Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Lost Diaries
Author: Baring, Maurice, 1874-1945
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lost Diaries" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



- University of California)



LOST DIARIES

BY

MAURICE BARING



LONDON

DUCKWORTH & GO.

3 HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN. W.C.


1913



These "Lost Diaries" originally appeared in the _Eye Witness_, the _New
Witness_, and the _Morning Post_; they are here reprinted by the kind
permission of the Editors of those newspapers.

                                                                    M.B.



To

E.M.



CONTENTS

     I. FROM THE DIARY OF SMITH MINOR
    II. FROM THE DIARY OF ISEULT OF BRITTANY
   III. FROM THE DIARY OF KING COPHETUA
    IV. FROM THE DIARY OF FROISSART, WAR CORRESPONDENT
     V. FROM THE DIARY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
    VI. FROM THE DIARY OF MARCUS AURELIUS
   VII. FROM THE DIARY OF MRS JAMES LEE'S HUSBAND
  VIII. FROM THE DIARY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
    IX. FROM THE DIARY OF THE EMPEROR TITUS
     X. FROM THE DIARY OF HARRIET SHELLEY
    XI. FROM THE _JOURNAL INTIME_ OF THE EMPEROR TIBERIUS
   XII. FROM THE DIARY OF ŒDIPUS REX
  XIII. FROM THE DIARY OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR
   XIV. FROM THE DIARY OF MARY, MRS JOHN MILTON
           (_NÉE_ POWELL)
    XV. FROM THE DIARY OF MARK ANTONY
   XVI. FROM THE DIARY OF IVAN THE TERRIBLE
  XVII. FROM THE PRIVATE LOG OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
 XVIII. FROM THE DIARY OF THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
   XIX. FROM THE DIARY OF AN ENGLISH GOVERNESS
           RESIDING IN PARIS DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
    XX. FROM THE DIARY OF HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK,
           DURING HIS STAY AT ENGLAND, WHITHER HE WAS SENT
           TO STUDY AT THE UNIVERSITY AT OXFORD, UNDER
           THE SPECIAL CARE OF POLONIUS



I.

FROM THE DIARY OF SMITH MINOR

                                  ST JAMES'S SCHOOL,
                                  _September_, 1884.


_Sunday_.--Yesterday afternoon was a half-holiday we were playing
prisoners base exept four boys who were gardening with Mrs Wickham. Peel
hit Bell by mistake with all his force with the pic-axe on Bell's wrist.

_Sunday_.--Last night their was a total eclipse of the moon. We all
stayed up to see it, it looked very funny. There was a shadow right over
the moon. We began football yesterday. At tea the Head asked if any one
had eaten chesnuts in the garden. Simes major said yes at once. Then the
Head said he was sure others had too. Then Wilson stood up and after a
time 7 chaps stood up. Then the Head said it would be the worse for
those who didn't stand up as he knew who the culprets were. I hadn't
eaten any but Anderson had given me a piece off his knife so I stood up
two. The Head said we should all have two hours extra work. He was very
waxy he said we were unreliabel.

_Sunday_.--Yesterday we were all photografed. Simes laughed and was sent
to bed for misbehavier. Pork's people came down yesterday. We call Pork
Hogg because he's dirty. He showed them over the school, and turned on
the electrik light. The Head was looking through the curtain in the
library and saw this. When his people went away Hogg was sent for and
he is to be swished to-morrow. We told him he would get it hot and he
blubbed.

_Sunday_.--We went for the choir expedition last Thursday. It was _great
fun._ We went to London by the 8.35 train. We missed the train!! So we
went by the 8.53. We got to London at 10.15. We then went to the mint we
first saw the silver melted and made into thick tablets, then we saw it
rolled out into thin bits then cut stamped and weighed then we had a
very good luncheon and went to the Tower. We first saw the Bloody Tower
were the little Princes were murdered then we saw the jewels the warder
said the Queen's crown was worth over £1,000,000 then we saw the armory
and the torture's, then we went to Madame Tussaus it is quite a large
building now with a large stairkes then we had tea and went home.

_Sunday_.--I said to Anderson that we might start an aquarium but he
said Ferguson had one last term and that it would be copying, he said he
hates copying. So we'll have a menagery instead with lizards.

_Sunday_.--The lizard is very well indeed and has eat a lot of worms.
White cheeked Jones ma and Mac said they must fight it out in the
play-room in the hour. They fought with gloves. White gave him a bloody
nose. We had a very good game of football yesterday. Williams and Pierce
which left last term came from Eton to play. Pierce changed in my room.
He says you don't say squit at Eton and you say Metutors not My tutors.
The fireworks are in a week.

_Saturday_.--There was no work this morning as it was "All Saints day."
There was a football matsh against another scool--Reynolds'. We won by
three goals and three tries.

There was an awful row on Wednesday. Anderson cut off a piece of his
hair. Mac nabbed it, and he said he hadn't as he was afraid of the
consequenses. Then a search was made and they fond a piece of hair in
his drawer. Mac told him he would find himself in Queer Street and Colly
said when he was writing home on Sunday that he had better add that he
was a liar. Nothing hapened till Monday and Anderson thought it was
forgoten but at reading over when the 3nd Div came up the Head said:
"Anderson I am astounded at you; you are a shufler and worse." He lost
50 marks and was swished. He would get 20 the head said if he did it
again and he would be turned out of the choir.

_Sunday_.--When Colly was out of the room in Set 3 this morning Mason
said he wouldn't sneak about me talking if I didn't sneak about him so I
talked. When Colly came back Mason sneaked, Please sir will you ask
Smith not to talk. I had to stand on the stool of penitence. We are
going to put Mason in Coventry because he always sneaks just after he
has sworn he won't. Last night we all had to play our pieces in the
Drawing Room. I played a duet with Wilson mi. Astley played best. When
everybody had played their pieces we had ginger beer and biscuits and
went to bed. Fish played worst (on the violin).

_Sunday_.--We had fireworks on the 5th romman candles rockets crackers
squibs and a set piece with God Save the Queen on it. They came from
Broks who makes the fireworks at the Crystal palace we burnt a man in
effigee a man with collars and an axe. The Head said he wouldn't say who
it was meant to be but that all true Englishmen who were not traiters
could guess. Rowley said it was meant to be Mister Gladstone but he only
said this to get a rise out of Pork whose paters a liberal. It was
reelly Guy Fawks then Pork said Anderson's father was a liberal too and
Anderson hit him in the eye. The Head hates liberals.

There was another row this week; Christy said something to Broadwood at
breakfast that the poridge was mighty good. That was copying Anderson
who learnt it from his mater who is a Yankee. Mac asked him what he'd
said. He said he'd said the porridge was good. Mac asked Is that all
you've said. Christy got very red and looked as if he was going to blub
and said that was all. Very well said Mac Come afterwards. Mac reported
him for telling bungs. He wasn't swished as its his first term: but Mac
told him he was making himself very unpopular.

On Tuesday Fatty the butler came into the 3rd Div scoolroom with a
message. Some one said in a wisper Hullo Fatty. Mac nabbed it and said
who said that nobody answered then Mac said he knew it was Middleton mi
as he had recognised his voice Middleton swore he hadn't said a word but
he was reported and swished he still swears he didn't say Fatty and I
believe it was Pork. The other day at French Campbell went up to Colly
and asked him what was wrong with les tables it had a pencil cross on
it. Colly said that when he'd corrected it there was no S there.
Campbell swore their was. Colly held the paper to the window and said he
saw the ink of the S was fresh, then Christy began to blub and said he
had done it and Colly said it was a for jerry and wrote forjer in white
chalk on his back and said he would tell the chaps in the first Div but
he didn't report him to the Head which was awfully decent of him becaus
Christy is a new chap.

_Sunday_.--Trials are nearly over. We had Latin G and Greek G paper
yesterday (set by the Head). There are only two more papers geography
and Latin verse. The Consert is on Saturday. Pork's sister is called
Jane!! Campbell saw it on the seel of a letter he got. His people were
coming for the Consert but he's written to tell them not to as we told
him the Head thought liberals worse than thieves.



II

FROM THE DIARY OF ISEULT OF BRITTANY


_May_ 1.--Mamma sent me up a message early this morning to say that I
was to put on my best white gown with my coral necklace, as guests were
expected. She didn't say who. Nurse was in a fuss and pulled my hair
when she did it, and made my face very sore by scrubbing it with
pumice-stone. I can't think why, as there was no hurry. I came down
punctually at noon. Mamma and papa were sitting in the hall, waiting.
Fresh rushes were strewn on the floor. I was told to get out my harp,
and to sit with my back to the light. I hadn't practised for weeks, and
I can only play one song properly, "The Mallard," a Cornish song. When I
told mamma that was the only song I knew, she said I was on no account
to mention it, if I was asked to play; but I was only to play _Breton_
songs. I said I didn't know any. She said that didn't matter; but that I
could sing anything I knew and call it a Breton song. I said nothing,
but I thought, and I still think, this was dishonest. Besides the only
songs that I know are quite new. The stable people whistle them, and
they come from Rome.

We waited a long time. Papa and mamma were both very fidgety and mamma
kept on pulling me about, and telling me that my hair was badly done and
that she could see daylight between the pleats of my frock. I nearly
cried and papa said: "Leave the dear child alone; she's very good."
After we'd been waiting about twenty minutes, the trumpets sounded and
Morgan, the seneschal, walked in very slowly, and announced: "Sir
Tristram of Lyoness."

Rather an oldish man walked in, with a reddish beard, and many wrinkles.
One of his front teeth was broken and the other was black. He was
dressed in a coat of mail which was too tight for him. He had nice eyes
and seemed rather embarrassed. Mamma and papa made a great fuss about
him and brought me forward and said: "This is our daughter Iseult," and
mamma whispered to me: "Show your hands." I didn't want to do this, as
nurse had scrubbed them so hard that they were red.

Sir Tristram bowed deeply, and seemed more and more embarrassed. After
a long pause he said: "It's a very fine day, isn't it?"

Before I had time to answer, mamma broke in by saying: "Iseult has been
up since six with the falconers." This wasn't true and I was surprised
that mamma should be so forgetful. I hadn't been out with the hawkers
for weeks.

Then dinner was served. It lasted for hours I thought, and the
conversation flagged terribly. Kurneval, Sir Tristram's Squire, had
_twice_ of everything and drank much more cider than was good for him.
After dinner, mamma told me to fetch my harp and to sing a Breton song.
I was just going to say I didn't know one, when she frowned at me so
severely that I didn't dare. So I sang the Provençal orchard song about
waking up too early that Kerodac the groom taught me. Sir Tristram
said: "Charming, charming, that's German, isn't it; how well taught she
is. I do like good singing." Then he yawned, although he tried not to,
and papa said he was sure Sir Tristram was tired, and that he would take
him to see the stables. Sir Tristram then became quite lively and said
he would be delighted.

When they'd gone, mamma scolded me, and said that I had behaved like a
ninny and that she didn't know what our guests would think of me. It
seemed to me we only had one guest; but I didn't say so. Then she told
me to go and rest so as to be ready for dinner.

I forgot to say that just as Sir Tristram was going out of the room he
said to papa: "Your daughter's name is--er?" and papa said, "Yes,
Iseult, after her aunt." And Sir Tristram said: "Oh! what a pretty
name!"

_May_ 6.--They've been here a week now and I haven't seen much of them;
because Sir Tristram has been riding with papa nearly all day, and every
day. But every day after dinner mamma makes me sing the Provençal song,
and every time I sing it, Sir Tristram says: "Charming, charming, that's
German, isn't it?" although I've already told him twice now that it
isn't. I like Sir Tristram, only he's very silent, and after dinner he
becomes sleepy directly, just like papa.

_May_ 7.--I've had a most exciting day. Papa and mamma sent for me and
when I came into the room they were both very solemn and said they had
something particular to say to me. Then mamma cried and papa tried to
soothe her and said: "It's all right, it's all right," and then he
blurted out that I was to marry Sir Tristram next Wednesday. I cried,
and papa cried, and mamma cried, and then they said I was a lucky girl,
and mamma said that I must see about my clothes at once.

_May_ 8.--Nurse is in a fearful temper. She says we shall never be ready
by Wednesday and that it's more than flesh and blood can stand to worrit
folks like this. But mamma is in the best of tempers. Sir Tristram has
gone away--to stay with some friends--he is coming back on Tuesday
night. My wedding gown is to be made of silver with daisies worked on
it. The weavers are working day and night, _but most of the stuff is
old_. It belonged to mamma. I do think they might have given me a new
gown. Blanche had a new one when she was married.

_May_ 12.--The wedding went off very well. I had four maidens and four
pages. After Mass, we had a long feast. Papa made a speech and broke
down, and Tristram made a speech and got into a muddle about my name,
and everybody was silent. Then he said I had beautiful hands and
everybody cheered. After supper we were looking out on the sea, and just
as Tristram was becoming talkative I noticed that he wore another ring
besides his wedding ring, a green one, made of jasper. I said, "What a
pretty ring! Who gave it you?" He said, "Oh, a friend," and changed the
subject. Then he said he was very tired and went away.

_May_ 13.--It's the 13th and that's an unlucky number. Nurse said that
no child of hers should marry in May, so I suppose that's what brought
it about. In any case Tristram, who has been very gloomy ever since he's
been here, has got to go and fight in a tournament. He says he won't be
away long and that there's no danger; not any more than crossing the
sea in an open boat, which I _do_ think _is_ dangerous. He starts
to-morrow at dawn.

_May_ 14.--Nothing particular.

_May_ 15.--No news.

_May_ 16.--Kurneval arrived this evening. He says that Tristram was
slightly wounded; but would be all right in a day or two. I am very
anxious.

_May_ 17.--Tristram was brought back on a litter in the middle of the
night. He has been wounded in the arm. The doctors here say he was
bandaged wrong by the local doctor. They say he is suffering from slight
local pain. Kurneval says the horrid henchman hit his arm as hard as he
could with a broad sword. Papa and mamma arrive to-morrow with the
doctor. Tristram insists on sleeping out of doors on the beach. The
doctor says this is a patient's whim and must be humoured. I'm sure
it's bad for him, as the nights are very cold.

_July_ 1.--I've been too busy to write my diary for weeks. Tristram is
still just the same. The doctors say there is no fear of immediate
change.

_August_ 10.--Mamma says the Queen of Cornwall (whose name is Iseult the
same as mine) is coming for a few days, with her husband and some
friends. I do think it's very inconsiderate, considering how full the
house is already; and what with Tristram being so ill--and insisting on
sleeping on the beach--it makes it very difficult for every one.

_September_ 1.--Papa went out to shoot birds with his new cross-bow; but
he came back in a bad temper as he'd only shot one, and a hen. Tristram
is no better. He keeps on talking about a ship with a black sail.

_September_ 19.--To-day I was on the beach with Tristram and he asked me
if I saw a ship. I said I did. He asked me if the sail was black, and as
the doctor had told me to humour him, I said it was. Upon which he got
much worse, and I had to call the doctors. They said he was suffering
from hypertrophy of the sensory nerves.

_September_ 20.--Tristram unconscious. The Queen of Cornwall just
arrived. Too busy to write.



III

FROM THE DIARY OF KING COPHETUA


_Cophetua Castle, May_ 3.--We had to be married in May, after all. It
was a choice between that and being married on a Friday, and Jane would
not hear of that, so I gave in. Poor dear Mamma relented at the end and
came to the wedding. On the whole she behaved with great restraint. She
could not help saying just a word about rash promises. Jane looked
exceedingly beautiful. I felt very proud of her. I regret nothing. We
start for Italy to-morrow. We are to visit Milan, Florence-and Rome.
Jane is looking forward to the change.

_Dijon, May_ 6.--We decided to break the journey here: but we shall
probably start again to-morrow, as Jane is extremely dissatisfied with
the Inn, the _Lion d'Or_. I, of course, chose the best. But she says she
found a spider in her bedroom; she complained that the silver plates on
which dinner was served were not properly cleaned; that the veal was
tough, and that we had been given _Graves_ under the guise of _Barsac_.
All these things seem to me exceedingly trivial; but Jane is particular.
In a way it is a good thing, but considering her early upbringing and
her former circumstances, I confess I am astonished.

_Lyons, May_ 12.--I shall be glad when we get to Italy. Jane becomes
more and more fastidious about Inns. She walked out of four running,
here. I was imprudent enough to say that Mamma had a vassal who was a
distant connection of the Sieur Jehan de Blois and Jane insisted on my
paying him a visit and asking him to lodge us, telling him who we are,
as we are travelling incognito as the Baron and Baroness of Wessex. This
put me in a very awkward position, as I don't know him. I did it,
however, and Jane came with me. I have seldom felt so awkward, but
really he could not have made things easier. He was tact itself, and
while respecting our incognito, he treated us with the utmost
consideration. He was most kind. Jane made me a little uncomfortable by
praising a fine crystal goblet encrusted with emeralds. Sieur Jehan was
of course obliged to offer it her, and, to my vexation, she accepted it.

