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Title: From the Lakes of Killarney to the Golden Horn
Author: Field, Henry M. (Henry Martyn), 1822-1907
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved.  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.



     FROM THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY
     TO
     THE GOLDEN HORN.

     BY HENRY M. FIELD, D.D.

     FOURTEENTH EDITION.

     NEW YORK:
     CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS,
     1884.



     COPYRIGHT, 1876, BY
     SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.


     TROW'S
     PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY,
     _201-213 East 12th Street_,
     NEW YORK.



When a man's house is "left unto him desolate" by the loss of one who
filled it with sunshine--when there is no light in the window and no
fire on the hearth--it is a natural impulse to leave his darkened
home, and become a wanderer on the face of the earth. Such was the
beginning of the journey recorded here. Thus driven from his home, the
writer crossed the seas, and passed from land to land, going on and
on, till he had compassed the round globe. The story of all this is
much too long to be comprised in one volume. The present, therefore,
does not pass beyond Europe, but stops on the shores of the Bosphorus,
in sight of Asia. Another will take us to the Nile and the Ganges, to
Egypt and India, to Burmah and Java, to China and Japan.

       *       *       *       *       *

It should be added, to explain an occasional personal allusion, that
the writer was accompanied by his niece (who had lived so long in his
family as to be like his own child), whose gentle presence cheered his
lonely hours, and cast a soft and quiet light amid the shadows.



CONTENTS.


       CHAPTER I.                                               PAGE
     The Melancholy Sea                                            7

       CHAPTER II.
     Ireland--its Beauty and its Sadness                          17

       CHAPTER III.
     Scotland and the Scotch                                      24

       CHAPTER IV.
     Moody and Sankey in London                                   32

       CHAPTER V.
     Two Sides of London.--Is Modern Civilization a Failure?      42

       CHAPTER VI.
     The Resurrection of France                                   60

       CHAPTER VII.
     The French National Assembly                                 66

       CHAPTER VIII
     The Lights and Shadows of Paris                              77

       CHAPTER IX.
     Going on a Pilgrimage                                        86

       CHAPTER X.
     Under the Shadow of Mont Blanc                               96

       CHAPTER XI.
     Switzerland                                                 108

       CHAPTER XII.
     On the Rhine                                                119

       CHAPTER XIII.
     Belgium and Holland                                         130

       CHAPTER XIV.
     The New Germany and its Capital                             140

       CHAPTER XV.
     Austria--Old and New                                        150

       CHAPTER XVI.
     A Midsummer Night's Dream.--Outdoor Life of the German
     People                                                      164

       CHAPTER XVII.
     The Passion Play and the School of the Cross                179

       CHAPTER XVIII.
     The Tyrol and Lake Como                                     194

       CHAPTER XIX.
     The City in the Sea                                         207

       CHAPTER XX.
     Milan and Genoa.--A Ride over the Corniche Road             222

       CHAPTER XXI.
     In the Vale of the Arno                                     234

       CHAPTER XXII.
     Old Rome and New Rome.--Ruins and Resurrection              243

       CHAPTER XXIII.
     The Prisoner of the Vatican                                 253

       CHAPTER XXIV.
     Pictures and Palaces                                        261

       CHAPTER XXV.
     Naples--Pompeii and Pæstum                                  272

       CHAPTER XXVI.
     The Ascent of Vesuvius                                      282

       CHAPTER XXVII.
     Greece and its Young King                                   291

       CHAPTER XXVIII.
     Constantinople                                              305

       CHAPTER XXIX.
     The Sultan Abdul Aziz                                       321

       CHAPTER XXX.
     The Eastern Question.--The Exodus of the Turks              330

       CHAPTER XXXI.
     The Sultan is Deposed, and Commits Suicide.--The War in
     Servia.--Massacres in Bulgaria.--How will it all End?       342



FROM THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY TO THE GOLDEN HORN.



CHAPTER I.

THE MELANCHOLY SEA.


     QUEENSTOWN, IRELAND, Monday, May 24, 1875.

We landed this morning at two o'clock, by the light of the moon, which
was just past the full, and which showed distinctly the beautiful
harbor, surrounded by hills and forts, and filled with ships at
anchor, through which the tender that brought us off from the steamer
glided silently to the town, which lay in death-like stillness before
us. Eight days and six hours took us from shore to shore! Eight days
we were out of sight of land. Water, water everywhere! Ocean to the
right of us, ocean to the left of us, ocean in front of us, and ocean
behind us, with two or three miles of ocean under us. But our good
ship, the City of Berlin (which seemed proud of bearing the name of
the capital of the new German Empire), bore us over the sea like a
conqueror. She is said to be the largest ship in the world, next to
the Great Eastern, being 520 feet long, and carrying 5,500 tons. This
was her first voyage, and much interest was felt as to how she
"behaved." She carried herself proudly from the start. On Saturday,
the 15th, seven steamships, bound for Europe, left New York at about
the same time. Those of the National and the Anchor lines moved off
quietly; then the Celtic, of the White Star line, so famous for its
speed, shot down the Bay; and the French steamer, the Amerique, swept
by, firing her guns, as if boasting of what she would do. But the
Berlin answered not a word. Since a fatal accident, by which a poor
fellow was blown to pieces by a premature explosion, the Inman line
has dropped the foolish custom of firing a salute every time a ship
leaves or touches the dock. So her guns were silent; she made no reply
to her noisy French neighbor. But at length her huge bulk swung slowly
into the stream, and her engines began to move. She had not gone
half-way down the bay before she left all her rivals behind, the
Frenchman still firing his guns; even the Celtic, though pressing
steam, was soon "nowhere." We did not see the German ship, which
sailed at a different hour; nor the Cunarder, the Algeria (in which
were our friends, Prof. R. D. Hitchcock and his family), as she left
an hour before us; but as she has not yet been signalled at
Queenstown, she must be some distance behind;[1] so that the Berlin
may fairly claim the honors of this ocean race.

But in crossing the sea speed is secondary to safety and to comfort;
and in these things I can say truly that I never was on board a more
magnificent ship (excepting always the Great Eastern, in which I
crossed in 1867). She was never going at full speed, but took it
easily, as it was her first voyage, and the Captain was anxious to get
his new machinery into smooth working order. The great size of the
ship conduces much to comfort. She is more steady, she does not pitch
and roll, like the lighter boats that we saw tossing around us, while
she was moving majestically through the waves. The saloon, instead of
being at the stern, according to the old method of construction, is
placed more amidships (after the excellent model first introduced by
the White Star line), and covers the whole width of the steamer, which
gives light on both sides. There are four bath-rooms, with marble
baths, supplied with salt water, so that one may have the luxury of
sea-bathing without going to Rockaway or Coney Island. In crossing the
Gulf Stream the water is warm enough; but if elsewhere it is too
chill, the turn of a cock lets the steam into the bath, which quickly
raises it to any degree of temperature. The ventilation is excellent,
so that even when the port-holes are shut on account of the high sea,
the air never becomes impure. The state-rooms are furnished with
electric bells, one touch on which brings a steward in an instant.
Thus provided for, one may escape, as far as possible, the discomforts
of the sea, and enjoy in some degree the comforts and even the
luxuries of civilization.

Captain Kennedy, who is the Commodore of the fleet, and so always
commands the newest and best ship of the line, is an admirable seaman,
with a quick eye for everything, always on deck at critical moments,
watching with unsleeping vigilance over the safety of all on board.
The order and discipline of the ship is perfect. There is no noise or
confusion. All moves on quietly. Not a sound is heard, save the
occasional cry of the men stretching the sails, and the steady throb,
day and night, of the engine, which keeps this huge mass moving on her
ocean track.

But what a vast machine is such a ship, and how complicated the
construction which makes possible such a triumph over the sea. Come up
on the upper deck, and look down through this iron grating. You can
see to a depth of fifty or sixty feet. It is like looking down into a
miner's shaft. And what makes it the more fearful, is that the bottom
of the ship is a mass of fire. Thirty-six furnaces are in full blast
to heat the steam, and at night, as the red-hot coals that are raked
out of the furnaces like melted lava, flash in the faces of the brawny
and sweltering men, one might fancy himself looking into some Vulcan's
cave, or subterranean region, glowing with an infernal heat. Thus one
of these great ocean steamships is literally a sea monster, that
feeds on fire; and descending into its bowels is (to use the energetic
language of Scripture in speaking of Jonah in the whale) like going
down into the "belly of hell."

All this suggests danger from fire as well as from the sea, and yet,
so perfect are the precautions taken, that these glowing furnaces
really guard against danger, as they shorten the time of exposure by
insuring quadruple speed in crossing the deep.

And yet I can never banish the sense of a danger that is always near
from the two destroying elements of fire and water, flood and flame.
The very precautions against danger show that it is ever present to
the mind of the prudent navigator. Those ten life-boats hung above the
deck, with pulleys ready to swing them over the ship's side at a
moment's notice, and the axe ready to cut away the ropes, and even
casks of water filled to quench the burning thirst of a shipwrecked
crew that may be cast helpless on the waves, suggest unpleasant
possibilities, in view of recent disasters; and one night I went to my
berth feeling not quite so easy as in my bed at home, as we were near
the banks of Newfoundland, and a dense fog hung over the sea, through
which the ship went, making fourteen miles an hour, its fog-whistles
screaming all night long. This was very well as a warning to other
ships to keep out of the way, but would not receive much attention
from the icebergs that were floating about, which are very abundant in
the Atlantic this summer. We saw one the next day, a huge fellow that
might have proved an ugly acquaintance, as one crash on his frozen
head would have sent us all to the bottom.

But at such times unusual precautions are taken. There are signs in
the sudden chilliness of the air of the near approach of an iceberg,
which would lead the ship to back out at once from the hug of such a
polar bear.

In a few hours the fog was all gone; and the next night, as we sat on
deck, the full moon rose out of the waves. Instantly the hum of voices
ceased; conversation was hushed; and all grew silent before the awful
beauty of the scene. Such an hour suggests not merely poetical but
spiritual thoughts--thoughts of the dead as well as thoughts of God.
It recalled a passage in David Copperfield, where little David, after
the death of his mother, sits at a window and looks out upon the sea,
and sees a shining path over the waters, and thinks he sees his mother
coming to him upon it from heaven. May it not be that on such a
radiant pathway from the skies we sometimes see the angels of God
ascending and descending?

But with all these moonlight nights, and sun-risings and sun-settings,
the sea had little attraction for me, and its general impression was
one of profound melancholy. Perhaps my own mood of mind had something
to do with it; but as I sat upon deck and looked out upon the "gray
and melancholy waste," or lay in my berth and heard the waves rushing
past, I had a feeling more dreary than in the most desolate
wilderness. That sound haunted me; it was the last I heard at night,
and the first in the morning; it mingled with my dreams. I tried to
analyze the feeling. Was it my own mental depression that hung like a
cloud over the waters; or was it something in the aspect of nature
itself? Perhaps both. I was indeed floating amid shadows. But I found
no sympathy in the sea. On the land Nature soothed and comforted me;
she spoke in gentle tones, as if she had a heart of tenderness, a
motherly sympathy with the sorrow of her children. There was something
in the deep silence of the woods that seemed to say, Peace, be still!
The brooks murmured softly as they flowed between their mossy banks,
as if they would not disturb our musings, but "glide into them, and
steal away their sharpness ere we were aware." The robins sang in
notes not too gay, but that spoke of returning spring after a long
dark winter; and the soft airs that touched the feverish brow seemed
to lift gently the grief that rested there, and carry it away on the
evening wind. But in the ocean, there was no touch of human feeling,
no sympathy with human woe. All was cold and pitiless. Even on the sea
beach "the cruel, crawling foam" comes creeping up to the feet of the
child skipping along the sands, as if to snatch him away, while out on
the deep the rolling waves

                         "Mock the cry
     Of some strong swimmer in his agony."

Bishop Butler finds in many of the forces of Nature proofs of God's
moral government over the world, and even suggestions of mercy. But
none of these does he find in the sea. That speaks only of wrath and
terror. Its power is to destroy. It is a treacherous element. Smooth
and smiling it may be, even when it lures us to destruction. We are
sailing over it in perfect security, but let there be a fire or a
collision, and it would swallow us up in an instant, as it has
swallowed a thousand wrecks before. Knowing no mercy, cruel as the
grave, it sacrifices without pity youth and age, gray hairs and
childish innocence and tender womanhood--all alike are engulfed in the
devouring sea. There is not a single tear in the thousand leagues of
ocean, nor a sigh in the winds that sweep over it, for all the hearts
it breaks or the lives it destroys. The sea, therefore, is not a
symbol of divine mercy. It is the very emblem of tremendous and
remorseless power. Indeed, if Nature had no other face but this, we
could hardly believe in God, or at least, with gentle attributes; we
could only stand on the shore of existence, and shake with terror at
the presence of a being of infinite power, but cold and pitiless as
the waves that roll from the Arctic pole. Our Saviour walked on the
waves, but left thereon no impress of his blessed feet; nor can we
find there a trace of the love of God as it shines in the face of
Jesus Christ.

But we must not yield to musings that grow darker with the gathering
night. Let us go down into the ship, where the lamps are lighted, and
there is a sound of voices, to make us forget our loneliness in the
midst of the sea.

The cabin always presented an animated scene. We had nearly two
hundred passengers, who were seated about on the sofas, reading, or
playing games, or engaged in conversation. The company was a very
pleasant one. At the Captain's table, where we sat, was Mr. Mathew,
the late English Minister to Brazil, a very intelligent and agreeable
gentleman, who had been for seven years at the Court of Dom Pedro,
whom he described as one of the most enlightened monarchs of his time,
"half a century in advance of his people," doing everything that was
possible to introduce a better industry and all improvements in the
arts from Europe and America. The great matter of political interest
now in Brazil is the controversy with the Bishops, where, as in
Germany, it is a stubborn fight between the State and the
ecclesiastical power. Two of the Bishops are now in prison for having
excommunicated by wholesale all the Freemasons of the country, without
asking the consent of the government to the issue of such a sweeping
decree. They are confined in two fortresses on the opposite side of
the harbor of Rio Janeiro, where they take their martyrdom very
comfortably, their sentence to "hard labor" amounting to having a
French cook, and all the luxuries of life, so that they can have a
good time, while they fulminate their censures, "nursing their wrath
to keep it warm."

At the same table were several young Englishmen, who were not at all
like the imaginary Briton abroad, cold and distant and reserved, but
very agreeable, and doing everything to make our voyage pleasant. We
remember them with a feeling of real friendship. Near us also sat a
young New York publisher, Mr. Mead, with his wife, to whom we were
drawn by a sort of elective affinity, and shall be glad to meet them
again on the other side of the ocean.

Among our passengers was Grace Greenwood, who added much to the
general enjoyment by entertaining us in the evening with her dramatic
recitations from Bret Harte's California Sketches, while her young
daughter, who has a very sweet voice, sang charmingly.

Like all ships' companies, ours were bent on amusing themselves,
although it was sometimes a pursuit of pleasure under difficulties; as
one evening, when a young gentleman and lady sang "What are the wild
waves saying?" each clinging to a post for support, while the
performer at the piano had to fall on his knees to keep from being
drifted away from his instrument!

But Grace Greenwood is not a mere entertainer of audiences with her
voice, or of the public with her pen. She is not only a very clever
writer, but has as much wisdom as wit in her woman's brain. In our
conversations she did not discover any extreme opinions, such as are
held by some brilliant female writers, but seemed to have a mind well
balanced, with a great deal of good common sense as well as womanly
feeling, and a brave heart to help her struggling sisters in America,
and all over the world.

One meets some familiar faces on these steamer decks, and here almost
the first man that I ran against was a clergyman whom I knew
twenty-five years ago in Connecticut, Rev. James T. Hyde. He is now a
Professor in the Congregational Theological Seminary at Chicago, and
is going abroad for the first time. What a world of good it does these
studious men, these preachers and scholars, to be thus "transported!"

But here is a scholar and a professor who is not a stranger in Europe,
but to the manner born, our own beloved Dr. Schaff, whose passage I
had taken with mine (knowing that he had to go abroad this summer),
and thus beguiled him into our company. We shared the same
state-room, and never do I desire a more delightful travelling
companion on land or sea. Those who know him do not need to be told
that he is not only one of our first scholars, but one of the most
genial of men. While full of learning, he never oppresses you with
oracular wisdom; but is just as ready for a pleasant story as for a
grave literary or theological discussion. I think we hardly realize
yet what a service he has rendered to our country in establishing a
sort of literary and intellectual free trade between the educated and
religious mind of America and of Great Britain and Germany. To him
more than to any other man is due the great success of the Evangelical
Alliance. He is now going abroad on a mission of not less
importance--the revision of our present version of the English Bible:
a work which has enlisted for some years the combined labors of a
great number of the most eminent scholars in England and America.

Finally, as a practical homily and piece of advice to all who are
going abroad, let me say, if you would have the fullest enjoyment,
_take a young person with you_--if possible, one who is untravelled,
so that you can see the world again with fresh eyes. I came away in
the deepest depression. Nothing has comforted me so much as a light
figure always at my side. Poor child! The watching, and care, and
sorrow that she has had for these many months, had driven the roses
from her cheeks; but now they are coming back again. She has never
been abroad before. To her literally "all things are new." The sun
rises daily on a new world. She enters into everything with the utmost
zest. She was a very good sailor, and enjoyed the voyage, and made
friends with everybody. Really it brought a thrill of pleasure for the
first time into my poor heart to see her delight. She will be the best
of companions in all my wanderings.

In such good company, we have passed over the great and wide sea, and
now set foot upon the land, thanking Him who has led us safely
through the mighty waters. Yesterday morning, after the English
service had been read in the saloon, Dr. Schaff gave out the hymn,

     Nearer, my God, to Thee,

and my heart responded fervently to the prayer, that all the
experiences of this mortal state, on the sea and on the land--the
storms of the ocean and the storms of life--may serve this one supreme
object of existence, to bring us NEARER TO GOD.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] She came in fifteen hours after us, and the Celtic twenty. The
German ship reached Southampton two days later.



CHAPTER II.

IRELAND--ITS BEAUTY AND ITS SADNESS.


     THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY, May 26th.

There is never but one _first_ impression; all else is _second_ in
time and in degree. It is twenty-eight years since I first saw the
shores of England and of Ireland, and then they were to me like some
celestial country. It was then, as now, in the blessed spring-time--in
the merry month of May:

     The corn was springing fresh and green,
     The lark sang loud and high;

and the banks of the Mersey, as I sailed up to Liverpool, were like
the golden shores of Paradise.

Now I am somewhat of a traveller, and should take these things more
quietly, were it not for a pair of young eyes beside me, through which
I see things anew, and taste again the sweetness of that earlier time.
If we had landed in the moon, my companion could not have been at
first more bewildered and delighted with what she saw; everything was
so queer and quaint, so old and strange--in a word, so unlike all she
had ever seen before. The streets were different, being very narrow,
and winding up hill and down dale; the houses were different, standing
close up to the street, without the relief of grass, or lawn, or even
of stately ascending steps in front; the thatched cottages and the
flowering hedge-rows--all were new.

To heighten the impression of what was so fresh to the eye, the
country was in its most beautiful season. We left New York still
looking cold and cheerless from the backward spring; here the spring
had burst into its full glory. The ivy mantled every old tower and
ruin with the richest green, the hawthorn was in blossom, making the
hedge-rows, as we whirled along the roads, a mass of white and green,
filling the eye with its beauty and the air with its fragrance. Thus
there was an intoxication of the senses, as well as of the
imagination; and if the girls (for two others, under the charge of
Prof. Hyde, had joined our party) had leaped from the carriage, and
commenced a romp or a dance on the greensward, we could hardly have
been surprised, as an expression of their childish joy, and their
first greeting as they touched the soil, not of merry England, but of
the Emerald Isle.

But if this set them off into such ecstasies, what shall be said of
their first sight of a ruin? Of course it was Blarney Castle, which is
near Cork, and famous for its Blarney Stone. A lordly castle, indeed,
it must have been in the days of its pride, as it still towers up a
hundred feet and more, and its walls are eight or ten feet thick: so
that it would have lasted for ages, if Cromwell had not knocked some
ugly holes through it a little more than two hundred years ago. But
still the tower is beautiful, being covered to the very top with
masses of ivy, which in England is the great beautifier of whatever is
old, clinging to the mouldering wall, covering up the huge rents and
gaps made by cannon balls, and making the most unsightly ruins lovely
in their decay. We all climbed to the top, where hangs in air,
fastened by iron clamps in its place, the famous Blarney Stone, which
is said to impart to whoever kisses it the gift of eloquence, which
will make one successful in love and in life. As it was, only one
pressed forward to snatch this prize which it held out to our embrace.
Dr. Schaff even "poked" the stone disdainfully with his staff, perhaps
thinking it would become like Aaron's rod that budded. The lack of
enthusiasm, however, may have been owing to the fact that the stone
hangs at a dizzy height, and is therefore somewhat difficult of
approach; for on descending within the castle, where is another
Blarney Stone lying on the ground, and within easy reach, I can
testify that several of the party gave it a hearty smack, not to catch
any mysterious virtue from the stone, but the flavor of thousands of
fair lips that had kissed it before.

Before leaving this old castle, as we shall have many more to see
hereafter, let me say a word about castles in general. They are well
enough _as ruins_, and certainly, as they are scattered about Ireland
and England, they add much to the picturesqueness of the landscapes,
and will always possess a romantic interest. But viewed in the sober
light of history, they are monuments of an age of barbarism, when the
country was divided among a hundred chiefs, each of whom had his
stronghold, out of which he could sally to attack his less powerful
neighbor. Everything in the construction--the huge walls, with narrow
slits for windows through which the archers could pour arrows, or in
later times the musketeers could shower balls, on their enemies; the
deep moat surrounding it; the drawbridge and portcullis--all speak of
a time of universal insecurity, when danger was abroad, and every man
had to be armed against his fellow.

As a place of habitation, such a fortress was not much better than a
prison. The chieftain shut himself in behind massive walls, under huge
arches, where the sun could never penetrate, where all was dark and
gloomy as a sepulchre. I know a cottage in New England, on the crest
of one of the Berkshire Hills, open on every side to light and air,
kissed by the rising and the setting sun, in which there is a hundred
times more of real _comfort_ than could have been in one of these old
castles, where a haughty baron passed his existence in gloomy
grandeur, buried in sepulchral gloom.

And to what darker purposes were these castles sometimes applied! Let
one go down into the passages underneath, and see the dungeons
underground, dark, damp, and cold as the grave, in which prisoners and
captives were buried alive. One cannot grope his way into these foul
subterranean dungeons without feeling that these old castles are the
monuments of savage tyrants; that if these walls could speak, they
would tell many a tale, not of knightly chivalry, but of barbarous
cruelty, that would curdle the blood with horror. These things take
away somewhat of the charm which Walter Scott has thrown about these
old "gallant knights," who were often no better than robber chiefs;
and I am glad that Cromwell with his cannon battered their strongholds
about their ears. Let these relics remain covered with ivy, and
picturesque as ruins, but let it never be forgotten that they are the
fallen monuments of an age of barbarism, of terror, and of cruelty.

There is one other feature of this country that cannot be omitted from
a survey of Ireland--it is _the beggars_, who are sure to give an
American a warm welcome. They greet him with whines and grimaces and
pitiful beseechings, to which he cannot harden his heart. My first
salutation at Queenstown on Monday morning, on coming out in front of
the hotel to take a view of the beautiful bay, was from an old woman
in rags, who certainly looked what she described herself to be, "a
poor crathur, that had nobody to care for her," and who besought me,
"for the love of God, to give her at least the price of a cup of tea!"
Of course I did, when she gave me an Irish blessing: "May the gates o
Paradise open to ye, and to all them that loves ye!" This vision of
Paradise seems to be a favorite one with the Irish beggar, and is
sometimes coupled with extraordinary images, as when one blesses her
benefactor in this overflowing style: "May every hair on your head be
a candle to light you to Paradise!"

This quick wit of the Irish serves them better than their poverty in
appealing for charity; and I must confess that I have violated all the
rules laid down by charitable societies, "not to give to beggars," for
I have filled my pockets with pennies, and given to hordes of
ragamuffins, as well as to old women, to hear their answers, which,
though largely infused with Irish blarney, have a flavor of native
wit. Who could resist such a blessing as this: "May ye ride in a fine
carriage, and the mud of your wheels splash the face of your inimies,"
then with a quick turn, "though I know ye haven't any!"

Yesterday we made an excursion through the Gap of Dunloe, a famous
gorge in the mountains around Killarney, and were set upon by the
whole fraternity--ragtag and bobtail. At the foot of the pass we left
our jaunting car to walk over the mountain, C---- alone being mounted
on a pony. I walked by her side, while our two theological professors
strode ahead. The women were after them in full cry, each with a bowl
of goat's milk and a bottle of "mountain dew" (Irish whiskey), to work
upon their generous feelings. But they produced no impression; the
professors were absorbed in theology or something else, and setting
their faces with all the sternness of Calvinism against this vile
beggary, they kept moving up the mountain path. At length the beggars
gave them up in despair, and returned to try their mild solicitations
upon me. An old siren, coming up in a tender and confiding way,
whispered to me, "You're the best looking of the lot; and it is a nice
lady ye have; and a fine couple ye make." That was enough; she got her
money. I felt a little elated with the distinguished and superior air
which even beggars had discovered in my aspect and bearing, till on
returning to the hotel, one of our professors coolly informed me that
the same old witch had previously told him that "he was the darling of
the party!" After that, who will ever believe a beggar's compliment
again?

But we must not let the beggars on the way either amuse or provoke us,
so as to divert our attention from the natural grandeur and beauty
around us. The region of the Lakes of Killarney is at once the most
wild and the most beautiful portion of Ireland. These Lakes are set as
in a bowl, in the hollow of rugged mountains, which are not like the
Green Mountains, or the Catskills, wooded to the top, but bald and
black, their heads being swept by perpetual storms from the Atlantic,
that keep them always bleak and bare. Yet in the heart of these barren
mountains, in the very centre of all this savage desolation, lie these
lovely sheets of water. No wonder that they are sought by tourists
from America, and from all parts of the world.

Nor are their shores without verdure and beauty. Though the mountain
sides are bare rock, like the peaks of volcanoes, yet the lower hills
and meadows bordering on the Lakes are in a high state of cultivation.
But these oases of fertility are not for the people; they all belong
to great estates--chiefly to the Earl of Kenmare and a Mr. Herbert,
who is a Member of Parliament. These estates are enclosed with high
walls, as if to keep them not only from the intrusion of the people,
but even from being seen by them. The great rule of English
exclusiveness here obtains, as in the construction of the old feudal
castles, the object in both cases being the same, to keep the owners
in, and to shut everybody else out. Hence the contrast between what is
within and what is without these enclosures. Within all is greenness
and fertility; without all is want and misery. It will not do to
impute the latter entirely to the natural shiftlessness of the Irish
people, as if they would rather beg than work. They have very little
motive to work. They cannot own a foot of the soil. The Earl of
Kenmare may have thousands of acres for his game, but not a foot will
he sell to an Irish laborer, however worthy or industrious. Hence the
inevitable tendency of things is to impoverish more and more the
wretched peasantry. How long would even the farmers of New England
retain their sturdy independence, if all the land of a county were in
a single estate, and they could not by any possibility get an acre of
ground? They would soon lose their self-respect, as they sank from the
condition of owners to tenants. The more I see of different
countries, the more I am convinced that the first condition of a
robust and manly race is that they should have within their reach some
means, either by culture of the soil or by some other kind of
industry, of securing for themselves an honest and decent support. It
is impossible to keep up self-respect when there is no means of
livelihood. Hence the feeling of sadness that mingles with all this
beauty around me; that it is a country where all is for the few, and
nothing for the many; where the poor starve, while a few nobles and
rich landlords can spend their substance in riotous living. Kingsley,
in one of his novels, puts into the mouth of an English sailor these
lines, which always seemed to me to have a singular pathos:

     "Oh! England is a pleasant place for them that's rich and high;
     But England is a cruel place for such poor folks as I."

That is the woe of Ireland--a woe inwrought with its very
institutions, and which it would seem only some social convulsion
could remove. Sooner or later it must come; we hope by peaceful
methods and gentle influences. We shall not live to see the time, but
we trust another generation may, when the visitor to Killarney shall
not have his delight in the works of God spoiled by sight of the
wretchedness of man; when instead of troops of urchins in rags, with
bare feet, running for miles to catch the pennies thrown from jaunting
cars, we shall see happy, rosy-cheeked children issuing from
school-houses, and see the white spires of pretty churches gleaming in
the valleys and on the hills. That will be the "sunburst" indeed for
poor old Ireland, when the glory of the Lord is thus seen upon her
waters and her mountains.



CHAPTER III.

SCOTLAND AND THE SCOTCH.


     EDINBURGH, June 3d.

In making the tour of Great Britain, there is an advantage in taking
Ireland first, Scotland next, and England last,--since in this way one
is always going from the less to the more interesting. To the young
American traveller "fresh and green," with enthusiasm unexpended, it
seems on landing in Ireland as if there never was such a bit of green
earth, and indeed it is a very interesting country. But many as are
its attractions, Scotland has far more, in that it is the home of a
much greater people, and is invested with far richer historical and
poetical associations; it has been the scene of great historical
events; it is the land of Wallace and Bruce, of Reformers and Martyrs,
of John Knox and the Covenanters, and of great preachers down to the
days of Chalmers and Guthrie; and it has been immortalized by the
genius of poets and novelists, who have given a fresh interest to the
simple manners of the people, as well as to their lakes and mountains.

And after all, it is this _human_ interest which is the great interest
of any country--not its hills and valleys, its lakes and rivers
_alone_, but these features of natural beauty and sublimity, illumined
and glorified by the presence of man, by the record of what he has
suffered and what he has achieved, of his love and courage, his daring
and devotion; and nowhere are these more identified with the country
itself than here, nowhere do they more speak from the very rocks and
hills and glens.

Scotland, though a great country, is not a very large one, and such
are now the facilities of travel that one can go very quickly to
almost any point. A few hours will take you into the heart of the
Highlands. We made in one day the excursion to Stirling, and to Loch
Lomond and Loch Katrine, and felt at every step how much the beauties
of nature are heightened by associations with romance or history. From
Stirling Castle one looks down upon a dozen battle-fields. He is in
sight of Bannockburn, where Bruce drove back the English invader, and
of other fields associated with Wallace, the hero of Scotland, as
William Tell is of Switzerland. Once among the lakes he surrenders
himself to his imagination, excited by romance. The poetry of Scott
gives to the wild glens and moors a greater charm than the bloom of
the heather. The lovely lake catches, more beautiful than the rays of
sunset,

     "A light that never was on sea or shore,
     The inspiration and the poet's dream."

Loch Katrine is a very pretty sheet of water, lying as it does at the
foot of rugged mountains, yet it is not more beautiful than hundreds
of small lakes among our Northern hills, but it derives a poetic charm
from being the scene of "The Lady of the Lake." A little rocky islet
is pointed out as Ellen's Isle. An open field by the roadside, which
would attract no attention, immediately becomes an object of romantic
interest when the coachman tells us it was the scene of the combat
between Fitz James and Roderick Dhu. The rough country over which we
are riding just now is no wilder than many of the roads among the
White Mountains--but it is the country of Rob Roy! I have climbed
through many a rocky mountain gorge as wild as the Trossachs, but they
had not Walter Scott to people them with his marvellous creations.

A student of the religious part of Scottish history will find another
interest here, as he remembers how, in the days of persecution, the
old Covenanters sought refuge in these glens, and here found shelter
from those pursuing rough-riders, Claverhouse's dragoons. Thus it is
the history of Scotland, and the genius of her writers, that give such
interest to her country and her people; and as I stood at the grave of
John Wilson (Christopher North), I blessed the hand that had depicted
so tenderly the "Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life," presenting such
varied scenes in the cottage and the manse, in the glen and on the
moor, but everywhere illustrating the patient trust and courage of
this wonderful people. It is a fit winding-up to the tour of Scotland,
that commonly the traveller's last visit, as he comes down to England,
is to Abbotsford, the home of Walter Scott; to Melrose Abbey, which a
few lines of his poetry have invested with an interest greater than
that of other similar ruins; and to Dryburgh Abbey, where he sleeps.

Edinburgh is the most picturesque city in Europe, as it is cleft in
twain by a deep gorge or ravine, on either side of which the two
divisions of the city, the Old Town and the New Town, stand facing
each other. From the Royal Hotel, where we are, in Princes Street,
just opposite the beautiful monument to Walter Scott, we look across
this gorge to long ranges of buildings in the Old Town, some of which
are ten stories high; and to the Castle, lifted in air four hundred
feet by a cliff that rears its rocky front from the valley below, its
top girt round with walls, and frowning with batteries. What
associations cluster about those heights! For hundreds of years, even
before the date of authentic history, that has been a military
stronghold. It has been besieged again and again. Cromwell tried to
take it, but its battlements of rock proved inaccessible even to his
Ironsides. There, in a little room hardly bigger than a closet, Mary
Queen of Scots gave birth to a prince, who when but eight days old was
let down in a basket from the cliff, that the life so precious to two
kingdoms as that of the sovereign in whom Scotland and England were
to be united, might not perish by murderous hands. And there is St.
Giles' Cathedral, where John Knox thundered, and where James VI. (the
infant that was born in the castle) when chosen to be James I. of
England, took leave of his Scottish subjects.

At the other end of Edinburgh is Holyrood Castle, whose chief interest
is from its association with the mother of James, the beautiful but
ill-fated Mary. How all that history, stranger and sadder than any
romance, comes back again, as we stand on the very spot where she
stood when she was married; and pass through the rooms in which she
lived, and see the very bed on which she slept, unconscious of the
doom that was before her, and trace all the surroundings of her most
romantic and yet most tragic history. Such are some of the
associations which gather around Edinburgh!

I find here my friend Mr. William Nelson (of the famous publishing
house of Nelson and Sons), whose hospitality I enjoyed for a week in
the summer of 1867; and he, with his usual courtesy, gave up a whole
day to show us Edinburgh, taking us to all the beautiful points of
view and places of historical interest--to the Castle and Holyrood,
and the Queen's Drive, around Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags. Mr.
Nelson's house is a little out of the city, under the shadow of
Arthur's Seat, near a modest manse, which has been visited by hundreds
of American ministers, as it was the home of the late Dr. Guthrie. His
brother, Mr. Thomas Nelson, has lately erected one of the most
beautiful private houses I have seen in Scotland, or anywhere else. I
doubt if there is a finer one in Edinburgh; and what gives it a
special interest to an American, is that it was built wholly out of
the rise of American securities. During our civil war, when most
people in England thought the Great Republic was gone, he had faith,
and invested thousands of pounds in our government bonds, the rise in
which has paid entirely for this quite baronial mansion, so that he
has some reason to call it his American house. So many in Great
Britain have _lost_ by American securities, that it was pleasant to
know of one who had reaped the reward of his faith in the strength of
our government and the integrity of our people.

When we reached Edinburgh both General Assemblies were just closing
their annual meetings. I had met in Glasgow, on Sunday, at the Barony
church (where he is successor to Dr. Norman Macleod), John Marshall
Lang, D.D., who visited America as a delegate to our General Assembly,
and left a most favorable impression in our country; who told me that
their Assembly--that of the National Church--would close the next day,
and advised me to hasten to Edinburgh before its separation. So we
came on with him on Monday, and looked in twice at the proceedings,
but had not courage to stay to witness the end, which was not reached
till four o'clock the next morning! But by the courtesy of Dr. Lang, I
received an invitation from the excellent moderator, Dr. Sellars, (who
had been in America, and had the most friendly feeling for our
countrymen,) to a kind of state dinner, which it is an honored custom
of this old Church to give at the close of the Assembly. The moderator
is allowed two hundred pounds _to entertain_. He gives a public
breakfast every morning during the session, and winds up with this
grand feast. If the morning repasts were on such a generous scale as
that which we saw, the £200 could go but a little way. There were
about eighty guests, including the most eminent of the clergy,
principals and professors of colleges, dignitaries of the city of
Edinburgh, judges and law officers of the crown, etc. I sat next to
Dr. Lang, who pointed out to me the more notable guests, and gave me
much information between the courses; and Dr. Schaff sat next to
Professor Milligan. As became an Established Church, there were toasts
to the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and her Majesty's Ministers.
Altogether it was a very distinguished gathering, which I greatly
enjoyed. I am glad that we in America are beginning to cultivate
relations with the National Church of Scotland. As to the question of
Church and State, of course our sympathies are more with the Free
Church, but that should not prevent a friendly intercourse with so
large a body, to which we are drawn by the ties of a common faith and
order. Delegates from the National Church of Scotland will always be
welcome in our Assemblies, especially when they are such men as Dr.
Lang and Professor Milligan; and our representatives are sure of a
hearty reception here. Dr. Adams and Dr. Shaw, two or three years
since, electrified their Assembly, and they do not cease to speak of
it. Certainly we cannot but be greatly benefited by cultivating the
most cordial relations with a body which contains so large an array of
men distinguished for learning, eloquence, and piety.

In the Free Church things are done with less of form and state than in
the National Church, but there is intense life and rigor. I looked in
upon their Assembly, but found it occupied, like the other, chiefly
with those routine matters which are hastened through at the close of
a session. But I heard from members that the year has been one of
great prosperity. The labors of the American revivalists, Moody and
Sankey, have been well received, and the impression of all with whom I
conversed was that they had done great good. In financial matters I
was told that there had been such an outpouring of liberality as had
never been known in Scotland before. The success of the Sustentation
Fund is something marvellous, and must delight the heart of that noble
son of Scotland, Dr. McCosh.

I am disappointed to find that the cause of UNION has not made more
progress. There is indeed a prospect of the "Reformed" Church being
absorbed into the Free Church, thus putting an end to an old
secession. But it is a small body of only some eighty churches, while
the negotiations with the far larger body of United Presbyterians,
after being carried on for many years, are finally suspended, and may
not be resumed. As to the National Church, it clings to its
connection with the State as fondly as ever, and the Free Church,
having grown strong without its aid, now disdains its alliance. On
both sides the attitude is one of respectful but pretty decided
aversion. So far from drawing nearer to each other, they appear to
recede farther apart. It was thought that some advance had been made
on the part of the Old Kirk, in the act of Parliament abolishing
patronage, but the Free Church seemed to regard this as a temptation
of the adversary to allure them from the stand which they had taken
more than thirty years ago, and which they had maintained in a long
and severe, but glorious, struggle. They will not listen to the voice
of the charmer, no, not for an hour.

This attitude of the Free Church toward the National Church, coupled
with the fact that its negotiations with the United Presbyterians have
fallen through, does not give us much hope of a general union among
the Presbyterians of Scotland, at least in our day. In fact there is
something in the Scotch nature which seems to forbid such coalescence.
_It does not fuse well._ It is too hard and "gritty" to melt in every
crucible. For this reason they cannot well unite with any body. Their
very nature is centrifugal rather than centripetal. They love to
argue, and the more they argue the more positive they become. The
conviction that they are right, is absolute on both sides. Whatever
other Christian grace they lack, they have at least attained to a full
assurance of faith. No one can help admiring their rugged honesty and
their strong convictions, upheld with unflinching courage. They become
heroes in the day of battle, and martyrs in the day of persecution;
but as for mutual concession, and mutual forgiveness, that, I fear, is
not in them.

It is painful to see this alienation between two bodies, for both of
which we cannot but feel the greatest respect. It does not become us
Americans to offer any counsel to those who are older and wiser than
we; yet if we might send a single message across the sea, it should
be to say that we have learned by all our conflicts and struggles to
cherish two things--which are our watchwords in Church and
State--_liberty_ and _union_. We prize our liberty. With a great price
we have obtained this freedom, and no man shall take it from us. But
yet we have also learned how precious a thing is brotherly love and
concord. Sweet is the communion of saints. This is the last blessing
which we desire for Scotland, that has so many virtues that we cannot
but wish that she might abound in this grace also. Even with this
imperfection, we love her country and her people. Whoever has had
access to Scottish homes, must have been struck with their beautiful
domestic character, with the attachment in families, with the
tenderness of parents, and the affectionate obedience of children. A
country in which the scenes of "The Cotter's Saturday Night" are
repeated in thousands of homes, we cannot help loving as well as
admiring. Wherefore do I say from my heart, A thousand blessings on
dear old Scotland! Peace be within her walls, and prosperity within
her palaces!



CHAPTER IV.

MOODY AND SANKEY IN LONDON.


     LONDON, June 10th.

To an American, visiting London just now, the object of most interest
is the meetings of his countrymen, Moody and Sankey. He has heard so
much of them, that he is curious to see with his own eyes just what
they are. One thing is undeniable--that they have created a prodigious
sensation. London is a very big place to make a stir in. A pebble
makes a ripple in a placid lake, while a rock falling from the side of
a mountain disappears in an instant in the ocean. London is an ocean.
Yet here these meetings have been thronged as much as in other cities
of Great Britain, and that not by the common people alone (although
they have heard gladly), but by representatives of all classes. For
several weeks they were held in the Haymarket Theatre, right in the
centre of fashionable London, and in the very place devoted to its
amusements; yet it was crowded to suffocation, and not only by
Dissenters, but by members of the Established Church, among whom were
such men as Dean Stanley, and Mr. Gladstone, and Lord-Chancellor
Cairns. The Duchess of Sutherland was a frequent attendant. All this
indicates, if only a sensation, at least a sensation of quite
extraordinary character. No doubt the multitude was drawn together in
part by curiosity. The novelty was an attraction; and, like the old
Athenians, they ran together into the market-place to hear some new
thing. This alone would have drawn them once or twice, but the
excitement did not subside. If some fell off, others rushed in, so
that the place was crowded to the last. Those meetings closed just
before we reached London, to be opened in another quarter of the great
city.

Last Sunday we went to hear Mr. Spurgeon, and he announced that on
Thursday (to-day) Messrs. Moody and Sankey would commence a new series
of meetings for the especial benefit of the South of London. A large
structure had been erected for the purpose. He warmly endorsed the
movement, and spoke in high praise of the men, especially for the
modesty and tact and the practical judgment they showed along with
their zeal; and urged all, instead of standing aloof and criticizing,
to join heartily in the effort which he believed would result in great
good. In a conversation afterward in his study, Mr. Spurgeon said to
me that Moody was the most simple-minded of men; that he told him on
coming here, "I am the most over-estimated and over-praised man in the
world." This low esteem of himself, and readiness to take any place,
so that he may do his Master's work, ought to disarm the disposition
to judge him according to the rules of rigid literary, or rhetorical,
or even theological, criticism.

This new tabernacle which has been built for Mr. Moody is set up at
Camberwell Green, on the south side of the Thames, not very far from
Mr. Spurgeon's church. It is a huge structure, standing in a large
enclosure, which is entered by gates. The service was to begin at
three o'clock. It was necessary to have tickets for admission, which I
obtained from the Hon. Arthur Kinnaird, a Member of Parliament, who is
about as well known in London as Lord Shaftesbury for his activity in
all good works. He advised me to go early to anticipate the crowd. We
started from Piccadilly at half-past one, and drove quietly over
Westminster Bridge, thinking we should be in ample time. But as we
approached Camberwell Green it was evident that there was a tide
setting toward the place of meeting, which swelled till the crowd
became a rush. There were half a dozen entrances. We asked for the
one to the platform, and were directed some distance around. Arrived
at the gates we found them shut and barred, and guarded by policemen,
who said they had received orders to admit no more, as the place was
already more than full, although the pressure outside was increasing
every instant. We might have been turned back from the very doors of
the sanctuary, if Mr. Kinnaird had not given me, besides the tickets,
a letter to Mr. Hodder, who was the chief man in charge, directing him
to take us in and give us seats on the platform. This I passed through
the gates to the policeman, who sent it on to some of the managers
within, and word came back that the bearers of the letter should be
admitted. But this was easier said than done. How to admit us two
without admitting others was a difficult matter; indeed, it was an
impossibility. The policemen tried to open the gates a little way, so
as to permit us to pass in; but as soon as the gates were ajar, the
guardians themselves were swept away. In vain they tried to stem the
torrent. The crowd rushed past them, (and would have rushed over them,
if they had stood in the way,) and surged up to the building. Here
again the crush was terrific. Had we foreseen it, we should not have
attempted the passage; but once in the stream, it was easier to go
forward than to go back. There was no help for it but to wait till the
tide floated us in; and so, after some minutes we were landed at last
in one of the galleries, from which we could take in a view of the
scene.

It was indeed a wonderful spectacle. The building is somewhat like
Barnum's Hippodrome, though not so large, and of better shape for
speaking and hearing, being not so oblong, but more square, with deep
galleries, and will hold, I should say, at a rough estimate, six or
eight thousand people. The front of the galleries was covered with
texts in large letters, such as "God is Love"; "Jesus only"; "Looking
unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith"; "Come unto Me, all
ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." At each
corner was a room marked "For inquirers."

As we had entered by mistake the wrong door, instead of finding
ourselves on the platform beside Mr. Moody, we had been borne by the
crowd to the gallery at the other end of the building; but this had
one advantage, that of enabling us to test the power of the voices of
the speakers to reach such large audiences. While the immense
assemblage were getting settled in their places, several hymns were
sung, which quietly and gently prepared them for the services that
were to follow.

At length Mr. Moody appeared. The moment he rose, there was a movement
of applause, which he instantly checked with a wave of his hand, and
at once proceeded to business, turning the minds of the audience to
something besides himself, by asking them to rise and sing the
stirring hymn,

     "Ring the bells of heaven! there is joy to-day!"

The whole assembly rose, and caught up the words with such energy that
the rafters rang with the mighty volume of sound. A venerable
minister, with white locks, then rose, and clinging to the railing for
support, and raising his voice, offered a brief but fervent prayer.

Mr. Moody's part in this opening service, it had been announced
beforehand, would be merely to _preside_, while others spoke; and he
did little more than to introduce them. He read, however, a few verses
from the parable of the talents, and urged on every one the duty to
use whatever gift he had, be it great or small, and not bury his
talent in a napkin. His voice was clear and strong, and where I sat I
heard distinctly. What he said was good, though in no wise remarkable.
Mr. Sankey touched us much more as he followed with an appropriate
hymn:

     "Nothing but leaves!"

As soon as I caught his first notes, I felt that there was _one_
cause of the success of these meetings. His voice is very powerful,
and every word was given with such distinctness that it reached every
ear in the building. All listened with breathless interest as he sang:

     "Nothing but leaves! the Spirit grieves
       Over a wasted life;
     O'er sins indulged while conscience slept,
     O'er vows and promises unkept,
       And reaps from years of strife--
     Nothing but leaves! nothing but leaves!"

Rev. Mr. Aitken, of Liverpool, then made an address of perhaps half an
hour, following up the thought of Mr. Moody on the duty of all to join
in the effort they were about to undertake. His address, without being
eloquent, was earnest and practical, to which Mr. Sankey gave a
thrilling application in another of his hymns, in which the closing
line of every verse was,

     "Here am I; send me, send me!"

Mr. Spurgeon was reserved for the closing address, and spoke, as he
always does, very forcibly. I noticed, as I had before, one great
element of his power, viz., his illustrations, which are most apt. For
example, he was urging ministers and Christians of all denominations
to join in this movement, and wished to show the folly of a
contentious spirit among them. To expose its absurdity, he said:

"A few years ago I was in Rome, and there I saw in the Vatican a
statue of two wrestlers, in the attitude of men trying to throw each
other. I went back two years after, and they were in the same
struggle, and I suppose are at it still!" Everybody saw the
application. Such a constrained posture might do in a marble statue,
but could anything be more ridiculous than for living men thus to
stand always facing each other in an attitude of hostility and
defiance? "And there too," he proceeded, "was another statue of a boy
pulling a thorn out of his foot. I went to Rome again, and there he
was still, with the same bended form, and the same look of pain,
struggling to be free. I suppose he is there still, and will be to all
eternity!" What an apt image of the self-inflicted torture of some
who, writhing under real or imagined injury, hug their grievance and
their pain, instead of at once tearing it away, and standing erect as
men in the full liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free.

Again, he was illustrating the folly of some ministers in giving so
much time and thought to refuting infidel objections, by which they
often made their people's minds familiar with what they would never
have heard of, and filled them with doubt and perplexity. He said the
process reminded him of what was done at a grotto near Naples, which
is filled with carbonic acid gas so strong that life cannot exist in
it, to illustrate which the vile people of the cave seize a wretched
dog, and throw him in, and in a few minutes the poor animal is nearly
dead. Then they deluge him with cold water to bring him round. Just
about as wise are those ministers who, having to preach the Gospel of
Christ, think they must first drop their hearers into a pit filled
with the asphyxiating gas of a false philosophy, to show how they can
apply their hydropathy in recovering them afterwards. Better let them
keep above ground, and breathe all the time the pure, blessed air of
heaven.

Illustrations like these told upon the audience, because they were so
apt, and so informed with common sense. Mr. Spurgeon has an utter
contempt for scientific charlatans and literary dilettanti, and all
that class of men who have no higher business in life than to carp and
criticise. He would judge everything by its practical results. If
sneering infidels ask, What good religion does? he points to those it
has saved, to the men it has reformed, whom it has lifted up from
degradation and death; and exclaims with his tremendous voice, "There
they are! standing on the shore, saved from shipwreck and ruin!" That
result is the sufficient answer to all cavil and objection.

"And now," continued Mr. Spurgeon, applying what he had said, "here
are these two brethren who have come to us from over the sea, whom God
has blessed wherever they have labored in Scotland, in Ireland, and in
England. It may be said they are no wiser or better than our own
preachers or laymen. Perhaps not. But somehow, whether by some novelty
of method, or some special tact, they have caught the popular ear, and
that of itself is a great point gained--they have got a hold on the
public mind." Again he resorted to illustration to make his point.

"Some years ago," he said, "I was crossing the Maritime Alps. We were
going up a pretty heavy grade, and the engine, though a powerful one,
labored hard to drag us up the steep ascent, till at length it came to
a dead stop. I got out to see what was the matter, for I didn't like
the look of things, and there we were stuck fast in a snow-drift! The
engine was working as hard as ever, and the wheels continued to
revolve; but the rails were icy, and the wheels could not take
hold--they could not get any _grip_--and so the train was unable to
move. So it is with some men, and some ministers. They are splendid
engines, and they have steam enough. The wheels revolve all right,
only they don't get any _grip_ on the rails, and so the train doesn't
move. Now our American friends have somehow got this grip on the
public mind; when they speak or sing, the people hear. Without
debating _why_ this is, or _how_ it is, let us thank God for it, and
try to help them in the use of the power which God has given them."

After this stirring address of Mr. Spurgeon, Mr. Moody announced the
arrangements for the meetings, which would be continued in that place
for thirty days; and with another rousing hymn the meeting closed.
This, it is given out, is to be the last month of Moody and Sankey in
England, and of course they hope it will be the crown of all their
labors.

After the service was ended, and the audience had partly dispersed, we
made our way around to the other end of the building, and had a good
shake of the hand with Mr. Moody, with whom I had spent several days
at Mr. Henry Bewley's, in Dublin, in 1867, and then travelled with him
to London, little dreaming that he would ever excite such a commotion
in this great Babylon, or have such a thronging multitude to hear him
as I have seen to-day.

And now, what of it all? It would be presumption to give an opinion on
a single service, and that where the principal actor in these scenes
was almost silent. Certainly there are some drawbacks. For my part, I
had rather worship in less of a crowd. If there is anything which I
shrink from, it is getting into a crush from which there is no escape,
and being obliged to struggle for life. Sometimes, indeed, it may be a
duty, but it is not an agreeable one. Paul fought with beasts at
Ephesus, but I don't think he liked it; and it seems to me a pretty
near approach to being thrown to the lions, to be caught in a rushing,
roaring London crowd.

And still I must not do it injustice. It was not a mob, but only a
very eager and excited concourse of people; who, when once settled in
the building, were attentive and devout. Perhaps the assembly to-day
was more so than usual, as the invitation for this opening service had
been "to Christians," and probably the bulk of those present were
members of neighboring churches. They were, for the most part, very
plain people, but none the worse for that, and they joined in the
service with evident interest, singing heartily the hymns, and turning
over their Bibles to follow the references to passages of Scripture.
Their simple sincerity and earnestness were very touching.

As to Mr. Moody, in the few remarks he made I saw no sign of
eloquence, not a single brilliant flash, such as would have lighted
up a five minutes' talk of our friend Talmage; but there was the
impressiveness of a man who was too much in earnest to care for
flowers of rhetoric; whose heart was in his work, and who, intent on
that alone, spoke with the utmost simplicity and plainness. I hear it
frequently said that his power is not in any extraordinary gift of
speech, but _in organizing Christian work_. One would suppose that
this long-continued labor would break him down, but on the contrary,
he seems to thrive upon it, and has grown stout and burly as any
Englishman, and seems ready for many more campaigns.

As to the result of his labors, instead of volunteering an opinion on
such slight observation, it is much more to the purpose to give the
judgment of others who have had full opportunity to see his methods,
and to observe the fruits. I have conversed with men of standing and
influence in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, and Edinburgh--men not at all
likely to be carried away by any sudden fanaticism. All speak well of
him, and believe that he has done good in their respective cities.
This certainly is very high testimony, and for the present is the best
we can have. They say that he shows great _tact_ in keeping clear of
difficulties, not allying himself with sects or parties, and awakening
no prejudices, so that Baptists, like Mr. Spurgeon, and Methodists and
Independents and Presbyterians, all work together. In Scotland, men of
the Free Church and of the National Church joined in the meetings, and
one cannot but hope that the tendency of this general religious
movement will be to incline the hearts of those noble, but now divided
brethren, more and more towards each other.

What will be the effect in London, it is too soon to say. It seems
almost impossible to make any impression on a city which is a world in
itself. London has nearly four millions of inhabitants--more than the
six States of New England put together! It is the monstrous growth of
our modern civilization. With its enormous size, it contains more
wealth than any city in the world, _and more poverty_--more luxury on
the one hand, and more misery on the other. To those who have explored
the low life of London, the revelations are terrific. The
wretchedness, the filth, the squalor, the physical pollution and moral
degradation in which vast numbers live, is absolutely appalling.

And can such a seething mass of humanity be reached by any Christian
influences? That is the problem to be solved. It is a gigantic
undertaking. Whatever can make any impression upon it, deserves the
support of all good men. I hope fervently that the present movement
may leave a moral result that shall remain after the actors in it have
passed away.



CHAPTER V.

TWO SIDES OF LONDON.--IS MODERN CIVILIZATION A FAILURE?


     June 15th.

It is now "the height of the season" in London. Parliament is in
session, and "everybody" is in town. Except the Queen, who is in the
Highlands, almost all the Royal family are here; and (except
occasional absences on the Continent, or as Ministers at foreign
courts, or as Governors of India, of Canada, of Australia, and other
British colonies) probably almost the whole nobility of the United
Kingdom are at this moment in London. Of course foreigners flock here
in great numbers. So crowded is every hotel, that it is difficult to
find lodgings. We have found very central quarters in Dover street,
near Piccadilly, close by the clubs and the parks, and the great West
End, the fashionable quarter of London.

Of course the display from the assemblage of so much rank and wealth,
and the concourse of such a multitude from all parts of the United
Kingdom, and indeed from all parts of the earth, is magnificent. We go
often to Hyde Park Corner, to see the turnout in the afternoon. In
Rotten Row (strange name for the most fashionable riding ground in
Europe) is the array of those on horseback; while the drive adjoining
is appropriated to carriages. The mounted cavalcade makes a gallant
sight. What splendid horses, and how well these English ladies ride!
Here come the equipages of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of
Edinburgh, with their fair brides from northern capitals, followed by
an endless roll of carriages of dukes and marquises and earls, and
lords and ladies of high degree. It seems as if all the glory of the
world were here. In strange contrast with this pomp and show, whom
should we meet, as we were riding in the Park on Saturday, but Moody
(whom John Wanamaker, of Philadelphia, was taking out for an airing to
prepare him for the fatigues of the morrow), who doubtless looked upon
all this as a Vanity Fair, much greater than that which Bunyan has
described!

But not to regard it in a severe spirit of censure, it is a sight such
as brings before us, in one moving panorama, the rank and beauty, the
wealth and power, of the British Empire, represented in these lords of
the realm. Such a sight cannot be seen anywhere else in Europe, not in
the Champs Elysées or the Bois de Boulogne of Paris, nor the Prater at
Vienna.

Take another scene. Let us start after ten o'clock and ride down into
"the city,"--a title which, as used here, belongs only to the old part
of London, beyond Temple Bar, which is now given up wholly to
business, and where "nobody that is anybody" lives. Here are the Bank
of England, the Royal Exchange, and the great commercial houses, that
have their connections in all parts of the earth. The concentration of
wealth is enormous, represented by hundreds and thousands of millions
sterling. One might almost say that half the national debts of the
world are owned here. There is not a power on the globe that is
seeking a loan, that does not come to London. France, Germany, Russia,
Turkey, all have recourse to its bankers to provide the material of
war, or means for the construction of the great works and monuments of
peace. Our American railways have been built largely with English
money. Alas, that so many have proved unfortunate investments!

It is probably quite within bounds to say that the accumulation of
wealth at this centre is greater than ever was piled up before on the
globe, even in the days of the Persian or Babylonian Empires; or when
the kings of Egypt built the Pyramids; or when Rome sat on the seven
hills, and subject provinces sent tribute from all parts of the earth;
or in that Mogul Empire, whose monuments at Delhi and Agra are still
the wonder of India.

Can it be that a city so vast, so populous, so rich, has a canker at
its root? Do not judge hastily, but see for yourself. Leave Hyde Park
Corner, and its procession of nobles and princes; leave "the city,"
with its banks and counting-houses, and plunge into another quarter of
London. One need not go far away, for the hiding-places of poverty and
wretchedness are often under the very shadow of the palaces of the
rich. Come, then, and grope through these narrow streets. You turn
aside to avoid the ragged, wretched creatures that crouch along your
path. But come on, and if you fear to go farther, take a policeman
with you. Wind your way into narrow passages, into dark, foul alleys,
up-stairs, story after story, each worse than the last. Summon up
courage to enter the rooms. You are staggered by the foul smell that
issues as you open the doors. But do not go back; wait till your eye
is a little accustomed to the darkness, and you can see more clearly.
Here is a room hardly big enough for a single bed, yet containing six,
eight, ten, or a dozen persons, all living in a common herd, cooking
and eating such wretched food as they have, and sleeping on the floor
together.

What can be expected of human beings, crowded in such miserable
habitations, living in filth and squalor, and often pinched with
hunger? Not only is refinement impossible, but comfort, or even
decency. What manly courage would not give way, sapped by the deadly
poison of such an air? Who wonders that so many rush to the gin-shop
to snatch a moment of excitement or forgetfulness? What feminine
delicacy could stand the foul and loathsome contact of such brutal
degradation? Yet this is the way in which tens, and perhaps hundreds
of thousands of the population of London live.

But it is at night that these low quarters are most fearful. Then the
population turns into the streets, which are brilliantly lighted up by
the flaring gas-jets. Then the gin-shops are in their glory, crowded
by the lowest and most wretched specimens of humanity--men and women
in rags--old, gray-headed men and haggard women, and young girls,--and
even children, learning to be imps of wickedness almost as soon as
they are born. After a few hours of this excitement they reel home to
their miserable dens. And then each wretched room becomes more hideous
than before,--for drinking begets quarrelling; and, cursing and
swearing and fighting, the wretched creatures at last sink exhausted
on the floor, to forget their misery in a few hours of troubled sleep.

Such is a true, but most inadequate, picture of one side of London.
Who that sees it, or even reads of it, can wonder that so many of
these "victims of civilization," finding human hearts harder than the
stones of the street, seek refuge in suicide? I never cross London
Bridge without recalling Hood's "Bridge of Sighs," and stopping to
lean over the parapet, thinking of the tragedies which those "dark
arches" have witnessed, as poor, miserable creatures, mad with
suffering, have rushed here and thrown themselves over into "the
black-flowing river"[2] beneath, eager to escape

     "Anywhere, anywhere,
       Out of the world!"

Such is the dreadful cancer which is eating at the heart of
London--poverty and misery, ending in vice and crime, in despair and
death. It is a fearful spectacle. But is there any help for it? Can
anything be done to relieve this gigantic human misery? Or is the case
desperate, beyond all hope or remedy?

Of course there are many schemes of reformation and cure. Some think
it must come by political instrumentality, by changes in the laws;
others have no hope but in a social regeneration, or reconstruction of
society, others still rely only on moral and religious influences.

There has arisen in Europe, within the last generation, a multitude of
philosophers who have dreamed that it was possible so to reorganize or
reconstruct society, to adjust the relations of labor and capital, as
to extinguish poverty; so that there shall be no more poor, no more
want. Sickness there may be, disease, accident, and pain, but the
amount of suffering will be reduced to a minimum; so that at least
there shall be no unnecessary pain, none which it is possible for
human skill or science to relieve. Elaborate works have been written,
in which the machinery is carefully adjusted, and the wheels so oiled
that there is no jar or friction. These schemes are very beautiful;
alas! that they should be mere creations of the fancy. The apparatus
is too complicated and too delicate, and generally breaks to pieces in
the very setting up. The fault of all these social philosophies is
that they ignore the natural selfishness of man, his pride, avarice,
and ambition. Every man wants the first place in the scale of
eminence. If men were morally right--if they had Christian humility or
self-abnegation, and each were willing to take the lowest place--then
indeed might these things be. But until then, we fear that all such
schemes will be splendid failures.

In France, where they have been most carefully elaborated, and in some
instances tried, they have always resulted disastrously, sometimes
ending in horrible scenes of blood, as in the Reign of Terror in the
first Revolution, and recently in the massacres of the Commune. No
government on earth can reconstruct society, so as to prevent all
poverty and suffering. Still the State can do much by removing
obstacles out of the way. It need not be itself the agent of
oppression, and of inflicting needless suffering. This has been the
vice of many governments--that they have kept down the poor by laying
on them burdens too heavy to bear, and so crushing the life out of
their exhausted frames. In England the State can remove disabilities
from the working man; it can take away the exclusive privileges of
rank and title, and place all classes on the same level before the
law. Thus it can clear the field before every man, and give him a
chance to rise, _if he has it in him_--if he has talent, energy, and
perseverance.

Then the government can in many ways _encourage_ the poorer classes,
and so gradually lift them up. In great cities the drainage of
unhealthy streets, of foul quarters, may remove the seeds of
pestilence. Something in this way has been done already, and the death
rates show a corresponding diminution of mortality. So by stringent
laws in regard to proper ventilation, forbidding the crowding together
in unhealthy tenements, and promoting the erection of model
lodging-houses, it may encourage that cleanliness and decency which is
the first step towards civilization.

Then by a system of Common Schools, that shall be universal and
_compulsory_, and be rigidly enforced, as it is in Germany, the State
may educate in some degree, at least in the rudiments of knowledge,
the children of the nation, and thus do something towards lifting up,
slowly but steadily, that vast substratum of population which lies at
the base of every European society.

But the question of moral influence remains. Is it possible to reach
this vast and degraded population with any Christian influences, or
are they in a state of hopeless degradation?

Here we meet at the first step in England A CHURCH, of grand
proportions, established for ages, inheriting vast endowments, wealth,
privilege, and titles, with all the means of exerting the utmost
influence on the national mind. For this what has it to show? It has
great cathedrals, with bishops, and deans, and canons; a whole retinue
of beneficed clergy, men who read or "intone" the prayers; with such
hosts of men and boys to chant the services, as, if mustered together,
would make a small army. The machinery is ample, but the result, we
fear, not at all corresponding.

But lest I be misunderstood, let me say here that I have no prejudice
against the Church of England. I cannot join with the English
Dissenters in their cry against it, nor with some of my American
brethren, who look upon it as almost an apostate Church, an obstacle
to the progress of Christianity, rather than a wall set around it to
be its bulwark and defence. With a very different feeling do I regard
that ancient Church, that has so long had its throne in the British
Islands. I am not an Englishman, nor an Episcopalian, yet no loyal son
of the Church of England could look up to it with more tender
reverence than I. I honor it for all that it has been in the past, for
all that it is at this hour. The oldest of the Protestant Churches of
England, it has the dignity of history to make it venerable. And not
only is it one of the oldest Churches in the world, but one of the
purest, which could not be struck from existence without a shock to
all Christendom. Its faith is the faith of the Reformation, the faith
of the early ages of Christianity. Whatever "corruptions" may have
gathered upon it, like moss upon the old cathedral walls, yet in the
Apostles' Creed, and other symbols of faith, it has held the primitive
belief with beautiful simplicity, divested of all "philosophy," and
held it not only with singular purity, but with steadfastness from
generation to generation.

What a power is in a creed and a service which thus links us with the
past! As we listen to the Te Deum or the Litany, we are carried back
not only to the Middle Ages, but to the days of persecution, when "the
noble army of martyrs" was not a name; when the Church worshipped in
crypts and catacombs. Perhaps we of other communions do not consider
enough the influence of a Church which has a long history, and whose
very service seems to unite the living and the dead--the worship on
earth with the worship in heaven. For my part, I am very sensitive to
these influences, and never do I hear a choir "chanting the liturgies
of remote generations" that it does not bring me nearer to the first
worshippers, and to Him whom they worshipped.

