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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 70, No. 433, November 1851
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 70, No. 433, November 1851" ***

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generously made available by The Internet Library of Early
Journals.)



BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCCXXXIII.        NOVEMBER, 1851.             VOL. LXX.



CONTENTS.


  THE DRAMAS OF HENRY TAYLOR,                             505

  A LEGEND OF GIBRALTAR,                                  522

  GERMAN LETTERS FROM PARIS,                              543

  THE SUBMARINE TELEGRAPH,                                562

  MY NOVEL; OR, VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. PART XV.,      573

  THE MASTER THIEF. A NORSE POPULAR TALE,                 595

  DAY-DREAMS OF AN EXILE,                                 604

  AUTUMN POLITICS,                                        607



EDINBURGH:


WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 45 GEORGE STREET; AND 37 PATERNOSTER ROW,
LONDON.

_To whom all communications (post paid) must be addressed._

SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH.



BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCCXXXIII.        NOVEMBER, 1851.          VOL. LXX.


THE DRAMAS OF HENRY TAYLOR.

There is no living writer whose rank in literature appears to be
more accurately determined, or more permanently secured to him, than
the author of _Philip Van Artevelde_[1]. Not gifted with the ardent
temperament, the very vivid imagination, or the warmth of passion which
are supposed necessary to carry a poet to the highest eminences of his
art, he has, nevertheless, that intense reflection, that large insight
into human life, that severe taste, binding him always to a most
select, accurate, and admirable style, which must secure him a lofty
and impregnable position amongst the class of writers who come next in
order to the very highest.

[1] _Philip Van Artevelde_: _A Dramatic Romance._----_Edwin the Fair:
An Historical Drama; and Isaac Comnenus: A Play_----_The Eve of the
Conquest, and other Poems._ By HENRY TAYLOR.

There have been greater poems, but in modern times we do not think
there has appeared any dramatic composition which can be pronounced
superior to the masterpiece of Henry Taylor. Neither of the
_Sardanapalus_ of Lord Byron, nor the _Remorse_ of Coleridge, nor the
_Cenci_ of Shelley, could this be said. We are far from asserting
that Taylor is a greater poet than Byron, or Coleridge, or Shelley;
but we say that no dramatic composition of these poets surpasses, as
a whole, _Philip Van Artevelde_. These writers have displayed, on
various occasions, more passion and more pathos, and a command of more
beautiful imagery, but they have none of them produced a more complete
dramatic work; nor do any of them manifest a profounder insight, or a
wider view of human nature, or more frequently enunciate that _pathetic
wisdom_, that mixture of feeling and sagacity, which we look upon as
holding the highest place in eloquence of every description, whether
prose or verse. The last act of Shelley's drama of the _Cenci_ has left
a more vivid impression upon our mind than any single portion of the
modern drama; but one act does not constitute a play, and this drama
of the _Cenci_ is so odious from its plot, and the chief character
portrayed in it is, in every sense of the word, so utterly monstrous,
(for Shelley has combined, for purposes of his own, a spirit of piety
with the other ingredients of that diabolical character, which could
not have co-existed with them,) that, notwithstanding all its beauty,
we would willingly efface this poem from English literature. If one
of those creatures, half beautiful woman and half scaly fish, which
artists seem, with a traditional depravity of taste, to delight in,
were really to be alive, and to present itself before us, it would
hardly excite greater disgust than this beautifully foul drama of the
_Cenci_.

The very fact of our author having won so distinct and undisputed a
place in public estimation, must be accepted as an excuse for our
prolonged delay in noticing his writings. The public very rapidly
passed its verdict upon them: it was a sound one. The voice of
encouragement was not needed to the author; nor did the reading world
require to be informed of the fresh accession made to its stores. If
we now propose to ourselves some critical observations on the dramas
of Mr Taylor, we enter upon the task in exactly the same spirit that
we should bring to the examination of any old writer, any veritable
ancient, of established celebrity. We are too late to assist in
creating a reputation for these dramas, but we may possibly throw out
some critical suggestions which may contribute to their more accurate
appreciation.

In _Philip Van Artevelde_, the great object of the author appears to
have been to exhibit, in perfect union, the man of thought and the man
of action. The hero is meditative as Hamlet, and as swift to act as
Coriolanus. He is pensive as the Dane, and with something of the like
cause for his melancholy; but so far from wasting all his energies in
moody reflection, he has an equal share for a most enterprising career
of real life. He throws his glance as freely and as widely over all
this perplexing world, but every footstep of his own is planted with a
sure and certain knowledge, and with a firm will. His thoughts may seem
to play as loose as the air above him, but his standing-place is always
stable as the rock. Such a character, we need not say, could hardly
have been selected, and certainly could not have been portrayed with
success, by any but a deeply meditative mind.

It is often remarked that the hero is the reflection of the writer.
This could not be very correctly said in instances like the present. A
writer still lives only in his writings, lives only in his thoughts,
whatever martial feats or bold enterprises he may depict. We could not
prophesy how the poet himself would act if he had been the citizen
of Ghent. It is more accurate to content ourselves with saying that
the delineation of his hero has given full scope to the intellectual
character of the author, and to his own peculiar habits of thought.
For if the great citizen of Ghent combines in an extraordinary degree
the reflective and the energetic character, our author unites, in a
manner almost as peculiar, two modes of thinking which at first appear
to be opposed: he unites that practical sagacity which gives grave,
and serious, and useful counsels upon human conduct, with that sad
and profound irony--that reasoned despondency--which so generally
besets the speculative mind. All life is--vanity. Yet it will not do
to resign ourselves to this general conclusion, from which so little,
it is plain, can be extracted. From nothing, nothing comes. We must go
back, and estimate by comparison each form and department of this human
life--which, as a whole, is so nugatory. Thus, practical sagacity is
reinstated in full vigour, and has its fair scope of action, though
ever and anon a philosophic despondency will throw its shadow over the
scene.

As it is a complete man, so it is a whole life, that we have portrayed
in the drama of _Philip Van Artevelde_. The second part is not what is
understood by a "continuation" of the first, but an essential portion
of the work. In the one we watch the hero rise to his culminating
point; in the other we see him sink--not in crime, and not in glory,
but in a sort of dim and disastrous twilight. We take up the hero from
his student days; we take him from his philosophy and his fishing-line,
and that obstinate pondering on unsolvable problems, which is as much
a characteristic of youth as the ardent passions with which it is
more generally accredited; we take him from the quiet stream which he
torments, far more by the thoughts he throws upon it, than by his rod
and line.

    "He is a man of singular address
    In catching river-fish,"

says a sarcastic enemy, who knew nothing of the trains of thought for
which that angling was often a convenient disguise. A hint given in
the drama will go far to explain what their hue and complexion must
have been. The father of Philip had headed the patriotic cause of the
citizens of Ghent; it had triumphed in his person; the same citizens of
Ghent had murdered him on the threshold of his door. When he was a boy,
the stains of his father's blood were still visible on that threshold:
the widowed mother would not suffer them to be removed, and, nursing
her revenge, loved to show them to the child. There was something here
to colour the thoughts of the young fisherman.

But passion and the world are now knocking at the heart of the
meditative student. Love and ambition are there, and, moreover,
the turbulent condition of the city of Ghent seems to forbid the
continuance of this life of quietude. The passions of the world crave
admittance. Shall he admit them? The great theatre of life claims its
new actor. Shall he go? Shall he commit himself once and for ever
to the turmoil and delusions of that scene--delusions that will not
delude, but which will exercise as great a tyranny over him as if they
did? Yes; he will go. As well do battle with the world without, as
eternally with his own thoughts; for this is the only alternative youth
presents to us. Yes, he will go; but deliberately: he will not be borne
along, he will govern his own footsteps, and, come what may, will be
always master of himself.

Launoy, one of Ghent's bravest patriots, has been killed. The first
reflection we hear from the lips of Artevelde is called forth by this
intelligence. It does not surprise him.

    "I never looked that he should live so long.
    He was a man of that unsleeping spirit,
    He seemed to live by miracle: his food
    Was glory, which was poison to his mind
    And peril to his body. He was one
    Of many thousand such that die betimes,
    Whose story is a fragment, known to few.
    Then comes the man who has the luck to live,
    And he's a prodigy. Compute the chances,
    And deem there's ne'er a one in dangerous times
    Who wins the race of glory, but than him
    A thousand men more gloriously endowed
    Have fallen upon the course; a thousand others
    Have had their fortunes foundered by a chance,
    Whilst lighter barks pushed past them; to whom add
    A smaller tally, of the singular few
    Who, gifted with predominating powers,
    Bear yet a temperate will, and keep the peace.
    The world knows nothing of its greatest men."

If ambition wears this ambiguous aspect to his mind, it is not because
he is disposed to regard the love of woman too enthusiastically.

    "It may be I have deemed or dreamed of such.
    But what know I? We figure to ourselves
    The thing we like, and then we build it up
    As chance will have it, on the rock or sand:
    For thought is tired of wandering o'er the world,
    And home-bound fancy runs her bark ashore."

Yet Artevelde is at this time on his way to Adriana to make that
declaration which the Lady Adriana is so solicitous to hear. This a
lover! Yes; only one of that order who hang over and count the beatings
of their own heart.

Launoy being destroyed, and the people of Ghent having lost others of
their leaders, and growing discontented with the stern rule of Van
Den Bosch, some new captain or ruler of the town is looked for. The
eyes of men are turned to Philip Van Artevelde. He shall be captain
of the Whitehoods, and come to the rescue of the falling cause; for,
of late, the Earl of Flanders has been everywhere victorious. Van
Den Bosch himself makes the proposal. It is evident, from hints that
follow, that Artevelde had already made his choice; he saw that the
time was come when, even if he desired it, there was no maintaining a
peaceful neutrality. But Van Den Bosch meets with no eager spirit ready
to snatch at the perilous prize held out to him. He is no dupe to the
nature of the offer, nor very willing that others should fancy him to
be one--

                      "Not so fast.
    Your vessel, Van Den Bosch, hath felt the storm:
    She rolls dismasted in an ugly swell,
    And you would make a jury-mast of me,
    Whereon to spread the tatters of your canvass."

It is worth noticing how the passion of revenge, like the others, is
admitted to its post; admitted, yet coldly looked upon. He will revenge
his father. Two knights, Sir Guisebert Grutt and Simon Bette, (we
wish they had better names,) were mainly instrumental in his murder.
These men have been playing false, by making treacherous overtures to
the Earl of Flanders; they will be in his power. But they cannot, he
reflects, render back the life they have destroyed--

    ----"Life for life, vile bankrupts as they are,
    Their worthless lives for his of countless price,
    Is their whole wherewithal to pay the debt.
    _Yet retribution is a goodly thing_,
    And it were well to wring the payment from them,
    Even to the utmost drop of their heart's blood."

Still less does the patriotic harangue of Van Den Bosch find an
enthusiastic response. He was already too much a statesman to be a
demagogue; not to mention that his father's career had taught him a
bitter estimate of popularity, and of all tumultuary enthusiasm:--

    "_Van Den Bosch._ Times are sore changed, I see. There's none in Ghent
    That answers to the name of Artevelde.
    Thy father did not carp or question thus
    When Ghent invoked his aid. The days have been
    When not a citizen drew breath in Ghent
    But freely would have died in Freedom's cause.
    _Artevelde._ With a good name thou christenest the cause.
    True, to make choice of despots is some freedom,
    The only freedom for this turbulent town,
    Rule her who may. And in my father's time
    We still were independent, if not free;
    And wealth from independence, and from wealth
    Enfranchisement will partially proceed.
    The cause, I grant thee, Van Den Bosch, is good;
    And were I linked to earth no otherwise
    But that my whole heart centred in myself,
    I could have tossed you this poor life to play with,
    Taking no second thought. But as things are,
    I will resolve the matter warily,
    And send thee word betimes of my conclusion.
    _Van Den Bosch_. Betimes it must be; for some two hours hence
    I meet the Deans, and ere we separate
    Our course must be determined.
    _Artevelde_.                 In two hours,
    If I be for you, I will send this ring
    In token I have so resolved."

He had already resolved. Such a man would not have suffered himself to
be hemmed in within the space of two hours to make so great a decision;
but he would not rush precipitately forward; he would feel his own
_will_ at each step. He had already resolved; but his love to Adriana
troubles him at heart: he must first make all plain and intelligible
there, before he becomes captain of the Whitehoods. From this interview
he goes to Adriana; and then follows a dialogue, every sentence of
which, if we were looking out for admirable passages for quotation,
would offer itself as a candidate. We quote only, from a drama so well
known, for the purpose of illustrating the analytic view we would
present of its chief hero; but the passages selected for this purpose
can hardly fail of being also amongst the most beautiful in themselves.
Artevelde is alone, waiting for the appearance of Adriana--

    "There is but one thing that still harks me back.
    To bring a cloud upon the summer day
    Of one so happy and so beautiful,--
    It is a hard condition. For myself,
    I know not that the circumstance of life
    In all its changes can so far afflict me
    As makes anticipation much worth while.
    ... Oh she is fair!
    As fair as Heaven to look upon! as fair
    As ever vision of the Virgin blest
    That weary pilgrim, resting by the fount
    Beneath the palm, and dreaming to the tune
    Of flowing waters, duped his soul withal.
    It was permitted in my pilgrimage
    To rest beside the fount, beneath the tree,
    Beholding there no vision, but a maid
    Whose form was light and graceful as the palm,
    Whose heart was pure and jocund as the fount,
    And spread a freshness and a verdure round."

Adriana appears, and in the course of the dialogue he addresses her
thus:--

                        "Be calm;
    And let me warn thee, ere thy choice be fixed,
    What fate thou may'st be wedded to with me.
    Thou hast beheld me living heretofore
    As one retired in staid tranquillity:
    The dweller in the mountains, on whose ear
    The accustomed cataract thunders unobserved;
    The seaman, who sleeps sound upon the deck,
    Nor hears the loud lamenting of the blast,
    Nor heeds the weltering of the plangent wave,--
    These have not lived more undisturbed than I:
    But build not upon this; the swollen stream
    May shake the cottage of the mountaineer,
    And drive him forth; the seaman, roused at length,
    Leaps from his slumber on the wave-washed deck:
    And now the time comes fast when here, in Ghent,
    He who would live exempt from injuries
    Of armed men, must be himself in arms.
    This time is near for all,--nearer for me:
    I will not wait upon necessity,
    And leave myself no choice of vantage-ground,
    But rather meet the times where best I may,
    And mould and fashion them as best I can.
    Reflect then that I soon may be embarked
    In all the hazards of these troublesome times,
    And in your own free choice take or resign me.
    _Adri._ Oh, Artevelde, my choice is free no more."

And now he is open to hear Van Den Bosch. That veteran in war and
insurrection brings him news that the people are ready to elect him for
their captain or ruler.

    "_Artev._ Good! when they come I'll speak to them.
    _Van Den B._             'Twere well.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Canst learn to bear thee high amongst the commons?
    Canst thou be cruel? To be esteemed of them,
    Thou must not set more store by lives of men
    Than lives of larks in season.
    _Artev._                 Be it so.
    _I can do what is needful._"

The time of action is at hand. We now see Van Artevelde in a suit of
armour; he is reclining on a window-seat in his own house, looking out
upon the street. There is treason in the town; of those who flock to
the market-place, some have already deserted his cause.

    "_Artev._ Not to be feared--Give me my sword! Go forth,
    And see what folk be these that throng the street.
          [_Exit the page._
    Not to be feared is to be nothing here.
    And wherefore have I taken up this office,
    If I be nothing in it? There they go.
                 (_Shouts are heard._)
    Of them that pass my house some shout my name,
    But the most part pass silently; and once
    I heard the cry of 'Flanders and the Lion!'

       *       *       *       *       *

    That cry again!
    Sir knights, ye drive me close upon the rocks,
    And of my cargo you're the vilest bales,
    So overboard with you! What, men of blood!
    Can the son better auspicate his arms
    Than by the slaying of who slew the father?
    Some blood may flow because that it needs must,
    But yours by choice--I'll slay you, and thank God.
             (_Enter Van Den Bosch._)
    _Van Den B._ The common bell has rung! the knights are there;
    Thou must come instantly.
    _Artev._           I come, I come.
    _Van Den B._ Now, Master Philip, if thou miss thy way
    Through this affair we're lost. For Jesus' sake
    Be counselled now by me; have thou in mind----
    _Artev._ Go to, I need not counsel; I'm resolved.
    Take thou thy stand beside Sir Simon Bette,
    As I by Grutt; take note of all I do,
    And do thyself accordingly. Come on."

They join the assembly; they take their stand each by one of the
traitor knights; the debate on the proposal of the Earl proceeds; three
hundred citizens are to be given up to him, and on this, and other
conditions, peace is to be granted. Artevelde addresses the assembly,
and then turning to these knights, he continues:--

              "Your pardon, sirs, again!
            (_To Grutt and Bette._)
    You are the pickers and the choosers here,
    And doubtless you're all safe, ye think--ha! ha!
    But we have picked and chosen, too, sir knights--
    What was the law for I made yesterday--
    What! is it you that would deliver up
    Three hundred citizens to certain death?
    Ho! Van Den Bosch! have at these traitors--ha!--
            (_Stabs Grutt, who falls._)
    _Van Den B._ Die, treasonable dog!--
                 (_Stabs Bette._)"

He can do "what is needful." It is admirable; everything that is said
and done is admirable; but an involuntary suspicion at times creeps
into the mind, that such a man as Philip Van Artevelde never lived,
or could live. No man could move along such a line of enterprise with
such a weight of reflection on all the springs of action. We see the
calm statesman at the head of a tumultuary movement; and the meditative
man, to whom revenge is the poorest of our passions, striking a blow
from which an old warrior might shrink. Could a man be really impelled
along a path of life like this by passions that are admitted, indeed,
into the bosom, but watched like prisoners? The suspicion, we say,
creeps involuntarily into the mind; but we will not entertain it--we
will not yield to it. That the reflective and energetic characters are,
in certain degrees, combined together, we all know; and who shall say
within what degrees only this is possible? And why may not an ideal
perfection of this kind be portrayed as well as an ideal patriot, or
an ideal monk, or an ideal warrior? We throw the suspicion aside, and
continue our analysis.

There is a passage which is often quoted for its great beauty: we quote
it also for its great appropriateness. Philip Van Artevelde is master
of the city; he is contemplating it at night-time from the tower of St
Nicholas. The reflection here put into the mouth of the anxious captain
brings back to us, in the midst of war and the cares of government, the
meditative man:--

    "There lies a sleeping city. God of dreams!
    What an unreal and fantastic world
    Is going on below!
    Within the sweep of yon encircling wall
    How many a large creation of the night,
    Wide wilderness and mountain, rock and sea,
    Peopled with busy transitory groups,
    Finds room to rise, and never feels the crowd!"

The famous scene, which has for its place the summit of this tower,
between Artevelde and Van Den Bosch, is fresh in the recollection
of every reader: we must pass it by, and the admirable and pathetic
description of the famine that is raging in Ghent, and proceed to
the last act of this part of the drama. Artevelde has stimulated the
citizens to make one brave effort more--to sally from the walls, and
meet the Earl in battle before Bruges. He has arranged in order of
battle his lean and famine-stricken, but desperate little army. He
knows the extreme peril in which they stand: no food in the camp;
fearful odds to be encountered; yet the only hope lying in immediate
battle. He does not delude himself for a moment; he sees the danger
clear, and entertains it with a certain sarcastic levity. He does not
hope, but he acts as if he did. He is not a man given to hope, but he
has a tempered despondency, which sits with him at the council-board,
and rides with him to the field, and which he compels to do the
services of hope.

    "_Artev._       I would to God
    The sun might not go down upon us here
    Without a battle fought!
    _Van Den B._    If so it should,
    We pass a perilous night,
    And wake a wasted few the morrow morn.
    _Van Muck._  We have a supper left.
    _Artev._            My lady's page,
    If he got ne'er a better, would be wroth,
    And burn in effigy my lady's steward.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Van Den B._  We'll hope the best;
    But if there be a knave in power unhanged,
    And in his head a grain of sense undrowned,
    He'll be their caution not to----
    _Artev._          Van Den Bosch,
    Talk we of battle and survey the field,
    For I _will_ fight."

We like this last expression. What in another man would have been a
mere petulance, is in Artevelde an assumed confidence--consciously
assumed, as the only tone of mind in which to pass through the present
crisis. Nor can we omit to notice the following passage, which, to our
apprehension, is very characteristic of our contemplative politician
and warrior; it shows the sardonic vein running through his grave and
serious thoughts:--

    _Art._ (_to Van Ryk._)  I tell thee, eat,
    Eat and be fresh. _I'll send a priest to shrive thee.
    Van Muck, thou tak'st small comfort in thy prayers,
    Put thou thy muzzle to yon tub of wine._"

The battle is fought and a victory won. Justice is executed with stern
and considerate resolve on the villains of the piece, and we leave Van
Artevelde triumphant in his great contest, and happy in the love of
Adriana.

The subordinate characters who are introduced into this first part of
the drama, we have no space to examine minutely. The canvass is well
filled, though the chief figure stands forward with due prominence.
Adriana is all that an amiable and loving woman should be. The
lighter-hearted Clara is intended as a sort of contrast and relief. Her
levity and wit are not always graceful; they are not so in the early
scene where she jests with the page: afterwards, when in presence of
her lover, she has a fitter and more genial subject for her playful
wit, and succeeds much better. In the course of the drama, when the
famine is raging in Ghent, she appears as the true sister of Philip Van
Artevelde. At her first introduction she is somewhat too hoydenish for
the mistress of the noble D'Arlon. D'Arlon is all that a knight should
be, and Gilbert Matthew is a consummate villain.

Between the first and second parts is a poem in rhyme, called "The Lay
of Elena." This introduces us to the lady who is to be the heroine of
the second part of the drama. All the information it gives, might, we
think, have been better conveyed in a few lines of blank verse, added
to that vindication of herself which Elena pours forth in the first
act, when Sir Fleureant of Heurlée comes to reclaim her on the part of
the Duke of Bourbon. This poem is no favourite of ours; but the worst
compliment we would pay it implies, in one point of view, a certain
fitness and propriety--we were glad to return to the blank verse of our
author, in which we find both more music and more pathos than in these
rhymes.

If we are tempted to suspect, whilst reading the first part of this
drama, that the character of Philip Van Artevelde combines in a
quite ideal perfection the man of thought with the man of action,
we, at all events, cannot accuse the author, in this second part, of
representing an ideal or superhuman happiness as the result of this
perfect combination. It is a very truthful sad-coloured destiny that
he portrays. The gloomy passionate sunset of life has been a favourite
subject with poets; but what other author has chosen the clouded
afternoon of life, the cheerless twilight, and the sun setting behind
cold and dark clouds? It was a bold attempt. It has been successfully
achieved. But no amount of talent legitimately expended on it could
make this second part as attractive as the first. When the heroic man
has accomplished his heroic action, life assumes to him, more than to
any other, a most ordinary aspect: his later years bring dwarfish hopes
and projects, or none at all; they bring desires no longer "gay," and
welcomed only for such poor life as they may have in them. Philip Van
Artevelde is now the Regent of Flanders, and, like other regents, has
to hold his own: Adriana he has lost; her place is supplied by one
still fair but faded, and who, though she deserved a better fate, must
still be described as lately the mistress of the Duke of Bourbon. It is
the hero still, but he has descended into the commonplace of courts and
politics.

That it is the same Philip Van Artevelde we are in company with,
the manner in which he enters into this new love will abundantly
testify. He has been describing to Elena his former wife, Adriana. The
description is very beautiful and touching. He then proceeds with his
wooing thus:--

    "_Artev._ ... Well, well--she's gone,
    And I have tamed my sorrow. Pain and grief
    Are transitory things no less than joy,
    And though they leave us not the men we were,
    Yet they do leave us. You behold me here
    A man bereaved, with something of a blight
    Upon the early blossoms of his life
    And its first verdure, having not the less
    A living root, drawing from the earth
    Its vital juices, from the air its powers:
    And surely as man's health and strength are whole,
    His appetites regerminate, his heart
    Reopens, and his objects and desires
    Shoot up renewed. What blank I found before me,
    From what is said you partly may surmise;
    How I have hoped to fill it, may I tell?
    _Elena._ I fear, my lord, that cannot be.
    _Artev._                      Indeed!
    Then am I doubly hopeless....
    _Elena._ I said I feared another could not fill
    The place of her you lost, being so fair
    And perfect as you give her out."

In fine, Elena is conquered, or rather led to confess a conquest
already achieved.

    "_Elena._      I cannot--no--
    I cannot give you what you've had so long;
    Nor need I tell you what you know so well.
    I must be gone.
    _Artev._        Nay, sweetest, why these tears?
    _Elena._ No, let me go--I cannot tell--no--no--
    I want to be alone--
    Oh! Artevelde, for God's love let me go!      [_Exit._
    _Artev._ (_after a pause._) The night is far advanced upon the
        morrow,
    --_Yes, I have wasted half a summer's night_.
    Was it well spent? Successfully it was.
    How little flattering is a woman's love!
    Worth to the heart, come how it may, a world;
    Worth to men's measures of their own deserts,
    If weighed in wisdom's balance, merely nothing.
    The few hours left are precious--who is there?
    Ho! Nieuverkerchen!--when we think upon it,
    How little flattering is a woman's love!
    Given commonly to whosoe'er is nearest
    And propped with most advantage; outward grace
    Nor inward light is needful; day by day
    Men wanting both are mated with the best
    And loftiest of God's feminine creation.
    Ho! Nieuverkerchen!--what, then, do we sleep?
    Are none of you awake?--and as for me,
    The world says Philip is a famous man--
    What is there woman will not love, so taught?
    Ho! Ellert! by your leave though, you must wake.
                (_Enter an officer._)
    Have me a gallows built upon the mount,
    And let Van Kortz be hung at break of day."

It is worth noticing, as a characteristic trait, that Philip Van
Artevelde speaks more like the patriot, harangues more on the cause
of freedom, now that he is Regent of Flanders, opposed to the feudal
nobility, and to the monarchy of France, and soliciting aid from
England, than when he headed the people of Ghent, strong only in their
own love of independence. "Bear in mind," he says, answering the herald
who brings a hostile message from France and Burgundy--

                      "Bear in mind
    Against what rule my father and myself
    Have been insurgent: whom did we supplant?
    There was a time, so ancient records tell,
    There were communities, scarce known by name
    In these degenerate days, but once far famed,
    Where liberty and justice, hand in hand,
    Ordered the common weal; where great men grew
    Up to their natural eminence, and none,
    Saving the wise, just, eloquent, were great.
    ... But now, I ask,
    Where is there on God's earth that polity
    Which it is not, by consequence converse,
    A treason against nature to uphold?
    Whom may we now call free? whom great? whom wise?
    Whom innocent?--the free are only they
    Whom power makes free to execute all ills
    Their hearts imagine; they alone are great
    Whose passions nurse them from their cradles up
    In luxury and lewdness,--whom to see
    Is to despise, whose aspects put to scorn
    Their station's eminence....
    ... What then remains
    But in the cause of nature to stand forth,
    And turn this frame of things the right side up?
    For this the hour is come, the sword is drawn,
    And tell your masters vainly they resist."

We regret to be compelled to garble in our extract so fine a passage of
writing. Meanwhile our patriot Regent sends Father John to England to
solicit aid--most assuredly not to overthrow feudalism, but to support
the Regent against France. His ambition is dragging, willingly or
unwillingly, in the old rut of politics. When Father John returns from
this embassy, he is scandalised at the union formed between Artevelde
and Elena. Here, too, is another sad descent. Our hero has to hear
rebuke, and, with a half-confession, submit to be told by the good
friar of his "sins." He answers bravely, yet with a consciousness that
he stands not where he did, and cannot challenge the same respect from
the friar that he could formerly have done.

    "_Artev._               You, Father John,
    I blame not, nor myself will justify;
    But call my weakness what you will, the time
    Is past for reparation. Now to cast off
    The partner of my sin were further sin;
    'Twere with her first to sin, and then against her.
    And for the army, if their trust in me
    Be sliding, let it go: I know my course;
    And be it armies, cities, people, priests,
    That quarrel with my love--wise men or fools,
    Friends, foes, or factions--they may swear their oaths,
    And make their murmur--rave and fret and fear,
    Suspect, admonish--they but waste their rage,
    Their wits, their words, their counsel: here I stand,
    Upon the deep foundations of my faith
    To this fair outcast plighted; and the storm
    That princes from their palaces shake out,
    Though it should turn and head me, should not strain
    The seeming silken texture of this tie."

And now disaster follows disaster; town after town manifests symptoms
of treachery to his cause. His temper no longer retains its wonted
calmness, and the quick glance and rapid government of affairs seems
about to desert him. Note this little trait:--

    "_Artev._           Whither away, Vauclaire?
    _Vauclaire._ You'll wish, my lord, to have the scouts, and others
    That are informed, before you.
    _Artev._             'Twere well."

It is something new that another should anticipate the necessary orders
to be given. The decisive battle approaches, and is fought. This time
it is lost. Our hero does not even fall in the field; an assassin
stabs him in the back. The career of Artevelde ends thus; and that
public cause with which his life was connected has at the same time an
inglorious termination: "the wheel has come full circle."

The catastrophe is brought about by Sir Fleureant of Heurlée. This
man's character undergoes, in the course of the drama, a complete
transformation. We do not say that the change is unnatural, or that
it is not accounted for; but the circumstances which bring it about
are only vaguely and incidentally narrated, so that the reader is not
prepared for this change. A gay, thoughtless, reckless young, knight,
who rather gains upon us at his first introduction, is converted into
a dark, revengeful assassin. It would, we think, have improved the
effect of the _plot_, if we had been able to trace out more distinctly
the workings of the mind of one who was destined to take so prominent a
part in the drama.

The character of _Lestovet_ is admirably sustained, and is manifestly
a favourite with the author. But we must now break away from _Philip
Van Artevelde_, to notice the other dramas of Mr Taylor. _Edwin the
Fair_ next claims our attention. Here also we shall make no quotations
merely for the sake of their beauty; and we shall limit ourselves to an
analysis of the principal character, Dunstan, on which, perhaps, a word
or two of explanation may not be superfluous.

Let us suppose a dramatic writer sitting down before such a character
as this of Dunstan, and contemplating the various aspects it assumes,
with the view of selecting one for the subject of his portraiture. In
the first place, he is aware that, although, as a historical student,
he may, and perhaps must, continue to doubt as to the real character of
this man--how much is to be given to pride, to folly, to fanaticism,
to genuine piety, or to the love of power--yet that, the moment he
assumes the office of dramatic poet, he must throw all doubt entirely
aside. The student of history may hesitate to the last; the poet is
presumed to have from the beginning the clearest insight into the
recesses of the mind, and the most unquestionable authority for all
that he asserts. A sort of mimic omniscience is ascribed to the poet.
Has he not been gifted, from of old, with an _inspiration_, by means of
which he sees the whole character and every thought of his hero, and
depicts and reveals them to the world? To him doubt would be fatal. If
he carries into his drama the spirit of historical criticism, he will
raise the same spirit in his reader, and all faith in the imaginary
creation he offers them is gone for ever. Manifest an error as this may
be, we think we could mention some instances, both in the drama and the
novel, in which it has been committed.

But such a character as Dunstan's is left uncertain in the light
of history, and our dramatist has to choose between uncertainties.
He will be guided in his selection partly by what he esteems the
preponderating weight of evidence, and partly, and perhaps still more,
by the superior fitness of any one phase of the character for the
purpose he has in view, or the development of his own peculiar powers.
In this case, three interpretations present themselves. The first,
which has little historical or moral probability, and offers little
attraction to the artist, is, that Dunstan was a hypocrite, seeking by
show of piety to compass some ambitious end, or win the applause of the
vulgar. Undoubted hypocrites history assuredly presents us with--as
where the ecclesiastical magnate degenerates into the merely secular
prince. There have been luxurious and criminal popes and cardinals,
intriguing bishops and lordly abbots, whom the most charitable of men,
and the most pious of Catholics, must pronounce to have been utterly
insincere in their professions of piety. But a hypocrite who starves
and scourges himself--who digs a damp hole in the earth, and lives
in it--seems to us a mere creature of the imagination. Such men, at
all events, either begin or end with fanaticism. The second and more
usual interpretation is, that Dunstan was a veritable enthusiast, and
a genuine churchman after the order of Hildebrand, capable, perhaps,
of practising deceit or cruelty for his great purpose, but entirely
devoted to that purpose--one of those men who sincerely believe that
the salvation of the world and the predominance of their order are
inseparably combined. There would be no error in supposing a certain
mixture of pride and ambition. Nor, in following this interpretation,
would there be any great violation of probability in attributing to
Dunstan, though he lived in so rude an age, all those arguments by
which the philosopher-priest is accustomed to uphold the domination
of his order. The thinking men of every age more nearly resemble each
other in these great lines of thought and argument, than is generally
supposed. The third interpretation is that which the historical student
would probably favour. It is that Dunstan was, in truth, _partially
insane_--a man of fervent zeal, and of great natural powers, but of
diseased mind. The very ability and knowledge which he possessed,
combined with the strange forms which his asceticism took, lead to this
supposition. Such men, we know, exist, and sometimes pass through a
long career before they are accurately understood. Exhibiting itself in
the form of fanaticism, and in a most ignorant and superstitious age,
a partial insanity might easily escape detection, or even add to the
reputation of the saint.

This last is the rendering of the character which Mr Taylor has
selected. It is evidently the most difficult to treat. Perhaps the
difficulty and novelty of the task it presented, as well as its greater
fidelity to history, induced him to accept this interpretation. That
second and more popular one which we have mentioned would appear, to a
mind like Mr Taylor's, too facile and too trite. Any high-churchman of
almost any age--any bishop, if you inflate the lawn sleeves, or even
any young curate, whose mind dwells too intensely on the _power of
the keys_--would present the rudiments of the character. However that
may be, Mr Taylor undertook the bold and difficult task of depicting
the strong, shrewd, fervent mind, saint and politician both, but
acting with the wild and irregular force of insanity. How, we may ask
ourselves, would such a mind display itself? Not, we way be sure, in a
tissue of weakness or of wildness. We should often see the ingenious
reasoner, more cunning than wise, the subtle politician, or even the
deep moraliser upon human life; but whenever the fatal chords were
touched--the priestly power, the priestly mission, the intercourse with
the world of spirits--there we should see symptoms of insanity and
delusion. Such is the character which Mr Taylor has portrayed.

Earl Leolf, calm and intelligent, and the perfect _gentleman_ (those
who remember the play will feel the truth of this last expression,)
gives us at the very commencement the necessary explanation--

    "_Leolf._ How found you the mid-counties?
    _Athulf._              Oh! monk-ridden;
    Raving of Dunstan.
    _Leolf._              'Tis a raving time:
    Mad monks, mad peasants; _Dunstan is not sane,
    And madness that doth least declare itself
    Endangers most, and ever most infects
    The unsound many._  See where stands the man,
    And where this people: thus compute the peril
    To one and all. _When force and cunning meet
    Upon the confines of one cloudy mind_,
    When ignorance and knowledge halve the mass,
    When night and day stand at an equinox,
    Then storms are rife."

No justice, it is plain, can be done to Mr Taylor's drama, unless the
intimation here given us be kept in view. Yet we suspect, from the
remarks sometimes made upon this play, that it has been overlooked, or
not sufficiently attended to. Passages have been censured as crude or
extravagant which, in themselves, could be no otherwise, since they
were intended to portray this half-latent and half-revealed insanity.
The arrogance of Dunstan, and his communings with the spiritual world,
not often have the air of sublimity, for they arise from the disorder
and hallucination of his mind. When he tells the Queen Mother not to
sit in his presence, as well as when he boasts of his intercourse with
angels and demons, we see the workings of a perturbed spirit:--

    "_Queen Mother._          Father, I am faint,
    For a strange terror seized me by the way.
    I pray you let me sit.
    _Dunstan._           I say, forbear!
    Thou art in a Presence that thou wot'st not of,
    Wherein no mortal may presume to sit.
    If stand thou canst not, kneel.
            (_She falls on her knees._)
    _Queen Mother._       Oh, merciful Heaven'
    Oh, sinner that I am!
    _Dunstan._              Dismiss thy fears;
    Thine errand is acceptable to Him
    Who rules the hour, and thou art safer here
    Than in thy palace. Quake not, but be calm,
    And tell me of the wretched king, thy son.
    This black, incestuous, unnatural love
    Of his blood-relative--yea, worse, a seed
    That ever was at enmity with God--
    His cousin of the house of Antichrist!
    It is as I surmised?
    _Queen Mother._           Alas! lost boy!
    _Dunstan._ Yes, lost for time and for eternity,
    If he should wed her. But that shall not be.
    Something more lofty than a boy's wild love
    Governs the course of kingdoms. From beneath
    This arching umbrage step aside; look up;
    The alphabet of Heaven is o'er thy head,
    The starry literal multitude. _To few,
    And not in mercy, is it given to read
    The mixed celestial cipher._"

How skilfully the last passage awakes in the reader a feeling of
sympathy with Dunstan! When he has given his instructions to the Queen
Mother, the scene closes thus:--

    "_Queen Mother._      Oh, man of God!
    Command me always.
    _Dunstan._            Hist! I hear a spirit!
    Another--and a third. They're trooping up.
    _Queen Mother._ St Magnus shield us!
    _Dunstan._            Thou art safe; but go;
    The wood will soon be populous with spirits.
    The path thou cam'st retread. Who laughs in the air?"

Dunstan believes all along that he is marked out from the ordinary roll
of men--that he has a peculiar intercourse with, and a peculiar mission
from, Heaven; but he nevertheless practises on the credulity of others.
This mixture of superstition and cunning does not need insanity to
explain, but it is seen here in very appropriate company. He says to
Grumo--

    "Go, get thee to the hollow of yon tree,
    And bellow there as is thy wont.
    _Grumo._                   How long?
    _Dunstan._ Till thy lungs crack. Get hence.
                               [_Exit Grumo._
    And if thou bellowest otherwise than Satan,
    It is not for the lack of Satan's sway
    'Stablished within thee.
    (_Strange howls are heard from the tree._")

With the same crafty spirit, and by a trick as gross, he imposes on the
Synod, contriving that a voice shall appear to issue from the crucifix.
These frauds, however, would have availed nothing of themselves; it is
the spirit of fanaticism bearing down all opposition by which he works
his way. This spirit sustains him in his solitude--

                         "I hear your call!
    A radiance and a resonance from Heaven
    Surrounds me, and my soul is breaking forth
    In strength, as did the new-created Sun
    When Earth beheld it first on the fourth day.
    God spake not then more plainly to that orb
    Than to my spirit now."

It sustains him in his solitude, and mark how triumphantly it carries
him through in the hour of action. Odo the archbishop, Ricola the
king's chaplain, as well as king and courtiers, all give way before
this inexorable, unreasoning fanaticism, a fanaticism which is as
complete a stranger to fear as it is to reason--

    "_Dunstan_ (_to Elgiva._) Fly hence,
    Pale prostitute! Avaunt, rebellious fiend,
    Which speakest through her.
    _Elgiva._ I am thy sovereign mistress and thy queen.
    _Dunstan._         ... Who art thou?
    I see thee, and I know thee--yea, I smell thee!
    Again, 'tis Satan meets me front to front;
    Again I triumph! Where, and by what rite,
    And by what miscreant minister of God,
    And rotten member, was this mockery,
    That was no marriage, made to seem a marriage?
    _Ricola._ Lord Abbot, by no----
    _Dunstan._           What then, was it thou?
    The Church doth cut thee off and pluck thee out!
    A Synod shall be summoned! _Chains for both!
    Chains for that harlot, and for this dog-priest!_
    Oh wall of Jezreel!"

And forthwith Elgiva, in spite of the king's resistance, is carried out
a captive. The king, too, is imprisoned in the Tower, and here ensues
a scene which brings out another aspect of the mind of Dunstan. It was
the object of the crafty priest to induce Edwin to resign the crown; he
had, therefore, made his imprisonment as painful as possible. He now
visits him in the Tower, and in this interview we see, underneath the
mad zealot and the subtle politician, something of the genuine _man_.
Dunstan had not been always, and only, the priest; he understood the
human life he trampled on--

    "_Dunstan._ What makes you weak? Do you not like your food?
    Or have you not enough?
    _Edwin._                Enough is brought;
    But he that brings it drops what seems to say
    That it is mixed with poison--some slow drug;
    So that I scarce dare eat, and hunger always.
    _Dunstan._ Your food is poisoned by your own suspicions.
    'Tis your own fault.----
    But thus it is with kings; suspicions haunt,
    And dangers press around them all their days;
    Ambition galls them, luxury corrupts,
    And wars and treasons are their talk at table.
    _Edwin._ This homily you should read to prosperous kings;
    It is not needed for a king like me.
    _Dunstan._ Who shall read homilies to a prosperous king!
    ... To thy credulous ears
    The world, or what is to a king the world,
    The triflers of thy court, have imaged me
    As cruel, and insensible to joy,
    Austere, and ignorant of all delights
    That arts can minister. Far from the truth
    They wander who say thus. I but denounce
    Loves on a throne, and pleasures out of place.
    I am not old; not twenty years have fled
    Since I was young as thou; and in my youth
    I was not by those pleasures unapproached
    Which youth converses with.
    _Edwin._                    No! wast thou not?
    How came they in thy sight?
    _Dunstan._                  When Satan first
    Attempted me, 'twas in a woman's shape;
    Such shape as may have erst misled mankind,
    When Greece or Rome upreared with Pagan rites
    Temples to Venus....
    ... 'Twas Satan sang,
    Because 'twas sung to me, whom God had called
    To other pastime and severer joys.
    But were it not for this, God's strict behest
    Enjoined upon me--had I not been vowed
    To holiest service rigorously required,
    I should have owned it for an angel's voice,
    Nor ever could an earthly crown, or toys
    And childishness of vain ambition, gauds
    And tinsels of the world, have lured my heart
    Into the tangle of those mortal cares
    That gather round a throne. What call is thine
    From God or man, what voice within bids thee
    Such pleasures to forego, such cares confront?

       *       *       *       *       *

    ... Unless thou by an instant act
    Renounce the crown, Elgiva shall not live.
    The deed is ready, to which thy name affixed
    Discharges from restraint both her and thee.
    Say wilt thou sign?
    _Edwin._            I will not.
    _Dunstan._                      Be advised.
    What hast thou to surrender? I look round;
    This chamber is thy palace court, and realm.
    I do not see the crown--where is it hidden?
    Is that thy throne?--why, 'tis a base joint-stool;
    Or this thy sceptre?--'tis an ashen stick
    Notched with the days of thy captivity.
    Such royalties to abdicate, methinks,
    Should hardly hold thee long. Nay, I myself,
    That love not ladies greatly, would give these
    To ransom whom I loved."

These feelings of humanity, in part indeed simulated, do not long keep
at bay the cruelty and insane rage or the priest. Edwin persists in his
refusal; Dunstan leaves him for a moment, but shortly after returns
holding the deed in his hand, and followed by his tool Grumo.

    "_Dunstan._ Thy signature to this.
    _Edwin._ I will not sign.
    _Dunstan._ Thou wilt not! wilt thou that thy mistress die?
    _Edwin._ Insulting abbot! she is not my mistress;
    She is my wife, my queen.
    _Dunstan._                Predestinate pair!
    He knoweth who is the Searcher of our hearts,
    That I was ever backward to take life,
    Albeit at His command. Still have I striven
    To put aside that service, seeking still
    All ways and shifts that wit of man could scheme,
    To spare the cutting off your wretched souls
    In unrepented sin. But tendering here
    Terms of redemption, it is thou, not I,
    The sentence that deliverest.
    _Edwin._                      Our lives
    Are in God's hands.
    _Dunstan._          Sot, liar, miscreant, No!
    God puts them into mine! and may my soul
    In tortures howl away eternity,
    If ever again it yield to that false fear
    That turned me from the shedding of thy blood!
    Thy blood, rash traitor to thy God, thy blood!
    Thou delicate Agag, I will spill thy blood!"

We believe we have done justice to all the aspects in which the
character of Dunstan is here represented to us, but it would require a
much larger space than we have at command to do justice to the whole
drama of _Edwin the Fair_. The canvass is crowded with figures, almost
every one of which has been a careful study, and will repay the study
of a critical reader; and if the passages of eloquent writing are
not so numerous as in his previous work, there is no deficiency of
them, and many are the pungent, if not witty sayings, that might be
extracted. The chief fault which seems to us to pervade this drama, is,
indeed, that there is too much apparent study--that too much is seen
of the artist. Speaking generally of Mr Taylor, and regarding him as a
dramatic poet, we could desire more life and passion, more abandonment
of himself to the characters he is portraying. But we feel this more
particularly in _Edwin the Fair_. We seem to see the artist sorting and
putting together again the elements of human nature. His Wulfstan, the
ever absent sage, his tricksy Emma, and her very silly lover, Ernway,
are dramatic creations which may probably be defended point by point;
but, for all that, they do not look like real men and women. As to his
monks, the satellites of Dunstan, it may be said that they could not
have been correctly drawn if they had borne the appearance of being
real men. We do not like them notwithstanding.

In the edition which lies before us, bound up with _Edwin the Fair_
is the republication of an early drama, _Isaac Comnenus_. It excited,
we are told in the preface, little attention in its first appearance.
We ourselves never saw it till very lately. Though inferior to his
subsequent productions, it is not without considerable merit, but it
will probably gather its chief interest as the forerunner of _Philip
Van Artevelde_, and from the place it will occupy in the history of
the author's mind. A first performance, which was allowed to pass
unnoticed by the public, might be expected to be altogether different
in kind from its fortunate successors. The author, in his advance out
of obscurity into the full light of success, might be supposed to have
thrown aside his first habits of thought and expression. It is not so
here. We have much the same style, and there is the same combination
of shrewd observation with a philosophic melancholy, the same gravity,
and the same sarcasm. It is curious to notice how plainly there is the
germ of _Philip Van Artevelde_ in _Isaac Comnenus_. The hero of Ghent
is far more sagacious, more serious, and more tender; but he looks
on life with a lingering irony, and a calm cynicism: to him it is a
sad and disenchanted vision. In _Isaac Comnenus_ the same elements
are combined in a somewhat different proportion: there is more of the
irony and a more bitter cynicism; less of the grave tenderness and
the practical sagacity. Artevelde is Isaac Comnenus living over life
again--the same man, but with the advantage of a life's experience.
Indeed Artevelde, if we may venture to jest with so grave a personage,
has something of the air of one who had been in the world before, who
was not walking along its paths for the first time: he treads with so
sure a footstep, and seems to have no questions to ask, and nothing to
learn of experience.

Happily it has not been necessary hitherto to say a word about the
_plot_ of Mr Taylor's dramas. This of _Isaac Comnenus_, being less
known, may require a word of preliminary introduction. The scene
is laid at Constantinople, at the close of the eleventh century;
Nicephorus is the reigning emperor. We may call to mind that the
government of the Byzantine monarchy, for a long time, maintained this
honourable peculiarity, that, though in form a despotism, the emperor
was expected to administer the law as it had descended to it from
the genius of Rome. Dynasties changed, but the government remained
substantially the same. It was an Oriental despotism with a European
administration. Whilst, therefore, we have in the play before us a
prince dethroned, and a revolution accomplished, we hear nothing of
liberty and oppression, the cause of freedom, and the usual topics
of patriotic conspiracy. The brothers Isaac and Alexius Comnenus are
simply too powerful to be trusted as subjects; an attempt has been
already made to poison the elder brother Isaac, the hero of the drama.
He finds himself in a manner constrained to push forward to the throne,
as his only place of safety. This ambitious course is thrust upon
him. Meanwhile he enters on it with no soft-heartedness. He takes up
his part, and goes bravely through with it; bravely, but coldly--with
a sneer ever on his lip. With the church, too, he has contrived to
make himself extremely unpopular, and the Patriarch is still more
rancorously opposed to him than the Emperor.

Before we become acquainted with him, he has loved and lost by death
his gentle _Irene_. This renders the game of ambition still more
contemptible in his eyes. It renders him cold also to the love of a
certain fair cousin, Anna Comnena. Love, or ambition, approaches him
also in the person of Theodora, the daughter of the emperor. She is
willing to desert her father's cause, and ally herself and all her
hopes to Isaac Comnenus. Comnenus declines her love. The rejected
Theodora brings about the catastrophe of the piece. The Emperor
Nicephorus is deposed; Isaac is conqueror in the strife, but he gives
over the crown he has won to his brother Alexius. Then does Theodora
present herself disguised as some humble petitioner to Isaac Comnenus.
Armed with a dagger, she forces her way into an inner chamber where
he is; a groan is heard, and the following stage direction closes the
play--

    "_All rush into the inner chamber, whilst Theodora, passing
    out from it, crosses the stage, holding in her hand a dagger
    covered with blood. The curtain falls._"

This scanty outline will be sufficient to make the following
characteristic quotations intelligible to those who may not have read
the play. Eudocia, his sister, thus describes Comnenus:--

                             ----"He
    Is nothing new to dangers nor to life--
    His thirty years on him have nigh told double,
    Being doubly loaden with the unlightsome stuff
    That life is made of. I have often thought
    How nature cheats this world in keeping count:
    There's some men pass for old men who ne'er lived--
    These monks, to wit: they count the time, not spend it;
    They reckon moments by the tick of beads,
    And ring the hours with psalmody: clocks, clocks;
    If one of these had gone a century,
    I would not say he'd lived. My brother's age
    Has spanned the matter of too many lives;
    He's full of years though young."

Comnenus, we have said, is on ill terms with the church. Speaking of
the sanctuary he says:--

    "I have a safer refuge. Mother church
    Hath no such holy precinct that my blood
    Would not redeem all sin and sacrilege
    Of slaughter therewithin. But there's a spot
    Within the circle my good sword describes,
    Which by God's grace is sanctified for me."

On quitting his cousin Anna, she says:--

    "Go, and good angels guard thee is my prayer.
    _Comnenus._--Good soldiers, Anna. In the arm of flesh
    Are we to trust. The Mother of the Gods,
    Prolific Mother, holiest Mother church,
    Hath banded heaven upon the side opposed.
    No matter, when such supplicants as thou
    Pray for us, other angels need we none."

It is plain that we have no dutiful son of the Church here; and that
her hostility, in this instance, is not altogether without cause.
We find that his scepticism has gone farther than to dispute the
miraculous virtues of the holy image of St Basil, the eye of which he
is reputed to have knocked out with his lance:--

                   "Just as you came
    I moralised the matter of that change
    Which theologians call--how aptly, say--
    The quitting of a tenement."

And his moralising is overcast with the shadow of doubt. The addresses,
for such they are, of Theodora, the daughter of the emperor, he
receives and declines with the greatest calmness, though they are of
that order which it is manifestly as dangerous to reject as to accept.