_Avignon, May_ 20.--Jane finds our incognito more and more irksome. I
was looking forward to a real quiet holiday, where we could get away
from all fuss and worry, and all the impediments of rank and riches. I
wanted to pretend we were poor for a while. To send on the litters with
the oxen, the horses, and the baggage, and to ride on mules--as soon as
we had reached the South--but Jane would not hear of this. She said she
had had enough of poverty without playing at it now. This is of course
quite true, but I wish she wouldn't say such things before people. It
makes one so uncomfortable. Here she has insisted on our staying with
the Pope, which may put me in a very awkward position with regard to
several of our allies in Italy. He has been, however, most gracious.
Jane is very impulsive at times. She insisted on our making an
expedition to the Bridge here, by moonlight, and dancing on it. She
kicked off her shoes and danced barefooted; I asked her not to do this,
whereupon she said: "If the courtiers hadn't praised my ankles you would
never have married me and what's the use of having pretty ankles, if
nobody can see them!" I shall be glad when we get to Italy. I am
determined to preserve a strict incognito, once we are across the
frontier.

_Turin, June_ 10.--It has poured with rain every day since we crossed
the frontier, and Jane won't believe that it is ever fine in Italy. It
is very cold for the time of year, and the people here say that there
has not been such a summer for thirty years. Every time I mention the
blue sky of Italy Jane loses her temper. She spends all her time at the
goldsmiths' shops and at the weavers'--I am afraid she is extravagant:
and her taste in dress is not quite as restrained as I could wish. Of
course it doesn't matter here, but at home it would shock people. For
instance, last night she came down to supper dressed as a Turkish
Sultana in pink trousers and a scimitar, and without even a veil over
her face. When I remonstrated she said men did not understand these
things.

_Milan, June_ 15.--It is still raining. Jane refused to look at the
Cathedral and spends her whole time at the merchants' booths as usual.
To-day I broached the incognito question. I suggested our walking on
foot, or perhaps riding on mules, to Florence. Jane, to my great
surprise, said she would be delighted to do this, and asked when we were
to start. I said we had better start the day after to-morrow. I am
greatly relieved. She is really very sensible, if a little impulsive at
times; but considering her early life, it might be much worse. I have
much to be thankful for. She is greatly admired, only I wish she would
not wear such bright colours.

_Florence, June_ 20.--It has been a great disappointment. Just as we
were making preparations to start entirely incognito--Jane had even
begged that we should walk on foot the whole way and take no clothes
with us--a messenger arrived from the Florentine Embassy here, saying
that the Duke of Florence had heard of our intended visit and had put a
cavalcade of six carriages, fifty mules, seven litters, and a hundred
men-at-arms at our disposal. How he could have heard of our intention I
don't know! Jane was bitterly disappointed. She cried, and said she had
been looking forward to this walking tour more than to anything else.
But I managed to soothe her, and she eventually consented to accept the
escort of the Duke. It would have been impossible to refuse. As it was,
we were very comfortable. We stopped at Bologna on the way, and Jane
insisted on going to the market and buying a sausage. She tried to make
me taste it, but I cannot endure the taste of garlic.

At Florence we were magnificently received, and taken at once to the
Palace--where the rooms are very spacious. Jane complains of the
draughts and the cold. It is still pouring with rain. There is a very
fine collection of Greek statues to be seen here, but Jane takes no
interest in these things. The first thing she did was to go to the New
bridge, which is lined with goldsmiths' shops on both sides and to spend
a great deal of money on perfectly useless trinkets. She says she must
have some things to bring back to my sisters. This was thoughtful of
her. The Duke is going to give a great banquet in our honour on Tuesday
next.

_June_ 23.--The feast is to-night. The gardens have been hung with
lanterns: a banquet has been prepared on a gigantic scale. Five hundred
guests have been bidden. Jane was greatly looking forward to it and lo
and behold! by the most evil mischance a terrible vexation has befallen
us. A courier arrived this morning, bearing letters for me, and among
them was one announcing the death of the Duke of Burgundy, who is my
uncle by marriage. I told Jane that of course we could not possibly be
present at the banquet. Jane said that I knew best, but that the Duke
would be mortally offended by our absence, since he had arranged the
banquet entirely for us and spent a sum of 10,000 ducats on it. It would
be, she pointed out--and I am obliged to admit she is right--most
impolitic to annoy the Duke. After an hour's reflection I hit on what
seemed to me an excellent solution--that we should be present, but
dressed in mourning. Jane said this was impossible as she had no black
clothes. Then she suggested that I should keep back the news until
to-morrow, and if the news were received in other quarters, deny its
authenticity, and say we had a later bulletin. This on the whole seemed
to be the wisest course. As the etiquette here is very strict and the
Dowager Duchess is most particular, I pray that Jane may be careful and
guarded in her expressions.

_June_ 25.--My poor dear mother was right after all. I should have
listened, and now it is too late. The dinner went off very well. We sat
at a small table on a raised dais. Jane sat between the Duke and the
Prime Minister and opposite the Dowager Duchess. There was no one at the
table, except myself, under sixty years of age, and only the greatest
magnates were present. Jane was silent and demure and becomingly
dressed. I congratulated myself on everything. After the banquet came
the dance, and Jane took part with exquisite grace in the saraband: she
observed all the rules of etiquette. The Dowager Duchess seemed charmed
with her. Then later came supper, which was served in a tent, and which
was perhaps more solemn than everything. When the time came to lead Jane
to supper she was nowhere to be found. Outside in the garden the minor
nobles were dancing in masks, and some mimes were singing. We waited,
and then a message came that the Queen had had a touch of ague and had
retired. The supper went off gloomily. At the close an enormous pie was
brought in, the sight of which caused a ripple of well-bred applause.
"Viva Il Re Cophetua" was written on it in letters of pink sugar. It was
truly a triumph of culinary art. The mime announced that the moment had
come for it to be cut, and as the Grand Duke rose to do this the thin
crust burst of itself, and out stepped Jane, with no garments beside her
glorious dark hair! She tripped on to the table, and then with a peal of
laughter leapt from it and ran into the garden, since when she has not
been heard of! My anguish and shame are too great for words.

But the Duke and the Dowager have been most sympathetic.

_June_ 26.--Jane has fled, and my jewels as well as hers are missing.

It is suspected that the attaché at the Florentine Embassy at Milan is
at the bottom of the conspiracy, for Jane herself had a good heart.



IV

FROM THE DIARY OF FROISSART, WAR CORRESPONDENT


_Parys, The Feast of the Epiphanie_.--The astrologers say there will be
plenty-full trouble in Normandy, in the spring.

_June_ 10.--To dyner with the Cardinall of Piergourt to meet the gentyll
King of Behayne and the Lorde Charles, his son. The Cardinall sayd
neither the Kynge of Englande nor the Frenche Kynge desire warre, but
the honour of them and of their people saved, they wolde gladly fall to
any reasonable way. But the King of Behayne shook his heade and sayd: "I
am feare I am a pesymyste," which is Almayne for a man who beholds the
future with no gladde chere.

_June_ 20.--The great merchaunt of Araby, Montefior, says there will be
no warre. He has received worde from the cytie of London, and his
friends, great merchaunts all, and notably, Salmone and Glukstyn, sayd
likewise that there will be no warre.

_June_ 30.--The currours have brought worde home, the Kynge of Englande
was on the see with a great army, and is now a lande in Normandy. Have
received faire offers for chronycles of the warre from London, Parys,
and Rome; they offer three thousand crounes monthly, payeing curtesly
for all my expenses. Have sayd I will gladly fall to their wish.

_July_ 1.--Trussed bagge and baggage in great hast and departed towarde
Normandy, the seat of warre.

_July_ 2.--Ryde but small journeys, and do purpose, being no great
horseman, every time I have to ryde a horse, to add three crounes to the
expenses which my patrons curtesly pay.

Take lodgynges every day bytwene noone and thre of the clocke. Finde the
contrey frutefull and reasonably suffycent of wyne.

_July_ 3, _Cane_.--A great and ryche town with many burgesses, crafty
men. They solde wyne so deare that there were no byers save myself who
bought suffycent and added to the lyste which my patrons curtesly pay.

_July_ 4, _Amyense_.--Left Cane and the englysshmen have taken the toune
and clene robbed it. Right pensyve as to putting my lyfe in adventure.

Sir Godmar de Fay is to kepe note of the chronyclers and he has ordayned
them to bring him their chronycles. He has curtesly made these rules
for the chronyclers. Chronyclers may only chronycle the truth.
Chronyclers may not chronycle the names of places, bridges, rivers,
castels where batayles happen--nor the names of any lordes, knyghtes,
marshals, erles, or others who take part in the batayle: nor the names
of any weapons or artillery used, nor the names or numbers of any
prisoners taken in batayle.

Thanks to Sir Godmar de Fay the chronycler's task has been made lyghter.

_July_ 6, _Calys_.--The chronyclers have been ordayned by Sir Godmar de
Fay to go to Calys. There are nine chronyclers. One is an Alleymayne,
who is learned in the art of warre, one is a Genowayes, and one an
Englysshman, the rest are Frenche. The cytie of Calys is full of drapery
and other merchauntdyse, noble ladyes and damosels. The chronyclers
have good wyl to stay in the cytie.

_July_ 7.--Sir Godmar de Fay has ordayned all the chronyclers to leave
the cytie of Calys and to ride to a lytell town called Nully, where
there are no merchauntdyse, and no damosels, nor suffycent of wyne. The
chronyclers are not so merrie as in the cytie of Calys.

_July_ 9.--Played chesse with the Genowayse and was checkmate with a
bishop.

_August_ 6.--The chronyclers are all pensyve. They are lodged in the
feldes. There has fallen a great rayne that pours downe on our tents.
There is no wyne nor pasties, nor suffycent of flesshe, no bookes for to
rede, nor any company.

Last nyghte I wrote a ballade on Warre, which ends, "But Johnnie
Froissart wisheth he were dead." It is too indiscrete to publysh. I wysh
I were at Calys. I wysh I were at Parys. I wysh I were anywhere but at
Nully.

_August_ 23.--At the Kynge's commandment the chronyclers are to go to
the fronte.

_August_ 25, _Friday_.--The Kynge of Englande and the French Kynge have
ordayned all the business of a batayle. I shall watch it and chronycle
it from a hill, which shall not be too farre away to see and not too
neare to adventure my lyfe.

_August_ 26.--I rode to a windmill but mistooke the way, as a great
rayne fell, then the eyre waxed clere and I saw a great many Englyssh
erls and Frenche knyghtes, riding in contrarie directions, in hast. Then
many Genowayse went by, and the Englysshmen began to shote feersly with
their crossbowes and their arowes fell so hotly that I rode to a lytell
hut, and finding shelter there I wayted till the snowe of arowes should
have passed. Then I clymbed to the top of the hill but I could see
lytell but dyverse men riding here and there. When I went out again,
aboute evensong, I could see no one aboute, dyverse knyghtes and squyers
rode by looking for their maisters, and then it was sayd the Kynge had
fought a batayle, and had rode to the castell of Broye, and thence to
Amyense.

_August_ 30.--The chronyclers have been ordayned to go to Calys, whereat
they are well pleased save for a feare of a siege. The chronyclers have
writ the chronycle of the Day of Saturday, August 26. It was a great
batayle, ryght cruell, and it is named the batayle of Cressey.

Some of the chronyclers say the Englysshmen discomfyted the French;
others that the King discomfyted the Englysshe; but the Englysshmen
repute themselves to have the victorie; but all this shall be told in my
chronycle, which I shall write when I am once more in the fayre cytie of
Parys. It was a great batayle and the Frenche and the Englysshe Lordes
are both well pleased at the feats of arms, and the Frenche Kynge,
though the day was not as he wolde have had it, has wonne hygh renowne
and is ryght pleased--likewise the Englysshe Kynge, and his son; but
both Kynges have ordayned the chronyclers to make no boast of their good
adventure.

_August_ 30.--The Kynge of Englande has layd siege to Calys and has sayd
he will take the towne by famysshing. When worde of this was brought to
the chronyclers they were displeased. It is well that I have hyd in a
safe place some wyne and other thynges necessarie.

_Later_.--All thynges to eat are solde at a great pryce. A mouse costs a
croune.

_August_ 31.--All the poore and mean people were constrained by the
capture of Calys to yssue out of the town, men, women, and children, and
to pass through the Englysshe host, and with them the poore chronyclers.
And the Kynge of Englande gave them and the chronyclers mete and drinke
to dyner, and every person ii d. sterlying in alms.

And the chronyclers have added to the lyst of their costs which their
patrons curtesly pay: To loss of honour at receiving alms from an
Englysshe Kynge, a thousand crounes.



V

FROM THE DIARY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON

WRITTEN WHEN A SCHOOLBOY


_Bridges Creek_, 1744, _September_ 20.--My mother has at last consented
to let me go to school. I had repeatedly made it quite plain to her that
the private tuition hitherto accorded to me was inadequate; that I would
be in danger of being outstripped in the race owing to insufficient
groundwork. My mother, although very shrewd in some matters, was
curiously obstinate on this point. She positively declined to let me
attend the day-school, saying that she thought I knew quite enough for a
boy of my age, and that it would be time enough for me to go to school
when I was older. I quoted to her Tacitus' powerful phrase about the
insidious danger of indolence; how there is a charm in indolence--but
let me taste the full pleasure of transcribing the noble original:
"Subit quippe etiam ipsius inertiæ dulcedo: et invisa primo desidia
postremo amatur"; but she only said that she did not understand Latin.
This was scarcely an argument, as I translated it for her.

I cannot help thinking that there was sometimes an element of pose in
Tacitus' much-vaunted terseness.

_September_ 29.--I went to school for the first time to-day. I confess I
was disappointed. We are reading, in the Fourth Division, in which I was
placed at my mother's express request, Eutropius and Ovid; both very
insipid writers. The boys are lamentably backward and show a deplorable
lack of interest in the classics. The French master has an accent that
leaves much to be desired, and he seems rather shaky about his past
participles. However, all these things are but trifles. What I really
resent is the gross injustice which seems to be the leading principle at
this school--if school it can be called.

For instance, when the master asks a question, those boys who know the
answer are told to hold up their hands. During the history lesson Henry
VIII. was mentioned in connection with the religious quarrels of the
sixteenth century, a question which, I confess, can but have small
interest for any educated person at the present day. The master asked
what British poet had written a play on the subject of Henry VIII. I, of
course, held up my hand, and so did a boy called Jonas Pike. I was told
to answer first, and I said that the play was in the main by Fletcher,
with possible later interpolations. The usher, it is scarcely credible,
said, "Go to the bottom of the form," and when Jonas Pike was asked he
replied, "Shakespeare," and was told to go up one. This was, I consider,
a monstrous piece of injustice.

During one of the intervals, which are only too frequent, between the
lessons, the boys play a foolish game called "It," in which even those
who have no aptitude and still less inclination for this tedious form of
horse-play, are compelled to take part. The game consists in one boy
being named "it" (though why the neuter is used in this case instead of
the obviously necessary masculine it is hard to see). He has to
endeavour to touch one of the other boys, who in their turn do their
best to evade him by running, and should he succeed in touching one of
them, the boy who is touched becomes "it" _ipso facto_. It is all very
tedious and silly. I was touched almost immediately, and when I said
that I would willingly transfer the privilege of being touched to one of
the other boys who were obviously eager to obtain it, one of the bigger
boys (again Jonas Pike) gave me a sharp kick on the shin. I confess I
was ruffled. I was perhaps to blame in what followed. I am, perhaps,
inclined to forget at times that Providence has made me physically
strong. I retaliated with more insistence than I intended, and in the
undignified scuffle which ensued Jonas Pike twisted his ankle. He had to
be supported home. When questioned as to the cause of the accident I
regret to say he told a deliberate falsehood. He said he had slipped on
the ladder in the gymnasium. I felt it my duty to inform the head-master
of the indirect and unwilling part I had played in the matter.

The head master, who is positively unable to perceive the importance of
plain-speaking, said, "I suppose you mean you did it." I answered, "No,
sir; I was the resisting but not the passive agent in an unwarrantable
assault." The result was I was told to stay in during the afternoon and
copy out the First Eclogue of Virgil. It is characteristic of the head
master to choose a feeble Eclogue of Virgil instead of one of the
admirable Georgics. Jonas Pike is to be flogged, as soon as his foot is
well, for his untruthfulness.

This, my first experience of school life, is not very hopeful.

_October_ 10.--The routine of the life here seems to me more and more
meaningless. The work is to me child's play; and indeed chiefly
consists in checking the inaccuracies of the ushers. They show no
gratitude to me--indeed, sometimes the reverse of gratitude.

One day, in the English class, one of the ushers grossly misquoted Pope.
He said, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." I held up my hand
and asked if the line was not rather "A little learning is a dangerous
thing," adding that Pope would scarcely have thought a little
_knowledge_ to be dangerous, since all _knowledge_ is valuable. The
usher tried to evade the point by a joke, which betrayed gross
theological ignorance. He said: "All Popes are not infallible."

One of the boys brought into school a foolish toy--a gutta-percha snake
that contracts under pressure and expands when released, with a
whistling screech.

Jonas Pike, who is the most ignorant as well as the most ill-mannered of
all the boys, suggested that the snake should be put into the French
master's locker, in which he keeps the exercises for the week. The key
of the locker is left in charge of the top boy of the class, who, I say
it in all modesty, is myself. Presently another boy, Hudson by name,
asked me for the key. I gave it to him, and he handed it to Pike, who
inserted the snake in the locker. When the French master opened the
locker the snake flew in his face. He asked me if I had had any hand in
the matter. I answered that I had not touched the snake. He asked me if
I had opened the locker; I, of course, said "No." Questioned further as
to how the snake could have got there, I admitted having lent the key to
Hudson, ignorant of any ulterior purpose. In spite of this I was
obliged, in company with Pike and Hudson, to copy out some entirely
old-fashioned and meaningless exercises in syntax.