Nor can I overlook, among the influences of the Church of England,
that even of its architecture, in which its history, as well as its
worship, is enshrined. Its cathedrals are filled with monuments and
tombs, which recall great names and sacred memories. Is it mere
imagination, that when I enter one of these old piles and sit in some
quiet alcove, the place is filled to my ear with airy tongues, voices
of the dead, that come from the tablets around and from the tombs
beneath; that whisper along the aisles, and rise and float away in the
arches above, bearing the soul to heaven--spirits with which my own
poor heart, as I sit and pray, seems in peaceful and blessed
communion? Is it an idle fancy that soaring above us there is a
multitude of the heavenly host singing now, as once over the plains of
Bethlehem, "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will
towards men!" Here is the soul bowed down in the presence of its
Maker. It feels "lowly as a worm." What thoughts of death arise amid
so many memorials of the dead! What sober views of the true end of a
life so swiftly passing away! How many better thoughts are inspired by
the meditations of this holy place! How many prayers, uttered in
silence, are wafted to the Hearer of Prayer! How many offences are
forgiven here in the presence of "The Great Forgiver of the world"!
How many go forth from this ancient portal, resolved, with God's help,
to live better lives! It is idle to deny that the place itself is
favorable to meditation and to prayer. It makes a solemn stillness in
the midst of a great city, as if we were in the solitude of a mountain
or a desert. The pillared arches are like the arches of a sacred
grove. Let those who will cast away such aids to devotion, and say
they can worship God anywhere--in any place. I am not so insensible to
these surroundings, but find in them much to lift up my heart and to
help my poor prayers.

With these internal elements of power, and with its age and history,
and the influence of custom and tradition, the Church of England has
held the nation for hundreds of years to an outward respect for
Christianity, even if not always to a living faith. While Germany has
fallen away to Rationalism and indifference, and France to mocking and
scornful infidelity, in England Christianity is a national
institution, as fast anchored as the island itself. The Church of
England is the strongest bulwark against the infidelity of the
continent. It is associated in the national mind with all that is
sacred and venerable in the past. In its creed and its worship it
presents the Christian religion in a way to command the respect of the
educated classes; it is seated in the Universities, and is thus
associated with science and learning. As it is the National Church, it
has the support of all the rank of the kingdom, and arrays on its side
the strongest social influences. Thus it sets even fashion on the side
of religion. This may not be the most dignified influence to control
the faith of a country, but it is one that has great power, and it is
certainly better to have it on the side of religion than against it.
We must take the world as it is, and men as they are. They are led by
example, and especially by the examples of the great; of those whose
rank makes them foremost in the public eye, and gives them a natural
influence over their countrymen.

As for those who think that the Gospel is preached nowhere in England
but in the chapels of Dissenters, and that there is little
"spirituality" except among English Independents or Scotch
Presbyterians, we can but pity their ignorance. It is not necessary to
point to the saintly examples of men like Jeremy Taylor and Archbishop
Leighton; but in the English homes of to-day are thousands of men and
women who furnish illustrations, as beautiful as any that can be found
on earth, of a religion without cant or affectation, yet simple and
sincere, and showing itself at once in private devotion, in domestic
piety, and in a life full of all goodness and charity.

It must be confessed that its ministers are not always worthy of the
Church itself. I am repelled and disgusted at the arrogance of some
who think that it is the _only_ true Church, and that they alone are
the Lord's anointed. If so, the grace is indeed in earthen vessels,
and those of wretched clay. The affectation and pretension of some of
the more youthful clergy are such as to provoke a smile. But such
paltry creatures are too insignificant to be worth a moment's serious
thought. The same spiritual conceit exists in every Church. We should
not like to be held responsible for all the narrowness of
Presbyterians, whom we are sometimes obliged to regard, as Cromwell
did, as "the Lord's foolish people." These small English curates and
rectors we should regard no more than the spiders that weave their web
in some dimly-lighted arch, or the traditional "church mice" that
nibble their crumbs in the cathedral tower, or the crickets or lizards
that creep over the old tombs in the neighboring churchyard.

But if there is much narrowness in the Church of England, there is
much nobleness also; much true Christian liberality and hearty
sympathy with all good men and good movements, not only in England but
throughout the world. Dean Stanley (whom I love and honor as the
manliest man in the Church of England) is but the representative and
leader of hundreds who, if they have not his genius, have at least
much of his generous and intrepid spirit, that despises sacerdotal
cant, and claims kindred with the good of all countries and ages, with
the noble spirits, the brave and true, of all mankind. Such men are
sufficient to redeem the great Church to which they belong from the
reproach of narrowness.

Such is the position of the Church of England, whose history is a part
of that of the realm; and which stands to-day buttressed by rank, and
learning, and social position, and a thousand associations which have
clustered around it in the course of centuries, to make it sacred and
venerable and dear to the nation's heart. If all this were levelled
with the ground, in vain would all the efforts of Dissenters, however
earnest and eloquent--if they could muster a hundred Spurgeons--avail
to restore the national respect for religion.

Looking at all these possibilities, I am by no means so certain as
some appear to be, that the overthrow of the Establishment would be a
gain to the cause of Christianity in England. Some in their zeal for a
pure democracy both in Church and State--for Independency and
Voluntaryism in the former, and Republicanism in the latter--regard
every Establishment as an enemy alike to a pure Gospel and to
religious liberty. The Dissenters, naturally incensed at the
inequality and injustice of their position before the law (and perhaps
with a touch of envy of those more favored than they are) have their
grievance against the Church of England, simply because it is
_established_, to the exclusion of themselves. But from all such
rivalries and contentions we, as Americans, are far removed, and can
judge impartially. We look upon the Established Church as one of the
historical institutions of England, which no thoughtful person could
wish to see destroyed, any more than to see an overthrow of the
monarchy, until he were quite sure that something better would come in
its place. It is not a little thing that it has gathered around it
such a wealth of associations, and with them such a power over the
nation in which it stands; and it would be a rash hand that should
apply the torch, or fire the mine, that should bring it down.

But the influence of the Church of England is mainly in the higher
ranks of society. Below these there are large social strata--deep,
broad, thick, and black as seams of coal in a mountain--that are not
even touched by all these influences. We like to stray into the old
cathedrals at evening, and hear the choir chanting vespers; or to
wander about them at night, and see the moonlight falling on the
ancient towers. But nations are not saved by moonlight and music. The
moonbeams that rest on the dome of St. Paul's, or on the bosom of the
Thames, as it flows under the arches of London Bridge, covering it
with silver, do not cleanse the black waters, or restore to life the
corpses of the wretched suicides that go floating downward to the sea.
_So far as they are concerned_, the Church of England, and indeed we
may say the Christianity of England, is a wretched failure. Some other
and more powerful illustration is needed to turn the heart of England;
something which shall not only cause the sign of the cross to be held
up in St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, but which shall carry the
Gospel of human brotherhood to all the villages and hamlets of
England; to the poorest cottage in the Highlands; that shall descend
with the miner into the pit underground; that shall abide with every
laborer in the land, and go forth with the sailor on the sea.

How inadequately the Church of England answers to this need of a
popular educator and reformer, may be illustrated by one or two of her
most notable churches and preachers.

On Sunday last we attended two of the most famous places of worship
in London--the Temple Church and Westminster Abbey. The former belongs
to an ancient guild of lawyers, attached to what are known as the
Middle and the Inner Temple, a corporation dating back hundreds of
years, which has large grounds running down to the Thames, and great
piles of buildings divided off into courts, and full of lawyers'
offices. Standing among these is a church celebrated for its beauty,
which once belonged to the Knights Templars, some of whose bronze
figures in armor, lying on their tombs, show by their crossed limbs
how they went to Palestine to fight for the Holy Sepulchre. As it is a
church which belongs to a private corporation, no one can obtain
admission to the pews without an order from "a bencher," which was
sent to us as a personal courtesy. The church has the air of being
very aristocratic and exclusive; and those whose enjoyment of a
religious service depends on "worshipping God in good company," may
feel at ease while sitting in these high-backed pews, from which the
public are excluded.

The church is noted for its music, which amateurs pronounce exquisite.
As I am not educated in these things, I do not know the precise beauty
and force of all the quips and quavers of this most artistic
performance. The service was given at full length, in which the Lord's
Prayer was repeated _five times_. With all the singing and "intoning,"
and down-sitting and uprising, and the bowing of necks and bending of
knees, the service occupied an hour and a half before the rector, Rev.
Dr. Vaughan, ascended the pulpit. He is a brother-in-law of Dean
Stanley, and a man much respected in the Church. His text was, "He
took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses," from which he preached
a sermon appropriate to the day, which was "Hospital Sunday," a day
observed throughout London by collections in aid of the hospitals. It
was simple and practical, and gave one the impression of a truly good
man, such as there are thousands in the Church of England.

But what effect had such a service--or a hundred such--on the poor
population of London? About as much as the exquisite music itself has
on the rise and fall of the tide in the Thames, which flows by; or as
the moonlight has on vegetation. I know not what mission agencies
these old churches may employ elsewhere to labor among the poor, but
so far as any immediate influence is concerned, outside of a very
small circle, it is infinitesimal.

In the evening we went to Westminster Abbey to hear the choral
service, which is rendered by a very large choir of men and boys, with
wonderful effect. Simply for the music one could not have a more
exquisite sensation of enjoyment. How the voices rang amid the arches
of the old cathedral. At this evening service it had been announced
that "The Lord Archbishop of York" was to preach, and we were curious
to see what wisdom and eloquence could come out of the mouth of a man
who held the second place in the Established Church of England. "His
grace" is a large, portly man, of good presence and sonorous voice.
His text was "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." He began with an
allusion to Holman Hunt's famous picture of Christ standing at the
door, which he described in some detail; the door itself overgrown
with vines, and its hinges rusted, so long had it been unopened; and
then the patient Man of Sorrows, with bended head and heavy heart,
knocking and waiting to come in. From this he went into a discussion
of modern civilization, considering whether men are really better
(though they may be better _off_) now than in the days of our fathers;
the conclusion from all which was, that external improvements, however
much they add to the physical comfort and well-being of man, do not
change his character, and that for his inward peace, the only way is
to open the door to let the blessed Master in. It seemed to me rather
a roundabout way to come at his point; but still as the aim was
practical, and the spirit earnest and devout, one could not but feel
that the impression was good. As to ability, I failed to see in it
anything so marked as should entitle the preacher to the exalted
dignity he holds; but I do not wish to criticize, but only to consider
whether a Church thus organized and appointed can have the influence
over the people of England we might expect from a great National
Establishment. Perhaps it has, but I fail to see it. It seems to skim,
and that very lightly, over the top, the thin surface of society, and
not to _touch_ the masses beneath.

The influence of the Establishment is supplemented by the Dissenting
Churches, which are numerous and active, and in their spheres doing
great good. Then, too, there are innumerable separate agencies,
working in ways manifold and diverse. I have been much interested in
the details, as given me by Mrs. Ranyard, of her Bible women, who have
grown, in the course of twenty years, from half a dozen to over two
hundred, and who, working noiselessly, in quiet, womanly ways, do much
to penetrate the darkest lanes of London, and to lead their poor
sisters into ways of industry, contentment, and peace.

But after all is said and done, the great mass of poverty and
wretchedness remains. We lift the cover, and look down into
unfathomable abysses beneath, into a world where all seems evil--a
hell of furious passions and vices and crimes. Such is the picture
which is presented to me as I walk the streets of London, and which
will not down, even when I go to the Bank of England, and see the
treasures piled up there, or to Hyde Park, and see the dashing
equipages, the splendid horses and their riders, and all the display
of the rank and beauty of England.

What will the end be? Will things go on from bad to worse, to end at
last in some grand social or political convulsion--some cataclysm like
the French Revolution?

This is the question which now occupies thousands of minds in Great
Britain. Of course similar questions engage attention in other
countries. In all great cities there is a poor population, which is
the standing trouble and perplexity of social and political reformers.
We have a great deal of poverty in New York, although it is chiefly
imported from abroad. But in London the evil is immensely greater,
because the city is four times larger; and the crowding together of
four millions of people, brings wealth and poverty into such close
contact that the contrasts are more marked. Other evils and dangers
England has which are peculiar to an old country; they are the growth
of centuries, and cannot be shaken off, or cast out, without great
tearing and rending of the body politic. All this awakens anxious
thought, and sometimes dark foreboding. Many, no doubt, of the upper
classes are quite content to have their full share of the good things
of this life, and enjoy while they may, saying, "After us the deluge!"
But they are not all given over to selfishness. Tens of thousands of
the best men on this earth, having the clearest heads and noblest
hearts, are in England, and they are just as thoughtful and anxious to
do what is best for the masses around them, as any men can be. The
only question is, What _can_ be done? And here we confess our
philosophy is wholly at fault. It is easy to judge harshly of others,
but not so easy to stand in their places and do better.

For my part, I am most anxious that the experiment of Christian
civilization in England should not fail; for on it, I believe, the
welfare of the whole world greatly depends. But is it strange that
good men should be appalled and stand aghast at what they see here in
London, and that they should sometimes be in despair of modern
civilization and modern Christianity? What can I think, as a
foreigner, when a man like George Macdonald, a true-hearted Scotchman,
who has lived many years in London, tells me that things may come
right (so he hopes) _in a thousand years_--that is, in some future too
remote for the vision of man to explore. Hearing such sad confessions,
I no longer wonder that so many in England, who are sensitive to all
this misery, and yet believers in a Higher Power, have turned to the
doctrine of the Personal Reign of Christ on earth as the only refuge
against despair, believing that the world will be restored to its
allegiance to God, and men to universal brotherhood, only with the
coming of the Prince of Peace.

FOOTNOTE:

[2]  "The bleak wind of March
       Made her tremble and shiver,
     But not the dark arch,
       Nor the black flowing river.

     Mad from life's history,
     Glad to death's mystery
       Swift to be hurled
     Anywhere, anywhere,
         Out of the world"



CHAPTER VI.

THE RESURRECTION OF FRANCE.


     PARIS, June 30th.

Coming from London to Paris, one is struck with the contrast--London
is so vast and interminable, _and dark_,--a "boundless contiguity of
shade,"--while Paris is all brightness and sunshine. The difference in
the appearance of the two capitals is due partly to the climate, and
partly to the materials of which they are built--London showing miles
on miles of dingy brick, with an atmosphere so charged with smoke and
vapors that it blackens even the whitest marble; while Paris is built
of a light, cream-colored stone, that is found here in abundance,
which is soft and easily worked, but hardens by exposure to the air,
and that preserves its whiteness under this clearer sky and warmer
sun. Then the taste of the French makes every shop window bright with
color; and there is something in the natural gayety of the people
which is infectious, and which quickly communicates itself to a
stranger. Many a foreigner, on first landing in England, has walked
the streets of London with gloomy thoughts of suicide, who once in
Paris feels as if transported to Paradise. Perhaps if he had stayed a
little longer in England he would have thought better of the country
and people. But it is impossible for a stranger at first to feel _at
home_ in London, any more than if he were sent adrift all alone in the
middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The English are reserved and cautious in
their social relations, which may be very proper in regard to those of
whom they know nothing. But once well introduced, the stranger is
taken into their intimacy, and finds no spot on earth more warm than
the interior of an English home. But in Paris everybody seems to greet
him at once without an introduction; he speaks to a Frenchman on the
street (if it be only to inquire his way), and instead of a gruff
answer, meets with a polite reply. "It amounts to nothing," some may
say. It costs indeed but a moment of time, but even that, many in
England, and I am sorry to say in America also, are too impatient and
too self-absorbed to give. In the shops everybody is so polite that
one spends his money with pleasure, since he gets not only the matter
of his purchase, but what he values still more, a smile and a pleasant
word. It may be said that these are little things, but in their
influence upon one's temper and spirits they are _not_ trifles, any
more than sunshine is a trifle, or pure air; and in these minor
moralities of life the French are an example to us and to all the
world.

But it is not only for their easy manners and social virtues that I am
attracted to the French. They have many noble qualities, such as
courage and self-devotion, instances of which are conspicuous in their
national history; and are not less capable of Christian devotion,
innumerable examples of which may be found in both the Catholic and
the Protestant Churches. Many of our American clergymen, who have
travelled abroad, will agree with me, that more beautiful examples of
piety they have never seen than among the Protestants of France. I
should be ungrateful indeed if I did not love the French, since to one
of that nation I owe the chief happiness of my earthly existence.

Of course the great marvel of Paris, and of France, is its
_resurrection_--the manner in which it has recovered from the war. In
riding about these streets, so full of life and gayety, and seeing on
every side the signs of prosperity, I cannot realize that it is a city
which, since I was here in 1867--nay, within less time, has endured
all the horrors of war; which has been _twice_ besieged, has been
encompassed with a mighty army, and heard the sound of cannon day and
night, its people hiding in cellars from the bombs bursting in the
streets. Yet it is not five years since Louis Napoleon was still
Emperor, reigning undisturbed in the palace of the Tuileries, across
the street from the Hôtel du Louvre, where I now write. It was on the
15th of July, 1870, that war was declared against Prussia in the midst
of the greatest enthusiasm. The army was wild with excitement,
expecting to march almost unopposed to Berlin. Sad dream of victory,
soon to be rudely dispelled! A few weeks saw the most astounding
series of defeats, and on the 4th of September the Emperor himself
surrendered at Sedan, at the head of a hundred thousand men, and the
Empire, which he had been constructing with such infinite labor and
care for twenty years, fell to the ground.

But even then the trials of France were not ended. She was to have
sorrow upon sorrow. Next came the surrender of Metz, with another
great army, and then the crowning disaster of the long siege of Paris,
lasting over four months, and ending also in the same inglorious way.
Jena was avenged, when the Prussian cavalry rode through the Arch of
Triumph down the Champs Elysées. It was a bitter humiliation for
France, but she had to drink the cup to the very dregs, when forced to
sign a treaty of peace, ceding two of her most beautiful provinces,
Alsace and Lorraine, and paying an indemnity of one thousand millions
of dollars for the expenses of the war! Nor was this all. As if the
seven vials of wrath were to be poured out on her devoted head,
scarcely was the foreign war ended, before civil war began, and for
months the Commune held Paris under its feet. Then the city had to
undergo a second siege, and to be bombarded once more, not by Germans,
but by Frenchmen, until its proud historical monuments were destroyed
by its own people. The Column of the Place Vendôme, erected to
commemorate the victories of Napoleon, out of cannon taken in his
great battles, was levelled to the ground; and the Palace of the
Tuileries and the Hôtel de Ville were burnt by these desperate
revolutionists, who at last, to complete the catalogue of their
crimes, butchered the hostages in cold blood! This was the end of the
war, and such the state of Paris in May, 1871, scarcely four years
ago.

In the eyes of other nations, this was not only disaster, but absolute
ruin. It seemed as if the country could not recover in one generation,
and that for the next thirty years, so far as any political power or
influence was concerned, France might be considered as blotted from
the map of Europe.

But four years have passed, and what do we see? The last foreign
soldier has disappeared from the soil of France, the enormous
indemnity is PAID, and the country is apparently as rich and
prosperous, and Paris as bright and gay, as ever.

This seems a miracle, but the age of miracles is past, and such great
results do not come without cause. The French are a very rich
people--not by the accumulation of a few colossal fortunes, but by the
almost infinite number of small ones. They are at once the most
industrious and the most economical people in the world. They will
live on almost nothing. Even the Chinese hardly keep soul and body
together on less than these French _ouvriers_ whom we see going about
in their blouses, and who form the laboring population of Paris. So
all the petty farmers in the provinces save something, and have a
little against a rainy day; and when the time comes that the
Government wants a loan, out from old stockings, and from chimney
corners, come the hoarded napoleons, which, flowing together like
thousands of little rivulets, make the mighty stream of national
wealth.

But for a nation to pay its debts, especially when they have grown to
be so great, it is necessary not only to have money, but to know how
to use it. And here the interests of France have been managed with
consummate ability. In spite of the constant drain caused by the heavy
payment of the war indemnity to Germany, the finances of the country
have not been much disturbed, and to-day the bills of the Bank of
France are at par. I feel ashamed for my country when the cable
reports to us from America, that our national currency is so
depreciated that to purchase gold in New York one must pay a premium
of seventeen per cent.! I wish some of our political financiers would
come to Paris for a few months, to take lessons from the far more
successful financiers of France.

What delights me especially in this great achievement is that it has
all been done under the Republic! It has not required a monarchy to
maintain public order, and to give that security which is necessary to
restore the full confidence of the commercial world. It is only by a
succession of events so singular as to seem indeed providential, that
France has been saved from being given over once more into the hands
of the old dynasty. From this it has been preserved by the rivalship
of different parties; so that the Republic has been saved by the
blunders of its enemies. The Lord has confounded them, and the very
devices intended for its destruction--such as putting Marshal MacMahon
in power for seven years--have had the effect to prevent a
restoration. Thus the Republic has had a longer life, and has
established its title to the confidence of the nation. No doubt if the
Legitimists and the Orleanists and Imperialists could all _unite_,
they might have a sovereign to-morrow; but each party prefers a
Republic to any sovereign _except its own_, and is willing that it
should stand for a few years, in the hope that some turn of events
will then give the succession to them. So, amid all this division of
parties, the Republic "still lives," and gains strength from year to
year. The country is prosperous under it; order is perfectly
maintained; and order _with liberty_: why should it not remain the
permanent government of France?

If only the country could be _contented_, and willing to let well
enough alone, it might enjoy many long years of prosperity. But
unfortunately there is a cloud in the sky. The last war has left the
seeds of another war. Its disastrous issue was so unexpected and so
galling to the most proud and sensitive people in Europe, that they
will never rest satisfied till its terrible humiliation is redressed.
The resentment might not be so bitter but for the taking of its two
provinces. The defeats in the field of battle might be borne as the
fate of war (for the French have an ingenious way, whenever they lose
a battle, of making out that they were not _defeated_, but
_betrayed_); even the payment of the enormous indemnity they might
turn into an occasion of boasting, as they now do, as a proof of the
vast resources of the country; but the loss of Alsace and Lorraine is
a standing monument of their disgrace. They cannot wipe it off from
the map of Europe. There it is, with the hated German flag flying from
the fortress of Metz and the Cathedral of Strasburg. This is a
humiliation to which they will never submit contentedly, and herein
lies the probability--nay almost the certainty--of coming war. I have
not met a Frenchman of any position, or any political views,
Republican or Monarchical, Bonapartist or Legitimist, Catholic or
Protestant, whose blood did not boil at the mention of Alsace and
Lorraine, and who did not look forward to a fresh conflict with
Germany as inevitable. When I hear a Protestant pastor say, "I will
give all my sons to fight for Alsace and Lorraine," I cannot but think
the prospects of the Peace Society not very encouraging in Europe.

In the exhibition of the Doré gallery, in London, there is a very
striking picture by that great artist (who is himself an Alsatian, and
yet an intense Frenchman), intended to represent Alsace. It is a
figure of a young woman, tall and beautiful, with eyes downcast, yet
with pride and dignity in her sadness, as the French flag, which she
holds, droops to her feet. Beside her is a mother sitting in a chair
nursing a child. The two figures tell the story in an instant. That
mother is nursing her child to avenge the wrongs of his country. It is
sad indeed to see a child thus born to a destiny of war and blood; to
see the shadow of carnage and destruction hovering over his very
cradle. Yet such is the prospect now, which fills every Christian
heart with sadness. Thus will the next generation pay in blood and
tears, for the follies and the crimes of this.



CHAPTER VII.

THE FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.


We have been to Versailles. Of course our first visit was to the great
palace built by Louis XIV., which is over a quarter of a mile long,
and which stands, like some of the remains of antiquity, as a monument
of royal pride and ambition. It was built, as the kings of Egypt built
the Pyramids, to tell to after ages of the greatness of his kingdom
and the splendor of his reign. A gallant sight it must have been when
this vast pile, with its endless suites of apartments, was filled with
the most brilliant court in Europe; when statesmen and courtiers and
warriors, "fair women and brave men," crowded the immense saloons, and
these terraces and gardens. It was a display of royal magnificence
such as the world has seldom seen. The cost is estimated at not less
than two hundred millions of dollars--a sum which considering the
greater value of money two centuries ago, was equal to five times that
amount at the present day, or a thousand millions, as much as the
whole indemnity paid to Germany. It was a costly legacy to his
successors--costly in treasure and costly in blood. The building of
Versailles, with the ruinous and inglorious wars of Louis XIV.,
drained the resources of France for a generation, and by the burdens
they imposed on the people, prepared the way for the Revolution. I
could not but recall this with a bitter feeling as I stood in the
gilded chamber where the great king slept, and saw the very bed on
which he died. That was the end of all his glory, but not the end of
the evil that he wrought:

     "The evil that men do lives after them;
     The good is oft interred with their bones."

The extravagance of this monarch was paid for by the blood of his
descendants. If he had not lifted his head so high, the head of Louis
XVI. might not have fallen on the scaffold. It is good for France that
she has no longer any use for such gigantic follies; and that the day
is past when a whole nation can be sacrificed to the vanity and
selfishness of one man. In this case the very magnitude of the
structure defeated its object, for it was so great that no government
since the Revolution has known what to do with it. It required such an
enormous expenditure to keep it up, that the prudent old King Louis
Philippe _could not afford to live in it_, and at last turned it into
a kind of museum or historical gallery, filled with pictures of French
battles, and dedicated in pompous phrase, TO ALL THE GLORIES OF
FRANCE.

But it was not to see the palace of Louis XIV. that I had most
interest in revisiting Versailles, but to see the National Assembly
sitting in it, which is at present the ruling power in France. If
Louis XIV. ever revisits the scene of his former magnificence, he must
shake his kingly head at the strange events which it has witnessed.
How he must have shuddered to see his royal house invaded by a mob, as
it was in the time of the first Revolution; to see the faithful Swiss
guards butchered in his very palace, and the Queen, Marie Antoinette,
escaping with her life; to see the grounds sacred to Majesty trampled
by the "fierce democracie" of France; and then by the iron heel of the
Corsican usurper; and by the feet of the allied armies under
Wellington. His soul may have had peace for a time when, under Louis
Philippe and Louis Napoleon, Versailles was comparatively silent and
deserted. But what would he have said at seeing, only four winters
ago, the Emperor of Germany and his army encamped here and
beleaguering the capital? Yet perhaps even that would not so have
offended his royal dignity as to see a National Assembly sitting in a
part of this very palace in the name of a French Republic!

Strange overturning indeed; but if strange, still true. They have a
proverb in France that "it is always the improbable which happens,"
and so indeed it seems to be in French history; it is full of
surprises, but few greater than that which now appears. France has
drifted into a Republic, when both statesmen and people meant not so.
It was not the first choice of the nation. Whatever may have been true
of the populace of Paris, the immense majority of the French people
were sincerely attached to monarchy in some form, whether under a king
or an emperor; and yet the country has neither, so that, as has been
wittily said, France has been "a Republic without Republicans." But
for all that the Republic is _here_, and here it is likely to remain.

When the present Assembly first met, a little more than four years
since, it was at Bordeaux--for to that corner of France was the
government driven; and when the treaty was signed, and it came north,
it met at Versailles rather than at Paris, as a matter of necessity.
Paris was in a state of insurrection. It was in the hands of the
Commune, and could only be taken after a second siege, and many bloody
combats around the walls and in the streets. This, and the experience
so frequent in French history of a government being overthrown by the
mob of Paris invading the legislative halls, decided the National
Assembly to remain at Versailles, even after the rebellion was
subdued; and so there it is to this day, even though the greater part
of the deputies go out from Paris twelve miles every morning, and
return every night; and in the programme which has been drawn up for
the definite establishment of the Republic, it is made an article of
the Constitution that the National Assembly shall always meet at
Versailles.

The place of meeting is the former theatre of the palace, which
answers the purpose very well--the space below, in what was _the pit_,
sufficing for the deputies, while the galleries are reserved for
spectators. We found the approaches crowded with persons seeking
admission, which can only be by ticket. But we had no difficulty.
Among the deputies is the well-known Protestant pastor of Paris,
Edouard de Pressensé, who was chosen to the Assembly in the stormy
scenes of 1871, and who has shown himself as eloquent in the tribune
as in the pulpit. I sent him my card, and he came out immediately with
two tickets in his hand, and directed one of the attendants to show us
into the best seats in the house, who, thus instructed, conducted us
to the diplomatic box (which, from its position in the centre of the
first balcony, must have been once the royal box), from which we
looked down upon the heads of the National Assembly of France.

And what a spectacle it was! The Assembly consists of over seven
hundred men, who may be considered as fair representatives of what is
most eminent in France. Of course, as in all such bodies, there are
many elected from the provinces on account of some local influence, as
landed proprietors, or as sons of noble families, who count only by
their votes. But with these are many who have "come to the front" in
this great national crisis, by the natural ascendancy which great
ability always gives, and who by their talents have justly acquired a
commanding influence in the country.

The President of the Assembly is the Duke d'Audiffret Pasquier, whose
elevated seat is at the other end of the hall. In front of him is "the
tribune," from which the speakers address the Assembly: it not being
the custom here, as in our Congress or in the English Parliament, for
a member to speak from his place in the house. This French custom has
been criticized in England, as betraying this talkative people into
more words, for a Frenchman does not wish to "mount the tribune" for
nothing, and once there the temptation is very strong to make "a
speech." But we did not find that the speeches were much longer than
in the House of Commons, though they were certainly more violent.

Looking down upon the Assembly, we see how it is divided between the
two great parties--the Royalists and the Republicans. Those sitting on
the benches to the right of the President comprise the former of every
shade--Legitimists, Orleanists, and Imperialists, while those on the
left are the Republicans. Besides these two grand divisions of the
Right and the Left there are minor divisions, such as the Right Centre
and the Left Centre, the former wishing a Constitutional Monarchy, and
the latter a Conservative Republic.

Looking over this sea of heads, one sees some that bear great names.
One indeed, and that the greatest, is not here, and is the more
conspicuous by his absence. M. Thiers, to whom France owes more than
to any other living man, since he retired from the Presidency, driven
thereto by the factious opposition of some of the deputies, and
perhaps now still more since the death of his life-long friend, De
Remusat, has withdrawn pretty much from public life, and devotes
himself to literary pursuits. But other notable men are here. That
giant with a shaggy mane, walking up the aisle, is Jules Favre--a man
who has been distinguished in Paris for a generation, both for his
eloquence at the bar, and for his inflexible Republicanism, which was
never shaken, even in the corrupting times of the Empire, and who in
the dark days of 1870, when the Empire fell, was called by acclamation
to become a member of the Provisional Government. He is the man who,
when Bismarck first talked of peace on the terms of a cession of
territory, proudly answered to what he thought the insulting proposal,
"Not a foot of our soil, not a stone of our fortresses!" but who, some
months after, had to sign with his own hand, but with a bitter heart,
a treaty ceding Alsace and Lorraine, and agreeing to pay an indemnity
of one thousand millions of dollars! Ah well! he made mistakes, as
everybody does, but we can still admire his lion heart, even though we
admit that his oratorical fervor was greater than his political
sagacity. And yonder, on the left, is another shaggy head, which has
appeared in the history of France, and may appear again. That is Leon
Gambetta! who, shut up in Paris by the siege, and impatient for
activity, escaped in a balloon, and sailing high over the camps of the
German army, alighted near Amiens, and was made Minister of War, and
began with his fiery eloquence, like another Peter the Hermit, to
arouse the population of the provinces to a holy crusade for the
extermination of the invader. This desperate energy seemed at first as
if it might turn the fortunes of the war. Thousands of volunteers
rushed forward to fill the ranks of the independent corps known as the
_Franc-tireurs_. But though he rallied such numbers, he could not
improvise an army; these recruits, though personally brave enough--for
Frenchmen are never wanting in courage--had not the discipline which
inspires confidence and wins victory. As soon as these raw levies were
hurled against the German veterans, they were dashed to pieces like
waves against a rock. The attempt was so daring and patriotic that it
deserved success; but it was too late. Gambetta's work, however, is
not ended in France. Since the war he has surprised both his friends
and his enemies by taking a very conciliatory course. He does not
flaunt the red flag in the eyes of the nation. So cautious and prudent
is he that some of the extreme radicals, like Louis Blanc, oppose him
earnestly, as seeking to found a government which is republican only
in name. But he judges more wisely that the only Republic which
France, with its monarchical traditions, will accept, is a
conservative one, which shall not frighten capital by its wild
theories of a division of property, but which, while it secures
liberty, secures order also. In urging this policy, he has exercised a
restraining influence over the more violent members of his own party,
and thus done much toward conciliating opposition and rendering
possible a French Republic.

On the same side of the house, yet nearer the middle, thus occupying a
position in the Left Centre, is another man, of whom much is hoped at
this time, M. Laboulaye, a scholar and author, who by his prudence
and moderation has won the confidence of the Assembly and the country.
He is one of the wise and safe men, to whom France looks in this
crisis of her political history.

But let us suspend our observation of members to listen to the
discussions. As we entered, the Assembly appeared to be in confusion.
The talking in all parts of the house was incessant, and could not be
repressed. The officers shouted "Silence!" which had the effect to
produce quiet _for about one minute_, when the buzz of voices rose as
loud as ever. The French are irrepressible. And this general talking
was not the result of indifference: on the contrary, the more the
Assembly became interested, the more tumultuous it grew. Yet there was
no question of importance before it, but simply one about the tariff
on railways! But a Frenchman will get excited on anything, and in a
few minutes the Assembly became as much agitated as if it were
discussing some vital question of peace or war, of a Monarchy or a
Republic. Speaker after speaker rushed to the tribune, and with loud
voices and excited looks demanded to be heard. The whole Assembly took
part in the debate--those who agreed with each speaker cheering him
on, while those who opposed answered with loud cries of dissent. No
college chapel, filled with a thousand students, was ever a scene of
more wild uproar. The President tried to control them, but in vain. In
vain he struck his gavel, and rang his bell, and at length in despair
arose and stood with folded arms, waiting for the storm to subside.
But he might as well have appealed to a hurricane. The storm had to
blow itself out. After awhile the Assembly itself grew impatient of
further debate, and shouted "_Aux voix! aux voix!_" and the question
was taken; but how anybody could deliberate or vote in such a roaring
tempest, I could not conceive.

This disposed of, a deputy presented some personal matter involving
the right of a member to his seat, for whom he demanded _justice_,
accusing some committee or other of having suppressed evidence in his
favor. Then the tumult rose again. His charge provoked instant and
bitter replies. Members left their seats, and crowded around the
tribune as if they would have assailed the obnoxious speaker with
violence. From one quarter came cries, "_C'est vrai; C'est vrai!_" (It
is true; it is true), while in another quarter a deputy sprang to his
feet and rushed forward with angry gesture, shouting, "You are not an
honest man!" So the tumult "loud and louder grew." It seemed a perfect
Bedlam. I confess the impression was not pleasant, and I could not but
ask myself, _Is this the way in which a great nation is to be
governed, or free institutions are to be constituted?_ It was such a
contrast to the dignified demeanor of the Parliament of England, or
the Congress of the United States. We have sometimes exciting scenes
in our House of Representatives, when members forget themselves; but
anything like this I think could not be witnessed in any other great
National Assembly, unless it were in the Spanish Cortes. I did not
wonder that sober and thoughtful men in France doubt the possibility
of popular institutions, when they see a deliberative body, managing
grave affairs of State, so little capable of self-control.

And yet we must not make out things worse than they are, or attach too
much importance to these lively demonstrations. Some who look on
philosophically, would say that this mere talk amounts to nothing;
that every question of real importance is deliberated upon and really
decided in private, in the councils of the different parties, before
it is brought into the arena of public debate; and that this
discussion is merely a safety-valve for the irrepressible Frenchman, a
way of letting off steam, a process which involves no danger, although
accompanied with a frightful hissing and roaring. This is a kindly as
well as a philosophical way of putting the matter, and perhaps is a
just one.

Some, too, will add that there is another special cause for
excitement, viz., that this legislative body is at this moment _in the
article of death_, and that these scenes are but the throes and pangs
of dissolution. This National Assembly has been in existence now more
than four years, and it is time for it to die. Indeed it has had no
right to live so long. It was elected for a specific purpose at the
close of the war--to make peace with the Germans, and that duty
discharged, its functions were ended, and it had no legal right to
live another day, or to perform another act of sovereignty. But
necessity knows no law. At that moment France was without a head. The
Emperor was gone, the old Senate was gone, the Legislative Body was
gone, and the country was actually without a government, and so, as a
matter of self-preservation, the National Assembly held on. It elected
M. Thiers President of the State, and he performed his duties with
such consummate ability that France had never been so well governed
before. Then in an evil hour, finding that he was an obstacle to the
plans of the Legitimists to restore the Monarchy, they combined to
force him to resign, and put Marshal MacMahon in his place, a man who
may be a good soldier (although he never did anything very great, and
blundered fearfully in the German war, having his whole army captured
at Sedan), but who never pretended to be a statesman. He was selected
as a convenient tool in the hands of the intriguers. But even in him
they find they have more than they bargained for; for in a moment of
confidence they voted him the executive power for seven years, and now
he will not give up, even to make way for a Legitimate sovereign, for
the Comte de Chambord, or for the son of his late Emperor, Napoleon
III. All this time the Assembly has been acting without any legal
authority; but as power is sweet, it held on, and is holding on still.
But now, as order is fully restored, all excuse is taken away for
surviving longer. The only thing it has to do is to die gracefully,
that is, to dissolve, and leave it to the country to elect a new
Assembly which, being fresh from the people, shall more truly
represent the will of the nation. And yet these men are very reluctant
to go, knowing as many of them do, that they will not return. Hence
the great question now is that of _dissolution_--"to be or not to be";
and it is not strange that many postpone as long as they can "the
inevitable hour." It is for this reason, it is said, because of its
relation to the question of its own existence, that the Assembly
wrangles over unimportant matters, hoping by such discussions to cause
delay, and so to throw over the elections till another year.

But as time and tide wait for no man, so death comes on with stealthy
step, and this National Assembly must soon go the way of all the
earth. What will come after it? Another Assembly--so it seems
now--more Republican still. That is the fear of the Monarchists. But
the cause of the Republic has gained greatly in these four years, as
it is seen to be not incompatible with order. It is no longer the Red
Republic, which inspired such terror; it is not communism, nor
socialism, nor war against property. _It is combined order and
liberty._ As this conviction penetrates the mass of the people, they
are converted to the new political faith, and so the Republic begins
to settle itself on sure foundations. It is all the more likely to be
permanent, because it was not adopted in a burst of popular
enthusiasm, but _very slowly_, and from necessity. It is accepted
because no other government is possible in France, at least for any
length of time. If the Comte de Chambord were proclaimed king
to-morrow, he might reign for a few years--_till the next revolution_.
It is this conviction which has brought many conservative men to the
side of the Republic. M. Thiers, the most sagacious of French
statesmen, has always been in favor of monarchy. He was the Minister
of Louis Philippe, and one of his sayings used to be quoted: "A
constitutional monarchy is the best of republics." Perhaps he would
still prefer a government like that of England. But he sees that to
be impossible in France, and, like a wise man that he is, he takes the
next best thing--which is A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLIC, based on a written
constitution, like that of the United States, and girt round by every
check on the exercise of power--a government in which there is the
greatest possible degree of personal freedom consistent with public
order. To this, as the final result of all her revolutions, France
seems to be steadily gravitating now, as her settled form of
government. That this last experiment of political regeneration may be
successful, must be the hope of all friends of liberty, not only in
America, but all over the world.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF PARIS.


I have written of the startling contrasts of London; what shall I say
of those of Paris? It is the gayest city in the world, yet the one in
which there are more suicides than in any other. It is the city of
pleasure, yet where pleasure often turns to pain, and the dance of
dissipation, whirling faster and faster, becomes the dance of death.
It is a city which seems devoted to amusement, to which the rich and
the idle flock from all countries to spend life in an endless round of
enjoyment; with which some of our countrymen have become so infatuated
that their real feeling is pretty well expressed in the familiar
saying--half witty and half wicked--that "all good Americans go to
Paris _when they die_." Certainly many of them do not dream of any
higher Paradise.

And yet it is a city in which there are many sad and mournful scenes,
and in which he who observes closely, who looks a little under the
surface, will often walk the streets in profound melancholy. In short,
it is a city of such infinite variety, so many-colored, that the
laughing and the weeping philosopher may find abundant material for
his peculiar vein. Eugene Sue, in his "Mysteries of Paris," has made
us familiar with certain tragic aspects of Parisian life hidden from
the common eye. With all its gayety, there is a great deal of
concealed misery which keeps certain quarters in a chronic state of
discontent, which often breaks out in bloody insurrections; so that
the city which boasts that it is "the centre of civilization," is at
the same time the focus of revolution, of most of the plots and
conspiracies which trouble the peace of Europe. As the capital of a
great nation, the centre of its intellectual, its literary, and its
artistic life, it has a peculiar fascination for those who delight in
the most elevated social intercourse. Its salons are the most
brilliant in the world, so that we can understand the feeling of
Madame de Staël, the woman of society, who considered her banishment
from Paris by the first Napoleon as the greatest punishment, and who
"would rather see the stones of the Rue du Bac than all the mountains
of Switzerland"; and yet this very brilliancy sometimes wearies to
satiety, so that we can understand equally the feeling of poor, morbid
Jean Jacques Rousseau, who more than a hundred years ago turned his
back upon it with disgust, saying, "Farewell, Paris! city of noise,
and dust, and strife! He who values peace of mind can never be far
enough from thee!"

If we are quite just, we shall not go to either of these extremes. We
shall see the good and the evil, and frankly acknowledge both. Paris
is generally supposed to be a sinner above all other cities; to have a
kind of bad eminence for its immorality. It is thought to be a centre
of vice and demoralization, and some innocent young preachers who have
never crossed the sea, would no doubt feel justified in denouncing it
as the wickedest city in the world. As to the extent to which
immorality of any kind prevails, I have no means of judging, except
such as every stranger has; but certainly as to intemperance, there is
nothing here to compare with that in London, or Glasgow, or Edinburgh;
and as to the other form of vice we can only judge by its public
display, and there is nothing half so gross, which so outrages all
decency, as that which shocks and disgusts every foreigner in the
streets of London. No doubt here, as in every great capital which
draws to itself the life of a whole nation, there is a concentration
of the bad as well as the good elements of society, and we must expect
to find much that is depraved and vicious; but that in these respects
Paris is worse than London, or Berlin, or Vienna, or even New York, I
see no reason to believe.

Without taking, therefore, a lofty attitude of denunciation on the one
hand, or going into sudden raptures on the other, there are certain
aspects of Paris which lie on the surface, and which any one may
observe without claiming to be either wiser or better than his
neighbors.

I have tried to see the city both in its brighter lights and its
darker shadows. I have lived in Paris, first and last, a good deal. I
was here six months in 1847-8, and saw the Revolution which overthrew
Louis Philippe, and have been here often since. I confess I am fond of
it, and always return with pleasure. That which strikes the stranger
at once is its bright, sunny aspect; there is something inspiring in
the very look of the people; one feels a change in the very air. Since
we came here now, we have been riding about from morning to night. Our
favorite drive is along the Boulevards just at evening, when the lamps
are lighted, and all Paris seems to be sitting out of doors. The work
of the day is over, and the people have nothing to do but to enjoy
themselves. By hundreds and thousands they are sitting on the wide
pavements, sipping their coffee, and talking with indescribable
animation. Then we extend our ride to the Champs Elysées, where the
broad avenue is one blaze of light, and places of amusement are open
on every side, from which comes the sound of music. It is all a fairy
scene, such as one reads of in the Arabian Nights. Thousands are
sitting under the trees, enjoying the cool evening air, or coming in
from a ride to the Bois de Boulogne.

But it may be thought that these are the pleasures of the rich. On the
contrary, they are the pleasures of all classes; and that is the
charming thing about it. That which pleases me most in Paris is the
_general_ cheerfulness. I do not observe such wide extremes of
condition as in London, such painful contrasts between the rich and
the poor. Indeed, I do not find here such abject poverty, nor see
such dark, sullen, scowling faces, which indicate such brutal
degradation, as I saw in the low quarters of London. Here everybody
seems to be, at least in a small way, comfortable and contented. I
have spoken once before of the industry of the people (no city in the
world is such a hive of busy bees) and of their economy, which shows
itself even in their pleasures, of which they are fond, but which they
get _very cheap_. No people will get so much out of so little. What an
English workman would spend in a single drunken debauch, a Frenchman
will spread over a week, and get a little enjoyment out of it every
day. It delights me to see how they take their pleasures. Everybody
seems to be happy in his own way, and not to be envious of his
neighbor. If a man cannot ride with two horses, he will go with one,
and even if that one be a sorry hack, with ribs sticking out of his
sides, and that seems just ready for the crows, no matter, he will
pile his wife and children into the little, low carriage, and off they
go, not at great speed, to be sure, but as gay and merry as if they
were the Emperor and his court, with outriders going before, and a
body of cavalry clattering at their heels. When I have seen a whole
family at Versailles or St. Cloud dining on five francs (oh no, that
is too magnificent; they carry their dinner with them, and it probably
does not cost them two francs), I admire the simple tastes which are
so easily satisfied, and the miracle-working art which extracts honey
from every daisy by the roadside.

Such simple and universal enjoyment would not be possible, but for one
trait which is peculiar to the French--an entire absence of _mauvaise
honte_, or false shame; the foolish pride, which is so common in
England and America, of wishing to be thought as rich or as great as
others. In London no one would dare, even if he were allowed, to show
himself in Hyde Park in such unpretentious turnouts as those in which
half Paris will go to the Bois de Boulogne. But here everybody jogs
along at his own gait, not troubling himself about his neighbor. "Live
and let live" seems to be, if not the law of the country, at least the
universal habit of the people. Whatever other faults the French have,
I believe they are freer than most nations from "envy, malice, and all
uncharitableness."

With this there is a feeling of self-respect, even among the common
people, that is very pleasing. If you speak to a French servant, or to
a workman in a blouse, he does not sink into the earth as if he were
an inferior being, or take a tone of servility, but answers politely,
yet self-respectingly, as one conscious that he too is a man. The most
painful thing that I found in England was the way in which the
distinctions of rank, which seem to be as rigid as the castes of
India, have eaten into the manhood and self-respect of our great
Anglo-Saxon race. But here "a man's a man," and especially if he is a
Frenchman, he is as good as anybody.

From this absence of false pride and false shame comes the readiness
of the people to talk about their private affairs. How quickly they
take you into their confidence, and tell you all their little personal
histories! The other day we went to the Salpêtrière, the great
hospital for aged women, which Mrs. Field describes in her "Home
Sketches in France," where are five thousand poor creatures cared for
by the charity of Paris. Hundreds of these were seated under the
trees, or walking about the grounds. As I went to find one of the
officials, I left C---- standing under an arch. Seeing her there, one
of the old women, with that politeness which is instinctive with the
French, invited her into her little room. When I came back, I found
they had struck up a friendship. The good mother--poor, dear, old
soul!--had told all her little story: who she was, and how she came
there, and how she lived. She made her own soup, she said, and had put
up some pretty muslin curtains, and had a tiny bit of a stove, and so
got along very nicely. This communicativeness is not confined to the
inmates of hospitals. It is a national trait, which makes us love a
people that give us their confidence so freely.

I might add many other amiable traits, which give a great charm to the
social life of the French, and fill their homes with brightness and
sunshine.

But of course there is another side to the picture. There is lightning
in the beautiful cloud, and sometimes the thunder breaks fearfully
over this devoted city. I do not refer to great public calamities,
such as war and siege, bringing "battle, and murder, and sudden
death," but to those daily tragedies, which are enacted in a great
city, which the world never hears of, where men and women drop out of
existence, as one

     "Sinks into the waves with bubbling groan,"

and disappear from view, and the ocean rolls over them, burying the
story of their unhappy lives and their wretched end. Something of this
darker shading to bright and gay Paris, one may discover who is
curious in such matters. There is a kind of fascination which
sometimes lures me to search out that which is sombre and tragic in
human life and in history. So I have been to the Prison de la
Roquette, over which is an inscription which might be written over the
gates of hell: DEPÔT DES CONDAMNÉS. Here the condemned are placed
before they are led to death, and in the open space in front take
place all the executions in Paris. Look you at those five stones deep
set in the pavement, on which are planted the posts of the Guillotine!
Over that in the centre hangs the fatal knife, which descends on the
neck of the victim, whose head rolls into the basket below.

But prisons are not peculiar to Paris, and probably quite as many
executions have been witnessed in front of Newgate, in London. But
that which gives a peculiar and sadder interest to this spot, is that
here took place one of the most terrible tragedies even in French
history--the massacre of the hostages in the days of the Commune. In
that prison yard the venerable Archbishop of Paris was shot, with
others who bore honored names. No greater atrocity was enacted even in
the Reign of Terror. There fiends in human shape, with hearts as hard
as the stones of the street, butchered old age. In another quarter of
Paris, on the heights of Montmartre, the enraged populace shot down
two brave generals--Lecompte and Clement-Thomas. I put my hand into
the very holes made in the wall of a house by the murderous balls.
Such cowardly assassinations, occurring more than once in French
history, reveal a trait of character not quite so amiable as some that
I have noticed. They show that the polite and polished Frenchman may
be so aroused as to be turned into a wild beast, and give a color of
reason to the savage remark of Voltaire--himself one of the race--that
"a Frenchman was half monkey and half tiger."

I will present but one other dark picture. I went one day, to the
horror of my companion, to visit THE MORGUE, the receptacle of all the
suicides in Paris, where their bodies are exposed that they may be
recognized by friends. Of course some are brought here who die
suddenly in the streets, and whose names are unknown. But the number
of suicides is fearfully great. Bodies are constantly fished out of
the Seine, of those who throw themselves from the numerous bridges.
Others climb to the top of the Column in the Place Vendôme, or of that
on the Place of the Bastille, or to the towers of Nôtre Dame, and
throw themselves over the parapet, and their mangled bodies are picked
up on the pavement below. Others find the fumes of charcoal an easier
way to fall into "an eternal sleep." But thus, by one means or other,
by pistol or by poison, by the tower or the river, almost every day
has its victim. I think the exact statistics show more than one
suicide a day throughout the year. When I was at the Morgue there were
two bodies stretched out stark and cold--a man and a woman, _both
young_. I looked at them with very sad reflections. If those poor lips
could but speak, what tragedies they might tell! Who knows what hard
battle of life they had to fight--what struggles wrung that manly
breast, or what sorrow broke that woman's heart? Who was she?

     "Had she a father? had she a mother?
     Had she a sister? had she a brother?
     Or one dearer still than all other?"

Perhaps she had led a life of shame, but all trace of passion was gone
now:

     "Death had left on her
     Only the beautiful."

And as I marked the rich tresses which hung down over her shoulders, I
thought Jesus would not have disdained her if she had come to him as a
penitent Magdalen, and with that flowing hair had wiped His sacred
feet.

I do not draw these sad pictures to point a moral against the French,
as if they were sinners above all others, but I think this great
number of suicides may be ascribed, in part at least, to the mercurial
and excitable character of the people. They are easily elated and
easily depressed; now rising to the height of joyous excitement, and
now sinking to the depths of despair. And when these darker moods come
on, what so natural as that those who have not a strong religious
feeling to restrain them, or to give them patience to bear their
trials, should seek a quick relief in that calm rest which no rude
waking shall ever disturb? If they had that faith in God, and a life
to come, which is the only true consolation in all time of our
trouble, in all time of our adversity, they would not so often rush to
the grave, thinking to bury their sorrows in the silence of the tomb.

Thus musing on the lights and shadows of Paris, I turn away half in
admiration and half in pity, but all in love. With all its shadows, it
is a wonderful city, by far the greatest, except London, in the modern
world, and the French are a wonderful people; and while I am not blind
to their weaknesses, their vanity, their childish passion for military
glory, yet "with all their faults I love them still." And I have
written thus, not only from a feeling of love for Paris from personal
associations, but from a sense of _justice_, believing that the harsh
judgment often pronounced upon it is hasty and mistaken. All such
sweeping declarations are sure to be wrong. No doubt the elements of
good and evil are mingled here in large proportions, and act with
great intensity, and sometimes with terrific results. But Frenchmen
are not worse than other men, nor Paris worse than other cities. If it
has some dark spots, it has many bright ones, in its ancient seats of
learning and its noble institutions of charity. Taking them all
together, they form a basis for a very kindly judgment. And I believe
that He who from His throne in Heaven looks down upon all the dwellers
upon earth, seeing that in the judgment of truth and of history this
city is not utterly condemned, would say "Neither do I condemn thee:
go and sin no more."



CHAPTER IX.

GOING ON A PILGRIMAGE.


     GENEVA, July 12th.

We have been on a pilgrimage. In coming to France, I had a great
desire to visit one of those shrines which have become of late objects
of such enthusiastic devotion, and attracted pilgrims from all parts
of Europe, and even from America. In a former chapter I spoke of the
Resurrection of France, referring to its material prosperity as
restored since the war. There has been also a revival of religious
fervor--call it superstition or fanaticism--which is quite remarkable.
Those who have kept watch of events in the religious as well as in the
political world, have observed a sudden access of zeal throughout
Catholic Christendom. Whatever the cause, whether the "persecution,"
real or imaginary, of the Holy Father, or the heavy blows which the
Church has received from the iron hand of Germany in its wars with
Austria and France--the fact is evident that there has been a great
increase of activity among the more devout Catholics--which shows
itself in a spirit of propagandism, in "missions," which are a kind of
revivals, and in pilgrimages to places which are regarded as having a
peculiar sanctity.

These pilgrimages are so utterly foreign to our American ideas, they
appear so childish and ridiculous, that it seems impossible to speak
of them with gravity. And yet there has been at least one of these
pious expeditions from the United States (of which there was a long
account in the New York papers), in which the pilgrims walked in
procession down Broadway, and embarked with the blessing of our new
American Cardinal. From England they have been quite frequent. Large
numbers, among whom we recognize the names of several well known
Catholic noblemen, assemble in London, and receive the blessing of
Cardinal Manning, and then leave to make devout pilgrimages to the
"holy places" (which are no longer only in Palestine, but for greater
convenience have been brought nearer, and are now to be found in
France), generally ending with a pilgrimage to Rome, to cast
themselves at the feet of the Holy Father, who gives them his
blessing, while he bewails the condition of Europe, and anathematizes
those who "oppress" the Church--thus blessing and cursing at the same
time.

If my object in writing were to cast ridicule on the whole affair,
there is something very tempting in the easy and luxurious way in
which these modern pilgrimages are performed. Of old, when a pilgrim
set out for the Holy Land, it was with nothing but a staff in his
hand, and sandals on his feet, and thus he travelled hundreds of
leagues, over mountain and moor, through strange countries, begging
his way from door to door, reaching his object at last perhaps only to
die. Even the pilgrimage to Mecca has something imposing to the
imagination, as a long procession of camels files out of the streets
of Cairo, and takes the way of the desert. But these more fashionable
pilgrims travel by steam, in first-class railway carriages, with
Cook's excursion tickets, and are duly lodged and cared for, from the
moment they set out till they are safely returned to England. One of
Cook's agents in Paris told me he had thus conveyed a party of two
thousand. It must be confessed, this is devotion made easy, in
accordance with the spirit of the modern time, which is not exactly a
spirit of self-sacrifice, but "likes all things comfortable"--even
religion.

But my object was not to ridicule, but to observe. If I did not go as
a pilgrim, on the one hand, neither was it merely as a travelling
correspondent, aiming only at a sensational description. If I did not
go in a spirit of faith, it was at least in a spirit of candor, to
observe and report things exactly as I saw them.

But how was I to reach one of these holy shrines? They are a long way
off. The grotto of Lourdes, where the Holy Virgin is said to have
appeared to a girl of the country, is in the Pyrenees; while
Paray-le-Monial is nearly three hundred miles southeast from Paris.
However, it is not very far aside from the route to Switzerland, and
so we took it on our way to Geneva, resting over a day at Macon for
the purpose.

It was a bright summer morning when we started from Macon, and wound
our way among the vine-clad hills of the ancient province of Burgundy.
It is a picturesque country. Old chateaux hang upon the sides, or
crown the summits of the hills, while quaint little villages nestle at
their foot. In yonder village was born the poet and statesman,
Lamartine. We can see in passing the chateau where he lived, and here,
"after life's fitful fever, he sleeps well." All these sunny slopes
are covered with vineyards, which are now smiling in their summer
dress. I do not wonder that pilgrims, as they enter this
"hill-country," are often reminded of Palestine. Three hours brought
us to Paray-le-Monial, a little town of three or four thousand
inhabitants--just like hundreds of others in France, with nothing to
attract attention, except the marvellous tradition which has given it
a sudden and universal celebrity, and which causes devout Catholics to
approach it with a feeling of reverence.

The story of the place is this: In the little town is a convent, which
has been standing for generations. Here, _two hundred years ago_,
lived a nun, whose name was Marguerite Marie Alacoque, who was eminent
for her piety, who spent a great part of her life in prayer, and whose
devotion was at length rewarded by the personal appearance of our
Lord, who opened to her his bosom, and showed her his heart burning
with love for men, and bade her devote herself to the worship of that
"sacred heart"! These visitations were very frequent. Some of them
were in the chapel, and some in the garden attached to the convent.
The latter is not open to visitors, the Pope having issued an order
that the privacy of the _religieuses_ should be respected. But a
church near by overlooks it, and whoever will take the fatigue to
climb to the top, may look down into the forbidden place. As we were
determined to see everything, we mounted all the winding stone steps
in the tower, from which the keeper pointed out to us the very spot
where our Saviour appeared to the Bienheureuse, as he called her. In a
clump of small trees are two statues, one of the Lord himself, and the
other of the nun on her knees, as she instantly sank to the ground
when she recognized before her the Majesty of her blessed Lord. There
is another place in the garden where also she beheld the same heavenly
vision. Sometimes the "Seigneur" appeared to her unattended; at others
he was accompanied by angels and seraphim.

It is a little remarkable that this wonderful fact of the personal
appearance of Christ, though it occurred, according to the tradition,
_two hundred years ago_, did not attract more attention; that it was
neglected even by Catholic historians, until twelve years since--in
1863--when (as a part of a general movement "all along the line" to
revive the decaying faith of France) the marvellous story of this long
neglected saint was revived, and brought to the notice and adoration
of the religious world.

But let not cold criticism come in to mar the full enjoyment of what
we have come so far to see. The principal visitations were not in the
garden but in the chapel of the convent, which on that account bears
the name of the Chapel of the Visitation. Here is the tomb which
contains the body of the sainted nun, an image of whom in wax lies
above it under a glass case, dressed in the robe of her order, with a
crown on her head, to bring before the imagination of the faithful the
presence of her at whose shrine they worship. The chapel is separated
from the convent by a large grating, behind which the nuns can be
hidden and yet hear the service, and chant their offices. There it
was, so it is said, behind that grate, while in an ecstasy of prayer,
that our Saviour first appeared to the gaze of the enraptured nun. The
grate is now literally covered with golden hearts, the offerings of
the faithful. Similar gifts hang over the altar, while gilded banners
and other votive offerings cover the walls.

As we entered the chapel, it was evident that we were in what was to
many a holy place. At the moment there was no service going on, but
some were engaged in silent meditation and prayer. We seemed to be the
only persons present from curiosity. All around us were absorbed in
devotion. We sat a long time in silence, musing on the strange scene,
unwilling to disturb even by a whisper the stillness of the place, or
the thoughts of those who had come to worship. At three o'clock the
nuns began to sing their offices. But they did not show themselves.
There are other Sisters, who have the care of the chapel, and who come
in to trim the candles before the shrine, but the nuns proper live a
life of entire seclusion, never being seen by any one. Only their
voices are heard. Nothing could be more plaintive than their low
chanting, as it issued from behind the bars of their prison house, and
seemed to come from a distance. There, hidden from the eyes of all,
sat that invisible choir, and sang strains as soft as those which
floated over the shepherds of Bethlehem. As an accompaniment to the
scene in the chapel, nothing could be more effective; it was well
fitted to touch the imagination, as also when the priest intoned the
service in the dim light of this little church, with its censers
swinging with incense, and its ever-burning lamps.

The walls of the chapel are covered with banners, some from other
countries, but most from France, and here it is easy to see how the
patriotic feeling mingles with the religious. Here and there may be
seen the image of the sacred heart with a purely religious
inscription, such as _Voici le coeur qui a tant aimé les hommes_
(here is the heart which has so loved men); but much more often it is,
COEUR DE JESUS, SAUVEZ LA FRANCE! This idea in some form constantly
reappears, and one cannot help thinking that this sudden outburst of
religious zeal has been greatly intensified by the disasters of the
German war; that for the first time French armies beaten in the field,
have resorted to prayer; that they fly to the Holy Virgin, and to the
Sacred Heart of Jesus to implore the protection which their own arms
could not give. Hung in conspicuous places on columns beside the
chancel are banners of Alsace and Lorraine, _covered with crape_, the
former with a cross in the centre, encircled with the words first
written in the sky before the adoring eyes of Constantine: IN HOC
SIGNO VINCES; while for Lorraine stands only the single name of METZ,
invested with such sad associations, with the inscription, SACRÉ
COEUR DE JESUS, SAUVEZ LA FRANCE!

There is no doubt that these pilgrimages have been encouraged by
French politicians, as a means of reviving and inflaming the
enthusiasm of the people, not only for the old Catholic faith, but for
the old Catholic monarchy. Of the tens of thousands who flock to these
shrines, there are few who are not strong Legitimists. On the walls of
the chapel the most glittering banner is that of HENRI DE BOURBON,
which is the name by which the Comte de Chambord chooses to be known
as the representative of the old royal race. Not to be outdone in
pious zeal, Marshal MacMahon, who is a devout Catholic--and his wife
still more so--has also sent a banner to Paray-le-Monial, but it is
not displayed with the same ostentation. The Legitimists have no wish
to keep his name too much before the French people. He is well enough
as a temporary head of the State till the rightful sovereign comes,
but when Henri de Bourbon appears, they want no "Marshal-President" to
stand in his way as he ascends the throne of his ancestors.

Thus excited by a strange mixture of religious zeal and political
enthusiasm, France pours its multitudes annually to these shrines of
Lourdes and Paray-le-Monial. We were too late for the rush this
year--the season was just over; for there is a season for going on
pilgrimages as for going to watering-places, and June is the month in
which they come in the greatest numbers. There have been as many as
twenty thousand in one day. On the 16th of June--which was a special
occasion--the crowd was so great that Mass was begun at two o'clock in
the morning, and repeated without ceasing till noon, the worshippers
retiring at the end of every half hour, that a new throng might take
their places. Thus successive pilgrims press forward to the holy
shrine, and go away with an elated, almost ecstatic feeling, that they
have left their sins and their sorrows at the tomb of the now sainted
and glorified nun.

What shall we say to this? That it is all nonsense--folly, born of
fanaticism and superstition? Medical men will have an easy way of
disposing of this nun and her visions, by saying that she was simply a
crazy woman; that nothing is more common than these fancies of a
distempered imagination; that such cases may be found in every lunatic
asylum; that hysterical women often think that they have seen the
Saviour, &c. Such is a very natural explanation of this singular
phenomenon. There is no reason to suppose that this nun was a
designing woman, that she intended to deceive. People who have visions
are the sincerest of human beings. They have unbounded faith in
themselves, and think it strange that an unbelieving world does not
give the same credit to their revelations.

From all that I have read of this Marie Alacoque, I am quite ready to
believe that she was indeed a very devout woman, who, buried in that
living tomb, a convent, praying and fasting, worked herself into such
a fever of excitement, that she thought the Saviour came down into the
garden, and into the chapel; that she saw his form and heard his
voice. To her it was all a living reality. But that her simple
statement, supported by no other evidence, should be gravely accepted
in this nineteenth century by men who are supposed to be still in the
possession of sober reason, is one of the strange things which it
would be impossible to believe, were it not that I have seen it with
my own eyes, and which is one more proof that wonders will never
cease.

But sincerity of faith always commands a certain respect, even when
coupled with ignorance and superstition. If this shows an extreme of
credulity absolutely pitiful, yet we must consider it not as _we_ look
at it, but as these devout pilgrims regard it. To them this spot is
one of the holy places of the world, for here they believe the
Incarnate Divinity descended to the earth; they believe that this
garden has been touched by His blessed feet; and that this little
chapel, so honored in the past, is still filled with the presence of
Him who once was here, but is now ascended up far above all heavens.
And hence this Paray-le-Monial in their minds is invested with the
same sacred associations with which we regard Nazareth and Bethlehem.

But with every disposition to look upon these manifestations in the
most indulgent light, it is impossible not to feel that there is
something very French in this way of attempting to revive the faith of
a great nation. Among this people everything seems to have a touch of
the theatrical--even in their religion there is frequency more of show
than of conviction. Thus this new worship is not addressed to the name
of our Saviour, but to His "sacred heart"! There is something in that
image which seems to take captive the French imagination. The very
words have a rich and mellow sound. And so the attempt which was
begun in an obscure village of Burgundy, is now proclaimed in Paris
and throughout the kingdom, to dedicate France to the sacred heart of
Jesus.

