!


Why, here's heel-pieces, and a patch upon each toe; one must live, Meg!


Yes, Dick, love; but so must other folks. Now I think seven-pence would
be enough in all conscience--what do you say?


Well, settle it as you like; only get a bit of dinner for us, for I'm as
hungry as a hunter, I know.


I'm going. Good bye, Dick!


Take care of theeself--and don't spend the change in caps and ribbons,


Caps and ribbons out of seven-pence! Lord help the man! ha, ha, ha!
(_She goes out._)

DICK--(_calling after her._)

And come back soon, d'ye hear? There she goes--hop, skip, and jump, down
the stairs. Somehow, I can't abear to have her out of my sight a minute.
Well, if ever there was a man could say he had a good wife, why, that's
me myself--tho'f I say it--the cheerfullest, sweetest temperedst,
cleanliest, lovingest woman in the whole parish, that never gives one
an ill word from year's end to year's end, and deserves at least that a
man should work hard for her--it's all I can do--and we must think for
to-morrow as well as to-day. (_He works with great energy, and sings at
the same time with equal enthusiasm._)

  Cannot ye do as I do?
  Cannot ye do as I do ?
  Spend your money, and work for more;
  _That's_ the way that I do!
                             Tol de rol lol.

_Re-enter MARGERY in haste._

MARG.--(_out of breath._)

Oh, Dick, husband! Dick, I say!


Hay! what's the matter now?


Here be one of those fine powdered laced fellows from over the way comed
after you again.


An impudent jackanapes! I'll give him as good as he brings.


Oh, no, no! he's monstrous civil now; for he chucked me under the chin,
and says he, "My pretty girl!"


Ho! monstrous civil indeed, with a vengeance!


And says he, "Do you belong to this here house?" "Yes, sir," says I,
making a curtsy, for I couldn't do no less when he spoke so civil; and
says he, "Is there an honest cobbler as lives here?" "Yes, sir," says I,
"my husband that is." "Then, my dear," says he, "just tell him to step
over the way, for my Lady Amaranthe wishes to speak to him immediately."


A lady? O Lord!


Yes, so you must go directly. Here, take off your apron, and let me comb
your hair a bit.


What the mischief can a lady want with me? I've nothing to do with
ladies, as I knows of.


Why, she won't eat you up, I reckon.


And yet I--I--I be afeard, Meg!


Afeard of a lady! that's a good one!


Ay, just--if it were a man, I shouldn't care a fig.


But we've never done no harm to nobody in our whole lives, so what is
there to be afraid of?


Nay, that's true.


Now let me help you on with your best coat. Pooh! what is the man
about?--Why, you're putting the back to the front, and the front to
the back, like Paddy from Cork, with his coat buttoned behind!


My head do turn round, just for all the world like a peg-top.--A lady!
what _can_ a lady have to say to me, I wonder?


May be, she's a customer.


No, no, great gentlefolks like she never wears patched toes nor

heel-pieces, I reckon.


Here's your hat. Now let me see how you can make a bow. (_He bows
awkwardly._) Hold up your head--turn out your toes. That will do
capital! (_She walks round him with admiration._) How nice you look!
there's ne'er a gentleman of them all can come up to my Dick.


But--a--a--Meg, you'll come with me, won't you, and just see me safe in
at the door, eh?


Yes, to be sure; walk on before, and let me look at you. Hold up your
head--there, that's it!


Come along. Hang it, who's afraid?

                                                        [_They go out._

    _Scene changes to a Drawing-room in the House of LADY AMARANTHE._

_Enter _Lady Amaranthe_, leaning upon her maid, MADEMOISELLE JUSTINE._


Avancez un fauteuil, ma chère! arrangez les coussins. (_JUSTINE settles
the chair, and places a footstool. LADY AMARANTHE, sinking into the
arm-chair with a languid air._) Justine, I shall die, I shall certainly
die! I never can survive this!


Mon Dieu! madame, ne parlez pas comme çà! c'est m'enfoncer un poignard
dans le coeur!

LADY AMARANTHE--(_despairingly._)

No rest--no possibility of sleeping--


Et le medecin de madame, qui a ordonné la plus grande tranquillité--qui
a mème voulu que je me taisais--moi, par exemple!