_October_ 13.--A pretty little episode happened at home to-day. The
gardener's boy asked me if he might try his new axe on the old
cherry-tree, which I have often vainly urged mother to cut down. I said,
"By all means." It appears that he misunderstood me and cut down the
tree. My mother was about to send him away, but I went straight to her
and said I would take the entire responsibility for the loss of the tree
on myself, as I had always openly advocated its removal and that the
gardener's boy was well aware of my views on the subject. My mother was
so much touched at my straightforwardness that she gave me some candy, a
refreshment to which I am still partial. Would that the ushers at
school could share her fine discrimination, her sound judgment, and her
appreciation of character.



VI

FROM THE DIARY OF MARCUS AURELIUS


_Rome. The Ides of March_.--It is curious that Julius Cæsar should have
considered this date to be unlucky! It was on that--for him
auspicious--date that he was for ever prevented from committing the
egregious folly of accepting the crown of Rome. A _king_ of Rome is an
unthinkable thing! An emperor of the Roman Empire is, of course, a very
different matter.

_April_ 1.--Faustina, in accordance with some ridiculous tradition,
committed a grossly undignified act. She came into my study, the third
hour--my busiest time, and asked me to lend her the memoirs of Remus in
the Wolf's Lair. I spent a fruitless half-hour in search of the book. It
then occurred to me that the whole matter was a jest--in the very worst
taste, since both my secretaries were present--and I regret to say they
smiled.

_April_ 6.--Went to the games, in company with Faustina and Commodus.
Commodus, as usual, too exuberant in the manner of his applause. I am
all in favour of his applauding. The games are not what they used to be.
The modern lions consume the Christians without the slightest
discrimination. All this modern hurry and hustle is very distressing.

_April_ 10.--Stayed at Tivoli with V.... and A.... from Saturday to
Monday. Even in a country house a day may be well spent. Much
interesting talk on the Fiscal question. V.... deprecates Tariff Reform
in all its shapes. A.... while remaining, as he ever was, a staunch Free
Trader, considers that in some cases--and given certain conditions
--retaliation is admissible--possibly in the matter of the fringes of
litters and the axles of chariot-wheels---objects which exclusively
concern the very rich.

_April_ 20.--An exhilarating day. Walked to the Tiber and back. Read the
preface of the new Persian grammar. Faustina interrupted me three times
over purely trivial matters of domestic detail.

_April_ 20.--Commodus is impossible. He grows more and more extravagant
every day. He persists in spending his pocket money in buying absurd
pets--and the gods know that Faustina has enough pets in the house
already. But I am thankful to say I have drawn the line at badgers. I
put my foot down. I was dignified, but firm. I endure Faustina's
peacocks, because I think it is good for my better nature. Besides which
they are ornamental and--if properly dressed--not unpleasant to the
palate, but badgers--!

_April_ 20.--A painful episode occurred. When I returned from my morning
stroll I was aware that an altercation was taking place in the atrium. I
entered and found myself face to face with two Persian merchants--of the
lowest type--who were exhibiting to Faustina several ropes of pearls.
Faustina, of course, had had no hand in the matter. The merchants had
forced themselves on her presence on some ridiculous pretext. Faustina,
in spite of her faults, values jewels at their true price. She has a
soul above such things. She abhors trinkets. She sees their futility.

_April_ 23.--Re-read the Iliad. Find it too long. The character of Helen
shows defective psychology. Homer did not understand women.

_April_ 27.--Games again. Very tame. Lions lethargic as usual. How
dissatisfied Nero would have been! Nero, although a bad poet, was an
excellent organiser. He understood the _psychology of the crowd_. He was
essentially an altruist. Faustina insisted on making a foolish bet.
Women's bets are the last word of silliness. They bet because the name
of a gladiator reminds them of a pet dog, or for some such reason. They
have no inkling of logic: no power of deduction. I found no difficulty
in anticipating the victories of the successful candidates, but I
refrained from making a wager.

_May_ 1.--Absurd processions in the streets. Faustina painted her face
black and walked round the garden in a movable bower of greenery. I
could see no kind of point or sense in the episode. Under
cross-examination, she confessed that the idea had been suggested to her
by her nurse. All this is very trying. It sets Commodus the worst
possible example. But I suppose I must endure this. The ways of Fate are
inscrutable, and after all, things might have been worse. Faustina might
have been a loose woman! A profligate!

_May_ 6.--Read out the first canto of my epic on the origins of species
to Faustina and Commodus. Commodus, I regret to say, yawned and finally
dozed. Faustina enjoyed it immensely. She said she always thought that I
was a real poet, and that now she _knew it_. She says she thinks it is
far better than Homer or Virgil; that there is so much more in it.
Faustina is a very good judge of literature. There is no one whose
opinion on matters of art and literature I value more. For instance she
thinks Sappho's lyrics are not only trivial, but coarse. She also thinks
Æschylus much overrated, which, of course, he is. How far we have got
beyond all that! Some day I mean to write a play on the subject of love.
It has never yet been properly treated--on the stage. Sophocles and
Seneca knew nothing of women; and Euripides' women are far too
complicated.

_May_ 12.--Meditated on religion, but was again interrupted by Faustina
just as I was making a really illuminating note on the subject of Isis.
Much distressed by modern free thought. Commodus pays much too much
attention to the minor goddesses, but this, at his age, is excusable.
He is, thank goodness, entirely untainted by the detestable Jewish or
so-called "Christian" superstition, which I fear is spreading.

_May_ 13.--V.... and A.... dined. Also a Greek philosopher whose name
escapes me. The Greek was most indiscreet. He discussed the Christian
question before everybody. He must have been aware by my expression that
the topic is one which I consider unfit for public discussion. He not
only discussed, but he actually defended this hysterical, obstinate,
unpatriotic, and fundamentally criminal sect. I do not, of course,
entirely credit the stories current with regard to their orgies and
their human sacrifices. The evidence is not--so far--sufficiently sound;
but, whatever their practices and their rites may be, the Christians are
a pernicious and dangerous sect. They will prove, unless they are
extirpated, the ruin of the Empire. They have no notion of civic duty;
no reverence, no respect for custom or tradition. They are unfilial, and
they are the enemies of the human race. They are a cancer in the State.
Faustina agrees with me, I am glad to say.

_May_ 14.--Commodus is suspected of having made friends with a Christian
slave. The rumour is no doubt a calumny. I cannot bring myself to
believe that a son of mine, with the education which he has enjoyed, and
the example which has ever been before his eyes, of his father's
unswerving and unremitting devotion to duty and the State, can have
degraded himself by dabbling in this degrading and wicked superstition.
Nevertheless it is as well to be on the safe side, and, after prolonged
reflection, I have decided to make a great sacrifice. I am going to
allow him to take part professionally in the games: under another name
of course. I think it may distract him. The games are a Roman
institution. They are the expression of the Empire. They breathe the
spirit of Romulus, of Brutus, of Regulus, of Fabius Cunctator, of
Cincinnatus, of the Gracchi. Faustina said only yesterday that she felt
she was the mother of at least one Gracchus! That was well said. I was
much touched.

_May_ 20.--Commodus has appeared with great success, but the Lions still
show apathy.



VII

FROM THE DIARY OF MRS JAMES LEE'S HUSBAND


_October_ 1.--At last the heat wave is over. It's the first day we have
been able to breathe for months.

Just as I was coming back from my morning walk, Hilda leant out of the
window, and suggested I could climb up into her room like Romeo. I said
I preferred the door. Hilda shut the window with a bang and was cross
all through luncheon.

"Rissoles again," I said to Hilda, "you know I hate hashed meat." She
said: "I know I can't give you the food you get at the Grand Hotel."
That's because I went to Deauville last week.

_October_ 5.--We lit a fire for the first time last night. Hilda said
she felt cold. I thought it was rather stuffy. She said: "Do light the
fire," and went out of the room. I lit it, and it smoked. This chimney
always does smoke at first. When she came back she said: "What have you
done?" I said: "I've lit the fire; you asked me to." She said: "But not
all that wood at once, and you ought to have pushed the wood back." For
the rest of the evening she complained of the heat and the smoke,
although we had the window open in the dining room and the smoke had all
disappeared after a few moments.

_October_ 7.--It's very windy. Went for a walk on the cliffs. Back
through the fields. Saw a rabbit and a magpie. Wish I had had a gun.

I said to Hilda that the sea was striped to leeward like a snake, and
olive-coloured, but on the weather side it was spotted with wind. Hilda
said: "You are very observant about the weather." This was a hit at me
and the fire. Little things rankle in her mind.

Afterwards she was sorry she had said this and she said: "What fun we
shall have here in winter." I don't think it's a winter place myself,
but I want to stay here till I've finished my poem. I'm getting on with
it.

_October_ 8.--I read out to Hilda a lyric I had just finished. It's to
come in the Second Canto when Lancelot says good-bye to Princess Asra.
The situation is roughly that the Princess bullies him and he gets sick
of it and goes--and then, of course, she's sorry, when it's too late.
He sings the song as he's going. She overhears it. I was rather pleased
with it. Hilda said: "Oh! of course I know I worry you with my
attentions." What this had got to do with the poem I can't think. It was
all because last night, when I was working, Hilda came into my room and
said: "Are you warm enough?" and I said "Yes," rather absent-mindedly,
as I was in the middle of my work. Ten minutes later she looked in again
and asked me if I wanted some beer, and I said "No," without looking up.
Then very soon afterwards she came in a third time, and asked me if I
was sure I wasn't cold, and whether I wouldn't have the fire lit. Rather
snappishly--because it is a bore to be interrupted just when one's on
the verge of getting an idea fixed--I said "No."

I'm afraid this hurt her feelings.

_October_ 9.--Since Hilda has given up her sketching she has nothing to
do. I was very busy this afternoon finishing my weekly article in time
for the post. She rushed into the room and said didn't I think a
butterfly settling on a jock was the ultimate symbol of love and the
mind of man? I said I thought she was very probably right. Heavens knows
what she meant. Women's minds move by jerks, one never knows what
they'll say next. They're so irrelevant.

_October_ 10.--It's blowing a gale. Stuck in the poem. Hilda says it's
cynical. I don't know what she means. She says she didn't know I was so
bitter. I said: "It's only a kind of fairy tale." She said: "Yes; but
that makes it worse." "But it's only an ordinary love story," I said.
She said: "Of course I know nothing can go on being the same. It can no
doubt be better, but not the same as it was before." "But Princess Asra
is only an incident in my poem," I said. Hilda said nothing, but after a
time she asked me whether I thought that was the meaning of the moan of
the wind. I have no idea what she meant by "that." She is very cryptic
sometimes.

_October_ 11.--Lovely day. The sun came out and I suggested that I
should take a holiday, and that we should go and have a picnic on the
rocks. I was afraid Hilda might have something against the plan--one
never knows. But she didn't. On the contrary she seemed delighted. She
made a hamper and I carried it down to the rocks. We caught shrimps and
threw stones into the sea just like children. I think Hilda enjoyed
herself. On the way home, I asked her why she didn't go on with her
drawing. I really think it's a great pity she has given it up. She has
real talent. She said: "I will if you wish it." I said: "Of course I
don't want you to do it, if you don't like; but I do think it's a pity
to waste such a very real talent." She said: "I quite understand," and
sighed. I wonder what she was thinking of. Hilda is absurdly modest. She
draws extremely well, especially figures.

_October_ 12.--Hilda has begun drawing again. I am delighted. She began
copying the cast of a hand; but I suggested to her that it would be far
more interesting for her to draw a real hand from nature. So she got a
little girl from the village to sit for her. I am delighted. It gives
her an occupation, and I really am very busy just now. After all, we
came here so as not to be disturbed--to be away from people and
interruptions; and I find that in the last two months I have got through
less work than I did in London in June. I must make up for lost time. I
can't get on with the poem. I think I shall leave it for a time. I
should immensely like Hilda's opinion on what ought to happen next. She
can be of the greatest help and use when she chooses. Unfortunately she
has taken one of those unreasonable and entirely unaccountable dislikes
to this poem, and no argument is of the slightest use. It's no good even
mentioning it. I shall leave it for a time and go on with my other work.
It is most unfortunate that Hilda should look upon it in this light,
especially as she doesn't even know what the subject is; but she has
taken an episode--in fact, one little song--as symbolic of the whole.
But then logic never was Hilda's strong point.

_October_ 13.--Hilda is getting on very well with the hand. She seems to
enjoy it, which is the great thing.

_October_ 24.--Have been too busy all these last days thinking, even to
write my diary. Believe I have at last really got an idea for the poem.
Shall begin to-morrow. Have not dared mention it to Hilda. Fortunately
she is still utterly absorbed in her drawing.

_October_ 27.--Great disappointment. Last night Hilda said it was no
good concealing things any longer, and that one must look facts in the
face. I had no idea what she meant. Then she said she had noticed for
some time past how bored I was here, and how I was longing to get rid
of her. Nothing I could say would persuade her of the contrary. I tried
to explain that I had been searching for a new idea and that this had no
doubt made me appear more absent-minded than usual. She said: "I am not
going to worry you any longer. I am going to set you free." And to my
intense surprise she announced that she had booked a berth on the
steamer for the day after to-morrow. I knew that argument wouldn't be of
any use, so I gave in at once. It is most disappointing just as I had
got an idea I wanted to consult her about.

_October_ 29.--On board the steamer _Queen Marguerite_. Saw Hilda off.
She insisted on going and refused to argue. Deeply regret she is
leaving. Hilda is the only woman I ever met who remains tidy even on a
steamer. The sea-air suits her. It has done her a world of good, and
it's a great pity she is leaving so soon--she says it's for good; but
that, of course, is ridiculous.



VIII

FROM THE DIARY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES


_Baker Street, January_ 1.--Starting a diary in order to jot down a few
useful incidents which will be of no use to Watson. Watson very often
fails to see that an unsuccessful case is more interesting from a
professional point of view than a successful case. He means well.

_January_ 6.--Watson has gone to Brighton for a few days, for change of
air. This morning quite an interesting little incident happened which I
note as a useful example of how sometimes people who have no powers of
deduction nevertheless stumble on the truth for the wrong reason. (This
never happens to Watson, _fortunately_.) Lestrade called from Scotland
Yard with reference to the theft of a diamond and ruby ring from Lady
Dorothy Smith's wedding presents. The facts of the case were briefly
these: On Thursday evening such of the presents as were jewels had been
brought down from Lady Dorothy's bedroom to the drawing-room to be shown
to an admiring group of friends. The ring was amongst them. After they
had been shown, the jewels were taken upstairs once more and locked in
the safe. The next morning the ring was missing. Lestrade, after
investigating the matter, came to the conclusion that the ring had not
been stolen, but had either been dropped in the drawing-room, or
replaced in one of the other cases; but since he had searched the room
and the remaining cases, his theory so far received no support. I
accompanied him to Eaton Square to the residence of Lady Middlesex, Lady
Dorothy's mother.

While we were engaged in searching the drawing-room, Lestrade uttered a
cry of triumph and produced the ring from the lining of the arm-chair. I
told him he might enjoy the triumph, but that the matter was not quite
so simple as he seemed to think. A glance at the ring had shown me not
only that the stones were false, but that the false ring had been made
in a hurry. To deduce the name of its maker was of course child's play.
Lestrade or any pupil of Scotland Yard would have taken for granted it
was the same jeweller who had made the real ring. I asked for the
bridegroom's present, and in a short time I was interviewing the
jeweller who had provided it. As I thought, he had made a ring, with
imitation stones (made of the dust of real stones), a week ago, for a
young lady. She had given no name and had fetched and paid for it
herself. I deduced the obvious fact that Lady Dorothy had lost the real
ring, her uncle's gift, and, not daring to say so, had had an imitation
ring made. I returned to the house, where I found Lestrade, who had
called to make arrangements for watching the presents during their
exhibition.

I asked for Lady Dorothy, who at once said to me:

"The ring was found yesterday by Mr Lestrade."

"I know," I answered, "but which ring?"

She could not repress a slight twitch of the eyelids as she said:
"There was only one ring."

I told her of my discovery and of my investigations.

"This is a very odd coincidence, Mr Holmes," she said. "Some one else
must have ordered an imitation. But you shall examine my ring for
yourself." Where-upon she fetched the ring, and I saw it was no
imitation. She had of course in the meantime found the real ring.

But to my intense annoyance she took it to Lestrade and said to him:

"Isn't this the ring you found yesterday, Mr Lestrade?"

Lestrade examined it and said, "Of course it is absolutely identical in
every respect."

"And do you think it is an imitation?" asked this most provoking young
lady.

"Certainly not," said Lestrade, and turning to me he added: "Ah!
Holmes, that is where theory leads one. At the Yard we go in for facts."

I could say nothing; but as I said good-bye to Lady Dorothy, I
congratulated her on having found the real ring. The incident, although
it proved the correctness of my reasoning, was vexing as it gave that
ignorant blunderer an opportunity of crowing over me.

_January_ 10.--A man called just as Watson and I were having breakfast.
He didn't give his name. He asked me if I knew who he was. I said,
"Beyond seeing that you are unmarried, that you have travelled up this
morning from Sussex, that you have served in the French Army, that you
write for reviews, and are especially interested in the battles of the
Middle Ages, that you give lectures, that you are a Roman Catholic, and
that you have once been to Japan, I don't know who you are."