This peculiar form of worship is the new religious fashion. A few
weeks since an imposing service attracted the attention of Paris. A
procession of bishops and priests, followed by great numbers of the
faithful, wound through the streets, up to the heights of Montmartre,
there to lay, with solemn ceremonies, the corner-stone of a new church
dedicated to the sacred heart. We drove to the spot, which is the
highest in the whole circle of Paris, and which overlooks it almost as
Edinburgh Castle overlooks that city. There one looks down on the
habitations of two millions of people. A church erected on that
height, with its golden cross lifted into mid-heaven, would seem like
a banner in the sky, to hold up before this unbelieving people an
everlasting sign of the faith.

But though the Romish Church should consecrate ever so many shrines;
though it build churches and cathedrals, and rear its flaming crosses
on every hill and mountain from the Alps to the Pyrenees; it is not
thus that religion is to be enthroned in the hearts of a nation. The
fact is not to be disguised that France has fallen away from the
faith. It looks on at all these attempts with indifference, or with an
amused curiosity. If popular writers notice them at all, it is to make
them an object of ridicule. At one of the Paris theatres an actor
appears dressed as a Brahmin, and offers to swear "by the sacred heart
of _a cow_" (that being a sacred animal in India). The hit is caught
at once by the audience, who answer it with applause. It is thus that
the populace of Paris sneer at the new superstition.

Would to God that France might be speedily recovered to a true
Christian faith; but it is not to be by any such fantastic tricks or
theatrical devices, by shows or processions, by gilded crosses or
waving banners, or by going on pilgrimages as in the days of the
Crusades. Even the Catholic Church has more efficient instruments at
command. The Sisters of Charity in hospitals are far more effective
missionaries than nuns behind the bars of a convent, singing hymns to
the Virgin, or lamps burning before the shrine of a saint dead
hundreds of years ago. If France is ever to be brought back to the
faith, it must be by arguments addressed to the understanding, which
shall meet the objections of modern science and philosophy; and, above
all, by living examples of its power. If Religion is to conquer the
modern world; if it is even to keep its present hold among the
nations, it must be brought into contact with the minds and hearts of
the people as never before; it must grapple with the problems of
modern society, with poverty and misery in all its forms. Especially
in the great capitals of Europe it has its hardest field, and there it
must go into all the narrow lanes and miserable dwellings, it must
minister to the sick, and clothe the naked and feed the hungry. France
will never be converted merely by dramatic exhibitions, that touch the
imagination. It must be by something that can touch the conscience and
the heart. Thus only can the heart of France ever be won to "the
sacred heart of Jesus."



CHAPTER X.

UNDER THE SHADOW OF MONT BLANC.


     THE VALE OF CHAMOUNI, July 15th.

I did not mean to write anything about Switzerland, because it is such
trodden ground. Almost everybody that has been in Europe has been
here, and even to those who have not, repeated descriptions have made
it familiar. And yet when once among these mountains, the impression
comes back fresh and strong as ever, and while the spell is on the
traveller, he cannot but wish to impart a little of his enjoyment to
friends at home.

We are in the Vale of Chamouni, under the shadow of Mont Blanc. In
this valley, shut in by the encircling mountains, one cannot escape
from that "awful form" any more than from the presence of God. It is
everywhere day and night. We throw open our windows, and it is
standing right before us. Even at night the moonlight is glistening on
its eternal snows. Thus it forces itself upon us, and must receive
respectful homage.

We left Geneva on one of the most beautiful mornings of the year.
There has been great lamentation throughout Switzerland this summer,
on account of the frequent rains, which have enveloped the mountains
in a continual mist. But we have been favored in this respect, both at
Geneva and at Chamouni. To set out on a mountain excursion on such a
morning, and ride on the top of a diligence, is enough to stir the
blood of the most languid tourist. A French diligence is a monstrous
affair--a kind of Noah's Ark on wheels--that carries a multitude of
living creatures. We had twenty-four persons (three times as many as
Noah had in the Ark) mounted on this huge vehicle, to which were
harnessed six horses, three abreast. We had the front seat on the top.
In such grandeur we rolled out of Geneva, feeling at every step the
exhilaration of the mountain air, and the bright summer morning. The
postilion was in his glory. How he cracked his whip as we rattled
through the little Swiss villages, making the people run to get out of
his way, and stare in wonder at the tremendous momentum of his
imperial equipage. To us, who sat sublime "above the noise and dust of
this dim spot called earth," there was something at once exciting and
ludicrous in the commotion we made. But there were other occasions for
satisfaction. The day was divine. The country around Geneva rises from
the lake, and spreads out in wide, rolling distances, bordered on
every side by the great mountains. The air was full of the smell of
new-mown hay, while over all hung the bending sky, full of sunshine.
Thus with every sense keen with delight, we sat on high and took in
the full glory of the scene, as we swept on towards the Alps.

As we advance the mountains close in around us, till we cannot see
where we are to find a passage through them. For the last half of the
way the construction of the road has been a difficult task of
engineering; for miles it has to be built up against the mountain; at
other places a passage is cut in the side of the cliff, or a tunnel
made through the rock. Yet difficult as it was, the work has been
thoroughly done. It was completed by Napoleon III., after Savoy was
annexed to France, and is worthy to compare with the road which the
first Napoleon built over the Simplon. Over such a highway we rolled
on steadily to the end of our journey.

And now we are in the Vale of Chamouni, in the very heart of the Alps,
under the shadow of the greatest of them all:

     "Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains
       They crowned him long ago
     On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds,
       With a diadem of snow."

Once in the valley, we can hardly turn aside our eyes from that
overpowering object. We keep looking up at that mighty dome, which
seems to touch the sky. Fortunately for us, there was no cloud about
the throne. Like other monarchs, he is somewhat fitful and capricious,
often hiding his royal head from the sight of his worshippers. Many
persons come to Chamouni, and do not see Mont Blanc at all. Sometimes
they wait for days for an audience of his majesty, without success.
But he favored us at once with the sight of his imperial countenance.
Glorious was it to behold him as he shone in the last rays of the
setting sun. And when evening drew on, the moon hung above that lofty
summit, as if unwilling to leave. As she declined towards the west,
she did not disappear at once; but as the mountains themselves sank
away from the height of Mont Blanc, the moon seemed to glide slowly
down the descending slope, setting and reappearing, and touching the
whole with her silver radiance.

But sunset and moonlight were both less impressive than sunrise.
Remembering Coleridge's "Hymn to Mont Blanc," which is supposed to be
written "before sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni," we were up in the
morning to catch the earliest dawn. It was long in coming. At first a
few faint streaks of light shot up the eastern sky; then a rosy tinge
flushed the head of Mont Blanc; then other snowy summits caught the
golden glow; till a hundred splintered peaks, that formed a part of
the mighty range, reflected the light of coming day, and at last the
full orb himself rose above the tops of the mountains, and shone down
into the valley.

Of course all visitors to Chamouni have to climb some of the lower
mountains to see the glaciers, and get a general view of the chain of
Mont Blanc. My companion was ambitious to do something more than
this. She is a very good walker and climber, and had taken many long
tramps among our Berkshire Hills, and to her Mont Blanc did not seem
much more than Monument Mountain. In truth, the eye is deceived in
judging of these tremendous heights, and cannot take in at first the
real elevation. But when they are accurately measured, Mont Blanc is
found to be about twenty times as high as the cliff which overlooks
our Housatonic Valley! But a young enthusiast feels equal to anything,
and she seemed really quite disappointed that she could not at least
go as far as the Grands Mulets (where, with a telescope, we can just
see a little cabin on the rocks), which is the limit of the first
day's journey for adventurous tourists, most of whom do not get any
further. A party that went up yesterday, intending to reach the top of
Mont Blanc, had to turn back. A recent fall of snow had buried the
mountain, so that they sank deep at every step; and finding it
dangerous to proceed, they prudently abandoned the attempt.

The ascent of Mont Blanc, at all times difficult, is often a dangerous
undertaking. Many adventurous travellers have lost their lives in the
attempt. An avalanche may bury a whole party in a moment; or if lashed
to the guides by a rope, one slipping may drag the whole down into one
of the enormous crevasses, where now many bodies lie unburied, yet
preserved from decay in the eternal ice. Only five years ago, in
September, 1870, a party of eleven--three tourists (of whom two were
Americans), with eight guides and porters--were all lost. They had
succeeded in reaching the summit of the mountain, when a snow-storm
came on, and it was impossible for them to descend. The body of one of
them, Dr. Bean, of Baltimore, was recovered, and is buried in the
little graveyard here. With such warnings, a sober old uncle might be
excused for restraining a young lady's impetuosity. If we could be
here a month, and "go into training," by long walks and climbs every
day, I do believe we should gradually work our courage up to the
sticking-point, and at last climb to the top, and plant a very modest
American flag on the hoary head of Mont Blanc.

But for the present we must be content with a less ambitious
performance, and make only the customary ascent of the Montanvert, and
cross the Mer de Glace. We left at eight o'clock yesterday morning.
Our friends in New York would hardly have recognized me in my
travelling dress of Scotch gray, with a slouched straw hat on my head,
and an alpenstock in my hand. The hat was very useful, if not
ornamental. I bought it for one franc, and it answered as well as if
it had cost a guinea. To be sure, as it had a broad brim, it had a
slight tendency to take wings and fly away, and light in some mountain
torrent, from which it was speared out with the alpenstock, and
restored to its place of honor; but it did excellent service in
protecting my eyes from the blinding reflection of the snow. C---- was
mounted on a mule, which she had at first refused, preferring her own
agile feet; but I insisted on it, as a very useful beast to fall back
upon in case the fatigue was too great. Thus accoutred, our little
cavalcade, with our guide leading the way, filed out of Chamouni. If
any of my readers laugh at our droll appearance, they are quite
welcome--for we laughed at ourselves. Comfort is worth more than
dignity in such a case; and if anybody is abashed at the ludicrous
figure he cuts, he may console himself by reflecting that he is in
good company. I saw in Paris the famous picture by David of Napoleon
crossing the Alps, which represents him mounted on a gallant charger,
his military cloak flying in the air, while he points his soldiers
upward to the heights they are to scale. This is very fine to look at;
but the historical fact is said to be that Napoleon rode over the Alps
on a mule, and if he encountered rains and storms, he was no doubt as
bedraggled as any Alpine tourist. But that did not prevent his gaining
the battle of Marengo.

But all thoughts of our appearance vanish when once we begin to climb
the mountain side. For two hours we kept winding in a zigzag path
through the perpetual pine forest. At every turn in the road, or
opening in the trees, we stopped to look at the valley below, where
the objects grew smaller, as we receded further from them. Is it not
so in life? As some one has said, "Everything will look small enough
if we only get high enough." All rude noises died away in the
distance, till there rose into the upper air only the sound of the
streams that were rushing through the valley below.

At a chalet half way up the mountain a living chamois was kept for
show. It was very young, and was suckled by a goat. It was touching to
see how the little creature pined for freedom, and leaped against the
sides of his pen. Child of the mountain, he seemed entitled to
liberty, and I longed to break open his cage and set the little
prisoner free, and see him bound away upon the mountain side.

Climbing, still climbing, another hour brings us to the top of the
Montanvert, where we look down upon the Mer de Glace. Here all the
party quit their mules, which are sent to another point, to meet us as
we come down from the mountain--and taking our alpenstocks in hand
(which are long staffs, with a spike at the end to stick in the ice,
to keep ourselves from slipping), we descend to the Mer de Glace, an
enormous glacier formed by the masses of snow and ice which collect
during the long winters, filling up the whole space between two
mountains. It was in studying the glaciers of Switzerland for a course
of years, that Agassiz formed his glacial theory; and in seeing here
how the steady pressure of such enormous masses of ice, weighing
millions of tons, have carried down huge boulders of granite, which
lie strewn all along its track, one can judge how the same causes,
operating at a remote period, and on a vast scale, may have changed
the whole surface of the globe.

But we must not stop to philosophize, for we are now just at the edge
of the glacier, and need our wits about us, and eyes too, to keep a
sharp lookout for dangerous places, and steady feet, and hands keeping
a tight hold of our trusty alpenstocks. The Mer de Glace is just what
its name implies--a Sea of Ice--and looks as if, when some wild
torrent came tumbling through the awful pass, it had been suddenly
stopped by the hand of the Almighty, and frozen as it stood. And so it
stands, its waves dashed up on high, and its chasms yawning below. It
is said to reach up into the mountains for miles. We can see how it
goes up to the top of the gorge and disappears on the other side; but
those who wish to explore its whole extent, may walk over it or beside
it all day. Though dangerous in some places, yet where tourists cross,
they can pick their way with a little care. The more timid ones cling
closely to the guide, holding him fast by the hand. One lady of our
party, who had four bearers to carry her in a Sedan chair, found her
head swim as she crossed. But C----, who had been gathering flowers
all the way up the mountain, made them into a bouquet, which she
fastened to one end of her alpenstock, and striking the other firmly
in the ice, moved on with as free a step as if she were walking along
some breezy path among our Berkshire Hills.

But the most difficult part of the course is not in crossing the Mer
de Glace, but in coming down on the other side. It is not always
_facilis descensus_; it is sometimes _difficilis descensus_. There is
one part of the course called the _Mauvais Pas_, which winds along the
edge of the cliff, and would hardly be passable but for an iron rod
fastened in the side of the rock, to which one clings for support, and
looking away from the precipice on the other side, makes the passage
in safety.

And now we come to the Chapeau, a little chalet perched on a shelf of
rock, from which one can look down thousands of feet into the Vale of
Chamouni. As we pass along by the side of the glacier, we see nearer
the end some frightful crevasses, which the boldest guide would not
dare to cross. The ice is constantly wearing away; indeed so great is
the discharge of water from the melting of the ice and the snow, that
a rapid river is all the time rushing out of it. The Arveiron takes
its rise in the Mer de Glace, while the Arve rises in another glacier
higher up the valley. As Coleridge says, in his Hymn to Mont Blanc,

     The Arve and Arveiron at thy base
       Rave ceaselessly;

the sound of the streams, mingling with the waterfalls on the sides of
the mountains, filling the air with a perpetual sound like the roaring
of the sea.

Coleridge speaks also of Mont Blanc as rising from a "silent sea of
pines." Nothing can be more accurate than this picture of the
universal forest, which overflows all the valleys, and reaches up the
mountains, to the edge of eternal snows. At such heights the pines are
the only trees that live, and there they stand through all the storms
of winter. Looking around on this landscape, made up of forest and
snow, alternately dark and bright, it seems as if Mont Blanc were the
Great White Throne of the Almighty, and as if these mighty forests
that stand quivering on the mountain side, were the myriads of mankind
gathered into this Valley of Judgment, and here standing rank on rank,
waiting to hear their doom.

But yet the impression is not one wholly of terror, or even of unmixed
awe. There is beauty as well as wildness in the scene. Nothing can
exceed the quiet and seclusion of these mountain paths, and there is
something very sweet to the ear in

     "The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,"

which fill "the forest primeval" with their gentle sound. And when at
evening one hears the tinkling cow-bells, as the herds return from the
mountain pastures, there is a pastoral simplicity in the scene which
is very touching, and we could understand how the Swiss air of the
_Ranz des Vaches_ (or the returning of the cows) should awaken such a
feeling of homesickness in the soldier far from his native mountains,
that bands have been prohibited from playing it in Swiss regiments
enlisted in foreign armies.

When we came down from the Mer de Glace, it was not yet three o'clock,
and before us on the opposite side of the valley rose another
mountain, which we might ascend before night if we had strength left.
We felt a little remorse at giving the guide another half-day's work;
but he, foreseeing extra pay, said cheerfully that _he_ could stand
it; the mule said nothing, but pricked up his long ears as if he was
thinking very hard, and if the miracle of Balaam could have been
repeated, I think the poor dumb beast would have had a pretty decided
opinion. But it being left to us, we declared for a fresh ascent, and
once more set our faces skyward, and went climbing upward for two
hours more.

We were well paid for the fatigue. The Flégère, facing Mont Blanc,
commands a full view of the whole range, and as the clouds drifted
off, we saw distinctly every peak.

Thus elated and jubilant we set out to return. Until now, we had kept
along with the mule, alternating a ride and walk, as boys are
accustomed to "ride and tie"; but now our eagerness could not be
restrained, and we gave the reins to the guide to lead the patient
creature down into the valley, while we, with unfettered limbs, strode
joyous down the mountain side. It was seven o'clock when we reached
our hotel. We had been steadily in motion--except a short rest for
lunch at the Chapeau on the mountain--for eleven hours.

Here ends the journey of the day, but not the moral of it. I hope it
is not merely a professional habit that leads me to wind up
everything with an application; but I cannot look upon a grand scene
of nature without gliding insensibly into religious reflections.
Nature leads me directly to Nature's God. The late Prof. Albert
Hopkins, of Williams College, of blessed memory, a man of science and
yet of most devout spirit, who was as fond of the hills as a born
mountaineer, and who loved nothing so much as to lead his Alpine Club
over the mountains around Williamstown--was accustomed, when he had
conducted them to some high, commanding prospect, to ask whether the
sight of such great scenes _made them feel great or small_? I can
answer for myself that the impression is a mixed one; that it both
lifts me up and casts me down. Certainly the sight of such sublimity
elevates the soul with a sense of the power and majesty of the
Creator. While climbing to-day, I have often repeated to myself that
old, majestic hymn:

     I sing the mighty power of God,
       That made the mountains rise;

and another:

     'Tis by thy strength the mountains stand,
       God of eternal power,
     The sea grows calm at thy command,
       And tempests cease to roar.

But in another view the sight of these great objects of nature is
depressing. It makes one feel his own littleness and insignificance. I
look up at Mont Blanc with a telescope, and can just see a party
climbing near the Grands Mulets. How like creeping insects they look;
and how like insects they _are_ in the duration of their existence,
compared with the everlasting forms of nature. The flying clouds that
cast their shadows on the head of Mont Blanc are not more fleeting.
They pass like a bird and are gone, while the mountains stand fast
forever, and with their eternity seem to mock the fugitive existence
of man upon the earth.

I confess the impression is very depressing. These terrible mountains
crush me with their awful weight. They make me feel that I am but an
atom in the universe; a moth whose ceasing to exist would be no more
than the blowing out of a candle. And I am not surprised that men who
live among the mountains, are sometimes so overwhelmed with the
greatness of nature, that they are ready to acquiesce in their own
annihilation, or absorption in the universal being.

Talking with Father Hyacinthe the other evening (as we sat on the
terrace of the Hotel Beau Rivage at Geneva, overlooking the lake), he
spoke of the alarming spread of unbelief in Europe, and quoted a
distinguished professor of Zurich, of whom he spoke with great
respect, as a man of learning and of excellent character, who had
frankly confessed to him that he did not believe in the immortality of
the soul; and when Father Hyacinthe replied in amazement, "If I
believed thus I would go and throw myself into the Lake of Zurich,"
the professor answered with the utmost seriousness, "That is not a
just religious feeling; if you believe in God as an infinite Creator
you ought to be _willing_ to cease to exist, feeling that God is the
only Being who is worthy to live eternally."

Marvellous as this may seem, yet something of this feeling comes to
thoughtful and serious minds from the long and steadfast contemplation
of nature. One is so little in the presence of the works of God, that
he feels that he is absolutely _nothing_; and it seems of small moment
whether he should exist hereafter or not; and he could _almost_ be
willing that his life should expire, like a lamp that has burned
itself out; that he should indeed cease to exist, with all things that
live; that God might be God alone. If shut up in these mountains, as
in a prison from which I could not escape, I could easily sink into
this gloom and despondency.

Pascal has tried to break the force of this overwhelming impression of
the awfulness of nature in one of his most striking thoughts, when,
speaking of the greatness and the littleness of man, he says: "It is
not necessary for the whole universe to arm itself to destroy him: a
drop of water, a breath of air, is sufficient to kill him. And yet
even in death man is greater than the universe, for _he knows that he
is dying_, while the universe knows not anything." This is finely
expressed, but it does not lighten the depth of our despair. For that
we must turn to one greater than Pascal, who has said, "Not a sparrow
falleth to the ground without your Father; be of good cheer therefore,
ye are of more value than many sparrows." Nature is great, but God is
greater.

In riding through the Alps--especially through deep passes, where
walls of rock on either hand almost touch the sky--it seems as if the
whole world were a realm of Death, and this the universal tomb. But
even here I see erected on almost every hilltop a cross (for the
Savoyards are a very religious people), and this sign of our
salvation, standing on every high place, amid the lightning and storm,
and amid the winter snows, seems to be a protest against that law of
death which reigns on every side. Great indeed is the realm of Death,
but greater still is the realm of Life; and though God only hath
immortality, and is indeed "the only Being worthy to live forever,"
yet joined to Him, we shall have a part in His own eternity, and shall
live when even the everlasting mountains, and the great globe itself,
shall have passed away.



CHAPTER XI.

SWITZERLAND.


     LUCERNE, July 22d.

To know Switzerland well, one should spend weeks and months among its
lakes and mountains. He should not merely pay a formal visit to
Nature, but take up his abode with her. One can never "exhaust" such a
country. Professor Tyndall has been for years in the habit of spending
his summer vacation here, and always finds new mountains to climb, and
new passes to explore. But this would hardly suit Americans, who are
in the habit of "rushing things," and who wish in a first visit to
Europe, to get at least a general impression of the Continent. But
even a few days in Switzerland are not lost. In that time one may see
sights that will be fixed in his brain while life lasts, and receive
impressions that will never depart from him.

We left the Vale of Chamouni with the feeling of sadness with which
one always comes down from the mount, where he has had an immortal
vision. Slowly we rode up the valley, often turning to take a last
lingering look at the white head of Mont Blanc, and then, like
Pilgrim, we "went on our way and saw him no more."

But we did not come out of Chamouni as we went into it, on the top of
a diligence, with six horses, "rolling forward with impetuous speed"
over a magnificent highway. We had now nothing before us but a common
mountain-road, and our chariot was only a rude wagon, made with low
wheels to go up and down steep ascents. It was only for us two, which
suited us the better, as we had Nature all to ourselves, and could
indulge our pleasure and our admiration, without restraint. Thus
mounted, we went creeping up the pass of the Tête Noire. Nature is a
wise economist, and, after showing the traveller Mont Blanc, lets him
down gradually. If we had not come from those more awful heights and
abysses, we should consider this day's ride unsurpassed in savage
grandeur. Great mountains tower up on either hand, their lower sides
dark with pines, and their crests capped with snow. Here by the
roadside a cross marks the spot where an avalanche, falling from
yonder peak, buried two travellers. At some seasons of the year the
road is almost impassable. All along are heaps of stones to mark its
track where the winter drifts are piled so high in these gorges that
all trace of a path is lost. Even now in mid-summer the pass is wild
enough to satisfy the most romantic tastes. The day was in harmony
with the scene. Our fine weather was all gone. Clouds darkened the
sky, and angry gusts of wind and rain swept in our faces. But what
could check one's spirits let loose in such a scene? Often we got out
and walked, to work off our excitement, stopping at every turn in the
road that opened some new view, or sheltering ourselves under a rock
from the rain, and listening with delight to hear the pines murmur and
the torrents roar.

The ride over the Tête Noire takes a whole day. The road zigzags in
every direction, winding here and there to get a foothold--now hugging
the side of the mountain, creeping along the edge of a precipice,
where it makes one dizzy to look down; now rounding a point which
seems to hang over some awful depth, or seeking a safer path by a
tunnel through the rocks. Up and down, hither and thither we go, but
still everywhere encompassed with mountains, till at last one long
climb--a hard pull for the horses--brings us to a height from which we
descry in the distance the roofs and spires of a town, and begin to
descend. But we are still more than an hour winding our way through
the gentle slopes and among the Swiss chalets, till we rattle through
the stony streets of Martigny, a place of some importance, from being
at the foot of the Alps, and the point from which to make the ascent
of the Great Saint Bernard. It was by this route that Napoleon in 1800
led his daring soldiers over the Alps; the long lines of infantry and
artillery passed up this valley, and climbed yonder mountain side, a
hundred men being harnessed to a single cannon, and dragging it upward
by sheer strength of muscle. Of all the host that made that stupendous
march, perhaps not one survives; but the mountains are still here, as
the proof and the monument of their great achievement. And the same
Hospice, where the monks gave bread and wine to the passing soldiers,
is on the summit still, and the good monks with their faithful dogs,
watch to rescue lost travellers. Attached to it is a monastery here in
Martigny, to which the old monks, when worn out with years of exposure
and hardship in living above the clouds, can retire to die in peace.

At Martigny we take our leave of mountain roads and mountain
transport, as we here touch a railroad, and are once more within the
limits of civilization. We step from our little wagon (which we do not
despise, since it has carried us safely over an Alpine pass) into a
luxurious railway carriage, and reclining at our ease, are whirled
swiftly down the Valley of the Rhone to the Lake of Geneva.

Of course all romantic tourists stop at Villeneuve, to visit the
Castle of Chillon, which Byron has made so famous. I had been under
its arches and in its vaulted chambers years ago, and was surprised at
the fresh interest which I had in revisiting the spot. It is at once
"a palace and a prison." We went down into the dungeon in which
Bonnivard was confined, and saw the pillar to which he was chained for
so many years that his feet wore holes in the stone floor. The pillar
is now covered with names of pilgrims that have visited his prison as
"a holy place." We were shown, also, the Chamber of Question,
(adjoining what was called, as if in mockery, the Hall of Justice!)
where prisoners were put to the torture, with the post still standing
to which they were bound, with the marks upon it of the hot irons
which were applied to their writhing limbs. Under this is the dungeon
where the condemned passed their last night before execution, chained
to a sloping rock, above which, dimly seen in the gloom, is the
cross-beam to which they were hung, and near the floor is an opening
in the wall, through which their bodies were cast into the lake. In
another part of the castle is shown the _oubliette_--a pit or well,
into which the victim was thrown, and fell into some unknown depth,
and was seen no more. Such are some of the remains of an age of
"chivalry." One cannot look at these instruments of torture without a
shudder at "man's inhumanity to man," and rejoicing that such things
are past, since in no country of Europe--not even in Spain, the land
of the Inquisition--could such barbarities be permitted now. Surely
civilization has made some progress since those ages of cruelty and
blood.

Leaving these gloomy dungeons, we come up into air and sunshine, and
skim along the Lake of Geneva by the railway, which, lying "between
sea and shore," presents a succession of charming views. On one side
all the slopes are covered with vines, which are placed on this
southern exposure to ripen in the sun; on the other is the lake, with
the mountains beyond.

At Lausanne I had hoped to meet an old friend, Prof. J. F. Astié, once
pastor of the French church in New York, and now Professor in the
Theological Seminary here, but he was taking his vacation in the
country. We drove, however, to his house, which is on high ground, in
the rear of the town, and commands a lovely view of the lake, with the
mountains in the distance as a background for the picture.

When I was in Switzerland twenty seven years ago, such a thing as a
railroad was unknown. Now they are everywhere, and though it may seem
very prosaic to travel among the mountains by steam, still it is a
great convenience, in getting from one point to another. Of course,
when it comes to climbing the Alps, one must take to mules or to his
feet.

The railroad from Lausanne to Berne, after reaching the heights around
the former city, lingers long, as if reluctant to quit the enchanting
scenery around the lake, but at length plunging through a tunnel, it
leaves all that glory behind, to turn to other landscapes in the heart
of Switzerland. For a few leagues, the country, though not
mountainous, is undulating, and richly cultivated. At Fribourg the two
suspension bridges are the things to _see_, and the great organ the
thing to _hear_, which being done, one may pass on to Berne, the
capital of Switzerland, a compact and prosperous town of some 35,000
inhabitants. The environs are very beautiful, comprising several parks
and long avenues of trees. But what one may see _in_ Berne, is nothing
to what one may see _from_ it, which is the whole chain of the Bernese
Oberland. We were favored with only a momentary sight, but even that
we shall never forget. As we were riding out of the town, the sun,
which was setting, burst through the clouds, and lighted up a long
range of snowy peaks. This was the Alpine afterglow. It was like a
vision of the heavenly battlements, with all their pinnacles and
towers shining resplendent in the light of setting day. We gazed in
silent awe till the dazzling radiance crept to the last mountain top,
and faded into night.

A few miles from Berne, we crossed the Lake of Thun, a sheet of water,
which, like Loch Lomond and other Scotch lakes, derives its chief
beauty from reflecting in its placid bosom the forms of giant
mountains. Between Thun and Brienz lies the little village fitly
called from its position Interlachen (between the lakes). This is the
heart of the Bernese Oberland. The weather on Saturday permitted no
excursions. But we were content to remain indoors after so much
climbing, and here we passed a quiet and most restful Sunday. There is
but one building for religious services--an old Schloss, but it
receives into its hospitable walls three companies of worshippers. In
one part is a chapel fitted up for the Catholics; in another the
Church of England gathers a large number of those travellers from
Britain, who to their honor carry their religious observances with
them. Besides these I found in the same building a smaller room, where
the Scotch Presbyterians meet for worship, and where a minister of the
Free Church was holding forth with all that _ingenium perfervidum
Scotorum_ for which his countrymen are celebrated. It was a great
pleasure and comfort to meet with this little congregation, and to
listen to songs and prayers which brought back so many tender memories
of home.

While enjoying this rest, we had mourned the absence of the sun.
Interlachen lies in the very lap of the mountains. But though so near,
our eyes were holden that we could not see them, and we thought we
should have to leave without even a sight of the Jungfrau. But Monday
morning, as we rose early to depart, the clouds were gone--and there
it stood revealed to us in all its splendor, a pyramid of snow, only a
little less lofty than Mont Blanc himself. Having this glorious vision
vouchsafed to us, we departed in peace.

Sailing over the Lake of Brienz, as we had over that of Thun, we came
again to a mountain pass, which had to be crossed by diligence; and
here, as before, mounted in the front seat beside the postilion, we
feasted our eyes on all the glory of Alpine scenery. For nearly two
hours we were ascending at the side of the Vale of Meyringen, from
which, as we climbed higher and higher, we looked down to a greater
depth, and often at a turn of the road could see back to the Lake of
Brienz, which lay far behind us, and thus in one view took in all the
beauties of lake and valley and mountain. While slowly moving upward,
boys ran along by the diligence, singing snatches from the _Ranz des
Vaches_, the wild airs of these mountain regions. If it was so
exciting to go up, it was hardly less so to come down. The road is not
like that over the Tête Noire, but is smooth and even like that from
Geneva to Chamouni, and we were able to trot rapidly down the slope,
and as the road turns here and there to get an easy grade, we had a
hundred lovely views down the valley which was opening before us. Thus
we came to the Lake of the Four Cantons, over which a steamer brought
us to Lucerne.

My friend Dr. Holland has spoken of the place where I now write as
"the spot on earth which seemed to him nearest to heaven," and surely
there are few where one feels so much like saying, "This is my rest,
and here will I dwell." The great mountains shut out the world with
all its noises, and the lake, so peaceful itself, invites to repose.

There are two ways to enjoy a beautiful sheet of water--one from its
shores, and the other from its surface. We have tried both. The first
evening we took a boat and spent a couple of hours on the lake. How it
recalled the moonlight evenings at Venice, when we floated in our
gondola! Indeed the boatmen here are not unlike the gondoliers. They
have the same way of standing, instead of sitting, in the boat and
pushing, instead of pulling, the oars. They manage their little crafts
with great skill, and cause them to glide very swiftly through the
water. We took a row of several miles to call on a friend, who was at
a villa on the lake. She had left for Zurich, but the villa was
occupied. A day or two before it had been taken by a lady, who, though
she came with a retinue large enough to fill all the rooms, wished to
be _incognita_. She proved to be the Queen of Saxony, who, like all
the rest of the world, was glad to have a little retirement, and to
escape from the stiffness of court life in her palace at Dresden, to
enjoy herself on these quiet shores. While we were in the grounds,
she came out, and walked under the trees, in most simple dress: a
woman whom it was pleasant to look upon, a fair-haired daughter of the
North, (she is a Swedish princess,) who won the hearts of the Saxon
people by her care for the wounded in the Franco-German war. She shows
her good sense and quiet tastes to seek seclusion and repose in such a
spot as this, (instead of going off to fashionable watering-places,)
where she can sit quietly by these tranquil waters, under the shadow
of these great mountains.

All travellers who go to Lucerne must make an excursion to the Righi,
a mountain a few miles from the town, which is exalted above other
mountains of Switzerland, not because it is higher--for, in fact, it
is much lower than many of them--but that it stands alone, apart from
a chain, and so commands a view on all sides--a view of vast extent
and of infinite variety. I had been on the Righi-Culm before, but the
impression had somewhat faded, and I was glad to go again, when all my
enthusiasm was renewed. The mountain is easier of access now. Then I
walked up, as most tourists did; now there is a railroad to the very
top, which of itself is worth a visit, as a remarkable piece of
engineering, mounting a very steep grade--in many places _one foot in
every four_! This is a terrible climb, and is only overcome by
peculiar machinery. The engine is behind, and pushes the car up the
ascent. Of course if any accident were to happen by which the train
were to break loose, it would descend with tremendous velocity. But
this is guarded against by a central rail, into which a wheel fits
with cogs; so that, in case of any accident to the engine, by shutting
down the brakes, the whole could be held fast, as in a vice, and be
immovable. The convenience of the road is certainly very great, but
the sensation is peculiar--of being literally "boosted" up into the
clouds.

But once there, we are sensible that we are raised into a higher
region; we breathe a purer air. The eye ranges over the fairest
portion of Switzerland. Seen from such a height, the country seems
almost a plain; and yet viewed more closely, we see hills and valleys,
diversified with meadows and forests. We can count a dozen lakes. On
the horizon stretches the great chain of the Alps, covered with snow,
and when the sun breaks through the clouds, it gleams with unearthly
brightness. But it is impossible to describe all that is comprised in
that one grand panorama. Surely, I thought, these must be the
Delectable Mountains from which Bunyan's Pilgrim caught a sight of the
Celestial City; and it seemed as if, in the natural order of things,
when one is travelling over the earth, he ought to come here _last_
(as Moses went up into Mount Nebo to catch a glimpse of the Promised
Land, _and die_), so that from this most elevated point of his
pilgrimage he might step into heaven.

But at last we had to come down from the mount, and quieted our
excited imaginations by a sail up the lake. Fluellen, at the end of
the lake, was associated in my mind with a sad memory, and as soon as
we reached it, I went to the principal hotel, and asked if an American
gentleman had not died there two years since? They answered Yes, and
took me at once to the very room where Judge Chapman, the Chief
Justice of Massachusetts, breathed his last. He was a good man, and as
true a friend as we ever had. The night before he sailed we spent with
him at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. He came abroad for his health, but did
not live to return; and a few months after our parting, it was our sad
privilege to follow him to the grave in Springfield, where all the
judges of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and great numbers of the
Bar, stood around his bier.

If Lucerne presents such beautiful scenes in nature, it has also one
work of art, which impresses me as much as anything of the kind in
Europe. I refer to the lion of Thorwaldsen, intended to commemorate
the courage and fidelity of the Swiss regiment who were the guards of
the King Louis XVI., and who, in attempting to defend him, were
massacred in Paris on the fatal 10th of August, 1792. Never was a
great act of courage more simply, yet more grandly illustrated. The
size is colossal, the work being cut in the side of a rock. The lion
is twenty-eight feet long. Nothing can be more majestic than his
attitude. The noble beast is dying, he has exhausted his strength in
battle, but even as he sinks in death, he stretches out one huge paw
over the shield which bears on it the lilies of France, the emblem of
that royal power which he has vainly endeavored to protect. There is
something almost human in the face, in the deep-set eyes, and the
drooping mouth. It is not only the death agony, but the greater agony
of defeat, which is expressed in every line of that leonine
countenance. Nothing in ancient sculpture, not even the Dying
Gladiator, gives more of mournful dignity in death. I could hardly
tear myself away from it, and when we turned to leave, kept looking
back at it. It shows the wonderful genius of Thorwaldsen. When one
compares it with the lions around the monument of Nelson in Trafalgar
Square in London, one sees the difference between a work of genius,
and that of mere imitation. Sir Edwin Landseer, though a great painter
of animals, was not so eminent as a sculptor; and was at work for
years on his model, and finally copied, it is said, as nearly as he
could, an old lion in the Zoological Gardens; and then had the four
cast from one mould, so that all are just alike. How differently would
Thorwaldsen have executed such a work!

With such attractions of art and nature, Lucerne seems indeed one of
the most beautiful spots on the face of the earth. Sometimes a
peculiar state of the atmosphere, or sunset or moonlight, gives
peculiar effects to scenes so wonderful. Last night, as we were
sitting in front of the Hotel, our attention was attracted by what
seemed a conflagration lighting up the horizon. Wider and wider it
spread, and higher and higher it rose on the evening sky. All were
eager as to the cause of this illumination, when the mystery was
explained by the full moon rising above the horizon, and casting a
flood of light over lake and mountain. Who could but feel that God was
near at such an hour, in such a blending of the earth and sky?



CHAPTER XII.

ON THE RHINE.


     COLOGNE, July 26th.

He that goeth up into a high mountain, must needs come down. We have
been these many days among the Alps, passing from Chamouni to the
Bernese Oberland, and now we must descend into the plains. The change
is a pleasant one after so much excitement and fatigue. One cannot
bear too much exaltation. After having dwelt awhile among the
sublimities of Nature, it is a relief to come down to her more common
and familiar aspects; the sunshine is doubly grateful after the gloom
of Alpine passes; meadows and groves are more pleasant to the eye than
snow-clad peaks; and more sweet to the ear than the roar of mountain
torrents, is the murmur of softly-flowing streams. From Lucerne, our
way lies over that undulating country which we had surveyed the day
before from the summit of the Righi, winding around the Lake of Zug,
and ending at the Lake of Zurich.

The position of Zurich is very much like that of Lucerne, at the end
of a lake, and surrounded by hills. A ride around the town shows many
beautiful points of view, on one of which stands the University, which
has an European reputation. Zurich has long been a literary centre of
some importance, not only for Switzerland, but for Germany, as it is
on the border of both. The University gathers students from different
countries, even from Russia. We ended the day with a sail on the
water, which at evening is alive with boats, glancing here and there
in the twilight. Then rows of lamps are lighted all along the shore,
which are reflected in the water; the summer gardens are thronged, and
bands fill the air with music. The gayety of such a scene I enjoy most
from a little distance; but there are few more exquisite pleasures
than to lie motionless, floating, and listening to music that comes
stealing over the water. Then the boatman dipped his oar gently, as if
fearing to break the charm, and rowed us back to our hotel; but the
music continued to a late hour, and lulled us to sleep.

From Zurich, a morning ride brought us to Schaffhausen, where we
stopped a few hours to see the Falls of the Rhine, which are set down
in the guide-books as "the most considerable waterfall in Europe." Of
course it is a very small affair compared with Niagara. And yet I do
not like to hear Americans speak of it, as they are apt to do, with
contempt. A little good sense would teach us to enjoy whatever is set
before us in nature, without boastful comparisons with something in
our own country. It is certainly very beautiful.

From Schaffhausen a new railway has recently been opened through the
Black Forest--a region which may well attract the readers of romance,
since it has been the scene of many of the legends which abound in
German literature, and may be said to be haunted with the heroes of
fiction, as Scott has peopled the glens of Scotland. In the Forest
itself there is nothing imposing. It is spread over a large tract of
country, like the woods of Northern New York. The most remarkable
thing in it now is the railroad itself, which is indeed a wonderful
piece of engineering. It was constructed by the same engineer who
pierced the Alps by a tunnel under the Mont Cenis, nearly eight miles
long, through which now pours the great volume of travel from France
to Italy. Here he had a different, but perhaps not less difficult,
task. The formation of the country offers great obstacles to the
passage of a railroad. If it were only one high mountain, it could be
tunnelled, but instead of a single chain which has to be crossed, the
Forest is broken up into innumerable hills, detached from each other,
and offering few points of contact as a natural bridge for a road to
pass over. The object, of course, is to make the ascents and descents
without too abrupt a grade, but for this it is necessary to wind about
in the most extraordinary manner. The road turns and twists in endless
convolutions. Often we could see it at three different points at the
same time, above us and below us, winding hither and thither in a
perfect labyrinth; so that it was impossible to tell which way we were
going. We counted thirty-seven tunnels within a very short distance.
It required little imagination to consider our engine, that went
whirling about at such a rate, puffing and screaming with excitement,
as a wild beast caught in the mountains, and rushing in every
direction, and even thrusting his head into the earth, to escape his
pursuers. At length the haunted fugitive plunges through the side of a
mountain, and escapes down the valley.

And now we are in a land of streams, where mighty rivers begin their
courses. See you that little brook by the roadside, which any
barefooted boy would wade across, and an athletic leaper would almost
clear at a single bound? That is the beginning of the longest river in
Europe, which, rising here among the hills of the Black Forest, takes
its way south and east till it sweeps with majestic flow past the
Austrian capital, as "the dark-rolling Danube," and bears the commerce
of an empire to the Black Sea.

Our fellow-travellers now begin to diverge to the watering places
along the Rhine--to Baden and Homburg and Ems--where so much of the
fashion of the Continent gathers every summer. But we had another
place in view which had more interest to me, though a sad and mournful
one--Strasburg, the capital of ill-fated Alsace--which, since I saw it
before, had sustained one of the most terrible sieges in history. We
crossed the Rhine from Kehl, where the Germans planted their
batteries, and were soon passing through the walls and moats which
girdle the ancient town, and made it one of the most strongly
fortified places in Europe, and were supposed to render it a
Gibraltar, that could not be taken. But no walls can stand before
modern artillery. The Germans planted their guns at two and three
miles distance, and threw their shells into the heart of the city. One
cannot enter the gates without perceiving on every side the traces of
that terrible bombardment. For weeks, day and night, a rain of fire
poured on the devoted town. Shells were continually bursting in the
streets; the darkness of midnight was lighted up with the flames of
burning dwellings. The people fled to their cellars, and to every
underground place, for safety. But it was like fleeing at the last
judgment to dens and caves, and calling on rocks to cover them from
the inevitable destruction. At length, after a prolonged and heroic
resistance, when all means of defence were gone, and the city must
have been utterly destroyed, it surrendered.

And now what do we see? Of course, the traces of the siege have been
removed, so far as possible. But still, after five years, there are
large public buildings of which only blackened walls remain. Others
show huge gaps and rents made by the shot of the besiegers, and, worst
of all, everywhere are the hated German soldiers in the streets.
_Strasburg is a conquered city._ It has been torn from France and
transferred to Germany, without the consent of its own people; and
though the conquerors try to make things pleasant, and to soften as
much as may be the bitterness of subjugation, they cannot succeed in
doing the impossible. The people feel that they have been conquered,
and the iron has entered into their souls. One can see it in a silent,
sullen look, which is not natural to Frenchmen. This is the more
strange, because a large part of the population of Alsace are Germans
by race and language. In the markets, among the men and women who
bring their produce for sale, I heard little else than the guttural
sounds so familiar on the other side of the Rhine. But no matter for
this; for two hundred years the country has belonged to France, and
the people are French in their traditions--they are proud of the
French glory; and if it were left to them, they would vote to-morrow,
by an overwhelming majority, to be re-annexed to France.

Meanwhile the German Government is using every effort to "make over"
the people from Frenchmen into Germans. It has introduced the German
language into the schools. _It has even renamed the streets._ It
looked strange indeed to see on all the corners German names in place
of the old familiar French ones. This is oppression carried to
absurdity. If the new rulers had chosen to translate the French names
into German, for the convenience of the new military occupants, that
might have been well, and the two might have stood side by side. But
no; the old names are _taken down_, and _Rue_ is turned into _Strasse_
on every street corner in Strasburg. Was ever anything more
ridiculous? They might as well compel the people to change _their_
names. The consequence of all this petty and constant oppression is
that great numbers emigrate. And even those who remain do not take to
their new masters. The elements do not mix. The French do not become
Germans. A country is not so easily denationalized. The conquerors
occupy the town, but in their social relations they are alone. We were
told that if a German officer entered a public café or restaurant, the
French instantly arose and left. It is the same thing which I saw at
Venice and at Milan in the days of the old Austrian occupation. That
was a most unnatural possession by an alien race, which had to be
driven out with battle and slaughter before things could come into
their natural and rightful relations. And so I fear it will have to be
here. This annexation of Alsace to Germany may seem to some a
wonderful stroke of political sagacity, or a military necessity, the
gaining of a great strategic point, but to our poor American judgment
it seems both a blunder and a crime, that will yet have to be atoned
for with blood. It is a perpetual humiliation and irritation to
France; a constant defiance to another and far more terrible war.

The ancient cathedral suffered greatly during the bombardment. It is
said the Germans tried to spare it, and aimed their guns away from it;
but as it was the most prominent object in the town, towering up far
above everything else, it could not but be hit many times. Cannon
balls struck its majestic spire, the loftiest in the world; arches and
pinnacles were broken; numbers of shells crashed through the roof, and
burst on the marble floor. Many of the windows, with their old stained
glass, which no modern art can equal, were fatally shattered. It is a
wonder that the whole edifice was not destroyed. But its foundations
were very solid, and it stood the shock. Since the siege, of course,
everything has been done to cover up the rents and gaps, and to
restore it to its former beauty. And what a beauty it has, with
outlines so simple and majestic. How enormous are the columns along
the nave, which support the roof, and yet how they seem to _spring_
towards heaven, soaring upwards like overarching elms, till the eye
aches to look up to the vaulted roof, that seems only like a lower
sky. Except one other cathedral--that of Cologne (under the very
shadow of which I am now writing)--it is the grandest specimen of
Gothic architecture which the Middle Ages have left to us.

There is one other feature of Strasburg that has been unaffected by
political changes. One set of inhabitants have not emigrated, but
remain in spite of the German occupation--_the storks_. Was anything
ever so queer as to see these long-legged, long-necked birds, sitting
so tranquilly on the roofs of the houses, flapping their lazy wings
over the dwellings of a populous city, and actually building their
nests on the tops of the chimneys? Anything so different from the
ordinary habits of birds, I had never seen before, and would hardly
have believed it now if I had not seen it. It makes one feel as if
everything was turned upside down, and the very course of nature
reversed, in this strange country.

Another sign that we are getting out of our latitude, and coming
farther North, is the change of language. We found that even in
Switzerland. Around the Lake of Geneva, French is universally spoken;
but at Berne everybody addressed us in German. In the Swiss Parliament
speeches are made in three languages--German, French, and
Italian--since all are spoken in some of the Cantons. As we did not
understand German, though familiar with French, we had many ludicrous
adventures with coachmen and railway employés, which, though sometimes
vexatious, gave us a good deal of merriment. Of course there was
nothing to do but to take it good-naturedly. Generally when the
adventure was over, we had a hearty laugh at our own expense, though
inwardly thinking this was a heathen country, since they did not know
the language of Canaan, which, of course, is French or English. In
short, we have become fully satisfied that English was the language
spoken by Adam and Eve in Paradise, and which ought to be spoken by
all their descendants.

But no harsh and guttural sounds, and no gloomy political events, can
destroy the pleasure of a journey along the Rhine. The next day we
resumed our course through the grand duchy of Baden. At one of the
stations a gentleman looking out of a carriage window called me by
name, and introduced himself as Dr. Evans, of Paris--a countryman of
ours, well known to all who have visited the French capital, where he
has lived for a quarter of a century, and made for himself a most
honorable position in his profession, in both the American and foreign
community. I had known him when he first came to Paris, just after the
revolution of 1848. He was then a young man, in the beginning of his
successful career. He has been yet more honorably distinguished as
the gallant American who saved the Empress in 1870. The story is too
well known to be repeated at length. The substance may be given in a
few sentences. When the news of the surrender at Sedan of the Emperor
and his whole army reached Paris, it caused a sudden revolution--the
Empire was declared to have fallen, and the excited populace were
ready to burst into the palace, and the Empress might have been
sacrificed to their fury. She fled through the Louvre, and calling a
cab in the street, drove to the house of Dr. Evans, whom she had long
known. Here she was concealed for the night, and the next day he took
her in his own carriage, hiding her from observation, and travelling
rapidly, but in a way to attract no attention, to the sea-coast, and
did not leave her till he had seen her safe in England. Connected with
this escape were many thrilling details, which cannot be repeated
here. I am very proud that she owed her safety to one of my
countrymen. It was pleasant to be remembered by him after so many
years. We got into the same carriage, and talked of the past, till we
separated at Carlsruhe, from which he was going to Kissingen, while we
went to Stuttgart, to visit an American family who came to Europe
under my care in the Great Eastern in 1867, and have continued to
reside abroad ever since for the education of their children. For such
a purpose, Stuttgart is admirably fitted. Though the capital of the
Kingdom of Würtemberg, it is a very quiet city. Young people in search
of gayety might think it dull, but that is its recommendation for
those who seek profit rather than amusement. The schools are said to
be excellent; and for persons who wish to spend a few years abroad,
pursuing their studies, it would be hard to find a better place.

To make this visit we were obliged to travel by night to get back to
the Rhine. We left Stuttgart at midnight. Night riding on European
railways, where there are no sleeping-cars, is not very agreeable.
However, in the first class carriages one can make a sort of half
couch by pulling out the cushioned seats, and thus bestowed we managed
to pass the night, which was not very long, as daybreak comes early in
this latitude, and at this season of the year.

But fatigues vanish when at Mayence we go on board the steamer, and
are at last afloat on the Rhine--"the exulting and abounding river."
We forget the discomforts of the way as we drop down this enchanted
stream, past all the ruined castles, "famed in story," which hang on
the crests of the hills. Every picturesque ruin has its legend, which
clings to it like vines to the mouldering wall. All day long we are
floating in the past, and in a romantic past. Tourists sit on deck,
with their guide-books in hand, marking every old wall covered with
ivy, and every crumbling tower, connected with some tradition of the
Middle Ages. Even prosaic individuals go about repeating poetry. The
best of guide-books is Childe Harold. Byron has seized the spirit of
the scene in a few picturesque and animated stanzas, which bring the
whole panorama before us. How musical are the lines beginning,

     The castled crag of Drachenfels,
       Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine,
     Whose breast of waters broadly swells
       Between the banks which bear the vine,
     And hills all rich with blossomed trees,
       And fields which promise corn and wine,
     And scattered cities crowning these,
       Whose far white walls along them shine.

Thus floating onward as in a dream, we reached Cologne at five o'clock
Saturday afternoon, and found at the Hôtel du Nord a very spacious and
attractive hostelry, which made us well content to stay quietly for
two or three days.

Cologne has got an ill name from Coleridge's ill-favored compliment,
which implied that its streets had not always the fragrance of that
Cologne water which it exports to all countries. But I think he has
done it injustice for the sake of a witty epigram. If he has not, the
place has much improved since his day, and if not yet quite a flower
garden, is at least as clean and decent as most of the Continental
cities. It has received a great impulse from the extension of
railroads, of which it is a centre, being in the direct line of travel
from England to the Rhine and Switzerland, and to the German
watering-places, and indeed to every part of Central Europe. Hence it
has grown rapidly, and become a large and prosperous city.

But to the traveller in search of sights, every object in Cologne
"hides its diminished head" in presence of one, the cathedral, the
most magnificent Gothic structure ever reared by human hands. Begun
six hundred years ago, it is not finished yet. For four hundred years
the work was suspended, and the huge crane that stood on one of its
towers, as it hung in air, was a sad token of the great, but
unfinished design. But lately the German Government, with that vigor
which characterizes everything in the new empire, has undertaken its
completion. Already it has expended two millions of dollars upon it,
and holds out a hope that it may be finished during this generation.
To convey any idea of this marvellous structure by a description, is
impossible. It is a forest in stone. Looking through its long nave and
aisles, one is more reminded of the avenues of New Haven elms, than of
any work of man. We ascended by the stone steps to the roof, at least
to the first roof, and then began to get some idea of the vastness of
the whole. Passing into the interior at this height, we made the
circuit of the gallery, from which men looked very small who were
walking about on the pavement of the cathedral. The sacristan who had
conducted us thus far, told us we had now ascended one hundred steps,
and that, if we chose to mount a hundred more, we could get to the
main roof--the highest present accessible point--for the towers are
not yet finished, which are further to be surmounted by lofty spires.
When complete, the crosses which they lift into the air will be more
than five hundred feet above the earth!

The Cathedral boasts great treasures and holy relics--such as the
bones of the Magi, the three Kings of the East, who came to see the
Saviour at his birth, which, whoso can believe, is welcome to his
faith. But the one thing which all _must_ believe, since it stands
before their eyes, is the magnificence of this temple of the Almighty.
I am surprised to see the numbers of people who attend the services,
and with an appearance of devotion, joining in the singing with heart
and voice. The Cathedral is our constant resort, as it is close to our
hotel, and we can go in at all hours, morning, noon, and night. There
we love to sit especially at twilight, when the priests are chanting
vespers, and listen to their songs, and think of the absent and the
dead. We may wander far, and see many lofty structures reared to the
Most High, but nowhere do we expect to bow our heads in a nobler
temple, till we join with the worshippers before the Throne.



CHAPTER XIII.

BELGIUM AND HOLLAND.


     AMSTERDAM, July 30th.

If any of my readers should follow our route upon the map, he will see
that we take a somewhat zigzag course, flying off here and there to
see whatever most attracts attention. The facilities of travel in
Europe are so great, that one can at any time be transported in a few
hours into a new country. The junior partner in this travelling
company of two has lately been reading Motley's histories, and been
filled with enthusiasm for the Netherlands, which fought so bravely
against Spain, and nothing would do but to turn aside to see these Low
Countries. So, instead of going east from Cologne into the heart of
Germany, we turned west to make a short detour into Belgium and
Holland. And indeed these countries deserve a visit, as they are quite
unique in appearance and in character, and furnish a study by
themselves. They lie in a corner of the Continent, looking out upon
the North Sea, and seem to form a kind of eddy, unaffected by the
great current of the political life of Europe. They do not belong to
the number of the Great Powers, and do not have to pay for "glory" by
large standing armies and perpetual wars.

Belgium--which we first enter in coming from the Rhine--is one of the
smaller kingdoms still left on the map of Europe not yet swallowed up
by the great devourers of nations; and which, if it has less glory,
has more liberty and more real happiness than some of its more
powerful neighbors. If it has not the form of a republic, yet it has
all the liberty which any reasonable man could desire. Its standing
army is small--but forty or fifty thousand men; though in case of war,
it could put a hundred thousand under arms. But this would be a mere
mouthful for some of the great German armies. Its security, therefore,
lies not in its ability to resist attack, but in the fact that from
its very smallness it does not excite the envy or the fear or the
covetousness of its neighbors, and that, between them all, it is very
convenient to have this strip of neutral territory. During the late
war between France and Germany it prospered greatly; the danger to
business enterprises elsewhere led many to look upon this little
country, as in the days of the Flood people might have looked upon
some point of land that had not yet been reached by the waters that
covered the earth, to which they could flee for safety. Hence the
disasters of others gave a great impulse to its commercial affairs.

Antwerp, where we ended our first day's journey, is a city that has
had a great history; that three hundred years ago was one of the first
commercial cities of Europe, the Venice of the North, and received in
its waters ships from all parts of the earth. It has had recently a
partial revival of its former commercial greatness. The forest of
masts now lying in the Scheldt tells of its renewed prosperity.

But strangers do not go to Antwerp to see fleets of ships, such as
they might see at London or Liverpool, but to see that which is old
and historic. Antwerp has one of the notable Cathedrals of the
Continent, which impresses travellers most if they come directly from
America. But coming from Cologne, it suffers by comparison, as it has
nothing of the architectural magnificence, the heaven-soaring columns
and arches, of the great Minster of Cologne. And then its condition is
dilapidated and positively shabby. It is not finished, and there is no
attempt to finish it. One of the towers is complete, but the other is
only half way up, where it has been capped over, and so remained for
centuries, and perhaps will remain forever. And its surroundings are
of the meanest description. Instead of standing in an open square,
with ample space around it to show its full proportions, it is hedged
in by shops, which are backed up against its very walls. Thus the
architectural effect is half destroyed. It is a shame that it should
be left in such a state--that, while Prussia, a Protestant country, is
spending millions to restore the Cathedral of Cologne, Belgium, a
Catholic country, and a rich one too (with no war on hand to drain its
resources), should not devote a little of its wealth to keeping in
proper order and respect this venerable monument of the past.

And yet not all the littleness of its present surroundings can wholly
rob the old Cathedral of its majesty. There it stands, as it has stood
from generation to generation, and out from all this meanness and dirt
it lifts its head towards heaven. Though only one tower is finished,
that is very lofty (as any one will find who climbs the hundreds of
stone steps to the top, from which the eye ranges over almost the
whole of Belgium, a vast plain, dotted with cities and villages), and
being wrought in open arches, it has the appearance of fretted work,
so that Napoleon said "it looked as if made of Mechlin lace." And
there, high in the air, hangs a chime of bells, that every quarter of
an hour rings out some soft aërial melody. It has a strange effect, in
walking across the Place St. Antoine, to hear this delicious _rain_
dropping down as it were out of the clouds. We almost wonder that the
market people can go about their business, while there is such
heavenly music in the upper air.

But the glory of the Cathedral of Antwerp is within--not in the church
itself, but in the great paintings which it enshrines. The interior is
cold and naked, owing to the entire absence of color to give it
warmth. The walls are glaring white. We even saw them _whitewashing_
the columns and arches. Could any means be found more effectual for
belittling the impression of one of the great churches of the Middle
Ages? If taste were the only thing to be considered in this world, I
could wish Belgium might be annexed, for awhile at least, to Germany,
that that Government might take this venerable Cathedral in hand, and,
by clearing away the rubbish around it, and proper toning of the walls
within, restore it to its former majesty and beauty.

But no surroundings, however poor and cold, can destroy the immortal
paintings with which it is illumined and glorified. Until I saw these,
I could not feel much enthusiasm for the works of Rubens, although
those who worship the old masters would consider it rank heresy to say
so. Many of his pictures seem to me artistic monstrosities, they are
on such a colossal scale. The men are all giants, and the women all
amazons, and even his holy children, his seraphs and cupids, are fat
Dutch babies. It seems as if his object, in every painting of the
human figure, were to display his knowledge of anatomy; and the bodies
are often twisted and contorted as if to show the enormous development
of muscle in the giant limbs. This is very well if one is painting a
Hercules or a gladiator. But to paint common men and women in this
colossal style is not pleasing. The series of pictures in the Louvre,
in which Marie de Medicis is introduced in all sorts of dramatic
attitudes, never stirred my admiration, as I have said more than once,
when standing before those huge canvases, although one for whose
opinions in such matters I had infinite respect, used to reply archly,
that I "could hardly claim to be an authority in painting." I admit
it; but that is my opinion nevertheless, which I adhere to with all
the proverbial tenacity of the "free and independent American
citizen."

But ah, I do repent me now, as I come into the presence of paintings
whose treatment, like their subject, is divine. There are two such in
the Cathedral of Antwerp--the Elevation of the Cross, and the Descent
from the Cross. The latter is generally regarded as the masterpiece
of Rubens; but they are worthy of each other.

In the Elevation of the Cross our Saviour has been nailed to the fatal
tree, which the Roman soldiers are raising to plant it in the earth.
The form is that of a living man. The hands and feet are streaming
with blood, and the body droops as it hangs with all its weight on the
nails. But the look is one of life, and not of death. The countenance
has an expression of suffering, yet not of mere physical pain; the
agony is more than human; as the eyes are turned upward, there is more
than mortal majesty in the look--there is divinity as well as
humanity--it is the dying God. Long we sat before this picture, to
take in the wondrous scene which it presents. He must be wanting in
artistic taste, or religious feeling, who can look upon it without the
deepest emotion.

In the Descent from the Cross the struggle is over: there is Death in
every feature, in the face, pale and bloodless, in the limbs that hang
motionless, in the whole body as it sinks into the arms of the
faithful attendants. If Rubens had never painted but these two
pictures, he would deserve to be ranked as one of the world's great
masters. I am content to look on these, and let more enthusiastic
worshippers admire the rest.

Leaving the tall spire of Antwerp in the distance, the swift
fire-horse skims like a swallow over the plains of Belgium, and soon
we are in Holland. One disadvantage of these small States (to
compensate for the positive good of independence, and of greater
commercial freedom) is, that every time we cross a frontier we have to
undergo a new inspection by the custom-house authorities. To be sure,
it does not amount to much. The train is detained half an hour, the
trunks are all taken into a large room, and placed on counters; the
passengers come along with the keys in their hands, and open them; the
officials give an inquiring look, sometimes turn over one or two
layers of clothing, and see that it is all right; the trunks are
locked up, the porters replace them in the baggage-car, and the train
starts on again. We are amused at the farce, the only annoyance of
which is the delay. Within two days after we left Cologne, we had
crossed two frontiers, and had our baggage examined twice: first, in
going into Belgium, and, second, in coming into Holland; we had heard
three languages--nay, four--German on the Rhine; then French at
Antwerp (how good it seemed to hear the familiar accents once more!);
and the Flemish, which is a dialect unlike either; and now we have
this horrible Dutch (which is "neither fish, flesh, nor good red
herring," but a sort of jaw-breaking gutturals, that seem not to be
spoken with lips or tongue, but to be coughed up from some
unfathomable depth in the Dutch breast); and we have had three kinds
of money--marks and francs, and florins or guilders--submitting to a
shave every time we change from one into the other. Such are the petty
vexations of travel. But never mind, let us take them good-naturedly,
leaping over them gayly, as we do over this dike--and here we are in
Holland.

Switzerland and Holland! Was there ever a greater contrast than
between the two countries? What a change for us in these three weeks,
to be up in the clouds, and now down, actually _below_ the level of
the sea; for Holland is properly, and in its normal state, _under
water_, only the water is drained off, and is kept off by constant
watchfulness. The whole land has been obtained by robbery--robbery
from the ocean, which is its rightful possessor, and is kept out of
his dominions by a system of earthworks, such as never were drawn
around any fortification. Holland may be described in one word as an
enormous Dutch platter, flat and even hollow in the middle, and turned
up at the edges. Standing in the centre, you can see the _rim_ in the
long lines of circumvallation which meet the eye as it sweeps round
the horizon. This immense _platitude_ is intersected by innumerable
canals, which cross and recross it in every direction; and as if to
drive away the evil spirits from the country, enormous windmills, like
huge birds, keep a constant flapping in the air. To relieve the dull
monotony, these plains are covered with cattle, which with their
masses of black and white and red on the green pastures, give a pretty
bit of color to the landscape. The raising of cattle is one of the
chief industries of Holland. They are exported in great numbers from
Rotterdam to London, so that "the roast beef of old England" is often
Dutch beef, after all. With her plains thus bedecked with countless
herds, all sleek and well fed, the whole land has an aspect of comfort
and abundance; it looks to be, as it is, a land of peace and plenty,
of fat cattle and fat men. As moreover it has not much to do in the
way of making war, except on the other side of the globe, it has no
need of a large standing army; and the military element is not so
unpleasantly conspicuous as in France and Germany.

Rotterdam is a place of great commercial importance. It has a large
trade with the Dutch Possessions in the East Indies, and with other
parts of the world. But as it has less of historical interest, we pass
it by, to spend a day at the Hague, which is the residence of the
Court, and of course the seat of rank and fashion in the little
kingdom. It is a pretty place, with open squares and parks, long
avenues of stately trees, and many beautiful residences. We received a
good impression of it in these respects on the evening of our arrival,
as we took a carriage and drove to Scheveningen, two or three miles
distant on the sea-shore, which is the great resort of Dutch fashion.
It was Long Branch over again. There were the same hotels, with long
wide piazzas looking out upon the sea; a beautiful beach sloping down
to the water, covered with bathing-houses, and a hundred merry groups
scattered here and there; young people engaged in mild flirtations,
which were quite harmless, since old dowagers sat looking on with
watchful eyes. Altogether it was a very pretty scene, such as it does
one good to see, as it shows that all life and happiness are not gone
out of this weary world.

As we drove back to the Hague, we met the royal carriage with the
Queen, who was taking her evening drive--a lady with a good motherly
face, who is greatly esteemed, not only in Holland, but in England,
for her intelligence and her many virtues. She is a woman of literary
tastes, and is fond of literary society. I infer that she is a friend
of our countryman, Mr. Motley, who has done so much to illustrate the
history of Holland, from seeing his portrait the next day at her
Palace in the Wood--which was the more remarkable as hanging on the
wall of one of the principal apartments _alone_, no other portrait
being beside it, and few indeed anywhere, except of members of the
royal family.

This "Wood," where this summer palace stands, is one of the features
of the Hague. It is called the Queen's Wood, and is quite worthy of
its royal name, being a forest chiefly of beech-trees, through which
long avenues open a retreat into the densest silence and shade. It is
a great resort for the people of the Hague, and thither we drove after
we came in from Scheveningen. An open space was brilliantly lighted
up, and the military band was playing, and a crowd of people were
sitting in the open air, or under the trees, sipping their coffee or
ices, and listening to the music, which rang through the forest
aisles. It would be difficult to find, in a place of the size of the
Hague, a more brilliant company.