    "_Germanus._  My noble lord, the Cæsarissa waits
    With infinite impatience to behold you:
    She bids me say so. Ah! most noble count!
    A fortunate man--the sunshine is upon you--
    _Comnenus._  Ay, sir, and wonderfully warm it makes me.
    Tell her I'm coming, sir, with speed."

With speed, however, he does not go, nor makes a better excuse for
his delay than that he was "sleeping out the noontide." In the first
interview he escapes from her confidence, and when subsequently she
will not be misunderstood, he says--

               "Nor now, nor ever,
    Will I make bargains for a lady's love."

In a dialogue with his brother Alexius, his temper and way of thinking,
and the circumstance which has mainly produced them, are more fully
developed. We make a few extracts without attempting very closely to
connect them. Alexius has been remarking the change in Comnenus since
they last met.

    "_Comnenus._ Change is youth's wonder:
    Such transmutations have I seen on man
    That fortune seemed a slow and stedfast power
    Compared with nature.
    _Alexius._ There is nought thou'st seen
    More altered than art thou.
    I speak not of thy change in outward favour,
    But thou art changed in heart.
    _Comnenus._          Ay, hearts change too:
    Mine has grown sprightly, has it not, and hard?
    I ride it now with spurs; else, else, Alexius--
    Well is it said the best of life is childhood.
    Life is a banquet where the best's first served,
    And when the guest is cloyed comes oil and garlick.
    _Alexius._  Hast thou forgotten how it was thy wont
    To muse the hours away along this shore--
    These very rippled sands?
    _Comnenus._               The sands are here,
    But not the foot-prints. Wouldst thou trace them now?
    A thousand tides and storms have dashed them out.

           *       *       *       *       *

                   ... I have no care for beauty.
    Seest thou yon rainbow based and glassed on ocean?
    I look on that as on a lovely thing,
    But not a thing of promise."

Comnenus has wandered with his brother unawares to a spot which of all
others on earth was the most dear or the most painful to him--the spot
where his Irene had been buried. He recognises it whilst he is in the
full tide of his cynicism:--

    "_Alexius._ What is this carved upon the rock?
    _Comnenus._                          I know not:
    But Time has ta'en it for a lover's scrawl;
    He's razed it, razed it.
    _Alexius._           No, not quite; look here.
    I take it for a lover's.
    _Comnenus._          What! there's some talk
    Of balmy breath, and hearts pierced through and through
    With eyes' miraculous brightness--vows ne'er broken,
    Until the church had sealed them--charms loved madly,
    Until it be a sin to love them not--
    And kisses ever sweet, till they be innocent--
    But that your lover's not put down?
    _Alexius._                       No, none of it.
    There are but two words.
    _Comnenus._ That's succinct; what are they?
    _Alexius._  'Alas, Irene!' Why thy looks are now--

Comnenus parries the question of his brother, contrives to dismiss him,
and remains alone upon the spot.

    "This is the very earth that covers her,
    And lo! we trample it like common clay!
              ... When I last stood here
    Disguised, to see a lowly girl laid down
    Into her early grave, there was such light
    As now doth show it, but a bleaker air,
    Seeing it was December. 'Tis most strange;
    I can remember now each circumstance
    Which then I scarce was conscious of; _like words
    That leave upon the still susceptive sense
    A message undelivered till the mind
    Awakes to apprehensiveness and takes it_.
    'Twas o'er--the muttered unattended rite,
    And the few friends she had beside myself
    Had risen and gone; I had not knelt, but stood
    With a dull gaze of stupor as the mould
    Was shovelled over, and the broken sods
    Fitted together. Then some idle boys,
    Who had assisted at the covering in,
    Ran off in sport, trailing the shovels with them,
    Rattling upon the gravel; and the sexton
    Flattened the last sods down, and knocked his spade
    Against a neighbouring tombstone to shake off
    The clinging soil,--with a contented air,
    Even as a ditcher who has done his work.
                      ... Oh Christ!
    How that which was the life's life of our being
    Can pass away, and we recall it thus!"

Whilst reading this play of _Isaac Comnenus_ we seemed to perceive a
certain _Byronian_ vein, which came upon us rather unexpectedly. Not
that there is any very close resemblance between Comnenus and the
heroes of Lord Byron; but there is a desperate wilfulness, a tone of
scepticism, and a caustic view of human life, which occasionally recall
them to mind. We turned to the preface to _Philip Van Artevelde_, where
there is a criticism upon the poetry of Byron, not unjust in the faults
it detects, but cold and severe, as it seems to us, in the praise
that it awards; and we found there an intimation which confirmed our
suspicion that _Isaac Comnenus_ had been written whilst still partially
under the influence of that poetry--written in what we may describe
as a transition state. He says there of Lord Byron's poetry, "It will
always produce a powerful impression upon very young readers, and I
scarcely think that it can have been more admired by any than myself,
when I was included in that category." And have we not here some
explanation of the severity and coldness of that criticism itself? Did
not the maturer intellect a little resent in that critical judgment the
hallucinations of the youth?

Perhaps we are hardly correct in calling the temper and spirit we
have here alluded to _Byronian_; they are common to all ages and to
many minds, though signally developed by that poet, and in our own
epoch. Probably the future historian of this period of our literature
will attribute much of this peculiar exhibition of bitterness and
despondency to the sanguine hopes first excited and then disappointed
by the French Revolution. He will probably say of certain regions
of our literature, that the whole bears manifest traces of volcanic
origin. Pointing to some noble eminence, which seems to have been
eternally calm, he will conjecture that it owed its elevation to
the same force which raised the neighbouring Ætna. Applying the not
very happy language of geology, he may describe it as "a crater of
elevation;" which, being interpreted, means no crater at all, but an
elevation produced by the like volcanic agency: the crater itself is
higher up in the same mountain range.

There still remains one other small volume of Mr Taylor's poetry,
which we must not pass over entirely without mentioning. _The Eve of
the Conquest, and other Poems_. The chief piece here is of the nature
of a dramatic scene. Harold, the night before the battle of Hastings,
converses with his daughter, unfolds some passages of his past life,
and vindicates himself in his quarrel with that William the Norman who,
on the morrow, was to add the title of Conqueror to his name. But as it
will be more agreeable to vary the nature of our quotations, we shall
make the few extracts we have space for from the lyric poems which
follow.

The "Lago Varese" will be, we suspect, the favourite with most readers.
The image of the Italian girl is almost as distinctly reflected in the
verse as it would have been in her own native lake.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "And sauntering up a circling cove,
        I found upon the strand
      A shallop, and a girl who strove
        To drag it to dry land.
    I stood to see--the girl looked round--her face
    Had all her country's clear and definite grace.

      She rested with the air of rest
        So seldom seen, of those
      Whose toil remitted gives a zest,
        Not languor, to repose.
    Her form was poised, yet buoyant, firm, though free,
    And liberal of her bright black eyes was she.

      The sunshine of the Southern face,
        At home we have it not;
      And if they be a reckless race,
        These Southerns, yet a lot
    More favoured, on the chequered earth is theirs;
    They have life's sorrows, but escape its cares.

      There is a smile which wit extorts
        From grave and learned men,
      In whose austere and servile sports
        The plaything is a pen;
    And there are smiles by shallow worldlings worn,
    To grace a lie or laugh a truth to scorn:

      And there are smiles with less alloy
        Of those who, for the sake
      Of some they loved, would kindle joy
        Which they cannot partake;
    But hers was of the kind which simply say,
    They came from hearts ungovernably gay."

The "Lago Lugano" is a companion picture, written "sixteen summers"
after, and on a second visit to Italy. One thing we notice, that in
this second poem almost all that is beautiful is brought from the
social or political reflections of the writer: it is not the outward
scene that lies reflected in the verse. He is thinking more of England
than of Italy.

                            "Sore pains
    They take to set Ambition free, and bind
      The heart of man in chains."

And the best stanza in the poem is that which is directly devoted to
his own country:--

    "Oh, England! 'Merry England,' styled of yore!
      Where is thy mirth? Thy jocund laughter, where?
      The sweat of labour on the brow of care
    Make a mute answer--driven from every door!
    The May-pole cheers the village green no more,
      Nor harvest-home, nor Christmas mummers rare.
        The tired mechanic at his lecture sighs;
    And of the learned, which, with all his lore,
        Has leisure to be wise?"

With some verses from a poem called "St Helen's-Auckland" we close our
extracts. The author revisits the home of his boyhood:--

    "How much is changed of what I see,
       How much more changed am I,
     And yet how much is left--to me
       _How is the distant nigh!_

     The walks are overgrown and wild,
       The terrace flags are green--
     But I am once again a child,
       I am what I have been.

     The sounds that round about me rise
       Are what none other hears;
     I see what meets no other eyes,
       Though mine are dim with tears.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In every change of man's estate
      Are lights and guides allowed;
    The fiery pillar will not wait,
      But, parting, sends the cloud.

    Nor mourn I the less manly part
      Of life to leave behind;
    My loss is but the lighter heart,
      My gain the graver mind."

Poetry is no longer the most popular form of literature amongst us, and
the drama is understood to be the least popular form of poetry. If this
be the case, Mr Taylor has the additional merit of having won his way
to celebrity under singular disadvantages. But, in truth, such poetry
as Mr Taylor's could never appeal to the multitude. Literature of any
kind which requires of the reader himself _to think in order to enjoy_,
can never be popular. It is impossible to deny that the dramas we have
been reviewing demand an effort, in the first instance, on the part of
the reader: he must sit down to them with something of the spirit of
the student. But, having done this, he will find himself amply repaid.
As he advances in the work, he will read with increased pleasure; he
will read it the second time with greater delight than the first; and
if he were to live twenty years, and were to read such a drama as
_Philip Van Artevelde_ every year of his life, he would find in it some
fresh source of interest to the last.

As we have not contented ourselves with selecting beautiful passages of
writing from Mr Taylor's dramas, but have attempted such an analysis
of the three principal characters they portray as may send the reader
to their reperusal with additional zest, so neither have we paused to
dispute the propriety of particular parts, or to notice blemishes and
defects. We would not have it understood that we admire all that Mr
Taylor has written. Of whom could we say this? We think, for instance,
that, throughout his dramas, from the first to the last, he treats the
monks too coarsely. His portraiture borders upon farce. His Father John
shows that he can do justice to the character of the intelligent and
pious monk. Admitting that this character is rare, we believe that the
extremely gross portraiture which we have elsewhere is almost equally
rare. This last, however, is so frequently introduced, that it will
pass with the reader as Mr Taylor's type of the monkish order. The
monks could never have been more ignorant than the surrounding laity,
and they were always something better in morals and in true piety. We
are quite at a loss, too, to understand Mr Taylor's fondness for the
introduction into his dramas of certain songs or ballads, which are not
even intended to be poetical. To have made them so, he would probably
contend, would have been a dramatic impropriety. Very well; but let
us have as few of such things as may be, and as short as possible. In
_Edwin the Fair_ they are very numerous; and those which are introduced
in _Philip Van Artevelde_ we could gladly dispense with. We could also
very willingly have dispensed with the conversation of those burgesses
of Bruges who entertained the Earl of Flanders with some of these
ballads. We agree with the Earl, that their hospitalities are a sore
affliction. Tediousness may be very dramatic, but it is tediousness
still--a truth which our writer, intent on the delineations of his
character, sometimes forgets. But defects like these it is sufficient
merely to have hinted at. That criticism must be very long and ample
indeed, of the dramas of Mr Taylor, in which they ought to occupy any
considerable space.



A LEGEND OF GIBRALTAR.


CHAPTER I.

The Governor's residence at Gibraltar was, in days of Spanish
domination, a religious house, and still retains the name of the
Convent. Two sides of a long quadrangular gallery, traversing the
interior of the building, are hung with portraits of officers present
at the great siege in 1779-83, executed in a style which proves that
Pre-Raphaelite painters existed in those days. One of these portraits
represents my grandfather. To judge from a painting of him by Sir
Joshua, and a small miniature likeness, both still in possession of
the family, he must have been rather a good-looking old gentleman,
with an affable, soldierlike air, and very respectable features. The
portrait at the Convent is doubtless a strong likeness, but by no means
so flattering; it represents him much as he might have appeared in
life, if looked at through a cheap opera-glass. A full inch has been
abstracted from his forehead, and added to his chin; the bold nose
has become a great promontory in the midst of the level countenance;
the eyes have gained in ferocity what they have lost in speculation,
and would, indeed, go far to convey a disagreeable impression of my
ancestor's character, but for the inflexible smile of the mouth.
Altogether, the grimness of the air, the buckram rigidity of figure,
and the uncompromising hardness of his shirt-frill and the curls of
his wig, are such as are to be met with in few works of art, besides
the figure-heads of vessels, the signboards of country inns, and the
happiest efforts of Messrs Millais and Hunt.

However, my grandfather is no worse off than his compeers. Not far
from this one is another larger painting, representing a council of
officers held during the siege, where, notwithstanding the gravity of
the occasion and the imminence of the danger, not a single face in the
intrepid assembly wears the slightest expression of anxiety or fear,
or, indeed, of anything else; and though my progenitor, in addition
to the graces of the other portrait, is here depicted with a squint,
yet he is by no means the most ill-looking individual present. But the
illustrious governor, Eliott, has suffered more than anybody at the
hands of the artist. Besides figuring in the production aforesaid,
a statue of him stands in the Alameda, carved in some sort of wood,
unluckily for him, of a durable nature. The features are of a very
elevated cast, especially the nose; the little legs seem by no means
equal to the task of sustaining the enormous cocked-hat; and the
bearing is so excessively military, that it has been found necessary
to prop the great commander from behind to prevent him from falling
backwards.

My grandfather, John Flinders, joined the garrison of Gibraltar
as a major of infantry a few years before the siege. He was then
forty-seven years of age, and up to that time had remained one of the
most determined old bachelors that ever existed. Not that he ever
declaimed against matrimony in the style of some of our young moderns,
who fancy themselves too strong-minded to marry; the truth being that
they remain single either because they have not been gifted by nature
with tastes sufficiently strong to like one woman better than another,
or else, because no woman ever took the trouble to lay siege to them.
My grandfather had never married, simply, I believe, because matrimony
had never entered his head. He seldom ventured, of his own choice,
into ladies' society, but, when he did, no man was more emphatically
gallant to the sex. One after one, he saw his old friends abandoning
the irresponsible ease of bachelorhood for the cares of wedded life;
but while he duly congratulated them on their felicity, and officiated
as godfather to their progeny, he never seemed to anticipate a similar
destiny for himself. All his habits showed that he had been too long
accustomed to single harness to go cleverly as one of a pair. He
had particular hours of rising, and going to bed; of riding out and
returning; of settling himself down for the evening to a book and pipe,
which the presence of a helpmate would have materially deranged. And
therefore, without holding any Malthusian tenets, without pitying his
Benedick acquaintances, or entertaining a thought of the sex which
would have been in the least decree derogatory to the character of a De
Coverley, his castles in the air were never tenanted by any of his own
posterity.

It was fortunate for my grandfather that in his time people did not
suffer so much as now from that chronic inflammation of the conscience,
which renders them perfectly miserable unless they are engaged in some
tangible pursuit--"improving their minds," or "adding to the general
stock of information." A more useless, contented person never existed.
He never made even a show of employing himself profitably, and never
complained of weariness in maintaining the monotonous jog-trot of his
simple daily life. He read a good deal, certainly, but it was not
to improve his mind, only to amuse himself. Strong-minded books, to
stimulate his thinking faculties, would have had no charms for him; he
would as soon have thought of getting galvanised for the pleasure of
looking at his muscles. And I don't know whether it was not just as
well. In systematically cultivating his mind, he would merely have been
laying a top-dressing on a thin soil--manuring where there would never
have been a crop--and some pleasant old weeds would have been pulled
up in the process. A green thistly common, even though a goose could
hardly find sustenance there, is nature still, which can hardly be said
of a patch of earth covered with guano.

So my grandfather went on enjoying himself without remorse after his
own fashion, and never troubled himself to think--an operation that
would have been inconvenient to himself, and productive of no great
results to the world. He transplanted his English habits to Gibraltar;
and, after being two years there, knew nothing more of Spain or
Spaniards than the view of the Andaluçian hills from the Rock, and a
short constitutional daily ride along the beach beyond the Spanish
lines, to promote appetite and digestion, afforded him. And so he might
have continued to vegetate during the remainder of his service there,
but for a new acquaintance that he made about this time.

Frank Owen, commonly called Garry Owen by his familiars, was one of
those joyous spirits whose pleasant faces and engaging manners serve
as a perpetual act of indemnity for all breaches of decorum, and
trespasses over social and conventional fences, committed by them
in the gaiety of their hearts. In reproving his many derelictions
of military duty, the grim colonel of the regiment would insensibly
exchange his habitual tone of severe displeasure for one of mild
remonstrance--influenced, probably, quite as much, in secret, by the
popularity of the unrepentant offender, as by any personal regard
for him. Captain Hedgehog, who had shot a man through the heart for
corking his face one night when he was drunk, and all contact with
whose detonating points of honour was as carefully avoided by his
acquaintance as if they had been the wires of a spring-gun, sustained
Garry's reckless personalities with a sort of warning growl utterly
thrown away upon the imperturbable wag, who would still persist, in
the innocence of his heart, in playing round the den of this military
cockatrice. And three months after his arrival in Gibraltar, being
one day detected by a fierce old Spanish lady in the very act of
kissing her daughter behind the little señorita's great painted fan,
his good-humoured impudence converted the impending storm into a mild
drizzle of reproof, ending in his complete restoration to favour.

This youth had brought with him from England a letter from his mother,
a widow lady, an old friend of my grandfather, who had some thirty
years before held with her a juvenile flirtation. It recommended to
his protection her son Frank, about to join the regiment as an ensign,
pathetically enlarging on the various excellencies, domestic and
religious, which shone forth conspicuously in the youth's character,
and of the comfort of contemplating and superintending which she was
about to be deprived. In fact, it had led my grandfather to expect a
youth of extreme docility and modesty, requiring a protector rather
to embolden than to restrain him. After in vain attempting to espy in
his young acquaintance any of the characteristics ascribed to him in
his mother's letter, the Major, naturally good-natured and accessible
to his youthful comrades, very soon suffered himself to be influenced
by the good-humour, vigorous vitality, and careless cleverness of the
Ensign, to an extent that caused him sometimes to wonder secretly
at his own transformation. His retired habits were broken in upon,
one after the other, till he had scarcely a secluded hour in his
sixteen waking ones to enjoy alone his book and his pipe. His peaceful
quarters, silent, in general, as a monk's cell, would now be invaded
at all sorts of hours by the jovial Garry, followed by the admiring
satellites who usually revolved around him; and the Major, with a sound
between a groan and a chuckle, would close his well-beloved volume to
listen to the facetious details of, and sometimes to participate in,
the uncongenial freaks of the humorous subaltern. Once he had actually
consented, at about the hour he usually went to bed, to accompany the
youth to a Carnival ball--one of a series of entertainments at which
the Catholic youth of the city are wont to idemnify themselves for the
mortifications of Lent, and where masks, dominoes, and fancy dresses
lend their aid to defeat the vigilance of the lynx-eyed duennas and
mammas who look anxiously on, perfectly aware, in general, that their
own watchfulness is more to be relied on for nipping in the bud an
indiscreet amour, than any innate iciness of temperament or austere
propriety in the objects of their care. Not only did the Major mingle
in the scene, but he actually, about midnight, found himself figuring
in a cotillon with a well-developed señorita of thirteen years, whose
glances and deportment showed a precocious proficiency in the arts of
flirtation. At this ball Garry had become enamoured beyond all former
passions (and they were numerous and inconstant, in general, as if he
had been a Grand Turk) of one of his partners, a young Spanish lady.
Her graceful figure and motions in the dance had at first captivated
him--and when, after dancing with her himself, his eloquent entreaties,
delivered in indifferent Spanish, had prevailed on her to lift her
mask for one coy moment, the vision of eyes and eyebrows, the common
beauties of a Spanish countenance, and the clear rosy complexion, a
much more rare perfection, then revealed, had accomplished the utter
subjugation of his errant fancy. She had vanished from the ball
silently and irremediably, as a houri of Paradise from the awakening
eyes of an opium-eating Pacha; and all his attempts to trace her,
continued unceasingly for a couple of months afterwards, had proved in
vain.

One morning my grandfather was seated at breakfast in the verandah of
his quarters, situated high up the rock above the town. Below him lay
the roofs, terraced and balconied, and populous with cats, for whose
convenience the little flat stone squares at the top of most of the
houses appeared to have been devised. Tall towers called mirandas shot
up at intervals, from whose summits the half-baked inhabitants, pent
within close walls and streets, might catch refreshing glimpses of the
blue sea and the hills of Spain--conveniences destined soon afterwards
to be ruined by the enemy's fire, or pulled down to avoid attracting
it, and never rebuilt. Beyond the white sunny ridge of the line wall
came the sharp edge of the bay, rising in high perspective to the
purple coast of Spain opposite, which was sprinkled with buildings
white as the sails that dotted the water. My grandfather was in a
state of great sensual enjoyment, sniffing up the odour of the large
geranium bushes that grew in clumps in the little garden in front, and
the roses that twined thickly round the trellis of the vine-roofed
verandah; sipping thick creamy Spanish chocolate between the mouthfuls
of red mullet, broiled in white paper, the flavour of which he was
diligently comparing with that of some specimens of the same fish
which he remembered to have eaten in his youth in Devonshire; and
glancing sideways over the cup at an open volume of Shakspeare,
leaned slopingly on the edge of a plate of black figs bursting with
ripeness, like trunk hose slashed with crimson. The Major was none
of your skimming readers, who glance through a work of art as if it
were a newspaper--measure, weigh it, and deliver a critical opinion on
it, before the more reverential student has extricated himself from
the toils of the first act or opening chapter: not he; he read every
word, and affixed a meaning, right or wrong, to all the hard, obsolete
ones. The dramatic fitness of the characters was not to be questioned
by him, any more than that of the authentic personages of history.
He would reason on their acts and proceedings as on those of his own
intimate acquaintances. He never could account for Hamlet's madness
otherwise than by supposing the Prince must have, some time or other,
got an ugly rap on the head--let fall, perhaps, when a baby, by a
gin-drinking nurse--producing, as in some persons he had himself from
time to time been acquainted with, a temporary aberration of the wits;
a piece of original criticism that has not occurred to any of the other
commentators on this much-discussed point. Of Iago he has recorded
an opinion in an old note-book still extant, where his observations
appear in indifferent orthography, and ink yellow with age, that he
was a cursed scoundrel--an opinion delivered with all the emphasis of
an original detector of crime, anxious that full though tardy justice
should be done to the delinquent's memory. But his great favourite was
Falstaff: "A wonderful clever fellow, sir," he would say, "and no more
a coward than you or I, sir."

My grandfather proceeded slowly with his meal, holding the cup to his
lips with one hand and turning a leaf with the other--an operation
which he was delaying till a great mosquito-hawk, (a beautiful brown
moth mottled like a pheasant,) that had settled on the page, should
think proper to take flight. He had lately come from a parade, as was
evidenced by his regimental leather breeches and laced red waistcoat;
but a chintz dressing-gown and a pair of yellow Moorish slippers
softened down the warlike tone of these garments to one more congenial
with his peaceable and festive pursuits. Presently the garden door
opened, and a well-known step ascended to the verandah. Frank Owen,
dressed in a cool Spanish costume, advanced, and stopping three paces
from the Major, took off his tufted sombrero and made a low bow.

"You are the picture, my dear sir," he said, "of serene enjoyment
slightly tinged with sensuality. But how long, may I ask, have you
taken to breakfasting on spiders?"--pointing, as he took a chair
opposite the Major, at an immense red-spotted one that had dropt from
the ceiling on the morsel my grandfather was in the act of conveying to
his mouth.

The Major tenderly removed the insect by a leg.

"'Tis the worst of these al-fresco meals, Frank," said he. "Yesterday I
cut a green lizard in two that had got on my plate, mistaking him for a
bit of salad--being, as usual, more intent on my book than my food--and
had very near swallowed the tail-half of the unfortunate animal."

"There are worse things than lizards in the world," quoth Garry. "Ants,
I should say, were certainly less wholesome"--and he directed the
Major's attention to a long black line of those interesting creatures
issuing from a hole in the pavement, passing in an unbroken series up
my ancestor's left leg, the foot of which rested on the ground, then
traversing the cloth, and terminating at the loaf, the object of their
expedition.

"Bless me," said the Major, as he rose and shook his breeches gently
free from the marauders, "I must be more careful, or I shall chance to
do myself a mischief. But they're worst at night. I've been obliged to
leave off reading here in the evenings, for it went to my heart to see
the moths scorching their pretty gauzy wings in the candle till the
wicks were half-choked with them."

"Do you know, Major," said Owen, gravely, "that either this insect
diet, or the sedentary life you lead, is making you quite fat, and
utterly destroying the symmetry of your figure? In another week there
will be one unbroken line of rotundity from your chin to your knees."

My grandfather glanced downward at his waistcoat. "No, my boy, no,"
said he; "if there had been any difference, I should have known it by
my clothes. I don't think I've gained a pound this twelvemonth."

"More than a stone," quoth Garry. "We all remarked it on parade
to-day--and remarked it with sorrow. Now, look you, a sea voyage is
the very thing to restore your true proportions, and I propose that we
shall take a short one together."

"A sea voyage!" quoth my grandfather; "the boy is mad! Not if all
the wonders seen by Sinbad the Sailor lay within a day's sail. Did I
not suffer enough coming here from England? I don't think," said my
grandfather with considerable pathos, "that my digestion has ever been
quite right to this day."

"'Sick of a calm,' eh?--Like your friend Mistress Tearsheet," said the
youngster. "But I've settled it all, and count on you. Look here," he
continued, drawing from his pocket a large printed bill, and unfolding
it before my ancestor. At the top appeared in large capitals the words,
"Plaza de Toros;" and underneath was a woodcut representing a bull,
of whose sex there could be no doubt, gazing, with his tail in the
air, and an approving smile on his countenance, on the matadore about
to transfix him. Then followed a glowing account in Spanish of the
delights of a great bull-fight shortly to take place at Cadiz, setting
forth the ferocity of the bulls, the number of horses that might be
expected to die in the arena, and the fame of the picadores and espadas
who were then and there to exhibit.

The Major shook his head--the captivating prospectus had no charms
for him: he had not, as I have before said, an inquiring mind, and
habit was so strong in him that a change was like the dislocation of a
joint. The Ensign proceeded to paint the delights of the excursion in
the brightest colours he could command. They were to go to Cadiz in a
boat which he had lately bought--she was a capital sailer--there was
a half-deck forward, under which the Major might sleep as comfortably
as in his own bed--a cooking apparatus, (and here, as he expatiated on
the grills and stews and devils that were to be cooked and eaten, with
the additional stimulus to appetite afforded by sea air, there was a
spark of relenting in my grandfather's eye.) "You shall return," said
the tempter, "with a digestion so completely renovated, that my name
shall rise to your tongue at each meal as a grace before meat, and a
thanksgiving after it; and as to sea-sickness, why, this Levanter will
take us there in twelve hours, so smoothly that you may balance a straw
upon your nose the whole way." Finally, the cunning Ensign laid before
him an application for leave already made out, and only awaiting his
signature.

My grandfather made some feeble, objections, which Owen pooh-poohed
in his usual off-hand fashion. There was no standing against the
youngster's strong will, that, like Aaron's rod, swallowed up all
opposition, and at five o'clock that same evening the Major found
himself proceeding through the town towards the Waterport for
embarkation, by no means fully reconciled to the abandonment of his
beloved Lares. My luckless grandfather! did no presentiment warn you of
a consequence then hanging in the clouds, that was to change utterly
for you the untroubled aspect of those household gods?

Owen had attired himself for the trip in a half-nautical costume--a
shirt of light-blue flannel, fastened at the collar with a smart
bandana, a bluejacket, loose duck trousers, and a montero cap, which
costume became the puppy well enough. He seemed of this opinion
himself, as he walked gaily along beside the Major: so did the
black-eyed occupants of many houses on each side, who peeped forth
smilingly from behind their green lattices, sometimes nodding and
kissing their hands--for the Ensign had an incredible acquaintance with
the budding and full-blown portion of the population of Gibraltar. The
Major had stuck to his buckskins, (which stuck to him in return,) over
which he had drawn a pair of jack-boots, and wore his red-laced coat
and regimental hat--for in those days that passion for mufti, now so
prevalent in the army, did not exist. Whenever he caught sight of any
of the greetings bestowed from the windows, he would take off his laced
hat, and, fixing his eyes on the tittering señorita, who generally let
fall the lattice with a slam, would make her a low bow--and, after each
of these acts of courtesy, my grandfather walked on more elated than
before.

They passed the drawbridge at Waterport, and, struggling through the
crowd of Turks, Jews, infidels, and heretics, who usually throng the
quay, entered a shore-boat that was to row them out to where Owen's
vessel--the _Fair Unknown_, as he had christened her, in memory of
his unforgotten partner at the Carnival ball--lay moored. In her they
found a sailor who was to accompany them on their voyage--a noted
contrabandista, called Francisco, whose friendship Owen had lately
acquired, and who acted as his lieutenant on his marine excursions. The
boat was a neat affair--a small cutter, smartly painted, well found,
and capable of holding several persons comfortably; and Francisco was
a ruddy, portly, dark-skinned, large-whiskered son of the sea, the
picture of good-humour. My grandfather stept in, in his jack-boots.
There was much settling of carpet-bags and stowing of provisions in the
lockers, and then they hoisted sail, and glided smoothly out from among
the shipping into the bay.

The breeze was light and fair, and they went on, as Frank had promised,
pleasantly enough. My grandfather for the first time surveyed the scene
of his two years' residence from the sea. The grey old rock looked
mellow in the evening light, as an elderly gentleman over his wine--the
window-panes glanced ruddily, the walls gleamed whitely, and the
trees were tinted with a yellower green; behind, in the eastern sky,
floated one single purple cloud. As the objects became confused in the
distance, the sharp rugged outline of the rock assumed the appearance
that has caused the Spaniards to call it El Cuerpo--the appearance of a
vast human body laid out on its back, and covered with a winding-sheet,
like a dead Titan on his funeral pile--the head towards Spain, the
chest arched at Middle Hill, the legs rising gently upward to the
knees at O'Hara's Tower, and then sloping down till the feet rest
on Europa. The sun went down as they rounded Cabrita Point, and the
breeze, freshening, took them swiftly along under the huge hills that
rise abruptly upward from the Spanish coast. Then Francisco, lighting a
charcoal fire, placed thereon, in a frying-pan, tender steaks thickly
strewn with sliced tomatas and onions, from whence arose a steam that
brought tears of gratitude and delight into my grandfather's eyes.
He anxiously watched the cooking--even threw out slight suggestions,
such as another pinch of pepper, an additional onion, a slight dash of
cayenne, and the like; and then, settling a plate firmly on the knees
of his jack-boots, with a piece of bread and a cup by his side, and a
knife and fork pointing upwards in his hands like lightning conductors,
gazed cheerfully around him. And when Francisco, rising from his knees,
where he had been blowing the charcoal fire, removed the hissing pan
towards my grandfather's plate, transferring to it a liberal portion
of the contents, the good man, gazing on the white and red streaks of
vegetable relieved by the brown background of steak, and the whole
picture swimming in a juicy atmosphere of gravy, felt sentiments of
positive friendship towards that lawless individual, and, filling a
bumper of Xerez, drank success to the voyage.

Three times was my grandfather's plate replenished from the
thrice-filled pan. Afterwards he dallied a little with a cold pie,
followed by a bit of cheese for digestion. Then, folding his hands
across his stomach, he expressed his sincere opinion, that he had never
tasted anything so good as that steak; and when Owen placed in his hand
a smoking can of grog, he looked on the young man with a truly paternal
eye. He talked complacently and benevolently, as men do who have dined
well--praised the weather, the boat, the scene--and wondered where a
man was going who rode slowly along a mountain-path above them, within
hail, following him, in imagination, to his home, in a sort of dreamy
contentment. After a second can he began to grow drowsy, and, just
aware that Owen said the breeze was still freshening, retired to the
soft mattress spread for him under the half-deck, and replacing his
cocked hat by a red nightcap, slept till morning.

It was broad daylight when he woke, conscious that for an hour or two
past he had been sleeping most uneasily. There was a violent swinging
motion, a rushing of wind and of water, that confused him extremely;
and, forgetting where he was, he nearly fractured his skull by rising
suddenly into a sitting posture. Steadying himself on his hands, in the
posture of the Dying Gladiator, he slewed himself round on the pivot of
his stern, and protruded his powdered head, like an old beaver, out of
his hole. Owen and Francisco were sitting in a pool of water, trying to
shelter themselves under the weather-side of the boat--dripping wet,
and breakfasting on cold potatoes and fragments of meat left from last
night's meal. My grandfather did not like the appearance of things at
all. Rent in twain by horrible qualms, he inquired feebly of Owen if
they were near Cadiz? Frank, in reply, shook his head, and said they
were at anchor. Then my grandfather, making a vigorous effort, emerged
completely from his place of repose, and, rising to his feet, looked
over the gunwale. The scene he beheld was in dreary contrast to that
of the evening before. Ridges of white foam were all around--ahead was
a long low line of sandy coast, terminating in a point of rock whereon
stood a lighthouse; and to leeward the bay was enclosed by steep hills.
Over the low coast-line the wind blew with steady violence. A bright
sun rather increased the dreariness of the prospect, which was suddenly
closed to my grandfather by a shower of spray, that blinded him, and
drenched him to the skin, converting his jack-boots into buckets. The
wind had increased to a gale during the night, and they had been forced
to take precarious shelter in the harbour of Tarifa. The Major did not
venture on a second peep, but sat, dismally wet and sea-sick, the whole
morning, trying to shelter himself as he best could. Once, a man came
down to the beach, and gesticulated like a scaramouch, screaming also
at the same time; but what his gestures and screams signified nobody on
board could tell. At length, as the gale did not moderate, while their
position increased in discomfort, and was also becoming precarious,
(for one of their anchors was gone, and great fears were entertained
for the other,) Owen and Francisco decided to weigh, and stand in for
the shore, trusting to the smuggler's seamanship for a safe run. The
Major, in spite of his sickness, stood up and pulled gallantly at the
cable, the wind blowing his pigtail and skirts perpendicularly out from
his person. At last, after tremendous tugging, the anchor came up. The
jib was hoisted with a reef in it, Owen holding the sheet, while the
smuggler ran aft and took the helm. They bent over to the gale, till
the Major stood almost perpendicularly on the lee gunwale, with his
back against the weather-side, and ran in till he thought they were
going to bump ashore; then tacking, they stood up along the coast,
close to the wind, till Francisco gave the word. Owen let go the sheet,
and the jib fluttered loosely out as they ran through a narrow passage
into smooth water behind the sea-wall, and made fast to a flight of
steps.

Presently some functionary appertaining to the harbour appeared, and
with him an emissary from the Governor of the place, who, aware of
their plight, had civilly sent to offer assistance. The messenger
was the same man who had made signals to them from the beach in the
morning; and he seemed to think it advisable that they should wait
on the Governor in person, saying that he was always disposed to be
civil to British officers. This advice they resolved to act upon at
once, before it should grow dark, foreseeing that, in case of their
detention from bad weather in Tarifa, the Governor might prove a potent
auxiliary. The Major would have wished to make some little alterations
in his toilette, after his late disasters; but, after trying in vain
to pull off his jack-boots, which clung to him like his skin, he was
obliged to abandon the idea, and contented himself with standing on
his head to let the water run out of them. As they advanced along the
causeway leading to the town, (the point where they landed is connected
with the town by a long narrow sandy isthmus,) the gale swept over them
volumes of sand, which, sticking to my grandfather's wet uniform, gave
him somewhat the appearance of a brick-wall partially roughcast. His
beard was of two days' growth--his hair-powder was converted into green
paste by the sea-water--and his whole appearance travel-stained and
deplorable. Nevertheless his dignity by no means forsook him, as they
traversed the narrow alleys of the ancient town of Tarifa, on their way
to the approaching interview.

His excellency Don Pablo Dotto, a wonderfully fat little man, received
them very courteously. He was a Spaniard of the old school, and
returned the stately greeting of my grandfather, and the easy one of
the Ensign, with such a profusion of bows, that for the space of a
minute they saw little more of his person than the shining baldness
on the top of his head. Then they were presented to his wife, a
good-natured, motherly sort of old lady, who seemed to compassionate
them much. But, while Owen was explaining to her the object of
their trip, and its disastrous interruption, he suddenly stopped,
open-mouthed, and blushing violently, with his gaze directed towards
the open door of a neighbouring apartment. There he beheld, advancing
towards him, the Beauty of the Carnival ball.

The Governor's lady named her as "her daughter, the Señorita Juana."
Spite of the different dress and circumstances, she, too, recognised
Frank, and coloured slightly as she came forward to receive his
greeting. The Ensign, an impudent scamp enough in general, was,
however, the more confused of the two; and his embarrassed salutation
was entirely thrown into the shade by the magnificence of my
grandfather's bow. However, he presently recovered his assurance,
and explained to the elder lady how he had previously enjoyed the
pleasure (with a great stress upon the word) of making her daughter's
acquaintance. Then he recounted to Juana the manner in which they had
been driven in here, when on their way to Cadiz to see the bull-fight.

"We also are going to ride thither to-morrow," said the Señorita,
softly.

"Ah, then, we shall meet there," said Frank, who presently after was
seized with a fit of absence, and made incoherent replies. He was
considering how they might travel together, and had almost resolved to
offer to take the whole family to Cadiz in his boat--a proposal that
would probably have somewhat astonished the little Governor, especially
if he had seen the dimensions of the craft thus destined to accommodate
himself and retinue. But Garry was an adept in manoeuvring, and
marched skilfully upon the point he had in view. He drew such a
pathetic picture of the hardships they had endured on the voyage--their
probable detention here for most of their short leave--their friendless
condition, and their desire to see something of the country--that the
little Governor was in a manner impelled (fancying all the time that
the impulse sprung altogether from his own native benevolence,) to
desire that the two forlorn Englishmen would travel to Cadiz under his
escort. So it being settled entirely to Garry's satisfaction that they
were to start next morning at break of day on horseback--an arrangement
which my grandfather's total ignorance of Spanish prevented him from
knowing anything about--they retired to the principal fonda, where the
Major speedily forgot, over a tolerable dinner, the toils and perils of
the voyage.


CHAPTER II.

Daybreak the next morning found them issuing forth from the ancient
city of Tarifa on a couple of respectable-looking hacks, hired from
the innkeeper. Frank had, with his accustomed generalship, managed
to secure a position at the off-rein of the Señorita Juana, who was
mounted on a beautiful little white barb. Under her side-saddle, of
green velvet studded with gilt nails, was a Moorish saddle-cloth,
striped with vivid red and white, and fringed deeply. From the
throat-lash of the bridle hung a long tassel, as an artificial
auxiliary to the barb's tail in the task of keeping the flies off,
further assisted by a tuft of white horse-hair attached to the butt of
her whip. She wore a looped hat and white plume, a riding-skirt, and an
embroidered jacket of blue cloth, fastened, as was the wrought bosom of
her chemise, with small gold buttons. Frank could not keep his eyes off
her, now riding off to the further side of the road to take in at once
the whole of the beauteous vision, now coming close up to study it in
its delightful details.

In front of the pair rode the little Governor, side by side with a
Spaniard of about thirty, the long-betrothed lover of Juana--so long,
in fact, that he did not trouble himself to secure his authority in
a territory so undeniably his own, but smoked his cigar as coolly as
if there were no good-looking Englishman within fifty miles of his
mistress. He wore garments of the Spanish cut, made of nankeen--the
jacket frogged with silver cords, tagged with little silver
fishes--the latter appended, perhaps, as suitable companions to the
frogs. A hundred yards ahead was an escort of four horse-soldiers
with carbines on their thighs, their steel accoutrements flashing
ruddily in the level sunlight. Behind Frank came Major Flinders,
clean shaved, and with jack-boots and regimental coat restored to
something like their pristine splendour; by his side rode another
lady, the Señorita Carlota, Juana's aunt, somewhere about thirty years
old, plump and merry, her upper lip fringed at the corners with a
line of dark down, quite decided enough for a cornet of eighteen to
be proud of--a feminine embellishment too common for remark in these
southern regions, and, in the opinion of some connoisseurs, rather
enhancing the beauty of the fair wearers. She talked incessantly, at
first, to my grandfather, who did not understand a word she said,
but whose native politeness prompted him to say, "Si, Señorita," to
everything--sometimes laying at the same moment his hand on his heart,
and bowing with considerable grace. Behind this pair came another
interesting couple--viz., two servants on mules, with great saddle-bags
stuffed to extreme corpulence with provisions.

It was a glorious morning--a gentle breeze sweeping on their faces as
they mounted the hills, but dying into silence in the deep valleys,
fresh, and glistening with dew. Sometimes they rode along a rocky
common, yellowed with a flowering shrub like furze--sometimes through
unfenced fields--sometimes along broad plains, where patches of
blossoming beans made the air rich with scent, and along which they
galloped full speed, the Governor standing high in the stirrups of
his demi-pique, the Señorita's white barb arching his neck till his
muzzle touched his chest under the pressure of the long bit, and my
grandfather prancing somewhat uneasily on his hard-mouthed Spanish
entero, whose nose was, for the most part, projected horizontally in
the air. The Major was not a first-rate seat--he rode with a long
stirrup, his heel well down, his leg straight, and slanting a little
forward, body upright, and elbows back, as may be seen in the plates to
ancient works on equitation--a posture imposing enough, but not safe
across country: galloping deranged it materially, for the steed was
hard-mouthed, and required a long, strong pull, with the body back,
and a good purchase on the stirrups. The animal had a most voracious
appetite, quite overcoming his sense of what was due to his rider;
and, on seeing a tuft of juicy grass, down went his nose, drawing my
grandfather, by means of the tight reins, well over the pummel. On
these occasions, the Major, feeling resistance to be in vain, would
sit looking easily about him, feigning to be absorbed in admiration of
the prospect--which was all very well, where there was a prospect to
look at, but wore a less plausible appearance when the animal paused
in a hollow between two hedges, or ran his nose into a barn-door. But
whenever this happened, Carlota, instead of half-smothering a laugh,
as a mischievous English girl would, ten to one, have done, sat most
patiently till the Major and his steed came to an understanding, and
would greet him, as they moved on again, with a good-natured smile,
that won her, each time, a higher place in his estimation.

Thus they proceeded till the sun rose high in the heavens, when, on
reaching a grove on the edge of one of the plains, they halted under a
huge cork-tree, near which ran a rivulet. The cavalcade dismounted--the
horses were tethered, the mules disburthened of the saddle-bags, and
the contents displayed under the tree; horse-cloths and cloaks were
spread around on the ground and a fire of dry sticks was lit on the
edge of the stream with such marvellous celerity that, before my
grandfather had time to take more than a hasty survey of the eatables,
after seating himself on the root of a tree, a cup of steaming
chocolate was placed in his hand.

"Confess, Major," said Garry, speaking with his mouth full of sausage,
"that a man may lose some of the pleasures of existence by leading the
life of a hermit. Don't you feel grateful to me for dragging you out of
your cobweb to such a pleasant place as this?"

"'Tis an excellent breakfast," said my grandfather, who had just
assisted the Señorita Carlota to a slice of turkey's breast, and
himself to an entire leg and thigh--dividing with her, at the
same time, a crisp white loaf, having a handle like a teapot or
smoothing-iron--"and my appetite is really very good. I should be
perfectly easy if I could only understand the remarks of this very
agreeable lady, and make suitable replies."

"Let me interpret your sentiments," said Garry; "and though I may not
succeed in conveying them in their original force and poetry, yet they
shall lose as little as possible in transmission. Just try me--what
would you wish to say?"

"Why, really," said my grandfather, pondering, "I had a great many
things to say as we came along, but they've gone out of my head. Do you
think she ever read Shakspeare?"

"Not a chance of it," said Owen.

Here the Señorita laughingly appealed to Frank to know what my
grandfather was saying about her.

"Ah," quoth my grandfather, quoting his friend Shakspeare--

    "'I understand thy _looks_--the pretty Spanish
    Which thou pourest down from these swelling heavens
    I am _not_ perfect in ----'

She's an extremely agreeable woman, Frank, I'll be sworn, if one only
understood her," quoth my grandfather, casting on her a glance full of
gallantry.

The Ensign was not so entirely occupied in prosecuting his own love
affair as to be insensible to the facilities afforded him for amusing
himself at the Major's expense. Accordingly, he made a speech in
Spanish to Carlota, purporting to be a faithful translation of my
grandfather's, but teeming, in fact, with the most romantic expressions
of chivalrous admiration, as was apparent from the frequent recurrence
of the words "ojos," (eyes,) "corazon," (heart,) and the like amatory
currency.

"There, Major," said the interpreter, as he finished; "I've told her
what you said of her."

The Major endorsed the compliments by laying his hand upon his heart,
and bowing with a tender air. Whereupon Carlota, laughing, and blushing
a deeper red, made her acknowledgments.

"She says," quoth Frank, "that she knew the English before to be a
gallant nation; but that if all the caballéros (that's gentlemen)
of that favoured race are equal to the present specimen, her own
countrymen must be thrown entirely into the shade."

"Delightful!" cried my grandfather; but it is doubtful whether this
expression of pleasure was called forth by the sentiments attributed
to the Señorita, or by the crisp succulent tenderness of a mouthful of
sucking-pig which was at that moment spreading itself over his palate.

Following up his idea, the mischievous Ensign continued to diversify
the graver pursuit of prosecuting his own suit with Juana, by
impressing Carlota and the Major with the idea that each was favourably
impressed with the other. In this he was tolerably successful--the
speeches he made to Carlota, supposed to originate with my grandfather,
had a very genuine warmth about them, being, in fact, very often
identical with those he had just been making, under immediate
inspiration, to his own divinity; while as for the Major, it would have
been an insult to the simplicity of that worthy man's nature to exert
any great ingenuity in deceiving him; it would have been like setting
a trap for a snail. So they journeyed on, highly pleased with each
other, and occasionally, in the absence of their faithful interpreter,
conversed by means of smiles and courteous gesticulations, till my
grandfather felt entirely at his ease, and was almost sorry when on the
evening of the second day they got to Cadiz.


CHAPTER III.

A whole city full of people condensed into one broad amphitheatre,
all bearing a national resemblance to each other in countenance and
costume, all apparently animated by the same spirit--for nothing could
be more unanimous than the applause which greeted a favourite smilingly
crossing the arena, the abuse which overwhelmed an object offensive
to the eye of the many-headed, or the ridicule which descended in a
joyous uproarious flood on the hapless individual in whose appearance,
dress, or manner, anything was detected calculated to appeal to the
highly-sensitive risible faculty of a Spanish assembly;--a gay and
picturesque mixture of colours, waving and tossing like a garden in
a breeze, as the masses of white mantillas, heads black as coal,
decorated with flowers and green leaves, red sashes, tufted sombreros,
and yellow gaiters, with here and there a blue-and-white soldier
standing stiffly up, were agitated by each new emotion--such was the
scene that met the eyes of our travellers on entering the bull-ring at
Cadiz before the sport commenced.

My grandfather had made his entry in spectacles--appendages highly
provocative of the public mirth--and had looked wonderingly for a
minute or two through the obnoxious glasses on a sea of faces upturned,
sideturned, and downturned, all looking at him, and all shouting some
indistinguishable chorus; while the men beat time, each with the
long, forked, painted stick, without which no Spaniard possessing
sentiments of propriety ever comes to a bull-fight, in a manner most
embarrassing to a somewhat bashful stranger, till their attention was
luckily diverted to an unhappy man in a white hat, in derision of whom
they immediately sang a song, the burden of which was "El de sombrero
blanco," (he of the white hat,) the multitude conducting itself
throughout like one man.

My grandfather and his friends occupied a distinguished position
in a box high above the multitude, and near that of the alcalde.
The Señorita Juana looked more lovely than ever in a white dress,
over which flowed a white gauzy mantilla, giving a kind of misty
indistinctness to the wavy outlines of her figure, and the warm tint
of her neck and arms. From her masses of black hair peeped one spot of
vivid white, a rosebud; and a green plumy leaf, a favourite ornament
with Spanish girls, drooped, bending, and soft as a feather, on one
side of her gold-and-tortoiseshell comb. The Major sat beside Carlota,
who, naturally frank, and looking upon him now as an old acquaintance,
would tap his arm most bewitchingly with her fan, when she wanted to
direct his attention to any object of interest. So the Major sat by
her, all gallantry and smiles, gazing about him with wonder through
the double gold eyeglass, which still, in spite of the late expression
of popular feeling, bestrid his nose. He looked with the interest of a
child at everything--at the faces and dresses around him, distinct in
their proximity, and at those, confused in their details by distance,
on the opposite side of the arena. He shared in the distress of an
unfortunate person (a contractor for bulls, who had palmed some bad
ones on the public) who tried, as he walked conspicuously across
the ring, to smile off a torrent of popular execration about as
successfully as a lady might attempt to ward off Niagara with her
parasol, and who was, as it were, washed out at an opposite door,
drenched and sodden with jeers. And when the folding-gates were opened,
and the gay procession entered, my grandfather gazed on it with
delight, and shouted "Bravo!" as enthusiastically as if he had been a
habitual frequenter of bull-rings from his earliest youth. First came
the espadas or matadores, their hair clubbed behind like a woman's,
dressed in bright-coloured jackets, and breeches seamed with broad
silver lace, white stockings, shoes fastened with immense rosettes, and
having their waists girt with silk sashes, bearing on their arms the
blood-coloured cloaks that were to lure the bull upon the sword-point.
Next followed the chulos, similarly attired; then the picadores,
riding stiffly, with padded legs, on their doomed steeds; and mules,
whose office it was to drag off the dead bulls and horses, harnessed
three abreast as in classic chariots, and almost hidden under a mass
of gay housings, closed the procession. Marching across the middle of
the ring to the alcalde's box, they requested permission to begin,
and, it being granted, the picadores stationed themselves at equal
distances from each other round the circumference of the arena. Then,
at a signal from the alcalde, two trumpeters in scarlet, behind him,
stood up and sounded--a man, standing with his hand ready on a bolt in
a door underneath, drew it, and pulled the door swiftly back, shutting
himself into a niche, as the dark space thus opened was filled by the
formidable figure of a bull, who, with glancing horns and tail erect,
bounded out, and, looking around during one fierce brief pause, made
straight at the first picador. The cavalier, standing straight in his
stirrups, his lance tucked firmly under his arm, fixed the point fairly
in the shoulder of the brute, who, never pausing for that, straightway
upset man and horse. Then my grandfather might be seen stretching far
over the front of his box, his eyes staring on the prostrate picador,
and his hands clenched above his head, while he shouted, "By the Lord,
sir, he'll be killed!" And when a chulo, darting alongside, waved his
cloak before the bull's eyes and lured him away, the Major, drawing
a long breath, turned to a calm Spaniard beside him, and said, "By
heaven, sir, 'twas the mercy of Providence!"--but the Spaniard, taking
his cigar from his mouth, and expelling the smoke through his nostrils,
merely said, "Bien está," ('tis very well.) Meanwhile, the bull (who,
like his predecessor in the china-shop, seemed to have it all his
own way) had run his horn into the heart of a second horse, and the
picador, perceiving from the shivering of the wounded creature that
the hurt was mortal, dismounted in all haste, while the horse, giving
one long, blundering stagger, fell over and died, and was immediately
stript of his accoutrements. This my grandfather didn't like at all;
but, seeing no kindred disgust in the faces round him, he nerved
himself, considering that it was a soldier's business to look on wounds
and death. He even beheld, with tolerable firmness, the spectacle of
a horse dashing blindfold and riderless, and mad with fear and pain,
against the barrier--rebounding whence to the earth with a broken
shoulder, it was forced again on its three legs, and led stumbling from
the ring. But when he saw another horse raised to its feet, and, all
ript open as it was, spurred to a second assault, the Major, who hadn't
the heart himself to hurt a fly, could stand it no longer, but, feeling
unwell, retired precipitately from the scene. On reaching the door, he
wrote over the same, with a bit of chalk, part of the speech of Henry
V., "the royal imp of fame," to his soldiers at Agincourt:--

    "He that hath not stomach for the fight,
    Let him depart----"

to the great astonishment of the two Spanish sentries, who gazed on the
words as if they contained a magical spell.