The man replied that he _was_ unmarried, but that he lived in
Manchester, that he had never been to Sussex or Japan, that he had never
written a line in his life, that he had never served in any army save
the English Territorial force, that so far from being a Roman Catholic
he was a Freemason, and that he was by trade an electrical engineer--I
suspected him of lying; and I asked him why his boots were covered with
the clayey and chalk mixture peculiar to Horsham; why his boots were
French Army service boots, elastic-sided, and bought probably at Valmy;
why the second half of a return ticket from Southwater was emerging from
his ticket-pocket; why he wore the medal of St Anthony on his
watch-chain; why he smoked Caporal cigarettes; why the proofs of an
article on the Battle of Eylau were protruding from his breast-pocket,
together with a copy of the _Tablet_; why he carried in his hand a
parcel which, owing to the untidy way in which it had been made (an
untidiness which, in harmony with the rest of his clothes, showed that
he could not be married) revealed the fact that it contained
photographic magic lantern slides; and why he was tattooed on the left
wrist with a Japanese fish.

"The reason I have come to consult you will explain some of these
things," he answered.

"I was staying last night at the Windsor Hotel, and this morning when I
woke up I found an entirely different set of clothes from my own. I
called the waiter and pointed this out, but neither the waiter nor any
of the other servants, after making full enquiries, were able to
account for the change. None of the other occupants of the hotel had
complained of anything being wrong with their own clothes.

"Two gentlemen had gone out early from the hotel at 7.30. One of them
had left for good, the other was expected to return.

"All the belongings I am wearing, including this parcel, which contains
slides, belong to someone else.

"My own things contained nothing valuable, and consisted of clothes and
boots very similar to these; my coat was also stuffed with papers. As to
the tattoo, it was done at a Turkish bath by a shampooer, who learnt the
trick in the Navy."

The case did not present any features of the slightest interest. I
merely advised the man to return to the hotel and await the real owner
of the clothes, who was evidently the man who had gone out at 7.30.

This is a case of my reasoning being, with one partial exception,
perfectly correct. Everything I had deduced would no doubt have fitted
the real owner of the clothes.

Watson asked rather irrelevantly why I had not noticed that the clothes
were not the man's own clothes.

A stupid question, as the clothes were reach-me-downs which fitted him
as well as such clothes ever do fit, and he was probably of the same
build as their rightful owner.

_January_ 12.--Found a carbuncle of unusual size in the plum-pudding.
Suspected the makings of an interesting case. But luckily, before I had
stated any hypothesis to Watson--who was greatly excited--Mrs Turner
came in and noticed it and said her naughty nephew Bill had been at his
tricks again, and that the red stone had come from a Christmas tree. Of
course, I had not examined the stone with my lens.



IX

FROM THE DIARY OF THE EMPEROR TITUS


          Titus reginam Berenicem ... cui etiam nuptias
          pollicitus ferebatur ... statim ab urbe demisit invitus
          invitam. --TACITUS.

_Rome, Monday_.--The eruption at Vesuvius does not after all appear to
have been greatly exaggerated, as I at first had thought on receiving
Pliny's graphic letter. One never can quite trust literary men when
facts are in question. It is clear that I missed a very fine and
interesting spectacle. In fact I have lost a day. Good phrase, that.
Must try and bring it in some time or other.

_Tuesday_.--I fear there is no doubt of Berenice's growing
unpopularity. It is tiresome, as I was hoping that the marriage might
take place soon--quietly. She insists on wearing a diadem--which is
unnecessary; and her earrings--made of emeralds and gold cupids--are too
large. She asked me, to-day, if I didn't think she resembled the Rose of
Sharon. I said I supposed she meant the rose of Paestum. She said, "Ah!
You've never read the Song of Songs." I said I had read all Sappho. She
said, "It's not by Sappho, it's by Solomon." I had no idea King Solomon
wrote.

_Wednesday_.--Berenice has asked some of her relations to stay with her.
They arrived this morning. Her mother, her sister, her younger brother,
and her cousin. They are very conversational. They chatter together like
parrots or cockatoos. They are also insatiably inquisitive. Talked
finance with Paulinus. He says that the Treasury is practically empty.
Nobody in the palace appears to have any ready money. When the usual
crowd of beggars came to the palace this evening for their daily
allowance I had to send them away. It was the first time, Paulinus
remarked, that I had let a day go by without making a gift. "Yes," I
answered, "I have lost a day." The phrase, I am glad to say, was heard
by everybody. I afterwards borrowed a little money from Berenice's
brother, who made no difficulties. He is a nice, generous lad, if a
little talkative, but then we all of us have our faults. Berenice's
mother loses no opportunity of asking when the wedding day is to be.
Most awkward. I temporised.

_Thursday_.--Berenice's relations have spread the news in the Court, by
telling it to one of the matrons in strict confidence, that I am about
to marry Berenice almost immediately. This is most unfortunate. The news
has created a sensation, and they all say that such a match would be
more than unpopular amongst the people. Berenice has not mentioned it
herself. Lost heavily at dice yesterday. Accepted the offer of
Berenice's brother to lend me a lump sum, instead of constantly
borrowing small coins. I have no doubt that is the wiser course.

_Thursday, a week later_.--The strain on my purse is terrible. Had, of
course, to subscribe largely to the Pompeii and Herculaneum fund, also
to the pestilence relief, also to the Flavian Amphitheatre fund.
Borrowed another lump sum from Berenice's brother. He is certainly very
good-natured. Berenice's mother again referred to the marriage
question. I said this was an unlucky month for marriages. "Not if you
are born in December," she answered. Unfortunately I was born in
December.

_Friday_.--Do not know where to turn for money. Do not always want to be
borrowing from Berenice's brother. Somehow or other it makes them all so
familiar. Given the circumstances, and the extreme unpopularity of their
presence here, it is awkward. Besides, it is a shame to trade on the
good-nature of a youth. Have sold all the decorations of the Imperial
residence and devoted a portion of the proceeds to the Relief Fund. Some
one spread the rumour among the dear people that I had devoted the whole
of the money to the Relief Fund. I cannot think how these rumours get
about.

_Saturday, a week later_.--This has been a most expensive fortnight.
Have had to do a lot of entertaining, and I regret to say I have been
once more obliged to borrow a lump sum from Berenice's brother. How I
shall ever be able to pay him back the gods alone know! Had the news of
my marriage unofficially announced, followed immediately by a
semi-official and ambiguous denial, made to see what effect the news
would have among the public. Paulinus says the impression produced was
deplorable. The Romans cannot, he says, forget that Berenice is a queen.
Of course they can't, if she will wear a crown. People say, he says,
that even Nero and Caligula avoided offending public opinion on this
point. They refer also to Julius Cæsar's action on the Lupercal. There
is no doubt that such a course will ensure me a lasting unpopularity.
But what is to be done? Berenice's relations talk of the marriage as a
matter of course. I have practically promised marriage. Berenice herself
says nothing, but her silence is eloquent. Her brother becomes more and
more familiar, and presses me to accept further loans. I do my best to
refuse, and I have made a vow that the lump sum which he lent me to-day
shall be positively the last one.

_Monday_.--Paulinus tells me that the Senate have decided to present me
with a monster petition against my marriage. Since it is obviously
impossible--owing to the strong feeling raised and the present excited
state of popular opinion--I have resolved to anticipate events, and I
have given leave to Paulinus to contradict _officially_ the rumours of
my impending marriage. He is to add (unofficially) that Berenice is
shortly leaving Rome for change of air; and that she will probably
spend the summer months in her charming villa on the Dead Sea. In the
meantime I have got to break the news to Berenice before to-morrow
morning. Antiochus, the king of Commagene, arrived here this morning.
More expense!

_Monday night, later_.--The crisis is partially over. It has been
extremely painful. Berenice at first was incredulous. Then she was
upset, and left me, threatening to kill herself. I sent Paulinus to try
and calm her. She then said she would leave Rome without setting eyes on
me again, and state her reasons in an open letter which she would issue
for private circulation only. This, of course, would have been most
undesirable. Her mother and sister backed her up, and threw up at me the
example of Antony, taunting me with cowardice, of being afraid of the
Senate, and of outraging the dignity of a family, royal in rank, and of
immemorial lineage. (Berenice is directly descended from King Solomon on
her mother's side.) Finally, Berenice's brother came to me and said that
as he would shortly be leaving Rome he would be obliged if I could pay
him back the trifling loans he had favoured me with. He brought a list
of them. He charges interest. It is a tradition, he says, in his family,
to charge 90 per cent, interest on _Royal_ loans. He said that he was
quite willing to apply to the Senate, if the reimbursement in any way
incommoded me. This was a great shock to me. Immediate repayment was and
is impossible. The marriage is equally impossible. I told Berenice
frankly that I could not remain in Rome as Emperor and the husband of a
foreign _Queen_. She said, "But why shouldn't I be Empress?" Woman-like,
she missed the point. I said I was willing to follow her to her villa
and renounce all claim to the Empire. Having offered her this
alternative, I summoned Antiochus, who is an old friend of hers, to be
the arbiter. As soon as the facts were put before him I left them and
Antiochus had a lengthy interview with Berenice in private. I was
convinced this was the best course. At the end of it, Berenice
generously refused to accept my sacrifice, and while renouncing all idea
of self-slaughter or retaliation announced her intention of leaving
Rome. But those loans! and their terrible interest! that matter is still
unsettled!

_Tuesday_.--All has been settled. Antiochus has lent me the whole sum
due to Berenice's brother, and a handsome margin for my personal use. I
restored the interest and capital of the loan to Berenice's brother.
Said farewell to the family before the whole Court, and handed
Berenice's brother a fine gold chain as a slight token of my esteem.
"This," he said, "is too much." "No man," I answered, "should leave his
prince's presence dissatisfied." Hereupon the whole Court murmured
applause, and by a slight gesture I indicated that the audience was at
an end. Berenice, alas! left Rome at noon, escorted by Antiochus, who is
to spend the summer with her in Palestine. To-day I can say in all
conscientiousness that I have not lost a day; but it seems to me that I
have lost everything else that there is to lose in this life.



X

FROM THE DIARY OF HARRIET SHELLEY


_George Street, Edinburgh, September_ 6, 1811.--Mr Hogg arrived this
morning. He seemed at first to be quite oblivious of the fact that he
was in the city of the unfortunate Queen Mary. Bysshe and I conducted
him to the palace of Holyrood immediately, where we inspected the
instructive and elegant series of portraits of the Scottish kings. I was
much affected by the sight of the unfortunate Queen's bedroom.

Mr Hogg has not been well grounded in history; and he was on more than
one occasion inaccurate. He had never heard of Fergus the Just. Bysshe
was much moved, and enchanted by the objects of interest. He ran through
the rooms at a great pace, now and then pointing back at an object of
interest and exclaiming: "That is good." I regretted the absence of
Eliza, but perhaps it is as well that she was not with us on this
occasion. She would not have permitted me to contemplate the tragic
stain of Rizzio's wound, for fear of the effect the sight might have on
my nerves. Mr Hogg was strangely insensible to the sorrowful
associations of the spot.

After we had inspected the rooms and the relics, Bysshe with intent, I,
with renewed awe, and Mr Hogg with a somewhat inopportune levity, Bysshe
was obliged to go home and write letters, and so I suggested that Mr
Hogg should conduct me to Arthur's Seat, in order to enjoy the sublime
prospect which that eminence commands.

So sublime, so grand, so inspiring was the view that even Mr Hogg was
impressed. As for myself, words fail to express the manifold and
conflicting emotions which were stirred in my breast. The weather was
fine, clear and tranquil; but alas! no sooner had we started on our
descent than the wind began to blow with great violence. It was of
course impossible for me in such circumstances to risk the impropriety
which might be occasioned, had the wind, as was only too probable, so
disturbed my dress as to reveal to my companion the indelicate spectacle
of my decently concealed ankles, so I seated myself on a rock resolving
to wait until the violence of the wind should subside. Mr Hogg, who laid
unnecessary stress on the fact that he had not dined on either of the
preceding days, and being deficient in a proper sense of delicacy and
seemliness, vowed he would desert me and proceed home by himself. To my
dismay he began to carry his threat into execution, and it was with the
utmost difficulty that I succeeded in accomplishing the descent without
affording him any unseemly exhibition.

_Sunday_.--The manner in which the Sabbath is observed in this city is
repellent to my principles. Bysshe and Mr Hogg have gone to the Kirk. I
pleaded the wearisome performance would be certain in my case to bring
on a headache and so I remained at home. They returned much exhausted by
the wrestlings of an eminent divine with Satan. I am engaged in
translating Madame Cottin's immortal "Claire D'Albe" into English prose.
This occupies my morning. Bysshe is translating a treatise of Buffon,
with which we were both of us charmed. In the evenings I read out
"Telemachus."

I regret to say that Bysshe fell asleep while I was but half way through
an instructive discourse of Idomeneius relating to the wise laws of
Crete. Mr Hogg is an attentive listener and it is a pleasure to read to
him.

_York, October_ 10, 1811.--Travelled by post-chaise from Darlington.
Read "Anna St Ives" by Holcroft in the chaise throughout the journey.
Bysshe was restless and suggested my skipping certain portions of the
narrative. I, of course, declined, knowing that it was the intention of
the authoress that her work should be read without omissions. Bysshe is
obliged to go to London. In the evenings I read out Dr Robertson's
historical works to Mr Hogg. We are on the eve of a great event. My
dear sister Eliza has consented to visit us and is about to arrive. What
a privilege for Mr Hogg, what a source of pleasure for Bysshe. I
ardently regret that he should not be present to welcome her.

_October_ 25.--Eliza has arrived. I am deeply touched by her kindness in
coming and overcome when I think what a joyful surprise her presence
will be for Bysshe, and how it will illuminate our household.

_October_ 26.--Bysshe arrived from London. Eliza spent the day brushing
her hair. In the evening I suggested reading aloud from Holcroft; but
Eliza, such is her kind-heartedness, feared that it might upset my
nerves. She felt certain too, that her esteemed friend, Miss Warne, whom
she regards as a pattern and model in all things, would not approve of
Holcroft.

_October_ 26.--Eliza is certain that Miss Warne would find nothing to
admire in York Minster. Changed our lodgings. Eliza thinks that the pure
mountain air of the Lakes would be salutary to my nerves. Bysshe and Mr
Hogg miss our evening readings. I sometimes, however, continue to read
to them in an undertone when Eliza is brushing her hair. But the
pleasure is marred by the trepidation I am in lest I should disturb her.
Eliza objects to the name Bysshe. She is certain Miss Warne could not
endure such a name, so in future my husband shall be called Percy. It is
certainly prettier and more romantic.

_Keswick, November_ 16.--We have made the acquaintance of the Southeys.
Mr Southey is a great reader and devotes two hours daily to the study
of the Portuguese and Spanish languages. Mrs Southey is an adept at
book-binding and binds her husband's books with elegance and neatness.
Bysshe, I mean Percy, has alas three times narrowly risked offending the
poet. The first time by inadvertently taking a book down from one of his
book-shelves, the second time by falling asleep when Mr Southey after
having locked him into his study was reading aloud to him his epic, "The
Curse of Kehama," and the third time by sharply criticising his action
in eating tea-cakes, and by subsequently devouring a whole plate of
them, himself.

Bysshe, I mean Percy, has implored me to beg Mrs Southey to instruct me
in the art of making tea-cakes. I wish Eliza could begin to realise the
existence of Bysshe, I mean Percy. She seems altogether unaware of his
presence in the house; but then Eliza is so much occupied in considering
what will be best for me that she has no time to bestow any attention to
anything else. Percy is contemplating the composition of a poem which is
to be called "Queen Mab." Eliza said that Miss Warne had a horror of
"Queen Mab"; Bysshe explained to her that his poem was to be didactic
and philosophical and had nothing to do with fairies. "That," said
Eliza, "makes it worse." Bysshe ran out of the room with shrill
exclamation of impatience. "Hush, hush!" said Eliza, "think of poor
Harriet's nerves."

_November_ 20.--Bysshe confessed to me that he could see neither beauty
nor charm in Eliza. This is curious since her black hair has always been
an object of universal admiration. I am afraid that Eliza does not
understand him. I need hardly say what a disappointment this is to me.

Bysshe and I were thinking of writing a novel in collaboration. But
Eliza said that Miss Warne considered that it was not seemly for a woman
to dabble in fiction. Bysshe, I mean Percy--(In writing I find it
difficult to accustom myself to the new name, but I am fortunately
successful in the presence of Eliza in always saying Percy)--Percy and I
are thinking of studying Hebrew. I have not yet told Eliza of this
project. She is opposed to my reading Latin authors in their original
tongue.

_November_ 30.--We were walking this afternoon in the neighbourhood of
the lake. Percy, Eliza and myself. Percy was talking of Plato's republic
when Eliza interrupted him by recalling to his mind something which she
had indeed often mentioned before, namely, Miss Warne's positive dislike
of all the Greek authors and especially Plato. Scarcely had she uttered
these words, when we looked round and found that Bysshe had vanished in
silence like a ghost in the trees. We called and searched for him in
vain.

But when we returned to the house we found him awaiting us buried in a
book.

The incident greatly displeased Eliza and she insisted upon my taking to
my bed as soon as we got home, although I confess I felt no suspicion of
any ailment, nor would she hear of my reading either aloud or to myself.
She sat by my bed-side, brushing her hair. She grieved me by saying that
she could not conceive what Miss Warne would think of Bysshe. I mean
Percy.



