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Title: Historic Oddities - and Strange Events
Author: Baring-Gould, S. (Sabine), 1834-1924
Language: English
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By the same Author.

     +ARMINELL: A SOCIAL ROMANCE.+ 3 Vols. Cr. 8vo. (_On Nov. 1_).

     +OLD COUNTRY LIFE.+--With Numerous Illustrations, Initial Letters,
     &c. Cr. 8vo. (_In October_).

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PREFACE,                                  vii


THE DUCHESS OF KINGSTON,                   26

GENERAL MALLET,                            51

SCHWEINICHEN'S MEMOIRS,                    67

THE LOCKSMITH GAMAIN,                      83

ABRAM THE USURER,                         103

SOPHIE APITZSCH,                          121

PETER NIELSEN,                            136


THE SNAIL TELEGRAPH,                      185

THE COUNTESS GOERLITZ,                    199

A WAX AND HONEY-MOON,                     234

THE ELECTRESS' PLOT,                      257

SUESS OPPENHEIM,                          271

IGNATIUS FESSLER,                         294


A reader of history in its various epochs in different countries, comes
upon eccentric individuals and extraordinary events, lightly passed
over, may be, as not materially affecting the continuity of history, as
not producing any seriously disturbing effect on its course. Such
persons, such events have always awakened interest in myself, and when I
have come on them, it has been my pleasure to obtain such details
concerning them as were available, and which would be out of place in a
general history as encumbering it with matter that is unimportant, or of
insufficient importance to occupy much space. Two of the narratives
contained in this work have appeared already in the "Cornhill Magazine,"
but I have considerably enlarged them by the addition of fresh
material; some of the others came out in the "Gentleman's Magazine," and
one in "Belgravia." With only two of them--"Peter Nielsen" and "A Wax
and Honey-Moon"--are the authorities somewhat gone beyond and the facts
slightly dressed to assume the shape of stories.


_July, 1889_.


The Disappearance of Bathurst.

The mystery of the disappearance of Benjamin Bathurst on November 25,
1809, is one which can never with certainty be cleared up. At the time
public opinion in England was convinced that he had been secretly
murdered by order of Napoleon, and the "Times" in a leader on January
23, 1810, so decisively asserted this, that the "Moniteur" of January 29
ensuing, in sharp and indignant terms repudiated the charge.
Nevertheless, not in England only, but in Germany, was the impression so
strong that Napoleon had ordered the murder, if murder had been
committed, that the Emperor saw fit, in the spring of the same year,
solemnly to assure the wife of the vanished man, on his word of honour,
that he knew nothing about the disappearance of her husband. Thirty
years later Varnhagen von Ense, a well-known German author, reproduced
the story and reiterated the accusation against Napoleon, or at all
events against the French. Later still, the "Spectator," in an article
in 1862, gave a brief sketch of the disappearance of Bathurst, and
again repeated the charge against French police agents or soldiers of
having made away with the Englishman. At that time a skeleton was said
to have been discovered in the citadel of Magdeburg with the hands
bound, in an upright position, and the writer of the article sought to
identify the skeleton with the lost man.[1]

We shall see whether other discoveries do not upset this identification,
and afford us another solution of the problem--What became of Benjamin

Benjamin Bathurst was the third son of Dr. Henry Bathurst, Bishop of
Norwich, Canon of Christchurch, and the Prebendary of Durham, by Grace,
daughter of Charles Coote, Dean of Kilfenora, and sister of Lord
Castlecoote. His eldest brother, Henry, was Archdeacon of Norwich; his
next, Sir James, K.C.B., was in the army and was aide-de-camp to Lord
Wellington in the Peninsula.

Benjamin, the third son of the bishop, was born March 14, 1784,[2] and
had been secretary of the Legation at Leghorn. In May, 1805, he married
Phillida, daughter of Sir John Call, Bart., of Whiteford, in Cornwall,
and sister of Sir William Pratt Call, the second baronet. Benjamin is a
Christian name that occurs repeatedly in the Bathurst family after the
founder of it, Sir Benjamin, Governor of the East India Company and of
the Royal African Company. He died in 1703. The grandfather of the
subject of our memoir was a Benjamin, brother of Allen, who was created
Baron in 1711, and Earl in 1772.

Benjamin had three children: a son who died, some years after his
father's disappearance, in consequence of a fall from a horse at a race
in Rome; a daughter, who was drowned in the Tiber; and another who
married the Earl of Castlestuart in 1830, and after his death married
Signor Pistocchi.

In 1809, early in the year, Benjamin was sent to Vienna by his kinsman,
Earl Bathurst, who was in the ministry of Lord Castlereagh, and, in
October, Secretary of State for the Foreign Department. He was sent on a
secret embassy from the English Government to the Court of the Emperor
Francis. The time was one of great and critical importance to Austria.
Since the Peace of Pressburg she had been quiet; the Cabinet of Vienna
had adhered with cautious prudence to a system of neutrality, but she
only waited her time, and in 1808 the government issued a decree by
which a militia, raised by a conscription, under the name of the
"Landwehr," was instituted, and this speedily reached the number of
300,000 men. Napoleon, who was harassed by the insurrection in the
Peninsula, demanded angrily an explanation, which was evaded. To overawe
Austria, he met the Emperor Alexander of Russia at Erfurth, and the
latter when sounded by Austria refused to have any part in the
confederation against Napoleon. England, in the meantime, was urging
Austria to cast down the gauntlet. In pledge of amity, the port of
Trieste was thrown open to the English and Spanish flags. In December, a
declaration of the King of England openly alluded to the hostile
preparations of Austria, but the Cabinet at Vienna were as yet undecided
as to the course they would finally adopt. The extreme peril which the
monarchy had undergone already in the wars with Napoleon made them
hesitate. England was about to send fifty thousand men to the Peninsula,
and desired the diversion of a war in the heart of Germany. Prussia
resolved to remain neutral. Napoleon rapidly returned from Spain, and
orders were despatched to Davoust to concentrate his immense corps at
Bamberg; Massena was to repair to Strasburg, and press on to Ulm;
Oudenot to move on Augsburg, and Bernadotte, at the head of the Saxons,
was to menace Bohemia. It was at this juncture that Benjamin Bathurst
hurried as Ambassador Extraordinary to Vienna, to assure the Cabinet
there of the intentions of England to send a powerful contingent into
Spain, and to do all in his power to urge Austria to declare war.
Encouraged by England, the Cabinet of Vienna took the initiative, and on
April 8 the Austrian troops crossed the frontier at once on the Inn, in
Bohemia, in Tyrol, and in Italy.

The irritation and exasperation of Napoleon were great; and Bathurst,
who remained with the Court, laboured under the impression that the
Emperor of the French bore him especial enmity, on account of his
exertions to provoke the Austrian Ministry to declaration of war.
Whether this opinion of his were well founded, or whether he had been
warned that Napoleon would take the opportunity, if given him, of
revenging himself, we do not know; but what is certain is, that Bathurst
was prepossessed with the conviction that Napoleon regarded him with
implacable hostility and would leave no stone unturned to compass his

On July 6 came the battle of Wagram, then the humiliating armistice of
Znaim, which was agreed to by the Emperor Francis at Komorn in spite of
the urgency of Metternich and Lord Walpole, who sought to persuade him
to reject the proposals. This armistice was the preliminary to a peace
which was concluded at Schönbrun in October. With this, Bathurst's
office at Vienna came to an end, and he set out on his way home. Now it
was that he repeatedly spoke of the danger that menaced him, and of his
fears lest Napoleon should arrest him on his journey to England. He
hesitated for some time which road to take, and concluding that if he
went by Trieste and Malta he might run the worst risks, he resolved to
make his way to London by Berlin and the north of Germany. He took with
him his private secretary and a valet; and, to evade observation,
assumed the name of Koch, and pretended that he was a travelling
merchant. His secretary was instructed to act as courier, and he passed
under the name of Fisher. Benjamin Bathurst carried pistols about his
person, and there were firearms in the back of the carriage.

On November 25, 1809, about midday, he arrived at Perleberg, with
post-horses, on the route from Berlin to Hamburg, halted at the
post-house for refreshments, and ordered fresh horses to be harnessed
to the carriage for the journey to Lenzen, which was the next station.

Bathurst had come along the highway from Berlin to Schwerin, in
Brandenburg, as far as the little town of Perleberg, which lies on the
Stepnitz, that flows after a few miles into the Elbe at Wittenberge. He
might have gone on to Ludwigslust, and thence to Hamburg, but this was a
considerable détour, and he was anxious to be home. He had now before
him a road that led along the Elbe close to the frontier of Saxony. The
Elbe was about four miles distant. At Magdeburg were French troops. If
he were in danger anywhere, it would be during the next few hours--that
is, till he reached Dömitz. About a hundred paces from the post-house
was an inn, the White Swan, the host of which was named Leger. By the
side of the inn was the Parchimer gate of the town, furnished with a
tower, and the road to Hamburg led through this gate, outside of which
was a sort of suburb consisting of poor cottagers' and artisans' houses.

Benjamin Bathurst went to the Swan and ordered an early dinner; the
horses were not to be put in till he had dined. He wore a pair of grey
trousers, a grey frogged short coat, and over it a handsome sable
greatcoat lined with violet velvet. On his head was a fur cap to match.
In his scarf was a diamond pin of some value.

As soon as he had finished his meal, Bathurst inquired who was in
command of the soldiers quartered in the town, and where he lodged. He
was told that a squadron of the Brandenburg cuirassiers was there under
Captain Klitzing, who was residing in a house behind the Town Hall. Mr.
Bathurst then crossed the market place and called on the officer, who
was at the time indisposed with a swollen neck. To Captain Klitzing he
said that he was a traveller on his way to Hamburg, that he had strong
and well-grounded suspicions that his person was endangered, and he
requested that he might be given a guard in the inn, where he was
staying. A lady who was present noticed that he seemed profoundly
agitated, that he trembled as though ague-stricken, and was unable to
raise a cup of tea that was offered him to his lips without spilling it.

The captain laughed at his fears, but consented to let him have a couple
of soldiers, and gave the requisite orders for their despatch; then Mr.
Bathurst rose, resumed his sable overcoat, and, to account for his
nervous difficulty in getting into his furs again, explained that he was
much shaken by something that had alarmed him.

Not long after the arrival of Mr. Bathurst at the Swan, two Jewish
merchants arrived from Lenzen with post-horses, and left before

On Mr. Bathurst's return to the inn, he countermanded the horses; he
said he would not start till night. He considered that it would be safer
for him to spin along the dangerous portion of the route by night when
Napoleon's spies would be less likely to be on the alert. He remained in
the inn writing and burning papers. At seven o'clock he dismissed the
soldiers on guard, and ordered the horses to be ready by nine. He stood
outside the inn watching his portmanteau, which had been taken within,
being replaced on the carriage, stepped round to the heads of the
horses--_and was never seen again_.

It must be remembered that this was at the end of November. Darkness had
closed in before 5 P.M., as the sun set at four. An oil lantern hung
across the street, emitting a feeble light; the ostler had a horn
lantern, wherewith he and the postillion adjusted the harness of the
horses. The landlord was in the doorway talking to the secretary, who,
as courier, was paying the account. No one particularly observed the
movements of Mr. Bathurst at the moment. He had gone to the horses'
heads, where the ostler's lantern had fallen on him. The horses were in,
the postillion ready, the valet stood by the carriage door, the landlord
had his cap in hand ready to wish the gentleman a "lucky journey;" the
secretary was impatient, as the wind was cold. They waited; they sent up
to the room which Mr. Bathurst had engaged; they called. All in vain.
Suddenly, inexplicably, without a word, a cry, an alarm of any sort, he
was gone--spirited away, and what really became of him will never be
known with certainty.

Whilst the whole house was in amazement and perplexity the Jewish
merchants ordered their carriage to be got ready, and departed.

Some little time elapsed before it was realised that the case was
serious. Then it occurred to the secretary that Mr. Bathurst might have
gone again to the captain in command to solicit guards to attend his
carriage. He at once sent to the captain, but Mr. Bathurst was not with
him. The moment, however, that Klitzing heard that the traveller had
disappeared, he remembered the alarm expressed by the gentleman, and
acted with great promptitude. He sent soldiers to seize the carriage and
all the effects of the missing man. He went, in spite of his swollen
neck, immediately to the Swan, ordered a chaise, and required the
secretary to enter it; he placed a cuirassier and the valet on the box,
and, stepping into the carriage, ordered it to be driven to the Golden
Crown, an inn at the further end of the town, where he installed the
companions of Bathurst, and placed a soldier in guard over them. A guard
was also placed over the Swan, and next morning every possible search
was made for the lost man. The river was dragged, outhouses, woods,
marshes, ditches were examined, but not a trace of him could be found.
That day was Sunday. Klitzing remained at Perleberg only till noon, to
wait some discovery, and then, without delay, hurried to Kyritz, where
was his commandant, Colonel Bismark, to lay the case before him, and
solicit leave to hasten direct to Berlin, there to receive further
instructions what was to be done.

He was back on Monday with full authority to investigate the matter.

Before he left he had gone over the effects of Mr. Bathurst, and had
learned that the fur coat belonging to him was missing; he communicated
this fact to the civil magistrate of the district, and whilst he was
away search was instituted for this. It was the sable coat lined with
violet velvet already mentioned, and this, along with another belonging
to the secretary, Fisher was under the impression had been left in the

The amazing part of the matter is that the city authorities--and,
indeed, on his return, Captain Klitzing--for a while confined themselves
to a search for the fur coat, and valuable time was lost by this means.
Moreover, the city authorities, the police, and the military were all
independent, and all jealous of each other. The military commander,
Klitzing, and the burgomaster were in open quarrel, and sent up to
headquarters charges against each other for interference in the matter
beyond their rights. The head of the police was inert, a man afterwards
dismissed for allowing defalcation in the monies entrusted to him. There
was no system in the investigation, and the proper clues were not

On December 16th, two poor women went out of Perleberg to a little fir
wood in the direction of Quitzow, to pick up broken sticks for fuel.
There they found, a few paces from a path leading through the wood,
spread out on the grass, a pair of trousers turned inside out. On
turning them back they observed that they were stained on the outside,
as if the man who had worn them had lain on the earth. In the pocket was
a paper with writing on it; this, as well as the trousers, was sodden
with water. Two bullet holes were in the trousers, but no traces of
blood about them, which could hardly have been the case had the bullets
struck a man wearing the trousers. The women took what they had found to
the burgomaster. The trousers were certainly those of the missing man.
The paper in the pocket was a half-finished letter from Mr. Bathurst to
his wife, scratched in pencil, stating that he was afraid he would never
reach England, and that his ruin would be the work of Count
d'Entraigues, and he requested her not to marry again in the event of
his not returning.

The English Government offered £1,000 reward, and his family another
£1,000; Prince Frederick of Prussia, who took a lively interest in the
matter, offered in addition 100 Friedrichs d'or for the discovery of the
body, or for information which might lead to the solution of the
mystery, but no information to be depended upon ever transpired. Various
rumours circulated; and Mrs. Thistlethwaite, the sister of Benjamin
Bathurst, in her Memoirs of Dr. Henry Bathurst, Bishop of Norwich,
published by Bentley in 1853, gives them. He was said to have been lost
at sea. Another report was that he was murdered by his valet, who took
an open boat on the Elbe, and escaped. Another report again was that he
had been lost in a vessel which was crossing to Sweden and which
foundered about this time. These reports are all totally void of truth.
Mrs. Thistlethwaite declares that Count d'Entraigues, who was afterwards
so cruelly murdered along with his wife by their Italian servant, was
heard to say that he could prove that Mr. Bathurst was murdered in the
fortress of Magdeburg. In a letter to his wife, dated October 14, 1809,
Benjamin Bathurst said that he trusted to reach home by way of Colberg
and Sweden. D'Entraigues had been a French spy in London; and Mrs.
Thistlethwaite says that he himself told Mrs. Bathurst that her husband
had been carried off by _douaniers-montés_ from Perleberg to Magdeburg,
and murdered there. This it is hard to believe.

Thomas Richard Underwood, in a letter from Paris, November 24, 1816,
says he was a prisoner of war in Paris in 1809, and that both the
English and French there believed that the crime of his abduction and
murder had been committed by the French Government.

The "European Magazine" for January, 1810, says that he was apparently
carried off by a party of French troops stationed at Lenzen, but this
was not the case. No French troops were on that side of the Elbe. It
further says, "The French Executive, with a view to ascertain by his
papers the nature of the relations subsisting between this country and
the Austrian Government, has added to the catalogue of its crimes by the
seizure, or probably the murder, of this gentleman."

If there had been French troops seen we should have known of it; but
none were. Every effort was made by the civil and military authorities
to trace Bathurst. Bloodhounds were employed to track the lost man, in
vain. Every well was explored, the bed of the Stepnitz thoroughly
searched. Every suspicious house in Perleberg was examined from attic to
cellar, the gardens were turned up, the swamps sounded, but every effort
to trace and discover him was in vain.

On January 23, 1810, in a Hamburg paper, appeared a paragraph, which for
the first time informed the people of Perleberg who the merchant Koch
really was who had so mysteriously vanished. The paragraph was in the
form of a letter, dated from London, January 6, 1810--that is, six weeks
after the disappearance. It ran thus: "Sir Bathurst, Ambassador
Extraordinary of England to the Court of Austria, concerning whom a
German newspaper, under date of December 10, stated that he had
committed suicide in a fit of insanity, is well in mind and body. His
friends have received a letter from him dated December 13, which,
therefore, must have been written after the date of his supposed death."

Who inserted this, and for what purpose? It was absolutely untrue. Was
it designed to cause the authorities to relax their efforts to probe the
mystery, and perhaps to abandon them altogether?

The Jewish merchants were examined, but were at once discharged; they
were persons well-to-do, and generally respected.

Was it possible that Mr. Bathurst had committed suicide? This was the
view taken of his disappearance in France, where, in the "Moniteur" of
December 12, 1809, a letter from the correspondent in Berlin stated:
"Sir Bathurst on his way from Berlin showed signs of insanity, and
destroyed himself in the neighbourhood of Perleberg." On January 23,
1810, as already said, the "Times" took the matter up, and not obscurely
charged the Emperor Napoleon with having made away with Mr. Bathurst,
who was peculiarly obnoxious to him.

In the mean time, the fur coat had been found, hidden in the cellar of a
family named Schmidt, behind some firewood. Frau Schmidt declared that
it had been left at the post house, where she had found it; and had
conveyed it away, and given it to her son Augustus, a fellow of
notoriously bad character. Now, it is remarkable that one witness
declared that she had seen the stranger who had disappeared go out of
the square down the narrow lane in which the Schmidts lived, and where
eventually the fur coat was found. When questioned, Augustus Schmidt
said that "his mother had told him the stranger had two pistols, and had
sent her to buy him some powder. He supposed therefore that the
gentleman had shot himself." Unfortunately the conflict of authorities
acted prejudicially at this point, and the questions how the Schmidts
came to know anything about the pistols, whether Frau Schmidt really was
sent for powder, and whether Bathurst was really seen entering the alley
in which they lived, and at what hour, were never properly entered into.
Whatever information Klitzing obtained, was forwarded to Berlin, and
there his reports remain in the archives. They have not been examined.

Fresh quarrels broke out between Klitzing and the Burgomaster, and
Klitzing instead of pursuing the main investigations, set to work to
investigate the proceedings of the Burgomaster. So more time was lost.

On Thursday, November 30th, that is to say, five days after the
disappearance of Bathurst, Captain Klitzing ordered the town
magistrates; 1. To have all ditches and canals round the place examined;
2. To have the neighbourhood of the town explored by foresters with
hounds; 3. To let off the river Stepnitz and examine the bed. Then he
added, "as I have ascertained that Augustus Schmidt, who is now under
arrest for the theft of the fur coat, was _not at home at the time that
the stranger disappeared_, I require that this fact be taken into
consideration, and investigated"--and this, as far as we can ascertain,
was not done; it was just one of those valuable clues which were left

The whole neighbourhood was searched, ditches, ponds, the river bed,
drains, every cellar, and garden, and nothing found. The search went on
to December 6, and proved wholly resultless. It was not till December 16
that the trousers were found. It is almost certain that they were laid
in the Quitzow wood after the search had been given over, on December

As nothing could be proved against the Schmidt family, except that they
had taken the fur coat, Frau Schmidt and her son were sentenced to eight
weeks' imprisonment.

The matter of the pistols was not properly cleared up. That, again, was
a point, and an important point that remained uninvestigated.

The military authorities who examined the goods of Mr. Bathurst declared
that nothing was missing except the fur cloak, which was afterwards
recovered, and we suppose these pistols were included. If not, one may
be sure that some notice would have been taken of the fact that he had
gone off with his pistols, and had not returned. This would have lent
colour to the opinion that he destroyed himself. Besides no shot was
heard. A little way outside the gateway of the town beyond the Swan inn
is a bridge over the small and sluggish stream of the Stepnitz. It was
possible he might have shot himself there, and fallen into the water;
but this theory will not bear looking closely into. A shot fired there
would certainly have been heard at night in the cottages beside the
road; the river was searched shortly after without a trace of him having
been found, and his trousers with bullet holes made in them after they
had been taken off him had been discovered in another direction.

The "Moniteur" of January 29 said: "Among the civilised races, England
is the only one that sets an example of having bandits[3] in pay, and
inciting to crime. From information we have received from Berlin, we
believe that Mr. Bathurst had gone off his head. It is the manner of the
British Cabinet to commit diplomatic commissions to persons whom the
whole nation knows are half fools. It is only the English diplomatic
service which contains crazy people."

This violent language was at the time attributed to Napoleon's
dictation, stung with the charge made by the "Times," a charge ranking
him with "vulgar murderers," and which attributed to him two other and
somewhat similar cases, that of Wagstaff, and that of Sir George
Rumbold. It is very certain that the "Moniteur" would not have ventured
on such insulting language without his permission.

In April Mrs. Bathurst, along with some relatives, arrived in
Perleberg. The poor lady was in great distress and anxiety to have the
intolerable suspense alleviated by a discovery of some sort, and the
most liberal offers were made and published to induce a disclosure of
the secret. At this time a woman named Hacker, the wife of a peasant who
lived in the shoe-market, was lying in the town gaol--the tower already
mentioned, adjoining the White Swan. She was imprisoned for various
fraudulent acts. She now offered to make a confession, and this was her

"A few weeks before Christmas I was on my way to Perleberg from a place
in Holstein, where my husband had found work. In the little town of
Seeberg, twelve miles from Hamburg, I met the shoemaker's assistant
Goldberger, of Perleberg, whom I knew from having danced with him. He
was well-dressed, and had from his fob hanging a hair-chain with gold
seals. His knitted silk purse was stuffed with louis d'ors. When I asked
him how he came by so much money, he said, 'Oh, I got 500 dollars and
the watch as hush-money when the Englishman was murdered.' He told me no
more particulars, except that one of the seals was engraved with a name,
and he had had that altered in Hamburg."

No credit was given to this story, and no inquiry was instituted into
the whereabouts of Goldberger. It was suspected that the woman had
concocted it in the hopes of getting Mrs. Bathurst to interest herself
in obtaining her release, and of getting some of the money offered to

Mrs. Bathurst did not return immediately to England; she appealed to
Napoleon to grant her information, and he assured her through
Cambacières, and on his word of honour, that he knew nothing of the
matter beyond what he had seen in the papers.

So the matter rested, an unsolved mystery.

In Prussia, among the great bulk of the educated, in the higher and
official classes, the prevailing conviction was that Napoleon had caused
the disappearance of Bathurst, not out of personal feeling, but in
political interests, for the purpose of getting hold of the dispatches
which he was believed to be conveying to England from the Austrian
Government. The murder was held to be an accident, or an unavoidable
consequence. And in Perleberg itself this was the view taken of the
matter as soon as it was known who the stranger was. But then, another
opinion prevailed there, that Klitzing had secretly conveyed him over
the frontier, so as to save him from the spies, and the pursuit which,
as he and Bathurst knew, endangered the safety of the returning envoy.

In Perleberg two opinions were formed, by such as conceived that he had
been murdered, as to the manner in which he had been made away with.

Not far from the post-house was at the time a low tavern kept by Hacker,
who has been mentioned above; the man combined shoemaking with the sale
of brandy. Augustus Schmidt spent a good deal of his time in this house.
Now shortly after this affair, Hacker left Perleberg, and set up at
Altona, where he showed himself possessed of a great deal of money. He
was also said to have disposed of a gold repeater watch to a jeweller in
Hamburg. This was never gone into; and how far it was true, or idle
rumour, cannot be said. One view was that Bathurst had been robbed and
murdered by Hacker and Schmidt.

The other opinion was this. Opposite the post-house was a house occupied
at the time by a fellow who was a paid French spy; a man who was tried
for holding secret communication with the enemy of his Fatherland. He
was a petty lawyer, who stirred up quarrels among the peasants, and
lived by the result. He was a man of the worst possible character,
capable of anything. The opinion of one section of the people of
Perleberg was, that Bathurst, before entering the carriage, had gone
across the square, and had entered into conversation with this man, who
had persuaded him to enter his door, where he had strangled him, and
buried him in his cellar. The widow of this man on her death-bed
appeared anxious to confess something, but died before she could speak.

In 1852 a discovery was made at Perleberg which may or may not give the
requisite solution.

We may state before mentioning this that Captain Klitzing never believed
that Bathurst had been spirited away by French agents. He maintained
that he had been murdered for his money.

On April 15, 1852, a house on the Hamburg road that belonged to the
mason Kiesewetter was being pulled down, when a human skeleton was
discovered under the stone threshold of the stable. The skeleton lay
stretched out, face upwards, on the black peat earth, covered with
mortar and stone chips, the head embedded in walling-stones and mortar.
In the back of the skull was a fracture, as if a blow of a heavy
instrument had fallen on it. All the upper teeth were perfect, but one
of the molars in the lower jaw was absent, and there were indications of
its having been removed by a dentist. The house where these human
remains were found had been purchased in 1834 by the mason Kiesewetter
from Christian Mertens, who had inherited it from his father, which
latter had bought it in 1803 of a shoemaker. _Mertens, the father, had
been a serving man in the White Swan at the time of the disappearance of
Mr. Bathurst._

Inquiry was made into what was known of old Mertens. Everyone spoke
highly of him as a saving, steady man, God-fearing; who had scraped
together during his service in the Swan sufficient money to dower his
two daughters with respectively £150 and £120. After a long illness he
had died, generally respected.

Information of the discovery was forwarded to the Bathurst family, and
on August 23, Mrs. Thistlethwaite, sister of Benjamin, came to
Perleberg, bringing with her a portrait of her brother, but she was
quite unable to say that the skull that was shown her belonged to the
missing man, whom she had not seen for forty-three years. And--no
wonder! When Goethe was shown the skull of his intimate friend Schiller
he could hardly trace any likeness to the head he remembered so well.
Mrs. Thistlethwaite left, believing that the discovery had no connection
with the mystery of her brother's disappearance, so ineradicably fixed
in the convictions of the family was the belief that he had been carried
away by French agents.

However, let us consider this discovery a little closer, and perhaps we
shall be led to another conclusion.

In the first place, the skeleton was that of a man who had been murdered
by a blow on the back of his head, which had fractured the skull. It had
been stripped before being buried, for not a trace of clothing could be

Secondly, the house of the Mertens family lay on the Hamburg road, on
the way to Lenzen, outside the Parchimer Gate, only three hundred paces
from the White Swan. In fact, it was separated from the White Swan only
by the old town-gate and prison tower, and a small patch of garden

At the time of the disappearance of Mr. Bathurst it was inhabited by
Christian Mertens, who was servant at the White Swan. No examination was
made at the time of the loss of Bathurst into the whereabouts of
Mertens, nor was his cottage searched. It was assumed that he was at the
inn waiting for his "vale," like the ostler and the _Kellner_. It is
quite possible that he may have been standing near the horses' heads,
and that he may have gone on with Mr. Bathurst a few steps to show him
the direction he was to go; or, with the pretence that he had important
information to give him, he may have allured him into his cottage, and
there murdered him, or, again, he may have drawn him on to where by
pre-arrangement Goldberger was lying in wait with a hammer or hatchet to
strike him down from behind. Considering how uneasy Mr. Bathurst was
about the road, and how preoccupied with the idea that French spies and
secret agents were on the look-out for him, he might easily have been
induced by a servant of the inn where he was staying to go a few steps
through the gate, beyond earshot of the post-boy and landlord and
ostler, to hear something which the boots pretended was of importance to
him. Goldberger or another may have lain in wait in the blackness of the
shadow of the gateway but a short distance from the lights about the
carriage, and by one stroke have silenced him. It is possible that
Augustus Schmidt may have been mixed up in the matter, and that the
sable coat was taken off Mr. Bathurst when dead.

Again, Mertens was able on the marriage of his two daughters to give one
150_l._ and the other 120_l._ This would mean that Mertens had saved as
boots of the Swan at the least 300_l._, for he would not give every
penny to his children. Surely this was a considerable sum for a boots in
a little inn to amass from his wage and from "vales."

Mrs. Thistlethwaite asserts in her Memoirs of Bishop Bathurst that
shortly after the disappearance of her brother the ostler--can she mean
Mertens?--also disappeared, ran away. But we do not know of any
corroborating evidence.

Lastly, the discovery of the trousers in the wood near Quitzow points to
the traveller having been murdered in Perleberg; the murderers, whoever
they were, finding that an investigation of houses, barns, gardens and
stables was being made, took the garments of the unfortunate man,
discharged a couple of shots through them to make believe he had been
fired at by several persons lying in wait for him, and then exposed
them in a place away from the road along which Mr. Bathurst was going.
The man who carried these garments was afraid of being observed, and he
probably did not go through the town with them, but made a circuit to
the wood, and for the same reason did not take them very far. The road
to Lenzen ran S.W. and that to Quitzow N.W. He placed the trousers near
the latter, but did not venture to cross the highway. He could get to
the wood over the fields unperceived.

Supposing that this is the solution of the mystery, one thing remains to
be accounted for--the paragraph in the Hamburg paper dated from London,
announcing that Mr. Bathurst was alive and had been heard of since the

This, certainly, seems to have been inserted with a design to divert or
allay suspicion, and it was generally held to have been sent from London
by a French agent, on instruction from Paris. But it is possible that
the London correspondent may have heard a coffee-house rumour that
Bathurst was still alive, and at once reported it to the paper. Its
falsehood was palpable, and would be demonstrated at once by the family
of the lost man to the authorities at Perleberg. It could not answer the
purpose of arresting inquiry and staying investigation.

It remains only to inquire whether it was probable that Napoleon had any
hand in the matter.

What could induce him to lay hands on an envoy? He could not expect to
find on the person of Mr. Bathurst any important dispatches, for the war
was over, peace with Austria was concluded. He was doubtless angry at
Austria having declared war, and angry at England having instigated her
to do so, but Mr. Bathurst was very small game indeed on which to wreak
his anger; moreover, the peace that had been concluded with Austria gave
great advantages to France. He can have had no personal dislike to
Bathurst, for he never saw him. When Napoleon entered Vienna, Bathurst
was with the Emperor Francis in Hungary, at Komorn.

And yet, he may have suspected that Austria was insincere, and was
anxious to renew the conflict, if she could obtain assurance of
assistance from England. He may have thought that by securing the papers
carried to England by Bathurst, he would get at the real intentions of
Austria, and so might be prepared for consequences. We cannot say. The
discovery of the body in Mertens' house, under the threshold--supposing
it to be that of Bathurst, does not by any means prove that the murder
was a mere murder for the purpose of robbery.

If Napoleon had given instructions for the capture of Bathurst, and the
taking from him of his papers, it does not follow that he ordered his
murder, on the contrary, he would have given instructions that he should
be robbed--as if by highwaymen--and let go with his life. The murder was
against his wishes, if he did give orders for him to be robbed.

The Bathurst family never doubted that Benjamin had been murdered by the
agents of Napoleon. It is certain that he was well aware that his safety
was menaced, and menaced at Perleberg. That was why he at once on
reaching the place asked for the protection of a guard. He had received
warning from some one, and such warning shows that an attempt to rob him
of his papers was in contemplation.

That caution to be on his guard must have been given him, before he left
Vienna. He probably received another before he reached Perleberg, for he
appeared before the Commandant in a state of great alarm and agitation.
That this was mere spiritual presage of evil is hardly credible. We
cannot doubt--and his letter to his wife leads to this conviction--that
he had been warned that spies in the pay of the French Government were
on the look-out for him. Who the agents were that were employed to get
hold of his papers, supposing that the French Government did attempt to
waylay him, can never be determined, whether Mertens or Augustus

In 1815 Earl Bathurst was Secretary of State for War and the Colonial
Department. May we not suspect that there was some mingling of personal
exultation along with political satisfaction, in being able to send to
St. Helena the man who had not only been the scourge of Europe, and the
terror of kings, but who, as he supposed--quite erroneously we
believe--had inflicted on his own family an agony of suspense and doubt
that was never to be wholly removed?


[1] The discovery of a skeleton as described was denied afterwards by
the Magdeburg papers. It was a newspaper sensational paragraph, and

[2] Register of Baptisms, Christchurch, Oxford, 1784, March 14,
Benjamin, s. of Henry Bathurst, Canon, and Grace his wife, born, and
bap. April 19.

[3] When, in 1815, Napoleon was at St. Helena, on his first introduction
to Sir Hudson Lowe, he addressed the governor with the insulting words,
"Monsieur, vous avez commandé des brigands." He alluded to the Corsican
rangers in the British service, which Lowe had commanded.

The Duchess of Kingston.

Elizabeth Chudleigh, Countess of Bristol and Duchess of Kingston, who
was tried for bigamy in Westminster Hall by the Peers in 1776, was, it
can hardly be doubted, the original from whom Thackeray drew his
detailed portrait of Beatrix Esmond, both as young Trix and as the old
Baroness Bernstein; nor can one doubt that what he knew of his prototype
was taken from that scandalous little book, "An Authentic Detail of
Particulars relative to the late Duchess of Kingston," published by G.
Kearsley in 1788. Thackeray not only reproduced some of the incidents of
her life, but more especially caught the features of her character.

Poor Trix! Who does not remember her coming down the great staircase at
Walcote, candle in hand, in her red stockings and with a new cherry
ribbon round her neck, her eyes like blue stars, her brown hair curling
about her head, and not feel a lingering liking for the little coquette,
trying to catch my Lord Mohun, and the Duke of Hamilton, and many
another, and missing all? and for the naughty old baroness, with her
scandalous stories, her tainted past, her love of cards, her complete
unscrupulousness, and yet with one soft corner in the withered heart for
the young Virginians?

The famous, or infamous, Duchess has had hard measure dealt out to her,
which she in part deserved; but some of the stories told of her are
certainly not true, and one circumstance in her life, if true, goes far
to palliate her naughtiness. Unfortunately, almost all we know of her is
taken from unfriendly sources. The only really impartial source of
information is the "Trial," published by order of the Peers, but that
covers only one portion of her life, and one set of incidents.

Elizabeth Chudleigh was the daughter of Colonel Thomas Chudleigh, of
Chelsea, and his wife Henrietta, who was his first cousin, the fourth
daughter of Hugh Chudleigh, of Chalmington, in Dorset. Thomas was the
only brother of Sir George Chudleigh, fourth baronet of Asheton, in
Devon. As Sir George left only daughters, Thomas, the brother of
Elizabeth, whose baptism in 1718 is recorded in the Chelsea registers,
succeeded as fifth baronet in 1738. Unfortunately the Chelsea registers
do not give the baptism of Elizabeth, and we are not able to state her
precise age, about which there is some difference. Her father had a post
in Chelsea College, but apparently she was not born there. There can,
however, be little doubt that she saw the light for the first time in
1726, and not in 1720, as is generally asserted.

Her family was one of great antiquity in the county of Devon, and was
connected by marriage with the first families of the west of England.
The old seat, Asheton, lies in a pleasant coombe under the ridge of
Haldon; some remains of the old mansion, and venerable trees of the
park, linger on; and in the picturesque parish church, perched on a rock
in the valley, are many family monuments and heraldic blazonings of the
Chudleigh lions, gules on an ermine field. Elizabeth lost her father
very early, and the widow was left on a poor pension to support and
advance the prospects of her two children. Though narrowed in fortune,
Mrs. Chudleigh had good connections, and she availed herself of these to
push her way in the world. At the age of sixteen--that is, in
1743--Elizabeth was given the appointment of maid of honour to the
Princess of Wales, through the favour of Mr. Pulteney, afterwards Earl
of Bath, who had met her one day while out shooting. The old beau was
taken with the vivacity, intelligence and beauty of the girl. She was
then not only remarkable for her beauty, delicacy of complexion, and
sparkling eyes, but also for the brilliancy of her wit and the
liveliness of her humour. Even her rival, the Marquise de la Touche, of
whom more hereafter, bears testimony to her charms. Pulteney, himself a
witty, pungent, and convivial man, was delighted with the cleverness of
the lovely girl, and amused himself with drawing it out. In after years,
when she was asked the secret of her sparkling repartee, she replied, "I
always aim to be short, clear, and surprising."

The Princess of Wales, Augusta, daughter of Frederick of Saxe-Gotha, who
with the Prince, Frederick Lewis, had their court at Leicester House,
became greatly attached to her young maid of honour. The beautiful Miss
Chudleigh was speedily surrounded by admirers, among whom was James,
sixth Duke of Hamilton, born in 1724, and therefore two years her

According to the "Authentic Detail," the Duke obtained from her a
solemn engagement that, on his return from a tour on the Continent which
he was about to take, she would become his wife. Then he departed,
having arranged for a mutual correspondence.

In the summer of 1744 she went on a visit to Lainston, near Winchester,
to her maternal aunt, Anne Hanmer, who was then living at the house of
Mr. Merrill, the son of another aunt, Susanna, who was dead.

To understand the relationship of the parties, a look will suffice at
the following pedigree.[4]

  Sir George Chudleigh = Elizabeth, da. of Hugh Fortescue
       2nd Bart.       |
 |                                             |
Hugh Chudleigh = Susanna da.    Sir George Chudleigh = Mary da.
2nd surv. son, | Sir R. Stroud.  s. & h., 3rd Bart., | R. Lee,
   d. 1716.    |                      d. 1719.       | d. 1710.
               |                                     |
   +----------+-----------+        +----------------------+
   |          |           |        |                      |
Susanna,    Anne,    Henrietta = Thomas Chudleigh,   Sir George
d. 1740,  d. 1764,    d. 1756. |     2nd son,        Chudleigh,
m. John    m. Wm.              |  d. before 1734.     4th Bart.
Merrill.  Hanmer.              |                      d. s. p.
                               |                       1738.
                   |                          |
               ELIZABETH,            Sir Thomas Chudleigh,
           Duchess of Kingston,      5th Bart., d. s. p. 1741.
               d. 1788.

Mrs. Hanmer, a widow, kept house for her nephew, who was squire. At the
Winchester races, to which she went with a party, Elizabeth met
Lieutenant Hervey, second son of the late John, Lord Hervey, and
grandson of the Earl of Bristol. Lieutenant Hervey, who was in the
"Cornwall," then lying at Portsmouth, a vessel in Sir John Danver's
squadron, was born in 1724, and was therefore two years the senior of
Elizabeth; indeed, at the time he was only just twenty. He was
fascinated by the beautiful girl, and was invited by Mrs. Hanmer to
Lainston. "To this gentleman," says the "Authentic Detail," "Mrs. Hanmer
became so exceedingly partial that she favoured his views on her niece,
and engaged her efforts to effect, if possible, a matrimonial connexion.
There were two difficulties which would have been insurmountable if not
opposed by the fertile genius of a female: Miss Chudleigh disliked
Captain Hervey, and she was betrothed to the Duke of Hamilton. To render
this last nugatory, the letters of his Grace were intercepted by Mrs.
Hanmer, and his supposed silence giving offence to her niece, she worked
so successfully on her pride as to induce her to abandon all thoughts of
the lover, whose passion she had cherished with delight."

Is this story true? It seems incredible that Mrs. Hanmer should have
urged her niece to throw over such a splendid prospect of family
advancement as that offered by marriage with the Duke of Hamilton, for
the sake of an impecunious young sailor who was without the means of
supporting his wife, and who, at that time, had not the faintest
expectation of succeeding to the Earldom of Bristol.

It is allowable to hope that the story of the engagement to the Duke of
Hamilton, broken through the intrigues of the aunt, is true, as it forms
some excuse for the after conduct of Elizabeth Chudleigh.

It is more probable that the Duke of Hamilton had not said anything to
Elizabeth, and did not write to her, at all events not till later. She
may have entertained a liking for him, but not receiving any token that
the liking was reciprocated, she allowed her aunt to engage and marry
her to young Hervey. That the poor girl had no fancy for the young man
is abundantly clear. The Attorney General, in the trial, said that Mrs.
Hanmer urged on the match "as advantageous to her niece;" but
advantageous it certainly was not, and gave no prospect of being.

In August, Augustus John Hervey got leave from his ship and came to
Lainston. The house, which had belonged to the Dawleys, had passed into
the possession of the Merrills. In the grounds stands the parish church,
but as the only house in the parish is the mansion, it came to be
regarded very much as the private chapel of the manor house. The living
went with Sparsholt. There was no parsonage attached, and though the
Dawleys had their children baptized in Lainston, they were registered in
the book of Sparsholt. The church is now an ivy-covered ruin, and the
mansion is much reduced in size from what it was in the time when it
belonged to the Merrills.

"Lainston is a small parish, the value of the living being £15 a year;
Mr. Merrill's the only house in it, and the parish church at the end of
his garden. On the 4th August, 1744, Mr. Amis, the then rector, was
appointed to be at the church, alone, late at night. At eleven o'clock
Mr. Hervey and Miss Chudleigh went out, as if to walk in the garden,
followed by Mrs. Hanmer, her servant--Anne Craddock, Mr. Merrill, and
Mr. Mountenay, which last carried a taper to read the service by. They
found Mr. Amis in the church, according to his appointment, and there
the service was celebrated, Mr. Mountenay holding the taper in his hat.
The ceremony being performed, Mrs. Hanmer's maid was despatched to see
that the coast was clear, and they returned into the house without being
observed by any of the servants." This is the account of the wedding
given at the trial by the Attorney General, from the evidence of Anne
Craddock, then the sole surviving witness.

There was no signing of registers, Mr. Amis was left to make the proper
entry in the Sparsholt book--and he forgot to do this. The happiness of
the newly-married couple lasted but a few days--two, or at the outside,
three; and then Lieutenant Hervey left to rejoin his vessel, and in
November sailed for the West Indies. The "Authentic Detail" declares
that a violent quarrel broke out immediately on marriage between the
young people, and that Elizabeth declared her aversion, and vowed never
to associate with him again.

So little was the marriage to her present advantage that Elizabeth was
unable to proclaim it, and thereby forfeit her situation as maid of
honour to the Princess, with its pay and perquisites. Consequently, by
her aunt's advice, she kept it concealed.

"Miss Chudleigh, now Mrs. Hervey,--a maid in appearance, a wife in
disguise,--seemed from those who judge from externals only, to be in an
enviable situation. Of the higher circles she was the attractive centre,
of gayer life the invigorating spirit. Her royal mistress not only
smiled on, but actually approved her. A few friendships she cemented,
and conquests she made in such abundance that, like Cæsar in a triumph,
she had a train of captives at her heels. Her husband, quieted for a
time, grew obstreperous as she became more the object of admiration. He
felt his right, and was determined to assert it. She endeavoured by
letter to negotiate him into peace, but her efforts succeeded not. He
demanded a private interview, and, enforcing his demands by threats of
exposure in case of refusal, she complied through compulsion."

The Duke of Hamilton returned from the grand tour, and he at once sought
Elizabeth to know why his letters had not been answered. Then the fraud
that had been practised on her was discovered, and the Duke laid his
coronet at her feet. She was unable to accept the offer, and unable also
to explain the reasons of her refusal. Rage at having been duped,
disappointment at having lost the strawberry leaves, embittered
Elizabeth, and stifled the germs of good principle in her.

This is the generally received story. It is that given by the author, or
authoress, of the "Authentic Detail," usually well informed. But, as we
have seen, it is hardly possible to suppose that Mrs. Hanmer can have
suppressed the Duke's letters. No doubt she was a fool, and a woman,
when a fool, is of abnormal folly, yet she never loses sight of her own
interest; and it was not Mrs. Hanmer's interest to spoil the chances of
her niece with the Duke.

After the Duke of Hamilton had been refused, and his visits to her
house in Conduit Street prohibited, the Duke of Ancaster, Lord Howe, and
other nobles made offers, and experienced a fate similar to that of his
Grace of Hamilton. This astonished the fashionable world, and Mrs.
Chudleigh, her mother, who was a stranger to the private marriage of her
daughter, reprehended her folly with warmth.[5] To be freed from her
embarrassments, Elizabeth resolved to travel. She embarked for the
Continent, and visited Dresden, where she became an attached friend of
the Electress of Saxony.

On her return to England she was subjected to annoyance from her
husband. She could not forgive him the deception practised on her,
though he was probably innocent of connivance in it.

"Captain Hervey, like a perturbed spirit, was eternally crossing the
path trodden by his wife. Was she in the rooms at Bath? he was sure to
be there. At a rout, ridotto, or ball, there was this fell destroyer of
peace, embittering every pleasure and blighting the fruit of happiness
by the pestilential malignity of his presence. As a proof of his
disposition to annoy, he menaced his wife with an intimation that he
would disclose the marriage to the Princess of Wales. In this Miss
Chudleigh anticipated him by being the first relater of the
circumstance. Her royal mistress heard and pitied her. She continued her
patronage to the hour of her death."

In 1749, Elizabeth attended a masquerade ball in the dress, or rather
undress, of the character of Iphigenia. In a letter of Mrs. Montague to
her sister, she says, "Miss Chudleigh's dress, or rather undress, was
remarkable, she was Iphigenia for the sacrifice, but so naked, the high
priest might easily inspect the entrails of the victim. The Maids of
Honour (not of maids the strictest) were so offended they would not
speak to her." Horace Walpole says, "Miss Chudleigh was Iphigenia, but
so naked that you would have taken her for Andromeda." It was of her
that the witty remark was then first made that she resembled Eve in that
she was "naked and not ashamed." On May 17th Walpole writes: "I told you
we were to have another masquerade; there was one by the King's command
for Miss Chudleigh, the Maid of Honour, with whom our gracious monarch
has a mind to believe himself in love, so much in love, that at one of
the booths he gave her a fairing for her watch, which cost him
five-and-thirty guineas, actually disbursed out of his privy purse, and
not charged on the civil list. I hope some future Holinshed or Speed
will acquaint posterity that five-and-thirty guineas were an immense sum
in those days."

In December 1750, George II. gave the situation of Housekeeper at
Windsor to Mrs. Chudleigh, Elizabeth's mother. Walpole says, "Two days
ago, the gallant Orondates (the King) strode up to Miss Chudleigh, and
told her he was glad to have the opportunity of obeying her commands,
that he appointed her mother Housekeeper at Windsor, and hoped she would
not think a kiss too great a reward--against all precedent he kissed her
in the circle. He has had a hankering these two years. Her life, which
is now of thirty years' standing, has been a little historic. Why should
not experience and a charming face on her side, and near seventy years
on his, produce a title?"

In 1760 she gave a soirée on the Prince's birthday, which Horace Walpole
describes: "Poor thing," he writes, "I fear she has thrown away above a
quarter's salary!"

The Duke of Kingston saw and was captivated by Elizabeth. Evelyn
Pierrepoint, Duke of Kingston, Marquis of Dorchester, Earl of Kingston,
and Viscount Newark, was born in 1711. Horace Walpole says of him that
he was "a very weak man, of the greatest beauty and finest person in

He had been to Paris along with Lord Scarborough, taking with him an
entire horse as a present to the Duke of Bourbon, and was unable to do
this without a special Act of Parliament to authorise him. The Duke of
Bourbon, in return for the compliment, placed his palace at Paris, and
his château of Chantilly at the disposal of the visitor.

The Duke was handsome, young, wealthy and unmarried. A strong set was
made at him by the young ladies of the French court; but of all the
women he there met, none attracted his attentions and engaged his heart
but the Marquise de la Touche, a lady who had been married for ten years
and was the mother of three children. He finally persuaded her to elope
with him to England, where, however, he grew cold towards her, and when
he fell under the fascinations of Elizabeth Chudleigh he dismissed her.
The Marquise returned to France, and was reconciled to her husband;
there in 1786 she published her version of the story, and gave a history
of her rival, whom naturally she paints in the blackest colours.

Now follows an incident which is stated in the English accounts of the
life of Elizabeth Chudleigh; but of which there is no mention in the
trial, and which is of more than doubtful truth.

She had become desperate, resolved at all hazard to break the miserable
tie that bound her to Captain Hervey. She made a sudden descent on
Lainston--so runs the tale--visited the parsonage, and whilst Mr. Amis
was kept in conversation with one of her attendants, she tore out the
leaf of the register book that contained the entry of her marriage.

This story cannot possibly be true. As already said, Lainston has no
parsonage, and never had. Lainston goes with Sparsholt, half-a-mile off.
But Mr. Amis never held Sparsholt, but acted as curate there for a while
in 1756 and 1757. Lainston had no original register. What Elizabeth did
was probably to convince herself that through inadvertence, her marriage
had not been registered in the parish book of Sparsholt.

In 1751 died John, Earl of Bristol, and was succeeded by his grandson,
George William, who was unmarried. He was in delicate health; at one
time seriously ill, and it was thought he would die. In that case
Augustus John, Elizabeth's husband, would succeed to the Earldom of
Bristol. She saw now that it was to her interest to establish her
marriage. She accordingly took means to do so.

She went at once to Winchester and sent for the wife of Mr. Amis, who
had married her. She told Mrs. Amis that she wanted the register of her
marriage to be made out. Mr. Amis then lay on his death-bed, but,
nevertheless, she went to the rectory to obtain of him what she desired.
What ensued shall be told in the words of Mrs. Amis at the trial.

"I went up to Mr. Amis and told him her request. Then Mr. Merrill and
the lady consulted together whom to send for, and they desired me to
send for Mr. Spearing, the attorney. I did send for him, and during the
time the messenger was gone the lady concealed herself in a closet; she
said she did not care that Mr. Spearing should know that she was there.
When Mr. Spearing came, Mr. Merrill produced a sheet of stamped paper
that he brought to make the register upon. Mr. Spearing said it would
not do; it must be a book, and that the lady must be at the making of
it. Then I went to the closet and told the lady. Then the lady came to
Mr. Spearing, and Mr. Spearing told the lady a sheet of stamped paper
would not do, it must be a book. Then the lady desired Mr. Spearing to
go and buy one. Mr. Spearing went and bought one, and when brought, the
register was made. Then Mr. Amis delivered it to the lady; the lady
thanked him, and said it might be an hundred thousand pounds in her way.
Before Mr. Merrill and the lady left my house the lady sealed up the
register and gave it to me, and desired I would take care of it until
Mr. Amis's death, and then deliver it to Mr. Merrill."