Frank sat till it was over--"played out the play." Not that he saw much
of the fight, however; he had eyes and speech for nothing but Juana,
and was able to indulge his _penchant_ without interruption, as the
little Governor took great interest in the fight, and the lover with
the silver fishes was a connoisseur in the sport, and laid bets on
the number of horses that each particular bull would kill with great
accuracy. So the Ensign had it all his own way, and, being by no means
the sort of person to throw away this or any other opportunity with
which fortune might favour him, got on quite as well, probably, as you
or I might have done in his place.

Leaving Cadiz next morning, they resumed the order of march they had
adopted in coming--Don Pablo riding, as before, in front with the
knight of the silver fishes, discussing with him the incidents of the
bull-ring. The old gentleman, though very courteous when addressing the
two Englishmen, had but little to say to them--neither did he trouble
himself to talk much to the ladies; and when he did, a sharp expression
would sometimes slip out, convincing Owen that he was something of
a domestic tyrant in private--a character by no means inconsistent
with the blandest demeanour in public. The Ensign was at great pains
to encourage the Major to be gracious to Carlota. "Get a little more
tropical in your looks, Major," he would say; "these Spanish ladies
are not accustomed to frigid glances. She's desperately in love with
you--pity she can't express what she feels; and she mightn't like to
trust an interpreter with her sentiments."

"Pooh, nonsense, boy," said the Major, colouring with pleasure, "she
doesn't care for an old fellow like me."

"Doesn't she?--see what her eyes say--that's what I call ocular
demonstration," quoth the Ensign. "If you don't return it, you're a
stock, a stone." Then he would say something to Carlota, causing her
eyes to sparkle, and canter on to rejoin Juana.

It was genial summer-time with Carlota--she had passed the age of
maiden diffidence, without having attained that of soured and faded
spinsterhood. She had a sort of jovial confidence in herself, and an
easy demeanour towards the male sex, such as is seen in widows. These
supposed advances of the Major were accordingly met by her rather more
than half-way. None but the Major was permitted to assist her into the
saddle, or to receive her plump form descending from it. None but the
Major was beckoned to her rein when the path was broken and perilous,
or caught on his protecting arm the pressure of her outstretched hand,
when her steed stumbled over the loose pebbles. None was repaid for
a slight courtesy by so many warm, confiding smiles as he. These,
following fast one on another, began to penetrate the rusty casing of
the Major's heart. On his own ground--that is, in his own quarters--he
could have given battle, successfully, to a score of such insidious
enemies: his books, his flowers, his pipe, his slippers, and a hundred
other Penates would have encircled him; but here, with all his strong
palisading of habit torn up and scattered, all his wonted trains of
ideas upset and routed by the novelty of situation and scenery, he lay
totally defenceless, and open to attack. The circumstance of himself
and Carlota being ignorant of each other's language, far from being an
obstacle to their mutual good-will, rather favoured its progress. In
company with an Englishwoman, in similar circumstances, my grandfather
would have considered himself bound to entertain her with his
conversation, and, perhaps, have spoiled all by trying to make himself
agreeable--it would have been a tax on the patience of both: but being
absolved from any such duty in the present instance, he could without
awkwardness ride onward in full and silent communion with his own
thoughts, and enjoy the pleasure of being smiled upon without being at
any pains to earn it.

His note-book, containing an account of the expedition, which I have
seen--and whence, indeed, the greater part of this chronicle is
gathered--exhibits, at this period of the journey, sufficient proof
that the Major enjoyed this new state of being extremely, and felt his
intellect, his heart, and his stomach at once stimulated.

"Spain," says my grandfather, in a compendious descriptive sentence,
"is a country of garlicky odours, of dirty contentment, of
overburthened donkeys, and of excellent pork; but a fine air in the
hills, and the country much sweeter than the towns. The people don't
seem to know what comfort is, or cleanliness, but are nevertheless
very contented in their ignorance. My saddle is bad, I think, for I
dismounted very sore to-day. The Señorita mighty pleasant and gracious.
I entertain a great regard for her--no doubt a sensible woman, as well
as a handsome. A pig to-day at breakfast, the best I have tasted in
Spain."

The desultory style of the composition of these notes prevents me from
quoting largely from them. Statistics, incidents of travel, philosophic
reflections, and the state of his digestive organs, are all chronicled
indiscriminately. But, from the above mixture of sentiments, it will
be perceived that the Major's admiration for Carlota was of a sober
nature, by no means ardent or Quixotic, and pretty much on a par with
his passion for pig.

This was far from being the case with Garry, who became more and more
enamoured every hour. The Spanish lover continued to conduct himself
as if he had been married to Juana for twenty years, never troubling
himself to be particularly agreeable or attentive, for which obliging
conduct Garry felt very grateful to him. The Major had been too long
accustomed to witness Owen's philanderings to see anything peculiar
in the present case, till his attention was attracted by a little
incident he accidentally witnessed. After the last halt they made
before reaching Tarifa, Garry was, as usual, at hand, to assist Juana
to her saddle. The strings of her hat were untied, and he volunteered
to fasten them; and, having done so, still retaining his hold of the
strings, he glanced quickly around, and then drew her blooming face
towards his own till their lips met--for which piece of impudence he
only suffered the slight penalty of a gentle tap with her whip. My
grandfather discreetly and modestly withdrew his eyes, but he was not
the only observer. He of the silver fishes was regarding them with a
fixed look from among some neighbouring trees, where he had tethered
his horse. Probably the Spaniard, with all his indifference, thought
this was carrying matters a little too far, for, after conversing a
moment with the Governor, he took his place at Juana's side, and did
not again quit it till they arrived at Tarifa. Then both he and the
Governor took leave of our travellers with a cold civility, defying all
Garry's attempts to thaw it, and seeming to forbid all prospect of a
speedy renewal of the acquaintance.


CHAPTER IV.

At the inn, that night, the Major betook himself to rest early, that he
might be ready to start for Gibraltar betimes in the morning, for on
the following day their leave was to expire.

He had slept soundly for several hours, when he was awoke by Owen, who
entered with a candle in his hand. The Major sat up in bed and rubbed
his eyes.

"Time's up, my boy, eh?" said he, with a cavernous yawn. "I should have
liked another hour of it, but it can't be helped," (preparing to turn
out.)

"I didn't want to spoil your rest last night," said Owen, seating
himself on the edge of the bed, "so I said nothing about a mishap that
has occurred. That smuggling villain, Francisco, took advantage of our
absence to fetch a contraband cargo in the boat from Gibraltar, and has
been caught in attempting to run it here."

"God bless me," said my grandfather, "who would have thought it!--and
he such a capital cook! But what's to be done? where's the boat?"

"The boat is, for the present, confiscated," said Garry; "but I daresay
the Governor would let us have it in the morning, on explaining, and
perhaps release Francisco, with the loss of his cargo; but--but--in
fact, Major, I don't want the Governor to know anything about our
departure."

My grandfather stared at him, awaiting further explanation.

"Juana looked pale last night," said the Ensign after a pause.

The Major did not dispute the fact, though he could not, for the life
of him, see what it had to do with the subject.

"She never liked that dingy Spanish lover of hers," said the Ensign,
"and her father intends she shall marry him in a month. 'Twould make
her miserable for life."

"Dear me," said my grandfather, "how do you know that?"

"She told me so. You see," said Owen, shading the candle with his hand,
so that my grandfather couldn't see his face, and speaking hurriedly,
"I didn't intend we should start alone--in fact--that is--Juana has
agreed to fly with me to Gibraltar."

"Agreed!--fly!"--gasped my grandsire: "what an extraordinary young
fellow!"

"She's waiting for us now," resumed Garry, gathering courage after the
first plunge into the subject; "we ought to be off before daylight.
Oblige me, my dear sir," (smiling irresistibly,) "by getting up
immediately."

"And how are we to get away," asked my grandfather, "supposing this
insane scheme of yours to be attempted?"

"I've bribed the sentry at Francisco's place of durance," returned the
Ensign. "We shall get out of the town the instant the gates are opened;
and the boat is tied to the steps, as before, only under the charge of
a sentry whom we can easily evade. Every guarda costa in the place was
sent out last night to blockade a noted smuggler who has taken refuge
in Tangier; so, once out, we are safe from pursuit: I found it all out
after you had gone to bed."

The disposition of Major Flinders, as the reader knows, was the reverse
of enterprising--he wouldn't have given a straw to be concerned in
the finest adventure that ever happened in romance. He paused with
one stocking on, inclined, like the little woman whose garments had
been curtailed by the licentious shears of the pedlar, to doubt his
own identity, and wondering if it could be really he, John Flinders,
to whom such a proposition was broached, requiring him to assist in
invading the peace of a family. As soon as he recovered his powers of
speech, of which astonishment had for a moment deprived him, he began
earnestly to dissuade the Ensign from the enterprise; but Owen knew his
man too well, and had too much youthful vivacity of will to allow much
time for remonstrance.

"Look you, Major," said he, "I'm positive I can't live without Juana.
I'll make a bold stroke for a wife. The thing's settled--no going back
now for me; and I shall go through with it with or without you. But
you're not the man, I'm sure, to desert a fellow in extremity, at a
time, too, when the advantages of your experience and coolness are so
peculiarly needed. 'Call you that backing of your friends?'"

The compliment, or the quotation, or both, softened the Major. "'Would
it were night, Hal, and all well,'" said he, half mechanically
following the Falstaffian train of ideas Owen had artfully conjured up,
and at the same time drawing on the breeches which that astute youth
obsequiously handed to him.

It was still dark when they issued forth into the narrow and dingy
streets of Tarifa. My grandfather, totally unaccustomed to visit
the glimpses of the moon in this adventurous fashion, was full of
strange fears--heard as many imaginary suspicious noises and voices as
Bunyan's Pilgrim in the dark valley--and once or twice stopt abruptly
and grasped Owen's arm, while he pointed to a spy dogging them in the
distant gloom, who turned out to be a door-post. But Owen was now in
his element; no tom-cat in Tarifa was more familiar with housetops
and balconies at the witching hour than he, and he stepped gaily on.
Presently they were challenged by a sentry, to whom Owen promptly
advanced and slipped into his itching palm a doubloon, when the
trustworthy warrior immediately turned upon his heel, and, walking to
the extremity of his post, looked with great vigilance in the opposite
direction.

Owen advanced to a grated window and tapped. Immediately the burly face
of Francisco showed itself thereat, his white teeth glancing merrily in
a glimmer of moonshine. A bar, previously filed through, was removed
from the window, and Owen, taking him by the collar to assist his
egress, drew him through as far as the third button of his waistcoat,
where he stuck for a moment; but the substance was elastic, and a lusty
tug landed him in the middle of the narrow street. Receiving Frank's
instructions, given in a hurried whisper, to go at once to where the
boat lay, and cast her off, ready to shove off on the instant, he
nodded and disappeared in the darkness, while Owen and the Major made
for the Governor's house.

Arrived near it, Owen gave a low whistle--a peculiar one, that my
grandfather remembered to have heard him practising to Juana on the
previous day--when, to the unutterable surprise of the Major, _two_
veiled figures appeared on the balcony.

"Why, Owen, boy, d'ye see!" quoth the Major, stuttering with anxiety,
"who can the other be?--her maid, eh?"--indistinct stage recollections
of intriguing waiting-women dawning on him.

"Ahem!--why, you see, Major," whispered Owen, "she wouldn't come
alone--couldn't manage it at all, in fact, without the knowledge of
her aunt, who sleeps in the next room; so I persuaded Carlota _to come
too_, and gave her a sort of half promise that _you_ would _take care
of her_." Here, wishing to cut short a rather awkward explanation,
he ran under the balcony--one of the ladies dropped a cord--and Owen
producing from under his coat a rope ladder, (he had sat up all night
making it,) attached it, and, as soon as it was drawn up, ascended,
motioning to my astounded grandfather to keep it steady below. The
Major, after a moment's desperate half-resolve to make a hasty retreat
from the perilous incidents which seemed momentarily to thicken round
him, and leave his reckless friend to his fate, yielded to the force
of circumstances, and did what was required of him. Then Owen lifted
the ladies, one after the other, over the railing of the balcony, and
they swiftly descended. First came Juana, who, scarcely touching the
Major's offered hand, lit on the pavement like gossamer; then Carlota
descended, and making, in her trepidation, a false step near the
bottom, came so heavily on the Major, that they rolled together on the
stones. By the time they were on their feet again, Owen had slipped
down the ladder, and, taking Juana under his arm, set off rapidly
towards the bay.

If anything could have added to the Major's discomfiture and
embarrassment, it would have been the pressure of Carlota's arm on his,
as she hung confidingly on him--a pressure not proceeding from her
weight only, but active, and with a meaning in it; but he was in that
state of mental numbness from the successive shocks of astonishment,
that, as with a soldier after the first two dozen, any additional
laceration passed unheeded. He was embarked in an adventure of which
he could by no means see the end; all was strange and dark in the
foreground of his future; and if he had been at that moment tried,
cast, and condemned for an imaginary crime, he would have been too
apathetic to say anything in arrest of judgment.

Silently and swiftly, as a forlorn hope, they passed through the town
and along the sandy causeway. The succession of white rolling waves
on their left, where extended the full breadth of the Straits, while
the bay on their right was almost smooth, showed the wind to be still
against them; but it was now so moderate that they might safely beat up
for the Rock. Arrived at the head of the stairs leading to the water,
they paused in the angle of the wall to reconnoitre. Francisco was
lying coiled up in the head of the boat, his hand on the rope, ready to
cast her loose, and the boat-hook projecting over the bow. Above them,
and behind the wall, at a little distance, they could hear the measured
tread of the sentry, and catch the gleam of his bayonet as he turned
upon his walk: a few vigorous shoves would carry them outside the
sea-wall and beyond his ken. All depended on their silence; and like
two stealthy cats did Owen and Juana descend to the boat--the Major and
Carlota watching the success of their attempt with protruded necks.
Cautiously did Owen stride from the last stair to the deck--cautiously
did he transfer Juana to the bark, and guide her aft. The Major was
just preparing to follow, when a noise from the boat startled him:
Juana had upset an unlucky wine-jar which Francisco had left there.
The sentry put his head over the wall, and challenged; Francisco,
starting up, shoved hastily off; the sentry fired his piece, his bullet
shattering the wine-jar that had caused the mischief. Juana screamed,
Owen swore in English, and Francisco surpassed him in Spanish. There
was no time to return or wait for the other pair, for the guard was
alarmed by the sentry's shot, and their accoutrements might be heard
rattling near at hand, as they turned hastily out. Before they reached
the wall, however, the boat had disappeared.

Major Flinders watched it till it was out of sight, and, at first,
experienced a feeling of despair at being thus deprived of the aid
of Garry's boldness and promptitude, and left to his own resources.
Presently, however, a gleam of comfort dawned upon him--perhaps Carlota
would now abandon the enterprise, and he should thus, at any rate,
be freed from the embarrassment her presence occasioned him. In this
hope he was shortly undeceived. To have added the shame of failure and
exposure to her present disappointment, while an opening to persevere
still remained, did not suit that lady's ardent spirit; and whether it
was that the unscrupulous Garry had really represented the Major as
very much in love, or whether such an impression resulted from her own
lively imagination, she certainly thought her companion would be as
much chagrined at such a denouement as herself. She displayed a prompt
decision in this emergency, being, indeed, as remarkable for presence
as the Major was for absence of mind. Taking the Major's arm, she
caused him swiftly to retrace his steps with her to the inn where he
had slept. As they retreated, they heard the boom of a gun behind them,
fired, doubtless, from the Point, at the Fair Unknown. At Carlota's
orders, a couple of horses, one with a side-saddle, were speedily at
the inn-door; they mounted, and, before the sun was yet risen, had
issued forth from the gate of Tarifa, on the road to Gibraltar.

The Major rode beside her like a man in a dream--in fact, he was
partly asleep, having been deprived of a large portion of his natural
and accustomed rest, and partly bewildered. A few days before he
had been the most methodical, unromantic, not to say humdrum, old
bachelor in his Majesty's service; and here he was, how or why he did
not well know, galloping away at daybreak with a foreign lady, of
whose existence he had been ignorant a week before, with the prospect
of being apprehended by her relatives for her abduction, and by the
Government for assisting in the escape of, a smuggler. When at length
roused to complete consciousness by the rapidity of their motion, he
positively groaned in anguish of spirit, and vowed internally that,
once within the shelter of his own quiet quarters, nothing on earth
should again tempt him forth on such harum-scarum expeditions.

It was near noon when they reached Algeçiras, where they stopped to
breakfast, both of them rather exhausted with fatigue and hunger. This
town stands just opposite Gibraltar, across the bay--the road they had
come by forms the base of a triangle, of which Cabrita Point is the
apex, the bay washing one side of the projecting coast, the Straits the
other. The Major was reserved and embarrassed; there was a tenderness
about Carlota's manner that frightened him out of his usual gallantry,
and, to avoid meeting her glance, he looked steadily out of the window
at the rock of Gibraltar, casting wistful glances at the spot where his
quarters lay hidden in a little clump of foliage. Immediately after
the meal he quitted the room, on pretence of looking after the horses.
He determined to protract their stay in Algeçiras till late in the
afternoon, that they might enter Gibraltar in the dusk, and thus avoid
awkward meetings with equestrian parties from the garrison, who would
then be hastening homewards, in order to be in before gun-fire, when
the gates are shut.

On returning, still out of temper, to the room where he had left
Carlota, he found her, quite overcome with fatigue, asleep on the
sofa. Her head was thrown a little back on the cushion; her lips were
just parted, and she looked in her sleep like a weary child. The Major
approached on tiptoe, and stood regarding her. His ill-humour melted
fast into pity. He thought of all her kindness to him, and, by a sudden
soft-hearted impulse, took gently one of her hands projecting over
the side of the sofa. Carlota opened her eyes, and squeezed the hand
that held hers; whereupon the Major suddenly quitted his hold, and,
retreating with great discomposure to the window, did not venture to
look at her again till it was time to resume their journey.

At a little distance from Algeçiras is the river Palmones, called by
the English the Second River. This was crossed by a floating bridge,
pulled from shore to shore by a ferryman warping on a rope extended
across. They had just reached the opposite bank of the stream, when
Carlota noticed two horsemen galloping fast along the road they had
just traversed. A second glance showed them to be Don Pablo and the
lover of Juana. The first inquiries of the Governor had led him to
suppose that all had escaped in the boat, and it was not till some time
after that he had learned the true state of affairs.

The fugitives now hastened on in earnest, and roused their horses to
a steady gallop, never pausing till they reached the Guadaranque,
or First River, about a mile nearer Gibraltar than the other, and
furnished with a similar bridge. The delay of the pursuers at the
former ferry had thrown them far in rear; and my grandfather, inspired
by the imminence of the peril, now conceived a bright idea--the
brightest, probably, that ever flashed upon him--by executing which
they might effectually distance their pursuers. Dropping his glove at
a little distance from the shore, he sent the ferryman to fetch it,
and then pushed off, (Carlota having already embarked,) and warped the
bridge to the opposite bank, heedless of the frantic gesticulations
of the proprietor, who screamed furiously after them to stop. When
he reached the opposite side, he took out his pocket-knife and
deliberately cut the rope. Having thus, as it were, blown up the
communication in his rear, my grandfather, without the loss of his
baggage, continued his retreat to the fortress; while the little
Governor, who galloped up just as they were disappearing, was, like
Lord Ullin, left lamenting.

The sun was already declining, and threw their shadows far before them
on the sands, as they rode along the beach close to the water. The
bay at this inner extremity makes a great circular sweep--radii drawn
from the rock to different distant points of the arc would be almost
equal; and for half an hour they continued to see Gibraltar at nearly
the same distance to the right and in front of them, holding itself
aloof most provokingly. Twilight descended as they passed the Spanish
lines and entered on the Neutral Ground. The Major glanced anxiously
at his watch--in a few minutes the gun from Middle Hill would give
the signal for shutting the gates, and doom them irretrievably to
return into Spain for the night. For the first time in his life Major
Flinders really punished his horse, lifting the tired beast along with
whip and rein. Carlota's kept easily beside him under her lighter
weight, and they rapidly neared the barrier. Just as they passed it,
a stream of flame shot from the rock, illumining objects like a flash
of lightning;--then came the heavy report of the gun--another minute
and the drawbridge at Landport would be lifted; but they were upon it.
They dashed across somewhat in the style of Marmion quitting Douglas's
castle, "just as it trembled on the rise," and were safe in Gibraltar.


CHAPTER V.

After life's fitful fever, the Major did not sleep well. He had left
Carlota comfortably established at the inn; and he now lay nervously
thinking how his embarrassment with regard to her was to terminate,
especially if Owen did not shortly make his appearance. Then he
was worried by doubts as to the fate of the Fair Unknown and her
passengers. They might have been recaptured, as escaped smugglers, by a
guarda costa--they might be detained in the Straits by adverse winds or
calms--they might have run ashore into some bay, and come on overland.
This last supposition haunted him most pertinaciously, and he resolved
to go up the rock as soon as it should be daylight to look out for them
along the road from Spain. He lay tossing restlessly till the morning
gun gave the signal of the approach of dawn, and before the echoes died
away he had his breeches on.

Night was at odds with morning my grandfather, with a telescope under
his arm, sallied forth and began the ascent. Silence was over the
rock, except an occasional sighing of a remnant of night wind that had
lost itself among the crags. At first, the only clear outline visible
was that of the rugged edge of the rock above against the colourless
sky; but as he toiled up the steep zig-zag path, the day kept pace
with him--each moment threw a broader light on the scene--blots of
shadow became bushes or deep fissures, and new shapes of stone glided
into view. The only symptoms of animal life that he beheld were a
rabbit that fled silently to his hole, and a great white vulture that,
startled from his perch on a grey crag, sailed slowly upward on his
black-tipped wings, circling higher and higher, till his breast was
crimsoned by the yet unrisen sun.

The path led diagonally to the summit; and, turning a sharp
level corner, my grandfather looked perpendicularly down on the
Mediterranean, whose lazy waves, sending up a gentle murmur, rippled
far below him. On his left, also steep down below him, was the Neutral
Ground, level as the sea itself, extending northward into sandy plains,
abruptly crossed by tumbled heaps of brown mountains. A reddening of
the sky showed that the sun was at hand; and presently the glowing disk
came swiftly up from behind the eastern hills; the pale earth shared in
the ruddiness of the sky, and a long rosy gleam swept gradually over
the breadth of the grey sea, like an unwilling smile spreading itself
from a man's lips to his eyes and forehead.

Conspicuous on the highest point in the landscape stood my grandfather,
panting with his exertions as he wiped his forehead. After standing
for a moment, bronzed in front like a smith at the furnace, face to
face with the sun, he turned and swept with his telescope the road into
Spain. Early peasants, microscopic as ants, were bringing their fruits
and vegetables into the fortress--a laden mule or two advanced along
the beach over which the Major had last night galloped--but nothing
resembling what he sought was in sight. Then turning completely round,
with his face to the path he had just ascended, he gave a long look
towards the Straits; and as he did so, the wind, which had shifted
to the south-west towards morning, blew gently on his face. A sail
or two was discernible in the distance, outward bound, but nothing
resembling the cutter. As the Major looked, a signal was made from
Cabrita, and directly two feluccas left their station at Algeçiras, and
swooped out, like two white birds, as if to intercept some bark yet
hidden by the Point. Again my grandfather looked out to the Strait,
and presently a small white sail came in sight near Cabrita. For a
quarter of an hour he stood steadily, with levelled telescope, and
then he was almost sure--yes, he could swear--that he saw the small
English ensign relieved against the sail; and above, at the mast-head,
the yellow-striped flag that Francisco hoisted before as the mark of a
yacht. It was the Fair Unknown--and my grandfather at once comprehended
that the pursuers, whom he had escaped the night before, had, on
returning to Algeçiras, made arrangements for her capture as soon as
she should appear.

The breeze was on her beam, and much fresher with her than farther in
the bay, so that the feluccas steered slantingly across her course as
she made for the rock. They held on thus, the pursuers and pursued,
till within a mile of each other, when the cutter suddenly altered her
course to one nearly parallel with that of the feluccas. The latter,
however, now gained fast upon her, and presently a puff of smoke
from the bow of the foremost was followed by the report of a gun. My
grandfather could look no longer through his glass, for his hand shook
like a reed, but began, with huge strides more resembling those of
a kangaroo than a quiet middle-aged gentleman, to descend the rock.
Breathless, he reached his quarters, had his horse saddled and brought
out, and galloped off towards Europa.

Europa Point is at the southern extremity of the rock, and commands at
once the entrance of the bay and the passage of the Straits. The road
to it from the north, where the Major was quartered, affords, for the
most part, a view of the bay. Many an anxious glance did he cast, as
he sped along, at the state of affairs on the water. The feluccas fired
several shots, but all seemed to fall wide, and were probably intended
only to frighten the chase, out of consideration for her fair freight.
Still, however, the English colours floated, and still the cutter held
her course.

Some artillerymen and an officer were assembled at the Point as the
Major galloped up.

"Can't you fire at 'em," said he, as he drew up beside the battery.

"Too far off," said the Lieutenant, rising from the parapet on which he
was leaning, and showing a drowsy unshaven countenance; "we should only
frighten them."

"By heavens!" said my grandfather, "'tis horrible. I shall see the boy
taken before my eyes!"

"Boy!" quoth the Lieutenant, wondering what particular interest the
Major could take in the smuggler. "What boy?"

"Why, Owen of ours--he's running away with a Spanish lady."

"The devil!" cried the Lieutenant, jumping down. "What, Garry Owen!--we
must try a long shot. Pull those quoins out," (to a gunner.) "Corporal,
lay that gun; a dollar if you hit the felucca. I'll try a shot with
this one." So saying, he laid the thirty-two pounder next him with
great care.

"Fire!" said he, jumping on the parapet to see the effect of the
shot. At the second rebound it splashed under the bows of the leading
felucca, which still held on. She was now scarcely three hundred yards
from the cutter.

"Why, d--n their impudence!" muttered the Lieutenant, on seeing his
warning pass unheeded, "they won't take a hint. Corporal, let drive at
'em."

The Corporal earned his dollar. The shot went through the side of
the felucca, on board of which all was presently confusion; in a few
minutes it was apparent she was sinking. The other, abandoning the
chase, went to the assistance of her consort, lifting the crew out,
some of whom were evidently hurt.

"A blessed shot!" cried my grandfather, giving the lucky Corporal a bit
of gold; "but I'm glad they're picking up the crew."

The cutter instantly stood in for the harbour, and half an hour
afterwards the Major bade his young friend and Juana welcome to
Gibraltar.

Carlota was beside herself with joy at seeing the wanderers safe. She
first cast herself upon Juana, and cried over her; then embraced the
Ensign, who made no scruple of kissing her; lastly, threw herself
tenderly upon the Major, who gazed over her head as it lay on his
shoulder with a dismayed expression, moving his arms uneasily, as if
he didn't know what he was expected to do with them. Every moment it
was becoming clearer to him that he was a compromised man, no longer
his own property. On his way through the streets that morning he
had passed a knot of officers, one of whom he overheard describing
"Old Flinders" as "a sly old boy," for that he "had run away with
a devilish handsome Spaniard--who would have thought it?" "Ay, who
indeed!" groaned the Major, internally. But the seal was put to his
doom by the Colonel, who, when he went to report himself, slapped him
on the shoulder, and congratulated him on his happiness. "Fine woman, I
hear, Flinders--didn't give you credit for such spirit--hope you'll be
happy together." The Major, muttering an inarticulate denial, hastily
retreated, and from that moment surrendered himself to his fate an
unresisting victim.

About dusk that night, Owen came to him.

"By heavens!" the Ensign began, throwing himself into a chair, "I'm the
most unlucky scoundrel! Nothing goes right with me. I promised myself
that this should be my wedding-night--and here I am, as forlorn a
bachelor as ever."

"What has gone wrong?" inquired my grandfather, removing his pipe from
his mouth.

"I pressed her with all my eloquence," said Owen; "reminded her of her
promise to marry me the day we should arrive here--of the necessity of
caring for her reputation, after leaving her father's house and coming
here under my protection," (here my grandfather winced;) "talked, in
fact, like an angel who had been bred a special pleader--yet it was all
of no use."

"Deliberating about marriage!" said the Major, "after leaving her
father and lover for you! What gnat can she be straining at, after
swallowing a camel of such magnitude?"

"A piece of female Quixotry," returned Owen. "She says she can't think
of such selfishness as being comfortably married herself, while Carlota
is so unhappy, and her fate so unsettled." Here he made a significant
pause; but my grandfather was immovably silent, only glancing nervously
at him, and smoking very hard.

"In fact, she protests she won't hear of marrying me, till you have
settled when you will marry Carlota."

"Marry Carlota!" gasped the Major in an agonised whisper.

"Why, you don't mean to say you're not going to marry her!" exclaimed
the Ensign, throwing a vast quantity of surprise into his expressive
countenance.

"Why--why, what should I marry her for?" stammered the Major.

"Oh, Lord!" said Garry, "here will be pleasant news for her! Curse me
if I break it to her."

"But really, now, Frank," the Major repeated--"marriage, you know--why,
I never thought of such a thing."

"You're the only person that hasn't then," rejoined Owen. "Why, what
can the garrison think, after the way you smuggled her in; what can she
herself think, after all your attentions?"

"Attentions, my dear boy;--the merest civility."

"Oh,--ah! 'twas civility, I suppose, to squeeze her hand in the inn
at Algeçiras, in the way she told Juana of--and heaven knows what
else you may have done during the flight. Juana is outrageous against
you--actually called you a vile deceiver; but Carlota's feeling is
more of sorrow than of anger. She is persuaded that nothing but your
ignorance of Spanish has prevented your tongue from confirming what
your looks have so faithfully promised. I was really quite affected
to-day at the appealing look she cast on me after you left the room;
she evidently expected me to communicate her destiny."

My grandfather smoked hard.

"Lots of fellows would give their ears for such a wife," pursued the
Ensign. "Lovelace, the Governor's aide-de-camp, bribed the waiter of
the hotel to lend him his apron to-day, at dinner, that he might come
in and look at her--swears she's a splendid woman, and that he'd run
away with such another to-morrow."

Still my grandfather smoked hard, but said nothing, though there was a
slight gleam of pride in his countenance.

"Poor thing!" sighed Garry. "All her prospects blighted for ever.
Swears she never can love another."

At this my grandfather's eyes grew moist, and he coughed as if he had
swallowed some tobacco-smoke.

"And as for me, to have Juana at my lips, as it were, and yet not
mine--for she's as inflexible as if she'd been born a Mede and
Persian--to know that you are coming between me and happiness as surely
as if you were an inexorable father or a cruel guardian--worse, indeed;
for those might be evaded. Major, major, have you no compassion!--two
days of this will drive me crazy."

The Major changed his pipe from his right hand to his left, and,
stretching the former across the table, sympathetically pressed that of
the Ensign.

"Do, Major," quoth Garry, changing his flank movement for a direct
attack--"do consent to make yourself and me happy; do empower me to
negotiate for our all going to church to-morrow." (My grandfather gave
a little jump in his chair at this, as if he were sitting on a pin.)
"I'll manage it all; you shan't have the least trouble in the matter."

My grandfather spoke not.

"Silence gives consent," said the Ensign, rising. "Come, now, if you
don't forbid me, I'll depart on my embassy at once; you needn't speak,
I'll spare your blushes. I see this delay has only been from modesty,
or perhaps a little ruse on your part. Once, twice, thrice,--I go." And
he vanished.

The Major remained in his chair, in the same posture. His pipe was
smoked out, but he continued to suck absently at the empty tube. His
bewilderment and perturbation were so great that, though he sat up
till two in the morning, during which time he smoked eleven pipes,
and increased the two glasses of grog with which he was accustomed to
prepare for his pillow to four, he was still, when he went to bed, as
agitated as ever.

In this state of mind he went to the altar, for next day a double
ceremony was performed, making Owen happy with Juana, and giving
Carlota a husband and me a grandfather. The Major was more like a proxy
than a principal in the affair; for Owen, taking the entire management
upon himself, left him little more to do than to make the necessary
responses.

Carlota made a very good-tempered, quiet, inobtrusive helpmate, and
continued to be fond of her spouse even after he was a gray-headed
colonel. My grandfather, though credulous in most matters, could with
difficulty be brought to consider himself married. He would sometimes
seem to forget the circumstance for a whole day together, till it came
to be forced on his recollection at bed-time. And when, about a year
after his marriage, a new-born female Flinders (now my venerable aunt)
was brought one morning by the nurse for his inspection and approval,
he gazed at it with a puzzled air, and could not be convinced that he
was actually in the presence of his own flesh and blood, till he had
touched the cheek of his first-born with the point of his tobacco-pipe,
removed from his mouth for that purpose, making on the infant's
countenance a small indentation.

The little Governor, Don Pablo, was subsequently induced to forgive his
relatives, and frequent visits and attentions were interchanged, till
the commencement of the siege put a stop to all intercourse between
Gibraltar and Spain.

I have often, on a summer's evening, sat looking across the bay at a
gorgeous sunset, and retracing in imagination the incidents I have
related. My grandfather's establishment was broken up during the siege
by the enemy's shells, but a similar one now stands on what I think
must have been about the site of it. The world has changed since then;
but Spain is no land of change; and, looking on the imperishable
outline of the Andaluçian hills, unaltered, probably, since a time to
which the period of my tale is but as yesterday, it is easy for me to
"daff aside" the noisy world without, and, dropping quietly behind the
age, to picture to myself my old-fashioned grandfather issuing forth
from yonder white-walled town of Algeçiras with his future bride.



GERMAN LETTERS FROM PARIS[2].


German Professors are altered men since those joyous days when we
drank chopines and swang the schlaeger in the thirsty and venerable
University of Saxesaufenberg. We remember them studious bookworms,
uneasy when removed from library and lecture-room, their meerschaum
their only passion, knowledge their sole ambition, beholding the
external world through "the loopholes of retreat,"--the said embrasures
being considerably obscured by tobacco-smoke and misty philosophy. Such
is the portrait our memory has preserved of them; and we doubt not that
its fidelity will be recognised by our brother-_burschen_ of bygone
days. But great has been the change. The quality of a German professor
now suggests the idea of a red-hot democrat, fanning revolution, pining
in prison, or fugitive in foreign lands. The smoking-cap is exchanged
for the _bonnet rouge_, and the silence of the sage for the clamour
of the demagogue. This may not be true of all, perhaps not even of a
majority, but it is true of a pretentious and prominent minority. The
busy, bustling multitude knows nothing of the others.

[2] _Zwei Monate in Paris._ VON ADOLPH STAHR. Two Vols. Oldenburg:
Schulzeschen Buchhandlung. London: Williams and Norgate, 1851.

Professor Stahr, of the University of Oldenburg, is a gentleman
chiefly remarkable for his democratic tendencies, and for the fluent
correctness of his literary style. Few men write better German, or
profess doctrines more revolutionary. His reputation as a literary
man rests principally upon a work on Italy, published after a
twelvemonth's residence in that country.[3] As a critic of fine art,
he is not without merit. As a politician he is wild and speculative.
The revolutionary coterie to which he belongs reckons amongst its
members Fanny Lewald, the lively Hebrew socialist, and Moritz Hartmann,
the bitter radical. Both of these, especially the former, are his
intimate friends, and appear to have been his constant companions
during two months of last autumn, spent by him in Paris, and which
have given occasion and a title to his latest book. With Mr Hartmann
he forgathered at Brussels, early in the month of September, and
together they proceeded southwards. In consideration of Professor
Stahr's acknowledged abilities, we will not apply to him a common
rule, and judge him by the company he keeps. But, in spite of his
well-turned periods and general moderation of expression, his book is
not pleasant to read. There is an ill-conditioned tone about writers
of his political class, extremely trying to the patience and temper
of the reader. Convinced of the general unfitness of existing human
institutions, and of the necessity for radical changes, they inevitably
fall into a cavilling and censorious strain. Viewing the condition
of society with a jaundiced eye, they adopt the maxim that whatever
is, is wrong. Mr Stahr has hardly entered the railway carriage that
is to transport him to Paris, when he shows himself querulous and
a grumbler. He hoisted his colours before leaving Brussels. Had we
never before heard either of him or his principles, we yet should have
been at no loss to discover the latter by certain passages in his
very first chapter. Sitting in his inn at eventide, after visiting
the monument to the slain of 1830, he reads an account of the Belgian
revolution. The Dutch troops, he finds, made but one hundred and
twenty-two prisoners, whilst the insurgents captured four hundred
and ninety-five. On the other hand, the Belgian killed and wounded
exceeded by three hundred those of their opponents. Mr Stahr is ready
with an inference from these statistics. It takes the form of a slur
upon the soldiers who were doing their duty to their king and country.
"The inequality in the number of prisoners may well arise from the
circumstance that the Dutch, as fighters for loyal tranquillity and
order, were least disposed to give quarter. And soldiers against men
without uniform--one knows that!" Then he falls foul of the writer of
the narrative, for attributing to Providence the preservation of the
royal palace, and other public buildings, to which the Dutch attempted
to set fire; and, gliding thence into religious speculations, he gets
very profound, and rather profane, so that we are not sorry when the
current of his ideas is diverted into a more commonplace channel,
by the visit, at Valenciennes, of the French customhouse officers,
on the look-out for Belgian cigars and reprints. He is sore at this
irksome visitation--wonders that powerful France so long endures the
literary piracies of her little neighbour--and finally prophesies the
abolition of all customhouses. "A time will come," he says, "when this
system of legally privileged waylaying will appear just as fabulous
to the people of Europe, as do now to us the highway depredations of
the robber-knights." Pending the advent of that desirable state of
things, he revenges himself on a fellow-traveller for his customhouse
annoyances. A German book which he had left in the carriage on
alighting had disappeared, and could not be recovered. A _douanier_
had perhaps taken it for a contraband commodity. He should have
declared it, opined a fat Frenchman in the same carriage. Mr Stahr was
indignant. It was a German book, he tartly replied, and was not printed
at Brussels, but at Leipzig--a place, he added, which must still be
pretty well remembered in France! A polite and tasteful allusion which
did the German radical infinite credit, and to which the fat Frenchman
might fairly have retorted, "Jena," and half a dozen other significant
names, instead of holding his tongue, and leaving his fellow-traveller
to digest at leisure his loss and his ill-humour.

[3] _Ein Jahr in Italien._ Three Vols., 8vo. Oldenburg: 1850.

Mr Stahr's volumes, composed of letters to friends, are desultory,
and for the most part slight. Picture galleries are favourite haunts
of his: now he criticises a pamphlet, now a play; he moralises, after
his own peculiar fashion, in deserted palaces, assists at a banquet
of workmen, witnesses extravagant dances at Mabille, sits by the
bedside of the infirm and suffering Heine. His first walk in Paris
was to the Palais Royal, after nightfall. "Stahr," said his companion
to him suddenly, on the way, "this is the Place de Grève!"--"Were I
to live a century," exclaims the impressionable professor, "I should
never forget the shudder that came over me at these words." And he
breaks into a tumid rhapsody about the lava-streams of the great
European volcano, talks of the guillotine, tells the well-known story
of Favras, and proceeds to the Palais Royal, where, at ten o'clock
at night, he is unable to obtain a beef-steak for supper, and whose
glory he accordingly declares departed. Returning to their quarters,
at a hotel beyond the Seine, the two Germans get bewildered in the
labyrinth of the Quartier Latin, and are indebted for guidance to some
artisans, whose "Good night, _citoyens_!" at parting, again thrills
the sensitive Stahr. The historical and fanciful associations that
crowd upon his mind are of a less practical nature than the reflection
suggested to his companion by the Republican mode of address--"We
must exchange our grey Calabrian hats" (the sort of bandit sombreros
affected by travelling students and red republicans) "for the loyal
hats of order, or soon we shall have Louis Napoleon's police at our
heels." Thus spoke Mr Hartmann--who has a natural aversion to all
police, and who gladly sneers at the party of Order, and at Louis
Napoleon as its representative. Mr Stahr professes no great liking or
tenderness for the chief of the Republic--the first gendarme in France,
as he calls him, meaning thereby to cast opprobrium on the President,
gentlemen of his political complexion having an instinctive detestation
of gendarmes. He saw him for the first time at the celebrated review
held at Satory, on the 10th October 1850. On his way thither, Mr
Stahr joined in conversation with peasants, who were flocking from
all the country round to see the President and the military pageant.
Many of them had sons in the regiments that were to be reviewed.
They made no mystery of their political creed. It was simple enough:
"Peace and moderate taxation," said they, "is what we want. He who
gives us those two things is our man, whether as King or President
matters not." The review over, the throng of spectators drew up to
see Louis Napoleon. After the Minister of War, d'Hautpoul, and the
then-all-powerful Changarnier, had passed, each with his staff, "there
came by, mounted on a tall gray horse, the elect of six millions of
voters. Judiciously-distributed adherents waved their hats and shouted,
at the top of their voices, 'Long live the Emperor! Vive Napoleon!' The
people were mute. It was a laughable farce. The hero of Strasburg and
Boulogne, mounted on a tall charger, in a brilliant general's uniform,
the broad riband of the Legion of Honour over his shoulder, in plumed
hat and jackboots, was the very model of a circus equestrian." An air
of helplessness and exhaustion, according to Mr Stahr, was the main
characteristic of the President's appearance. "I stood near enough," he
continues, "to see him well, and never did I behold a more unmeaning
countenance. An unwholesome grey-brown is its prevailing tint. Of
likeness to the great Emperor there is scarcely a trace." There is
no chance, Mr Stahr declares, of such a person as Louis Napoleon
putting the republic in his pocket. Having given his opinion of the
President's exterior, he proceeds in the next chapter to sketch his
character, as described by a person who had known him from his youth.
"He is naturally goodtempered and harmless," said this anonymous
informant, "and by no means without ability. But he is tainted with
the moral corruption of all European societies, Italian, French, and
English. He has the _pourriture_ of the drawing-room education of all
nations. Still he is not devoid of sense, nor of a certain goodness
of disposition. He can weep, unaffectedly weep, over a touching case
of wretchedness and misery, and he willingly shows clemency, when
asked, even to political opponents. But no reliance can be placed in
him. In a word, his character is that of a woman. As a result of his
wandering and adventurous existence, he appears to-day as a German,
to-morrow as a Frenchman, and the day after to-morrow as an Englishman
or Italian. He is wholly without fixed principles, and without moral
stay. If one represents to him the immorality of an act, he will laugh
and say, '_Bah!_ what is that to me?' But the very next day you shall
find him as much oppressed with moral scruples as any German candidate.
He has the physical courage of his unusual bodily strength--_corporis
robore stolide ferox_--supported by a fatalist belief in his star;
and this belief, which has lately acquired increased strength by his
extraordinary vicissitude of fortune, blinds him to his real position,
and renders him deaf to the warning voices of his few honest friends.
In this respect his mother, who unceasingly stimulated his ambition,
did him much harm. Personally he is modest and unassuming, but he is
madly vain of his name and of his legitimate claims. That he has done
and continues to do himself grievous harm, as it is universally said,
by excesses of the most unrefined description, and by opium-smoking,
seems unfortunately to be only too true. For the change in him since
his youth has been altogether too great. Nevertheless, he is much less
the tool of others than might be supposed. He has a way of half-closing
his inexpressive light-blue eyes, which he has adopted to prevent
persons from reading his thoughts. His chief delusion is that the army
is unconditionally devoted to him. This is by no, means the case." We
give this curious sketch, in which truth and malignity are ingeniously
blended, for no more than it is worth. The reader will have little
difficulty in sifting the grain from the chaff, the idle or malicious
gossip from the well-founded observations. Mr Stahr supports the
assertion of the indifference of the French army to the commonplace
nephew of their great idol, by anecdotes derived from personal
experience. After the review, he dined for some days in company with
three hussar officers, quartered in the house he lived in. His account
of them hardly agrees with the popular notion of French officers. "They
are modest, reserved, and serious in manner. Nowhere in Paris have I
found a trace of that overweening presumption by which German officers,
especially cavalrymen, seek to give themselves importance at _tables
d'hôte_ and other public places. We spoke of yesterday's manoeuvres,
and I paid them a compliment on the really splendid bearing of the
troops and the capital equipments. There are no longer grounds to
depreciate the French cavalry. Africa has been an excellent school
for them. 'But there was one thing wanting,' I remarked--'namely,
enthusiasm.' 'You are quite right, sir,' replied one of the officers;
'but there is not much to be enthusiastic about in the position in
which we are.' The speaker was a thorough soldier, and anything but an
upholder of revolutionary or socialist-democratic ideas. The supporters
of the latter he invariably spoke of as '_les Voraces_,' and bitterly
complained that for years past he and his comrades had had nothing else
to do than to '_faire la chasse aux voraces_!' But with the 'Nephew of
the Uncle' none of the officers showed the least sympathy. Concerning
him they all observed a very eloquent silence." In contrast to the
ridicule and censure levelled by Mr Stahr at the more recent portion of
Louis Napoleon's career, are some anecdotes he tells us of his earlier
years. "In his youth," he says, "he must have been very amiable. I
have had opportunity to look through a collection of letters written
by him to a friend of his family, and extending over more than twenty
years. It included even notes written when he was a boy of eleven,
some of them in the German language and character. Louis Napoleon is
known to be a perfect master of German. The most pleasing and amiable
of these letters were a series written from his prison at Ham. Good
feeling, hearty gratitude for proofs of faithful adherence and for
affectionate little services, and a deep dejection at his lot, were
the characteristics of these letters. He read and studied a great deal
at Ham, especially military science, but also poetry and literature.
Within those prison-walls he now and then began to distrust the
'star' of his destiny." These letters were doubtless the same spoken
of elsewhere by Mr Stahr as filling several volumes, and as having
been addressed to Madame Hortense Cornu, a well-known writer on fine
art, who was long attached to the household of Queen Hortense. She
had known Louis Napoleon from his childhood, and retained sufficient
influence over him to obtain the rescue from the hands of the Roman
priesthood of the Italian republican Cernuschi. The letters, says Mr
Stahr, abound in evidence of the esteem and gratitude entertained by
the French President for the staunch and trusty friend of his youth.
"This correspondence, fragments of which I was favoured with permission
to read, includes all the epochs of his adventurous life. It ceases
with the day when the infatuated man, having attained to power, laid
hands upon the right of universal suffrage which had raised him from
the dust. Madame Cornu's last letter was a solemn exhortation to
abstain from that step. She laboured in vain, for fate is stronger than
humanity. But it is an honourable testimony to the originally good
disposition of the blinded man that he did not withdraw his favour
from his tried friend. A proof of this is to be found in Cernuschi's
deliverance."

During a visit paid by Mr Stahr to Alexander Dumas, the French
romance-writer told the German professor an anecdote of Louis Napoleon
and the late Duke of Orleans, which is curious, if true. Perhaps it
is as well to bear in mind, whilst reading it, that its narrator is a
story-teller by profession, and the most imaginative and decorative
of historians. Dumas, it appears, had been long acquainted with the
imperial pretender and his mother; was aware of the rash schemes of
the Prince, then meditating the Strasburg expedition; and advised him,
by letter, to abandon them, or at least to adopt a totally different
mode of carrying them out. If he would uproot (_deraciner_) the dynasty
of Louis Philippe, wrote Dumas, he must try very different means. He
must endeavour to obtain the revocation of his sentence of exile,
get himself elected member of the French Chamber of Deputies, and so
follow up his plans in opposition to the ruling dynasty. Deaf to this
advice, which was certainly sensible enough, Louis Napoleon made his
ridiculous attempt at Strasburg, and was taken prisoner. Thereupon his
mother, Queen Hortense, hurried to the neighbourhood of Paris under an
assumed name, and with one confidential attendant. This person she sent
to Dumas, to entreat him to apply to his patron, the Duke of Orleans,
to know what the Court had decided with respect to the prisoner's
fate. Dumas wrote forthwith for an audience; the Duke received him
with a smile. "Well!" he said, "so your _protégé_ has not succeeded
in _uprooting_ us?" "Prince, you know----?" stammered the terrified
novelist. "Do you suppose we are so badly served for our money as not
to know what brings you here, and where Queen Hortense is at this very
moment?" After a short pause, during which he enjoyed the embarrassment
of Dumas, the Duke continued, "Tell Madame Hortense," he said, "that
the Orleans do not yet feel themselves strong enough _to have their
Duke d'Enghien_."

"It is a bitter answer, your royal highness," replied Dumas, taking his
leave, "but still it will console the mother's heart."