XI

FROM THE "JOURNAL INTIME" OF THE EMPEROR TIBERIUS


_February_ 1.--Disquieting news from Parthia. Artabanus is giving
trouble again. Shall probably have to send an expedition. The military
party in Rome say that there will probably be unrest in Thrace in the
spring. I remember they said the same thing last year. Slept wretchedly
last night. Claricles' medicine is worse than useless. Wrote three
despatches and one private letter. Fed Hannibal, the tortoise. Went for
a stroll in the afternoon. Picked the first wind-flower, and put it in
water. The gardener says we shall have some rain shortly. Please the
Gods this may be true, as the country needs it badly! Dined alone.
Played spilikins after dinner with Fufius, but found it a strain.

_February_ 2.--Woke at four and remained awake until seven, then went
asleep again, and overslept myself. Scolded Balbus for not calling me.
He said he did not dare call me more emphatically. Told him it must not
occur again.

_February_ 3.--Nothing particular.

_February_ 4.--Letter from my mother begging me to come and see her.
Says she is suffering from lung trouble. Women are so unreasonable. She
must realise that it is impossible for me to get away just at present.
Hannibal would not touch his lettuce to-day. This is the third day
running it has happened. Claricles has given him some medicine. Strolled
along to cliffs in the morning. Much vexed by a fisherman who pushed a
lobster under my very nose. I have a horror of shellfish. Varus and
Aufidius dined. Found their conversation a strain. So retired early.
Read the Seventh Book of the "Æneid," but found it insipid. Virgil will
certainly not live. He was a sycophant.

_February_ 10.--Anniversary of poor Julia's death. Began to write short
poem on the subject, but was interrupted by the arrival of the courier
from Rome. Much vexed, as it altogether interrupted my train of thought
and spoilt what would have been a fine elegy. News from Rome
unsatisfactory. It rained in the afternoon, so I did not go out. Sorted
my specimens of dried herbs, which are in a sad state of confusion.
Dined alone. Dictated a despatch to Sejanus. Read some of the "Alcestis"
(Euripides) before going to bed. Alcestis reminds me of Julia in many
ways. She had the same fervid altruism and the same knack of saying
really disagreeable things. But they both meant well....

_March_ 1.--A lovely spring day. Went for a stroll, and jotted down a
few ideas for a poem on Spring. The birds were singing. Listened for
some time to the babbling of the brook. Think of alluding to this in the
poem. "Desilientis aquae" would make a good ending to a pentameter.
Mentioned it to Fufius when I came in, casually. He said he did not
think it was very original. Fufius is hyper-critical. He does not _feel_
poetry. Finished the memorial lines on Julia ending "Ave atque Vale."
Shall not show them to Fufius. He would be certain to say something
disparaging. Positively haunted by the sight of the wild tulips in the
hills, fluttering in the breeze. Sights like this live in the memory.
Disturbed early in the morning by a noise of hammering. It is strange
that where-ever I go this happens. Made inquiries, and ascertained that
the stable roof is being repaired. If it is not the stable roof it is
sure to be something else. Last week it was a strayed cow which woke me
at five. Find it very difficult to get sleep in the early morning,
whatever precautions I take. In a month's time the nightingales will
begin, and then sleep will be out of the question. Thinking of writing a
poem called "To Sleep."

_March_ 10.--Claricles says I am overworked and need a change. Have
decided to go for a short walking tour, quite by myself. Thought of
taking Fufius, but knowing how self-willed he is, decided not to. Packed
my knapsack. Took an extra pair of sandals, a worsted scarf, an ivory
comb, two gold toothpicks, and a volume of Sappho's Songs. Find this
light, feminine verse suitable for outdoor life. Shall start early
to-morrow. Had my hair cut. The slave was clumsy when cutting round the
ears. They still smart. Find this fault to be universal among
haircutters. Shall take tablets with me in order to jot down any ideas
for future poems, although Claricles advises me to give up writing for
two or three weeks.

_March_ 13.--Returned earlier than I expected. Walking tour successful
on the whole. Visited Sorrentum, an idyllic spot. Not sure I don't
prefer it to Capreæ. It is a curious thing that man is always
discontented with what he has, and hankers after what he has not got.
Walked leisurely the first day, stopping every now and then for light
refreshment. Found the country people very civil and anxious to please.
Nobody knew who I was, and I was intensely gratified by many spontaneous
and frank experiences of loyalty and devotion to the Emperor. This is
refreshing in this sceptical age. It is a comfort to think that although
I may not go down to posterity as a great military genius like Julius
Cæsar, I shall at least leave a blameless name, as far as my domestic
life is concerned, and an untarnished reputation for benevolence,
kindness, and unswerving devotion to duty. Without being conceited, I
think that some of my verse will live. I think I shall be among the
Roman poets when I die; but this is not saying much, when one considers
the absurd praise given to poetasters such as Virgil and Ponticus.
Strolling along the seashore near Sorrentum a very pretty little
episode occurred. A woman, one of the fishermen's wives, was sitting by
her cottage door, spinning. Her child, a little girl about six years
old, was playing with a doll hard by.

I said "Good day" to the fisherman's wife, and she offered me a glass of
wine. I declined, as Claricles has forbidden me red wine, but I said I
would gladly accept a bowl of milk. She immediately went to fetch it,
and the child went with her. When they returned the child offered me the
bowl, lisping in a charming manner. I drank the milk, and the mother
then said to the child:

"Tell the kind gentleman whom you love best in the world."

"Papa and mamma," lisped the child.

"And after that?" asked the mother.

"After that the divine Emperor Tiberius, who is the father and the
mother of us all," she said.

I gave the mother a gold piece. Fufius says it is a mistake to give
money to the poor, and that it pauperises them. He says one does more
harm than good by indiscriminate charity. But I think it cannot be a bad
thing to follow the impulses of the heart. I should like this to be said
of me: "Although he had many faults, such as discontent and want of
boldness, his heart was in the right place." It is little incidents like
the one I noted above which make up for the many disappointments and
trials of a monarch's life. The second day of my tour was marred by a
thunder-shower, but I found a thrush's nest and three eggs in it. There
are few things which move me so inexpressibly as the sight of a thrush's
nest with the eggs lying in it. It is curious that the nightingale's
egg should be so ugly. Owing to the bad weather, and the rheumatism in
my joints which it brought on, I was obliged to cut short my tour.

(_This extract probably belongs to a later period_)

_June_.--Asinius Gallus has again sent in a petition about the prison
fare. It appears he has a conscientious objection to eating veal. The
officials say they can do nothing. If they make an exception in his
favour they will be obliged to do so in many less deserving cases. I
confess these little things worry me. Our prison system seems to me
lacking in elasticity; but it is dreadfully difficult to bring into
effect any sweeping reform; because if the prison disciplinary system is
modified to meet the requirements of the more cultivated prisoners, the
prisons would be crowded with ruffians who would get themselves arrested
on purpose. At least this is the official view, and it is shared by
Sejanus, who has gone into the matter thoroughly. I confess it leaves me
unconvinced. I am glad to say we are ahead of the Persians in the
matter. In Persia they think nothing of shutting up a prisoner--of
whatever rank--in a cell and keeping him isolated from the world
sometimes for as long as three months at a time. This seems to me
barbarous.

_July_ 6.--The heat is overpowering. Agrippina threatens to come home
and to bring her daughter. I wrote saying I thought it is very unwise to
bring children here at this time of year, owing to the prevalence of
fever. She answered that her daughter was looking forward to the
sea-bathing. If they come it will mean that my summer will be ruined.

_July_ 7.--I went to the home farm this afternoon. The farmer's wife is
very ill. There is little or no hope of her recovery. Spent two hours
there reading out passages of the "Odyssey." She does not understand
Greek; but it seemed to soothe her. Her husband told her that he felt
confident that she could not get worse after this. The faith of these
simple folk is most touching. How unlike Fufius and all his friends.

_August_ 1.--There is no news except that, as always occurs at this time
of year, the Phœnix is reported to have been seen in Egypt.

_August_ 3.--One of those distressing little incidents happened to-day
which entirely spoil one's comfort and peace of mind for the moment:
just like a piece of dust getting into one's eye. My old friend Lucius
Anuseius came all the way from Rhodes to see me. By some mistake he was
shown into the Chamber, where prisoners are examined, and before the
error was rectified he was rather rudely interrogated. It turned out
afterwards that Balbus mistook him for Titus Anuseius, the informer.
Balbus is growing more and more stupid; he forgets everything. I ought
to send him away; on the other hand, he knows my habits, and I should
feel lost without him. As it is, Claricles says that Lucius is likely to
feel it for several days. He is so sensitive and the slightest thing
upsets his nerves. All his family are touchy, and I am afraid he will
look upon the matter as a deliberate slight. If it had happened to
anyone else it would not have mattered. They would have understood at
once. This has quite put me out. But, as Fufius says, how little I
shall think of this in a year's time.

_August_ 7.--Lucius Anuseius left the island in a huff. It is most
regrettable.

_August_ 12.--Agrippina arrives to-morrow. There is nothing to be done.
How pleasant life would be were it not for one's relations.



XII

FROM THE DIARY OF ŒDIPUS REX


_Corinth. The Feast of the Minotaur._--My birthday and coming-of-age.
All went oft very successfully. Papa gave me a chariot and mamma a
pocket tooth-pick, set in gold, with an Egyptian inscription on it (two
flamingoes and a water-rat, which means in Egyptian "Be merry and
wise"). Nausicaa, my nurse, gave me a stylus-wiper with "A Present from
Corinth" beautifully worked into it in silk. Polyphemus, our faithful
old messenger (who has only one eye), gave me a pair of sandal strings.
Very useful, as I'm always losing mine.

In the morning, after I had received all the family congratulations and
tokens, at the first meal, there was a public presentation of gifts in
the palace.

The town of Corinth sent a deputation, headed by the Priest of the
Temple of Castor and Pollux, which presented me, on behalf of the city,
with a silver vase, symbolic of the freedom of the city, beautifully
embossed, and engraved with a suitable inscription.

The priest made a long speech, and papa, who never cared for oratory,
kept on muttering, "By Demeter, be brief," but the priest wasn't brief.
He spoke for nearly an hour.

Then I had to respond. I said I would earnestly endeavour to follow in
my father's footsteps and to deserve the good-will and esteem of my
future subjects, which was being manifested in so touching and patriotic
a fashion. My speech had all been written out for me beforehand by
Zoroaster, my Persian tutor; but I flatter myself I added a few
unexpected and telling touches.

For instance, I began by saying: "Unaccustomed as I am to speaking in
public--." They cheered this to the echo.

I also managed to bring in rather an amusing anecdote about how a
foreign merchant called Abraham tried to get the better of a Corinthian
merchant in a bargain, and how the Corinthian got the best of him by
guile. This provoked loud laughter.

My peroration, ending with the words:

     "What do they know of Corinth who only Corinth know?"

(a quotation from Tyrtæus) was loudly cheered. But my cousin Thersites
almost spoilt the effect by adding audibly, "Quite enough."

In the afternoon there were games, and an ox was roasted whole for the
_ὁι πολλὸι._ Papa says, now I am of age, I must go and pay my respects
to the oracle at Delphi. It is a family tradition.

_Delphi_.--(What is the date?)--Arrived at last after a tedious journey.
The inn is very uncomfortable. This is too bad, as in the guide book
(Odysseus') it is marked with a constellation of the Pleiades, which
means very good. The wine tastes of tar. And the salt is a chemical
compound called _Σερεβος_. I made a scene and asked for ordinary slaves'
salt, and they hadn't got any.

Shall not stay at this inn again, and I shall warn others not to. It is
called ΞΕΝΩΛΟΧΕΙΟΝ ΒΑΓΟΝΛΗ. Disappointed in the Temple (very _late_
architecture) and still more in the Oracle. I suppose it thought I
didn't pay enough. But because one happens to be a prince, I don't see
why one should be robbed. Besides which. I am travelling incognito as
Kyrios Ralli. But the priests bowed, and they all called me, "your
Shiningness." The Oracle was quite absurd, and evidently in a very bad
temper. It said I would kill my father and marry my mother. It only
shows how absurd the whole thing is. I hate superstition, and oracles
ought to be stopped by law. Gypsies on the roadside are put in gaol. Why
should oracles be supported by the State? I shall write to the _False
Witness_ about it.

In the afternoon went to the theatre. Saw the tragedy of Adam and Eve, a
historical drama, translated from the Hebrew. Very long. The part of
the Archangel, danced by Thepsis, was very bad, and the man who danced
Eve was too old; but the snake was good. Scenery fine, especially the
tree (which had real leaves).

_Daulis, Tuesday_.--Arrived this morning. Very disappointing; the famous
Daulian nightingale is not singing this spring. Just my luck. Rather an
amazing incident happened yesterday on the way. My chariot was run into
by a stranger. He was on the wrong side of the road, and, of course,
entirely in the wrong. Also, his charioteer was not sober. We shouted,
and we gave them ample room, and time, but he ran straight into us and
his chariot was upset. The owner and charioteer were both taken to the
Æsculapian Home, which is under the management of the Red Serpent. The
doctor said it was serious. We did all we could, but had to go on, as I
was due at Daulis to-day.

_Thebes, a year later_.--Staying with Queen Jocasta, a charming widow.
All very comfortable. Everybody is concerned about the Sphinx, who is
really causing great annoyance, asking impertinent riddles, and playing
dangerous practical jokes on people who can't answer. They want me to
go. Very tiresome, as I never could answer a riddle; but it's difficult
to refuse.

_Wednesday_.--Saw the Sphinx. Guessed the riddle first shot. It asked
what was that which runs on two legs, has feathers and a beak, and barks
like a dog. I said "pheasant," and I added, "You put that in about the
barking to make it more difficult." The Sphinx was very angry and went
off in a huff, for good.

_Thursday_.--As a reward for getting rid of the Sphinx I am allowed to
marry the Queen; we are engaged. Everybody thinks it an excellent thing.
She is a little older than I am; but I don't think that matters.

       *       *       *       *       *

(_Ten years later_)

_Thebes_.--Rather a severe epidemic of plague. They say it is not
bubonic, however. In fact, it is what they call plagueen. Still, there
are a great many deaths.

_Thebes, a week later_.--The plague increasing. Have sent for Tiresias
to find out what it comes from.

_Tuesday_.--Tiresias arrived. Very cross and guarded. Don't believe he
knows anything about it. Doesn't want to commit himself. He loves making
mysteries.

_Saturday_.--Insisted on Tiresias speaking out. Regret having done so
now. He flew into a passion, and threatened the whole court with
"exposure" and "revelations." That's the last thing we want now.

_Monday_.--Had it all out with Tiresias. He told the most absurd cock
and bull story. Utterly preposterous, but very disagreeable even to have
such things hinted. Said nothing to Jocasta, as yet. Luckily, there are
no proofs. Tiresias has raked up an old shepherd, who is ready to swear
I am not the son of the King of Corinth, but the son of Laius, King of
Thebes, and of Jocasta (my wife!); and that Laius was the man I
accidentally killed years ago on the road to Daulis!

Tiresias says this is the sole cause of the plague, which is getting
worse. They now say it _is_ Asiatic.

_Thursday_.--I interviewed and cross-examined the shepherd in the
presence of Tiresias. There seems to be no doubt whatsoever about the
facts. But I cannot see that any good can be done now, after all these
years, by making a public scandal. It is, after all, a family matter.
Tiresias says the plague will not stop unless the whole truth is
published. Very awkward. Don't know how to break it to Jocasta.

_Friday_ (_dictated_).--Jocasta overheard me discussing the matter with
Tiresias and jumped, rashly, to conclusions. She had hysterics, and,
losing all self-control, seriously injured both my eyes with a pin. I
may very likely be blind for life. She was very sorry afterwards, and is
now laid up. I and the children leave for Colonnus to-morrow, and it is
settled that I am to abdicate in favour of Creon on the plea of
ill-health and overwork. The children have been told nothing; but
Antigone, who is far too precocious, alluded to Jocasta as grand-mamma.
The matter will be hushed up as far as possible.

_Citium Colonnus, two months later_.--The air here is delicious. Must
say the change is doing me good.



XIII

FROM THE DIARY OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR


_Rouen_, 1066.--Disquieting news from London. My friend, benefactor and
relation, my brother Sovereign, Edward of England, has again had one of
his attacks. It comes, I am sure, from not eating meat. Were anything to
happen to him, I should be obliged to go over to London at once and
settle as to the carrying on of the Government with Harold. Nothing
could be more inconvenient at the present moment. Have the utmost
confidence in Harold; but I fear the influence of the English nobility.
I like the English; but they are not to be trusted in foreign politics.
They are naturally perfidious, and they don't know it. They think they
are more virtuous than other people; or rather that they are exempted
from the faults and the vices which are common to us all. The European
situation seems unsatisfactory.

Among other things Father Anselm writes that a certain party among the
Englishwomen want to be admitted to the Witenagemot. The majority of the
women are against it. The agitators sent a deputation to Westminster,
but the King said it would not be according to the precedents to receive
them. They were so annoyed at this that they made a dastardly attack on
the beautiful old Druid Temple of Stonehenge, almost completely
destroying it. F. Anselm says only a few blocks of stone are left, and
that the place is unrecognisable.