The entries made thus were those:

     "2 August, Mrs. Susanna Merrill, relict of John Merrill, Esq.

     4 August, 1744, married the Honourable Augustus Hervey, Esq., in
     the parish Church of Lainston, to Miss Elizabeth Chudleigh,
     daughter of Col. Thomas Chudleigh, late of Chelsea College, by me,
     Thos. Amis."

Unfortunately this register book was taken up to Westminster at the
trial of the Duchess and was never returned. Application was made to
Elbrow Woodcock, solicitor in the trial, for the return of the book, by
the then rector and patron of the living, but in vain; and in December,
1777, a new register book was purchased for the parish.

The Earl recovered, and did not die till some years later, in 1775, when
Augustus John did succeed to the earldom.

In 1751, the Prince of Wales died, and this necessitated a rearrangement
of the household of the Princess. Elizabeth was reappointed maid of
honour to her, still in her maiden name. Soon after--that is, in
1752--the Duke of Hamilton married the beautiful Miss Gunning.

In 1760 the king was dead. "Charles Townshend, receiving an account of
the impression the king's death had made," writes Walpole, "was told
Miss Chudleigh cried. 'What,' said he, 'oysters?'" "There is no keeping
off age," he writes in 1767, "as Miss Chudleigh does, by sticking roses
and sweet peas in one's hair."

Before this, in 1765, the Duke of Kingston's affection for her seeming
to wane, Elizabeth, who was getting fat as well as old, started for
Carlsbad to drink the waters. "She has no more wanted the Carlsbad
waters than you did," wrote Lord Chesterfield. "Is it to show the Duke
of Kingston he can not live without her? A dangerous experiment, which
may possibly convince him that he can. There is a trick, no doubt, in
it, but what, I neither know nor care." "Is the fair, or, at least, the
fat Miss Chudleigh with you still? It must be confessed she knows the
arts of courts to be so received at Dresden and so connived at in
Leicester Fields."

At last the bonds of a marriage in which he was never allowed even to
speak with his wife became intolerable to Captain Hervey; and some
negotiations were entered into between them, whereby it was agreed that
she should institute a suit in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of
London for the jactitation of the marriage, and that he should not
produce evidence to establish it. The case came on in the Michaelmas
term, 1768, and was in form, proceedings to restrain the Hon. Augustus
John Hervey from asserting that Elizabeth Chudleigh was his wife, "to
the great danger of his soul's health, no small prejudice to the said
Hon. Elizabeth Chudleigh, and pernicious example of others."

There was a counter-suit of Captain Hervey against her, in which he
asserted that in 1743 or 1744, being then a minor of the age of
seventeen or eighteen, he had contracted himself in marriage to
Elizabeth Chudleigh, and she to him; and that they had been married in
the house of Mr. Merrill, on August 9, 1744, at eleven o'clock at night,
by the Rev. Thomas Amis, since deceased, and in the presence of Mrs.
Hanmer and Mr. Mountenay, both also deceased.

As will be seen, the counter-libel was incorrectly drawn. The marriage
had not taken place in the house, but in the church; Mr. Hervey was aged
twenty, not seventeen or eighteen; and Anne Craddock, the sole surviving
witness of the ceremony, was not mentioned. The register of the marriage
was not produced,[6] and no serious attempt was made to establish it.
Accordingly, on February 10, 1769, sentence was given, declaring the
marriage form gone through in 1744 to have been null and void, and to
restrain Mr. Hervey from asserting his claim to be husband to Miss
Elizabeth Chudleigh, and condemning him in costs to the sum of one
hundred pounds.

As the Attorney-General said at her subsequent trial, "a grosser
artifice, I believe, than this suit was never fabricated."

On March 8, 1769, the Duke of Kingston married Elizabeth Chudleigh by
special licence from the Archbishop, the minister who performed it being
the Rev. Samuel Harper, of the British Museum, and the Church, St.
Margaret's, Westminster. The Prince and Princess of Wales wore favours
on the occasion.

No attempt was made during the lifetime of the Duke to dispute the
legality of the marriage. Neither he nor Elizabeth had the least doubt
that the former marriage had been legally dissolved. It was, no doubt,
the case that Captain Hervey made no real attempt to prove his
marriage, he was as impatient of the bond as was she. It can hardly be
doubted that the sentence of the Ecclesiastical Court was just. Captain
Hervey was a minor at the time, and the poor girl had been deluded into
marrying him by her wretched aunt. Advantage had been taken of her--a
mere girl--by the woman who was her natural guardian in the absence of
her mother. Such a marriage would at once be annulled in the Court of
the Church of Rome; it would be annulled in a modern English divorce

The fortune of the Duke was not entailed; his Grace had, therefore, the
option to bequeath it as seemed best to his inclination. His nearest of
kin were his nephews, Evelyn and Charles Meadows, sons of Lady Francis
Pierrepont; Charles was in 1806 created Earl Manners; he had previously
changed his name to Pierrepont, and been created Baron Pierrepont and
Viscount Newark in 1796.

The Duke was and remained warmly attached to the Duchess. She made him
happy. She had plenty of conversation, had her mind stored with gossip,
and though old, oldened gracefully and pleasantly. Her bitter enemy--an
old servant and confidant, who furnished the materials for the
"Authentic Detail," says, "Contrarily gifted and disposed, they were
frequently on discordant terms, but she had a strong hold on his mind."

On September 23, 1773, the Duke died. The Duchess had anticipated his
death. He had already made his will, bequeathing to her the entire
income of his estates during her life, subject to the proviso that she
remained in a state of widowhood. This did not at all please the
Duchess, and directly she saw that her husband was dying she sent for a
solicitor, a Mr. Field, to draw up a new will, omitting the obnoxious
proviso; she was only by two years on the right side of fifty, and might
marry again. When Mr. Field was introduced to the Duke, he saw that the
dying man was not in a mental condition capable of executing a will, and
he refused to have anything to do with an attempt to extort his
signature from him. The Duchess was very angry; but the refusal of Mr.
Field was most fortunate for her, as, had the will proposed been
executed, it would most indubitably have been set aside.

As soon as the Duke was dead the dowager Duchess determined to enjoy
life. She had a pleasure yacht built, placed in command of it an officer
who had served in the navy, fitted it up with every luxury, sailed for
Italy, and visited Rome, where the Pope and the cardinals received her
with great courtesy. Indeed, she was given up one of the palaces of the
cardinals for her residence. Whilst she was amusing herself in Italy
something happened in England that was destined to materially spoil her
happiness. Anne Craddock was still alive, the sole witness of her
marriage that survived. She was in bad circumstances, and applied to Mr.
Field for pecuniary relief. He refused it, but the Duchess sent to offer
her twenty guineas per annum. This Anne Craddock refused, and gave
intimation to Mr. Evelyn Meadows that she had information of importance
which she could divulge.

When Mr. Meadows heard what Anne Craddock had to say, he set the
machinery of the law in motion to obtain the prosecution of the Duchess,
in the hopes of convicting her of bigamy, and then of upsetting the will
of the late Duke in her favour. A bill of indictment for bigamy was
preferred against her; the bill was found, Mr. Field had notice of the
procedure, and the Duchess was advised to return instantly to England
and appear to the indictment, to prevent an outlawry.

At this time--that is, in 1775--the Earl of Bristol died without issue,
and Augustus John, her first husband, succeeded to the title.

The anxieties of the Duchess were not confined to the probable issue of
the trial. Samuel Foote, the comedian, took a despicable advantage of
her situation to attempt to extort money from her. He wrote a farce,
entitled "A Trip to Calais," in which he introduced her Grace under the
sobriquet of Lady Kitty Crocodile, and stuffed the piece with
particulars relative to the private history of the Duchess, which he had
obtained from Miss Penrose, a young lady who had been about her person
for many years. When the piece was finished, he contrived to have it
communicated to her Grace that the Haymarket Theatre would open with the
entertainment in which she was held up to ridicule and scorn. She was
alarmed, and sent for Foote. He attended with the piece in his pocket.
She desired him to read a part of it. He obeyed; and had not read far
before she could no longer control herself, but, starting up in a rage,
exclaimed, "This is scandalous, Mr. Foote! Why, what a wretch you have
made me!" After a few turns round the room, she composed herself to
inquire on what terms he would suppress the play. Foote had the
effrontery to demand two thousand pounds. She offered him fourteen, then
sixteen hundred pounds; but he, grasping at too much, lost all. She
consulted the Duke of Newcastle, and the Lord Chamberlain was apprised
of the circumstances, and his interference solicited. He sent for the
manuscript copy of the "Trip to Calais," perused, and censured it. In
the event of its publication she threatened to prosecute Foote for
libel. Public opinion ranged itself on the side of the Duchess, and Dr.
Schomberg only expressed its opinion when he said that "Foote deserved
to be run through the body for such an attempt. It was more ignoble than
the conduct of a highwayman."

On April 17, 1776, the trial of the Duchess came on in Westminster Hall,
and lasted five days. The principal object argued was the admission, or
not, of a sentence of the Spiritual Court, in a suit for jactitation of
marriage, in an indictment for polygamy. As the judges decided against
the admission of such a sentence in bar to evidence, the fact of the two
marriages was most clearly proved, and a conviction of course followed.
The Duchess was tried by the Peers, a hundred and nineteen of whom sat
and passed judgment upon her, all declaring "Guilty, upon mine honour,"
except the Duke of Newcastle, who pronounced "Guilty, erroneously; but
not intentionally, upon mine honour."

No sooner did the Duchess see that her cause was lost than she
determined to escape out of England. The penalty for bigamy was death,
but she could escape this sentence by claiming the benefits of the
statute 3 and 4 William and Mary, which left her in a condition to be
burnt in the hand, or imprisoned; but she claimed the benefit of the
peerage, and the Lord Chief Baron, having conferred with the rest of the
judges, delivered their unanimous opinion that she ought "to be
immediately discharged." However, her prosecutors prepared a writ "ne
exeat regno," to obtain her arrest and the deprivation of her personal
property. To escape this she fled to Dover, where her yacht was in
waiting, and crossed to Calais, whilst amusing the public and her
prosecutors by issuing invitations to a dinner at Kingston House, and
causing her carriage to appear in the most fashionable quarters of the
town. Mr. Meadows had carried his first point; she could no longer call
herself Dowager Duchess of Kingston in England, but she was reinstated
in her position of wife to Augustus John Hervey, and was therefore now
Countess of Bristol. Mr. Meadows next proceeded to attack the will of
the late Duke, but in this attempt he utterly failed. The will was
confirmed, and Elizabeth, Countess of Bristol, was acknowledged as
lawfully possessed of life interest in the property of the Duke so long
as she remained unmarried. Mr. Meadows was completely ruined, and his
sole gain was to keep the unhappy woman an exile from England.

Abroad the Countess was still received as Duchess of Kingston. She lived
in considerable state, and visited Italy, Russia, and France. Her visit
to St. Petersburg was splendid, and to ensure a favourable reception by
the Empress Catharine she sent her a present of some of the valuable
paintings by old masters from Kingston House. When in Russia she
purchased an estate near the capital, to which she gave the name of
Chudleigh, and which cost her 25,000_l._[7] The Empress also gave her a
property on the Neva. She had a corvette built of mahogany which was to
be a present to the Empress, but the vessel stranded on the coast of
Ingermanland. Eight of the cannons out of her are now at Chudleigh,
almost the only things there that recall the Duchess. She gave
magnificent entertainments; at one of these, to which the Empress was
invited, a hundred and forty of her own servants attended in the
Kingston livery of black turned up with red and silver.

On her return from Russia she bought an estate at Montmartre, which cost
her 9,000_l._, and another that belonged to one of the French royal
princes at Saint Assise, which cost her 55,000_l._ The château was so
large that three hundred beds could be made up in it.

She was getting on in years, but did not lose her energy, her vivacity,
and her selfishness. Once in Rome, the story goes, she had been invited
to visit some tombs that were famous. She replied with a touch of real
feeling: "Ce n'est pas la peine de chercher des tombeaux, on en porte
assez dans son coeur."

The account of her death shall be given in the words of the author of
"Authentic Detail."

"She was at dinner, when her servants received intelligence of a
sentence respecting the house near Paris having been awarded against
her. She flew into a violent passion, and, in the agitation of her mind
and body, burst an internal blood-vessel. Even this she appeared to have
surmounted, until a few days afterwards, on the morning of the 26th
August (1788), when about to rise from her bed, a servant who had long
been with her endeavoured at dissuasion. The Duchess addressed her thus:
'I am not very well, but I _will_ rise. At your peril disobey me; I will
get up and walk about the room. Ring for the secretary to assist me.'
She was obeyed, dressed, and the secretary entered the chamber. The
Duchess then walked about, complained of thirst, and said, 'I could
drink a glass of my fine Madeira and eat a slice of toasted bread; I
shall be quite well afterwards; but let it be a large glass of wine.'
The attendant reluctantly brought and the Duchess drank the wine. She
then said, 'I knew the Madeira would do me good. My heart feels oddly; I
will have another glass.' She then walked a little about the room, and
afterwards said, 'I will lie on the couch.' She sat on the couch, a
female having hold of each hand. In this situation she soon appeared to
have fallen into a profound sleep, until the women found her hands
colder than ordinary; other domestics were rung for, and the Duchess was
found to have expired, as the wearied labourer sinks into the arms of

Was it a touch of final malice or of real regret that caused the old
lady, by codicil to her will dated May 10, 1787, to leave pearl earrings
and necklace to the Marquise de la Touche? Was it a token that she
forgave her the cruel book, "Les aventures trop amoureuses; ou,
Elizabeth Chudleigh," which she wrote, or caused to be written, for the
blackening of her rival, and the whitewashing of herself? Let us hope it
was so. The proviso in the Duke's will saved her from herself; but for
that she would have married an adventurer who called himself the
Chevalier de Wortha, a man who obtained great influence over her, and
finally died by his own hand.

Elizabeth Chudleigh's character and career have never been sketched by
friends; her enemies, those jealous of her fascinations, angry at her
success, discontented with not having been sufficiently considered in
her will, have given us their impressions of her, have poured out all
the evil they knew and imagined of her. She has been hardly used. The
only perfectly reliable authority for her history is the report of her
trial, and that covers only one portion of her story. The "Authentic
Detail" published by G. Kearsley, London, in 1788, is anonymous. It is
fairly reliable, but tinctured by animosity. The book "Les Aventures
trop Amoureuses, ou, Elizabeth Chudleigh, ex-duchesse douairière de
Kingston, aujourd'hui Comtesse de Bristol, et la Marquise de la Touche.
Londres, aux depens des Interessez, 1776," was composed for the
justification of Madame de la Touche, and with all the venom of a
discomfited and supplanted rival.

An utterly worthless book, "Histoire de la vie et des Aventures de la
Duchesse de Kingston, a Londres, et se trouve à Paris, Chez Quillot,
1789," is fiction. It pretends to be based on family papers. At the
commencement it gives a portion of the diary of Col. Thomas Chudleigh,
in which, among other impossibilities, he records his having reduced the
rents of his tenants on his estates twenty per cent. because the year
was bad. As it happened, Col. Thomas Chudleigh neither possessed an acre
of land, nor a tenant.

In 1813 appeared "La Duchesse de Kingston, memoires rédigés par M. de
Favolle," in two volumes; this is based solely on the preceding with
rich additions from the imagination of the author. Not a statement in it
can be trusted.

Some little reliable information may be found in the "Memoires de la
Baronne d'Oberkirch," Paris 1853.


[4] In Col. Vivian's "Visitations of the County of Devon," the pedigree
is not so complete. He was unaware who the wife of Thos. Chudleigh was,
and he had not seen the will of the duchess.

[5] Mrs. Chudleigh died in 1756, and her will mentions her daughter by
her maiden name.

[6] Mr. John Merrill died February 1767, and his burial was entered in
it. Mr. Bathurst, who had married his daughter, found the register book
in the hall, and handed it over to the rector, Mr. Kinchin. Nevertheless
it was not produced at the hearing of the case for jactitation in the
Consistory Court.

[7] This place still bears the name. It is on the main road through
Livland and Esthonia to St. Petersburg; about twenty miles from Narwa.
It also goes by the name of Fockenhof. The present mansion is more
modern, and belongs to the family of Von Wilcken.

General Mallet.

On the return of Napoleon to Paris from Moscow, he was depressed with
news that troubled him more than the loss of his legions. The news that
had reached him related to perhaps the most extraordinary conspiracy
that was ever devised, and which was within an ace of complete success.
It was the news of this conspiracy that induced him to desert the army
in the snows of Russia and hasten to Paris. The thoughts of this
conspiracy frustrated by an accident, as Alison says, "incessantly
occupied his mind during his long and solitary journey."

"Gentlemen," said Napoleon, when the report of the conspiracy was read
over to him, "we must no longer disbelieve in miracles."

Claude François Mallet belonged to a noble family in the Franche Comté.
He was born on June 28th, 1754, at Dole, and passed his early life in
the army, where he commanded one of the first battalions of the Jura at
the commencement of the Revolution. In May 1793, he was elevated to the
rank of adjutant-General, and in August 1799, made General of Brigade,
and commanded a division under Championnet. He was a man of
enthusiastically Republican views, and viewed the progress of Napoleon
with dissatisfaction mingled with envy. There can be no question as to
what his opinions were at first; whether he changed them afterwards is
not so certain. He was a reserved, hard, and bitter man, ambitious and
restless. Envy of Napoleon, jealousy of his success seems to have been
the ruling motive in his heart that made of him a conspirator, and not
genuine disgust at Cæsarism.

Bonaparte knew his political opinions; and though he did not fear the
man, he did not trust him. He became implicated in some illegal
exactions at Civita Vecchia, in the Roman States, and was in consequence
deprived of his command, and sent before a commission of enquiry at
Paris, in July 1807; and, in virtue of their sentence, he was confined
for a short while, and then again set at liberty and reinstated. In
1808, when the war in the Peninsula broke out, Mallet entered at Dijon
into a plot, along with some old anarchists, for the overthrow of the
Emperor, among them the ex-General Guillaume, who betrayed the plot, and
Mallet was arrested and imprisoned in La Force. Napoleon did not care
that conspiracies against himself and his throne should be made public,
and consequently he contented himself with the detention of Mallet

In prison, the General did not abandon his schemes, and he had the lack
of prudence to commit them to paper. This fell into the hands of the
Government. The minister regarded the scheme as chimerical and
unimportant. The papers were shown to Napoleon, who apparently regarded
the scheme or the man as really dangerous, and ordered him to perpetual
detention in prison.

Time passed, and Mallet and his schemes were forgotten. Who could
suppose that a solitary prisoner, without means, without the opportunity
of making confederates, could menace the safety of the Empire?

Then came the Russian campaign, in 1812. Mallet saw what Napoleon did
not; the inevitable failure that must attend it; and he immediately
renewed his attempts to form a plot against the Emperor.

But the prison of La Force was bad headquarters from which to work. He
pretended to be ill, and he was removed to a hospital, that of the
Doctor Belhomme near the Barrière du Trône. In this house were the two
brothers Polignac, a M. de Puyvert, and the Abbé Lafon, who in 1814
wrote and published an account of this conspiracy of Mallet. These men
were Royalists, and Mallet was a Republican. It did not matter so long
as Napoleon could be overthrown, how divergent their views might be as
to what form of Government was to take the place of the Empire.

They came to discussion, and the Royalists supposed that they had
succeeded in convincing Mallet. He, on his side, was content to
dissemble his real views, and to make use of these men as his agents.

The Polignac brothers were uneasy, they were afraid of the consequences,
and they mistrusted the man who tried to draw them into his plot.
Perhaps, also, they considered his scheme too daring to succeed.
Accordingly they withdrew from the hospital, to be out of his reach. It
was not so with the others. The Polignacs had been mixed up in the
enterprise of Georges, and had no wish to be again involved. Whether
there were many others in the plot we do not know, Lafon names only
four, and it does not seem that M. de Puyvert took a very active part in

Mallet's new scheme was identical with the old one that had been taken
from him and shown to Napoleon. Napoleon had recognized its daring and
ability, and had not despised it. That no further fear of Mallet was
entertained is clear, or he would never have been transferred from the
prison to a private hospital, where he would be under very little

In his hospital, Mallet drew up the following report of a Session of the
Senate, imagined by himself:


     "Session of 22 October, 1812.

     "The Session was opened at 8 P.M., under the presidency of Senator

     "The occasion of this extraordinary Session was the receipt of the
     news of the death of the Emperor Napoleon, under the walls of
     Moscow, on the 8th of the month.

     "The Senate, after mature consideration of the condition of affairs
     caused by this event, named a Commission to consider the danger of
     the situation, and to arrange for the maintenance of Government and
     order. After having received the report of this Commission, the
     following orders were passed by the Senate.

     "That as the Imperial Government has failed to satisfy the
     aspirations of the French people, and secure peace, it be decreed
     annulled forthwith.

     "That all such officers military and civil as shall use their
     authority prejudicially to the re-establishment of the Republic,
     shall be declared outlawed.

     "That a Provisional Government be established, to consist of 13
     members:--Moreau, President; Carnot, Vice-President; General
     Augereau, Bigonet, Destutt-Tracy, Florent Guyot, Frochot; Mathieu
     Montmorency, General Mallet, Noailles, Truguet; Volney, Garat.

     "That this Provisional Government be required to watch over the
     internal and external safety of the State, and to enter into
     negociations with the military powers for the re-establishment of

     "That a constitution shall be drawn up and submitted to the General
     Assembly of the French realm.

     "That the National Guard be reconstituted as formerly.

     "That a general Amnesty be proclaimed for all political offences;
     that all emigrants, exiles, be permitted to return.

     "That the freedom of the Press be restored.

     "That the command of the army of the Centre, and which consists of
     50,000 men, and is stationed near Paris, be given to General

     "That General Mallet replaces General Hulin as commandant of Paris,
     and in the first division. He will have the right to nominate the
     officers in the general staff that will surround him."

There were many other orders, 19 in all, but these will suffice to
indicate the tendency of the document. It was signed by the President
and his Secretaries.

     President, SIEYES.

     Secretaries, LANJUINAIS, et GREGOIRE.

     "Approved, and compared with a similar paper in my own hands,

     Signed, MALLET,
     General of Division, Commandant of the main army of
     Paris, and of the forces of the First Division."

This document, which was designed to be shown to the troops, to the
officers and officials, was drawn up in a form so close to the genuine
form, and the signatures and seals were so accurately imitated, that the
document was not likely at the first glance to excite mistrust.

Moreover, Mallet had drawn up an order for the day, and a proclamation,
which was printed in many thousand copies.

On the 22nd October, 1812, at 10 o'clock at night, after he had been
playing cards with great composure in the hospital, Mallet made his
escape, along with four others, one was the Abbé Lafon, another a
corporal named Rateau, whom he had named as his aide-de-camp. Mallet had
just twelve francs in his pocket, and so furnished he embarked on his
undertaking to upset the throne of the Emperor. He at once went to a
Spanish monk, whose acquaintance he had made in prison; and in his rooms
found his general's uniform which had been brought there by a woman the
evening before. Uniforms and swords for his confederates were also
ready. But it rained that night--it rained in torrents, and the streets
of Paris ran with water. It has been remarked that rain in Paris has a
very sobering effect on political agitations, and acts even better than
bayonets in preventing a disturbance of the public peace.

Mallet and his confederates could not leave their shelter till after
midnight, and some of them did not appear at the place of rendezvous
till 6 o'clock in the morning. Indisputably this had much to do with the
defeat of the plot.

The success of the undertaking depended on darkness, on the sudden
bewilderment of minds, and the paralysis of the government through the
assassination of some of the ministers. About 2 A.M. Mallet appeared in
his general's uniform, attended by some of his confederates also in
uniform, at the Popincour barracks, and demanded to see the Commandant
Soulier at once, giving his name as Lamothe. Soulier was in bed asleep.
He was also unwell. He was roused from his slumbers, hastily dressed
himself, and received a sealed letter, which he broke open, and read:

     "To the General of Division, Commandant-in-Chief of the troops
     under arms in Paris, and the troops of the First Division, Soulier,
     Commandant of the 10th Cohort."

     "General Headquarters,
     "Place Vendôme.
     "23_rd_ Oct., 1812, 10 o'clock a.m.

     "M. LE COMMANDANT,--I have given orders to the General Lamothe with
     a police commissioner to attend at your barracks, and to read
     before you and your Cohort the decree of the senate consequent on
     the receipt of the news of the death of the Emperor, and the
     cessation of the Imperial Government. The said general will
     communicate to you the Order for the Day, which you will be pleased
     to further to the General of Brigade. You are required to get the
     troops under arms with all possible despatch and quietness. By
     daybreak, the officers who are in barracks will be sent to the
     Place de Grève, there to await their companies, which will there
     assemble, after the instructions which General Lamothe will furnish
     have been carried out."

Then ensued a series of dispositions for the troops, and the whole was
signed by Mallet.

When Soulier had read this letter, Mallet, who pretended to be General
Lamothe, handed him the document already given, relating to the assembly
of the Senate, and its decisions. Then he gave him the Order for the
Day, for the 23rd and 24th October.

Colonel Soulier, raised from sleep, out of health, bewildered, did not
for a moment mistrust the messenger, or the documents handed to him. He
hastened at once to put in execution the orders he had received.

The same proceedings were gone through in the barracks of Les Minimes,
and of Picpus; the decree of the Senate, the Order of the Day, and a
Proclamation, were read by torchlight.

Everywhere the same success. The officers had not the smallest doubt as
to the authenticity of the papers presented to them. Everywhere also the
Proclamation announcing the death of the Emperor, the cessation of the
Empire, and the establishment of the Provisional Government was being
placarded about.

At 6 A.M., at the head of a troop, Mallet, still acting as General
Lamothe, marched before the prison of La Force, and the Governor was
ordered to open the gates. The Decree of the Senate and the Order of the
Day were read to him, and he was required at once to discharge three
state prisoners he held, General Guidal, Lahorie, and a Corsican,
Bocchejampe, together with certain officers there confined. He did as
required, and Mallet separated his troops into four detachments, keeping
one under his own command, and placing the others under the orders of
Guidal, Lahorie and Bocchejampe.

Guidal and Lahorie, by his orders, now marched to the Ministry of
Police, where they arrested Savary, Duke of Rovigo, Minister of Police.
At the same time Boutreux, another confederate, had gone to the
prefecture of the Paris police, had arrested the prefect, Pasquier, and
sent him to be confined in La Force.

Mallet, now at the head of 150 men, went to the État-Major de-la-place,
to go through the same farce with the Commandant-de-place, and get him
to subscribe the Order for the Day. Count Hullin refused. Mallet
presented a pistol at his head, fired, and Hullin fell covered with
blood to the ground. Mallet left him for dead, but fortunately only his
jaw was broken. By means of a forged order addressed to the commandant
of one of the regiments of the paid guard of Paris, he occupied the
National Bank, in which, at the time, there was a considerable treasure
in specie.

The État-Major of Paris was a post of the highest importance, as it was
the headquarters of the whole military authority in Paris. Before Mallet
approached it, he sent a packet to the Adjutant-General Doucet, of a
similar tenor to that given to Soulier and the other colonels, and
containing his nomination as general of brigade, and a treasury order
for a hundred thousand francs.

Soulier, Colonel of the 10th Cohort, obeying the orders he had received,
the authenticity of which he did not for a moment dispute, had in the
meantime made himself master of the Hôtel-de-Ville, and had stationed a
strong force in the square before the building. Frochot, Prefect of the
Seine, was riding into Paris from his country house at half-past eight
in the morning, when he was met by his servants, in great excitement,
with a note from Mallet, on the outside of which were written the
ominous words "Fuit Imperator." Now it so happened that no tidings of
the Emperor had been received for twenty-five days, and much uneasiness
was felt concerning him. When Frochot therefore received this notice, he
believed it, and hurried to the Hôtel-de-Ville. There he received a
despatch from Mallet, under the title of Governor of Paris, ordering him
to make ready the principal apartment in the building for the use of
the Provisional Government. Not for a moment did Frochot remember
that--even if the Emperor were dead, there was the young Napoleon, to
whom his allegiance was due; he at once obeyed the orders he had
received, and began to make the Hôtel ready for the meeting of the
Provisional Government. Afterwards when he was reminded that there was a
son to Napoleon, and that his duty was to support him, Frochot answered,
"Ah! I forgot that. I was distracted with the news."

By means of the forged orders despatched everywhere, all the barriers of
Paris had been seized and were closed, and positive orders were issued
that no one was to be allowed to enter or leave Paris.

Mallet now drew up before the État-Major-Général, still accompanied and
obeyed by the officer and detachment. Nothing was wanting now but the
command of the adjutant-general's office to give to Mallet the entire
direction of the military force of Paris, with command of the telegraph,
and with it of all France. With that, and with the treasury already
seized, he would be master of the situation. In another ten minutes
Paris would be in his hand, and with Paris the whole of France.

An accident--an accident only--at that moment saved the throne of
Napoleon. Doucet was a little suspicious about the orders--or allowed it
afterwards to be supposed that he was. He read them, and stood in
perplexity. He would have put what doubts presented themselves aside,
had it not been for his aide-de-camp, Laborde. It happened that Laborde
had had charge of Mallet in La Force, and had seen him there quite
recently. He came down to enter the room where was Doucet, standing in
doubt before Mallet. Mallet's guard was before the door, and would have
prevented him from entering; however, he peremptorily called to them to
suffer him to pass, and the men, accustomed to obey his voice, allowed
him to enter. The moment he saw Mallet in his general's uniform, he
recognised him and said, "But--how the devil!-- That is my prisoner. How
came he to escape?" Doucet still hesitated, and attempted to explain,
when Laborde cut his superior officer short with, "There is something
wrong here. Arrest the fellow, and I will go at once to the minister of

Mallet put his hand in his pocket to draw out the pistol with which he
had shot Hullin, when the gesture was observed in a mirror opposite, and
before he had time to draw and cock the pistol, Doucet and Laborde were
on him, and had disarmed him.

Laborde, with great promptitude, threw open the door, and announced to
the soldiers the deceit that had been practised on them, and assured
them that the tidings of the death of the Emperor were false.

The arrest of Mallet disconcerted the whole conspiracy. Had Generals
Lahorie and Guidal been men of decision and resolution they might still
have saved it, but this they were not; though at the head of
considerable bodies of men, the moment they saw that their chief had met
with a hitch in carrying out his plan, they concluded that all was lost,
and made the best of their way from their posts to places of

It was not till 8 o'clock that Saulnier, General Secretary of Police,
heard of the arrest and imprisonment of his chief, Savary, Duke of
Rovigo. He at once hastened to Cambaçérès, the President of the Ministry
in the absence of the Emperor, and astonished and alarmed him with the
tidings. Then Saulnier hastened to Hullin, whom he found weltering in
his blood, and unable to speak.

Baron Pasquier, released from La Force, attempted to return to his
prefecture. The soldiers posted before it refused to admit him, and
threatened to shoot him, believing that he had escaped from prison, and
he was obliged to take refuge in an adjoining house. Laborde, who about
noon came there, was arrested by the soldiers, and conducted by them as
a prisoner to the État-Major-Gênéral, to deliver him over to General
Mallet; and it was with difficulty that they could be persuaded that
they had been deceived, and that Mallet was himself, at that moment, in

Savary, released from La Force, had Mallet and the rest of the
conspirators brought before him. Soulier also, for having given too
ready a credence to the forged orders, was also placed under arrest, to
be tried along with the organisers and carriers out of the plot.

Mallet confessed with great composure that he had planned the whole, but
he peremptorily refused to say whether he had aiders or sympathisers

Lahorie could not deny that he had taken an active part, but declared
that it was against his will, his whole intention being to make a run
for the United States, there to spend the rest of his days in
tranquillity. He asserted that he had really believed that the Emperor
was dead.

Guidal tried to pass the whole off as a joke; but when he saw that he
was being tried for his life, he became greatly and abjectly alarmed.

Next day the generals and those in the army who were under charge were
brought before a military commission. Saulnier had an interesting
interview with Mallet that day. He passed through the hall where Mallet
was dining, when the prisoner complained that he was not allowed the use
of a knife. Saulnier at once ordered that he might be permitted one; and
this consideration seems to have touched Mallet, for he spoke with more
frankness to Saulnier than he did before his judges. When the General
Secretary of Police asked him how he could dream of success attending
such a mad enterprise, Mallet replied, "I had already three regiments of
infantry on my side. Very shortly I would have been surrounded by the
thousands who are weary of the Napoleonic yoke, and are longing for a
change of order. Now, I was convinced that the moment the news of my
success in Paris reached him, Napoleon would leave his army and fly
home, I would have been prepared for him at Mayence, and have had him
shot there. If it had not been for the cowardice of Guidal and Lahorie,
my plot would have succeeded. I had resolved to collect 50,000 men at
Chalons sur Marne to cover Paris. The promise I would have made to send
all the conscripts to their homes, the moment the crisis was over, would
have rallied all the soldiers to my side."

On October 23, the prisoners to the number of twenty-four were tried,
and fourteen were condemned to be shot, among these, Mallet, Guidai,
Lahorie, and the unfortunate Soulier. Mallet at the trial behaved with
great intrepidity. "Who are your accomplices?" asked the President. "The
whole of France," answered Mallet, "and if I had succeeded, you yourself
at their head. One who openly attacks a government by force, if he
fails, expects to die." When he was asked to make his defence,
"Monsieur," he said, "a man who has constituted himself defender of the
rights of his Fatherland, needs no defence."

Soulier put in as an apology, that the news of the death of the Emperor
had produced such a sudorific effect on him, that he had been obliged to
change his shirt four times in a quarter of an hour. This was not
considered sufficient to establish his attachment to the Imperial

In the afternoon of the same day the fourteen were conveyed to the plain
of Grenelle to be shot, when pardon was accorded by the Empress Regent
to two of the condemned, the Corporal Rateau, and Colonel Rabbe. When
the procession passed through the Rue Grenelle, Mallet saw a group of
students looking on; "Young men," he called to them, "remember the 23rd
October." Arrived on the place of execution, some of the condemned cried
out, "Vive l'empereur!" only a few "Vive la République."

Mallet requested that his eyes might not be bandaged, and maintained the
utmost coolness. He received permission, at his own desire, to give the
requisite orders to the soldiers drawn up to shoot him and his party.
"Peloton! Present!" The soldiers, moved by the tragic catastrophe,
obeyed, but not promptly. "That is bad!" called Mallet, "imagine you are
before the foe. Once again--Attention!--Present!" This time it was
better. "Not so bad this time, but still not well," said the General;
"now pay attention, and mind, when I say Fire, that all your guns are
discharged as one. It is a good lesson for you to see how brave men die.
Now then, again, Attention!" For a quarter of an hour he put the men
through their drill, till he observed that his comrades were in the most
deplorable condition. Some had fainted, some were in convulsions. Then
he gave the command: Fire! the guns rattled and the ten fell to the
ground, never to rise again. Mallet alone reeled, for a moment or two
maintaining his feet, and then he also fell over, without a sound, and
was dead.

"But for the singular accident," says Savary, "which caused the arrest
of the Minister of War to fail, Mallet, in a few moments, would have
been master of almost everything; and in a country so much influenced by
the contagion of example, there is no saying where his success would
have stopped. He would have had possession of the treasury, then
extremely rich; the post office, the telegraph, and the command of the
hundred cohorts of the National Guard. He would soon have learned the
alarming situation in Russia; and nothing could have prevented him from
making prisoner of the Emperor himself if he returned alone, or from
marching to meet him, if he had come at the head of his shattered

As Alison says, "When the news reached Napoleon, one only idea took
possession of his imagination--that in this crisis the succession of his
son was, by common consent, set aside; one only truth was ever present
to his mind--that the Imperial Crown rested on himself alone. The fatal
truth was brought home to him that the Revolution had destroyed the
foundations of hereditary succession; and that the greatest achievements
by him who wore the diadem afforded no security that it would descend to
his progeny. These reflections, which seem to have burst on Napoleon all
at once, when the news of this extraordinary affair reached him in
Russia, weighed him down more than all the disasters of the Moscow

Schweinichen's Memoirs.

Memoirs, says Addison, in the Tatler, are so untrustworthy, so stuffed
with lies, that, "I do hereby give notice to all booksellers and
translators whatsoever, that the word _memoir_ is French for a novel;
and to require of them, that they sell and translate it accordingly."

There are, however, some memoirs that are trustworthy and dull, and
others, again, that are conspicuously trustworthy, and yet are as
entertaining as a novel, and to this latter category belong the memoirs
of Hans von Schweinichen, the Silesian Knight, Marshal and Chamberlain
to the Dukes of Liegnitz and Brieg at the close of the 16th century.
Scherr, a well known writer on German Culture, and a scrupulous observer
and annotator of all that is ugly and unseemly in the past, says of the
diary of Schweinichen: "It carries us into a noble family at the end of
the 16th century and reveals boorish meanness, coarseness and lack of
culture." That is, in a measure, true, but, as is invariably the case
with Scherr, he leaves out of sight all the redeeming elements, and
there are many, that this transparently sincere diarist discloses.

The MS. was first discovered and published in 1823, by Büsching; it was
republished in 1878 at Breslau by Oesterley. The diary extends to the
year 1602, and Schweinichen begins with an account of his birth in 1552,
and his childish years. But we are wrong in saying that he begins with
his birth--characteristic of the protestant theological spirit of his
times, he begins with a confession of his faith.

As a picture of the manners and customs of the highest classes in the
age just after the Reformation it is unrivalled for its minuteness, and
for its interest. The writer, who had not an idea that his diary would
be printed, wrote for his own amusement, and, without intending it, drew
a perfect portraiture of himself, without exaggeration of his virtues
and observation of his faults; indeed the virtues we admire in him, he
hardly recognised as virtues, and scarcely considered as serious the
faults we deplore. In reading his truthful record we are angry with him,
and yet, he makes us love and respect him, and acknowledge what sterling
goodness, integrity, fidelity and honour were in the man.

Hans was son of George, Knight of Schweinichen and Mertschütz, and was
born in the Castle of Gröditzberg belonging to the Dukes of Silesia, of
which his father was castellan, and warden of the Ducal Estates
thereabouts. The Schweinichens were a very ancient noble Silesian
family, and Hans could prove his purity of blood through the sixteen
descents, eight paternal and eight maternal.

In 1559, Duke Frederick III. was summoned before the Emperor Ferdinand
I. at Breslau, to answer the accusations of extravagance and oppression
brought against him by the Silesian Estates, and was deposed,
imprisoned, and his son Henry XI. given the Ducal crown instead. The
deposition of the Duke obliged the father of our hero to leave
Gröditzberg and retire to his own estates, where Hans was given the
village notary as teacher in reading and writing for a couple of years,
and was then sent, young noble though he was, to keep the geese for the
family. However, as he played tricks with the geese, put spills into
their beaks, pegging them open, the flock was then withdrawn from his
charge. This reminds us of Grettir the Strong, the Icelandic hero, who
also as a boy was sent to drive the family geese to pasture, and who
maltreated his charge.

His father sent Hans to be page to the imprisoned Duke Frederick at
Liegnitz, where also he was to study with the Duke's younger son,
afterwards Frederick IV. Hans tells us he did not get as many whippings
as his companion, because he slipped his money-allowance into the
tutor's palm, and so his delinquencies were passed over. As page, he had
to serve the Duke at table. A certain measure of wine was allowed the
imprisoned Duke daily by his son, the reigning Duke; what he did not
drink every day, Hans was required to empty into a cask, and when the
cask was full, the Duke invited some good topers to him, and they sat
and drank the cask out, then rolled over on the floor. All night Hans
had to sit or lie on the floor and watch the drunken Duke.

Duke Frederick took a dislike to the chaplain, and scribbled a lampoon
on him, which may be thus rendered, without injustice to the original:--

     "All the mischief ever done
     Twixt the old Duke and his son,
     Comes from that curs't snuffy one
     Franconian Parson Cut-and-run."

The Duke ordered Hans to pin this to the pulpit cushion, and he did so.
When the pastor ascended the pulpit he saw the paper, and instead of a
text read it out. The reigning Duke Henry was very angry, and Hans was
made the scape-goat, and sent home in disgrace to his father.

In 1564, Hans attended his father, himself as page, his father as
Marshal, when Duke Henry and his Duchess visited Stuttgard and Dresden.
Pages were not then allowed to sit astride a horse, they stood in a sort
of stirrup slung to the pommel, to which they held. At Dresden old
Schweinichen ran a tilt in a tournament with the elector Augustus and
unhorsed him, but had sufficient courtesy to at once throw himself off
his own horse, as though he also had been cast by the elector. This so
gratified the latter, that he sent old Schweinichen a gold chain, and a
double florin worth about 4 shillings to the young one.

When Hans was fifteen, he went to the marriage of Duke Wenceslas of
Teschen with the daughter of Duke Franz of Saxony, and received from his
father a present of a sword, which, he tells us, cost his father a
little under a pound. One of the interesting features of this diary is
that Hans enters the value of everything. For instance, we are given the
price of wheat, barley, rye, oats, meat, &c., in 1562, and we learn from
this that all kinds of grain cost one fifth or one sixth of what it
costs now, and that meat--mutton, was one eighteenth or one twentieth
the present cost. For a thaler, 3 shillings, in 1562 as much food could
be purchased as would now cost from 25 to 30 shillings. Hans tells us
what pocket money he received from his parents; he put a value on every
present he was given, and tells what everything cost him which he give

In the early spring of 1569 Duke Henry XI. went to Lublin in Poland to a
diet. King Sigismund was old, and the Duke hoped to get elected to the
kingdom of Poland on his death. This was a costly expedition, as the
Duke had to make many presents, and to go in great state. Hans went with
him, and gives an infinitely droll account of their reception, the
miserable housing, his own dress, one leg black, the other yellow, and
how many ells of ribbon went to make the bows on his jacket. His father
and he, and a nobleman called Zedlitz and his son were put in a garret
under the tiles in bitter frost--and "faith," says Hans, "our pigs at
home are warmer in their styes."

This expedition which led to no such result as the Duke hoped, exhausted
his treasury, and exasperated the Silesian Estates. All the nobles had
to stand surety for their Duke, Schweinichen and the rest to the amount
of--in modern money £100,000.

When Hans was aged eighteen he was drunk for the first time in his life,
so drunk that he lay like a dead man for two days and two nights, and
his life was in danger.

Portia characterised the German as a drunkard, she liked him "very
vilely in the morning, when he is sober; and most vilely in the
afternoon, when he is drunk. Set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the
contrary casket: for, if the devil be within, and that temptation
without, I know he will choose it. I will do anything, Nerissa, ere I
will be married to a sponge."

How true this characterisation was of the old German noble,
Schweinichen's memoirs show; it is a record of drunken bouts at small
intervals. There was no escape, he who would live at court must drink
and get drunken.

At the age of nineteen old Schweinichen made his son keep the accounts
at home, and look after the mill; he had the charge of the fish-ponds,
and attended to the thrashing of the corn, and the feeding of the horses
and cattle.

Once Hans was invited to a wedding, and met at it four sisters from
Glogau, two were widows and two unmarried. Their maiden name was Von
Schaben. Hans, aged twenty, danced with the youngest a good deal, and
before leaving invited the four sisters to pay his father and him a
visit. A friend of his called Eicholz galloped ahead to forewarn old
Schweinichen. Some hours later up drove Hans in a waggon with the four
sisters; but he did not dare to bring them in till he had seen his
father, so he went into the house, and was at once saluted with a burst
of laughter, and the shout, "Here comes the bridegroom," and Eicholz
sang at the top of his voice an improvised verse:

     "Rosie von Schaben
     Hans er will haben."

"Where are the ladies?" asked the old knight.

"In the waggon outside," answered Hans.

"Send for the fiddlers, bring them in. We will eat, drink, dance and be
merry," said the old man.

But Hans was offended at being boisterously saluted as bridegroom, and
he now kept Rosie at a distance. Somewhat later, the Duke tried to get
him to marry a charming young heiress called Hese von Promnitz, and very
amusing is Hans' account of how he kept himself clear of engagement.
When he first met her at court she was aged fourteen, and was
passionately fond of sugar. Hans says he spent as much as £3 in our
modern money on sweets for her, but he would make no proposal, because,
as he concluded, she was too young to be able "to cook a bowl of soup."
Two years passed, and then an old fellow called Geisler, "looking more
like a Jew than a gentleman," who offered Hese a box of sweets every
day, proposed for her. Hese would not answer till she knew the
intentions of Hans, and she frankly asked him whether he meant to
propose for her hand or not. "My heart's best love, Hese," answered
Schweinichen, "at the right time, and when God wills I shall marry, but
I do not think I can do that for three years. So follow your own
desires, take the old Jew, or wait, as you like."

Hese said she would wait any number of years for Hans. This made Hans
the colder. The Duke determined that the matter should be settled one
way or other at once, so he sent a crown of gold roses to Hans, and said
it was to be Hese's bridal wreath, if he desired that she should wear it
for him, he was to lay hold of it; Hans thereupon put his hands behind
his back. Then he went to his Schweinichen coat-of-arms and painted
under it the motto, "I bide my time, when the old man dies, I'll get the
prize." This Geisler read, and--says Hans, didn't like.

Hans was now installed as gentleman-in-waiting to the Duke, and was
henceforth always about his person. He got for his service free bed and
board, a gala coat that cost in our modern money about £36, and an every
day livery costing £18. His father made him a small allowance, but pay
in addition to liveries and keep he got none. The Duke's great amusement
consisted in mumming. For a whole year he rambled about every evening in
masquerade, dropping in on the burghers unexpectedly. Some were, we are
told, pleased to see and entertain him, others objected to these
impromptu visits. The special costume in which the Duke delighted to run
about the town making these visits was that of a Nun. Hans admits that
this was very distasteful to him, but he could not help himself, he was
obliged to accommodate himself to the whims of his master. He made an
effort to free himself from the service of the Duke, so as to go out of
the country to some other court--he felt intuitively that this
association would be fatal to his best interests, but the Duke at once
took him by his better side, pleaded with him to remain and be faithful
to him, his proper master and sovereign, and Hans with misgivings at
heart consented.

There was at Court an old lady, Frau von Kittlitz, who acted as
stewardess, and exercised great influence over the Duke, whom she had
known from a boy. The Duchess resented her managing ways, and
interference, and was jealous of her influence. One day in 1575 she
refused to come down from her room and dine with the Duke unless the old
Kittlitz were sent to sit at the table below the dais. This led to
words and hot blood on both sides. The Duchess used a gross expression
in reference to the stewardess, and the Duke who had already some wine
under his belt, struck the Duchess in the face, saying, "I'll teach you
not to call people names they do not deserve." Hans, who was present,
threw himself between the angry couple; the Duke stormed and struck
about. Hans entreated the Duchess to retire, and then he stood in her
door and prevented the Duke following, though he shouted, "She is my
wife, I can serve her as I like. Who are you to poke yourself in between
married folk?"

As soon as the Duchess had locked herself in, Hans escaped and fled; but
an hour after the Duke sent for him, and stormed at him again for his
meddlesomeness. Hans entreated the Duke to be quiet and get reconciled
to the Duchess, but he would not hear of it, and dismissed Schweinichen.
A quarter of an hour later another messenger came from his master, and
Hans returned to him, to find him in a better mood. "Hans," said his
Highness, "try if you can't get my wife to come round and come down to
table--all fun is at an end with this."

Hans went up and was admitted. The Duchess, in a towering rage, had
already written a letter to her brother the Margrave of Anspach, telling
him how her husband had struck her in the face and given her a black
eye, and she had already dispatched a messenger with the letter. After
much arguing, Hans wrung from her her consent to come down, on two
conditions, one that the Duke should visit her at once and beg her
pardon, the other that the old Kittlitz should sit at the table with
the pages. The Duke was now in a yielding mood and ate his leek humbly.
The Duchess consented to tell the Court that she had got her black eye
from striking her face against a lamp, and the Duke ordered ten
trumpeters and a kettledrum to make all the noise they could to
celebrate the reconciliation.

The Duchess in an aside to Schweinichen admitted that she had been rash
and unjust, and regretted having sent off that letter. An unlucky
letter--says our author--for it cost the duchy untold gold and years of

The Duke had made several visits to Poland, chasing that Jack o'
lantern--the Polish crown, and it had cost him so much money that he had
quarrelled with his Estates, bullied and oppressed his subjects to
extort money, and at last the Estates appealed to the Emperor against
him, as they had against his father; and the Emperor summoned him to
Prague. The Duke had great difficulty in scraping together money enough
to convey him so far; and on reaching Prague, he begged permission of
the Kaiser to be allowed to visit the Electors and the Free Cities, and
see whether he could not obtain from them some relief from his
embarrassments, and money wherewith to pacify the angry Estates of the
Silesian Duchy. The consent required was given, and then the Duke with
his faithful Schweinichen, and several other retainers, started on a
grand begging and borrowing round of the Empire. Hans was constituted
treasurer, and he had in his purse about £400. The Duke took with him
five squires, two pages, three serving men, a cook, and several kitchen
boys, one carriage drawn by six horses, another by four. And not only
was this train to make the round of the Empire, but also to visit
Italy--and all on £400.

The first visit was paid, three days' journey from Prague, at Theusing
to a half-sister of the Duchess. She received him coolly, and lectured
him on his conduct to his wife. When the Duke asked her to lend him
money, she answered that she would pay his expenses home, if he chose to
go back to Liegnitz, but not one penny otherwise should he have. Not
content with this refusal, the Duke went on to Nurnberg, where he sent
Hans to the town council to invite them to lend him money; he asked for
4,000 florins. The council declined the honour. The two daughters of the
Duke were in the charge of the Margrave of Anspach, their mother's
brother. The Duke sent Hans to Anspach to urge the Margrave to send the
little girls to him, or invite him to visit Anspach to see them. He was
shy of visiting his brother-in-law uninvited, because of the box in the
ear and the black eye. He confided to Hans that if he got his children
at Nurnberg, he would not return them to their uncle, without a loan or
a honorarium.

This shabby transaction was not to Schweinichen's taste, but he was
obliged to undertake it. It proved unsuccessful, the Margrave refused to
give up the children till the Duke returned to his wife and duchy and
set a better example.

Whilst Hans was away, the Duke won a large sum of money at play, enough
to pay his own bill, but instead of doing this with it, he had it melted
up and made into silver cups. When he came to leave Nurnberg he was
unable to pay his inn bill, and obliged to leave in pawn with the
taverner a valuable jewel. Then he and his suite went to Augsburg and
settled into an inn till the town council could agree to lend him money.