But it was not fashion that we were looking for, but historical places
and associations. So the next morning we took a carriage and a guide
and drove out to Delft, to see the spot where William the Silent, the
great Prince of Orange, on whose life it seemed the fate of the
Netherlands hung, was assassinated; and the church where he was
buried, and where, after three hundred years, his spirit still rules
from its urn.

Returning to the city, we sought out--as more interesting than Royal
Palaces or the Picture Gallery, though we did justice to both--the
houses of the great commoners, John and Cornelius De Witt, who, after
lives of extraordinary devotion to the public good, were torn to
pieces by an infuriated populace; and of Barneveld, who, after saving
Holland by his wisdom and virtue, was executed on some technical and
frivolous charge. We saw the very spot where he died, and the window
out of which Maurice (the son of the great William) looked on at this
judicial murder--the only stain on his long possession of the chief
executive power.

Leaving the Hague with its tragic and its heroic memories, we take our
last view of Holland in Amsterdam. Was there ever such a queer old
place? It is like the earth of old--"standing out of the water and in
the water." It is intersected with canals, which are filled with
boats, loading and unloading. The whole city is built on piles, which
sometimes sink into the mud, causing the superincumbent structures to
incline forward like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In fact, the houses
appear to be drunk, and not to be able to stand on their pins. They
lean towards each other across the narrow streets, till they almost
touch, and indeed seem like old topers, that cannot stand up straight,
but can only just hold on by the lamp-post, and are nodding to each
other over the way. I should think that in some places a long
Dutchman's pipe could be held out of one window, and be smoked by a
man on the other side of the street.

But in spite of all that, in these old tumble-down houses, under these
red-tiled roofs, there dwells a brave, honest, free people; a people
that are slaves to no master; that fear God, and know no other fear;
and that have earned their right to a place in this world by hard
blows on the field of battle, and on every field of human industry--on
land and on sea--and that are to-day one of the freest and happiest
people on the round earth.

How we wished last evening that we had some of our American friends
with us, as we rode about this old city--along by the canals, over the
bridges, down to the harbor, and then for miles along the great
embankment that keeps out the sea. There are the ships coming and
going to all parts of the earth--the constant and manifold proofs that
Holland is still a great commercial country.

And to-day we wished for those friends again, as we rode to Broek, the
quaintest and queerest little old place that ever was seen--that looks
like a baby-house made of Dutch tiles. It is said to be the cleanest
place in the world, in which respect it is like those Shaker houses,
where every tin pan is scoured daily, and every floor is as white as
broom and mop can make it. We rode back past miles of fertile meadows,
all wrung from the sea, where cattle were cropping the rich grass on
what was once the bottom of the deep; and thus on every hand were the
signs of Dutch thrift and abundance.

And so we take our leave of Holland with a most friendly feeling. We
are glad to have seen a country where there is so much liberty, so
much independence, and such universal industry and comfort. To be
sure, an American would find life here rather _slow_; it would seem to
him as if he were being drawn in a low and heavy boat with one horse
through a stagnant canal; but _they_ don't feel so, and so they are
happy. Blessings on their honest hearts! Blessings on the stout old
country, on the lusty burghers, and buxom women, with faces round as
the harvest moon! Now that we are going away, the whole land seems to
relax into a broad smile; the very cattle look happy, as they recline
in the fat meadows and chew the cud of measureless content; the storks
seem sorry to have us go, and sail around on lazy wing, as if to give
us a parting salutation; and even the windmills begin to creak on
their hinges, and with their long arms wave us a kind farewell.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE NEW GERMANY AND ITS CAPITAL.


     BERLIN, August 5th.

The greatest political event of the last ten years in Europe--perhaps
the greatest since the battle of Waterloo--is the sudden rise and
rapid development of the German Empire. When Napoleon was overthrown
in 1815, and the allies marched to Paris, the sovereignty of Europe,
and the peace of the world, was supposed to be entrusted to the Five
Great Powers, and of these five the least in importance was Prussia.
Both Russia and Austria considered themselves giants beside her;
England had furnished the conqueror of Waterloo, and the troops which
bore the brunt of that terrible day, and the money that had carried on
a twenty years' war against Napoleon; and even France, terribly
exhausted as she was, drained of her best blood, yet, as she had stood
so long against all Europe combined, might have considered herself
still a match for any one of her enemies _alone_, and certainly for
the weakest of them all, Prussia. Yet to-day this, which was the
weakest of kingdoms, has grown to be the greatest power in Europe--a
power which has crushed Austria, which has crushed France, which
Russia treats with infinite respect, and which would despise the
interference of England in Continental affairs.

This acquisition of power, though recent in its manifestation, has
been of slow growth. The greatness of Prussia may be said to have been
born of its very humiliation. It was after its utter overthrow at the
battle of Jena, in 1806, when Napoleon marched to Berlin, levied
enormous subsidies, and appropriated such portions of the kingdom as
he pleased, that the rulers of Prussia saw that the reconstruction of
their State must begin from the very bottom, and went to work to
educate the people and reorganize the army. The result of this severe
discipline and long military training was seen when, sixty years after
Jena, Prussia in a six weeks' campaign laid Austria at her feet, and
was only kept from taking Vienna by the immediate conclusion of peace.
Four years later came the French war, when King William avenged the
insults to his royal mother by Napoleon the First--whose brutality, it
is said, broke the proud spirit of the beautiful Queen Louise, and
sent her to an early grave--in the terrible humiliation he
administered to Napoleon the Third.

But such triumphs were not wrought by military organization alone, but
by other means for developing the life and vigor of the German race,
especially by a system of universal education, which is the admiration
of the world. The Germans conquered the French, not merely because
they were better soldiers, but because they were more intelligent men,
who knew how to read and write, and who could act more efficiently
because they acted intelligently.

With her common schools and her perfect military organization, Prussia
has combined great political sagacity, by which the fortunes of other
States have been united with her own. Such stupendous achievements as
were seen in the French war, were not wrought by Prussia alone, but by
all Germany. It was in foresight and anticipation of just such a
contingency that Bismarck had long before entered into an alliance
with the lesser German States, by which, in the event of war, they
were all to act together; and thus, when the Prussian army entered the
field, it was supported by powerful allies from Saxony and Würtemberg
and Bavaria.

And so when the war was over, out of the old Confederation arose an
EMPIRE, and the King of Prussia was invited to take upon himself the
more august title of Emperor of Germany--a title which recalls the
line of the Cæsars; and thus has risen up, in the very heart of the
Continent--like an island thrown up by a volcano in the midst of the
sea--a power which is to-day the most formidable in Europe.

As Protestants, we cannot but feel a degree of satisfaction that this
controlling power should be centred in a Protestant State, rather than
in France or Austria; although I should be sorry to think that our
Protestant principles oblige us to approve every high-handed measure
undertaken against the Catholics. We in America believe in perfect
liberty in religious matters, and are scrupulous to give to others the
same freedom that we demand for ourselves. Of course the relations of
things are somewhat changed in a country where the Church is allied
with the State, and the ministers of religion are supported by the
Government. But, without entering into the question which so agitates
Germany at the present moment, our natural sympathies, both as
Protestants and as Americans, must always be on the side of the
fullest religious liberty.

Besides the Church question there are other grave problems raised by
the present state of Germany:--such as, whether the Empire is likely
to endure, or to be broken to pieces by the jealousy of the smaller
States of the preponderance of Prussia? and whether peace will
continue, or there will be a general war? But these are rather large
questions to be dispatched in a few pages. They are questions that
will _keep_, and may be discussed a year hence as well as to-day, _and
better_--since we may then regard them by the light of accomplished
_events_; whereas now we should have to indulge too much in
_prophecies_. I prefer therefore, instead of undertaking to give
lessons of political wisdom, to entertain my readers with a brief
description of Berlin.

This can never be the most beautiful of European cities, even if it
should come in time to be the largest, for its situation is very
unfavorable; it lies too low. It seems strange that this spot should
ever have been chosen for the site of a great city. It has no
advantages of position whatever, except that it is on the little river
Spree. But having chosen this flat _prairie_, they have made the most
of it. It has been laid out in large spaces, with long, wide streets.
At first, it must have been, like Washington, a city of magnificent
distances, but in the course of a hundred years these distances have
been filled up with buildings, many of them of fine architecture, so
that gradually the city has taken on a stately appearance. Since I was
here in 1858, it has enlarged on every side; new streets and squares
have added to the size and the magnificence of the capital; and the
military element is more conspicuous than ever; "the man on horseback"
is seen everywhere. Nor is this strange, for in that time the country
has had two great wars, and the German armies, returning triumphant
from hard campaigns, have filed in endless procession, with banners
torn with shot and shell, through the Unter den Linden, past the
statue of the great Frederick, out of the Brandenburg gate to the
Thiergarten, where now a lofty column (like that in the Place Vendôme
at Paris), surmounted by a flaming statue of Victory, commemorates the
triumph of the German arms.

Of course we did our duty heroically in the way of seeing sights--such
as the King's Castle and the Museum. But I confess I felt more
interest in seeing the great University, which has been the home of so
many eminent scholars, and is the chief seat of learning on the
Continent, than in seeing the Palace; and in riding by the plain house
in a quiet street, where Bismarck lives, than in seeing all the
mansions of the Royal Princes, with soldiers keeping guard before the
gates.

The most interesting place in the neighborhood of Berlin, of course,
is Potsdam, with its historical associations, especially with its
memories of Frederick the Great. The day we spent there was full of
interest. An hour was given to the New Palace--that is, one that _was_
new a hundred years ago, but which at present is kept more for show
than for use, though one wing is occupied by the Crown Prince.
Externally it has no architectural beauty whatever, nothing to render
it imposing but _size_; but the interior shows many stately
apartments. One of these, called the Grotto, is quite unique, the
walls being crusted with shells and all manner of stones, so that,
entering here, one might feel that he had found some cave of the
ocean, dripping with coolness, and, when lighted up, reflecting from
all its precious stones a thousand splendors. It was here that the
Emperor entertained the King of Sweden at a royal banquet a few weeks
ago. But palaces are pretty much all the same; we wander through
endless apartments, rich with gilding and ornament, till we are weary
of all this grandeur, and are glad when we light on some quiet nook, like
the modest little palace--if palace it may be called--Charlottenhof,
where Alexander von Humboldt lived and wrote his works. I found more
interest in seeing the desk on which he wrote his Kosmos, and the
narrow bed on which the great man slept (he did not need much of a
bed, since he slept only four hours), than in all the grand state
apartments of ordinary kings.

But Frederick the Great was not an ordinary king, and the palace in
which _he_ lived is invested with the interest of an extraordinary
personality. Walking a mile through a park of noble trees, we come to
_Sans Souci_ (a pretty name, _Without Care_). This is much smaller
than the New Palace, but it is more home-like--it was built by
Frederick the Great for his own residence, and here he spent the last
years of his life. Every room is connected with him. In this he gave
audience to foreign ministers; at this desk he wrote. This is the room
occupied by Voltaire, whom Frederick, worshipping his genius, had
invited to Potsdam, but who soon got tired of his royal patron (as the
other perhaps got tired of _him_), and ended the romantic friendship
by running away. And here is the room in which the great king breathed
his last. He died sitting in his chair, which still bears the stains
of his blood, for his physicians had bled him. At that moment, they
tell us, a little mantel clock, which Frederick always wound up with
his own hand, stopped, and there it stands now, with its fingers
pointing to the very hour and minute when he died. That was ninety
years ago, and yet almost every day of every year since strangers have
entered that room, to see where this king, this leader of armies, met
a greater Conqueror than he, and bowed his royal head to the
inevitable Destroyer.

But that was not the last king who died in this palace. When we were
here in 1858, the present Emperor was not on the throne, but his elder
brother, whose private apartments we then saw; and now we were shown
them again, with only this added: "In this room the old king died; in
that very bed he breathed his last." All remains just as he left it;
his military cap, with his gloves folded beside it; and here is a cast
of his face taken after his death. So do they preserve his memory,
while the living form returns no more.

From the palace of the late king we drove to that of the present
Emperor. Babelsberg is still more interesting than Sans Souci, as it
is associated with living personages, who occupy the most exalted
stations. It is the home of the Emperor himself when at Potsdam. It is
not so large as the New Palace, but, like Sans Souci, seems designed
more for comfort than for grandeur. It was built by King William
himself, according to his own taste, and has in it all the
appointments of an elegant home. The site is beautiful. It stands on
elevated ground (it seems a commanding eminence compared with the flat
country around Berlin), and looks out on a prospect in which a noble
park, and green slopes, descending to lovely bits of water, unite to
form what may be called an English landscape--like that from Richmond
on the Hill, or some scene in the Lake District of England. The house
is worthy of such surroundings. We were fortunate in being there when
the Family were absent. The Empress was expected home in a day or two;
they were preparing the rooms for her return; and the Emperor was to
follow the next week, when of course the house would be closed to
visitors. But now we were admitted, and shown through, not only the
State apartments, but the private rooms. Such an inspection of the
_home_ of a royal family gives one some idea of their domestic life;
we seem to see the interior of the household. In this case the
impression was most charming. While there was very little that was for
show, there was everything that was tasteful and refined and elegant.
It was pleasant to hear the attendant who showed us the rooms speak in
terms of such admiration, and even affection, of the Emperor, as "a
very kind man." One who is thus beloved by his dependents, by every
member of his household, cannot but have some excellent traits of
character. We were shown the drawing-room and the library, and the
private study of the Emperor, the chair in which he sits, the desk at
which he writes, and the table around which he gathers his
ministers--Bismarck and Moltke, etc. We were shown also what a New
England housekeeper would call the "living rooms," where he dined and
where he slept. The ladies of our party declared that the bed did not
answer at all to their ideas of royal luxury, or even comfort, the
sturdy old Emperor having only a single mattress under him, and that a
pretty hard one. Perhaps however he despises luxury, and prefers to
harden himself, like Napoleon, or the Emperor Nicholas, who slept on a
camp bedstead. He is certainly very plain in his habits and simple in
his tastes. Descending the staircase, the attendant took from a corner
and put in our hand the Emperor's cane. It was a rough stick, such as
any dandy in New York would have despised, but the old man had cut it
himself many years ago, and now he always has it in his hand when he
walks abroad. And there through the window we look down into the
poultry yard, where the Empress, we were told, feeds her chickens
with her own hand every morning. I was glad to hear this of the grand
old lady. It shows a kind heart, and how, after all, for the greatest
as well as the humblest of mankind, the simplest pleasures are the
sweetest. I dare say she takes more pleasure in feeding her chickens
than in presiding at the tedious court ceremonies. Such little touches
give a most pleasant impression of the simple home-life of the Royal
House of Prussia.

Our last visit was to the tomb of Frederick the Great, who is buried
in the Garrison Church. There is nothing about it imposing to the
imagination, as in the tomb of Napoleon at Paris. It is only a little
vault, which a woman opens with a key, and lights a tallow candle, and
you lay your hand on the metallic coffin of the great King. There he
lies--that fiery spirit that made war for the love of war, that
attacked Austria, and seized Silesia, more for the sake of the
excitement of the thing, and, as he confessed, "to make people talk
about him," than because he had the slightest pretence to that
Austrian province; who, though he wanted to be a soldier, yet in his
first battle ran away as fast as his horse could carry him, and hid
himself in a barn; but who afterwards recovered control of himself,
and became the greatest captain of his time. He it was who carried
through the Seven Years' War, not only against Austria, but against
Europe, and who held Silesia against them all. "The Continent in
arms," says Macaulay, "could not tear it from that iron grasp." But
now the warrior is at rest; that figure, long so well known, no more
rides at the head of armies. In this bronze coffin lies all that
remains of Frederick the Great:

     "He sleeps his last sleep, he has fought his last battle,
     No sound shall awake him to glory again."

Speaking of tombs--as of late my thoughts "have had much discourse
with death"--the most beautiful which I have ever seen anywhere is
that of Queen Louise, the mother of the present Emperor, in the
Mausoleum at Charlottenburg. The statue of the Queen is by the famous
German sculptor, Rauch. When I first saw it years ago, it left such an
impression that I could not leave Berlin without seeing it again and
we drove out of the city several miles for the purpose. It is in the
grounds attached to one of the royal palaces but we did not care to
see any more palaces, if only we could look again on that pure white
marble form. At the end of a long avenue of trees is the Mausoleum--a
small building devoted only to royal sepulture--and there, in a
subdued light, stretched upon her tomb, lies the beautiful Queen. Her
personal loveliness is a matter of tradition; it is preserved in
innumerable portraits, which show that she was one of the most
beautiful women of her time. That beauty is preserved in the reclining
statue. The head rests on a marble pillow, and is turned a little to
one side, so as to show the perfect symmetry of the Grecian outlines.
It is a sweet, sad face (for she had sorrows that broke her queenly
heart); but now her trials are ended, and how calmly and peacefully
she sleeps! The form is drooping, as if she slumbered on her bed; she
seems almost to breathe; hush, the marble lips are going to speak! Was
there ever such an expression of perfect repose? It makes one "half in
love with blissful death." It brought freshly to mind the lines of
Shelley in Queen Mab:

     How wonderful is Death!
       Death and his brother Sleep!
     One, pale as yonder waning moon,
       With lips of lurid blue;
       The other, rosy as the morn
     When throned on ocean's wave,
       It blushes o'er the world:
     Yet both so passing wonderful!

By the side of the statue of the Queen reposes, on another tomb, that
of her husband--a noble figure in his military cloak, with his hands
folded on his breast. The King survived the Queen thirty years. She
died in her youth, in 1810; he lived till 1840; but his heart was in
her tomb, and it is fitting that now they sleep together.

On the principle of rhetoric, that a description should end with that
which leaves the deepest impression, I end my letter here, with the
softened light of that Mausoleum falling on that breathing marble; for
in all my memories of Berlin, no one thing--neither palace, nor
museum, nor the statue of Frederick the Great, nor the Column of
Victory--has left in me so deep a feeling as the silent form of that
beautiful Queen. Queen Louise is a marked figure in German history,
being invested with touching interest by her beauty and her sorrow,
and early death. I like to think of such a woman as the mother of a
royal race, now actors on the stage. It cannot but be that the memory
of her beauty, associated with her patriotism, her courage, and her
devotion, should long remain an inheritance of that royal line, and
their most precious inspiration. May the young princes, growing up to
be future kings and emperors, as they gather round her tomb, tenderly
cherish her memory and imitate her virtues!



CHAPTER XV.

AUSTRIA--OLD AND NEW.


     VIENNA, August 12th.

We are taking such a wide sweep through Central Europe, travelling
from city to city, and country to country, that my materials
accumulate much faster than I can use them. There are three cities
which I should be glad to describe in detail--Hamburg, Dresden, and
Prague. Hamburg, to which we came from Amsterdam, perhaps appears more
beautiful from the contrast, and remains in our memory as the fairest
city of the North. Dresden, the capital of Saxony, is also a beautiful
city, and attracts a great number of English and American residents by
its excellent opportunities of education, and from its treasures of
art, in which it is richer than any other city in Germany. Our stay
there was made most pleasant by an American family whom we had known
on the other side of the Atlantic, who gave us a cordial welcome, and
under whose roof we felt how sweet is the atmosphere of an American
home. The same friends, when we left, accompanied us on our way into
the Saxon Switzerland, conducting us to the height of the Bastei, a
huge cliff, which from the very top of a mountain overhangs the Elbe,
which winds its silver current through the valley below, while on the
other side of the river the fortress-crowned rock of Konigstein lifts
up its head, like Edinburgh Castle, to keep ward and watch over the
beautiful kingdom of Saxony.

And there is dear old Prague, rusty and musty, that in some quarters
has such a tumble down air that it seems as if it were to be given up
to Jews, who were going to convert it into a huge Rag Fair for the
sale of old clothes, and yet that in other quarters has new streets
and new squares, and looks as if it had caught a little of the spirit
of the modern time. But the interest of Prague to a stranger must be
chiefly historical--for what it has been rather than for what it is.
These associations are so many and so rich, that to one familiar with
them, the old churches and bridges, and towers and castles, are full
of stirring memories. As we rode across the bridge, from which St.
John of Nepomuc was thrown into the river, five hundred years ago,
because he would not betray to a wicked king the secret which the
queen had confided to him in the confessional, up to the Cathedral
where a gorgeous shrine of silver keeps his dust, and perpetuates his
memory, the lines of Longfellow were continually running in my mind:

     I have read in some old marvellous tale,
       Some legend strange and vague,
     That a midnight host of spectres pale
       Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

     Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
       With the wan moon overhead,
     There stood, as in an awful dream,
       The army of the dead.

It needs but little imagination on the spot to call up indeed an "army
of the dead." Standing on this old bridge, one could almost hear,
above the rushing Moldau, the drums of Zisca calling the Hussites to
arms on the neighboring heights, a battle sound answered in a later
century by the cannon of Frederick the Great. Above us is the vast
pile of the Hradschin, the abode of departed royalties, where but a
few weeks ago poor old Ferdinand, the ex-Emperor of Austria, breathed
his last. He was almost an imbecile, who sat for many years on the
throne as a mere figurehead of the State, and who was perfectly
harmless, since he had little more to do with the Government than if
he had been a log of wood; but who, when the great events of 1848
threatened the overthrow of the Empire, was hurried out of the way to
make room for younger blood, and his nephew, Francis Joseph, came to
the throne. He lived to be eighty-two years old, yet so utterly
insignificant was he that almost the only thing he ever said that
people remember, was a remark that at one time made the laugh of
Vienna. Once in a country place he tasted of some dumplings, a
wretched compound of garlic and all sorts of vile stuff, but which
pleased the royal taste, and which on his return to Vienna he ordered
for the royal table, greatly to the disgust of his attendants, to whom
he replied, "I am Kaiser, and I will have my dumplings!" This got out,
and caused infinite merriment. Poor old man! I hope he had his
dumplings to the last. He was a weak, simple creature; but he is gone,
and has been buried with royal honors, and sleeps with the Imperial
house of Austria in the crypt of the Church of the Capuchins in
Vienna.

But all these memories of Prague, personal or historical, recent or
remote, I must leave, to come at once to the Austrian capital, one of
the most interesting cities of Europe. Vienna is a far more
picturesque city than Berlin. It is many times older. It was a great
city in the Middle Ages, when Berlin had no existence. The Cathedral
of St. Stephen was erected hundreds of years before the Elector of
Brandenburg chose the site of a town on the Spree, or Peter the Great
began to build St. Petersburg on the banks of the Neva. Vienna has
played a great part in European history. It long stood as a barrier
against Moslem invasion. Less than two hundred years ago it was
besieged by the Turks, and nothing but its heroic resistance, aided by
the Poles, under John Sobieski, prevented the irruption of Asiatic
barbarians into Central Europe. From the tower of St. Stephen's
anxious watchers have often marked the tide of battle, as it ebbed and
flowed around the ancient capital, from the time when the plain of
the Marchfeld was covered with the tents of the Moslems, to that when
the armies of Napoleon, matched against those of Austria, fought the
terrible battles of Aspern, Essling, and Wagram.

But if Vienna is an old city, it is also a new one. In revisiting
Germany, I am constantly struck with the contrast between what I see
now, and what I saw in 1858. Then Vienna was a pleasant, old-fashioned
city, not too large for comfort, strongly fortified, like most of the
cities of the Middle Ages, with high walls and a deep moat
encompassing it on all sides. Now all has disappeared--the moat has
been filled up, and the walls have been razed to the ground, and where
they stood is a circle of broad streets called the Ring-strasse, like
the Boulevards of Paris. The city thus let loose has burst out on all
sides, and great avenues and squares, and parks and gardens, have
sprung into existence on every hand. The result is a far more
magnificent capital than the Vienna which I knew seventeen years ago.

Nor are the changes less in the country than in the capital. There
have been wars and revolutions, which have shaken the Empire so that
its very existence was in danger, but out of which it has come
stronger than ever. Austria is the most remarkable example in Europe
of _the good effects of a thorough beating_. Twice, since I was here
before, she has had a terrible humiliation--in 1859 and in 1866--at
Solferino and at Sadowa.

In 1858 Austria was slowly recovering from the terrible shock of ten
years before, the Revolutionary Year of 1848. In '49 was the war in
Hungary, when Kossuth with his fiery eloquence roused the Magyars to
arms, and they fought with such vigor and success, that they
threatened to march on Vienna, and the independence of Hungary might
have been secured but for the intervention of Russia. Gorgei
surrendered to a Russian army. Then came a series of bloody
executions. The Hungarian leaders who fell into the hands of the
Austrians, found no pity. The illustrious Count Louis Batthyani was
sent to the scaffold. Kossuth escaped only by fleeing into Turkey.
Gen. Bem turned Mussulman, saying that "his only religion was love of
liberty and hatred of tyranny," and served as a Pacha at the head of a
Turkish army. It is a curious illustration of the change that a few
years have wrought, that Count Andrassy, who was concerned with
Batthyani in the same rebellion, and was also sentenced to death, but
escaped, is now the Prime Minister of Austria. But then vengeance
ruled the hour. The bravest Hungarian generals were shot--chiefly, it
was said at the time, by the Imperious will of the Archduchess Sophia,
the mother of Francis Joseph. There is no hatred like a woman's, and
she could not forego the savage delight of revenge on those who had
dared to attack the power of Austria. Proud daughter of the Cæsars!
she was yet to taste the bitterness of a like cruelty, when her own
son, Maximilian, bared his breast to a file of Mexican soldiers, and
found no mercy. I thought of this to-day, as I saw in the burial-place
of the Imperial family, near the coffin of that haughty and
unforgiving woman, the coffin of her son, whose poor body lies there
pierced with a dozen balls.

But for the time Austria was victorious, and in the flush of the
reaction which was felt throughout Europe, began to revive the old
Imperial absolutism, the stern repression of liberty of speech and of
the press, the system of passports and of spies, of jealous
watchfulness by the police, and of full submission to the Church of
Rome.

Such was the state of things in 1858; and such it might have remained
if the possessors of power had not been rudely awakened from their
dreams. How well I remember the sense of triumph and power of that
year. The empire of Austria had been fully restored, including not
only its present territory, but the fairest portion of Italy--Lombardy
and Venice. To complete the joy of the Imperial house, an heir had
just been born to the throne. I was present in the cathedral of Milan
when a solemn Te Deum was performed in thanksgiving for that crowning
gift. Maximilian was then Viceroy in Lombardy. I see him now as, with
his young bride Carlotta, he walked slowly up that majestic aisle,
surrounded by a brilliant staff of officers, to give thanks to
Almighty God for an event which seemed to promise the continuance of
the royal house of Austria, and of its Imperial power to future
generations. Alas for human foresight! In less than one year the
armies of France had crossed the Alps, a great battle had been fought
at Solferino, and Lombardy was forever lost to Austria, and a Te Deum
was performed in the cathedral of Milan for a very different occasion,
but with still more enthusiastic rejoicing.

But that was not the end of bitterness. Austria was not yet
sufficiently humiliated. She still clung to her old arbitrary system,
and was to be thoroughly converted only by another administration of
discipline. She had still another lesson to learn, and that was to
come from another source, a power still nearer home. Though driven out
of a part of Italy, Austria was still the great power in Germany. She
was the most important member of the Germanic Confederation, as she
had a vote in the Diet at Frankfort proportioned to her population,
although two-thirds of her people were not Germans. The Hungarians and
the Bohemians are of other races, and speak other languages. But by
the dexterous use of this power, with the alliance of Bavaria and
other smaller States, Austria was able always to control the policy
and wield the influence of Germany. Prussia was continually outvoted,
and her political influence reduced to nothing--a state of things
which became the more unendurable the more she grew in strength, and
became conscious of her power. At length her statesmen saw that the
only hope of Prussia to gain her rightful place and power in the
councils of Europe, was _to drive Austria out of Germany_--to compel
her to withdraw entirely from the Confederation. It was a bold design.
Of course it meant war; but for this Prussia had been long preparing.
Suddenly, like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, came the war of 1866.
Scarcely was it announced before a mighty army marched into Bohemia,
and the battle of Sadowa, the greatest in Europe since Waterloo, ended
the campaign. In six weeks all was over. The proud house of Austria
was humbled in the dust. Her great army, that was to capture Berlin,
was crushed in one terrible day, and the Prussians were on the march
for Vienna, when their further advance was stopped by the conclusion
of peace.

This was a fearful overthrow for Austria. But good comes out of evil.
It was the day of deliverance for Hungary and for Italy. Man's
extremity is God's opportunity, and the king's extremity is liberty's
opportunity. Up to this hour Francis Joseph had obstinately refused to
grant to Hungary that separate government to which she had a right by
the ancient constitution of the kingdom, but which she had till then
vainly demanded. But at length the eyes of the young emperor were
opened, and on the evening of that day which saw the annihilation of
his military power, it is said, he sent for Deak, the leader of the
Hungarians, and asked "If he should _then_ concede all that they had
asked, if they would rally to his support so as to save him?" "Sire,"
said the stern Hungarian leader, "_it is too late_!" Nothing remained
for the proud Hapsburg but to throw himself on the mercy of the
conqueror, and obtain such terms as he could. Venice was signed away
at a stroke. In his despair he telegraphed to Paris, giving that
beautiful province to Napoleon, to secure the support of France in his
extremity, who immediately turned it over to Victor Emmanuel, thus
completing the unity of Italy.

The results in Germany were not less important. As the fruit of this
short, but decisive campaign, Austria, besides paying a large
indemnity for the expenses of the war, finally withdrew wholly from
the German Confederation, leaving Prussia master of the field, which
proceeded at once to form a new Confederation with itself at the head.

After such repeated overthrows and humiliations, one would suppose
that Austria was utterly ruined, and that the proud young emperor
would die of shame. But, "sweet are the uses of adversity."
Humiliation is sometimes good for nations as for individuals, and
never was it more so than now. The impartial historian will record
that these defeats were Austria's salvation. The loss of Italy,
however mortifying to her pride, was only taking away a source of
constant trouble and discontent, and leaving to the rest of the empire
a much more perfect unity than it had before.

So with the independence of Hungary; while it was an apparent loss, it
was a real gain. The Magyars at last obtained what they had so long
been seeking--a separate administration, and Francis Joseph, Emperor
of Austria, was crowned at Pesth, King of Hungary. By this act of wise
conciliation five millions of the bravest people in Europe were
converted from disaffected, if not disloyal, subjects, into contented
and warmly attached supporters of the House of Austria, the most
devoted as they are the most warlike defenders of the throne and the
Empire.

Another result of this war was the emancipation of the Emperor himself
from the Pope. Till then, Austria had been one of the most extreme
Catholic powers in Europe. Not Spain itself had been a more servile
adherent of Rome. The Concordat gave all ecclesiastical appointments
to the Pope. But the thunder of the guns of Sadowa destroyed a great
many illusions--among them that of a ghostly power at Rome, which had
to be conciliated as the price of temporal prosperity as well as of
eternal salvation. This illusion is now gone; the Concordat has been
repealed, and Austria has a voice in the appointment of her own
bishops. The late Prime Minister, Count Beust, was a Protestant. In
her treatment of different religious faiths, Austria is so liberal as
to give great sorrow to the Holy Father, who regards it as almost a
kingdom that has apostatized from the faith.

The same liberality exists in other things. There is none of the petty
tyranny which in former days vexed the souls of foreigners, by its
strict surveillance and espionage. Now no man in a cocked hat demands
your passport as you enter the city, nor asks how long you intend to
stay; no agent of the police hangs about your table at a public café
to overhear your private conversation, and learn if you are a
political emissary, a conspirator in disguise; no officer in the
street taps you on your shoulder to warn you not to speak so loud, or
to be more careful of what you say. You are as free to come and go as
in America, while the restrictions of the Custom House are far less
annoying and vexatious than in the United States. All this is the
blessed fruit of Austria's humiliation.

It should be said to the praise of the Emperor, that he has taken his
discipline exceedingly well. He has not pouted or sulked, like an
angry schoolboy, or refused to have anything to do with the powers
which have inflicted upon him such grievous humiliations. He has the
good sense to recognize the political necessities of States as
superior to the feelings of individuals. Kings, like other men, must
bow to the inevitable. Accordingly he makes the best of the case. He
did not refuse to meet Napoleon after the battle of Solferino, but
held an interview of some hours at Villafranca, in which, without long
preliminaries, they agreed on an immediate peace. He afterwards
visited his brother Emperor in Paris at the time of the Great
Exposition in 1867. Within the last year he has paid a visit to Victor
Emmanuel at Venice, and been received with the utmost enthusiasm by
the Italian people. They can afford to welcome him now that he is no
longer their master. Since they have not to see in him a despotic
ruler, they hail him as the nation's guest, and as he sails up the
Grand Canal, receive him with loud cheers and waving of banners. And
he has received more than once the visits of the Emperor William, who
came to Vienna at the time of the Exposition two years since, and who
has met him at a watering-place this summer, of which the papers gave
full accounts, dwelling on their hearty cordiality, as shown in their
repeated hand-shakings and embracings. It may be said that these are
little things, but they are not little things, for such personal
courtesies have a great deal to do with the peace of nations.

In another respect, the discipline of adversity has been most useful
to Austria. By hard blows it has knocked the military spirit out of
her, and led her to "turn her thoughts on peace." Of course the
military element is still very strong. Vienna is full of soldiers.
Every morning we hear the drum beat under our windows, and files of
soldiers go marching through the streets. Huge barracks are in every
part of the city, and a general parade would show a force of many
thousands of men. The standing army of Austria is one of the largest
in Europe. But in spite of all this parade and show, the military
_spirit_ is much less rampant than before. Nobody wants to go to war
with any of the Great Powers. They have had enough of war for the
present.

Austria has learned that there is another kind of greatness for
nations than that gained in fighting battles, viz., cultivating the
arts of peace. Hence it is that within the last nine years, while
there have been no victories abroad, there have been great victories
at home. There has been an enormous development of the internal
resources of the country. Railroads have been extended all over the
Empire; commerce has been quickened to a new life. Great steamers
passing up and down the Danube, exchange the products of the East and
the West, of Europe and Asia. Enterprises of all kinds have been
encouraged. The result was shown in the Exposition of two years ago,
when there was collected in this city such a display of the products
of all lands, as the world had never seen. Those who had been at all
the Great Exhibitions said that it far surpassed those of London and
Paris. All the luxurious fabrics of the East, and all the most
delicate and the most costly products of the West, the fruit of
manifold inventions and discoveries--with all that had been achieved in
the useful arts, the arts whose success constitutes civilization--were
there spread before the dazzled eye. Such a Victory of Peace could not
have been achieved without the previous lesson of Defeat in War.

Still further learning wisdom from her conquerors, Austria has entered
upon a general system of education, modelled upon that of Prussia,
which in the course of another generation will transform the
heterogeneous populations spread over the vast provinces, extending
from Italy and Germany to Turkey, which make up the thirty-four
millions of the Austrian Empire.

Thus in many ways Austria has abandoned her traditional conservative
policy, and entered on the road of progress. She may now be fairly
reckoned among the liberal nations of Europe. The Roman Catholic
religion is still the recognized religion of the State, but the Pope
has lost that control which he had a few years ago; Vienna is much
more independent of Rome, and Protestants have quite as much liberty
of _opinion_, and I think more liberty of _worship_, than in
Republican France.

Of course there is still much in the order of things which is not
according to our American ideas. Austria is an ancient monarchy, and
all civil and even social relations are framed on the monarchical
system. Everything revolves around the Emperor, as the centre of the
whole. We visit palace after palace, and are told that all are for the
Emperor. Even his stables are one of the sights of Vienna, where
hundreds of blooded horses are for the use of the Imperial household.
There are carriages, too many to be counted, covered with gold, for
four, six, or eight horses. One of these is two hundred years old,
with panels decorated with paintings by Rubens. It seems, indeed, as
if in these old monarchies the sovereign applied to himself, with an
arrogance approaching to blasphemy, the language which belongs to God
alone--that "of him, and through him, and to him, are all things."

Personally I can well believe that the Emperor is a very amiable as
well as highly intelligent man, and that he seeks the good of his
people. He has been trained in the school of adversity, and has
learned that empires may not last forever and that dynasties may be
overthrown. History is full of warnings against royal pride and
ambition. Who can stand by the coffin of poor Maria Louisa, as it lies
in the crypt of the Church of the Capuchins, without thinking of the
strange fate of that descendant of Maria Theresa, married to the Great
Napoleon? In the Royal Treasury here, they show the cradle, wrought in
the rarest woods, inlaid with pearl and gold, and lined with silk,
that was made for the infant son of Napoleon, the little King of Rome.
What dreams of ambition hovered about that royal cradle! How strange
seemed the contrast when we visited the Palace at Schonbrunn, and
entered the room which Napoleon occupied when he besieged Vienna, and
saw the very bed in which he slept, and were told that in that same
bed the young Napoleon afterwards breathed his last! So perished the
dream of ambition. The young child for whom Napoleon had divorced
Josephine and married Maria Louisa, who was to perpetuate the proud
Imperial line, died far from France, while his father had already
ended his days on the rock of St. Helena!

But personally no one can help a kindly feeling towards the Emperor,
and towards the young Empress also, as he hears of her virtues and her
charities.

Nor can one help liking the Viennese and the Austrians. They are very
courteous and very polite--rather more so, if the truth must be told,
than their German neighbors. Perhaps great prosperity has been bad for
the Prussians, as adversity has been good for the Austrians. At any
rate the former have the reputation in Europe of being somewhat
brusque in their manners. Perhaps they also need a lesson in
humiliation, which may come in due time. But the Austrians are
proverbially a polite people. They are more like the French. They are
gay and fond of pleasure, but they have that instinctive courtesy,
which gives such a charm to social intercourse.

And so we go away from Vienna with a kindly feeling for the dear old
city--only hoping it may not be spoiled by too many improvements--and
with best wishes for both Kaiser and people. They have had a hard
time, but it has done them good. By such harsh instruments, by a
discipline very bitter indeed, but necessary, has the life of this old
empire been renewed. Thus aroused from its lethargy, it has shaken off
the past, and entered on a course of peaceful progress with the
foremost nations of Europe. Those who talk of the "effete despotisms"
of the Old World, would be amazed at the signs of vitality in this old
but _not_ decaying empire. Austria is to-day one of the most
prosperous countries in Europe. There is fresh blood at her heart, and
fresh life coursing through her aged limbs. And though no man or
kingdom can be said to be master of the future, it has as fair a
chance of long existence as any other power on the continent. The form
of government may be changed; there may be internal revolutions;
Bohemia may obtain a separate government like Hungary; but whatever
may come, there will always be a great and powerful State in Eastern
Europe, on the waters of the Danube.

We observed to-day that they were repairing St Stephen's, and were
glad to think that that old cathedral, which has stood for so many
ages, and whose stone pavement has been worn by the feet of many
generations, may stand for a thousand years to come. May that tower,
which has looked down on so many battle-fields, as the tide of war
has ebbed and flowed around the walls of Vienna, hereafter behold from
its height no more scenes of carnage like that of Wagram, but only see
gathered around its base one of the most beautiful of European
capitals--the heart of a great and prosperous Empire.



CHAPTER XVI.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.--OUT-DOOR LIFE OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE.


     VIENNA, August 13th.

No description of Germany--no picture of German life and manners--can
be complete which does not give some account of the out-door
recreations of the people; for this is a large part of their
existence; it is a feature of their national character, and an
important element in their national life. To know a people well, one
must see them not only in business, but in their lighter hours. One
may travel through Germany from the Baltic to the Adriatic, and see
all the palaces and museums and picture galleries, and yet be wholly
ignorant of the people. But if he has the good fortune to know a
single German family of the better class, into which he may be
received, not as a stranger, but as a guest and a friend--where he can
see the interior of a German _home_, and mark the strong affection of
parents and children, of brothers and sisters--he will get a better
idea of the real character of the people, than by months of living in
hotels. Next to the sacred interior of the home, the _public garden_
is the place where the German appears with least formality and
disguise, and in his natural character.

Since I came to Europe, I have been in no mood to seek amusement.
Indeed if I had followed my own impulse, it would have been to shun
every public resort, to live a very solitary life, going only to the
most retired places, and seeking only absolute seclusion and repose.
But that is not good for us in moments of sorrow. The mind is apt to
become morbid and gloomy. This is not the lesson which those who have
gone before would have us learn. On the contrary, they desire to have
us happy, and bid us with their dying breath seek new activity, new
scenes, and new mental occupation, to bind us to life.

Besides, I have had not only myself to consider, but a young life
beside me. In addition to that, we have now a third member of our
party. At Hamburg we were joined by my nephew, a lieutenant in the
Navy, who is attached to the Flagship Franklin, now cruising in the
Baltic, and who obtained leave of absence for a month to join his
sister, and is travelling with us in Germany. He is a fine young
officer full of life, and enters into everything with the greatest
zest. So, beguiled by these two young spirits, I have been led to see
more than I otherwise should of the open-air life and recreations of
these simple-hearted Germans; and I will briefly describe what I have
seen, as the basis of one or two reflections.

To begin with Hamburg. This is one of the most beautiful cities in
Germany. One part is indeed old and dingy, in which the narrow streets
are overhung with houses of a former century, now gone to decay. But
as we go back from the river, we mount higher, and come into an
entirely different town, with wide streets, lined with large and
imposing buildings. This part of the city was swept by a great fire a
few years ago, and has been very handsomely rebuilt. But the peculiar
beauty of Hamburg is formed by a small stream, the Alster, which runs
through the city, and empties into the Elbe, and which is dammed up so
as to form what is called by courtesy a lake, and what is certainly a
very pretty sheet of water. Around this are grouped the largest
hotels, and some of the finest buildings of the city, and this is the
centre of its joyous life, especially at the close of the day. When
evening comes on, all Hamburg flocks to the "Alster-dam." Our hotel
was on this lake, and from our windows we had every evening the most
animated scene. The water was covered with boats, among which the
swans glided about without fear. The quays were lighted up
brilliantly, and the cafés swarmed with people, all enjoying the cool
evening air. Both sexes and all ages were abroad to share in the
general gayety of the hour.

Some rigid moralists might look upon this with stern eyes, as if it
were a scene of sinful enjoyment, as if men had no right thus to be
happy in this wicked world. But I confess I looked upon it with very
different feelings. The enjoyment was of the most simple and innocent
kind. Families were all together, father and mother, brothers and
sisters, while little children ran about at play. I have rarely looked
on a prettier scene, and although I had no part nor lot in it,
although I was a stranger there, and walked among these crowds alone,
still it did my heart good to see that there was so much happiness in
this sad and weary world.

From Hamburg we came to Berlin, where the same features were
reproduced on a larger scale. As we drove through the streets at ten
o'clock at night we passed a large public garden, brilliantly lighted
up, and thronged with people, from which came the sound of music, and
were told that it was one of the most fashionable resorts of the
capital; and so the next evening--after a day at Potsdam, where we
were wearied with sight-seeing--we took our rest here. Imagine a vast
enclosure lighted up with hundreds of gas-jets, and thronged with
thousands of people, with _three_ bands of music to relieve each
other. There were hundreds of little tables, each with its group
around it, all chatting with the utmost animation.

The next day we drove to Charlottenburg, to visit the old palaces and
the exquisite mausoleum of the beautiful Queen Louise, and on our
return stopped to take our dinner at the Flora--an enclosure of
several acres, laid out like a botanical garden. A large conservatory,
called the Palm Garden, keeps under cover such rare plants and trees
as would not grow in the cold climate; and here one is in a tropical
scene. This answers the purpose of a Winter Garden, as great banks of
flowers and of rare plants are in full bloom all the winter long; and
here the rank and fashion of Berlin can gather in winter, and with the
air filled with the perfume of flowers, forget the scene without--the
naked trees and bitter winds and drifting snows--while listening to
musical concerts given in an immense hall, capable of holding several
thousand people. These are the festivities of winter. But now, as it
is midsummer, the people prefer to be out of doors; and here, seated
among the rest, we take our dinner, entertained (as sovereigns are
wont to entertain their royal guests at State dinners) with a band of
music in the intervals of the feast, which gives a new zest, a touch
of Oriental luxury, to our very simple repast.

At Dresden we were at the Hôtel Bellevue, which is close to the Elbe,
and there was a public garden on the bank of the river, right under
our windows. Every evening we sat on the terrace attached to the
hotel, and heard the music, and watched the pleasure boats darting up
and down the river.

But of all the cities of Germany, the one where this out-door life is
carried to the greatest perfection, is here in Vienna. We arrived when
the weather was very hot. For the first time this summer in Europe we
were really oppressed with the heat. The sun blazed fiercely, and as
we drove about the city seeing sights, we felt that we were martyrs
suffering in a good cause. We were told that the heat was very
unusual. The only relief and restoration after such days was an
evening ride. So as the sun was setting we took a carriage and made
the circuit of the Ring-strasse, the boulevards laid out on the site
of the old walls, ending with the Prater, that immense park, where two
years ago the Great Exposition was held, and where the buildings still
stand. This is the place of concourse of the Viennese on gala days,
when the Emperor turns out, and all the Austrian and Hungarian
nobility, with their splendid equipages (the Hungarians have an
Oriental fondness for gilded trappings), making a sight which is said
to be more dazzling than can be seen even in the Hyde Park of London,
or the Bois de Boulogne at Paris. Just now, of course, all this
fashionable element has fled the city, and is enjoying life at the
German watering places. But as there are still left seven or eight
hundred thousand people, they must find some way to bear the heats of
summer; and so they flock to the Prater. The trees are all ablaze with
light; half a dozen bands of music are in full blast, and "all the
world is gay." It is truly "a midsummer night's dream." I was
especially attracted to a concert garden where the band, a very large
one, was composed of women. To be sure there were half a dozen men
sprinkled among the performers, but they seemed to have subordinate
parts--only blowing away at the wind instruments--while all the
stringed instruments were played by delicate female hands. It was
quite pretty to see how deftly they held the violins, and what sweet
music they wrung from the strings. Two or three young maidens stood
beside the bass-viols, which were taller than themselves, and a trim
figure, that might have been that of a French _vivandière_, beat the
drum. The conductor was of course a woman, and marshalled her forces
with wonderful spirit. I don't know whether the music was very fine or
not (for I am not a judge in such matters), but I applauded
vigorously, because I liked the independence of the thing, and have
some admiration, if not sympathy, for the spirit of those heroic
reformers, who wish to "put down these men."

But the chief musical glory of Vienna is the Volksgarten, where
Strauss's famous band plays, and there we spent our last night in
Vienna. It is an enclosure near the Palace, and the grounds belong to
the Emperor, who gives the use of them (so we were told) to the son of
his old nurse, who devotes them to the purpose of a public garden,
and to musical concerts. Besides Strauss's band, there was a military
band, which played alternately. As we entered it was executing an air
which my companions recognized as from "William Tell," and they
pointed out to me the beautiful passages--those which imitated the
Alpine horns, etc. Then Strauss came to the front--not Johann (who has
become so famous that the Emperor has appropriated him to himself, so
that he can now play only for the royal family and their guests), but
his brother, Edward. He is a little man, whose body seems to be set on
springs, and to be put in motion by music. While leading the
orchestra, of some forty performers, he was as one inspired--he fairly
danced with excitement; it seemed as if he hardly touched the earth,
but floated in air, his body swaying hither and thither to the sound
of music. When he had finished, the military band responded, and so it
continued the whole evening.

The garden was illuminated not only with gas lamps, but with other
lights not set down in the programme. The day had been terribly hot,
and as we drove to the garden, dark masses of cloud were gathering,
and soon the rain began to come down in earnest. The people who were
sitting under the trees took refuge in the shelter of the large hall;
and there, while incessant flashes of lightning lighted up the garden
without, the martial airs of the military band were answered by the
roll of the thunder. This was an unexpected accompaniment to the
music, but it was very grateful, as it at once cleared and cooled the
air, and gave promise of a pleasant day for travelling on the morrow.

I might describe many similar scenes, though less brilliant, in every
German city, but these are enough to give a picture of the open-air
life and recreations of the German people. And now for the moral of
the tale. What is the influence of this kind of life--is it good or
bad? What lesson does it teach to us Americans? Does it furnish an
example to imitate, or a warning to avoid? Perhaps something of both.

Certainly it is a good thing that it leads the people to spend some
hours of every day in the open air. During hours of business they are
in their offices or their shops, and they need a change; and
_anything_ which tempts them out of doors is a physical benefit; it
quiets their nerves, and cools their blood, and prepares them for
refreshing sleep. So far it is good. Every open space in the midst of
a great population is so much breathing space; the parks of a city are
rightly called its _lungs_; and it is a good thing if once a day all
classes, rich and poor, young and old, can get a long draught of
fresh, pure air, as if they were in the country.

Next to the pleasure of sitting in the open air, the attraction of
these places is the _music_. The Germans are a music-loving people.
Luther was an enthusiast for music, and called any man a _fool_, a
dull, heavy dolt, whose blood was not stirred by martial airs or
softer melodies. In this he is a good type of the German people. This
taste is at once cultivated and gratified by what they hear at these
public resorts. I cannot speak with authority on such matters, but my
companions identified almost every air that was played as from some
celebrated piece of music, the work of some great master, all of whom
are familiar in Germany from Mozart to Mendelssohn. The constant
repetition of such music by competent and trained bands, cannot but
have a great effect upon the musical education of the people.

And this delightful recreation is furnished very _cheaply_. In New
York to hear Nilsson, opera-goers pay three or four dollars. But here
admission to the Volksgarten, the most fashionable resort in Vienna,
is but a florin (about fifty cents); to the Flora, in Berlin, it was
but a mark, which is of the value of an English shilling, or a quarter
of a dollar; while many of the public gardens are _free_, the only
compensation being what is paid for refreshments.

One other feature of this open-air life and recreation has been very
delightful to me--its domestic character. It is not a solitary,
selfish kind of pleasure, as when men go off by themselves to drink or
gamble, or indulge in any kind of dissipation. When men go to these
public gardens, on the contrary, _they take their wives and their
sisters with them_. Often we see a whole family, down to the children,
grouped around one of these tables. They sit there as they would
around their own tea-table at home. The family life is not broken by
this taking of their pleasure in public. On the contrary, it is rather
strengthened; all the family ties are made the closer by sharing their
enjoyments together.

And these pleasures are not only _domestic_, but _democratic_. They
are not for the rich only, but for all classes. Even the poor can
afford the few pence necessary for such an evening, and find in
listening to such music in the open air the cheapest, as well as the
simplest and purest enjoyment.

The _drawbacks_ to these public gardens are two--the smoking and the
beer-drinking. There are hundreds of tables, each with a group around
it, all drinking beer, and the men all smoking. These features I
dislike as much as anybody. I never smoked a cigar in my life, and do
not doubt that it would make me deadly sick. Mr. Spurgeon may say that
he "smokes a cigar to the glory of God"; that as it quiets his nerves
and gives him a sound night's sleep, it is a means of grace to him.
All I can say is, that it is not a means of grace to _me_, and that as
I have been frequently annoyed and almost suffocated by it, I am
afraid it has provoked feelings anything but Christian.

As for the drinking, there is one universal beverage--_beer_. This is
a thin, watery fluid, such as one might make by putting a spoonful of
bitter herbs in a teapot and boiling them. To me it seemed like cold
water spoiled. Yet others argue that it is cold water improved. On
this question I have had many discussions since I came to Germany. The
people take to beer as a thing of course, as if it were the beverage
that nature had provided to assuage their thirst, and when they talk
to you in a friendly way, will caution you especially to beware of
drinking the water of the country! Why they should think this
dangerous, I cannot understand, for surely they do not drink enough of
it to do them any harm. Of course, in passing from country to country,
one needs to use prudence in drinking the water, as in other changes
of diet, but the danger from that source is greatly exaggerated.
Certainly I have drunk of water freely everywhere in Europe, without
any injury. Yet an American physician, who certainly has no national
prejudice in favor of beer, gravely argues with me that it is the most
simple, refreshing, and healthful beverage, and points to the physique
of the Germans in proof that it does them no injury. Perhaps used in
moderation, it may not. But certainly no argument will convince me
that drinking it in such quantities as some do--eight, ten, or a dozen
quart mugs a day!--is not injurious. When a man thus _swills_
beer--there is no other word to express it--he seems to me like a pig
at the trough.

But of course I do not mean that the greater number of Germans drink
it in any such quantities, or to a degree that would be considered
excessive, if it is to be drunk _at all_. I was at first shocked to
see men and women with these foaming goblets before them, but I
observed that, instead of drinking them off at a draught as those who
take stronger drinks are wont to do, they let them stand, occasionally
taking a sip, a single glass often lasting the whole evening. Indeed
it seemed as if many ordered a glass of beer on entering a public
garden, rather as a matter of custom, and as a way of paying for the
music. For this they gave a few kreutzers (equal to a few pence), and
for such a trifle had the freedom of the garden, and the privilege of
listening to excellent music.

But if we cannot enter into any eulogium of German beer at least it
has this _negative_ virtue: it does not make people drunk. It is not
like the heavy ales or porters of England. This is a fact of immense
consequence, that the universal beverage of forty millions of people
is not intoxicating. Of course I do not mean to say that it is
impossible for one to have his head swim by taking it in some enormous
quantity. I only give my own observation, which is that I have seen
thousands taking their beer, and never saw one in any degree affected
by it. I give, therefore, the evidence of my senses, when I say that
this beer does not make men drunk, it does not steal away their
brains, or deprive them of reason.

No reader of any intelligence can be so silly as to interpret this
simple statement of a fact as arguing for the introduction of beer
gardens in America. They are coming quite fast enough. [If I were to
have a beer garden, it should be _without the beer_.] But as between
the two, I do say that the beer gardens of Germany are a thousand
times better than the gin shops of London, or even the elegant "sample
rooms" of New York. In the latter men drink chiefly fiery wines, or
whiskey, or brandy, or rum; they drink what makes them beasts--what
sends them reeling through the streets, to carry terror to their
miserable homes; while in Germany men drink what may be very bitter
and bad-tasting stuff, but what does not make one a maniac or a brute.
No man goes home from a beer garden to beat his wife and children,
because he has been made a madman by intoxication. On the contrary, he
has had his wife and children with him; they have all had a breath of
fresh air, and enjoyed a good time together.

Such are the simple pleasures of this simple German people--a people
that love their homes, their wives and children, and whatever they
enjoy wish to enjoy it together.

Now may we not learn something from the habits of a foreign people, as
to how to provide cheap and innocent recreations for our own? Is there
not some way of getting the good without the evil, of having this
open-air life without any evil accompaniments? The question is one of
recreation, _not of amusements_, which is another thing, to be
considered by itself. In these public gardens there are no games of
any kind--not so much as a Punch and Judy, or a hand-organ with a
monkey--nothing but sitting in the open air, enjoying conversation,
and listening to music.

This question of popular recreations, or to put it more broadly, _how
a people shall spend their leisure hours_--hours when they are not at
work nor asleep--is a very serious question, and one closely connected
with public morals. In the life of every man in America, even of the
hard-worked laborer, there are several hours in the day when he is not
bending to his task, and when he is not taking his meals. The work of
the day is over, he has had his supper, but it is not time to go to
bed. From seven to nine o'clock he has a couple of hours of leisure.
What shall he do with them? It may be said he ought to spend them in
reading. No doubt this would be very useful, but perhaps the poor man
is too jaded to fix his mind on a book. What he needs is diversion,
recreation, something that occupies the mind without fatiguing it; and
what so charming as to sit out of doors in the summer time, in the
cool of the evening, and listen to music, not being fixed to silence
as in a concert room, but free to move about, and talk with his
neighbors? If there could be in every large town such a retreat under
the shade of the trees, where tired workmen could come, and bring
their wives and children with them, it would do a great deal to keep
them out of drinking saloons and other places of evil resort.

For want of something of this kind the young men in our cities and in
our country villages seek recreation where they can find it. In
cities, young men of the better class resort to clubs. This club life
has eaten into the domestic life of our American families. The
husband, the son and brother, are never at home. Would it not be
better if they could have some simple recreation which the whole
family could enjoy together? In country villages young men meet at the
tavern, or in the street, for want of a little company. I have seen
them, by twenty or thirty, sitting on a fence in a row, like barnyard
fowls, where, it is to be feared, their conversation is not of the
most refined character. How much better for these young fellows to be
_somewhere_ where they could be with their mothers and sisters, and
all have a good time together! If they must have something in the way
of refreshment (although I do not see the need of anything; "have they
not their houses to eat and drink in?"), let it be of the simplest
kind--something very _cheap_, for they have no money to waste--and
something which shall at least do them no injury--ices and lemonade,
with plenty of what is better than either for a hot summer evening,
pure, delicious cold water.

I have great confidence in the power of _music_, especially in that
which is popular and universal. Expensive concerts, with celebrated
singers, are the pleasure of the rich. But a village glee-club or
singing-school calls out home talent, and no concert is so like a
country fête as that in which the young folks do their own singing.

With these pictures of German life and manners, and the reflections
they suggest, I leave this subject of Popular Recreations to those who
are older and wiser than I. I know that the subject is a very delicate
one to touch. It is easy to go too far, and to have one's arguments
perverted to abuse. And yet, in spite of all this, I stand up for
recreation as a necessity of life. _Recreation is not dissipation._
Calvin pitching quoits may not seem to us quite as venerable a figure
as Calvin writing his Institutes, or preaching in the Cathedral of
Geneva; and yet he was doing what was just and necessary. The mind
must unbend, and the body too. I believe hundreds of lives are lost
every year in America for want of this timely rest and recreation.

Some traveller has said that America is the country in which there is
less suffering, and less enjoyment, than in any other country in the
world. I am afraid there is some truth in this. Certainly we have not
cultivated the art of enjoying ourselves. We are too busy. We are all
the time toiling to accumulate, and give ourselves little time to
enjoy. And when we do undertake it, it is a very solemn business with
us. Nothing is more dreary than the efforts of some of our good people
to enjoy themselves. They do not know how, and make an awkward shift
of it. They put it off to a future year, when their work shall be all
done, and they will go to Europe, and do up their travelling as a big
job. Thus their very pleasures are forced, artificial, and expensive.
And little pleasure they get after all! Many of these people we have
met wandering about Europe, forlorn and wretched creatures, exiles
from their own country, yet not at home in any other. They have not
learned the art, which the Germans might teach them, of simple
pleasures, and of _enjoying a little every day_. This American habit
of work without rest, is a wretched economy of life, which can be
justified neither by reason nor religion. There is no piety in such
self-sacrifice as this, since it is for no good object, but only from
a selfish and miserly greed for gain. Men were not made to be mere
drudges or slaves. Hard work, _duly intermixed with rest and
recreation_, is the best experience for every one of us, and the true
means by which we can best fulfil our duty to God and to man.

Religion has received a great injury when it has been identified with
asceticism and gloom. If there is any class of men who are my special
aversion, it is those moping, melancholy owls, who sit on the tree of
life, and frown on every innocent human joy. Sorrow I can understand
(for I have tasted of its bitter cup), and grief of every kind,
penitence for wrong, and deep religious emotion; but what I cannot
understand, nor sympathize with, is that sour, sullen, morose temper,
which looks sternly even on the sports of children, and would hush
their prattle and glee. Such a system of repression is false in
philosophy, and false in morals. It is bad intellectually. Never was a
truer saying than that in the old lines:

     All work and no play
     Makes Jack a dull boy.

And it is equally bad for the moral nature. Fathers and mothers, you
must make your children happy, if you would make them good. You must
surround them with an atmosphere of affection and enjoyment, if you
would teach them to love you, and to love GOD. It is when held close
in their mothers' arms, with tender eyes bent over them, that children
first get some faint idea of that Infinite Love, of which maternal
fondness is but the faint reflection. How wisely has Cowper, that
delicate and tender moralist, expressed the proper wish of children:

     With books, or work, or healthful play,
       May my first years be passed,
     That I may give for every day
       A good account at last.

Such a happy childhood is the best nursery for a brave and noble
manhood.

I write on this subject very seriously, for I know of few things more
closely connected with public morals. I do not argue in favor of
recreation because seeking any indulgence for myself. I have been as a
stranger in all these scenes, and never felt soberer or sadder in my
life than when listening for hours to music. But what concerns one
only, matters little; but what concerns the public good, matters a
great deal. And I give my opinion, as the result of much observation,
that any recreation which promotes innocent enjoyment, which is
physically healthy and morally pure, which keeps families together,
and thus unites them by the tie of common pleasures (a tie only less
strong than that of common sorrow), is a social influence that is
friendly to virtue, and to all which we most love and cherish, and on
the whole one of the cleanest and wholesomest things in this wicked
world.

Often in my dreams I think of that better time which is coming, when
even pleasure shall be sanctified; when no human joy shall be cursed
by being mixed with sin and followed by remorse; when all our
happiness shall be pure and innocent, such as God can smile upon, and
such as leaves no sting behind. That will be a happy world, indeed,
when mutual love shall bless all human intercourse:

     Then shall wars and tumults cease,
       Then be banished grief and pain;
     Righteousness, and joy, and peace,
       Undisturbed, shall ever reign.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE PASSION PLAY AND THE SCHOOL OF THE CROSS.


     OBER-AMMERGAU, Bavaria, Aug. 22d.

My readers probably did not expect to hear from me in this lonely and
remote part of the world. Perhaps some of them never heard of such a
place as Ober-Ammergau, and do not know what should give it a special
interest above hundreds of other places. Let me explain. Ober-Ammergau
is a small village in the Bavarian Alps, where for the last two
hundred years has been performed, at regular intervals, THE PASSION
PLAY--that is, a dramatic representation, in which are enacted before
us the principal events, and particularly the closing scenes, in the
life of our Lord. The idea of such a thing, when first suggested to a
Protestant mind, is not only strange, but repulsive in the highest
degree. It seems like holding up the agonies of our Saviour to public
exhibition, dragging on the stage that which should remain an object
of secret and devout meditation. When I first heard of it--which was
some years ago, in America--I was shocked at what seemed the gross
impiety of the thing; and yet, to my astonishment, several of the most
eminent ministers of the city of New York, both Episcopal and
Presbyterian, who had witnessed it, told me that it was performed in
the most religious spirit, and had produced on them an impression of
deep solemnity. Such representations were very common in the Middle
Ages; I believe they continued longest in Spain, but gradually they
died out, till now this is the only spot in Europe where the custom is
still observed. It has thus been perpetuated in fulfilment of a vow
made two centuries ago; and here it may be continued for centuries to
come. A performance so extraordinary, naturally excites great
curiosity. As it is given only once in ten years, the interest is not
dulled by too frequent repetition; and whoever is on the Continent in
the year of its observance, must needs turn aside to see this great
sight. At such times this little mountain village is thronged with
visitors, not only from Bavaria and other Catholic countries, but from
England and America.

This is not the year for its performance. It was given in 1870, and
being interrupted by the Franco-German war, was resumed and completed
in 1871. The next regular year will be 1880. But this year, which is
midway between the two decennial years, has had a special interest
from a present of the King of Bavaria, who, wishing to mark his sense
of the extraordinary devotion of this little spot in his dominions,
has made it a present of a gigantic cross, or rather three crosses, to
form a "Calvary," which is to be erected on a hill overlooking the
town. In honor of this royal gift, it was decided to have this year a
special representation, not of the full Passion Play, but of a series
of Tableaux and Acts, representing what is called THE SCHOOL OF THE
CROSS--that is, such scenes from the Old and New Testaments as
converge upon that emblem of Christ's death and of man's salvation.
This is not in any strict sense a Play, though intended to represent
the greatest of all tragedies, but a series of Tableaux Vivants, in
some cases (only in those from the Old Testament) the statuesque
representation being aided by words from the Bible in the mouths of
the actors in the scene. The announcement of this new sacred drama (if
such it must be called) reached us in Vienna, and drew us to this
mountain village; and in selecting such subjects as seem most likely
to interest my readers, I pass by two of the most attractive places in
Southern Germany--Salzburg which is said to be "the most beautiful
spot in Europe," where we spent three days; and Munich, with its Art
Galleries, where we spent four--to describe this very unique
exhibition, so unlike anything to be seen in any other part of the
world.

We left Munich by rail, and, after an hour's ride, varied our journey
by a sail across a lake, and then took to a diligence, to convey us
into the heart of the mountains. Among our companions were several
Catholic priests, who were making a pilgrimage to Ober-Ammergau as a
sacred place. The sun had set before we reached our destination. As we
approached the hamlet, we found wreaths and banners hung on poles
along the road--the signs of the fête on the morrow. As the resources
of the little place were very limited, the visitors, as they arrived,
had to be quartered among the people of the village. We had taken
tickets at Munich which secured us at least a roof over our heads, and
were assigned to the house of one of the better class of peasants,
where the good man and good wife received us very kindly, and gave us
such accommodations as their small quarters allowed, showing us to our
rooms up a little stair which was like a ladder, and shutting us in by
a trap-door. It gave us a strange feeling of distance and loneliness,
to find ourselves sleeping in such a "loft," under the roof of a
peasant among the mountains of Bavaria.