"And now," muses Mr Stahr, "the shattered bones of the unfortunate
young Duke of Orleans have long been mouldering in the grave, his
statue in the court of the Louvre has been dragged down and stowed
away in a corner of the Versailles Museum, and the Adventurer of
Strasburg rules France as a republic, with power more unlimited than
the wily Louis Philippe ever possessed over it as a monarchy! For so
long as it lasts, that is to say; for methinks the feet of those who
shall carry him out are already before the door. But how did he ever
get in? How was it that even his candidature for the presidency was
not overwhelmed and rendered impossible by that most dangerous of all
opponents in France, the curse of the Ridiculous, which had already
decorated with cap and bells the hero of the blunders of Strasburg
and Boulogne, the trainer of the tame eagle, the special constable of
London?" It has puzzled acuter politicians than Mr Stahr to reply to
this question, which millions have asked. The riddle interests him, and
he runs about on all sides seeking its solution. He has little success,
and evidently himself mistrusts the ingenious and original conclusion
to which he at last comes, that the election of Louis Napoleon was a
homage to the hereditary principle. "When I recently, on my way across
the plain of Satory, asked a countryman if he had given his vote to the
President, his reply was, 'Of course! was he not the rightful heir, his
uncle's legitimate successor?' This may sound ill for the republican
education of the people of the French republic; but it is the truth.
The principle of hereditary rule may be perfectly incompatible with
that of 'liberty and equality,' but it is, or was, (at the time of
Louis Napoleon's election,) the prevailing principle in the heads of
the French rural population. 'One must know the French peasantry as
I know them, who have grown up amongst them,' lately said to me the
representative De Flotte, 'to find their conduct in this matter quite
natural. The French peasant has only one fundamental idea in politics,
and that is derived from his own family relations. That fundamental
idea is the sacredness and necessity of hereditary right. That the
territorial property of the father should descend to the son, or next
of kin, seems to him the main condition or all human existence.'"
Admitting, for argument's sake, the soundness of this statement, and
that the French peasant is thus devoted to the hereditary principle,
the natural inference is that, when he perceived his country to be in
a state of transition, ruled by provisional intruders, and anxiously
looking out for a more permanent chief of the state, he should have
hoisted the white cockade, and tossed up his beaver for the Fifth
Henry. Messrs Stahr and De Flotte explain why he did not do this.
"The French peasant has no longer any sort of sympathy with the elder
Bourbons. For him the glory of Louis XIV. is far too remote. What else
he knows of them is, that they brought the foreigner into his country,
and on that account he curses them." In this there is some truth. The
old royalist spirit still lingers in certain departments of France,
but in the country generally the Count de Chambord's partisans are
rather intelligent and influential than numerous. Should he ascend
the throne, it will not be in virtue of zeal for the principle of
legitimacy or of personal attachment to himself, but because the nation
will see in his accession the best guarantee of order and economical
administration. These two things are the real wants and desires of the
mass of the population. The peasant who told Mr Stahr he wished for
peace and light taxation, spoke the feeling of a great majority of
Frenchmen. "The dynasty of Orleans," says the professor's informant,
continuing his explanation of the concurrence of circumstances which
raised Louis Napoleon to the president's chair, "never enjoyed much
prestige amongst the rural population, who did not forgive old Louis
Philippe for having violated the principle of hereditary right."
This is rather far-fetched. If the provinces cared little for Louis
Philippe, it was because he had troubled himself little about them.
True to his system of centralisation, Paris, to him, was France, and
ungrateful Paris it was that finally abandoned and expelled him. It is
unnecessary to go out of one's way to seek reasons for the fact, that
when, in December 1848, the French, exhausted by nine months' anarchy
and misery, and ashamed of those February follies into which a few
deluded and designing men had led them, cast about for a ruler under
whom they might hope for respite and breathing time, none turned a
wishful or expectant eye to any member of the house of Orleans. The
family had been weighed and found wanting. From the astute politician,
"whose word no man relied on," and who reaped in his latter days those
bitter fruits of usurpation and anarchy whose seeds he had sown in his
prime, down to the youngest of the sons to whose advancement he had
sacrificed his conscience and his country, and who, in the supreme
hour of peril and confusion, were found utterly deficient in princely
and manly qualities, in self-possession, energy, and resource, there
was not one of the line whom France would trust. The time was too
short that had elapsed since the picture of selfishness and incapacity
had been exhibited to wondering Europe: the cause had been unable to
revive from the grievous and self-inflicted shock; it lay supine and
seemingly dead, awaiting the day when intrigue and hypocrisy should
galvanise it into a precarious vitality. When the crisis of May 1852
arrives, we shall see what has been the effect of the complicated
manoeuvres of the house of Orleans, which, in December 1848, stood
so low in public estimation. Then, according to Mr Stahr, Buonapartism
was the only political creed that appealed to the prejudices and
feelings of the French peasant, and it required no great skill to get
him to write upon his election-ticket the name of the prince whom he
looked upon as the rightful heir of the Emperor. "He did it of his own
accord, out of a conviction that he was performing an act of justice,
and that hereditary right demanded it. Other motives concurred. The
forty-five-centime impost had embittered the countryman against the
Republic, which had increased instead of lightening his load. Upon
the Democrat-Socialists he looked distrustfully. He would have nought
to say to those '_partageux_' (dividers.) He cared nothing for the
fine speeches of parliamentary orators. The peasant is by nature
taciturn, and has little confidence in assemblies of great talkers.
He was not disposed to make a stir about the freedom of the press,
of which he makes no use. His political understanding did not extend
beyond one wish, and that wish was, a strong government, which should
secure to him the enjoyment and inheritance of his property. And who
could do that better than a Napoleon--Napoleon himself, the Emperor
of Béranger?--for there are many places where the country people have
never believed the Emperor dead." The clever author of _Jerome Paturot_
has expressed a similar opinion as regards the prevalence of this
scarcely credible delusion amongst the uneducated classes in certain
districts of France. It does not appear to be entirely confined to that
country. "I myself am witness," says Mr Stahr, "that, in the year 1848,
a peasant of a province of Northern Germany, on hearing of the new
French revolution, and of its first consequences in Germany, remarked
that, 'without doubt old Buonaparte had a finger in the pie.'" It is
Mr Stahr's belief that Louis Napoleon is destined to dispel, by his
inability to fulfil the expectations of the ignorant portion of his
constituents, that Buonapartist prestige to which he partly owed his
election, and that attachment to the hereditary principle which the
professor assumes still to exist in France. "The nephew of the great
Emperor," he says, "is selected by fate to disturb, if not to destroy,
the idolatry with which a large portion of the French nation has
hitherto regarded the name and memory of its greatest tyrant. Napoleon
the Second throws a grey shadow over Napoleon the First."

If the French President receives but rude handling from the German
republican, the Orleans family cannot congratulate themselves on
much better treatment. His first reference to that fallen dynasty is
suggested by a little book, which, at the time of its appearance,
attracted some attention both in England and France. M. Louis Tirel's
_La République dans les Carrosses du Roi_ was neither calculated nor
intended to please the democrats. Mr Stahr, however, is pretty fair
in his appreciation of it, sneering a little at the author for taking
what he calls a valet-de-chambre's view of the February revolution,
but doing justice to the interest and instruction to be found in his
pages, which show up the _parties honteuses_ of that most disastrous
and ill-advised political convulsion; the scandalous greed, vanity, and
egotism of the adventurers and knaves who alone profited by the storm
they had contributed to raise. M. Tirel, although to all appearance
honest and truthful, certainly wrote like a partisan. His position and
attachments were incompatible with a just estimate of circumstances.
Whilst accurately describing events, he deluded himself as to the
causes that led to them, and, above all, he could see no wrong in
his master; could not for the life of him comprehend how it was that
Louis Philippe, "who had so faithfully observed his oath to maintain
the charter, and who had a majority in the Chambers," should have
been ejected from his throne and kingdom. The worthy keeper of the
royal carriages never attains to more than a glimmering and confused
notion that the nation could scarcely be said to be represented by the
majority in question, and that a moderate extension of the suffrage,
accorded with a good grace, would probably have maintained the July
dynasty at the helm of French affairs to this day, and for years to
come. His admiration of Louis Philippe's wisdom and skill is unlimited,
as is also his indignation at the ingratitude of the people. Mr Stahr
loses patience at the affectionate manner in which the _ex-controlleur
des equipages_ lauds the virtues of the old "Jesuit-King," as the
German irreverently styles the defunct monarch; and, provoked by
Tirel's exaggerated encomiums, he retorts by the following severe but
too true remarks with reference to the oft-repeated accusation of
miserly hoarding, brought against Louis Philippe by Republican and
Legitimist writers:--"Louis Philippe," he says, "was no _avare_ such
as Molière has drawn--no comedy-miser--but yet he was immoderately
avaricious. There was no end to his demands of money for the princes
of his house. He knew, or thought he knew, that _money is power_; and
as he could not obtain enough of the latter, he restlessly strove
after the former as the means to an object. He was a good father of a
family, in the _bourgeois_ sense of the word; but he had no conception
of that which makes a king the father of his people. His defenders
celebrate the care which this prince, denounced as grasping, expended
upon the conservation of the royal palaces, the great sums which he
laid out upon rich furniture, numerous attendants, brilliant equipages,
and luxurious festivals--to which latter often three or four thousand
guests were invited. 'How,' it is said, 'could the people tax such a
sovereign with niggardliness and greed of gold?' But the people had
no part or share in these enjoyments. It suffered hunger and want,
whilst the higher and middle classes of the _bourgeoisie_ revelled
in these feasts, and grew rich by supplying their materials." Raised
to the throne by the suffrages of the middle classes, Louis Philippe
relied on them for support. He was bitterly disappointed. Scandalous
and cowardly was the manner in which the men of July--those whom he
had fed, pampered and decorated, favoured and preferred--deserted
him in the hour of danger. The very national guards of Neuilly, who
had lived and flourished in the shadow of the château walls, refused
to turn out, when, in February 1848, the intendant of the castle
appealed to them to protect from plunder the property of their patron
and king. They had caught the contagion of that intense selfishness
which was Louis Philippe's most striking characteristic. "Let those
who choose go out to be shot," said the burghers of Neuilly; "we shall
stop at home and take care of our houses." And assuredly the inert
and unsympathising attitude of the Paris national guard contributed
more than anything else to deter Louis Philippe from resisting by
force the progress of the February revolutionists. The burghers were
disgusted by the dilapidation of the finances, and the venality of
the administration--they were disgusted with Guizot for not daring to
resist the headstrong will of the old king--and they cried out for
electoral reform. With a little more patience they would have achieved
their desire;--over-hasty, they suddenly beheld themselves plunged
into revolution. They had not foreseen it; they lacked presence of
mind to repel its first inroads. And they also lacked, there can be
no question, that feeling of personal attachment to the sovereign
which would have prevented their standing by, tame witnesses of his
dethronement. "Louis Philippe," says Mr Stahr, "never knew how to
inspire an earnest and cordial attachment even in those nearest his
person. The circumstances of his fall are the most speaking proof of
this. His own panegyrist tells us that Louis Philippe himself had a
misgiving that none loved him for his own sake. He often said to his
most confidential attendants: 'You serve me faithfully, but not with
the zeal and warmth which distinguished the servants of Napoleon.
Their devotion to his person was unbounded.' If such was the case
in the French king's prosperous days, what could he expect in the
hour of adversity? M. Tirel himself proves, beyond the possibility
of refutation, that, when the moment of danger arrived, the nearest
personal attendants of the king thought, almost without exception,
only of themselves. Not one of them troubled himself about the safety
of the immense sums contained in the treasury of the Tuileries. None
thought of holding in readiness the necessary means of travelling,
in the possible case of the departure or flight of the king and his
family; and even M. Tirel exclaims, with reference to this--'It is
difficult to credit such utter want of foresight, when they knew they
were standing on a volcano.'" At Neuilly, as already mentioned, the
national guard refused to turn out; whilst the servants of the royal
residence busied themselves in saying their own things, leaving their
master's property to be pillaged and burned by the rabble, with whose
disgusting and disgraceful depredations the troops of the line did not
interfere. Regulars and militia, domestics and mob, the same want of
feeling was manifest in all; none showed attachment or devotion to the
prince, whose star was on the decline. Mr Stahr made a pilgrimage to
Neuilly, and devotes a letter to it. It was a grey, sad-looking autumn
afternoon, and the road was silent and deserted along which he took his
way to the favourite residence of the departed king. The impression
made upon him was most melancholy. "_Vous verrez de belles choses_,"
said the porter at the lodge, as he pointed out to the Germans the
way to the ruins. "Up to this time," says Mr Stahr, "nothing in Paris
had reminded me that here had raged, but a very few years before, the
hurricane of a revolution that shook the world, and that had swept a
dynasty from the soil of France like chaff from the thrashing-floor.
At Neuilly I first received this impression. They made clean work of
it, those bands of incendiaries of the 28th February 1848. A single
night sufficed to convert that stately building, and all its splendour,
into a heap of hideous ruins.... High grass now grows upon the floors
of the state apartments of the destroyed king's-home. Bushes spring up
around the columns, over which creepers luxuriantly twine; and the red
poppy and the yellow king-cup wave their blossoms in the chambers and
saloons in which, so short a time ago, the ruler of proud France paced
his Persian carpets, revolving plans for the eternal consolidation of
his dynasty! On the ravaged foot-paths before the windows, the melted
glass of the magnificent panes has flowed down and formed a brilliant
flooring. At the foot of a balcony, whose pillars still supported the
remains of broken beams, a flush of pale pink harvest roses exhaled
their delicate fragrance. It was an incredibly melancholy sight. The
closely-locked doors and shattered windows of the wing that was saved
increased the gloom of the whole impression. Everywhere the tall iron
lattice-work, and the iron posts supporting lamps, are rent and broken;
the statues on the flights of steps are shivered to pieces; there
remain but a couple of colossal sphinxes, which gaze inquiringly out
of the dark green of the shrubbery. Who shall solve their riddle--the
riddle of the history of France and of mankind? Louis Philippe, wise
amongst the wise, thought he had done so. Where is he now? His weary
bones sleep the eternal sleep in the country of the banished kings of
France."

Neuilly has become a place of pilgrimage for the friends of the
fallen dynasty. A host of inscriptions, mostly in an anti-republican
sense, were to be read upon the walls and pillars at the period of
Mr Stahr's visit. Of several which he took the trouble to copy, one
only is superior in tone and significance to the usual average of such
scribblings. "High upon a broken column a firm hand had inscribed with
charcoal, and in gigantic characters, these three words:

    DROIT DU TALION. 1830. 1848.

Other hands had tried to obliterate the writing, but in vain. The
revengeful word 'RETALIATION' was still quite legible. And this
word best expresses the feeling with which plain-dealing probity
contemplates the fate of the overthrown July monarch. For here at
Neuilly was it that he, a modern Richard III., played the hypocritical
part of rejecting power, when the blood of the July revolution still
reddened the streets of Paris. Here was it that he wrote the letter
to Charles X. in which he assured him of his fidelity and devotion,
when he was already extending a lustful hand towards the crown of the
rightful heir. Here too, in Neuilly, was it that he spun that Spanish
web, whose most secret documents Lord Palmerston carefully preserves,
and which gave the world a glimpse into an abyss of moral foulness at
which the soul shudders. And here, in presence of this funeral pile
of his happiness and his splendour--here, before the memorial of his
disgraceful and ignominious fall--here, when I called to mind his acts,
I felt no touch of pity for the fallen King. But the _man_ I did indeed
pity, the husband and the father. He had loved this Neuilly. Here had
he enjoyed such a measure of domestic happiness as is rarely vouchsafed
to a monarch. This house had he, for many a long year, built up and
decorated with that fine feeling for art and architecture which was
proper to him. To this green retirement and solitude, to this remote
dwelling, hidden from all eyes, he loved to withdraw. Here, where all
was his own creation--where no stone was added, no tree planted, no
path cut, but under his eye--exactly here, in the most sensitive spot,
the blow struck him. The destruction of this house was more deeply
felt by the _man_ than was the loss of his throne by the _king_!
Before the Count of Neuilly had left French ground, the building had
ceased to exist from which he had borrowed the name. And all his
wiles and stratagems, all his cunning, were as insufficient to avert,
from the man and from the king, this last fated climax, as were the
fortifications and bastilles with which he had surrounded the dreaded
Paris."

Quitting Neuilly, Mr Stahr was startled, as well he might be, by the
terms of a bill stuck upon the park-gates--

"House of Orleans, (thus it ran,) château and domain of Neuilly _to
let_ for three years with immediate possession; about one hundred
and eighty acres, meadows, forest-land, &c., _bordering on the
fortifications_!"

Wandering through the endless galleries of Versailles, Mr Stahr is
naturally enough led to reflect how strange it is that Louis Philippe,
the Napoleon of Peace, as his flatterers called him, and as he loved
to hear himself called--the man whose motto, as his enemies constantly
asserted, was "Peace at any price," and who avowedly and upon principle
disliked war--should have devised and carried out the plan of a
national gallery of French military fame. A merciless analyser of the
citizen king's secret thoughts and motives, Mr Stahr declares this
gallery to have been a speculation of "the crowned shopkeeper,"--a
speculation by which his dynasty was to gain strength at the expense
of a national weakness. There is truth in this; but, at the same
time, the professor's opinion must not here be accepted as impartial
evidence. He is evidently led into unusual fervour by his holy horror
of war. We suspect him of being a member of the Peace Congress--to
which he in one place kindly alludes, as the humble commencement of
a great movement. Like many other adherents of the political sect
which proposes to itself an aim that could never possibly be attained
without terrible convulsions and sanguinary conflicts, he cannot abide
the sight of blood, shudders at wounds, and recoils in terror and
dismay from the "slaying and murdering, singeing and burning, cutting
and stabbing," depicted upon the walls of the Versailles gallery. He
looks not lovingly upon this pictorial history of France, sketched
from her battle-fields, and including the exploits of her innumerable
warriors, from Clodwig down to Bugeaud. On the other hand, he curiously
and eagerly examines the pictures illustrating the events of 1830 and
Louis Philippe's accession. Of the battle-pieces he has set down some
(and not altogether without reason) as mere daubs, which no one would
glance at twice but for the sake of the subject. When surveying the
illustrations of the July revolution, he forgets artistic criticism
in his satirical account of the personages that fill the canvass, and
especially of the chief actor in those scenes, Louis Philippe himself.
"His arrival at the Palais Royal," says the rancorous professor, "has
something sneaking about it. He is profusely adorned with tricolor
ribbons, wears white trousers, a brown coat, and a round hat. He
looks like a rogue who has just crept into another man's estate.
But characteristic above all is the picture in which he signs the
proclamation naming him Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom (July 31,
1830.) The figures are the size of life, all in plain clothes, and
decorated with the tricolor. They sit round a green council-table,
the coming Citizen-King in the midst of them, dressed in a brown coat
with a black velvet collar and a black satin waistcoat, a large fine
shirt-frill, a neatly tied white cravat, his hair carefully curled, his
eyes half closed, the corners of his month lugubriously drawn down.
He holds up the momentous sheet of paper, close above which the pen
in his right hand hovers, and seems to ask those around him--'Ought
I then?--must I?' All eyes are fixed trustingly upon him, especially
those of honest Laffitte, in the corner on the left. Sebastiani looks
somewhat keener and shrewder. Never in my life did I see a picture that
so perfectly represents an assemblage of Jew bankers, gathered round
their leader to advise on a 'bull' or 'bear' speculation. The whole
party have this Jewish calculating expression--Louis Philippe more
than any of them. And this is the countenance the man has himself had
perpetuated! It is a strange historical irony. All the old Bourbons,
even the two last Louises and Charles X. looked noble, or at least
like noblemen, in the expression of their features, compared with this
essentially common physiognomy. Their faces, at any rate, expressed
the decided and undeniable consciousness of high descent, whilst the
predominating expression in Louis Philippe's countenance is that of
a cunning shopkeeper. And this expression is everywhere the same, in
all the pictures, &c. &c." There is more in the same strain. Some may
be disposed to quarrel with Mr Stahr for pressing so hard upon a dead
man; but, living or dead, kings are fair subjects of criticism; and,
unsparing and savage as are often the professor's strictures on the
character and policy of Louis Philippe, they yet are the most truthful
and just of all the political portions of his book. Messrs Montalivet
and Miraflores, and the other unscrupulous panegyrists of the late
King of the French, would have too good a game left them if it were
forbidden to reply by more exact and impartial statements to their
exaggerated encomiums.

Passing from the deceased sovereign to his family, we are led to an
apparently remote subject--namely, Mr Stahr's visit to Alexander Dumas,
who, as is well known, was a favourite and intimate of the dukes of
Orleans and Montpensier. When reviewing, a few years ago, the Paris
diary of a countryman of Mr Stahr's--a gentleman of similar politics
and equal discretion--we noticed an offensive practice common amongst
modern German writers, many of whom, on return from foreign travel,
scruple not to commit to print the most confidential conversation
and minute domestic details of persons who have hospitably welcomed
them, and imprudently admitted them to intimacy. No consideration of
propriety checks these impudent scribblers. Delicacy and reserve are
things unknown to them. The persons concerning whom they flippantly
babble may dwell within a day's railroad of them, and be sure to see
their books--may be equally sure to feel vexed or disgusted by their
unwarrantable revelations and offensive inferences; no matter, they
speak of them as though Pekin were their domicile. As regards the
radical professor from Oldenburg, we sincerely trust that he may fall
in, at an early day, with the martial author of the _Mousquetaires_,
and receive from him, as guerdon for his gossip, a delicately
administered _estocade_. We never heard whether Janin chastised Mr
Carl Gutzkow, either with pen or pistol, for his slipshod and indecent
chatter concerning him and Madame Janin; but we remember somebody
doing it for him in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, where we suspect Mr
Stahr has a fair chance of being in his turn gibbeted. Here is the
German professor's account of Dumas's personal appearance and private
residence. It is a curious bit of miniature-painting. "In person he is
tall and powerful; his movements, once unquestionably very flexible,
are now characterised by an easy negligence. His bright complexion
and large prominent light-blue eyes contrast with the mouth and nose,
which betray his African origin. Good-nature, and a combination of
intellectuality with a keen relish of life, are the most prominent
characteristics of his broad round face. His thick woolly hair, now
all but grey, seems to have been formerly light-coloured. He sits in
a very large room on the first floor of the last house in the Avenue
Frochot. His apartment is reached through a dark corridor. On the side
that looks out upon the very quiet street, is a glass gallery, which
serves as a greenhouse. There was nothing remarkable in it. Mignonette
and heliotropes were growing in the tubs in which a few large oleander
bushes were planted. Of the magnificent tropical vegetation of which
report has spoken, there was no sign. The room was decorated, and
divided into two parts, with brown woollen hangings. In the largest
division, into which visitors are conducted, and in front of the
greenhouse windows, stands a vast writing-table. Ancient and modern
arms deck the walls. But of Oriental luxury there was not the least
appearance. And some other apartments through which he afterwards
took me, to show me his winter reception-room, were by no means so
luxuriously fitted up as has been reported in Germany."

"I found his bookseller with him. 'Look well at the man,' said Dumas,
'who pays to one author a hundred thousand francs a-year. Such men are
not to be seen every day.' Notwithstanding this little bit of brag, I
hear that his finances are in no very brilliant state, and that the
failure of his _Théatre Historique_, especially, threatens him with
heavy losses. In the course of conversation, he humourously complained
of the total absence of repose in his laborious existence, of which we
easy-going, comfortable, German authors could scarcely form an idea.
So many newspapers, a theatre of his own, the contract-romances, and
the stipulated dramas--truly, it amounts to a considerable total.
On subsequent visits, I never found his room and antechamber free
from a throng of visitors--booksellers, printers, managers, actors,
secretaries, and others--all of whom he knew how to despatch with great
rapidity, and without interrupting the thread of our conversation for
more than a few moments at a time." Conversations with so lively and
versatile a genius as M. Dumas, turned, as may be supposed, on a vast
variety of subjects, but that of which Mr Stahr has given us most
details related to the ex-royal family of France. "In a side-room he
showed us some very pretty pen-and-ink drawings--hunting subjects, by
the late Duke of Orleans. This gave him opportunity to speak of his
high respect for the mental endowments of the prince, with whom it is
well known that he was on a footing of intimacy. 'He had wit enough for
ten,' said Dumas. 'When we were five or six _hommes d'esprit de Paris_
together,' added he, with amusing _naiveté_, 'it was quite impossible
to distinguish which was the prince and which the wit. The prince
was the incarnation of French _esprit_, and of the Parisian-French
_esprit_, which includes all possible qualities. Her inability to
understand and appreciate this _esprit Parisien_ was a drawback upon
the domestic happiness of the Duchess of Orleans, notwithstanding her
many excellent qualities. Her heavier German nature did not harmonise
with her husband's light elastic disposition. It put her beside
herself when he transgressed in the presence of a third person the
rules prescribed by the etiquette of little German courts.' Dumas told
some interesting examples of this--examples, however, not adapted for
publication, as they related to the prince's private life. The Duke of
Orleans foresaw a revolution, in a republican sense, as a consequence
of his father's system. His testamentary arrangements with respect to
the education of his son were all made in anticipation of such an event
coming to pass. In any case, he wished his wife to have nothing to do
with the government of the country. The passage of his will relating
to this point is conceived quite in the spirit of the words with which
Homer's Telemachus consigns his mother Penelope to the society of her
women. 'If, unhappily, the king's authority could not watch over my
son until his majority, Helen should prevent her name being pronounced
for the regency. Leaving, as it is her duty and her interest, all the
cares of government to virile hands, accustomed to handle the sword,
Helen should devote herself entirely to the education of our children.'
The Duke of Orleans' death was pregnant with fatal consequences for
the dynasty, because he, the most highly gifted of all the old king's
sons, was perhaps the only one who would have been capable of giving
things a different turn in the event of a conflict like the February
revolution. He knew his brothers too well not to be convinced that they
were unequal to such an emergency. 'Nemours,' said he to one of his
confidants, 'is the man of rule and etiquette: he _keeps step_ well,
and keeps himself behind me with scrupulous attention. He will never
assume the initiative.' He held the Dukes of Nemours and Aumale to be
brave soldiers. Of the Prince de Joinville he said: 'He has a passion
for danger: he will commit a thousand acts of brilliant imprudence, and
will receive a ball in his breast at the assault of a barricade,'--a
fate which Joinville escaped in February probably only by his absence
from Paris. 'Now that younger sons are no longer made _abbés_,'
continued the Duke of Orleans, referring to little Montpensier, 'I am
at a loss to imagine what is to be done with them.'

"Of none of his sons was the old king more jealous," says Mr Stahr,
"than of the heir to the crown. Letters found in the Tuileries in
February 1848 show that he kept him in the strictest dependence, and
had spies observing him wherever he was. In the year 1839 the duke
complained 'that he had less power than any private citizen who had
a vote at elections; that he did nothing but the commissions of the
ministers; that everything was in danger, nothing gave promise of
durability, and that it was impossible to say what might happen from
one day to the other.' The prince, expressed himself thus whilst upon a
journey, in a confidential circle of officers of rank. Two days later
his words, set down in writing, were in the hands of the king. The
surprising irresolution and want of presence of mind displayed by the
other princes in the hour of danger, can only be accounted for by the
slavish dependence in which the old monarch had kept them."

Although easy and affable in his intercourse with his friends, a
certain jealous vigilance with regard to the respect due to his
rank formed a feature in the character of the Duke of Orleans. The
anecdote told to Mr Stahr by Dumas, as an illustration of this trait,
can hardly, however, be admitted to prove undue susceptibility,
but rather the prince's consciousness that his house stood upon an
unstable foundation. It was at a hunting-party at Fontainebleau.
The chase was very unsuccessful. The Duke of Orleans turned to an
Italian nobleman, to whose family Louis Philippe had obligations of
ancient date, and who on that account was on a friendly footing at
court. "Well! Monsieur de--," said the duke, "how are we hunting
to-day?" "Like pigs, Monseigneur, (_comme les cochons_,)" was the
Italian's coarse reply. The duke, evidently annoyed, said to Dumas:
"And you believe our monarchy possible, when a _De_ ... dares thus to
answer the heir to the throne?" Mr Stahr was interested to find that
Dumas, notwithstanding his monarchical friendships and associations,
believed in the necessity and durability of the republic. "It seems,"
said the ingenious and versatile author of _Monte Christo_, "as if
Providence had resolved to let us try all manner of monarchies, in
order to convince us that not one of them is adapted to our character
and condition." Then he gave his auditors a detailed sketch of all
the French monarchies previous to the Revolution of 1789. "Since that
Revolution," he went on, "we have had the monarchy of Genius: it lasted
ten years. We have had the restoration of the monarchy of _esprit_ and
chivalrous gallantry: it lasted fifteen years; and was succeeded by the
citizen-monarchy, which lasted eighteen. What would you have us try
now? This republic is bad. But a child in swaddling-clothes matures
into a man." Sensibly enough spoken for a romance-writer, indulgently
remarks Mr Stahr, who is always glad to obtain a suffrage in favour
of republican institutions. We attach the same degree of value to M.
Dumas's political vaticinations as to his Frenchified _rifaccimenti_
of Shakspeare's plays. Shakspeare in French, as Mr Ford remarks in
his Spanish Handbook, "is like Niagara passed through a jelly-bag."
A miracle of degradation which reminds us to turn to a scornful and
indignant chapter suggested to Mr Stahr by a certain Monsieur Michel
Carré's version of Goethe's _Faust_, performed at the _Gymnase_
theatre. "Goethe is unknown in France," says the Countess d'Agoult,
one of the few competent French appreciators of German literature, in
her _Esquisses Morales et Politiques_. Nothing, according to Mr Stahr,
could be better fitted to confirm and perpetuate French ignorance of
the great German than such dramas as that which he painfully endured at
the Gymnase. According to Madame d'Agoult, her countrymen will not take
the trouble to study Goethe. To do so they must first learn a language.
"Why did he not write in French? He has only what he deserves, after
all. How is it possible to be a German?--(_comment est on Allemand?_)"
"If this is not exactly out-spoken," says Madame d'Agoult, "it is
at least privately thought in a country where _the arrogance of
ignorance_ attains proportions unknown to other nations." "_La superbe
de l'ignorance," "der Uebermuth der Unwissenheit!_" cries Mr Stahr
in an ecstasy: "I kiss the fair lady's hand who wrote the word, for,
without it, I should never have hit upon the appropriate term for this
newest French atrocity of M. Michel Carré, perpetrated upon the most
profound work of German genius. I am not without experience of the
theatrical sufferings of our day; but such torture as was yesterday
inflicted, at the Gymnase theatre, upon every German fibre in our
frames, I never before in my whole life witnessed or underwent. I was
prepared for little that was good, and for much that was laughable; but
my expectations and fears were surpassed to an extent it was impossible
to anticipate. Marsyas flayed by Apollo is no very pleasing picture,
but the Belvidere Apollo flayed by a Marsyas is a spectacle which it
takes all the nerve of German critical observation to endure." Mr Stahr
then proceeds to dissect the drama, act by act, and almost scene by
scene, with considerable acuteness and humour. The specimens of fustian
he gives, the execrable French taste he exposes, fully justify the
intensity of his disgust. The _Gymnase_ drama is evidently worse than
a tame translation; it is an obscene parody of Goethe's great poem. It
is a compound, as Mr Stahr expresses it, of "dirt and fire--that sort
of fire, namely, which is lighted by the brandy-bottle." We believe
it impossible that _Faust_ should ever be done justice to in a French
version. But if translators, owing to the want of power of the French
language, and to the utter absence of affinity and sympathy between
it and the German, must ever fall to a certain extent, they at least
may avoid degrading and distorting the tone and sentiments of the
original. This M. Carré, of whom we now hear for the first time, seems
to have cultivated his taste and sought his inspirations in the worst
school of modern French literature, and in the orgies of Parisian
rakes. The inference is inevitable from the scenes and passages
described and quoted by Mr Stahr. As to the verbal spirit and fidelity
of the translation, the following may serve as a specimen. "In the
church-going scene, the lines, so charming in the original:--

    'Mein schónes Fräulein, darf ich wagen,
    Arm und Geleite anzutragen?'

are thus rendered in M. Carré's French: _Oserai-je, Mademoiselle, vous
offrir mon bras, pour vous conduire jusqu'à chez vous?_ For Gretchen's
exquisitely graceful and saucy reply--

    'Bin weder Fräulein, weder schön,
    Kann ungeleitet nach Hause gehn!'

which so completely captivates Goethe's Faust, this Frenchman has been
able to discover no better equivalent than, '_Pardon, Monsieur, je puis
fort bien rentrer seule à la maison_'--an answer too flat and insipid
even for a Paris _Lorette_ of the present day." Mr Stahr was tolerably
well pleased with the bearing of the audience who had come to partake
of this pitiable French hash. They may have felt a natural curiosity
to know something about the Faust and Margaret whose acquaintance
they had made in the print-shop windows, but their sympathy with the
piece went no farther. Even the Rose of the Gymnase, the Rose Chéri,
so cherished by the Parisian public, failed to extract applause as M.
Carré's Margaret. "It is very romantic," Mr Stahr heard some of his
neighbours remark, "but it is a little too German; Monsieur Goethe's
poetry does not suit the French taste." Poor public! Poor Goethe!
introduced to each other under such dismal auspices. It must have
been a relief to Mr Stahr to quit this miserable travesty, and turn
to the native drama; although even by this, judging from a letter on
theatrical subjects addressed to his friend Julius Mosen, he does not
appear to have been much gratified. "I know not," he says, "whether
my taste for theatres is gone by, or what is the reason, but as yet I
have been scarcely half-a-dozen times to the play. Beginning with the
_Théatre Français_, I might place as a motto at the beginning of this
letter the words of Courier: 'The fact is that the Théatre Français,
and all the old theatres of Paris, the Opera included, are excessively
wearisome.' To be sure, Rachel is not here. She is gathering laurels in
Germany; and when I complained confidentially to an acquaintance that
the tragedy of the Théatre Français did not move me, he endeavoured to
console me by telling me of Madlle. Rachel, and of her speedy return to
Paris. She stands alone, incomparable, a phenomenon. But the phenomenon
is absent; and the Paris stage is consequently darkened. It is always
a bad sign for the condition of an art when it thus entirely depends
upon one of its professors." Mr Stahr was better pleased with the
lively performances at the four _Vaudeville_ theatres, and gives an
amusing analysis of _La Fille bien gardée_, the little one-act piece
which, for many weeks of last year, nightly drew crowds to the _Théatre
Montansier_. It belongs to a class of dramatic trifles in which French
playwrights and actors are perfect and inimitable; trifles which only
grow upon French soil, and will not bear transplanting.

After his savage attacks upon Louis Philippe and the French President,
it would be quite out of character if Mr Stahr--who evidently bears
monarchy a grudge, and will tolerate no government that can possibly
be identified with the cause of order--had not a fling at Henri Cinq.
Perhaps it is because he deems the Legitimist interest less formidable
to his views than the Orleanist or Buonapartist, that he adopts a
different mode of attack, and exchanges ferocity for raillery. The
German tongue being but indifferently adapted to the lighter manner
of warfare, he glides into French, in which language he writes nearly
a whole chapter. Stepping one day into a hair-dresser's rooms, he
was so fortunate as to come under the hands of the master of the
establishment, an eager politician and a red-hot Legitimist, voluble
and communicative as only a Frenchman and a barber can be. With the
very first clip of the scissors an animated conversation began, which
Mr Stahr has set down so far as his memory serves him, although he much
doubts that his pen has conveyed all the minuter comical touches of
the dialogue. This began with the usual exordium of Frenchmen of all
classes since the revolution--"You, Monsieur," said the man of wigs,
"are a foreigner, and consequently uninterested in our quarrels. Tell
me what you think of our situation?"

"I think," replied I, "that the President will never willingly resign
power."

"But, Monsieur, what is to be hoped for from such an _imbécile_?"

"I do not say he will succeed; I say he will make the attempt."

"And _I_ say that he will fail. Henry the Fifth for me! _à la bonne
heure!_ There is a man for you."

"What do you know about him? You are very anxious, then, to make
tonsures?"

"What do I know about him? But, Monsieur, I have seen him, I am
acquainted with him, I have spoken to him, and I tell you he is a
charming man!"

"Where did you see him?"

"Did I not go to see him at Wiesbaden! Sir, there were thirty-nine
of us--workmen, we called ourselves, though we were all masters--who
went of our own accord to pay our respects to Henry V. The thing was
briskly done, I beg you to believe. I spoke to him as I speak to you,
sir, at this moment. At first I was received by M. de la Ferronnaye,
his aide-de-camp. 'Good morning, Monsieur R.,' said he, 'how do you
do?'--'Very well, sir, I thank you,' answered I; and far from making me
wait whole hours at the door, like those republicans of the _Veille_,
he made me sit down beside him on the sofa, as affable as could be."

Mr Stahr inquired of the worthy coiffeur what had been the motive of
his journey to Wiesbaden, which he seemed to look upon as a sort of
North Pole expedition, and of whose fatigues and privations he drew a
vivid picture. He wished to judge for himself, he said; to see whether
the rightful heir to the throne was as ill-favoured as his enemies
represented him to be. He found him, on the contrary, full of amiable
qualities. He was a little lame, but his smile was irresistible.
Warming with his subject, the enthusiastic Henriquinquist asked his
customer's permission to relate all the particulars of his reception at
Wiesbaden. This was just what Mr Stahr wished, and he duly encouraged
his interlocutor.

"On our arrival," continued the hairdresser, "we presented ourselves
to the aide-de-camp, as I have had the honour of informing you. He
took down our names, and gave us each a number of rotation, according
to which we were arranged in the afternoon at the general audience. We
were formed in three ranks. The prince was informed beforehand of the
name and trade of each number, so that he was able to address a few
well-chosen words to everybody. When we were all drawn up in order, he
came in, placed himself in the midst of us, at a few paces distance,
and addressed us. 'Good day to you, my friends,' he said: 'believe me
when I say that I am most sensible of the mark of sympathy you have so
spontaneously given me, by quitting your families and occupations, and
undertaking a journey into a foreign country to see and console me in
my exile. Be sure that I will never forget what you have done for me.'
Then he said, 'Come nearer, my friends!' We advanced a step. 'Nearer
yet, my friends. You come from too far not to come nearer! I hope to
see you all at eight o'clock to-night!'"

The hairdresser acted this scene as he related it, addressing himself
and Mr Stahr alternately as the prince, by whose mandate to draw a step
nearer he was evidently vastly flattered. The professor, immensely
amused by the performance, still fancied he saw that the main cause of
the fascination which Henry V. had exercised upon his devoted adherent
was still undivulged. The sequel showed that he was not mistaken.

"In the evening," continued the coiffeur, "we returned to the Prince's
residence; there we partook of refreshments, and the Prince had an
amiable word for each and all of us. He talked about the state of
affairs in France, and wished to know all our opinions of it. The
next day some of us were received in private audience. I was of the
number. But as we were numerous, and the Prince was very busy, I
could not have much conversation with him. However, he gave me a
silver medal, and--'Mr R.,' said he, 'have you a comfortable bed at
your hotel?' 'Monseigneur,' I replied, 'since you deign to ask the
question, I am accustomed to sleep between two sheets, and as I do
not understand a word of German, I have been unable to make them
understand this at my hotel. They put the sheet sometimes over and
sometimes under the blanket, but never more than one.' Sir," continued
the delighted barber, addressing himself to Mr Stahr, whilst his face
beamed with triumph, "_that night I had two sheets upon my bed_. Could
anything be more amiable? Ah, sir, I have seen them from very near,
those republicans of the Mountain, those members of the Provisional
Government!--what blockheads! what boors! They aspired to command, and
in their whole lives scarcely one of them had had as much as a servant
at his orders! Sir, it was pitiable to behold."

Mr Stahr observed to the loyal hair-curler that he had seen the persons
in question only _after_ they had attained power, and that there are
few more amiable people in the world than a pretender, _before_ he has
gained his object. He thought it possible that, once at the Tuileries,
Henry V. might show himself in a less agreeable light, and trouble
himself less about his adherent's bedlinen. The barber's sensible reply
did him honour. But barbers, from Don Quixote's day downwards, have
been men of good counsel.

"Monsieur," said the coiffeur, "I am not a fool. Do you suppose I shall
go and plague him, when he is king? He will have other matters to
mind then. I have no pretensions to be made minister or prefect, when
there are people who have studied those things all their lives. I am a
hairdresser, and I shall remain one. But _I want to dress a great deal
of hair_, and under the republic I dress none."

"But," remarked Mr Stahr, "you dress more under the President."

The barber, however, was no admirer of the President, whom he had also
been to see, before his election, and upon the appearance of whose head
he passed a most unfavourable opinion. He was sulky, he said, and not
conversable. The affairs of France could never go on well under a man
who knew not how to talk. Moreover, nothing could suit him but Henry
V. He was neither Buonapartist nor Republican. But when things were at
the worst, he said, his cry had always been "_Vive la France!_" "Stick
to that!" said a customer who just then stepped in. "France has a tough
existence, and will outlive your Henri Dieudonné and all his kin, and
the President to boot. And now have the goodness to curl my hair."

Whether fact or invention, this sketch has one truthful point: it
gives a sound enough notion of the manner of reasoning of the French
shopkeeper and _petit bourgeois_--a numerous and weighty class, without
whose concurrence no state of things can long be permanent in France.
With them the whole question, since they first awoke from the shock
and folly of the February revolution, has been one of _two sheets on
their bed_ and _more hair to dress_. They will support any government
under which they can sleep in peace and drive a good trade. Some of
our readers will not have forgotten the sufferings and fate of poor
_Monsieur Bonardin_.[4] The disasters and commercial depression of
1848 were a severe but perhaps a wholesome and necessary lesson to
many thousands of Frenchmen. Unfortunately, as illustrated in M.
Bonardin's case, the lesson was given to many who neither required
nor deserved it. Wandering near Versailles, in the pleasant valley of
Jouy, Mr Stahr and his companions were invited by a friendly dame,
whose acquaintance they had made in the omnibus, to walk into her
house and taste her grapes. She perhaps thought the object of the
foreigners' pedestrian stroll was to purchase one of the pleasant
country houses, surrounded by vineyards and orchards, which there
abound; for she took them all through her kitchen-garden and vineyard,
and through the copse of chestnuts and hazel bushes, to the fish-pond,
and to the pleasant grotto, fitted up as a chapel, and even to the
vine-dresser's cottage, from whose windows a lovely view repaid the
ascent of the numerous terraces. During this tour of inspection the
good lady's tongue was not altogether idle, and a melancholy page
out of a Paris citizen's life was laid open to the Germans' eyes.
The pleasant little domain they were rambling over was the fruit of
five-and-twenty years' toil. "Monsieur Cendrell, a skilful gilder, had
bought it a few years before the last revolution, and had laid out
considerable sums in building and embellishment. The revolution broke
out just as he had given up his business to a friend and assistant. He
suffered heavy losses, and was now compelled, in spite of the general
depreciation of all landed property, to part with his little estate.
It was to be had for only thirty thousand francs, as it stood--garden
and vineyard, dwelling-house and garden-cottage, shady copse, and pond
well stocked with carp, and right of shooting over I know not how
many acres. And how neatly and comfortably arranged was the house,
with its bath and billiard-rooms, and its library with portraits of
Louis Philippe and the Count de Paris--how cleanly kept was every room
from the kitchen to the attics, the gardener's house and the stable
included! There was nothing wanting, but--thirty thousand francs to
buy it with, and as much more to live there quietly till the end of
one's days. We sat full half-an-hour in the cottage on the hill,
refreshing ourselves with the sweet grapes that clustered round the
windows of the rush-matted room, whilst the kindly Frenchwoman told
us her story. It is that of thousands of her class in Paris since the
February revolution. Truly it grieved us, both for her sake and our
own, that we could not purchase the pleasant country house." This, it
will be said, is a common-place incident. There is certainly nothing
in it very striking or dramatic. Every day somebody or other suffers
losses, and is compelled to reduce his establishment, or to put it down
altogether; to sell his last acre of sunny meadow and vineyard, and
toil in an obscure lodging for daily bread. But there will be found in
the picture something deeply affecting, if we suffer the mind to dwell
upon it for a moment, recalling, at the same time, the well-known fact
referred to by Mr Stahr, that, since the dreary days of 1848, the fate
of the frame-gilder of Jouy has been that of multitudes of others who,
like him, had passed a laborious manhood in earning, for their old
age, a competency and a right to repose. Thus we obtain a glimpse of
a mass of misery, of domestic happiness broken up, if not destroyed,
of hallowed associations rudely ruptured--by no fault of the victims,
but as a melancholy effect of the obstinacy of a selfish king, and of
the rashness and precipitancy of a section of his subjects. But these
material evils, deplorable as they are, sink, in our opinion, into
insignificance, contrasted with the moral results of the last most
ill-omened French revolution. These strike Mr Stahr in a very different
light. The early part of the month of October was passed by him at the
pretty village of Loges, near Versailles, whither he went to enjoy the
beautiful scenery and the mellow autumnal weather, and to escape for
a few days from the whirl and rattle of Paris. In the course of his
walks, he and his friends not unfrequently visited a little rural inn
on the way to Jouy, kept by a corpulent but active dame, who usually
favoured them with her society and conversation, whilst they consumed
a glass of her country wine and a slice of her _fromage de Brie_.
She read no newspapers--none were received in her modest tavern--and
knew but little of the intricacies of her country's dissensions; but
she had political notions of her own, and was a warm republican. "We
French," said she to Mr Stahr, "soon get tired of governments. They
have driven away all that have been chosen since Napoleon; and when
they were driven away the consequence always was a terrible shock,
affecting all kinds of property. Now, in a republic, there is no one
person to drive away with so much clatter, and that is why, for my
part, I desire neither a Napoleon nor a king." "Query," exclaims Mr
Stahr, "whether the woman is so much in the wrong? For my part, from no
French politician have I yet heard a more striking remark with respect
to the present circumstances of France. That France has no longer any
king, any family ruling her by right divine, that is the chief thing
won by the February revolution. The dynastic and monarchical illusion
is completely eradicated from the people's mind, never again to take
firm root." This prospect, in which the German radical exults, we,
as staunch upholders of the monarchical principle, should of course
deplore, did we attach any value to his predictions. But, after what
has passed, we think anything possible in France, and should be no
more astonished at a Bourbon restoration, than at a consolidation of
the republic; at Joinville's presidency, than at Louis Napoleon's
re-election. It needs more temerity than judgment to hazard a prophecy
concerning what will or will not take place in a country which, as far
as politics go, has become, above all others, _le pays de l'imprévu_.
The title used to belong to Spain; and in the years of Continental
tranquillity that preceded 1848, it was amusement for unoccupied
politicians to watch the unforeseen crises constantly occurring in the
Peninsula. It is infinitely more exciting to wait upon the caprices of
a great and powerful country, whose decisions, however unreasonable,
may influence the state of all Europe. They can but be waited upon,
they cannot be foretold. Since the memorable 10th of December 1848,
this has been our conviction. Before that date there was at least a
certain logical sequence in the conduct of the French nation. Although
often impossible to approve, it had always been possible to account for
it. But the common sense of Europe certainly stood aghast when Louis
Napoleon Buonaparte was elected ruler of France, by a majority so great
as to attach a sort of ridicule to the petty minorities obtained by men
who, in ability and energy, and, as far as two of them were concerned,
in respectability, were infinitely his superiors. At that period, Louis
Napoleon had never given one proof of talent, or rendered the slightest
service, civil or military, to the nation that thus elected him its
head. Twice he had violated, by armed and unjustifiable aggression,
resulting in bloodshed and disgrace, the laws of his country. Pardoned
the first time, on a pledge of future good conduct, he took an early
opportunity of forfeiting his word. Notwithstanding the stigma thus
incurred, four districts, when universal suffrage became the law of
France, elected him their representative to the National Assembly. This
may not be worth dwelling upon. There were stranger elections to the
Assembly than that, after the February revolution. But when, out of
seven millions of voters, five and a half millions gave their voices
to a man whose sole recommendation was a name,--then did wonder reach
its perigee. And thenceforward bold indeed must be the politician who
attempts to foreshadow the possible whims of the fickle people of
France.

[4] _Blackwood's Magazine_ for December 1848.



THE SUBMARINE TELEGRAPH.


Who will venture to make catalogue of the possible results of the
"Submarine Electric Telegraph?" The more we meditate, the more new
wonders open before us. We are running a race with Time; we outstrip
the sun, with the round world for the race-course.--Yet, let us not
boast: we do not run the race, but that more than a hundred million
horse-power invisible to us, which was created with the sun. We are but
the atoms involved, and borne about in the secrets of nature. And the
secrets--what know we of them?--The facts only of a few of them: the
main-springs of their action are, and perhaps ever will be, hidden. The
world progresses; it has its infant state, its manhood state, and its
old age--in what state are we now? and what is the world's age? Madame
de Stael considered it quite in its youth--only fifteen--scarcely
responsible! It seems, however, making rapid growth. Is it past
the conceited epoch, and now cutting its wise teeth? We stand like
spectators at the old fair-show; we see the motley, the ever busy, ever
running harlequin and columbine; we are astonished at the fooleries,
and are amazed at the wit, the practical wisdom, the magical wand power
of the fantastic descendants of Adam and Eve, the masculine, and the
feminine; and we laugh to behold the shuffling step of old Grandfather
Time, as--

    "Panting Time toiled after them in vain."

It is through the agency of mind that a few secrets are disclosed to
us, and for our use. We call the recipient and the inventor Genius. It
is given, as it is wanted, at the right time, and for the preordained
purpose. We are sceptical as to "mute inglorious Miltons." Where the
gift is bestowed it is used; and if it appear to be partially used,
it is where partially given, that one man may advance one step, his
successor another--and thus invention leads to invention. Genius for
one thing arises in one age, and sleeps after his deed is done; genius
for another thing succeeds him. Who shall dare to limit the number? One
thing only we pause to admire--how seldom does the gift fall upon bad
men!

There have been, perhaps, those who have had thrown in upon their minds
a wondrous vision of things to come, which they were not allowed,
themselves, to put forth in manifest action to the world. There have
been seers of knowledge; and, perhaps, prophesiers in facts. No one
will credit the assertion, therefore we make it not, that thousands
of years ago steam was known, and applied to the purposes of life. We
call, then, certain records the prophecies of Facts; that is, there was
a certain practical knowledge, which in its description is prophetic of
a new knowledge to be developed. Semiramis set up a pillar on which it
was written, "I, Semiramis, by means of iron made roads over impassable
mountains, where no beasts [of burthen] come." Did Semiramis prophecy
a railroad--or were there Brunells and Stephensons then? When Homer
spake, of the ships of the Phæcians, how they go direct to the place
of their venture, "knowing the mind" of the navigator, "covered with
cloud and vapour," had the old blind bard a mind's-eye vision of our
steam-ships? Many more may be the prophecies of Facts; for in these
cases doubtless there were facts, the prophecy being in the telling.

But there have been visions also without facts--that is, without the
practical visions of an inward knowledge--wherein nature had given
a mirror and bade genius look into it. Friar Bacon's prophecy is an
example.

"Bridges," says he, "unsupported by arches, can be made to span the
foaming current; man shall descend to the bottom of the ocean safely
breathing, and treading with firm step on the golden sands never
brightened by the light of day. Call but the secret powers of Sol and
Luna into action, and behold a single steersman, sitting at the helm,
guiding the vessel which divides the waves with greater rapidity than
if she had been filled with a crew of mariners tolling at the oars.
And the loaded chariot, no longer encumbered by the panting steeds,
darts on its course with relentless force and rapidity. Let the pure
and simple elements do thy labour; bind the eternal elements, and yoke
them to the same plough."