After fatiguing myself to death with playing the agreeable to disagreeable
people, and talking common-place to common-place acquaintance, I return
home, to lay my aching head upon my pillow, and just as my eyes are
closing, I start--I wake,--a voice that would rouse the dead out of their
graves echoes in my ears! In vain I bury my head in the pillow--in vain
draw the curtains close--multiply defences against my window--change from
room to room--it haunts me! Ah! I think I hear it still! (_covering her
ears_) it will certainly drive me distracted!

[_During this speech, JUSTINE has made sundry exclamations and gestures
expressive of horror, sympathy, and commiseration._]


Vraiment, c'est affreux.


In any more civilized country it never could have been endured--I should
have had him removed at once; but here the vulgar people talk of laws!


Ah, oui, madame, mais il faut avouer que c'est ici un pays bien barbare,
où tout le monde parle loi et métaphysique, et où l'on ne fait point de
différence entre les riches et les pauvres.


But what provokes me more than all the rest is this unheard-of
insolence! (_rises and walks about the room_,)--a cobbler too--a cobbler
who presumes to sing, and to sing when all the rest of the world is
asleep! This is the march of intellect with a vengeance!


C'est vrai, il ne chante que des marches et de gros chansons à boire--s'il
chantait bien doucement quelque joli roman par exemple--(_She
sings_)--_dormez, dormez, mes chers amours_!


Justine, did you send the butler over to request civilly that he would
not disturb me in the morning?


Oui, miladi, dat is, I have send John; de butler he was went out.


And his answer was, that he would sing in spite of me, and louder than


Oui, miladi, le monstre! il dit comme çà, dat he will sing more louder
den ever.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_sinking again into her chair._)

Ah! the horrid man!


Ah! dere is no politesse, no more den dere is police in dis country.


If Lord Amaranthe were not two hundred miles off--but, as it is, I must
find some remedy--let me think--bribery, I suppose. Have they sent for
him? I dread to see the wretch. What noise is that? allez voir, ma chère!

JUSTINE--(_goes and returns._)

Madame, c'est justement notre homme, voulez-vous qu'il entre?


Oui, faites entrer.

                                        [_She leans back in her chair._

JUSTINE--(_at the door._)

Entrez, entrez toujours, dat is, come in, good mister.

_Enter DICK. He bows; and, squeezing his hat in his hands, looks
round him with considerable embarrassment._

JUSTINE--(_to Lady Amaranthe._)

Bah! comme il sent le cuir, n'est-ce pas, madame?


Faugh! mes sels--ma vinaigrette, Justine--non, l'eau de Cologne, qui est
là sur la table. (_JUSTINE brings her some eau de Cologne; she pours some
upon her handkerchief, and applies it to her temples and to her nose,
as if overcome; then, raising her eye-glass, she examines DICK from
head to foot._) Good man--a--pray, what is your name?

DICK--(_with a profound bow._)

Dick, please your ladyship.


Hum--a--a--pray, Mr. Dick--


Folks just call me plain Dick, my lady. I'm a poor honest cobbler, and
no mister.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_pettishly._)

Well, sir, it is of no consequence. You live in the small house over the
way, I think?


Yes, ma'am, my lady, I does; I rents the attics.


You appear a good civil sort of man enough. (_He bows._) I sent my
servant over to request that you would not disturb me in the night--or
the morning, as you call it. I have very weak health--am quite an
invalid--your loud singing in the morning just opposite to my windows----


Ma'am, I--I'm very sorry; I ax your ladyship's pardon; I'll never sing
no more above my breath, if you please.


Comment! c'est honnête, par exemple.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_surprised._)

Then you did not tell my servant that you would sing louder than ever,
in spite of me?


Me, my Lady? I never said no such thing.


This is strange; or is there some mistake? Perhaps you are not the same
Mr. Dick?


Why, yes, my lady, for that matter, I be the same Dick. (_Approaching a
few steps, and speaking confidentially._) I'll just tell your ladyship
the whole truth, and not a bit of a lie. There comes an impudent fellow
to me, and he tells me, just out of his own head, I'll be bound, that if
I sung o' mornings, he would have me put in the stocks.