The morning broke fair and bright, and soon the whole village was
astir. Peasants dressed in their gayest clothes came flocking in from
all the countryside. At nine o'clock three cannon shots announced the
commencement of the fête. The place of the performance was on rising
ground, a little out of the village, where a large barn-like structure
had been recently erected, which might hold a thousand people.
Formerly when the Passion Play was performed, it was given in the open
air, no building being sufficient to contain the crowds which thronged
to the unaccustomed spectacle. This rude structure is arranged like a
theatre, with a stage for the actors, and the rest of the house
divided off into seats, the best of which are generally occupied by
strangers while the peasant population crowd the galleries. We had
front seats, which were only separated from the stage by the
orchestra, which deserves a word of praise, since the music was both
_composed_ and performed wholly by such musical talent as the little
village itself could provide.

At length the music ceased, and the _choir_, which was composed of
thirteen persons in two divisions, entered from opposite sides of the
stage, and "formed in line" in front of the curtain. The choir takes a
leading part in this extraordinary performance--the same, indeed, that
the chorus does in the old Greek tragedy, preceding each act or
tableau with a recitation or a hymn, designed as a prelude to
introduce what is to follow, and then at the close of the act
concluding with what preachers would call an "improvement" or
"application." In this opening chant the chorus introduced the mighty
story of man's redemption, as Milton began his Paradise Lost, by
speaking

     Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
     Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
     Brought death into the world, and all our woe.

It was a sort of recitative or plaintive melody, fit keynote of the
sad scenes that were to follow. The voices ceased, and the curtain
rose.

The first Biblical characters who appeared on the stage were Cain and
Abel, who were dressed in skins after the primitive fashion of our
race. Abel, who was of light complexion and hair, was clad in the
whitest and softest sheep's wool; while Cain, who was dark-featured,
and of a sinister and angry countenance, was covered with a flaming
leopard's skin, as best betokened the ferocity of his character. In
the background rose the incense of Abel's offering. Cain was disturbed
and angry; he spoke to his brother in a harsh voice. Abel replied in
the gentlest accents, trying to soften his brother's heart and turn
away his wrath. Father Adam, too, appears on the scene, using his
parental authority to reconcile his children; and Eve comes in, and
lays her light hand on the arm of her infuriated son, and tries to
soothe him to a gentler mood. Even the Angel of the Lord steps forth
from among the trees of the Garden, to warn the guilty man of the evil
of unbridled rage, and to urge him to timely repentance, that his
offering may be accepted. These united persuasions for the moment seem
to be successful, and there is an apparent reconciliation between the
brothers; Cain falls on Abel's neck, and embraces him. Yet even while
using the language of affection, he has a club in his hand, which he
holds behind him. But the fatal deed is not done upon the stage; for
throughout the play there is an effort to keep out of sight any
repulsive act. So they retire from the scene. But presently nature
itself announces that some deed of violence and blood is being done;
the lightnings flash and thunders roll; and Adam reappears, bearing
Abel in his aged arms, and our first parents together indulge in loud
lamentations over the body of their murdered son.

This story of Cain and Abel occupied several short acts, in which the
curtain rose and fell several times, and at the end of each the chorus
came upon the stage to give the moral of the scene.

In the dialogues the speakers follow closely the Old Testament. If
occasional sentences are thrown in to give a little more fulness of
detail, at least there is no departure from the general outline of the
sacred narrative. It is the story of the first crime, the first
shedding of human blood, told in a dramatic form, by the personages
themselves appearing on the stage.

These scenes from the Old Testament were mingled with scenes from the
New, the aim being to use one to illustrate the other--the antitype
following the type in close succession. Thus the _pendant_ of the
former scenes (to adopt a word much used by artists when one picture
is hung on a wall over against another) was now given in the
corresponding crime which darkens the pages of the New Testament
history--the betrayal of Christ. But there was this difference between
the scenes from the Old Testament and those from the New: in the
latter _there was no dialogue whatever, and no action_, as if it was
all too sacred for words--nothing but the tableau, the figures
standing in one attitude, fixed and motionless. First there was the
scene of Christ driving the money-changers from the temple. Here a
large number of figures--I should think twenty or thirty--appeared
upon the stage, and held their places with unchanging look. Not one
moved; they scarcely breathed; but all stood fixed as marble. All the
historic characters were present--the priests in their robes (the
costumes evidently having been studied with great care), and the
Pharisees glaring with rage upon our Lord, as with holy indignation He
spurns the profane intruders from the sacred precincts.

Then there is the scene of Judas betraying Christ. We see him leading
the way to the spot where our Saviour kneels in prayer; the crowd
follow with lanterns; there are the Roman soldiers, and in the
background are the priests, the instigators of this greatest of
crimes.

In another scene Judas appears again overwhelmed with remorse, casting
down his ill-gotten money before the priests, who look on scornfully,
as if bidding him keep the price of blood, and take its terrible
consequences.

As might be supposed, the part of Judas is one not to be particularly
desired, and we cannot look at a countenance showing a mixture of
hatred and greed, without a strong repugnance. There was a story that
the man who acted Judas in the Passion Play in 1870 had been killed in
the French war, but this we find to be an error. It was a very natural
invention of some one who thought that a man capable of such a crime
ought to be killed. But the old Judas is still living, and, off from
the stage, is said to be one of the most worthy men of the village.

Having thus had set before us the most sticking illustrations of human
guilt, in the first crime that ever stained the earth with blood, and
in the greatest of all crimes, which caused the death of Christ, we
have next presented the method of man's redemption. The chorus again
enters upon the stage, and recites the story of the fall, how man
sinned, and was to be recovered by the sacrifice of one who was to be
an atonement for a ruined world. Again the curtain rises, and we have
before us the high priest Melchisedec, in whose smoking altar we see
illustrated the idea of sacrifice.

The same idea takes a more terrible form in the sacrifice of Isaac. We
see the struggles of his father Abraham, who is bowed with sorrow, and
the heart-broken looks of Sarah, his wife. The latter part, as it
happened, was taken by a person of a very sweet face, the effect of
which was heightened by being overcast with sadness, and also by the
Oriental costume, which, covering a part of the face, left the dark
eyes which peered out from under the long eyelashes, to be turned on
the beholders. Everything in the appearance of Abraham, his bending
form and flowing beard, answered to the idea of the venerable
patriarch. The _couleur locale_ was preserved even in the attendants,
who looked as if they were Arabian servants who had just dismounted
from camels at the door of the tent. Isaac appears, an innocent and
confiding boy, with no presumption of the dark and terrible fate that
is impending over him. And when the gentle Sarah appears, tenderly
solicitous for the safety of her child, the coldest spectator could
hardly be unmoved by a scene pictured with such touching fidelity. It
is with a feeling of relief that, as this fearful tragedy approaches
its consummation, we hear the voice of the angel, and behold that the
Lord has himself provided a sacrifice.

But all these scenes of darkness and sorrow, of guilt and sacrifice,
are now to find their culmination and their explanation in the death
of our Lord, to which all ancient types converge, and on which all
ancient symbols cast their faint and flickering, but not uncertain,
light. As the scenes approach this grand climax, they grow in pathos
and solemnity. Each is more tender and more effective than the last.

One of the most touching, as might be supposed, is that of the Last
Supper, in which we recognize every one of the disciples, so closely
has the grouping been studied from the painting of Leonardo da Vinci
and other old masters with whom this was a favorite subject. There are
Peter and John and the rest, all turning with an eager, anxious look
towards their Master, and all with an indescribable sadness on their
faces. Again the scene changes, and we see our Lord in the Garden of
Gethsemane. There are the three disciples slumbering, overcome with
weariness and sorrow; and there on the sacred mount at midnight

     "The suffering Saviour prays alone."

Again the curtain falls, and the chorus, in tones still more plaintive
and mournful, announce that the end is near. The curtain rises, and we
behold THE CRUCIFIXION. Here there are thirty or forty persons
introduced. In the foreground are three or four figures "casting
lots," careless of the awful scene that is going on above them. The
Roman soldier is looking upward with his spear. The three Marys are at
the feet of their Lord; _Mary Magdalen nearest of all, with her arms
clasped around the cross_; Mary, the mother of Christ, looking up with
weeping eyes; and a little farther Mary, the wife of Cleophas. The two
thieves are hanging, with their arms thrown over the cross-tree, as
they are represented in many of the paintings of the Crucifixion. But
we scarcely notice them, as all eyes are fixed on the Central Figure.
The man who takes the part of the Christus in this Divine Tragedy, has
made a study of it for years, and must have trained himself to great
physical endurance for a scene which must tax his strength to the
utmost. His arms are extended, his hands and feet seem to be pierced
with the nails, and flowing with blood. Even without actual wounds the
attitude itself must be extremely painful. How he could support the
weight of his body in such a posture was a wonder to all. It was said
that he rested one foot on something projecting from the cross, but
even then it seemed incredible that he could sustain such a position
for more than a single instant. Yet in the performance of the Passion
Play it is said that he remains thus suspended twenty minutes, and is
then taken down, almost in a fainting condition.

Some may ask, How did the sight affect me? Twenty-four hours before I
could not have believed that I could look upon it without a feeling of
horror, but so skilfully had the points of the sacred drama been
rendered thus far, that my feelings had been wound up to the highest
pitch, and when the curtain rose on that last tremendous scene, I was
quite overcome, the tears burst from my eyes, I felt as never before,
under any sermon that I ever heard preached, how solemn and how awful
was the tragedy of the death of the Son of God. So excited were we,
and to appearance all in the building, that it was a relief when the
curtain fell.

As if to give a further relief to the over-wrought feelings of the
audience, occasioned by this mournful sight, the next scene was of a
different character. It was not the Resurrection, though it might have
been intended to symbolize it, as in it the actor appears as if he had
been brought back from the dead. It is the story of Joseph, which is
introduced to illustrate the method of Divine Providence, by which is
brought "Light out of Darkness." We see the aged form of Jacob, bowed
with grief at the loss of his son. Then comes the marvellous
succession of events by which the darkness is turned to light.
Bewildered at the news of his son being in Egypt, at first he cannot
believe the good tidings, till at length convinced, he rises up
saying "Joseph my son, is yet alive; I will go and see him before I
die." Then follows the return to Egypt, and the meeting with him who
was dead and is alive again, when the old man falls upon his neck, and
Joseph's children (two curly-headed little fellows whom we had the
privilege of kissing before the day was over) were brought to his
knees to receive his blessing. This was a domestic rather than a
tragic scene, and such is the natural pathos of the story, that it
touched every heart.

The last scene of all was the Ascension, which was less impressive
than some that had gone before, as it could of course only be
imperfectly represented. The Saviour appears standing on the mount,
with outstretched hands, in the midst of his disciples, but there the
scene ends, as it could go no further; there could be no descending
cloud to receive him out of their sight.

With this last act the curtain fell. The whole representation had
occupied three hours.

Now as to the general impression of this extraordinary scene: As a
piece of _acting_ it was simply wonderful. The parts were filled
admirably. The characters were perfectly kept. Even the costumes were
as faithfully reproduced as in any of those historical dramas which
are now and then put upon the stage, such as tragedies founded on
events in ancient Greek or Roman history, where the greatest pains are
taken to render every detail with scrupulous fidelity. This is very
extraordinary, especially when it is considered that this is all done
by a company of Bavarian peasants, such as might be found in any
Alpine village. The explanation is, that this representation is _the
great work of their lives_. They have their trades, like other poor
people, and work hard for a living. But their great interest, that
which gives a touch of poetry to their humble existence, and raises
them above the level of other peasants, is the representation of this
Passion Play. This has come down to them from their fathers. It has
been acted among them for two hundred years. There are traditions
handed down from one generation to another of the way in which this or
that part should be performed. In the long intervals of ten years
between one representation and another, they practice constantly upon
their several parts, so that at the last they attain a wonderful
degree of perfection.

As to the _propriety_ of the thing: To our cold Protestant ideas it
seems simply monstrous, a horrid travesty of the most sacred scenes in
the Word of God. So I confess it would appear to me if done by others.
_Anywhere else_ what I have witnessed would appear to me almost like
blasphemy; it would be _merely acting_, and that of the worst kind, in
which men assume the most sacred characters, even that of our blessed
Lord himself.

But this impression is very much changed when we consider that here
all this is done in a spirit of devotion. These Bavarian peasants are
a very religious people (some would prefer to call it superstition),
but whatever it be, it is _universal_. Pictures of saints and angels,
or of Christ and the Virgin Mary, are seen in every house; crosses and
images, and shrines are all along the roads. Call it superstition if
you will, but at least the feeling of religion, the feeling of a
Divine Power, is present in every heart; they refer everything to
supernatural agencies; they hear the voice of God in the thunder that
smites the crest of the hills, or the storm that sweeps through their
valleys.

And so when they come to the performance of this Passion Play, it is
not as unbelievers, whose offering would be an offence, "not being
mixed with faith in them that did it." They believe, and therefore
they speak, and therefore they act. And so they go through their parts
in the most devout spirit. Whenever the Passion Play is to be
performed, all who are to take part in it _first go to the communion_;
and thus with hearts penitent and subdued, they come to assume these
sacred characters, and speak these holy words.

And so, while the attempt to transport the Passion Play anywhere else
would be very repulsive, it may be left where it is, in this lonely
valley of the Bavarian mountains, an unique and extraordinary relic of
the religious customs of the Middle Ages.

But while one such representation is quite enough, and we are well
content that it should stand alone, and there should be not another,
yet he must be a dull observer who does not derive from it some useful
hints both as to the power of the simplest religious truth, and the
way of presenting it.

Preachers are not actors, and when some sensational preachers try to
introduce into the pulpit the arts which they have learned from the
stage, they commonly make lamentable failures. To say that a preacher
is theatrical, is to stamp him as a kind of clerical mountebank. And
yet there is a use of the dramatic element which is not forced nor
artificial, which on the contrary is the most simple and natural way
of speaking. The dramatic element is in human nature. Children use
gestures in talking, and vary their tones of voice. They never stand
stiff as a post, as some preachers do. The most popular speakers are
dramatic in their style. Cough, the temperance lecturer, who has
probably addressed more and larger audiences in America and Great
Britain than any other man living, is a consummate actor. His art of
mimicry, his power of imitating the expression of countenance and
tones of voice, is wonderful. And our eloquent friend Talmage, in
Brooklyn, owes much of his power to the freedom with which he walks up
and down his platform, which is a kind of stage, and throws in
incidents to illustrate his theme, often acting, as well as relating
them, with great effect.

But not only is the dramatic element in human nature, it is in the
Bible, which runs over with it. The Bible is not merely a volume of
ethics. It is full of narrative, of history and biography, and of
dialogue. Many of the teachings of our Saviour are in the form of
conversations, of which it is quite impossible to give the full
meaning and spirit, without changes of manner and inflections of
voice. Take such an exquisite portion of the Old Testament as the
story of Ruth, or that of Joseph and his brethren. What an outrage
upon the sacred word to read such sweet and tender passages in a dull
and monotonous voice, as if one had not a particle of feeling of their
beauty. One might ask such a reader "Understandest thou what thou
readest?" and if he is too dull to learn otherwise, these simple
Bavarian peasants might teach him to throw into his reading from the
pulpit a little of the pathos and tenderness which they give to the
conversations of Joseph with his father Jacob.

Of course, in introducing the dramatic element into the pulpit, it is
to be done with a close self-restraint, and with the utmost delicacy
and tenderness. But so used, it may subserve the highest ends of
preaching. Of this a very illustrious example is furnished in the
annals of the American pulpit, in the Blind Preacher of Virginia, the
impression of whose eloquence is preserved by the pen of William Wirt.
When that venerable old man, lifting his sightless eyeballs to heaven,
described the last sufferings of our Lord, it was with a manner
adapted to the recital, as if he had been a spectator of the mournful
scene, and with such pathos in his tones as melted the whole assembly
into tears, and the excitement seemed almost beyond control; and the
stranger held his breath in fear and wonder how they were ever to be
let down from that exaltation of feeling. But the blind man held them
as a master. He paused and lifted his hands to heaven, and after a
moment of silence, repeated only the memorable exclamation of
Rousseau: "Socrates died like a philosopher, but Jesus Christ like a
God!" In this marvellous eloquence the preacher used the dramatic
element as truly as any actor in the Passion Play, the object in both
cases being the same, to bring most vividly before the mind the life
and death of the Son of God.

And is not that the great object, and the great subject, of all our
preaching? The chief lesson which I have learned to-day, concerns not
the _manner_, but the _substance_, of what we preach. This Passion
Play teaches most impressively, that the one thing which most
interests all, high and low, rich and poor, is the simple story of
Jesus Christ, and that the power of the pulpit depends on the
vividness with which Christ and His Cross are brought, if not before
the _eyes_, at least before the _minds_ and hearts of men. It is not
eloquent essays on the beauty of virtue, or learned discussions on the
relations of Science and Religion, that will ever touch the heart of
the world, but the old, old story of that Divine life, told with the
utmost simplicity and tenderness. I think it lawful to use any object
which can bring me nearer to Him. That which has been conceived in
superstition may minister to a devout spirit. And so I never see one
of these crosses by the roadside without its turning my thoughts to
Him who was lifted up upon it, and in my secret heart I whisper, "O
Christ, Redeemer of the world, be near me now!"

Some, I know, will think this a weak sentimentalism, or even a sinful
tolerance of superstition. But with all proper respect for their
prejudices, I must hail my Saviour wherever I can find Him, whether in
the city or the forest, or on the mountain. What a consolation there
is in carrying that blessed image with us, wherever we go! How it
stills our beating hearts, and dries our tears, to think of Him who
has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows! Often do I repeat to
myself those sweet lines of George Herbert:

     Christ leads us through no darker rooms
       Than He went through before;
     Whoso into God's kingdom comes
       Must enter by this door.

I do not like to speak of my own feelings; for they are too private
and sacred, and I shrink from any expression of them. But all this
summer, while wandering in so many beautiful scenes, among lakes and
mountains, I have felt the strongest religious craving. I have been
looking for something which I did not find either in the populous
city, or in the solitary place where no man was. Something had
vanished from the earth, the absence of which could only be supplied
by an invisible presence and spiritual grace. Amid great scenes of
nature one is very lonely; and especially if there be a hidden weight
that hangs heavy on the heart, he feels the need of a Presence of
which "The deep saith, It is not in me," and Nature saith, "It is not
in me." What is this but the human soul groping after God, if haply it
may find him? The psalmist has expressed it in one word, when he says,
"My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God." How often has
that cry been wrung from my heart in lonely and desolate hours, when
standing on the deck of a ship, or on the peak of a mountain! And
wherever I see any sign of religion, I am comforted; and so as I look
around, and see upon all these hills the sign of the cross, I think of
Him who died for me, and the cry which has so often been lifted up in
distant lands, goes up here from the heart of the Bavarian Alps: "O
Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, grant me Thy
peace!"



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE TYROL AND LAKE COMO.


     CADENABBIA, LAKE COMO, August 30th.

The Rev. Dr. Bellows of New York is to blame--or "to praise"--for our
last week's wanderings; for he it was who advised me by no means to
leave out the Tyrol in our European tour--and if he could have seen
all the delight of these few days, I think he would willingly take the
responsibility. The Tyrol is less visited than Switzerland; it is not
so overrun with tourists (and this is a recommendation); but it is
hardly less worthy of a visit. To be sure, the mountains are not quite
so high as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn (there are not so many
snow-clad peaks and glaciers), but they are high enough; there are
many that pierce the clouds, and the roads wind amid perpetual
wildness, yet not without beauty also, for at the foot of these savage
mountains lie the loveliest green valleys, which are inhabited by a
simple, brave people, who have often defended their Alpine passes with
such valor as has made them as full of historical interest as they are
of natural grandeur.

Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol, and the usual starting point
for a tour--but as at Ober-Ammergau we were to the west, we found a
nearer point of departure at Partenkirchen, a small town lying in the
lap of the mountains, from which a journey through Lermos, Nassereit,
Imst, Landeck and Mals, leads one through the heart of the Tyrol,
ending with the Stelvio Pass, the highest over the Alps. It is a long
day's ride to Landeck, but we ordered a carriage with a pair of stout
horses, and went to our rest full of expectation of what we should see
on the morrow.

But the night was not promising; the rain fell in torrents, and the
morning was dark and lowering; but "he that regardeth the clouds shall
not reap," so with faith we set out, and our faith was rewarded, for
soon the clouds broke away, and though they lingered in scattered
masses, sufficient to shade us from the oppressive heat of the sun,
they did not obscure the sight of the mountains and the valleys. The
rains had laid the dust and cooled the air, and all day long we were
floating through a succession of the most varied scenes, in which
there was a mingled wildness and beauty that would have delighted our
landscape artists.

The villages are less picturesque than the country. They are generally
built very compact, apparently as a security against the winter, when
storms rage through these valleys, and there is a feeling of safety in
being thus "huddled" together. The houses are of stone, with arched
passage-ways for the horses to be driven into a central yard. They
look very solid, but they are not tasteful. There are not good
accommodations for travellers. There are as yet none of those
magnificent hotels which the flood of English tourists has caused to
be built at every noted point in Switzerland; in the Tyrol one has to
depend on the inns of the country, and these, with a few exceptions,
are poor. Looking through the one long, narrow street of a Tyrolean
village, one sees little that is attractive, but much to the contrary.
Great heaps of manure lie exposed by the roadside, and often not only
before the barns, but before the houses. These seem to be regarded as
the agricultural riches of the cultivators of the soil, and are
displayed with as much pride as a shepherd would take in showing his
flocks and herds. These features of a hamlet in the Tyrol a traveller
regards with disgust, and we used often to think of the contrast
presented to one of our New England villages, the paradise of neatness
and comfort.

Such things seem to show an utter absence of taste; and yet this
people are very fond of flowers. Almost every house has a little patch
of ground for their cultivation, and the contrast is most strange
between the filth on one side and the beauty and bloom on the other.

Another feature which strikes one, is the universal reverence and
devotion. The Tyrolese, like the peasants of Bavaria, are a very
religious people. One can hardly travel a mile without coming to a
cross or a shrine by the wayside, with an image of Christ and the
Virgin. Often on the highest points of the mountains, where only the
shepherd builds his hut, that he may watch his flocks in the summer as
they feed on those elevated pastures, may be seen a little chapel,
whose white spire, gleaming in the sunset, seems as strange and lonely
as would a rude chapel built by a company of miners on some solitary
peak of the Rocky Mountains.

These summer pastures are a feature of the Tyrol. High up on the sides
of the mountains one may descry here and there, amid the masses of
rock, or the pine forest, a little oasis of green (called an _Alp_),
where a few rods of more level ground permit of cultivation. It would
seem as if these heights were almost inaccessible, as if only the
chamois could clamber up such rocks, or find a footing where only
stunted pines can grow. Yet so industrious are these simple Tyroleans,
and so hard-pressing is the necessity which compels them to use every
foot of the soil, that they follow in the path of the chamois, and
turn even the tops of the mountains into greenness, and plant their
little patches almost on the edge of the snows. Wherever the grass can
grow, the cattle and goats find sustenance on the scanty herbage. To
these mountain pastures they are driven, so soon as the snows have
melted off from the heights, and the tender grass begins to appear,
and there they are kept till the return of cold compels them to
descend. We used often to look through our spyglass at the little
clusters of huts on the very tops of the mountains, where the
shepherds, by coming together, try to lighten a little the loneliness
of their lot, banished for the time from all other human habitations.
But what a solitary existence--the only sound that greets their ears
the tinkling of the cow-bells, or the winding of the shepherd's horn,
or the chime of some chapel bell, which, perched on a neighboring
height, sends its sweet tones across the valley. Amid such scenes, we
rode through a dozen villages, past hills crowned with old castles,
and often looked down from the mountain sides into deep hollows
glistening with lakes. As we came into the valley of the Inn, we
remembered that this was all historic ground. The bridges over which
we passed have often been the scene of bloody conflicts, and in these
narrow gorges the Tyrolese have rolled down rocks and trees on the
heads of their invaders.

We slept that night at Landeck, in a very decent, comfortable inn,
kept by a good motherly hostess. The next morning we exchanged our
private carriage for the _stellwaggen_, a small diligence which runs
to Mals. Our journey was now made still more pleasant by falling in
with a party of three clergymen of the Church of England--all rectors
of important churches in or near London, who had been, like ourselves,
to Ober-Ammergau, and were returning through the Tyrol. They had been
also to the Old Catholic Conference at Bonn, where they met our friend
Dr. Schaff. They had much to say of the addresses of Dr. Döllinger,
and of the Old Catholic movement, of which they had not very high
expectations, although they thought its influence, as far as it went,
was good. We travelled together for three days. I found them (as I
have always found clergymen of the Church of England) men of culture
and education, as well as gentlemen in their manners. They proved most
agreeable travelling companions, and their pleasant conversation, as
we rode together, or walked up the steep ascents of the mountains,
gave an additional enjoyment to this most delightful journey.

This second day's ride led us over the Finstermünz Pass in which all
the features of Tyrolean scenery of the day before were repeated with
increasing grandeur. For many miles the line of the Tyrol is close to
that of Switzerland; across a deep gorge, through which flows a rapid
river, lies the Engadine, which of late years has been a favorite
resort of Swiss tourists, and where our friend Prof. Hitchcock with
his family has been spending the summer at St. Moritz.

Towards the close of the day we descried in the distance a range of
snowy summits, and were told that this was the chain that we were to
cross on the morrow.

But all the experiences of those two days--in which we thought our
superlatives were exhausted--were surpassed on the third as we crossed
the Pass of the Stelvio. This is the highest pass in Europe, and on
this day it seemed as if we were scaling heaven itself. Having a party
of five, we procured a diligence to ourselves. We set out from Mals at
six o'clock in the morning, and crossing the rushing, foaming Adige,
began the ascent. Soon the mountains close in upon us, the Pass grows
narrower and steeper; the horses have to pull harder; we get out and
walk, partly to relieve the hard-breathing animals, but more to see at
every turn the savage wildness of the scenery. How the road turns and
twists in every way to get a foothold, doubling on itself a hundred
times in its ascent of a few miles. And look, how the grandeur grows
as we mount into this higher air! The snow-peaks are all around us,
and the snow melting in the fiery sun, feeds many streams which pour
down the rocky sides of the mountains to unite in the valley below,
and which filled the solitudes with a perpetual roar.

After such steady climbing for seven hours, at one o'clock we reached
a resting place for dinner (where we halted an hour), a shelf between
the mountains, from which, as we were now above the line of trees,
and no forests intercepted the view, we could see our way to the very
summit. The road winds in a succession of zigzags up the side of the
mountain. The distance in an air line is not perhaps more than two
miles, though it is six and a half by the road, and it took us just
two hours to reach the top. At length at four o'clock we reached the
point, over nine thousand feet above the level of the sea, where a
stone monument marks at once the summit of the Pass and the dividing
line between the Tyrol and Lombardy. All leaped from the carriage in
delight, to look around on the wilderness of mountains. To the left
was the great range of the Ortler Alps, with the Ortler Spitze rising
like a white dome above them all. At last we were among the snows. We
were above the line of vegetation, where not a tree grows, nor a blade
of grass--where all is barrenness and desolation.

The Stelvio is utterly impassable the greater part of the year. In a
few weeks more the snows will fall. By the end of September it is
considered unsafe, and the passage is attempted at one's peril, as the
traveller may be caught in a storm, and lost on the mountain.

Perhaps some of my readers will ask, what we often asked, What is the
use of building a road amid these frightful solitudes, when it cannot
be travelled the greater part of the year? What is the use of carrying
a highway up into the clouds? Why build such a Jacob's ladder into
heaven itself, since after all this is not the way to get to heaven?
It must have cost millions. But there is no population along the road
to justify the expense. It could not be built for a few poor
mountaineers. And yet it is constructed as solidly as if it were the
Appian way leading out of Rome. It is an immense work of engineering.
For leagues upon leagues it has to be supported by solid stone-work to
prevent its being washed away by torrents. The answer is easy. It is a
military road, built, if not for purposes of conquest, yet to hold
one insecure dominion. Twenty years ago the upper part of Italy was a
dependency of Austria, but an insecure one, always in a chronic state
of discontent, always on the verge of rebellion. This road was built
to enable the government at Vienna to move troops swiftly through the
Tyrol over this pass, and pour them down upon the plains of Lombardy.
Hannibal and Cæsar had crossed the Alps, but the achievement was the
most daring in the annals of ancient warfare. Napoleon passed the
Great St. Bernard, but he felt the need of an easier passage for his
troops, and constructed the Simplon, not from a benevolent wish to
benefit mankind, but simply to render more secure his hold upon Italy,
as he showed by asking the engineers who came to report upon the
progress of the work, "When will the road be ready to pass over the
cannon?" Such was the design of Austria in building the road over the
Stelvio. But man proposes and God disposes. It was built with the
resources of an empire, and now that it is finished, Lombardy, by a
succession of events not anticipated in the royal councils, falls to
reunited Italy, and this road, the highest in Europe, remains, not a
channel of conquest, but a highway of civilization.

But here we are on the top of the Pass, from which we can look into
three countries--an empire, a kingdom, and a republic. Austria is
behind us, and Italy is before us, and Switzerland, throned on the
Alps, stands close beside us. After resting awhile, and feasting our
eyes on the glorious sight, we prepare to descend.

We are not out of the Tyrol, even when we have crossed the frontier,
for there is an Italian as well as an Austrian Tyrol, which has the
same features, and may be said to extend to Lake Como.

The descent from the Stelvio is quite as wonderful as the ascent.
Perhaps the impression is even greater, as the descent is more rapid,
and one realizes more the awful height and depth, as he is whirled
down the pass by a hundred zigzag turns, over bridges and through
galleries of rock, till at last, at the close of a long summer's day,
he reaches the Baths of Bormio, and plunging into one of the baths,
for which the place is so famous, washes away the dust of the journey,
and rests after the fatigue of a day never to be forgotten, in which
he made the Pass of the Stelvio.

For one fond of mountain climbing, who wished to make foot excursions
among the Alps, there are not many better points than this of the
Baths of Bormio. It is under the shadow of the great mountains, yet is
itself only about four thousand feet high, so that it is easily
accessible from below, yet it is nearly half-way up to the heights
above.

But we were on our way to Italy, and the next day continued our course
down the valley of the Adda. Hour after hour we kept going down, down,
till it seemed as if we must at last reach the very bottom of the
mountains, where their granite foundations are embedded in the solid
mass of the planet. But this descent gave us a succession of scenes of
indescribable beauty. Slowly the valley widened before us. The
mountains wore a rugged aspect. Instead of sterile masses of rock,
mantled with snows, and piercing the clouds, they began to be covered
with pines, which, like moss upon rocks, softened and beautified their
rugged breasts. As we advanced still farther, the slopes were covered
with vineyards; we were entering the land of the olive and the vine;
terrace on terrace rose on the mountain side; every shelf of rock, or
foot of ground, where a vine could grow, was covered. The rocky soil
yields the most delicious grapes. Women brought us great clusters; a
franc purchased enough for our whole party. The industry of the people
seemed more like the habits of birds building their nests on every
point of vantage, or of bees constructing their precious combs in the
trunks of old trees or in the clefts of the rocks, than the industry
of human creatures, which requires some little "verge and scope" for
its manifestations. And now along the banks of the Adda are little
plots of level ground, which admit of other cultivation. Olives trees
are mingled with the vines. There are orchards too, which remind us of
New England. Great numbers of mulberry trees are grown along the road,
for the raising of silk is one of the industries of Lombardy, and
there are thousands of willows by the water-courses, from which they
are cutting the lithe and supple branches, to be woven into baskets.
It is the glad summer time, and the land is rejoicing with the joy of
harvest. "The valleys are covered over with corn; they shout for joy;
they also sing." It was a warm afternoon, and the people were
gathering in the hay; and a pretty sight it was to see men and women
in the fields raking the rows, and very sweet to inhale the smell of
the new-mown hay, as we whirled along the road.

These are pretty features of an Italian landscape; I wish that the
impression was not marred by some which are less pleasant. But the
comfort of the people does not seem to correspond to their industry.
There is no economy in their labor, everything is done in the
old-fashioned way, and in the most wasteful methods. I did not see a
mowing or a reaping machine in the Tyrol, either on this or the other
side of the mountains. They use wooden ploughs, drawn by cows as often
as by oxen, and so little management have they, that one person is
employed, generally a woman, to lead the miserable team, or rather
pull them along. I have seen a whole family attached to a pair of
sorry cattle--the man holding the plough, the woman pulling the rope
ahead, and a poor little chap, who did his best, whipping behind. The
crops are gathered in the same slipshod way. The hay is all carried in
baskets on the backs of women. It was a pitiful sight to see them
groaning under their loads, often stopping by the roadside to rest. I
longed to see one of our Berkshire farmers enter the hay-field with a
pair of lusty oxen and a huge cart, which would transport at a single
load a weight, such as would break the backs of all the women in an
Italian village.

Of course women subjected to this kind of work, are soon bent out of
all appearance of beauty; and when to this is added the goitre, which
prevails to a shocking extent in these mountain valleys, they are
often but wretched hags in appearance.

And yet the Italians have a "gift of beauty," if it were only not
marred by such untoward circumstances. Many a bright, Spanish-looking
face looked out of windows, and peered from under the arches, as we
rattled through the villages; and the children were almost always
pretty, even though in rags. With their dark brown faces, curly hair,
and large, beautiful eyes, they might have been the models of
Murillo's beggars.

We dined at Tirano, in a hotel which once had been a monastery, and
whose spacious rooms--very comfortable "cells" indeed--and ample
cellars for their wines, and large open court, surrounded with covered
arches, where the good fathers could rest in the heat of the day,
showed that these old monks, though so intent on the joys of the next
world, were not wholly indifferent to the "creature comforts" of this.

Night brought us to Sondrio, where in a spacious and comfortable inn,
which we remember with much satisfaction after our long rides, we
slept the sleep of innocence and peace.

And now we are fairly entered into Italy. The mountains are behind us,
and the lakes are before us. Friday brought us to Lake Como, and we
found the relief of exchanging our ride in a diligence along a hot and
dusty road for a sail over this most enchanting of Italian, perhaps I
might say of European, lakes; for after seeing many in different
countries, it seems to me that this is "better than all the waters" of
Scotland or Switzerland. It is a daughter of the Alps, lying at their
feet, fed by their snows, and reflecting their giant forms in its
placid bosom. And here on its shores we have pitched our tent to rest
for ten days. For three months we have been travelling almost without
stopping, sometimes, to avoid the heat, riding all night--as from
Amsterdam to Hamburg, and from Prague to Vienna. The last week, though
very delightful, has been one of great fatigue, as for four days in
succession we rode twelve or thirteen hours a day in a carriage or
diligence. After being thus jolted and knocked about, we are quite
willing to rest. Nature is very well, but it is a pleasant change once
in a while to return to civilization; to have the luxury of a bath,
and to sleep quietly in our beds, like Christians, instead of racing
up and down in the earth, as if haunted by an evil spirit. And so we
have decided to "come apart and rest awhile," before starting on
another campaign.

We are in the loveliest spot that ever a tired mortal chose to pillow
his weary head. If any of my readers are coming abroad for a summer,
and wish for a place of _rest_, let me recommend to them this quiet
retreat. Cadenabbia! it hath a pleasant sound, and it is indeed an
enchanting spot. The mountains are all around us, to shut out the
world, and the gentle waters ripple at our feet. We do not spend the
time in making excursions, for in this balmy air it is a sufficient
luxury to exist. We are now writing at a table under an avenue of fine
old trees, which stretch along the lake to the Villa Carlotta, a
princely residence, which belongs to a niece of the Emperor of
Germany, where oranges and lemons are growing in the open air, and
hang in clusters over our heads, and where one may pick from the trees
figs and pomegranates. Here we sit in a paradise of beauty, and send
our loving thoughts to friends over the sea.

And then, if tired of the shore, we have but to step into a boat, and
float "at our own sweet will." This is our unfailing resource when the
day is over. Boats are lying in front of the hotel, and strong-armed
rowers are ready to take us anywhere. Across the lake, which is here
but two miles wide, is Bellaggio, with its great hotels along the
water, and its numerous villas peering out from the dense foliage of
trees. How they glow in the last rays of the sunset, and how brilliant
the lights along the shore at evening. Sometimes we sail across to
visit the villas, or to look among the hotels for friendly American
names. But more commonly we sail up and down, only for the pleasure of
the motion, now creeping along by the shore, under the shadow of the
mountains, and now "launching out into the deep," and rest, like one
becalmed, in the middle of the lake. We do not want to go anywhere,
but only to float and dream. Row gently, boatman! Softly and slowly!
_Lentissimo!_ Hush, there is music on the shore. We stop and listen:

     "My soul was an enchanted boat,
     That like a sleeping swan did float,
     Upon the waves of that sweet singing."

But better than music or the waters is the heaven that is above the
waters, and that is reflected in the tranquil bosom of the lake.
Leaning back on the cushioned seat, we look up to the stars as old
friends, as they are the only objects that we recognize in the heavens
above or the earth beneath. How we come to love any object that is
familiar. I confess it is with a tender feeling that I look up to
constellations that have so often shined upon me in other lands, when
other eyes looked up with mine. How sweet it is, wherever we go, to
have at least one object that we have seen before; one face that is
not strange to us, the same on land or sea, in Europe and America.
Thus in our travels I have learned to look up to the stars as the most
constant friends. They are the only things in nature that remain
faithful. The mountains change as we move from country to country. The
rivers know us not as they glide away swiftly to the sea. But the
stars are always the same. The same constellations glow in the heavens
to-night that shone on Julius Cæsar when he led his legions through
these mountains to conquer the tribes of Germany. Cæsar is gone, and
sixty generations since, but Orion and the Pleiades remain. The same
stars are here that shone on Bethlehem when Christ was born; the same
that now shine in distant lands on holy graves; and that will look
down with pitying eyes on our graves when we are gone. Blessed lights
in the heavens, to illumine the darkness of our earthly existence! Are
they not the best witnesses for our Almighty Creator,

     "Forever singing as they shine
     The hand that made us is Divine?"

He who hath set his bow in the cloud, hath set in the firmament that
is above the clouds, these everlasting signs of His own faithfulness.
Who that looks up at that midnight sky can ever again doubt His care
and love, as he reads these unchanging memorials of an unchanging God?



CHAPTER XIX.

THE CITY IN THE SEA.


     VENICE, Sept 18th.

It was with real regret that we left Lake Como, where we had passed
ten very quiet but very happy days. But all things pleasant must have
an end, and so on Monday morning we departed. Steamers ply up and down
the lake, but as none left at an hour early enough to connect with a
train that reached Venice the same evening, we took a boat and were
rowed to Lecco. It was a three hours' pull for two strong men; but as
we left at half-past seven, the eastern mountains protected us from
the heat of the sun, and we glided swiftly along in their cool
shadows. Not a breath of air ruffled the bosom of the lake. Everything
in this parting view conspired to make us regret a scene of which we
were taking a long, perhaps a last, farewell.

At Lecco we came back to railroads, which we had not seen since the
morning we left Munich for Ober-Ammergau, more than two weeks before,
and were soon flying over a cultivated country, where orchards of
mulberry trees (close-trimmed, so as to yield a second crop of leaves
the same season) gave promise of the rich silks of Lombardy, and vines
covered all the terraced slopes of the hills.

In the carriage with us was a good old priest, who was attached to St.
Mark's in Venice, with whom we fell in conversation, and who gave us
much information about the picturesque country through which we were
passing. Here, where the land is smiling so peacefully, among these
very hills, "rich with corn and wine," was fought the great battle in
which Venice defeated Frederick Barbarossa, and thus saved the cause
of Italian independence.

At Bergamo we struck the line from Milan to Venice, and while waiting
an hour for the express train, sauntered off with the old priest into
the town, which was just then alive with the excitement of its annual
fair. The peasants had come in from all the country round--men and
women, boys and girls--to enjoy a holiday, bringing whatever they had
to sell, and seeking whatever they had to buy. One might imagine that
he was in an old-fashioned "cattle show" at home. Farmers had brought
young colts which they had raised for the market, and some of the
brawny fellows, with broad-brimmed hats, answered to the drovers one
may see in Kansas, who have driven the immense herds of cattle from
Texas. In another part of the grounds were exposed for sale the
delicate fabrics and rich colors which tempt the eye of woman: silks
and scarfs and shawls, with many of the sex, young and old, looking on
with eager eyes. And there were sports for the children. A
merry-go-round picked up its load of little creatures, who, mounted on
wooden horses, were whirled about to their infinite delight at a penny
apiece--a great deal of happiness for a very little money. And there
were all sorts of shows going on--little enclosures, where something
wonderful was to be seen, the presence of which was announced by the
beating of a drum; and a big tent with a circus, which from the
English names of the performers may have been a strolling company from
the British Islands, or possibly from America! It would be strange
indeed, if a troupe of Yankee riders and jumpers had come all the way
to Italy, to make the country folk stare at their surprising feats.
And there was a menagerie, which one did not need to enter: for the
wild beasts painted on the outside of the canvas, were no doubt much
more ferocious and terrible to behold than the subdued and lamb-like
creatures within. Is not a Country Fair the same thing all over the
world?

At length the train came rushing up, and stopping but a moment for
passengers, dashed off like a race-horse over the great plain of
Lombardy. But we must not go so fast as to overlook this historic
ground. Suddenly, like a sheet of silver, unrolls before us the broad
surface of the Lago di Garda, the greatest of the Italian lakes,
stretching far into the plain, but with its head resting against the
background of the Tyrolean Alps. What memories gather about these
places from the old Roman days! In yonder peninsula in the lake,
Catullus wrote his poems; in Mantua, a few miles to the south, Virgil
was born; while in Verona an amphitheatre remains in excellent
preservation, which is second only to the Coliseum. In events of more
recent date this region is full of interest. We are now in the heart
of the famous Quadrilateral, the Four great Fortresses, built to
overawe as well as defend Upper Italy. All this ground was fought over
by the first Napoleon in his Italian campaigns; while near at hand is
the field of Solferino, where under Napoleon III. a French army, with
that of Victor Emmanuel, finally conquered the independence of Italy.

More peaceful memories linger about Padua, whose University, that is
over six hundred years old, was long one of the chief seats of
learning in Europe, within whose walls Galileo studied; and Tasso and
Ariosto and Petrarch; and the reformer and martyr Savonarola.

But all these places sink in interest, as just at evening we reach the
end of the main land, and passing over the long causeway which crosses
the Lagune, find ourselves in VENICE. It seems very prosaic to enter
Venice by a railroad, but the prose ceases and the poetry begins the
instant we emerge from the station, for the marble steps descend to
the water, and instead of stepping into a carriage we step into a
gondola; and as we move off we leave behind the firm ground of
ordinary experience, and our imagination, like our persons, is afloat.
Everything is strange and unreal. We are in a great city, and yet we
cannot put our feet to the ground. There is no sound of carriages
rattling over the stony streets, for there is not a horse in Venice.
We cannot realize where and what we are. The impression is greatly
heightened in arriving at night, for the canals are but dimly lighted,
and darkness adds to the mystery of this city of silence. Now and then
we see a light in a window, and somebody leans from a balcony; and we
hear the plashing of oars as a gondola shoots by; but these occasional
signs of life only deepen the impression of loneliness, till it seems
as if we were in a world of ghosts--nay, to be ghosts ourselves--and
to be gliding through misty shapes and shadows; as if we had touched
the black waters of Death, and the silent Oarsman himself were guiding
our boat to his gloomy realm. Thus sunk in reverie, we floated along
the watery streets, past the Rialto, and under the Bridge of Sighs, to
the Hotel Danieli on the Grand Canal, just behind the Palace of the
Doges.

When the morning broke, and we could see things about us in plain
daylight, we set ourselves, like dutiful travellers, to see the
sights, and now in a busy week have come to know something of Venice;
to feel that it is not familiar _ground_, but familiar _water_,
familiar canals and bridges, and churches and palaces. We have been up
on the Campanile, and looked down upon the city, as it lies spread out
like a map under our eye, with all its islands and its waters; and we
have sailed around it and through it, going down to the Lido, and
looking off upon the Adriatic; and then coursing about the Lagune, and
up and down the Grand Canal and the Giudecca, and through many of the
smaller canals, which intersect the city in every direction. We have
visited the church of St. Mark, rich with its colored marbles and
mosaics, and richer still in its historic memories; and the Palace
where the Doges reigned, and the church where they are buried, the
Westminster Abbey of Venice, where the rulers of many generations lie
together in their royal house of death; we have visited the Picture
Galleries, and seen the paintings of Titian and the statues of Canova,
and then looked on the marble tombs in the church of the Frati, where
sleep these two masters of different centuries. Thus we have tried to
weave together the artistic, the architectural, and the historical
glories of this wonderful city.

There is no city in Europe about which there is so much of romance as
Venice, and of _real_ romance (if that be not a contradiction), that
is, of romance founded on reality, for indeed the reality is stranger
than fiction. Its very aspect dazzles the eye, as the traveller
approaches from the east, and sees the morning sun reflected from its
domes and towers. And how like an apparition it seems, when he
reflects that all that glittering splendor rests on the unsubstantial
sea. It is a jewel set in water, or rather it seems to rise, like a
gigantic sea-flower, out of the waves, and to spread a kind of
tropical bloom over the far-shining expanse around it.

And then its history is as strange and marvellous as any tale of the
Arabian Nights. It is the wildest romance turned into reality. Venice
is the oldest State in Europe. The proudest modern empires are but of
yesterday compared with it. When Britain was a howling wilderness,
when London and Paris were insignificant towns, the Queen of the
Adriatic was in the height of its glory. Macaulay says the Republic of
Venice came next in antiquity to the Church of Rome. Thus he places it
before all the kingdoms of Europe, being antedated only by that hoary
Ecclesiastical Dominion, which (as he writes so eloquently in his
celebrated review of Ranke's History of the Popes) began to live
before all the nations, and may endure till that famous New Zealander
"shall take his stand, in the midst of a vast solitude, on a broken
arch of London Bridge, to sketch the nuns of St. Paul's."

And this history, dating so far back, is connected with monuments
still standing, which recall it vividly to the modern traveller. The
church of St. Mark is a whole volume in itself. It is one of the
oldest churches in the world, boasting of having under its altar the
very bones of St. Mark, and behind it alabaster columns from the
Temple of Solomon, while over its ancient portal the four bronze
horses still stand proudly erect, which date at least from the time of
Nero, and are perhaps the work of a Grecian sculptor who lived before
the birth of Christ. And the Palace of the Doges--is it not a history
of centuries written in stone? What grand spectacles it has witnessed
in the days of Venetian splendor! What pomp and glory have been
gathered within its walls! And what deliberations have been carried on
in its council chambers; what deeds of patriotism have been there
conceived, and also what conspiracies and what crimes! And the Prison
behind it, with the Bridge of Sighs leading to it, does not every
stone in that gloomy pile seem to have a history written in blood and
tears?

But the part of Venice in European history was not only a leading one
for more than a thousand years, but a noble one; it took the foremost
place in European civilization, which it preserved after the
barbarians had overrun the Roman Empire. The Middle Ages would have
been Dark Ages indeed, but for the light thrown into them by the
Italian Republics. It was after the Roman empire had fallen under the
battle-axes of the German barbarians that the ancient Veneti took
refuge on these low-lying islands, finding a defence in the
surrounding waters, and here began to build a city in the sea. Its
position at the head of the Adriatic was favorable for commerce, and
it soon drew to itself the rich trade of the East. It sent out its
ships to all parts of the Mediterranean, and even beyond the Pillars
of Hercules. And so, century after century, it grew in power and
splendor, till it was the greatest maritime city in the world. It was
the lord of the waves, and in sign of its supremacy, it was _married
to the sea_ with great pomp and magnificence. In the Arsenal is shown
the model of the Bucentaur, that gilded barge in which the Doge and
the Senate were every year carried down the harbor, and dropping a
ring of gold and gems (large as one of those huge doorknockers that in
former days gave dignity to the portals of great mansions) into the
waves, signified the marriage of Venice to the sea.[3] It was the
contrast of this display of power and dominion with the later decline
of Venetian commerce, that suggested the melancholy line,

     "The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord."

But then Venice was as much mistress of the sea as England is to-day.
She sat at the gates of the Orient, and

     "The gorgeous East with richest hand
     Showered upon her barbaric pearl and gold."

Then arose on all her islands and her waters those structures which
are to this day the wonder of Europe. The Grand Canal, which is nearly
two miles long, is lined with palaces, such as no modern capital can
approach in costliness and splendor.

And Venice used her power for a defence to Christendom and to
civilization, the former against the Turks, and the latter against
Northern barbarians. When Frederick Barbarossa came down with his
hordes upon Italy, he found his most stubborn enemy in the Republic of
Venice, which kept up the contest for more than twenty years, till the
fierce old Emperor acknowledged a power that was invincible, and here
in Venice, in the church of St. Mark, knelt before the Pope Alexander
III. (who represented, not Rome against Protestantism, but Italian
independence against German oppression), and gave his humble
submission, and made peace with the States of Italy which, thanks to
the heroic resistance of Venice, he could not conquer.

Hardly was this long contest ended before the power of Venice was
turned against the Turks in the East. Venetians, aided by French
crusaders, and led by a warrior whose courage neither age nor
blindness could restrain ("Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo!"),
captured Constantinople, and Venetian ships sailing up and down the
Bosphorus kept the conquerors of Western Asia from crossing into
Europe. The Turks finally passed the straits and took Constantinople;
but the struggle of the Cross and the Crescent, as in Spain between
the Spaniard and the Moor, was kept up over a hundred years longer,
and was not ended till the battle of Lepanto in 1571. In the Arsenal
they still preserve the flag of the Turkish admiral captured on that
great day, with its motto in Arabic, "There is no God but God, and
Mohammed is his prophet." We can hardly realize, now that the danger
is so long past, how great a victory, both for Christendom and for
civilization, was won on that day when the scattered wrecks of the
Turkish Armada sank in the blood-dyed waters of the Gulf of Corinth.

These are glorious memories for Venice, which fully justify the
praises of historians, and make the splendid eulogy of Byron as true
to history as it is beautiful in poetry. In Venice, as on the Rhine, I
have found Childe Harold the best guide-book, as the poet paints a
picture in a few immortal lines. Never was Venice painted, even by
Canaletto, more to the eye than in these few strokes, which bring the
whole scene before us:

       I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs,
       A palace and a prison on each hand,
       I saw from out the waves her structures rise,
       As by the stroke of the enchanter's wand,
       A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
       Around me, and a dying glory smiles
       O'er the far times when many a subject land
       Looked to the winged lion's marble piles,
     Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles.

But poets are apt to look at things _only_ in a poetical light, and to
admire and to celebrate, or to mourn, according to their own royal
fancies, rather than according to the sober prose of history. The
picture of the magnificence of Venice is true to the letter, for
indeed no language can surpass the splendid reality. But when the poet
goes farther and laments the loss of its independence, as if it were a
loss to liberty and to the world, the honest student of history will
differ from him. That he should mourn its subjection, or that of any
part of Italy, to a foreign power, whether Austria or France, we can
well understand. And this was perhaps his only real sorrow--a manly
and patriotic grief--but at times he seems to go farther, and to
regret the old gorgeous mediæval state. Here we cannot follow him.
Poetry is well, and romance is well, but truth is better; and the
truth, as history records it, must be confessed, that Venice, though
in name a republic, was as great a despotism as any in the Middle
Ages. The people had no power whatever. It was all in the hands of the
nobles, some five hundred of whom composed the Senate, and elected the
famous Council of Ten, by which, with the Senate, was chosen the
Council of Three, who were the real masters of Venice. The Doge, who
was generally an old man, was a mere puppet in their hands, a
venerable figure-head of the State, to hide what was done by younger
and more resolute wills. The Council of Three were the real Dictators
of the Republic, and the Tribunal of the Inquisition itself was not
more mysterious or more terrible. By some secret mode of election the
names of those who composed this council were not known even to their
associates in the Senate or in the Council of Ten. They were a secret
and therefore wholly irresponsible tribunal. Their names were
concealed, so that they could act in the dark, and at their will
strike down the loftiest head. Once indeed their vengeance struck the
Doge himself. I have had in my hands the very sword which cut off the
head of Marino Faliero more than five hundred years ago. It is a
tremendous weapon, and took both hands to lift it, and must have
fallen upon that princely neck like an axe upon the block. But
commonly their power fell on meaner victims. The whole system of
government was one of terror, kept up by a secret espionage which
penetrated every man's household, and struck mortal fear into every
heart. The government invited accusations. The "lion's mouth"--an
aperture in the palace of the Doges--was always open, and if a charge
against one was thrown into it, instantly he was arrested and brought
before this secret tribunal, by which he might be tried, condemned,
sentenced, and executed, without his family knowing what had become of
him, with only horrible suspicions to account for his mysterious
disappearance.

In going through the Palace of the Doges one is struck with the
gorgeousness of the old Venetian State. All that is magnificent in
architecture; and all that is splendid in decoration, carving, and
gilding, spread with lavish hand over walls and doors and ceiling;
with every open space or panel illumined by paintings by Titian or
some other of the old Venetian masters--are combined to render this
more than a "royal house," since it is richer than the palaces of
kings.

But before any young enthusiast allows his imagination to run away
with him, let him explore this Palace of the Doges a little farther.
Let him go into the Hall of the Council of Three, and observe how it
connects conveniently by a little stair with the Hall of Torture,
where innocent persons could soon be persuaded to accuse themselves of
deadly crimes; and how it opens into a narrow passage, through which
the condemned passed to swift execution. Then let him go down into the
dungeons, worse than death, where the accused were buried in a living
tomb. Byron himself, in a note to Childe Harold, has given the best
answer to his own lamentation over the fall of the Republic of
Venice.[4]

We shall therefore waste no tears over the fall of the old Republic of
Venice, even though it had existed for thirteen hundred years. In its
day it had acted a great part in European history, and had often
served the cause of progress, when it preserved Christendom from the
Turks, and civilization from the Barbarians. But it had accomplished
its end, and its time had come to die; and though the poet so
musically mourns that

     In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more,
     And silent rows the songless gondolier,

yet in the changes which have come, we cannot but recognize the
passing away of an old state of things, to be succeeded by a better.
Even the spirit of Byron would be satisfied, could he open his eyes
_now_, and see Venice rid at last of a foreign yoke, and restored to
her rightful place, as a part of free and united Italy.

Though Venice is a city which does not change in its external
appearance, and looks just as it did when I was here seventeen years
ago, I observe _one_ difference; the flag that is flying from all the
public buildings is not the same. Then the black eagles of Austria
hovered over the Square of St. Mark; and as we sat there in the summer
evening, Austrian officers were around us, in front of the cafés, and
the music was by an Austrian band. Now there is music still, and on
summer nights the old Piazza is thronged as ever; but I hear another
language in the groups--the hated foreigner, with his bayonets, is not
here. The change is every way for the better. The people breathe
freely, and political and national life revives in the air of liberty.

Venice is beginning to have also a return of its commercial
prosperity. Of course it can never again be the mistress of the sea,
as other great commercial states have sprung up beyond the
Mediterranean. The glory of Venice culminated about the year 1500.
Eight years before that date, an Italian sailor--though not a
Venetian, but a Genoese--had discovered, lying beyond the western
main, a New World. In less than four centuries, the commerce which had
flourished on the Adriatic was to pass to England, and that other
English Empire still more remote. Venice can never regain her former
supremacy. Civilization has passed, and left her standing in the sea.
But though she can never again take the lead of other nations, she may
still have a happy and a prosperous future. There is the commerce of
the Mediterranean, for which, as before, she holds a commanding
position at the head of the Adriatic. For some days has been lying in
the Grand Canal, in front of our hotel, a large steamer of the
Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company, the Delhi, and on Friday
she sailed for Alexandria and Bombay! The transference of these ships
to Venice as a point of departure, will help its commerce with the
East and with India.

One thing we may be allowed to hope, as a friend of Venice and of
Italy--that its policy will be one of peace. In the Arsenal we found
models of ironclads and other ships of war, built or building; but I
confess I felt rather glad to hear the naval officer who showed them
to us confess (though he did it with a tone of regret) that their navy
was not large compared with other European navies, and that the
Government was not doing _much_ to increase it, though it is building
dry docks here in Venice, and occasionally adds a ship to the fleet.
Yet what does Italy want of a great navy? or a great army? They eat
up the substance of the country; and it has no money to waste on
needless armaments. Besides, Italy has no enemy to fear, for both
France and Germany are friendly; to France she owes the deliverance of
Lombardy, and to Germany that of Venice. And even Austria is
reconciled. Last April the Emperor made a visit to Venice, and was
received by Victor Emmanuel, and was rowed up the Grand Canal with a
state which recalled the pomp of her ancient days of glory.

The future therefore of Venice and of Italy is not in war, but in
peace. Venice has had enough of war in former centuries--enough of
conflicts on land and sea. She can now afford to live on this rich
inheritance of glory. Let her cherish the memory of the heroic days of
old, but let her not tempt fortune by venturing again into the smoke
of battle. Let her keep in her Arsenal the captured flags taken from
the Turks at Lepanto; let the three tall masts of cedar, erected in
the Square of St. Mark three hundred and seventy years ago, to
commemorate the conquest of Cyprus, Candia, and Morea, still stand as
historical mementoes of the past; but it is no sacrifice of pride that
they no longer bear the banners of conquered provinces, since from
their lofty and graceful heads now floats a far prouder ensign--the
flag of one undivided Italy.

If I were to choose an emblem of what the future of this country
should be, I would that the arms of Venice might be henceforth, not
the _winged lion_ of St. Mark, but the _doves_ of St. Mark: for these
equally belong to Venice, and form not only one of its prettiest
sights, but one connected with historical associations, that make them
fit emblems both of peace and of victory. The story is that at the
siege of Candia, in the beginning of the Thirteenth century, Admiral
Dandolo had intelligence brought to him by carrier-pigeons which
helped him to take the island, and that he used the same swift-winged
heralds to send the news to Venice. And so from that day to this they
have been protected, and thus they have been the pets of Venice for
six hundred years. They seem perfectly at home, and build their nests
on the roofs and under the eaves of the houses, even on the Doge's
Palace and the Church of St. Mark. Not the swallow, but the dove hath
found a nest for herself on the house of the Lord. I see them nestling
together on the Bridge of Sighs, thinking not of all the broken hearts
that have passed along that gloomy arch. A favorite perch at evening
is the heavy cross-bars of the prison windows; there they sleep
peacefully, where lonely captives have looked up to the dim light, and
sighed in vain for liberty. From all these nooks and corners they
flock into the great square in the day-time, and walk about quite
undisturbed. It has been one of our pleasures to go there with bread
in our pockets, to feed them. At the first sign of the scattered
crumbs, they come fluttering down from the buildings around, running
over each other in their eagerness, coming up to my feet, and eating
out of my hand. Let these beautiful creatures--the emblems of peace
and the messengers of victory--be wrought as an armorial bearing on
the flag of the new Italy--white doves on a blue ground, as if flying
over the sea--their outspread wings the fit emblems of those sails of
commerce, which, we trust, are again to go forth from Venice and from
Genoa, not only to all parts of the Mediterranean, but to the most
distant shores!

FOOTNOTES:

[3] Lest any of my saving countrymen should think this a sacrifice of
precious jewels, it should be added that the cunning old Venetians,
with a prudent economy worthy of a Yankee housekeeper, instead of
wasting their treasures on the sea, dropped the glittering bauble into
a net carefully spread for the purpose, in which it was fished up, to
be used in the ceremonies of successive years.

[4] The note is on the opening lines of the fourth Canto:

     "I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs,
     A palace and a prison on each hand,"

--in explanation of which the poet says:

"The communication between the ducal palace and the prisons of Venice
is by a gloomy bridge, or covered gallery, high above the water, and
divided by a stone wall into a passage and a cell. The State dungeons,
called 'pozzi,' or wells, were sunk into the thick walls of the
palace; and the prisoner, when taken out to die, was conducted across
the gallery to the other side, and being then led back into the other
compartment or cell upon the bridge, was there strangled. The low
portal through which the criminal was taken into this cell is now
walled up; but the passage is still open, and is still known as the
Bridge of Sighs. The pozzi are under the flooring of the chamber at
the foot of the bridge. They were formerly twelve, but on the first
arrival of the French, the Venetians blocked or broke up the deeper of
these dungeons. You may still, however, descend by a trap-door, and
crawl down through holes, half-choked by rubbish, to the depth of two
stories below the first range. If you are in want of consolation for
the extinction of patrician power, perhaps you may find it there;
scarcely a ray of light glimmers into the narrow gallery which leads
to the cells, and the places of confinement themselves are totally
dark. A small hole in the wall admitted the damp air of the passages,
and served for the introduction of the prisoner's food. A wooden
pallet, raised a foot from the ground, was the only furniture. The
conductor tells you that a light was not allowed. The cells are about
five paces in length, two and a half in width, and seven feet in
height. They are directly beneath one another, and respiration is
somewhat difficult in the lower holes. Only one prisoner was found
when the Republicans descended into these hideous recesses, and he is
said to have been confined sixteen years."



CHAPTER XX.

MILAN AND GENOA.--A RIDE OVER THE CORNICHE ROAD.


     GENOA, September 20th.

The new life of Italy is apparent in its cities more than in the
country. A change of government does not change the face of nature.
The hills that bear the olive and the vine, were as fresh and green
under the rule of Austria as they are now under that of Victor
Emmanuel. But in the cities and large towns I see a marked change,
both in the places themselves, and in the manner and spirit of the
people. Then there was an universal lethargy. Everything was fixed in
a stagnation, like that of China. There was no improvement, and no
attempt at any. The incubus of a foreign yoke weighed like lead on the
hearts of the people. Their depression showed itself in their very
countenances, which had a hopeless and sullen look. Now this is gone.
The Austrians have retired behind the mountains of the Tyrol, and
Italy at last is free from the Alps to the Adriatic. The moral effect
of such a political change is seen in the rebound from a state of
despair to one of animation and hope. When a people are free, they
have courage to attempt works of improvement, knowing that what they
do is not for the benefit of foreign masters, but for themselves and
their children. Hence the new life which I see in the very streets of
Milan and Genoa. Everywhere improvements are going on. They are
tearing down old houses, and building new ones; opening new streets
and squares, and levelling old walls, that wide boulevards may take
their place. In Milan I found them clearing away blocks of houses in
front of the Duomo, to form an open square, sufficient to give an
ample foreground for the Cathedral. And they were just finishing a
grand Arcade, with an arched roof of iron and glass, like the Crystal
Palace, beneath which are long rows of shops, as well as wide open
spaces, where the people may gather in crowds, secure both from heat
and cold, protected alike from the rains of summer and the snows of
winter. The Emperor of Germany, who is about to pay a visit to Italy,
will find in Milan a city not so large indeed, but certainly not less
beautiful, than his own northern capital.

One beauty it has which Berlin can never have--its Cathedral. If I had
not exhausted my epithets of admiration on the Cathedrals of Strasburg
and Cologne, I might attempt a description of that of Milan; but
indeed all words seem feeble beside the reality. One contrast to the
German Cathedrals is its lighter exterior. It is built of marble,
which under an Italian sky has preserved its whiteness, and hence it
has not the cold gray of those Northern Minsters blackened by time.
Nor has it any such lofty towers soaring into the sky. The impression
at first, therefore, is one of beauty rather than of grandeur. In
place of one or two such towers, standing solitary and sublime, its
buttresses along the sides shoot up into as many separate pinnacles,
surmounted by statues, which, as they gleam in the last rays of
sunset, or under the full moon, seem like angelic sentinels ranged
along the heavenly battlements. These details of the exterior draw
away the eye from the vastness of the structure as a whole, which only
bursts upon us as we enter within. There we recognize its immensity in
the remoteness of objects. A man looks very small at the other end of
the church. Service may be going on at half a dozen side chapels
without attracting attention, except as we hear chanting in the
distance; and the eye swims in looking up at the vaulted roof. Behind
the choir, three lofty windows of rich stained glass cast a soft light
on the vast interior. If I lived in Milan, I should haunt that
Cathedral, since it is a spot where one may always be _alone_, as if
he were in the depths of the forest, and may indulge his meditations
undisturbed.

But there is another church, of much more humble proportions, which
has a great historical interest, that of St. Ambrose, the author of
the Te Deum, through which he has led the worship of all the
generations since his day, and whose majestic anthem "We praise Thee,
O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord," will continue to resound
in the earthly temples till it is caught up by voices around the
throne. St. Ambrose gave another immortal gift to the Church in the
conversion of St. Augustine, the greatest of the Fathers, whose
massive theology has been the study alike of Catholics and
Protestants--of Bossuet and Luther and Calvin.

Near the church of St. Ambrose one may still see the mutilated remains
of the great work of Leonardo da Vinci--the Last Supper--painted, as
everybody knows, on the walls of the refectory of an old monastery,
where it has had all sorts of bad usage till it has been battered out
of shape, but where still Christ sits in the midst of His disciples,
looking with tender and loving eyes around on that circle which He
should not meet again till He had passed through His great agony. The
mutilation of such a work is a loss to the world, but it is partly
repaired by the many excellent copies, and by the admirable
engravings, in which it has been reproduced.