One day, whilst there, Hans was invited to a wedding. The Duke wanted to
go also, but, as he was not invited, he went as Hans' servant, but got
so drunk that Hans was obliged to carry him home to the tavern, after
which he returned to the wedding. In the evening, when dancing began,
the Duke reappeared, he had slept off his drunkenness and was fresh for
more entertainment. He was now recognized, and according to etiquette,
two town councillors, in robes of office and gold chains, danced
solemnly before his Highness. Hans tells us that it was customary for
all dances to be led by two persons habited in scarlet with white
sleeves, and these called the dance and set the figures, no one might
execute any figure or do anything which had not been done by the
leaders. Now as Hans vows he never saw so many pretty girls anywhere as
on that evening, he tipped the leaders with half a thaler to kiss each
other, whereupon the two solemn dancing councillors had also to kiss
each other, and the Duke, nothing loth, his partner, and Hans, with
zest, his. That evening he gave plenty of kisses, and what with the many
lights, and the music and the dancing and the pretty girls he thought
himself in Paradise. Shortly after this, the Duke was invited to dine
with Fugger, the merchant prince, who showed him his treasury, gold to
the worth of a million, and one tower lined within from top half way
down with nothing but silver thalers. The Duke's mouth watered, and he
graciously invited Fugger to lend him £5,000; this the merchant
declined, but made him a present of 200 crowns and a good horse. The
town council consented to lend the Duke £1,200 on his I.O.U. for a year;
and then to pay his host he melted up his silver mugs again, pawned his
plate and gave him a promissory note for two months.

From Augsburg the Duke went about the abbeys, trying to squeeze loans
out of the abbots, but found that they had always the excuse ready, that
they would not lend to Lutheran princes. Then he stuck on in the abbeys,
eating up all their provisions and rioting in their guest-apartments,
till the abbots were fain to make him a present to be rid of him.

All at once an opening offered for the Duke to gain both renown and
money. Henry I. of Condé was at the court of the Elector Palatine at
Heidelsberg, soliciting assistance in behalf of the Huguenots against
the King of France. The Elector agreed to send a force under his son
John Casimir, and the Duke of Liegnitz offered his services, which were
readily accepted. He was to lead the rearguard, and to receive a liberal
pay for his services. Whilst he was collecting this force and getting
underway, John Casimir and the Prince of Condé marched through Lorraine
to Metz, and Hans went with John Casimir. He trusted he was now on his
way to fortune. But it was not so to be. The Duke, his master, insisted
that he should return to him, and Hans, on doing so, found him rioting
and gambling away, at Frankfort and Nassau, the money paid him in
advance for his useless services. Almost the first duty imposed on Hans,
on his return, was to negociate a loan for £5,000 with the magistrates
of Frankfort, which was peremptorily refused; whereupon the Duke went to
Cologne and stayed there seven months, endeavouring to cajole the town
council there into advancing him money.

But we can not follow any further the miserable story of the degradation
of the Silesian Duke, till at the beginning of the new year, 1577, the
Duke ran away from the town of Emmerich, leaving his servants to pay his
debts as best they could. Hans sold the horses and whatever was left,
and then, not sorry to be quit of such a master, returned on foot to his
Silesian home.

It is, perhaps, worth while quoting Duke Henry's letter, which Hans
found in the morning announcing his master's evasion.

     "Dear Hans,--Here is a chain, do what you can with it. Weigh it and
     sell it, also the horses for ready money; I will not pillow my head
     in feathers till, by God's help, I have got some money, to enable
     me to clear out of this vile land, and away from these people. Good
     morning, best-loved Hans.

     "With mine own hand, HENRY, DUKE."

As he neared home, sad news reached Hans. The Ducal creditors had come
down on his father, who had made himself responsible, and had seized the
family estates; whereat the old man's heart broke, and he had died in
January. When Hans heard this, he sat for two hours on a stone beside
the road, utterly unmanned, before he could recover himself sufficiently
to pursue his journey.

In the meantime an Imperial commission had sat on the Duke, deposed
him, and appointed his brother Frederick duke in his room.
Schweinichen's fidelity to Duke Henry ensured his disfavour with Duke
Frederick, and he was not summoned to court, but was left quietly at
Mertschütz to do his best along with his brother to bring the family
affairs into some sort of order. His old master did not, however, allow
him much rest. By the Imperial decision, he was to be provided with a
daily allowance of money, food and wine. This drew Duke Henry home, and
no sooner was he back in Silesia than he insisted on Hans returning to
his service, and for some years more he led the faithful soul a troubled
life, and involved him in miserable pecuniary perplexities. This was the
more trying to Hans as he had now fallen in love with Margaret von
Schellendorff, whom he married eventually. The tenderness and goodness
of Schweinichen's heart break out whenever he speaks of his dear
Margaretta, and of the children which came and were taken from him. His
sorrows as he lingered over the sick-beds of his little ones, and the
closeness with which he was drawn by domestic bereavements and pecuniary
distresses, to his Margaretta, come out clearly in his narrative. The
whole story is far too long to tell in its entirety. Hans was a
voluminous diarist. His memoirs cease at the year 1602, when he was
suffering from gout, but he lived on some years longer.

In the church of S. John at Liegnitz was at one time his monument, with
life-sized figure of Hans von Schweinichen, and above it his banner and
an inscription stating that he died on the 23rd Aug., 1616. Alas! the
hand of the destroyer has been there. The church and monument are
destroyed, and we can no longer see what manner of face Hans wore; but
of the inner man, of a good, faithful, God fearing, and loving soul,
strong and true, he has himself left us the most accurate portrait in
his precious memoirs.

The Locksmith Gamain.

Among the many episodes of the French Revolution there is one which
deserves to be somewhat closely examined, because of the gravity of the
accusation which it involves against the King and Queen, and because a
good deal of controversy has raged round it. The episode is that of the
locksmith Gamain, whom the King and Queen are charged with having
attempted to poison.

That the accusation was believed during "the Terror" goes without
saying; the heated heads and angry hearts at that time were in no
condition to sift evidence with impartiality. Afterwards, the charge was
regarded as preposterous, till the late M. Paul Lacroix--better known as
le Bibliophile Jacob--a student of history, very careful and diligent as
a collector, gave it a new spell of life in 1836, when he reformulated
the accusation in a _feuilleton_ of the _Siècle_. Not content to let it
sleep or die in the ephemeral pages of a newspaper, he republished the
whole story in 1838, in his "Dissertations sur quelques points curieux
de l'histoire de France." This he again reproduced in his "Curiosités de
l'histoire de France," in 1858. M. Louis Blanc, convinced that the case
was made out, has reasserted the charge in his work on the French
Revolution, and it has since been accepted by popular writers--as
Décembre-Alonnier--who seek to justify the execution of the King and
Queen, and to glorify the Revolution.

M. Thiers rejected the accusation; M. Eckard pointed out the
improbabilities in the story in the "Biographie Universelle," and M.
Mortimer-Ternaux has also shown its falsity in his "Histoire de la
Terreur;" and finally, M. Le Roy, librarian of Versailles, in 1867,
devoted his special attention to it, and completely disproved the
poisoning of Gamain. But in spite of disproval the slanderous accusation
does not die, and no doubt is still largely believed in Paris.

So tenacious of life is a lie--like the bacteria that can be steeped in
sulphuric acid without destroying their vitality--that the story has
been again recently raked up, and given to the public, from Lacroix, in
a number of the Cornhill Magazine (December, 1887); the writer of course
knew only Lacroix' myth, and had never seen how it had been disproved.
It is well now to review the whole story.

François Gamain was born at Versailles on August 29, 1751. He belonged
to an hereditary locksmith family. His father Nicolas had been in the
same trade, and had charge of the locks in the royal palaces in
Versailles and elsewhere.

The love of Louis XVI. for mechanical works is well known. He had a
little workshop at Versailles, where he amused himself making locks,
assisted by François Gamain, to whom he was much attached, and with whom
he spent many hours in projecting and executing mechanical contrivances.
The story is told of the Intendant Thierry, that when one day the King
showed him a lock he had made, he replied, "Sire, when kings occupy
themselves with the works of the common people, the common people will
assume the functions of kings," but the _mot_ was probably made after
the fact.

After the terrible days of the 5th and 6th of October, 1789, the King
was brought to Paris. Gamain remained at Versailles, which was his home,
and retained the King's full confidence.

When, later, the King was surrounded by enemies, and he felt the
necessity for having some secret place where he could conceal papers of
importance which might yet fall into the hands of the rabble if the
palace was again invaded, as it had been at Versailles, he sent for
Gamain to make for him an iron chest in a place of concealment, that
could only be opened by one knowing the secret of the lock.

Unfortunately, the man was not as trustworthy as Louis XVI. supposed.
Surrounded by those who had adopted the principles of the Revolution,
and being a man without strong mind, he followed the current, and in
1792 he was nominated member of the Council General of the Commune of
Versailles, and on September 24 he was one of the commissioners
appointed "to cause to disappear all such paintings, sculptures, and
inscriptions from the monuments of the Commune as might serve to recall
royalty and despotism."

The records of the debates of the Communal Council show that Gamain
attended regularly and took part in the discussions, which were often

The Queen heard of Gamain's Jacobinism, and warned the King, who,
however, could not believe that Gamain would betray him. Marie
Antoinette insisted on the most important papers being removed from the
iron chest, and they were confided to Mme. de Campan.

When the trial of the King was begun, on November 20, Gamain went to
Roland, Minister of the Interior, and told him the secret of the iron
chest. Roland, alarmed at the consequences of such a discovery, hastened
to consult his wife, who was in reality more minister than himself.

From August 10, a commission had been appointed to collect all the
papers found in the Tuileries; this commission, therefore, ought to be
made acquainted with the discovery; but here lay the danger. Mme.
Roland, as an instrument of the Girondins, feared that among the papers
in the chest might be discovered some which would show in what close
relations the Girondins stood to the Court. She decided that her husband
should go to the Tuileries, accompanied by Gamain, an architect, and a
servant. The chest was opened by the locksmith, Roland removed all the
papers, tied them up in a napkin, and took them home. They were taken
the same day to the Convention; and the commission charged the minister
with having abstracted such papers as would have been inconvenient to
him to deliver up.

When Roland surrendered the papers he declared, without naming Gamain,
that they had been discovered in a hole in the wall closed by an iron
door, behind a wainscot panel, in so secret a place "that they could not
have been found had not the secret been disclosed by the workman who
had himself made the place of concealment."

On December 24 following, Gamain was summoned to Paris by the Convention
to give his evidence to prove that a key discovered in the desk of
Thierry de Ville-d'Avray fitted the iron chest.

After the execution of the King, on January 21, 1793, the Convention
sent deputies into all the departments "to stimulate the authorities to
act with the energy requisite under the circumstances." Crassous was
sent into the department of Seine-et-Oise; and not finding the
municipality of Versailles, of which Gamain was a member, "up to the
requisite pitch," he discharged them from office; and by a law of
September 17, all such discharged functionaries were declared to be
"suspected persons," who were liable to be brought before the
revolutionary tribunal on that charge alone.

Thus, in spite of all the proofs he had given of his fidelity to the
principles of the Revolution, Gamain was at any moment liable to arrest,
and to being brought before that terrible tribunal from which the only
exit was to the guillotine. Moreover, Gamain had lost his place and
emoluments as Court locksmith; he had fallen into great poverty, was
without work, and without health.

On April 27, 1794, he presented a petition to the Convention which was
supported by Musset, the deputy and constitutional curé. "It was not
enough," said Musset from the tribune, "that the last of our tyrants
should have delivered over thousands of citizens to be slain by the
sword of the enemy. You will see by the petition I am about to read
that he was familiarised with the most refined cruelty, and that he
himself administered poison to the father of a family, in the hopes
thereby of destroying evidence of his perfidy. You will see that his
ferocious mind had adopted the maxim that to a king everything is

After this preamble Musset read the petition of Gamain, which is as
follows: "François Gamain, locksmith to the cabinets and to the
laboratory of the late King, and for three years member of the Council
General of the Commune of Versailles, declares that at the beginning of
May 1792 he was ordered to go to Paris. On reaching it, Capet required
him to make a cupboard in the thickness of one of the walls of his room,
and to fasten it with an iron door; and he further states that he was
thus engaged up to the 22nd of the said month, and that he worked in the
King's presence. When the chest was completed, Capet himself offered
citizen Gamain a large tumbler of wine, and asked him to drink it, as
he, the said Gamain, was very hot.

"_A few hours later_ he was attacked by a violent colic, which did not
abate till he had taken two spoonfuls of elixir, which made him vomit
all he had eaten and drunk that day. This was the prelude to a terrible
illness, which lasted fourteen months, during which he lost the use of
his limbs, and which has left him at present without hope of recovering
his full health, and of working so as to provide for the necessities of
his family."

After reading the petition Musset added: "I hold in my hands the
certificate of the doctors, that testifies to the bad state of the
health of the citizen petitioner.

"Citizens! If wickedness is common to kings, generosity is the
prerogative of the free people. I demand that this petition be referred
to the Committee of Public Assistance to be promptly dealt with. I
demand that after the request all the papers relating to it be deposed
in the national archives, as a monument of the atrocity of tyrants, and
be inserted in the bulletin, that all those who have supposed that Capet
did evil only at the instigation of others may know that crime was
rooted in his very heart." This proposition was decreed. On May 17,
1794, the representative Peyssard mounted the tribune, and read the
report of the Committee, which we must condense.

"Citizens! At the tribunal of liberty the crimes of the oppressors of
the human race stand to be judged. To paint a king in all his
hideousness I need name only Louis XVI. This name sums in itself all
crimes; it recalls a prodigy of iniquity and of perfidy. Hardly escaped
from infancy, the germs of the ferocious perversity which characterise a
despot appeared in him. His earliest sports were with blood, and his
brutality grew with his years, and he delighted in wreaking his ferocity
on all the animals he met. He was known to be cruel, treacherous, and
murderous. The object of this report is to exhibit him to France
cold-bloodedly offering a cup of poison to the unhappy artist whom he
had just employed to construct a cupboard in which to conceal the plots
of tyranny. It was no stranger he marked as his victim, but a workman
whom he had employed for five-and-twenty years, and the father of a
family, his own instructor in the locksmith's art. Monsters who thus
treat their chosen servants, how will they deal with the rest of men?"

The National Convention thereupon ordered that "François Gamain,
poisoned by Louis Capet on May 22, 1792, should enjoy an annual pension
of the sum of 1,200 livres, dating from the day on which he was

It will be noticed by the most careless reader that the evidence is
_nil_. Gamain does not feel the colic till some hours after he has drunk
the wine; he had eaten or drunk other things besides during the day; and
finally the testimony of the doctors is, not that he was poisoned, but
that, at the time of his presenting the petition, he was in a bad state
of health. Accordingly, all reasonable historians, unblinded by party
passion, have scouted the idea of an attempt on Gamain's life by the
King. Thus the matter would have remained had not M. Paul Lacroix taken
it up and propped the old slander on new legs. We will take his account,
which he pretends to have received from several persons to whom Gamain
related it repeatedly. This is his _mise en scène_.

"The old inhabitants of Versailles will remember with pity the man whom
they often encountered alone, bowed on his stick like one bent with
years. Gamain was aged only fifty-eight when he died, but he bore all
the marks of decrepitude."

Here is a blunder, to begin with; he died, as the Versailles registers
testify, on May 8, 1795, and was accordingly only forty-four years
old,--that is, he died _one_ year after the grant of the annuity. M.
Parrott, in his article on Gamain in the "Dictionnaire de la Révolution
Française," says that he died in 1799, five years after having received
his pension; but the Versailles registers are explicit.

M. Lacroix goes on: "His hair had fallen off, and the little that
remained had turned white over a brow furrowed deeply; the loss of his
teeth made his cheeks hollow; his dull eyes only glared with sombre fire
when the name of Louis XVI was pronounced. Sometimes even tears then
filled them. Gamain lived very quietly with his family on his humble
pension, which, notwithstanding the many changes of government, was
always accorded him. It was not suppressed, lest the reason of its being
granted should again be raked up before the public."

As we have seen, Gamain died under the Government which granted the
pension. M. Lacroix goes on to say "that the old locksmith bore to his
dying day an implacable hatred of Louis XVI., whom he accused of having
been guilty of an abominable act of treachery."

"This act of treachery was the fixed and sole idea in Gamain's head, he
recurred to it incessantly, and poured forth a flood of bitter and
savage recriminations against the King. It was Gamain who disclosed the
secret of the iron chest in the Tuileries, and the papers it contained,
which furnished the chief accusation against Louis XVI.; it was he,
therefore, who had, so to speak, prepared the guillotine for the royal
head; it was he, finally, who provoked the decree of the Convention
which blackened the memory of the King as that of a vulgar murderer. But
this did not suffice the hate of Gamain, who went about everywhere
pursuing the dead beyond the tomb, with his charge of having attempted
murder as payment of life-long and devoted service. Gamain ordinarily
passed his evenings in a cafe at Versailles, the name of which I have
been told, but which I do not divulge lest I should make a mistake. He
was generally in the society of two old notaries, who are still alive
(in 1836), and of the doctor Lameyran, who attended him when he was
poisoned. These three persons were prepared to attest all the
particulars of the poisoning which had been proved at the _procès
verbal_. Gamain, indeed, lacked witnesses to establish the incidents of
the 22nd May, 1792, at the Tuileries; but his air of veracity and
expression of pain, his accent of conviction, his face full of
suffering, his burning eyes, his pathetic pantomime, were the guarantees
of good faith."

These three men, the notaries and the doctor, which latter M. Lacroix
hints was living when he wrote, were his authorities for what follows.
The notaries he does not name, nor the café where they met. His account
published in the _Siècle_ at once attracted attention, and M. Lacroix
was challenged to produce his witnesses. As for M. Lameyran, the doctor,
he had died in 1811; consequently his testimony was not to be had in
1836. The other doctor who had attended Gamain was M. Voisin, who died
in 1823, but M. Le Roy asserts positively that in 1813 M. Voisin told
him, "Never was Gamain poisoned. Lameyran and I had long attended him
for chronic malady of the stomach. This is all we testified to in our
certificate, when he applied for a pension. In our certificate we stated
that he was in weak health--not a word was in it about poisoning, which
existed only in his fancy."

These certificates are no longer in existence. They were not preserved
in the archives of the Convention. Even this fact is taken as evidence
in favour of the attempt. M. Emile Bonnet, in an article on Gamain in
the "Intermédiaire des Chercheurs," declares that they have been
substracted since the Restoration of Charles;[8] but there is no trace
in the archives of them ever having been there. Moreover, we have M. Le
Roy's word that M. Voisin assured him he had not testified to poisoning,
and, what is more important, we have Musset's declaration before the
Convention that the certificate of the doctors "asserted the ill-health
of the claimant." If there had been a word about poison in it, he would
assuredly have said so.

M. Lacroix was asked to name his authorities--the two advocates who, as
M. Lameyran was dead, were alive and would testify to the fact that they
had heard the story from the lips of Gamain. He remained silent. He
would not even name the café where they met, and which might lead to the
identification. M. Eckard, who wrote the notice on Gamain in the
"Biographie Universelle," consulted the family of the locksmith on the
case, and was assured by them that the bad health of Gamain was due to
no other cause than disappointment at the loss of his fortune, the
privations he underwent, and, above all, his terror for his life after
his dismissal from the Communal Council.

We will now continue M. Lacroix's account, which he proceeds, not a
little disingenuously, to put into the mouth of Gamain himself, so that
the accusation may not be charged on the author.

"On May 21, 1792," says Gamain, according to the "Bibliophile Jacob,"
"whilst I was working in my shop, a horseman drew up at my door and
called me out. His disguise as a carter did not prevent me from
recognising Durey, the King's forge assistant. I refused. I
congratulated myself that evening at having done so, as the rumour
spread in Versailles that the Tuileries had been attacked by the mob,
but this did not really take place till a month later. Next morning
Durey returned and showed me a note in the King's own hand, entreating
me to lend my assistance in a difficult job past his unaided powers. My
pride was flattered. I embraced my wife and children, without telling
them whither I was going, but I promised to return that night. It was
not without anxiety that they saw me depart with a stranger for Paris."

We need merely point out that Durey was no stranger to the family: he
had been for years associated daily with Gamain.

"Durey conducted me to the Tuileries, where the King was guarded as in a
prison. We went at once to the royal workshop, where Durey left me,
whilst he went to announce my arrival. Whilst I was alone, I observed an
iron door, recently forged, a mortise lock, well executed, and a little
iron box with a secret spring which I did not at once discover. Then in
came Durey with the King. 'The times are bad,' said Louis XVI., 'and I
do not know how matters will end.' Then he showed me the works I had
noticed, and said, 'What do you say to my skill? It took me ten days to
execute these things. I am your apprentice, Gamain.' I protested my
entire devotion. Then the King assured me that he always had confidence
in me, and that he did not scruple to trust the fate of himself and his
family in my hands. Thereupon he conducted me into the dark passage that
led from his room to the chamber of the Dauphin. Durey lit a taper, and
removed a panel in the passage, behind which I perceived a round hole,
about two feet in diameter, bored in the wall. The King told me he
intended to secrete his money in it, and that Durey, who had helped to
make it, threw the dust and chips into the river during the night. Then
the King told me that he was unable to fit the iron door to the hole
unassisted. I went to work immediately. I went over all the parts of the
lock, and got them into working order; then I fashioned a key to the
lock, then made hinges and fastened them into the wall as firmly as I
could, without letting the hammering be heard. The King helped as well
as he was able, entreating me every moment to strike with less noise,
and to be quicker over my work. The key was put in the little iron
casket, and this casket was concealed under a slab of pavement in the

It will be seen that this story does not agree with the account in the
petition made by Gamain to the Convention. In that he said he was
summoned to Paris at the beginning of the month of May, and that "Capet
ordered him to make a cupboard in the thickness of the wall of his
apartment, and to close it with an iron door, the whole of which was not
accomplished till the 22nd of the same month." He was three weeks over
the job, not a few hours. "I had been working," continues Gamain, or M.
Lacroix for him, "for eight consecutive hours. The sweat poured from my
brow; I was impatient to repose, and faint with hunger, as I had eaten
nothing since I got up."

But, according to his account before the Convention, the elixir made him
throw up "all he had eaten and drunk during the day."

"I seated myself a moment in the King's chamber, and he asked me to
count for him two thousand double louis and tie them up in four leather
bags. Whilst so doing I observed that Durey was carrying some bundles of
papers which I conjectured were destined for the secret closet; and,
indeed, the money-counting was designed to distract my attention from
what Durey was about."

What a clumsy story! Why were not the papers hidden after Gamain was
gone? Was it necessary that this should be done in his presence, and he
set to count money, so as not to observe what was going on?

"As I was about to leave, the Queen suddenly entered by a masked door at
the foot of the King's bed, holding in her hands a plate, in which was a
cake (brioche) and a glass of wine. She came up to me, and I saluted her
with surprise, because the King had assured me that she knew nothing
about the fabrication of the chest. 'My dear Gamain,' said she in a
caressing tone, 'how hot you are! Drink this tumbler of wine and eat
this cake, and they will sustain you on your journey home.' I thanked
her, confounded by this consideration for a poor workman, and I emptied
the tumbler to her health. I put the cake in my pocket, intending to
take it home to my children."

Here again is a discrepancy. In his petition Gamain says that the King
gave him a glass of wine, and makes no mention of the Queen.

On leaving the Tuileries, Gamain set out on foot for Versailles, but was
attacked by a violent colic in the Champs Elysées. His agonies
increased; he was no longer able to walk; he fell, and rolled on the
ground, uttering cries and moans. A carriage that was passing stopped,
and an English gentleman got out--wonderful to relate!--extraordinary
coincidence!--a physician, and an acquaintance.

"The Englishman took me to his carriage, and ordered the coachman to
drive at full gallop to an apothecary's shop. The conveyance halted at
last before one in the Rue de Bac; the Englishman left me alone, whilst
he prepared an elixir which might counteract the withering power of the
poison. When I had swallowed this draught I ejected the venomous
substances. An hour later nothing could have saved me. I recovered in
part my sight and hearing; the cold that circulated in my veins was
dissipated by degrees, and the Englishman judged that I might be safely
removed to Versailles, which we reached at two o'clock in the morning. A
physician, M. de Lameyran, and a surgeon, M. Voisin, were called in;
they recognised the unequivocal tokens of poison.

"After three days of fever, delirium, and inconceivable suffering, I
triumphed over the poison, but suffered ever after from a paralysis
almost complete, and a general inflammation of the digestive organs.

"A few days after this catastrophe the servant maid, whilst cleaning my
coat, which I had worn on the occasion of my accident, found my
handkerchief, stained black, and the cake. She took a bite of the
latter, and threw the rest into the yard, where a dog ate it and died.
The girl, who had consumed only a morsel of the cake, fell dangerously
ill. The dog was opened by M. Voisin, and a chemical analysis disclosed
the presence of poison, both on my kerchief stained by my vomit, and in
the cake. The cake alone contained enough corrosive sublimate to kill
ten persons."

So--the poison was found. But how is it that in Gamain's petition none
of this occurs? According to that document, Gamain was offered a goblet
of wine by the King himself. "A few hours later he was attacked by a
violent colic. This was the prelude to a terrible illness." Only a vague
hint as to poison, no specific statement that he had been poisoned, and
that the kind of poison had been determined.

Now, corrosive sublimate, when put in red wine, forms a violet
precipitate, and alters the taste of the wine, giving it a
characteristic metallic, harsh flavour, so disagreeable that it insures
its immediate rejection. Gamain tasted nothing. Again, the action of
corrosive sublimate is immediate or very nearly so; but Gamain was not
affected till several hours after having drunk the wine.

According to the petition, Gamain asserted that he was paralysed in all
his limbs for fourteen months, from May 22, 1792; but the Communal
registers of Versailles show that he attended a session of the Council
and took part in the discussion on June 4 following, that is, less than
a fortnight after; that he was present at the sessions of June 8, 17,
20, and on August 22, and that he was sufficiently hearty and active to
be elected on the commission which was to obliterate the insignia of
monarchy on September 24 following, which certainly would not have been
the case had he been a sick man paralysed in all his members.

Why, we may further inquire, did not Louis the XVI. or Queen Marie
Antoinette attempt to poison Durey also, if they desired to make away
with all those who knew the secret of the iron locker?

Now, Durey was alive in 1800, and Eckard, who wrote the article on
Gamain in the "Biographie Universelle," knew him and saw him at that
date, and Durey told him that Gamain's story was a lie; the iron safe
was made, not in 1792, but in May, 1791; and this is probable, as it
would have been easier for the King to have the locker made before his
escape to Varennes, than in 1792, when he was under the closest

According to the version attributed to Gamain by M. Paul Lacroix, Gamain
was paralysed for five months only. Why this change? Because either M.
Lacroix or the locksmith had discovered that it was an anachronism for
him to appear in November before Roland, and assist him in opening the
case which he had made in May--five months before, and afterwards to
declare that he was paralysed in all his members from May till the year
following. We think this correction is due to the Bibliophile. But he
was not acquainted with the Versailles archives proving him to have been
at a session a few days after the pretended poisoning.

There is not much difficulty in discovering Gamain's motive for
formulating the accusation against the King. He betrayed his king, who
trusted him, and then, to excuse his meanness, invented an odious
calumny against him.

But what was M. Lacroix's object in revivifying the base charge? We are
not sure that he comes cleaner out of the slough than the despicable
locksmith. He gave the story a new spell of life; he based his "facts"
on testimonies, who, he said, were ready at any moment to vouch for the
truth. When challenged to produce them he would not do so. His "facts"
were proved again and again to be fables, and yet he dared to republish
his slanderous story again and again, without a word of apology,
explanation, or retractation. M. Lacroix died only a year or two ago,
and it may seem ungenerous to attack a dead man, but one is forced to do
this in defence of the honour of a dead Queen whom he grossly
calumniated. The calumny was ingeniously put. M. Lacroix set it in the
mouth of Gamain, thinking thereby to free himself from responsibility,
but the responsibility sticks when he refuses to withdraw what has been
demonstrated to be false.

There is something offensive to the last degree in the pose of M.
Lacroix as he opens his charge. "For some years I have kept by me, with
a sort of terror, the materials for an historic revelation, without
venturing to use them, and yet the fact, now almost unknown, on which I
purpose casting a sinister light, is one that has been the object of my
most active preoccupations. For long I condemned myself to silence and
to fresh research, hitherto fruitless, hoping that the truth would come
to light.... Well! now, at the moment of lifting the veil which covers a
half-effaced page of history, with the documents I have consulted and
the evidence I have gleaned lying before me, surrounded by a crowd of
witnesses, one sustaining the testimony of the other, relying on my
conscience and on my sentiments as a man of honour--still I hesitate to
open my mouth and call up the remembrance of an event monstrous in
itself, that has not found an echo even in the writings of the blindest
partisans of a hideous epoch. Yes, I feel a certain repugnance in
seeming to associate in thought, though not in act, with the enemies of
Louis XVI. I have just re-read the sublime death of this unhappy
political martyr; I have felt my eyes moisten with tears at the
contemplation of the picture of the death inflicted by an inexorable
state necessity, and I felt I must break my pen lest I should mix my ink
with the yet warm blood of the innocent victim. Let my hand wither
rather than rob Louis XVI. of the mantle of probity and goodness, which
the outrages of '93 succeeded neither in staining nor in rending to
rags." And so on--M. Lacroix is only acting under a high sense of the
sacred duty of seeking the truth, "of forcing the disclosure of facts,
before it be too late," which may establish the innocence of Louis XVI.
Now, be it noted that M. Lacroix is the first to accuse the Queen of
attempting the murder; his assault is on her as much as, more than, on
the poor King--in the sacred interests of historic truth!

What are his evidences, his crowd of witnesses, his documents that he
has collected? What proof is there of his active preoccupations and
fresh researches? He produced nothing that can be called proof, and
refused the names of his witnesses when asked for them. We can quite
understand that the Bibliophile Jacob may have heard some gossiping
story such as he narrates, and may have believed it when he wrote the
story; but then, where are the high sense of honour, the tender
conscience, the enthusiasm for truth, when his story is proved to be a
tissue of improbabilities and impossibilities, that permit him to
republish, and again republish at intervals of years, this cruel and
calumnious fabrication?


[8] Le Bibliophile Jacob says the same: "Les--pièces--détournées
maladroitement par la Restauration."

Abram the Usurer.[9]

In the reign of Heraclius, when Sergius was patriarch of Constantinople,
there lived in Byzantium a merchant named Theodore, a good man and just,
fearing God, and serving him with all his heart. He went on a voyage to
the ports of Syria and Palestine with his wares, in a large well-laden
vessel, sold his goods to profit, and turned his ship's head homewards
with a good lading of silks and spices, the former some of the produce
of the looms of distant China, brought in caravans through Persia and
Syria to the emporiums on the Mediterranean.

It was late in the year when Theodore began his voyage home, the
equinoctial gales had begun to blow, and prudence would have suggested
that he should winter in Cyprus; but he was eager to return to Byzantium
to his beloved wife, and to prepare for another adventure in the ensuing

But he was overtaken by a storm as he was sailing up the Propontis, and
to save the vessel he was obliged to throw all the lading overboard. He
reached Constantinople in safety, but with the loss of his goods. His
grief and despair were excessive. His wife was unable to console him. He
declared that he was weary of the world, his loss was sent him as a
warning from heaven not to set his heart on Mammon, and that he was
resolved to enter a monastery, and spend the rest of his days in

"Hasten, husband mine," said the wife, "put this scheme into execution
at once; for if you delay you may change your mind."

The manifest impatience of his wife to get rid of him somewhat cooled
the ardour of Theodore for the monastic profession, and before taking
the irrevocable step, he consulted a friend. "I think, dearest brother,
nay, I am certain, that this misfortune came on me as the indication of
the finger of Providence that I should give up merchandise and care only
for the saving of my soul."

"My friend," answered the other, "I do not see this in the same light as
you. Every merchant must expect loss. It is one of the ordinary risks of
sailors. It is absurd to despair. Go to your friends and borrow of them
sufficient to load your vessel again, and try your luck once more. You
are known as a merchant, and trusted as an honest man, and will have no
difficulty in raising the sum requisite."

Theodore rushed home, and announced to his wife that he had already
changed his mind, and that he was going to borrow money.

"Whatever pleases you is right in my eyes," said the lady.

Theodore then went the round of his acquaintances, told them of his
misfortune, and then asked them to lend him enough to restock his
vessel, promising to pay them a good percentage on the money lent. But
the autumn had been fatal to more vessels than that of Theodore, and he
found that no one was disposed to advance him the large sum he required.
He went from door to door, but a cold refusal met him everywhere.
Disappointed, and sick at heart, distressed at finding friends so
unfriendly, he returned home, and said to his wife, "Woman! the world is
hard and heartless, I will have nothing more to do with it. I will
become a monk."

"Dearest husband, do so by all means, and I shall be well pleased,"
answered the wife.

Theodore tossed on his bed all night, unable to sleep; before dawn an
idea struck him. There was a Jew named Abram who had often importuned
him to trade with his money, but whom he had invariably refused. He
would try this man as a last resource.

So when morning came, Theodore rose and went to the shop of Abram. The
Hebrew listened attentively to his story, and then said, smiling,
"Master Theodore, when thou wast rich, I often asked thee to take my
money and trade with it in foreign parts, so that I might turn it over
with advantage. But I always met with refusal. And now that thou art
poor, with only an empty ship, thou comest to me to ask for a loan. What
if again tempest should fall on thee, and wreck and ruin be thy lot,
where should I look for my money? Thou art poor. If I were to sell thy
house it would not fetch much. Nay, if I am to lend thee money thou must
provide a surety, to whom I may apply, and who will repay me, should
accident befall thee. Go, find security, and I will find the money."

So Theodore went to his best friend, and told him the circumstances, and
asked him to stand surety for him to the Jew.

"Dear friend," answered he, "I should be most happy to oblige you; but I
am a poor man, I have not as much money in the world as would suffice.
The Hebrew would not accept me as surety, he knows the state of my
affairs too well. But I will do for you what little I can. We will go
together to some merchants, and together beseech them to stand security
for you to the Jew."

So the two friends went to a rich merchant with whom they were
acquainted, and told him what they wanted; but he blustered and turned
red, and said, "Away with you, fellows; who ever heard of such insolence
as that two needy beggars should ask a man of substance like me to go
with them to the den of a cursed infidel Jew. God be thanked! I have no
dealings with Jews. I never have spoken to one in my life, and never
give them a greeting when I pass any in street or market-place. A man
who goes to the Jews to-day, goes to the dogs to-morrow, and to the
devil the day after."

The friends visited other merchants, but with like ill-success. Theodore
had spent the day fasting, and he went supperless to bed, very hopeless,
and with the prospect growing more distinct of being obliged to put on
the cowl of the monk, a prospect which somehow or other he did not

Next morning he started from home to tell Abram his failure. His way
was through the great square called the Copper-Market before the
Imperial palace. Now there stood there a porch consisting of four
pillars, which supported a dome covered with brazen tiles, the whole
surmounted by a cross, on the east side of which, looking down on the
square, and across over the sparkling Bosphorus to the hills of Asia,
was a large, solemn figure of the Crucified. This porch and cross had
been set up by Constantine the Great,[10] and had been restored by

As Theodore sped through the Copper-Market in the morning, he looked up;
the sky was of the deepest gentian blue. Against it, glittering like
gold in the early sun, above the blazing, brazen tiles, stood the great
cross with the holy form thereon. Theodore halted, in his desolation,
doubt and despair, and looked up at the figure. It was in the old, grave
Byzantine style, very solemn, without the pain expressed in Mediæval
crucifixes, and like so many early figures of the sort was probably
vested and crowned.

A sudden inspiration took hold of the ruined man. He fell on his knees,
stretched his hands towards the shining form, and cried, "Lord Jesus
Christ! the hope of the whole earth, the only succour of all who are
cast down, the sure confidence of those that look to Thee! All on whom I
could lean have failed me. I have none on earth on whom I can call. Do
Thou, Lord, be surety for me, though I am unworthy to ask it." Then
filled with confidence he rose from his knees, and ran to the house of
Abram, and bursting in on him said, "Be of good cheer, I have found a
Surety very great and noble and mighty. Trust thy money, He will keep it

Abram answered, "Let the man come, and sign the deed and see the money
paid over."

"Nay, my brother," said Theodore; "come thou with me. I have hurried in
thus to bring thee to him."

Then Abram went with Theodore, who led him to the Copper-Market, and
bade him be seated, and then raising his finger, he pointed to the
sacred form hanging on the cross, and, full of confidence, said to the
Hebrew, "There, friend, thou could'st not have a better security than
the Lord of heaven and earth. I have besought Him to stand for me, and I
know He is so good that He will not deny me."

The Jew was perplexed. He said nothing for a moment or two, and then,
wondering at the man's faith, answered, "Friend, dost thou not know the
difference between the faith of a Christian and of a Hebrew? How can'st
thou ask me to accept as thy surety, One whom thou believest my people
to have rejected and crucified? However, I will trust thee, for thou art
a God-fearing and an honest man, and I will risk my money."

So they twain returned to the Jew's quarters, and Abram counted out
fifty pounds of gold, in our money about £2,400. He tied the money up in
bags, and bade his servants bear it after Theodore. And Abram and the
glad merchant came to the Copper-Market, and then the Jew ordered that
the money bags should be set down under the Tetrastyle where was the
great crucifix. Then said the Hebrew usurer, "See, Theodore, I make over
to thee the loan here before thy God." And there, in the face of the
great image of his Saviour, Theodore received the loan, and swore to
deal faithfully by the Jew, and to restore the money to him with usury.

After this, the merchant bought a cargo for his vessel, and hired
sailors, and set sail for Syria. He put into port at Tyre and Sidon, and
traded with his goods, and bought in place of them many rich Oriental
stuffs, with spices and gums, and when his ship was well laden, he
sailed for Constantinople.

But again misfortune befell him. A storm arose, and the sailors were
constrained to throw the bales of silk, and bags of costly gums, and
vessels of Oriental chasing into the greedy waves. But as the ship began
to fill, they were obliged to get into the boat and escape to land. The
ship keeled over and drifted into shallow water. When the storm abated
they got to her, succeeded in floating her, and made the best of their
way in the battered ship to Constantinople, thankful that they had
preserved their lives. But Theodore was in sad distress, chiefly because
he had lost Abram's money. "How shall I dare to face the man who dealt
so generously by me?" he said to himself. "What shall I say, when he
reproaches me? What answer can I make to my Surety for having lost the
money entrusted to me?"

Now when Abram heard that Theodore had arrived in Constantinople in his
wrecked vessel with the loss of all his cargo, he went to him at once,
and found the man prostrate in his chamber, the pavement wet with his
tears of shame and disappointment. Abram laid his hand gently on his
shoulder, and said, in a kind voice, "Rise, my brother, do not be
downcast; give glory to God who rules all things as He wills, and follow
me home. God will order all for the best."

Then the merchant rose, and followed the Jew, but he would not lift his
eyes from the ground, for he was ashamed to look him in the face. Abram
was troubled at the distress of his friend, and he said to him, as he
shut the door of his house, "Let not thy heart be broken with overmuch
grief, dearest friend, for it is the mark of a wise man to bear all
things with firm mind. See! I am ready again to lend thee fifty pounds
of gold, and may better fortune attend thee this time. I trust that our
God will bless the money and multiply it, so that in the end we shall
lose nothing by our former misadventure."

"Then," said Theodore, "Christ shall again stand security for me. Bring
the money to the Tetrastyle."

Therefore again the bags of gold were brought before the cross, and when
they had then been made over to the merchant, Abram said, "Accept,
Master Theodore, this sum of fifty pounds of gold, paid over to thee
before thy Surety, and go in peace. And may the Lord God prosper thee
on thy journey, and make plain the way before thee. And remember, that
before this thy Surety thou art bound to me for a hundred pounds of

Having thus spoken, Abram returned home. Theodore repaired and reloaded
his ship, engaged mariners and made ready to sail. But on the day that
he was about to depart, he went into the Copper-Market, and kneeling
down, with his face towards the cross, he prayed the Lord to be his
companion and captain, and to guide him on his journey, and bring him
safe through all perils with his goods back to Byzantium once more.

Then he went on to the house of Abram to bid him farewell. And the Jew
said to him, "Keep thyself safe, brother, and beware now of trusting thy
ship to the sea at the time of equinoctial gales. Thou hast twice
experienced the risk, run not into it again. Winter at the place whither
thou goest, and that I may know how thou farest, if thou hast the
opportunity, send me some of the money by a sure hand. Then there is
less chance of total ruin, for if one portion fails, the other is likely
to be secure."

Theodore approved of this advice, and promised to follow it; so then the
Jew and the Christian parted with much affection and mutual respect, for
each knew the other to be a good and true man, fearing God, and seeking
to do that which is right. This time Theodore turned his ship's head
towards the West, intending to carry his wares to the markets of Spain.
He passed safely through the Straits of Hercules, and sailed North. Then
a succession of steady strong breezes blew from the South and swept him
on so that he could not get into harbour till he reached Britain. He
anchored in a bay on the rugged Cornish coast, in the very emporium of
tin and lead, in the Cassiterides famed of old for supplying ore
precious in the manufacture of bronze. He readily disposed of all his
merchandise, and bought as much tin and lead as his ship would hold. His
goods had sold so well, and tin and lead were so cheap that he found he
had fifty pounds in gold in addition to the cargo.

The voyage back from Britain to Byzantium was long and dangerous, and
Theodore was uneasy. He found no other ships from Constantinople where
he was, and no means presented themselves for sending back the money in
part, as he had promised. He was a conscientious man, and he wished to
keep his word.

He set sail from Cornwall before the summer was over, passed safely
through the straits into the Mediterranean, but saw no chance of
reaching Constantinople before winter. He would not again risk his
vessel in the gales of the equinox, and he resolved to winter in Sicily.
He arrived too late in the year to be able to send a message and the
money to Abram. His promise troubled him, and he cast about in his mind
how to keep his word.

At last, in the simple faith which coloured the whole life of the man,
he made a very solid wooden box and tarred it well internally and
externally. Then he inclosed in it the fifty pounds of gold he had made
by his goods in Britain over and above his lading of lead and tin, and
with the money he put a letter, couched in these terms:

"In the name of my heir and God, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is
also my Surety for a large sum of money, I, Theodore, humbly address my
master Abram, who, with God, is my benefactor and creditor.

"I would have thee know, Master Abram, that we all, by the mercy of God,
are in good health. God has verily prospered us well and brought our
merchandise to a good market. And now, see! I send thee fifty pounds of
gold, which I commit to the care of my Surety, and He will convey the
money safely to thy hands. Receive it from me and do not forget us.

Then he fastened up the box, and raised his eyes to heaven, and prayed
to God, saying: "O Lord Jesus Christ, Mediator between God and Man, Who
dwellest in Heaven, but hast respect unto the lowly; hear the voice of
thy servant this day; because Thou hast proved Thyself to me a good and
kind Surety, I trust to Thee to return to my benefactor and creditor,
Abram, the money I promised to send him. Trusting in Thee, Lord, I
commit this little box to the sea!"

So saying he flung the case containing the gold and the letter into the
waves; and standing on a cliff watched it floating on the waters, rising
and falling on the glittering wavelets, gradually drifting further and
further out to sea, till it was lost to his sight, and then, nothing
doubting but that the Lord Christ would look after the little box and
guide it over the waste of waters to its proper destination, he went
back to his lodging, and told the ship pilot what he had done. The
sailor remained silent wondering in his mind at the great faith of his
master. Then his rough heart softened, and he knelt down and blessed and
praised God.

That night Theodore had a dream, and in the morning he told it to the

"I thought," said he, "that I was back in Byzantium, and standing in the
Copper-Market before the great cross with Christ on it. And I fancied in
my dream that Abram was at my side. And I looked, and saw him hold up
his hands, and receive the box in them, and the great figure of Christ
said, 'See, Abram, I give thee what Theodore committed to my trust.'
And, thereupon, I awoke trembling. So now I am quite satisfied that the
gold is in safe keeping, and will infallibly reach its destination."

The summer passed, the storms of autumn had swept over the grey sea, and
torn away from the trees the last russet leaves; winter had set in; yet
Abram had received no news of Theodore.

He did not doubt the good faith of his friend, but he began to fear that
ill-luck attended him. He had risked a large sum, and would feel the
loss severely should this cargo be lost like the former one. He talked
the matter over with his steward, and considered it from every
imaginable point of view. His anxiety took him constantly to the shore
to watch the ships that arrived, hoping to hear news by some of them,
and to recover part of his money. He hardly expected the return of
Theodore after the injunctions he had given him not to risk his vessel
in a stormy season.

One day he was walking with his steward by the sea-side, when the waves
were more boisterous than usual. Not a ship was visible. All were in
winter quarters. Abram drew off his sandals, and began to wash his feet
in the sea water. Whilst so doing he observed something floating at a
little distance. With the assistance of his steward he fished out a box
black with tar, firmly fastened up, like a solid cube of wood. Moved by
curiosity he carried the box home, and succeeded with a little
difficulty in forcing it open. Inside he found a letter, not directed,
but marked with three crosses, and a bag of gold. It need hardly be said
that this was the box Theodore had entrusted to Christ, and his Surety
had fulfilled His trust and conveyed it to the hands of the creditor.

Next spring Theodore returned to Constantinople in safety. As soon as he
had disembarked, he hastened to the house of Abram to tell him the
results of his voyage.

The Jewish usurer, wishing to prove him, feigned not to understand, when
Theodore related how he had sent him fifty pounds of gold, and made as
though he had not received the money. But the merchant was full of
confidence, and he said, "I cannot understand this, brother, for I
enclosed the money in a box along with a letter, and committed it to the
custody of my Saviour Christ, Who has acted as Surety for me unworthy.
But as thou sayest that thou hast not received it, come with me, and let
us go together before the crucifix, and say before it that thou hast not
had the money conveyed to thee, and then I will believe thy word."

Abram promised to accompany his friend, and rising from their seats,
they went together to the Copper-Market. And when they came to the
Tetrastyle, Theodore raised his hands to the Crucified, and said, "My
Saviour and Surety, didst Thou not restore the gold to Abram that I
entrusted to Thee for that purpose?"

There was something so wonderful, so beautiful, in the man's faith, that
Abram was overpowered; and withal there was the evidence that it was not
misplaced so clear to the Jew, that the light of conviction like a
dazzling sunbeam darted into his soul, and Theodore saw the Hebrew
usurer fall prostrate on the pavement, half fainting with the emotion
which oppressed him.

Theodore ran and fetched water in his hands and sprinkled his face, and
brought the usurer round. And Abram said, "As God liveth, my friend, I
will not enter into my house till I have taken thy Lord and Surety for
my Master." A crowd began to gather, and it was bruited abroad that the
Jewish usurer sought baptism. And when the story reached the ears of the
Emperor Heraclius, he glorified God. So Abram was put under instruction,
and was baptised by the patriarch Sergius.[11]

And after seven days a solemn procession was instituted through the
streets of Constantinople to the Copper-Market, in which walked the
emperor and the patriarch, and all the clergy of the city; and the box
which had contained the money was conveyed by them to the Tetrastyle
and laid up, along with the gold and the letter before the image, to be
a memorial of what had taken place to all generations. And thenceforth
the crucifix received the common appellation of Antiphonetos, or the

As for the tin and lead with which the vessel of Theodore was freighted,
it sold for a great price, so that both he and Abram realised a large
sum by the transaction. But neither would keep to himself any portion of
it, but gave it all to the Church of S. Sophia, and therewith a part of
the sanctuary was overlaid with silver. Then Theodore and his wife, with
mutual consent, gave up the world and retired into monastic

Abram afterwards built and endowed an oratory near the Tetrastyle, and
Sergius ordained him priest and his two sons deacons.

Thus ends this strange and very beautiful story, which I have merely
condensed from the somewhat prolix narrative of the Byzantine preacher.
The reader will probably agree with me that if sermons in the 19th
century were as entertaining as this of the 10th, fewer people would be
found to go to sleep during their delivery.

I have told the tale as related by the preacher. But there are reasons
which awaken suspicion that he somewhat erred as to his dates; but that,
nevertheless the story is really not without a foundation of fact.
Towards the close of the oration the preacher points to the ambone, and
the thusiasterion, and bids his hearers remark how they are overlaid
with silver, and this he says was the silver that Abram, the wealthy
Jewish usurer, and Theodore, the merchant, gave to the Church of S.

Now it happens that we have got a contemporary record of this overlaying
of the sanctuary with silver; we know from the pen of Procopius of Gaza
that it took place in the reign of Justinian in A.D. 537.[12]

This was preparatory to the dedication of the great Church, when the
Emperor and the wealthy citizens of Byzantium were lavishly contributing
to the adornment of the glorious building.

We can quite understand how that the new convert and the grateful
merchant were carried away by the current of the general enthusiasm, and
gave all their silver to the plating of the sanctuary of the new Church.
Procopius tells us that forty thousand pounds of silver were spent in
this work. Not all of this, however, could have been given by Abram and

If this then were the date of the conversion of Abram, for Heraclius we
must read Justinian, and for Sergius we must substitute Mennas. As the
sermon was not preached till four hundred years after, the error can be
accounted for, one imperial benefactor of the Church was mistaken for

Now about the time of Justinian, we know from other sources that there
was a converted Jew named Abram who founded and built a church and
monastery in Constantinople, and which in after times was known as the
Abramite Monastery. We are told this by John Moschus. We can not fix the
exact date of the foundation, Moschus heard about A.D. 600 from the
abbot John Rutilus, who had heard it from Stephen the Moabite, that the
Monastery of the Abramites had been constructed by Abram who afterwards
was raised to the metropolitan See of Ephesus. We may put then the
foundation of the monastery at about A.D. 540.

Now Abram of Ephesus succeeded Procopius who was bishop in 560; and his
successor was Rufinus in 597. The date of the elevation of Abram to the
metropolitan throne of Ephesus is not known exactly, but it was probably
about 565.

There is, of course, much conjecture in thus identifying the usurer
Abram with Abram, Bishop of Ephesus; but there is certainly a
probability that they were identical; and if so, then one more pretty
story of the good man survives. After having built the monastery in
Constantinople, Moschus tells us that Abram went to Jerusalem, the home
to which a Jewish heart naturally turns, and there he set to work to
erect another monastery. Now there was among the workmen engaged on the
building a mason who ate but sparingly, conversed with none, but worked
diligently, and prayed much in his hours of relaxation from labour.

Abram became interested in the man, and called him to him, and learned
from him his story. It was this. The mason had been a monk in the
Theodorian Monastery along with his brother. The brother weary of the
life, had left and fallen into grave moral disorders. Then this one now
acting as mason had gone after him, laid aside his cowl and undertaken
the same daily toil as the erring brother, that he might be with him,
waiting his time when by means of advice or example he might draw the
young man from his life of sin. But though he had laid aside the outward
emblems of his monastic profession, he kept the rule of life as closely
as he was able, cultivating prayer and silence and fasting. Then Abram
deeply moved, said to the monk-mason: "God will look on thy fraternal
charity; be of good courage, He will give thee thy brother at thy


[9] This account is taken from a sermon preached in the Church of St.
Sophia at Constantinople on Orthodoxy Sunday, printed by Combefisius
(Auctuarium novum, pars post. col. 644), from a MS. in the National
Library at Paris. Another copy of the sermon is in the Library at Turin.
The probable date of the composition is the tenth century. Orthodoxy
Sunday was not instituted till 842.