Good heavens!

JUSTINE--(_in the same tone._)

Grands dieux!

DICK--(_with a grin._)

Now the stocks is for a rogue, as the saying is. As for my singing,
that's neither here nor there; but no jackanapes shall threaten _me_.
I _will_ sing if I please, (_sturdily_,) and I won't sing if I don't
please; and (_lowering his tone_) I don't please, if it disturbs your
ladyship. (_Retreating_) I wish your ladyship a good day, and better


Stay; you are not then the rude uncivil person I was told of?


I hopes I knows better than to do an uncivil thing by a lady.

                                 [_Bows and retreats towards the door._


Stay, sir--a--a--one word.


Oh, as many as you please, ma'am; I'm in no hurry.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_graciously._)

Are you married?

DICK--(_rubbing his hands with glee._)

Yes, ma'am, I be; and to as tight a bit of a wife as any in the parish.


Ah! il parait que ce monsieur Dick aime sa femme! Est-il amusant!


You love her then?


Oh, then I do! I love her with all my heart! who could help it?


Indeed! and how do you live?


Why, bless you, ma'am, sometimes well, sometimes ill, according as I
have luck and work. When we can get a bit of dinner, we eat it, and when
we can't, why, we go without: or, may be, a kind neighbour helps us.


Poor creatures!


Oh, not so poor neither, my lady; many folks is worser off. I'm always
merry, night and day; and my Meg is the good temperedst, best wife in
the world. We've never had nothing from the parish, and never will,
please God, while I have health and hands.


And you are happy?


As happy as the day is long.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_aside._)

This is a lesson to me. Eh bien, Justine! voilà donc notre sauvage!


Il est gentil ce monsieur Dick, et à present que je le regarde--vraiment
il a une assez jolie tournure.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_with increasing interest._)

Have you any children?

DICK--(_with a sigh._)

No, ma'am; and that's the only thing as frets us.


Good heavens! you do not mean to say you wish for them, and have scarce
enough for yourselves? how would you feed them?


Oh, I should leave Meg to feed them; I should have nothing to do but to
work for them. Providence would take care of us while they were little;
and, when they were big, they would help us.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_aside._)

I could not have conceived this. (_She whispers JUSTINE, who goes out._)
(_To DICK._) Can I do any thing to serve you?


Only, if your ladyship could recommend me any custom; I mend shoes as
cheap as e'er a cobbler in London, though I say it.


I shall certainly desire that all my people employ you whenever there
is occasion.

_Re-enter JUSTINE, holding a purse in her hand._


Much obliged, my lady; I hopes to give satisfaction, but (_looking with
admiration at LADY AMARANTHE's foot as it rests on the footstool_) such
a pretty, little, delicate, beautiful foot as yon, I never fitted in all
my born days. It can't cost your ladyship much in shoe leather, I guess?

LADY AMARANTHE--(_smiling complacently._)

Rather more than you would imagine, I fancy, my good friend.


Comment donc--ce Monsieur Dick, fait aussi des complimens à Madame? Il
ne manque pas de goût,--(_aside_) et il sait ce qu'il fait, apparemment.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_glancing at her foot._)

C'est à dire--il a du bon sens, et ne parle pas mal. (_She takes the
purse._) As you so civilly obliged me, you must allow me to make you
some return.

DICK--(_putting his hand behind him._)

Me, ma'am! I'm sure I don't want to be paid for being civil.


But as I have deprived you of a pleasure, my good friend, some amends


Oh, ma'am, pray don't mention it; my wife's a little tired and sleepy
sometimes of a morning, and if I didn't sing her out of bed, I do think
she would, by chance, snooze away till six o'clock, like any duchess;
but a pinch or a shake or a kiss will do as well, may be: and
(_earnestly_) she's, for all that, the best woman in the world.

LADY AMARANTHE--(_smiling._)

I can believe it, though she _does_ sleep till six o'clock like a
duchess. Well, my good friend, there are five guineas in this purse; the
purse is my own work; and I request you will present it to your wife
from me, with many thanks for your civility.