The ringleaders were taken and claimed the ordeal by fire and the matter
was referred to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said that it was not a
matter to be dealt with by ordeal. (Quite right!) He put the case into
the hands of a select body of matrons, chosen from all classes. These
decided that the offenders should be publicly whipped by women, and sent
home. This was done, much to the satisfaction of everybody.

_Rouen_.--Heard Mass and went out hunting. Excellent sport. Shot a fox
and six thrushes. Had thrush-pie for dinner. Find it difficult to get on
horse-back without aid.

_Rouen_.--Received a letter from the Pope. He says that should anything
happen to King Edward--he is, of course, far from suggesting such a
thing, but one must take everything into consideration--I must be very
firm about claiming the succession. H.H. says that although, of course,
it would be indelicate for him to raise the question _just now_, he
knows it is the King's wish that I should succeed him. He seems to think
Harold may give trouble. But Harold is bound to me by oath. Also I saved
his life.

_Rouen_.--Took William out hunting. His red hair frightens the ducks.
Have told him over and over again to get a close-fitting green cap. The
boys are always quarrelling. I don't know what is to be done with them.
Robert broke his new battle-axe yesterday in a fit of passion.

My only consolation is that Henry is really making some progress with
his tutor. He last learnt the alphabet as far as the letter F.

_Rouen_.--A fisherman arrived last night from Southampton with the news
that King Edward is dead. The news, he said, was confirmed by the
appearance of a strange star with a tail to it in the sky. I have
questioned the courier and gathered he had only got the news at
second-hand. The rumour is probably baseless.

_Rouen_.--The regular courier did not arrive this evening. The bag was
brought by an Englishman. The official bulletin states that the King is
slightly indisposed owing to a feverish cold, which he caught while
inspecting the newly-raised body of archers, in the New Forest. A
private letter from the archbishop tells me, in strict confidence, that
the King's illness is more dangerous than people think. The children
again quarrelled to-day. Matilda, as usual, took Henry's part, and said
I was to blame. These domestic worries are very trying at such a
critical moment. As a matter of fact, Henry teases his elder brothers,
and boasts to them of his superior scholarship; they retaliate,
naturally enough, by cuffing the boy, who complains at once to his
mother. Since Henry has mastered the rudiments of the alphabet, his
conceit has been quite beyond bounds. Of course, I admit it is clever of
him. He is a clever boy. There is no doubt about that, but he shouldn't
take advantage of it.

_Rouen_.--Again the regular courier has not arrived. The bag again
brought by an Englishman. According to a bulletin the King is going on
well. Received a very friendly note from Harold, putting Pevensey Castle
at my disposal, should I visit England in the autumn--and suggesting
sport in the New Forest.

_Rouen_.--Messenger arrived direct from London, _via_ Newhaven. He says
the King died last week, and that Harold has proclaimed himself King.
Matilda said this would happen from the first. I think there can be no
doubt that the news is authentic. The messenger, who is an old servant
of mine, is thoroughly to be trusted. He saw the King's body lying in
state. This explains why the regular messengers have not arrived. Harold
had them stopped at the coast. This, in itself, is an unfriendly act.
Matilda says I must invade England at once. Think she is right. But wish
war could be avoided. Have written to the Pope asking for his moral
support. Invasion a risky thing. Discussed the matter with General
Bertram, who is an excellent strategist. He says he can devise fifty
ways of landing troops in England, but not one way of getting them out
again. That is just it. Supposing we are cut off? The English army is
said to be very good indeed.

_Rouen_.--Invasion of England settled. Must say have great misgivings on
the subject. If we fail, the King of France is certain to attack us
here. Matilda, however, won't hear of any other course being taken. Have
privately sent a message to Harold proposing that we should settle the
matter in a friendly fashion--I offer him nearly all Wessex, Wales and
Scotland and the North--I taking the rest of the Kingdom, including
London and Winchester. His situation is by no means entirely enviable.
His brothers are certain to fight him in the North, and the King of
Norway may also give trouble.

_Rouen_.--Received letter from the Pope entirely approving of invasion.
Sends me back banner, blessed. Received a letter from Harold also. Very
insulting. Answers vaguely and commits himself to nothing. Ignores the
past. Seems to forget I saved him from shipwreck and that he solemnly
swore to support my claims. Seems also to forget that I am the lawful
heir to the English throne. The crowning insult is that he addressed the
letter to Duke William the Bastard.

Have ordered mobilisation to take place at once. The war is popular.
Matilda and I were loudly cheered when we drove through the market place
this afternoon. War will be a good occupation for the boys. Robert wants
to stop here as Regent. Do not think this wise.

_Hastings_.--Very disagreeable crossing. Took medicine recommended by
Matilda (nettle leaves and milk and cinnamon), but did no good. Harold
apparently defeated his brother in the North. Expect to fight
to-morrow. Temper of the troops good. Terrain favourable, but cannot
help feeling anxious.

_London_.--Everything sadly in need of thorough reorganisation. Have
resolved to carry out following initial reforms at once:--

1. Everybody to put out their lights by 8. Bell to ring for the purpose.
The people here sit up too late, drinking. Most dangerous.

2. Enroll everybody in a book. Make it compulsory for the leeches to
attend the poor, and dock serfs of a part of their wage, in order to
create a fund for paying the leeches. (Think this rather neat.)

Shall tolerate no nonsense from the women. Matilda agrees that their
complaints are ridiculous.

News from Normandy disquieting. Robert seems to be taking too much upon
himself. Something must be done.

Going next week to New Forest to hunt. Very fine wild pony hunting
there.



XIV

FROM THE DIARY OF MARY, MRS JOHN MILTON (_née_ POWELL)


_Aldersgate Street, July_ 1, 1643.--House-keeping not quite such fun as
I thought it would be. John is very particular. He cannot eat mutton, or
any kind of hashed meat. He compares the cooking here unfavourably with
that of Italy. He says the boys in the school are very naughty and that,
during the Latin lesson this morning, one boy, called Jones minor, put a
pin on his chair, just before he sat down on it. I couldn't help
laughing; and this made John cross. He is thinking of writing a poem
about King Arthur (_sic_) and the burnt cakes.

_July_ 6.--John has begun his poem. He makes it up during meals, which
makes him forget to eat, and makes the meal very gloomy; he writes it
down afterwards. He read me a long piece of it last night; but as it is
in Latin I did not understand very much of it.

_July_ 7.--John and I quarrelled. It was about Jones minor. John
announced the news of a reported rebel success during the boys' Greek
lesson, and told the boys to give three cheers for the rebel army,
which, of course, they all did, as they would never dare to disobey,
except one brave _hero_, I call him, called Jones minor (the son of a
tinker, bless him!), who called out as loud as he could: "Long live King
Charles and death to all traitors!" John told him to repeat what he had
said, and he did, and John caned him. I think this was very wrong on
John's part, because, of course, the rebels _are_ traitors. I took the
part of the boy, and this made John angry. Then I said: "Of course, if
all loyalists are so wicked, why did you marry me? My father is loyal
and I am heart and soul for the King and the Church." John said that
women's politics didn't count; but that the young must be taught
discipline; that he was tolerant of all _sincere_ opinion, however much
he disagreed with it; but that the boy had merely wished to be insolent,
by flying in the face of public opinion and the will of the school,
which was the will of the _people_, and therefore the will of God,
merely to gain a cheap notoriety. I said that probably all the boys felt
the same, but didn't dare say so, as they knew that he, John, was on the
other side. John said there are only seven "malignants" in the school.
He said the boys were very angry with Jones minor and kicked him. I
said they were a set of cowards. John said did I mean he was a coward,
and quoted Greek. I said I didn't understand Greek and didn't want to.
"That comes from your false education," said John; "your parents deserve
the severest blame." I said that if he said anything against my parents,
I would leave the house, and that my father knew Latin as well as he
did. John said I was exaggerating. I said that I had often heard Papa
say that John's _Latin_ verses were poor. John said when his epick on
King Alfred and the Lady of the Lake would be published, we should see
who knew how to write Latin. I said: "Who?" John said I was flighty and
ignorant. I said I might be ignorant, but at least I wasn't a rebel.
John said I was too young to understand these things, and that,
considering my bringing up, I was right to hold the opinions I did. When
I was older I would see that they were false. Then I cried.

_July_ 6.--We made up our quarrel. John was ashamed of himself, and very
dear, and said he regretted that he had used such vehement language. I
forgave him at once.

_July_ 9.--We had some friends to dinner. Before we sat down, John said:
"We will not mention politicks, as we might not all agree and that would
mar the harmony of the symposium." But towards the end of dinner, I
drank the King's health, quite unwittingly and from force of habit,
forgetting--

This made John angry and led to a discussion, some of our guests taking
the King's part and others saying that he was quite wrong. The men
became very excited, and a young student, called Wyatt, whom John had
invited because he is very musical and cultivated, threw a glass of wine
in the face of Mr Lely, the wine-merchant, who is a violent rebel, and
this broke up the party. John said that all "malignants" were the same;
and that they none of them had any manners; that they were a set of
roystering, nose-slitting, dissolute debauchees. When I thought of my
dear father, and my dear brothers, this made me very angry; but I
thought it best to say nothing at the time, as John was already annoyed
and excited.

_July_ 10.--John says he can't make up his mind whether to write his
epick poem in Latin or in Hebrew. I asked him whether he couldn't write
it in English. He told me not to be irrelevant. The city is very dreary.
John disapproves of places of public amusement. He is at the school all
day; and in the evening he is busy thinking over his poem. Being married
is not such fun as I thought it would be, and John is quite different
from what he was when he courted me in the country. Sometimes I don't
think he notices that I am there at all. I wish I were in the country.

_July_ 11.--John was in good temper to-day, because a scholar came here
yesterday who said he wrote Italian very well. He asked me for my advice
about his epick poem--which I thought was the best subject for an epick,
King Arthur and the Cakes or the story of Adam and Eve. This made me
feel inclined to laugh very much. Fancy writing a poem on the story of
Adam and Eve! Everybody knows it! But I didn't laugh out loud, so as not
to hurt his feelings, and I said "Adam and Eve," because I felt,
somehow, that he wanted me to say that. He was so pleased, and said that
I had an extraordinarily good judgment, when I chose. We had some
cowslip wine for dinner which I brought from the country with me. John
drank my health in Latin, which was a great favour, as he never says
grace in Latin, because he says it's Popish.

_July_ 14.--John is thinking of not writing an epick poem after all, at
least not yet, but a history of the world instead. He says it has never
been properly written yet.

_July_ 15.--John has settled to translating the Bible into Latin verse.
I am afraid I annoyed him; because when he told me this, I said I had
always heard Papa say that the Bible was written in Latin. He said I
oughtn't to talk about things which I didn't understand.

_July_ 28.--I am altogether put about. There are two Irish boys in the
school; one is called Kelley and comes from the North, and the other is
called O'Sullivan and comes from the South. They had a quarrel about
politicks and O'Sullivan called Kelley a rebel, a heretick, a traitor to
his country, a renegade, a coward and a bastard; and Kelley said that
O'Sullivan was an idolater and a foreigner, and ended up by saying he
hoped he would go and meet the Pope.

"Do you mean to insult the Pope before me?" said O'Sullivan.

"Yes," said Kelley, "to hell with your Pope."

I could hear and see all this from my window, as the boys were talking
in the yard.

Kelley then shouted, "To hell with the Pope!" as loud as he could three
times, and O'Sullivan turned quite white with rage, but he only laughed
and said quite slowly:

"Your father turned traitor for money, just like Judas." Then the boys
flew at each other and began to fight; and at that moment John, who was
thinking over his epick poem in the dining-room, rushed out and stopped
them. Then he sent for both the boys and asked them what it was all
about, but they both refused to say a word. Then John sent for the whole
school, and said that unless some boy told him exactly what had
happened, he would stop all half-holidays for a month. So Pyke, a boy
who had been there, told the whole story. John caned both O'Sullivan and
Kelley for using strong language.

In the evening Mr Pye came to dinner, from Oxford. He teaches the
Oxford boys physic or Greek philosophy; I forget which. But no sooner
had we sat down to dinner than he began to abuse the rebels, and John,
who was already cross, said that he did not suppose Mr Pye meant to
defend the King. Mr Pye said he had always supposed that that was a duty
every true-born Englishman took for granted; and John became very angry.
I never heard anybody use such dreadful language. He said the King was a
double-faced, lying monkey, full of Popish anticks, a wolf disguised as
a jackass, a son of Belial, a double-tongued, double-faced, clay-footed,
scarlet Ahithophel, and Mr Pye was so shocked that he got up and went
away. I said that people who insulted the King were rebels, however
clever they might be, and that it was dreadful to use such language;
and when I thought of his beating those two little boys this morning for
using not half such strong language it made me quite mad. John said that
I was illogical. I said I wouldn't hear any more bad language; and I ran
upstairs and locked myself in my room.

_August_ 1, _Oxfordshire_.--I have come home. I couldn't bear it. John
was too unjust. Whenever I think of those two Irish boys and of John's
language at dinner, my blood boils. Went out riding this morning with
the boys. Papa says the war news is better, and that the rebels will
soon be brought to heel.



XV

FROM THE DIARY OF MARK ANTONY


_Alexandria (undated)_.--The reception went off very well. The Queen
came to meet me by water in her State barge. She is different from what
I remember her long ago, when I caught a glimpse of her in Rome. Then
she was rather a colourless young girl, who had the reputation of being
very well read, and rather affected. But now ... when you look at her
face and you look away, you see green from the flash, as though you had
been staring at the sun. She dazzles and blinds you. I received her in
the market place. Her curtsey was a miracle of grace. She was very
civil and dignified. After I had received her in the market place, I
went to her palace. Such is the etiquette. I invited her to supper; but
she insisted on my being her guest. I accepted. Supper in her palace.
Semi-state, as the court is in mourning for Archilaus, the King of
Cappadocia's eldest son, the Queen's first cousin. The ladies in waiting
wore gold ornaments only. One of them, Charmian, pretty. The Queen,
dropping all formality, was very lively and excellent company. The
supper was good (the boars _well_ roasted) and not so stiff as those
kind of entertainments are as a rule.

After supper we had music and some dancing. Egyptian Bacchanals, who did
a modern thing called _Ariadne in Naxos._ Very noisy and not much tune
in it; but the dancing good, although hardly up to the Scythian
standard.

Mardian, who has a fine contralto voice (he has been admirably trained),
sang a piece from a ballet on the siege of Troy arranged by Æschylus.
Very good. I like those old-fashioned things much better. They say it's
conventional and out of date; but I don't care. The Queen told me in
confidence that she quite agreed with me, but that even classical music
bored her, so after we had listened to one or two odes, she asked
Mardian to sing something light, some songs in dialect, which he did.
Very funny, especially the one which begins:

     "As I was going to Brindisi, upon a summer's day."

We made him sing that one twice. The Greeks know how to be witty without
even being in the least vulgar.

_Alexandria, three weeks later_.--Time has passed very quickly.
Everybody is being so kind, and the Queen has taken immense pains to
make everything a success. Most amusing improvised banquet in fancy
dress last night. The Queen disguised as a fish-wife. She made me dress
up, too. I put on a Persian private soldier's uniform. After supper we
went into the town, in our disguises. Nobody recognised us, and we had
the greatest fun. I threw pieces of orange-peel on the pavement. It was
too comic to see the old men trip up over them. Then we went into a
tavern on the first floor, and ate oysters. The Queen heated some
coppers at the fire, and, after putting them on a plate with a pair of
pincers, threw them out of the window. It was quite extraordinarily
funny to see the beggars pick them up and then drop them with a howl! I
don't think I ever laughed so much! The Queen has a royal sense of
humour. And I who thought beforehand she was a blue-stocking! It shows
how mistaken one can be.

_Alexandria_.--Time seems to fly. No news from Rome. Wish the Queen
would not be quite so ostentatiously lavish on my account. Eight wild
boars for breakfast is too much. And the other night at supper she
wasted an immense pearl in drinking my health in vinegar. This kind of
thing makes people talk. She is wonderfully witty. She can mimic exactly
the noises of a farmyard. Nothing seems to tire her, either. She will
sit up all night and be ready early the next morning to go out fishing,
sailing or anything else. She must have a constitution of steel.
Wonderful woman!

_Alexandria, later_.--News from Rome. Fulvia is dead: must go at once.

_Rome, a month later_.--Engaged to be married to Octavia, Cæsar's
sister, a widow. Purely a political alliance. Cleopatra is sure to
understand the necessity of this. It is a great comfort to think that
she is reasonable and has a real grip of the political situation.

_Athens, a month later_.--Political situation grows more and more
complicated. Octavia is very dutiful and most anxious to please. Do not
think the climate here agreeable. The wind is very sharp and the nights
are bitterly cold. Never did care for Athens.

Think that if I went to Egypt for a few days I could (_a_) benefit by
change of air, (_b_) arrange matters with the Eastern Kings. Cæsar and
Lepidus are trying to do me in the eye.

_Athens, a day later_.--Octavia has very kindly offered to go to Rome,
so as to act as a go-between between myself and Cæsar. She says she is
quite certain it is all only a misunderstanding and that she can arrange
matters. Thought it best not to mention possibility of Egyptian trip, as
I may not go, after all.