[10] This famous figure was cast down and broken by Leo the Isaurian in
730, a riot ensued, the market-women interfering with the soldiers, who
were engaged on pulling down the figure, they shook the ladders and
threw down one who was engaged in hacking the face of the figure. This
led to the execution of ten persons, among them Gregory, head of the
bodyguard, and Mary, a lady of the Imperial family. The Empress Irene
set up a mosaic figure in its place. This was again destroyed by Leo the
Armenian, and again restored after his death by Theophilus in 829.

[11] Sergius was patriarch of Constantinople between 610 and 638. He
embraced the Monothelite heresy.

[12] Fabricius, Bibl. Græca, Ed. Harles, T.X. p. 124, 125.

Sophie Apitzsch.

"Some are born great," said Malvolio, strutting in yellow stockings,
cross-gartered, before Olivia, "some achieve greatness," and with a
smile, "some have greatness thrust upon them."

Of the latter was Sophie Sabine Apitzsch. She was not born great, she
was the daughter of an armourer. She hardly can be said to have achieved
greatness, though she did attain to notoriety; what greatness she had
was thrust on her, not altogether reluctant to receive it. But the
greatness was not much, and was of an ambiguous description. She was
treated for a while as a prince in disguise, and then became the theme
of an opera, of a drama, and of a novel. For a hundred years her
top-boots were preserved as historical relics in the archives of the
House of Saxony, till in 1813 a Cossack of the Russian army passing
through Augustenburg, saw, desired, tried on, and marched off with them;
and her boots entered Paris with the Allies.

About five-and-twenty miles from Dresden lived in 1714 a couple of
landed proprietors, the one called Volkmar, and the other von Günther,
who fumed with fiery hostility against each other, and the cause of
disagreement was, that the latter wrote himself von Günther. Now, to get
a _von_ before the name makes a great deal of difference: it purifies,
nay, it alters the colour of the blood, turning it from red to blue. No
one in Germany can prefix _von_ to his name as any one in England can
append Esq. to his. He must receive authorisation by diploma of nobility
from his sovereign.

George von Günther had been, not long before, plain George Günther, but
in 1712 he had obtained from the Emperor Charles VI. a patent of
nobility, or gentility, they are the same abroad, and the motive that
moved his sacred apostolic majesty to grant the patent was--as set forth
therein--that an ancestor of George Günther of the same name "had sat
down to table with the elector John George II. of Saxony;" and it was
inconceivable that a mere citizen could have been suffered to do this,
unless there were some nobility in him. George von Günther possessed an
estate which was a manor, a knight's fee, at Jägerhof, and he was
moreover upper Forester and Master of the Fisheries to the King-elector
of Saxony, and Sheriff of Chemnitz and Frankenberg. He managed to marry
his daughters to men blessed with _von_ before their names, one to von
Bretschneider, Privy-Councillor of War, the other to a Major von

Now, all this was gall and wormwood to Councillor-of-Agriculture, Daniel
Volkmar, who lived on his paternal acres at Hetzdorf, of which he was
hereditary chief magistrate by virtue of his lordship of the acres. This
man had made vain efforts to be ennobled. He could not find that any
ancestor of his had sat at table with an elector; and, perhaps, he could
not scrape together sufficient money to induce his sacred apostolic
majesty to overlook this defect. As he could not get his diploma, he
sought how he might injure his more fortunate neighbour, and this he did
by spying out his acts, watching for neglect of his duties to the fishes
or the game, and reporting him anonymously to head-quarters. Günther
knew well enough who it was that sought to injure him, and, as Volkmar
believed, had invited some of the gamekeepers to shoot him; accordingly,
Volkmar never rode or walked in the neighbourhood of the royal forests
and fish-ponds unarmed, and without servants carrying loaded muskets.

One day a brother magistrate, Pöckel by name, came over to see him about
a matter that puzzled him. There had appeared in the district under his
jurisdiction a young man, tall, well-built, handsome, but slightly
small-pox-pitted, who had been arrested by the police for blowing a
hunting-horn. Now ignoble lips might not touch a hunting-horn, and for
any other than breath that issued out of noble lungs to sound a note on
such a horn was against the laws.

"Oh," said Volkmar, "if he has done this, and is not a gentleman--lock
him up. What is his name?"

"He calls himself Karl Marbitz."

"But I, even I, may not blow a blast on a horn--that scoundrel Günther
may. Deal with the fellow Marbitz with the utmost severity."

"But--suppose he may have the necessary qualification?"

"How can he without a von before his name?"

"Suppose he be a nobleman, or something even higher, in disguise?"

"What, in disguise? Travelling incognito? Our Crown Prince is not at

"Exactly. All kinds of rumours are afloat concerning this young man, who
is, indeed, about the Crown Prince's age; he has been lodging with a
baker at Aue, and there blowing the horn."

"I'll go with you and see him. I will stand bail for him. Let him come
to me. Hah-hah! George von Günther, hah-hah!"

So Volkmar, already more than half disposed to believe that the
horn-blower was a prince in disguise, rode over to the place where he
was in confinement, saw him, and lost what little doubt he had. The
upright carriage, the aristocratic cast of features, the stand-off
manners, all betokened the purest of blue blood--all were glimmerings of
that halo which surrounds sovereignty.

The Crown Prince of Saxony was away--it was alleged, in France--making
the grand tour, but, was it not more likely that he was going the round
of the duchy of Saxony, inquiring into the wants and wrongs of the
people? If so, who could better assist him to the knowledge of these
things, than he, Volkmar, and who could better open his eyes to the
delinquencies of high-placed, high-salaried officials--notably of the
fisheries and forests?

"There is one thing shakes my faith," said Pöckel: "our Crown Prince is
not small-pox marked."

"That is nothing," answered Volkmar eagerly. "His Serenity has caught
the infection in making his studies among the people."

"And then--he is so shabbily dressed."

"That is nothing--it is the perfection of disguise."

Volkmar carried off the young man to his house, and showed him the
greatest respect, insisted on his sitting in the carriage facing the
horses, and would on no account take a place at his side, but seated
himself deferentially opposite him.

On reaching Hetzdorf, Volkmar introduced his wife and his daughter
Joanna to the distinguished prince, who behaved to them very graciously,
and with the most courtly air expressed himself charmed with the room
prepared for him.

Dinner was served, and politics were discussed; the reserve with which
the guest treated such subjects, the caution with which he expressed an
opinion, served to deepen in Volkmar's mind the conviction that he had
caught the Crown Prince travelling incog. After the servants had
withdrawn, and when a good deal of wine--the best in the cellar--had
been drunk, the host said confidentially in a whisper, "I see clearly
enough what you are."

"Indeed," answered the guest, "I can tell you what I am--by trade an

"Ah, ha! but by birth--what?" said Volkmar, slyly, holding up his glass
and winking over it.

"Well," answered the guest, "I will admit this--I am not what I appear."

"And may I further ask your--I mean you--where you are at home?"

"I am a child of Saxony," was the answer.

Afterwards, at the trial, the defendant insisted that this was exactly
the reply made, whereas Volkmar asserted that the words were, "I am a
child of the House of Saxony." But there can be no doubt that his
imagination supplemented the actual words used with those he wished to

"The small-pox has altered you since you left home," said Volkmar.

"Very likely. I have had the small-pox since I left my home."

Volkmar at once placed his house, his servants, his purse, at the
disposal of his guest, and his offer was readily accepted.

It is now advisable to turn back and explain the situation, by relating
the early history of this person, who passed under the name of Karl
Marbitz, an armourer; but whom a good number of people suspected of
being something other than what he gave himself out to be, though only
Volkmar and Pöckel and one or two others supposed him to be the Crown
Prince of Saxony.

Sophie Sabine Apitzsch was born at Lunzenau in Saxony in 1692, was well
brought up, kept to school, and learned to write orthographically, and
to have a fair general knowledge of history and geography. When she left
school she was employed by her father in his trade, which was that of an
armourer. She was tall and handsome, somewhat masculine--in after years
a Cossack got into her boots--had the small-pox, which, however, only
slightly disfigured her. In 1710 she had a suitor, a gamekeeper,
Melchior Leonhart. But Sophie entertained a rooted dislike to marriage,
and she kept her lover off for three years, till her father peremptorily
ordered her to marry Melchior, and fixed the day for the wedding. Then
Sophie one night got out of her own clothing, stepped into her father's
best suit, and walked away in the garments of a man, and shortly
afterwards appeared in Anspach under a feigned name, as a barber's
assistant. Here she got into difficulties with the police, as she had no
papers of legitimation, and to escape them, enlisted. She carried a
musket for a month only, deserted, and resumed her vagabond life in
civil attire, as a barber's assistant, and came to Leipzig, where she
lodged at the Golden Cock. How she acquired the art, and how those liked
it on whose faces she made her experiments with the razor, we are not

At the Golden Cock lodged an athletic lady of the name of Anna Franke,
stout, muscular, and able to lift great weights with her teeth, and with
a jerk throw them over her shoulders. Anna Franke gave daily exhibitions
of her powers, and on the proceeds maintained herself and her daughter,
a girl of seventeen. The stout and muscular lady also danced on a tight
rope, which with her bounces acted like a taut bowstring, projecting the
athlete high into the air.

The Fräulein Franke very speedily fell in love with the fine young
barber, and proposed to her mother that Herr Karl should be taken into
the concern, as he would be useful to stretch the ropes, and go round
for coppers. Sophie was nothing loth to have her inn bill paid on these
terms, but when finally the bouncing mother announced that her
daughter's hand was at the disposal of Karl, then the situation became
even more embarrassing than that at home from which Sophie had run away.
The barber maintained her place as long as she could, but at last, when
the endearments of the daughter became oppressive, and the urgency of
the mother for speedy nuptials became vexatious, she pretended that the
father, who was represented as a well-to-do citizen of Hamburg, must
first be consulted. On this plea Sophie borrowed of Mother Franke the
requisite money for her journey and departed, promising to return in a
few weeks. Instead of fulfilling her promise, Sophie wrote to ask for a
further advance of money, and when this was refused, disappeared
altogether from the knowledge of the athlete and her daughter.

On this second flight from marriage, Sophie Apitzsch met with an
armourer named Karl Marbitz, and by some means or other contrived to get
possession of his pass, leaving him instead a paper of legitimation made
out under the name of Karl Gottfried, which old Mother Franke had
induced the police to grant to the young barber who was engaged to marry
her daughter.

In June 1714, under the name of Marbitz, Sophie appeared among the
Erz-Gebirge, the chain of mountains that separate Saxony from Bohemia,
and begged her way from place to place, pretending to be a schoolmaster
out of employ. After rambling about for some time, she took up her
quarters with a baker at Elterlein. Here it was that for the first time
a suspicion was aroused that she was a person of greater consequence
than she gave out. The rumour reached the nearest magistrate that there
was a mysterious stranger there who wore a ribbon and star of some
order, and he at once went to the place to make inquiries, but found
that Sophie had neither ribbon nor order, and that her papers declared
in proper form who and what she was. At this time she fell ill at the
baker's house, and the man, perhaps moved by the reports abroad
concerning her, was ready to advance her money to the amount of £6 or
£7. When recovered, she left the village where she had been ill, and
went to another one, where she took up her abode with another baker,
named Fischer, whom she helped in his trade, or went about practising
upon the huntsman's horn.

This amusement it was which brought her into trouble. Possibly she may
not have known that the horn was a reserved instrument that might not be
played by the ignoble.

At the time that Volkmar took her out of the lockup, and carried her off
to his mansion in his carriage, she was absolutely without money, in
threadbare black coat, stockings ill darned, and her hair very much in
want of powder.

Hitherto her associates had been of the lowest classes; she had been
superior to them in education, in morals, and in character, and had to
some extent imposed on them. They acknowledged in her an undefined
dignity and quiet reserve, with unquestioned superiority in attainments
and general tone of mind, and this they attributed to her belonging to a
vastly higher class in society.

Now, all at once she was translated into another condition of life, one
in which she had never moved before; but she did not lose her head; she
maintained the same caution and reserve in it, and never once exposed
her ignorance so as to arouse suspicion that she was not what people
insisted on believing her to be. She was sufficiently shrewd never by
word to compromise herself, and afterwards, when brought to trial, she
insisted that she had not once asserted that she was other than Karl
Marbitz the armourer. Others had imagined she was a prince, but she had
not encouraged them in their delusion by as much as a word. That, no
doubt, was true, but she accepted the honours offered and presents made
her under this erroneous impression, without an attempt to open the eyes
of the deluded to their own folly.

Perhaps this was more than could be expected of her. "Foolery," said the
clown in "Twelfth Night," "does walk about the orb, like the sun; it
shines everywhere"--and what are fools but the natural prey of the

Sophie had been ill, reduced to abject poverty, was in need of good
food, new clothes, and shelter; all were offered, even forced upon her.
Was she called upon to reject them? She thought not.

Now that Volkmar had a supposed prince under his roof he threw open his
house to the neighbourhood, and invited every gentleman he knew--except
the von Günthers. He provided the prince with a coat of scarlet cloth
frogged and laced with gold, with a new hat, gave him a horse, filled
his purse, and provided him with those identical boots in which a
century later a Cossack marched into Paris.

She was addressed by her host and hostess as "Your Highness," and "Your
Serenity," and they sought to kiss her hand, but she waived away these
exhibitions of servility, saying, "Let be--we will regard each other as
on a common level." Once Volkmar said slyly to her, "What would your
august father say if he knew you were here?"

"He would be surprised," was all the answer that could be drawn from
her. One day the newspaper contained information of the Crown Prince's
doings in Paris with his tutor and attendants. Volkmar pointed it out to
her with a twinkle of the eye, saying, "Do not suppose I am to be
hoodwinked by such attempts to deceive the public as that."

In the mornings when the pseudo prince left the bedroom, outside the
door stood Herr Volkmar, cap in hand, bowing. As he offered her a pinch
of snuff from a gold _tabatière_ one day, he saw her eyes rest on it; he
at once said, "This belonged formerly to the Königsmark."

"Then," she replied, "it will have the double initials on it. 'A' for

Now, argued Volkmar, how was it likely that his guest should know the
scandalous story of Augustus I. and the fair Aurora of Königsmark,
mother of the famous French marshal, unless he had belonged to the royal
family of Saxony?[14] He left out of account that Court scandal is
talked about everywhere, and is in the mouths of all. Then he presented
her with the snuff-box. Next he purchased for her a set of silver plate
for her cover, and ordered a ribbon and a star of diamonds, because it
became one of such distinguished rank not to appear without a
decoration! As the girl said afterwards at her trial, she had but to
hint a desire for anything, and it was granted her at once. Her host
somewhat bored her with political disquisitions; he was desirous of
impressing on his illustrious guest what a political genius he was, and
in his own mind had resolved to become prime minister of Saxony in the
place of the fallen Beichlingen, who was said to have made so much money
out of the State that he could buy a principality, and who, indeed,
struck a medal with his arms on it surmounted by a princely crown.

But Volkmar's ambition went further. As already stated he had a
daughter--the modest Joanna; what a splendid opportunity was in the
hands of the scheming parents! If the young prince formed an attachment
for Joanna, surely he might get the emperor to elevate her by diploma to
the rank of a princess, and thus Volkmar would see his Joanna Queen of
Poland and Electress of Saxony. He and Frau Volkmar were far too good
people to scheme to get their daughter such a place as the old
Königsmark had occupied with the reigning sovereign. Besides, Königsmark
had been merely created a countess, and who would crave to be a countess
when she might be Queen? and a favourite, when, by playing her cards
well, she might become a legitimate wife?

So the old couple threw Joanna at the head of their guest, and did their
utmost to entangle him. In the meantime the von Günthers were flaming
with envy and rage. They no more doubted that the Volkmars had got the
Crown Prince living with them, than did the Volkmars themselves. The
whole neighbourhood flowed to the entertainments given in his honour at
Hetzdorf; only the von Günthers were shut out. But von Günther met the
mysterious stranger at one or two of the return festivities given by the
gentry who had been entertained at Hetzdorf, and he seized on one of
these occasions boldly to invite his Highness to pay him also a visit at
his "little place;" and what was more than he expected, the offer was

In fact, the Apitzsch who had twice run away from matrimony, was
becoming embarrassed again by the tenderness of Joanna and the ambition
of the parents.

The dismay of the Volkmars passes description when their guest informed
them he was going to pay a visit to the hated rivals.

Sophie was fetched away in the von Günther carriage, and by servants put
into new liveries for the occasion, and was received and entertained
with the best at Jägerhof. Here, also, presents were made; among others
a silver cover for table was given her by the daughter of her host, who
had married a major, and who hoped, in return, to see her husband
advanced to be a general.

She was taken to see the royal castle of Augustusburg, and here a little
difference of testimony occurs as to the observation she made in the
chapel, which was found to be without an organ. At her trial it was
asserted that she had said, "I must order an organ," but she positively
swore she had said, "An organ ought to be provided." She was taken also
to the mansion of the Duke of Holstein at Weisenburg, where she
purchased one of his horses--that is to say, agreed to take it, and let
her hosts find the money.

The visit to the von Günthers did not last ten days, and then she was
back again with the Volkmars, to their exuberant delight. Why she
remained so short a time at Jägerhof does not appear. Possibly she may
have been there more in fear of detection than at Hetzdorf. Now that the
Volkmars had her back they would not let her out of their sight. They
gave her two servants in livery to attend her; they assured her that her
absence had so affected Joanna that the girl had done nothing but weep,
and had refused to eat. They began to press in their daughter's interest
for a declaration of intentions, and that negotiations with the Emperor
should be opened that a title of princess of the Holy Roman Empire might
be obtained for her as preliminary to the nuptials.

Sophie Apitzsch saw that she must again make a bolt to escape the
marriage ring, and she looked about for an opportunity. But there was no
evading the watch of the Volkmars, who were alarmed lest their guest
should again go to the hated von Günthers.

Well would it have been for the Volkmars had they kept the "prince"
under less close surveillance, and allowed him to succeed in his
attempts to get away. It would have been to their advantage in many

A fortnight or three weeks passed, and the horse bought of the Duke of
Holstein had not been sent In fact the Duke, when the matter was
communicated to him, was puzzled. He knew that the Crown Prince was in
Paris, and could not have visited his stables, and promised to purchase
his horse. So he instituted inquiries before he consented to part with
the horse, and at once the bubble burst. Police arrived at Hetzdorf to
arrest the pretender, and convey her to Augustusburg, where she was
imprisoned, till her trial. This was in February, 1715. In her prison
she had an apoplectic stroke, but recovered. Sentence was pronounced
against her by the court at Leipzig in 1716, that she should be publicly
whipped out of the country. That is to say, sent from town to town, and
whipped in the market-place of each, till she was sent over the
frontier. In consideration of her having had a stroke, the king commuted
the sentence to whipping in private, and imprisonment at his majesty's

She does not seem to have been harshly treated by the gaoler of
Waldheim, the prison to which she was sent. She was given her own room,
she dined at the table of the gaoler, continued to wear male clothes,
and was cheerful, obedient, and contented. In 1717 both she and her
father appealed to the king for further relaxation of her sentence, but
this was refused. The prison authorities gave her the best testimony for
good conduct whilst in their hands.

In the same year, 1717, the unfortunate Volkmar made a claim for the
scarlet coat--which he said the moths were likely to eat unless placed
on some one's back--the gold snuff-box, the silver spoons, dishes,
forks, the horse, the watch, and various other things he had given
Sophie, being induced to do so by false representations. The horse as
well as the plate, the star, the snuff-box, the coat and the boots had
all been requisitioned as evidence before her trial. The question was a
hard one to solve, whether Herr Volkmar could recover presents, and it
had to be transmitted from one court to another. An order of court dated
January, 1722, required further evidence to be produced before purse,
coat, boots, &c., could be returned to Volkmar--that is, _seven_ years
after they had been taken into the custody of the Court. The horse must
have eaten more than his cost by this time, and the coat must have lost
all value through moth-eating. The cost of proceedings was heavy, and
Volkmar then withdrew from his attempt to recover the objects given to
the false prince.

But already--long before, by decree of October 1717--Sophie Apitzsch had
been liberated. She left prison in half male, half female costume, and
in this dress took service with a baker at Waldheim; and we hear no more
of her, whether she married, and when she died.


[13] Augustus the Strong was King of Poland and Elector of Saxony.

[14] Aurora v. Königsmark went out of favour in 1698--probably then sold
the gold snuff-box. She died in 1728.

Peter Nielsen.

On the 29th day of April in the year 1465, died Henry Strangebjerg,
bishop of Ribe in Denmark, after having occupied the See for just ten
years. For some days before his decease public, official prayer had been
made for his recovery by the Cathedral Chapter, but in their hearts the
Canons were impatient for his departure. Not, be it understood, that the
Bishop was an unworthy occupant of the See of Liafdag the Martyr--on the
contrary, he had been a man of exemplary conduct; nor because he was
harsh in his rule--on the contrary, he had been a lenient prelate. The
reason why, when official prayer was made for his recovery, it was
neutralised by private intercession for his removal, was solely
this--his removal opened a prospect of advancement.

The Cathedral Chapter of Ribe consisted of fifteen Canons, and a Dean or
Provost, all men of family, learning and morals. Before the doctors had
shaken their heads over the sick bed of Henry Strangebjerg, it was known
throughout Ribe that there would be four candidates for the vacant
throne. It was, of course, impossible for more than one man to be
elected; but as the election lay entirely and uncontrolledly in the
hands of the Chapter, it was quite possible for a Canon to make a good
thing out of an election without being himself elected. The bishops
nominated to many benefices, and there existed then no law against
pluralities. The newly chosen prelate, if he had a spark of gratitude,
must reward those faithful men who had made him bishop.

At 4 p.m. on April 29th the breath left the body of Henry Strangebjerg.
At 4.15 p.m. the Chapter were rubbing their hands and drawing sighs of
relief. But Thomas Lange, the Dean, rubbed his hands and drew his sigh
of relief ten minutes earlier, viz., at 4.5 p.m., for he stood by the
bed of the dying bishop. At 3.25 p.m. Thomas Lange's nerves had received
a great shock, for a flicker as of returning life had manifested itself
in the sick man, and for a few minutes he really feared he might
recover. At 4.10 p.m. Hartwig Juel, the Archdeacon, who had been
standing outside the bishop's door, was seen running down the corridor
with a flush in his cheeks. Through the keyhole he had heard the Dean
exclaim: "Thank God!" and when he heard that pious ejaculation, he knew
that all dread of the Bishop's restoration was over. It was not till so
late as 4.20 p.m. that Olaf Petersen knew it. Olaf was kneeling in the
Cathedral, in the Chapel of St. Lambert, the yellow chapel as it was
called, absorbed in devotion, consequently the news did not reach him
till five minutes after the Chapter, twenty minutes after the vacation
of the See. Olaf Petersen was a very holy man; he was earnest and
sincere. He was, above everything, desirous of the welfare of the Church
and the advancement of religion. He was ascetic, denying himself in
food, sleep and clothing, and was profuse in his alms and in his
devotions. He saw the worldliness, the self-seeking, the greed of gain
and honours that possessed his fellows, and he was convinced that one
thing was necessary for the salvation of Christianity in Ribe, and that
one thing was his own election to the See.

The other candidates were moved by selfish interests. He cared only for
true religion. Providence would do a manifest injustice if it did not
take cognizance of his integrity and interfere to give him the mitre. He
was resolved to use no unworthy means to secure it. He would make no
promises, offer no bribes--that is, to his fellow Canons, but he
promised a silver candlestick to St. Lambert, and bribed St. Gertrude to
intervene with the assurance of a pilgrimage to her shrine.

We have mentioned only three of the candidates. The fourth was Jep
Mundelstrup, an old and amiable man, who had not thrust himself forward,
but had been put forward by his friends, who considered him sufficiently
malleable to be moulded to their purposes.

Jep was, as has been said, old; he was so old that it was thought (and
hoped), if chosen, his tenure of office would be but brief. Four or five
years--under favourable circumstances, such as a changeable winter, a
raw spring with east winds--he might drop off even sooner, and leave the
mitre free for another scramble.

The Kings of Denmark no longer nominated to the Sees, sent no _congé
d'élire_ to the Chapter. They did not even appoint to the Canonries.
Consequently the Canons had everything pretty much their own way, and
had only two things to consider, to guide their determination--the good
of the Church and their own petty interests. The expression "good of
the Church" demands comment. "The good of the Church" was the motive,
the only recognised motive, on which the Chapter were supposed to act.
Practically, however, it was non-existent as a motive. It was a mere
figure of speech used to cloak selfish ambition.

From this sweeping characterisation we must, however, exclude Olaf
Petersen, who did indeed regard pre-eminently the good of the Church,
but then that good was, in his mind, inextricably involved with his own
fortunes. He was the man to make religion a living reality. He was the
man to bring the Church back to primitive purity. He could not blind his
eyes to the fact that not one of the Canons beside himself cared a
farthing for spiritual matters; therefore he desired the mitre for his
own brows.

The conclave at which the election was to be made was fixed for the
afternoon of the day on which Henry Strangebjerg was to be buried, and
the burial was appointed to take place as soon as was consistent with

The whole of the time between the death and the funeral was taken up by
the Canons with hurrying to and from each other's residences, canvassing
for votes.

Olaf Petersen alone refrained from canvassing, he spent his whole time
in fasting and prayer, so anxious was he for the welfare of the Church
and the advancement of true religion.

At length--Boom! Boom! Boom! The great bell of the minster tower
summoned the Chapter to the hall of conclave. Every Canon was in his
place, fifteen Canons and the provost, sixteen in all. It was certain
that the provost, although chairman, would claim his right to vote, and
exercise it, voting for himself. It was ruled that all voting should be
open, for two reasons--that the successful candidate might know who had
given him their shoulders on which to mount, and so reward these
shoulders by laying many benefices upon them, and secondly, that he
might know who had been his adversaries, and so might exclude them from
preferments. Every one believed he would be on the winning side, no one
supposed the other alternative possible.

The candidates, as already intimated, were four. Thomas Lange, the Dean,
who belonged to a good, though not wealthy family. He had been in
business before taking orders, and brought with him into the Church
practical shrewdness and business habits. He had husbanded well the
resources of the Chapter, and had even enlarged its revenue by the
purchase of three farms and a manor.

The second candidate, Hartwig Juel, was a member of a powerful noble
family. His brother was at Court and highly regarded by King Christian.
His election would gratify the king. Hartwig Juel was Archdeacon.

The third candidate was the good old Jep Mundelstrup; and the fourth was
the representative of the ascetic, religious party, which was also the
party of reform, Olaf Petersen.

The Dean was, naturally, chairman. Before taking the chair he announced
his intention of voting. The four candidates were proposed, and the
votes taken.

The Dean numbered 4.

Hartwig Juel numbered 4.

Jep Mundelstrup numbered 4.

Olaf Petersen numbered 4.

Moreover, each candidate had voted for himself.

What was to be done? The Chapter sat silent, looking about them in each
others' faces.

Then the venerable Jep Mundelstrup, assisted by those who sat by him,
staggered to his feet, and leaning on his staff, he mumbled forth this
address: "My reverend brothers, it was wholly without my desire and not
in furtherance of any ambition of mine, that my name was put up as that
of a candidate for the vacant mitre of the Holy See of Ribe. I am old
and infirm. With the patriarch Jacob I may say, 'Few and evil have been
the days of the years of my life.' and I am not worthy to receive so
great an honour. Evil my days have been, because I have had only my
Canonry and one sorry living to support me; and there are comforts I
should desire in my old age which I cannot afford. My health is not
sound. I shrink from the responsibilities and labours of a bishopric. If
I withdraw my candidature, I feel confident that the successful
candidate will not forget my infirmities, and the facility I have
afforded for his election. I decline to stand, and at the same time,
lest I should seem to pose in opposition to three of my excellent
brethren, I decline also to vote." Then he sat down, amidst general

Here was an unexpected simplification of matters. The Dean and Hartwig
Juel cast kindly, even affectionate glances at those who had previously
voted for Jep, Olaf Petersen looked up to heaven and prayed.

Again, the votes were taken, and again the chairman claimed his right to

When taken they stood thus:

The Dean, 5.

Hartwig Juel, 5.

Olaf Petersen, 5.

What was to be done? Again the Chapter sat silent, rubbing their chins,
and casting furtive glances at each other. The Chapter was adjourned to
the same hour on the morrow. The intervening hours were spent in
negociations between the several parties, and attempts made by the two
first in combination to force Olaf Petersen to resign his candidature.
But Olaf was too conscientious a man to do this. He felt that the
salvation of souls depended on his staying the plague like Phinehas with
his censer.

Boom! Boom! Boom! The Cathedral bell again summoned the conclave to the
Chapter House.

Before proceeding to business the Dean, as chairman, addressed the
electors. He was an eloquent man, and he set in moving words before them
the solemnity of the duty imposed on them, the importance of considering
only the welfare of the Church, and the responsibility that would weigh
on them should they choose an unworthy prelate. He conjured them in
tones vibrating with pathos, to put far from them all self-seeking
thoughts, and to be guided only by conscience. Then he sat down. The
votes were again taken. Jep Mundelstrup again shaking his head, and
refusing to vote. When counted, they stood thus.

Thomas Lange, 5.

Hartwig Juel, 5.

Olaf Petersen, 5.

Then up started the Dean, very red in the face, and said, "Really this
is preposterous! Are we to continue this farce? Some of the brethren
must yield for the general good. I would cheerfully withdraw my
candidature, but for one consideration. You all know that the temporal
affairs of the See have fallen into confusion. Our late excellent
prelate was not a man of business, and there has been alienation, and
underletting, and racking out of church lands, which I have marked with
anxiety, and which I am desirous to remedy. You all know that I have
this one good quality, I am a business man, understand account keeping,
and look sharp after the pecuniary interests of the Chapter lands. It is
essential that the lands of the See should be attended to by some
practical man like myself, therefore I do not withdraw from my
candidature, but therefore only--"

Then up sprang Hartwig Juel, and said, "The very Reverend the Dean has
well said, this farce must not continue. Some must yield if a bishop is
to be elected. I would cheerfully withdraw from candidature but for one
little matter. I hold in my hand a letter received this morning from my
brother, who tells me that his most gracious majesty, King Christian,
expressed himself to my brother in terms of hope that I should be
elected. You, my reverend brothers, all know that we are living in a
critical time when it is most necessary that a close relation, a
cordial relation, should be maintained between the Church and the State.
Therefore, in the political interests of the See, but only in these
interests, I cannot withdraw my candidature."

Then all eyes turned on Olaf Petersen. His face was pale, his lips set.
He stood up, and leaning forward said firmly, "The pecuniary and the
political interests of the See are as nothing to me, its spiritual
interests are supreme. Heaven is my witness, I have no personal ambition
to wear the mitre. I know it will cause exhausting labour and terrible
responsibilities, from which I shrink. Nevertheless, seeing as I do that
this is a period in the history of the Church when self-seeking and
corruption have penetrated her veins and are poisoning her life-blood,
seeing as I do that unless there be a revival of religion, and an
attempt at reform be made within the Church, there will ensue such a
convulsion as will overthrow her, therefore, and only therefore do I
feel that I can not withdraw from my candidature."

"Very well," said the Dean in a crusty tone. "There is nothing for it
but for us to vote again. Now at least we have clear issues before us,
the temporal, the political, and the spiritual interests of the Church."
The votes were again taken, and stood thus.

The temporal interests, 5.

The political interests, 5.

The spiritual interests, 5.

Here was a dead lock. It was clear that parties were exactly divided,
and that none would yield.

After a pause of ten minutes, Jep Mundelstrup was again helped to his
feet. He looked round the Chapter with blinking eyes, and opened and
shut his mouth several times before he came to speak. At last he said,
in faltering tones, "My reverend brethren, it is clear to me that my
resignation has complicated, rather than helped matters forward. Do not
think I am about to renew my candidature, _that_ I am not, but I am
going to make a proposition to which I hope you will give attentive
hearing. If we go on in this manner, we shall elect no one, and then his
Majesty, whom God bless, will step in and nominate."

"Hear, hear!" from the adherents of Hartwig Juel.

"I do not for a moment pretend that the nominee of his Majesty would not
prove an excellent bishop, but I do fear that a nomination by the crown
would be the establishment of a dangerous precedent."

"Hear! hear!" from the adherents of Olaf Petersen.

"At the same time it must be borne in mind that the temporal welfare of
the See ought to be put in the hands of some one conversant with the
condition into which they have been allowed to lapse."

"Hear! hear!" from the adherents of Thomas Lange.

"I would suggest, as we none of us can agree, that we refer the decision
to an umpire."

General commotion, and whispers, and looks of alarm.

"How are we to obtain one at once conversant with the condition of the
diocese, and not a partizan?" asked the Dean.

"There is a wretched little village in the midst of the Roager Heath,
cut off from communication with the world, in which lives a priest named
Peter Nielsen on his cure, a man who is related to no one here, belongs,
I believe, to no gentle family, and, therefore, would have no family
interests one way or the other to bias him. He has the character of
being a shrewd man of business, some of the estates of the Church are on
the Roager Heath, and he knows how they have been treated, and I have
always heard that he is a good preacher and an indefatigable parish
priest. Let him be umpire. I can think of none other who would not be a

The proposition was so extraordinary and unexpected that the Chapter, at
first, did not know what to think of it. Who was this Peter Nielsen? No
one knew of him anything more than what Jep Mundelstrup had said, and
he, it was believed, had drawn largely on his imagination for his facts.
Indeed, he was the least known man among the diocesan clergy. It was
disputed whether he was a good preacher. Who had heard him? no one. Was
it true that he was not a gentleman by birth? No one knew to what family
he belonged. In default of any other solution to the dead lock in which
the Chapter stood, it was agreed by all that the selection of a bishop
for Ribe should be left to Peter Nielsen of Roager.

That same day, indeed as soon after the dissolution of the meeting as
was possible, one of the Canons mounted his horse, and rode away to the
Roager Heath.

The village of Ro or Raa-ager, literally the rough or barren field, lay
in the dead flat of sandy heath that occupies so large a portion of the
centre and west coast of Jutland, and which goes by various names, as
Randböll Heath and Varde Moor. In many places it is mere fen, where the
water lies and stagnates. In others it is a dry waste of sand strewn
with coarse grass and a few scant bushes. The village itself consisted
of one street of cottages thatched with turf, and with walls built of
the same, heather and grass sprouting from the interstices of the
blocks. The church was little more dignified than the hovels. It was
without tower and bell. Near the church was the parsonage.

The Canon descended from his cob; he had ridden faster than was his
wont, and was hot. He drew his sleeve across his face and bald head, and
then threw the bridle over the gate-post.

In the door of the parsonage stood a short, stout, rosy-faced, dark-eyed
woman, with two little children pulling at her skirts. This was Maren
Grubbe, the housekeeper of the pastor, at least that was her official
designation. She had been many years at Roager with Peter Nielsen, and
was believed to manage him as well as the cattle and pigs and poultry of
the glebe. From behind her peered a shock-headed boy of about eight
years with a very dirty face and cunning eyes.

The Canon stood and looked at the woman, then at the children, and the
woman and children stood and looked at him.

"Is this the house of the priest, Peter Nielsen?" he asked.

"Certainly, do you want him?" inquired the housekeeper.

"I have come from Ribe to see him on diocesan business."

"Step inside," said the housekeeper curtly. "His reverence is not in the
house at this moment, he is in the church saying his offices."

"That's lies!" shouted the dirty boy from behind. "Dada is in the
pigstye setting a trap for the rats."

"Hold your tongue, Jens!" exclaimed the woman, giving the boy a cuff
which knocked him over. Then to the Canon she said, "Take a seat and I
will go to the church after him."

She went out with the two smaller children staggering at her skirts,
tumbling, picking themselves up, going head over heels, crowing and

When she was outside the house, the dirty boy sat upright on the floor,
winked at the Canon, crooked his fingers, and said, "Follow me, and I
will show you Dada."

The bald-headed ecclesiastic rose, and guided by the boy went into a
back room, through a small window in which he saw into the pig-styes,
and there, without his coat, in a pair of stained and patched breeches,
and a blue worsted night-cap, over ankles in filth, was the parish
priest engaged in setting a rat-trap. Outside, in the yard, the pigs
were enjoying their freedom. Leisurely round the corner came the
housekeeper with the satellites. "There, Peers!" said she, "There is a
reverend gentleman from the cathedral come after thee."

"Then," said the pastor, slowly rising, "do thou, Maren, keep out of
sight, and especially be careful not to produce the brats. Their
presence opens the door to misconstruction."

The Canon stole back to his seat, mopped his brow and head, and thought
to himself that the Chapter had put the selection of a chief pastor into
very queer hands. The nasty little boy began to giggle and snuffle
simultaneously. "Have you seen Dada? Dada saying his prayers in there."

"Who are you?" asked the ecclesiastic stiffly of the child.

"I'm Jens," answered the boy.

"I know you are Jens, I heard your mother call you so. I presume that
person is your mother."

"That is my mother, but Dada is not my dada."

"O, Jens, boy, Jens! Truth above all things. Magna est veritas et
prævalebit." The Reverend Peter Nielsen entered, clean, in a cassock,
and with a shovel hat on his head.

"The children whom you have seen," said Peter Nielsen, "are the nephews
and nieces of my worthy housekeeper, Maria Grubbe. She is a charitable
woman, and as her sister is very poor, and has a large family, my Maren,
I mean my housekeeper, takes charge of some of the overflow."[15]

"It is a great burden to you," said the Canon.

Peter Nielsen shrugged his shoulders. "To clothe the naked and give
food to the hungry are deeds of mercy."

"I quite understand, quite," said the Canon.

"I only mentioned it," continued the parish priest, "lest you should

"I quite understand," said the Canon, interrupting him, with a bow and a
benignant smile.

"And now," said Peter Nielsen, "I am at your service."

Thereupon the Canon unfolded to his astonished hearer the nature of his
mission. The pastor sat listening attentively with his head bowed, and
his hands planted on his knees. Then, when his visitor had done
speaking, he thrust his left hand into his trouser pocket and produced a
palmful of carraway seed. He put some into his mouth, and began to chew
it; whereupon the whole room became scented with carraway.

"I am fond of this seed," said the priest composedly, whilst he turned
over the grains in his hand with the five fingers of his right. "It is
good for the stomach, and it clears the brain. So I understand that
there are three parties?"

"Exactly, there is that of Olaf Petersen, a narrow, uncompromising man,
very sharp on the morals of the clergy; there is also that of the Dean,
Thomas Lange, an ambitious and scheming ecclesiastic; and there is
lastly that of the Archdeacon Hartwig Juel, one of the most amiable men
in the world."

"And you incline strongly to the latter?"

"I do--how could you discover that? Juel is not a man to forget a friend
who has done him a favour."

"Now, see!" exclaimed Peter Nielsen, "See the advantage of chewing
carraway seed. Three minutes ago I knew or recollected nothing about
Hartwig Juel, but I do now remember that five years ago he passed
through Roager, and did me the honour of partaking of such poor
hospitality as I was able to give. I supplied him and his four
attendants, and six horses, with refreshment. Bless my soul! the
efficacy of carraway is prodigious! I can now recall all that took
place. I recollect that I had only hogs' puddings to offer the
Archdeacon, his chaplain, and servants, and they ate up all I had. I
remember also that I had a little barrel of ale which I broached for
them, and they drank the whole dry. To be sure!--I had a bin of oats,
and the horses consumed every grain! I know that the Archdeacon
regretted that I had no bell to my church, and that he promised to send
me one. He also assured me he would not leave a stone unturned till he
had secured for me a better and more lucrative cure. I even sent a side
of bacon away with him as a present--but nothing came of the promises. I
ought to have given him a bushel of carraway. You really have no notion
of the poverty of this living. I cannot now offer you any other food
than buck-wheat brose, as I have no meat in the house. I can only give
you water to drink as I am without beer. I cannot even furnish you with
butter and milk, as I have not a cow."

"Not even a cow!" exclaimed the Canon. "I really am thankful for your
having spoken so plainly to me. I had no conception that your cure was
so poor. That the Archdeacon should not have fulfilled the promises he
made you is due to forgetfulness. Indeed, I assure you, for the last
five years I have repeatedly seen Hartwig Juel strike his brow and
exclaim, 'Something troubles me. I have made a promise, and cannot
recall it. This lies on my conscience, and I shall have no peace till I
recollect and discharge it.' This is plain fact."

"Take him a handful of carraway," urged the parish priest.

"No--he will remember all when I speak to him, unaided by carraway."

"There is one thing I can offer you," said Peter Nielsen, "a mug of

"Dill-water! what is that?"

"It is made from carraway. It is given to infants to enable them to
retain their milk. It is good for adults to make them recollect their

"My dear good friend," said the Canon rising, "your requirements shall
be complied with to-morrow. I see you have excellent pasture here for
sheep. Have you any?"

The parish priest shook his head.

"That is a pity. That however can be rectified. Good-bye, rely on me.
_Qui pacem habet, se primum pacat._"

When the Canon was gone, Peter Nielsen, who had attended him to the
door, turned, and found Maren Grubbe behind him.

"I say, Peers!" spoke the housekeeper, nudging him, "What is the meaning
of all this? What was that Latin he said as he went away?"

"My dear, good Maren," answered the priest, "he quoted a saying
familiar to us clergy. At the altar is a little metal plate with a cross
on it, and this is called the Pax, or Peace. During the mass the priest
kisses it, and then hands it to his assistant, who kisses it in turn and
passes it on so throughout the attendance. The Latin means this, 'Let
him who has the Pax bless himself with it before giving it out of his
hands,' and means nothing more than this: 'Charity begins at Home,'
or--put more boldly still, 'Look out for Number I.'"

"Now, see here," said the housekeeper, "you have been too moderate,
Peers, you have not looked out sufficiently for Number I. Leave the next
comer to me. No doubt that the Dean will send to you, in like manner as
the Archdeacon sent to-day."

"As you like, Maren, but keep the children in the background. Charity
that thinketh no ill, is an uncommon virtue."

Next morning early there arrived at the parsonage a waggon laden with
sides of bacon, smoked beef, a hogshead of prime ale, a barrel of
claret, and several sacks of wheat. It had scarcely been unloaded when a
couple of milch cows arrived; half an hour later came a drove of sheep.
Peter Nielsen disposed of everything satisfactorily about the house and
glebe. His eye twinkled, he rubbed his hands, and said to himself with a
chuckle, "He who blesses, blesses first himself."

In the course of the morning a rider drew up at the house door. Maren
flattened her nose at the little window of the guest-room, and
scrutinized the arrival before admitting him. Then she nodded her head,
and whispered to the priest to disappear. A moment later she opened the
door, and ushered a stout red-faced ecclesiastic into the room.

"Is the Reverend Pastor at home?" he asked, bowing to Maren Grubbe; "I
have come to see him on important business."

"He is at the present moment engaged with a sick parishioner. He will be
here in a quarter of an hour. He left word before going out, that should
your reverence arrive before his return--"

"What! I was expected!"

"The venerable the Archdeacon sent a deputation to see my master
yesterday, and he thought it probable that a deputation from the very
Reverend the Dean would arrive to-day."

"Indeed! So Hartwig Juel has stolen a march on us."

"Hartwig Juel had on a visit some little while ago made promises to my
master of a couple of cows, a herd of sheep, some ale, wine, wheat, and
so on, and he took advantage of the occasion to send all these things to

"Indeed! Hartwig Juel's practice is sharp."

"Thomas Lange will make up no doubt for dilatoriness."

"Humph! and Olaf Petersen, has he sent?"

"His deputation will, doubtless, come to-morrow, or even this

The Canon folded his hands over his ample paunch, and looked hard at
Maren Grubbe. She was attired in her best. Her cheeks shone like
quarendon apples, as red and glossy; full of health--with a threat of
temper, just as a hot sky has in it indications of a tempest. Her eyes
were dark as sloes, and looked as sharp. She was past middle age, but
ripe and strong; for all that.

The fat Canon sat looking at her, twirling his thumbs like a little
windmill, over his paunch, without speaking. She also sat demurely with
her hands flat on her knees, and looked him full and firm in the face.

"I have been thinking," said the Canon, "how well a set of silver chains
would look about that neck, and pendant over that ample bosom."

"Gold would look better," said Maren, and shut her mouth again.

"And a crimson silk kerchief--"

"Would do," interrupted the housekeeper, "for one who has not
expectations of a crimson silk skirt."

"Quite so." A pause, and the windmills recommenced working. Presently
squeals were heard in the back premises. One of the children had fallen
and hurt itself.

"Cats?" asked the Canon.

"Cats," answered Maren.

"Quite so," said the Canon. "I am fond of cats.'

"So am I," said Maren.

Then ensued an uproar. The door burst open, and in tumbled little Jens
with one child in his arms, the other clinging to the seat of his
pantaloons. These same articles of clothing had belonged to the Reverend
Peter Nielsen, till worn out, when at the request of Maren, they had
been given to her and cut down in length for Jens. In length they
answered. The waistband was under the arms, indeed, but the legs were
not too long. In breadth and capacity they were uncurtailed.

"I cannot manage them, mother," said the boy. "It is of no use making me
nurse. Besides, I want to see the stranger."

"These children," said Maren, looking firmly in the face of the Canon,
"call me mother, but they are the offspring of my sister, whose husband
was lost last winter at sea. Poor thing, she was left with fourteen, and

She put her apron to her eyes and wept.

"O, noble charity!" said the fat priest enthusiastically. "You--I see it
all--you took charge of the little orphans. You sacrifice your savings
for them, your time is given to them. Emotion overcomes me. What is
their name?"



"John Katts, and little Kristine and Sissely Katts."

"And the worthy pastor assists in supporting these poor orphans?"

"Yes, in spite of his poverty. And now we are on this point, let me ask
you if you have not been struck with the meanness of this parsonage
house. I can assure you, there is not a decent room in it, upstairs the
chambers are open to the rafters, unceiled."

"My worthy woman," said the Canon, "I will see to this myself. Rely upon
it, if the Dean becomes Bishop, he will see that the manses of his best
clergy are put into thorough repair."

"I should prefer to see the repairs begun at once," said Maren. "When
the Dean becomes Bishop he will have so much to think about, that he
might forget our parsonage house."

"Madam," said the visitor, as he rose, "they shall be executed at once.
When I see the charity shown in this humble dwelling, by pastor and
housekeeper alike, I feel that it demands instantaneous acknowledgment."

Then in came Peter Nielsen, and said, "I have not sufficient
cattle-sheds. Sheep yards are also needed."

"They shall be erected."

Then the Canon caught up little Kirsten and little Sissel, and kissed
their dirty faces. Maren's radiant countenance assured the Canon that
the cause of Thomas Lange was won with Maren Grubbe.

He took the parish priest by the hand, pressed it, and said in a low
tone, "_Qui pacem habet, se primum pacat_. You understand me?"

"Perfectly," answered Peter Nielsen, with a smile.

Next morning early there arrived at Roager a party of masons from Ribe,
ready to pull down the old parsonage and build one more commodious and
extensive. The pastor went over the plans with the master mason,
suggested alterations and enlargements, and then, with a chuckle, he
muttered to himself, "That is an excellent saying, _Qui pacem habet, se
primum pacat_." Then looking up, he saw before him an ascetic,
hollow-eyed, pale-faced priest.

"I am Olaf Petersen," said the new comer. "I thought best to come over
and see you myself; I think the true condition of the Church ought to be
set before you, and that you should consider the spiritual welfare of
the poor sheep in the Ribe fold, and give them a chief pastor who will
care for the sheep and not for the wool."

"I have got a flock of sheep already," said Peter Nielsen, coldly.
"Hartwig Juel sent it me."

"I think," continued Olaf, "that you should consider the edification of
the spiritual building."

"I am going to have a new parsonage erected," said Peter Nielsen,
stiffly; "Thomas Lange has seen to that."

"The Bishop needed for this diocese," Olaf Petersen went on, "should
combine the harmlessness of the dove with the wisdom of the serpent."

"If he does that," said Nielsen, roughly, "he will be half knave and
half fool. Let us have the wisdom, that is what we want now; and one of
the first maxims of wisdom in Church and State is, _Qui pacem habet, se
primum pacat_. You take me?"

Olaf sighed, and shook his head.

"Do you see this plan," said Peter Nielsen. "I am going to have a byre
fashioned on that, with room for a dozen oxen. I have but two cows;
stables for two horses, I have not one; a waggon shed, I am without a
wheeled conveyance. I shall have new rooms, and have no furniture to put
in them. Now, to stock and furnish farm and parsonage will cost much
money. I have not a hundred shillings in the world. What am I to do? The
man who would be Bishop of Ribe should consider the welfare of one of
the most influential, learned, and moral of the priests in the diocese,
and do what he can to make him comfortable. Before we choose a cow we go
over her, feel her, examine her parts; before we purchase a horse we
look at the teeth and explore the hoofs, and try the wind. When we
select a bishop we naturally try the stuff of which he is made, if
liberal, generous, open-handed, amiable. You understand me?"

Olaf sighed, and drops of cold perspiration stood on his brow. A contest
was going on within. Simony was a mortal sin. Was there a savour of
simony in offering a present to the man in whose hands the choice of a
chief pastor lay? He feared so. But then--did not the end sometimes
justify the means? As these questions rose in his mind and refused to be
answered, something heavy fell at his feet. His hand had been plucking
at his purse, and in his nervousness he had detached it from his girdle,
and had let it slip through his fingers. He did not look down. He seemed
not to notice his loss, but he moved away without another word, with
bent head and troubled conscience. When he was gone, Peter Nielsen bowed
himself, picked up the pouch, counted the gold coins in it, laughed,
rubbed his hands, and said, "He who blesses, blesses first himself."

Next day a litter stayed at the parsonage gate, and out of it, with
great difficulty, supported on the arms of two servants, came the aged
Jep Mundelstrup. He entered the guest-room and was accommodated with a
seat. When he got his breath, he said, extending a roll of parchment to
the incumbent of Roager, "You will not fail to remember that it was at
_my_ suggestion that the choice of a bishop was left with you. You are
deeply indebted to me. But for me you would not have been visited and
canvassed by the Dean, the Arch-deacon, and the Ascetic, either in
person or by their representatives. You will please to remember that I
was nominated, but seeing so many others proposed, I withdrew my name. I
think you will allow that this exhibited great humility and shrinking
from honour. In these worldly, self-seeking days such an example
deserves notice and reward. I am old, and perhaps unequal to the labours
of office, but I think I ought to be considered; although I did formally
withdraw my candidature, I am not sure that I would refuse the mitre
were it pressed on me. At all events it would be a compliment to offer
it me and I might refuse it. _Qui pacem habet, se primum pacat._ You
will not regret the return courtesy."