Much obliged, much obliged, but I can't, I can't indeed, my lady. Five
guineas! O Lord! I should never know what to do with such a power of


Your wife will not say the same, depend upon it; she will find some use
for it.


My Meg, poor woman! she never had so much money in all her life.


I must insist upon it; you will offend me.

JUSTINE--(_taking the purse out of her lady's hand, and forcing it upon

Dieux! est-il bête!--you no understand?--It is de gold and de silver
money (_laughing._) Comme il a l'air ébahi!

DICK--(_putting up the money._)

Many thanks, and I pray God bless your ladyship!

LADY AMARANTHE--(_gaily._)

Good morning, Mr. Dick. Remember me to your wife.


I will, my lady. I wish your ladyship, and you, miss, a good morning.
(_To himself._) Five guineas!--what will Meg say?--Now I'll be a master
shoemaker. (_Going out in an ecstasy, he knocks his head against the


Take care, friend. Montrez-lui la porte, Justine!


Mais venez donc, Monsieur Dick--par ici--et n'allez pas donner le nez
contre la porte!

                                [_DICK follows JUSTINE out of the door,
                                            after making several bows._


Poor man!--well, he's silenced--he does not look as if he would sing,
morning or night, for the next twelve months.

_Re-enter JUSTINE._


Voici Madame Mincetaille, qui vient pour essayer la robe-de-bal de


Ah! allons donc.

                                                        [_They go out._

    _The SCENE changes to the Cobbler's Garret._

_Enter MARGERY, in haste; a basket in her hand. She looks about her._


Not come back yet! what can keep him, I wonder! (_Takes off her bonnet
and shawl._) Well, I must get the dinner ready. (_Pauses, and looks
anxious._) But, somehow, I feel not easy in my mind. What could they
want with him?--Hark! (_Goes to the door_) No--what a time he is! But
suppose they should 'dite him for a nuisance--O me! or send him to the
watchhouse--O my poor dear Dick! I must go and see after him! I must go
this very instant moment! (_Snatches up her bonnet._) Oh, I hear him
now; but how slowly he comes up!

                                 [_Runs to the door, and leads him in._

_Enter DICK._


Oh, my dear, dear Dick, I am so glad you are come at last! But how pale
you look! all I don't know how! What's the matter? why don't you speak
to me, Dick, love?

DICK--(_fanning himself with his hat._)

Let me breathe, wife.


But what's the matter? where have you been? who did you see? what did
they say to you? Come, tell me quick.


Why, Meg, how your tongue does gallop! as if a man could answer twenty
questions in a breath.


Did you see the lady herself? Tell me that.

DICK--(_looking round the room auspiciously._)

Shut the door first.



                                                           [_Shuts it._


Shut the other.


The other?--There.

                                                           [_Shuts it._


Lock it fast, I say.


There's no lock; and that you know.


No lock;--then we shall all be robbed!


Robbed of what? Sure, there's nothing here for any one to rob! You never
took such a thing into your head before.

                      [_DICK goes to the door, and tries to fasten it._


For sartain, he's bewitched--or have they given him something to
drink?--or, perhaps, he's ill. (_Very affectionately, and laying her
hand on his shoulder._) Are you not well, Dick, love? Will you go to
bed, sweetheart?


No. Go to bed in the broad day!--the woman's cracked.


Oh, Dick, what in the world has come to you?


Nothing--nothing but good, you fool. There--there--don't cry, I tell

MARGERY--(_wiping her eyes._)

And did you see the lady?


Ay, I seed her; and a most beautiful lady she is, and she sends her
sarvice to you?


Indeed! lauk-a-daisy! I'm sure I'm much obliged--but what did she say
to you?


Oh, she said this, and that, and t'other--a great deal.


But what, Dick?


Why, she said--she said as how I sung so fine, she couldn't sleep o'


Sleep o' mornings! that's a good joke! Let people sleep o' nights,
I say.


But she can't, poor soul, she's very ill; she has pains here, and pains
there, and everywhere.


Indeed! poor lady! then you mustn't disturb her no more, Dick, that's a
sure thing.


Ay, so I said; and so she gave me this.

                               [_Takes out the purse, and holds it up._

MARGERY--(_clapping her hands._)

O goodness! what a fine purse!--Is there any thing in it?