Here is poetry and philosophy wound together, making a wondrous chain
of prophecy. Who shall adventure upon a solution of that golden chain,
which the oldest of poets told us descended from heaven to earth,
linking them as it were together? Was it an electric fluid in which
mind and matter were in indissoluble union?

What prophetic truths may yet be extracted from myth and fable, and
come blazing like comets we know not whence, into the world's field!
Hermes "the inventor," what is his wand, serpent-twined, and its
meaning, brought into vulgar translation, and seen in the buffoonery of
harlequinade? of what new power may it not be the poetical prototype?
Who shall contemplate the multiplicity of nature's facts, and the
myriads of multiplicities in their combination? Knowing that all
that has ever been written or spoken, in all languages, is but the
combination of a few sounds transferred to the alphabet of twenty-four
letters, or even less, are we not lost in the contemplation of the
possibilities of the myriads of facts, in their interchangings,
combinations, and wonderful dove-tailings?

Perhaps, that we may not know too much before our time, facts are
withdrawn from us as others are protruded. Memory may sleep, that
invention may awake. Did we know by what machinery Stonehenge was
built, we might have rested satisfied with a power inadequate to other
and new wants, for which that power might have been no help. Archimedes
did that which we cannot do, in order that we might do that which he
did not. Who shall lift the veil of possibility?

Of this we may be sure, as the mind is made inventive, (and there is no
seeming probability that a faculty once given will be taken away from
our created nature,) there is a large and inexhaustible store-house,
wherefrom it shall have liberty to gather and to combine. We do
not believe that steam itself, the miracle of our age, is anything
more than a stepping-stone to the discovery of another power--means
superseding means. There is and will be no end, as long as the fabric
of the world lasts.

There is an old German play, in which the whimsical idea of bringing
the Past and Present together in _dramatis personæ_ is amusingly
embodied. We forget the particulars, but we think Cæsar or Cicero
figure in the dialogue. The ridiculous is their laughable ignorance of
the commonest things. The modern takes out his watch and puts it to
his ear, and tells the ancient the hour of the day. This is but one
out of many puzzling new things; but, even here, how little is told of
the real post-Ciceronian inventions; for the object of the play is to
show the skill of the Germans only; it is but an offering to the German
genius of invention.

Could a tale of Sinbad's voyage have been read to the Roman--how, as
he approached the mountain, the nails flew out of the ship, for lack
of comprehension of the load-stone--he would have thought it only
fantastically stupid; and if he had laughed, it would have been at the
narrator's expense. And so, indeed, it has fared with discoverers:
they have been before the time of elucidation, like Friar Bacon; and
some for fear of ridicule have kept back their knowledge; but not
many perhaps; for knowledge, when it is touched by genius, becomes
illuminated and illuminating, and will shine though men may shut the
door, and stay themselves outside and see it not, while it brightens
up only the four walls of a small chamber as it were with the magic
lantern in a student's hand. Whereas it ought, according to its power,
to gild the universe. The secresy of invention is rather of others'
doing--of an envious or doubting world of lookers-on, than of the first
perceiving genius. Fortunately the gift of genius, as intended for the
use of mankind, comes with an expansive desire of making it known.

If the memory of tradition fails, and some inventions are lost, that
their detail may not hamper the faculty that should take altogether
a new line, so have we what we may term false lines, that yet,
nevertheless, lead into the true. Science may walk in an apparently
unnecessary labyrinth, and awhile be lost in the wildest mazes, and yet
come out into day at last, and have picked up more than it sought by
the way. Wisdom herself may have been seen sometimes wearing the fool's
cap. The child's play of tossing up an apple has ended in establishing
the law of gravitation. The boy Watt amused himself in watching a
kettle on the fire: his genius touched it, and it grew and grew into
a steam-engine; and, like the giant in the show, that shook off his
limbs, and each became another giant, myriads of gigantic machines,
of enormous power, hundred armed Briareuses, are running to and fro
in the earth, doing the bidding of the boy observant at his grandam's
hearth. Is there an Arabian tale, with all its magic wonders, that can
equal this? We said that Wisdom has worn the fool's cap; true, and
Foolery was the object--the philosopher's stone; but in the wildest
vagaries of her thought, there were wise things said and done, and her
secretary, Common Sense, made notes of the good; and all was put down
together in a strange shorthand, intelligible to the initiated; and the
facts of value were culled, in time, and sifted from the follies, and
from the disguises--for there were disguises, that strangers should
not pry into them before the allowed hour. Alchemy has been the parent
of chemistry--that "[Greek: epistêmê iera]," and its great mysteries,
to reveal which was once death!! Secrets were hidden under numbers,
letters, signs of the zodiac, animals, plants, and organic substances.
Thus in the vocabulary of the alchemists, the basilisk, the dragon,
the red and green lions, were the sulphates of copper and of iron; the
salamander, the fire; milk of the black cow, mercury; the egg, gold;
the red dragon, cinnabar. There is a curious specimen, in the work of
the monk Theophilus, translated by Mr Hendrie, how to make Spanish
gold:--

"The Gentiles, whose skilfulness in this art is probable, make
basilisks in this manner: They have underground a house, walled with
stones everywhere, above and below, with two very small windows, so
narrow that scarcely any light can appear through them: in this house
they place two old cocks, of twelve or fifteen years, and they give
them plenty of food. When these have become fat, through the heat of
their good condition, they agree together, and lay eggs. Which being
laid, the cocks are taken out, and toads are placed in, which may
hatch the eggs, and to which bread is given for food. The eggs being
hatched, chickens issue out like hens' chickens, to which, after seven
days, grow the tails of serpents, and immediately, if there were not
a stone pavement, they would enter the earth," &c. &c.--"After this,
they uncover them, and apply a copious fire, until the animals' insides
are completely burnt. Which done, when they have become cold, they are
taken out, and carefully ground, adding to them a third part of the
blood of a Red Man, which blood has been dried and ground."

Doubtless it was the discovery of some such language as this which led
to the popular belief that the Jews, who were great goldsmiths and
alchemists, made sacrifices with the blood of children; and many a
poor Jew suffered for the sin of mistifying knowledge. "The toads of
Theophilus," says Mr Hendrie, "are probably fragments of the mineral
salt, nitrate of potash, which would yield one of the elements for the
solvent of gold; the blood of the Red Man, which had been dried and
ground, probably a muriate of ammonia," &c. Such were the secrets of
the "Ars Hermetica;" and their like may have been bidden in the wand of
Hermes. Dragons, serpents, and toads! Awful the vocabulary, to scare
the profane; but fair Science came at length unscathed out of the
witches' cauldron: and thus it appeared that natural philosophy, like
its own toad, ugly and venomous, bore a "precious jewel in its head."

Alchemy and magic were twin sisters, and often visited grave
philosophers in their study both together. The Orphic verses and the
hexameters of Hesiod, on the virtues of precious stones, exhibit the
superstitions of science. They descended into the deeply imaginative
mind of Plato, and perhaps awakened the curiosity of the elder,
scarcely less fabulous Pliny, the self-devoted martyr to the love of
discoveries in science. The Arabian Tales may owe some of their marvels
to the hidden sciences, in which the Arabs were learned, and which
they carried with them into Spain. Albertus Magnus, in his writings,
preserved the Greek and Arab secrets; and our Roger Bacon turned them
over with the hand of a grave and potent genius, and his touch made
them metaphorically, if not materially, golden. His prophecy, which we
have given, was, when uttered, a kind of "philosopher's stone."

Superstitions of science, of boasted and boasting philosophy! And why
not? Is there not enough of superstition now extant--a fair sample of
the old? Is the new philosophy without that original ingredient? It
is passed down from the old, and will incorporate itself with all new
in some measure or other, for the very purpose of misleading, that
the very bewilderment may set the inventive brain to work, in ways it
thought not of. Reasoners are every day reasoning themselves out of
wholesome, airbreathing, awakening truths into the visionary land of
dreams, and, speaking mysteriously like uncontradicted somnambulists,
believe themselves to be oracular. Materialists have followed matter,
driven it into corners, divided it, dissected it, and cut it into such
bits that it has become an undiscernible evaporation; and they have
come away disappointed, and denied its existence altogether. Thus,
mesmerism is the bewildered expression of this disappointment, their
previous misapprehension. They will not believe that the wand of Hermes
represents two serpents intertwined--they see but one, though the two
look each other in the face before them, and they are purblind to the
wand and the hand that holds it. Even the "Exact Sciences," as they are
called, are not complete; they lead to precipices, down which to look
is a giddiness. The fact is, the action of the mind is as that of the
body: mind and body have their daily outward work, and their times of
sleep and of dreaming, and the dreaming of the one is not unfrequently
the life of the other. The dream of the philosopher, be he waking or
sleeping, is his refreshment, and at times suggestive of the to come.
How know we but that "such stuff as dreams are made of" may serve for
the fabrication of noble thoughts, and be inwoven into the habit of
life, and become useful wear?

Perhaps magic was the first and needful life of philosophy--needful
as a covering while it grew, and which it shook off as its
swaddling-clothes, and became a truth. How few can trace invention
to its germ, or know where the germ lies, and how that it fed upon
reached it! The suggestion of a dream begetting a reality! They
are no fools who think that good and bad angels are the authors of
inventions. It is ingenious to suppose that we are rather the receivers
and encouragers of our original thoughts than the authors of them. We
may use the magnifying glasses of our reason or our passions, and do
but a little distort them, or advance them to use and beauty, as we
are good or bad in ourselves. And thus, from suggestions given, the
imaginative genius, inventing, magnifies and multiplies by these his
glasses and his instruments; and the thing invented requires much of
this brilliant finery of our own to be removed before it be fitted for
demand and use. Like wrought iron, the sparks must be beaten out of it
while it is forming into shape. It must be off its red heat or white
heat--be dipped in the cold stream of doubt, and look ugly enough to
the eye of common opinion, and be long in the hand of experiment to
try the patience of the inventor. And, after all, will the benefited
be thankful? History has many a sad tale to tell on this subject. The
"Sic vos non vobis" should be inscribed over the portals of the patent
office. Yet sometimes, in pity to lost expectations, in the carrying
out one great idea to--shall we say its final incompletion, to its last
residuum of insanity?--some little scarcely noticeable matter in the
machinery has been by some kind suggesting spirit held up to the eye of
the philosopher, which has proved to be the _magnum bonum_ of the whole
scheme.

We once knew a tradesman who had spent the best years of his life, as
well as his substance, to discover "perpetual motion." He sold off his
goods when he fancied he had discovered it, and left his provincial
town for the great metropolis and a philosopher's fame. As he travelled
by the coach, going over in his mind the processes of his machinery, a
portion of it struck him as applicable to a manufacture of common use,
but of no very high pretensions. His perpetual motion failed. There
was a good angel that whispered to him, "Descend from the ladder of
your ambition--do not lose sight of it; but try the little interloping
suggestion, and raise the means for prosecuting more favourably your
perpetual motion." He did so. The action saved him from lunacy--the
undignified and bye-sport, as it were, of his invention answered--from
a ruined man he became rich, and his new business required of him so
much perpetual motion bodily, that the idea of it, wonderful to say,
was driven out of his speculative mind.

A sudden thought--a happy hit--we are too apt to call a _lucky_ one.
Will it be the worse if we give it a better name, and say it is a gift?
The thankfulness implied in gift may make it a blessing. It was no
deep study that brought the great improvements into our manufacturing
machinery.

The poor boy Arkwright, in a moment of idleness or weariness, thought
happily of a cog in the wheel; and that little cog, was to him and his
posterity a philosopher's stone; realising the alchemist's hopes, by
far more sure experiment than the dealings with "green" and "red lions"
and "dragons" for a result never to be reached. How wonderful has been
the result, even to the whole world, of that momentary thought--that
simple invention!

We have often heard it remarked that this is an age of inventions.
It is true: not that the inventive mind was ever wanting. It is a
practical age; the necessities of multiplied life make it so. The
well-known "century of inventions" of the Marquis of Worcester is a
stock not yet exhausted. But to speak of this our age, how can it be
otherwise? Not only are material means enlarged by geographical and
other discoveries, but the inventive mind is multiplied because mankind
are multiplied, whose nature it is to invent. A population--to speak
of England, for it is of England we are thinking--of five millions,
as it was in the time of Queen Elizabeth, cannot bear comparison
with ours of nearer twenty millions. Then, if we enlarge our view,
and take in England's transplanted progeny, whose activity and whose
advancement in knowledge and science we share, under every facility
for the transmission of knowledge, we may fairly speculate upon a very
wonderful futurity. The glory of the German dramatist, with his watch,
and perhaps, but we forget, his printing-press, (for it ought to be in
the play,) is annihilated: the author himself would now stand in the
place of his Cæsar or Cicero.

It would be a dream worth dreaming to bring back from his Elysian
Fields Agricola, the Roman governor of Britain--he who first discovered
that it was an island--to show him his semi-barbarians, whom he so
equitably governed, (passing by, however, how far we are, any of us,
their descendants.) We will imagine but an hour or two passed with him
at the Polytechnic Rooms, to show him enormous iron cables twisted into
knots, as if they were pieces of tape--to see vast ponderous masses
suspended by magnetism only--to let him look into the wonders of the
telescope and the microscope, besides a thousand marvellous things, too
numerous and too often enumerated to mention. Nor would it be unamusing
to dream that we return with him, and on his way accompany him,
summoned to the court of Pluto and Proserpine to narrate the incidents
of his sojourn above. We could believe the line of Homer verified,
and that we see the grim and sceptical Pluto leap up from his throne
in astonishment, and perhaps, as the poet would have it, fear lest
our subterranean speculators should break in upon his dominions, and
let in the light of our day. We have taken the humblest walk for the
"surprise." What if we had accompanied the ex-governor of Britain to
the Crystal Palace? That we will not venture upon. But had he continued
his narrative of all he saw there, Pluto would have given a look--at
which Cerberus would have growled from his triple throats--and that the
unlucky narrator might escape the castigation of Rhadamanthus, he would
have been ordered a fresh dip in Lethe, as one contaminated, and who
had contracted the lying propensities of people in the upper air.

We know not if the wonder in us be not the greater that we have not the
slightest pretensions to mechanical knowledge. But we confess that,
when we suddenly came upon the mechanical department, and saw the
various machinery at work, the world's life and all its business came
out vividly upon the canvass of our thought, as the great poetry of
nature. Yes, nature rather than art, for art is but the capability of
nature in practice. We thought of Sophocles and his chorus of laudation
of man--the inventor and the [Greek: pontoporos]--and how impoverished
did the Greek seem, how tame and inadequate the description!

Shakspeare is more to the mark. The whole world is scarcely large
enough for the exhibition of man's thought and deed, as Shakspeare
sees him. There is no small talk of his little doings--how he passes
over the seas and bridles the winds. Inimitable Shakspeare omits the
doing to show the capacity; makes, for a moment of comparison only,
the earth a sterile promontory, and man that is on it himself, and
in his own bosom, the ample region of all fertility, in undefined
thought and action. "What a piece of work is man!--how noble in
reason!--how infinite in faculties! In form and moving how express and
admirable!--in action how like an angel!--in apprehension how like a
god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!" Behold man the
inventor!

We have said that the increase of population must necessarily enlarge
the stock of inventions, both by new and multiplied demands, and by the
added number of inventors. But there is another cause in operation,
that is seldom taken into the account--there are not only more millions
of human hands to do the work, but there is an artificial working
population, if we may call horse-power of steam a population as
equivalent to hands.

In this view the _working_ population, or working power, so far exceeds
our actual population, that they can scarcely be named together. If
it be said, this is not a power of mind, and therefore cannot be
said to be inventive; it may be answered, that every instrument is
a kind of mind to him who takes it up, improves, and works upon it,
and with it: for, after all, it is mind that is operating in it. The
man is not to be envied who in heart and understanding is dead to the
manifold evolutions of this great workshop of the human brain, who
cannot feel the poetry of mechanics. Is it not a creative power?--and
is it not at once subjecting and civilising the world? Is not this
poetry of mechanics showing also that man has dominion given him over
the inert materials, as over other living creatures of the earth? We
hail it in all its marvellous doings, as subject for creative dreams,
scarcely untrue. Let those who will (and many there be who profess this
blindness to the poetry of art and science) see nothing but the tall
chimneys and the black smoke. To the imaginative, even the smoke itself
becomes an embodied genie, at whose feet the earth opens at command;
and they who yield themselves to the spell are conducted, through
subterranean ways, to the secret chambers of the treasures of nature;
and, by a transition to a more palpable reality, find themselves
in a garden covered with crystal, to behold all beauteous things
and precious stones for fruit, such as Aladdin saw, and fountains
throwing out liquid gems, and fair company, as if brought together
by enchantment--and this is the romance of reality. If we write
rhapsodically, let the subject be the excuse, for the secrets of nature
throw conjecture into the depths of wonder, and thought far out of the
conveyance of language.

It was our purpose to speak of the Submarine Telegraph, and it is
not surprising if we have in some degree been transported to great
distances by its power.

The inventors, Messrs Brett, under every difficulty and discouragement,
have at length succeeded. Our greatest engineers for a long while
withheld their countenance; practical philosophers denied the
probability. The possibility was tested by the first experiment.
Fortunately no accident occurred in laying down the wire across the
Channel, until communication by means of it had been made between
France and England; and even the subsequent accident--the cutting the
wire by the fishermen--has only served the good purpose of making more
sure the permanent setting up of this extraordinary telegraph. The
protection of the wires by the gutta-percha covering is considered
perfect; but should it turn out otherwise, it will not affect the
certainty of the invention: it must be permanent. A narrative of all
the difficulties which beset the inventors, and which have delayed the
experiment for years, would be curious. The discouragements and the
expenses would have crushed men of less energy. Even at last, in making
the cable, there was a disappointment and a hitch, arising from rival
companies. We extract from the _Times_.

    "On the 19th of July last, Mr Crampton undertook to construct
    and lay down a cable containing four electric wires, each
    insulated in two coatings of gutta percha, and the whole
    protected by ten strands of galvanised iron wire, on or before
    the 30th of September. The electric wires, covered with gutta
    percha, in length a hundred miles, were turned out by Mr
    Statham, at the works of the Gutta Percha Company, and nothing
    can be more perfect than the manner in which that order was
    executed. The wire covering was ordered from Messrs Wilkins and
    Weatherly; but unfortunately, a dispute respecting the patent
    for making wire ropes occurred between that firm and Messrs
    Newall, which seriously delayed the progress of the work, as an
    injunction was served by the latter to prevent Messrs Wilkins
    and Co. from proceeding with the order.

    "This was eventually compromised, and the rope was made
    conjointly by the workmen of the two firms on the premises of
    Messrs Wilkins and Weatherly, at Wapping.

    "The very hurried manner in which (from this unforeseen delay)
    the work had to be accomplished, prevented that close attention
    that ought to have been given to any fracture, however small,
    of the wire; and in consequence, the outer casing, though
    of great strength and solidity, was not made with the same
    exquisite nicety and care that had been bestowed on the core of
    the cable."

The weather was unpropitious, and was probably the cause, from the
circumstance of the Blazer being driven somewhat out of her course,
that the length of the wire cable was not sufficient. This defect was,
however, only of a temporary kind, and was supplied by that which was
intended for another purpose. We extract the interesting account of the
proceedings from the _Times_:--

    "Shortly after 7 o'clock the fastenings at the end of the cable
    at the Foreland were completed, and the Fearless started to
    point out the exact course to be followed by the Blazer, which
    was towed by two tugs, one alongside, and the other ahead of
    her.

    "A third tug belonging to the Government was also in attendance.

    "The arrangements for paying out the cable consisted simply
    of a bar fixed transversely above the hold, over which the
    rope was drawn as it was uncoiled from below, and a series of
    breaks acting by levers fitted to the deck, in order to arrest
    the passage of the rope in the case of too rapid a delivery.
    On reaching the stem the cable passed overboard through a
    'chock' of a semicircular shape, lined with iron. On starting,
    the steam-tugs proceeded at much too rapid a pace, (from four
    to five knots an hour,) and consequently one of the fractured
    wires (before alluded to) caught in the friction-blocks, and,
    before the way of the vessel could be checked, one strand
    of the iron wire was, for a length of about eighteen yards,
    stripped from the cable. The steam-tug towing ahead was then
    ordered alongside, when the speed could be better regulated,
    and the rate was reduced to about one and a half to two knots
    an hour. About six miles from shore it was determined to test
    the wires; but, from a misapprehension of instructions, the
    telegraph instruments at the South Foreland were not joined up
    with those on board the Blazer. A steam-tug, with one of the
    engineers and directors on board, immediately returned to the
    Foreland, when communication was made by telegraph and fusees
    fired from the vessel to the shore, and from the shore to the
    Blazer.

    "At about mid-Channel, in the midst of a heavy sea, and a
    strong wind from the SW., an accident occurred, but for which
    the enterprise would have been carried out with the most
    perfect success; this was the snapping of the towrope (an
    eight-inch cable) and the consequent drifting of the Blazer
    from her appointed course to the length of a mile and a-half.
    Notwithstanding the delay caused by this untoward incident, the
    Blazer arrived off Sangatte at about 6 o'clock. The evening
    was, however, too far advanced, and the weather too stormy to
    attempt a landing; and, after embarking most of her passengers
    on board one of the steamers that ran into Calais, she was
    anchored for the night about two miles from the shore.

    "On Friday the wind blew a strong gale from the westward, which
    rendered all near approach to the shore impracticable; but the
    Blazer was towed to within a mile of the beach, when, it being
    considered dangerous to leave her at anchor, the remainder
    of the rope was made fast to a buoy and hove overboard. The
    steam-tugs then returned with the Blazer to England.

    "On Saturday the weather continued unfavourable, but Captain
    Bullock proceeded with the Fearless to the buoy off Sangatte,
    and, having hauled up the end of the rope, he towed it some
    hundred yards nearer the shore, and then again moored it.

    "On Sunday the wind shifted more to the southward and
    moderated. Accordingly, the engineers and managers of the Gutta
    Percha Company took on board the Fearless a large coil of gutta
    percha roping, and, after hauling up the end of the telegraph
    cables, the first wires were carefully attached, and at
    half-past five in the afternoon a boat landed them on the beach
    at Sangatte. The moment chosen for landing was low-water, and
    the coil of gutta percha ropes was immediately buried in the
    beach by a gang of men in attendance, up to low-water mark, and
    even to a short distance beyond it. Thence to where the cable
    was moored did not much exceed a quarter of a mile.

    "The telegraphs were instantly attached to the submarine
    wires, and all the instruments responded to the batteries from
    the opposite shore. At six o'clock messages were printed at
    Sangatte from the South Foreland, specimens of which Captain
    Bullock took over to Dover the same evening for the Queen and
    the Duke of Wellington.

    "On Monday morning the wires at Sangatte were joined to those
    already laid down to Calais, and two of the instruments used by
    the French Government having been sent to the South Foreland,
    Paris was placed in immediate communication with the English
    Court."

We have remarked that very important discoveries are accidentally made
in pursuing one of quite a different character from those which come up
in the search unexpectedly.

They who remember our towns lighted with the old lamps, that in
comparison with our gas-lights made but a "palpable obscure," should
also remember how the change was brought about. The gas, which has
proved of such vast utility that we can now-a-days scarcely conceive
how the world could go on without it, was first a misfortune. It was
generated in the coal mines, and, in order to get rid of it, it was
conveyed by tubes to the outer air: in doing this it was found there
to ignite, and from this simple attempt to effect an escape for a
nuisance is almost every town in the civilised world illuminated by
gas--besides which, the advantageous use of it in manufactories is
beyond calculation. Even of gutta percha, now applied as a coating to
these wires, who can determine all the uses to which it may be found
applicable? Nature, it should seem, does not fabricate one material for
itself, or for one use only, but adapts one thing to many purposes--and
thus, as it were, teaches us that there is a chain in the facts of
nature, by showing us a few of the connected links; and, at the same
time, so far from exhibiting any sudden breaks, offering evidences of
a continuous connection reaching beyond our conception. Verily this
poor opaque earth of ours is the foundation on which the Jacob's ladder
of invention is laid. We know not where it reaches, but there may be
suggesting angels passing to and fro, and when their feet touch the
ground, it delivers up its secrets, that float into the ears of the
dreamer.

Electricity, it would appear, is the great agent in this connecting
chain--nay, is it not, whatever it be in its essence, the chain itself,
and the universal power equally in inert matter and in life? It has
neither boundary on the earth nor in space. Its home is ubiquity; like
the sphere of Hermes, its centre is everywhere, its circumference
nowhere. That this astonishing power is yet under restraint--that
it is not only kept from the evil it would do, but rendered to us
serviceable--is a proof of the great beneficence of Him who made it
and us. When the admiring child touches that gem, the dew-drop on the
rose-leaf, it knows not that the little hand is on that which has
lightning in it enough to cause instant death. It is scarcely the
lover's poetical dream that he _may_ be killed by the lightning of an
eye--done dead by the tear that only moves his pity, on his mistress's
eye-lid. In that little drop is the power of death--and by what miracle
(truly all nature is miraculous) is the execution staid--the power
forbidden to act? Nay, even the pity that we speak of, love itself,
strange in its suddenness as we see it, how know we what of electricity
be in it, instantly conveying from person to person natural but unknown
sympathy?

Let us not get out of our depths,--but emerge from "the submarine," to
land; and for this purpose, and to complete our argument of unexpected
and collateral uses, we offer an extract from the _Army and Navy
Register_:--

    "NEW MODE OF DISCHARGING GUNPOWDER.--On Monday, August 18,
    some interesting experiments were tried at the Gutta Percha
    Company's Works, Warf Road, City Road, for the purposes of
    demonstrating the means by which this extraordinary production
    may be applied to the operation of discharging gunpowder. A
    galvanic battery was connected with upwards of 50 miles of
    copper wire covered with gutta percha, to the thickness of
    an ordinary black lead pencil. The wire, which was formed
    into coils, and which has been prepared for the projected
    submarine telegraph, was attached to a barge moored in the
    canal alongside the manufactory, the coils being so fixed
    together (although the greater portion of them were under
    water) as to present an uninterrupted communication with
    the battery to a distance limited at first to 57 miles, but
    afterwards extended to 70. A "cartridge" formed with a small
    hollow roof of gutta percha, charged with gunpowder, and
    having an intercommunicating wire attached, was then brought
    into contact with the electric current. The result was, that a
    spark was produced, which, igniting the gunpowder, caused an
    immediate explosion similar to that which would arise from the
    discharge of a small cannon. The same process was carried out
    in various ways, with a view of testing the efficient manner
    in which the gutta percha had been rendered impervious to wet,
    and in one instance the fusee or cartridge was placed under
    the water. In this case the efficiency of the insulation was
    equally well demonstrated by the explosion of the gunpowder at
    the moment the necessary "contact" was produced; and by way
    of showing the perfect insulation of the wire, an experiment
    was tried which resulted in the explosion of the fusee from
    the charge of electricity retained in the coils of wire, three
    seconds after contact with the battery had been broken. This
    feature in the experiment was especially interesting from the
    fact of its removing all difficulty and doubt as to whether
    the gutta percha would so far protect the wires as to preserve
    the current of electricity under the most disadvantageous
    circumstances. Another experiment was successfully tried by
    passing the electric current to its destination through the
    human body. Mr C. J. Wollaston, civil engineer, volunteered to
    form part of the circuit by holding the ends of 35 miles of
    the wire in each hand. The wire from the battery was brought
    to one end of the entire length of 70 miles, and instant
    explosion of the cartridge took place at the other end. The
    experiments were altogether perfectly successful, as showing
    beyond all question that the properties of gutta percha and
    electricity combined are yet to be devoted to other purposes
    than that of establishing a submarine telegraph. The blasting
    of a rock, the destruction of a fortification, and other
    operations which require the agency of gunpowder, have often
    been attended with considerable danger and trouble, besides
    involving large outlays of money; but it may be truly said
    that the employment of electricity in the manner described is
    calculated to render such operations comparatively free from
    difficulty. Amongst the company present on this occasion was
    Major-General Sir Charles Pasley, who took a warm interest
    in the proceedings, and expressed himself much gratified at
    the result. It is impossible to foretell the value of this
    discovery, particularly in engineering and mining operations.
    It forms a valuable addition to the benefits already conferred
    upon the public by the enterprise of the Gutta Percha Company."

This extract may lead the reader to conclude that there are double
and opposite purposes in the secrets of nature. The chain which was
intended to connect all nations in a bond of peace, has, it should
seem, also (incidental to the first discovery) its apparatus for war.

When his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury was blessing the Crystal
Palace, and all within it, as emblems of a religious bond of peace, and
of amity of all nations, and it pleased the admiring masses to proclaim
it the Temple of Peace and of Love, there was little thought that,
among the machinery and instruments it contained, those of murderous
purpose would be the first required for use, which was actually the
case, when permission was asked and given for the removal of revolving
firearms from the American department, to be sent out to the Cape.

Thus, good and evil are not unmixed. Either may be extracted, and leave
the remainder, in appearance to us, a kind of _caput mortuum_.

It is far more pleasant to look to the peaceful results of
inventions--to hear the spirit that is in the electric fluid say--

    "I will be correspondent to command,
    And do my spiriting gently."

Let it be the means that far-off friends at the Antipodes shall
communicate, if not by voice, by that which is like it--by sound and
by lettered words. Let it touch a bell at their mid-day, and it may
tingle at that instant in your ears at midnight, and awake you to
receive, evolved from the little machinery at your bed's head, a letter
in a printed strip, conveying "thoughts that breathe, and words that
burn," even as though you felt the breath that uttered them. Reader,
be not sceptical. How many very practicable things have you denied,
and yet found brought tangibly before your eyes, and into your hands!
This simultaneous tingle of two bells--one at the Antipodes, and one
within reach of your own touch, and at your own ear--may cause you to
curl your lip in derision; but say, is it impossible? We have heard you
say of much more improbable things, "Where there is a will there is a
way." Well, here it is evident you have only a little to strengthen
your will, and the length of the way will be no obstacle. You may amuse
yourself with the idea, and make a comparison of it, and look at the
figures on your China plate, and imagine them moved to each other under
spell of their passion, (see the tale of the willow pattern,) to the
defiance of all the ordinary rules of distance. Did not the foreseeing
artist intimate thereby that love and friendship have no space-limits,
and hold within themselves a power that laughs at perspective, as it
does "at locksmiths?" The artist whom you contemned as ignorant was,
you acknowledge, wise--wise beyond his art, if not beyond his thought.
He had a second-sight of a new mode of communication, and expressed it
prudently in this his hieroglyphic.

Does any marvel exceed this in apparent absurdity--that you, in London
or Edinburgh, shall be able to communicate instantaneously with your
friend or relative at St Petersburg or Vienna; for which purpose
you have but to touch a few keys denoting letters of the alphabet,
and under water and over land your whole thoughts pass as soon as
your fingers have delivered them to the keys--nay, the letters are
forestalling your thought, and those before it? Does it not seem very
absurd to say that all the foreign news may be at your breakfast-table,
fresh from every capital in Europe, before the _Times_ can be published
and circulated? How will the practice of the press be affected by this
novelty? "The latest intelligence" becomes a bygone tale, "flat, stale,
and unprofitable." Far greater things than the poet dreamed of become
daily realities. Richest in fancy, Shakspeare apologetically covers the
incredible ubiquity of his Ariel with a sense of fatigue--of difficulty
in his various passages--Ariel, the spirit who

        "thought it much to tread
    The ooze of the salt deep."

Our Government officers will have ready on the instant, messengers far
swifter than Ariel--wondrous performers on the "slack-wires." They will
put you

    "A girdle round about the earth
    In forty minutes."

No; that was the lagging, loitering pace of the old spirit. It will
not take forty seconds. What are thousands of miles to a second of
time? Time is, as it were, annihilated: the sand in the glass must
be accelerated, or the glass, held for ages, taken out of his hand,
and some national exhibition ransacked for a new hour-instrument. The
Prospero's wand broken, and newer wonders to be had for a trifle.
Fortunatus's "wishing-cap" to be bought at the corner-shop, and the
famed "seven-league boots" next door--and to be had cheap, considering,
that you may tell all your thoughts, at ever so great a distance, by a
little bell and a wire, while you are sitting in your armchair. It will
be quite an easy matter to

    "Waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole."

Railroads and the Submarine Telegraph more than double man's life, if
we count his years by action. History itself must now begin as from a
new epoch. All the doings of the world, through this rapidity given to
person and to thought, must be so altered as to bear no parallel with
the past. The old locomotive and communicating powers are defunct--they
are as the water that has passed the mill. It must grind with that
which succeeds. They are new powers that must set the wheels of
governments and of all the world's machinery in motion.

There is in the _Spectator_ a paper of the true Addisonian wit,
descriptive of an Antediluvian courtship, in which the _young_ couple,
having gone through the usual process in the early art of love,
complete their happiness in the some hundredth year of their ages.
Theorists have entertained the notion that this long life was bestowed
upon man in the world's first era, that knowledge might be more readily
transmitted, there being few generations to the Flood. To the lovers
of life it would be a sad thing to be led to the conclusion, that,
transmission being quickened, life will be shortened; or that, as in
the winding-up of a drama, events are crowding into the last act of our
earth's duration. It may relieve their apprehensions to read of the
advance the medical science is making simultaneously with all other
sciences, so that they may look to a state in which a man may live as
long as he likes, and at the same time do ten times the work: a man's
day will perhaps be a year, counting by his doings. Morose poets and
philosophers have lamented over us as ephemeral; if so, we are at least
like the Antediluvian butterflies, and our day long. And now, with
all our sanitary inventions, it stands a fair chance of a tolerable
lengthening.

We have observed that it has been said that the world is not fifteen
years of age; and, indeed, it looks like enough. Hitherto Nature has
treated us as a kind mother does her children--given us toys and
playthings, to be broken and discarded as we get older. We are throwing
them by, we are becoming of age, and Nature opens her secrets to us,
and we are just setting up for ourselves--as it were, commencing the
business of life, like grown men in good earnest; and every day we find
out more secrets, and all worth knowing.

We will not lay down the pen without expressing our congratulations to
the inventors of the Submarine Telegraph, the Messrs Brett, and wishing
them the fullest success. They themselves as yet know not the extent of
the reach of their own invention, or they might well wonder at their
own wonders, like

    "Katerfelto, with his hair on end!"

We wish them long life to see the results--and that they will not,
through mistrust of so great a discovery, imitate Copernicus, who,
says Fontenelle, "distrusting the success of his opinions, was for a
long time loth to publish them, and, when they brought him the first
sheet of his work, died, foreseeing that he never should be able to
reconcile all its contradictions, and therefore wisely slipped out of
the way." Messrs Brett will think it wiser to live, and be in the way
and at their post, (no _post obit_,) ready to answer all queries and
contradictions, through the convincing, the very satisfactory means, of
their "Submarine Telegraph."



MY NOVEL; OR, VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE.

BY PISISTRATUS CAXTON.


BOOK VIII.--INITIAL CHAPTER.

THE ABUSE OF INTELLECT.

There is at present so vehement a flourish of trumpets, and so
prodigious a roll of the drum, whenever we are called upon to throw
up our hats, and cry, "Huzza" to the "March of Enlightenment," that,
out of that very spirit of contradiction natural to all rational
animals, one is tempted to stop ones ears, and say, "Gently, gently;
LIGHT is noiseless; how comes 'Enlightenment' to make such a clatter?
Meanwhile, if it be not impertinent, pray, where is Enlightenment
marching to?" Ask that question of any six of the loudest bawlers
in the procession, and I'll wager tenpence to California that you
get six very unsatisfactory answers. One respectable gentleman, who,
to our great astonishment, insists upon calling himself "a slave,"
but has a remarkably free way of expressing his opinions, will
reply--"Enlightenment is marching towards the nine points of the
Charter." Another, with his hair _à la jeune France_, who has taken a
fancy to his friend's wife, and is rather embarrassed with his own,
asserts that Enlightenment is proceeding towards the Rights of Women,
the reign of Social Love, and the annihilation of Tyrannical Prejudice.
A third, who has the air of a man well to do in the middle class, more
modest in his hopes, because he neither wishes to have his head broken
by his errand-boy, nor his wife carried off to an Agapemoné by his
apprentice, does not take Enlightenment a step farther than a siege
on Debrett, and a cannonade on the Budget. Illiberal man! the march
that he swells will soon trample _him_ under foot. No one fares so ill
in a crowd as the man who is wedged in the middle. A fourth, looking
wild and dreamy, as if he had come out of the cave of Trophonius, and
who is a mesmeriser and a mystic, thinks Enlightenment is in full
career towards the good old days of alchemists and necromancers. A
fifth, whom one might take for a Quaker, asserts that the march of
Enlightenment is a crusade for universal philanthropy, vegetable diet,
and the perpetuation of peace, by means of speeches, which certainly
do produce a very contrary effect from the Philippics of Demosthenes!
The sixth--(good fellow, without a rag on his back)--does not care a
straw where the march goes. He can't be worse off than he is; and it
is quite immaterial to him whether he goes to the dogstar above, or
the bottomless pit below. I say nothing, however, against the march,
while we take it altogether. Whatever happens, one is in good company;
and though I am somewhat indolent by nature, and would rather stay at
home with Locke and Burke, (dull dogs though they were,) than have my
thoughts set off helter-skelter with those cursed trumpets and drums,
blown and dub-a-dubbed by fellows that I vow to heaven I would not
trust with a five-pound note--still, if I must march, I must; and so
deuce take the hindmost. But when it comes to individual marchers upon
their own account--privateers and condottieri of Enlightenment--who
have filled their pockets with lucifer-matches, and have a sublime
contempt for their neighbours' barns and hay-ricks, I don't see why I
should throw myself into the seventh heaven of admiration and ecstasy.

If those who are eternally rhapsodising on the celestial blessings
that are to follow Enlightenment, Universal Knowledge, and so forth,
would just take their eyes out of their pockets, and look about
them, I would respectfully inquire if they have never met any very
knowing and enlightened gentleman, whose acquaintance is by no means
desirable. If not, they are monstrous lucky. Every man must judge by
his own experience; and the worst rogues I have ever encountered were
amazingly well-informed, clever fellows! From dunderheads and dunces
we can protect ourselves; but from your sharp-witted gentleman, all
enlightenment, and no prejudice, we have but to cry, "Heaven defend
us!" It is true, that the rogue (let him be ever so enlightened)
usually comes to no good himself, (though not before he has done harm
enough to his neighbours.) But that only shows that the world wants
something else in those it rewards, besides intelligence _per se_ and
in the abstract; and is much too old a world to allow any Jack Horner
to pick out its plumbs for his own personal gratification. Hence a man
of very moderate intelligence, who believes in God, suffers his heart
to beat with human sympathies, and keeps his eyes off your strong-box,
will perhaps gain a vast deal more power than knowledge ever gives to a
rogue.

Wherefore, though I anticipate an outcry against me on the part of the
blockheads, who, strange to say, are the most credulous idolaters of
enlightenment, and, if knowledge were power, would rot on a dunghill;
yet, nevertheless, I think all really enlightened men will agree with
me, that when one falls in with detached sharpshooters from the general
march of enlightenment, it is no reason that we should make ourselves
a target, because enlightenment has furnished them with a gun. It has,
doubtless, been already remarked by the judicious reader, that of the
numerous characters introduced into this work, the larger portion
belong to that species which we call the INTELLECTUAL--that through
them are analysed and developed human intellect, in various forms and
directions. So that this History, rightly considered, is a kind of
humble familiar Epic, or, if you prefer it, a long Serio-Comedy, upon
the Varieties of English Life in this our Century, set in movement
by the intelligences most prevalent. And where more ordinary and
less refined types of the species round and complete the survey of
our passing generation, they will often suggest, by contrast, the
deficiencies which mere intellectual culture leaves in the human being.
Certainly, I have no spite against intellect and enlightenment. Heaven
forbid I should be such a Goth. I am only the advocate for common sense
and fair play. I don't think an able man necessarily an angel; but I
think if his heart match his head, and both proceed in the Great March
under a divine Oriflamme, he goes as near to the angel as humanity
will permit: if not, if he has but a penn'orth of heart to a pound
of brains, I say, "_Bon jour, mon ange!_ I see not the starry upward
wings, but the grovelling cloven-hoof." I'd rather be offuscated by
the Squire of Hazeldean, than enlightened by Randal Leslie. Every man
to his taste. But intellect itself (not in the philosophical, but
the ordinary sense of the term) is rarely, if ever, one completed
harmonious agency; it is not one faculty, but a compound of many, some
of which are often at war with each other, and mar the concord of
the whole. Few of us but have some predominant faculty, in itself a
strength; but which, (usurping unseasonably dominion over the rest,)
shares the lot of all tyranny, however brilliant, and leaves the empire
weak against disaffection within, and invasion from without. Hence
intellect maybe perverted in a man of evil disposition, and sometimes
merely wasted in a man of excellent impulses, for want of the necessary
discipline, or of a strong ruling motive. I doubt if there be one
person in the world, who has obtained a high reputation for talent, who
has not met somebody much cleverer than himself, which said somebody
has never obtained any reputation at all! Men, like Audley Egerton, are
constantly seen in the great positions of life; while men, like Harley
l'Estrange, who could have beaten them hollow in anything equally
striven for by both, float away down the stream, and, unless some
sudden stimulant arouse the dreamy energies, vanish out of sight into
silent graves. If Hamlet and Polonius were living now, Polonius would
have a much better chance of being Chancellor of the Exchequer, though
Hamlet would unquestionably be a much more intellectual character.
What would become of Hamlet? Heaven knows! Dr Arnold said, from his
experience of a school, that the difference between one man and another
was not mere ability--it was energy. There is a great deal of truth in
that saying.

Submitting these hints to the judgment and penetration of the
sagacious, I enter on the fresh division of this work, and see
already Randal Leslie gnawing his lip on the back-ground. The German
poet observes, that the Cow of Isis is to some the divine symbol of
knowledge, to others but the milch cow, only regarded for the pounds of
butter she will yield. O tendency of our age, to look on Isis as the
milch cow! O prostitution of the grandest desires to the basest uses!
Gaze on the goddess, Randal Leslie, and get ready thy churn and thy
scales. Let us see what the butter will fetch in the market.


CHAPTER II.

A new reign has commenced. There has been a general election; the
unpopularity of the Administration has been apparent at the hustings.
Audley Egerton, hitherto returned by vast majorities, has barely
escaped defeat--thanks to a majority of five. The expenses of his
election are said to have been prodigious. 'But who can stand against
such wealth as Egerton's--no doubt backed, too, by the Treasury purse?'
said the defeated candidate. It is towards the close of October; London
is already full; Parliament will meet in less than a fortnight.

In one of the principal apartments of that hotel in which foreigners
may discover what is meant by English comfort, and the price which
foreigners must pay for it, there sat two persons, side by side,
engaged in close conversation. The one was a female, in whose pale
clear complexion and raven hair--in whose eyes, vivid with a power
of expression rarely bestowed on the beauties of the north, we
recognise Beatrice, Marchesa di Negra. Undeniably handsome as was
the Italian lady, her companion, though a man, and far advanced
into middle age, was yet more remarkable for personal advantages.
There was a strong family likeness between the two; but there was
also a striking contrast in air, manner, and all that stamps on the
physiognomy the idiosyncrasies of character. There was something
of gravity, of earnestness and passion, in Beatrice's countenance
when carefully examined; her smile at times might be false, but it
was rarely ironical, never cynical. Her gestures, though graceful,
were unrestrained and frequent. You could see she was a daughter of
the south. Her companion, on the contrary, preserved on the fair
smooth face, to which years had given scarcely a line or wrinkle,
something that might have passed, at first glance, for the levity and
thoughtlessness of a gay and youthful nature; but the smile, though
exquisitely polished, took at times the derision of a sneer. In his
manners he was as composed and as free from gesture as an Englishman.
His hair was of that red brown with which the Italian painters produce
such marvellous effects of colour; and, if here and there a silver
thread gleamed through the locks, it was lost at once amidst their
luxuriance. His eyes were light, and his complexion, though without
much colour, was singularly transparent. His beauty, indeed, would
have been rather womanly than masculine, but for the height and sinewy
spareness of a frame in which muscular strength was rather adorned
than concealed by an admirable elegance of proportion. You would never
have guessed this man to be an Italian; more likely you would have
supposed him a Parisian. He conversed in French, his dress was of
French fashion, his mode of thought seemed French. Not that he was like
the Frenchman of the present day--an animal, either rude or reserved;
but your ideal of the _Marquis_ of the old _régime_--the _roué_ of the
Regency.

Italian, however, he was, and of a race renowned in Italian history.
But, as if ashamed of his country and his birth, he affected to be
a citizen of the world. Heaven help the world if it hold only such
citizens!

"But, Giulio," said Beatrice di Negra, speaking in Italian, "even
granting that you discover this girl, can you suppose that her father
will ever consent to your alliance? Surely you know too well the nature
of your kinsman?"

"_Tu te trompes, ma soeur_," replied Giulio Franzini, Count di
Peschiera, in French as usual--"_tu te trompes_; I knew it before he
had gone through exile and penury. How can I know it now? But comfort
yourself, my too anxious Beatrice, I shall not care for his consent
till I've made sure of his daughter's."

"But how win that in despite of the father?"

"_Eh, mordieu!_" interrupted the Count, with true French gaiety; "what
would become of all the comedies ever written, if marriages were not
made in despite of the father? Look you," he resumed, with a very
slight compression of his lip, and a still slighter movement in his
chair--"look you, this is no question of ifs and buts; it is a question
of must and shall--a question of existence to you and to me. When
Danton was condemned to the guillotine, he said, flinging a pellet of
bread at the nose of his respectable judge--'_Mon individu sera bientôt
dans le néant_'--_My_ patrimony is there already! I am loaded with
debts. I see before me, on the one side, ruin or suicide; on the other
side, wedlock and wealth."

"But from those vast possessions which you have been permitted to enjoy
so long, have you really saved nothing against the time when they might
be reclaimed at your hands?"

"My sister," replied the Count, "do I look like a man who saved?
Besides, when the Austrian Emperor, unwilling to raze from his
Lombard domains a name and a house so illustrious as our kinsman's,
and desirous, while punishing that kinsman's rebellion, to reward
my adherence, forbore the peremptory confiscation of those vast
possessions at which my mouth waters while we speak, but, annexing
them to the Crown during pleasure, allowed me, as the next of male
kin, to retain the revenues of one-half for the same very indefinite
period--had I not every reason to suppose, that, before long, I could
so influence his Majesty or his minister, as to obtain a decree
that might transfer the whole, unconditionally and absolutely, to
myself? And methinks I should have done so, but for this accursed,
intermeddling English Milord, who has never ceased to besiege the court
or the minister with alleged extenuations of our cousin's rebellion,
and proofless assertions that I shared it in order to entangle my
kinsman, and betrayed it in order to profit by his spoils. So that,
at last, in return for all my services, and in answer to all my
claims, I received from the minister himself this cold reply--'Count
of Peschiera, your aid was important, and your reward has been large.
That reward, it would not be for your honour to extend, and justify the
ill opinion of your Italian countrymen by formally appropriating to
yourself all that was forfeited by the treason you denounced. A name so
noble as yours should be dearer to you than fortune itself.'"

"Ah, Giulio," cried Beatrice, her face lighting up, changed in its
whole character--"those were words that might make the demon that
tempts to avarice fly from your breast in shame."

The Count opened his eyes in great amaze; then he glanced round the
room, and said, quietly--

"Nobody else hears you, my dear Beatrice; talk common sense. Heroics
sound well in mixed society; but there is nothing less suited to the
tone of a family conversation."

Madame di Negra bent down her head abashed, and that sudden change
in the expression of her countenance, which had seemed to betray
susceptibility to generous emotion, faded as suddenly away.

"But still," she said coldly, "you enjoy one-half of those ample
revenues--why talk, then, of suicide and ruin?"

"I enjoy them at the pleasure of the crown; and what if it be the
pleasure of the crown to recall our cousin, and reinstate him in his
possessions?"

"There is a _probability_, then, of that pardon? When you first
employed me in your researches, you only thought there was a
_possibility_."

"There is a great probability of it, and therefore I am here. I
learned some little time since that the question of such recall had
been suggested by the Emperor, and discussed in Council. The danger
to the State, which might arise from our cousin's wealth, his alleged
abilities--(abilities! bah!)--and his popular name, deferred any
decision on the point; and, indeed, the difficulty of dealing with
myself must have embarrassed the ministry. But it is a mere question
of time. He cannot long remain excluded from the general amnesty
already extended to the other refugees. The person who gave me this
information is high in power, and friendly to myself; and he added a
piece of advice, on which I acted. 'It was intimated,' said he, 'by one
of the partisans of your kinsman, that the exile could give a hostage
for his loyalty in the person of his daughter and heiress; that she
had arrived at marriageable age; that if she were to wed, with the
Emperor's consent, some one whose attachment to the Austrian crown was
unquestionable, there would be a guarantee both for the faith of the
father, and for the transmission of so important a heritage to safe
and loyal hands. Why not' (continued my friend) 'apply to the Emperor
for his consent to that alliance for yourself?--you, on whom he can
depend;--you who, if the daughter should die, would be the legal heir
to those lands?' On that hint I spoke."

"You saw the Emperor?"

"And after combating the unjust prepossessions against me, I stated,
that so far from my cousin having any fair cause of resentment against
me, when all was duly explained to him, I did not doubt that he would
willingly give me the hand of his child."

"You did!" cried the Marchesa, amazed.

"And," continued the Count imperturbably, as he smoothed, with careless
hand, the snowy plaits of his shirt front--"and that I should thus
have the happiness of becoming myself the guarantee of my kinsman's
loyalty--the agent for the restoration of his honours, while, in the
eyes of the envious and malignant, I should clear up my own name from
all suspicion that I had wronged him."

"And the Emperor consented?"

"_Pardieu_, my dear sister. What else could his majesty do? My
proposition smoothed every obstacle, and reconciled policy with mercy.
It remains, therefore, only to find out, what has hitherto baffled all
our researches, the retreat of our dear kinsfolk, and to make myself a
welcome lover to the demoiselle. There is some disparity of years, I
own; but--unless your sex and my glass flatter me, overmuch--I am still
a match for many a gallant of five-and-twenty."

The Count said this with so charming a smile, and looked so
pre-eminently handsome, that he carried off the coxcombry of the words
as gracefully as if they had been spoken by some dazzling hero of the
grand old comedy of Parisian life.