       *       *       *       *       *

Boom! Boom! Boom! The cathedral bell was summoning all Ribe to the
minster to be present at the nomination of its bishop. All Ribe answered
the summons.

The cathedral stands on a hill called the Mount of Lilies, but the mount
is of so slight an elevation that it does not protect the cathedral from
overflow, and a spring tide with N.W. wind has been known to flood both
town and minster and leave fishes on the sacred floor. The church is
built of granite, brick and sandstone; originally the contrast may have
been striking, but weather has smudged the colours together into an ugly
brown-grey. The tower is lofty, narrow, and wanting a spire. It
resembles a square ruler set up on end; it is too tall for its base. The
church is stately, of early architecture with transepts, and the choir
at their intersection with the nave, domed over, and a small
semi-circular apse beyond, for the altar. The nave was crowded, the
canons occupied the stalls in their purple tippets edged with crimson;
purple, because the chapter of a cathedral; crimson edged, because the
founder of the See was a martyr. Fifteen, and the Dean, sixteen in all,
were in their places. On the altar steps, in the apse, in the centre,
sat Peter Nielsen in his old, worn cassock, without surplice. On the
left side of the altar stood the richly-sculptured Episcopal throne, and
on the seat was placed the jewelled mitre, over the arm the cloth of
gold cope was cast, and against the back leaned the pastoral crook of
silver gilt, encrusted with precious stones.

When the last note of the bell sounded, the Dean rose from his stall,
and stepping up to the apse, made oath before heaven, the whole
congregation and Peter Nielsen, that he was prepared to abide by the
decision of this said Peter, son of Nicolas, parish priest of Roager.
Amen. He was followed by the Archdeacon, then by each of the canons to
the last.

Then mass was said, during which the man in whose hands the fortunes of
the See reposed, knelt with unimpassioned countenance and folded hands.

At the conclusion he resumed his seat, the crucifix was brought forth
and he kissed it.

A moment of anxious silence. The moment for the decision had arrived. He
remained for a short while seated, with his eyes fixed on the ground,
then he turned them on the anxious face of the Dean, and after having
allowed them to rest scrutinisingly there for a minute, he looked at
Hartwig Juel, then at Olaf Petersen, who was deadly white, and whose
frame shook like an aspen leaf. Then he looked long at Jep Mundelstrup
and rose suddenly to his feet.

The fall of a pin might have been heard in the cathedral at that moment.

He said--and his voice was distinctly audible by every one present--"I
have been summoned here from my barren heath, into this city, out of a
poor hamlet, by these worthy and reverend fathers, to choose for them a
prelate who shall be at once careful of the temporal and the spiritual
welfare of the See. I have scrupulously considered the merits of all
those who have been presented to me as candidates for the mitre. I find
that in only one man are all the requisite qualities combined in proper
proportion and degree--not in Thomas Lange," the Dean's head fell on his
bosom, "nor in Hartwig Juel," the Archdeacon sank back in his stall;
"nor in Olaf Petersen," the man designated uttered a faint cry and
dropped on his knees, "nor in Jep Mundelstrup--but in myself. I
therefore nominate Peter, son of Nicolas, commonly called Nielsen,
Curate of Roager, to be Bishop of Ribe, twenty-ninth in descent from
Liafdag the martyr. _Qui pacem habet, se primum pacat._ Amen. He who has
to bless, blesses first himself."

Then he sat down.

For a moment there was silence, and then a storm broke loose. Peter sat
motionless, with his eyes fixed on the ground, motionless as a rock
round which the waves toss and tear themselves to foam.

Thus it came about that the twenty-ninth bishop of Ribe was Peter


[15] In Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland, clerical celibacy was
never enforced before the Reformation. Now and then a formal prohibition
was issued by the bishops, but it was generally ignored. The clergy were
married, openly and undisguisedly.

The Wonder-Working Prince Hohenlohe.

In the year 1821, much interest was excited in Germany and, indeed,
throughout Europe by the report that miracles of healing were being
wrought by Prince Leopold Alexander of
Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst at Würzburg, Bamberg, and
elsewhere. The wonders soon came to an end, for, after the ensuing year,
no more was heard of his extraordinary powers.

At the time, as might be expected, his claims to be a miracle-worker
were hotly disputed, and as hotly asserted. Evidence was produced that
some of his miracles were genuine; counter evidence was brought forward
reducing them to nothing.

The whole story of Prince Hohenlohe's sudden blaze into fame, and speedy
extinction, is both curious and instructive. In the Baden village of
Wittighausen, at the beginning of this century, lived a peasant named
Martin Michel, owning a farm, and in fairly prosperous circumstances.
His age, according to one authority, was fifty, according to another
sixty-seven, when he became acquainted with Prince Hohenlohe. This
peasant was unquestionably a devout, guileless man. He had been
afflicted in youth with a rupture, but, in answer to continuous and
earnest prayer, he asserted that he had been completely healed. Then,
for some while he prayed over other afflicted persons, and it was
rumoured that he had effected several miraculous cures. He emphatically
and earnestly repudiated every claim to superior sanctity. The cures, he
declared, depended on the faith of the patient, and on the power of the
Almighty. The most solemn promises had been made in the gospel to those
who asked in faith, and all he did was to act upon these evangelical

The Government speedily interfered, and Michel was forbidden by the
police to work any more miracles by prayer or faith, or any other means
except the recognised pharmacopoeia.

He had received no payment for his cures in money or in kind, but he
took occasion through them to impress on his patients the duty of
prayer, and the efficacy of faith.

By some means he met Prince Alexander Hohenlohe, and the prince was
interested and excited by what he heard, and by the apparent sincerity
of the man. A few days later the prince was in Würzburg, where he called
on the Princess Mathilde Schwarzenberg, a young girl of seventeen who
was a cripple, and who had already spent a year and a half at Würzburg,
under the hands of the orthopædic physician Heine, and the surgeon
Textor. She had been to the best medical men in Vienna and Paris, and
the case had been given up as hopeless. Then Prince Schwarzenberg placed
her under the treatment of Heine. She was so contracted, with her knees
drawn up to her body, that she could neither stand nor walk.

Prince Hohenlohe first met her at dinner, on June 18, 1821, and the
sight of her distortion filled him with pity. He thought over her case,
and communicated with Michel, who at his summons came to Würzburg. As
Würzburg is in Bavaria, the orders of the Baden Government did not
extend to it, and the peasant might freely conduct his experiments

Prince Alexander called on the Princess at ten o'clock in the morning of
June 20, taking with him Michel, but leaving him outside the house, in
the court. Then Prince Hohenlohe began to speak to the suffering girl of
the power of faith, and mentioned the wonders wrought by the prayers of
Michel. She became interested, and the Prince asked her if she would
like to put the powers of Michel to the test, warning her that the man
could do nothing unless she had full and perfect belief in the mercy of
God. The Princess expressed her eagerness to try the new remedy and
assured her interrogator that she had the requisite faith. Thereupon he
went to the window, and signed to the peasant to come up.

What follows shall be given in the Princess's own words, from her
account written a day or two later:--"The peasant knelt down and prayed
in German aloud and distinctly, and, after his prayer, he said to me,
'In the Name of Jesus, stand up. You are whole, and can both stand and
walk!' The peasant and the Prince then went into an adjoining room, and
I rose from my couch, without assistance, in the name of God, well and
sound, and so I have continued to this moment."

A much fuller and minuter account of the proceedings was published,
probably from the pen of the governess, who was present at the time;
but as it is anonymous we need not concern ourselves with it.

The news of the miraculous recovery spread through the town; Dr. Heine
heard of it, and ran to the house, and stood silent and amazed at what
he saw. The Princess descended the stone staircase towards the garden,
but hesitated, and, instead of going into the garden, returned upstairs,
leaning on the arm of Prince Hohenlohe.

Next day was Corpus Christi. The excitement in the town was immense,
when the poor cripple, who had been seen for more than a year carried
into her carriage and carried out of it into church, walked to church,
and thence strolled into the gardens of the palace.

On the following day she visited the Julius Hospital, a noble
institution founded by one of the bishops of Würzburg. On the 24th she
called on the Princess Lichtenstein, the Duke of Aremberg, and the
Prince of Baar, and moreover, attended a sermon preached by Prince
Hohenlohe in the Haugh parish church. Her recovery was complete.

Now, at first sight, nothing seems more satisfactorily established than
this miracle. Let us, however, see what Dr. Heine, who had attended her
for nineteen months, had to say on it. We cannot quote his account in
its entirety, as it is long, but we will take the principal points in
it:--"The Princess of Schwarzenberg came under my treatment at the end
of October, 1819, afflicted with several abnormities of the thorax, with
a twisted spine, ribs, &c. Moreover, she could not rise to her feet from
a sitting posture, nor endure to be so raised; but this was not in
consequence of malformation or weakness of the system, for when sitting
or lying down she could freely move her limbs. She complained of acute
pain when placed in any other position, and when she was made to assume
an angle of 100° her agony became so intense that her extremities were
in a nervous quiver, and partial paralysis ensued, which, however,
ceased when she was restored to her habitual contracted position.

"The Princess lost her power of locomotion when she was three years old,
and the contraction was the result of abscesses on the loins. She was
taken to France and Italy, and got so far in Paris as to be able to hop
about a room supported on crutches. But she suffered a relapse on her
return to Vienna in 1813, and thenceforth was able neither to stand nor
to move about. She was placed in my hands, and I contrived an apparatus
by which the angle at which she rested was gradually extended, and her
position gradually changed from horizontal to vertical. At the same time
I manipulated her almost daily, and had the satisfaction by the end of
last April to see her occupy an angle of 50°, without complaining of
suffering. By the close of May further advance was made, and she was
able to assume a vertical position, with her feet resting on the ground,
but with her body supported, and to remain in this position for four or
five hours. Moreover, in this situation I made her go through all the
motions of walking. The extremities had, in every position, retained
their natural muscular powers and movements, and the contraction was
simply a nervous affection. I made no attempt to force her to walk
unsupported, because I would not do this till I was well assured such a
trial would not be injurious to her.

"On the 30th of May I revisited her, after having been unable, on
account of a slight indisposition, to see my patients for several days.
Her governess then told me that the Princess had made great progress.
She lay at an angle of 80°. The governess placed herself at the foot of
the couch, held out her hands to the Princess, and drew her up into an
upright position, and she told me that this had been done several times
of late during my enforced absence. Whilst she was thus standing I made
the Princess raise and depress her feet, and go through all the motions
of walking. Immediately on my return home I set to work to construct a
machine which might enable her to walk without risk of a fall and of
hurting herself. On the 19th of June, in the evening, I told the
Princess that the apparatus was nearly finished. Next day, a little
after 10 A.M., I visited her. When I opened her door she rose up from a
chair in which she was seated, and came towards me with short, somewhat
uncertain steps. I bowed myself, in token of joy and thanks to God.

"At that moment a gentleman I had never seen before entered the room and
exclaimed, 'Mathilde! you have had faith in God!' The Princess replied,
'I have had, and I have now, entire faith.' The gentleman said, 'Your
faith has saved and healed you. God has succoured you.' Then I began to
suspect that some strange influence was at work, and that something had
been going on of which I was not cognizant. I asked the gentleman what
was the meaning of this. He raised his right hand to heaven, and replied
that he had prayed and thought of the Princess that morning at mass, and
that Prince Wallerstein was privy to the whole proceeding. I was puzzled
and amazed. Then I asked the Princess to walk again. She did so, and
shortly after I left, and only then did I learn that the stranger was
the Prince of Hohenlohe.

"Next month, on July 21, her aunt, the Princess Eleanor of
Schwarzenberg, came with three of the sisters of Princess Mathilde to
fetch her away and to take her back to her father. Her Highness did me
the honour of visiting me along with the Princesses on the second day
after their arrival, to thank me for the pains I had taken to cure the
Princess Mathilde. Before they left, Dr. Schäfer, who had attended her
at Ratisbon, Herr Textor, and myself were allowed to examine the
Princess. Dr. Schäfer found that the condition of the thorax was
mightily improved since she had been in my hands. I, however, saw that
her condition had retrograded since I had last seen her on June 20, and
it was agreed that the Princess was to occupy her extension-couch at
night, and by day wear the steel apparatus for support I had contrived
for her. At the same time Dr. Schäfer distinctly assured her and the
Princess, her aunt, that under my management the patient had recovered
the power of walking _before_ the 19th of June."

This account puts a different complexion on the cure, and shows that it
was not in any way miraculous. The Prince and the peasant stepped in
and snatched the credit of having cured the Princess from the doctor, to
whom it rightly belonged.

Before we proceed, it will be well to say a few words about this Prince
Alexander Hohenlohe. The Hohenlohe family takes its name from a bare
elevated plateau in Franconia. About the beginning of the 16th century
it broke into two branches; the elder is Hohenlohe-Neuenstein, the
younger is Hohenlohe-Waldenburg.

The elder branch has its sub-ramifications--Hohenlohe-Langenburg, which
possesses also the county of Gleichen; and the Hohenlohe-Oehringen and
the Hohenlohe-Kirchberg sub-branches. The second main branch of
Hohenlohe-Waldenburg has also its lateral branches, as those of
Hohenlohe-Bartenstein and Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst; the last of these
being Catholic.

Prince Leopold Alexander was born in 1794 at Kupferzell, near
Waldenburg, and was the eighteenth child of Prince Karl Albrecht and his
wife Judith, Baroness Reviczky. His father never became reigning prince,
from intellectual incapacity, and Alexander lost him when he was one
year old. He was educated for the Church by the ex-Jesuit Riel, and went
to school first in Vienna, then at Berne; in 1810 he entered the
Episcopal seminary at Vienna, and finished his theological studies at
Ellwangen in 1814. He was ordained priest in 1816, and went to Rome.

Dr. Wolff, the father of Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, in his "Travels and
Adventures," which is really his autobiography, says (vol i. p. 31):--

"Wolff left the house of Count Stolberg on the 3rd April, 1815, and
went to Ellwangen, and there met again an old pupil from Vienna, Prince
Alexander Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, afterwards so celebrated for his
miracles--to which so many men of the highest rank and intelligence have
borne witness that Wolff dares not give a decided opinion about them.
But Niebuhr relates that the Pope said to him himself, speaking about
Hohenlohe in a sneering manner, '_Questo_ far dei miracoli!' _This_
fellow performing miracles!

"It may be best to offer some slight sketch of Hohenlohe's life. His
person was beautiful. He was placed under the direction of Vock, the
Roman Catholic parish priest at Berne. One Sunday he was invited to
dinner with Vock, his tutor, at the Spanish ambassador's. The next day
there was a great noise in the Spanish embassy, because the mass-robe,
with the silver chalice and all its appurtenances, had been stolen. It
was advertised in the paper, but nothing could be discovered, until Vock
took Prince Hohenlohe aside, and said to him, 'Prince, confess to me;
have you not stolen the mass-robe?' He at once confessed it, and said
that he made use of it every morning in practising the celebration of
the mass in his room; which was true." (This was when Hohenlohe was
twenty-one years old.) "He was afterwards sent to Tyrnau, to the
ecclesiastical seminary in Hungary, whence he was expelled, on account
of levity. But, being a Prince, the Chapter of Olmütz, in Moravia,
elected him titulary canon of the cathedral; nevertheless, the Emperor
Francis was too honest to confirm it. Wolff taught him Hebrew in
Vienna. He had but little talent for languages, but his conversation on
religion was sometimes very charming; and at other times he broke out
into most indecent discourses. He was ordained priest, and Sailer[16]
preached a sermon on the day of his ordination, which was published
under the title of 'The Priest without Reproach.' On the same day money
was collected for building a Roman Catholic Church at Zürich, and the
money collected was given to Prince Hohenlohe, to be remitted to the
parish priest of Zürich (Moritz Mayer); but the money never reached its
destination. Wolff saw him once at the bed of the sick and dying, and
his discourse, exhortations, and treatment of these sick people were
wonderfully beautiful. When he mounted the pulpit to preach, one
imagined one saw a saint of the Middle Ages. His devotion was
penetrating, and commanded silence in a church where there were 4,000
people collected. Wolff one day called on him, when Hohenlohe said to
him, 'I never read any other book than the Bible. I never look in a
sermon-book by anybody else, not even at the sermons of Sailer.' But
Wolff after this heard him preach, and the whole sermon was copied from
one of Sailer's, which Wolff had read only the day before.

"With all his faults, Hohenlohe cannot be charged with avarice, for he
give away every farthing he got, perhaps even that which he obtained
dishonestly. They afterwards met at Rome, where Hohenlohe lodged with
the Jesuits, and there it was said he composed a Latin poem. Wolff,
knowing his incapacity to do such a thing, asked him boldly, 'Who is the
author of this poem?' Hohenlohe confessed at once that it was written by
a Jesuit priest. At that time Madame Schlegel wrote to Wolff: 'Prince
Hohenlohe is a man who struggles with heaven and hell, and heaven will
gain the victory with him.' Hohenlohe was on the point of being made a
bishop at Rome, but, on the strength of his previous knowledge of him,
Wolff protested against his consecration. Several princes, amongst them
Kaunitz, the ambassador, took Hohenlohe's part on this occasion; but the
matter was investigated, and Hohenlohe walked off from Rome without
being made a bishop. In his protest against the man, Wolff stated that
Hohenlohe's pretensions to being a canon of Olmütz were false; that he
had been expelled the seminary of Tyrnau; that he sometimes spoke like a
saint, and at others like a profligate."

And now let us return to Würzburg, and see the result of the cure of
Princess Schwarzenberg. The people who had seen the poor cripple one day
carried into her carriage and into church, and a day or two after saw
her walk to church and in the gardens, and who knew nothing of Dr.
Heine's operations, concluded that this was a miracle, and gave the
credit of it quite as much to Prince Hohenlohe as to the peasant Michel.

The police at once sent an official letter to the Prince, requesting to
be informed authoritatively what he had done, by what right he had
interfered, and how he had acted. He replied that he had done nothing,
faith and the Almighty had wrought the miracle. "The instantaneous cure
of the Princess is a _fact_, which cannot be disputed; it was the result
of a living faith. That is the truth. It happened to the Princess
according to her faith." The peasant Michel now fell into the
background, and was forgotten, and the Prince stood forward as the
worker of miraculous cures. Immense excitement was caused by the
restoration of the Princess Schwarzenberg, and patients streamed into
Würzburg from all the country round, seeking health at the hands of
Prince Alexander. The local papers published marvellous details of his
successful cures. The blind saw, the lame walked, the deaf heard. Among
the deaf who recovered was His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of
Bavaria, three years later King Ludwig I., grandfather of the late King
of Bavaria. Unfortunately we have not exact details of this cure, but a
letter of the Crown Prince written shortly after merely states that he
heard _better_ than before. Now the spring of 1821 was very raw and wet,
and about June 20 there set in some dry hot weather. It is therefore
quite possible that the change of weather may have had to do with this
cure. However, we can say nothing for certain about it, as no data were
published, merely the announcement that the Crown Prince had recovered
his hearing at the prayer of Prince Hohenlohe. Here are some
better-authenticated cases, as given by Herr Scharold, an eye-witness;
he was city councillor and secretary.

"The Prince had dined at midday with General von D----. All the
entrances to the house from two streets were blocked by hundreds of
persons, and they said that he had already healed four individuals
crippled with rheumatism in this house. I convinced myself on the spot
that one of these cases was as said. The patient was the young wife of a
fisherman, who was crippled in the right hand, so that she could not
lift anything with it, or use it in any way; and all at once she was
enabled to raise a heavy chair, with the hand hitherto powerless, and
hold it aloft. She went home weeping tears of joy and thankfulness.

"The Prince was then entreated to go to another house, at another end of
the town, and he consented. There he found many paralysed persons. He
began with a poor man whose left arm was quite useless and stiff. After
he had asked him if he had perfect faith, and had received a
satisfactory answer, the Prince prayed with folded hands and closed
eyes. Then he raised the kneeling patient; and said, 'Move your arm.'
Weeping and trembling in all his limbs the man did as he was bid; but as
he said that he obeyed with difficulty, the Prince prayed again, and
said, 'Now move your arm again.' This time the man easily moved his arm
forwards, backwards, and raised it. The cure was complete. Equally
successful was he with the next two cases. One was a tailor's wife,
named Lanzamer. 'What do you want?' asked the Prince, who was bathed in
perspiration. Answer: 'I have had a paralytic stroke, and have lost the
use of one side of my body, so that I cannot walk unsupported.' 'Kneel
down!' But this could only be effected with difficulty, and it was
rather a tumbling down of an inert body, painful to behold. I never saw
a face more full of expression of faith in the strongly marked features.
The Prince, deeply moved, prayed with great fervour, and then said,
'Stand up!' The good woman, much agitated, was unable to do so, in spite
of all her efforts, without the assistance of her boy, who was by her,
crying, and then her lame leg seemed to crack. When she had reached her
feet, he said, 'Now walk the length of the room without pain.' She tried
to do so, but succeeded with difficulty, yet with only a little
suffering. Again he prayed, and the healing was complete; she walked
lightly and painlessly up and down, and finally out of the room; and the
boy, crying more than before, but now with joy, exclaimed, 'O my God!
mother can walk, mother can walk!' Whilst this was going on, an old
woman, called Siebert, wife of a bookbinder, who had been brought in a
sedan-chair, was admitted to the room. She suffered from paralysis and
incessant headaches that left her neither night nor day. The first
attempt made to heal her failed. The second only brought on the paroxysm
of headache worse than ever, so that the poor creature could hardly keep
her feet or open her eyes. The Prince began to doubt her faith, but when
she assured him of it, he prayed again with redoubled earnestness. And,
all at once, she was cured. This woman left the room, conducted by her
daughter, and all present were filled with astonishment." This account
was written on June 26. On June 28 Herr Scharold wrote a further account
of other cures he had witnessed; but those already given are
sufficient. That this witness was convinced and sincere appears from his
description, but how far valuable his evidence is we are not so well

A curious little pamphlet was published the same year at Darmstadt,
entitled, "Das Mährchen vom Wunder," that professed to be the result of
the observations of a medical man who attended one or two of these
_séances_. Unfortunately the pamphlet is anonymous, and this deprives it
of most of its authority. Another writer who attacked the genuineness of
the miracles was Dr. Paulus, in his "Quintessenz aus den
Wundercurversuchen durch Michel und Hohenlohe," Leipzig, 1822; but this
author also wrote anonymously, and did not profess to have seen any of
the cures. On the other hand, Scharold and a Dr. Onymus, and two or
three priests published their testimonies as witnesses to their
genuineness, and gave the names and particulars of those cured.

Those who assailed the Prince and his cures dipped their pens in gall.
It is only just to add that they cast on his character none of the
reflections for honesty which Dr. Wolff flung on him.

The author of the Darmstadt pamphlet, mentioned above, says that when he
was present the Prince was attended by two sergeants of police, as the
crowd thronging on him was so great that he needed protection from its
pressure. He speaks sneeringly of him as spending his time in eating,
smoking, and miracle-working, when not sleeping, and says he was plump
and good-looking, "A girl of eighteen, who was paralysed in her limbs,
was brought from a carriage to the feet of the prophet. After he had
asked her if she believed, and he had prayed for about twelve seconds,
he exclaimed in a threatening rather than gentle voice, 'You are
healed!' But I observed that he had to thunder this thrice into the ear
of the frightened girl, before she made an effort to move, which was
painful and distressing; and, groaning and supported by others, she made
her way to the rear. 'You will be better shortly--only believe!' he
cried to her. I, who was looking on, observed her conveyed away as much
a cripple as she came.

"The next case was a peasant of fifty-eight, a cripple on crutches.
Without his crutches he was doubled up, and could only shuffle with his
feet on the ground. After the Prince had asked the usual questions and
had prayed, he ordered the kneeling man to stand up, his crutches having
been removed. As he was unable to do so, the miracle-worker seemed
irritated, and repeated his order in an angry tone. One of the policemen
at the side threw in 'Up! in the name of the Trinity,' and pulled him to
his feet. The man seemed bewildered. He stood, indeed, but doubled as
before, and the sweat streamed from his face, and he was not a ha'porth
better than previously; but as he had come with crutches, and now stood
without them, there arose a shout of 'A miracle!' and all pressed round
to congratulate the poor wretch. His son helped him away. 'Have faith
and courage!' cried to him the Prince; and the policeman added, 'Only
believe, and rub in a little spirits of camphor!' Many pressed alms into
the man's hand, and he smiled; this was regarded as a token of his
perfect cure. I saw, however, that his knees were as stiff as before,
and that the rogue cast longing eyes at his crutches, which had been
taken away, but which he insisted on having back. No one thought of
asking how it fared with the poor wretch later, and, as a fact, he died
shortly after.

"The next to come up was a deaf girl of eighteen. The wonder-worker was
bathed in perspiration, and evidently exhausted with his continuous
prayer night and day. After a few questions as to the duration of her
infirmity, the Prince prayed, then signed a cross over the girl, and,
stepping back from her, asked her questions, at each in succession
somewhat lowering his tone; but she only heard those spoken as loudly as
before the experiment was made, and she remained for the most part
staring stupidly at the wonder-worker. To cut the matter short, he
declared her healed. I took the mother aside soon after, and inquired
what was the result. She assured me that the girl heard no better than

"In her place came a stone-deaf man of twenty-five. The result was very
similar; but as the Prince, when bidding him depart healed, made a sign
of withdrawal with his hand, the man rose and departed, and this was
taken as evidence that he had heard the command addressed to him."

The author gives other cases that he witnessed, not one of which was
other than a failure, though they were all declared to be cures.

On June 29 the Prince practised his miracle-working at the palace, in
the presence of the Crown Prince and of Prince Esterhazy, the Austrian
ambassador who was on his way to London to attend the coronation of
George IV. in July. The attempts were probably as great failures as
those described in the Darmstadt pamphlet. The Prince was somewhat
discouraged at the invitation of the physicians attached to the Julius
Hospital; he had visited that institution the day before, and had
experimented on twenty cases, and was unsuccessful in every one. Full
particulars of these were published in the "Bamberger Briefe," Nos.
28-33. We will give only a very few:--

"1. Barbara Uhlen, of Oberschleichach, aged 39, suffering from dropsy.
The Prince said to her, 'Do you sincerely believe that you can be helped
and are helped?' The sick woman replied, 'Yes. I had resolved to leave
the hospital, where no good has been done to me, and to seek health from
God and the Prince.' He raised his eyes to heaven and prayed; then
assured the patient of her cure. Her case became worse rapidly, instead
of better.

"7. Margaretta Löhlein, of Randersacher, aged 56. Suffering from dropsy
owing to disorganisation of the liver. Another failure. Shortly after
the Prince left, she had to be operated on to save her from suffocation.

"10. Susanna Söllnerin, servant maid of Aub, aged 22, had already been
thirteen weeks in hospital, suffering from roaring noises in the head
and deafness. The Prince, observing the fervour of her faith, cried out,
'You shall see now how speedily she will be cured!' Prayers, blessing,
as before, and--as before, no results.

"11. George Forchheimer, butcher, suffering from rheumatism. One foot
is immovable, and he can only walk with the assistance of a stick.
During the prayer of the Prince the patient wept and sobbed, and was
profoundly agitated. The Prince ordered him to stand up and go without
his stick. His efforts to obey were unavailing; he fell several times on
the ground, though the Prince repeated over him his prayers."

These are sufficient as instances; not a single case in the hospital was
more successfully treated by him.

On July 5 Prince Hohenlohe went to Bamberg, where he was eagerly awaited
by many sick and credulous persons. The Burgomaster Hornthal, however,
interfered, and forbade the attempt at performing miracles till the
authorities at Baireuth had been instructed of his arrival, and till a
commission had been appointed of men of judgment, and physicians to take
note of the previous condition of every patient who was submitted to
him, and of the subsequent condition. Thus hampered the Prince could do
nothing; he failed as signally as in the Julius Hospital at Würzburg,
and the only cases of cures claimed to have been wrought were among a
mixed crowd in the street to whom he gave a blessing from the balcony of
his lodging.

Finding that Bamberg was uncongenial, he accepted a call to the Baths of
Brückenau, and thence news reached the incredulous of Bamberg and
Würzburg that extraordinary cures had been wrought at the prayers of the
Prince. As, however, we have no details respecting these, we may pass
them over.

Hohenlohe, who had no notion of hiding his light under a bushel, drew
up a detailed account of over a hundred cures which he claimed to have
worked, had them attested by witnesses, and sent this precious document
to the Pope, who, with good sense, took no notice of it; at least no
public notice, though it is probable that he administered a sharp
private reprimand, for Hohenlohe collapsed very speedily.

From Brückenau the Prince went to Vienna, but was not favourably
received there, so he departed to Hungary, where his mother's relations
lived. Though he was applied to by sick people who had heard of his
fame, he did not make any more direct attempts to heal them. He,
however, gave them cards on which a day and hour were fixed, and a
prayer written, and exhorted them to pray for recovery earnestly on the
day and at the hour indicated, and promised to pray for them at the same
time. But this was also discontinued, having proved inefficacious, and
Hohenlohe relapsed into a quiet unostentatious life. He was appointed,
through family interest, Canon of Grosswardein, and in 1829 advanced to
be Provost of the Cathedral. His powers as a preacher long survived his
powers of working miracles. He spent his time in good works, and in
writing little manuals of devotion. In 1844 he was consecrated titular
Bishop of Sardica _in partibus_, that is, without a See. He died at
Vöslau, near Vienna, in 1849. That Hohenlohe was a conscious hypocrite
we are far from supposing. He was clearly a man of small mental powers,
very conceited, and wanting in judgment. We must not place too much
reliance on the scandalous gossip of Dr. Wolff. Probably Hohenlohe's
vanity received a severe check in 1821, when both the Roman See and the
world united to discredit his miracles; and he had sufficient good sense
to accept the verdict.


[16] Johann M. Sailer was a famous ex-Jesuit preacher, at this time
Professor at the University of Landshut, afterwards Bishop of Ratisbon.
He died, 1832.

The Snail-Telegraph.

The writer well remembers, as a child, the sense of awe not unmixed with
fear, with which he observed the mysterious movements of the telegraph
erected on church towers in France along all the main roads.

Many a beautiful tower was spoiled by these abominable erections. There
were huge arms like those of a windmill, painted black, and jointed, so
as to describe a great number of cabalistic signs in the air. Indeed,
the movements were like the writhings of some monstrous spider.

Glanvil who wrote in the middle of the 17th century says, "To those that
come after us, it may be as ordinary to buy a pair of wings to fly into
the remotest regions, as now a pair of boots to ride a journey. _And to
confer, at the distance of the Indies, by sympathetic conveyances_, may
be as usual to future times as to us is literary correspondence." He
further remarks, "Antiquity would not have believed the almost
incredible force of our cannons, and would as coldly have entertained
the wonders of the telescope. In these we all condemn antique
incredulity. And it is likely posterity will have as much cause to pity
ours. But those who are acquainted with the diligent and ingenious
endeavours of true philosophers will despair of nothing."

In 1633 the Marquis of Worcester suggested a scheme of telegraphing by
means of signs. Another, but similar scheme, was mooted in 1660 by the
Frenchman Amonton. In 1763 Mr. Edgeworth erected for his private use a
telegraph between London and Newmarket. But it was in 1789 that the
Optical Telegraph came into practical use in France--Claude Chappe was
the inventor. When he was a boy, he contrived a means of communication
by signals with his brothers at a distance of two or three miles. He
laid down the first line between Lille and Paris at a cost of about two
thousand pounds, and the first message sent along it was the
announcement of the capture of Lille by Condé. This led to the
construction of many similar lines communicating with each other by
means of stations. Some idea of the celerity with which messages were
sent may be gained from the fact that it took only two minutes to
reproduce in Paris a sign given in Lille at a distance of 140 miles. On
this line there were 22 stations. The objections to this system lay in
its being useless at night and in rainy weather. The French system of
telegraph consisted of one main beam--the regulator, at the end of which
were two shorter wings, so that it formed a letter Z. The regulator and
its flags could be turned about in various ways, making in all 196
signs. Sometimes the regulator stood horizontally, sometimes

Lord Murray introduced one of a different construction in England in
1795 consisting of two rows of three octangular flags revolving on their
axis. This gave 64 different signs, but was defective in the same point
as that of Chappe. Poor Chappe was so troubled in mind because his claim
to be the inventor of his telegraph was disputed, that he drowned
himself in a well, 1805.

Besides the fact that the optical telegraph was paralysed by darkness
and storm, it was very difficult to manage in mountainous and
well-wooded country, and required there a great number of stations.

After that Sömmering had discovered at Munich in 1808 the means of
signalling through the galvanic current obtained by decomposition of
water, and Schilling at Canstadt and Ampère in Paris (1820) had made
further advances in the science of electrology, and Oersted had
established the deflexion of the magnetic needle, it was felt that the
day of the cumbrous and disfiguring optical telegraph was over. A new
power had been discovered, though the extent and the applicability of
this power were not known. Gauss and Weber in 1833 made the first
attempt to set up an electric telegraph; in 1837 Wheatstone and Morse
utilised the needle and made the telegraph print its messages. In 1833
the telegraph of Gauss and Weber supplanted the optical contrivance on
the line between Trèves and Berlin. The first line in America was laid
from Washington to Baltimore in 1844. The first attempt at submarine
telegraphy was made at Portsmouth in 1846, and in 1850 a cable was laid
between England and France.

It was precisely in this year when men's minds were excited over the
wonderful powers of the galvanic current, and a wide prospect was opened
of its future advantage to men, when, indeed, the general public
understood very little about the principle and were in a condition of
mind to accept almost any scientific marvel, that there appeared in
Paris an adventurer, who undertook to open communications between all
parts of the world without the expense and difficulty of laying cables
of communication. The line laid across the channel in 1850 was not very
successful; it broke several times, and had to be taken up again, and
relaid in 1851. If it did not answer in conveying messages across so
narrow a strip of water, was it likely to be utilized for Transatlantic
telegraphy? The _Presse_, a respectable Paris paper, conducted by a
journalist of note, M. de Girardin, answered emphatically, No. The means
of communication was not to be sought in a chain. The gutta percha
casing would decompose under the sea, and when the brine touched the
wires, the cable would be useless. The Chappe telegraph was superseded
by the electric telegraph which answered well on dry land, but fatal
objections stood in the way of its answering for communication between
places divided by belts of sea or oceans. Moreover, it was an intricate
system. Now the tendency of science in modern times was towards
simplification; and it was always found that the key to unlock
difficulties which had puzzled the inventors of the past, lay at their
hands. The electric telegraph was certainly more elaborate, complicated
and expensive than the optical telegraph. Was it such a decided advance
on it? Yes--in one way. It could be worked at all hours of night and
day. But had the last word in telegraphy been spoken, when it was
invented? Most assuredly not.

Along with electricity and terrestrial magnetism, another power,
vaguely perceived, the full utility of which was also unknown, had been
recognised--animal magnetism. Why should not this force be used as a
means for the conveyance of messages?

M. Jules Allix after a long preamble in _La Presse_, in an article
signed by himself, announced that a French inventor, M. Jacques
Toussaint Benoît (de l'Hérault), and a fellow worker of Gallic origin,
living in America, M. Biat-Chrétien, had hit on "a new system of
universal intercommunication of thought, which operates

After a long introduction in true French rhodomontade, tracing the
progress of humanity from the publication of the Gospel to the 19th
century, M. Allix continued, "The discovery of MM. Benoît and Biat
depends on galvanism, terrestrial and animal magnetism, also on natural
sympathy, that is to say, the base of communication is a sort of special
sympathetic fluid which is composed of the union or blending of the
galvanic, magnetic and sympathetic currents, by a process to be
described shortly. And as the various fluids vary according to the
organic or inorganic bodies whence they are derived, it is necessary
further to state that the forces or fluids here married are: (_a_) The
terrestrial-galvanic current, (_b_) the animal-sympathetic current, in
this case derived from _snails_, (_c_) the adamic or human current, or
animal-magnetic current in man. Consequently, to describe concisely the
basis of the new system of intercommunication, we shall have to call the
force, '_The galvano-terrestrial-magnetic-animal and adamic force!_'"
Is not this something like a piece of Jules Verne's delicious scientific
_hocus-pocus_? Will the reader believe that it was written in good
faith? It was, there can be no question, written in perfect good faith.
The character of _La Presse_, of the journalist, M. Jules Allix, would
not allow of a hoax wilfully perpetrated on the public. We are quoting
from the number for October 27th, 1850, of the paper.

"According to the experiments made by MM. Benoît and Biat, it seems that
snails which have once been put in contact, are always in sympathetic
communication. When separated, there disengages itself from them a
species of fluid of which the earth is the conductor, which develops and
unrolls, so to speak, like the almost invisible thread of the spider, or
that of the silk worm, which can be uncoiled and prolonged almost
indefinitely in space without its breaking, but with this vital
difference that the thread of the escargotic fluid is invisible as
completely and the pulsation along it is as rapid as the electric fluid.

"But, it may be objected with some plausibility, granted the existence
in the snails of this sympathetic fluid, will it radiate from them in
all directions, after the analogy of electric, galvanic and magnetic
fluids, unless there be some conductor established between them? At
first sight, this objection has some weight, but for all that it is more
specious than serious." The solution of this difficulty is exquisitely
absurd. We must summarise.

At first the discoverers of the galvanic current thought it necessary to
establish a return wire, to complete the circle, till it was found to be
sufficient to carry the two ends of the wire in communication with the
earth, when the earth itself completed the circle. There is no visible
line between the ends underground, yet the current completes the circle
through it. Moreover, it is impossible to think of two points without
establishing, in idea, a line between them, indeed, according to
Euclid's definition, a straight line is that which lies evenly between
its extreme points, and a line is length without breadth or substance.
So, if we conceive of two snails, we establish a line between them, an
unsubstantial line, still a line along which the sympathetic current can
travel. "Now MM. Benoît and Biat, by means of balloons in the
atmosphere," had established beyond doubt that a visible tangible line
of communication was only necessary when raised above the earth.

"Consequently, there remains nothing more to be considered than the
means, the apparatus, whereby the transmission of thought is effected.

"This apparatus consists of a square box, in which is a Voltaic pile, of
which the metallic plates, instead of being superposed, as in the pile
of Volta, are disposed in order, attached in holes formed in a wheel or
circular disc, that revolves about a steel axis. To these metallic
plates used by Volta, MM. Benoît and Biat have substituted others in the
shape of cups or circular basins, composed of zinc lined with cloth
steeped in a solution of sulphate of copper maintained in place by a
blade of copper riveted to the cup. At the bottom of each of these
bowls, is fixed, by aid of a composition that shall be given presently,
a living snail, whose sympathetic influence may unite and be woven with
the galvanic current, when the wheel of the pile is set in motion and
with it the snails that are adhering to it.

"Each galvanic basin rests on a delicate spring, so that it may respond
to every escargotic commotion. Now; it is obvious that such an apparatus
requires a corresponding apparatus, disposed as has been described, and
containing in it snails in sympathy with those in the other apparatus,
so that the escargotic vibration may pass from one precise point in one
of the piles to a precise point in the other and complementary pile.
When these dispositions have been grasped the rest follows as a matter
of course. MM. Benoît and Biat have fixed letters to the wheels,
corresponding the one with the other, and at each sympathetic touch on
one, the other is touched; consequently it is easy by this means,
naturally and instantaneously, to communicate ideas at vast distances,
by the indication of the letters touched by the snails. The apparatus
described is in shape like a mariner's compass, and to distinguish it
from that, it is termed the _pasilalinic--sympathetic compass_, as
descriptive at once of its effects and the means of operation."

But, who were these inventors, Benoît and Biat-Chrétien? We will begin
with the latter. As Pontoppidon in his History of Norway heads a
chapter, "Of Snakes," and says, "Of these there are none," so we may say
of M. Biat-Chrétien; there was no such man; at least he never rose to
the surface and was seen. Apparently his existence was as much a
hallucination or creation of the fancy of M. Benoît, as was Mrs. Harris
a creature of the imagination of Mrs. Betsy Gamp. Certainly no
Biat-Chrétien was known in America as a discoverer.

Jacques Toussaint Benoît (de l'Hérault) was a man who had been devoted
since his youth to the secret sciences. His studies in magic and
astrology, in mesmerism, and electricity, had turned his head. Together
with real eagerness to pursue his studies, and real belief in them, was
added a certain spice of rascality.

One day Benoît, who had by some means made the acquaintance of M. Triat,
founder and manager of a gymnasium in Paris for athletic exercises, came
to Triat, and told him that he had made a discovery which would
supersede electric telegraphy. The director was a man of common sense,
but not of much education, certainly of no scientific acquirements. He
was, therefore, quite unable to distinguish between true and false
science. Benoît spoke with conviction, and carried away his hearer with
his enthusiasm.

"What is needed for the construction of the machine?" asked M. Triat.

"Only two or three bits of wood," replied Benoît.

M. Triat took him into his carpenter's shop. "There, my friend," he
said, "here you have wood, and a man to help you."

M. Triat did more. The future inventor of the instantaneous
communication of thought was house-less and hungry. The manager rented a
lodging for him, and advanced him money for his entertainment. Benoît
set to work. He used a great many bits of wood, and occupied the
carpenter a good part of his time. Other things became necessary as
well as wood, things that cost money, and the money was found by M.
Triat. So passed a twelvemonth. At the end of that time, which had been
spent at the cost of his protector, Benoît had arrived at no result. It
was apparent that, in applying to M. Triat, he had sought, not so much
to construct a machine already invented, as to devote himself to the
pursuit of his favourite studies. The director became impatient. He
declined to furnish further funds. Then Benoît declared that the machine
was complete.

This machine, for the construction of which he had asked for two or
three pieces of wood, was an enormous scaffold formed of beams ten feet
long, supporting the Voltaic pile described by M. Allix, ensconced in
the bowls of which were the wretched snails stuck to the bottom of the
basins by some sort of glue, at intervals. This was the
Pasilalinic-sympathetic compass. It occupied one end of the apartment.
At the other end was a second, exactly similar. Each contained
twenty-four alphabetic-sympathetic snails. These poor beasts, glued to
the bottom of the zinc cups with little dribbles of sulphate of copper
trickling down the sides of the bowls from the saturated cloth placed on
them, were uncomfortable, and naturally tried to get away. They thrust
themselves from their shells and poked forth their horns groping for
some congenial spot on which to crawl, and came in contact with the wood
on which was painted the letters. But if they came across a drop of
solution of sulphate of copper, they went precipitately back into their

Properly, the two machines should have been established in different
rooms, but no second room was available on the flat where Benoît was
lodged, so he was forced to erect both vis-à-vis. That, however, was a
matter wholly immaterial, as he explained to those who visited the
laboratory. Space was not considered by snails. Place one in Paris, the
other at the antipodes, the transmission of thought along their
sympathetic current was as complete, instantaneous and effective as in
his room on the _troisième_. In proof of this, Benoît undertook to
correspond with his friend and fellow-worker Biat-Chrétien in America,
who had constructed a similar apparatus. He assured all who came to
inspect his invention that he conversed daily by means of the snails
with his absent friend. When the machine was complete, the inventor was
in no hurry to show it in working order; however M. Triat urged
performance on him. He said, and there was reason in what he said, that
an exhibition of the pasilalinic telegraph before it was perfected,
would be putting others on the track, who might, having more means at
their command, forestall him, and so rob him of the fruit of his
labours. At last he invited M. Triat and M. Allix, as representative of
an influential journal, to witness the apparatus in working order, on
October 2nd. He assured them that since September 30, he had been in
constant correspondence with Biat-Chrétien, who, without crossing the
sea, would assist at the experiments conducted at Paris on Wednesday,
October 2nd, in the lodging of M. Benoît.

On the appointed day, M. Triat and M. Allix were at the appointed place.
The former at once objected to the position of the two compasses, but
was constrained to be satisfied with the reason given by the operator.
If they could not be in different rooms, at least a division should be
made in the apartment by means of a curtain, so that the operator at one
compass could not see him at the other. But there was insuperable
difficulty in doing this, so M. Triat had to waive this objection also.
M. Jules Allix was asked to attend one of the compasses, whilst the
inventor stood on the scaffold managing the other. M. Allix was to send
the message, by touching the snails which represented the letters
forming the words to be transmitted, whereupon the corresponding snail
on M. Benoît's apparatus was supposed to thrust forth his horns. But,
under one pretext or another, the inventor ran from one apparatus to the
other, the whole time, so that it was not very difficult, with a little
management, to reproduce on his animated compass the letters transmitted
by M. Jules Allix.

The transmission, moreover, was not as exact as it ought to have been.
M. Jules Allix had touched the snails in such order as to form the word
_gymnase_; Benoît on his compass read the word _gymoate_. Then M. Triat,
taking the place of the inventor, sent the words _lumiere divine_ to M.
Jules Allix, who read on his compass _lumhere divine_. Evidently the
snails were bad in their orthography. The whole thing, moreover, was a
farce, and the correspondence, such as it was, was due to the incessant
voyages of the inventor from one compass to the other, under the pretext
of supervising the mechanism of the two apparatuses.

Benoît was then desired to place himself in communication with his
American friend, planted before his compass on the other side of the
Atlantic. He transmitted to him the signal to be on the alert. Then he
touched with a live snail he held in his hand the four snails that
corresponded to the letters of the name BIAT; then they awaited the
reply from America. After a few moments, the poor glued snails began to
poke out their horns in a desultory, irregular manner, and by putting
the letters together, with some accommodation CESTBIEN was made out,
which when divided, and the apostrophe added, made _C'est bien_.

M. Triat was much disconcerted. He considered himself as hoaxed. Not so
M. Allix. He was so completely satisfied, that on the 27th October,
appeared the article from his pen which we have quoted. M. Triat then
went to the inventor and told him point blank, that he withdrew his
protection from him. Benoît entreated him not to throw up the matter,
before the telegraph was perfected.

"Look here!" said M. Triat; "nothing is easier than for you to make me
change my intention. Let one of your compasses be set up in my
gymnasium, and the other in the side apartment. If that seems too much,
then let a simple screen be drawn between the two, and do you refrain
from passing between them whilst the experiment is being carried on. If
under these conditions you succeed in transmitting a single word from
one apparatus to the other, I will give you a thousand francs a day
whilst your experiments are successful."

M. Triat then visited M. de Girardin who was interested in the matter,
half believed in it, and had accordingly opened the columns of _La
Presse_ to the article of M. Allix. M. de Girardin wished to be present
at the crucial experiment, and M. Triat gladly invited him to attend. He
offered another thousand francs so long as the compasses worked. "My
plan is this," said M. de Girardin: "If Benoît's invention is a success,
we will hire the _Jardin d'hiver_ and make Benoît perform his
experiments in public. That will bring us in a great deal more than two
thousand francs a day."

Benoît accepted all the conditions with apparent alacrity; but, before
the day arrived for the experiment, after the removal of the two great
scaffolds to the gymnasiums--he had disappeared. He was, however, seen
afterwards several times in Paris, very thin, with eager restless eyes,
apparently partly deranged. He died in 1852!

Alas for Benoît. He died a few years too soon. A little later, and he
might have become a personage of importance in the great invasion of the
table-turning craze which shortly after inundated Europe, and turned
many heads as well as tables.

The Countess Goerlitz.

One of the most strange and terrible tragedies of this century was the
murder of the Countess Goerlitz; and it excited immense interest in
Germany, both because of the high position of the unfortunate lady, the
mystery attaching to her death, and because the charge of having
murdered her rested on her husband, the Count Goerlitz, Chamberlain to
the Grand-Duke of Hesse, Privy Councillor, a man of fortune as well as
rank, and of unimpeachable character. There was another reason why the
case excited general interest: the solution remained a mystery for three
whole years, from 1847 to 1850.

The Count Goerlitz was a man of forty-six, a great favourite at the
Court, and of fine appearance. He had married, in 1820, the daughter of
the Privy Councillor, Plitt. They had no children. The Countess was aged
forty-six when the terrible event occurred which we are about to relate.

The Count and Countess lived in their mansion in the Neckarstrasse in
Darmstadt--a large, palatial house, handsomely furnished. Although
living under the same roof, husband and wife lived apart. She occupied
the first floor, and he the parterre, or ground floor. They dined
together. The cause of the unfriendly terms on which they lived was the
fact that the Countess was wealthy, her family was of citizen origin,
and had amassed a large fortune in trade. Her father had been ennobled
by the Grand-Duke, and she had been his heiress. The Count, himself, had
not much of his own, and his wife cast this fact in his teeth. She loved
to talk of the "beggar nobility," who were obliged to look out for rich
burghers' daughters to gild their coronets. The Count may have been hot
of temper, and have aggravated matters by sharpness of repartee; but,
according to all accounts, it was her miserliness and bitter tongue
which caused the estrangement.

There were but four servants in the house--the Count's valet, the
coachman, a manservant of the Countess, and the cook.

Every Sunday the Count Goerlitz dined at the palace. On Sunday, June 13,
1847, he had dined at the Grand-Duke's table as usual. As we know from
the letters of the Princess Alice, life was simple at that Court. Hours
were, as usual in South Germany, early. The carriage took the Count to
dinner at the palace at 3 P.M., and he returned home in it to the Neckar
Street at half-past six. When he came in he asked the servant of the
Countess, a man named John Stauff, whether his wife was at home, as he
wanted to see her. As a matter of fact, he had brought away from the
dinner-table at the palace some maccaroons and bonbons for her, as she
had a sweet tooth, and he thought the attention might please her.

As John Stauff told him the Countess was in, he ascended the stone
staircase. A glass door led into the anteroom. He put his hand to it and
found it fastened. Thinking that his wife was asleep, or did not want
to be disturbed, he went downstairs to his own room, which was under her
sitting-room. There he listened for her tread, intending, on hearing it,
to reascend and present her with the bonbons. As he heard nothing, he
went out for a walk. The time was half-past seven. A little before nine
o'clock he returned from his stroll, drew on his dressing-gown and
slippers, and asked for his supper, a light meal he was wont to take by
himself in his own room, though not always, for the Countess frequently
joined him. Her mood was capricious. As he had the bonbons in his
pocket, and had not yet been able to present them, he sent her man
Stauff to tell her ladyship that supper was served, and that it would
give him great satisfaction if she would honour him with her presence.
Stauff came back in a few moments to say that the Countess was not at
home. "Nonsense!" said the husband, "of course she is at home. She may,
however, be asleep. I will go myself and find her." Thereupon he
ascended the stairs, and found, as before, the glass door to the
anteroom fastened. He looked in, but saw nothing. He knocked, and
received no answer. Then he went to the bedroom door, knocked, without
result; listened, and heard no sound. The Count had a key to the
dressing-room; he opened, and went in, and through that he passed into
the bed-chamber. That was empty. The bed-clothes were turned down for
the night, but were otherwise undisturbed. He had no key to the anteroom
and drawing-room.