DICK--(_chinks the money._)

Do ye hear that? Guess now.


Five shillings, perhaps, eh?


Five shillings!--five guineas, girl.

MARGERY--(_with a scream._)

Five guineas! five guineas! (_skips about_) tal, lal, la! five guineas!
(_Runs and embraces her husband._) Oh, Dick! we'll be so rich and so
happy. I want a power of things. I'll have a new gown--lavender, shall
it be?--Yes, it shall be lavender; and a dimity petticoat; and a lace
cap, like Mrs. Pinchtoe's, with pink ribbons--how she will stare! and
I'll have two silver spoons, and a nutmeg-grater, and----


Ho, ho, ho! what a jabber! din, din, din! You'll have this, and you'll
have that! First, I'll have a good stock of neat's leather.


Well, well, give me the purse; I'll take care of it.

                                                     [_Snatches at it._


No, thankee, _I'll_ take care of it.


You know I always keep the money, Dick!


Ay, Meg, but I'll keep this, do ye mind?


What! keep it all to yourself?--No, you won't; an't I your wife, and
haven't I a right? I ax you that.


Pooh! don't be bothering me.


Come, give it me at once, there's a dear Dick!


What, to waste it all in woman's nonsense and frippery? Don't be a fool!
we're rich, and we'll keep it safe.


Why, where's the use of money but to spend? Come, come, I _will_ have it.


Hey-day! you will?--You shan't; who's the master here, I say?


Why, if you come to that, who's the mistress here, I say?


Now, Meg, don't you go for to provoke me.


Pooh! I defy you.

DICK--(_doubling his fist._)

Don't you put me in a passion, Meg!


Get along; I don't care that for you! (_snaps her fingers._) You used to
be my own dear Dick, and now you're a cross, miserly curmudgeon--

DICK--(_quite furious._)

You will have it then! Why, then, take it, with a mischief; take that,
and that, and that!

                                          [_He beats her; she screams._


Oh! oh! oh!--pray don't--pray--(_Breaks from him, and throws herself
into a chair._) O Dick! to go for to strike me! O that I should ever see
the day!--you cruel, unkind----Oh! oh!

                 [_Covers her face with her apron, sobs, and cries; and
                    he stands looking at her sheepishly. A long pause._

DICK--(_in great agitation._)

Eh, why! women be made of eggshells, I do think. Why, Meg, I didn't
hurt you, did I? why don't you speak? Now, don't you be sulky, come; it
wasn't much. A man is but flesh and blood, after all; come, I say--I'll
never get into a passion with you again to my dying day--I won't--come,
don't cry; (_tries to remove the apron_,) come, kiss, and be friends.
Won't you forgive your own dear Dick, won't you? (_ready to cry_) She
won't!--Here, here's the money, and the purse and all--take it, do what
you like with it. (_She shakes her head._) What, you won't then? why,
then, there--(_throws it on the ground._) Deuce fetch me if ever I
touch it again! and I wish my fingers had been burnt before ever I took
it,--so I do! (_with feeling._) We were so happy this morning, when we
hadn't a penny to bless ourselves with, nor even a bit to eat; and now,
since all this money has come to us of a suddent, why, it's all as one
as if old Nick himself were in the purse. I'll tell you what, Meg, eh!
shall I? Shall I take it back to the lady, and give our duty to her, and
tell her we don't want her guineas, shall I, Meg? shall I, dear heart?

                     [_During the last few words MARGERY lets the apron
                      fall from her face, looks up at him, and smiles._


Oh, that's right, and we'll be happy again, and never quarrel more.


No, never! (_They embrace._) Take it away, for I can't bear the sight of


Take it _you_ then, for you know, Meg, I said I would never touch it
again; and what I says, I says--and what I says, I sticks to.

                                [_Pushes it towards her with his foot._


And so do I: and I vowed to myself that I wouldn't touch it, and I

                                               [_Kicks it back to him._


How shall we manage then? Oh, I have it. Fetch me the tongs here.
(_Takes up the purse in the tongs, and holds it at arm's length._) Now
I'm going. So, Meg, if you repent, now's the time. Speak--or for ever
hold your tongue.