From Milan to Genoa is only a ride of five hours, and we are once more
by the sea. One must be a dull and emotionless traveller who does not
feel a thrill as he emerges from a long tunnel and sees before him the
Mediterranean. There it lies--the Mare Magnum of the ancients, which
to those who knew not the oceans as we know them, seemed vast and
measureless; "the great and wide sea," of which the Psalmist wrote;
towards which the prophet looked from Mount Carmel, till he descried
rising out of it a cloud like a man's hand; the sea "whose shores are
empires," around which the civilization of the world has revolved for
thousands of years, passing from Egypt to Greece, to Rome, to France
and Spain, but always lingering, whether on the side of Europe or
Africa, somewhere along that enchanted coast.

Here is Genoa--Genoa Superba, as they named her centuries ago--and
that still sits like a queen upon the waters, as she looks down so
proudly from her amphitheatre of hills upon the bay at her feet. Genoa
with Venice divided the maritime supremacy of the Middle Ages, when
her prows were seen in all parts of the Mediterranean. The glory of
those days is departed, but, like Venice, her prosperity is reviving
under the influence of liberty. To Americans Genoa will always have a
special interest as the city of Christopher Columbus. It was pleasant,
in emerging from the station, to see in the very first public square a
monument worthy of his great name, to the discoverer of the New World.

Genoa is a convenient point from which to take an excursion over the
Corniche road--one of the most famous roads in Europe, running along
the Riviera, or the coast of the Mediterranean, as far west as Nice. A
railroad now follows the same route, but as it passes through a
hundred tunnels, more or less, the traveller is half the time buried
in the earth. The only way to see the full beauty of this road is to
take a carriage and drive over it, so as to get all the best points of
view. The whole excursion would take several days. To economize our
time we went by rail from Genoa to San Remo, where the most
picturesque part of the road begins, and from there took a basket
carriage with two spirited ponies to drive to Nice, a good day's
journey over the mountains. The day was fair, not too hot nor too
cool. The morning air was exhilarating, as we began our ride along the
shore, winding in and out of all the little bays, sweeping around the
promontories that jut into the sea, and then climbing high up on the
spurs of the mountains, which here slope quite down to the coast, from
which they take the name of the Maritime Alps. The special beauty of
this Riviera is that it lies between the mountains and the sea. The
hills, which rise from the very shore, are covered not with vines but
with olives--a tree which with its pale yellow leaves, somewhat like
the willow is not very attractive to the eye, especially when, as now
withered by the fierce summer's heat, and covered with the summer's
dust. There has been no rain for two months, and the whole land is
burnt like a furnace. The leaves are scorched as with the breath of a
sirocco. But when the autumn rains descend, we can well believe that
all this barrenness is turned into beauty, as these slopes are then
green, both with olive and with orange groves.

In the recesses of the hills are many sheltered spots, protected from
the northern winds, and open to the southern sun, which are the
favorite resorts of invalids for the winter, as here sun and sea
combine to give a softened air like that of a perpetual spring. When
winter rages over the north of Europe, when snow covers the open
country, and even drifts in the streets of great capitals, then it
seems as if sunshine and summer retreated to the shores of the
Mediterranean, and here lingered among the orange gardens that look
out from the terraced slopes upon the silver sea. The warm south wind
from African deserts tempers the fierceness of the northern blasts.
And not only invalids, but people of wealth and fashion, who have the
command of all countries and climates, and who have only to choose
where to spend the winter with least of discomfort and most of luxury
and pleasure, flock to these resorts. Last winter the Empress of
Russia took up her quarters at San Remo, to inhale the balmy air--a
simple luxury, which she could not find in her palace at St.
Petersburg. And Prince Amadeus, son of the king of Italy, who himself
wore a crown for a year, occupied a villa near by, and found here a
tranquil happiness which he could never find on the troubled throne of
Spain. A still greater resort than San Remo is Mentone, which for the
winter months is turned into an English colony, with a sprinkling of
Americans, who altogether form a society of their own, and thus enjoy,
along with this delicious climate, the charms of their English and
American life.

It is a pity that there should be a serpent in this garden of
Paradise. But here he is--a huge green monster, twining among the
flowers and the orange groves. Midway between Mentone and Nice is the
little principality of Monaco, the smallest sovereignty in Europe,
covering only a rocky peninsula that projects into the sea, and a
small space around it. But small as it is, it is large enough to
furnish a site for a pest worse than a Lazaretto--worse than the
pirates of the Barbary coast that once preyed on the commerce of the
Mediterranean--for here is the greatest gambling house in Europe. The
famous--or infamous--establishments that so long flourished on the
Rhine, at Homburg and Baden Baden, drawing hundreds and thousands into
their whirlpools of ruin, have been broken up since the petty
principalities have been absorbed in the great German empire. Thus
driven from one point to another, the gamblers have been, like the
evil spirit, seeking rest and finding none, till at last, by offering
a large sum--I heard that it was four hundred thousand francs (eighty
thousand dollars) a year--to the Prince of Monaco, they have induced
him to sell himself to the Devil, and to allow his petty State to
become a den of thieves. Hearing of this notorious establishment, I
had a curiosity to see it, and so we were driven to Monte Carlo, which
is the pretty name for a very bad place. Surely never was the palace
of pleasure decked with more attractions. The place has been made like
a garden. Extensive grounds have been laid out, where orange trees and
palms are in full bloom. Winding walks conduct the visitor to retired
and shady retreats. The building itself is of stately proportions,
and one goes up the steps as if he were ascending a temple. Within the
broad vestibule servants in livery receive the stranger with studied
politeness, as a welcome guest, and with courtly smiles bow him in.
The vestibule opens into a large assembly room for concerts and
dancing, where one of the finest bands in Europe discourses delicious
music. Entrance is free everywhere, except into the gaming-room, which
however requires only your card as a proof of your respectability. One
must give his name, and country, and profession! See how careful they
are to have only the most select society. I was directed to the
office, where two secretaries, of sober aspect, who looked as if they
might be retired Methodist clergymen, required my name and profession.
I felt that I was getting on rather dangerous ground, but answered by
giving only my surname and the profession of editor, and received a
card of admission, and passed in. We were in a large hall, with lofty
ceiling, and walls decorated in a style that might become an apartment
in a royal palace. There were three tables, at two of which gaming was
going on. At the third the gamblers sat around idle, waiting for
customers, for "business" is rather slack just now, as the season has
not begun. A few weeks later, when the hotels along the sea are filled
up, the place will be thronged, and all these tables will be kept
going till midnight. At the two where play was in progress, we stood
apart and watched the scene. There was a long table, covered with
green cloth (I said it was a _green_ monster), over which were
scattered piles of gold and silver, and around which were some
twenty-five persons, mostly men, though there were two or three women
(it is well known that some of the most infatuated and desperate
gamblers at Baden Baden were women). The game was what is known as
_roulette_ or _rouge et noir_ [red and black].[5] You lay down a piece
of coin, a napoleon or a sovereign, or, if you cannot afford that, a
five-franc piece, for they are so democratic that they are willing to
take the small change of the poor, as well as the hundred or thousand
francs of the rich. The wager is that, when a horizontal wheel which
is sunk in the table--the _roulette_--is set revolving, a little ball
like a boy's marble, which is set whirling in it, will rest on the
black or red spot. Of course the thing is so managed that the chances
are many to one that you will lose your money. But it _looks_ fair,
and the greenhorn is easily persuaded that it is an even chance, and
that he is as likely to win as to lose, until experience makes him a
sadder and a wiser man. Of those about the table, it was quite
apparent, even to my inexperienced eye, that the greater part were
professional gamblers. There is a look about them that is
unmistakable. My companion, who had looked on half curious and half
frightened, and who shrank up to my side (although everything is kept
in such order, and with such an outward show of respectability, that
there is no danger), remarked the imperturbable coolness of the
players. The game proceeded in perfect silence, and no one betrayed
the least emotion, whether he lost or won. But I explained to her that
this was probably owing in part to the fact that they were mostly
employés of the establishment, and had no real stake in the issue; but
if they were _not_, a practised gambler never betrays any emotion.
This is a part of his trade. He schools himself to it as an Indian
does, who scorns to show suffering, even if he is bound at the stake.
I noticed only one man who seemed to take his losses to heart. I
presumed he was an outsider, and as he lost heavily, his face flushed,
but he said nothing. This is the general course of the game. Not a
word is spoken, even when men are losing thousands. Instances have
occurred in which men gambled away their last dollar, and then rose
from the table and blew out their brains--which interrupted the play
disagreeably for a few moments; but the body was removed, the blood
washed away, and the game proceeded as usual.

When we had watched the silent spectacle for half an hour, we felt
that we had quite enough, and after strolling through the grounds and
listening to the music, returned to our carriage and drove off,
moralizing on the strange scene we had witnessed.

Did I regret that I had been to see this glittering form of temptation
and sin? On the contrary, I wished that every pastor in New York could
have stood there and looked on at that scene. We have had quite enough
of firing at all kinds of wickedness _at long range_. It is time to
move our batteries up a little nearer, and engage the enemy at close
quarters. If those pastors had seen what we saw in that half hour,
they would realize, as they cannot now, the dangers to which young men
are exposed in our cities. They would see with their own eyes how
broad is the road, and how alluring it is made, that leads to
destruction, and how many there be that go in thereat. I look upon
Monte Carlo as the very mouth of the pit, covered up with flowers, so
that giddy creatures dance along its perilous edge till it crumbles
under their feet. Thousands who come here with no intention of
gambling, put down a small sum "just to try their luck," and find that
"a fool and his money are soon parted." Many do not end with losing a
few francs, or even a few sovereigns. It is well if they do not leave
behind them what they can ill afford to lose. Very many young men
leave what is not their own. That such a place of temptation should be
allowed to exist here in this lovely spot on the shores of the
Mediterranean, is a disgrace to Monaco, and to the powers on both
sides of it, France and Italy, which, if they have no legal right to
interfere, might by a vigorous protest put an end to the accursed
thing. Probably it will after awhile provoke its own destruction. I
should be glad to see the foul nest of gamblers that have congregated
here, broken up, and the wretches sent to the galleys as convicts, or
forced in some way to earn an honest living.

But is not this vice of gambling very wide-spread? Does it not exist
in more forms than one, and in more countries than the little State of
Monaco? I am afraid the vice lies deep in human nature, and may be
found in some shape in every part of the world. Is there not a great
deal of gambling in Wall street? When men _bet_ on the rise and fall
of stocks, when they sell what they do not possess, or buy that for
which they have no money to pay, do they not risk their gains or
losses on a chance, as much as those who stake thousands on the
turning of a wheel, on a card or a die? It is the old sin of trying to
get the fruits of labor without labor, _to get something for nothing_,
that is the curse of all modern cities and countries, that demoralizes
young men in New York and San Francisco, as well as in Paris and
London. The great lesson which we all need to learn, is the duty and
the dignity of labor. When a man never claims anything which he does
not work for, then he may feel an honest pride in his gains, and may
slowly grow in fortune without losing the esteem of the good, or his
own manly self-respect.

Leaving this gorgeous den of thieves behind us, we haste away to the
mountains; for while the railroad seeks its level path along the very
shore of the sea, the Corniche road, built before railroads were
thought of, finds its only passage over stupendous heights. We have
now to climb a spur of the Alps, which here pushes its great shoulder
close to the sea. It is a toilsome path for our little ponies, but
they pull up bravely, height after height. Every one we mount, we hope
to find the summit; but we keep going on and on, and up and up, till
it seems like a Jacob's Ladder, which reaches to Heaven. When on one
of the highest points, we look right down into Monte Carlo as into
the crater of a volcano. It does not burn or smoke, but it has an open
mouth, and many there be that there go down quick into hell.

We are at last on the top, and pass on from one peak to another, all
the time enjoying a wide outlook over the blue Mediterranean, which
lies calmly at the foot of these great mountains, with only a white
sail here and there dotting the mighty waters.

It was nearly sunset when we came in sight of Nice, gleaming in the
distance on the sea-shore. We had been riding all day, and our driver,
a bright young Savoyard, seemed eager to have the long journey over,
and so he put his ponies to their speed, and we came down the mountain
as if shot out of a gun, and rattled through the streets of Nice at
such a break-neck pace, that the police shouted after us, lest we
should run over somebody. But there was no stopping our little Jehu,
and on we went at full speed, till suddenly he reined us up with a
jerk before the hotel.

In the old days when I first travelled in the south of Europe, Nice
was an Italian town. It belonged to the small kingdom of Sardinia. But
in 1860, as a return for the help of Napoleon in the campaign of 1859
against Austria, by which Victor Emmanuel gained Lombardy, it was
ceded with Savoy to France, and now is a French city. I think it has
prospered by the change. It has grown very much, until it has some
fifty thousand inhabitants. Its principal attraction is as a winter
resort for English and Americans. There are a number of Protestant
churches, French and English. The French Evangelical church has for
its pastor Rev. Leon Pilatte, who is well known in America.

It was now Saturday night, and the Sabbath drew on. Never was its rest
more grateful, and never did it find us in a more restful spot.
Everybody comes here for repose, to find rest and healing. The place
is perhaps a little saddened by the presence of so many invalids,
some of whom come here only to die. In yonder hotel on the shore, the
heir of the throne of all the Russias breathed his last a few winters
ago. These clear skies and this soft air could not save him, even when
aided by all the medical skill of Europe. I should not have great
faith in the restoring power of this or of any climate for one far
gone in consumption. But certainly as a place of _rest_, if it is
permitted to man to find rest anywhere on earth, it must be here, with
the blue skies above, and the soft flowery earth below, and with no
sound to disturb, but only the murmur of the moaning, melancholy sea.

But a traveller is not allowed to rest. He comes not to _stay_, but
only to _see_--to look, and then to disappear; and so, after a short
two days in Nice, we took a quick return by night, and in eight hours
found ourselves again in Genoa.

FOOTNOTE:

[5] Perhaps _roulette_ and _rouge et noir_ are two separate games. I
dare say my imperfect description would excite the smile of a
professional, for I confess my total ignorance in such matters. I only
describe what I saw.



CHAPTER XXI.

IN THE VALE OF THE ARNO.


     FLORENCE, September 27th.

We are getting more into the heart of Italy as we come farther south.
In the old Roman days the country watered by the Po was not a part of
Italy; it was Cisalpine Gaul. This we leave behind as we turn
southward from Genoa. The road runs along the shore of the
Mediterranean; it is a continuation of the Riviera as far as Spezzia,
where we leave the sea and strike inland to Pisa, one of the Mediæval
cities, which in its best days was a rival of Genoa, and which has
still some memorials of its former grandeur. Here we spent a night,
and the next morning visited the famous Leaning Tower, and the
Cathedral and Baptistery, and the Campo Santo (filled with earth
brought from Jerusalem in fifty-three ships, that the faithful might
be buried in holy ground), and then pursued our way along the Valley
of the Arno to Florence.

And now the inspiration of the country, the _genius loci_, comes upon
us more and more. We are in Tuscany, one of the most beautiful
portions of the whole peninsula. We are favored by the season of the
year. Before we came abroad I consulted some of my travelled friends
as to the best time of the year to visit Italy. Most tourists come
here in the winter. Rome especially is not thought to be safe till
late in the autumn. But Dr. Bellows told me that, so far from waiting
for cold weather, he thought Italy could be seen in its full beauty
_only_ in an earlier month, when the country was still clothed with
vegetation. Certainly it is better to see it in its summer bloom, or
in the ripeness of autumn, than when the land is stripped, when the
mountains are bleak and bare, when there is not a leaf on the vine or
the fig-tree, and only naked branches shiver in the wintry wind. We
have come at a season when the earth has still its glory on. The
vineyards are full of the riches of the year; the peasants are now
gathering the grapes, and we have witnessed that most picturesque
Italian scene, the vintage. Dark forests clothe the slopes of the
Apennines. At this season there is a soft, hazy atmosphere, like that
of our Indian summer, which gives a kind of purple tint to the Italian
landscapes. The skies are fair, but not more fair than that heaven of
blue which bends over many a beloved spot in America. Nor is the
vegetation richer, nor are the landscapes more lovely, than in our own
dear vales of Berkshire. Even the Arno at this season, like most of
the other rivers of Italy, is a dried up bed with only a rivulet of
muddy water running through it. Later in the autumn, when the rains
descend; or in the spring, when the snows melt upon the mountains, it
is swollen to such a height that it often overflows its banks, and the
full stream rushes like a torrent. But at present the mighty Arno, of
which poets have sung so much, is not so large as the Housatonic, nor
half so beautiful as that silver stream, on whose banks the meadows
are always fresh and green, and where the waters are pure and
sparkling that ripple over its pebbled bed.

But the position of Florence is certainly one of infinite beauty,
lying in a valley, surrounded by mountains. The approach to it by a
railroad, when one gets his first view from a level, is much less
picturesque than in the old days when we travelled by _vettura_, and
came to it over the Apennines, and after a long day's journey reached
the top of a distant hill, from which we saw Florence afar off,
sitting like a queen in the Valley of the Arno, the setting sun
reflected from the Duomo and the Campanile, and from all its domes and
towers.

In this Valley of Paradise we have spent a week, visiting the
galleries of pictures, and making excursions to Fiesolé and other
points of view on the surrounding hills, from which to look down on as
fair a scene as ever smiled beneath an Italian sun.

Florence is in many respects the most attractive place in Italy, as it
unites the charms of art with those of modern life; as it exists not
only in the dead past, but in the living present. It is a large,
thriving, prosperous city, and has become a great resort of English
and Americans, who gather here in the winter months, and form a most
agreeable society. There are a number of American sculptors and
painters, whose works are well known on the other side of the
Atlantic. Some of their studios we visited, and saw abundant evidence,
that with all our intensely practical life, the elements of taste and
beauty, and of a genius for art, are not wanting in our countrymen.

Florence has had a material growth within a few years, from being for
a time the capital of the new kingdom of Italy. When Tuscany was added
to Sardinia, the capital was removed from Turin to Florence as a more
central city, and the presence of the Court and the Parliament gave a
new life to its streets. Now the Court is removed to Rome, but the
impulse still remains, and in the large squares which have been
opened, and the new buildings which are going up, one sees the signs
of life and progress. To be sure, there is not only _growing_ but
_groaning_, for the taxes are fearfully high here, as everywhere in
Italy. The country is bearing burdens as heavy as if it were in a
state of war. If only Italy were the first country in Europe to reduce
her armaments, she could soon lighten the load upon her people.

But leaving aside all political and financial questions, one may be
permitted to enjoy this delightful old city, with its treasures of
art, and its rich historical memories. Florence has lately been
revelling in its glories of old days in a celebration of the four
hundredth anniversary of the birth of Michael Angelo--as a few years
since it celebrated the six hundredth anniversary of the birth of
Dante. Surely few men in history better deserve to be remembered than
Michael Angelo, whose rugged face looks more like that of a
hard-headed old Scotchman, than of one who belonged to the handsome
Italian race. And yet that brain was full of beautiful creations, and
in his life of eighty-nine years he produced enough to leave, not only
to Florence, but to Rome, many monuments of his genius. He was great
in several forms of art--as painter, sculptor, and architect--and even
had some pretension to be a poet. He was the sculptor of David and
Moses; the painter of the Last Judgment and the frescoes of the
Sistine Chapel, and the architect who built St. Peter's. And his
character was equal to his genius. He was both religious and
patriotic, not only building churches, but the fortifications that
defended Florence against her enemies. Such was Michael Angelo--a
simple, grand old man, whose name is worthy to live with the heroes of
antiquity.

We were too late to enjoy the fétes that were given at this
anniversary, and were only able to be present at the performance of
Verdi's Requiem, which concluded the whole. This sublime composition
was written for the great Italian author Manzoni, and to be sung in
the Cathedral of Milan, whose solemn aisles were in harmony with its
mournful and majestic strains. Now it would have seemed more fitting
in the Duomo of Florence than in a theatre, though perhaps the latter
was better constructed for an orchestra and an audience. The
performance of the Requiem was to be the great musical event of the
year; we had heard the fame of it at Milan and at Venice, and having
seen what Italy could show in one form of art, we were now able to
appreciate it in another. Months had been spent in preparation.
Distinguished singers were to lead in the principal parts, while
hundreds were to join their voices in the tremendous chorus. On the
night that we witnessed the representation, the largest theatre in
Florence was crowded from pit to dome, although the price of admission
was very high. In the vast assembly was comprised what was most
distinguished in Florence, with representatives from other cities of
Italy, and many from other countries. The performance occupied over
two hours. It began with soft, wailing melodies, such as might be
composed to soothe a departing soul, or to express the wish of
survivors that it might enter into its everlasting rest. Then
succeeded the DIES IRÆ--the old Latin hymn, which for centuries has
sounded forth its accents of warning and of woe. Those who are
familiar with this sublime composition will remember the terrific
imagery with which the terrors of the Judgment are presented, and can
imagine the effect of such a hymn rendered with all the power of
music. We had first a quiet, lulling strain--almost like silence,
which was the calm before the storm. Then a sound was heard, but low,
as of something afar off, distant and yet approaching. Nearer and
nearer it drew, swelling every instant, till it seemed as if the
trumpets that should wake the dead were stirring the alarmed air. At
last came a crash as if a thunder peal had burst in the building. This
terrific explosion, of course, was soon relieved by softer sounds.
There were many and sudden transitions, one part being given by a
single powerful voice, or by two or three, or four, and then the
mighty chorus responding with a sound like that of many waters. After
the Dies Iræ followed a succession of more gentle strains, which spoke
of Pardon and Peace. The _Agnus Dei_ and other similar parts were
given with a tenderness that was quite overpowering. Those who have
heard the Oratorio of the Messiah, and remember the melting sweetness
of such passages as "He leadeth me beside the still waters," and "I
know that my Redeemer liveth," can form an idea of the marvellous
effect. I am but an indifferent judge of music, but I could not but
observe how much grander such a hymn as the Dies Iræ sounds in the
original Latin than in any English version. _Eternal rest_ are sweet
words in English, but in music they can never be rendered with the
effect of the Latin REQUIEM SEMPITERNAM, on which the voices of the
most powerful singers lingered and finally died away, as if bidding
farewell to a soul that was soaring to the very presence of God. This
Requiem was a fitting close to the public celebrations by which
Florence did honor to the memory of her illustrious dead.

Michael Angelo is buried in the church of Santa Croce, and near his
tomb is that of another illustrious Florentine, whose name belongs to
the world, and to the _heavens_--"the starry Galileo." We have sought
out the spots associated with his memory--the house where he lived and
the room where he died. The tower from which he made his observations
is on an elevation which commands a wide horizon. There with his
little telescope--a very slender tube and very small glass, compared
with the splendid instruments in our modern observatories--he watched
the constellations, as they rose over the crest of the Apennines, and
followed their shining path all night long. There he observed the
mountains in the moon, and the satellites of Jupiter. What a
commentary on the intelligence of the Roman Catholic Church, that such
a man should be dragged before the Inquisition--before ignorant
priests who were not worthy to untie his shoes--and required, under
severe penalties, to renounce the doctrine of the revolution of the
globe. The old man yielded in a moment of weakness, to escape
imprisonment or death, but as he rose from his knees, his spirit
returned to him, and he exclaimed "_But still it moves!_" A good motto
for reformers of all ages. Popes and inquisitors may try to stop the
revolution of the earth, but still it moves!

There is another name in the history of Florence, which recalls the
persecutions of Rome--that of Savonarola. No spot was more sacred to
me than the cell in the Monastery, where he passed so many years, and
from which he issued, crucifix in hand (the same that is still kept
there as a holy relic), to make those fiery appeals in the streets of
Florence, which so stirred the hearts of the people, and led at last
to his trial and death. A rude picture that is hung on the wall
represents the final scene. It is in the public square, in front of
the Old Palace, where a stage is erected, and monks are conducting
Savonarola and two others who suffered with him, to the spot where the
flames are kindled. Here he was burnt, and his ashes thrown into the
Arno. But how impotent the rage that thought thus to stifle such a
voice! His words, like his ashes, have gone into the air, and the
winds take them up and carry them round the world. Henceforth his name
belongs to history, and in the ages to come will be whispered by

     "Those airy tongues that syllable men's names,
     On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses."

It is a proof of the decline of Italy under the oppression of a
foreign yoke--of the paralysis of her intellectual as well as her
political life--that she has produced no name to equal these in four
hundred years. For though Byron eulogizes so highly, and perhaps
justly, Alfieri and Canova, it would be an extravagant estimate which
should assign them a place in the Pantheon of History beside the
immortals of the Middle Ages.

And yet Italy has not been wholly deserted of genius or of glory in
these later ages. In the darkest times she has had some great writers,
as well as painters and sculptors, and in the very enthusiasm with
which she now recalls in her celebrations the names of Dante and
Michael Angelo, we recognize a spirit of life, an admiration for
greatness, which may produce in the future those who may rank as their
worthy successors.

Within a few years Florence has become such a resort of strangers that
some of its most interesting associations are with its foreign
residents. In the English burying ground many of that country sleep
far from their native island. Some, like Walter Savage Landor and Mrs.
Browning, had made Florence their home for years. Italy was their
adopted country, and it is fit that they sleep in its sunny clime,
beneath a southern sky. So of our countryman Powers, who was a
resident of Florence for thirty-five years, and whose widow still
lives here in the very pretty villa which he built, with her sons and
daughter married and settled around her, a beautiful domestic group.
In the cemetery I sought another grave of one known to all Americans.
On a plain stone of granite is inscribed simply the name

           THEODORE PARKER,
     Born at Lexington, Massachusetts,
     In the United States of America,
           August 24th, 1810.
           Died in Florence
           May 10th, 1860.

One could preach a sermon over that grave, for in that form which is
now but dust, was one of the most vigorous minds of our day, a man of
prodigious force, an omnivorous reader, and a writer and lecturer on a
great variety of subjects, who in his manifold forms of activity, did
as much to influence the minds of his countrymen as any man of his
time. He struck fierce blows, right and left, often doing more ill
than good by his crude religious opinions, which he put forth as
boldly as if they were the accepted faith of all mankind; but in his
battle for Liberty rendering services which the American people will
not willingly let die.

Mrs. Browning's epitaph is still briefer. There is a longer
inscription on a tablet in the front of the house which was her home
for so many years, placed there by the municipal government of
Florence. There, as one looks up to those CASA GUIDI WINDOWS, which
she has given as a name to a volume of her poems, he may read that "In
this house lived and died ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, who by her
genius and her poetry made a golden link between England and Italy."
But on her tomb, which is of pure white marble, is only

     E. B. B. OB. 1861.

But what need of more words to perpetuate a name that is on the lips
of millions; or to speak of one who speaks for herself in the poetry
she has made for nations; whose very voice thus lives in the air, like
a strain of music, and goes floating down the ages, singing itself to
immortality?



CHAPTER XXII.

OLD ROME AND NEW ROME.--RUINS AND RESURRECTION.


     ROME, October 8th.

At last we are in Rome! We reached here a week ago, on what was to me
a very sad anniversary, as on the first of October of last year I came
from the country, bringing one who was never to return. Now, as then,
the day was sadly beautiful--rich with the hues of autumn, when nature
is gently dying, a day suited to quiet thoughts and tender memories.
It was late in the afternoon when we found ourselves racing along the
banks of the Tiber--"the yellow Tiber" it was indeed, as its waters
were turbid enough--and just as the sun was setting we shot across the
Campagna, and when the lamps were lighted were rattling through the
streets of the Eternal City.

To a stranger coming here there is a double interest; for there are
two cities to be studied--old Rome and new Rome--the Rome of Julius
Cæsar, and the Rome of Pius IX. and Victor Emmanuel. In point of
historical interest there is no comparison, as the glory of the
ancient far surpasses that of the modern city. And it is the former
which first engages our attention.

How strange it seemed to awake in the morning and feel that we were
really in the city that once ruled the world! Yes, we are on the very
spot. Around us are the Seven Hills. We go to the top of the Capitol
and count them all. We look down to the river bank where Romulus and
Remus were cast ashore, like Moses in the bulrushes, left to die, and
where, according to the old legend, they were suckled by a wolf; and
where Romulus, when grown to man's estate, began to build a city.
Antiquarians still trace the line of his ancient wall. On the Capitol
Hill is the Tarpeian Rock, from which traitors were hurled. And under
the hill, buried in the earth, one still sees the massive arch of the
Cloaca Maxima, the great sewer, built by the Tarquins, through which
all the waste of Rome has flowed into the Tiber for twenty-five
hundred years; and there are the pillars of the ancient bridge--so
they tell us--held by a hero who must have been a Hercules, of whom
and his deed Macaulay writes in his "Lays of Ancient Rome" how, long
after, in the traditions of the people,

     "Still was the story told,
     How well Horatius kept the bridge,
     In the brave days of old."

Looking around the horizon every summit recalls historical memories.
There are the Sabine Hills, where lived the tribe from which the early
Romans (who were at first, like some of our border settlements, wholly
a community of men,) helped themselves to wives. Yonder, to the south,
are the Alban Hills; and there, in what seems the hollow of a
mountain, Hannibal encamped with his army, looking down upon Rome. In
the same direction lies the Appian Way, lined for miles with tombs of
the illustrious dead. Along that way often came the legions returning
from distant conquests, "bringing many captives home to Rome," with
camels and elephants bearing the spoils of Africa and the East.

These recollections increase in interest as we come down to the time
of the Cæsars. This is the culminating point of Roman history, as then
the empire reached its highest point of power and glory. Julius Cæsar
is the greatest character of ancient Rome, as soldier and ruler, the
leader of armies, and the man whose very presence awed the Roman
Senate. Such was the magic of his name that it was said peculiar
omens and portents accompanied his death. As Shakespeare has it:

     "In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
     A little ere the mighty Julius fell,
     The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
     Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets."

It was therefore with an interest that no other name could inspire,
that we saw in the Capitol a statue, which is said to be the most
faithful existing representation of that imperial man; and in the
Strada Palace the statue of Pompey, which is believed to be the very
one at the base of which "great Cæsar fell."[6]

With Cæsar ended the ancient Republic, and began the Empire. It was
then that Rome attained her widest dominion, and the city its greatest
splendor. She was the mistress of the whole world, from Egypt to
Britain, ruling on all sides of the Mediterranean, along the shores of
Europe, Asia, and Africa. And then the whole earth contributed to the
magnificence of the Eternal City. It was the boast of Augustus, that
"he found Rome of brick, and left it of marble." Under him and his
successors were reared those palaces and temples, the very ruins of
which are still the wonder and admiration of the world.

The knowledge of these ruins has been greatly increased by recent
excavations. Till within a few years Rome was a buried city, almost as
much as Pompeii. The débris of centuries had filled up her streets and
squares, till the earth lay more than twenty feet deep in the Forum,
choking up temples and triumphal arches; and even the lower part of
the Coliseum had been submerged in the general wreck and ruin. In
every part of the city could be seen the upper portions of buildings,
the frieze on the capitals of columns, that were half under ground,
and that, like Milton's lion, seemed pawing to be free.

But the work of clearing away this rubbish was so vast that it had
been neglected from century to century. But during the occupation by
the French troops, that Government expended large sums in uncovering
these ruins, and the work has since been continued by Victor Emmanuel,
until now, as the result of twenty years continuous labor, a buried
city has been brought to light. The Forum has been cleared away, so
that we may walk on its pavement, amid its broken columns, and see the
very tribune from which Cicero addressed the Roman people. But beside
this Central Forum, there were half a dozen others--such as the Forum
of Julius Cæsar, and of Augustus, and of Nerva, and of Trajan, where
still stands that marvellous Column in bronze (covered with figures in
bas-relief, to represent the conquest of the Dacians), which has been
copied in the Column of the Place Vendome in Paris. All of these
Forums were parts of one whole. What is now covered by streets and
houses, was an open space, extending from the Capitol as far as the
Coliseum in one direction, and the Column of Trajan in another,
surrounded by temples and basilicas, and columns and triumphal arches,
and overlooked by the palaces of the Cæsars. This whole area was the
centre of Rome, where its heart beat, when it contained two millions
of people; where the people came together to discuss public affairs,
or to witness triumphal processions returning from the wars. Here the
Roman legions came with mighty tread along the Via Sacra, winding
their way up to the Capitoline Hill to lay their trophies at the feet
of the Senate.

Perhaps the best idea of the splendor and magnificence of ancient Rome
may be gained from exploring the ruins of the palaces of the Cæsars.
They are of vast extent, covering all the slopes of the Palatine Hill.
Here great excavations have been made. The walk seems endless through
what has been laid open. The walls are built like a fortress, as if
to last forever, and decorated with every resource of art known to
that age, with sculptures and ceilings richly painted, like those
uncovered in the houses of Pompeii. These buildings have been stripped
of everything that was movable--the statues being transported to the
galleries of the Vatican. The same fate has overtaken all the great
structures of ancient Rome. They have been divested of their ornaments
and decoration, of gilding and bas-reliefs and statues, and in some
cases have been quite dismantled. The Coliseum, it is well known, was
used in the Middle Ages as a quarry for many proud noble families, and
out of it were built some of the greatest palaces in Rome. Nothing
saved the Pantheon but its conversion from a heathen temple into a
Christian church. Hundreds and thousands of columns of porphyry and
alabaster and costly marbles, which now adorn the churches of Rome,
were taken from the ruins of temples and palaces.

But though thus stripped of every ornament, ancient Rome is still
magnificent in her ruins. One may wander for days about the palaces of
the Cæsars, walking through the libraries and theatres, under the
arches and over the very tessellated pavement where those proud
emperors walked nearly two thousand years ago. He should ascend to the
highest point of the ruins to take in their full extent, and there he
will see, looking out upon the Campagna, a long line of arches
reaching many miles, over which water was brought from the distant
hills for the Golden House of Nero.

Perhaps the most massive ruin which has been lately uncovered, is that
of the Baths of Caracalla, which give an idea of the luxury and
splendor of ancient Rome, as quite unequalled in modern times.

But, of course, the one structure which interests most of all, is the
Coliseum: and here recent excavations have made fresh discoveries. The
whole area has been dug down many feet, and shows a vast system of
passages _underground_; not only those through which wild beasts were
let into the arena, but conduits for water, by which the whole
amphitheatre could be flooded and turned into a lake large enough for
Roman galleys to sail in; and here naval battles were fought with all
the fury of a conflict between actual enemies, to the delight of Roman
emperor and people, who shouted applause, when blood flowed freely on
the decks, and dyed the waters below.

There is one reflection that often recurs to me, as I wander among
these ruins--what it is of all the works of man that really _lives_.
Not architecture (the palaces of the Cæsars are but heaps of ruins);
but the Roman _laws_ remain, incorporated with the legislation of
every civilized country on the globe; while Virgil and Cicero, the
poet and the orator, are the delight of all who know the Latin tongue.
Thus men pass away, their very monuments may perish, but their
thoughts, their wisdom, their learning and their genius remain, a
perpetual inheritance to mankind.

After Imperial Rome comes Christian Rome. Many of the stories of the
first Christian centuries are fables and legends. Historical truth is
so overlaid with a mass of traditions, that one is ready to reject the
whole. When they show you here the stone on which they gravely tell
you that Abraham bound Isaac for the sacrifice; and another on which
Mary sat when she brought Christ into the temple; and the staircase
from Pilate's house, the Scala Santa, up which every day and hour
pilgrims may be seen going on their knees; and a stone showing the
very prints of the Saviour's feet when he appeared to Peter--one is
apt to turn away in disgust. But the general fact of the early
planting of Christianity here, we know from the new Testament itself.
Ecclesiastical historians are not agreed whether Peter was ever in
Rome (although he is claimed as the first Pope), but that Paul was
here we know from his epistles, and from the Book of Acts, in which
we have the particulars of his "appealing to Cæsar," and his voyages
to Italy, and his shipwreck on the island of Malta, his landing at
Puteoli, and going "towards Rome," where he lived two years in "his
own hired house," "preaching and teaching, no man forbidding him."
Several of his epistles were written from Rome. It is therefore quite
probable that he was confined, according to the tradition, in the
Mamertine Prison under the Capitol, and one cannot descend without
deep emotion into that dark, rocky dungeon, far underground, where the
Great Apostle was once a prisoner, and from which he was led forth to
die. He is said to have been beheaded without the walls. On the road
they point out a spot (still marked by a rude figure by the roadside
of two men embracing), where it is said Paul and Peter met and fell on
each other's neck on the morning of the last day--Paul going to be
beheaded, and Peter into the city to be crucified, which at his own
request was with his head downwards, for he would not be crucified in
the same posture as his Lord, whom he had once denied. On the spot
where Paul is said to have suffered now rises one of the grandest
churches in the world, second in Rome only to St. Peter's.

So the persecutions of the early Christians by successive emperors are
matters of authentic history. Knowing this, we visit as a sacred place
the scene of their martyrdom, and shudder at seeing on the walls the
different modes of torture by which it was sought to break their
allegiance to the faith; we think of them in the Coliseum, where they
were thrown to the lions; and still more in the Catacombs, to which
they fled for refuge, where they worshipped, and (as Pliny wrote)
"sang hymns to Christ as to a God," and where still rest their bones,
with many a rude inscription, testifying of their faith and hope.

It is a sad reflection that the Christian Church, once established in
Rome, should afterwards itself turn persecutor. But unfortunately it
too became intoxicated with power, and could brook no resistance to
its will. The Inquisition was for centuries a recognized institution
of the Papacy--an appointed means for guarding the purity of the
faith. The building devoted to the service of that tribunal stands to
this day, close by the Church of St. Peter, and I believe there is
still a Papal officer who bears the dread title of "Grand Inquisitor."
But fortunately his office no longer inspires terror, for it is at
last reduced to the punishment of ecclesiastical offences by
ecclesiastical discipline, instead of the arm of flesh, on which it
once leaned. But the old building is at once "a prison and a palace";
the cells are still there, though happily unoccupied. But in the
castle of St. Angelo there is a Chamber of Torture, which has not
always been merely for exhibition, where a Pope Clement (what a
mockery in the name!) had Beatrice Cenci put to the torture, and
forced to confess a crime of which she was not guilty. But we are not
so unjust as to impute all these cruelties of a former and a darker
time to the Catholic Church of the present day. Those were ages of
intolerance and of persecution. But none can deny that the Church has
always been fiercely intolerant. There is no doubt that the massacre
of St. Bartholomew was the occasion of great rejoicings at Rome. The
bloody persecution of the Waldenses found no rebuke from him who
claimed to be the vicegerent of Christ; a persecution which called
forth from Milton that sublime prayer:

           Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints,
     Whose bones lie scattered upon the Alpine mountains cold!

Amid such bitter recollections it is good to remember also the message
of Cromwell to the Pope, that "if favor were not shown to the people
of God, the thunder of English cannon should be heard in the castle of
St. Angelo."

It seems as if it were a just retribution for those crimes of a former
age that the Pope in these last days has had to walk so long in the
Valley of Humiliation. Not for centuries has a Pontiff had to endure
such repeated blows. The reign of Pius IX. has been longer than that
of any of his predecessors; some may think it glorious, but it has
witnessed at once the most daring assumption and its signal
punishment--a claim of infallibility, which belongs to God
alone--followed by a bitter humiliation as if God would cast this idol
down to the ground. It is certainly a remarkable coincidence, that
just as the dogma of Infallibility was proclaimed, Louis Napoleon
rushed into war, as the result of which France, the chief supporter of
the Papacy (which for twenty years had kept an army in Rome to hold
the Pope on his throne), was stricken down, and the first place in
Europe taken by a Protestant power. Germany had already humbled the
other great Catholic power of Europe, to the confusion and dismay of
the Pope and his councillors. A gentleman who has resided for many
years in Rome, tells me that on the very day that the battle of Sadowa
was fought, Cardinal Antonelli told a friend of his to "come around to
his house that night to get the news; that he expected to hear of one
of the greatest victories ever won for the Church," so confidently did
he and his master the Pope anticipate the triumph of Austria. The
gentleman went. Hour after hour passed, and no tidings came. It was
midnight, and still no news of victory. Before morning the issue was
known, that the Austrian army was destroyed. Cardinal Antonelli did
not come forth to proclaim the tidings. He shut himself up, said my
informant, and was not seen for three weeks!

And so it has come to pass--whether by accident or design, whether by
the violence of man or by the will of God--that the Pope has been
gradually stripped of that power and prestige which once so acted upon
the imaginations of men, that, like Cæsar, "his bend did awe the
world," and has come to be merely the bishop, or archbishop, of that
portion of Christendom which submits to the Catholic Church.

I find the Rome of to-day divided into two camps. The Vatican is set
over against the Quirinal. The Pope rules in one, and Victor Emmanuel
in the other; and neither of these two sovereigns has anything to do
with the other.

It would take long to discuss the present political state of Rome or
of Italy. Apart from the right or wrong of this question, it is
evident that the sympathies of the Italian people are on the side of
Victor Emmanuel. The Roman people have had a long experience of a
government of priests, and they do not like it. It seems as if the
world was entering on a new era, and the Papacy, infallible and
immutable as it is, must change too--it must "move on" or be
overwhelmed.

FOOTNOTE:

[6]

     "E'en at the base of Pompey's statue,
     Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell."



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE PRISONER OF THE VATICAN.


     ROME, October 15th.

It is a great loss to travellers who come to Rome to see the sights,
that the Pope has shut himself up in the Vatican. In the good old
times, when he was not only a spiritual, but a civil potentate--not
only Pope, but King--he used to ride about a great deal to take a
survey of his dominions. One might meet him of an afternoon taking an
airing on the Pincian Hill, or on some of the roads leading out of
Rome. He always appeared in a magnificent state carriage, of red
trimmed with gold, with six horses richly caparisoned, and outriders
going before, and the Swiss guards following after. [What would poor
old Peter have said, if he had met his successor coming along in such
mighty pomp?] The Cardinals too, arrayed in scarlet, had their red
carriages and their fine liveries, and their horses pranced up and
down the Corso. Thus Rome was very gay. The processions too were
endless, and they were glorious to behold. It was indeed a grand sight
to see the Pope and all his Cardinals, in their scarlet dresses,
sweeping into St. Peter's and kneeling together in the nave, while the
muskets of the Swiss guards rang on the pavement, in token of the
might of arms which then attended the spiritual power.

But now, alas! all this is ended. The spoiler has entered into the
holy place, and the Holy Father appears no more in the streets. Since
that fatal day when the Italian troops marched into Rome--the 20th of
September, 1870--he has not put his foot in a carriage, nor shown
himself to the Roman people. The Cardinals, who live in different
parts of the city, are obliged to go about; but they have laid aside
all their fine raiment and glittering equipage, and appear only in
solemn black, as if they were all undertakers, attending the funeral
of the Papacy. The Pope has shut himself up closely in the Vatican. He
is, indeed, just as free to go abroad as ever. There is nothing to
prevent his riding about Rome as usual. But no, the dear old man will
have it that he is restrained of his liberty, and calls himself "a
prisoner!" To be sure he is not exactly in a guard-house, or in a
cell, such as those in the Inquisition just across the square of St.
Peter, where heretics used to be accommodated with rather close
quarters. His "prison" is a large one--a palace, with hundreds of
richly furnished apartments, where he is surrounded with luxury and
splendor, and where pilgrims flock to him from all parts of the earth.
It is a princely retreat for one in his old age, and a grand theatre
on which to assume the role of martyr. Almost anybody would be willing
to play the part of prisoner, if by this means he might attract the
attention and sympathy of the whole civilized world.[7]

But so complete is this voluntary confinement of the Pope, that he has
not left the Vatican in these five years, not even to go into St.
Peter's, though it adjoins the Vatican, and he can enter it by a
private passage. It is whispered that he did go in on one occasion,
_to see his own portrait_, which is wrought in mosaic, and placed over
the bronze statue of St. Peter. But on this occasion the public were
excluded, and when the doors were opened he had disappeared. He will
not even take part in the great festivals of the Church, which are
thus shorn of half their splendor.

How well I remember the gorgeous ceremonies of Holy Week, beginning
with Palm Sunday, and ending with Easter. I was one of the foreigners
in the Sistine Chapel on Good Friday, when the Pope's choir, composed
of eunuchs, sang the _Miserere_; and on the Piazza of St. Peter's at
Easter, when the Pope was carried on men's shoulders to the great
central window, where, in the presence of an immense crowd, he
pronounced his benediction _urbi et orbi_; and the cannon of the
Castle of St. Angelo thundered forth the mighty blessings which had
thus descended on "the city and the world." I saw too, that night, the
illumination of St. Peter's, when arches and columns and roof and dome
were hung with lamps, that when all lighted together, made such a
flame that it seemed as if the very heavens were on fire.

But now all this glory and splendor have gone out in utter night.
There are no more blessings for unbelievers--nor even for the
faithful, except as they seek them within the sacred precincts of the
Vatican, where alone the successor of St. Peter is now visible. It is
a great loss to those who have not been in Rome before, especially to
those enthusiastic persons who feel that they cannot "die happy"
unless they have seen the Pope.

But I do not need anything to gratify my curiosity. I have seen the
Pope many times before, and I recognize in the photographs which are
in all shop windows the same face which I saw a quarter of a century
ago--only aged indeed by the lapse of these many years. _It is a good
face._ I used to think he looked like Dr. Sprague of Albany, who
certainly had as benevolent a countenance as ever shone forth in
kindness on one's fellow creatures. All who know the Pope personally,
speak of him as a very kind-hearted man, with most gentle and winning
manners. This I fully believe, but is it not a strong argument against
the system in which he is bound, that it turns a disposition so sweet
into bitterness, and leads one of the most amiable of men to do things
very inconsistent with the meek character of the Vicar of Christ; to
curse where he ought to bless, and to call down fire from heaven on
his enemies? But his natural instincts are all good. When I was here
before he was universally popular. His predecessor, Gregory XVI., had
been very conservative. But when Cardinal Mastai Ferretti--for that
was his name--was elected Pope, he began a series of reforms, which
elated the Roman people, and caused the eyes of all Europe to be
turned towards him as the coming man. He was the idol of the hour. It
seemed as if he had been raised up by Providence to lead the nations
in the path of peaceful progress. But the Revolutions of 1848, in
Paris and elsewhere, frightened him. And when Garibaldi took
possession of Rome, and proclaimed the Republic, his ardor for reform
was entirely gone. He escaped from the city disguised as a valet, and
fled for protection to the King of Naples, and was afterwards brought
back by French troops. From that time he surrendered himself entirely
to the Reactionary party, and since then, while as well meaning as
ever, he is the victim of a system, from which he cannot escape, and
which makes him do things wholly at variance with his kindly and
generous nature.

Even the staunchest Protestants who go to see the Pope are charmed
with him. They had, perhaps, thought of him as the "Giant Pope," whom
Bunyan describes as sitting at the mouth of a cave, and glaring
fiercely at Pilgrims as they go by; and they are astonished to find
him a very simple old man, pleasant in conversation, fond of ladies'
society, with a great deal of humor, enjoying a joke as much as
anybody, with a merry twinkle in his eyes, and a face all smiles, as
if he had never uttered an anathema. This is indeed very agreeable,
but all the more does it make one astounded at the incongruity between
such pleasant pastime and his awful spiritual pretensions--for this
man who stands there, chatting so familiarly, and laughing so
heartily, professes to believe that he is the vicegerent of the
Almighty upon earth, and that he has the power to open and shut the
gates of hell! God forgive him for the blasphemy of such a thought! It
seems incredible that he can believe it himself; or, if he did, that
the curses could roll so lightly from his lips. But anathemas appear
to be a part of his daily recreation. He seems really to enjoy firing
a volley into his enemies, as one would fire a gun into a flock of
pigeons. Here is the last shot which I find in the paper of this very
day:

"The Roman Catholic papers at The Hague publish a pastoral letter from
the Pope to the Archbishop of Utrecht, by which his Holiness makes
known that Johannes Heykamp has been excommunicated, as he has allowed
himself to be elected and ordained as archbishop of the Jansenists in
Holland, and also Johannes Rinkel, who calls himself Bishop of
Haarlem, who performed the ordination. The Pope also declares to be
excommunicated all those who assisted at the ceremony. The Pope also
calls this ordination 'a vile and despicable deed,' and warns all good
Catholics not to have any intercourse with the perpetrators of it, but
to pray without ceasing that God may turn their hearts."

It is noteworthy that all these anathemas are simply for
ecclesiastical offences, not for any immorality, however gross. The
Queen of Spain may be notorious for her profligacy, yet she receives
no rebuke, she is even as a beloved daughter, to whom the Pope sends
presents, so long as she is devout and reverent towards him, or
towards the Church. So any prince, or private gentleman, may break all
the Ten Commandments, and still be a good Catholic; but if he doubts
Infallibility, he is condemned. All sins may be forgiven, except
rebellion against the Church or the Pope. He has excommunicated
Döllinger, the most learned Catholic theologian in Europe, and Father
Hyacinthe, the most eloquent preacher. Poor Victor Emmanuel comes in
for oft-repeated curses, simply because in a great political crisis he
yielded to the inevitable. _He_ did not seize Rome. It was _the
Italian people_, whom he could no more stop than he could stop the
inrolling of the sea. If he had not gone before the people they would
have gone _over_ him. But for this he is cut off from the communion of
the Catholic Church, and delivered over, so far as the anathema of the
Pope can do it, to the pains of hell.

And yet if we allege this as proof that some remains of human
infirmity still cling to the Infallible Head of the Church, or that a
very kind nature has been turned into gall and bitterness, we are told
by those who have just come from a reception that he was all sweetness
and smiles. An English priest who is in our hotel had an audience last
evening, and he says: "The Holy Father was very jolly, laughing
heartily at every pleasantry." It does one good to see an old man so
merry and light-hearted, but does not such gayety seem a little forced
or out of place? Men who have no cares on their minds may laugh and be
gay, but for the Vicar of Christ does it not seem to imply that he
attaches no weight to the maledictions that he throws about so
liberally? If he felt the awful meaning of what he utters, he could
not so easily preserve his good spirits and his merriment, while he
consigns his fellow-men to perdition. One would think that if obliged
to pronounce such a doom upon any, he would do it with tears--that he
would retire into his closet, and throw ashes upon his head, and come
forth in sackcloth, overwhelmed at the hard necessity which compelled
the stern decree. But it does not seem to interfere with any of his
enjoyments. He gives a reception at which he is smiling and gracious,
and then proceeds to cast out some wretched fellow-creature from the
communion of the Holy Catholic Church. There is something shocking in
the easy, off-hand manner in which he despatches his enemies. He
anathematizes with as little concern as he takes his breakfast,
apparently attaching as much solemnity to one as the other. The
mixture of levity with stern duties is not a pleasant sight, as when
one orders an execution between the puffs of a cigar. But this holy
man, this Vicegerent of God on earth, pronounces a sentence more awful
still; for he orders what, _according to his theory_, is worse than an
execution--an excommunication. Yet he does it quite unconcerned. If he
does not order an anathema between the puffs of a cigar, he does it
between two pinches of snuff. Such levity would be inconceivable, if
we could suppose that he really believes that his curses have power to
harm, that they cast a feather's weight into the scale that decides
the eternal destiny of a human soul. We do not say that he is
conscious of any hypocrisy. Far from it. It is one of those cases,
which are so common in the world, in which there is an unconscious
contradiction between one's private feelings and his public conduct;
in which a man is far better than his theory. We do not believe the
Pope is half as bad as he would make himself to be--half so resentful
and vindictive as he appears. As we sometimes say, in excuse for harsh
language, "he don't mean anything by it." He _does_ mean something,
viz., to assert his own authority. But he does not quite desire to
deliver up his fellow-creatures to the pains of eternal death.

We are truly sorry for the Pope. He is an old man, and with all his
natural gentleness, may be supposed to have something of the
irritability of age. And now he is engaged in a contest in which he is
sure to fail; he is fighting against the inevitable, against a course
of things which he has no more power to withstand than to breast the
current of Niagara. He might as well take his stand on the brink of
the great cataract, and think by the force of prayers or maledictions
to stop the flowing of the mighty waters. All the powers of Europe are
against him. Among the sovereigns he has not a single friend, or, at
least, one who has any power to help him. The Emperor of Germany is
this week on a visit to Milan as the guest of Victor Emmanuel. But he
will not come to Rome to pay his respects to the Pope. The Emperor of
Austria came to Venice last spring, but neither did he, though he is a
good Catholic, continue his journey as far as the Vatican. Thus the
Pope is left alone. For this he has only himself to blame. He has
forced the conflict, and now he is in a false position, from which
there is no escape.

All Europe is looking anxiously to the event of the Pope's death. He
has already filled the Papal chair longer than any one of his two
hundred and fifty-six predecessors, running back to St. Peter. But he
is still hale and strong, and though he is eighty-three years old,[8]
he may yet live a few years longer. He belongs to a very long-lived
family; his grandfather died at ninety-three, his father at
eighty-three, his mother at eighty-eight, his eldest brother at
ninety. Protestants certainly may well pray that he should be blessed
with the utmost length of days; for the longer he lives, and the more
obstinate he is in his reactionary policy, the more pronounced does he
force Italy to become in its antagonism, and not only Italy, but
Austria and Bavaria, as well as Protestant Germany. May he live to be
a hundred years old!

FOOTNOTES:

[7] This pretence of being a prisoner is so plainly a device to excite
public sympathy, that it is exaggerated in the most absurd manner. A
lady, just returned from the Rhine, tells me that in Germany the
Catholics circulate pictures of the Pope _behind the bars of a
prison_, and even _sell straws of his bed_, to show that he is
compelled to sleep on a pallet of straw, like a convict! The same
thing is done in Ireland.

[8] I give his age as put down in the books, where the date of his
birth is given as May 13, 1792; although our English priest tells me
that the Pope himself says that he is eighty-_five_, adding playfully
that "his enemies have deprived him of his dominions, and his friends
of two years of his life." My informant says that, notwithstanding his
great age, he is in perfect health, with not a sign of weakness or
decay about him, physically or intellectually. He is a tough old oak,
that may stand all the storms that rage about him for years to come.



CHAPTER XXIV.

PICTURES AND PALACES.


Before we go away from Rome I should like to say a few words on two
subjects which hitherto I have avoided. A large part of the time of
most travellers in Europe is spent in wandering through palaces and
picture galleries, but descriptions of the former would be tedious by
their very monotony of magnificence, and of the latter would be hardly
intelligible to unprofessional readers, nor of much value to anybody,
unless the writer were, what I do not profess to be, a thorough critic
in art. But I have certain general impressions, which I may express
with due modesty, and yet with frankness, and which may perchance
accord with the impressions of some other very plain, but not quite
unintelligent, people.

One who has not been abroad--I might almost say, who has not _lived_
abroad--cannot realize how much art takes hold of the imagination of a
people, and enters into their very life. It is the form in which
Italian genius has most often expressed itself. What poetry is in some
countries, art is in Italy. England had great poets in the days of
Elizabeth, but no great painters, at a time when the churches and
galleries of Italy were illuminated by the genius of Raphael and
Titian and Leonardo da Vinci.

The products of such genius have been a treasure to Italy and to the
world. Works of art are immortal. Raphael is dead, but the
Transfiguration lives. As the paintings of great masters accumulated
from century to century, they were gathered in public or private
collections, which became, like the libraries of universities,
storehouses for the delight and instruction of mankind. Such works
justly command the homage and reverence which are due to the highest
creations of the human intellect. The man who has put on canvas
conceptions which are worthy to live, has left a legacy to the human
race. "When I think," said an old monk, who was accustomed to show
paintings on the walls of his monastery, "how men come, generation
after generation, to see these pictures, and how they pass away, but
these remain, I sometimes think that _these are the realities, and
that we are the shadows_."

But with all this acknowledgment of the genius that is thus immortal,
and that gives delight to successive generations, there are one or two
drawbacks to the pleasure I have derived from these great collections
of art.

In the first place, there is the _embarrassment of riches_. One who
undertakes to visit all the picture galleries, even of a single city
like Rome or Florence, soon finds himself overwhelmed by their number.
He goes on day after day, racing from one place to another, looking
here and there in the most hurried manner, till his mind becomes
utterly confused, and he gains no definite impression. It is as
impossible to study with care all these pictures, as it would be to
read all the books in a public library, which are not intended to be
read "by wholesale," but only to be used for reference. So with the
great collections of paintings, which are arranged in a certain order,
so as to give an idea of the style of different countries, such as the
Dutch school, the Venetian school, etc. These are very useful for one
who wishes to trace the history of art, but the ordinary traveller
does not care to go into such detail. To him a much smaller number of
pictures, carefully chosen, would give more pleasure and more
instruction.

Further, it has seemed to me that with all the genius of the old
masters (which no one is more ready to confess, and in which no one
takes more intense delight), there is sometimes a _worship_ of them,
which is extended to all their works without discrimination, which is
not the result of personal observation, nor quite consistent with
mental independence. Indeed, there are few things in which the empire
of fashion is more absolute, and more despotic. It is at this point
that I meekly offer a protest. I admit fully and gratefully the
marvellous genius of some of the old painters, but I cannot admit that
everything they touched was equally good. Homer sometimes nods, and
even Raphael and Titian--great as they are, and superior perhaps to
everybody else--are not always equal to themselves. Raphael worked
very rapidly, as is shown by the number of pictures which he left,
although he died a young man. Of course, his works must be very
unequal, and we may all exercise our taste in preferring some to
others.

In another respect it seems to me that there is a limitation of the
greatness even of the old masters, viz., in the range of their
subjects, in which I find a singular _monotony_. In the numberless
galleries that we have visited this summer, I have observed in the old
pictures, with all their power of drawing and richness of color, a
remarkable sameness, both of subject and of treatment. Even the
greatest artists have their manner, which one soon comes to recognize;
so that he is rarely mistaken in designating the painter. I know a
picture of Rubens anywhere by the colossal limbs that start out of the
canvas. Paul Veronese always spreads himself over a large surface,
where he has room to bring in a great number of figures, and introduce
details of architecture. Give him the Marriage at Cana, or a Royal
Feast, and he will produce a picture which will furnish the whole end
of a palace hall. It is very grand, of course; but when one sees a
constant recurrence of the same general style, he recognizes the
limitations of the painter's genius. Or, to go from large pictures to
small ones, there is a Dutch artist, Wouvermans, whose pictures are in
every gallery in Europe. I have seen hundreds of them, and not one in
which he does not introduce a white horse!

Even the greatest of the old masters seem to have exercised their
genius upon a limited number of subjects. During the Middle Ages art
was consecrated almost wholly to religion. Some of the painters were
themselves devout men, and wrought with a feeling of religious
devotion. Fra Angelico was a monk (in the same monastery at Florence
with Savonarola), and regarded his art as a kind of priesthood, going
from his prayers to his painting, and from his painting to his
prayers. Others felt the same influence, though in a less degree. In
devoting themselves to art, they were moved at once by the inspiration
of genius and the inspiration of religion. Others still, who were not
at all saintly in their lives, yet painted for churches and convents.
Thus, from one cause or another, almost all the art of that day was
employed to illustrate religious subjects. Of these there was one that
was before all others--the Holy Family, or the Virgin and her Child.
This appears and reappears in every possible form. We can understand
the attraction of such a subject to an artist; for to him the Virgin
was _the ideal of womanhood_, to paint whom was to embody his
conception of the most exquisite womanly sweetness and grace. And in
this how well did the old masters succeed! No one who has a spark of
taste or sensibility can deny the exquisite beauty of some of their
pictures of the Virgin--the tenderness, the grace, the angelic purity.
What sweetness have they given to the face of that young mother, so
modest, yet flushed with the first dawning of maternal love! What
affection looks out of those tender eyes! In the celebrated picture of
Raphael in the Gallery at Florence, called "The Madonna of the Chair,"
the Virgin is seated, and clasps her child to her breast, who turns
his large eyes, with a wondering gaze, at the world in which he is to
live and to suffer. One stands before such a picture transfixed at a
loveliness that seems almost divine.

But of all the Madonnas of Raphael--or of any master--which I have
seen, I prefer that at Dresden, where the Virgin is not seated, but
standing erect at her full height, with the clouds under her feet,
soaring to heaven with the Christ-child in her arms. When I went into
the room set apart to that picture (for no other is worthy to keep it
company), I felt as if I were in a church; every one spoke in
whispers; it seemed as if ordinary conversation were an impertinence;
as if it would break the spell of that sacred presence.

Something of the same effect (some would call it even greater) is
produced by Titian's or Murillo's painting of the "Assumption" of the
Virgin--that is, her being caught up into the clouds, with the angels
hovering around her, over her head and under her feet. One of these
great paintings is at Venice, and the other in the Louvre at Paris. In
both the central figure is floating, like that of Christ in the
Transfiguration. The Assumption is a favorite subject of the old
masters, and reappears everywhere, as does the "Annunciation" by the
Angel of the approaching birth of Christ, the "Nativity," and the
coming of the Magi to adore the holy child. I do not believe there is
a gallery in Italy, and hardly a private collection, in which there
are not "Nativities" and "Assumptions" and "Annunciations."

But if some of these pictures are indeed wonderful, there are others
which are not at all divine; which are of the earth, earthy; in which
the Virgin is nothing more than a pretty woman, chosen as a type of
female beauty (just as a Greek sculptor would aim to give _his_ ideal
in a statue of Venus), painted sometimes on a Jewish, but more often
on an Italian, model. In Holland the Madonnas have a decidedly Dutch
style of beauty. We may be pardoned if we do not go into raptures over
them.

When the old masters, after painting the Virgin Mary, venture on an
ideal of our Lord himself, they are less successful, because the
subject is more difficult. They attempt to portray the Divine Man; but
who can paint that blessed countenance, so full of love and sorrow?
That brow, heavy with care, that eye so tender? I have seen hundreds
of Ecce Homos, but not one that gave me a new or more exalted
impression of the Saviour of the world than I obtain from the New
Testament.

But if it seems almost presumption to attempt to paint our Saviour,
what shall we say to the introduction of the Supreme Being upon the
canvas? Yet this appears very often in the paintings of the old
masters. I cannot but think it was suggested by the fact that the
Greek sculptors made statues of the gods for their temples. As they
undertook to give the head of Jupiter, so these Christian artists
thought they could paint the Almighty! Not unfrequently they give the
three persons of the Trinity--the Father being represented as an old
man with a long beard, floating on a cloud, the Spirit as a dove,
while the Son is indicated by a human form bearing a cross. Can
anything be more repulsive than such a representation! These are
things beyond the reach of art. No matter what genius may be in
certain artistic details, the picture is, and must be, a failure,
because it is an attempt _to paint the unpaintable_.

Next to Madonnas and Holy Families, the old masters delight in the
painting of saints and martyrs. And here again the same subjects recur
with wearying uniformity. I should be afraid to say how many times I
have seen St. Lawrence stretched on his gridiron; and youthful St.
Sebastian bound to a tree, and pierced with arrows; and old St.
Anthony in the desert, assaulted by the temptations of the devil. No
doubt these were blessed martyrs, but after being exhibited for so
many centuries to the gaze of the world, I should think it would be a
relief for them to retire to the enjoyment of the heavenly paradise.

Is it not, then, a just criticism of those who painted all those
Madonnas and saints and martyrs, to say, while admitting their
transcendent genius, that still their works present _a magnificent
monotony_, both of subject and of treatment, and at last weary the eye
even by their interminable splendors?

Another point in which the same works are signally defective, is in
the absence of _landscape painting_. It has been often remarked of the
classic poets, that while they describe human actions and passions,
they show a total insensibility to the beauties of nature. The same
deficiency appears in the paintings of the old masters. Seldom do they
attempt landscape. Sometimes a clump of trees, or a glimpse of sky, is
introduced as a background for figures, but it is almost always
subordinate to the general effect.

Here, then, it seems to me no undue assumption of modern pride to say
that the artists of the present day are not only the equals of the old
masters, but their superiors. They have learned of the Mighty Mother
herself. They have communed with nature. They have felt the ineffable
beauty of the woods and lakes and rivers, of the mountains and the
meadows, of the valleys and the hills, of the clouds and skies, and in
painting these, have led us into a new world of beauty. As I am an
enthusiastic lover of nature, I feel like standing up for the Moderns
against the Ancients, and saying (at the risk of being set down as
wanting in taste) that I have derived as much pleasure from some of
the pictures which I have seen at the Annual Exhibitions in London and
Paris, and even in New York, as from any, _except a few hundred of the
very best_ of the pictures which I have seen here.

I am led to speak thus freely, because I am slightly disgusted with
the abject servility in this matter of many foreign tourists. I see
them going through these galleries, guide-book in hand, consulting it
at every step, to know what they must admire, and not daring to
express an opinion, nor even to enjoy what they see until they turn to
what is said by Murray or Bædeker. Of course guide-books are useful,
and even necessary, and one can hardly go into a gallery without one,
to serve at least as a catalogue, but they must not take the place of
one's own eyes. If we are ever to know anything of art, we must begin,
however modestly, to exercise our own judgment. While therefore I
would have every traveller use his guide-book freely, I would have him
use still more his eyes and his brain, and try to exercise, so as to
cultivate, his taste.