Then the Count went upstairs to the laundry, which was on the highest
storey, and where were also some rooms. The Countess was particular
about her lace and linen, and often attended to them herself, getting up
some of the collars and frills with her own hands. She was not in the
laundry. Evidently she was, as Stauff had said, not at home. The Count
questioned the manservant. Had his mistress intimated her intention of
supping abroad? No, she had not. Nevertheless, it was possible she might
have gone to intimate friends. Accordingly, he sent to the palace of
Prince Wittgenstein, and to the house of Councillor von Storch, to
inquire if she were at either. She had been seen at neither.

The Count was puzzled, without, however, being seriously alarmed. He
bade Stauff call the valet, Schiller, and the coachman, Schämbs, who
slept out of the house, and then go for a locksmith. Stauff departed.
Presently the valet and coachman arrived, and, after, Stauff, without
the locksmith, who, he said, was ill, and his man was at the tavern. The
Count was angry and scolded. Then the coachman went forth, and soon came
back with the locksmith's apprentice, who was set at once to open the
locked doors in the top storey. The Countess was not in them. At the
same time the young man noticed a smell of burning, but whence it came
they could not decide. Thinking that this smell came from the kitchen on
the first storey--that is, the floor above where the Count lived--they
attacked the door of the kitchen, which was also locked. She was not
there. Then the Count led the way to the private sitting-room of the
Countess. As yet only the young locksmith had noticed the fire, the
others were uncertain whether they smelt anything unusual or not. The
key of the apprentice would not fit the lock of the Countess' ante-room,
so he ran home to get another. Then the Count went back to his own
apartment, and on entering it, himself perceived the smell of burning.
Accordingly, he went upstairs again, to find that the coachman had
opened an iron stove door in the passage, and that a thick pungent smoke
was pouring out of it. We must enter here into an explanation. In many
cases the porcelain stove of a German house has no opening into the
room. It is lighted outside through a door into the passage. Several
stoves communicate with one chimney. The Count and his servants ran out
into the courtyard to look at the chimney stack to see if smoke were
issuing from it. None was. Then they returned to the house. The
apprentice had not yet returned. Looking through the glass door, they
saw that there was smoke in the room. It had been unperceived before,
for it was evening and dusk. At once the Count's valet, Schiller,
smashed the plate glass, and through the broken glass smoke rolled
towards them.

The hour was half-past ten. The search had occupied an hour and a half.
It had not been prosecuted with great activity; but then, no suspicion
of anything to cause alarm had been entertained. If the Countess were at
home, she must be in the sitting-room. From this room the smoke must
come which pervaded the ante-chamber. The fire must be within, and if
the Countess were there, she must run the danger of suffocation.
Consequently, as the keys were not at hand, the doors ought to be broken
open at once. This was not done. Count Goerlitz sent the servants away.
Stauff he bade run for a chimney-sweep, and Schiller for his medical
man, Dr. Stegmayer. The coachman had lost his head and ran out into the
street, yelling, "Fire! fire!" The wife of Schiller, who had come in,
ran out to summon assistance.

The Count was left alone outside the glass door; and there he remained
passive till the arrival of the locksmith's man with the keys. More time
was wasted. None of the keys would open the door, and still the smoke
rolled out. Then the apprentice beat the door open with a stroke of his
hammer. He did it of his own accord, without orders from the Count. That
was remembered afterwards. At once a dense, black, sickly-smelling smoke
poured forth, and prevented the entrance of those who stood without.

In the meantime, the coachman and others had put ladders against the
wall, one to the window of the ante-room, the other to that of the
parlour. Seitz, the apprentice, ran up the ladder, and peered in. The
room was quite dark. He broke two panes in the window, and at once a
blue flame danced up, caught the curtains, flushed yellow, and shot out
a fiery tongue through the broken window. Seitz, who seems to have been
the only man with presence of mind, boldly put his arm through and
unfastened the valves, and, catching the burning curtains, tore them
down and flung them into the street. Then he cast down two chairs which
were flaming from the window. He did not venture in because of the

In the meanwhile the coachman had broken the window panes of the
ante-room. This produced a draught through the room, as the glass door
had been broken in by Seitz. The smoke cleared sufficiently to allow of
admission to the parlour door. This door was also found to be locked,
and not only locked, but with the key withdrawn from it, as had been
from the ante-chamber door. This door was also burst open, and then it
was seen that the writing-desk of the Countess was on fire. That was all
that could be distinguished at the first glance. The room was full of
smoke, and the heat was so great that no one could enter.

Water was brought in jugs and pails, and thrown upon the floor. The
current of air gradually dissipated the smoke, and something white was
observed on the floor near the burning desk. "Good heavens!" exclaimed
the Count, "there she lies!"

The Countess lay on the floor beside her writing-desk; the white object
was her stockings.

Among those who entered was a smith called Wetzell; he dashed forward,
flung a pail of water over the burning table, caught hold of the feet of
the dead body, and dragged it into the ante-room. Then he sought to
raise it, but it slipped through his hands. A second came to his
assistance, with the same result. The corpse was like melted butter.
When he seized it by the arm, the flesh came away from the bone.

The body was laid on a mat, and so transported into a cabinet. The upper
portion was burnt to coal; one hand was charred; on the left foot was a
shoe, the other was found, later, in another room. More water was
brought, and the fire in the parlour was completely quenched. Then only
was it possible to examine the place. The fire had, apparently,
originated at the writing-desk or secretaire of the Countess; the body
had lain before the table, and near it was a chair, thrown over. From
the drawing-room a door, which was found open, led into the boudoir.
This boudoir had a window that looked into a side street. In the
ante-room were no traces of fire. In the drawing-room only the
secretaire and the floor beneath it had been burnt. On a chiffonier
against the wall were candlesticks, the stearine candles in them had
been melted by the heat of the room and run over the chiffonier.

In this room was also a sofa, opposite the door leading from the
ante-chamber, some way from the desk and the seat of the fire. In the
middle of the sofa was a hole fourteen inches long by six inches broad,
burnt through the cretonne cover, the canvas below, and into the horse
hair beneath. A looking-glass hung against the wall above; this glass
was broken and covered with a deposit as of smoke. It was apparent,
therefore, that a flame had leaped up on the sofa sufficiently high and
hot to snap the mirror and obscure it.

Left of the entrance-door was a bell-rope, torn down and cast on the

Beyond the parlour was the boudoir. It had a little corner divan. Its
cover was burnt through in two places. The cushion at the back was also
marked with holes burnt through. Above this seat against the wall hung
an oil painting. It was blistered with heat. Near it was an étagère, on
which were candles; these also were found melted completely away. In
this boudoir was found the slipper from the right foot of the Countess.

If the reader will consider what we have described, he will see that
something very mysterious must have occurred. There were traces of
burning in three distinct places--on the sofa, and at the secretaire in
the parlour, and on the corner seat in the boudoir. It was clear also
that the Countess had been in both rooms, for her one slipper was in the
boudoir, the other on her foot in the drawing-room. Apparently, also,
she had rung for assistance, and torn down the bell-rope.

Another very significant and mysterious feature of the case was the fact
that the two doors were found locked, and that the key was not found
with the body, nor anywhere in the rooms. Consequently, the Countess had
not locked herself in.

Again:--the appearance of the corpse was peculiar. The head and face
were burnt to cinder, especially the face, less so the back of the head.
All the upper part of the body had been subjected to fire, as far as the
lower ribs, and there the traces of burning ceased absolutely. Also, the
floor was burnt in proximity to the corpse, but not where it lay. The
body had protected the floor where it lay from fire.

The police were at once informed of what had taken place, and the
magistrates examined the scene and the witnesses. This was done in a
reprehensibly inefficient manner. The first opinion entertained was that
the Countess had been writing at her desk, and had set fire to herself,
had run from room to room, tried to obtain assistance by ringing the
bell, had failed, fallen, and died. Three medical men were called in to
examine the body. One decided that this was a case of spontaneous
combustion. The second that it was not a case of spontaneous combustion.
The third simply stated that she had been burnt, but how the fire
originated he was unable to say. No minute examination of the corpse was
made. It was not even stripped of the half-burnt clothes upon it. It was
not dissected. The family physician signed a certificate of "accidental
death," and two days after the body was buried.

Only three or, at the outside, four hypotheses could account for the
death of the Countess.

1. She had caught fire accidentally, whilst writing at her desk.

2. She had died of spontaneous combustion.

3. She had been murdered.

There is, indeed, a fourth hypothesis--that she had committed suicide;
but this was too improbable to be entertained. The manner of death was
not one to be reconciled with the idea of suicide.

The first idea was that in the minds of the magistrates. They were
prepossessed with it. They saw nothing that could militate against it.
Moreover, the Count was Chamberlain at Court, a favourite of the
sovereign and much liked by the princes, also a man generally respected.
Unquestionably this had something to do with the hasty and superficial
manner in which the examination was gone through. The magistrates
desired to have the tragedy hushed up.

A little consideration shows that the theory of accident was untenable.
The candles were on the chiffonier, and no traces of candlesticks were
found on the spot where the fire had burned. Moreover, the appearance of
the secretaire was against this theory. The writing-desk and table
consisted of a falling flap, on which the Countess wrote, and which she
could close and lock. Above this table were several small drawers which
contained her letters, receipted bills, and her jewelry. Below it were
larger drawers. The upper drawers were not completely burnt; on the
other hand, the lower drawers were completely consumed, and their
bottoms and contents had fallen in cinders on the floor beneath, which
was also burnt through to the depth of an inch and a half to two inches.
It was apparent, therefore, that the secretaire had been set on fire
from below. Moreover, there was more charcoal found under it than could
be accounted for, by supposing it had fallen from above. Now it will be
remembered that only the upper portion of the body was consumed. The
Countess had not set fire to herself whilst writing, and so set fire to
the papers on the desk. That was impossible.

The supposition that she had died of spontaneous combustion was also
entertained by a good many. But no well-authenticated case of
spontaneous combustion is known. Professor Liebig, when afterwards
examined on this case, stated that spontaneous combustion of the human
body was absolutely impossible, and such an idea must be relegated to
the region of myths.

There remained, therefore, no other conclusion at which it was possible
for a rational person to arrive who weighed the circumstances than that
the Countess had been murdered.

The Magisterial Court of the city of Darmstadt had attempted to hush-up
the case. The German press took it up. It excited great interest and
indignation throughout the country. It was intimated pretty pointedly
that the case had been scandalously slurred over, because of the rank of
the Count and the intimate relation in which he stood to the royal
family. The papers did not shrink from more than insinuating that this
was a case of murder, and that the murderer was the husband of the
unfortunate woman. Some suspicion that this was so seems to have crossed
the minds of the servants of the house. They recollected his
dilatoriness in entering the rooms of the Countess; the time that was
protracted in idle sending for keys, and trying key after key, when a
kick of the foot or a blow of the hammer would have sufficed to give
admission to the room where she lay. It was well known that the couple
did not live on the best terms. To maintain appearances before the
world, they dined and occasionally supped together. They rarely met
alone, and when they did fell into dispute, and high words passed which
the servants heard.

The Countess was mean and miserly, she grudged allowing her husband any
of her money. She had, however, made her will the year before, leaving
all her large fortune to her husband for life. Consequently her death
released him from domestic and pecuniary annoyances. On the morning
after the death he sent for the agent of the insurance company with
whom the furniture and other effects were insured and made his claim. He
claimed, in addition to the value of the furniture destroyed, the worth
of a necklace of diamonds and pearls which had been so injured by the
fire that it had lost the greater part of its value. The pearls were
quite spoiled, and the diamonds reduced in worth by a half. The agent
refused this claim, as he contended that the jewelry was not included in
the insurance, and the Count abstained from pressing it.

To the Count the situation became at length intolerable. He perceived a
decline of cordiality in his reception at Court, his friends grew cold,
and acquaintances cut him. He must clear himself of the charge which now
weighed on him. The death of the Countess had occurred on June 13, 1847.
On October 6, that is four months later, Count Goerlitz appeared before
the Grand-Ducal Criminal Court of Darmstadt, and produced a bundle of
German newspapers charging him with having murdered his wife, and set
fire to the room to conceal the evidence of his crime. He therefore
asked to have the case re-opened, and the witnesses re-examined. Nothing
followed. The Court hesitated to take up the case again, and throw
discredit on the magistrates' decision in June. Again, on October 16,
the Count renewed his request, and desired, if this were refused, that
he and his solicitor might be allowed access to the minutes of the
examination, that they might be enabled to take decided measures for the
clearing of the Count's character, and the chastisement of those who
charged him with an atrocious crime. On October 21, he received a
reply, "that his request could not be granted, unless he produced such
additional evidence as would show the Court that the former examination
was defective."

On October 25, the Count laid a mass of evidence before the Court which,
he contended, would materially modify, if not absolutely upset the
conclusion arrived at by the previous investigation.

Then, at last, consent was given; but proceedings did not begin till
November, and dragged on till the end of October in the following year,
when a new law of criminal trial having been passed in the grand-duchy,
the whole of what had gone before became invalid, save as preliminary
investigation, and it was not till March 4, 1850--that is, not till
_three years_ after the death of the Countess--that the case was
thoroughly sifted and settled. Before the promulgation of the law of
October, 1848, all trials were private, then trial by jury, and in
public, was introduced.

However, something had been done. In August 1848--that is, over a year
after the burial of the Countess--the body was exhumed and submitted to
examination. Two facts were then revealed. The skull of the Countess had
been fractured by some blunt instrument; and she had been strangled. The
condition in which the tongue had been found when the body was first
discovered had pointed to strangulation, the state of the jaws when
exhumed proved it.

So much, then, was made probable. A murderer had entered the room,
struck the Countess on the head, and when that did not kill her, he had
throttled her. Then, apparently, so it was argued, he had burnt the
body, and next, before it was more than half consumed, had placed it
near the secretaire, and, finally, had set fire to the secretaire.

He had set fire to the writing-desk to lead to the supposition that the
Countess had set fire to herself whilst writing at it; and this was the
first conclusion formed.

That a struggle had taken place appeared from several circumstances. The
bell-rope was torn down. Probably no servant had been in the house that
Sunday evening when the bell rang desperately for aid. The seat flung
over seemed to point to her having been surprised at the desk. One shoe
was in the boudoir. The struggle had been continued as she fled from the
sitting-room into the inner apartment.

Now, only, were the fire-marks on the divan and sofa explicable. The
Countess had taken refuge first on one, then on the other, after having
been wounded, and her blood had stained them. The murderer had burnt out
the marks of blood.

She had fled from the sitting-room to the boudoir, and thence had hoped
to escape through the next door into a corner room, but the door of that
room was locked.

The next point to be determined was, where had her body been burnt.

     locked   |   boudoir
     room     |
     anteroom |   parlour

In the sitting-room, the boudoir, and a locked corner room were stoves.
The walls of these rooms met, and in the angles were the stoves. They
all communicated with one chimney. They were all heated from an opening
in the anteroom, marked _a_, which closed with an iron door, and was
covered with tapestry. The opening was large enough for a human being to
be thrust through, and the fire-chamber amply large enough also for its

Much time had passed since a serious examination was begun, and it was
too late to think of finding evidence of the burning of the body in this
place. The stoves had been used since, each winter. However, some new
and surprising evidence did come to light. At five minutes past eight on
the evening that the mysterious death took place, Colonel von
Stockhausen was on the opposite side of the street talking to a lady,
when his attention was arrested by a dense black smoke issuing suddenly
from the chimney of the Count Goerlitz' palace. He continued looking at
the column of smoke whilst conversing with the lady, uncertain whether
the chimney were on fire or not, and whether he ought to give the alarm.
When the lady left him, after about ten minutes, or a quarter of an
hour, he saw that smoke ceased to issue from the chimney. He accordingly
went his way without giving notice of the smoke.

So far every piece of evidence went to show that the Countess had been
murdered. The conclusion now arrived at was this: she had been struck on
the head, chased from room to room bleeding, had been caught, strangled,
then thrust into the fire-chamber of the stove over a fire which only
half consumed her; taken out again and laid before the secretaire, and
the secretaire deliberately set fire to, and all the blood-marks
obliterated by fire. That something of this kind had taken place was
evident. Who had done it was not so clear. The efforts of the Count to
clear himself had established the fact that his wife was murdered, but
did not establish his innocence.

Suddenly--the case assumed a new aspect, through an incident wholly
unexpected and extraordinary.

The result of inquiry into the case of the death of the Countess
Goerlitz was, that the decision that she had come to her end by
accident, given by the city magistrates, was upset, and it was made
abundantly clear that she had been murdered. By whom murdered was not so

Inquiry carried the conclusion still further. She had been robbed as
well as murdered.

We have already described the writing-desk of the Countess. There were
drawers below the flap, and other smaller drawers concealed by it when
closed. In the smaller drawers she kept her letters, her bills, her
vouchers for investments, and her jewelry. Among the latter was the
pearl and diamond necklace, which she desired by her will might be sold,
and the money given to a charitable institution. The necklace was indeed
discovered seriously injured; but what had become of her bracelets,
brooches, rings, her other necklets, her earrings? She had also a chain
of pearls, which was nowhere to be found. All these articles were gone.
No trace of them had been found in the cinders under the secretaire;
moreover, the drawers in which she preserved them were not among those
burnt through. In the first excitement and bewilderment caused by her
death, the Count had not observed the loss, and the magistrates had not
thought fit to inquire whether any robbery had been committed.

A very important fact was now determined. The Countess had been robbed,
and murdered, probably for the sake of her jewels. Consequently the
murderer was not likely to be the Count.

When the case was re-opened, at Count Goerlitz's repeated demand, an
"Inquirent" was appointed by the Count to examine the case--that is, an
official investigator of all the circumstances; and on November 2, 1847,
in the morning, notice was given to the Count that the "Inquirent" would
visit his mansion on the morrow and examine both the scene of the murder
and the servants. The Count at once convoked his domestics and bade them
be in the house next day, ready for examination.

That same afternoon the cook, Margaret Eyrich by name, was engaged in
the kitchen preparing dinner for the master, who dined at 4 P.M. At
three o'clock the servant-man, John Stauff, came into the kitchen and
told the cook that her master wanted a fire lit in one of the upper
rooms. She refused to go because she was busy at the stove. Stauff
remained a quarter of an hour there talking to her. Then he said it was
high time for him to lay the table for dinner, a remark to which she
gave an assent, wondering in her own mind why he had delayed so long. He
took up a soup dish, observed that it was not quite clean, and asked her
to wash it. She was then engaged on some sauce over the fire.

"I will wash it, if you will stir the sauce," she said. "If I leave the
pan, the sauce will be burnt."

Stauff consented, and she went with the dish to the sink. Whilst thus
engaged, she turned her head, and was surprised to see that Stauff had a
small phial in his hand, and was pouring its contents into the sauce.

She asked him what he was about; he denied having done anything, and the
woman, with great prudence, said nothing further, so as not to let him
think that her suspicions were aroused. Directly, however, that he had
left the kitchen, she examined the sauce, saw it was discoloured, and on
trying it, that the taste was unpleasant. She called in the coachman and
the housekeeper. On consultation they decided that this matter must be
further investigated. The housekeeper took charge of the sauce, and
carried it to Dr. Stegmayer, the family physician, who at once said that
verdigris had been mixed with it, and desired that the police should be
communicated with. This was done, the sauce was analysed, and found to
contain 15½ grains of verdigris, enough to poison a man. Thereupon
Stauff was arrested.

We see now that an attempt had been made on the life of the Count, on
the day on which he had announced that an official inquiry into the
murder was to be made in his house and among his domestics.

Stauff, then, was apparently desirous of putting the Count out of the
way before that inquiry was made. At this very time a terrible tragedy
had occurred in France, and was in all the papers. The Duke of Praslin
had murdered his wife, and when he was about to be arrested, the duke
had poisoned himself.

Did Stauff wish that the Count should be found poisoned that night, in
order that the public might come to the conclusion he had committed
suicide to escape arrest? It would seem so.

John Stauff's arrest took place on November 3, 1847, four months and a
half after the death of the Countess. He was, however, only arrested on
a charge of attempting to poison the Count, and the further charge of
having murdered the Countess was not brought against him till August 28,
1848. The body of the murdered woman, it will be remembered, was not
exhumed and examined till August 11, 1848--eight months after the
re-opening of the investigation! It is really wonderful that the mystery
should have been cleared and the Count's character satisfactorily
vindicated, with such dilatoriness of proceeding. One more instance of
the stupid way in which the whole thing was managed. Although John
Stauff was charged with the attempt to poison on November 3, 1847, he
was not questioned on the charge till January 10, 1849, that is, till he
had been fourteen months in prison.

It will be remembered that the bell-rope in the Countess's parlour was
torn down. It would suggest itself to the meanest capacity that here was
a point of departure for inquiry. If the bell had been torn down, it
must have pealed its summons for help through the house. Who was in the
house at the time? If anyone was, why did he not answer the appeal?
Inconceivable was the neglect of the magistrates of Darmstadt in the
first examination--they did not inquire. Only several months later was
this matter subjected to investigation.

In the house lived the Count and Countess, the cook, who also acted as
chambermaid to the Countess, Schiller, the valet to the Count, Schämbs,
the coachman, and the Countess's own servant-man, John Stauff. Of these
Schiller and Schämbs did not sleep in the house.

June 13, the day of the murder, was a Sunday. The Count went as usual to
the grand-ducal palace in his coach at 3 P.M. The coachman drove him;
Stauff sat on the box beside the coachman. They left the Count at the
palace and returned home. They were ordered to return to the palace to
fetch him at 6 P.M. On Sundays, the Count usually spent his day in his
own suite of apartments, and the Countess in hers. On the morning in
question she had come downstairs to her husband with a bundle of coupons
which she wanted him to cash for her on the morrow. He managed her
fortune for her. The sum was small, only £30. At 2 P.M. she went to the
kitchen to tell the cook she might go out for the afternoon, as she
would not be wanted, and that she must return by 9 P.M.

At three o'clock the cook left. The cook saw and spoke to her as she
left. The Countess was then partially undressed, and the cook supposed
she was changing her clothes. Shortly after this, Schiller, the Count's
valet, saw and spoke with her. She was then upstairs in the laundry
arranging the linen for the mangle. She was then in her morning cotton
dress. Consequently she had not dressed herself to go out, as the cook
supposed. At the same time the carriage left the court of the house for
the palace. That was the last seen of her alive, except by John Stauff,
and, if he was not the murderer, by one other.

About a quarter past three the coach returned with Schämbs and Stauff
on the box. The Count had been left at the palace. The coachman took out
his horses, without unharnessing them, and left for his own house, at
half-past three, to remain there till 5 o'clock, when he must return,
put the horses in, and drive back to the palace to fetch the Count. A
quarter of an hour after the coachman left, Schiller went out for a walk
with his little boy.

Consequently--none were in the house but the Countess and Stauff, and
Stauff knew that the house was clear till 5 o'clock, when Schämbs would
return to the stables. What happened during that time?

At a quarter past four, the wife of Schiller came to the house with a
little child, and a stocking she was knitting. She wanted to know if her
husband had gone with the boy to Eberstadt, a place about four miles
distant. She went to the back-door. It was not fastened, but on being
opened rang a bell, like a shop door. Near it were two rooms, one
occupied by Schiller, the other by Stauff. The wife went into her
husband's room and found it empty. Then she went into that of Stauff. It
also was empty. She returned into the entrance hall and listened.
Everything was still in the house. She stood there some little while
knitting and listening. Presently she heard steps descending the
backstairs, and saw Stauff, with an apron about him, and a duster in his
hand. She asked him if her husband had gone to Eberstadt, and he said
that he had. Then she left the house. Stauff, however, called to her
from the window to hold up the child to him, to kiss. She did so, and
then departed.

Shortly after five, Schämbs returned to the stable, put in the horses,
and drove to the palace without seeing Stauff. He thought nothing of
this, as Stauff usually followed on foot, in time to open the coach door
for the Count. On this occasion, Stauff appeared at his post in livery,
at a quarter to six. At half-past six both returned with their master to
the house in Neckar Street.

Accordingly, from half-past three to a quarter past four, and from
half-past four to half-past five, Stauff was alone in the house with the
Countess. But then, from a quarter to five to half-past five she was
quite alone, and it was possible that the murder was committed at that
time. The Count, it will be remembered, on his return, went upstairs and
knocked at the door of the Countess' apartments, without meeting with a
response. Probably, therefore, she was then dead.

At seven o'clock the coachman went away, and Stauff helped the Count to
take off his court dining dress, and put on a light suit. He was with
him till half-past seven, when the Count went out for a walk. The Count
returned at half-past eight; during an hour, therefore, Stauff was alone
in the house with the Countess, or--her corpse.

What occurred during that hour? Here two independent pieces of evidence
come in to assist us in determining what took place. At five minutes
past eight, Colonel von Stockhausen had seen the column of black smoke
issue from the chimney of the house; it ascended, he said, some fifteen
feet above the chimney, and was so dense that it riveted his attention
whilst he was talking to a lady.

At about a quarter-past eight the smoke ceased.

The reader may remember that the window of the inner boudoir did not
look into the Neckar Street, but into a small side street. Immediately
opposite lived a widow lady named Kekule. On the evening in question,
her daughter, Augusta, a girl of eighteen, came in from a walk, and went
upstairs to the room the window of which was exactly opposite, though at
a somewhat higher level than the window of the boudoir. Looking out of
her window, Augusta Kekule saw to her astonishment a flickering light
like a lambent flame in the boudoir. A blind was down, so that she could
see nothing distinctly. She was, however, alarmed, and called her
brother Augustus, aged twenty years, and both watched the flames
flashing in the room. They called their mother also, and all three saw
it flare up high, then decrease, and go out. The time was 8.15. On
examination of the spot, it was seen that the window of Miss Kekule
commanded the corner of the boudoir, where was the divan partly burnt
through in several places.

What was the meaning of these two appearances, the smoke and the flame?
Apparently, from half-past seven to half-past eight the murderer was
engaged in burning the body, and in effacing with fire the blood-stains
on the sofas. During this time John Stauff was in the house, and, beside
the Countess, alive or dead, John Stauff only.

Stauff was now subjected to examination. He was required to account for
his time on the afternoon and evening of Sunday, June 13.

He said, that after his return from the palace, that is, about ten
minutes past three, he went into his room on the basement, and ate bread
and cheese. When told that the wife of Schiller stated she had seen him
come downstairs, he admitted that he had run upstairs to fetch a duster,
to brush away the bread crumbs from the table at which he had eaten.
After the woman left, according to his own account, he remained in his
room below till five o'clock, when the Countess came to the head of the
stairs and called him. He went up and found her on the topmost landing;
she went into the laundry, and he stood in the door whilst she spoke to
him, and gave him some orders for the butcher and baker. She wore, he
said, a black stuff gown. Whilst he was talking to her, Schämbs drove
away to fetch the Count. He gave a correct account of what followed, up
to the departure of the Count on his walk. After that, he said, he had
written a letter to his sweetheart, and at eight went out to get his
supper at an outdoor restaurant where he remained till half-past nine.
He was unable to produce evidence of anyone who had seen him and spoken
to him there; but, of course, much cannot be made of this, owing to the
distance of time at which the evidence was taken from the event of the
murder. According to his account, therefore, no one was in the house at
the time when the smoke rose from the chimney, and the flame was seen in
the boudoir.

If we sum up the points determined concerning the murder of the
Countess, we shall see how heavily the evidence told against Stauff.

She had been attacked in her room, and after a desperate struggle, which
went on in both parlour and boudoir, she had been killed.

Her secretaire had been robbed.

Her body had been burnt.

The blood-stains had been effaced by fire.

The secretaire had been set fire to; and, apparently, the body removed
from where it had been partially consumed, and placed near it.

Now all this must have taken time. It could only be done by one who knew
that he had time in which to effect it undisturbed.

John Stauff was at two separate times, in the afternoon and evening,
alone in the house for an hour, knowing that during that time he would
be undisturbed.

If his account were true, the murder must have been committed during his
brief absence with the coach, and the burning of the body, and setting
fire to the room, done when he went out to get his supper. But--how
could the murderer suppose he would leave the house open and unprotected
at eight o'clock? Was it likely that a murderer and robber, after having
killed the Countess and taken her jewels at six o'clock, would hang
about till eight, waiting the chance of getting back to the scene of his
crime unobserved, to attempt to disguise it? not knowing, moreover, how
much time he would have for effecting his purpose?

It was possible that this had been done, but it was not probable.

Evidence was forthcoming from a new quarter that served to establish
the guilt of Stauff.

On October 6, 1847, an oilman, Henry Stauff, in Oberohmen, in Hesse
Cassel, was arrested, because he was found to be disposing of several
articles of jewelry, without being able to give a satisfactory account
of where he got them. The jewelry consisted of a lump of molten gold,
and some brooches, bracelets and rings.

Henry Stauff had been a whitesmith in his youth, then he became a
carrier, but in the last few years, since the death of his wife, he had
sold knives, and been a knife-grinder. He was very poor, and had been
unable to pay his rates. In July of 1847, however, his affairs seemed to
have mended; he wore a silver watch, and took out a licence to deal in
oil and seeds. When he applied for the patent, the burgomaster was
surprised, and asked him how he could get stock to set up business, in
his state of poverty. Thereupon, Henry Stauff opened his purse and
showed that it contained a good amount of silver, and--with the coins
was a gold ring with, apparently, a precious stone in it.

The cause of his arrest was his offering the lump of gold to a
silversmith in Cassel. It looked so much as if it was the melting up of
jewelry, that the smith communicated with the police. On his arrest,
Henry Stauff said he was the father of four children, two sons and two
daughters; that his sons, one of whom was in the army, had sent him
money, that his daughter in America had given him the jewelry, and that
the gold he had had by him for several years, it had been given him by
a widow, who was dead. The silver watch he had bought in Frankfort.
Henry Stauff had a daughter at home, name Anna Margaretta, who often
received letters from Darmstadt. One of these letters had not been
stamped, and as she declined to pay double for it, it lay in the
post-office till opened to be returned. Then it was found to be dated
September 29, 1847, and to be from her brother, John Stauff. It simply
contained an inclosure to her father; this was opened; it contained an
angry remonstrance with him for not having done what he was required,
and sent the money at once to the writer.

Was it possible that this had reference to the disposal of the jewelry?

On July 7, three weeks after the death of the Countess, Henry Stauff was
at Darmstadt, where one son, Jacob, was in the army; the other, John,
was in service with the Goerlitz family.

This led the magistrates in Cassel to communicate with those in
Darmstadt. On November 10, John Stauff was questioned with reference to
his father. He said he had often sent him money. He was shown the
jewelry, and asked if he recognised it. He denied having ever seen it,
and having sent it to his father.

The jewelry was shown to Count Goerlitz, and he immediately identified
it as having belonged to his wife. A former lady's-maid of the Countess
also identified the articles. The Count, and a maid, asserted that these
articles had always been kept by the deceased lady in the small upper
drawers of her secretaire. The Countess was vain and miserly, and often
looked over her jewelry. She would, certainly, have missed her things
had they been stolen before June 13.

The articles had not been stolen since, found among the ashes, and
carried off surreptitiously, for they showed no trace of fire.

Here we must again remark on the extraordinary character of the
proceedings in this case. The articles were identified and shown to John
Stauff on November 10, 1847, but it was not till ten months after, on
August 28, 1848, that he was told that he was suspected of the murder of
the Countess, and of having robbed her of these ornaments. Another of
the eccentricities of the administration of justice in Darmstadt
consisted in allowing the father Henry, and his son John, to have free
private communication with each other, whilst the latter was in prison,
and thus allowing them to concoct together a plausible account of their
conduct, with which, however, we need not trouble ourselves.

On September 1, 1848, on the fourth day after Stauff knew that he was
charged with the murder of the Countess, he asked to make his statement
of what really took place. This was the account he gave. It will be seen
that, from the moment he knew the charge of murder was brought against
him, he altered his defence.

He said, "On June 20, 1847," (that is, a week after the murder), "about
ten o'clock in the evening, after the Count had partaken of his supper
and undressed, he brought me a box containing jewelry, and told me he
would give it to me, as I was so poor, and that it would place my father
and me in comfortable circumstances. I then told the Count that I did
not know what to do with these jewels, whereupon he exhorted me to send
them to my father, and get him to dispose of them. He told me that he
required me solemnly to swear that I would not tell anyone about the
jewels. I hid the box in a stocking and concealed it in some bushes on
the Bessungen road. Later I told my brother Jacob where they were, and
bade him give them to my father on his visit to Darmstadt."

When Stauff was asked what reason he could assign for the Count giving
him the jewels, he said that the Count saw that he, John Stauff,
suspected him of the murder, and he named several circumstances, such as
observing blood on the Count's handkerchief on the evening of the
murder, which had led him to believe that the Count was guilty, and the
Count was aware of his suspicions.

On March 4, 1850, began the trial of John Stauff for the murder of the
Countess, for robbery, for arson, and for attempt to poison the Count.

At the same time his father, Henry Stauff, and his brother, Jacob
Stauff, were tried for concealment of stolen goods. The trial came to an
end on April 11. As many as 118 witnesses were heard; among these was
the Count Goerlitz, as to whose innocence no further doubts were

John Stauff was at that time aged twenty-six, he was therefore
twenty-four years old at the time of the murder. He had been at school
at Oberohmen, where he had shown himself an apt and intelligent scholar.
In 1844 he had entered the grand-ducal army, and in May 1846 had become
servant in the Goerlitz house, as footman to the Countess. In his
regiment he had behaved well; he had been accounted an excellent
servant, and both his master and mistress placed confidence in him.
Curiously enough, in the autumn of 1846, he had expressed a wish to a
chambermaid of the Countess "that both the Countess and her pack of
jewels, bracelets and all, might be burnt in one heap."

When the maid heard of the death of the Countess in the following year,
"Ah!" she said, "now Stauff's wish has been fulfilled to the letter."

He was fond of talking of religion, and had the character among his
fellow-servants of being pious. He was, however, deep in debt, and
associated with women of bad character. Throughout the trial he
maintained his composure, his lips closed, his colour pale, without
token of agitation. But the man who could have stood by without showing
emotion at the opening of the coffin of his mistress, at the sight of
the half-burnt, half-decomposed remains of his victim, must have had
powers of self-control of no ordinary description. During the trial he
seemed determined to show that he was a man of some culture; he
exhibited ease of manner and courtesy towards judges, jury, and lawyers.
He never interrupted a witness, and when he questioned them, did so with
intelligence and moderation. He often looked at the public, especially
the women, who attended in great numbers, watching the effect of the
evidence on their minds. When, as now and then happened, some ludicrous
incident occurred, he laughed over it as heartily as the most innocent

The jury unanimously found him "guilty" on every count. They
unanimously gave a verdict of "guilty" against his father and brother.
Henry Stauff was sentenced to six months' imprisonment; Jacob Stauff to
detention for three months, and John to imprisonment for life. At that
time capital punishment could not be inflicted in Hesse.

On June 3, he was taken to the convict prison of Marienschloss. On July
1, he appealed to the Grand-Duke to give him a free pardon, as he was
innocent of the crimes for which he was sentenced. The appeal was
rejected. Then he professed his intention of making full confession. He
asked to see the Count. He professed himself a broken-hearted penitent,
desirous of undoing, by a sincere confession, as much of the evil as was

We will give his confession in his own words.

"When, at five o'clock, I went to announce to the Countess that I was
about to go to the palace, I found both the glass door of the ante-room,
and that into the sitting-room, open, and I walked in through them. I
did not find the Countess in her parlour, of which the curtains were
drawn. Nor was she in her boudoir. I saw the door into the little corner
room ajar, so I presumed she was in there. The flap of her desk was
down, so that I saw the little drawers, in which I knew she kept her
valuables, accessible to my hand. Opportunity makes the thief. I was
unable to resist the temptation to enrich myself by these precious
articles. I opened one of the drawers, took out a gold bracelet, one of
gold filigree, two of bronze, a pair of gold ear-rings, a gold brooch,
and a triple chain of beads or Roman pearls; and pocketed these
articles, which my father afterwards had, and, for the most part, melted

"Most of these articles were in their cases. At that moment the Countess
appeared on the threshold of her boudoir and rushed towards me. I do not
remember what she exclaimed; fear for the consequences, and anxiety to
prevent the Countess from making a noise and calling assistance, and
thereby obtaining my arrest, prevailed in my mind, and I thought only
how I might save myself. I grasped her by the neck, and pressed my
thumbs into her throat. She struggled desperately. I was obliged to use
all my strength to hold her. After a wrestle of between five and seven
minutes, her eyes closed, her face became purple, and I felt her limbs

"When I saw she was dead I was overcome with terror. I let the body
fall, whereby the head struck the corner of the left side of the
secretaire, and this made a wound which began to bleed. Then I ran and
locked both the doors, hid what I had taken in my bed, and left the
house. On my way to the palace, I stepped into Frey's tavern and drank
three glasses of wine. I was afraid I should arrive too late at the
palace, where I appeared, however, at half-past five. The Count did not
return till half-past six, as dinner that day lasted rather longer than

"When the Count went upstairs to see his wife and take her something
good he had brought away with him from table, I was not uneasy at all,
for I knew that he would knock and come away if he met with no response.
So he did. He came down without being discomposed, and remarked that he
fancied the Countess had gone out. At half-past seven he left the house.
In the mean time I had been considering what to do, and had formed my
plan. Now my opportunity had arrived, and I hastened to put it into
execution. My plan was to efface every trace of my deed by fire, and to
commit suicide if interrupted.

"As the weather was chilly, the Count had some fire in his stove. I
fetched the still glowing charcoal, collected splinters of firwood and
other combustibles, and matches, and went upstairs with them. Only the
wine sustained me through what I carried out. I took up the body. I put
a chair before the open desk, seated the corpse on it, placed one arm on
the desk, laid the head on the arm, so that the body reposed in a
position of sleep, leaning on the flap of the desk. I threw the red hot
charcoal down under the head, heaped matches, paper, and wood splinters
over them; took one of the blazing bits of wood and threw it on the
divan in the boudoir; locked both doors, and flung away the keys.

"Then I went to my own room and lighted a fire in the stove, and put the
jewel cases on the fire. The fire would not burn well, and thick smoke
came into the room. Then I saw that the damper was closed. I opened
that, and the smoke flew up the chimney; this is what Colonel von
Stockhausen saw. There were a lot of empty match-boxes also in the
stove, and these burnt with the rest."

Such was the confession of Stauff. How far true, it is impossible to
say. He said nothing about the bell-pull being torn down, nothing about
the holes burnt in the sofa of the sitting-room. According to the
opinion of some experimentalists, the way in which he pretended to have
burnt the Countess would not account for the appearance of the corpse.

His object was to represent himself as the victim of an over-mastering
temptation--to show that the crime was wholly unpremeditated.

This was the sole plea on which he could appeal for sympathy, and expect
a relaxation of his sentence.

That sentence was relaxed.

In 1872 he obtained a free pardon from the Grand-Duke, on condition that
he left the country and settled in America. Including his imprisonment
before his trial, he had, therefore, undergone twenty-five years of

When released he went to America, where he probably still is.

A War-and-Honey-Moon.

In the history of Selenography, John Henry Maedler holds a distinguished
place. He was the very first to publish a large map of the lunar
surface; and his map was a good one, very accurate, and beautifully
executed, in four sheets (1834-6). For elucidation of this map he wrote
a book concerning the moon, entitled "The Universal Selenography." Not
content with this, he published a second map of the moon in 1837,
embodying fresh discoveries. Indeed as an astronomer, Maedler was a
specialist. Lord Dufferin when in Iceland met a German naturalist who
had gone to that inclement island to look for one moth. It is of the
nature of Teutonic scientific men not to diffuse their interests over
many branches of natural history or other pursuits, but to focus them on
a single point. Maedler was comparatively indifferent to the planets,
cold towards the comets, and callous to the attractions of the nebulæ.
On the subject of the moon, he was a sheer lunatic.

He died at Hanover in 1874 at the age of eighty, a moon gazer to the
last. Indeed, he appeared before the public as the historian of that
science in a work published at Brunswick, the year previous to his
death. The study of astronomy, more than any other,--even than
theology--detaches a man from the world and its interests. Indeed
theology as a study has a tendency to ruffle a man, and make him bark
and snap at his fellow men who use other telescopes than himself; it is
not so with astronomy. This science exercises a soothing influence on
those who make it their study, so that an Adams and a Le Verrier can
simultaneously discover a Neptune without flying at each other's noses.

Astronomy is certainly an alluring science; set an astronomer before a
telescope, and an overwhelming attraction draws his soul away through
the tube up into heaven, and leaves his body without mundane interests.
An astronomer is necessarily a mathematician, and mathematics are the
hardest and most petrifying of studies. The "humane letters," as classic
studies are called, draw out the human interests, they necessarily carry
men among men, but mathematics draw men away from all the interests of
their fellows. The last man one expects to find in love, the last man in
whose life one looks for a romantic episode, is a mathematician and
astronomer. But as even Cæsar nods, so an astronomer may lapse into
spooning. The life of Professor Maedler does not contain much of
animated interest; but it had its poetic incident. The curious story of
his courtship and marriage may be related without indiscretion, now that
the old Selenographer is no more.

Even the most prosaic of men have their time of poetry. The swan is said
to sing only once--just before it dies. The man of business--the
stockbroker, the insurance-company manager, the solicitor, banker, the
ironmonger, butcher, greengrocer, postman, have all passed through a
"moment," as Hegel would call it, when the soul burst through its rind
of common-place and vulgar routine, sang its nightingale song, and then
was hushed for ever after. It is said that there are certain flowers
which take many years coming to the point of bloom, they open, exhale a
flood of incense, and in an hour wither. It is so with many. Even the
astronomer has his blooming time. Then, after the honeymoon, the flower
withers, the song ceases, the sunshine fades, and folds of the fog of
common-place settle deeper than before.

Ivan Turgenieff, the Russian novelist, says of love, "It is not an
emotion, it is a malady, attacking soul and body. It is developed
without rule, it cannot be reckoned with, it cannot be overreached. It
lays hold of a man, without asking leave, like a fever or the cholera.
It seizes on its prey as a falcon on a dove, and carries it, where it
wills. There is no equality in love. The so-termed free inclination of
souls towards each other is an idle dream of German professors, who have
never loved. No! of two who love, one is the slave, the other is the
lord, and not inaccurately have the poets told of the chains of love."

But love when it does lay hold of a man assumes some features congruent
to his natural habit. It is hardly tempestuous in a phlegmatic
temperament, nor is a man of sanguine nature liable to be much
influenced by calculations of material advantages. That calculations
should form a constituent portion of the multiform web of a
mathematician's passion is what we might anticipate.

It will be interesting to see in a German professor devoted to the
severest, most abstract and super-mundane of studies, the appearance,
course, and dying away of the "malady" of love. We almost believe that
this case is so easy of analysis that the very _bacillus_ may be

Before, however, we come to the story of Professor Maedler's love
episode, we must say a word about his previous history.

Maedler was born at Berlin on May 29th, 1794, in the very month of love,
though at its extreme end. He began life as a schoolmaster, but soared
in his leisure hours into a purer atmosphere than that of the
schoolroom; he began to study the stars, and found them brighter and
more interesting than the heads of his pupils.

In 1828 William Beer, the Berlin banker, brother of the great composer,
Meyerbeer, a Jew, built a small observatory in the suburbs of Berlin. He
had made the acquaintance of Maedler, they had the same love of the
stars, and they became close friends.

The Beers were a gifted family, running out in different directions.
Michael, a third brother, was a poet, and wrote tragedies, one or two of
which occasionally reappear on the boards.

The result of the nightly star gazings was an article on Mars when in
opposition, with a drawing of the surface as it appeared to Beer and
Maedler, through the telescope of the former.

But Mars did not admit of much further scrutiny, it presented no more
problems they were capable of solving, so they devoted themselves to the
moon. A gourmand exists from dinner to dinner, that meal is the climax
of his vitality, that past he lapses into inertness, indifference,
quiescence. Full moon was the exciting moment of the periods in
Maedler's life, which was divided, not like a gourmand's day, into
periods of twenty-four hours, but into lunar months. When the moon began
to show, Maedler began to live; his interest, the pulses of his life
quickened as full moon approached, then declined and went to sleep when
there was no lunar disc in the sky. From 1834 to 1836 he issued his
great map of the moon, and so made his name. But beyond that, in the
summer of 1833 he was employed by the Russian Government on a
chronometrical expedition in the Baltic.

When his map came out, he was at once secured by the Prussian Government
as assistant astronomer to the observatory at Berlin, recently erected.
In 1840 he became a professor, and was summoned to take charge of the
observatory, and lecture on astronomy, in the Russian University of
Dorpat. There he spent six uneventful years. He was unmarried,
indifferent to female society, and as cold as his beloved moon. He was
as solitary, as far removed from the ideas of love and matrimony, as the
Man in the Moon.

At last, one vacation time, he paid a long deferred visit to a friend, a
Selenologist, at Gröningen, the University of the Kingdom of Hanover.
Whilst smoking, drinking beer, and talking over the craters and luminous
streaks in the moon, with his friend, who was also a professor, that
gentleman drew his pipe from his mouth, blew a long spiral from between
his lips, and then said slowly, "By the way, professor, are you aware
that we have here, in this kingdom, not, indeed, in Gröningen, but in
the town of Hanover, a lady, the wife of the Herr Councillor Witte, who
is, like yourself, devoted to the moon; a lady, who spends entire nights
on the roof of her house peering at the face of the moon through one
end--the smaller--of her telescope, observing all the prominences,
measuring their altitudes, and sounding all the cavities. Indeed, it is
asserted that she studies the face and changes of the moon much more
closely than the features and moods of her husband. Also, it is
asserted, that when the moon is shining, the household duties are
neglected, the dinners are bad, the maids--"

"O dinners! maids! you need not consider them; there are always dinners
and maids," said the Dorpat astronomer contemptuously, "but the moon is
seen so comparatively rarely. The moon must be made much of when she
shows. Everything must then be sacrificed to her."

Dr. Maedler did not call the moon _she_, but _he_; however, we are
writing in English, not in German, so we change the gender.

The Astronomer Royal of the University of Gröningen went on, without
noticing the interruption: "Frau von Witte has spent a good deal of her
husband's money in getting the largest procurable telescope, and has
built an observatory for it with a dome that revolves on cannon balls,
on the top of her house. Whilst Herr von Witte slumbers and snores
beneath, like a Philistine, his enlightened lady is aloft, studying the
moon. The Frau Councilloress has done more than observe Luna, she has
done more than you and Beer together, with your maps--she has modelled

"Modelled it!--modelled the moon!--in what?"

"In white wax."

Professor Maedler's countenance fell. He had gained great renown, not in
Germany only, but throughout Europe by his maps of the moon. Here was an
unknown lady, as enthusiastic a devotee to the satellite as himself, who
had surpassed him. "You see," continued the Hanoverian professor, "the
idea is superb, the undertaking colossal. You have a fixed strong light,
you make the wax moon to revolve on its axis, and you reproduce in the
most surprising and exact manner, all the phases of the moon itself."

This was indeed an idea. Maedler looked at his hands, his fingers. Would
they be capable of modelling such a globe? Hardly, he had very broad
coarse hands, and thick flat fingers, like paddles. He suddenly stood

"What is the matter? Whither are you going?" asked his friend.

"To Hanover, to Frau Witte, to see the wax moon." No persuasion would
restrain him, he was in a selenological fever, he could not sleep, he
could not eat, he could not read, he must see the wax moon.

And now, pray observe the craft of Cupid. The professor was aged
fifty-two. In vain had the damsels of Berlin and Dorpat set their caps
at him. Not a blonde beauty of Saxon race with blue eyes had caught his
fancy, not a dark Russian with large hazel eyes and thick black hair,
had arrested his attention. His heart had been given to the cold, chaste
Diana. It was, with him, the reverse of the tale of Endymion.

He had written a treatise on the occultation of Mars, he had described
the belts of Saturn, he had even measured his waist. Venus he had
neglected, and now Cupid was about to avenge the slight passed on his
mother. There was but one avenue by which access might be had to the
professor's heart. The God of Love knew it, and resolved to storm the
citadel through this avenue. Dr. Maedler packed his trunk himself in the
way in which unmarried men and abstract thinkers do pack their
portmanteaus. He bundled all his clothes in together, higglety-pigglety.
The only bit of prudence he showed was to put the pomatum pot into a
stocking. His collars he curled up in the legs of his boots. Copies of
his astronomical pamphlets for presentation, lay in layers between his
shirts. Then as the trunk would not close, the Professor of Astronomy
sat down heavily on it, stood up, then sharply sat down on it again, and
repeated this operation, till coats, trousers, linen, pamphlets, brushes
and combs had been crushed together into one cohesive mass, and so the
lock would fasten.

No sooner was Dr. Maedler arrived at his inn in Hanover, and had dusted
the collar of his coat, and revolved before the _garçon_ who went over
him with a clothes brush, revolved like the moon he loved, than he
sallied forth in quest of the house of the Wittes. There was no
mistaking it--with the domed observatory on the roof.

Dr. Maedler stood in the square, looking up at it. The sight of an
observatory touched him; and now, hard and dry as he was, moisture came
into his eyes, as he thought that there, on that elevated station, an
admirable woman spent her nights in the contemplation of the moon. What
was Moses on Pisgah, viewing the Promised Land, what was Simeon Stylites
braving storm and cold, to this spectacle?

Never before had the astronomer met with one of the weaker sex who cared
a button for the moon, _qua_ moon, and not as a convenience for
illumining lovers' meetings, or for an allusion in a valentine. Here was
an heroic soul which surged, positively surged above the frivolities of
her sex, one who aspired to be the rival of man in intelligence and love
of scientific research.

Professor Maedler sent in his card, and a letter of introduction from
his friend at Gröningen, and was at once admitted. He had formed an
ideal picture of the Selenographic lady, tall, worn with night watching,
with an arched brow, large, clear eyes. He found her a fat little woman,
with a face as round and as flat as that of the moon, not by any means
pale, but red as the moon in a fog.

The lady was delighted to make the acquaintance of so renowned an
astronomer. She made him pretty speeches about his map, at the same time
letting him understand that a map was all very well, but she knew of
something better. Then she launched out into a criticism of his
pamphlets on Mars and Saturn, on which, as it happened, he was then
sitting. He had put a crumpled copy in each of his tail-coat pockets for
an offering, and was now doubly crumpling them. Then she asked his
opinion about the revolution and orbit of Biela's comet, which had been
seen the preceding year. Next she carried him to Hencke's recently
discovered planet, Astræa; after that she dashed away, away with him to
the nebulæ, and sought to resolve them with his aid. Then down they
whirled together through space to the sun, and the luminous red
protuberances observable at an eclipse. Another step, and they were
plunging down to earth, had reached it in safety, and were discussing
Lord Rosse's recently erected telescope. It was like Dante and Beatrix,
with this difference, that Maedler was not a poet, and Frau Witte was a
married woman.