Me repent? No, my dear Dick! I feel, somehow, quite light, as if a great
weight were gone away from here. (_Laying her hands on her bosom._)
Money may be a good thing when it comes little by little, and we gain
it honestly by our own hard work; but when it comes this way, in a
lump--one doesn't know how or why--it's quite too surprising, as one
may say;--it gets into one's head, like--the punch, Dick!


Aye, and worser--turns it all the wrong way; but I've done with
both:--I'll have no more to say to drinking, and fine ladies, and purses
o' money;--we'll go and live in the stall round the corner, and I'll
take to my work and my singing again--eh, Meg?


Bless you, my dear, dear Dick! (_kisses him._)


Ay, that's as it should be:--so now come along. We never should have
believed this, if we hadn't tried; but it's just what my old mother used
to say--MUCH COIN, MUCH CARE.[28]

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote 1: Some of the sentences which follow (marked by inverted
commas,) are taken from a portrait of Mrs. Siddons, dated 1812, and
attributed to Sir Walter Scott.]

[Footnote 2: I am permitted to give the following little extract as farther
illustrating that tenderness of nature which I have only touched
upon. "I owe ---- ---- a letter, but I don't know how it is, now
that I am arrived at that time of life when I supposed I should be
able to sit down and indulge my natural indolence, I find the business
of it thickens and increases around me; and I am now as
much occupied about the affairs of others as I have been about my
own. I am just now expecting my son George's two babies from
India. The ship which took them from their parents, I thank heaven,
is safely arrived: _Oh! that they could know it!_ For the present I
shall have them near me. There is a school between my little
hut and the church, where they will have delicious air, and I shall
be able to see the poor dears every day."]

[Footnote 3: I believe it _has_ been said; but, like Madlle. de
Montpensier my imagination and my memory are sometimes confounded.]

[Footnote 4: Ben Jonson.]

[Footnote 5: George the Fourth, after conversing with her, said with
emphasis, "She is the only _real_ queen!"]

[Footnote 6: In a letter to Mrs. Thrale.]

[Footnote 7: In the Grosvenor gallery. There is a duplicate of this
picture in the Dulwich gallery.]

[Footnote 8: She afterwards played Lady Randolph for Mr. Charles
Kemble's benefit, and performed Lady Macbeth at the request of the
Princess Charlotte in 1816. This was her final appearance. She was
then sixty-one, and her powers unabated. I recollect a characteristic
passage in one of her letters relating to this circumstance: she says,
"The princess honoured me with several gracious (not _graceful_) nods;
but the newspapers gave me credit for much more _sensibility_ than I
either felt or displayed on the occasion. I was by no means so much
_overwhelmed_ by her Royal Highness's kindness, as they were pleased
to represent me."]

[Footnote 9:

  "For time hath laid his hand so gently on her
  As he too had been awed."

                                  DE MONTFORT.]

[Footnote 10: The last play she read aloud was Henry V. only ten days
before she died.]

[Footnote 11: Now Mrs. George Combe.]

[Footnote 12: These sketches, once intended for publication, are now in
the possession of Lord Francis Egerton. The introduction and notes were
written in March, 1830--the conclusion in March, 1834.]

[Footnote 13: The alteration and interpolations are by Garrick, of whom
it was said and believed, that "he never read through a whole play of
Shakspeare's except with some nefarious design of cutting and mangling

[Footnote 14: She played in London the following parts successively:--
Juliet, Belvidera, the Grecian Daughter, Mrs. Beverley, Portia,
Isabella, Lady Townly, Calista, Bianca, Beatrice, Constance, Camiola,
Lady Teazle, Donna Sol, (in Lord Francis Egerton's translation of
Hemani, when played before the queen at Bridgewater House,) Queen
Katherine, Catherine of Cleves, Louisa of Savoy, in Francis I., Lady
Macbeth, Julia in the Hunchback.]

[Footnote 15: The only parts which, to my knowledge, she chose for
herself, were Portia, Camiola, and Julia in the Hunchback. She was
accused of having declined playing Inez de Castro in Miss Mitford's
tragedy, and I heard her repel that accusation very indignantly.
She added--"Setting aside my respect for Miss Mitford, I never, on
principle, have refused a part. It is my business to do whatever is
deemed advantageous to the whole concern, to do as much good as I can;
not to think of myself. If they bid me act Scrubb, I would act it!"]