Is it not time for Americans, who boast so much of their independence,
to show a little of it here? Some come abroad only to learn to despise
their own country. For my part, the more I see of other countries,
while appreciating them fully, the more I love my own; I love its
scenery, its landscapes, and its homes, and its men and women; and
while I would not commit the opposite mistake of a foolish conceit of
everything American, I think our artists show a fair share of talent,
which can best be developed by a constant study of nature. Nature is
greater than the old masters. What sunset ever painted by Claude or
Poussin equals, or even approaches, what we often see when the sun
sinks in the west, covering the clouds with gold? If our artists are
to paint sunsets, let them not go to picture galleries, but out of
doors, and behold the glory of the dying day. Let them paint nature as
they see it at home. Nature is not fairer in Italy than in America.
Let them paint American landscapes, giving, if they can, the beauty of
our autumnal woods, and all the glory of the passing year. If they
will keep closely to nature, instead of copying old masters, they may
produce an original, as well as a true and genuine school of art, and
will fill our galleries and our homes with beauty.

From Pictures to Palaces is an easy transition, as these are the
temples in which works of art are enshrined. Many years ago, when I
first came abroad, a lady in London, who is well known both in England
and America, took me to see Stafford House, the residence of the Duke
of Sutherland, saying that it was much finer than Buckingham Palace,
and "the best they had to show in England," but that, "of course, it
was nothing to what I should see on the Continent, and especially in
Italy." Since then I have visited palaces in almost every capital in
Europe. I find indeed that Italy excels all other countries in
architecture, as she does in another form of art. When her cities were
the richest in Europe, drawing to themselves the commerce and the
wealth of the East, it was natural that the doges and dukes and
princes should display their magnificence in the rearing of costly
palaces. These, while they differ in details, have certain general
features in which they are all pretty much alike--stately proportions,
grand entrances, broad staircases, lofty ceilings, apartments of
immense size, with columns of porphyry and alabaster and lapis lazuli,
and pavements of mosaic or tessellated marble, with no end of
costliness in decoration; ceilings loaded with carving and gilding,
and walls hung with tapestries, and adorned with paintings by the
first masters in the world. Such is the picture of many a palace that
one may see to-day in Venice and Genoa and Florence and Rome.

If any of my readers feel a touch of envy at the tale of such
magnificence, it may comfort them to hear, that probably their own
American homes, though much less splendid, are a great deal more
comfortable. These palaces were not built for comfort, but for pride
and for show. They are well enough for courts and for state occasions,
but not for ordinary life. They have few of those comforts which we
consider indispensable in our American homes. It is almost impossible
to keep them warm. Their vast halls are cold and dreary. The
pavements of marble and mosaic are not half so comfortable as a plain
wooden floor covered with a carpet. There is no gas--they are lighted
only with candles; while the liberal supply of water which we have in
our American cities is unknown. A lady living in one of the grandest
palaces in Rome, tells me that every drop of water used by her family
has to be carried up those tremendous staircases, to ascend which is
almost like climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Of course a bath is a
_luxury_, and not, as with us, an universal comfort. Nowhere do I find
such a supply of that necessary element of household cleanliness and
personal health, as we have in New York, furnished by a river running
through the heart of a city, carrying life, as well as luxury, into
every dwelling.

The English-speaking race understand the art of domestic architecture
better than any other in the world. They may not build such grand
palaces, but they know how to build _homes_. In country houses we
should have to yield the palm to the tasteful English cottages, but in
city houses I should claim it for America, for the simple reason that,
as our cities are newer, there are many improvements introduced in
houses of modern construction unknown before.

When Prince Napoleon was in New York, he said that there was more
comfort in one of our best houses than he found in the Palais Royal in
Paris. And I can well believe it. I doubt if there is a city in the
world where there is a greater number of private dwellings which are
more thoroughly comfortable, well warmed and well lighted, well
ventilated and well drained, with hot and cold baths everywhere:
surely such materials for merely physical comfort never existed
before. These are luxuries not always found, even in kings' palaces.

But it is not of our rich city houses that I make my boast, but of the
tens of thousands of country houses, so full of comfort, full of
sunshine, and _full of peace_. These are the things which make a
nation happy, and which are better than the palaces of Venice or of
Rome.

And so the result of all our observations has been to make us
contented with our modest republican ways. How often, while wandering
through these marble halls, have I looked away from all this splendor
to a happy country beyond the sea, and whispered to myself,

     "Mid pleasures and palaces, wherever we roam,
     Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."



CHAPTER XXV.

NAPLES.--POMPEII AND PÆSTUM.


     NAPLES, October 23d.

"See Naples and die!" is an old Italian proverb, which, it must be
confessed, is putting it rather strongly, but which still expresses,
with pardonable exaggeration, the popular sense of the surpassing
beauty of this city and its environs. Florence, lying in the valley of
the Arno, as seen from the top of Fiesolé, is a vision of beauty; but
here, instead of a river flowing between narrow banks, there opens
before us a bay that is like a sea, alive with ships, with beautiful
islands, and in the background Vesuvius, with its column of smoke ever
rising against the sky. The bay of Naples is said to be the most
beautiful in the world; at least its only rival is in another
hemisphere--in the bay of Rio Janeiro. It must be fifty miles in
circuit (it is nineteen miles across from Naples to Sorrento), and the
whole shore is dotted with villages, so that when lighted up at night,
it seems girdled with watch fires.

And around this broad-armed bay (as at Nice and other points along the
Mediterranean), Summer lingers after she has left the north of Italy.
Not only vineyards and olive groves cover the southern slopes, but
palm trees grow in the open air. Here the old Romans loved to come and
sun themselves in this soft atmosphere. On yonder island of Capri are
still seen the ruins of a palace of Tiberius; Cicero had a villa at
Pompeii; and Virgil, though born at Mantua, wished to rest in death
upon these milder shores, and here, at the entrance of the grotto of
Posilippo, they still point out his tomb.

In its interior Naples is a great contrast to Rome. It is not only
larger (indeed, it is much the largest city in Italy, having half a
million of inhabitants), but brighter and gayer. Rome is dark and
sombre, always reminding one of the long-buried past; Naples seems to
live only in the present, without a thought either of the past or of
the future. A friend who came here a day or two before us, expressed
the contrast between the two cities by saying energetically, "Naples
is life: Rome is death!" Indeed, we have here a spectacle of
extraordinary animation. I have seen somewhere a series of pictures of
"Street Scenes in Naples," and surely no city in Europe offers a
greater variety of figures and costumes, as rich and poor, princes and
beggars, soldiers and priests, jostle each other in the noisy,
laughing crowd.

Even the poorest of the people have something picturesque in their
poverty. The lazzaroni of Naples are well known. They are the lowest
class of the population, such as may be found in all large cities, and
which is generally the most disgusting and repulsive. But here, owing
to the warm climate, they can live out of doors, and thus the rags and
dirt, which elsewhere are hidden in garrets and cellars, are paraded
in the streets, making them like a Rag Fair. One may see a host of
young beggars--little imps, worthy sons of their fathers--lying on the
sidewalk, asleep in the sun, or coolly picking the vermin from their
bodies, or showing their dexterity in holding aloft a string of
macaroni, and letting it descend into their mouths, and then running
after the carriage for a penny.

The streets are very narrow, very crowded, and very noisy. From
morning to night they are filled with people, and resound with the
cries of market-men and women, who make a perfect Bedlam. Little
donkeys, which seem to be the universal carryalls, come along laden
with fruit, grapes and vegetables. The loads put on these poor beasts
are quite astonishing. Though not much bigger than Newfoundland dogs,
each one has two huge panniers hung at his sides, which are filled
with all sorts of produce which the peasants are bringing to market.
Often the poor little creature is so covered up that he is hardly
visible under his load, and might not be discovered, but that the heap
seems to be in motion, and a pair of long ears is seen to project
through the superincumbent mass, and an occasional bray from beneath
sounds like a cry for pity.

The riding carts of the laboring people also have a power of
indefinite multiplication of the contents they carry. I thought that
an Irish jaunting-car would hold about as many human creatures as
anything that went on wheels, but it is quite surpassed by the country
carts one sees around Naples, in which a mere rat of a donkey scuds
along before an indescribable vehicle, on which half a dozen men are
stuck like so many pegs (of course they stand, for there is not room
for them to sit), with women also, and a baby or two, and a fat priest
in the bargain, and two or three urchins dangling behind! Sometimes,
for convenience, babies and vegetables are packed in the same basket,
and swung below!

With such variety in the streets, one need not go out of the city for
constant entertainment. And yet the charm of Naples is in its
environs, and one who should spend a month or two here, might make
constant excursions to points along the bay, which are attractive
alike by their natural beauty and their historical interest. He may
follow the shore from Ischia clear around to Capri, and enjoy a
succession of beautiful points, as the shore-line curves in and out,
now running into some sheltered nook, where the olive groves grow
thick in the southern sun, and then coming to a headland that juts out
into the sea. Few things can be more enchanting than such a ride along
the bay to Baiæ on one side or from Castellamare to Sorrento and
Amalfi, on the other.

Our first visit was to POMPEII, so interesting by its melancholy fate,
and by the revelations of ancient life in its recent excavations. It
was destroyed in an eruption of Vesuvius in the reign of Titus, in the
year 79, and so completely was it buried that for seventeen hundred
years its very site was not known. It was only about the middle of the
last century that it was discovered, and not till within a few years
that excavations were prosecuted with much vigor. Now the city is
uncovered, the roofs are taken off from the houses, and we can look
down into the very homes of the people, and see the interior of their
dwellings, and all the details of their domestic life.

We spent four or five hours in exploring this buried city, going with
a guide from street to street, and from house to house. How strange it
seemed to walk over the very pavements that were laid there before our
Saviour was born, the stones still showing the ruts worn by the wheels
of Roman chariots two thousand years ago!

We examined many houses in detail, and found them, while differing in
costliness (some of them, such as those of Diomed and Sallust and
Polybius, being dwellings of the rich), resembling each other in their
general arrangement. All seemed to be built on an Oriental model,
designed for a hot climate, with a court in the centre, where often a
fountain filled the air with delicious coolness, and lulled to rest
those who sought in the rooms which opened on the court a retreat from
the heat of the summer noon. From this central point of the house, one
may go through the different apartments--bedroom, dining-room, and
kitchen--and see how the people cooked their food, and where they eat
it; where they dined and where they slept; how they lay down and how
they rose up. In almost every house there is a niche for the Penates,
or household gods, which occupied a place in the dwellings of the old
Pompeiians, such as is given by devout Catholics to images of the
Virgin and saints, at the present day.

But that which excites the greatest wonder is the decorations of the
houses--the paintings on the walls, which in their grace of form and
richness of color, are still subjects of admiration, and furnish many
a model to architects and decorators. A great number of these have
been removed to the Museum at Naples, where artists are continually
studying and copying them. In this matter of decorative art, Wendell
Phillips may well claim--as he does in his eloquent lecture on "The
Lost Arts"--that there are many things in which the ancients, whether
Romans, Greeks, or Egyptians, were superior to the boastful moderns.

Something of the luxury of those times is seen in the public baths,
which are fitted up with furnaces for heating the water, and pipes for
conveying it, and rooms for reclining and cooling one's self after the
bath, and other refinements of luxury, which we had vainly conceived
belonged only to modern civilization.

From the houses we pass to the shops, and here we find all the signs
of active life, as if the work had been interrupted only yesterday.
Passing along the street, one sees the merchant's store, the
apothecary's shop, and the blacksmith's forge. To be sure, the fire is
extinguished, and the utensils which have been discovered have been
carried off to the Museum at Naples; but it needs only to light up the
coals, and we might hear again the ring on the anvils where the hammer
fell, struck by hands that have been dust for centuries. And here is a
bakery, with all the implements of the trade: the stone mills standing
in their place for grinding the corn (is it not said that "two shall
be grinding at the mill; one shall be taken and the other left"?); the
vessels for the flour and for water, the trough for kneading the
bread, and the oven for baking--long brick ovens they are, just like
those in which our New England mothers are wont to bake their
Thanksgiving pies. Nay, we have some of the bread that was baked,
loaves of which are still preserved, charred and blackened by the
fire, and possibly might be eaten, although the bread is decidedly
well done.

Of course, the most imposing structures that have been uncovered are
the public buildings in the Forum and elsewhere--the basilica for the
administration of justice; the theatres for games; and the temples for
the worship of the gods.

I was curious as to the probable loss of life in the destruction of
the city, and conclude that it was not very great in proportion to the
population. We have no means of knowing exactly the number of
inhabitants. Murray's Guide Book says 30,000, but a careful
measurement shows that not more than 12,000 could have been within the
walls, while perhaps as many more were outside of it. As yet there
have been discovered not more than six hundred skeletons; so that it
is probable that the greater number made their escape.

But even these--though few compared with the whole--are enough to
disclose, by their attitudes, the suffering and the agony of their
terrible fate. From their postures, it is plain that the inhabitants
were seized with mortal terror when destruction came upon them. Many
were found with their bodies prone on the earth, who had evidently
thrown themselves down, and buried their faces in their hands, as if
to hide from their eyes the danger that was in the air. Some tried to
escape with their treasures. In one house five skeletons were found,
with bracelets and rings of gold, silver, and bronze, lying on the
pavement. A woman was found with four rings on one of her fingers, set
with precious stones, with gold bracelets and earrings and pieces of
money. Perhaps her avarice or her vanity proved her destruction. But
the hardest fate was that of those who could not fly, as captives
chained in their dungeons. Three skeletons were found in a prison,
with the manacles still on their fleshless hands. Even dumb beasts
shared in the general catastrophe. The horse that had lost its rider
pawed and neighed in vain; and the dog that howled at his master's
gate, but would not leave him, shared his fate. The skeletons of both
are still preserved.

Altogether, the most vivid account which has been given of the
overthrow of the city, is by the English novelist, Bulwer, in his
"Last Days of Pompeii." He pictures a great crowd collected for
gladiatorial combats. That the people had these cruel sports, is shown
by the amphitheatre which remains to this day; and the greatest number
of skeletons in any one spot was thirty-six, in a building for the
training of gladiators. In the amphitheatre, according to the
novelist, the people were assembled when the destruction came. The
lion had been let loose, but more sensitive than man to the strange
disturbance in the elements, crept round the arena, instead of
bounding on his prey, losing his natural ferocity in the sense of
terror. Beasts in the dens below filled the air with howls, till the
assembly, roused from the eager excitement of the combat, at length
looked upward, and in the darkening sky above them read the sign of
their approaching doom.

But no high-wrought description can add to the actual terror of that
day, as recounted by historians. There are some things which cannot be
overdrawn, and even Bulwer does not present to the imagination a
greater scene of horror than the plain narrative of the younger Pliny,
who was himself a witness of the destruction of Pompeii from the bay,
and whose uncle, advancing nearer to get a better view, perished.

A city which has had such a fate, and which, after being buried for so
many centuries, is now disentombed, deserves a careful memorial, which
shall comprise both an authentic historical account of its overthrow,
with a detailed report of the recent discoveries. We are glad,
therefore, to meet here a countryman of ours who has taken the matter
in hand, and is fully competent for the task. Rev. J. C. Fletcher,
who is well known in America as the author of a work on Brazil, which
is as entertaining as it is instructive, has been residing two years
in Naples, preparing for the Harpers a work on Pompeii, which cannot
fail to be of great interest, and to which we look forward as the most
valuable account we shall have of this long-buried city.

Another excursion of almost equal interest was to PÆSTUM, some fifty
miles below Naples, the ruins of which are second only to those of the
Parthenon. It is an excursion which requires two days, and which we
accordingly divided. We went first to Sorrento, on the southern shore
of the bay, one of the most beautiful spots around Naples, a kind of
eyrie, or eagle's nest, perched on the cliff, and looking off upon the
glittering waters. Here we were joined by a German lady and her
daughter, whom we had met before in Florence and in Rome, and who are
to be our travelling companions in the East; and who added much to our
pleasure as we picnicked the next day in the Temple of Neptune. With
our party thus doubled we rode along the shore over that most
beautiful drive from Sorrento to Castellamare, and went on to Salerno
to pass the night, from which the excursion to Pæstum is easily made
the next day.

Notwithstanding the great interest of this excursion, it has been made
less frequently than it would have been but for the fact that, until
quite recently, the road has been infested by brigands, who had an
unpleasant habit of starting up by the roadside with blunderbusses in
their hands, and assisting you to alight from the carriage, and taking
you for an excursion into the mountains, from which a message was sent
to your friends in Naples, that on the deposit of a thousand pounds or
so at a certain place you would be returned safely. If friends were a
little slow in taking this hint, and coming to the rescue, sometimes
an ear of the unfortunate captive was cut off and sent to the city as
a gentle reminder of what awaited him if the money was not forthcoming
immediately. Of course, it did not need many such warnings to squeeze
the last drop of blood out of friends, who eagerly drained themselves
to save a kinsman, who had fallen into the jaws of the lion, from a
horrible fate.

That these were not idle tales told to frighten travellers, we had
abundant evidence. Within a very few years there have been repeated
adventures of the kind. An English gentleman whom we met at Salerno,
who had lived some forty years in this part of Italy, told us that the
stories were not at all exaggerated; that one gang of bandits had
their headquarters but half a mile from his house, and that when
captured they confessed that they had often lain in wait for _him_!

These pleasing reminiscences gave a cheerful zest to the prospect of
our journey on the morrow, although at present there is little danger.
Since the advent of Victor Emmanuel, brigandage, like a good many
other institutions of the old régime, has been got rid of. Our English
friend last saw his former neighbors, as he was riding in a carriage,
and three of them passed him, going to be shot. Since then the danger
has been removed; and still it gives one a little excitement to drive
where such incidents were common only a few years ago, and even now it
is not at all disagreeable to see soldiers stationed at different
points along the road.

Though brigandage has passed away _here_, like many an other relic of
the good old times, it still flourishes in Sicily, where all efforts
to extirpate it have as yet proved unsuccessful, and where one who is
extremely desirous of a little adventure, may find it without going
far outside the walls of Palermo.

But we will not stop to waste words on brigands, when we have before
us the ruins of Pæstum. As we drive over a long, level road, we see in
the distance the columns of great temples rising over the plain, not
far from the sea. They are perhaps more impressive because standing
alone, not in the midst of a populous city like the Parthenon, with
Athens at its base, but like Tadmor in the wilderness, solitary and
desolate, a wonder and a mystery. Except the custodian of the place
there was not a human creature there; nor a sound to be heard save the
cawing of crows that flew among the columns, and lighted on the roof.
In such silence we approached these vast remains of former ages. The
builders of these mighty temples have vanished, and no man knows even
their names. It is not certain by whom they were erected. It is
supposed by a Greek colony that landed on the shores of Southern
Italy, and there founded cities and built temples at least six hundred
years before the Christian era. The style of architecture points to a
Greek origin. The huge columns, without any base, and with the plain
Doric capitals, show the same hands that reared the Parthenon. But
whoever they were, there were giants in the earth in those days; and
the Cyclopean architecture they have left puts to shame the pigmy
constructions of modern times. How small it makes one feel to compare
his own few years with these hoary monuments of the past! So men pass
away, and their names perish, even though the structures they have
builded may survive a few hundred, or a few thousand years. What
lessons on the greatness and littleness of man have been read under
the shadow of these giant columns. Hither came Augustus, in whose
reign Christ was born, to visit ruins that were ancient even in his
day. Here, where a Cæsar stood two thousand years ago, the traveller
from another continent (though not from New Zealand) stands to-day, to
muse--at Pæstum, as at Pompeii--on the fate which overtakes all human
things, and at last whelms man and his works in one undistinguishable
ruin.



CHAPTER XXVI.

THE ASCENT OF VESUVIUS.


     November 1st.

Our excursion to Vesuvius was delayed for some days to await the
arrival of the Franklin, which was to bring us the lieutenant who was
our travelling companion in Germany last summer, and who wished to
make the ascent in our company. At length, on Thursday, the firing of
heavy guns told us that the great ship was coming into the harbor, and
we were soon on board, where we received a most hearty welcome, not
only from our kinsman, but from all the officers. The Franklin is the
Flag-ship of our European squadron, and bears the flag of Admiral John
L. Worden, the gallant officer whose courage and skill in fighting the
Monitor against the Merrimack in Hampton Roads in 1862, saved the
country in an hour of imminent peril. Well do we remember the terror
in New York caused by the tidings of the sinking of the Congress and
the Cumberland by that first ironclad--a new sea monster whose powers
of destruction were unknown, and which we expected to see within a
week sailing up our harbor, and demanding the surrender of the city.
From this and other dangers, which we shudder to contemplate, we were
saved by the little Monitor on that eventful day. As Admiral Worden
commands only the _fleet_, the _ship_ is commanded by an officer who
bears the same honored name as the ship itself--Captain Franklin. We
were very proud to see such men, surrounded by a fine set of officers,
representing our country here. As we made frequent visits to the ship,
we came to feel quite at home there. Not the least pleasant part of
these visits was to meet several American ladies--the wife and
daughters of Admiral Worden, and the wife of Captain Franklin. Men who
have rendered distinguished services to their country are certainly
entitled to a little domestic comfort on their long voyages; while the
presence of such ladies is a benefit to all on board. When men are
alone, whether in camp or on a ship, they are apt to become a little
rough, and the mere presence of a noble woman has a refining influence
over them. I can see it here in these young officers, who all seem to
have a chivalrous feeling towards these ladies, who remind them of
their own mothers and sisters at home. A more happy family I have not
met on land or sea.

To their company we are indebted for much of the pleasure of our
excursion to Vesuvius. On Saturday a large party was made up from the
ship, which included the family of Admiral Worden, Captain and Mrs.
Franklin, and half a dozen lieutenants. Our excellent consul at
Naples, Mr. Duncan, and his sister, were also with us. We filled four
carriages, and away we went through the streets of Naples at a furious
rate; sweeping around the bay (along which, as we looked through
arched passages to the right, we could see villas and gardens
stretching down to the waters), till we reached Resina, which stands
on the site of buried Herculaneum. Here we turned to the left, and
began the ascent. And now we found it well that our drivers had
harnessed three stout horses abreast to each carriage, as we had a
hard climb upward along the blackened sides of the mountain.

We soon perceived the wide-spread ruin wrought by successive eruptions
of the volcano. Over all this mountain side had rolled a deluge of
fire, and on every hand were strewn the wrecks of the mighty
desolation. It seemed as if a destroying angel had passed over the
earth, blasting wherever his shadow fell. On either side stretched
miles and miles of lava, which had flowed here and there slowly and
sluggishly like molten iron, turning when interrupted in its course,
and twisted into a thousand shapes.

But if this was a terrible sight, there was something to relieve the
eye, as we looked away in the distance to where the smile of God still
rests on an unsmitten world. As we mounted higher, we commanded a
wider view, and surely never was there a more glorious panorama than
that which was unrolled at our feet on that October morning. There was
the bay of Naples, flashing in the sunlight, with the beautiful
islands of Ischia and Capri lying, like guardian fortresses, off its
mouth, and ships coming and going to all parts of the Mediterranean.
What an image was presented in that one view of the contrasts in our
human life between sunshine and shadow--blooming fields on one hand,
and a blackened waste on the other; above, a region swept by fire, and
below, gardens and vineyards, and cities and villages, smiling in
peace and security.

We had left Naples at nine o'clock, but it was noon before we reached
the Observatory--a station which the Italian Government has
established on the side of the mountain for the purpose of making
meteorological observations. This is the limit to which carriages can
ascend, and here we rested for an hour. Our watchful lieutenants had
thoughtfully provided a substantial lunch, which the steward spread in
a little garden overlooking the bay, and there assembled as merry a
group of Americans as ever gathered on the sides of Vesuvius.

From the Observatory, those who would spare any unnecessary fatigue
may take mules a mile farther to the foot of the cone, but our party
preferred the excitement of the walk after our long ride. In ascending
the cone, no four-footed beast is of any service; one must depend on
his own strong limbs, unless he chooses to accept the aid of some of
the fierce looking attendants who offer their services as porters. A
lady may take a chair, and for forty francs be carried quite to the
top on the shoulders of four stout fellows. But the more common way
is to take two assistants, one to go forward who drags you up by a
strap attached around his waist, to which you hold fast for dear life,
while another _pushes_ behind. Our young lady had _three_ escorts. She
drove a handsome team of two ahead, while a third lubberly fellow was
trying to make himself useful, or, at least, to earn his money, by
putting his hands on her shoulders, and thus urging her forward. I
believe I was the only person of the party, except the Consul and one
lieutenant, who went up without assistance. I took a man at first,
rather to get rid of his importunity, but he gave out sooner than I
did, stopping after a few rods to demand more money, whereupon I threw
him off in disgust, and made the ascent alone. But I would not
recommend others to follow my example, as the fatigue is really very
great, especially to one unused to mountain climbing. Not only is the
cone very steep, but it is covered with ashes; so that one has no firm
hold for his feet, but sinks deep at every step. Thus he makes slow
progress, and is soon out of breath. He can only keep on by going
_very slowly_. I had to stop every few minutes, and throw myself down
in the ashes, to rest. But with these little delays, I kept steadily
mounting higher and higher.

As we neared the top, the presence of the volcano became manifest, not
merely from the cloud which always hangs about it, but by smoke
issuing from many places at the side. It seemed as if the mountain
were a vast smouldering heap out of which the internal heat forced its
way through every aperture. Here and there a long line of smoke seemed
to indicate a subterranean fissure or vein, through which the pent-up
fires forced their way. As we crossed these lines of smoke the
sulphurous fumes were stifling, especially when the wind blew them in
our faces.

But at last all difficulties were conquered, and we stood on the very
top, and looked over the awful verge into the crater.

Those who have never seen a volcano are apt to picture it as a tall
peak, a slender cone, like a sugar loaf, with a round aperture at the
top, like the chimney of a blast furnace, out of which issues fire and
smoke. Something of this indeed there is, but the actual scene is
vastly greater and grander. For, instead of a small round opening,
like the throat of a chimney, large enough for one flaming column, the
crater is nearly half a mile across, and many hundreds of feet deep;
and one looks down into a yawning gulf, a vast chasm in the mountain,
whose rocky sides are yellow with sulphur, and out of which the smoke
issues from different places. At times it is impossible to see
anything, as dense volumes of smoke roll upward, which the wind drives
toward us, so that we are ourselves lost in the cloud. Then they drift
away, and for an instant we can see far down into the bowels of the
earth.

Standing on the bald head of Vesuvius, one cannot help some grave
reflections, looking at what is before him only from the point of view
of a man of science. The eruption of a volcano is one of the most
awful scenes in nature, and makes one shudder to think of the elements
of destruction that are imprisoned in the rocky globe. What desolation
has been wrought by Vesuvius alone--how it has thrown up mountains,
laid waste fields, and buried cities! What a spectacle has it often
presented to the terrified inhabitants of Naples, as it has shot up a
column not only of smoke, but of fire! The flames have often risen to
the height of a mile above the summit of the mountain, their red blaze
lighting up the darkness of the night, and casting a glare over the
waters of the bay, while the earth was moaning and trembling, as if in
pain and fear.

And the forces that have wrought such destruction are active still.
For two thousand years this volcano has been smoking, and yet it is
not exhausted. Its fury is still unspent. Far down in the heart of the
earth still glow the eternal fires. This may give some idea of the
terrific forces that are at work in the interior of the hollow globe,
while it suggests at least the possibility of a final catastrophe,
which shall prove the destruction of the planet itself.

But if the spectacle be thus suggestive and threatening to the man of
science, it speaks still more distinctly to one who has been
accustomed to think that a time is coming when "the earth, being on
fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent
heat," and who beholds in these ascending flames the prophetic symbol
of the Dies Iræ--the Day of Doom--that shall at last end the long
tragedy of man's existence on the earth.

As I stood on the edge of the crater and looked down into the awful
depths below, it seemed as if I beheld a scene such as might have
inspired the description of Dante in his Inferno, or of John in the
Apocalypse; as if that dread abyss were no unfit symbol of the "lower
deep" into which sink lost human souls. That "great gulf" was as the
Valley of Hell; its rocky sides, yellow with sulphurous flames--how
glistening and slippery they looked!--told of a "lake of fire and
brimstone" seething and boiling below; those yawning caverns which
were disclosed as the smoke drifted away, were the abodes of despair,
and the winds that moaned and shrieked around were the wailings of the
lost; while the pillar of cloud which is always rising from beneath,
which "ceases not day nor night," was as "the smoke of torment,"
forever ascending.

He must be a dull preacher who could not find a lesson in that awful
scene; or see reflected in it the dangers to which he himself is
exposed. Fire is the element of destruction, even more than water. The
"cruel, crawling foam" of the sea, that comes creeping towards us to
seize and to destroy, is not so treacherous as the flames, darting out
like serpents' tongues, that come creeping upward from the abyss,
licking the very stones at our feet, and that seem eager to lick up
our blood.

The point where we stood projected over the crater. The great eruption
three years since had torn away half the cone of the mountain, and now
there hung above it a ledge, which seemed ready at any moment to break
and fall into the gulf below. As I stood on that "perilous edge," the
crumbling verge of the volcano, I seemed to be in the position of a
human being exposed to dangers vast and unseen, to powers which blind
and smother and destroy. As if Nature would fix this lesson, by an
image never to be forgotten, the sun that was declining in the west,
suddenly burst out of the cloud, and cast my own shadow on the column
of smoke that was rising from below. That shadowy form, standing in
the air, now vanishing, and then reappearing with every flash of
sunlight, seemed no inapt image of human life, a thing of shadow,
floating in a cloud, and hovering over an abyss!

Thus musing, I lingered on the summit to the last, for such was the
fascination of the scene that I could not tear myself away, and it was
not till all were gone, and I found myself quite alone, that I turned
and followed them down the mountain side. The descent is as rapid as
the ascent is slow. A few minutes do the work of hours, as one plunges
down the ashy cone, and soon our whole party were reassembled at its
base. It was five o'clock when we took our carriages at the
Observatory; and quite dark before we got down the mountain, so that
men with lighted torches (long sticks of pine, like those with which
travellers make their way through the darkness of American forests),
had to go before us to show the road, and with such flaring flambeaux,
and much shouting of men and boys, of guides and drivers, we came
rolling down the sides of Vesuvius, and a little after seven o'clock
were again rattling through the streets of Naples.

Yesterday was our last day in this city, as we leave this afternoon
for Athens and Constantinople, and as it was the Sabbath, we went on
board the Franklin for a religious service. Such a service is always
very grateful to an American far from home. The deck of an American
ship is like a part of his country, a floating island, anchored for
the moment to a foreign shore: and as he stands there, and sees around
him the faces of countrymen, and hears, instead of the language of
strangers, his dear old mother tongue, and looks up and sees floating
above him the flag he loves so well--that has been through so many
battles and storms--he cannot keep down a trembling in his heart, or
the tears from his eyes.

And how delightful it is, on such a spot, and with such a company, to
join in religious worship. The Franklin has an excellent chaplain--one
who commands the respect of all on board by his consistent life,
though without any cant or affectation, while his uniform kindness and
sympathy win their hearts. The service was held on the gun-deck, where
officers and men were assembled, sitting as they could, between the
cannon. The band played one or two sacred airs, and the chaplain read
the service with his deep, rich voice, after which it was my privilege
to preach to this novel congregation of my countrymen. Altogether the
occasion was one of very peculiar interest to me, and I hope it was
equally so to others.

And so we took leave of the Franklin, with most grateful memories of
the kindness of all, from the Admiral down. It is pleasant to see such
a body of officers on board of one of our national ships. None can
realize, except those who travel abroad, how much of the good name of
our country is entrusted to the keeping of such men. They go
everywhere, they appear in every port of Europe and indeed of the
world; they are instantly recognized by their uniform, and are
regarded, much more than ordinary travellers, as the representatives
of our country. How pleasant it is to find them uniformly
_gentlemen_--courteous and dignified, preserving their self-respect,
while showing proper respect to others. I am proud to see such a
generation of young officers coming on the stage, and trust it may
always be said of them, that (taking example from the gallant captains
and admirals who are now the pride of our American Navy,) they are as
modest as they are brave. Such be the men to carry the starry flag
around the globe!



CHAPTER XXVII.

GREECE AND ITS YOUNG KING.


     ATHENS, November 9th.

If the best proof of our fondness for a place be that we leave it with
regret, few cities will stand higher in our remembrance than Naples,
from which we turned away with many a lingering look, as we waved our
adieus to our friends, who answered us from the deck of the Franklin.
Never did the bay look more beautiful than that Monday afternoon, as
we sailed away by Capri and Sorrento, and Amalfi and the Bay of
Salerno. The sea was calm, the sky was fair. The coast, with its rocky
headlands and deeply indented bays, was in full sight, while behind
rose the Apennines. The friends were with us who were to be our
companions in the East, adding to our animation by their own, as we
sat upon the deck till the evening drew on. As the sun went down, it
cast such a light over the sea, that the ship seemed to be swimming in
glory, as we floated along the beautiful Italian shores. A little
before morning we passed through the Straits of Messina, between
Scylla and Charybdis, leaving Mount Etna on our right, and then for an
hour or two stood off the coast of Calabria, till we ran out of sight
of land, into the open sea of the Mediterranean.

Wednesday found us among the Ionian islands, and we soon came in sight
of the Morea, a part of the mainland of Greece. We had been told to
watch, as we approached Athens, for sunset on the Parthenon; but it
was not till long after dark that we entered the harbor of the Piræus,
and saw the lights on the shore, and our first experience was
anything but romantic. At ten o'clock we were cast ashore, in
darkness and in rain; so that instead of feeling any inspiration, we
felt only that we were very wet and very cold. While the
commissionaire went to call a carriage, we waited for a few moments in
a café, which was filled with Greek soldiers who were drinking and
smoking, and looked more like brigands than the lawful defenders of
life and property. Such was our introduction to the classic soil of
Greece. But the scene was certainly picturesque enough to satisfy our
young spirits (for I have two such now in charge), who are always
looking out for adventures. Soon the carriage came, and splashing
through the mud, we drove to Athens, and at midnight found a most
welcome rest in our hotel.

But sunrise clears away the darkness, and we look out of our balcony
on a pleasant prospect. We are in the Hotel Grande Bretagne, facing
the principal square, and adjoining the Royal Palace, in front of
which the band comes to play under the King's windows every day.
Before us rises a rocky hill, which we know at once to be the
Acropolis, as it is strown with ruins, and crowned with the columns of
a great temple, which can be no other than the Parthenon.

Turning around the horizon, the view is less attractive. The hills are
bleak and bare, masses of rock covered with a scanty vegetation. This
desolate appearance is the result of centuries of neglect; for in
ancient times (if I have read aright), the plain of Athens was a
paradise of fertility, and where not laid out in gardens, was dense
with foliage. Stately trees stood in many a grove besides that of the
Academy, while the mountains around "waved like Lebanon." But nature
seems to have dwindled with man, and centuries of misrule, while they
have crushed the people, have stripped even the mountains of their
forests.

But with all the desolateness around it, Athens is to the scholar one
of the most interesting cities in the world. Its very ruins are
eloquent, as they speak of the past. We have been here six days, and
have been riding about continually, seeking out ancient sites,
exploring temples and ruins, and find the charm and the fascination
increasing to the last.

The Parthenon has disappointed me, not in the beauty of its design,
which is as nearly perfect as anything ever wrought by the hand of
man, but in the state of its preservation, which is much less perfect
than that of the temples at Pæstum. Time and the elements have wrought
upon its marble front; but these alone would not have made it the ruin
that it is, but for the havoc of war: for so massive was its structure
that it might have lasted for ages. Indeed, it was preserved nearly
intact till about two centuries ago. But the Acropolis, owing to the
advantages of its site (a rocky eminence, rising up in the midst of
the city, like the Castle of Edinburgh), had often been turned into a
fortress, and sustained many sieges. In 1687 it was held by the Turks,
and the Parthenon was used as a powder magazine, which was exploded by
a bomb from the Venetian camp on an opposite hill, and thus was
fatally shattered the great edifice that had stood from the age of
Pericles. Many columns were blown down, making a huge rent on both
sides. It is sad to see these great blocks of Pentelican marble, that
had been so perfectly fashioned and chiselled, now strown over the
summit of the hill.

And then, to complete the destruction, at the beginning of this
century, came a British nobleman, Lord Elgin, and having obtained a
firman from the Turkish Government, proceeded deliberately to put up
his scaffolding and take down the friezes of Phidias, and carried off
a ship-load of them to London, where the Elgin Marbles now form the
chief ornament of the British Museum. The English spoilers have indeed
allowed some plaster casts to be taken, and brought back here--faint
reminders of the glorious originals. With these and such other
fragments as they have been able to gather, the Greeks have formed a
small museum of their own on the Acropolis. In those which preserve
any degree of entireness, as in the more perfect ones in London, one
perceives the matchless grace of ancient Greek sculpture. There are
long processions of soldiers mounted on horses, and priests leading
their victims to the sacrifice. In these every figure is different,
yet all are full of majesty and grace. What a power even in the
horses, as they sweep along in the endless procession; and what a
freedom in their riders. The whole seems to _march_ before us.

But many of the fragments that have been collected are so broken that
we cannot make anything out of them. We know from history that there
were on the Acropolis five hundred statues (besides those in the
Parthenon), scattered over the hill. Of these but little remains--here
an arm, or a leg, or a headless trunk, which would need a genius like
that of the ancient sculptor himself to restore it to any degree of
completeness. It is said of Cuvier that such was his knowledge of
comparative anatomy, that from the smallest fragment of bone he could
reconstruct the frame of a mastodon, or of any extinct animal. So
perhaps out of these remains of ancient art, a Thorwaldsen (who had
more of the genius of the ancient Greeks than any other modern
sculptor,) might reconstruct the friezes and sculptures of the
Parthenon.

But perhaps it is better that they remain as they are--fragments of a
mighty ruin, suggestions of a beauty and grace now lost to the world;
and which no man is worthy to restore.

Even as it stands, shattered and broken, the Parthenon is majestic in
its ruins. Until I came here I did not realize how much of its effect
was due to its _position_. But the old Greeks studied the effect of
everything, and thus the loftiest of positions was chosen for the
noblest of temples. As Michael Angelo, in building St. Peter's at
home, said that he "would lift the Pantheon into the air," (that is,
erect a structure so vast that its very dome should be equal to the
ancient temple of the gods,) so here the builders of the Parthenon
lifted it into the clouds. It stands on the very pinnacle of the hill,
some six hundred feet above the level of the sea, and thus is brought
into full relief against the sky. On that lofty summit it could be
seen from the city itself, which lies under the shadow of the
Acropolis, as well as from the more distant plain. It could be seen
also from the tops of the mountains, and even far out at sea, as it
caught and reflected back the rays of the rising or the setting sun.
Its marble columns, outlined against the blue sky of Greece, seemed
almost a temple in the clouds.

This effect of position has been half destroyed, at least for those
living in Athens, by the barbarous additions of later times, by which,
in order that the Acropolis might be turned into a fortress, the brow
of the hill was surmounted with a rude wall, which still encircles it,
and hides all but the upper part of the Parthenon from view. In any
proposed "restoration," the first thing should be to throw down this
ugly wall, so that the great temple might be seen to its very base,
standing as of old upon the naked rocks, with no barrier to hide its
majesty, from those near at hand as well as those "beholding it afar
off."

But, for the present, to see the beauty of the Parthenon, one must go
up to the Acropolis, and study it there. We often climbed to the
summit, and sat down on the steps of the Propylæa, or on a broken
column, to enjoy the prospect. From this point the eye ranges over the
plain of Athens, bounded on one side by mountains, and on the other by
the sea. Here are comprised in one view the points of greatest
interest in Athenian history. Yonder is the bay of Salamis, where
Themistocles defeated the Persians, and above it is the hill on which
the proud Persian monarch Xerxes sat to see the ruin of the Greek
ships, but from which before the day was ended he fled in dismay. To
such spots Demosthenes could point, as he stood in the Bema just below
us, and thundered to the Athenian people; and by such recollections
he roused them to "march against Philip, to conquer or die." A mile
and a half distant, but in full sight, was the grove of the Academy,
where Plato taught; and here, under the Acropolis, is a small recess
hewn in the rock which is pointed out as the prison of Socrates, and
another which is called his tomb. This inconstant people, like many
others, after putting to death the wisest man of his age, paid almost
divine honors to his memory.

Like the Coliseum at Rome, the Parthenon is best seen by moonlight,
for then the rents are half concealed, and as the shadows of the
columns that are still standing fall across the open area, they seem
like the giants of old revisiting the place of their glory, while the
night wind sighing among the ruins creeps in our ears like whispers of
the mighty dead.

When our American artist, Mr. Church, was here, he spent some weeks in
studying the Parthenon and taking sketches, from which he painted the
beautiful picture now in the possession of Mr. Morris K. Jesup. He
studied it from every point and in every light--at sunrise and sunset,
and by moonlight, and even had Bengal lights hung at night to bring
out new lights and shadows. This latter mode of illumination was tried
on a far grander scale when the Prince of Wales was here a few days
since on his way to India, and the effect was indescribably beautiful
as those mighty columns, thus brought into strange relief, stood out
against the midnight sky.

But if the Parthenon be only a ruin, the memorial of a greatness that
exists no more, fit emblem of that mythology of which it was the
shrine, and of which it is now at once the monument and the tomb,
there is something to be seen from this spot which is not a reminder
of decay. Beneath the Acropolis is Mars Hill, where Paul stood, in
sight of these very temples, and cried, "Ye men of Athens, I perceive
that in all things ye are too superstitious" [or, as it might be more
correctly rendered, "very religious"]; "for as I passed by, and beheld
your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN
GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God
that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of
heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands" [here we
may believe he pointed upward to the Parthenon and other temples which
crowned the hill above him]; "neither is worshipped with men's hands,
as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and
breath, and all things." That voice has died into silence, nor doth
remain upon the barren rock a single monument, or token of any kind,
to mark where the great Apostle stood. But the faith which he preached
has gone into all the world, and to-day the proudest dome that
overlooks the greatest capital of the modern world, bears the name of
St. Paul; and not only in London, but in hundreds of other cities, in
all parts of the earth, are temples consecrated with his name, that
tell of the Unknown God who has been declared to men, and of a faith
and worship that shall not pass away.

It is a long leap in history, from Ancient to Modern Greece; but the
intervening period contains so much of sadness and of shame, that it
is just as well to pass it by. What need to speak of the centuries of
degradation, in which Greece has been trampled on by Roman and Goth
and Turk, since we may turn to the cheering fact that after this long
night of ages, the morning has come, and this stricken land revives
again? Greece is at last free from her oppressors, and although the
smallest of European kingdoms, yet she exists; she has a place among
the nations, and the beginning of a new life, the dawn of what may
prove a long and happy career.

It is impossible to look on the revival of a nation which has had such
a history without the deepest interest, and I questioned eagerly every
one who could tell me anything about the conditions and prospects of
the country. I find the general report is one of progress--slow
indeed, but steady. The venerable Dr. Hill, who has lived here nearly
forty-five years, and is about the oldest inhabitant of Athens, tells
me that when he came, _there was not a single house_--he lived at
first in an old Venetian tower--and to-day Athens is a city of fifty
thousand inhabitants, with wide and beautiful streets; with public
squares and fountains, and many fine residences; with churches and
schools, and a flourishing University; with a Palace and a King, a
Parliament House and a Legislature, and all the forms of
constitutional government.

Athens is a very bright and gay city. Its climate favors life in the
open air, and its streets are filled with people, whose varied
costumes give them a most picturesque appearance. The fez is very
common, but not a turban is to be seen, for there is hardly a Turk in
Athens, unless it be connected with their embassy. The most striking
figures in the streets are the Albanians, or Suliotes, whose dress is
not unlike that of the Highlanders, only that the kilt, instead of
being of Scotch plaid, is of white cotton _frilled_, with the legs
covered with long thick stockings, and the costume completed by a
"capote"--a cloak as rough as a sheepskin, which is thrown
coquettishly over the shoulders. These Highlanders, though not of pure
Greek blood, fought bravely in the war of independence, meriting the
praise of Byron:--

     "O who is more brave than a dark Suliote,
     In his snowy camese and his shaggy capote?"

The interior of the country is less advanced than the capital. The
great want is that of _internal communication_. Greece is a country
made by nature both for commerce and for agriculture, as it is a
peninsula, and the long line of coast is indented with bays, and the
interior is very fertile; and if a few short roads were opened to
connect the inland valleys with the sea, so that the farmers and
peasants could send their produce to market, the exports of the
country might soon be doubled. One "trunk" road also is needed, about
a hundred miles long, to connect Greece with the European system of
railroads. The opening of this single artery of trade would give a
great impulse to the industry of the country; but as it would have to
cross the frontier of Turkey, it is necessary to have the consent of
the Turkish Government, and this the Greeks, though they have sought
it for years, have never been able to obtain.

But the obstacles to improvement are not all the fault of the Turks;
the Greeks are themselves also to blame. There is a lack of enterprise
and of public spirit; they do not work together for the public good.
If there were a little more of a spirit of coöperation, they could do
wonders for their country. They need not go to England to borrow money
to build railroads. There is enough in Athens itself, which is the
residence of many wealthy Greeks. Greece is about as large in
territory as Massachusetts, and has about the same population. If it
had the same spirit of enterprise, it would soon be covered, as
Massachusetts is, with a network of railroads, and all its valleys
would be alive with the hum of industry.

This lack of enterprise and want of combination for public ends, are
due to inherent defects of national character. The modern Greeks have
many of the traits of their illustrious ancestors, in which there is a
strange compound of strength and weakness. They are a mercurial and
excitable race, very much like the French, effervescing like
champagne, bubbling up and boiling over; fond of talk, and often
spending in words the energy that were better reserved for deeds. They
have a proverb of their own, which well indicates their readiness to
get excited about little matters, which says, "They drown themselves
in a tumbler of water."

A still more serious defect than this lightness of manner, is the
want of a high patriotic feeling which overrides all personal
ambition. There is too much of party spirit, and of personal ambition.
Everybody wants to be in office, to obtain control of the Government,
and selfish interests often take the precedence of public
considerations; men seem more eager to get into power by any means,
than to secure the good of their country. This party spirit makes more
difficult the task of government. But after all these are things which
more or less exist in all countries, and especially under all free
governments, and which the most skilled statesmen have to use all
their tact and skill to restrain within due bounds.

But while these are obvious defects of the national character, no one
can fail to see the fine qualities of the Greeks, and the great things
of which they are capable. They are full of talent, in which they show
their ancestral blood, and if sometimes a little restless and
unmanageable, they are but like spirited horses, that need only to be
"reined in" and guided aright, to run a long and glorious race.

I have good hope of the country also, from the character of the young
King, whom I had an opportunity of seeing. This was an unexpected
pleasure, for which I am indebted to the courtesy of our accomplished
Minister here, Gen. J. Meredith Reed, who suggested and arranged it;
and it proved not a mere formality, but a real gratification. I had
supposed it would be a mere ceremony, but it was, on the contrary, so
free from all stiffness--our reception was so unaffected and so
cordial--that I should like to impart a little of the pleasure of it
to others. I wish I could convey the impression of that young ruler
exactly as he appeared in that interview: for this is a case in which
the simplest and most literal description would be the most favorable.
Public opinion abroad hardly does him justice; for the mere fact of
his youth (he is not yet quite thirty years old), may lead those who
know nothing of him personally, to suppose that he is a mere
figure-head of the State, a graceful ornament indeed, but not capable
of adding much to the political wisdom by which it is to be guided.
The fact too of his royal connections (for he is the son of the King
of Denmark, and brother-in-law both of the Prince of Wales and of the
eldest son of the Czar), naturally leads one to suppose that he was
chosen King by the Greeks chiefly to insure the alliance of England
and Russia. No doubt these considerations did influence, as they very
properly might, his election to the throne. But the people were most
happy in their choice, in that they obtained not merely a foreign
prince to rule over them, but one of such personal qualities as to win
their love and command their respect. Those who come in contact with
him soon discover that he is not only a man of education, but of
practical knowledge of affairs; that he "carries an old head on young
shoulders," and has little of youth about him _except its modesty_,
but this he has in a marked degree, and it gives a great charm to his
manners. I was struck with this as soon as we entered the room--an air
so modest, and yet so frank and open, that it at once puts a stranger
at his ease. There is something very engaging in his manner, which
commands your confidence by the freedom with which he gives his own.
He welcomed us most cordially, and shook us warmly by the hand, and
commenced the conversation in excellent English, talking with as much
apparent freedom as if he were with old friends. We were quite alone
with him, and had him all to ourselves. There was nothing of the
manner of one who feels that his dignity consists in maintaining a
stiff and rigid attitude. On the contrary, his spirits seemed to run
over, and he conversed not only with the freedom, but the joyousness
of a boy. He amused us very much by describing a scene which some
traveller professed to have witnessed in the Greek Legislature, when
the speakers became so excited that they passed from words to blows,
and the Assembly broke up in a general mêlée. Of course no such scene
ever occurred, but it suited the purpose of some penny-a-liner, who
probably was in want of a dinner, and must concoct "a sensation" for
his journal. But I had been present at a meeting of the Greek
Parliament a day or two before, and could say with truth that it was
far more quiet and decorous than the meeting of the National Assembly
at Versailles, which I had witnessed several months before. Indeed no
legislative body could be more orderly in its deliberations.

Then the King talked of a great variety of subjects--of Greece and of
America, of art and of politics, of the Parthenon and of
plum-puddings.[9] Gen. Reed was very anxious that Greece should be
represented at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia. The King
asked what they should send? I modestly suggested "The Parthenon,"
with which Greece would eclipse all the world, unless Egypt should
send the Pyramids! Of course, it would be a profanation to touch a
stone of that mighty temple, though it would not be half as bad to
carry off a few "specimen bricks" as it was for Lord Elgin to carry
off the friezes of Phidias. But Gen. Reed suggested, what would be
quite practicable, that they should send plaster casts of some of
their greatest statues, which would not rob _them_, and yet be the
most glorious memorial of Ancient Greece.

The King spoke very warmly of America. The relations of the two
countries have always been most cordial. When Greece was struggling
single-handed to gain her independence, and European powers stood
aloof, America was the first to extend her sympathy and aid. This
early friendship has not been forgotten, and it needs only a worthy
representative of our country here--such as we are most fortunate in
having now--to keep for us this golden friendship through all future
years.

Such is the man who is now the King of Greece. He has a great task
before him, to restore a country so long depressed. He appreciates
fully its difficulties. No man understands better the character of the
Greeks, nor the real wants of the country. He may sometimes be tried
by things in his way. Yet he applies himself to them with
inexhaustible patience. The greater the difficulty, the greater the
glory of success. If he should sometimes feel a little discouraged,
yet there is much also to cheer and animate him. If things move rather
slowly, yet it is a fact of good omen that they move _at all_; and
looking back over a series of years, one may see that there has been a
great advance. It is not yet half a century since this country gained
its independence. Fifty years ago Turkish pachas were ruling over
Greece, and grinding the Christian population into the dust. Now the
Turks are gone. The people are _free_, and in their erect attitude,
their manly bearing and cheerful spirits, one sees that they feel that
they are men, accustomed for these many years to breathe the air of
liberty.

With such a country and such a people, this young king has before him
the most beautiful part which is given to any European sovereign--to
restore this ancient State, to reconstruct, not the Parthenon, but the
Kingdom; to open new channels of industry and wealth, and to lead the
people in all the ways of progress and of peace.

It will not be intruding into any privacy, if I speak of the king in
his domestic relations. It is not always that kings and queens present
the most worthy example to their people; and it was a real pleasure to
hear the way in which everybody spoke of this royal family as a model.
The queen, a daughter of the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, is
famed for her beauty, and equally for the sweetness of her manners.
The whole nation seems to be in love with her, she is so gentle and so
good. They have four children, ruddy cheeked little creatures, whom we
saw riding about every day, so blooming and rosy that the carriage
looked like a basket of flowers. They were always jumping about like
squirrels, so that the King told us he had to have them fastened in
with leather straps, lest in their childish glee they should throw
themselves overboard. In truth it was a pretty sight, that well might
warm the heart of the most cold-blooded old bachelor that ever lived;
and no one could see them riding by without blessing that beautiful
young mother and her happy children.

There is something very fitting in such a young king and queen being
at the head of a kingdom which is itself young, that so rulers and
people may grow in years and in happiness together.

I know I express the feelings of every American, when I wish all good
to this royal house. May this king and queen long live to present to
their people the beautiful spectacle of the purest domestic love and
happiness! May they live to see Greece greatly increased in population
and in wealth--the home of a brave, free, intelligent and happy
people!

FOOTNOTE:

[9] This is not a jest. The King said with perfect truth that the
chief revenue of Greece was derived from the plum-puddings of England
and America, the fact being that the currants of Corinth (which indeed
gives the name to that delicious fruit) form the chief article of
export from the Kingdom of Greece--the amount in one year exported to
England alone, being of the value of £1,200,000. The next article of
export is olive oil.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

CONSTANTINOPLE.


     November 24th.

From my childhood no city has taken more hold of my imagination than
Constantinople. For weeks we have been looking forward to our visit
here; and when at last we entered the Dardanelles (passing the site of
ancient Troy), and crossed the Sea of Marmora, and on Friday noon,
Nov. 12th, caught the first gleam of the city in the distance, we
seemed to be realizing a long cherished dream. There it was in all its
glory. Venice rising from the sea is not more beautiful than
Constantinople, when the morning sun strikes on its domes and
minarets, rising out of the groves of dark green cypresses, which mark
the places where the Turks bury their dead. And when we entered the
Bosphorus, and rounding Seraglio Point, anchored at the mouth of the
Golden Horn, we seemed to be indeed in the heart of the Orient, where
the gorgeous East dazzles the traveller from the West with its
glittering splendors.

But closer contact sometimes turns poetry to prose in rather an abrupt
manner, and the impression of Oriental magnificence is rudely
disturbed when one goes on shore. Indeed, if a traveller cares more
for pleasant impressions than for disagreeable realities, he would do
better not to land at all, but rather to stand afar off, moving slowly
up and down the Bosphorus, beholding and admiring, and then sail away
just at sunset, as the last light of day gilds the domes and minarets
with a parting splendor, and he will retain his first impressions
undisturbed, and Constantinople will remain in his memory as a
beautiful dream. But as we are prepared for every variety of
experience, and enjoy sudden contrasts, we are rather pleased than
otherwise at the noise and confusion which greet the arrival of our
steamer in these waters; and the crowd of boats which surround the
ship, and the yells of the boatmen, though they are not the voices of
paradise, greatly amuse us. Happily a dragoman sent from the Hôtel
d'Angleterre, where we had engaged rooms, hails us from a boat, and,
coming on board, takes us in charge, and rescues us from the mob, and
soon lands us on the quay, where, after passing smoothly through the
Custom House, we see our numerous trunks piled on the backs of half a
dozen porters, or _hamals_, and our guide leads the way up the hill of
Pera. And now we get an interior view of Constantinople, which is
quite different from the glittering exterior, as seen from a distance.
We are plunging into a labyrinth of dark and narrow and dirty streets,
which are overhung with miserable houses, where from little shops
turbaned figures peer out upon us, and women, closely veiled, glide
swiftly by. Such streets we never saw in any city that pretended to
civilization. The pavement (if such it deserves to be called) is of
the rudest kind, of rough, sharp stones, between which one sinks in
mud. There is hardly a street that is decently paved in all
Constantinople. Even the Grand Street of Pera, on which are our hotel
and all the foreign embassies, is very mean in appearance. The
embassies themselves are fine, as they are set far back from the
street, surrounded with ample grounds, and on one side overlook the
Bosphorus, but the street itself is dingy enough. To our surprise we
find that Constantinople has no architectural magnificence to boast
of. Except the Mosques, and the Palaces of the Sultan, which indeed
_are_ on an Imperial scale, there are no buildings which one would go
far to see in London or Paris or Rome. The city has been again and
again swept by fires, so that many parts are of modern construction,
while the old parts which have escaped the flames, are miserable
beyond description. It is through such a part that we are now picking
our way, steering through narrow passages, full of dogs and asses and
wretched-looking people. This is our entrance into Constantinople.
After such an experience one's enthusiasm is dampened a little, and he
is willing to exchange somewhat of Oriental picturesqueness for
Western cleanliness and comfort.

But the charm is not all gone, nor has it disappeared after twelve
days of close familiarity. Only the picture takes a more defined
shape, and we are able to distinguish the lights and shadows.
Constantinople is a city full of sharp contrasts, in which one extreme
sets the other in a stronger light, as Oriental luxury and show look
down on Oriental dirt and beggary; as gold here appears by the side of
rags, and squalid poverty crouches under the walls of splendid
palaces. Thus the city may be described as mean or as magnificent, and
either description be true, according as we contemplate one extreme or
the other.

As to its natural beauty, (that of situation,) no language can surpass
the reality. It stands at the junction of two seas and two continents,
where Europe looks across the Bosphorus to Asia, as New York looks
across the East River to Brooklyn. That narrow strait which divides
the land unites the seas, the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. From
the lofty height of the Seraskier tower one looks down on such a
panorama as is not elsewhere on the face of the earth. Far away
stretches the beautiful Sea of Marmora, which comes up to the very
walls of the city, and seems to kiss its feet. On the other side of
Stamboul, dividing it from Pera, is the Golden Horn, crowded with
ships; and in front is the Bosphorus, where the whole Turkish navy
rides at anchor, and a fleet of steamers and ships is passing, bearing
the grain of the Black Sea to feed the nations of Western Europe.
Islanded amid all these waters are the different parts of one great
capital--a vast stretch of houses, out of which rise a hundred domes
and minarets. As one takes in all the features of this marvellous
whole, he can but exclaim, "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the
whole earth, is"--Constantinople!

Nor are its environs less attractive than the position of the city
itself. Whichever way you turn, sailing over these waters and along
these shores, or riding outside of the ancient wall, from the Golden
Horn over the hills to the Sea of Marmora, with its beautiful islands,
there is something to enchant the eye and to excite the imagination. A
sail up the Bosphorus is one of the most interesting in the world. We
have taken it twice. The morning after our arrival, our friend Dr.
George W. Wood, to whom we are indebted for many acts of kindness,
gave up the day to accompany us. For miles the shores on either side
are dotted with palaces of the Sultan, or of the Viceroy of Egypt, or
of this or that Grand Vizier, or of some Pasha who has despoiled
provinces to enrich himself, or with the summer residences of the
Foreign Ministers, or of wealthy merchants of Constantinople.

The Bosphorus constantly reminded me of the Hudson, with its broad
stream indented with bays, now swelling out like our own noble river
at the Tappan Zee, and then narrowing again, as at West Point, and
with the same steep hills rising from the water's edge, and wooded to
the top. So delighted were we with the excursion, that we have since
made it a second time, accompanied by Rev. A. V. Millingen, the
excellent pastor of the Union Church of Pera, and find the impression
of beauty increased. Landing on the eastern side, near where the Sweet
Waters of Asia come down to mingle with the sea, we walked up a valley
which led among the hills, and climbed the Giants' Mountain, on which
Moslem chronicles fix the place of the tomb of Joshua, the great
Hebrew leader, while tradition declares it to be the tomb of Hercules.
Probably one was buried here as truly as the other; authorities differ
on the subject, and you take your choice. But what none can dispute is
the magnificent site, worthy to have been the place of burial of any
hero or demigod. The view extends up and down the Bosphorus for
miles. How beautiful it seemed that day, which was like one of the
golden days of our Indian summer, a soft and balmy air resting on all
the valleys and the hills. The landscape had not, indeed, the
freshness of spring, but the leaves still clung to the trees, which
wore the tints of autumn, and thus resembled, though they did not
equal, those of our American forests; and as we wandered on amid these
wild and wooded scenes, I could imagine that I was rambling among the
lovely hills along the Hudson.

But there is one point in which the resemblance ceases. There is a
difference (and one which makes all the difference in the world),
viz., that the Hudson presents us only the beauty of _nature_, while
the Bosphorus has the added charm of _history_. The dividing line
between Europe and Asia, it has divided the world for thousands of
years. Here we come back to the very beginnings of history, or before
all history, into the dim twilight of fable and tradition; for through
these straits, according to the ancient story, sailed Jason with his
Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, and yonder are the
Symplegades, the rocks which were the terror of navigators even in the
time of Jason, if such a man ever lived, and around which the sea
still roars as it roared thousands of years ago. On a hill-top stood a
temple to Jupiter Urius, to which mariners entering the stormy Euxine
came to offer their vows, and to pray for favorable winds; and here
still lives an old, long-haired Dervish, to whom the Turkish sailors
apply for the benefit of his prayers. He was very friendly with us,
and a trifling gratuity insured us whatever protection he could give.
Thus we strolled along over the hills to the Genoese Castle, a great
round tower, built hundreds of years ago to guard the entrance to the
Black Sea, and in a grove of oaks stretched ourselves upon the grass,
and took our luncheon in full view of two continents, both washed by
one "great and wide sea." To this very spot came Darius the Great, to
get the same view on which we are looking now; and a few miles below,
opposite the American College at Bebek, he built his bridge of boats
across the Bosphorus, over which he passed his army of seven hundred
thousand men. To the same spot Xenophon led his famous Retreat of the
Ten Thousand.

Coming down to later times, we are sitting among the graves of Arabs
who fought and fell in the time of Haroun al Raschid, the magnificent
Caliph of Bagdad, in whose reign occurred the marvellous adventures
related in the Tales of the Arabian Nights. These were Moslem heroes,
and their graves are still called "the tombs of the martyrs." But
hither came other warriors; for in yonder valley across the water
encamped Godfrey of Bouillon, with his Crusaders, who had traversed
Europe, and were now about to cross into Asia, to march through Asia
Minor, and descend into Syria, to fight for the Holy Sepulchre.

Recalling such historic memories, and enjoying to the full the beauty
of the day, we came down from the hills to the waters, and crossing in
a caique to the other side of the Bosphorus, took the steamer back to
the city.

While such are the surroundings of Constantinople, in its interior it
is the most picturesque city we have yet seen. I do not know what we
may find in India, or China, or Japan, but in Europe there is nothing
like it. On the borders of Europe and Asia, it derives its character,
as well as its mixed population, from both. It is a singular compound
of nations. I do not believe there is a spot in the world where meet a
greater variety of races than on the long bridge across the Golden
Horn, between Pera and Stamboul. Here are the representatives of all
the types of mankind that came out of the Ark, the descendants of
Shem, Ham, and Japheth--Jews and Gentiles, Turks and Greeks and
Armenians, "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and dwellers in
Mesopotamia," Persians and Parsees, and Arabs from Egypt and Arabia,
and Moors from the Barbary Coast, and Nubians and Abyssinians from the
upper Nile, and Ethiopians from the far interior of Africa. I have
been surprised to see so many blacks wearing the turban. But here they
are in great numbers, the recognized equals of their white
co-religionists. I have at last found one country in the world in
which the distinction between black and white makes absolutely no
difference in one's rank or position. And this, strange to say, is a
country where slavery long existed, and where, though suppressed by
law, it still exists, though less openly. We visited the old slave
market, and though evidently "business" was dull, yet a dozen men were
sitting around, who, we were told, were slave merchants, and some
black women who were there to be sold. But slavery in Turkey is of a
mild form, and as it affects both races (fair Circassian women being
sold as well as the blackest Ethiopian), the fact of servitude works
no such degradation as attaints the race. And so whites and blacks
meet together, and walk together, and eat together, apparently without
the slightest consciousness of superiority on one side, or of
inferiority on the other. No doubt this equality is partly due to the
influence of Mohammedanism, which is very democratic, which recognizes
no distinction of race, before which all men are equal as before their
Creator, and which thus lifts up the poor and abases the proud. I am
glad to be able to state one fact so much to its honor.

But these turbaned Asiatics are not the only ones that throng this
bridge. Here are Franks in great numbers, speaking all the languages
of the West, French and Italian, German and English. One may
distinguish them afar off by their stove-pipe hat, that beautiful
cylinder whose perpendicular outline is the emblem of uprightness, and
which we wish might always be a sign and pledge that the man whose
face appears under it would illustrate in his own person the unbending
integrity of Western civilization. And so the stream of life rolls on
over that bridge, as over the Bridge of Mirza, never ceasing any more
than the waters of the Golden Horn which roll beneath it.

And not only all races, but all conditions are represented
here--beggars and princes; men on horseback forcing their way through
the crowd on foot; carriages rolling and rumbling on, but never
stopping the tramp, tramp, of the thousands that keep up their endless
march. Here the son of the Sultan dashes by in a carriage, with
mounted officers attending his sacred (though very insignificant)
person; while along his path crouch all the forms of wretched
humanity--men with loathsome diseases; men without arms or legs,
holding up their withered stumps; or with eyes put out, rolling their
sightless eyeballs, to excite the pity of passers by--all joining in
one wail of misery, and begging for charity.