The Professor was uneasy. Charming as is a telescope, delightful as is
the sun, fascinating as Astræa may be, still, the moon, the moon was
what he had come to discuss, and wax moon what he had come to see.

So he exercised all his skill, and with great dialectic ability
conducted his Beatrix away on another round. They gave the fixed stars a
wide berth, dived in and out among the circling planets and planetoids
without encountering one, avoided the comets, kept their feet off
nebulous matter, and at last he planted his companion firmly on the
moon, and when there, there he held her.

To her words of commendation of his lunar map, he replied by expressing
his astonishment at her knowledge of the several craters and so-called
seas. Presently Frau Witte rose with a smile, and said, "Herr Professor,
I may, perhaps, be allowed to exhibit a trifle on which I have been
engaged for many years:--an independent work that I have compared with,
but not copied from, your excellent selenic map."

The doctor's heart fluttered; his eyes brightened; a hectic flush came
into his cheeks.

Frau Witte took a key and led the way to her study, where she threw open
a mahogany cupboard, and exposed to view something very much like a meat
cover. This also she removed, it was composed of the finest silk
stretched on a frame, and exposed to view--the wax moon.

The globe was composed of the purest white beeswax, it stood upon a
steel needle that passed through it, and rested on pivots, so that the
globe was held up and held firm, and could be easily made to revolve.
Frau Witte closed the shutters, leaving open only one orifice through
which the light could penetrate and fall on the wax ball.

The doctor raised his hands in admiration. Never had he seen anything
that so delighted him. The globe's surface had been most delicately
manipulated. The mountains were pinched into peaks, the hollows indented
to the requisite depth, the craters were rendered with extraordinary
precision, the striæ being indicated by insertions of other tinted wax.
A shadow hung sombre over the mysterious Sea of Storms.

Professor Maedler returned to his hotel a prey to emotion. He inquired
the address of a certain Rollmann, whom he had known in former years at
Berlin, and who was now professor in the Polytechnic school at Hanover.
Then he rushed off in quest of Rollmann. The Polytechnic Professor was
delighted to see his friend, but disturbed at the condition of mind in
which he found him.

"What has brought you to Hanover, dear Professor?" he asked.

"The moon! the moon! I have come after the moon."

"The moon! How can that be? She shines over Dorpat as surely as over our
roofs in Hanover."

"I've just seen her."

"Impossible. The moon is new. Besides, it is broad daylight."

"New! of course she is new. Only made lately."

Professor Rollman was puzzled.

"The moon is certainly as old as the world, and even if we give the
world so limited an age as four thousand years--"

"I was not allowed to touch her, scarcely to breathe near her,"
interrupted Maedler.

"My dear colleague, what is the matter with you? You are--what do you
say, seen, touched, breathed on the moon? The distance of the moon from
the earth is two hundred and forty thousand miles."

"Not the old moon--I mean the other."

"There is no other, that is, not another satellite to this world. I am
well aware that Jupiter has four moons, two of which are smaller than
the planet Mars. I know also that Mars--"

"My dear Rollman, there is another--here in Hanover."

"I give it up, I cannot understand."

"Happy Hanover to possess such an unique treasure," continued the
excited Maedler, "and such a woman as Frau Witte."

"Oh! her wax moon!" said Rollmann, with a sigh of relief.

"Of what else could I speak?"

"So you have seen that. The old lady is very proud of her performance."

"She has cause to be proud of it. It is simply superb."

"And the sight of it has nearly sent you off your head!"

"Rollmann! what will become of that model? Frau Councilloress Witte will
not live for ever. She is old, puffy, and red, and might have apoplexy
any day. Is her husband an astronomer?"

"O dear no! he regards astronomy as as unprofitable a study as
astrology. It is quite as expensive a pursuit, he says."

"Merciful heavens! Suppose she were to predecease--he would have the
moon, and be unable to appreciate it. He might let it get dusty, have
the craters and seas choked; perhaps the mountain-tops knocked off. He
must not have it."

"It cannot be helped. The moon must take its chance."

"It must not be. She _must_ outlive the Councillor."

"If you can manage that--well."

"But--supposing she does outlive him, she is not immortal. Some day she
must die. Who will have the moon then?"

"I suppose, her daughter."

"What will the daughter do with it?"

"Melt it up for waxing the floors."

Professor Maedler uttered a cry of dismay.

"The object is one of incalculable scientific value. Has the daughter no
husband, a man of intelligence, to stay her hand?"

"The daughter is unmarried. There was some talk of a theological

"A theological candidate! An embryo pastor! Just powers! These men are
all obscurantists. He will melt up the moon thinking thereby to
establish the authority of Moses."

"That came to nothing. She is disengaged."

Professor Maedler paced the room. Perspiration bedewed his brow. He
wiped his forehead, more drops formed. Suddenly he stood still.
"Rollmann," he said, in a hollow voice, "I must--I will have that moon,
even if I have to marry the daughter to secure it."

"By all means. Minna is a pleasant young lady."

"Minna! Minna! is that her name?" asked the distracted professor; then,
more coolly, "I do not care a rush what her name is. I want, not her,
but the moon."

"She is no longer in the bloom of early youth."

"She is an exhausted world; a globe of volcanic cinder."

"She is of real solid worth."

"Solid--she is of solid wax--white beeswax."

"If she becomes yours--"

"I will exhibit her at my lectures to the students."

"As you are so much older, some provision will have to be made in the
event of your death."

"I will leave her to the Dorpat museum, with directions to the curator
to keep the dust off her."

"My dear Professor Maedler, I am speaking of the young lady, _you_ of
the moon."

"Ah so! I had forgotten the incumbrance. Yes, I will marry the moon. I
will carry her about with me, hug her in my arms, protect her most
carefully from the fingers of the Custom House officers. I will procure
an ukase from the Emperor to admit her unfingered over the frontier."

"And Minna!"

"What Minna?"

"The young lady."

"Ah so! She had slipped out of my reckoning. She shall watch the box
whilst I sleep, and whilst she sleeps I will keep guard."

"Be reasonable, Maedler. Do you mean, in sober earnest, to invite Minna
Witte to be your wife?"

"If I cannot get the moon any other way."

"But you have not even seen her yet."

"What does that matter? I have seen the moon."

"And you are in earnest!"

"I _will_ have the moon."

"Then, of course, you will have to propose."

"I propose!"

"And, of course, to make love."

"I make love!"

Professor Maedler's colour died away. He stood still before his friend,
his pocket-handkerchief in hand, and stared.

"I have not the remotest idea how to do it."

"You must try."

"I've had no experience. I am going on to fifty-three. As well ask me
to dance on the trapeze. It is not proper. It is downright indecent."

"Then you must do without the wax moon."

"I cannot do without the wax moon."

"Then, there is no help for it, you must make love to and propose to the
fair Minna."

"Friend," said the
Russian-imperial-professor-of-astronomy-of-the-University-of-Dorpat, as
he clasped Rollmann's hand. "You are experienced in the ways of the
world. I have lived in an observatory, and associated only with fixed
stars, revolving moons, and comets. Tell me how to do it, and I will
obey as a lamb."

"You will have to sigh."

"O! I can do that."

"And ogle the lady."

"Ogle!--when going fifty-three!"

"Learn a few lines of poetry."

"Yes, Milton's Paradise Lost. Go on."

"Tell the young lady that your heart is consumed with love."

"Consumed with love, yes, go on."

"Squeeze her hand."

"I cannot! That I cannot!" gasped Professor Maedler. "Look at my
whiskers. They are grey. There is a point beyond which I cannot go.
Rollmann, why may I not settle it all with the mother, and let you court
the young lady for me by proxy."

"No, no, you must do it yourself."

"I would not be jealous. Consider, I care nothing for the young girl. It
is the moon I want. That you shall not touch or breathe on."

"My dear Maedler, you and I are sure to be invited to dine with the
family on Sunday. After dinner we will take a stroll in the garden.
During dinner mind and be attentive to Miss Minna, and feed her with
honeyed words. When we visit the garden I will tackle the mother, as
Mephistopheles engages Martha, and you, you gay Faust, will have to be
the gallant to Minna."

"My good Rollmann! I dislike the simile. It offends me. Consider my age,
my whiskers, my position at the Dorpat University, my map of the moon in
four sheets, my paper on the occultation of Mars."

"Pay attention to me, if you want your wax globe. Frau Witte, the
Councillor and I will sit drinking coffee in the arbour. You ask Minna
to show you the garden. When you are gone I will begin at once with the
mother, praise you, and say how comfortably you are provided for at
Dorpat, laud your good qualities, and bring her to understand that you
are a suitor for the hand of her daughter. Meanwhile press your cause
with ardour."

"With ardour! I shall not be able to get up any warmth."

"Think of the wax moon! direct your raptures to that."

"This is all very well," said Maedler fretfully, "but you have forgotten
the main thing. I know you will make a mistake. You have asked for the
hand of the daughter, and said nothing about the moon."

"Do not be concerned."

"But I am concerned. It would be a pretty mischief if I got the
daughter's hand instead of the face of the moon."

"I will manage that you have what you want. But the moon must not rise
over the matrimonial scene till the preliminaries are settled. I will
represent to the old lady what credit will accrue to her if her moon be
exhibited and lectured on at the Dorpat University by so distinguished
an astronomer as yourself. Then, be well assured, she will give you the
wax moon along with her daughter."

"Very well, I will do what I can. Only, further, explain to me the whole
process, that I may learn it by heart. It seems to me as knotty to a
beginner as Euler's proof of the Binomial Theorem."

"It is very easy. Pay attention. You must begin to talk about the
fascination which a domestic life exerts on you; you then say that the
sight of such an united household as that in which you find yourself
influences you profoundly."

"I see. Causes a deflection in my perihelion. That deflection is
calculable, the force excited calculable, the position of the attractive
body estimable. I direct my telescope in the direction, and
discover--Minna. Put astronomically, I can understand it."

"But you must _not_ put it astronomically to her. Paint in glowing tints
the charms of the domestic hearth--that is to say, of the stove. Touch
sadly on your forlorn condition, your unloved heart--are you paying
attention, or thinking of the moon?"

"On the contrary, I was thinking of myself, from a planetary point of
view. I see, a wife is a satellite revolving round her man. I see it
all now. Jupiter has four."

"Sigh; let the corners of your mouth droop. Throw, if you can, an
emotional vibration into your tones, and say that hitherto life has been
to you a school, where you have been set hard tasks; not a home. Here
shake your head slowly, drop a tear if you can, and say again, in a low
and thrilling voice, 'Not a home!' Now for the poetry. Till now, you
add, you have looked into the starry vault--"

"It is not a vault at all."

"Never mind; say this. Till now you have looked into the starry vault
for your heaven, and not dreamed that a heaven full of peaceful lights
was twinkling invitingly about your feet. That is poetical, is it not?
It must succeed."

"Quite so, I should never have thought of it."

"Then turn, and look into Miss Minna's eyes."

"But suppose she is looking in another direction?"

"She will not be. A lady is always ready to help a stumbling lover over
the impediments in the way of a declaration. She will have her eyes at
command, ready to meet yours."

"Go on."

"You will presently come to a rose tree. You must stop there and be
silent. Then you must admire the roses, and beg Miss Minna to present
you with one."

"But I do not want any roses. What can I do with them? I am lodging at
an hotel."

"Never mind, you _must_ want one. When she has picked and offered it--"

"But perhaps she will not."

"Fiddlesticks! Of course she will. Then take the rose, press your lips
to it, and burst forth into raptures."

"Excuse me, how am I to do the raptures?"

"Think of the wax moon, man. Exclaim, 'Oh that I might take the fair
Minna, fairer than this rose, to my heart, as I apply this flower to my

"Shall I say nothing about the wax moon?"

"Not a word. Leave me to manage that."

"Go on."

"Then she will look down, confused, at the gravel, and stammer. Press
her for a Yes or No. Promise to destroy yourself if she says No. Take
her hand and squeeze it."

"Must I squeeze it? About how much pressure to the square-foot should I

"Then say, 'Come, let us go to your parents, and obtain their blessing.'
The thing is done."

"But suppose she were to say No?"

Rollmann stamped with impatience. "I tell you she will not say No, now
that the theological candidate has dropped through."

"Well," said Professor Maedler, "I must go along with it, now I have
made up my mind to it. But, on my word, as an exact reasoner, I had no
idea of the difficulties men have to go through to get married. Why, the
calculation of the deflections of the planets is nothing to it. And the
Grand Turk, like Jupiter, has more satellites than one!"

A few months after the incident above recorded Professor Maedler
returned to Dorpat, not alone; with him was the Frau
Professorinn--Minna. Everything had gone off in the garden as Rollmann
had planned.

The moon and Minna, or Minna and the moon, put it which way you will,
were secured.

When the Professor arrived at Dorpat with his wife, the students gave
him an ovation after the German style, that is to say, they organized a
Fackel-zug, or torch-light procession.

Three hundred young men, some wearing white caps, some green caps, some
red, and some purple, marched along the street headed by a band, bearing
torches of twisted tow steeped in tar, blazing and smoking, or, to be
more exact, smoking and blazing. Each corps was followed by a hired
droschky, in which sat the captain and stewards of the white, red,
green, or purple corps, with sashes of their respective colours. Behind
the last corps followed the elephants, two and two. By elephants is not
meant the greatest of quadrupeds, but the smallest esteemed of the
students, those who belong to no corps.

The whole procession gathered before the house of the Professor, and
brandished their torches and cheered. Then the glass door opening on the
balcony was thrown back, and the Professor John Henry Maedler appeared
on the balcony leading forth his wife. The astronomer looked younger
than he had been known to look for the last twenty years. His whiskers
in the torchlight looked not grey, but red. The eyes, no longer blear
with star-gazing, watered with sentiment. His expression was no longer
that of a man troubled with integral calculus, but of a man in an
ecstasy. He waved his hand. Instantly the cheers subsided. "My
highly-worthy-and-ever-to-be-honoured sirs," began the Professor, "this
is a moment never to be forgotten. It sends a _fackel-zug_ of fiery
emotion through every artery and vein.
Highly-worthy-and-ever-to-be-honoured sirs, I am not so proud as to
suppose that this reception is accorded to me alone. It is an ovation
offered to my highly-beloved-and-evermore-to-be-beloved-and-respected
consort, Frau Minna Maedler, born Witte, the daughter of a distinguished
lady, who, like myself, has laboured on Selenography, and loved
Selenology. Highly-worthy-and-ever-to-be-respected sirs, when I announce
to you that I have returned to Dorpat to endow that
most-eminent-and-ever-to-become-more-eminent-University with one of the
most priceless treasures of art the world has ever seen, a monument of
infinite patience and exact observation; I mean a wax moon; I am sure I
need only allude to the fact to elicit your unbounded enthusiasm. But,
highly-worthy-and-ever-to-be-honoured sirs, allow me to assure you that
my expedition to Hanover has not resulted in a gain to the highly
eminent University of Dorpat only, but to me, individually as well.

"That highly-eminent-and-evermore-to-become-more-eminent University is
now enriched through my agency with a moon of wax, but I--I,
sirs--excuse my emotion, I have also been enriched with a moon, not of
wax, but of honey. The wax moon, gentlemen, may it last undissolved as
long as the very-eminent-and-evermore-to-become-more-eminent University
of Dorpat lasts. The honey moon, gentlemen, with which I have been
blessed, I feel assured will expand into a lifetime, at least will last
also undissolved as long as Minna and I exist."

The Electress's Plot.

The Elector Frederick Christian of Saxony reigned only a few weeks, from
October 5th to December 13, 1763; in his forty-first year he died of
small-pox. He never had enjoyed rude health. The mother of the
unfortunate prince, Marie Josepha of Austria, was an exceedingly ugly,
but prolific lady, vastly proud of her Hapsburg descent. The three first
children followed each other with considerable punctuality, but the two
first, both sons, died early. Frederick Christian was the third. The
Electress, a few months before his birth, was hunting, when a deer that
had been struck, turned to her, dragging its broken legs behind it. This
produced a powerful impression on her mind; and when her son was born,
he was found to be a cripple in his legs. His head and arms were well
formed, but his spine was twisted, and his knees, according to the
English ambassador, Sir Charles Williams--were drawn up over his
stomach. He could not stand, and had to be lifted about from place to
place. At the age of five-and-twenty he had been married to Maria
Antonia, daughter of the Elector of Bavaria, afterwards the Emperor
Charles VII.

His brother, Francis Xavier, was a sturdy fellow, like his father, and
the Electress mother tried very hard to get Frederick Christian to
resign his pretentions in favour of his brother, and take holy orders.
This he refused to do, and was then married to Maria Antonia, aged
twenty-three. Her mother had also been an Austrian princess, Amalia, and
also remarkable for her ugliness. The choice was not happy, it brought
about a marriage between cousins, and an union of blood that was
afflicted with ugliness and infirmity of body.

Maria Antonia had not only inherited her mother's ugliness, but was
further disfigured with small-pox. She was small of stature, but of a
resolute will, and of unbounded ambition. English tourists liked her,
they said that she laid herself out to make the Court of Dresden
agreeable to them. Wraxall tells a good story of her, which shows a
certain frankness, not to say coarseness in her conversation--a story we
will not reproduce.

She had already made her personality felt at the Bavarian Court. Shortly
after the death of her father, in imitation of Louisa Dorothea, Duchess
of Gotha, she had founded an "Order of Friendship, or the Society of the
Incas." The founding of the Order took place one fine spring day on a
gondola in the canal at Nymphenburg. Her brother, the Elector of
Bavaria, was instituted a member, the Prince of Fürstenberg was made
chancellor, and was given the custody of the seal of the confraternity
which had as its legend "La fidelité mêne." The badge of the Order was a
gold ring on the little finger of the left hand, with the inscription,
"L'ordre de l'amitié--Maria Antonia." Each member went by a name
descriptive of his character, or of that virtue he or she was supposed
to represent. Thus the chancellor was called "Le Solide."

Sir Charles Williams says that on the very first night of her appearance
in Dresden she made an attempt to force herself into a position for
which she had no right; to the great annoyance of the King of Poland
(Augustus, Elector of Saxony).

At Dresden, she favoured the arts, especially music and painting. She
became the patroness of the family Mengs. She sang, and played on the
piano, and indeed composed a couple of operas, "Thalestris" and "Il
trionfo della fidelita," and the former was actually put on the stage.
Sir Charles Williams in 1747 wrote that, in spite of her profession that
in her eyes no woman ought to meddle in the affairs of state, he
ventured to prophecy, she would rule the whole land in the name of her
unfortunate husband.

Nor was he wrong. The moment that her father-in-law died, she put her
hand on the reins. She was not likely to meet with resistance from her
husband, he was not merely a cripple in body, but was contracted in his
intellect; he was amiable, but weak and ignorant. Sir Charles Williams
says that he once asked at table whether it was not possible to reach
England by land--_although_ it was an island.

Frederick Christian began to reign on 5th October 1763, and immediately
orders were given for the increase of the army to 50,000 men. Maria
Antonia was bent on becoming a queen, and for this end she must get her
husband proclaimed like his father, King of Poland. She was allied to
all the Courts of Europe, her agreeable manners, her energy, gained her
friends in all quarters. She felt herself quite capable of wearing a
royal crown, and she wrote to all the courts to urge the claims of her
husband, the Elector, when--the unfortunate cripple was attacked by
small-pox, had a stroke, and died December 17th. Small-pox had carried
off his ancestor John George IV., and in that same century it occasioned
the death of his brother-in-law, Max Joseph of Bavaria, and of the
Emperor Joseph I.

He left behind him four sons, his successor, Frederick Augustus, and the
three other princes, Charles, his mother's favourite, Anthony, and
Maximilian Joseph, the third of whom died the same year as his father.
He had also two daughters.

The death of her husband was a severe blow to the ambition of the
Electress; her eldest son, Frederick Augustus, was under age, and the
reins of government were snatched from her hands and put into those of
the uncle of the young Elector, Xavier, who had been his mother's
favourite, and in favour of whom his elder brother had been urged to
resign his pretensions. Xavier was appointed administrator of Saxony,
and acted as such for five years.

When, at the age of eighteen, Frederick Augustus III. assumed the power,
he endeavoured to fulfil his duties with great diligence and
conscientiousness, and allowed of no interference. He had, indeed, his
advisers, but these were men whom he selected for himself from among
those who had been well tried and who had proved themselves trusty.

The Electress-mother had, during the administration of Prince Xavier,
exercised some little authority; she now suddenly found herself
deprived of every shred. Her son was too firm and self-determined to
admit of her interference. Moody and dissatisfied, she left Dresden and
went to Potsdam to Frederick II., in 1769, apparently to feel the way
towards the execution of a plan that was already forming in her restless
brain. She does not seem to have met with any encouragement, and she
then started for Italy, where she visited Rome in 1772, and sought Mengs
out, whose artistic talents had been fostered under her care.

Under the administration of Prince Xavier, the Electress Dowager had
received an income of sixty thousand dollars; after her son had mounted
the throne, her appanage was doubled, more than doubled, for she was
granted 130,000 dollars, and in addition her son gave her a present of
500,000 dollars. This did not satisfy her, for she had no notion of
cutting her coat according to her cloth, she would everywhere maintain a
splendid court. Moreover, she was bitten with the fever of speculation.
The year before her son came of age and assumed the power, she had
erected a great cotton factory at Grossenhain, but as it brought her in
no revenue, and cost her money besides, she was glad to dispose of it in
1774. The visitor to Dresden almost certainly knows the Bavarian tavern
at the end of the bridge leading into Little Dresden. It is a tavern now
mediævalised, with panelled walls, bull's eye glass in the windows, old
German glass and pottery--even an old German kalendar hanging from the
walls, and with a couple of pretty Bavarian Kellnerins in costume, to
wait on the visitor. There also in the evening Bavarian minstrels
jodel, and play the zither.

This Bavarian tavern was established by the Electress Mother, who
thought that the Saxons did not drink good or enough beer, and must be
supplied with that brewed in her native land.

But this speculation also failed, and her capital of five hundred
thousand dollars was swallowed up to the last farthing, and to meet her
creditors she was obliged to pawn her diamond necklace and the rest of
her jewels. This happened in Genoa. When her allowance came in again she
redeemed her jewelry, but in 1775 had to pawn it again in Rome. Unable
to pay her debts, and in distress for money, she appealed repeatedly,
but in vain, to her son.

Frederick Augustus was, like his father, of feeble constitution, and
moreover, as he himself complained later on in life, had been at once
spoiled and neglected in his youth; and he was unable through weakness
to ascend a height. He did not walk or ride, but went about in a
carriage. The January (1769) after he came to the Electoral crown, he
married Amelia Augusta of Zweibrücken, sister of Max Joseph, afterwards
first King of Bavaria. She was only seventeen at the time.

The favourite son of his mother was Charles. This prince had been hearty
and in full possession of his limbs in his early age, but when he
reached the years of eleven or twelve, he became crippled and doubled up
like his father. Wraxal says that beside him Scarron would have passed
as a beauty. He was so feeble and paralysed that he could only be moved
about on a wheeled chair. He died in 1781. His elder brother, the
Elector, though not a vigorous man, was not a cripple.

One of the attendant gentry on the Electress Mother, in Rome, was the
Marquis Aloysius Peter d'Agdolo, son of the Saxon Consul in Venice,
Colonel of the Lifeguard, and Adjutant General to Prince Xavier whilst
he was Administrator.

Agdolo advised the Electress Mother to raise money to meet her
difficulties by selling to her son, the Elector, her claims on the
Bavarian inheritance. Her brother, Maximilian Joseph, was without
children; and the nearest male claimant to the Electoral Crown of
Bavaria was the Count Palatine of Sulzbach, only remotely connected. It
was, therefore, quite possible that Bavaria might fall to a sister. Now
on the death of her brother, the Dowager Electress of Saxony certainly
intended to advance her claims against any remote kinsman hailing
through a common ancestor two centuries ago. But whether she would be
able to enforce her claim was another matter. She might sell it to her
son, who would have the means of advancing his claim by force of arms
and gold. This was in 1776. Maria Antonia was delighted with the scheme
and at once hastened to Munich to put it in execution, taking with her
all her diamonds which she had managed to redeem from pawn.

Whilst she was on her way to Munich, Agdolo was despatched to Dresden,
to open the negociation with her son, not only for the transference of
her rights on Bavaria, but also for the pawning of her diamonds, to her

She had urgent need of money, and in her extremity she conceived an
audacious scheme to enable her at the same time to get hold of the
money, and to retain her rights on Bavaria. The plan was this:--As soon
as she had got the full payment from the Elector for the resignation of
her claims in his favour, she had resolved suddenly to proclaim to the
world that he was no son at all of the late Elector Frederick
Christian--that he was a bastard, smuggled into the palace and passed
off as the son of the Elector, much as, according to Whig gossip, James
the Pretender was smuggled into the palace of James II. in a warming
pan, and passed off as of blood royal, when he was of base origin.

Frederick Augustus thus declared to be no son of the House of Saxony,
the Electoral crown would come to her favourite son Charles, who was a
cripple. The Elector was not deformed--evidence against his origin;
Charles was doubled up and distorted--he was certainly the true son of
the late Elector, and the legitimate successor.

If Maria Antonia should succeed--she would rule Saxony in the name, and
over the head of her unfortunate son Charles, and her rights on Bavaria
would not have been lost or made away with.

Arrived in Munich, she confided the whole plan to her ladies-in-waiting.
She told them her hopes, her confidence in Agdolo, who was gone to
Dresden to negociate the sale, and who was thoroughly aware of her

Agdolo, as all the ladies knew, was a great rascal. He had been
pensioned by Prince Xavier with six hundred dollars per annum, and he
had what he received from the Electress Mother as her
gentleman-in-waiting. He was married to the Princess Lubomirska, widow
of Count Rutowska, had quarrelled with her, and they lived separate, but
he had no scruple to receive of an insulted wife an annual allowance.
All these sources of income were insufficient to meet his expenses; and
no one who knew him doubted for a moment that he would lend himself to
any intrigue which would promise him wealth and position. The plot of
the Dowager Electress was a risky one--but, should it succeed, his
fortune was assured.

At Dresden he was well received by the Elector; and Frederick Augustus
at once accepted the proposition of his mother. He consented to purchase
Maria Antonia's resignation in his favour of her claims on the allodial
inheritance of the family on the extinction of the Bavarian Electoral
house in the male line, and to pay all her debts, and to find a sum
sufficient to redeem the diamonds, which were represented as still in
pawn at Rome.

Maria Antonia and her confidant appeared to be on the eve of success,
when the plan was upset, from a quarter in which they had not dreamed of
danger. Among the ladies of the court of the Dowager Electress was one
whose name does not transpire, who seems to have entertained an ardent
passion for Agdolo. He, however, disregarded her, and paid his
attentions to another of the ladies. Rage and jealousy consumed the
heart of this slighted beauty, and when the Electress Mother confided to
her the plan she had formed, the lady-in-waiting saw that her
opportunity had arrived for the destruction of the man who had slighted
her charms. She managed to get hold of her mistress' keys and to make a
transcript of her papers, wherein the whole plan was detailed, also of
copies of her letters to Agdolo, and of the Marquis's letters to her.
When she had these, she at once despatched them--not to the Elector of
Saxony, but to Frederick II. at Berlin, who stood in close relations of
friendship with the Elector of Saxony. She had reckoned aright. Such
tidings, received through the Court of Prussia, would produce a far
deeper impression on Frederick Augustus, than if received from her
unknown and insignificant self. It is possible also that she may have
known of her mistress having been at Berlin and there thrown out hints
of something of the sort, so that Frederick II. would at once recognise
in this matured plan the outcome of the vague hints of mischief poured
out at Potsdam a few years before.

All was going on well at Berlin. Adolphus von Zehmen, Electoral
Treasurer, had already started for Munich, furnished with the requisite
sums. He was empowered to receive the deed of relinquishment from the
Dowager Electress, and also her diamond necklace, which, in the
meantime, was to be brought by a special courier from Rome. Maria
Antonia, on her side, had constituted Councillor Hewald her
plenipotentiary; she wrote to say that he would transact all the
requisite negociation with the Treasurer Zehmen, and that the diamond
necklace had arrived and was in his hands.

Agdolo received orders from the Electress Mother on no account to leave
Dresden till the middle of September, 1776, lest his departure should
arouse suspicion.

The conduct of the Marquis was not in any way remarkable, he moved about
among old friends with perfect openness, often appeared in Court, and
was satisfied that he was perfectly safe. He was not in the least aware
that all his proceedings were watched and reported on, not by order of
the Elector, but of his own mistress, who received regular reports from
this emissary as to the behaviour and proceedings of the Marquis, so
that she was able to compare with this private report that sent her by
Agdolo, and so satisfy herself whether he was acting in her interest, or
playing a double game.

This bit of cunning on her part, was not surprising, considering what a
man Agdolo was, and, as we shall see, it proved of great advantage to
her, but in a way she least expected.

The Marchese d'Agdolo had paid his farewell visit to the Elector, and
received leave to depart. Frederick Augustus had not the remotest
suspicion that his mother was playing a crooked part, and he seemed
heartily satisfied with the negociation, and made the Marquis a present.

On September 15, 1776, Agdolo was intending to start from Dresden, on
his return to Munich, and the evening before leaving he spent at the
house of a friend, Ferber, playing cards. Little did he suspect that
whilst he was winning one stake after another at the table, the greatest
stake of all was lost. That evening, whilst he was playing cards, a
courier arrived from Berlin, in all haste, and demanded to see the
Elector in person, instantly, as he had a communication of the utmost
importance to make from Frederick II. He was admitted without delay, and
the whole of his mother's plot was detailed before the astonished

"The originals of these transcripts," said the courier, "are in the
hands of the Marchese d'Agdolo, let him be arrested, and a comparison of
the documents made."

The Privy Council was at once assembled, and the papers received from
Frederick II. were laid before it. The members voted unanimously that
the Marquis should be arrested, and General Schiebell was entrusted with
the execution of the decree. No surprise was occasioned by the entry of
General Schiebell into the house of Ferber. It was a place of resort of
the best society in Dresden; but when the General announced that he had
come to make an arrest, many cheeks lost their colour.

"In the name of his Serene Highness the Elector," said the General, "I
make this man my prisoner," and he laid his hand on the shoulder of
Agdolo, who had served under him in the Seven Years' War. He was taken
at once to his own lodgings, where his desks and boxes--already packed
for departure--were opened, and all his papers removed. The same night,
under a strong guard, he was transported at 10 o'clock, to Königstein.
In that strong fortress and state prison, perched on an isolated
limestone crag, the rest of his life was to be spent in confinement.

But the Marchese, like a crafty Italian, had made his preparations
against something of the sort; for among his papers was found a
communication addressed by him to the Elector, revealing the whole plot.
It was undated. If the search of his rooms and the discovery of his
papers had been made earlier, the Elector might have believed that the
man had really intended to betray his mistress, but, he had postponed
the delivery of the communication too late.[17]

A few days later, the Marchese received a sealed letter from the
Elector; and he was treated in his prison without undue severity; his
pension was not withdrawn; and the Elector seems never to have quite
made up his mind whether Agdolo really intended to make him aware of the
plot at the last minute, or to go on with the plan after his mistress's

After some years, when Agdolo began to suffer in his chest, he was
allowed to go to the baths of Pirna, under a guard. His wife never
visited him in prison. She died, however, only two years later, in 1778,
at the age of fifty-six. Agdolo lived on for twenty-three years and a
half, and died August 27, 1800. All his papers were then sent to
Frederick Augustus III., who read them, dissolved into tears, and burnt

We must return for a moment to Munich. No sooner had the emissary of the
Electress Mother heard of the news of the arrest of Agdolo, than he
hastened to Munich with post horses as hard as he could fly over the
roads. Maria Antonia, when she heard the news, at once made fresh
dispositions. She sent word that same night to Hewald to make off, and
in another half hour he had disappeared with the diamonds.

Next day the completion of the resignation of claims was to be made. The
Electress Mother requested the Treasurer Zehmen to go to the dwelling of
her Councillor Hewald, who, as we can understand, was not to be found
anywhere. Herr von Zehmen was much surprised and disconcerted, and the
Dowager Electress affected extreme indignation and distress, charging
her plenipotentiary with having robbed her of her diamonds, and bolted
with them. Then she took to her bed, and pretended to be dangerously
ill. Next day the news reached Zehmen of what had occurred at Dresden,
and with the news came his recall. She saw the treasurer before his
departure, and implored him to get both Agdolo and Hewald arrested and
punished, because, as she declared, they had between them fabricated a
wicked plot for her robbery and ruin.

Hewald went to Frankfort with the jewels, where he was stopped and taken
by an officer of Frederick Augustus, and brought on Jan. 27, 1777, to
Dresden. He was sent to the Königstein, but was released in 1778.

In 1777 died the Elector of Bavaria, but his sister was unable to obtain
any recognition of her claims; and she died 23rd April, 1780, without
any reconciliation with the eldest son. Next year died her favourite
son, the cripple, Charles.


[17] This is supposed to have been the contents of the packet addressed
to the Elector, the contents have never been revealed.

Suess Oppenheim.

On December the sixteenth, 1733, Charles Alexander, Duke of Würtemberg,
entered Stuttgart in state. It was a brilliant though brief winter day.
The sun streamed out of a cloudless heaven on the snowy roofs of the old
town, and the castle park trees frosted as though covered with jewels.
The streets were hung with tapestries, crimson drapery, and wreaths of
artificial flowers. Peasants in their quaint costume poured in from all
the country round to salute their new prince. From the old castle towers
floated the banners of the Duchy and the Empire--for Würtemberg three
stag-horns quartered with the Hohenstauffen black lions. The Duke was
not young: he was hard on fifty--an age when a man has got the better of
youthful impetuosity and regrets early indiscretions--an age at which,
if a man has stuff in him, he is at his best.

The land of Würtemberg is a favoured and smiling land. At the period of
which we write, it was not so ample as the present kingdom, but
fruitful, favoured, and called the Garden of the Empire. For twenty
years this Duchy had been badly governed; the inhabitants had been
cruelly oppressed by the incompetent Duke Eberhardt Ludwig, or rather by
his favourites. The country was burdened with debt; the treasury was
exhausted. It had, as it were, lain under winter frost for twenty years
and more, and now though on a winter day laughed and bloomed with a
promise of spring.

And every good Würtemberger had a right to be glad and proud of the new
duke, who had stormed Belgrade under Prince Eugene, and was held to be
one of the bravest, noblest minded, and most generous of the German
princes of his time.

As he rode through the streets of Stuttgart all admired his stately
form, his rich fair hair flowing over his shoulders, his bright
commanding eye, and the pleasant smile on his lip; every Würtemberger
waved his hat, and shouted, and leaped with enthusiasm. Now at last the
Garden of Germany would blossom and be fruitful under so noble a duke.

But in the same procession walked, not rode, another man whom none
regarded--a handsome man with dark brown hair and keen olive eyes, a
sallow complexion, and a finely moulded Greek nose. He had a broad
forehead and well arched brows. He was tall, and had something noble and
commanding in his person and manner. But his most remarkable feature was
the eye--bright, eager, ever restless.

This man, whom the Würtembergers did not observe, was destined to play a
terrible and tragic part in their history--to be the evil genius of the
duke and of the land. His name was Joseph Suess Oppenheim.

Joseph's mother, Michaela, a Jewess, had been a woman of extraordinary
beauty, the only child of the Rabbi Salomon of Frankfort. She had been
married when quite young to the Rabbi Isachar Suess Oppenheim, a singer.
Joseph was born at Heidelberg in 1692, and was her child by the Baron
George of Heydersdorf, a soldier who had distinguished himself in the
Turkish war, and with whom she carried on a guilty intrigue. From his
father Joseph Suess derived a dignified, almost military bearing, and
his personal beauty from his mother.

The Baron's romance with the lovely Jewess came to an end in 1693, when
he held the castle of Heidelberg against the French. He surrendered
after a gallant defence; too soon, however, as the court-martial held on
him decided; and he was sentenced to death, but was pardoned by the
Emperor Leopold, with the loss of all his honours and offices, and he
was banished the Empire.

Suess had a sister who married a rich Jew of Vienna, but followed her
mother in laxity of morals, and, after having wasted a good fortune in
extravagance, fell back on her mother and brother for a maintenance. He
had a brother who became a factor at the court of Darmstadt. They lived
on bad terms with each other, and were engaged in repeated lawsuits with
one another. This brother abjured Judaism, was baptised, and assumed the
name of Tauffenberg. Joseph Suess was connected, or nominally connected,
through Isachar, his reputed though not his real father, with the great
and wealthy Jewish family of Oppenheim. The branch established in Vienna
had become rich on contracts for the army, and had been ennobled. One
member failed because the Emperor Leopold I. owed him many millions of
dollars and was unable to pay. Joseph began life in the office of the
court bankers and army contractors of his family at Vienna. Here it was
that he obtained his first ideas of how money could be raised through
lotteries, monopolies, and imposts of all kinds. But though Joseph was
put on the road that led to wealth, in the Oppenheim house at Vienna, he
missed his chance there, and was dismissed for some misconduct or other,
the particulars of which we do not know.

Then, in disgrace and distress, he came to Bavaria, where he served a
while as barber's assistant. Probably through the influence of some of
the Oppenheims, Joseph was introduced into the court of the family of
Thurn and Taxis, which had acquired vast wealth through the monopoly of
the post-office. Thence he made his way into an office of the palatine
court at Mannheim.

This was a period in which the German princes were possessed with the
passion of imitating the splendour and extravagance of Louis XIV.
Everyone must have his Versailles, must crowd his court with
functionaries, and maintain armies in glittering and showy uniforms.

Germany, to the present day, abounds in vast and magnificent palaces,
for the most part in wretched repair, if not ruinous. The houses of our
English nobility are nothing as compared in size with these palaces of
petty princes, counts, and barons.

To build these mansions, and when built to fill them with officials and
servants, to keep up their armies, and to satisfy the greed of their
mistresses, these German princes needed a good deal of money, and were
ready to show favour to any man who could help them to obtain it--show
where to bore to tap fresh financial springs. All kinds of new methods
of taxation were had recourse to, arousing the bitter mockery of the
oppressed. The tobacco monopoly was called the nose-tax; it was felt to
be oppressive only by the snuff-takers and smokers; and perhaps the
stamp on paper only by those who wrote; but the boot and shoe stamp
imposed by one of the little princes touched everyone but those who went

Joseph Suess introduced the stamp on paper into the palatinate. He did
not invent this duty, which had been imposed elsewhere; but he obtained
the concession of the impost, and sold it to a subfactor for 12,000
florins, and with the money invested in a speculation in the coinage of
Hesse-Darmstadt. All the little German princes at this time had their
own coinage, down to trumpery little states of a few miles in diameter,
as Waldeck, Fulda, Hechingen, and Montfort; and Germany was full to
overflow of bad money, and barren of gold and silver. Suess, in his
peregrinations, had obtained a thorough insight into the mysteries of
this branch of business. He not only thoroughly understood the practical
part of the matter--the coinage--but also where the cheapest markets
were, in which to purchase the metals to be coined. Now that he had some
money at his command, he undertook to farm the coinage of
Hesse-Darmstadt; but almost immediately undersold it, with a profit to
himself of 9,000 florins. He took other contracts for the courts, and
soon realised a comfortable fortune. Even the Archbishop of Cologne
called in his aid, and contributed to enrich him, in his efforts to get
a little more for himself out of the subjects of his palatinate. In the
summer of 1732 Joseph Suess visited the Blackforest baths of Wildbad,
for the sake of the waters. At the same time Charles Alexander of
Würtemberg and his wife were also undergoing the same cure. Oppenheim's
pleasant manners, his handsome face, and his cleverness caught the fancy
of Charles Alexander, and he appointed him his agent and steward; and as
the Prince was then in want of money, Suess lent him a trifle of 2,000
florins. Charles Alexander had not at this time any assurance that he
would ascend the ducal throne of Würtemberg, though it was probable.[18]
The reigning Duke, Eberhardt Louis, had, indeed, just lost his only son;
but it was not impossible that a posthumous grandson might be born.
Charles Alexander was first-cousin of the Duke. It is said that Suess on
this occasion foretold the future greatness of the Prince, and pretended
to extract his prophecy from the Cabala. It is certain that Charles
Alexander was very superstitious, and believed in astrology, and it is
by no means improbable that Suess practised on his credulity. He had at
his disposal plenty of means of learning whether the young Princess of
Würtemberg was likely soon to become a mother--her husband had died in
November--and he was very well aware that the old Duke was failing. The
loan made by Suess came acceptably to Prince Charles Alexander just as a
Jewish banker, Isaac Simon of Landau, with whom he had hitherto dealt,
had declined to make further advances.

When the Prince returned to Belgrade, where he resided as stadtholder of
Servia, under the Emperor, he was fully convinced that he had
discovered in Suess an able, intelligent, and devoted servant. His wife
was a princess of Thurn and Taxis, and it is possible that Suess, who
had been for some time about that court at Ratisbon, had used her
influence, and his acquaintance with her family affairs, to push his
interests with the Prince, her husband.

On October 31, 1733, died the old Duke Eberhardt Louis, and Charles
Alexander at once hastened from Belgrade to Vienna, where, in an
interview with the Emperor, without any consultation with the Estates,
or consideration for the treasury of Würtemberg, he promised Leopold a
contingent of 12,000 men to aid in the war against France. Then he went
on to Stuttgart.

Poor Würtemberg groaned under the burdens that had been imposed on it;
the favourites had been allowed to do with it what they liked; and
Charles Alexander's first public declaration on entering his capital
was: "From henceforth I will reign over you immediately, and myself see
to the reform of every grievance, and put away from my people every
burden which has galled its shoulders. If my people cry to me, my ears
shall be open to hear their call. I will not endure the disorder which
has penetrated everywhere, into every department of the State; my own
hand shall sweep it away."

And as a token of his sincerity he ordered every office-holder in Church
and State to put on paper and present to him a schedule of every payment
that had been made, by way of fee and bribe, to obtain his office. This
was published on December 28, 1733. The older and wiser heads were
shaken; the Duke, they said, was only heaping trouble on his shoulders;
let the past be buried. He replied, "I must get to the bottom of all
this iniquity. I must get inured to work."

But the hero of Belgrade had all his life been more accustomed to the
saddle than the desk, and to command in battle--a much simpler
matter--than to rule in peace. The amount of grievances brought before
him, the innumerable scandals, peculations, bewildered him. The people
were wild with enthusiasm, but the entire bureaucracy was filled with
sullen and dogged opposition.

Würtemberg enjoyed a constitution more liberal than any other German
principality. The old Duke Eberhardt with the Beard, who died in 1496,
by his will contrived for the good government of his land by providing
checks against despotic rule by the dukes his successors. On the
strength of this testament the Estates deposed his successor. The
provisions of this will were ratified in the Capitulation of Tübingen,
in 1514, and every duke on assuming the reins of government was required
to swear to observe the capitulation. Duke Charles Alexander took the
oath without perhaps very closely examining it, and found out after it
was taken that he was hampered in various ways, and was incapacitated
from raising the body of men with which he had undertaken to furnish the
Emperor, independent of the consent of the Parliament. It may here be
said that there was no hereditary house of nobles in Würtemberg; the
policy of the former dukes had been to drive the hereditary petty
nobles out of the country, and to create in their place a clique of
court officials absolutely dependent on themselves. By the constitution,
no standing army was to be maintained, and no troops raised without the
consent of the Estates; the tenure of property was guaranteed by the
State, all serfage was abolished, and no taxes could be imposed or
monopolies created without the consent of the Estates.

The Estates consisted of fourteen prelates, pastors invested with
dignities which entitled them to sit in the House, and seventy
deputies--some elected by the constituencies, others holders of certain
offices, who sat _ex officio_. The Estates had great power; indeed the
Duke could do little but ask its consent to the measures he proposed,
and to swallow humble pie at refusal. It not only imposed the taxes, but
the collectors were directly responsible to the Estates for what was
collected, and paid into its hands the sum gathered. Moreover, any
agreement entered into between the Duke and another prince was invalid
unless ratified by the Estates.

When Duke Charles Alexander, who had been accustomed to the despotic
command of an army as field-marshal, found how his hands were tied and
how he was surrounded by impediments to free action on all sides, he was
very angry, and quarrelled with the Ministers who had presented the
capitulation to him for signature. He declared that the paper presented
for him to sign had not been read to him in full, or had the obnoxious
passages folded under that he should not see them, or that they had been
added after his signature had been affixed.

He became irritable, not knowing how to keep his promise with the
Emperor, and disgusted to find himself a ruler without real authority.

Now, as it was inconvenient to call the Assembly together on every
occasion when something was wanted, a permanent committee sat in
Stuttgart, consisting of two parts. This committee acted for the Estates
and were responsible to it.

Wanting advice and help, unwilling to seek that of the reliable
Ministers--and there were some honest and patriotic--the Duke asked
Joseph Suess to assist him, and Suess was only too delighted to show him
a way out of his difficulties. The redress of grievances was thrust
aside, abuses were left uncorrected, and the Duke's attention was turned
towards two main objects--the establishment of a standing army, and the
upsetting of the old constitution.

Würtemberg was then a state whose limits were not very extensive, nor
did they lie within a ring fence. The imperial cities of Reutlingen,
Ulm, Heilsbronn, Weil, and Gmünd were free. It might not be convenient
for the Emperor to pay with hard cash for the troops the Duke had
promised to furnish, but he might allow of the incorporation of these
independent and wealthy cities in the duchy. Moreover, it was a feature
of the times for the princes to seek to conquer fresh districts and
incorporate them. France had recently snatched away Mompelgard from
Würtemberg, and Charles Alexander recovered it. The duchy had suffered
so severely from having been overrun by French troops that the Estates
acquiesced, though reluctantly, in the Duke's proposal that a standing
army should be maintained. Having obtained this concession, Suess
instructed him how to make it a means of acquiring money, by calling men
to arms who would be thankful to purchase their discharge. The army soon
numbered 18,000 soldiers. His general-in-chief was Remchingen, a man who
had served with him in the Imperial army and was devoted to his
interests. The Duke placed his army under officers who were none of them
Würtembergers. At the head of an army officered by his own creatures,
the Duke hoped to carry his next purpose--the abrogation of the
capitulation, and the conversion of the State from a constitutional to a
despotic monarchy. Suess now became the Duke's most confidential
adviser, and, guided by him, Charles Alexander got rid of all his
Ministers and courtiers who would not become the assistants in this
policy, and filled their places with creatures of his own, chief of whom
was a fellow named Hallwachs. In order to paralyse the Assembly the Duke
did not summon it to meet, and managed to pack the committee with men in
his interest; for, curiously enough, the committee was not elected by
the delegates, but itself elected into the vacancies created in it. By
means of the committee the Duke imposed on the country in 1736 a double
tax, and the grant of a thirtieth of all the fruits; and this was to
last "as long as the necessities of the case required it."

Suess himself was careful to keep in the background. He accepted no
office about court, became Minister of no branch of the State; but every
Minister and officer was nominated by him and devoted to him. Towards
these creatures of his own he behaved with rudeness and arrogance, so
that they feared him almost more than the Duke. If the least opposition
was manifested, Suess threatened the gallows or the block, forfeiture of
goods, and banishment; and as the Duke subscribed every order Suess
brought him, it was well known that his threats were not idle.

Suess employed Weissensee, a pastor, the prelate of Hirsau, as his court
spy. This worthless man brought to the favourite every whisper that
passed within his hearing among the courtiers of the Duke, everything
that was said in the committee, and advised whether the adhesion of this
or that man was doubtful.

Suess so completely enveloped the Duke in the threads of the web he spun
about him, that Charles Alexander followed his advice blindly, and did
nothing without consulting him.

In 1734 Suess farmed the coinage of Würtemberg, with great profit to
himself, and, having got it into his own hands, kept it there to the
end. But there is this to be said for his coinage, that it was far
better than that of all the other states of Germany; so that the
Würtemberg silver was sought throughout Germany. There was nothing
fraudulent in this transaction, and though at his trial the matter was
closely investigated, no evidence of his having exceeded what was just
could be produced against him.

It was quite another matter with the "Land Commission," a
well-intentioned institution with which the Duke began his reign.
Charles Alexander was overwhelmed with the evidence sent in to him of
bribery under the late Duke, and, unable to investigate the cases
himself, he appointed commissioners to do so, and of course these
commissioners were nominated by Suess. The commission not only examined
into evidence of bribery in the purchase of offices, but also into
peculation and neglect of duty in the discharge of offices. Those
against whom evidence was strong were sentenced to pay a heavy fine, but
were not necessarily deprived. Those, on the other hand, who had
acquired their offices honourably and had discharged their functions
conscientiously were harassed by repeated trials, terrified with
threats, and were forced to purchase their discharge at a sum fixed
according to an arbitrary tariff. Those who proved stubborn, or did not
see at what the commissioners aimed, were subjected to false witnesses,
found guilty, and fined. These fines amounted in some instances to

After the commission had exhausted the bureaucracy, and money was still
needed, private individuals became the prey of their inquisitorial and
extortive action.

Any citizen who was reported to be rich was summoned before the tribunal
to give an account of the manner in which he had obtained his wealth;
his private affairs were investigated, his books examined, and his trial
protracted till he was glad to purchase his dismissal for a sum
calculated according to his income as revealed to the prying eyes of the

But as this did not suffice to fill the empty treasury, recurrence was
had to the old abuse which the Land Commission had been instituted to
inquire into and correct. Every office was sold, and to increase the
revenue from this source fresh offices were created, fresh titles
invented, and all were sold for ready money. Every office in Church as
well as State was bought; indeed, a sort of auction was held at every
vacancy, and the office was knocked down to the highest bidder.

This sort of commerce had been bad enough under the late Duke, but it
became fourfold as bad now under the redresser of abuses, for what had
before been inchoate was now organised by Suess into a system.

Not only were the offices sold, but after they had been entered upon,
the tenant was expected to pay a second sum, entitled the gratuity,
which was to go, it was announced, towards a sustentation fund for
widows and orphans and the aged. It is needless to say that none of this
money ever reached widows, orphans, or aged.

A special bureau of gratuities was organised by decree of the Duke, and
filled with men appointed by Suess, who paid into his hands the sums
received; and he, after having sifted them, and retained what he thought
fit, shook the rest into the ducal treasury. This bureau was founded by
ducal rescript in 1736.