_Alexandria_.--Back here once more after all. Doctors all said change of
air was essential, and that the climate of Athens was the very worst
possible for me, just at this time. They said I should certainly have a
nervous breakdown if I stayed on much longer. Besides which, it was
absolutely necessary for me to be on the spot, to settle the Eastern
Question. It is now fortunately settled. Cleopatra delighted to see me;
but most reasonable. Quite understood everything. She did not say a word
about Octavia. Reception in Alexandria magnificent. Ovation terrific.
Shows how right I was to come back. Settled to proclaim Cleopatra Queen
of Egypt, Lower Syria, Cyprus and Lydia. Everybody agrees that this is
only fair.

_Alexandria_.--Public proclamation in the market place. Settled to keep
Media, Parthia and Armenia in the family, so divided them among the
children. Ceremony went off splendidly. Cleopatra appeared as the
Goddess Isis. This was much appreciated, as it showed the people she
really is _national_. The cheering was terrific.

Staying with us at present are the King of Libya, the King of
Cappadocia, the King of Paphlagonia, the King of Thrace, the King of
Arabia, the King of Pont, the King of Jewry, the King of Comagena, the
King of Mede, and the King of Lycaonia. Question of precedence a little
awkward. Herod, the King of Jewry, claimed precedence over all the other
Kings on the grounds of antiquity and lineage. The King of Mede
contested the claim, and the King of Arabia said that he was the oldest
in years. There is no doubt about this, as he is 99. It was obvious the
first place belonged to him. Question very neatly settled by Cleopatra.
That they should rank according to the number of years they have
reigned. She said this was the immemorial Egyptian custom, established
by the Pharaohs and written out very carefully on a step of the great
Pyramid. Everybody satisfied. King of Arabia takes precedence, but _not_
on account of his age. Herod still a little touchy, but had to give in.

Played billiards with Cleopatra. Gave her 20. Won with difficulty. Cæsar
is certain to make war on us. Have written to Octavia explaining
everything fully.

_In Camp near Actium_.--Nothing doing. One wonders whether Cæsar means
to fight after all. The mosquitoes are very annoying. Impossible to get
any milk.

_In Camp near Actium, later_.--Cleopatra has arrived. She is used to
camp life and does not mind roughing it. Everybody advises me to fight
on land and not by sea, but Cleopatra and myself think we ought to fight
by sea. Cæsar has taken Toryne. We have sixty sail. The thing is
obvious; but soldiers are always prejudiced. Enobarbus worrying me to
death to fight on land.

Cleopatra won't hear of it, and I am quite certain she is right. A
woman's instinct in matters of strategy and tactics are infallible; and
then--what a woman!

_Alexandria, later_.--Very glad to be home again. Cleopatra was
perfectly right to retreat. Played billiards. Gave Cleopatra 25. She
beat me. She will soon be able to give me something. She is a
surprising woman. Last night the Greek envoy dined. Too clever for me,
but Cleopatra floored him over Anaxagoras. Wonderful woman! She sang, or
rather hummed, in the evening a little Greek song, the burden of which
is

      Ἐγὼ δὲ μόνα καθεύδω.

I cannot get the tune out of my head.



XVI

FROM THE DIARY OF IVAN THE TERRIBLE


_Moscow, September_ 1, 1560.--I drove to the village of O----, 24
versts. On one side of the river is the village, with its church, on the
other a lonely windmill. The landscape flat and brown, the nearer houses
and the distant trees sharp in the clear autumn air. The windmill is
maimed; it has lost one of its wings. It is like my soul. My soul is a
broken windmill which is rusty, stiff, and maimed; it groans and creaks
before the winds of God, but it no longer turns; and no longer,
cheerfully grumbling as of yore, it performs its daily task and grinds
the useful corn. The only spots of colour in the landscape were the
blue cupolas of the church; a blue and red shirt hanging up to dry on an
apple-tree near a wooden hut, and the kerchiefs of the women who were
washing linen in the river. A soldier talked to the women, and laughed
with them. I would that I could laugh like that with men and women. I
can only laugh alone and bitterly. I had never been there before. But
when lazily, a cock crew, and a little boy made music on a wooden pipe,
and a long cart laden with sacks creaked by, the driver walking by its
side, I knew that I had seen all this before, not something like unto
it, but this very thing, that same windmill, that same creaking cart,
that same little boy playing that very tune on that very pipe.

It was a mournful tune, and it said to my soul, "Why art thou so dusty
and rusty, O my soul, why art thou sorrowful? Crusted with suspicion;
uneasy and fearful, prompt to wrath and slow to trust, inhospitable
towards hope, and a stranger to gladness?"

The world is a peep-show, and I have satisfied my expectation. I am
weary of the sights of the fair, and the mirth of the crowd to me is
meaningless. The bells, and the tambourines, and the toy trumpets, the
grating of the strings, and the banging of the drum jar upon me. Like a
child, who has spent a whole day in frolic and whose little strength is
utterly exhausted, I desire to go home and to rest.

Rest, where is there any rest for thee, Ivan, Ivan the Restless?
Everywhere have I sought for peace and found it nowhere, save in a cell,
and on my knees, before the Image.

_September_ 10.--Why was I born to be a King?

Why was I cast, a frail and fearful infant, to that herd of ravenous
wolves, those riotous nobles, that band of greedy, brutal, and ruthless
villains who bled my beloved country and tore my inheritance into
shreds? I think I know why I was sent thither. Out of the weakness came
forth strength; a little boy was sent forth to slay the giant. I was
sent to deliver the Russian people, to break the necks of the nobles,
and to cast the tyrants from their stronghold. I was sent to take the
part of the people, and they will never forget this or me; in years to
come, ages after I am dead, mothers will sing their children to sleep
with songs about the great Tsar of Moscow, Ivan the well-beloved, Ivan
the people's friend, Ivan the father of the fatherless, the brother of
the needy, the deliverer of the oppressed.

But the proud and the mighty, the rich and the wicked, shall hate me and
vilify me, and blacken my name. I know you, ye vipers, and all your
ways. I would that not one of you could escape me; but, like the hydra,
you have a hundred heads, that grow again as fast as they are cut off.
When I am gone, O vile and poisonous nobility, you will raise your
insolent head once more, and trample again upon my beloved people.

Would that I could utterly uproot you from the holy soil of Russia, and
cast you to perish like weeds into a bottomless pit.

_October_ 1.--I dreamed last night a fearful dream. I dreamed that I had
done an abominable thing, and that I bore stains on my hands that the
snows of the mountains and the waves of the sea could not wash out. I
dreamed that all mankind shunned me, and that I wandered alone across
the great plain till I came to the end of the world and the gates of
Heaven. I knocked at the gates, but they were shut; and round me there
was a multitude, and there arose from it a sound of angry voices,
crying, "He has slain our fathers, and our brothers, and our mothers, by
him our houses were burnt and our homes were laid waste, let him not
enter"; and I knocked at the gate, and then there came a man with a mark
on his brow, and he said, "This man has killed his son, let him not in."
And I knew that man was Cain. And the howling of the voices grew louder,
and the cries of hate surging round me deafened me. I knocked, and
prayed, and cried, and wept, but the gate remained shut. And all at
once I was left alone in the great plain deserted even by my enemies,
and I shivered in the darkness and in the silence. Then, along the road,
came a pilgrim, a poor man, begging for alms, and when he saw me, he
knelt before me, and I said, "Wherefore dost thou kneel to me, who am
deserted by God and man?" And he answered, "Is not sorrow a holy thing?
Thou art the most sorrowful man in the whole world, for thou hast killed
what was dearer to thee than life, and bitter is thy sorrow, and heavy
is thy punishment." And the pilgrim kissed my hand, and the hot tears
that he shed fell upon it.

And at that moment, far away I heard a noise as of gates turning on a
great hinge, and I knew that the doors of Heaven were open.

Then I awoke, and I crept up the stairway way to my little son's
bedroom. He lay sleeping peacefully. And I knelt down and thanked Heaven
that the dream was but a dream; but when the sun rose in the morning,
like a wave from out of infinity, apprehension rolled to my soul and
settled on it. I am afraid, and I know not of what I am afraid.

_February_ 13, 1570.--Thanks to God Novgorod is no more. I have utterly
destroyed its city and its people for its contumacy. So fare all the
enemies of Russia and of Moscow.



XVII

FROM THE PRIVATE LOG OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS


                     On Board the _Santa Maria_.

_August_ 3, 1492, _Friday_.--At five in the morning made the signal to
weigh: but in less than half an hour the wind shifting to the southward
and blowing fresh, I furled the topsails. The wind came in the afternoon
to S. by W.; we weighed, but did not get far, the flood tide making
against us.

_August_ 4.--Little wind, or calm, all day. Send-off very fine; but now
that we have started wonder whether I have been wise after all. Wonder
whether we shall reach Western India and China.

_August_ 5.--Took the meridian observation at midday; wind northerly
with a great swell. Ship's company in good spirits: but the doctor says
we have started on a wild goose chase.

_August_ 8.--Stood close in with the land. At noon the latitude by
observation was 28 degrees 18 minutes. Stood in to a small bay to the
southward of Teneriffe. Anchored with the stream anchor, and sent the
boat for water. Went ashore with the astronomer and instruments. All the
liberty men came on board the worse for liquor, which is, on the whole,
fortunate, as we shall have no trouble in getting them to continue the
voyage.

_August_ 9.--Several of the men confined with colds, and complain of
pains in their bones. But from the careful attendance given them, doses
of "Skulker's Mixture" being administered by the doctor all round, few
continued in the sick list. The air very warm.

_September_ 9.--Thick fog. At five the officer informed me that we were
near an iceberg. I ordered the ship to be kept N. by W. and hauled
farther in. At noon I steered north, seeing nothing of the ice; soon
after I was told that they saw the ice: I went upon deck and perceived
something white upon the bow, and heard a noise like the booming of
surf. I hauled down the studding sails and hailed the _Niña_ and the
_Pinta:_ I desired that they would keep close to us, the fog being so
thick, and have everybody up ready to follow our motions
instantaneously, determining to stand under such sail as should enable
us to keep the ships under command, and not risk parting company. Soon
afterwards, we saw something on the bow, which from the appearance we
took to be islands, and thought we had not stood far enough out. The
ship's company raised a cheer. I hauled up immediately to the N.N.W.,
and was soon undeceived, finding it to be a moderate-sized sea serpent,
which we could not clear upon that tack; we tacked immediately, but the
wind and sea both setting directly upon it, we neared it very fast, and
were within a little more than a cable's length of the animal whilst in
stays.

The doctor, who has always scoffed at the idea of the sea serpent,
which, he said, was a travellers' tale (adding, sarcastically, and, I
think, very inconsiderately, "like the western passage to China"), was
silent all the evening.

Prefer this to his irritating reiteration of that silly Andalusian song:

     And if we ever get back to Spain
     We will never, never, never go to sea again,

which he is so fond of indulging in. Sea serpent of the ordinary kind,
with a white ring round its neck and a tufted crest. Not so large as the
Icelandic specimens. Expect to reach China in ten days' time, should the
weather be favourable. Officers and ship's company in decidedly less
good spirits since the foggy weather began. Sea serpent incident also
caused a good deal of disappointment, the men being convinced we had
reached the coast of China, although I had repeatedly explained that we
could not possibly make that land for some time yet.

_September_ 10.--Lost the _Niña_ and the _Pinta_ twice in the night from
the very thick fog. The situation of the men from the very fatiguing
work made most minute precautions necessary. Double allowance of
Manzanilla served round to-day.

_September_ 11.--No land in sight. Calm all day, with a great swell from
the S.W., and the weather remarkably mild. Confess am disappointed;
wonder whether there is such a country as China after all. Confess I
have no satisfactory evidence for thinking so. But am concealing my
anxiety, of course, from the officers and the doctor, who grow more and
more sarcastic every day. He said at dinner yesterday that we might come
home by the Nile, as we should certainly encounter its source in China.
Want of taste. It is only too plain that both officers and ship's
company are growing sceptical as to the practical results of our voyage.
Wish the King and Queen of Spain had been a little less sanguine. We
shall indeed look very foolish if we come back having accomplished
nothing.

_September_ 12.--Ship's company distressingly sulky. If matters
continue like this it will end in a mutiny. Have been obliged to fake
the observations, measuring the ship's way so that the ship's company
should remain in ignorance of the distances traversed, and think that
they are much less than they are in reality.

This faking has been an easy task, since the log, being only a mean
taken every hour and consequently liable to error from the variations in
the force of the wind during the intervals, from which an arbitrary
correction is made by the officer of the watch; as this allowance must
from its nature be inaccurate, it is very easy to make it more
inaccurate still, now, that is to say, that I have squared Roderigo.

_September_ 13.--Have made a startling and disagreeable discovery. There
is something wrong or odd about the compass. The axis of the needle no
longer coincides with the geographical meridian it occupies--but makes
an angle. This matter must be investigated.

_September_ 17.--The ship's company discovered at dawn to-day the
vagaries of the compass. Situation alarming. They at once said we must
go home. Doctor and surgeon both say that they are not surprised.
Roderigo has constructed an instrument, hanging by a universal joint on
a triangular stand, adjusted so as to hang in a plane perpendicular to
the horizon, by means of a plumb line, which is suspended on a pin above
a divided circle. The length of the magnetic needle is 12 inches, and
its axis is made of gold and copper.

Roderigo says he can now observe the variation. Most ingenious (if
true).

_September_ 18.--Everybody expects to see land to-day. Why, I can't
think. Sailors sometimes have strange superstitions.

_September_ 25.--We are now 475 leagues from the Canaries. No sign of
land. I am quite convinced personally that there is no chance of our
ever reaching land this voyage. I knew from the first the affair was
hopeless. Feel certain we cannot be near China or India. Unfortunately,
my conviction, which I have never expressed, is shared by the ship's
company, who showed signs of positive mutiny to-day. Calmed them as best
I could with soothing words and old sherry. Steered S. to W.

_September_ 26.--Steered W. No sign of anything. Wish we had never left
Spain. The Alguazil disgracefully drunk again last night, and rude in
his cups. Doctor sarcastic. Surgeon sea-sick. Ship's company mutinous.
Have a bad headache. Never did like the sea. It never agreed with my
liver.

_October_ 7.--I ordered the allowance of liquor to be altered, serving
the ship's company one-fourth of their allowance in Manzanilla and the
other three-fourths in brandy. One half of this allowance was served
before dinner, and the other half in the evening. Result satisfactory.

Altered course W. to S.W.

_October_ 10.--Mutiny. Ship's company refuse to go on. Insist on
returning to Spain. If I refuse they threaten to kill me; but I fear
they will kill me if I consent. Otherwise the matter would be simple.
Have asked for three days' respite. Roderigo saw a piece of driftwood
and a small bird called a red-poll. Thinks we are not far from land. Too
good to be true.

_October_ 11.--Saw a light on starboard bow, but am not quite certain
that it wasn't a star.

_October_ 12.--Roderigo saw the land at two in the morning. The King
promised a reward of 10,000 Maravedises to whoever saw land first.
Clearly this reward is mine, as the light I saw on Thursday night was
not a star. Explained this to Roderigo, who lost his temper, and said
that if he didn't get the reward he would ton Mahommedan. The land is,
of course, the coast of China. I always said it was somewhere about
here.

Stood in to make the land. Anchored with the best bower in eleven
fathoms, soft clay. Hoisted Spanish flag; took possession of the
country, which seems to be India, and not China, after all. Call it West
India or Hispaniola. Natives talk in a drawling sing-song, chew tobacco
and gum, and drink Manzanilla and Vermouth mixed, icing the drink. This
is a very gratifying mixture. It is called a _Cola de gallo_. They have
a round game of cards with counters, called chips, in which you pretend
to hold better cards than you do hold in reality. Played and lost.
Natives very sharp.



XVIII

FROM THE DIARY OF THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK


_Pignerol, August_ 21, 1669.--Have at last, I think, attained my heart's
desire. Arrived last night under the pseudonym of _Eustache Danger_.
Found everything fairly satisfactory. That is to say, the King's
promises to me with regard to the absolute solitude I crave have been
carried out as far as was possible in the time. The prison is not
finished, and this accounts for a fact which annoyed me not a little on
my arrival. I found that the walls of my room were not of the thickness
promised, so that, should any one be lodged next door to me, which
Heaven forfend! he might have the bad taste to try and communicate with
me by knocking on the wall. I wear a black velvet mask and the King
solemnly promised me that if any officer were to dare to ask me who I
was he would be instantly dismissed.

_August_ 22, 1669.--So far so good. Saint Mars, the Governor of the
Prison, is certainly doing his best. But last night, when he brought me
my dinner, he forgot himself and said, "Bon Soir, Monsieur." If he does
this again he will have to be removed. I did not come here to be
bothered with conversation.

_August_ 25.--I am enjoying myself immensely. The relief of waking up in
the morning and of gradually becoming conscious that it will not be
necessary--

(_a_) To dress in Court clothes.

(_b_) To go out hunting.

(_c_) To attend the King's _lever_, or still worse, his _coucher_.

(_d_) To play cards and lose.

(_e_) To listen to a play performed in a private house.

(_f_) To laugh at Madame ----'s chaff.

(_g_) To make love to J----.

(_h_) To pretend to enjoy the beauties of nature.

(_i_) To hear and give opinions on Molière.

(_j_) To sit through the long, long dinner.

(_k_) To talk philosophy with Mademoiselle.

(_l_) To find fault with my servant for giving me the wrong stockings.

(_m_) To wait for hours in the crown of the _Œil-de-Bœuf_.

(_n_) To be taken to the window by the English Ambassador and asked if I
think the Spaniards really mean business.