In the mongrel population of Constantinople one must not forget the
_dogs_, which constitute a large part of the inhabitants. Some
traveller who has illustrated his sketches with the pen by sketches
with the _pencil_, has given, as a faithful picture of this capital of
the East, simply a pack of dogs snarling in the foreground as its most
conspicuous feature, while a mosque and a minaret may be faintly seen
in the distance. If this is a caricature, yet it only exaggerates the
reality, for certainly the dogs have taken full possession of the
city. They cannot be "Christian dogs," but Moslem dogs, since they are
tolerated, and even protected, by the Turks. It is a peculiar
breed--all yellow, with long, sharp noses and sharp ears--resembling
in fact more the fox or the wolf than the ordinary house-dog. A shaggy
Newfoundlander is never seen. As they are restrained by no Malthusian
ideas of population, they multiply exceedingly. They belong to no man,
but are their own masters, and roam about as freely as any of the
followers of the prophet. They are only kept in bounds by a police of
their own. It is said that they are divided into communities, which
have their separate districts, and that if by chance a stray dog gets
out of his beat, the others set upon him, and punish him so cruelly
that he flies yelping to his own crowd for protection. They live in
the streets, and there may be seen generally asleep in the day-time.
You cannot look anywhere but you see a dog curled up like a rug that
has been thrown in a corner. You stumble over them on the sidewalk.
They keep pretty quiet during the day, but at night they let
themselves loose, and come upon you in full cry. They bark and yelp,
but their favorite note is a hideous howl, which they keep up under
your window by the hour together (at least it seems an hour when you
are trying to sleep), or until they are exhausted, when the cry is
immediately taken up by a fresh pack around the corner.

The purely Oriental character of Constantinople is seen in a visit to
the _bazaars_--a feature peculiar to Eastern cities. It was perhaps to
avoid the necessity of locomotion, always painful to a Turk, that
business has been concentrated within a defined space. Imagine an area
of many acres, or of many city squares, all enclosed and covered in,
and cut up into a great number of little streets or passages, on
either side of which are ranged innumerable petty shops, and you have
a general idea of the bazaars. In front of each of these a venerable
Turk sits squatting on his legs, and smoking his pipe, and ready to
receive customers. You wonder where he can keep his goods, for his
shop is like a baby house, a space of but a few feet square. But he
receives you with Oriental courtesy, making a respectful _salaam_,
perhaps offering you coffee or a pipe to soothe your nerves, and
render your mind calm and placid for the contemplation of the
treasures he is to set before you. And then he proceeds to take down
from his shelves, or from some inner recess, what does indeed stir
your enthusiasm, much as you may try to repress it--rich silks from
Broussa, carpets from Persia, blades from Damascus, and antique
curiosities in bronze and ivory--all of which excite the eager desire
of lovers of things that are rare and beautiful. I should not like to
say (lest it should be betraying secrets) how many hours some of our
party spent in these places, or what follies and extravagances they
committed. Certainly as an exhibition of one phase of Oriental life,
it is a scene never to be forgotten.

To turn from business to religion, as it is now perhaps midday or
sunset, we hear from the minaret of a neighboring mosque the muezzin
calling the hour of prayer; and putting off our shoes, with sandaled
or slippered feet, we enter the holy place. At the vestibule are
fountains, at which the Moslems are washing their hands and feet
before they go in to pray. We lift the heavy curtain which covers the
door, and enter. One glance shows that we are not in a Christian
church, either Catholic or Protestant. There is no cross and no altar;
no Lord's Prayer, no Creed, and no Ten Commandments. The walls are
naked and bare, with no sculptured form of prophet or apostle, and no
painting of Christ or the Virgin. The Mohammedans are the most
terrible of iconoclasts, and tolerate no "images" of any kind, which
they regard as a form of idolatry. But though the building looks empty
and cold, there is a great appearance of devotion. All the worshippers
stand with their faces turned towards Mecca, as the ulema in a low,
wailing tone reads, or chants, the passages from the Koran. There is
no music of any kind, except this dreary monotone. But all seem moved
by some common feeling. They kneel, they bow themselves to the earth,
they kiss the floor again and again in sign of their deep abasement
before God and his prophet. We looked on in silence, respecting the
proprieties of the place. But the scene gave me some unpleasant
reflections, not only at the blind superstition of the worshippers,
but at the changes which had come to pass in this city of Constantine,
the first of Christian emperors, and in a place which has been so
often solemnly devoted to the worship of Christ. The Mosque of St.
Sophia, which, in its vastness and severe and simple majesty, is
certainly one of the grandest temples of the world, was erected as a
Christian church, and so remained for nearly a thousand years. In it,
or in its predecessor standing on the same spot, preached the
"golden-mouthed Chrysostom." This venerable temple is now in the hands
of those who despise the name of Christ. It is about four hundred and
twenty years since the Turks captured Constantinople, and the terrible
Mohammed II., mounted on horseback, and sword in hand, rode through
yonder high door, and gave orders to slay the thousands who had taken
refuge within those sacred walls. Then Christian blood overflowed that
pavement like a sea, as men and women and helpless children were
trampled down beneath the heels of the cruel invaders. And so the
abomination of desolation came into the holy place, and St. Sophia was
given up to the spoiler. His first act was to destroy every trace of
its Christian use; to take away the vessels of the sanctuary, as of
old they were taken from the temple at Jerusalem; to cover up the
beautiful mosaics in the ceiling and on the walls, that for so many
centuries had looked down on Christian worshippers; and to _cut out
the cross_. I observed, in going round the spacious galleries, that
wherever the sign of the cross had been carved in the ancient marble,
_it had been chiselled away_. Thus the usurping Moslems had striven to
obliterate every trace of Christian worship. The sight of such
desecration gave me a bitter feeling, only relieved by the assurance
which I felt then, and feel now, that that sign _shall be restored_,
and that the Cross shall yet fly above the Crescent, not only over the
great temple of St. Sophia, but over all the domes and minarets of
Constantinople.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the pleasure of contrast to so much that is dark and sombre, I
cannot close this picture without turning to one bright spot, one
hopeful sign, that is like a bit of green grass springing up amid the
moss-covered ruins of a decaying empire. As it is a relief to come
out from under the gloomy arches of St. Sophia into the warm sunshine,
so is it to turn away from a creed of Fatalism, which speaks only of
decay and death, to that better faith which has in it the new life of
the world. The Christian religion was born in the East, and carried by
early apostolic missionaries to western Europe, where it laid the
foundation of great nations and empires; and in after centuries was
borne across the seas; and now, in these later ages it is brought back
to the East by men from the West. In this work of restoring
Christianity to its ancient seats, the East is indebted, not only to
Christian England, but to Christian America.

From the very beginning of American missions, Constantinople was fixed
upon as a centre of operations for the East, and the American Board
sent some of its picked men to the Turkish capital. Here came at an
early day Drs. Dwight and Goodell, and Riggs and Schauffler. The first
two of these have passed away; Dr. Schauffler, after rendering long
service, is now spending the evening of his days with his son in
Austria; Dr. Riggs, the venerable translator of the Bible, alone
remains. These noble men have been succeeded by others who are worthy
to follow in their footsteps. Dr. Wood was here many years ago, and
after being transferred for a few years to New York, as the Secretary
of the American Board in that city, has now returned to the scene of
his former labors, where he has entered with ardor into that
missionary work which he loved so well. With him are associated a
number of men whose names are well known and highly honored in
America.

The efficiency of these men has been greatly increased by proper
organization, and by having certain local centres and institutions to
rally about. In the heart of old Stamboul stands the Bible House, a
noble monument of American liberality. The money was raised chiefly by
the efforts of Dr. Isaac Bliss, and certainly he never spent a year of
his life to better purpose. It cost, with the ground, about sixty
thousand dollars, and when I saw what a large and handsome building it
was, I thought it a miracle of economy. This is a rallying point for
the missionaries in and around Constantinople. Here is a depot for the
sale of Bibles in all the languages of the East, and the offices for
different departments of work; and of the Treasurer, who has charge of
paying the missionaries, and who thus distributes every year about
one-third of all the expenditures of the American Board. Here, too, is
done the editing and printing of different publications. I found Rev.
Mr. Greene editing three or four papers in different languages, for
children and for adults. Of course the circulation of any of these is
not large, as we reckon the circulation of papers in America; but all
combined, it _is_ large, and such issues going forth every week
scatter the seeds of truth all over the Turkish Empire.

Another institution founded by the liberality of American Christians
is THE HOME at Scutari, a seminary for the education of girls. It has
been in operation for several years with much success, and now a new
building has been erected, the money for which--fifty thousand
dollars--was given wholly by the _women_ of America. Would that all
who have had a hand in raising that structure could see it, now that
it is completed. It stands on a hill, which commands a view of all
Constantinople, and of the adjacent waters, far out into the Sea of
Marmora. Around this Home, as a centre, are settled a number of
missionary families--Dr. Wood, who, besides his other work, has its
general oversight; Mr. Pettibone, the efficient Treasurer; Drs. Edwin
and Isaac Bliss; and Mr. Dwight, a son of the former missionary; who,
with the ladies engaged in teaching in the Home, form together as
delightful a circle as one can meet in any part of the missionary
world.

The day that we made our visit to the Home, we went to witness the
performance of the Howling Dervishes, who have a weekly howl at
Scutari, and in witnessing the jumpings and contortions of these men,
who seemed more like wild beasts than rational beings, I could not but
contrast the disgusting spectacle with the very different scene that I
had witnessed that morning--a scene of order, of quiet, and of
peace--as the young girls recited with so much intelligence, and sang
their beautiful hymns. That is the difference between Mohammedanism
and that purer religion which our missionaries are seeking to
introduce.

But they are not allowed to work unopposed. The Government is hostile,
and though it pretends to give toleration and protection, it would be
glad to suspend the missionary operations altogether. But it is itself
too dependent on foreign powers for support, to dare to do much openly
that might offend them. We are fortunate in having at this time, as
the representative of our Government, such a man as the Hon. Horace
Maynard, who is not only a true American, but a true Christian, and
whose dignity and firmness, united with tact and courtesy, have
secured to our missionaries that protection to which they are entitled
as American citizens.

The Home has just been completed, and is to be opened on Thanksgiving
Day with appropriate services, at which we are invited to be present,
but the dreaded spectre of a long quarantine, on account of the
cholera, if we go to Syria, compels us to embark the day before direct
for Egypt. But though absent in body, we shall be there in spirit, and
shall long remember with the greatest interest and satisfaction our
visit to the Home at Scutari, which is doing so much for the daughters
of Turkey.

Last, but not least, of the monuments of American liberality in and
around Constantinople, is the College at Bebek, which owes its
existence chiefly to that far-sighted missionary, Dr. Cyrus Hamlin,
and to which Mr. Christopher B. Robert of New York has given two
hundred thousand dollars, and which fitly bears his honored name. It
stands on a high hill overlooking the Bosphorus, from which one may
see for miles along the shores of Europe and Asia.

The college is solidly built, of gray stone. It is a quadrangle with a
court in the centre, around which are the lecture rooms, the library,
apparatus-room, etc. In the basement is the large dining-room, while
in the upper story are the dormitories. It is very efficiently
organized, with Dr. Washburn, long a missionary in Constantinople, as
President, and Profs. Long and Grosvenor, and other teachers. There
are nearly two hundred students from all parts of Turkey, the largest
number from any one province being from Bulgaria. The course of study
is pretty much the same as in our American Colleges. Half a dozen or
more different languages are spoken by the students, but in the
impossibility of adopting any one of the native languages as the
medium of instruction, the teaching is in English, which has the
double advantage of being more convenient for the instructors, and of
educating the students in a knowledge of the English tongue. The
advantage of such an institution is immeasurable. I confess to a
little American pride as I observed the fact, that in all the mighty
Turkish Empire the only institution in which a young man could get a
thorough education was in the American College at Bebek, except in one
other college--also founded by American missionaries, and established
by American liberality--that at Beirut.

Grouped around the College at Bebek is another missionary circle, like
the one at Scutari. Besides the families of the President and
Professors, Mr. Greene of the Bible House lives here, going up and
down every day. Here are the missionaries Herrick and Byington. A
number of English families live here, as a convenient point near
Constantinople, making altogether quite a large Protestant community.
There is an English church, where Rev. Mr. Millingen preaches every
Sabbath morning, preaching also at Pera in the afternoon.

It is cheering indeed, amid so much that is dark in the East, to see
so many bright points in and around Constantinople.

Perhaps those wise observers of passing events, to whom nothing is
important except public affairs, may think this notice of missionary
operations quite unworthy to be spoken of along with the political
changes and the military campaigns which now attract the eye of the
world to Turkey. But movements which make the most noise are not
always the most potent as causes, or the most enduring in their
effects. When Paul was brought to Rome (and cast, according to
tradition, into the Mamertine prison,) Nero living in his Golden House
cared little for the despised Jew, and perhaps did not even know of
his existence. But three centuries passed, and the faith which Paul
introduced into Rome ascended the throne of the Cæsars. So our
missionaries in the East--on the Bosphorus, in the interior of Asia
Minor, and on the Tigris and the Euphrates--are sowing the seed of
future harvests. Many years ago I heard Mr. George P. Marsh, the
United States minister at Constantinople, now at Rome, say that the
American missionaries in the Turkish Empire were doing a work the full
influence of which could not be seen in many years, perhaps not in
this generation. A strange course of events indeed it would be if
these men from the farthest West were to be the instruments of
bringing back Christianity to its ancient seats in the farthest East!
That would be paying the debt of former ages, by giving back to the
Old World what it has given to us; and paying it with interest, since
along with the religion that was born in Bethlehem of Judea, would be
brought back to these shores, not only the gospel of good-will among
men, but all the progress in government and in civilization which
mankind has made in eighteen centuries.



CHAPTER XXIX.

THE SULTAN ABDUL AZIZ.


Whoever comes to Constantinople must behold the face of the Sultan, if
he would see the height of all human glory. Other European sovereigns
are but men; but he is the incarnation of a spiritual as well as a
temporal power. He is not only the ruler of a State, but the head of a
religion. What the Pope is to the Roman Catholic Church, the Sultan is
to Islamism. He is the Caliph to whom all the followers of the Prophet
in Asia and Africa look up with reverence as their heaven-appointed
leader. But though so great a being, he does not keep himself
invisible, like the Brother of the Sun and Moon in China. Once a week
he makes a public appearance. Every Friday, which is the Mohammedan
Sabbath, he goes in great state to the mosque, and then whosoever will
approach may gaze on the brightness of his face. This is one of the
spectacles of Constantinople. It is indeed a brilliant pageant, not to
be overlooked by those who would see an exhibition of Oriental pomp
and magnificence. Sometimes the Sultan goes to mosque by water, in a
splendid barge covered with gold, and as soon as he takes his seat
under a canopy, all the ships of war lying in the Bosphorus fire
salutes, making the shores ring with their repeated thunders. At other
times he goes on horseback, attended by a large cavalcade, as when we
saw him last Friday.

We took an open barouche with our dragoman as guide, and drove a
little before noon to the neighborhood of the palace, where we found a
crowd already assembled in front of the gates, and a brilliant staff
of officers in waiting Troops were drawn up on both sides of the
street by which the Sultan was to pass. Laborers were busy covering it
with sand, that even his horse's feet might not touch the common
earth. While awaiting his appearance we drove up and down to observe
the crowd. Carriages filled with the beauties of the harems of
different pashas were moving slowly along, that they might enjoy the
sight, for their secluded life does not extinguish their feminine
curiosity. Very pale and languid beauties they were, as one might see
through their thin gauze veils, their pallid expressionless faces not
relieved by their dull dark eyes. Adjoining the palace of the Sultan
is that of his harem, where we observed a great number of eunuchs
standing in front, tall, strapping fellows, black as night, (they are
generally Nubian slaves brought from the upper Nile,) but very well
dressed in European costume, with faultless frock coats, and who
evidently felt a pride in their position as attendants on the Imperial
household.

While observing these strange figures, the sound of a trumpet and the
hurrying of soldiers to their ranks, told that the Sultan was about to
move. "Far off his coming shone." Looking back we saw a great stir
about the palace gates, out of which issued a large retinue, making a
dazzling array, as the sun was reflected from their trappings of gold.
And now a ringing cheer from the troops told that their sovereign had
appeared. We drew up by the side of the street "to see great Cæsar
pass." First came a number of high officers of State in brilliant
dress, their horses mounted with rich trappings. These passed, and
there was an open space, as if no other presence were worthy to
precede near at hand the august majesty that was to follow; and on a
magnificent white charger appeared THE SULTAN. The drums beat, the
bands played, the troops presented arms, and cheers ran along the
line. But I hardly noticed this, for my eye was fixed on the central
figure, which I confess answered very well to my idea of an Oriental
sovereign. It is said that the Sultan never looks so well as on
horseback, as his rather heavy person then appears to the best
advantage. He wore no insignia of his rank, not even a military cap or
a waving plume, but the universal _fez_, with only a star glittering
with diamonds on his breast. Slowly he passed, his horse never moving
out of a walk, but stepping proudly as if conscious of the dignity of
his rider, who held himself erect, as if disdaining the earth on which
he rode; not bowing to the right or left, recognizing no one, and
betraying no emotion at the sight of the crowd, or the cheers of his
soldiers, or the music of the band, but silent, grave and stern, as
one who allowed no familiarity, who was accustomed to speak only to be
obeyed.

He passed, and dismounting on the marble steps of the mosque, which
had been spread with a carpet, ascended by stairs to a private
gallery, which was screened from the rest of the building, like a box
in a theatre, where he bowed himself and repeated that "God is God,
and Mohammed is his prophet," and whatever other form of prayer is
provided for royal sinners.

But his devotions were not very long or painful. In half an hour he
had confessed his sins, or paid his adoration, and stepped into a
carriage drawn by four horses to return. As he drove by he turned
towards us, his attention perhaps being attracted by seeing a carriage
filled with foreigners, and we had a full view of his face. He looked
older than I expected to see him. Though not yet fifty, his beard,
which is clipped short, is quite gray. But his face is without
expression. It is heavy and dull, not lighted up either by
intelligence or benevolence. The carriage rolled into the gates of the
palace, and the pageant was ended.

Such was the public appearance of the Sultan. But an actor is often
very different behind the scenes. A tragic hero may play the part of
Cæsar, and stride across the stage as if he were the lord of nations,
and drop into nothing when he takes off his royal robes, and speaks in
his natural voice. So the Sultan, though he appears well on horseback,
and rides royally--though he has the look of majesty and "his bend
doth awe the world"--yet when he retires into his palace is found to
be only a man, and a very weak man at that. He has not in him a single
element of greatness. Though he comes of a royal race, and has in his
veins the blood of kings and conquerors, he does not inherit the high
qualities of his ancestors. Some of the Sultans have been truly great
men, born to be conquerors as much as Alexander or Napoleon. The
father of the present Sultan, Mahmoud II., was a man of force and
determination, one worthy to be called the Grand Turk, as he showed by
the way in which he disposed of the Janissaries. This was a military
body that had become all-powerful at Constantinople, being at once the
protectors of the Sultan, and his masters--setting him up and putting
him down, at their will. Two of his predecessors they had
assassinated, and he might have shared the same fate, if he had not
anticipated them. But preparing himself secretly, with troops on which
he could rely, as soon as he was strong enough he brought the conflict
to an issue, and literally _exterminated_, the Janissaries (besieging
them in their barracks, and hunting them like dogs in the streets) as
Mehemet Ali had massacred the Mamelukes in Egypt. Then the Sultan was
free, and had a long and prosperous reign. He ruled with an iron hand,
but though despotically, yet on the whole wisely and well. Had he been
living now, Turkey would not be in the wretched condition in which she
is to-day. What a contrast between this old lion of the desert, and
the poor, weak man who now sits in his seat, and who sees the sceptre
of empire dropping from his feeble hands!

The Sultan is a man of very small capacity. Though occupying one of
the most exalted positions in the world, he has no corresponding
greatness of mind, no large ideas of things. He is not capable of
forming any wise scheme of public policy, or any plan of government
whatever, or of pursuing it with determination. He likes the pomp of
royalty (and is very exacting of its etiquette), without having the
cares of government. To ride in state, to be surrounded with awe and
reverence, suits his royal taste; but to be "bored" with details of
administration, to concern himself with the oppressions of this or
that pasha in this or that province, is quite beneath his dignity.

The only thing in which he seems to be truly great, is in spending
money. For this his capacity is boundless. No child could throw away
money in more senseless extravagance. The amount taken for his Civil
List--that is, for his personal expenses and for his household--is
something enormous. His great father, old Mahmoud II., managed to keep
up his royal state on a hundred thousand pounds a year; but it is said
that this man cannot be satisfied with less than two millions
sterling, which is more than the civil list of any other sovereign in
Europe. Indeed nobody knows how much he spends. His Civil List is an
unfathomable abyss, into which are thrown untold sums of money.

Then too, like a true Oriental, he has magnificent tastes in the way
of architecture, and for years his pet folly has been the building of
new palaces along the Bosphorus. Although he had many already, the
greater part unoccupied, or used only for occasional royal visits,
still if some new position pleased his eye, he immediately ordered a
new palace to be built, even at a fabulous cost. Some of these dazzle
the traveller who has seen all the royal palaces of Western Europe. To
visit them requires a special permission, but we obtained access to
one by a liberal use of money, and drove to it immediately after we
had seen the Sultan going to mosque. It is called the Cheragan Palace,
and stands just above that which the Sultan occupies. It is of very
great extent, and built of white stone, and as it faces the Bosphorus,
it seems like a fairy vision rising from the sea. The interior is of
truly Oriental magnificence. It is in the Moorish style, like the
Alhambra. We passed through apartment after apartment, each more
splendid than the last. The eye almost wearies with the succession of
great halls with columns of richest marble, supporting lofty ceilings
which are finished with beautiful arabesques, and an elaborateness of
detail unknown in any other kind of architecture. Articles of
furniture are wrought of the most precious woods, inlaid with costly
stones, or with ivory and pearl. What must have been the cost of such
a fairy palace, no one knows--not even the Sultan himself--but it must
have been millions upon millions.

Yet this great palace is unoccupied. When it was finished, it is said
that the Sultan on entering it, slipped his foot, or took a cold (I
have heard both reasons assigned), which so excited his superstitious
feeling (he thought it an omen of death) that he would not live in it,
and so in a few weeks he returned to the palace which he had occupied
before, where he has remained ever since. And so this new and costly
palace is empty. Except the attendants who showed us about, we saw not
a human being. It was not built because it was needed, but because it
gratified an Imperial whim.

Extravagant and foolish as this is, there is no way to prevent such
follies when such is the royal pleasure, for the Sultan, like many
weak men--feeble in intellect and in character--is yet of violent
temper, and cannot brook any opposition to his will. If he wants a new
palace, and the Grand Vizier tells him there is no money in the
treasury, he flies into a rage and sends him about his business, and
calls for another who will find the money.

Yet the vices of the Sultan are not all his own. They are those of his
position. What can be expected of a man who has been accustomed from
childhood to have his own way in everything; to be surrounded with a
state and awe, as if he were a god; and to have every caprice and whim
gratified? It is one of the misfortunes of his position that he never
hears the truth about anything. Though his credit in Europe is gone;
though whole provinces are dying of famine, he is not permitted to
know the unwelcome truth. He is surrounded by courtiers and flatterers
whose interest it is to deceive him, and who are thus leading him
blindly to his ruin.

In his pleasures the Sultan is a man of frivolous tastes, rather than
of gross vices. From some vices he is free, and (as I would say every
good word in his favor) I gladly record this. He is not a drunkard (as
were some of his predecessors, in spite of the Mohammedan law against
the use of strong drinks); and, what is yet more remarkable for a
Turk, he does not smoke. But if he does not drink, he _eats_
enormously. He is, like Cardinal Wolsey, "a man of unbounded stomach,"
and all the resources of the Imperial cuisine are put in requisition
to satisfy his royal appetite. It is said that when he goes to the
opera he is followed by a retinue of servants, bearing a load of
dishes, so that if perchance between the acts his sublime Majesty
should need to refresh himself, he might be satisfied on the instant.

For any higher pleasures than mere amusements he has no taste. He is
not a man of education, as Europeans understand education, and has no
fondness for reading. In all the great palace I did not see a single
book--and but _one_ picture. [The Mohammedans do not like "images,"
and so with all their gorgeous decorations, one never sees a picture.
This was probably presented to the Sultan from a source which he could
not refuse. It was a landscape, which might have been by our
countryman, Mr. Church.] But he does not care for these things. He
prefers to be amused, and is fond of buffoons and dancing girls, and
takes more delight in jugglers and mountebanks than in the society of
the most eminent men of science in Europe. A man who has to be treated
thus--to be humored and petted, and fed with sweetmeats--is nothing
more or less than a big baby--a spoiled child, who has to be amused
with playthings. Yet on the whims and caprices of such a creature may
depend the fate of an empire which is at this moment in the most
critical situation, and which needs the most skilful statesmanship to
guide it through its dangers. Is it that God intends to destroy it,
that He has suffered such a man to come to the throne for such a time
as this?

It is a most instructive comment on the vanity of all earthly things,
that this man, so fond of pleasure, and with all the resources of an
empire at command, is not happy. The Spanish Minister tells me that he
_never saw him smile_. Even in his palace he sits silent and gloomy.
Is it that he is brooding over some secret trouble, or feels coming
over him the shadow of approaching ruin?

Notwithstanding all his outward state and magnificence, there are
things which must make him uneasy; which, like Belshazzar's dream,
must trouble him in the midst of his splendor. Though an absolute
monarch, he cannot have everything according to his will; he cannot
live forever, and what is to come after him? By the Mohammedan law of
succession the throne passes not to his son, but to the oldest male
member of the royal house--it may be a brother or a nephew. In this
case the heir apparent is Murad Effendi, a son of the late Sultan. But
Abdul Aziz (unmindful of his dead brother, or of that brother's living
son) is very anxious to change the order of succession in favor of his
own son (as the viceroy of Egypt has already done,) but he does not
quite dare to encounter the hostility of the bigoted Mussulmans.
Formerly it was the custom of the Sultan, in coming to the throne, to
put out of the way all rivals or possible successors, from collateral
branches of the family, by the easy method of assassination. But
somehow that practice, like many others of the "good old times," has
fallen into disuse, and now he must wait for the slow process of
nature. Meanwhile Murad Effendi is kept in the background as much as
possible. He did not appear in the procession to the mosque, and is
never permitted to show himself in state, while the son of the Sultan,
whom he would make his heir, is kept continually before the public.
Though he is personally insignificant, both in mind and in body, this
poor little manikin is made _the commander-in-chief of the army_, and
is always riding about in great state, with mounted officers behind
his carriage. All this may make him a prince, but can never make him a
MAN.

What is to be the future of the Sultan, who can tell? His empire seems
to be trembling on the verge of existence, and it is not likely that
he could survive its fall. But if he should live many years he may be
compelled to leave Constantinople; to leave all his beautiful palaces
on the Bosphorus, and transfer his capital to some city in Asia.
Broussa, in Asia Minor, was the former capital of the Ottoman Empire,
before the Turks conquered Constantinople, four hundred and twenty
years ago, and to that they may return again; or they may go still
farther, to the banks of the Tigris, or the shores of the Persian
Gulf, and the Sultan may end his days as the Caliph of Bagdad.



CHAPTER XXX.

THE EASTERN QUESTION.--THE EXODUS OF THE TURKS.


It is impossible to be in Constantinople without having forced upon us
the Eastern Question, which is just now occupying so much of the
attention of Europe. A child can ask questions which a philosopher
cannot answer, and a traveller can see dangers and difficulties which
all the wisdom of statesmen cannot resolve.

Twenty years ago France and England went to war with Russia for the
maintenance of Turkey, and they are now beginning to ask, whether in
this they did not make a great mistake; whether Turkey was worth
saving? If the same circumstances were to arise again, it is doubtful
whether they would be so ready to rush into the field. All over Europe
there has been a great revulsion of feeling caused by the recent
financial breakdown of Turkey. Within a few weeks she has virtually
repudiated half the interest on her national debt; that is, she pays
one-half, and _funds_ the other half, promising to pay it five years
hence. But few believe it will then be paid. This has excited great
indignation in France and England and Italy,[10] where millions of
Turkish bonds are held, and they ask, have we spent our treasure and
shed our blood to bolster up a rotten state, a state that is utterly
faithless to its engagements, and thus turns upon its benefactors?

To tell the whole truth, these powers have themselves partly to blame
for having led the Turkish government into the easy and slippery ways
of borrowing money. _Before the Crimean war Turkey had no national
debt._ Whatever she spent she wrung out of the sweat and blood of her
wretched people, and left no burden of hopeless indebtedness to curse
its successors.

But the war brought great expenses, and having rich allies, what so
natural as to borrow a few of their superfluous millions? Once begun,
the operation had to be repeated year after year. Nothing is so
seductive as the habit of borrowing money. It is such an easy way to
pay one's debts and to gratify one's love of spending; and as long as
one's credit lasts, he may indulge his dreams to the very limit of
Oriental magnificence. So the Sultan found it. He had but to contract
a loan in London or Paris, and he had millions of pounds sterling to
build palaces, and to carry out every Imperial desire.

But borrowing money is like taking opium, the dose must be constantly
increased, till finally the system gives way, and death ends the
scene. Every year the Sultan had to borrow more money to pay the
interest on his debts, and to borrow at ever increasing rates; and so
at last came, what always comes as the result of a long course of
extravagance, a complete collapse of money and credit together.

The indignation felt at this would not have been so great, if the
money borrowed had been spent for legitimate objects--to construct
public works; to build railroads (which are greatly needed to open
communications with the interior of the empire); and to create new
branches of industry and new sources of wealth. Turkey is a very rich
country in its natural resources, rich in a fertile soil, rich in
mines, with an immense line of sea-coast, and great harbors, offering
every facility for commerce; and it needs only a very little political
economy to turn all these resources to account. If the money borrowed
in England and France had been spent in building railroads all over
European Turkey, in opening mines, and in promoting agriculture and
commerce, the country to-day, instead of being bankrupt, would be rich
and independent, and not compelled to ask the help or the compassion
of Europe.

But instead of applying his borrowed money to developing the resources
of his empire, there has not been a freak of folly that the Sultan did
not gratify. He has literally thrown his money into the Bosphorus,
spending it chiefly for ships on the water, or palaces on the shore. I
have already spoken of his passion for building new palaces. Next to
this, his caprice has been the buying of ironclads. A few years since,
when Russia, taking advantage of the Franco-German war, which rendered
France powerless to resist, nullified the clause in the treaty made
after the Crimean war, which forbade her keeping a navy in the Black
Sea, and began to show her armed ships again in those waters, the
Sultan seems to have taken it into his wise head that she was about to
attack Constantinople, and immediately began preparations for defence
on land and sea. He bought a million or so of the best rifles that
could be found in Europe or America; and cannon enough to furnish the
Grand Army of Napoleon; and some fifteen tremendous ships of war,
which have cost nearly two millions of dollars apiece. The enormous
folly of this expense appears in this, that, in case of war, these
ships would be almost useless. The safety of Turkey is not in such
defences, but in the fact that it is for the interest of Europe to
hold her up awhile longer. If once France and England were to leave
her to her fate, all these ships would not save her against Russia
coming from the Black Sea--or marching an army overland and attacking
Constantinople in the rear. But the Sultan would have these ships, and
here they are. They have been lying idle in the Bosphorus all summer,
their only use being to fire salutes every Friday when the Sultan goes
to mosque. They never go to sea; if they did they would probably not
return, for they are very unwieldy, and the Turks are no sailors, and
do not know how to manage them; and they would be likely to sink in
the first gale. The only voyage they make is twice in the year: once
in the spring, when they are taken out of the Golden Horn to be
anchored in the Bosphorus, a mile or two distant--about as far as from
the Battery to the Navy Yard in Brooklyn--and again in the autumn,
when they are taken back again to be laid up for the winter. They have
just made their annual voyage back to their winter quarters, and are
now lying quietly in the Golden Horn--not doing any harm, _nor any
good_ to anybody.

Then not only must the Sultan have a great navy, but a great army.
Poor as Turkey is, she has one of the largest armies in Europe. I have
found it difficult to obtain exact statistics. A gentleman who has
lived long in Constantinople tells me that they claim to be able, in
case of war, to put seven hundred thousand men under arms, but this
includes the reserves--there are perhaps half that number now in
barracks or in camp. A hundred thousand men have been sent to
Herzegovina to suppress the insurrection there. So much does it cost
to extinguish a rising among a few mountaineers in a distant province,
a mere strip of territory lying far off on the borders of the
Adriatic. What a fearful drain must the support of all these troops be
upon the resources of an exhausted empire!

While thus bleeding at every pore, Turkey takes no course to keep up a
supply of fresh life-blood. England spends freely, but, she _makes_
freely also, and so has always an abundant revenue for her vast
empire. So might Turkey, if she had but a grain of financial or
political wisdom. But her policy is suicidal in the management of all
the great industries of the country. For example, the first great
interest is _agriculture_, and this the government, so far from
encouraging, seems to set itself to _ruin_. Of course the people must
till the ground to get food to live. Of all the produce of the earth
the government takes _one-tenth_. Even this might be borne, if it
would only take it and have done with it, and let the poor peasants
gather in the rest. But no; after a farmer has reaped his grain, he
cannot store it in his barn until the tax-gatherer has surveyed it and
taken out his share. Perhaps the official is busy elsewhere, or he is
waiting for a bribe; and so it may lie on the ground for days or
weeks, exposed to the rains till the whole crop is spoiled. Such is
the beautiful system of political economy practised in administering
the internal affairs of this country, which nature has made so rich,
and man has made so poor.

So as to the _fisheries_ by which the people on the sea-coast live.
All along the Bosphorus we saw them drawing their nets. But we were
told that not a single fish could be sold until the whole were taken
down to Constantinople, a distance of some miles, and the government
had taken its share, and then the rest could be brought back again.

Another great source of wealth to Turkey--or which might prove so--is
its _mines_. The country is very rich in mineral resources. If it were
only farmed out to English or Welsh miners, they would bring treasures
out of the earth. The hills would be found to be of brass, and the
mountains of iron. But the Turkish government does nothing. It keeps a
few men at work, just enough to scratch the surface here and there,
but leaving the vast wealth that is in the bowels of the earth
untouched.

And not only will it do nothing itself, but it will not allow anybody
else to do anything. Never did a great government play more completely
the part of the dog in the manger. For years English capitalists have
been trying to get permission to work certain mines, offering to pay
millions of pounds for the concession. If once opportunity were given,
and they were sure of protection, that their property would not be
confiscated, English wealth would flow into Turkey in a constant
stream. But on the contrary the government puts every obstacle in
their way. With the bigotry and stupidity of its race, it is intensely
jealous of foreigners, even while it exists only by foreign
protection--and its policy is, not only _not_ one of progress--it is
absolutely one of obstruction. If it would only get out of the way and
let foreign enterprise and capital come in, it might reap the benefit.
But it opposes everything. Only a few days since a meeting was held
here of foreign capitalists, who were ready and anxious to put their
money into Turkish mines to an almost unlimited extent, but they all
declared that the restrictions were so many, and the requirements so
complicated and vexatious, and so evidently intended to prevent
anything being done, that it was quite hopeless to attempt it.

But, although this is very bad political economy, yet it is not in
itself alone a reason why a nation should be given up as beyond
saving, if it were capable of learning wisdom by experience. Merely
getting in debt, though it is always a bad business, is not in itself
a sign of hopeless decay. Many a young and vigorous state has at the
beginning spent all its substance, like the prodigal son, in riotous
living, but after "sowing its wild oats," has learned wisdom by
experience, and settled down to a course of hard labor, and so come up
again. But Turkey is the prodigal son without his repentance. It is
continually wasting its substance, and, although it may have now and
then fitful spasms of repentance as it feels the pangs of hunger, it
gives not one sign of a change of heart, a real internal reform, and a
return to a clean, pure, healthy and wholesome life.

Is there any hope of anything better? Not the least. Just now there is
some feeling in official circles of the degradation and weakness shown
in the late bankruptcy, and there are loud professions that they are
going to "reform." But everybody who has lived in Turkey knows what
these professions mean. It is a little spasm of virtue, which will
soon be forgotten. The Sultan may not indeed throw away money quite
so recklessly as before, but only because he cannot get it. He is at
the end of his rope. His credit is gone in all the markets of Europe,
and nobody will lend him a dollar. Yet he is at this very moment
building a mosque that is to cost two millions sterling, and if there
were the least let-up in the pressure on him, he would resume the same
course of folly and extravagance as ever. No one is so lavish with
money as the man who does not pretend to pay his debts. He cannot
change his nature. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard
his spots?" The Turk, like the Pope, _never changes_. It is
constitutionally impossible for him to reform, or to "go ahead" in
anything. His ideas are against it; his very physical habits are
against it. A man who is always squatting on his legs, and smoking a
long pipe, cannot run very fast; and the only thing for him to do,
when the pressure of modern civilization becomes too great for him, is
to "bundle up" and get out of the way.

Thus there is in Turkey not a single element of hope; there is no
internal force which may be a cause of political regeneration. It is
as impossible to infuse life into this moribund state as it would be
to raise the dead. I have met a great many Europeans in
Constantinople--some of whom have lived here ten, twenty, thirty, or
even forty years--and have not found _one_ who did not consider the
condition of Turkey absolutely hopeless, and its disappearance from
the map of Europe only a question of time.

But if for purely economical reasons Turkey has to be given up as
utterly rotten and going to decay, how much darker does the picture
appear when we consider the tyranny and corruption, the impossibility
of obtaining justice, and the oppression of the Christian populations.
A horde of officials is quartered on the country, that eat out the
substance of the land, and set no bounds to their rapacity; who
plunder the people so that they are reduced to the extreme point of
misery. The taxation is so heavy that it drains the very life-blood
out of a poor and wretched people--and this is often aggravated by the
most wanton oppression and cruelty. Such stories have moved, as they
justly may, the indignation of Europe.

Such is the present state of Turkey--universal corruption and
oppression, and things going all the time from bad to worse.

And yet this wretched Government rules over the fairest portion of the
globe. The Turkish Empire is territorially the finest in the world.
Half in Europe and half in Asia, it extends over many degrees of
latitude and longitude, including many countries and many climates,
"spanning the vast arch from Bagdad to Belgrade."

Can such things continue, and such a power be allowed to hold the
fairest portion of the earth's surface, for all time to come?

It seems impossible. The position of Turkey is certainly an anomaly.
It is an Asiatic power planted in Europe. It is a Mohammedan power
ruling over millions of Christians. It is a government of Turks--that
is of Tartars--over men of a better race as well as a purer religion.
It is a government of a minority over a majority. The Mohammedans, the
ruling caste, are only about one-quarter of the population of European
Turkey--some estimates make it much less, but where there is no
accurate census, it must be a matter of conjecture. It is a power
occupying the finest situation in the world, where two continents
touch, and two great seas mingle their waters, yet sitting there on
the Bosphorus only to hold the gates of Europe and Asia, and oppose a
fixed and immovable barrier to the progress of the nations.

What then shall be done with the Grand Turk? The feeling is becoming
universal that he must be driven out of Europe, back into Asia from
which he came. This would solve the Eastern Question _in part_, but
only in part, for _after_ he is gone what power is to take his place?

The solution would be comparatively easy, if there were any
independent State near at hand to succeed to the vacant sceptre. When
a rich man dies, there are always plenty of heirs ready to step in and
take possession of the property. The Greeks would willingly transfer
their capital from Athena to Constantinople. The Armenians think
themselves numerous enough to form a State, but the Greeks and the
Armenians hate each other more even than their common oppressor.
Russia has not a doubt on the subject, that _she_ is the proper and
rightful heir to the throne of the Sultan. The possession of European
Turkey would just "round out" her territory, so that her Empire should
be bounded only by the seas--the Baltic and the White Sea on the
North, and the Black Sea and the Mediterranean on the South. But that
is just the solution of the question which all the rest of Europe is
determined to prevent. Austria, driven out of Germany, thinks it would
be highly proper that she should be indemnified by an addition to her
territory on the south; while the Danubian principalities, Moldavia
and Wallachia (now united under the title of Roumania) and Servia,
which are taking their first lessons in independence, think that they
will soon be sufficiently educated in the difficult art of government
to take possession of the whole Ottoman Empire. Among so many rival
claimants who shall decide? Perhaps if it were put to vote, they would
all prefer to remain under the Turk, rather than that the coveted
prize should go to a rival.

Herein lies the difficulty of the Eastern Question, which no European
statesman is wise enough to resolve. There is still another solution
possible: that Turkey should be divided as Poland was, giving a
province or two on the Danube to Austria; and another on the Black Sea
to Russia; and Syria to Egypt; while the Sultan took up his residence
in Asia Minor; and making Constantinople a free city (as Hamburg
was), under the protection of all Europe, which should hold the
position simply to protect the passage of the Bosphorus and the
Dardanelles, and thus keep open the Black Sea to the commerce of the
world.

But however these remoter questions may perplex the minds of
statesmen, they cannot prevent, nor long delay, the first necessity,
viz., that the Turk should retire from Europe. It cannot be permitted
in the interests of civilization, that a half-barbarous power should
keep forever the finest position in the world, the point of contact
between Europe and Asia, only to be a barrier between them--an
obstacle to commerce and to civilization. This obstruction must be
removed. The Turks themselves may remain, but they will no longer be
the governing race, but subject, like other races, to whatever power
may succeed; the Sultan may transfer his capital to Brousa, the
ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire; but _Turkey will thenceforth be
wholly an Asiatic, and no longer an European power_.

And this will be the end of a dominion that for centuries was the
terror of Europe. It is four hundred and twenty years since the Turks
crossed the Bosphorus and took Constantinople. Since then they have
risen to such power that at one time they threatened to overrun
Europe. It is not two hundred years since they laid siege to Vienna.
But within two centuries Turkey has greatly declined. The rise of a
colossal power in the North has completely overshadowed her, till now
she is kept from becoming the easy prey of Russia only by the
protection of those Christian powers to which the Turk was once, like
Attila, the Scourge of God.

From the moment that the Turks ceased to conquer, they began to
decline. They came into Europe as a race of warriors, and have never
made any progress except by the sword. And so they have really never
taken root as one of the family of civilized nations, but have always
lived as in a camp, a vast Asiatic horde, that, while conquering
civilized countries, retained the habits and instincts of nomadic
tribes, that were only living in tents, and might at any time recross
the Bosphorus and return to their native deserts.

That their exodus is approaching, is felt by the more sagacious Turks
themselves. The government is taking every precaution against its
overthrow. Dreading the least popular movement, it does not dare to
trust its Christian populations. It will not permit them to bear arms,
lest the weapons might be turned against itself. _No one but a
Mohammedan is allowed to enter the army._ There may be some European
officers left from the time of the Crimean war, whose services are too
valuable to be spared, but in the ranks not a man is received who is
not a "true believer." This conscription weighs very heavily on the
Mussulmans, who are but a small minority in European Turkey, and who
are thus decimated from year to year. It is a terrible blood-tax which
they have to pay as the price of continued dominion. But even this the
government is willing to pay rather than that arms should be in the
hands of those who, as the subject races, are their traditional
enemies, and who, in the event of what might become a religious war,
would turn upon them, and seek a bloody revenge for ages of oppression
and cruelty.

Seeing these things, many even of the Turks themselves anticipate
their speedy departure from the Promised Land which they have so long
occupied, and are beginning to set their houses in order for it. Aged
Turks in dying often leave this last request, that they may be buried
at Scutari, on the other side of the Bosphorus, so that if their
people are driven across into Asia, their bodies at least may rest in
peace under the cypress groves which darken the Asiatic shore.

With such fears and forebodings on one side, and such hopes and
expectations on the other, we leave this Eastern Question just where
we found it. Anybody can state it; nobody can resolve it. It is the
great political problem in Europe at this hour, which no statesman,
however sagacious--not Bismarck, nor Thiers, nor Andrassy, nor
Gortchakoff--has yet been able to resolve. But man proposes and God
disposes. This is one of those mysteries of the future which Divine
intelligence alone can penetrate, and Divine Providence alone can
reveal. We must not assume to be over-wise--although there are some
signs which we see clearly written on the face of the sky--but "watch
and wait," which we do in the full confidence that we shall not have
to wait long, but that the curtain will rise on great events in the
East before the close of the present century.

FOOTNOTE:

[10] Italy, it will be remembered, joined the Allies against Russia in
the latter part of the Crimean war.



CHAPTER XXXI.

THE SULTAN IS DEPOSED AND COMMITS SUICIDE.--THE WAR IN
SERVIA.--MASSACRES IN BULGARIA.--HOW WILL IT ALL END?


The last three chapters were written in Constantinople, near the close
of 1875. Since then a year has passed--and yet I do not need to change
a single word. All that was then said of the wretched character of the
Sultan, and of the hopeless decay of the empire, has proved literally
true. Indeed if I were to draw the picture again, I should paint it in
still darker colors. The best commentary upon it, and the best proof
of its truth, is that which has been furnished by subsequent events. A
rapid review of these will complete this political sketch up to the
present hour.

At the close of the chapter on Abdul Aziz, I suggested, as a possible
event in the near future, that the Turks might be driven out of Europe
into Asia, and their capital be removed from Constantinople back to
Broussa, (where it was four hundred and twenty years ago,) or even to
the banks of the Tigris, and that the Sultan might end his days as the
Caliph of Bagdad.

Was this a gloomy future to predict for a sovereign at the height of
power and glory? Alas for human ambition! Happy would it have been for
him if he could have found a refuge, in Broussa or in Bagdad, from the
troubles that were gathering around him. But a fate worse than exile
was reserved for this unhappy monarch. In six months from that time he
was deposed and dead, dying by his own hand. It is a short story, but
forms one of the most melancholy tragedies of modern times.

During the winter things went from bad to worse, till even Moslem
patience and stoicism were exhausted. There was great suffering in the
capital, which the sovereign was unable to relieve, or to which rather
he was utterly indifferent. Murmurs began to be heard, and not from
his Christian subjects, but from faithful Moslems. Employés of the
government, civil and military, were not paid. Yet even in this
extremity every caprice of the Sultan must be supplied. If money came
into the treasury, it was said that he seized it for his own use.

Feeling the pressure from without, the ministers, who had been
accustomed to approach their master like slaves, cowed and cringing in
his presence, grew bolder, and presumed to speak a little more
plainly. Reminding him as gently as possible of the public distress,
and especially of the fact that the army was not paid, they ventured
to hint that if his august majesty would, out of his serene and
benevolent wisdom and condescension, apply a little of his own private
resources (for it was well known that he had vast treasures hoarded in
the palace), it would allay the growing discontent. But to all such
intimations he listened with ill-concealed vexation and disgust. What
cared he for the sufferings of his soldiers or people? Not a pound
would he give out of his full coffers, even to put an end to mutiny in
the camp or famine in the capital. Dismissing the impertinent
ministers, he retired into the harem to forget amid its languishing
beauties the unwelcome intrusion.

But there is a point beyond which even Mohammedan fatalism cannot bow
in submission. Finding all attempts to move the Sultan hopeless, his
ministers began to look in each other's faces, and to take courage
from their despair. There was but one resource left--they must strike
at the head of the state. The Sultan himself must be put out of the
way.

But how can any popular movement be inaugurated under an absolute
rule? Despotism indeed is sometimes "tempered by assassination"! But
here a sovereign was to be removed without that resort. Strange as it
may seem, there is such a thing as public opinion even in
Constantinople. Though it is a Mohammedan state, there is a power
above Sultans and Caliphs; it is that of the Koran itself. The
government is a Theocracy as much as that of the Jews, and the law of
the state is the Koran, of which the priestly class, the Ulemas and
the Mollahs and the Softas, are the representatives. Mohammedanism has
its Pope in the Sheik-al-Islam, who is the authorized interpreter of
the sacred law, and who, like other interpreters, knows how to make
the most inflexible creed bend to the necessities of the state. His
opinion was asked if, in a condition of things so extreme as that
which now existed, the sovereign might be lawfully deposed? He
answered in the affirmative. Thus armed with a spiritual sanction, the
conspirators proceeded to obtain the proper civil authority and
military support.

The Sultan had had his suspicions excited, and had sought for safety
by a vigilant watch on Murad Effendi, who was kept under strict
surveillance, and almost under guard, like a state prisoner.
Suspecting the fidelity of the Minister of War, he sent to demand his
immediate presence at the palace. But as the latter was deep in the
plot, he pleaded illness as an excuse for his non-appearance. But this
alarm hastened the decisive blow. The ministers met at the war office,
and thither Murad Effendi was brought secretly in the night of Monday,
May 29th, and received by them as Sultan, and made to issue an order
for the immediate arrest of his predecessor, Abdul Aziz, an order
which was entrusted to Redif Pasha, a soldier of experience and nerve,
for execution. Troops were already under arms, and were now drawn
around the palace, while the officer entered to demand the person of
the Sultan. Passing through the attendants, he came to the chief of
the eunuchs, who kept guard over the sacred person of the Padishah,
and demanded to be led instantly to his master. This black major-domo
was not accustomed to such a tone, and, amazed at such audacity,
laughed in the face of the intruder. But the old soldier was not to be
trifled with. Forcing his way into the apartments of the Sultan, he
announced to him that he had ceased to reign, and must immediately
quit his palace. Then the terrible truth began to dawn upon him that
he was no longer a god, before whom men trembled. He was beside
himself with fury. He raved and stormed like a madman, and cursed the
unwelcome guest in the name of the Prophet. His mother rushed into the
room, and added her cries and imprecations. But he could not yet
believe that any insolent official had the power to remove him from
his palace. He told the Pasha that he was a liar! The only answer was,
Look out of the window! One glance was enough. There in thick ranks
stood the soldiers that had so long guarded his person and his throne,
and would have guarded him still, if his own folly had not driven them
to turn their arms against him. Then he changed his tone, and promised
to yield everything, if he might be spared. He was told it was too
late, and was warned to make haste. Time was precious. The boats were
waiting below. The Sultan had often descended there to his splendid
caïque to go to the mosque, when all the ships in the harbor fired
salutes in honor of his majesty. Now not a gun spoke. Silently he
embarked with his mother and sons, and fifty-three boats soon followed
with his wives and servants. And thus in the gray of the morning they
moved across the waters to Seraglio Point, where Abdul Aziz, but an
hour ago a sovereign, now found himself a prisoner.

The same forenoon another retinue of barges conveyed Murad Effendi
across the same waters to the vacant palace, and the ships of war
thundered their salutes to the new Sultan.

Was there ever such an overthrow? The humiliation was too great to be
borne by a weak mind, which could find no rest but in the grave. Five
days after he shut himself up in his room, and when the attendants
opened the door he was found weltering in his blood. Scissors by his
side revealed the weapon by which had been wrought the bloody deed.
Suspicions were freely expressed that he had not died by his own hand,
but by assassination. But a council of physicians gave a verdict in
support of the theory of suicide. The next day a long procession wound
through the streets of old Stamboul, following the dead monarch to his
tomb, where at last he found the rest he could not find in life.

Such was the end of Abdul Aziz, who passed almost in the same hour
from his throne and from life. Was there ever a more mournful sight
under the sun? As we stand over that poor body covered with blood, we
think of that brilliant scene when he rode to the mosque, surrounded
by his officers of state, and indignation at his selfish life is
almost forgotten in pity for his end. We are appalled at the sudden
contrast of that exalted height and that tremendous fall. He fell as
lightning from heaven. Did ever so bright a day end in so black a
night? With such solemn thoughts we turn away, with footsteps sad and
slow, from that royal tomb, and leave the wretched sleeper to the
judgment of history and of God.

His successor had not a long or brilliant reign. Calamity brooded over
the land, and weighed like a pall on an enfeebled body and a weak
mind, and after a few months he too was removed, to give place to a
younger brother, who had more physical vigor and more mental capacity,
and who now fills that troubled throne.

I said also that "the curtain might rise on great events in the East
before the close of the present century." _It has already begun to
rise._ The death of the Sultan relieved the State of a terrible
incubus, but it failed to restore public tranquillity and prosperity.
Some had supposed that it alone would allay discontent and quell
insurrection. But instead of this, his deposition and death seemed to
produce a contrary effect. It relaxed the bonds of authority. It
spread more widely the feeling that the empire was in a state of
hopeless decay and dissolution, and that the time had come for
different provinces to seek their independence. Instead of the
Montenegrins laying down their arms, those brave mountaineers became
more determined than ever, and the insurrection, instead of dying out,
spread to other provinces.

Servia had long been chafing with impatience. This province was
already independent in everything but the name. Though still a part of
the Turkish Empire, and paying an annual tribute to the Sultan, it had
its own separate government. But such was the sympathy of the people
with the other Christian populations of European Turkey, who were
groaning under the oppression of their masters, that the government
could not withstand the popular excitement, and at the opening of
summer rushed into war.

It was a rash step. Servia has less than a million and a half of
souls; and its army is very small, although, by calling out all the
militia, it mustered into the field a hundred thousand men. It hoped
to anticipate success by a rapid movement. A large force at once
crossed the frontier into Turkey, in order to make that country the
battle-ground of the hostile armies. The movement was well planned,
and if carried out by veteran troops, might have been successful. But
the raw Servian levies were no match for the Turkish regular army; and
as soon as the latter could be moved up from Constantinople, the
former were sacrificed. In the series of battles which followed, the
Turks were almost uniformly successful; forcing back the Servians over
the border, and into their own country, where they had every advantage
for resistance; where there were rivers to be crossed, and passes in
the hills, and fortresses that might be defended. But with all these
advantages the Turkish troops pressed on. Their advance was marked by
wasted fields and burning villages, yet nothing could resist their
onward march, and but for the delay caused by the interposition of
other powers, it seemed probable that the campaign would end by the
Turks entering in triumph the capital of Servia and dictating terms of
peace, or rather of submission, within the walls of Belgrade.

This is a terrible disappointment to those sanguine spirits who were
so eager to urge Servia into war, and who apparently thought that her
raw recruits could defeat any Turkish army that could be brought
against them. The result is a lesson to the other discontented
provinces, and a warning to all Europe, that Turkey, though she may be
dying, is not dead, and that she will die hard.

This proof of her remaining vitality will not surprise one who has
seen the Turks at home. Misgoverned and ruined financially as Turkey
is, she is yet a very formidable military power--not, indeed, as
against Russia, or Germany, or Austria, but as against any second-rate
power, and especially as against any of her revolted provinces.

Her troops are not mere militia, they are trained soldiers. Those that
we saw in the streets of Constantinople were men of splendid physique,
powerful and athletic, just the stuff for war. They are capable of
much greater endurance than even English soldiers, who must have their
roast beef and other luxuries of the camp, while the Turks will live
on the coarsest food, sleep on the ground, and march gayly to battle.
Such men are not to be despised in a great conflict. In its raw
material, therefore, the Turkish army is probably equal to any in
Europe. If as well disciplined and as well _commanded_, it might be
equal to the best troops of Germany.

So far as equipment is concerned, it has little to desire. A great
part of the extravagance of the late Sultan was in the purchase of the
most approved weapons of war, which seemed needless, but have now
come into play. His ironclads, no doubt, were a costly folly, but his
Krupp cannon and breech-loading rifles (the greater part made in
America) may turn the scale of battle on many a bloody field.

Further, these men are not only physically strong and brave; not only
are they well disciplined and well armed; but they are inflamed with a
religious zeal that heightens their courage and kindles their
enthusiasm. That such an army should be victorious, however much we
may regret it, cannot be a matter of surprise.

As the result of this campaign, however calamitous, was merely the
fortune of war, gained in honorable battle; whatever sorrow it might
have caused throughout Europe, it could not have created any stronger
feeling, had not events occurred in another province, which kindled a
flame of popular indignation.

Before the war began, indeed before the death of the Sultan, fearing
an outbreak in other provinces, an attempt had been made to strike
terror into the disaffected people. Irregular troops--the Circassians
and Bashi Bazouks--were marched into Bulgaria, and commenced a series
of massacres that have thrilled Europe with horror, as it has not been
since the massacre of Scio in the Greek revolution. The events were
some time in coming to the knowledge of the world, so that weeks
after, when inquiry was made in the British Parliament, Mr. Disraeli
replied that the government had no knowledge of any atrocities; that
probably the reports were exaggerated; that it was a kind of irregular
warfare, in which, no doubt, there were outrages on both sides.

Since then the facts have come to light. Mr. Eugene Schuyler, lately
the American Secretary of Legation at St. Petersburg, and now Consul
in Constantinople, has visited the province, and, as the result of a
careful inquiry, finds that not less than twelve thousand men, women,
and children (he thinks fifteen thousand) have been massacred. Women
have been outraged, villages have been burnt, little children thrown
into the flames. That peaceful province has been laid waste with fire
and slaughter.

The report, coming from such a source, and accompanied by the fullest
evidence, created a profound sensation in England. Meetings were held
in all parts of the country to express the public indignation; and not
only at the brutal Turks, but at their own government for the light
and flippant way in which it had treated such horrors: the more so
that among the powers of Europe, England was the supporter of Turkey,
and thus might be considered as herself guilty, unless she uttered her
indignant protest in the name of humanity and civilization.

But why should the people of Christian England wonder at these things,
or at any act of violence and blood done by such hands? The Turk has
not changed his nature in the four hundred years that he has lived, or
rather _camped_, in Europe. He is still a Tartar and half a savage.
Here and there may be found a noble specimen of the race, in some old
sheik, who rules a tribe, and exercises hospitality in a rude but
generous fashion, and who looks like an ancient patriarch as he sits
at his tent door in the cool of the day. Enthusiastic travellers may
tell us of some grand old Turk who is like "a fine old English
gentleman," but such cases are exceptional. The mass of the people are
Tartars, as much as when they roamed the deserts of Central Asia. The
wild blood is in them still, with every brutal instinct intensified by
religion. All Mussulmans are nursed in such contempt and scorn of the
rest of mankind, that when once their passions are aroused, it is
impossible for them to exercise either justice or mercy. No tie of a
common humanity binds them to the rest of the human race. The
followers of the Prophet are lifted to such a height above those who
are not believers, that the sufferings of others are nothing to them.
If called to "rise and slay," they obey the command without the
slightest feeling of pity or remorse.

With such a people it is impossible to deal as with other nations.
There is no common ground to stand upon. They care no more for
"Christian dogs," nor so much, as they do for the dogs that howl and
yelp in the streets of Constantinople. Their religious fanaticism
extinguishes every feeling of a common nature. Has not Europe a right
to put some restraint on passions so lawless and violent, and thus to
stop such frightful massacres as have this very year deluged her soil
with innocent blood?

The campaign in Servia is now over. An armistice has been agreed upon
for six weeks, and as the winter is at hand, hostilities cannot be
resumed before spring. Meanwhile European diplomacy will be at work to
settle the conflict without another resort to arms. Russia appears as
the protector and supporter of Servia. She asks for a conference of
the six powers--England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and
Russia--a conference to decide on the fate of Turkey, yet _from which
Turkey shall be excluded_. Already intimations are given out of the
nature of the terms which Russia will propose. Turkey has promised
reform for the protection and safety of her Christian populations. But
experience has proved that her promises are good for nothing. Either
they are made in bad faith, and are not intended to be kept, or she
has no power to enforce them in the face of a fanatical Mohammedan
population. It is now demanded, in order to secure the Christian
population absolute protection, that these reforms shall be carried
out under the eye of foreign commissioners in the different provinces,
_supported by an armed force_. This is indeed an entering wedge, with
a very sharp edge too, and driven home with tremendous power. If
Turkey grants this, she may as well abdicate her authority over her
revolted provinces. But Europe can be contented with nothing less, for
without this there is absolutely no safety for Christians in any
lands cursed by the rule of the Turk.

It is quite probable that the negotiations will issue in some sort of
autonomy for the disaffected provinces. This has been already granted
to Wallachia and Moldavia (which have been united under the name of
Roumania), the result of which has been to bring quietness and peace.
It has been granted to Servia. Their connection with the Porte is only
nominal, being limited to the payment of an annual tribute; while even
this nominal dependence has the good effect of warning off other
powers, such as Austria and Russia, from taking possession. If this
same degree of independence could be extended to Bulgaria and to
Bosnia and Herzegovina, there would be a belt of Christian states,
which would be virtually independent, drawn around Turkey, which would
confine within smaller space the range of Moslem domination in Europe.

And yet even that is not the end, nor will it be the final settlement
of the Eastern question. That will not be reached until some other
power, or joint powers, hold Constantinople. That is the eye of the
East; that is the jewel of the world; and so long as it remains in the
hands of the Turks, it will be an object of envy, of ambition, and of
war.

The late Charles Sumner used to say that "a question is never
_settled_ until it is settled _right_;" and it cannot be right that a
position which is the most central and regal in all the earth should
be held forever by a barbarian power.

There is a saying in the East that "where the Turk comes the grass
never grows." Is it not time that these Tartar hordes, that have so
long held dominion in Europe, should return into the deserts from
which they came, leaving the grass to spring up from under their
departing feet?

But some Christian people and missionaries dread such an issue,
because they think that it is a struggle between the Russian and the
Turk, and that if the Turk goes out the Russian must come in. But is
there no other alternative? Is there not political wisdom enough in
all Europe to make another settlement, and power enough to enforce
their will? England holds Malta and Gibraltar, and France holds
Algeria: cannot both hold Constantinople? Their combined fleets could
sweep every Russian ship out of the Black Sea, as they did in the
Crimean war. Drawn up in the Bosphorus, they could so guard that
strait that no Russian flag should fly on the Seraskier or Galata
towers. Why may not Constantinople be placed under the protection of
all nations for the common benefit of all? But for this, the first
necessity is that the Turk should take himself out of the way.

This, I believe, will come; but it will not come without a struggle.
The Turks are not going to depart out of Europe at the first
invitation of Russia, or of all Europe combined. They have shown that
they are a formidable foe. When this war began, some who had been
looking and longing for the destruction of Turkey thought this was the
beginning of the end; enthusiastic students of prophecy saw in it "the
drying up of the Euphrates." All these had better moderate their
expectations. Admitting that the _final end_ will be the overthrow of
the Mohammedan power in Europe, yet this end may be many years in
coming. "The sick man" is _not dead_, and he will not die quietly and
peacefully, as an old man breathes his last. He will not gather up his
feet into his bed, and turn his face to the wall, and give up the
ghost. He will die on the field of battle, and his death-struggles
will be tremendous. The Turk came into Europe on horseback, waving his
scimitar over his head, and he will not depart like a fugitive, "as
men flee away in battle," but will make his last stand on the shores
of the Bosphorus, and fall fighting to the last. I commend this sober
view to those whose minds may be inflamed by reading of the atrocities
of the present war, and who may anticipate the march of events. The
end will come; but we cannot dictate or even know, the time of its
coming.

That end, I firmly believe, will be the exodus of the Turks from
Europe. Not that the people as a body will depart. There is not likely
to be another national migration. The expulsion of a hundred thousand
of the conquering race of the Osmanlis--or of half that number--may
suffice to remove that imperious element that has so long kept the
rule in Turkey, and by its command of a warlike people, been for
centuries the terror of Europe. But the Turkish power--the power to
oppress and to persecute, to kill and destroy, to perpetrate such
massacres as now thrill the world with horror--must, and _will_, come
to an end.

In expressing this confident opinion, I do not lay claim to any
political wisdom or sagacity. Nor do I attach importance to my
personal observations. But I _do_ give weight to the judgment of those
who have lived in Turkey for years, and who know well the government
and the people: and in what I say I only reflect the opinion of the
whole foreign community in Constantinople. While there I questioned
everybody; I sought information from the best informed, and wisdom
from the wisest; and I heard but one opinion. Not a man expressed the
slightest hope of Turkey, or the slightest confidence in its
professions of reform. One and all--Englishmen and Americans,
Frenchmen and Germans, Spaniards and Italians--agreed that it was past
saving, that it was "appointed to die," and that its removal from the
map of Europe was only a question of time.

So ends the year 1876, leaving Europe in a state of uncertainty and
expectancy--fearing, trembling, and hoping. The curtain falls on a
year of horrors; on what scenes shall the new year rise? We are in the
midst of great events, and may be on the eve of still greater. It may
be that a war is coming on which will be nothing less than a
death-struggle between the two religions which have so long divided
the lands that lie on the borders of Europe and Asia, and one in
which the atrocities now recorded will be but the prelude to more
terrible massacres until the vision of the prophet shall be fulfilled,
that "blood shall come up to the horses' bridles." But looking through
a long vista of years, we cannot doubt the issue as we believe in the
steady progress of civilization--nay, as we believe in the power and
justice of God.

We may not live to see it, and yet we could wish that we might not
taste of death till our eyes behold that final deliverance. Is it mere
imagination, an enthusiastic dream, that anticipates what we desire
should come to pass?

It may be that we are utterly deceived; but as we look forward we
think we see before many years a sadly impressive spectacle. However
the tide of battle may ebb and flow, yet slowly, but steadily, will
the Osmanlis be pushed backward from those Christian provinces which
they have so long desolated and oppressed, till they find themselves
at last on the shores of the Golden Horn, forced to take their
farewell of old Stamboul. Sadly will they enter St. Sophia for the
last time, and turn their faces towards Mecca, and bow their heads
repeating, "God is God, and Mohammed is his prophet." It would not be
strange that they should mourn and weep as they depart. Be it so! They
came into that sacred temple with bloodshed and massacre; let them
depart with wailing and sorrow. They cross the Bosphorus, and linger
under the cypresses of Scutari, to bid adieu to the graves of their
fathers; then bowing, with the fatalism of their creed, to a destiny
which they cannot resist, they turn their horses' heads to the East,
and ride away over the hills of Asia Minor.





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