[Footnote 16: At Dresden and at Frankfort I saw the Merchant of Venice
played as it stands in Shakspeare, with all the stately scenes between
Portia and her suitors--the whole of the character of Jessica--the
lovely moon-light dialogue between Jessica and Lorenzo, and the beautiful
speeches given to Portia, all which, by sufferance of an English audience,
are omitted on our stage. When I confessed to some of the great German
critics, that the Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, &c.
were performed in England not only with important omissions of the text,
but with absolute alterations, affecting equally the truth of character,
and the construction of the story, they looked at me, at first, as if
half incredulous, and their perception of the barbarism, as well as the
absurdity, was so forcibly expressed on their countenances, and their
contempt so justifiable, that I confess I felt ashamed for my countrymen.]

[Footnote 17: The resemblance was in the brow and eye. When she was
sitting to Sir Thomas Lawrence, he said, "These are the eyes of Mrs.
Siddons." She said, "You mean _like_ those of Mrs. Siddons." "No," he
replied, "they are the _same_ eyes, the construction is the same, and
to draw them is the same thing."

I have ever been at a loss for a word which should express the peculiar
property of an eye like that of Mrs. Siddons, which could not be called
piercing or penetrating, or any thing that gives the idea of searching
or acute; but it was an eye which, in its softest look, and, to a late
period of her life, went straight into the depths of the soul as a ray
of light finds the bottom of the ocean. Once, when I was conversing
with the celebrated German critic, Böttigar, of Dresden, and he was
describing the person of Madame Schirmer, after floundering in a sea
of English epithets, none of which conveyed his meaning, he at last
exclaimed with enthusiasm--"Madam! her eye was _perforating_!"]

[Footnote 18: In the Hunchback.]

[Footnote 19: In the Fatal Marriage.]

[Footnote 20: I recollect being present when some one was repeating to
her a very high-flown and enthusiastic eulogy, of which she was the
subject. She listened very quietly, and then said with indescribable
_naiveté_--"Perhaps I ought to blush to have all these things thus
repeated to my face; but the truth is, I _cannot_. I cannot, by any
effort of my own imagination, see myself as people speak of me. It
gives no reflection back to my mind. I cannot fancy myself like this.
All I can clearly understand is, that you and every body are very much
pleased, and I am very glad of it!"]

[Footnote 21: It must be remembered that it was not _only_ fashionable
incense and public applause; it was the open enthusiastic admiration
of such men as Sir Walter Scott, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Moore, Rogers,
Campbell, Barry Cornwall, and others of great name, who brought rich
flattery in prose and in verse, and laid it at her feet. Just before
she came on the stage she had spent about a year in Scotland with her
excellent relative and friend, Mrs. Henry Siddons, and always referred
to this period as her "Sabbatical year, granted to her to prepare her
mind and principles for _this great trial_."]

[Footnote 22: Her own words.]

[Footnote 23: First published in 1827. The anecdote on which this tale
is founded, I met with in the first volume of Dow's Translation of
Ferishta's History of Judea.]

[Footnote 24: _Vide_ the Heetopadessa.]

[Footnote 25: Afterwards the Emperor Jehangire.]

[Footnote 26: This little tale was written in March, 1826, and in the
hands of the publishers long before the appearance of Bainim's novel of
"The Nowlans" which contains a similar incident, probably founded on the
same fact.]

[Footnote 27: This little tale (written in 1830) is founded on a
striking incident related in Humboldt's narrative. The facts remain

[Footnote 28: It need hardly be observed that this little trifle was
written exclusively for very young actors, to whom the style was
adapted; and though below all criticism, it has been included here to
gratify those for whom it was originally written, and as a memorial of
past times. The subject is imitated from one of Théodore Leclerq's
_Proverbes Dramatiques_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Transcriber's Note: Errata as given in the original have been applied to
the text. Other than the most exceedingly obvious typographical errors,
all inconsistent spelling, hyphenation, diacriticals, archaic usage, etc.
have been preserved as printed in the original.]

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