Then interlacing his fingers, and lightly leaning his hands, thus
clasped, upon his sister's shoulder, he looked into her face, and said
slowly--"And now, my sister, for some gentle but deserved reproach.
Have you not sadly failed me in the task I imposed on your regard for
my interests? Is it not some years since you first came to England on
the mission of discovering these worthy relatives of ours? Did I not
entreat you to seduce into your toils the man whom I knew to be my
enemy, and who was indubitably acquainted with our cousin's retreat--a
secret he has hitherto locked within his bosom? Did you not tell me,
that though he was then in England, you could find no occasion even to
meet him, but that you had obtained the friendship of the statesman to
whom I directed your attention, as his most intimate associate? And yet
you, whose charms are usually so irresistible, learn nothing from the
statesman, as you see nothing of _Milord_. Nay, baffled and misled, you
actually suppose that the quarry has taken refuge in France. You go
thither--you pretend to search the capital--the provinces, Switzerland,
_que sais-je?_--all in vain,--though--_foi de gentilhomme_--your police
cost me dearly,--you return to England--the same chace, and the same
result. _Palsambleu, ma soeur_, I do too much credit to your talents
not to question your zeal. In a word, have you been in earnest--or have
you not had some womanly pleasure in amusing yourself and abusing my
trust?"

"Giulio," answered Beatrice sadly, "you know the influence you have
exercised over my character and my fate. Your reproaches are not just.
I made such inquiries as were in my power, and I have now cause to
believe that I know one who is possessed of this secret, and can guide
us to it."

"Ah, you do!" exclaimed the Count. Beatrice did not heed the
exclamation, and hurried on.

"But grant that my heart shrunk from the task you imposed on me, would
it not have been natural? When I first came to England, you informed
me that your object in discovering the exiles was one which I could
honestly aid. You naturally desired first to know if the daughter
lived; if not, you were the heir. If she did, you assured me you
desired to effect, through my mediation, some liberal compromise with
Alphonso, by which you would have sought to obtain his restoration,
provided he would leave you for life in possession of the grant you
hold from the crown. While these were your objects, I did my best,
ineffectual as it was, to obtain the information required."

"And what made me lose so important, though so ineffectual an ally?"
asked the Count, still smiling; but a gleam that belied the smile shot
from his eye.

"What! when you bade me receive and co-operate with the miserable
spies--the false Italians--whom you sent over, and seek to entangle
this poor exile, when found, in some rash correspondence, to be
revealed to the court;--when you sought to seduce the daughter of the
Counts of Peschiera, the descendant of those who had ruled in Italy,
into the informer, the corrupter, and the traitress! No, Giulio--then I
recoiled; and then, fearful of your own sway over me, I retreated into
France. I have answered you frankly."

The Count removed his hands from the shoulder on which they had
reclined so cordially.

"And this," said he, "is your wisdom, and this your gratitude.
You, whose fortunes are bound up in mine--you, who subsist on my
bounty--you, who----"

"Hold," cried the Marchesa, rising, and with a burst of emotion, as
if stung to the utmost, and breaking into revolt from the tyranny of
years--"Hold--gratitude! bounty! Brother, brother--what, indeed, do I
owe to you? The shame and the misery of a life. While yet a child, you
condemned me to marry against my will--against my heart--against my
prayers--and laughed at my tears when I knelt to you for mercy. I was
pure then, Giulio--pure and innocent as the flowers in my virgin crown.
And now--now--"

Beatrice stopped abruptly, and clasped her hands before her face.

"Now you upbraid me," said the Count, unruffled by her sudden passion,
"because I gave you in marriage to a man young and noble?"

"Old in vices, and mean of soul! The marriage I forgave you. You had
the right, according to the customs of our country, to dispose of my
hand. But I forgave you not the consolations that you whispered in the
ear of a wretched and insulted wife."

"Pardon me the remark," replied the Count, with a courtly bend of his
head, "but those consolations were also conformable to the customs of
our country, and I was not aware till now that you had wholly disdained
them. And," continued the Count, "you were not so long a wife that the
gall of the chain should smart still. You were soon left a widow--free,
childless, young, beautiful."

"And penniless."

"True, Di Negra was a gambler, and very unlucky; no fault of mine. I
could neither keep the cards from his hands, nor advise him how to play
them."

"And my own portion? Oh Giulio, I knew but at his death why you had
condemned me to that renegade Genoese. He owed you money, and, against
honour, and I believe against law, you had accepted my fortune in
discharge of the debt."

"He had no other way to discharge it--a debt of honour must be
paid--old stories these. What matters? Since then my purse has been
open to you."

"Yes, not as your sister, but your instrument--your spy! Yes, your
purse has been open--with a niggard hand."

"_Un peu de conscience, ma chère_, you are so extravagant. But come, be
plain. What would you?"

"I would be free from you."

"That is, you would form some second marriage with one of these rich
island lords. _Ma foi_, I respect your ambition."

"It is not so high. I aim but to escape from slavery--to be placed
beyond dishonourable temptation. I desire," cried Beatrice with
increased emotion, "I desire to re-enter the life of woman."

"Eno'!" said the Count with a visible impatience, "is there anything
in the attainment of your object that should render you indifferent to
mine? You desire to marry, if I comprehend you right. And to marry, as
becomes you, you should bring to your husband not debts, but a dowry.
Be it so. I will restore the portion that I saved from the spendthrift
clutch of the Genoese--the moment that it is mine to bestow--the moment
that I am husband to my kinsman's heiress. And now, Beatrice, you
imply that my former notions revolted your conscience; my present plan
should content it; for by this marriage shall our kinsman regain his
country, and repossess, at least, half his lands. And if I am not an
excellent husband to the demoiselle, it will be her own fault. I have
sown my wild oats. _Je suis bon prince_, when I have things a little
my own way. It is my hope and my intention, and certainly it will be
my interest, to become _digne époux et irréprochable père de famille_.
I speak lightly--'tis my way. I mean seriously. The little girl will
be very happy with me, and I shall succeed in soothing all resentment
her father may retain. Will you aid me then--yes or no? Aid me, and
you shall indeed be free. The magician will release the fair spirit
he has bound to his will. Aid me not, _ma chère_, and mark, I do not
threaten--I do but warn--aid me not; grant that I become a beggar, and
ask yourself what is to become of you--still young, still beautiful,
and still penniless? Nay, worse than penniless; you have done me the
honour, (and here the Count, looking on the table, drew a letter from a
portfolio, emblazoned with his arms and coronet,) you have done me the
honour to consult me as to your debts."

"You will restore my fortune?" said the Marchesa, irresolutely--and
averting her head from an odious schedule of figures.

"When my own, with your aid, is secured."

"But do you not overrate the value of my aid?"

"Possibly," said the Count, with a caressing suavity--and he kissed his
sister's forehead. "Possibly; but by my honour, I wish to repair to you
any wrong, real or supposed, I may have done you in past times. I wish
to find again my own dear sister. I may overvalue your aid, but not the
affection from which it comes. Let us be friends, _cara Beatrice mia_,"
added the Count, for the first time employing Italian words.

The Marchesa laid her head on his shoulder, and her tears flowed
softly. Evidently this man had great influence over her--and evidently,
whatever her cause for complaint, her affection for him was still
sisterly and strong. A nature with fine flashes of generosity, spirit,
honour, and passion, was hers--but uncultured, unguided--spoilt by
the worst social examples--easily led into wrong--not always aware
where the wrong was--letting affections good or bad whisper away her
conscience or blind her reason. Such women are often far more dangerous
when induced to wrong, than those who are thoroughly abandoned--such
women are the accomplices men like the Count of Peschiera most desire
to obtain.

"Ah, Giulio," said Beatrice, after a pause, and looking up at him
through her tears, "when you speak to me thus, you know you can do with
me what you will. Fatherless and motherless, whom had my childhood to
love and obey but you?"

"Dear Beatrice," murmured the Count tenderly--and he again kissed her
forehead. "So," he continued more carelessly--"so the reconciliation
is effected, and our interests and our hearts re-allied. Now, alas! to
descend to business. You say that you know some one whom you believe
to be acquainted with the lurking-place of my father-in-law--that is to
be!"

"I think so. You remind me that I have an appointment with him this
day: it is near the hour--I must leave you."

"To learn the secret?--Quick--quick. I have no fear of your success, if
it is by his heart that you lead him?"

"You mistake; on his heart I have no hold. But he has a friend who
loves me, and honourably, and whose cause he pleads. I think here that
I have some means to control or persuade him. If not--ah, he is of a
character that perplexes me in all but his worldly ambition; and how
can we foreigners influence him through _that_?"

"Is he poor, or is he extravagant?"

"Not extravagant, and not positively poor, but dependent."

"Then we have him," said the Count composedly. "If his assistance be
worth buying, we can bid high for it. _Sur mon âme_, I never yet knew
money fail with any man who was both worldly and dependent. I put him
and myself in your hands."

Thus saying, the Count opened the door, and conducted his sister with
formal politeness to her carriage. He then returned, reseated himself,
and mused in silence. As he did so, the muscles of his countenance
relaxed. The levity of the Frenchman fled from his visage, and in
his eye, as it gazed abstractedly into space, there was that steady
depth so remarkable in the old portraits of Florentine diplomatist or
Venetian oligarch. Thus seen, there was in that face, despite all its
beauty, something that would have awed back even the fond gaze of love;
something hard, collected, inscrutable, remorseless. But this change
of countenance did not last long. Evidently thought, though intense
for the moment, was not habitual to the man. Evidently he had lived
the life which takes all things lightly--so he rose with a look of
fatigue, shook and stretched himself, as if to cast off, or grow out
of, an unwelcome and irksome mood. An hour afterwards, the Count of
Peschiera was charming all eyes, and pleasing all ears, in the saloon
of a high-born beauty, whose acquaintance he had made at Vienna, and
whose charms, according to that old and never-truth-speaking oracle,
Polite Scandal, were now said to have attracted to London the brilliant
foreigner.


CHAPTER III.

The Marchesa regained her house, which was in Curzon Street, and
withdrew to her own room, to readjust her dress, and remove from her
countenance all trace of the tears she had shed.

Half-an-hour afterwards she was seated in her drawing-room, composed
and calm; nor, seeing her then, could you have guessed that she was
capable of so much emotion and so much weakness. In that stately
exterior, in that quiet attitude, in that elaborate and finished
elegance which comes alike from the arts of the toilet and the
conventional repose of rank, you could see but the woman of the world
and the great lady.

A knock at the door was heard, and in a few moments there entered a
visitor, with the easy familiarity of intimate acquaintance--a young
man, but with none of the bloom of youth. His hair, fine as a woman's,
was thin and scanty, but it fell low over the forehead, and concealed
that noblest of our human features. " A gentleman," says Apuleius,
"ought, if he can, to wear his whole mind on his forehead."[5] The
young visitor would never have committed so frank an imprudence. His
cheek was pale, and in his step and his movements there was a langour
that spoke of fatigued nerves or delicate health. But the light of
the eye and the tone of the voice were those of a mental temperament
controlling the bodily--vigorous and energetic. For the rest, his
general appearance was distinguished by a refinement alike intellectual
and social. Once seen, you would not easily forget him. And the reader
no doubt already recognises Randal Leslie. His salutation, as I before
said, was that of intimate familiarity; yet it was given and replied
to with that unreserved openness which denotes the absence of a more
tender sentiment.

[5] I must be pardoned for annexing the original, since it loses much
by translation:--"Hominem liberum et magnificum debere, si queat, in
primori fronte, animum gestare."

Seating himself by the Marchesa's side, Randal began first to converse
on the fashionable topics and gossip of the day; but it was observable,
that, while he extracted from her the current anecdote and scandal
of the great world, neither anecdote nor scandal did he communicate
in return. Randal Leslie had already learned the art not to commit
himself, nor to have quoted against him one ill-natured remark upon the
eminent. Nothing more injures the man who would rise beyond the fame
of the _salons_, than to be considered backbiter and gossip; 'yet it
is always useful,' thought Randal Leslie, 'to know the foibles--the
small social and private springs by which the great are moved. Critical
occasions may arise in which such knowledge may be power.' And hence,
perhaps, (besides a more private motive, soon to be perceived,) Randal
did not consider his time thrown away in cultivating Madame di Negra's
friendship. For despite much that was whispered against her, she had
succeeded in dispelling the coldness with which she had at first been
received in the London circles. Her beauty, her grace, and her high
birth, had raised her into fashion, and the homage of men of the first
station, while it perhaps injured her reputation as woman, added to her
celebrity as fine lady. So much do we cold English, prudes though we
be, forgive to the foreigner what we avenge on the native.

Sliding at last from these general topics into very well-bred and
elegant personal compliment, and reciting various eulogies, which Lord
this and the Duke of that had passed on the Marchesa's charms, Randal
laid his hand on hers, with the license of admitted friendship, and
said--

"But since you have deigned to confide in me, since when (happily
for me, and with a generosity of which no coquette could have been
capable) you, in good time, repressed into friendship feelings that
might else have ripened into those you are formed to inspire and
disdain to return, you told me with your charming smile, 'Let no one
speak to me of love who does not offer me his hand, and with it the
means to supply tastes that I fear are terribly extravagant;'--since
thus you allowed me to divine your natural objects, and upon that
understanding our intimacy has been founded, you will pardon me for
saying that the admiration you excite amongst these _grands seigneurs_
I have named, only serves to defeat your own purpose, and scare away
admirers less brilliant, but more in earnest. Most of these gentlemen
are unfortunately married; and they who are not belong to those
members of our aristocracy who, in marriage, seek more than beauty and
wit--namely, connections to strengthen their political station, or
wealth to redeem a mortgage and sustain a title."

"My dear Mr Leslie," replied the Marchesa--and a certain sadness might
be detected in the tone of the voice and the droop of the eye--"I have
lived long enough in the real world to appreciate the baseness and the
falsehood of most of those sentiments which take the noblest names. I
see through the hearts of the admirers you parade before me, and know
that not one of them would shelter with his ermine the woman to whom he
talks of his heart. Ah," continued Beatrice, with a softness of which
she was unconscious, but which might have been extremely dangerous to
youth less steeled and self-guarded than was Randal Leslie's--"ah,
I am less ambitious than you suppose. I have dreamed of a friend, a
companion, a protector, with feelings still fresh, undebased by the
low round of vulgar dissipation and mean pleasures--of a heart so new,
that it might restore my own to what it was in its happy spring. I have
seen in your country some marriages, the mere contemplation of which
has filled my eyes with delicious tears. I have learned in England to
know the value of home. And with such a heart as I describe, and such
a home, I could forget that I ever knew a less pure ambition."

"This language does not surprise me," said Randal; "yet it does not
harmonise with your former answer to me."

"To you," repeated Beatrice smiling, and regaining her lighter manner;
"to you--true. But I never had the vanity to think that your affection
for me could bear the sacrifices it would cost you in marriage; that
you, with your ambition, could bound your dreams of happiness to home.
And then, too," said she, raising her head, and with a certain grave
pride in her air--"and _then_, I could not have consented to share my
fate with one whom my poverty would cripple. I could not listen to my
heart, if it had beat for a lover without fortune, for to him I could
then have brought but a burden, and betrayed him into a union with
poverty and debt. _Now_, it may be different. Now I may have the dowry
that befits my birth. And now I may be free to choose according to my
heart as woman, not according to my necessities, as one poor, harassed,
and despairing."

"Ah," said Randal, interested, and drawing still closer towards his
fair companion--"ah, I congratulate you sincerely; you have cause,
then, to think that you shall be--rich?"

The Marchesa paused before she answered, and during that pause Randal
relaxed the web of the scheme which he had been secretly weaving, and
rapidly considered whether, if Beatrice di Negra would indeed be rich,
she might answer to himself as a wife; and in what way, if so, he had
best change his tone from that of friendship into that of love. While
thus reflecting, Beatrice answered--

"Not rich for an Englishwoman; for an Italian, yes. My fortune should
be half a million--"

"Half a million!" cried Randal, and with difficulty he restrained
himself from falling at her feet in adoration.

"Of francs!" continued the Marchesa.

"Francs! Ah," said Randal, with a long-drawn breath, and recovering
from his sudden enthusiasm, "about twenty thousand pounds!--eight
hundred a-year at four per cent. A very handsome portion,
certainly--(Genteel poverty! he murmured to himself. What an escape
I have had! but I see--I see. This will smooth all difficulties in
the way of my better and earlier project. I see)--a very handsome
portion," he repeated aloud--"not for a _grand seigneur_, indeed, but
still for a gentleman of birth and expectations worthy of your choice,
if ambition be not your first object. Ah, while you spoke with such
endearing eloquence of feelings that were fresh, of a heart that was
new, of the happy English home, you might guess that my thoughts ran to
my friend who loves you so devotedly, and who so realises your ideal.
Proverbially, with us, happy marriages and happy homes are found not
in the gay circles of London fashion, but at the hearths of our rural
nobility--our untitled country gentlemen. And who, amongst all your
adorers, can offer you a lot so really enviable as the one whom, I see
by your blush, you already guess that I refer to?"

"Did I blush?" said the Marchesa, with a silvery laugh. "Nay, I think
that your zeal for your friend misled you. But I will own frankly, I
have been touched by his honest ingenuous love--so evident, yet rather
looked than spoken. I have contrasted the love that honours me with the
suitors that seek to degrade; more I cannot say. For though I grant
that your friend is handsome, high-spirited, and generous, still he is
not what--"

"You mistake, believe me," interrupted Randal. "You shall not finish
your sentence. He _is_ all that you do not yet suppose him; for his
shyness, and his very love, his very respect for your superiority, do
not allow his mind and his nature to appear to advantage. You, it is
true, have a taste for letters and poetry rare among your countrywomen.
He has not at present--few men have. But what Cimon would not be
refined by so fair an Iphigenia? Such frivolities as he now shows
belong but to youth and inexperience of life. Happy the brother who
could see his sister the wife of Frank Hazeldean."

The Marchesa leant her cheek on her hand in silence. To her, marriage
was more than it usually seems to dreaming maiden or to disconsolate
widow. So had the strong desire to escape from the control of her
unprincipled and remorseless brother grown a part of her very soul--so
had whatever was best and highest in her very mixed and complex
character been galled and outraged by her friendless and exposed
position, the equivocal worship rendered to her beauty, the various
debasements to which pecuniary embarrassments had subjected her--(not
without design on the part of the Count, who, though grasping, was not
miserly, and who by precarious and seemingly capricious gifts at one
time, and refusals of all aid at another, had involved her in debt in
order to retain his hold on her)--so utterly painful and humiliating to
a woman of her pride and her birth was the station that she held in the
world--that in marriage she saw liberty, life, honour, self-redemption;
and these thoughts, while they compelled her to co-operate with the
schemes, by which the Count, on securing to himself a bride, was to
bestow on herself a dower, also disposed her now to receive with favour
Randal Leslie's pleadings on behalf of his friend.

The advocate saw that he had made an impression, and with the
marvellous skill which his knowledge of those natures that engaged
his study bestowed on his intelligence, he continued to improve his
cause by such representations as were likely to be most effective.
With what admirable tact he avoided panegyric of Frank as the mere
individual, and drew him rather as the type, the ideal of what a woman
in Beatrice's position might desire, in the safety, peace, and honour
of a home, in the trust, and constancy, and honest confiding love of
its partner! He did not paint an elysium; he described a haven; he did
not glowingly delineate a hero of romance--he soberly portrayed that
Representative of the Respectable and the Real which a woman turns to
when romance begins to seem to her but delusion. Verily, if you could
have looked into the heart of the person he addressed, and heard him
speak, you would have cried admiringly, "Knowledge _is_ power; and this
man, if as able on a larger field of action, should play no mean part
in the history of his time."

Slowly Beatrice roused herself from the reveries which crept over her
as he spoke--slowly, and with a deep sigh, and said--

"Well, well, grant all you say; at least before I can listen to so
honourable a love, I must be relieved from the base and sordid pressure
that weighs on me. I cannot say to the man who wooes me, 'Will you pay
the debts of the daughter of Franzini, and the widow of di Negra?'"

"Nay, your debts, surely, make so slight a portion of your dowry."

"But the dowry has to be secured;" and here, turning the tables upon
her companion, as the apt proverb expresses it, Madame di Negra
extended her hand to Randal, and said in her most winning accents, "You
are, then, truly and sincerely my friend?"

"Can you doubt it?"

"I prove that I do not, for I ask your assistance."

"Mine? How?"

"Listen; my brother has arrived in London--"

"I see that arrival announced in the papers."

"And he comes, empowered by the consent of the Emperor, to ask the hand
of a relation and countrywoman of his; an alliance that will heal long
family dissensions, and add to his own fortunes those of an heiress.
My brother, like myself, has been extravagant. The dowry which by law
he still owes me it would distress him to pay till this marriage be
assured."

"I understand," said Randal. "But how can I aid this marriage?"

"By assisting us to discover the bride. She, with her father, sought
refuge and concealment in England."

"The father had, then, taken part in some political disaffections, and
was proscribed?"

"Exactly so; and so well has he concealed himself that he has baffled
all our efforts to discover his retreat. My brother can obtain him his
pardon in cementing this alliance--"

"Proceed."

"Ah Randal, Randal, is this the frankness of friendship? You know
that I have before sought to obtain the secret of our relation's
retreat--sought in vain to obtain it from Mr Egerton, who assuredly
knows it--"

"But who communicates no secrets to living man," said Randal, almost
bitterly; "who, close and compact as iron, is as little malleable to me
as to you."

"Pardon me. I know you so well that I believe you could attain to any
secret you sought earnestly to acquire. Nay, more, I believe that you
know already that secret which I ask you to share with me."

"What on earth makes you think so?"

"When, some weeks ago, you asked me to describe the personal appearance
and manners of the exile, which I did partly from the recollections
of my childhood, partly from the description given to me by others,
I could not but notice your countenance, and remark its change; in
spite," said the Marchesa, smiling, and watching Randal while she
spoke--"in spite of your habitual self-command. And when I pressed
you to own that you had actually seen some one who tallied with that
description, your denial did not deceive me. Still more, when returning
recently, of your own accord, to the subject, you questioned me so
shrewdly as to my motives in seeking the clue to our refugees, and I
did not then answer you satisfactorily, I could detect--"

"Ha, ha," interrupted Randal, with the low soft laugh by which
occasionally he infringed upon Lord Chesterfield's recommendations to
shun a merriment so natural as to be ill-bred,--"ha, ha, you have the
fault of all observers too minute and refined. But even granting that
I may have seen some Italian exiles, (which is likely enough,) what
could be more simple than my seeking to compare your description with
their appearance; and granting that I might suspect some one amongst
them to be the man you search for, what more simple, also, than that
I should desire to know if you meant him harm or good in discovering
his 'whereabout?' For ill," added Randal, with an air of prudery,
"ill would it become me to betray, even to friendship, the retreat of
one who would hide from persecution; and even if I did so--for honour
itself is a weak safeguard against your fascinations--such indiscretion
might be fatal to my future career."

"How?"

"Do you not say that Egerton knows the secret, yet will not
communicate?--and is he a man who would ever forgive in me an
imprudence that committed himself? My dear friend, I will tell you
more. When Audley Egerton first noticed my growing intimacy with you,
he said, with his usual dryness of counsel, 'Randal, I do not ask you
to discontinue acquaintance with Madame di Negra--for an acquaintance
with women like her forms the manners and refines the intellect; but
charming women are dangerous, and Madame di Negra is--a charming
woman.'"

The Marchesa's face flushed. Randal resumed: "'Your fair acquaintance'
(I am still quoting Egerton) 'seeks to discover the home of a
countryman of hers. She suspects that I know it. She may try to learn
it through you. Accident may possibly give you the information she
requires. Beware how you betray it. By one such weakness I should judge
of your general character. He from whom a woman can extract a secret
will never be fit for public life.' Therefore, my dear Marchesa, even
supposing I possess this secret, you would be no true friend of mine
to ask me to reveal what would emperil all my prospects. For as yet,"
added Randal, with a gloomy shade on his brow,--"as yet I do not stand
alone and erect--I _lean_;--I am dependent."

"There may be a way," replied Madame di Negra, persisting, "to
communicate this intelligence, without the possibility of Mr Egerton's
tracing our discovery to yourself; and, though I will not press you
farther, I add this--You urge me to accept your friend's hand; you seem
interested in the success of his suit, and you plead it with a warmth
that shows how much you regard what you suppose is his happiness;
I will never accept his hand till I can do so without blush for my
penury--till my dowry is secured, and that can only be by my brother's
union with the exile's daughter. For your friend's sake, therefore,
think well how you can aid me in the first step to that alliance. The
young lady once discovered, and my brother has no fear for the success
of his suit."

"And you would marry Frank if the dower was secured?"

"Your arguments in his favour seem irresistible," replied Beatrice,
looking down.

A flash went from Randal's eyes, and he mused a few moments.

Then slowly rising, and drawing on his gloves, he said--

"Well, at least you so far reconcile my honour towards aiding your
research, that you now inform me you mean no ill to the exile."

"Ill!--the restoration to fortune, honours, his native land."

"And you so far enlist my heart on your side, that you inspire me with
the hope to contribute to the happiness of two friends whom I dearly
love. I will, therefore, diligently seek to ascertain if, among the
refugees I have met with, lurk those whom you seek; and if so, I will
thoughtfully consider how to give you the clue. Meanwhile, not one
incautious word to Egerton."

"Trust me--I am a woman of the world."

Randal now had gained the door. He paused, and renewed carelessly--

"This young lady must be heiress to great wealth, to induce a man of
your brother's rank to take so much pains to discover her."

"Her wealth _will_ be vast," replied the Marchesa; "and if anything
from wealth or influence in a foreign state could be permitted to prove
my brother's gratitude--"

"Ah, fie," interrupted Randal, and approaching Madame di Negra, he
lifted her hand to his lips, and said gallantly,

"This is reward enough to your _preux chevalier_."

With those words he took his leave.


CHAPTER IV.

With his hands behind him, and his head drooping on his breast--slow,
stealthy, noiseless, Randal Leslie glided along the streets on leaving
the Italian's house. Across the scheme he had before revolved, there
glanced another yet more glittering, for its gain might be more sure
and immediate. If the exile's daughter were heiress to such wealth,
might he himself hope----. He stopped short even in his own soliloquy,
and his breath came quick. Now, in his last visit to Hazeldean, he
had come in contact with Riccabocca, and been struck by the beauty
of Violante. A vague suspicion had crossed him that these might be
the persons of whom the Marchesa was in search, and the suspicion had
been confirmed by Beatrice's description of the refugee she desired to
discover. But as he had not then learned the reason for her inquiries,
nor conceived the possibility that he could have any personal interest
in ascertaining the truth, he had only classed the secret in question
among those the farther research into which might be left to time and
occasion. Certainly the reader will not do the unscrupulous intellect
of Randal Leslie the injustice to suppose that he was deterred from
confiding to his fair friend all that he knew of Riccabocca, by the
refinement of honour to which he had so chivalrously alluded. He had
correctly stated Audley Egerton's warning against any indiscreet
confidence, though he had forborne to mention a more recent and direct
renewal of the same caution. His first visit to Hazeldean had been
paid without consulting Egerton. He had been passing some days at
his father's house, and had gone over thence to the Squire's. On his
return to London, he had, however, mentioned this visit to Audley, who
had seemed annoyed and even displeased at it, though Randal well knew
sufficient of Egerton's character to know that such feelings could
scarce be occasioned merely by his estrangement from his half brother.
This dissatisfaction had, therefore, puzzled the young man. But as it
was necessary to his views to establish intimacy with the Squire, he
did not yield the point with his customary deference to his patron's
whims. He, therefore, observed, that he should be very sorry to do
anything displeasing to his benefactor, but that his father had been
naturally anxious that he should not appear positively to slight the
friendly overtures of Mr Hazeldean.

"Why naturally?" asked Egerton.

"Because you know that Mr Hazeldean is a relation of mine--that my
grandmother was a Hazeldean."

"Ah!" said Egerton, who, as it has been before said, knew little, and
cared less, about the Hazeldean pedigree, "I was either not aware of
that circumstance, or had forgotten it. And your father thinks that the
Squire may leave you a legacy?"

"Oh, sir, my father is not so mercenary--such an idea never entered
his head. But the Squire himself has indeed said--'Why, if anything
happened to Frank, you would be next heir to my lands, and therefore we
ought to know each other.' But--"

"Enough," interrupted Egerton, "I am the last man to pretend to the
right of standing between you and a single chance of fortune, or of aid
to it. And whom did you meet at Hazeldean?"

"There was no one there, sir; not even Frank."

"Hum. Is the Squire not on good terms with his parson? Any quarrel
about tithes?"

"Oh, no quarrel. I forgot Mr Dale; I saw him pretty often. He admires
and praises you very much, sir."

"Me--and why? What did he say of me?"

"That your heart was as sound as your head; that he had once seen you
about some old parishioners of his; and that he had been much impressed
with a depth of feeling he could not have anticipated in a man of the
world, and a statesman."

"Oh, that was all; some affair when I was member for Lansmere?"

"I suppose so."

Here the conversation had broken off; but the next time Randal was led
to visit the Squire he had formally asked Egerton's consent, who, after
a moment's hesitation, had as formally replied, "I have no objection."

On returning from this visit, Randal mentioned that he had seen
Riccabocca; and Egerton, a little startled at first, said composedly,
"Doubtless one of the political refugees; take care not to set Madame
di Negra on his track. Remember, she is suspected of being a spy of the
Austrian government."

"Rely on me, sir," said Randal; "but I should think this poor Doctor
can scarcely be the person she seeks to discover."

"That is no affair of ours," answered Egerton; "we are English
gentlemen, and make not a step towards the secrets of another."

Now, when Randal revolved this rather ambiguous answer, and recalled
the uneasiness with which Egerton had first heard of his visit to
Hazeldean, he thought that he was indeed near the secret which Egerton
desired to conceal from him and from all--viz., the incognito of the
Italian whom Lord l'Estrange had taken under his protection.

"My cards," said Randal to himself, as, with a deep-drawn sigh, he
resumed his soliloquy, "are become difficult to play. On the one
hand, to entangle Frank into marriage with this foreigner, the Squire
could never forgive him. On the other hand, if she will not marry him
without the dowry--and that depends on her brother's wedding this
countrywoman--and that countrywoman be, as I surmise, Violante--and
Violante be this heiress, and to be won by me! Tush, tush. Such
delicate scruples in a woman so placed and so constituted as Beatrice
di Negra, must be easily talked away. Nay, the loss itself of this
alliance to her brother, the loss of her own dowry--the very pressure
of poverty and debt--would compel her into the sole escape left to
her option. I will then follow up the old plan; I will go down to
Hazeldean, and see if there be any substance in the new one;--and then
to reconcile both--aha--the House of Leslie shall rise yet from its
ruin--and--"

Here he was startled from his reverie by a friendly slap on the
shoulder, and an exclamation--"Why, Randal, you are more absent than
when you used to steal away from the cricket ground, muttering Greek
verses at Eton."

"My dear Frank," said Randal, "you--you are so _brusque_, and I was
just thinking of you."

"Were you? And kindly, then, I am sure," said Frank Hazeldean, his
honest handsome face lighted up with the unsuspecting genial trust of
friendship; "and heaven knows," he added, with a sadder voice, and a
graver expression on his eye and lip--"heaven knows I want all the
kindness you can give me!"

"I thought," said Randal, "that your father's last supply, of which
I was fortunate enough to be the bearer, would clear off your more
pressing debts. I don't pretend to preach, but really I must say once
more, you should not be so extravagant."

FRANK, (seriously).--"I have done my best to reform. I have sold off my
horses, and I have not touched dice nor card these six months: I would
not even put into the raffle for the last Derby." This last was said
with the air of a man who doubted the possibility of obtaining belief
to some assertion of preternatural abstinence and virtue.

RANDAL.--"Is it possible? But, with such self-conquest, how is it
that you cannot contrive to live within the bounds of a very liberal
allowance?"

FRANK, (despondingly).--"Why, when a man once gets his head under
water, it is so hard to float back again on the surface. You see, I
attribute all my embarrassments to that first concealment of my debts
from my father, when they could have been so easily met, and when he
came up to town so kindly."

"I am sorry, then, that I gave you that advice."

"Oh you meant it so kindly, I don't reproach you; it was all my own
fault."

"Why, indeed, I did urge you to pay off that moiety of your debts left
unpaid, with your allowance. Had you done so, all had been well."

"Yes, but poor Borrowwell got into such a scrape at Goodwood; I could
not resist him--a debt of honour, _that_ must be paid; so when I signed
another bill for him, he could not pay it, poor fellow: really he would
have shot himself, if I had not renewed it; and now it is swelled to
such an amount with that cursed interest, that _he_ never can pay it;
and one bill, of course, begets another, and to be renewed every three
months; 'tis the devil and all! So little as I ever got for all I have
borrowed," added Frank with a kind of rueful amaze. "Not £1500 ready
money; and it would cost me almost as much yearly,--if I had it."

"Only £1500."

"Well, besides seven large chests of the worst cigars you ever smoked;
three pipes of wine that no one would drink, and a great bear, that had
been imported from Greenland for the sake of its grease."

"That should at least have saved you a bill with your hairdresser."

"I paid his bill with it," said Frank, "and very good-natured he was
to take the monster off my hands; it had already hugged two soldiers
and one groom into the shape of a flounder. I tell you what," resumed
Frank, after a short pause, "I have a great mind even now to tell my
father honestly all my embarrassments."

RANDAL, (solemnly.)--"Hum!"

FRANK.--"What? don't you think it would be the best way? I never
can save enough--never can pay off what I owe; and it rolls like a
snowball."

RANDAL.--"Judging by the Squire's talk, I think that with the first
sight of your affairs you would forfeit his favour for ever; and your
mother would be so shocked, especially after supposing that the sum I
brought you so lately sufficed to pay off every claim on you. If you
had not assured her of that, it might be different; but she who so
hates an untruth, and who said to the Squire, 'Frank says this will
clear him; and with all his faults, Frank never yet told a lie.'"

"Oh my dear mother!--I fancy I hear her!" cried Frank with deep
emotion. "But I did not tell a lie, Randal; I did not say that that sum
would clear me."

"You empowered and begged me to say so," replied Randal with grave
coldness; "and don't blame me if I believed you."

"No, no! I only said it would clear me for the moment."

"I misunderstood you, then, sadly; and such mistakes involve my own
honour. Pardon me, Frank; don't ask my aid in future. You see, with the
best intentions I only compromise myself."

"If you forsake me, I may as well go and throw myself into the river,"
said Frank in a tone of despair; "and sooner or later my father must
know my necessities. The Jews threaten to go to him already; and the
longer the delay, the more terrible the explanation."

"I don't see why your father should ever learn the state of your
affairs; and it seems to me that you could pay off these usurers, and
get rid of these bills, by raising money on comparatively easy terms--"

"How?" cried Frank eagerly.

"Why, the Casino property is entailed on you, and you might obtain a
sum upon that, not to be paid till the property becomes yours."

"At my poor father's death? Oh, no--no! I cannot bear the idea
of this cold-blooded calculation on a father's death. I know it
is not uncommon; I know other fellows who have done it, but they
never had parents so kind as mine; and even in them it shocked and
revolted me. The contemplating a father's death and profiting by the
contemplation,--it seems a kind of parricide--it is not natural,
Randal. Besides, don't you remember what the governor said--he actually
wept while he said it, 'Never calculate on my death; I could not bear
that.' Oh, Randal, don't speak of it!"

"I respect your sentiments; but still all the post-obits you could
raise could not shorten Mr Hazeldean's life by a day. However, dismiss
that idea; we must think of some other device. Ha, Frank! you are a
handsome fellow, and your expectations are great--why don't you marry
some woman with money?"

"Pooh!" exclaimed Frank, colouring. "You know, Randal, that there is
but one woman in the world I can ever think of, and I love her so
devotedly, that, though I was as gay as most men before, I really feel
as if the rest of her sex had lost every charm. I was passing through
the street now,--merely to look up at her windows--"

"You speak of Madame di Negra? I have just left her. Certainly she
is two or three years older than you; but if you can get over that
misfortune, why not marry her?"

"Marry her!" cried Frank in amaze, and all his colour fled from his
cheeks. "Marry her!--are you serious?"

"Why not?"

"But even if she, who is so accomplished, so admired--even if she would
accept me, she is, you know, poorer than myself. She has told me so
frankly. That woman has such a noble heart! and--and--my father would
never consent, nor my mother either. I know they would not."

"Because she is a foreigner?"

"Yes--partly."

"Yet the Squire suffered his cousin to marry a foreigner."

"That was different. He had no control over Jemima; and a
daughter-in-law is so different; and my father is so English in his
notions; and Madame di Negra, you see, is altogether so foreign. Her
very graces would be against her in his eyes."

"I think you do both your parents injustice. A foreigner of low
birth--an actress or singer, for instance--of course would be highly
objectionable; but a woman, like Madame di Negra, of such high birth
and connections--"

Frank shook his head. "I don't think the governor would care a straw
about her connections, if she were a king's daughter. He considers all
foreigners pretty much alike. And then, you know"--Frank's voice sank
into a whisper--"you know that one of the very reasons why she is so
dear to me would be an insuperable objection to the old fashioned folks
at home."

"I don't understand you, Frank."

"I love her the more," said young Hazeldean, raising his front with
a noble pride, that seemed to speak of his descent from a race of
cavaliers and gentlemen--"I love her the more because the world has
slandered her name--because I believe her to be pure and wronged. But
would they at the hall--they who do not see with a lover's eyes--they
who have all the stubborn English notions about the indecorum and
license of Continental manners, and will so readily credit the
worst?--Oh, no--I love--I cannot help it--but I have no hope."

"It is very possible that you may be right," exclaimed Randal, as if
struck and half-convinced by his companion's argument--"very possible;
and certainly I think that the homely folks at the Hall would fret and
fume at first, if they heard you were married to Madame di Negra. Yet
still, when your father learned that you had done so, not from passion
alone, but to save him from all pecuniary sacrifice--to clear yourself
of debt--to--"

"What do you mean?" exclaimed Frank impatiently.

"I have reason to know that Madame di Negra will have as large a
portion as your father could reasonably expect you to receive with
any English wife. And when this is properly stated to the Squire, and
the high position and rank of your wife fully established and brought
home to him--for I must think that these would tell, despite your
exaggerated notions of his prejudices--and then, when he really sees
Madame di Negra, and can judge of her beauty and rare gifts, upon my
word, I think, Frank, that there would be no cause for fear. After all,
too, you are his only son. He will have no option but to forgive you;
and I know how anxiously both your parents wish to see you settled in
life."

Frank's whole countenance became illuminated. "There is no one who
understands the Squire like you, certainly," said he, with lively joy.
"He has the highest opinion of your judgment. And you really believe
you could smooth matters?"

"I believe so, but I should be sorry to induce you to run any risk; and
if, on cool consideration, you think that risk is incurred, I strongly
advise you to avoid all occasion of seeing the poor Marchesa. Ah, you
wince; but I say it for her sake as well as your own. First, you must
be aware, that, unless you have serious thoughts of marriage, your
attentions can but add to the very rumours that, equally groundless,
you so feelingly resent; and, secondly, because I don't think any man
has a right to win the affections of a woman--especially a woman who
seems to me likely to love with her whole heart and soul--merely to
gratify his own vanity."

"Vanity! Good heavens, can you think so poorly of me? But as to the
Marchesa's affection," continued Frank, with a faltering voice, "do you
really and honestly believe that they are to be won by me?"

"I fear lest they may be half won already," said Randal with a smile
and a shake of the head; "but she is too proud to let you see any
effect you may produce on her, especially when, as I take it for
granted, you have never hinted at the hope of obtaining her hand."

"I never till now conceived such a hope. My dear Randal, all my cares
have vanished--I tread upon air--I have a great mind to call on her at
once."

"Stay, stay," said Randal. "Let me give you a caution. I have just
informed you that Madame di Negra will have, what you suspected not
before, a fortune suitable to her birth; any abrupt change in your
manner at present might induce her to believe that you were influenced
by that intelligence."

"Ah!" exclaimed Frank, stopping short, as if wounded to the quick. "And
I feel guilty--feel as if I _was_ influenced by that intelligence. So
I am, too, when I reflect," he continued, with a _naiveté_ that was
half pathetic; "but I hope she will not be _very_ rich--if so, I'll not
call."

"Make your mind easy, it is but a portion of some twenty or thirty
thousand pounds, that would just suffice to discharge all your debts,
clear away all obstacle to your union, and in return for which you
could secure a more than adequate jointure and settlement on the Casino
property. Now I am on that head, I will be yet more communicative.
Madame di Negra has a noble heart, as you say, and told me herself,
that, until her brother on his arrival had assured her of this dowry,
she would never have consented to marry you--never crippled with her
own embarrassments the man she loves. Ah! with what delight she will
hail the thought of assisting you to win back your father's heart! But
be guarded, meanwhile. And now, Frank, what say you--would it not be
well if I ran down to Hazeldean to sound your parents? It is rather
inconvenient to me, to be sure, to leave town just at present; but I
would do more than that to render you a smaller service. Yes, I'll go
to Rood Hall to-morrow, and thence to Hazeldean. I am sure your father
will press me to stay, and I shall have ample opportunities to judge of
the manner in which he would be likely to regard your marriage with
Madame di Negra--supposing always it were properly put to him. We can
then act accordingly."

"My dear, dear Randal. How can I thank you? If ever a poor fellow like
me can serve you in return--but that's impossible."

"Why, certainly, I will never ask you to be security to a bill of
mine," said Randal, laughing. "I practise the economy I preach."

"Ah!" said Frank, with a groan, "that is because your mind is
cultivated--you have so many resources; and all my faults have come
from idleness. If I had had anything to do on a rainy day, I should
never have got into these scrapes."

"Oh! you will have enough to do some day managing your property. We who
have no property must find one in knowledge. Adieu, my dear Frank; I
must go home now. By the way, you have never, by chance, spoken of the
Riccaboccas to Madame di Negra?"

"The Riccaboccas? No. That's well thought of. It may interest her to
know that a relation of mine has married her countryman. Very odd that
I never did mention it; but, to say truth, I really do talk so little
to her; she is so superior, and I feel positively shy with her."

"Do me the favour, Frank," said Randal, waiting patiently till this
reply ended--for he was devising all the time what reason to give for
his request--"never to allude to the Riccaboccas either to her or to
her brother, to whom you are sure to be presented."

"Why not allude to them?"

Randal hesitated a moment. His invention was still at fault, and, for a
wonder, he thought it the best policy to go pretty near the truth.

"Why, I will tell you. The Marchesa conceals nothing from her brother,
and he is one of the few Italians who are in high favour with the
Austrian court."

"Well!"

"And I suspect that poor Dr Riccabocca fled his country from some mad
experiment at revolution, and is still hiding from the Austrian police."

"But they can't hurt him here," said Frank, with an Englishman's dogged
inborn conviction of the sanctity of his native island. "I should like
to see an Austrian pretend to dictate to us whom to receive and whom to
reject."

"Hum--that's true and constitutional, no doubt; but Riccabocca may
have excellent reasons--and, to speak plainly, I know he has, (perhaps
as affecting the safety of friends in Italy,)--for preserving his
incognito, and we are bound to respect those reasons without inquiring
further."

"Still, I cannot think so meanly of Madame di Negra," persisted Frank,
(shrewd here, though credulous elsewhere, and both from his sense of
honour,) "as to suppose that she would descend to be a spy, and injure
a poor countryman of her own, who trusts to the same hospitality she
receives herself at our English hands. Oh, if I thought that, I could
not love her!" added Frank, with energy.

"Certainly you are right. But see in what a false position you would
place both her brother and herself. If they knew Riccabocca's secret,
and proclaimed it to the Austrian government, as you say, it would be
cruel and mean; but, if they knew it and concealed, it might involve
them both in the most serious consequences. You know the Austrian
policy is proverbially so jealous and tyrannical?"

"Well, the newspapers say so, certainly."

"And, in short, your discretion can do no harm, and your indiscretion
may. Therefore, give me your word, Frank. I can't stay to argue now."

"I'll not allude to the Riccaboccas, upon my honour," answered Frank;
"still, I am sure that they would be as safe with the Marchesa as
with"----

"I rely on your honour," interrupted Randal hastily, and hurried off.


CHAPTER V.

Towards the evening of the following day, Randal Leslie walked slowly
from a village in the main road, (about two miles from Rood Hall,)
at which he had got out of the coach. He passed through meads and
corn-fields, and by the skirts of woods which had formerly belonged to
his ancestors, but had been long since alienated. He was alone amidst
the haunts of his boyhood, the scenes in which he had first invoked the
grand Spirit of Knowledge, to bid the Celestial Still One minister to
the commands of an earthly and turbulent ambition. He paused often in
his path, especially when the undulations of the ground gave a glimpse
of the grey church tower, or the gloomy firs that rose above the
desolate wastes of Rood.

"Here," thought Randal, with a softening eye--"here, how often,
comparing the fertility of the lands passed away from the inheritance
of my fathers, with the forlorn wilds that are left to their mouldering
hall--here, how often have I said to myself--'I will rebuild the
fortunes of my house.' And straightway Toil lost its aspect of drudge,
and grew kingly, and books became as living armies to serve my thought.
Again--again--O thou haughty Past, brace and strengthen me in the
battle with the Future." His pale lips writhed as he soliloquised, for
his conscience spoke to him while he thus addressed his will, and its
voice was heard more audibly in the quiet of the rural landscape, than
amidst the turmoil and din of that armed and sleepless camp which we
call a city.

Doubtless, though Ambition have objects more vast and beneficent than
the restoration of a name,--_that_ in itself is high and chivalrous,
and appeals to a strong interest in the human heart. But all emotions,
and all ends, of a nobler character, had seemed to filter themselves
free from every golden grain in passing through the mechanism of
Randal's intellect, and came forth at last into egotism clear and
unalloyed. Nevertheless, it is a strange truth that, to a man of
cultivated mind, however perverted and vicious, there are vouchsafed
gleams of brighter sentiments, irregular perceptions of moral
beauty, denied to the brutal unreasoning wickedness of uneducated
villany--which perhaps ultimately serve as his punishment--according
to the old thought of the satirist, that there is no greater curse
than to perceive virtue, yet adopt vice. And as the solitary schemer
walked slowly on, and his childhood--innocent at least of deed--came
distinct before him through the halo of bygone dreams--dreams far purer
than those from which he now rose each morning to the active world of
Man--a profound melancholy crept over him, and suddenly he exclaimed
aloud, "_Then_ I aspired to be renowned and great--_now_, how is it
that, so advanced in my career, all that seemed lofty in the means
has vanished from me, and the only means that I contemplate are those
which my childhood would have called poor and vile? Ah! is it that I
then read but books, and now my knowledge has passed onward, and men
contaminate more than books? But," he continued, in a lower voice, as
if arguing with himself, "if power is only so to be won--and of what
use is knowledge if it be not power--does not success in life justify
all things? And who prizes the wise man if he fails?" He continued his
way, but still the soft tranquillity around rebuked him, and still his
reason was dissatisfied, as well as his conscience. There are times
when Nature, like a bath of youth, seems to restore to the jaded soul
its freshness--times from which some men have emerged, as if reborn.
The crises of life are very silent. Suddenly the scene opened on Randal
Leslie's eyes. The bare desert common--the dilapidated church--the
old house, partially seen in the dank dreary hollow, into which it
seemed to Randal to have sunken deeper and lowlier than when he saw it
last. And on the common were some young men playing at hockey. That
old-fashioned game, now very uncommon in England, except at schools,
was still preserved in the primitive vicinity of Rood by the young
yeomen and farmers. Randal stood by the style and looked on, for among
the players he recognised his brother Oliver. Presently the ball was
struck towards Oliver, and the group instantly gathered round that
young gentleman, and snatched him from Randal's eye; but the elder
brother heard a displeasing din, a derisive laughter. Oliver had shrunk
from the danger of the thick-clubbed sticks that plied around him, and
received some stroke across the legs, for his voice rose whining,and
was drowned by shouts of, "Go to your mammy. That's Noll Leslie--all
over. Butter shins."

Randal's sallow face became scarlet. "The jest of boors--a Leslie!"
he muttered, and ground his teeth. He sprang over the stile, and
walked erect and haughtily across the ground. The players cried out
indignantly. Randal raised his hat, and they recognised him, and
stopped the game. For him at least a certain respect was felt. Oliver
turned round quickly, and ran up to him. Randal caught his arm firmly,
and, without saying a word to the rest, drew him away towards the
house. Oliver cast a regretful, lingering look behind him, rubbed his
shins, and then stole a timid glance towards Randal's severe and moody
countenance.

"You are not angry that I was playing at hockey with our neighbours,"
said he deprecatingly, observing that Randal would not break the
silence.

"No," replied the elder brother; "but, in associating with his
inferiors, a gentleman still knows how to maintain his dignity.
There is no harm in playing with inferiors, but it is necessary to a
gentleman to play so that he is not the laughing-stock of clowns."

Oliver hung his head, and made no answer. They came into the slovenly
precincts of the court, and the pigs stared at them from the palings,
as they had stared, years before, at Frank Hazeldean.

Mr Leslie senior, in a shabby straw hat, was engaged in feeding the
chickens before the threshold, and he performed even that occupation
with a maundering lack-a-daisical slothfulness, dropping down the
grains almost one by one from his inert dreamy fingers.

Randal's sister, her hair still and for ever hanging about her ears,
was seated on a rush-bottom chair, reading a tattered novel; and from
the parlour window was heard the querulous voice of Mrs Leslie, in high
fidget and complaint.

Somehow or other, as the young heir to all this helpless poverty stood
in the courtyard, with his sharp, refined, intelligent features, and
his strange elegance of dress and aspect, one better comprehended how,
left solely to the egotism of his knowledge and his ambition, in such a
family, and without any of the sweet nameless lessons of Home, he had
grown up into such close and secret solitude of soul--how the mind had
taken so little nutriment from the heart, and how that affection and
respect which the warm circle of the hearth usually calls forth had
passed with him to the graves of dead fathers, growing, as it were,
bloodless and ghoul-like amidst the charnels on which they fed.

"Ha, Randal, boy," said Mr Leslie, looking up lazily, "how d'ye do?
Who could have expected you? My dear--my dear," he cried, in a broken
voice, and as if in helpless dismay, "here's Randal, and he'll be
wanting dinner, or supper, or something." But, in the meanwhile,
Randal's sister Juliet had sprung up and thrown her arms round her
brother's neck, and he had drawn her aside caressingly, for Randal's
strongest human affection was for this sister.

"You are growing very pretty, Juliet," said he, smoothing back her
hair; "why do yourself such injustice--why not pay more attention to
your appearance, as I have so often begged you to do?"

"I did not expect you, dear Randal; you always come so suddenly, and
catch us _en dish-a-bill_."

"Dish-a-bill!" echoed Randal, with a groan. "_Dishabille!_--you ought
never to be so caught!"

"No one else does so catch us--nobody else ever comes! Heigho," and the
young lady sighed very heartily.

"Patience, patience; my day is coming, and then yours, my sister,"
replied Randal with genuine pity, as he gazed upon what a little care
could have trained into so fair a flower, and what now looked so like a
weed.