(_o_) To talk internal politics with Louvois.

(_p_) To listen to Le Nôtre's account of Lord Carlisle's new garden.

(_q_) To listen to Bossuet's sermon on Sunday.

(_r_) Not to annoy the Duchesse de La Vallière.

(_s_) To have to look as if I thought the King an amusing
conversationalist.

(_t_) To say that a _Bal Masqué_ is great fun.

(_u_) To go to the opera at the back of a box.

(_v_) To pretend I like Dutch pictures.

(_w_) To dance all night in a room like a monkey cage.

(_x_) To read the Gazette.

(_y_) To be civil to the German Ambassadress.

(_z_) To change my clothes three times a day.

That is my alphabet of negation. It is incomplete. Yet to write it and
read it over and over again fills me with ecstasy.

_March_, 1670.--A most annoying incident happened to-day. The upper
tower, at the western angle of the Castle, is occupied by Fouquet and
Lauzun. The King promised me solemnly that neither of them should be
allowed to hold any communication with me. To-day one of Fouquet's
servants entered my room and spoke to me, asking me whether I had
anything of importance to communicate. I told him very sharply to go to
the devil. If this happens again I shall ask to be moved to a quieter
prison.

It is extraordinary that even in a place like this one cannot be free
from the importunity and the impertinence of human curiosity.

_April_ 3, 1670.--As the days go on, I enjoy myself more and more. A
cargo of books arrived yesterday from Paris, sent by the King, but
Saint Mars had the good sense not to bring them to me. He merely
notified the fact on a slip of paper, which he left on my plate. I
scribbled a note to the effect that he could throw them to the bottom of
the sea, or read them himself, or give them to Fouquet's servant. Books
indeed! It is no longer, thank God, necessary for me to read books, or
to have an opinion on them!

_November_ 1, 1671.--Lauzun has been sent here. The prison is getting
far too crowded. It will soon be as bad as Versailles.

_November_ 10.--Lauzun is being very tiresome. He taps on my ceiling. I
wrote a short note to Saint Mars that if this annoyance continued I
should be constrained to leave his prison.

_March_ 3, 1680.--The situation was intolerable. Lauzun and Fouquet
found some means of communication and they carried on interminable
conversations. What they can have to talk about passes my understanding.
I bore it patiently for some days. At last I complained to Saint Mars in
writing, he took some steps and it appears that Fouquet has had an
attack of apoplexy and died. I cannot endure the neighbourhood of
Lauzun, and I have written to the King saying that unless I am
transferred to a quieter dungeon I shall leave the prison.

_April_ 8, 1680.--Matters have been arranged satisfactorily, and I have
been moved into the lower chamber of the _Tour d'en bas_. But the whole
fortress is far too crowded. There are at least five prisoners in it.
Also I found a tame mouse here, left I suppose by a former occupant. Had
the nuisance removed at once. It is delicious to be safely in prison
just now that the spring is beginning and to think that I shall not
have to spend chilly evenings in wet gardens and to speak foolishly of
the damp April weather.

_January_, 1681.--Caused much annoyance by a tiresome Italian fellow
prisoner called Mattioli, who, feigning either madness or illness, or
both, caused a commotion in the prison, necessitating the arrival of
doctors and priests. Kept awake by noise of bolts being drawn, and the
opening and shutting of doors. Wrote to the King complaining of this
which is a direct infringement of his promise. Asked to be moved to a
quieter spot.

_September_ 2,1681.--Moved to the Fortress of Exiles. Prison said to be
empty. Hope this will prove true.

_October_ 10,1681.--Saint Mars very nearly spoke to me to-day. He was
evidently bursting with something he longed to communicate. However, I
made such a gesture, that I think he felt the frown through my velvet
mask and withdrew.

_January_ 5, 1687.--After months, and indeed years of peace, perfect
peace, with loved ones far away, I have again been subjected to
intolerable annoyance. Fouquet's valet fell ill, and _Saint Mars
informed me of the fact_. I wrote to the King at once saying that either
Saint Mars or I must go.

_April_ 30, 1687.--King has granted my request. Arrived at Sainte
Marguerite in a chair with wheels covered with wax-cloth. I think I
shall be quieter here. I have been promised that no other prisoner shall
be lodged here at all, but the promises of Kings are as iridescent and
as brittle as Venetian glass.

_January_, 1690.--Alas! Alas! for the vanity of human wishes. Here I was
perfectly contented, and, as I thought, quiet at last. Day followed day
of perfect enjoyment, unmarred by conversation, undisturbed by study,
unvexed by the elements, when the peace of my solitude is rudely
shattered by the arrival of two Protestant ministers. It is true I am
never to see them, but the mere fact of knowing that there are two
Protestant ministers in the same building is enough to poison life!

_June_ 1, 1698.--More Protestant ministers have arrived, worse than the
last. They sing hymns. I have written to the King asking him to transfer
me to the Bastille at once. I always said that the Bastille was the only
tolerable dwelling-place in France.

_September_ 13, 1698.--Arrived at the Bastille this afternoon. Lodged on
the third floor of the _Bertandière_ tower--the _thickest_ tower. Really
quiet.

_September_ 19.--A man hammered over my head at four o'clock this
morning. It is intolerable. Shall I ever find a place where I can sleep
from 4 to 8 a.m. without being disturbed? As it is, I might just as well
be living in a fashionable inn.



XIX

FROM THE DIARY OF AN ENGLISH GOVERNESS RESIDING IN PARIS

DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION


_Paris, October_ 7, 1789.--I arrived this afternoon after a rapid and
satisfactory journey. To my amazement found that neither the Count nor
the Countess were here to receive me. The Hotel was deserted save for
the presence of an old servant, and his wife, who appears to be the cook
of the household, and to combine with this office the duties of hall
porter. As I have no command over even the elementary rudiments of the
French language, and as the French never trouble to learn any language
but their own, communication is a sorely difficult task and results in
perpetual misunderstanding. Nevertheless, I succeeded in apprehending
from the voluble expostulations and the superfluous gesticulation of the
old servant, whose name appears to be Pierre, but whom I have decided to
call Peter, that the family had left Paris. That they had departed but
recently and in haste, my senses were able to inform me. All over the
house were traces of disorder. Some but half-packed boxes had been left
behind; cupboards were open, clothes were strewn on the floor, and
everywhere traces of precipitate packing and sudden departure were
manifest. I made as if I would depart also, but Peter made it plain by
signs that I was expected to remain, and indeed he conducted me to my
room, which is airy and commodious enough, and where, after partaking of
a light supper, insufficient and badly cooked as all French meals, and
accompanied by the sour "wine" of the country, I fell into a comfortable
slumber.

_October_ 10, 1789.--I have now been here three days, and as yet I have
received neither message, nor token, nor sign from the departed family,
nor can I ascertain from Peter or his wife, the obtuse menials who are
the sole occupants of this in some respects elegant mansion, whither
they have gone: whether they are loitering in their country seat, or
whether they have started on a longer peregrination. Paris is very full.
The streets are ill-kept and ill-lit, a strange contrast to the blaze
(at night) and tidiness (by day) of the London streets. It is a dingy
city, and I think it must certainly be insanitary. The French understand
no word of English, and if indeed one ventures to address them, all they
reply is: "Rosbeef, plom pudding," a form of address which they
consider facetious. The house is spacious enough, although
inconveniently distant from the centre of the city, but it has the
advantage of an extensive garden surrounded by high walls. As for
myself, I am well cared for by Peter and his wife. She talks at me with
great volubility, but I cannot understand a word of what she says.
French is an unmusical language, very sharp and nasal, but not
ill-suited to a backward people.

_July_ 14, 1790.--Went for a long walk in the city. The streets quiet
and deserted. Peter and his wife went out for the day. She is very handy
with her needle. I find altogether that the French are quite amenable to
reason, if well treated. Of course, one cannot expect them to work like
English people, but they are willing and do their best. It is
unfortunate they do not speak English. Received last quarter's salary
through the usual channel. No further views.

_March_ 4, 1792.--Went out in the evening with Peter and his wife. They
took me to the Opera House, having apparently received tickets from a
friend connected with theatrical affairs. _Castor and Pollux_ was the
name of the opera. The scenery was gorgeous, and the ballets very
skilfully performed. The opera was given in French, so that I could not
follow the words. Weather grey and dark. Boulevards as usual ill-lit;
but crowded with people coming from the coffee-houses, the theatres and
the out-of-door dining houses--all singing at the top of their voices.
Returned home between nine and ten.

_March_ 6, 1792.--Again to the Opera House to hear the _Alcestis_ of
Gluck, and to see the celebrated Vestris dance in a ballet called
_Psyche_. Scenery as usual gorgeous, singing nasal and most unpleasing.

_August_ 13, 1792.--Nothing worth recording. Spend most of the days in
the garden. Weather hot. French people vulgar and loud in their
holiday-making, partial also to fireworks, explosives, firing of guns,
etc. I now make a point of-staying at home on Feast days and holidays,
of which there are far too many.

_Sunday, September_ 2, 1792.--Read the morning service in the garden.
Sultry.

_January_ 21, 1793.--Shops shut this morning, although it is Monday. No
salary received for the last two quarters.

_November_ 10, 1793.--Sunday. Started out to walk along the river in
spite of the damp weather. Streets very muddy. A great crowd of people
near the Cathedral. Caught in the crowd and obliged to follow with the
stream. Borne by the force of the crowd right into the church. Deeply
shocked and disgusted at the display of Romish superstition. A live
woman resembling a play actress throned near the altar, representing no
doubt the Virgin Mary. Most reprehensible. Was obliged to assist at the
mummery until the crowd departed. Think I have taken cold.

_November_ 11, 1793.--Have indeed taken cold in consequence of
yesterday's outing. Remained indoors all day. Peter and his wife most
obliging. They made me some hot negus flavoured with black currant, not
unpalatable.

_November_ 12,1793.--Cold worse. Suffering from ague in the bones as
well. Shall not get up to-morrow. Peter's wife spent much time in
talking and screaming at me. Gathered from her rapid and unintelligible
jargon that she wished me to see a doctor. Shook my head vehemently.
Shall certainly not put myself in the hands of a French doctor. One
never knows what foreigners may prescribe.

_January_ 1, 1794.--Came downstairs for the first time since I have been
laid up. Made many good resolutions for the New Year. Among others to
keep my journal more diligently.

_May_ 30, 1794.--Walked in the garden for the first time since my
relapse. Peter's wife has nursed me with much care and tenderness. Still
very weak.

_July_ 30, 1794.--First walk in the city since my long illness. Feel
really better. Bought a lace kerchief.

_October_ 1, 1794.--The family, that is to say, the Countess and her two
daughters, arrived unexpectedly in the night. Countess simple and
kindly, can scarcely speak any English. Begin lessons to-morrow.

_October_ 2, 1794.--The eldest girl Amelia, aged seven, speaks English
but has been shamefully ill-taught during her stay in England (for it
appears the family have been in England!). She is sadly backward in
spelling: but she has a fair accent and is evidently an intelligent
child. Unfortunately, she has picked up many unseemly expressions. The
Countess suggested my learning French, but I respectfully declined.
Reading Pope's _Essay on Man_ in the evenings. It is improving as well
as elegant.



XX

FROM THE DIARY OF HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK, DURING

HIS STAY AT ENGLAND, WHITHER HE WAS SENT TO STUDY AT

THE UNIVERSITY AT OXFORD, UNDER THE SPECIAL CARE OF

POLONIUS


_Balliol College, Monday_.--Read aloud my Essay on Equality to the
Master. It began: "Treat all men as your equals, especially the rich."
The Master commented on this sentence. He said, "Very ribald, Prince
Hamlet, very ribald."

In training for the annual fencing match between the Universities of
Oxford and Cambridge. Doing my utmost to reduce my flesh which is far
too solid.

_Tuesday_.--Went to Abingdon for the day. When I came back I found that
havoc had been made of my rooms: both the virginals broken to
pieces--all the furniture destroyed, and all my pictures including a
signed portrait of Ophelia.

Have my suspicions as to who has done this. Shall first make certain and
then retaliate terribly. In the meantime it will be politic to conceal
my annoyance.

_Friday_.--Dined last night with a society of Undergraduates who meet
together in a Barn to discuss Falconry and French verse. Rhenish wine
served in great quantities. Feigned drunkenness in order to discover who
was guilty of taking liberties with my furniture. As I suspected,
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were the culprits. They as good as admitted
it in their cups.

Intend to be revenged some day, and that royally.

_Saturday_.--When we returned home from the barn last night, it was of
course necessary for me to keep up the false semblance of intoxication
with which I had started the evening.

This I did by improvising and singing quaint rhymeless couplets as we
strutted across the Quadrangle of the College. It so chanced that we
encountered the Dean, who addressed me. I answered, keeping up the part:
"Buzz. Buzz."

_Monday_.--A College meeting was held this morning and I was summoned to
appear on the charges:--

(_a_) Of having been intoxicated.

(_b_) Of having insulted the Dean.

(_c_) Of having persuaded and finally compelled the younger members of
the College to drink more than was good for them.

To which I replied _(a)_ that seeing that I was in strict training it
was obvious that the charge of intoxication was unfounded; (_b_) that so
far from insulting the Dean, I had addressed him in Danish, and that
familiar as I knew him to be with all the languages of Europe and
especially the Scandinavian tongues, he had probably not realized to the
full the exact shade of deference, respect, and awe which the expression
I used implied; (_c_) that as far as the charge of corrupting the young
was concerned, I was not ashamed to stand in the same dock with
Socrates, and I would cheerfully, if the College authorities and my
Royal parents thought fit, share the doom of my august master. Finally
I reminded the noble and learned assembly that were I to be expelled,
even temporarily, from the College I should be unable (_a_) to represent
the _Alma Mater_ with the rapier against the University of Cambridge,
who had a powerful champion of the noble art in Laertes, a
fellow-countryman of mine; and (_b_) I should not be able to row in the
College boat. I concluded by saying that certain as I was that my royal
parents would endorse any decision which should be arrived at by the
Master and his Colleagues, I was convinced that were I to be sent down
from the College, my royal father, in order that my studies might not be
interrupted, would immediately send me to Cambridge.

The net result of all this is that I am admonished.

Later in the Day I received a note from the Dean asking me to dine with
him next Thursday.

_Sunday_.--Breakfasted with the Master to meet the Poet Laureate, the
Archbishop of York, the Lord Chancellor, the French ambassador, and
Quattrovalli, a celebrated Italian juggler. The poet laureate read out
an Ode he had just composed on the King's sixth marriage. Very poor.

_Monday_.--Took part in the debate held by the College Debating Society.
The subject being whether Homer's Epics were written by Homer or by a
Committee of Athenian Dons.

Took what seemed to the audience a paradoxical view that they were
written by Homer.

_Tuesday_.--Gave a small dinner party in my rooms. Horatio and a few
others. Again compelled to feign intoxication, so as not to mar the
harmony of the evening. Burnt a small organ, and rather a complicated
printing press, belonging to a German undergraduate named Faustus, in
the Quadrangle.

_Wednesday_.--The master commenting on last night's bonfire said he
thought it was not humorous, and fined us heavily. Have as yet found no
opportunity of revenging myself on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

_Thursday_.--Coached by Polonius for two hours in Scottish history. Very
tedious. In the afternoon went on the river in my boat the "Ophelia."
Faustus has been sent down for trying to raise the Devil in the
precincts of the College. It appears this is strictly against the rules.
His excuse was that he had always understood that the College
authorities disbelieved in a personal devil. To which the Dean replied:
"We are all bound to believe in the Devil in a _spiritual_ sense, Mr
Faustus." And Faustus imprudently asked in what other sense you could
believe in him.

_Friday_.--Must really settle this business of Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern soon. It is beginning to prey upon my mind. They are quite
insufferable. Have lost one stone since the term began, which is
satisfactory. Fencing match is to take place next week, here.

_Saturday_.--The man who has the rooms opposite mine is a Spaniard. A
nobleman very cultivated and amiable. His name is Quixote. Consulted him
last night as to what to do about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Quixote
said it was entirely a point of honour. That if I were certain they were
guilty, and certain likewise that they had purposely insulted me, I
should challenge them each, separately, to personal combat, with sword
and rapier. I pointed out, however, that whereas I was a champion
swordsman, and indeed had been chosen to represent the University, they
had no skill at all. Moreover, I considered that to challenge them to
fight would be doing them too much honour. Quixote said I must
indubitably, take action of some kind, or else I would incur the
suspicion of cowardice. At that moment--we were talking by the open
casement--I saw in the darkness, walking stealthily along the wall a man
whom I took to be Guildenstern. Seizing a bottle of white wine from
Xeres with which Quixote had entertained me, I flung it out of the
window on to the head of the skulker, but alas! it was not Guildenstern
but the Dean himself!

_Monday_.--Again appeared before a College meeting. Accused of having
wantonly wounded, and almost murdered the Dean. Protested my innocence
in vain. It was further suggested I was intoxicated. Lost my temper,
which was a mistake, and called the Dean a villain, losing control over
my epithets.

Sent down for the rest of the term. Polonius is very angry. He has
written to my father suggesting that I should not go back to Oxford, nor
seek to enter Cambridge either, but go to Wittenberg instead. Owing to
my abrupt departure the fencing match with Laertes will not come oft. No
matter, a day will come, when maybe I shall be revenged on Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern. We go to London to-day.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lost Diaries" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home