Side by side with the Office of Gratuities came the Fiscal Office into
being, whose function it was to revise the magisterial and judicial
proceedings of the courts of justice. This also was filled by Suess with
his creatures. The ground given to the world for its establishment was
the correction of judicial errors and injustices committed by the courts
of law. It was the final court of revision, before which every decision
went before it was carried into effect. Legal proceedings, moreover,
were long and costly, and the Fiscal Court undertook to interfere when
any suit threatened to be unduly protracted to the prejudice of justice.
But the practical working of the Fiscal Court was something very
different. It interfered with the course of justice, reversing
judgments, not according to equity, but according to the bribes paid
into the hands of the board. In a very short time the sources of justice
were completely poisoned by it, and no crime, however great and however
clearly established, led to chastisement if sufficient money were paid
into the hands of the court of revision. The whole country was overrun
with spies, who denounced as guilty of imaginary crimes those who were
rich, and such never escaped without leaving some of their gold sticking
to the hands of the fiscal counsellors.

As usual with Joseph Suess, he endeavoured to keep officially clear of
this court, as he had of the Office of Gratuities, and of all others.
But the Duke nominated him assistant counsellor. Suess protested, and
endeavoured to shirk the honour; but as the Duke refused to release him,
he took care never once to attend the court, and when the proceedings
and judgments were sent him for his signature he always sent them back
unsigned; and he never was easy till relieved of the unacceptable title.
For Suess was a clever rogue. In every transaction that was public, and
of which documentary evidence was producible that he had been mixed up
with it, he acted with integrity; but whenever he engaged on a
proceeding which might render him liable to be tried in the event of
his falling into disfavour, he kept himself in the background and acted
through his agents; so that when, eventually, he was tried for his
treasonable and fraudulent conduct, documentary evidence incriminating
him was wholly wanting.

After the death of the Duke, it was estimated from the records of the
two courts that they had in the year 1736-7 squeezed sixty-five thousand
pounds out of the small and poor duchy.

Suess had constituted himself jeweller to the Duke, who had a fancy for
precious stones, but knew nothing of their relative values. When Suess
offered him a jewel he was unable to resist the temptation of buying it,
and very little of the money of the Bureau of Gratuities ever reached
him; he took the value out in stones at Suess' estimation. When some of
his intimates ventured to suggest that the Jew was deceiving him as to
the worth of the stones, Duke Charles Alexander shrugged his shoulders
and said with a laugh, "It may be so, but I can't do without that
coujon" (_cochon_).[19] . At the beginning of 1736 a new edict for wards
was issued by the Duke, probably on Suess' suggestion, whereby he
constituted a chancery which should act as guardian to all orphans under
age, managing their property for them, and was accountable to none but
the Duke for the way in which it dealt with the trust. Then a commission
was instituted to take charge of all charitable bequests in the duchy;
and by this means Suess got the fingering of property to the amount of
two hundred thousand pounds, for which the State paid to the Charities
at the rate of three per cent.

Then came the imposition of duties and taxes. Salt was taxed,
playing-cards, groceries, leather, tobacco, carriages, even the sweeping
of chimneys. A gazette was issued containing decrees of the Duke and
official appointments, and every officer and holder of any place,
however insignificant, under Government was compelled to subscribe to
this weekly paper, the profits of which came to the Duke and his
adviser. Then came a property and income tax; then in quick succession
one tormenting edict after another, irritating and disturbing the
people, and all meaning one thing--money.

Lotteries were established by order of the Duke. Suess paid the Duke
£300 for one, and pocketed the profits, which were considerable. At the
court balls and masquerades Suess had his roulette tables in an
adjoining room, and what fell to the _croupier_ went into his

At last his sun declined. The Duke became more and more engrossed in his
ideas of upsetting the constitution by means of his army, and listened
more to his general, Remchingen, than to Suess. He entered into a
compact with the elector of Bavaria and with the Bishops of Würzburg and
Bamberg to send him troops to assist him in his great project, and, as a
price for this assistance, promised to introduce the Roman Catholic
religion into Würtemberg.

The enemies of Suess, finding that he was losing hold of the Duke, took
advantage of a precious stone which the Jew had sold him for a thousand
pounds, and which proved to be worth only four hundred, to open the eyes
of Charles Alexander to the character of the man who had exercised such
unbounded influence over him. Suess, finding his power slipping from
him, resolved to quit the country. The Duke stopped him. Suess offered
five thousand pounds for permission to depart; it was refused. Charles
Alexander was aware that Suess knew too many court secrets to be allowed
to quit the country. Moreover, the necessities of the Duke made him feel
that he might still need the ingenuity of Suess to help him to raise
money. As a means of retaining him he granted him a so-called
"absolutorium"--a rescript which made him responsible to no one for any
of his actions in the past or in the future. Furnished with this
document, the Jew consented to remain, and then the Duke required of him
a loan of four thousand pounds for the expenses of a journey he
meditated to Danzig to consult a physician about a foot from which he
suffered. The "absolutorium" was signed in February 1737.

On March 12 following, Charles Alexander started on his journey from
Stuttgart, but went no farther than his palace at Ludwigsburg.

Although the utmost secrecy had been maintained, it had nevertheless
transpired that the constitution was to be upset as soon as the Duke had
left the country. He had given sealed orders to his general, Remchingen,
to this effect. The Bavarian and Würtemberg troops, to the number of
19,000 men, were already on the march. The Würtemberg army was entirely
officered by the Duke's own men. Orders had been issued to forbid the
Stuttgart Civil Guard from exercising and assembling, and ordering that
a general disarmament of the Civil Guard and of the peasants and
citizens should be enforced immediately the Duke had crossed the
frontier. All the fortresses in the duchy had been provided with
abundance of ammunition and ordnance.

At Ludwigsburg the Duke halted to consult an astrologer as to the
prospect of his undertaking. Suess laughed contemptuously at the
pretences of this man, and, pointing to a cannon, said to Charles
Alexander, "This is your best telescope."

The sealed orders were to be opened on the 13th, and on that day the
stroke was to be dealt. Already Ludwigsburg was full of Würzburg
soldiers. A courier of the Duke with a letter had, in a drunken
squabble, been deprived of the dispatch; this was opened and shown to
the Assembly, which assembled in all haste and alarm. It revealed the
plot. At once some of the notables hastened to Ludwigsburg to have an
interview with their prince. He received them roughly, and dismissed
them without disavowing his intentions. The consternation became
general. The day was stormy; clouds were whirled across the sky, then
came a drift of hail, then a gleam of sun. At Ludwigsburg, the wind blew
in whole ranges of windows, shivering the glass. The alarm-bells rang in
the church towers, for fire had broken out in the village of Eglosheim.

The Assembly sent another deputation to Ludwigsburg, consisting of
their oldest and most respected members. They did not arrive till late,
and unable to obtain access through the front gates, crept round by the
kitchen entrance, and presented themselves unexpectedly before the Duke
at ten o'clock at night, as he was retiring to rest from a ball that had
been given. Dancing was still going on in one of the wings, and the
strains of music entered the chamber when the old notables of
Würtemberg, men of venerable age and high character, forced their way
into the Duke's presence.

Charles Alexander had but just come away from the ball-room, seated
himself in an arm-chair, and drunk a powerful medicine presented him by
his chamberlain, Neuffer, in a silver bowl. Neuffer belonged to a family
which had long been influential in Würtemberg, honourable and patriotic.
Scarce had the Duke swallowed this draught when the deputation appeared.
He became livid with fury, and though the interview took place with
closed doors the servants without heard a violent altercation, and the
Duke's voice raised as if he were vehemently excited. Presently the
doors opened and the deputation came forth, greatly agitated, one of the
old men in his hurry forgetting to take his cap away with him. Scarcely
were they gone when Neuffer dismissed the servants, and himself went to
a further wing of the palace.

The Duke, still excited, suddenly felt himself unwell, ran into the
antechamber, found no one there, staggered into a third, then a fourth
room, tore open a window, and shouted into the great court for help;
but his voice was drowned by the band in the illumined ball-room,
playing a valse. Then giddiness came over the Duke, and he fell to the
ground. The first to arrive was Neuffer, and he found him insensible. He
drew his knife and lanced him. Blood flowed. The Duke opened his eyes
and gasped, "What is the matter with me? I am dying!" He was placed in
an armchair, and died instantly.

That night not a window in Stuttgart had shown light. The town was as a
city of the dead. Everyone was in alarm as to what would ensue on the
morrow, but in secret arms were being distributed among the citizens and
guilds. They would fight for their constitution. Suddenly, at midnight,
the news spread that the Duke was dead. At once the streets were full of
people, laughing, shouting, throwing themselves into each other's arms,
and before another hour the windows were illuminated with countless

Not a moment was lost. Duke Charles Rudolf of Würtemberg-Neuenstadt was
invested with the regency, and on March 19, General Remchingen was
arrested and deprived of his office.

For once Suess' cleverness failed him. Relying on his "absolutorium," he
did not fly the country the moment he heard of the death of the Duke. He
waited till he could place his valuables in safety. He waited just too
long, for he was arrested and confined to his house. Then he did manage
to escape, and got the start of his enemies by an hour, but was
recognised and stopped by a Würtemberg officer, and reconducted to
Stuttgart, where he was almost torn to pieces by the infuriated
populace, and with difficulty rescued from their hands. On March 19, he
was sent to the fortress of Hohenneuffen; but thence he almost succeeded
in effecting his escape by bribing the guards with the diamonds he had
secreted about his person.

At first Suess bore his imprisonment with dignity. He was confident, in
the first place, that the "absolutorium" would not be impeached, and in
the second, that there was no documentary evidence discoverable which
could incriminate him. But as his imprisonment was protracted, and as he
saw that the country demanded a victim for the wrongs it had suffered,
his confidence and self-respect left him. Nevertheless, it was not till
the last that he was convinced that his life as well as his ill-gotten
gains would be taken from him, and then he became a despicable figure,
entreating mercy, and eagerly seeking to incriminate others in the hopes
of saving his own wretched life thereby.

There were plenty of others as guilty as Suess--nay, more so, for they
were natives of Würtemberg, and he an alien in blood and religion. But
these others had relations and friends to intercede for them, and all
felt that Suess was the man to be made a scape-goat of, because he was

The mode of his execution was barbarous. His trial had been protracted
for eleven months; at length, on February 4, 1738, he was led forth to
execution--to be hung in an iron cage. This cage had been made in 1596,
and stood eight feet high, and was four feet in diameter. It was
composed of seventeen bars and fourteen cross-bars, and was circular.
The gallows was thirty-five feet high. The wretched man was first
strangled in the cage, hung up in it like a dead bird, and then the cage
with him in it was hoisted up to the full height of the gallows-tree.
His wealth was confiscated.

Hallwachs and the other rascals who had been confederated with him in
plundering their country were banished, but were allowed to depart with
all their plunder.

Remchingen also escaped; when arrested, he managed to get rid of all
compromising papers, which were given by him to a chimney-sweep sent to
him down the chimney by some of the agents of the Bishop of Würzburg.

Such is the tragic story of the life of Suess Oppenheim, a man of no
ordinary abilities, remarkable shrewdness, but without a spark of
principle. But the chief tragedy is to be found in the deterioration of
the character of Duke Charles Alexander, who, as Austrian field-marshal
and governor of Servia, had been the soul of honour, generous and
beloved; who entered on his duchy not only promising good government,
but heartily desiring to rule well for his people's good; and who in
less than four years had forfeited the love and respect of his subjects,
and died meditating an act which would have branded him as
perjured--died without having executed one of his good purposes, and so
hated by the people who had cheered him on his entry into the capital,
that, by general consent, the mode of his death was not too curiously
and closely inquired into.


[18] There was some idea of a younger brother being elected.

[19] In three years Suess gained a profit of 20,000 florins out of the
sale of jewellery alone.

[20] The Duke, at Suess's instigation, wrote to the Emperor to get the
Jew factotum ennobled, but was refused.

[21] On the following night a confectioner set up a transparency
exhibiting the Devil carrying off the Duke.

Ignatius Fessler.

On December 15th, 1839, in his eighty-fourth year, died Ignatius
Fessler, Lutheran Bishop, at St. Petersburg, a man who had gone through
several phases of religious belief and unbelief, a Hungarian by birth, a
Roman Catholic by education, a Capuchin friar, then a deist, almost, if
not quite, an atheist, professor of Oriental languages in the university
of Lemberg, finally Lutheran Bishop in Finland.

He was principally remarkable as having been largely instrumental in
producing one of the most salutary reforms of the Emperor Joseph II.

His autobiography published by him in 1824, when he was seventy years
old, affords a curious picture of the way in which Joseph carried out
those reforms, and enables us to see how it was that they roused so much
opposition, and in so many cases failed to effect the good that was

Fessler, in his autobiography, paints himself in as bright colours as he
can lay on, but it is impossible not to see that he was a man of little
principle, selfish and heartless.

The autobiography is so curious, and the experiences of Fessler so
varied, the times in which he lived so eventful, and the book itself so
little known, that a short account of his career may perhaps interest,
and must be new to the generality of readers.

Ignatius Fessler was the son of parents in a humble walk of life
resident in Hungary, but Germans by extraction. Ignatius was born in the
year 1754, and as the first child, was dedicated by his mother to God.
It was usual at that time for such children to be dressed in
ecclesiastical habits. Ignatius as soon as he could walk was invested in
a black cassock. His earliest reading was in the lives of the saints and
martyrs, but at his first Communion his mother gave him a Bible. That
book and Thomas à Kempis were her only literature. Long-continued
prayer, daily reading of religious books, and no others, moulded the
opening mind of her child. Exactly the same process goes on in countless
peasant houses in Catholic Austria and Germany and Switzerland at the
present day. No such education, no such walling off of the mind from
secular influences is possible in England or France. The first
enthusiasm of the child was to become a saint, his highest ambition to
be a hermit or a martyr. At the age of seven he was given to be
instructed by a Jesuit father, and was shortly after admitted to
communion. At the age of nine Ignatius could read and speak Latin, and
then he read with avidity Cardinal Bona's _Manductio ad Coelum_. His
education was in the hands of the Carmelites at Raab. Dr. Fessler
records his affectionate remembrance of his master, Father Raphael.
Ignatius lounged, and was lazy. "Boy!" said the Father, "have done with
lounging or you will live to be no good, but the laughing stock of old
women. Look at me aged seventy, full of life and vigour, that comes of
not being a lounger when a boy." From the Carmelite school Ignatius
passed into that of the Jesuits. His advance was rapid; but his reading
was still in Mystical Theology and his aim the attainment of the
contemplative, ecstatic life of devotion. So he reached his seventeenth

Then his mother took him to Buda, to visit his uncle who was lecturer on
Philosophy in the Capuchin Convent. The boy declared his desire to
become a Franciscan. His mother and uncle gave their ready consent, and
he entered on his noviciate, under the name of Francis Innocent. "The
name Innocent became me well--really, at that time, I did not know the
difference between the sexes."

In 1774, when aged twenty, he took the oaths constituting him a friar.
All the fathers in the convent approved, except one old man, Peregrinus,
who remonstrated gravely, declaring that he foresaw that Fessler would
bring trouble on the fraternity. Father Peregrinus was right, Fessler
was one to whom the life and rules and aim of the Order could never be
congenial. He had an eager, hungry mind, an insatiable craving for
knowledge, and a passion for books. The Capuchins were, and still are,
recruited from the lowest of the people, ignorant peasants with a
traditional contempt for learning, and their teachers embued with the
shallowest smattering of knowledge. Fessler, being devoid of means,
could not enter one of the cultured Orders, the Benedictines or the
Jesuits. Moreover, the Franciscan is, by his vow, without property, he
must live by begging, a rule fatal to self-respect, and fostering
idleness. S. Francis, the founder, was a scion of a mercantile class,
and the beggary which he imposed on his Order, was due to his revolt
against the money-greed of his class. But it has been a fruitful source
of mischief. It deters men with any sense of personal dignity from
entering the Order, and it invites into it the idle and the ignorant.
The Franciscan Order has been a fruitful nursery of heresies, schisms
and scandals. Now old Father Peregrinus had sufficient insight into
human nature to see and judge that a man of pride, intellectual power,
and culture of mind, would be as a fish on dry land in the Capuchin
fraternity. He was not listened to. Fessler was too young to know
himself, and the fathers too eager to secure a man of promise and

"The guardian, Coelestine, an amiable man, took a liking to me. He
taught me to play chess, and he played more readily with me than with
any of the rest, which, not a little, puffed up my self-esteem. The
librarian, Leonidas, was an old, learned, obliging man, dearly loving
his flowers. I fetched the water for him to his flower-beds, and he
showed me his gratitude by letting me have the run of the library."

The library was not extensive, the books nearly all theological, and the
volume which Fessler was most attracted by was Barbanson's "Ways of
Divine Love."

In 1775, Fessler made the acquaintance of a Calvinist Baron, who lent
him Fleury's "Ecclesiastical History." This opened the young man's eyes
to the fact that the Church was not perfect, that the world outside the
Church was not utterly graceless. He read his New Testament over seven
times in that year. Then his Calvinist friend lent him Muratori's
"Treatise on the Mystical Devotions of the Monks." His confidence was
shaken. He no longer saw in the Church the ideal of purity and perfect
infallibility; he saw that Mystical Theology was a geography of cloud
castles. What profit was there in it? To what end did the friars live?
To grow cabbages, make snuff-boxes, cardboard cases, which they
painted--these were their practical labours; the rest of their time was
spent in prayer and meditation.

Then the young friar got hold of Hofmann-Waldau's poems, and the
sensuousness of their pictures inflamed his imagination at the very time
when religious ecstasy ceased to attract him.

What the result might have been, Fessler says, he trembles to think, had
he not been fortified by Seneca. It is curious to note, and
characteristic of the man, that he was saved from demoralisation, not by
the New Testament, which did not touch his heart, but by Seneca's moral
axioms, which convinced his reason. The Franciscans are allowed great
liberty. They run over the country collecting alms, they visit whom they
will, and to a man without principle, such liberty offers dangerous

Fessler now resolved to leave an Order which was odious to him.
"Somewhat tranquillized by Seneca, I now determined to shake myself
loose from the trammels of the cloister, without causing scandal. The
most easy way to do this was for me to take Orders, and get a cure of
souls or a chaplaincy to a nobleman." He had no vocation for the
ministry; he looked to it merely as a means of escape from uncongenial
surroundings. On signifying his desire to become a priest, he was
transferred to Gross Wardein, there to pass the requisite course of
studies. At Wardein he gained the favour of the bishop and some of the
canons, who lent him books on the ecclesiastical and political history
of his native land. He also made acquaintance with some families in the
town, a lady with two daughters, with the elder of whom he fell in love.
He had, however, sufficient decency not to declare his passion. It was
otherwise with a young Calvinist tailor's widow, Sophie; she replied to
his declaration very sensibly by a letter, which, he declares, produced
a lasting effect upon him.

In 1776 he was removed to Schwächat to go through a course of Moral
Theology. His disgust at his enforced studies, which he regarded as the
thrashing of empty husks, increased. He was angry at his removal from
the friends he had made at Wardein. Vexation, irritation, doubt, threw
him into a fever, and he was transferred to the convent in the suburbs
of Vienna, where he could be under better medical care. The physician
who attended him soon saw that his patient's malady was mental. Fessler
opened his heart to him, and begged for the loan of books more feeding
to the brain than the mystical rubbish in the convent library. The
doctor advised him to visit him, when discharged as cured from the
convent infirmary, instead of at once returning to Schwächat. This he
did, and the doctor introduced him to two men of eminence and influence,
Von Eybel and the prelate Rautenstrauch, a Benedictine abbot, the
director of the Theological Faculties in the Austrian Monarchy. This
latter promised Fessler to assist him in his studies, and urged him to
study Greek and Hebrew, also to widen the circle of his reading, to make
acquaintance with law, history, with natural science and geography, and
undertook to provide him with the requisite books.

On his return to Schwächat, Fessler appealed to the Provincial against
his Master of Studies whom he pronounced to be an incompetent pedant. At
his request he was moved to Wiener-Neustadt. There he found the lecturer
on Ecclesiastical Studies as superficial as the man from whom he had
escaped. This man did not object to Fessler pursuing his Greek and
Hebrew studies, nor to his taking from the library what books he liked.

The young candidate now borrowed and devoured deistical works, Hobbes,
Tindal, Edelmann, and the Wolfenbüttel Fragments. He had to be careful
not to let these books be seen, accordingly he hid them under the floor
in the choir. After midnight, when matins had been sung, instead of
returning to bed with the rest, he remained, on the plea of devotion, in
the church, seated on the altar steps, reading deistical works by the
light of the sanctuary lamp, which he pulled down to a proper level. He
now completely lost his faith, not in Christianity only, but in natural
religion as well. Nevertheless, he did not desist from his purpose of
seeking orders. He was ordained deacon in 1778, and priest in 1779. "On
the Sunday after Corpus Christi, I celebrated without faith, without
unction, my first mass, in the presence of my mother, her brother, and
the rest of my family. They all received the communion from my hand,
bathed in tears of emotion. I, who administered to them, was frozen in

The cure of souls he desired was not given him, no chaplaincy was
offered him. His prospect of escape seemed no better than before. He
became very impatient, and made himself troublesome in his convent. As
might have been suspected, he became restive under the priestly
obligations, as he had been under the monastic rule. It is curious that,
late in life, when Fessler wrote his memoirs, he showed himself blind to
the unworthiness of his conduct in taking on him the most sacred
responsibilities to God and the Church, when he disbelieved in both. He
is, however, careful to assure us that though without faith in his
functions, he executed them punctually, hearing confessions, preaching
and saying mass. But his conduct is so odious, his after callousness so
conspicuous, that it is difficult to feel the smallest conviction of his
conscientiousness at any time of his life.

As he made himself disagreeable to his superiors at Neustadt, he was
transferred to Mödling. There he made acquaintance with a Herr Von
Molinari and was much at his house, where he met a young Countess
Louise. "I cannot describe her stately form, her arching brows, the
expression of her large blue eyes, the delicacy of her mouth, the music
of her tones, the exquisite harmony that exists in all her movements,
and what affects me more than all--she speaks Latin easily, and only
reads serious books." So wrote Fessler in a letter at the time. He read
Ovid's Metamorphoses with her in the morning, and walked with her in the
evening. When, at the end of October, the family went to Vienna, "the
absence of that noble soul," he wrote, "filled me with the most poignant
grief." The Molinari family were bitten with Jansenism, and hoped to
bring the young Capuchin to their views. Next year, in the spring of
1781, they returned to Mödling.

"This year passed like the former; in the convent I was a model of
obedience, in the school a master of scholastic theology: in Molinari's
family a humble disciple of Jansen, in the morning a worshipper of the
muse of Louise, in the evening an agreeable social companion,"--in
heart--an unbeliever in Christianity.

A letter written to an uncle on March 12th, 1782, must be quoted
verbatim, containing as it does a startling discovery, which gave him
the opportunity so long desired, of breaking with the Order:--

"Since the 23rd February, I sing without intermission after David, in my
inmost heart, 'Praise and Glory be to God, who has delivered my enemies
into my hand!' Listen to the wonderful way in which this has happened.
On the night of the 23rd to 24th of February, after eleven o'clock, I
was roused from sleep by a lay-brother. 'Take your crucifix,' said he
'and follow me.'

"'Whither?' I asked, panic struck.

"'Whither I am about to lead you.'

"'What am I to do?'

"'I will tell you, when you are on the spot.'

"'Without knowing whither I go, and for what purpose, go I will not.'

"'The Guardian has given the order; by virtue of holy obedience you are
bound to follow whither I lead.'

"As soon as holy obedience is involved, no resistance can be offered.
Full of terror, I took my crucifix and followed the lay-brother, who
went before with a dark lantern. Passing the cell of one of my fellow
scholars, I slipped in, shook him out of sleep, and whispered in Latin
twice in his ear, 'I am carried off, God knows whither. If I do not
appear to-morrow, communicate with Rautenstrauch.'

"Our way led through the kitchen, and beyond it through a couple of
chambers; on opening the last, the brother said, 'Seven steps down.' My
heart contracted, I thought I was doomed to see the last of day-light.
We entered a narrow passage, in which I saw, half way down it, on the
right, a little altar, on the left some doors fastened with padlocks. My
guide unlocked one of these, and said, 'Here is a dying man, Brother
Nicomede, a Hungarian, who knows little German, give him your spiritual
assistance. I will wait here. When he is dead, call me.'

"Before me lay an old man on his pallet, in a worn-out habit, on a straw
palliasse, under a blanket; his hood covered his grey head, a snow-white
beard reached to his girdle. Beside the bedstead was an old
straw-covered chair, a dirty table, on which was a lamp burning. I spoke
a few words to the dying man, who had almost lost his speech; he gave me
a sign that he understood me. There was no possibility of a confession.
I spoke to him about love to God, contrition for sin, and hope in the
mercy of heaven; and when he squeezed my hand in token of inward
emotion, I pronounced over him the General Absolution. The rest of the
while I was with him, I uttered slowly, and at intervals, words of
comfort and hope of eternal blessedness. About three o'clock, after a
death agony of a quarter-of-an-hour, he had passed out of the reach of

"Before I called the lay-brother, I looked round the prison, and then
swore over the corpse to inform the Emperor of these horrors. Then I
summoned the lay-brother, and said, coldly, 'Brother Nicomede is gone.'

"'A good thing for him, too,' answered my guide, in a tone equally

"'How long has he been here?'

"'Two and fifty years.'

"'He has been severely punished for his fault.'

"'Yes, yes. He has never been ill before. He had a stroke yesterday,
when I brought him his meal.'

"'What is the altar for in the passage?'

"'One of the fathers says mass there on all festivals for the lions, and
communicates them. Do you see, there is a little window in each of the
doors, which is then opened, and through it the lions make their
confession, hear mass, and receive communion.'

"'Have you many lions here?'

"'Four, two priests and two lay-brothers to be attended on.'

"'How long have they been here?'

"'One for fifty, another for forty-two, the third for fifteen, and the
last for nine years.'

"'Why are they here?'

"'I don't know.'

"'Why are they called lions?'

"'Because I am called the lion-ward.'

"I deemed it expedient to ask no more questions. I got the lion-ward to
light me to my cell, and there in calmness considered what to do.

"Next day, or rather, that same day, Feb. 24th, I wrote in full all that
had occurred, in a letter addressed to the Emperor, with my signature
attached. Shortly after my arrival in Vienna I had made the acquaintance
of a Bohemian secular student named Bokorny, a trusty man. On the
morning of Feb. 25th, I made him swear to give my letter to the Emperor,
and keep silence as to my proceeding.

"At 8 o'clock he was with my letter in the Couriers' lobby of the
palace, where there is usually a crowd of persons with petitions
awaiting the Emperor. Joseph took my paper from my messenger, glanced
hastily at it, put it apart from the rest of the petitions, and let my
messenger go, after he had cautioned him most seriously to hold his

"The blow is fallen; what will be the result--whether anything will come
of it, I do not yet know."

For many months no notice was taken of the letter. It was not possible
for the Emperor to take action at once, for a few days later Pius VI.
arrived in Vienna on a visit to Joseph.

Joseph II. was an enthusiastic reformer; he had the liveliest regard for
Frederick the Great, and tried to copy him, but, as Frederick said,
Joseph always began where he ought to leave off. He had no sooner become
Emperor (1780) than he began a multitude of reforms, with headlong
impetuosity. He supposed that every abuse was to be rooted up by an
exercise of despotic power, and that his subjects would hail freedom and
enlightenment with enthusiasm. Regardless of the power of hereditary
association, he arbitrarily upset existing institutions, in the
conviction that he was promoting the welfare of his subjects. He
emancipated the Jews, and proclaimed liberty of worship to all religious
bodies except the Deists, whom he condemned to receive five-and-twenty
strokes of the cane. He abolished the use of torture, and reorganised
the courts of justice.

The Pope, alarmed at the reforming spirit of Joseph, and the innovations
he was introducing into the management of the Church, crossed the Alps
with the hope that in a personal interview he might moderate the
Emperor's zeal. He arrived only a few days after Joseph had received the
letter of Ignatius Fessler, which was calculated to spur him to enact
still more sweeping reforms, and to steel his heart against the papal
blandishments. Nothing could have come to his hands more opportunely.

In Vienna, in St. Stephen's, the Pope held a pontifical mass. The
Emperor did not honour it by his presence. By order of Joseph, the back
door of the papal lodging was walled up, that Pius might receive no
visitors unknown to the Emperor, and guards were placed at the entrance,
to scrutinize those who sought the presence of the Pope. Joseph lost
dignity by studied discourtesy; and Kaunitz, his minister, was allowed
to be insulting. The latter received the Pope when he visited him, in
his dressing-gown, and instead of kissing his hand, shook it heartily.
Pius, after spending five weeks in Vienna without affecting anything,
was constrained to depart.

Fessler saw him thrice, once, when the Pope said mass in the Capuchin
Church, he stood only three paces from him. "Never did faith and
unbelief, Jansenism and Deism, struggle for the mastery in me more
furiously than then; tears flowed from my eyes, excited by my emotion,
and at the end of the mass, I felt convinced that I had seen either a
man as full of the burning love of God as a seraph, or the most
accomplished actor in the world." Of the sincerity and piety of Pius VI.
there can be no question. He was a good man, but not an able man. "At
the conclusion he turned to us young priests, asked of each his name,
length of time in the Order, and priesthood, about our studies, and
exhorted us, in a fatherly tone, to be stout stones in the wall of the
house of Israel, in times of trouble present and to come."

Before Pius departed, he gave his blessing to the people from the
balcony of the Jesuit Church. "The Pope was seated on a throne under a
gold-embroidered canopy. Fifty thousand persons must have been assembled
below. Windows were full of heads, every roof crowded. The Pope wore his
triple-crowned tiara, and was attended by three cardinals and two
bishops in full pontificals. He intoned the form of absolution, in
far-reaching voice, which was taken up by the court choir of four
hundred voices. When this was done, Pius rose from his throne, the tiara
was removed from his head, he stepped forward, raised eyes and arms to
heaven, and in a pure ecstasy of devotion poured forth a fervent prayer.
Only sighs and sobs broke occasionally the perfect silence which
reigned among the vast throng of kneeling persons in the great square.
The Pope seemed rather to be raised in ecstasy from his feet, than to
stand. The prayer lasted long, and the bishops put their hands to stay
up his arms; it was like Moses on the mountain top, with the rod of God
in his hand, supported by Aaron and Hur, as he prayed for his people
striving below with Amalek. At last this second Moses let his arms fall,
he raised his right hand, and blessed the people in the name of the
Triune God. At the Amen, the cannon of the Freiung boomed, and were
answered by all the artillery on the fortifications of the city."

The Pope was gone, and still no notice taken of the petition. Molinari
spoke to Fessler, who was very hot about reform, and had drawn up a
scheme for the readjustment of the Church in the Empire, which he sent
to some of the ministers of the Emperor. "My friend," said Molinari, "to
pull down and to rebuild, to destroy and to re-create, are serious
matters, only to be taken in hand by one who has an earnest vocation,
and not to be made a means for self-seeking."

Fessler admits that there was truth in the reproach, he was desirous of
pushing himself into notice, and he cared for the matter of "the lions,"
only because he thought they would serve his selfish purpose. Joseph now
issued an order that no member of a monastic order was to be admitted to
a benefice who had not passed an examination before the teachers of the
Seminaries. The superiors of the Capuchins forbade their candidates
going into these examinations. Fessler stirred up revolt, and he and
some others, acting under his advice, demanded to be admitted to
examination. His superior then informed him that he was not intended by
the Order to take a cure of souls, he was about to be appointed lecturer
on Philosophy in one of the convents in Hungary. In order to prevent his
removal, and to force the Order to an open rupture with him, Fessler had
recourse to a most unseemly and ungenerous act. Whilst in Vienna, he had
made the acquaintance of an unmarried lady, the Baroness E. He had
assisted her in her studies, giving her instructions usually by letter.
His acquaintance, Von Eybel, had written a book or tract, which had made
a great stir, entitled, "Who is the Pope?" Fessler wrote another,
entitled, "Who is the Emperor?" He sent a copy to the publisher, but
retained the original MS. Fessler now wrote under a feigned name, and in
a disguised hand, a letter to Father Maximus, guardian of the convent,
charging himself with carrying on a guilty correspondence with the
Baroness E., and with the composition of an inflammatory and
anti-religious pamphlet, "Who is the Emperor?" Maximus at once visited
the Baroness, and showed her the letter. The lady in great indignation
produced the entire correspondence, and handed the letters to him.
Maximus put them in the hands of the Lector of the convent, who visited
Fessler, and asked him if he acknowledged the authorship of "these
scandalous letters."

"Scandalous, they are not," answered Fessler.

"_Impius, cum in profundum venerit, contemnit_," roared the friar. "They
are not only scandalous, but impious. Look at this letter on platonic
love. Is that a fit letter for such as you to write to a lady?"

In consequence of these letters, and the MS. of the pamphlet being found
upon him, Fessler was denounced to the Consistorial Court of the
Archbishop. He was summoned before it at the beginning of August, when
he was forced to admit he had been wont to kiss the lady to whom he
wrote on platonic love, and the Consistory suspended him from the
exercise of his priestly functions for a month.

"I and the Lector returned to the convent silent, as if strangers. When
we arrived, the friars were at table. I do not know how I got to my
place; but after I had drunk my goblet of wine, all was clearer about
me. I seemed to hear the voice of Horace calling to me from heaven,
_Perfer et obdura!_ and in a moment my self-respect revived, and I
looked with scorn on the seventy friars hungrily eating their dinner."

Of his own despicable conduct, that he had richly deserved his
punishment, Fessler never seems to have arrived at the perception. He
was, indeed, a very pitiful creature, arousing disgust and contempt in a
well-ordered mind; and his Memoirs only deserve notice because of the
curious insight they afford into the inner life of convents, and because
he was the means of bringing great scandals to light, and in assisting
Joseph II. in his work of reform.

At the beginning of September, 1782, Fessler was the means of bringing a
fresh scandal before the eyes of the Emperor. During the preceding year,
a saddler in Schwächat had lost his wife, and was left, not only a
widower, but childless. His niece now kept house for him, and was much
afraid lest her uncle should marry again, and that thus she should not
become his heir. She consulted a Capuchin, Father Brictius. Fessler had
been in the Schwächat convent, and knew the man. Soon after, the niece
assured her uncle that the ghost of her aunt had appeared to her, and
told her she was suffering in Purgatory. For her release, she must have
ten masses said, and some wax candles burnt. The saddler was content to
have his old woman "laid" at this price. But, after the tenth mass, the
niece declared she had seen her aunt again, and that the spirit had
appeared to her in the presence of Father Brictius, and told her, that
what troubled her most of all was the suspicion she was under, that her
husband purposed marrying again; and she assured him, that were he so to
do, he would lose his soul, in token whereof, she laid her hand on the
cover of the niece's prayer-book, and left the impression burnt into it.

Father Brictius carried the scorched book all round the neighbourhood,
the marks of thumb and five fingers were clearly to be seen, burnt into
the wooden cover. Great was the excitement, and on all sides masses for
souls were in demand. Some foolish pastors even preached on the marvel.

It happened that a Viennese boy was apprenticed to a tinker at
Schwächat; and the boy came home every Saturday evening, to spend the
day with his parents, at Vienna. He generally brought Fessler some
little presents or messages from his friends at Schwächat. One day, the
boy complained to Fessler that he had been severely beaten by his
master. On being asked the reason, he replied, that he had been engaged
with the tinker making an iron hand, and that he had spoiled it. Shortly
after this, the rumour of the miraculous hand laid on the prayer-book,
reached the convent. Fessler put the circumstances together, and
suspected he was on the track of a fraud. He went at once to one of the
ministers of the Emperor, and told him what he knew.

An imperial commission was issued, the tinker, the saddler's niece, and
Father Brictius, were arrested, cross-questioned, and finally, confessed
the trick. The tinker was sent to prison for some months, the woman, for
some weeks, and the Franciscan was first imprisoned, and then banished
the country. An account of the fraud was issued, by Government
authority, and every parish priest was ordered to read it to his
parishioners from the pulpit.

The Capuchins at Vienna, after this, were more impatient than before to
send Fessler to Hungary, and he was forced to appeal to the Emperor to
prevent his removal.

Suddenly, quite unexpectedly, in the beginning of October--seven months
after Fessler had sent the Emperor an account of the prison in the
convent, and when he despaired of notice being taken of it--some
imperial commissioners visited the convent, and demanded in the name of
the Emperor to be shown all over it. At the head of the Commission was
Hägelin, to whom Fessler had told his suspicions about the iron hand.

The commissioners visited all the cells, and the infirmary, then asked
the Guardian thrice on his honour, and in the name of the Emperor,
whether there was a prison in the convent. Thrice the Guardian replied
that there was not. "Let us now visit the kitchen," said Hägelin, and in
spite of the protests and excuses of the Guardian, he insisted on being
taken there. Beyond the kitchen was the wash-house. The commissioners
went further, and found a small locked door. They insisted on its being
opened. Then the Guardian turned pale and nearly fainted. The door was
thrown open, the cells were unlocked, and the lay brothers ordered to
bring the prisoners into the refectory. There the commissioners remained
alone with the unfortunates to take down their depositions. It was found
that three, Fathers Florentine, and Paternus, and the lay brother,
Nemesian, were out of their minds. The "lion-ward" was summoned to
answer for them. From his account, it transpired that Nemesian had gone
out of his mind through religious enthusiasm; he was aged seventy-one,
and had been fifty years in the dungeon. Father Florentine was aged
seventy-three, he had been in confinement for forty-two years for boxing
the Guardian's ears in a fit of temper. Father Paternus was locked up
because he used to leave his convent without permission, and when
rebuked would not give up his independent conduct. He had been fifteen
years in prison. His confinement had bereft him of his senses. As the
remaining two were in full possession of their faculties, the
"lion-ward" was now dismissed. The lay brother Barnabas said he had been
a shopkeeper's servant in Vienna, he had fallen in love with his
master's daughter. As his master refused to have him as his son-in-law,
out of despair he had gone into the Capuchin Order. During his
noviciate, the master died; the master of the novices stopped the letter
informing him of this, and he took the vows, to discover, when too late,
that the girl loved him, and was ready to take him. In his mad rage, he
flung his rosary at the feet of the Guardian, declaring he would never
confess to, or receive the communion from the hands of a father of this
accursed Order. He had been nine years in prison, and was thirty-eight
years old.

Father Thuribius had been caught reading Wieland, Gellert, Rabener, &c.;
they had been taken from him. He got hold of other copies, they were
taken away a second time. A third time he procured them, and when
discovered, fought with his fists for their retention. He had been
repeatedly given the cat o' nine tails, and had been locked up five
months and ten days. His age was twenty-eight.

The commissioners at once suspended the Provincial and the Guardian till
further notice, and the five unfortunates were handed over to the care
of the Brothers of Charity.

That same day, throughout the entire monarchy, every monastery and
nunnery was visited by imperial commissioners.

At the same time, the Emperor Joseph issued an order that Fessler was on
no account to be allowed to leave Vienna, and that he took him under his
imperial protection against all the devices of his monastic enemies.

"Now came the sentence on the Guardian and the Provincial from the
Emperor. They were more severely punished than perhaps they really
deserved. I felt for their sufferings more keenly, because I was well
aware that I had been moved to report against them by any other motive
rather than humanity; and even the consequences of my revelation, the
setting at liberty of a not inconsiderable number of unfortunate monks
and nuns throughout the Austrian Empire, could not set my conscience at
rest. Only the orders made by the Emperor rendering it impossible to
repeat such abuses, brought me any satisfaction. The monastic prisons
were everywhere destroyed. Transgression of rules was henceforth to be
punished only by short periods of seclusion, and cases of insanity were
to be sent to the Brothers of Charity, who managed the asylums."

If Joseph II. had but possessed commonsense as well as enthusiasm, he
would have left his mark deeper on his country than he did.

Fessler laid before him the schedule of studies in the Franciscan
Convents. Joseph then issued an order (6th April, 1782), absolutely
prohibiting the course of studies in the cloisters. When Fessler saw
that the Guardian of his convent was transgressing the decree, he
appealed against him to the Emperor, and had him dismissed. Next year
Joseph required all the students of the Capuchin Order to enter the
seminaries, and pass thence through the Universities. But,
unfortunately, Joseph had taken a step to alienate from him the bishops
and secular clergy, as well as the monks and friars. He arbitrarily
closed all the diocesan seminaries, and created seminaries of his own
for the candidates for Orders, to which he appointed the professors,
thus entirely removing the education of the clergy from the hands of the
Church. When the Bishop of Goritz expressed his dissatisfaction, Joseph
suppressed his see and banished him. The professors he appointed to the
universities, to the chairs which were attended by candidates for
Orders, were in many cases free-thinkers and rationalists. The professor
of Biblical Exegesis at Vienna was an ex-Jesuit, Monsperger, "His
religious system," says Fessler, who attended his course, "was simply
this,--a wise enjoyment of life, submission to the inevitable, and
prudence of conduct. That was all. He had no other idea of Church than a
reciprocal bond of rights and duties. In his lectures he whittled all
the supernatural out of the Old Testament, and taught his pupils to
regard the book as a collection of myths, romance, and contradictions.
His lectures brought me back from my trifling with Jansenism to the
point I had been at four years before under the teaching of Hobbes,
Tindal, and the Wolfenbüttel Fragments. I resolved to doubt everything
supernatural and divine, without actually denying such thing.--Strange!
I resolved to disbelieve, when I never had believed."

On Feb. 6th, 1784, he received the Emperor's appointment to the
professorships of Biblical Exegesis and Oriental languages in the
University of Lemberg. On the 20th Feb., on the eve of starting for
Lemberg, for ever to cast off the hated habit of S. Francis, and to
shake off, as much as he dare, the trammels of the priesthood, Fessler
was in his cell at midnight, counting the money he had received for his
journey. "To the right of me, on the table was a dagger, given me as a
parting present by the court secretary, Grossinger. I was thinking of
retiring to rest, when my cell door was burst open, and in rushed Father
Sergius, a great meat-knife in his hand, shouting, _Moriere
hoeretice!_ he struck at my breast. In an instant I seized my dagger,
parried the blow, and wounded my assailant in the hand. He let the knife
fall and ran away. I roused the Guardian, told him what had occurred,
and advised what was to be done. Sergius, armed with two similar knives,
had locked himself into his cell. At the command of the Guardian six
lay-brothers burst open the door, and beat the knives from his hands
with sticks, then dragged him off to the punishment-cell, where they
placed him under watch. Next morning I went with the Guardian, as I had
advised, to the president of the Spiritual Commission, the Baron von
Kresel, to inform him that Father Sergius had gone raving mad, and to
ask that he might be committed to the custody of the Brothers of Mercy.
This was at once granted; and I left the Guardian to instruct the
fanatic how to comport himself in the hospital as a lunatic, so as not
to bring his superiors into further difficulties."

The first acquaintance Fessler made in Lemberg, was a renegade
Franciscan friar, who had been appointed Professor of Physic, "He was a
man of unbounded ambition and avarice, a political fanatic, and a
complete atheist." Joseph afterwards appointed this man to be mitred
abbot of Zazvár. He died on the scaffold in 1795, executed for high

The seminarists of the Catholic and of the Uniat Churches as well as the
pupils from the religious Orders were obliged to attend Fessler's
lectures. These were on the lines of these of Monsperger. Some of the
clergy in charge of the Seminarists were so uneasy at Fessler's teaching
that they stood up at his lectures and disputed his assertions; but
Fessler boasts that after a couple of months he got the young men round
to his views, and they groaned, hooted and stamped down the
remonstrants. He published at this time two works, _Institutiones
linguarum orientalium_, and a Hebrew anthology for the use of the
students. In the latter he laid down certain canons for the
interpretation of the Old Testament, by means of which everything
miraculous might be explained away.

It was really intolerable that the candidates for orders should be
forcibly taught to disbelieve everything their Church required them to
hold. In his inspection of the monasteries, in the suppression of many,
Joseph acted with justice, and the conscience of the people approved,
but in this matter of the education of the clergy he violated the
principles of common justice, and the consequence was such wide-spread
irritation, that Joseph for a moment seemed inclined to give way. That
Joseph knew the rationalism of Fessler is certain. The latter gives a
conversation he had with the Emperor, in which they discussed the
"Ruah," the Spirit of God, which moved on the face of the waters, as
said in the first chapter of Genesis. Fessler told him that he
considered "the expression to be a Hebrew superlative, and to mean no
more than that a violent gale was blowing. Possibly," he added, "Moses
may have thought of the Schiva in the Hindoo Trimurti; for he was reared
in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, who were an Ethiopic race, which was
in turn an Indian colony." Dr. Fessler's Ethnology was faulty, whatever
may be thought of his Theology.

After having given this explanation to the Emperor, Fessler boldly asked
him for a bishopric--he who loathed his priesthood and disbelieved in
revealed religion!

Joseph did not give him a mitre, but made him Professor of Doctrinal
Theology and Catholic Polemics as well as of Biblical Exegesis. This did
not satisfy the ambitious soul of Fessler, he was bent on a mitre. He
waited with growing impatience. He sent his books to Joseph. He did his
utmost to force himself into his notice. But the desired mitre did not

Fessler complains that scandalous stories circulated about him whilst at
Lemberg, and these possibly may have reached the imperial ears. He
asserts, and no doubt with perfect truth, that these were unfounded. He
had made himself bitter enemies, and they would not scruple to defame
him. He boasts that at Lemberg he contracted no Platonic alliances; he
had no _attachements de coeur_ there at all.

The Emperor seemed to have forgotten him, to have cast aside his useful
tool. Filled with the bitterness of defeated ambition, in 1788 he wrote
a drama, entitled James II., a covert attack on his protector, Joseph
II., whom he represented as falling away in his enthusiasm for reform,
and succumbing to the gathering hostility of Obscurantists and Jesuits.

This was not the case, but Joseph was in trouble with his refractory
subjects in the Low Countries, who would not have his seminaries and
professors, who subscribed for the support of the ousted teachers, and
rioted at the introduction of the new professors to the University of

The play was put into rehearsal, but the police interfered, and it was
forbidden. Fessler either feared or was warned that he was about to be
arrested, and he escaped over the frontier into Prussian Silesia. Joseph
II. died in 1790, broken in spirit by his failures.

Fessler, after his escape from Austria, became a salaried reader and
secretary to the Count of Carolath, whose wife was a princess of

After a while he married a young woman of the middle class; he seems to
have doubted whether they would be happy together, after he had
proposed, accordingly he wrote her a long epistle, in the most pedantic
and dictorial style, informing her of what his requirements were, and
warning her to withdraw from the contemplated union, if she were not
sure she would come up to the level of the perfect wife. The poor
creature no doubt wondered at the marvellous love letter, but had no
hesitation in saying she would do her duty up to her lights. The result
was not happy. They led together a cat-and-dog life for ten years. She
was a homely person without intellectual parts, and he was essentially a
book-worm. He admits that he did not shine in society, and leaves it to
be understood that the loss was on the side of inappreciative society,
but we can not help suspecting that he was opinionated, sour, and
uncouth. All these qualities were intensified in the narrow circle of
home. After ten years of misery he divorced his wife on the ground of
mutual incompatibility. For a livelihood he took up Freemasonry, and
went about founding lodges. There were three rogues at that period who
worked Freemasonry for their own ends, the Darmstadt Court Chaplain,
Starck, a Baron von Hundt, and a certain Becker, who called himself
Johnson, and pretended to be a delegate from the mysterious, unknown
head of the Society in Aberdeen. They called themselves Masons of the
Strict Observance, but were mere swindlers.

After a while, Freemasonry lost its attractions for Fessler, probably it
ceased to pay, and then he left Breslau, and wandered into Prussia. He
wrote a novel called "Marcus Aurelius," glorifying that emperor, for
whom he entertained great veneration, and did other literary work, which
brought him in a little money. Then he married again, a young, beautiful
and gifted woman, with a small property. He was very happy in his
choice, but less happy in the speculation in which he invested her money
and that of her sisters. It failed, and they were reduced to extreme
poverty. What became of the sisters we do not know. Fessler with his
wife and children went into Russia, and sponged for some time on the
Moravian Brothers, who treated him with great kindness, and lent him
money, "Which," he says, in his autobiography, "I have not yet been able
to pay back altogether."

He lost some of his children. Distress, pecuniary embarrassments, and
sickness, softened his heart, and perhaps with that was combined a
perception that if he could get a pastorate he would be provided
for;[22] this led to a conversion, which looks very much as if it were
copied from the famous conversion of St. Augustine. It possibly was, to
some extent, sincere; he recovered faith in God, and joined the Lutheran
community. Then he had his case and attainments brought under the notice
of the Czar, who was, at the time, as Fessler probably knew, engaged in
a scheme for organising the Lutheran bodies in Finland into a Church
under Episcopal government. He chose Fessler to be bishop of Saratow,
and had him consecrated by the Swedish bishops, "Who," says Fessler,
"like the Anglican bishops, have preserved the Apostolic succession." He
makes much of this point, a curious instance of the revival in his mind
of old ideas imbibed in his time of Catholicity. . According to his own
account, he was a bishop quite on the Apostolic model, and worked very
hard to bring his diocese into order. His ordination was in 1820. In
1833, the Saratow consistory was dissolved, and he retired to St.
Petersburg, where he was appointed general superintendent of the
Lutheran community in the capital. He married a third time, but says
very little of the last wife. He concludes with this estimate of his own
character, which is hardly that at which a reader of his autobiography
would arrive. "Earnestness and cheerfulness, rapid decision, and
unbending determination, manly firmness and childlike
trueheartedness--these are the ever recurring fundamental
characteristics of my nature. Add to these a gentle mysticism, to
surround the others with colour and unite them in harmony. Sometimes it
may be that dissonances occur, it may be true that occasionally I
thunder with powerful lungs in my house, as if I were about to wreck and
shatter everything, but that is called forth only by what is wrong. In
my inmost being calm, peace, and untroubled cheerfulness reign supreme.
Discontent, wrath, venom and gall, have not embittered one moment of my


[22] He had, however, just received a pension from the Czar, so that he
was relieved from abject poverty.

[23] "Of myself," he says, "I must confess that I have heard great and
famous preachers, true Bourdaloues, Massillons, Zollikofers, &c, in
Vienna, Carolath, Breslau, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Hanover, and have
been pleased with the contents, arrangement, and delivery of their
sermons; but never once have I felt my heart stirred with religious
emotion. On the contrary, on the 25th March, 1782, when Pius VI. said
mass in the Capuchin Church, and on the 31st March, when he blessed the
people, I trembled on the edge of conviction and religious faith, and
was only held back by my inability to distinguish between religion and
the Church system. Still more now does the Sermon on the Mount move me,
and for the last 23 years the divine liturgical prayer in John xvii.,
does not fail to stir my very soul."


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     Ballads of the Brave: Poems of Chivalry, Enterprise, Courage, and
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     LANGBRIDGE. Cr. 8vo.


     Irish Politics: An Elementary Sketch. By T. RALEIGH, M.A., Fellow
     of All Souls Coll., Oxford. Fcp. 8vo. This book will form the first
     vol. of a popular series on Elementary Politics edited by Mr.

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