Here Mrs Leslie, in a state of intense excitement--having rushed
through the parlour--leaving a fragment of her gown between the
yawning brass of the never-mended Brummagem worktable--tore across the
hall--whirled out of the door, scattering the chickens to the right
and left, and clutched hold of Randal in her motherly embrace. "La,
how you do shake my nerves," she cried, after giving him a most hasty
and uncomfortable kiss. "And you are hungry too, and nothing in the
house but cold mutton! Jenny, Jenny, I say Jenny! Juliet, have you seen
Jenny? Where's Jenny? Out with the odd man, I'll be bound."

"I am not hungry, mother," said Randal; "I wish for nothing but tea."
Juliet, scrambling up her hair, darted into the house to prepare the
tea, and also to "tidy herself." She dearly loved her fine brother, but
she was greatly in awe of him.

Randal seated himself on the broken pales. "Take care they don't come
down," said Mr Leslie with some anxiety.

"Oh, sir, I am very light; nothing comes down with me."

The pigs stared up, and grunted in amaze at the stranger.

"Mother," said the young man, detaining Mrs Leslie, who wanted to set
off in chase of Jenny--"mother, you should not let Oliver associate
with those village boors. It is time to think of a profession for him."

"Oh, he eats us out of house and home--such an appetite! But as to a
profession--what is he fit for! He will never be a scholar."

Randal nodded a moody assent; for, indeed, Oliver had been sent to
Cambridge, and supported there out of Randal's income from his official
pay;--and Oliver had been plucked for his Little Go.

"There is the army," said the elder brother--"a gentleman's calling.
How handsome Juliet ought to be--but--I left money for masters--and she
pronounces French like a chambermaid."

"Yet she is fond of her book too. She's always reading, and good for
nothing else."

"Reading!--those trashy novels!

"So like you--you always come to scold, and make things unpleasant,"
said Mrs Leslie peevishly. "You are grown too fine for us, and I am
sure we suffer affronts enough from others, not to want a little
respect from our own children."

"I did not mean to affront you," said Randal sadly. "Pardon me. But who
else has done so?"

Then Mrs Leslie went into a minute and most irritating catalogue of
all the mortifications and insults she had received; the grievances
of a petty provincial family, with much pretension and small power;
of all people, indeed, without the disposition to please--without the
ability to serve--who exaggerate every offence, and are thankful for
no kindness. Farmer Jones had insolently refused to send his waggon
twenty miles for coals. Mr Giles, the butcher, requesting the payment
of his bill, had stated that the custom at Rood was too small for
him to allow credit. Squire Thornhill, who was the present owner of
the fairest slice of the old Leslie domains, had taken the liberty
to ask permission to shoot over Mr Leslie's land, since Mr Leslie
did not preserve. Lady Spratt (new people from the city, who hired
a neighbouring country seat) had taken a discharged servant of Mrs
Leslie's without applying for the character. The Lord-Lieutenant had
given a ball, and had not invited the Leslies. Mr Leslie's tenants had
voted against their landlord's wish at the recent election. More than
all, Squire Hazeldean and his Harry had called at Rood, and though Mrs
Leslie had screamed out to Jenny, "Not at home," she had been seen at
the window, and the Squire had actually forced his way in, and caught
the whole family "in a state not fit to be seen." That was a trifle,
but the Squire had presumed to instruct Mr. Leslie how to manage his
property, and Mrs Hazeldean had actually told Juliet to hold up her
head and tie up her hair, "as if we were her cottagers!" said Mrs
Leslie with the pride of a Montfydget.

All these and various other annoyances, though Randal was too sensible
not to perceive their insignificance, still galled and mortified the
listening heir of Rood. They showed, at least, even to the well-meant
officiousness of the Hazeldeans, the small account in which the fallen
family was held. As he sat still on the moss-grown pale, gloomy and
taciturn, his mother standing beside him, with her cap awry, Mr Leslie
shamblingly sauntered up, and said in a pensive, dolorous whine--

"I wish we had a good sum of money, Randal, boy!"

To do Mr Leslie justice, he seldom gave vent to any wish that savoured
of avarice. His mind must be singularly aroused, to wander out of its
normal limits of sluggish, dull content.

So Randal looked at him in surprise, and said, "Do you, sir?--why?"

"The manors of Rood and Dulmansberry, and all the lands therein, which
my great-grandfather sold away, are to be sold again when Squire
Thornhill's eldest son comes of age, to cut off the entail. Sir John
Spratt talks of buying them. I should like to have them back again!
'Tis a shame to see the Leslie estates hawked about, and bought by
Spratts and people. I wish I had a great--great sum of ready-money."

The poor gentleman extended his helpless fingers as he spoke, and fell
into a dejected reverie.

Randal sprang from the paling, a movement which frightened the
contemplative pigs, and set them off squalling and scampering. "When
does young Thornhill come of age?"

"He was nineteen last August. I know it, because the day lie was born
I picked up my fossil of the sea-horse, just by Dulmansberry church,
when the joy-bells were ringing. My fossil sea-horse! It Will be an
heirloom, Randal--"

"Two years--nearly two years--yet--ah, ah!" said Randal; and his
sister now appearing to announce that tea was ready, he threw his
arm round her neck and kissed her. Juliet had arranged her hair and
trimmed up her dress. She looked very pretty, and she had now the air
of a gentlewoman--something of Randal's own refinement in her slender
proportions and well-shaped head.

"Be patient, patient still, my dear sister," whispered Randal, "and
keep your heart whole for two years longer."

The young man was gay and good-humoured over his simple meal, while
his family grouped round him. When it was over, Mr Leslie lighted his
pipe, and called for his brandy and water. Mrs Leslie began to question
about London and Court, and the new King and the new Queen, and Mr
Audley Egerton, and hoped Mr Egerton would leave Randal all his money,
and that Randal would marry a rich woman, and that the King would make
him a prime-minister one of these days; and then she should like to
see if Farmer Jones would refuse to send his waggon for coals! And
every now and then, as the word "riches" or "money" caught Mr Leslie's
ear, he shook his head, drew his pipe from his mouth, and muttered, "A
Spratt should not have what belonged to my great-great-grandfather.
If I had a good sum of ready-money!--the old family estates!" Oliver
and Juliet sate silent, and on their good behaviour; and Randal,
indulging his own reveries, dreamily heard the words "money," "Spratt,"
"great-great-grandfather," "rich wife," "family estates;" and they
sounded to him vague and afar off, like whispers from the world of
romance and legend--weird prophecies of things to be.

Such was the hearth which warmed the viper that nestled and gnawed at
the heart of Randal, poisoning all the aspirations that youth should
have rendered pure, ambition lofty, and knowledge beneficent and divine.


CHAPTER VI.

When the rest of the household were in deep sleep, Randal stood long at
his open window, looking over the dreary, comfortless scene--the moon
gleaming from skies half-autumnal, half-wintry, upon squalid decay,
through the ragged fissures of the firs; and when he lay down to rest,
his sleep was feverish, and troubled by turbulent dreams.

However, he was up early, and with an unwonted colour in his cheeks,
which his sister ascribed to the country air. After breakfast, he took
his way towards Hazeldean, mounted upon a tolerable horse, which he
hired of a neighbouring farmer who occasionally hunted. Before noon,
the garden and terrace of the Casino came in sight. He reined in his
horse, and by the little fountain at which Leonard had been wont to
eat his radishes and con his book, he saw Riccabocca seated under the
shade of the red umbrella. And by the Italian's side stood a form that
a Greek of old might have deemed the Naiad of the Fount; for in its
youthful beauty there was something so full of poetry--something at
once so sweet and so stately--that it spoke to the imagination while it
charmed the sense.

Randal dismounted, tied his horse to the gate, and, walking down a
trellised alley, came suddenly to the spot. His dark shadow fell over
the clear mirror of the fountain just as Riccabocca had said, "All here
is so secure from evil!--the waves of the fountain are never troubled
like those of the river!" and Violante had answered in her soft native
tongue, and lifting her dark, spiritual eyes--"But the fountain would
be but a lifeless pool, oh my father, if the spray did not mount
towards the skies!"



THE MASTER THIEF.

A NORSE POPULAR TALE.


On a gloomy autumn evening I sat alone with the "proprietor," to whose
children I was then tutor, in his country house, about twenty miles
from Christiania. Out of doors something was falling which was neither
rain, nor snow, nor sleet, but a mixture of all three; and inside, in
the "proprietor's" parlour, the lights burned so sluggishly, that no
other objects were discernible through the haze than a corner cupboard,
filled with Chinese nick-nacks, a great mirror in an old-fashioned gilt
frame, and a hereditary tankard, the reward of one of the proprietor's
ancestors for service rendered to the state. That worthy individual had
nestled himself into one corner of the sofa, where he pored over the
proof-sheets of his pamphlet, entitled, "_A few Patriotic Expressions
for the Country's Good; by an Anonymous Writer_."

While brooding over this gold mine of his own ideas he gave birth to
many sagacious thoughts, which, from time to time, with a twinkle of
his grey eyes, he threw out for my edification, as I sat and tried to
read in the other corner of the sofa. After a while, warming with his
theme, he poured out a host of "patriotic expressions" and opinions,
worthy of all respect, but of which nothing save the pamphlet quoted
above, or his great _Treatise on Tithe_, can give an adequate idea.
I am ashamed to own that all this wisdom was lost upon me. I knew it
all by heart, for I had heard the same story forty times at least
before. I am not gifted with a patience of Indian-rubber; but what
could I do? Retreat to my own room was impossible, for it had been
scoured for Sunday, and was full of reek and damp. So, after some
fruitless attempts to bury myself in my book, I was forced to give
in, and to suffer myself to be carried along in the troubled stream
of the proprietor's eloquence. Of course he dilated on questions of
profound national importance, which he furbished up with all sorts of
cut-and-dried figures of speech. He was now fairly on his hobby, and
rose rapidly to the seventh heaven. He stood up and gesticulated; then
he strode up and down, and his grey dressing-gown described streaming
circles behind him, as he turned short round, and limped backwards and
forwards on his spindle-shanks,--for, like Tyrtæus, the proprietor
had a strong halt. The candles flared, flickered, and guttered, as he
passed triumphantly by the table on which they stood; and his winged
words sung in my ears like humble-bees when the linden-trees are in
bloom. Off he went on "Class Legislation" and "Judicial Reform," on
"Corn Laws and Free Trade," on "Native Industry and Centralisation,"
on the "Victorious progress of Ideas," and the "Insufficiency of our
Circulating Medium," on "Bureaucracy," and the "Aristocracy of Office,"
till he bid fair to exhaust all the _cracies_, _archies_, and _isms_
that ever existed, from King Solomon to the present time.

Mortal man could hold out no longer, and I was just on the point of
bursting out into a roar of laughter in the worthy proprietor's face,
when peal after peal of laughter resounded from the kitchen, and came
to my rescue. It was Christian the blacksmith who had the word in that
quarter of the house, and when he ceased speaking, repeated roars of
mirth followed.

"I'll just go out and hear some of the smith's stories," I cried as I
ran out, leaving the proprietor behind in the parlour with the dull
candles and his drowsy current of thought.

"Children's prate and lying stories," growled the proprietor as I shut
the door. "People of intelligence should be ashamed to listen to them;
but well-meant patriotic expressions--" The rest was lost upon me.

Light and life and mirth streamed forth in the high and airy hall; on
the hearth blazed a pile of logs, which threw a strong light into the
furthest nook. In the chimney-corner sat enthroned the proprietor's
housekeeper with her spinning-wheel; and though for many years she
had had hard struggles with the rheumatism, and barricaded the enemy
out with a multitude of undercoats and kirtles, throwing over all,
as an outwork, a huge grey woollen wrapper, yet her face shone under
her plaited cap like the full moon. At her feet lay the proprietor's
children laughing and cracking nuts; while round about sat a circle of
maids and workmen's wives, who trode their spinning-wheels with busy
feet, or plied the noisy carding-comb. In the entrance the threshers
shook off the snow from their feet, and stepping in with icicles in
their hair, sat down at the long table, where the cook served up to
them their supper--a bowl of milk and a dish of close-pressed porridge.
Against the high chimney-piece leant the smith, who smoked tobacco from
a short pipe, and whose face, while it showed traces of the smithy,
bore an expression of dry humour, which testified that he had been
telling a good story, and telling it well.

"Good afternoon, smith," said I; "what story have you been telling
which aroused so much laughter?"

"Ha, ha!" shouted the boys, "Christian has been telling us all about
the 'Devil and the Smith,' and how the smith got the fiend into a
hazel-nut; and now he's going to tell us about the Master Thief, and
how he won the Squire's daughter."

"Well, don't let me stop the story, smith," I replied, only too
glad to escape for a while from the proprietor with his "Patriotic
Expressions," his "Corn Laws and Free Trade," his "Circulating Mediums
and Bureaucracies," and to refresh myself with hearing one of these old
national tales, told in a simple childish way by one of the people.

So after one or two long-drawn puffs, the Smith began


THE MASTER THIEF.

Once upon a time there was a poor cottager who had three sons. He had
nothing to leave them when he died, and no money with which to put them
to any trade, so that he did not know what to make of them. At last
he said he would give them leave to take to anything each liked best,
and to go whithersoever they pleased, and he would go with them a bit
of the way; and so he did. He went with them till they came to a place
where three roads met, and there each of them chose a road, and their
father bade them good-bye, and went back home. I have never heard tell
what became of the two elder; but as for the youngest, he went both far
and long, as you shall hear.

So it fell out one night as he was going through a great wood that such
bad weather overtook him. It blew and drizzled so that he could scarce
keep his eyes open; and in a trice, before he knew how it was, he got
bewildered, and could not find either road or path. But as he went on
and on, at last he saw a glimmering of light far far off in the wood.
So he thought he would try and get to the light; and after a time he
did reach it. There it was in a large house, and the fire was blazing
so brightly inside that he could tell the folk had not yet gone to bed;
so he went in and saw an old dame bustling about and minding the house.

"Good evening," said the youth.

"Good evening," said the old dame.

"Hutetu! it's such foul weather out of doors to-night," said he.

"So it is," said she.

"Can I get leave to have a bed and shelter here to-night?" asked the
youth.

"You'll get no good by sleeping here," said the old dame; "for if the
folk come home and find you here, they'll kill both me and you."

"What sort of folk, then, are they who live here?" asked the youth.

"Oh, robbers! And such a bad lot of them too," said the old dame. "They
stole me away when I was little, and have kept me as their housekeeper
ever since."

"Well, for all that, I think I'll just go to bed," said the youth.
"Come what may, I'll not stir out at night in such weather."

"Very well," said the old dame; "but if you stay it will be the worse
for you."

With that the youth got into a bed which stood there, but he dared not
go to sleep, and very soon after in came the robbers; so the old dame
told them how a stranger fellow had come in whom she had not been able
to get out of the house again.

"Did you see if he had any money?" said the robbers.

"Such a one as he money!" said the old dame, "the tramper! Why, if he
had clothes to his back, it was as much as he had."

Then the robbers began to talk among themselves what they should do
with him; if they should kill him outright, or what else they should
do. Meantime the youth got up and began to talk to them, and to ask if
they did not want a servant, for it might be that he would be glad to
enter into their service.

"Oh," said they, "if you have a mind to follow the trade that we
follow, you can very well get a place here."

"It's all one to me what trade I follow," said the youth; "for when I
left home, father gave me leave to take to any trade I chose."

"Well, have you a mind to steal?" asked the robbers.

"I don't care," said the youth, for he thought it would not take long
to learn that trade.

Now there lived a man a little way off who had three oxen. One of
these he was to take to the town to sell, and the robbers had heard
what he was going to do, so they said to the youth, that if he were
good to steal the ox from the man by the way without his knowing it,
and without doing him any harm, they would give him leave to be their
serving man.

Well! the youth set off, and took with him a pretty shoe, with a silver
buckle on it, which lay about the house; and he put the shoe in the
road along which the man was going with his ox; and when he had done
that, he went into the wood and hid himself under a bush. So when the
man came by he saw the shoe at once.

"That's a nice shoe," said he. "If I only had the fellow to it, I'd
take it home with me, and perhaps I'd put my old dame into a good
humour for once." For you must know that he had an old wife, so cross
and snappish that it was not long between each time that she boxed his
ears. But then he bethought him that he could do nothing with the odd
shoe unless he had the fellow to it; so he went on his way and let the
shoe lie on the road.

Then the youth took up the shoe, and made all the haste he could to get
before the man by a short cut through the wood, and laid it down before
him in the road again. When the man came along with his ox he got quite
angry with himself for being so stupid as to leave the fellow to the
shoe lying in the road instead of taking it with him; so he tied the
ox to the fence, and said to himself, "I may just as well run back and
pick up the other, and then I'll have a pair of good shoes for my old
dame, and so, perhaps, I'll get a kind word from her for once."

So he set off, and hunted and hunted up and down for the shoe, but
no shoe did he find; and at length he had to go back with the one he
had. But, meanwhile, the youth had taken the ox and gone off with
it; and when the man came and saw that his ox was gone, he began to
cry and bewail, for he was afraid that his old dame would kill him
outright when she came to know that the ox was lost. But just then it
came across his mind that he would go home and take the second ox, and
drive it to the town, and not let the old dame know anything about
the matter. So he did this, and went home and took the ox without his
dame's knowing it, and set off with it to the town. But the robbers
knew all about it, and they said to the youth, if he could get this ox
too, without the man's knowing it, and without his doing him any harm,
he should be as good as any one of them. If that were all, the youth
said, he did not think it a very hard thing.

This time he took with him a rope, and hung himself up under the
armpits to a tree right in the man's way. So the man came along with
his ox, and when he saw such a sight hanging there he began to feel a
little queer.

"Well," said he, "whatever heavy thoughts you had who have hanged
yourself up there, it can't be helped; you may hang for what I care!
I can't breathe life into you again;" and with that he went on his
way with his ox. Down slipped the youth from the tree, and ran by a
footpath, and got before the man, and hung himself up right in his way
again.

"Bless me!" said the man, "were you really so heavy at heart that you
hanged yourself up there--or is it only a piece of witchcraft that I
see before me? Ay, ay! you may hang for all I care, whether you are a
ghost or whatever you are." So he passed on with his ox.

Now the youth did just as he had done twice before; he jumped down from
the tree, ran through the wood by a footpath, and hung himself up right
in the man's way again. But when the man saw this sight for the third
time, he said to himself,--

"Well! this is an ugly business! Is it likely now that they should have
been so heavy at heart as to hang themselves, all these three? No! I
cannot think that it is anything else than a piece of witchcraft that
I see. But now I'll soon know for certain: if the other two are still
hanging there, it must be really so; but if they are not, then it can
be nothing but witchcraft that I see."

So he tied up his ox, and ran back to see if the others were still
really hanging there. But while he went and peered up into all the
trees, the youth jumped down and took his ox and ran off with it. When
the man came back and found his ox gone, he was in a sad plight, and,
as any one might know without being told, he began to cry and bemoan;
but at last he came to take it easier, and so he thought--

"There's no other help for it than to go home and take the third ox
without my dame's knowing it, and to try and drive a good bargain with
it, so that I may get a good sum of money for it."

So he went home and set off with the ox, and his old dame knew never
a word about the matter. But the robbers, they knew all about it, and
they said to the youth, that, if he could steal this ox as he had
stolen the other two, then he should be master over the whole band.
Well, the youth set off, and ran into the wood; and as the man came by
with his ox he set up a dreadful bellowing, just like a great ox in the
wood. When the man heard that, you can't think how glad he was, for it
seemed to him that he knew the voice of his big bullock, and he thought
that now he should find both of them again; so he tied up the third ox,
and ran off from the road to look for them in the wood; but meantime
the youth went off with the third ox. Now, when the man came back and
found he had lost this ox too, he was so wild that there was no end to
his grief. He cried and roared and beat his breast, and, to tell the
truth, it was many days before he dared go home; for he was afraid lest
his old dame should kill him outright on the spot.

As for the robbers, they were not very well pleased either, when they
had to own that the youth was master over the whole band. So one day
they thought they would try their hands at something which he was
not man enough to do; and they set off all together, every man Jack
of them, and left him alone at home. Now, the first thing that he did
when they were all well clear of the house, was to drive the oxen out
to the road, so that they might run back to the man from whom he had
stolen them; and right glad he was to see them, as you may fancy. Next
he took all the horses which the robbers had, and loaded them with the
best things he could lay his hands on--gold and silver, and clothes and
other fine things; and then he bade the old dame to greet the robbers
when they came back, and to thank them for him, and to say that now he
was setting off on his travels, and that they would have hard work to
find him again; and with that, off he started.

After a good bit he came to the road along which he was going when he
fell among the robbers; and when he got near home, and could see his
father's cottage, he put on a uniform which he had found among the
clothes he had taken from the robbers, and which was made just like a
general's. So he drove up to the door as if he were any other great
man. After that he went in and asked if he could have a lodging? No;
that he couldn't at any price.

"How ever should I be able," said the man, "to make room in my house
for such a fine gentleman--I who scarce have a rag to lie upon, and
miserable rags too?"

"You were always a stingy old hunks," said the youth, "and so you are
still, when you won't take your own son in."

"What, you my son!" said the man.

"Don't you know me again?" said the youth. Well, after a little while
he did know him again.

"But what have you been turning your hand to, that you have made
yourself so great a man in such haste?" asked the man.

"Oh, I'll soon tell you," said the youth. "You said I might take to any
trade I chose, and so I bound myself apprentice to some thieves and
robbers, and now I've served my time out, and am become a Master Thief."

Now there lived a Squire close by to his father's cottage, and he had
such a great house, and such heaps of money, that he could not tell how
much he had. He had a daughter too, and a smart and pretty girl she
was. So the Master Thief set his heart upon having her to wife; and he
told his father to go to the Squire and ask for his daughter for him.

"If he asks by what trade I get my living, you can say I am a Master
Thief."

"I think you've lost your wits," said the man, "for you can't be in
your right mind when you think of such nonsense."

No! he had not lost his wits; his father must and should go up to the
Squire and ask for his daughter.

"Nay, but I tell you, I daren't go to the Squire and be your spokesman;
he who is so rich, and has so much money," said the man.

Yes, there was no help for it, said the Master Thief; he should go
whether he would or no; and if he did not go by fair means, he would
soon make him go by foul. But the man was still loath to go; so he
stepped after him, and rubbed him down with a good birch cudgel, and
kept on till the man came crying and sobbing inside the Squire's door.

How now, my man! What ails you? said the Squire.

So he told him the whole story; how he had three sons who set off
one day, and how he had given them leave to go whithersoever they
would, and to follow whatever calling they chose. "And here now is the
youngest come home, and has beaten me till he has made me come to you
and ask for your daughter for him to wife; and he bids me say, besides,
that he is a Master Thief." And so he fell to crying and sobbing again.

"Never mind, my man," said the Squire, laughing; "just go back and tell
him from me, that he must prove his skill first. If he can steal the
roast from the spit in the kitchen on Sunday, while all the household
are looking after it, he shall have my daughter. Just go and tell him
that."

So he went back and told the youth, who thought it would be an easy
job. So he set about and caught three hares alive, and put them into
a bag, and dressed himself in some old rags, until he looked so poor
and filthy that it made one's heart bleed to see; and then he sneaked
into the passage at the backdoor of the Squire's house on the Sunday
forenoon, with his bag, just like any other beggar-boy. But the Squire
himself and all his household were in the kitchen watching the roast.
Just as they were doing this, the youth let one hare go, and it set of
and ran round and round the yard in front of the house.

"Oh, just look at that hare!" said the folk in the kitchen, and were
all for running out to catch it.

Yes, the Squire saw it running too. "Oh, let it run," said he; "there's
no use in thinking to catch a hare by running after it."

A little while after, the youth let the second hare go, and they saw it
in the kitchen, and thought it was the same they had seen before, and
still wanted to run out and catch it; but the Squire said again it was
no use. It was not long before the youth let the third hare go, and it
set off and ran round and round the yard as the others before it. Now,
they saw it from the kitchen, and still thought it was the same hare
that kept on running about, and were all eager to be out after it.

"Well, it is a fine hare," said the Squire; "come, let's see if we
can't lay our hands on it."

So out he ran, and the rest with him--away they all went, the hare
before, and they after; so that it was rare fun to see. But meantime
the youth took the roast and ran of with it; and where the Squire got a
roast for his dinner that day I don't know; but one thing I know, and
that is, that he had no roast hare, though he ran after it till he was
both warm and weary.

Now it chanced that the Priest came to dinner that day, and when the
Squire told him what a trick the Master Thief had played him, he made
such game of him that there was no end to it.

"For my part," said the Priest, "I can't think how it could ever happen
to me to be made such a fool of by a fellow like that."

"Very well--only keep a sharp look-out," said the Squire; "maybe he'll
come to see you before you know a word of it." But the Priest stuck to
his text,--that he did, and made game of the Squire because he had been
so taken in.

Later in the afternoon came the Master Thief, and wanted to have the
Squire's daughter, as he had given his word. But the Squire began to
talk him over, and said, "Oh, you must first prove your skill a little
more; for what you did to-day was no great thing, after all. Couldn't
you now play off a good trick on the Priest, who is sitting in there,
and making game of me for letting such a fellow as you twist me round
his thumb."

"Well, as for that, it wouldn't be hard," said the Master Thief. So
he dressed himself up like a bird, threw a great white sheet over his
body, took the wings of a goose and tied them to his back, and so
climbed up into a great maple which stood in the Priest's garden. And
when the Priest came home in the evening, the youth began to bawl out--

"Father Laurence! Father Laurence!"--for that was the Priest's name.

"Who is that calling me?" said the Priest.

"I am an angel," said the Master Thief, "sent from God to let you know
that you shall be taken up alive into heaven for your piety's sake.
Next Monday you must hold yourself ready for the journey, for I shall
come then to fetch you in a sack; and all your gold and your silver,
and all that you have of this world's goods, you must lay together in a
heap in your dining-room."

Well, Father Laurence fell on his knees before the angel, and thanked
him; and the very next day he preached a farewell sermon, and expounded
how there had come down an angel unto the big maple in his garden,
who had told him that he was to be taken up alive into heaven for his
piety's sake; and he preached and made such a touching discourse, that
all who were at church wept, both young and old.

So the Monday after came the Master Thief like an angel again, and
the Priest fell on his knees and thanked him before he was put into
the sack; but when he had got him well in, the Master Thief drew and
dragged him over stocks and stones.

"Ow! ow!" groaned the Priest inside the sack, "wherever are we going!"

"This is the narrow way which leadeth unto the kingdom of heaven,"
said the Master Thief, who went on dragging him along till he had
nearly broken every bone in his body. At last he tumbled him into a
goose-house that belonged to the Squire, and the geese began pecking
and pinching him with their bills, so that he was more dead that alive.

"Now you are in the flames of purgatory, to be cleansed and purified
for life everlasting," said the Master Thief; and with that he went his
way, and took all the gold and silver, and all the fine things which
the Priest had laid together in his dining-room. The next morning, when
the goose-girl came to let the geese out, she heard how the priest lay
in the sack and bemoaned himself in the goose-house.

"In heaven's name, who's there, and what ails you?" she cried. "Oh!"
said the Priest, "if you are an angel from heaven, do let me out, and
let me return again to earth, for it is worse here than in hell. The
little fiends keep on pinching me with tongs."

"God help us, I am no angel at all," said the girl as she helped the
Priest out of the sack; "I only look after the Squire's geese, and like
enough they are the little fiends which have pinched your reverence."

"Oh!" groaned the Priest, "this is all that Master Thief's doing. Ah!
my gold and my silver, and my fine clothes." And he beat his breast,
and hobbled home at such a rate that the girl thought he had lost his
wits all at once.

Now when the Squire came to hear how it had gone with the Priest, and
how he had been along the narrow way, and into purgatory, he laughed
till he wellnigh split his sides. But when the Master Thief came and
asked for his daughter as he had promised, the Squire put him off
again, and said--

"You must do one masterpiece better still, that I may see plainly what
you are fit for. Now I have twelve horses in my stable, and on them I
will put twelve grooms, one on each. If you are so good a thief as to
steal the horses from under them, I'll see what I can do for you."

"Very well, I daresay I can do it," said the Master Thief; "but shall I
really have your daughter if I can?"

"Yes, if you can, I'll do my best for you," said the Squire.

So the Master Thief set off to a shop, and bought brandy enough to fill
two pocket-flasks, and into one of them he put a sleepy drink, but into
the other only brandy. After that he hired eleven men to lie in wait at
night, behind the Squire's stableyard; and last of all, for fair words
and a good bit of money, he borrowed a ragged gown and cloak from an
old woman; and so, with a staff in his hand and a bundle at his back,
he limped off, as evening drew on towards the Squire's stable. Just as
he got there they were watering the horses for the night, and had their
hands full of work.

"What the devil do you want?" said one of the grooms to the old woman.

"Oh, oh! hutetu! it is so bitter cold," said she, and shivered and
shook, and made wry faces. "Hutetu! it is so cold, a poor wretch may
easily freeze to death;" and with that she fell to shivering and
shaking again.

"Oh! for the love of heaven, can I get leave to stay here a while, and
sit inside the stable door?"

"To the devil with your leave," said one. "Pack yourself off this
minute, for if the Squire sets his eye on you he'll lead us a pretty
dance."

"Oh! the poor old bag-of-bones," said another, who seemed to take pity
on her, "the old hag may sit inside and welcome; such a one as she can
do no harm."

And the rest said, some she should stay, and some she shouldn't; but
while they were quarrelling and minding the horses, she crept further
and further into the stable, till at last she sat herself down behind
the door; and when she had got so far, no one gave any more heed to her.

As the night wore on, the men found it rather cold work to sit so
still and quiet on horseback.

"Hutetu! it is so devilish cold," said one, and beat his arms crosswise.

"That it is," said another. "I freeze so, that my teeth chatter."

"If one only had a quid to chew," said a third.

Well! there was one who had an ounce or two; so they shared it between
them, though it wasn't much, after all, that each got; and so they
chewed and spat, and spat and chewed. This helped them somewhat; but in
a little while they were just as bad as ever.

"Hutetu!" said one, and shivered and shook.

"Hutetu!" said the old woman, and shivered so, that every tooth in her
head chattered. Then she pulled out the flask with brandy in it, and
her hand shook so that the spirit splashed about in the flask, and then
she took such a gulf, that it went "bop" in her throat.

"What is that you've got in your flask, old girl?" said one of the
grooms.

"Oh! it's only a drop of brandy, old man," said she.

"Brandy! Well, I never! Do let me have a drop," screamed the whole
twelve, one after another.

"Oh! but it is such a little drop," mumbled the old woman, "it will not
even wet your mouths round." But they must and would have it; there was
no help for it; and so she pulled out the flask with the sleeping drink
in it, and put it to the first man's lips; then she shook no more,
but guided the flask so that each of them got what he wanted, and the
twelfth had not done drinking before the first sat and snored. Then the
Master Thief threw off his beggar's rags, and took one groom after the
other so softly off their horses, and set them astride on the beams
between the stalls; and so he called his eleven men, and rode off with
the Squire's twelve horses.

But when the Squire got up in the morning, and went to look after
his grooms, they had just begun to come to; and some of them fell to
spurring the beams with their spurs, till the splinters flew again, and
some fell off, and some still hung on and sat there looking like fools.

"Ho! ho!" said the Squire; "I see very well who has been here; but as
for you, a pretty set of blockheads you must be to sit here and let the
Master Thief steal the horses from between your legs."

So they all got a good leathering because they had not kept a sharper
look-out.

Further on in the day came the Master Thief again, and told how he had
managed the matter, and asked for the Squire's daughter, as he had
promised; but the Squire gave him one hundred dollars down, and said he
must do something better still.

"Do you think now," said he, "you can steal the horse from under me
while I am out riding on his back?"

"O, yes! I daresay I could," said the Master Thief, "if I were really
sure of getting your daughter."

Well, well, the Squire would see what he could do; and he told the
Master Thief a day when he would be taking a ride on a great common
where they drilled the troops. So the Master Thief soon got hold of
an old worn-out jade of a mare, and set to work, and made traces and
collar of withies and broom-twigs, and bought an old beggarly cart and
a great cask. After that he said to an old beggar woman, that he would
give her ten dollars if she would get in the cask, and keep her mouth
agape over the taphole, into which he was going to stick his finger. No
harm should happen to her; she should only be driven about a little;
and if he took his finger out more than once, she was to have ten
dollars more. Then he threw a few rags and tatters over himself, and
stuffed himself out, and put on a wig and a great beard of goat's hair,
so that no one could know him again, and set off for the common, where
the Squire had already been riding about a good bit. When he reached
the place, he went along so softly and slowly that he scarce made an
inch of way. Gee up! Gee up! and so he went on little; then he stood
stock still, and so on a little again; and altogether the pace was so
miserable that it never once came into the Squire's head that this
could be the Master Thief.

At last the Squire rode right up to him, and asked if he had seen any
one lurking about in the wood thereabouts.

"No," said the man, "I haven't seen a soul."

"Harkye, now," said the Squire, "if you have a mind to ride into the
wood, and hunt about and see if you can fall upon any one lurking about
there, you shall have the loan of my horse, and a shilling into the
bargain, to drink my health, for your pains."

"I don't see how I can go," said the man, "for I am going to a wedding
with this cask of mead, which I have been to town to fetch, and here
the tap has fallen out by the way, and so I must go along, holding my
finger in the taphole.

"Ride off," said the Squire; "I'll look after your horse and cask."

Well, on these terms the man was willing to go; but he begged the
Squire to be quick in putting his finger into the taphole when he took
his own out, and to mind and keep it there till he came back. Yes, the
Squire would do the best he could; and so the Master Thief mounted the
horse and rode off. But time went by, and hour after hour passed, and
still no one came back. At last the Squire grew weary of standing there
with his finger in the taphole, so he took it out.

"Now I shall have ten dollars more!" screamed the old woman inside
the cask; and then the Squire saw at once how the land lay, and took
himself off home; but he had not gone far before they met him with a
fresh horse, for the Master Thief had already been to his house, and
told them to send one.

The day after, he came to the Squire and would have his daughter, as
he had given his word; but the Squire put him off again with fine
words, and gave him two hundred dollars, and said he must do one more
masterpiece. If he could do that, he should have her. Well, well, the
Master Thief thought he could do it, if he only knew what it was to be.

"Do you think, now," said the Squire, "you can steal the sheet off our
bed, and the shift off my wife's back. Do you think you could do that?"

"It shall be done," said the Master Thief. "I only wish I was as sure,
of getting your daughter."

So when night began to fall, the Master Thief went out and cut down a
thief who hung on the gallows, and threw him across his shoulders, and
carried him off. Then he got a long ladder and set it up against the
Squire's bedroom window, and so climbed up, and kept bobbing the dead
man up and down, just for all the world like one who was peeping in at
the window.

"That's the Master Thief, old lass!" said the Squire, and gave his wife
a nudge on the side. "Now see if I don't shoot him, that's all."

So saying he took up a rifle which he had laid at his bedside.

"No! no! pray don't shoot him after telling him he might come and try,"
said his wife.

"Don't talk to me, for shoot him I will," said he; and so he lay there
and aimed and aimed; but as soon as the head came up before the window,
and he saw a little of it, so soon was it down again. At last he
thought he had a good aim; "bang" went the gun, down fell the dead body
to the ground with a heavy thump, and down went the Master Thief too as
fast as he could.

"Well," said the Squire, "it is quite true that I am the chief
magistrate in these parts; but people are fond of talking, and it would
be a bore if they came to see this dead man's body. I think the best
thing to be done is that I should go down and bury him."

"You must do as you think best, dear," said his wife. So the Squire got
out of bed and went down stairs, and he had scarce put his foot out of
the door before the Master Thief stole in, and went straight up-stairs
to his wife.

"Why, dear, back already!" said she, for she thought it was her husband.

"Oh yes, I only just put him into a hole, and threw a little earth over
him. It is enough that he is out of sight, for it is such a bad night
out of doors; by-and-by I'll do it better. But just let me have the
sheet to wipe myself with--he was so bloody--and I have made myself in
such a mess with him."

So he got the sheet.

After a while he said--

"Do you know I am afraid you must let me have your night-shift too, for
the sheet won't do by itself; that I can see."

So she gave him the shift also. But just then it came across his mind
that he had forgotten to lock the house-door, so he must step down and
look to that before he came back to bed, and away he went with both
shift and sheet.

A little while after came the right Squire.

"Why! what a time you've taken to lock the door, dear!" said his wife;
"and what have you done with the sheet and shift?"

"What do you say?" said the Squire.

"Why, I am asking what you have done with the sheet and shift that you
had to wipe off the blood," said she.

"What, in the devil's name!" said the Squire, "has he taken me in this
time too?"

Next day came the Master Thief and asked for the Squire's daughter as
he had promised; and then the Squire dared not do anything else than
give her to him, and a good lump of money into the bargain; for, to
tell the truth, he was afraid lest the Master Thief should steal the
eyes out of his head, and that people would begin to say spiteful
things of him if he broke his word. So the Master Thief lived well and
happily from that time forward. I don't know whether he stole any more;
but if he did, I am quite sure it was only for the sake of a bit of fun.



DAY-DREAMS OF AN EXILE.


V.

AIR--"_O Cara Memoria._"

    "I perceive that there is nothing better than that a man should
    rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion."--_Eccles._
    iii. 22.

    Sigh thou not for a happier lot,
      Happier may never be;
    That thou hast esteem the best,
      And given by the gods to thee.
    And if thy tender hopes be slain,
    Fear not, they soon shall bloom again;
      For the gloomiest hour
      Is fair to the flower
    That heeds neither wind nor rain.

    Fear of change from old to strange
      Follows the fullest joy;
    Labour wears us more than years;
      Calms, never broken, cloy.
    Whatever load to thee be given,
    Doubt not thy brethren too have striven;
      Take what is thine
      In the Earth's confine,
    And hope to be blest in Heaven.


VI.

TO ----,

    Led by swift thought, I scale the height,
      And strive to sound the deep,
    To find from whence I took my flight,
      Or where I slept my sleep:
    But the mists conceal that border-land
      Whose hills they rest upon;
    Again, with forward face, I stand,
      For Gone is gone.

    Sometimes I brood upon the years
      I gave to self and sin;
    Or call to mind how Doubts and Fears
      Fled from a light within:
    I might regret those errors past,
      Might wish the light still shone,
    Or check Life's tide that ebbs so fast;
      But Gone is gone.

    You, too, my loyal-hearted wife,
      Saw many a weary day,
    When, on your morning-sky of life,
      The clouds of sorrow lay.
    True friends departed--grief for them,
      Joy for the False made known,
    And over all this Requiem,
      That Gone is gone.

    The glare of many a spectral Truth
      Might haunt me still unchanged,
    The broken purpose of my Youth,
      The loving hearts estranged.
    But, turning to your love-lit eyes,
      --The love-lit eyes shine on--
    I thank my God with happy sighs
      That Gone is gone.


VII.

    Oft, in a night of April, when the ways
      Are growing dark, and the hedge-hawthorns dank,
    The glow-worm scatters self-adorning rays--
      Earth-stars, that twinkle on the primrose bank.

    And so, when Life around us gathers Night,
      Too dark for Doubt, and ignorant of Sin,
    The happy Heart of youth can shed a light
      Earth-born, but bright, and feed it from within.

    The April night wears on, the darkness wanes,
      The light that glimmered in the East grows stronger;
    But on the primrose banks that line the lanes,
      Weary and chilled, the glow-worm shines no longer.

    The night of life as quickly passes o'er,
      Coldly and shuddering breaks the dawn of Truth;
    Bright Day is coming, but we bear no more
      The happy, self-adorning heart of Youth.


VIII.

    Dream on, ye souls who slumber here,
      Leave work to those who work so well;
    Yet workers too should haply hear
      The messages that Dreamers tell.

    The aims of this World shed a light,
      Which shines with dim and feeble ray,
    Whose followers wander all the night,
      And scarce suspect it is not Day.

    Yet work who will, the Night flies fast,
      Means vary, but the end is one;
    Each, when the waking throb is past,
      Must face the all-beholding Sun.

    I will sleep on, the starry cope
      Arching my head with boundless blue,
    Till life's strange dream is o'er, in hope
      To wake, nor find it all untrue.


IX.

COLONISATION.

(I.)

      Freemen of England, nourish in your mind
    Love for your Land; though poor she be and cold,
    Impute it not to her that she is old,
    For in her youth she was both warm and kind.
    True, it fits not that you should be confined
    Within a grudging Island's narrow hold,
    That bred, but cannot feed you. O be bold;
    Blue heaven has many an excellent fair wind.
    Steer, then, in multitudes to other land,
    Work ye the field, the river, and the mine,
    Smooth the high hill, and fell the long-armed pine,
    Till all GOD'S Earth be honourably manned;
    But, that your glories may for ever stand,
    Let Love be, with you, human and divine.


(II.)

    Love, the foundation of the public weal,
    As of the peace of houses--Love, whose breach
    Sundered two bands of common race and speech,
    Whose rankling wounds on each side will not heal:
    Therefore be warned in time, let none conceal
    Brotherly yearnings, God-sent, each for each.
    Pure human sympathies are high of reach,
    For the realities which they reveal
    Teach us to live in earnest; give us faith,
    Godward, as well as human: none can say,
    "I will love only that which I have seen."
    By faith's lamp, fed with hope, the wise have been
    Led to the land where, as the Tarsian saith,
    Love rules when Hope and Faith are passed away.

  H. G. K.
  _India_, 1851.



AUTUMN POLITICS.


Rarely, during the autumnal season of the year, is any very vivid
interest displayed in political matters. This is both natural and
wholesome. The soldier, after a hard campaign, requires rest and
recreation; and those whose destiny it is to occupy themselves with
public affairs and their conduct, are all the better for a short
respite from these absorbing toils. So, after the close of the
Parliamentary Session, our legislators betake themselves to the
provinces or the Continent, to the skirts of Ben Nevis, or to the
sequestered valleys of Switzerland, with all the glee of schoolboys
who have escaped from the magisterial yoke. Who can blame them? The
mountain breeze is assuredly more fresh and salubrious than the
loaded atmosphere of St Stephen's; the sound of the purling brook
is more grateful to the ear than the croakings of Joseph Hume; and
the details of a restaurant's bill of fare more interesting than the
ingenious statistics of Mr Wilson of Westbury. Nobody is sorry when
the clattering of the great machine of Parliament is silenced. It is
bad enough to be compelled to peruse the debates during the months of
winter and spring, without continuing the ordeal throughout the rest
of the year. We cannot live always in a state of excitement. Scully
and Keogh are splendid and soul-searching orators; but we would as
lieve submit to have all our dishes seasoned with ether, as allow
our nerves to be daily agitated by the roll of their irresistible
eloquence. We love John Bright, and are fascinated by the humour of
Fox, yet we can find it in our hearts to part company with them for a
season. In autumn the towns are torpid. Every one who can, endeavours
to escape from them; and to judge from the hurry on rail and river,
you would conclude that at least one-half of the population of these
islands is on the move. Subjects which a few months before engrossed
the public attention are now mentioned with a luxurious languor, and
never ardently discussed. Few people know or care what Cardinal Wiseman
may be doing. A porter with a load of grouse is a more interesting
object than Lord John Russell, even were he laden with the draught of
his new Reform Bill; and it is a matter of total indifference to the
million whether Earl Grey has gone to Howick or to Kamschatka. The only
class of men who remain indefatigably political are the popularity
hunters, more especially such of them as require a little coopering
for their somewhat leaky reputations. Old Joe sets off on a reforming
tour to the northern burghs, hoping here and there to pick up a stray
burgess ticket. Sir James Graham will go any distance to receive the
hug of fraternity from a provost, and to add to his chaplet such
fresh leaves of laurel as are in the gift of a generous town council.
Lord Palmerston undertakes to keep the electors of Tiverton in good
humour, and favours them with a funny discourse upon all manner of
topics, excepting always the projected measure of reform, on which
he judiciously keeps his thumb. These, however, are mere interludes,
and few people care about them. Most sincerely to be pitied, at this
season of the year, is the condition of the London journalists. However
scanty be the crop of events, however dry the channels of public
interest, they must find subjects for their leaders. Each day there
is a yawning gap of white paper to be filled; a topic to be selected
and discussed; and an insatiable devil to be laid. It was popularly
believed on the Border that Michael Scott was saddled with an infernal
servitor, to whom he was compelled to assign daily a sufficient modicum
of work, under the penalty, in case of failure, of a forced visit to
Pandemonium. Quite as bad is the predicament of the journalist. The
printer's demon is ever at his elbow; nor dare he attempt to escape.
It is not surprising if sometimes our unhappy brothers should be
reduced to the last extremity. Generally, nay universally, they are a
kind-hearted race of men; yet no one who hears their complaints during
a season of unusual stagnation would set them down as philanthropists.
Their aspirations are after revolutions, murders, casualties--anything,
in short, which can furnish them with a topic for a good stirring
article. All manufacturers, except the dealers in devil's-dust and
shoddy, admit that there is no possibility of constructing a passable
fabric out of inferior raw material. Whatever be the capabilities of
the artisan, or the excellence of his tools, he cannot do without a
subject to work upon. Facts, according to the approved doctrine of the
public press, are of two kinds--real and imagined. The distinction is
as wide as that which lies between history and romance. If the first
do not emerge in sufficient value or importance, recourse must be had
to the second, provided nothing be advanced for which there is not
some apparent colour. The position and prospects of parties is always
a safe autumnal theme. Some paragraph is sure to appear, some letter
to be published, some pamphlet written, or some speech delivered, from
which ingenuity can extract matter of startling commentary. One while,
supposed differences in the Cabinet are made the subject of conjecture
and discussion, though where the Cabinet is no one can tell, the
members thereof being notoriously so scattered that no two of them are
within a hundred miles of each other. Lord John Russell's resignation
has of late years become a regular autumnal event. We look for it as
confidently as the housekeeper expects her annual supply of damsons. No
one is rash enough to aver that Sir Charles Wood intends voluntarily
to resign; but somehow or other it happens that his colleagues are
annually seized in September with a burning desire to kick him out--a
species of phrenzy which only lasts until the return of the colder
weather. We really forget how often Lord Clarendon has been announced
as the coming Premier. If there be any faith in prophecy, his time must
be nigh at hand.

It was, we believe, confidently anticipated on the part of the
Liberal journals, that the present autumn would prove an exception to
the general rule, by furnishing a more than average crop of topics
acceptable to the public ear. After such a dreary lapse of time,
prosperity was expected to arrive about the middle of 1851, and that
event would of itself justify the expenditure of many columns of
poeans. True, there had been various attempts made at intervals,
during the last three or four years, to persuade the public that the
coy nymph had either arrived or was arriving on the British shores;
and some journals went so far as to discharge a royal salute in honour
of her supposed landing. But the mistake was soon discovered. If the
agriculturists were discontented, the manufacturers were depressed, and
the shopkeepers evidently sulky. Prosperity, if she really had arrived,
seemed to possess the secret of the fern-seed, and to walk invisibly,
for no one had seen her except Mr Labouchere; and on investigating his
experiences, it turned out that he had merely received his information
from others. This year, however, everything was to be put to rights.
Markets were to rise so high that even the most grumbling of the
farmers would be glad of heart, and be enabled to make such purchases
at the nearest town as would at once gratify the wife of his bosom,
and give a material impulse to the production of home manufactures.
Great were to be the profits of Manchester, Bradford, and Nottingham.
Reciprocity was to be developed; and foreign nations, convinced of the
necessity of universal brotherhood, were to fling their tariffs to the
winds, and admit our produce duty free. By this time, too, we were to
have Mr Mechi's balance-sheet before us. Mr Huxtable's pigs were to
have produced ammonia enough to fertilise the seashore; or, if that
scheme did not answer, the Netherby system of farming would be found
equally advantageous. Nay, it was even prophesied that railway stocks
would rise, and that on some hyperborean lines there was a possibility
that a dividend might be paid on the preference shares. The iron
districts were to outstrip California, and our shipping to multiply
indefinitely.

It is deeply to be deplored, on every ground, that these expectations
have not been realised. We have been repeatedly reproached by the
advocates of the new commercial system for the gloominess of our views,
and the absence of that hopeful spirit which animates the efforts, and
gives vivacity to the style, of the light and lively Free-Traders.
Now, it is quite true that we, being unable, after the most anxious
consideration of the subject in all its bearings, to discover how the
prosperity--that is, the wealth--of the nation could be increased
by measures which had the direct tendency to lower the value of its
produce, have had occasion very frequently to enunciate opinions which
could not be agreeable to the cotton-stuffed ears of Manchester. We
have periodically exposed, to the great dudgeon of the democrats, the
clumsy fallacies and egregious nonsense of the _Economist_, familiarly
known to the concoctors of statistical returns by the _soubriquet_ of
the "Cook's Oracle." We have taken sundry impostors by the nape of the
neck, and have shaken them, as was our bounden duty, until they had not
breath enough to squeak. But we maintain that the facts and results of
each successive year have borne us out in the views which we originally
entertained; and that the working of Free Trade, when brought into
operation, has proved, as we predicted it would be, utterly subversive
of the theories of the men who were its exponents, its champions, and
its abettors. So much the worse for the country. But why should we be
blamed for having simply spoken the truth? Show us your prosperity, if
that prosperity really exists; or, at all events, be kind enough to
specify to us the prominent symptoms of its coming. We need not, we are
well aware, look for these among the farmers. Ministers have given that
up--never more decidedly, though they did not probably understand the
force of the language they were using, or its inevitable conclusion,
than when they declared their hope and expectation that the British
agriculturist, depressed by foreign importations, could not fail to
profit ultimately by the improved condition of the other classes of
the community! The gentleman who devised that sentence must have had,
indeed, an implicit reliance in the gullibility of mankind! He might
just as well have told the stage-coachmen, who were driven off the road
by the substitution of the rail, that they would be sure to profit in
the long run by the bettered circumstances of the stokers! If that
is all the comfort that can be extended to the agriculturists, they
will hardly warm themselves by it. But among the manufacturers, if
anywhere, we may look for some measure of prosperity; and we grieve to
say that, if such really exists, they take especial care to conceal it.
Talk of farmers grumbling, indeed! If the whole race of corn-growers,
from Triptolemus downwards, were assembled, and entreated to state
their grievances and the causes of their dejection, we defy them to
produce such a catalogue of continued woe as has been trumpeted from
the trade circulars and reports during the last three years. Falling
markets--continued stagnation--nothing doing. Such are the phrases
with which we are familiar, and we meet with nothing else; wherefrom
we conclude either that the manufacturers are all banded together in a
league of unparalleled and very scandalous deceit, or that Free Trade,
by contracting the home market, has made wild work with their profits
also. Commercial failures, too, about which we have heard a good deal,
and are likely to hear something more, are not to be accepted as
unequivocal signs of the rising prosperity of the country.

Messrs Littledale write as follows, in their circular of 4th October,
since which date much has occurred to give weight and confirmation to
their statements:--

    "Nothing seems to change the untoward course of events in this
    memorable year. An abundant harvest has been gathered, with
    less damage and at less cost than for many years, which was
    to prove the turning-point in commercial matters; instead of
    which, the depression seems only to increase from day to day,
    without apparent cause or termination. This state of things
    naturally begets mistrust amongst money-lenders and bankers;
    and just at the time when their support is most needed,
    and would prove most valuable in preventing that ruinous
    depression which forced sales on a declining market ever
    produce, their confidence is destroyed, and accommodation is
    refused.

    "The losses on imports of every kind are alarming, and yet the
    tide is unabated; and unless a _more vigorous_ stand is made by
    importers, either to bring down prices in the foreign market to
    a parity with our own, or to get their returns home in another
    form than produce, or, which perhaps is the only _true_ course,
    to limit their operations to more legitimate bounds, nothing
    but a commercial crisis can be expected; indeed, had it not
    been for the abundance of money and the large supply of bullion
    from the West, aided by a splendid harvest, we should doubtless
    have had a repetition of '47 to some extent at the present
    moment."

Shipowners and millers tell us a tale of similar disaster; and the
shopkeepers, if unanimous in nothing else, agree that their business is
decreasing. The working-classes have cheap bread, but at the same time
they have lowered wages; so that the advantage received on the one hand
is neutralised by the reduction on the other.

Grievous, therefore, was the disappointment of the journalists, who
had expected this year to wile away the lazy autumn in "hollaing and
singing anthems" in praise of commercial resuscitation. From that
resource they were effectually cut out. Something was wanted to vary
the monotony of leaders on the Exhibition, a capital subject whilst
its novelty lasted, but soon too familiar to admit of indefinite
protraction. Sewerage was overdone last season. People will not submit
to perpetual essays on the jakes, or diatribes on the shallowness
of cesspools: the flavour of such articles can only be enjoyed by a
thorough-paced disciple of Liebig. It was therefore with no small
anxiety that our brethren awaited the autumnal meetings of the
agricultural societies, at which, since Free Trade brought havoc to
the farmer's home, there has usually been some excitement manifested,
and some explanations required and given. The old rule, that politics
should be excluded from these assemblies, is manifestly untenable
at the present time. Until a trade is established on a sound and
substantial basis, it is ludicrous to recommend improvements involving
an enormous additional outlay. The farmers feel and know that the
blow struck at their interests has gone too deep to be healed by any
superficial nostrums. Their struggle is for existence, and they have
resolved to speak out like men.

One of the worst effects of the repeal of the Corn Laws, and that
which may prove the most permanently detrimental to the welfare of
the country, is the apparent separation which it has caused in many
cases between the interests of the landlord and the tenant. We say
"apparent," because in reality, and finally, the interest of both
classes is the same. But, in the mean time, there can be no doubt
whatever that the farmers have endured by far the greatest share of the
loss. Bound to the land by the outlay of their capital in it and upon
it, they cannot abandon their vocation, or even change their locality,
without incurring immediate ruin. It is easy for those who know nothing
about the matter, to advise them to emigrate elsewhere if they cannot
procure a livelihood here. It is still easier for a Free-trading
landlord, to whose tergiversation a great part of the mischief is
attributable, to meet the reasonable request of his tenantry for a
reduction of their rents with an intimation that he is perfectly ready
to free them from the obligation of their leases. Such conduct is not
more odiously selfish than it is grossly hypocritical, the landlord
being perfectly well aware that it is out of the power of his tenantry
to accept the offer, without at once sacrificing and abandoning nearly
the whole of their previous outlay. The farmer is tied to the stake,
and cannot escape. He must pursue his vocation, else he is a beggar;
and he cannot pursue that vocation without an annual and material loss.
Under those circumstances, a reduction of rent is all the alleviation
which the farmer can hope to obtain. In many instances he has obtained
it. We hear of remissions made to the extent of ten and fifteen per
cent; but these are alleviations only. The farmer is still a loser,
and would be a loser were the remissions infinitely greater. In former
papers we have shown that the reduction of fifty per cent on the
rents throughout Scotland would not avail to remunerate the farmers at
present prices, and we have ample testimony to prove that in England
the case is the same. On this matter of reduction we shall quote a few
sentences from a pamphlet entitled _A Treatise on the present Condition
and Prospects of the Agricultural Interest_, by a Yorkshire Farmer,
published at Leeds in the present year:--

    "It appears to me that neither farmers nor landlords have been
    aware of the magnitude of the evil; for the intentions of
    several of our landlords, who, I have no doubt, were actuated
    by a desire to bear a fair proportion of the loss, were
    published in the newspapers, stating their determination to
    reduce their rent from ten to fifteen per cent; and no doubt
    they thought it would, to some considerable extent, countervail
    the general reduction in the value of agricultural produce, and
    perhaps sincerely believed they had acquitted themselves of
    their duty as landlords.

    "But as closing our eyes will not avert the danger now
    impending, and threatening to engulph farmers and landlords
    in one general ruin, I have thought it not amiss to insert
    the following table, which shows that a reduction of ten per
    cent does not reach a degree approaching to anything like
    a comparison with the losses farmers are suffering. To the
    occupier of land rented at £4, it is 8s. an acre against a loss
    of £2, 4s. 1d.--more than half his rent. To the occupier of the
    second class, rent £2, it is 4s. an acre against the loss of
    £1, 14s. 7-3/4d.--nearly the whole of his rent. To the occupier
    of the third class, rent £1, it is 2s. an acre against a loss
    of £1, 6s. 4-1/2d.--6s. 4-1/2d. more than his rent. And to the
    unfortunate occupier of the fourth class, rent 7s., it is 8
    2/5d. an acre against a loss of £1, 1s. 4-3/4d.--or more than
    three times his rent.

    "I have taken four farms, of one hundred acres each, of
    different descriptions of soil, showing the net loss on each
    farm, deducting ten per cent from the rent. For results, see
    below:--

  Key:  A = Classes
        B = No. of Acres

     |   |       |          |         |   Total  |       |          |
     |   |       |          | 10 per  |  Outlay  | Per-  |          |Net Loss,
     |   | Rent  |          |  cent.  | on Farms,|centage|          |deducting
     |   | per   |Amount of |reduction| including|  on   |Total Loss|  10 per
   A | B | Acre. |  Rent.   | on Rent.|   Rent.  |Outlay.| per Farm.|  cent.
  ---+---+-------+----------+---------+----------+-------+----------+----------
     |   |£ s. d.| £  s. d. |£  s. d. | £  s. d. |       | £  s. d. | £  s. d.
   1 |100|4 0  0 |400  0  0 |40  0  0 |975  8  4 |4.1    |220  8  4 |180  8  4
   2 |100|2 0  0 |200  0  0 |20  0  0 |704  7  6 |2.8375 |173  4  7 |153  4  7
   3 |100|1 0  0 |100  0  0 |10  0  0 |577  1  8 |1.733  |131 15  5 |121 15  5
   4 |100|0 7  0 | 35  0  0 | 3 10  0 |285 17  6 |1.221  |106 19  7 |103  9  7

    "The above table shows that, though a reduction of ten per
    cent may be thought considerable and fair on the part of the
    landlord, it is like a drop in the bucket when viewed as a
    set-off against the farmer's losses; and that along with
    every possible reduction that can be made on the rent, other
    measures, more comprehensive in character, must be adopted, to
    place the farmer in a position to enable him to cultivate the
    soil."[6]

[6] Other tables contained in the same pamphlet, but which are too long
for insertion here, exhibit the various items and particulars of the
loss sustained.

Thus much we have said regarding the adequacy of reduction of rent
to meet the agricultural depression, because of late a very vigorous
effort has been made by the Liberal press to mislead public opinion
on this subject. "After all," say these organs, deserting their
first position that farming was as profitable as ever--"after all,
it is a mere question of rent: let the farmer settle that with the
landlord." It is not a mere question of rent: _it is the question
of the extinction of a class_; for if, in the long run, it shall
become apparent that no reduction of rent, short of that which must
leave the owners of the soil generally without profit, owing to the
amount of incumbrances which are known to exist upon the land, can
suffice to render cultivation profitable, then the landlord must
necessarily supersede the tenant, and the owner the occupier; and one
of the two profits which hitherto have been recognised as legitimate,
be extinguished. To this point things are tending, and that very
rapidly. The process has begun in Ireland and in the northern parts of
Scotland, and it will become more apparent with the ebbing of the tide.
Continental prices cannot rule in this country without reducing the
whole of our agricultural system to the Continental level, and placing
the collection of the revenue and the maintenance of the national
credit in the greatest jeopardy.

Still, nothing can be more reasonable than the request generally
urged by the farmers for a reduction of their rents. They say, and
say truly, that they are not able to meet the pressure of the times.
They do not say, however, that any reduction which the circumstances
of the landlords will enable them to make can suffice to remedy the
mischief. It insures them no profit; it merely saves them from a
certain additional loss. In some cases the landlords either will not,
or cannot, grant such reductions. They have no margin left them. They
can but preach hope against knowledge; and in doing so, they play
the game of the enemy, and justly lay themselves open to the charge
of hypocrisy. In fact, what the farmers want, is less a reduction of
rent--which they know to be but a temporary expedient--than a more
manly and decided attitude on the part of the owners of the soil.
Too many of the landlords allowed themselves to be led astray by
the specious representations of the Free-Traders, or were betrayed
into supporting the policy of a Minister, for whose antecedents and
ability they entertained an egregiously exaggerated respect. Trusting
to vamped reports and speculative opinions, presumptuously hazarded
by men who knew nothing whatever of the subject, they disregarded the
clear warnings of those who foresaw the magnitude and imminency of
the danger; and surrendered themselves, without retaining the means
of defence, to a faction which laughed at their credulity. These are
the men who at agricultural meetings affect to talk hopefully of the
prospects of agriculture, and who always assure the farmers that their
case is regarded with the utmost sympathy by the Legislature. They are
constantly advising their hearers, not only to have patience, for that
were a proper charge, but to augment the amount of their outlay. They
are grand upon the subject of artificial manures, and seem to have an
idea that guano is an inexhaustible deposit. They will even bring down
lecturers--dapper young chemical men from laboratories--to enlighten
their tenants; but seldom, or rarely, will they grant a single sixpence
of reduction. Is it wonderful if the honest farmer, thoroughly alive
to the real peril of his situation, and indignant at the treachery of
which he has been made the innocent victim, should conceive any feeling
but those of respect and cordiality for the landlord who is acting
so paltry a part, and condescending to so wretched an imposture? The
farmer feels that now or never his cause must be resolutely fought. He
knows that the interest of the landlord is as much concerned as his
own; and yet when he applies to him for support and encouragement, he
is met with silly platitudes.

As it has turned out, the agricultural meetings of the present autumn
have proved far more fruitful to the journalists than they had any
reason to expect. Our brethren of the Liberal press have extracted from
them grounds for exceeding jubilation and triumph. Mr Disraeli, Mr
Palmer, Mr Henley, and others, justly considered as very influential
members of the Protectionist party in the House of Commons, are
represented to have expressed themselves in a manner inconsistent with
the maintenance of the great struggle which, Session after Session,
has been renewed. They are claimed as converts, not to the principles
of Free Trade--for those they have distinctly repudiated--but to the
doctrine that it is impossible, by direct legislation, to disturb the
present existing arrangement; and, as a matter of course, a defection
so serious as this is joyously announced as an abandonment of the cause
by several of those men who were its most doughty champions.

Before proceeding to consider the merits of that line of policy which
Mr Disraeli proposes to adopt during the ensuing session, and which,
in his judgment, is that most likely, under present circumstances, to
procure some measure of relief for the agricultural interest, let us
distinctly understand whether or not Protection, as a principle, has
been abandoned by any of its supporters in Parliament. We have perused
the speeches which have been made the subject of so much comment with
the greatest care and anxiety; but we have not been able to discover
any admission that the views so long and so ably maintained by those
gentlemen have undergone an iota of change. They may, indeed, and very
naturally, despair of success in the present Parliament. Knowing, as
they do, the weight and apportionment of parties in the present House
of Commons, and enabled by experience to calculate upon the amount of
support which would be given to any proposition, they may have arrived
at the conclusion that the best course of policy which they can adopt,
is to concentrate their efforts towards obtaining relief from what is
clearly unjust taxation, leaving the grand question of a return to the
Protective system in the hands of the country, to be decided at the
next general election.

This is our distinct understanding of the views which have been
announced by these gentlemen. It may be that some of them have
not sufficiently guarded themselves against the possibility of
misrepresentation; an error of judgment which, in the present state of
the public mind, may have a detrimental effect. We have no hesitation
in expressing our opinion that the sentiments uttered by the Marquis of
Granby, and those contained in the admirable letters of Mr G. F. Young,
are more calculated to advance the cause, and to insure co-operation
amongst all classes who are opposed to the bastard system of Free
Trade, than speeches which are only directed towards a subsidiary
point, which are apt to be misunderstood, and which have been seized on
by our opponents as proofs of despondency or despair.

No one, we believe, expected that, in the present Parliament, such
a change of opinion could be wrought as would lead to the immediate
restoration of Protection. In May 1850, the Earl of Derby, then Lord
Stanley, distinctly explained to the delegates who waited upon him,
that "it was not in the House of Lords, it was not in the House of
Commons, _it was in the country at large_, that the battle must be
fought, and their triumph must be achieved." "You have," said the
noble lord, "the game in your own hands. You may compel your present
members--or, at least, you may point out to them the necessary, the
lamentable consequences to themselves of persisting in their present
courses; _and when the time shall come, you will have it in your own
power, by the return of men who really represent your sentiments,
to exercise your constitutional influence over the Legislature of
the country, and to enforce your just demands in another House of
Parliament_." What has since taken place has most clearly established
the soundness and wisdom of this advice. Beyond all question, the
cause of Protection during the last two years has advanced with rapid
strides. The total failure of every prophesied result on the part of
the Free-Traders--the continued depression which has prevailed, not
only in agriculture, but in manufactures, trade, and commerce--the
state of the working-classes, which has experienced no amelioration
since the latter measures of Free Trade were carried--the depopulation
of Ireland, and the astounding increase of emigration from the northern
part of Great Britain--all have contributed to dispel the popular
delusion, and to give new courage and confidence to the disinterested
supporters of the cause. Public opinion, in so far as that can be
gathered from the results of casual elections, has declared itself in
favour of Protection. Meetings of the working-classes have been held in
the metropolis, at which resolutions in favour of a return to a general
protective policy have been passed by acclamation. Nothing whatever
has occurred to give a check to the advance of these principles; much
has transpired to show how rapidly and strongly they are progressing.
That progress does not depend, and never did depend, solely upon the
result of the agricultural experiment. The true secret of the reaction
against Free Trade lies in this, that every one of the productive
classes of the community is interested in opposing a system which
crushes and enthrals labour for the undue benefit of the capitalist.
It may be that, in some quarters, that common interest is not yet
fully understood. It may be that relative cheapness of provisions may
be considered by many unthinking and unreflective people in the light
of a positive blessing, irrespective altogether of the effect of that
cheapness in diminishing the sphere of employment, and contracting the
wages of labour at home. This is not wonderful, because, previous to
the repeal of the Corn Laws, the tariff had been deliberately altered,
and the pressure and privation occasioned by these first experiments
upon British industry were, for a time, materially relieved by the
fall on the price of provisions consequent on the later measures. But
very soon it became apparent to all thinking men, that the prostration
of so great a branch of industry as that of British agriculture must
act prejudicially upon all the others, and that the temporary benefit
was more than counterbalanced by the universal decline of employment.
Among the working-classes, even in larger towns, that opinion is daily
gaining ground, and becoming a settled conviction. Labour is so much
depressed that some effectual remedy must be found, if the country is
to remain without convulsion; and it is most important for us all that
the remedy, which may finally be resorted to, should be a just and
equitable one, not such as unscrupulous demagogues might apply.

Therefore, at the present time, and in the present temper of the
public mind, if we read its symptoms aright, we greatly deprecate any
deviation from the broad principle and assertion of Protection to all
branches of British Industry. To argue the Agricultural case alone,
however important that may be, is to weaken the general cause, which
is the cause of Labour. To make terms for the agriculturists only, by
adjustment of taxation or otherwise, even if such adjustment could by
possibility enable them to struggle on, would not be a wise policy.
Never let it be forgotten that the Corn Laws could not have been
repealed, but for the previous alterations on the tariff, stealthily
and insidiously made, which left the agriculturists of Britain in the
possession of an apparent monopoly. As monopolists, they never can
regain their former position; but they may, and, we believe, will
regain it, if they are true to the common cause, as British producers
against foreign competition, on account of the burdens imposed upon all
production by the State, and on account of monetary laws and changes
which have more than doubled their original burden. But they never will
obtain that justice to which they are entitled, unless they combine
with the other classes who are equally suffering under the withdrawal
of Protection, and insist upon a total change, in the commercial policy
of Great Britain, as affecting not this or that interest only, but the
whole mass of productive labour upon which the wealth of the nation
depends.

We have no hesitation in stating our opinion on this matter in the
broadest possible terms. We do not differ from Mr Disraeli in his
estimate of the unequal burdens which are laid upon the land in
comparison with the other property of Great Britain. That is a subject
well worthy of consideration; and if it can be treated as entirely
subsidiary to the greater question of Protection, and enforced without
any appearance of an attempt at compromise, we are not prepared to say
that any other step, under existing circumstances, would be preferable.
But we cannot regard any such adjustment of taxation as a remedy of the
grand evil. We doubt the advantage to be derived from a policy which,
if successful, would only protract the period of general suffering;
whilst, in the mean time, it will assuredly be represented as an
attempt to compromise a principle, and therefore, weaken the amount
of that support upon which we now can confidently reckon. "Never,"
said Burke, in his latest political treatise, "never succumb. It is a
struggle for your existence as a nation. But I have no fears whatever
for the result. There is a salient living principle of energy in the
public mind of England, which only requires proper direction to enable
her to withstand this or any other ferocious foe. Persevere, therefore,
till this tyranny be overpast." The lesson of the great statesman,
though directed to other dangers than those which now beset us, has
lost none of its value. Perseverance, where the principle is clear,
is less matter of policy than a duty; and therefore we cannot but
feel some regret that, at such a time as this, any declaration should
have been made, or any policy indicated, which can have the effect of
damping the hopes or checking the ardour of those who are most resolute
in the cause. That the efforts of our adversaries to misrepresent the
tenor of some of the late speeches have been partially successful,
can hardly be doubted by any one who has noted the prevalent tone
at the subsequent farmers' meetings. We believe that Mr Disraeli is
at heart and by conviction as much a Protectionist as before. We do
not even deny that his tactics, if pursued and successful, might,
from the universal impatience of taxation which prevails, compel any
Ministry then in power to raise an additional amount of revenue by
the imposition of customs duties. Or otherwise, the success of his
movement might have the effect of displacing the present Ministry,
and necessitating an entire party change in Her Majesty's counsels.
We are fully alive to the advantage of one or other of these results.
We are opposed to further direct taxation, and we have no confidence
whatever in the present advisers of the Crown. But we cannot approve
of any move or any tactics which may have the effect of throwing even
the slightest doubt on the determination of the great Protectionist
party to persevere in this struggle, until due Protection is obtained
for all the productive classes of the community. That party has taken
its stand upon a principle so just and so true, that, sooner or later,
despite every effort on the part of its opponents--every shortcoming on
the part of its advocates--it must be triumphant; for the cause is that
of the whole industrious population of Britain, not of a section or a
class.

Mr Disraeli proposes to equalise the burdens upon land. Let us suppose
him successful; and, according to his own showing, £6,000,000 of
taxation, or rather of local rates, should be removed from the land and
levied elsewhere. We do not doubt the accuracy of his calculation: we
believe it to be strictly correct. But, were that grievance remedied,
would the case be materially altered? We are given to understand that
£90,000,000 is the amount of the annual depreciation of agricultural
produce which has taken place since the Corn Laws were repealed. That
calculation was made nearly two years ago, and since then prices have
considerably fallen. Would the farmers accept such share of this
£6,000,000 as might fall to their lot as a compensation for their
losses? The idea is preposterous. We are well aware that Mr. Disraeli
has never said this; but does he not see that, in bringing forward this
subject in any shape approaching to, or appearing to be, a compromise,
he incurs the danger of sacrificing the support, and alienating the
interest of the most important, honest, and honourable body of men
that exist within the British dominions? The farmers will not stand
finessing. They neither comprehend circuitous _coups d'etat_, nor
will they follow those who attempt them. The plain English sense is
hostile to such manoeuvres. They are ready to follow any one in whose
capacity and judgment they can place reliance, so long as he pursues
a clear and open course; but the moment that his tactics are veiled,
uncertain, or unintelligible, they lose confidence in his guidance.
That we believe to be, at all times, the tendency of the English
character. Late events have engendered, not without great reason, much
suspicion of the sincerity of public men, whatever be their party or
denomination, and therefore it is the more needful that, wherever a
principle is involved, no step whatever should be taken which may
lead to the remotest suspicion that such principle is about to be
compromised. We believe most firmly, most sincerely, that any idea of
such compromise never entered into the mind of Mr Disraeli, or any
other of the gentlemen whose speeches have been made the subject of
joyous comment by the Free-Traders. We are satisfied that the line of
action they have announced is, in itself, honourable and praiseworthy;
but we regret that they have not made it distinctly and unequivocally
subordinate to the grand cause in which every man in this country, who
lives by his labour, physical or intellectual, is concerned.

We have long regarded with much anxiety the position of the farmers
of England. Viewed as a body, they form the great conservative
nucleus of the country; and it is to their hatred of innovation,
sound constitutional feeling, and determined loyalty, that we owe our
immunity from those democratic convulsions which have taken place in
almost every other part of Europe. To subject such a class of men as
this to gross and cruel injustice--to persevere in a policy which is
reducing them to ruin, after its effects have been made evident--to
insult them by the mock language of sympathy, whilst denying them
an effectual remedy--these are acts of infatuation which were never
committed by any British Ministry save that under Lord John Russell,
or approved of by any House of Commons save that which is presently
in existence. Of the patience which the farmers have exhibited under
such trying circumstances, we cannot speak in terms of sufficient
admiration. But all endurance has its limit. The farmers were content
to wait so long as there was a reasonable prospect of a change of
that policy which was gradually bringing them to ruin, and long
abstained from joining in any agitation for purposes which, though
they might have had the effect of alleviating their condition, were
fraught with danger to the commercial credit of the country, and in
some respects to the stability of its institutions. But now, finding
that both Government and Parliament are obstinately deaf to their
representations, and dogged in their refusal of redress--meeting with
far less support than they were entitled to expect on the part of many
of the landlords--embarrassed and confused by the tactics announced by
some of their supporters in Parliament --they have combined for their
own defence, and are instituting a movement which may hereafter have a
most important effect upon the credit and the destinies of the kingdom.
Are they to be blamed for this? It would be difficult so to blame
them. Rather let the blame rest with those whose obstinacy, ignorance,
selfishness, or pride has driven them to this position, and compelled
the farmer to seek from extravagant and impracticable schemes, and
from clamorous agitation, that relief which was denied him as a sound
supporter of the Constitution.

The nature and objects of the Agricultural Relief Associations may be
gathered from the report of the Suffolk meeting, lately held at Bury
St. Edmunds. The assumption of all the speakers was, that Protection
cannot be expected either from the present or the future Parliament.

    "Politicians," said one gentleman, "were every day shifting
    their ground. Men who a few short months ago threatened to
    assume the reins of Government, with the express design of
    reversing the policy of the last few years, were now faltering
    in their purpose, and confessing both their inability and
    unwillingness to effect these changes."

Another spoke as follows:--

    "It was generally known, that while the farmers were asleep the
    Free-Trade policy came into operation. This at once cut off not
    less than 20 per cent of the capital employed in farming. This
    blow the farmers felt very keenly. They at once began to open
    their eyes, unstop their ears, and to unloose their tongues.
    They earnestly inquired what steps should be taken by them in
    the new circumstances under which they were placed. They heard
    various voices in reply, but the loudest and most powerful of
    these assured them that they would go back to Protection, and
    that by next Session too. Next Session passed, however, without
    exhibiting the least prospect of that result, and they had been
    going on, Session after Session, until the present moment, when
    they seemed farther from Protection than ever. Others told
    them to lay out all their capital on land, and they would be
    sure to get remuneration. They had done that too, and their
    capital was gone without any prospect of remuneration."

Another gentleman, hitherto known as a staunch Protectionist, thus
announced his reasons for joining the movement:--

    "The fact was, that when he found members of the House of
    Commons, who had been returned to Parliament for the express
    purpose of supporting Protection, saying, behind the scenes,
    that it was impossible to expect Protection back again; and
    when he found members of the House of Peers telling him that
    if they stood out for Protection it would cost them their
    coronets, he was forced to come to the conclusion that the
    voice of the people had doomed these laws. He then began to
    ask himself this plain and simple question--if they give the
    country cheap corn, _won't they give us cheap taxation_? He was
    willing to grow corn against any man, come from where he might;
    but, at the same time, he must have a fair field to do it in."

Here are the views of the society as contained in the chairman's
summary:--

    "When their agricultural distress had been relieved by the
    repeal of the malt-tax, by the permanent fixation of tithe
    on an equitable basis, by the extinction of church-rates, by
    a revision of the county expenditure, the abolition of the
    game-laws, the removal of all restrictions on the cultivation
    of land, a change in the law of distress, the rights of
    the tenant-farmers recognised, the abominable abuses of
    the poor-law corrected, and when the bulk of taxation was
    shifted from the shoulders of the productive to those of the
    unproductive classes--from industry upon wealth--then might
    they hope that honesty, industry, and perseverance would meet
    their due reward."

We do not make these quotations with any intention of criticising the
opinions expressed. We simply lay them before our readers as a specimen
of that spirit which is now possessing the farmers--a spirit engendered
by wrong, and strengthened by the suffering of years. If anything could
make us believe that coronets are in danger of falling, it is the
expression of such views on the part of men who hitherto have been the
best defenders of the Constitution, and the most averse to yield to
any of the impulses of change. But, as we have already said, we cannot
blame the speakers. If they are convinced in their own minds that a
return to Protection is impossible, their condition is such that they
must necessarily have recourse to any expedient, however desperate,
which can afford them the prospect of relief. We have long foreseen
this crisis. Situated as Great Britain is, the choice lies simply
between a return to Protection to Labour, and an assault on the public
burdens. There is no other alternative. Cheapness may be established as
the rule, but cheapness cannot co-exist with heavy taxation. To hope
that the burden can be shifted from one shoulder to another is clearly
an absurdity. If it is to be sustained, the productive classes must
have the means of sustaining it. If those means are denied them, the
burden is altogether intolerable.

It is not a little instructive to remark that, even now, the supporters
of Free Trade are compelled to stop and leave their scheme unfinished.
They cannot carry it out in its integrity without ruining the finances
of the country. They have exposed the farmer to unlimited competition
in produce, but they still continue to restrict the sphere of his
industry and production. The malt-tax is a heavy burden upon him,
and he is specially prohibited from growing tobacco, or engaging
in the manufacture of beetroot sugar. These restrictions, say the
Free-Traders, are absolutely necessary for revenue. Granted; but if you
put on restrictions, are you not bound to give an equivalent? As for
the argument in favour of the malt-tax, that it is the consumer who
really pays the duty, that might be extended with equal justice to the
instance of raw cotton. Why is barley, the produce of our own country,
to be taxed, and cotton, the produce of a foreign country, to be
exempted? Besides this, we have always understood that beer, tobacco,
and sugar, are articles which enter largely into the consumption of
the agricultural as well as that of other classes; so that here is a
grievance totally opposed to the principles of Free Trade, and yet
supported and perpetuated by the very men who have adopted Free Trade
as their motto! We instance these things as proofs that Free Trade
never can be made, in the strict sense of the word, the law and system
of the land, so long as the present enormous expenditure is continued;
and in saying this, we hope it will be understood that we are as much
opposed as ever to the views of the party who are for cutting down our
national establishments.

We anticipate, in the course of next Session, to hear many propositions
made on the subject of adjustment of taxation. Each class is anxious
to be freed from its own peculiar burdens, and to devolve them upon
others; and certainly never was there any case so strong or so urgent
as that which can be brought forward on the part of the agriculturists.
But who is to relieve them? Will any other class submit to the
transference which is necessarily implied? Will the manufacturers or
the capitalists undertake to provide for the six millions which at
present they are most unjustly wresting from the owners and occupiers
of the soil? Here is the real difficulty. Justice, we know, is not
regarded as an indispensable element of taxation: if it were so, the
income-tax would never have been imposed in its present form. If the
claims of the farmers who are banded together for agricultural relief
were granted, immediate national bankruptcy would be the result. This
is the grand dilemma in which we are placed by the Free-Traders.
Either a gross and palpable act of injustice and oppression must
be perpetuated--so long at least as the victims have the means of
payment--or, as was long ago prophesied, the capitalists and the
fundholders must suffer. The truth is, that the productive power of the
country cannot meet the demands upon it in the shape of taxation if it
remains exposed to unlimited foreign competition.

In order properly to comprehend this point, which is one of the utmost
importance, it is necessary to discard theory altogether, and to adopt
history as our guide. The financial system of Great Britain, acting
upon and influencing the commercial arrangements and social relations
of the country, is not difficult of comprehension if we trace it
step by step; and without a due understanding of this, and the vast
influence which monetary laws exercise over the wellbeing and progress
of a nation, it is impossible for any one to form a sound judgment on
the conflicting principles of Protection and Free Trade, or to discover
the true and only source of the difficulties which now surround us.
It is the misfortune of the present age that so little attention
is paid to the abstruser portions of history, which, in reality,
are the most valuable for us. Wars of succession or conquest, naval
engagements, records of intrigue or details of diplomatic dexterity,
have a peculiar charm and interest for readers of every kind; but few
take the pains to go more deeply into the subject, and investigate in
what manner such events have affected the resources of a country, and
whether, by diminishing its wealth or by stimulating the energies of
its population, they have lowered or raised its position in the scale
of nations. That portion of history which relates to external events is
worthless for practical purposes, unless we combine with it the study
of that portion which relates to its finance. Under the modern system,
now universal throughout Europe, which leaves the debts and engagements
of former generations to be liquidated or provided for by the next,
no man can be called a statesman or politician who has not addicted
himself to these studies.

The Funding System, as is well know, began with the Revolution, and
has continued up to the present hour. It was strenuously opposed and
vigorously assailed by some of the most able and clear-sighted in the
country, such as Bolingbroke, David Hume, and Adam Smith, who from time
to time pointed out the consequences which must ultimately ensue from
this method of mortgaging posterity, more especially if the burden
were allowed to increase without any steps being taken to provide
for its ultimate extinguishment. It is the peculiarity of a debt so
constituted, that for a time it gives great additional stimulus to
the energies of a country. It enables it to prosecute conquests, and
to undertake designs, which it could not otherwise have achieved; and
it is not until long afterwards, when the payment of the interest or
annual charge becomes a severe burden upon a generation which had no
share in contracting the debt, that the mischievous effects of the
system become apparent. At the outbreak of the French Revolution, the
public debt of Great Britain amounted to £261,735,059, and the annual
charge was £9,471,675. A very large portion of this debt was incurred
for the war waged with our American colonies.

At that time the currency of the country was placed on the metallic
basis, but the great drain of the precious metals occasioned by the
enormous subsidies which Great Britain furnished to her allies on the
Continent, to engage their support against the revolutionary armies
of France, reduced the nation to the very verge of bankruptcy, and
necessitated in 1797 the suspension of cash payments. The immediate
effect of this step upon the finances of the country has been so
justly, and at the same time so clearly, stated by Mr Alison in his
_History of Europe_, and the consequences of the subsequent return to
the old system of cash payments, after their suspension for nearly
a quarter of a century, are so graphically depicted, that we cannot
do better than entreat the attention of the reader to the following
extract:--

    "This measure having been carried by Mr Pitt, a committee
    was appointed, which reported shortly after that the funds
    of the Bank were £17,597,000, while its debts were only
    £13,770,000, leaving a balance of £3,800,000 in favour of
    the establishment; but that it was necessary, for a limited
    time, to suspend the cash payments. Upon this, a bill for
    the restriction of payments in specie was introduced, which
    provided that bank-notes should be received as a legal tender
    by the collectors of taxes, and have the effect of stopping the
    issuing of arrest on mesne process for payment of debt between
    man and man. The bill was limited in its operation to the 24th
    June; but it was afterwards renewed from time to time, and in
    November 1797 continued till the conclusion of a general peace;
    and the obligation on the Bank to pay in specie was never again
    imposed till Sir Robert Peel's Act in 1819.

    "Such was the commencement of the paper system in Great
    Britain, which ultimately produced such astonishing effects;
    which enabled the empire to carry on for so long a period so
    costly a war, and to maintain for years armaments greater than
    had been raised by the Roman people in the zenith of their
    power; which brought the struggle at length to a triumphant
    issue, and arrayed all the forces of Eastern Europe in English
    pay, against France on the banks of the Rhine. To the same
    system must be ascribed ultimate effects as disastrous, as
    the immediate were beneficial and glorious; the continued
    and progressive rise of rents, the unceasing, and to many
    calamitous, fall in the value of money during the whole course
    of the war; increased expenditure, the growth of sanguine ideas
    and extravagant habits in all classes of society; unbounded
    speculation, prodigious profits and frequent disasters among
    the commercial rich; increased wages, general prosperity, and
    occasional depression among the labouring poor. But these
    effects, which ensued during the war, were as nothing compared
    to those which have, since the peace, resulted from the return
    to cash payments by the bill of 1819. Perhaps no single measure
    ever produced so calamitous an effect as that has done. It has
    added at least a third to the National Debt, and augmented in a
    similar proportion all private debt in the country, and at the
    same time occasioned such a fall of prices by the contraction
    of the currency as has destroyed the sinking fund, rendered
    great part of the indirect taxes unproductive, and compelled
    in the end a return to direct taxation in a time of general
    peace. Thence has arisen a vacillation of prices unparalleled
    in any age of the world; a creation of property in some and
    destruction of it in others, which equalled, in its ultimate
    consequences, all but the disasters of a revolution."[7]

[7] ALISON'S _History of Europe_, chap. xxii.

The immediate effect of the suspension of cash payments on the part of
the State bank was an enormous increase in the circulation of paper.
The prices of commodities rose to nearly double their previous value,
and a period of prosperity commenced, at least for one generation.
During the twenty-two years which elapsed from the suspension of cash
payments in 1797 down to 1819, when their resumption was provided
for by Act of Parliament, or at least during eighteen years of that
period, reckoning down to the re-establishment of peace in Europe, the
career of England has no parallel in the annals of the world. The vast
improvements and discoveries in machinery which were made towards the
latter end of the century--the inventions of Hargreaves, Arkwright,
Cartwright, Crompton, and Watt, came into play with astounding effect
at a time when Great Britain held the mastery of the seas, and could
divert the supplies of raw material from all other shores except
her own. During the hottest period of the war, and in spite of all
prohibitions, England manufactured for the Continent. Capital, or that
which passed for capital, was plentiful; credit was easy, and profits
were enormous. Some idea of the rapidity with which our manufactures
progressed may be drawn from the fact that, whereas in 1785 the
quantity of cotton wrought up was only 17,992,882 lbs., in 1810 it had
increased to 123,701,826. Under this stimulus the population augmented
greatly. The rise in the value of commodities gave that impulse to
agriculture by means of which tracts of moorland have been converted
into smiling harvest-fields, fens drained, commons enclosed, and huge
tracts reclaimed from the sea. The average price of wheat in 1792, was
42s. 11d.; in 1810, it was 106s. 2d. per quarter. Wages rose, though
not in the same proportion, and employment was abundant.

In short, the paper age, while it lasted, transcended, in so far as
Britain was concerned, the dreams of a golden era. Those who suffered
from the suspension of cash payments were the _original_ fundholders,
annuitants, and such landlords as had previously let their properties
upon long leases. But the distress of such parties was little heard,
and less heeded, amid the hum of the multitudes who were profiting
by the change. The creditor might be injured, but the debtor was
largely benefited. One immediate effect of this rise in prices was, a
corresponding rise in fixed salaries and the expenses of government.
Hence, the domestic expenditure of the country was greatly increased;
new taxes were levied, and the permanent burden of the National
Debt augmented to an amount which, sixty years ago, would have been
reckoned entirely fabulous. As a specimen of the increased expense
of cultivating arable land, it may here be worth while to insert the
following comparative table, calculated by Mr Arthur Young, and laid
before a committee of the House of Lords. The extent is one hundred
acres:--


COMPARATIVE TABLE OF THE EXPENSES OF ARABLE LAND.

  |                      |     1790.     |     1803.     |     1813.     |
  |                      +---------------+---------------+---------------+
  |Rent,                 | £88  6  3-1/4 |£121  2  7-1/4 |£161 12  7-1/4 |
  |Tithe,                |  20 14  1-3/4 |  26  8  0-1/4 |  38 17  3-1/4 |
  |Rates,                |  17 13 10     |  31  7  7-3/4 |  38 19  2-3/4 |
  |Wear and tear,        |  15 13  5-1/4 |  22 14 10-1/4 |  31  2 10-3/4 |
  |Labour,               |  85  5  4     | 118  0  4     | 161 12 11-1/4 |
  |Seed,                 |  46  4 10-1/4 |  49  2  7     |  98 17 10     |
  |Manure,               |  48  0  3     |  68  6  2     |  37  7  0-1/4 |
  |Team,                 |  67  4 10     |  80  8  0-1/4 | 134 19  8-1/2 |
  |Interest,             |  22 11 11-1/2 |  30  3  8-1/2 |  50  5  6     |
  |Taxes,                |   0  0  0     |   0  0  0     |  18  1  4     |
  |                      +---------------+---------------+---------------+
  |          Total,      |£411 15 11-3/4 |£547 10 11-1/2 |£771 16  4-1/2 |
  |        Deduct rent,  |  88  6  3-1/4 | 121  2  7-1/4 | 161 12  7-1/4 |
  |                      +---------------+---------------+---------------+
  |      Nett expenses,  |£323  9  8-1/2 |£426  8  4-1/2 |£610  3  9-1/4 |
  |                      +---------------+---------------+---------------+
  |Price of wheat        |               |               |               |
  |    per quarter,      |      46s.     |   56s.  9d.   |  108s.  9d.   |

So long as the war lasted, the import of corn from abroad into this
country was insignificant in amount. In 1814 the amount of wheat
and wheat flour brought in amounted to only 681,333 quarters, being
considerably above the average of years since the commencement of the
century. In fact, Britain was then self-supporting. In time of war
it is plain that, from our insular position, we cannot trust to any
supplies beyond those which are raised at home, and there cannot be any
doubt of the capability of the land to support a much larger population
than that which presently exists. To those who glance superficially
at the above table, the price of wheat in the year 1813 will appear
monstrous, even when the great increase in the cost of cultivation is
taken into account. This is the error, and it is a gross one, which has
been studiously perpetuated by our statists, and even by some eminent
writers on political economy. True, the price of wheat was then 108s.
9d., _but it was estimated in a depreciated currency_. Owing to various
causes which it would be tedious to explain, the apparent difference
between the value of the pound note and the guinea was far slighter
than might have been expected, not amounting to more than seven or
eight shillings, and actual depreciation, by sale of the notes for
less than their nominal value, was by statute made penal. The price
of gold and silver bullion never rose to an extent commensurate with
the depreciation of the paper: in fact the coinage, as must be in the
recollection of many, almost entirely disappeared, and was replaced
by tokens of little intrinsic value, which served as the medium of
interchange. In this depreciated and fluctuating currency commodities
were valued, and by far the greater part of our National Debt was
contracted. The paper pound in 1813 was probably, we may almost say
certainly, not worth more than 10s. of metallic currency. In this view
the quarter, estimated according to the present standard, was sold
for 54s. 4-1/2d--a price which modern statesmen allow to be barely
remunerative.

If this point were generally understood, a vast amount of delusion
which possesses the public mind would be dispelled. The relative value
of money to commodities has been as entirely changed, by the return
to cash payments, as if shillings had been substituted for sixpences.
If the creditor suffered in 1797, the debtor has suffered far more
severely in consequence of the Act of 1819, as we shall immediately
proceed to show. Meantime, we shall entreat the reader to keep in mind
that all incomes and expenditure, public or private, during the war and
the suspension of cash payments, are to be estimated not by our present
metallic standard, but by the fluctuating value of a depreciated
currency.

When peace was established the ports were opened. Then it became
evident that foreign importations, if permitted, would at once and for
ever extinguish the landed interest. The annual charge of the debt
alone was, in 1816, the first year of peace, £32,938,751; and the
current annual expenditure £32,231,020--in all, _upwards of sixty-five
millions_. Had, therefore, the price of wheat in Britain been suddenly
reduced to the Continental level, as would have been the case but for
the imposition of the Corn Laws, the national bankruptcy would have
been immediate. No argument is required to prove this and it has often
struck us as singular that this crisis--for such it was--has been so
seldom referred to, especially in later discussions. We are not now
defending the original suspension of cash payments--a measure which,
nevertheless, seems to us to have been dictated by the strongest
political necessity, however baneful its results may prove to the
present and future generations. We simply say, that eighteen years'
operation of that system, with the enormous expenditure and liabilities
which it entailed, rendered Protection necessary the moment importation
was threatened, to save the country from immediate bankruptcy following
on its unparalleled efforts.

It is utter folly, and worse, to say, as political economists now
contend, and as ignorant demagogues aver, that the Corn Laws were
originally proposed solely for the benefit of the landlords. Without
the imposition of such laws, the whole financial system of Great
Britain must instantly have disappeared. The amount of taxes which
were required--first, to pay the interest of the National Debt, and,
secondly, to meet the expenses of Government, (greatly increased by
the change in the monetary laws effected in 1797)--rendered Protection
to labour and to native produce absolutely indispensable. How could
it be otherwise? Had wheat been sold in the British market at 46s.,
or even 50s., from what sources could the revenue have been levied?
Under the new system, the expenses of cultivation had nearly doubled
in twenty-three years--could the produce be put back to the same rates
as before? So long as the monetary system then established did exist,
that was clearly impossible. Protection was imperatively demanded, not
by any class of the community, but by the state. To refuse it would
have been national suicide. And so it was carried, doubtless very
much against the inclination of the populace, who naturally enough
expected that the return of peace would bring with it some substantial
advantages in the shape of cheapness, and were proportionally
disappointed when they discovered that the whole rent-charge of the
wars, which had been so long maintained, must be liquidated before they
could taste the anticipated blessings of the cheap loaf.

The return to cash payments, effected by the Act of 1819, is by far
the most important event in our history since the change of dynasty.
We believe that the late Sir Robert Peel, then a very young man, who
was made the mouthpiece of a particular party on that occasion, really
did not understand, to its full extent, the tremendous responsibility
which he incurred. He acted simply as the exponent of the measure,
at the instigation and by the direction of Mr Ricardo, who, under
the guise of a political economist, concealed the crafty and selfish
motives of the race from which he originally sprung. Ricardo was
at that time considered a grand authority on matters of finance,
his field of preparatory study having been the Stock Exchange, on
which he is understood to have realised a large fortune. All his
prepossessions, therefore, were in favour of the capitalists; and
it is not uncharitable to conclude that his private interests lay
in the same direction. That act provided for the gradual resumption
of cash payments throughout England, to be consummated in 1823, for
the establishment of a fixed gold standard, and for the withdrawal
of all bank-notes under the amount of five pounds. Had this act been
carried into effect in all its integrity, general bankruptcy must have
immediately ensued, from the absorption of the circulating medium.
The existence of the small notes, however, was respited, and this
enabled the country bankers to go on for some time without a crash.
Still the violent contraction of the currency, so caused, had the
necessary effect of spreading dismay throughout all sections of the
community. The circulation of the Bank of England, at 27th February
1819, was £25,126,700. On the 28th February 1823, it was contracted
to £18,392,240. At the former period its private discounts amounted
to more than nine millions; at the latter, they were considerably
under five. As a matter of course, the country bankers were compelled
to follow the example of the great establishment, and the immediate
results of this grand financial measure may be described in a few
words. The tree was thoroughly shaken. According to Mr Doubleday--

    "As the memorable first of May 1823 drew near, the country
    bankers, as well as the bank of England, naturally prepared
    themselves, by a gradual narrowing of their circulation, for
    the dreaded hour of gold and silver payments "on demand," and
    the withdrawal of the small notes. We have already seen the
    fall of prices produced by this universal narrowing of the
    paper circulation. The effects of the distress produced all
    over the country--the consequence of this fall--we have yet to
    see."

    "The distress, ruin, and bankruptcy, which now took place,
    were universal; affecting both the great interests of land and
    trade; but amongst the landlords, whose estates were burdened
    by mortgages, jointures, settlements, legacies, &c., the
    effects were most marked, and out of the ordinary course. In
    hundreds of cases, from the tremendous reduction in the price
    of land which now took place, the estates barely sold for as
    much as would pay off the mortgages; and hence the owners were
    stripped of all, and made beggars. I was myself personally
    acquainted with one of the victims of this terrible measure.
    He was a schoolfellow, and inherited a good fortune, made
    principally in the West Indies. On coming of age, and settling
    with his guardians, he found himself possessed of fully forty
    thousand pounds; and with this he resolved to purchase an
    estate, to marry, and to settle for life. He was a young
    man addicted to no vice; of a fair understanding and a most
    excellent heart; and was connected with friends high in rank,
    and likely to afford him every proper assistance and advice.
    The estate was purchased, I believe, about the year 1812 or
    1813, for eighty thousand pounds, one moiety of the purchase
    money being borrowed on mortgage of the land bought. In 1822-3
    he was compelled to part with the estate, in order to pay off
    his mortgage, and some arrears of interest; and when this was
    done, he was left without a shilling--the estate bringing only
    half of its cost in 1812."[8]

[8] _Financial History of England._ By THOMAS DOUBLEDAY.

But isolated instances, however great may be their interest, will not
adequately exhibit the effects of this measure upon the vital interests
of the country. At least one half of the National Debt was incurred
after the suspension of cash payments, and during the prevalence of
the Paper Currency. The interest of that debt was now, and in all time
coming, to be paid in coin greatly above the value of the currency
in which it was contracted; and the Private Creditor shared in the
advantage which thus was given to the Fund-holder. The taxes were all
to be levied in the same way, the metallic standard being made of
universal application. As a matter of course, prices fell, and fell in
a corresponding ratio.

The great prosperity of England during the war, and the unexampled
development of its resources, whether agricultural, manufacturing, or
commercial may be traced to the combination of at least three causes.
In the first place, England was thoroughly protected. Her artisans and
labourers had nothing to fear from foreign competition. They had the
monopoly of their own home market, and were not liable to be undersold
by the products of other nations. In the second place, we had a most
extensive foreign trade, the real value of which cannot be ascertained
from the official tables, owing to the manner in which that trade
was carried on. But even according to the defective records which we
possess, it appears that our exports in 1805 were equal to those of
1823, many of the intermediate years showing a much larger amount. In
1810, our exports were close upon forty-six millions; in 1832 they were
barely above thirty-six. In the third place, the country possessed a
large circulating medium, which gave ample scope to enterprise. We
shall not enter upon the vexed question of systems of currency in the
abstract; it is enough for us to know that for more than twenty years
British prosperity went on without a check, until it was strangled
by the bullionists. At present, we have neither Protection, nor
an Expanded Currency. Our foreign trade, in so far as exports are
concerned, is nominally large; but those who are best qualified to
judge of the value of that trade, declare that it is unremunerative.

We are therefore very much at a loss to know what element of prosperity
exists at the present time. We have every faith in British energy if
it is allowed fair play, but that is precisely what we contend is not
vouchsafed to it. Our whole legislation, under the guidance of the
political economists, may be characterised as a systematic attempt
to depress British industry. This could not have been effected at
once, or by one isolated effort: several attacks upon the productive
classes were required before this was consummated. The change of
currency lowered the value of produce, and increased the burden of
taxation. In other words, it brought down both prices and wages, to the
manifest gain of the capitalist. Then came the gradual relaxation of
the tariff, which has resulted in free importation--a measure by which
all the working-classes, without any exception, are assailed. This
was effected with a perseverance and ingenuity which we cannot help
admiring, even when we denounce it as diabolical. The first advances
to Free Trade were no more remarked by the public in general than the
footmarks of the tiger in the jungle when he advances stealthily on his
prey. The real instigators were the exporting manufacturers. After the
return of peace, they saw clearly enough that their old monopoly was
at an end. Cobbett wrote, very shrewdly, though in his own peculiar
manner, in 1815:--

    "It is now hoped by some persons that the restoration of the
    Pope, the Inquisition, the Jesuits, and the Bourbons, will so
    far brutalise the people of the Continent of Europe that we
    shall have no rivals in the arts of peace; and that thus we
    shall be left to enjoy a monopoly of navigation, commerce,
    and manufactures; and be thereby enabled to pay the interest
    on our debt, and to meet the enormous annual expenses of our
    government. Without stopping to comment on the morality and
    humanity of this hope, entertained in a country abounding with
    Bible Societies, I venture to give it as my decided opinion,
    that the hope is fallacious. Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Holland,
    Austria, Spain, the Italian States, and even the Bourbons, will
    all push forward for their share of the benefits of the arts
    of peace. While our purse is open to them all, they will be
    subservient to us; but that cannot be for ever."

The old sergeant was perfectly right--with the return of peace our
monopoly of the foreign market was over; but the question still
remained, whether, by the sacrifice of home labour, our exporting
manufacturers might not be able, for a considerable period at least, to
keep ahead of their new rivals in distant markets. Unfortunately for us
all, the political economists determined to make the attempt.

In some important branches of manufacture Britain was still unrivalled.
The nearest, readiest, and therefore most lucrative market for these
was to be found in Europe, and in consequence, it was deemed necessary
that concessions should be made to admit some kinds of produce as
imports, by way of inducing the foreigners to concede a free admission
to our exports. There is a scene in Shakspeare's play of _Julius
Cæsar_, in which Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus are represented, seated
at a table, conceding amicably the deaths of the near relations
of each, in exchange for a similar surrender. This is not quite a
parallel to the case before us. Our statesmen doomed their friends
and fellow-countrymen without requiring a reciprocal sacrifice, and
the consequence was that we gradually opened our home market to the
foreigner, without insisting that he should render to us the same
measure of justice. The artisans were the first to feel the blow. They
had already suffered, most severely, from the change in the currency,
which brought down prices, and, with them, the remuneration of labour;
and the withdrawal of Protection from them made them the natural
enemies of all those who were still shielded from foreign competition.
The feeling was perfectly natural. The system begun by Huskisson, and
consummated by Peel, could have no other effect than in arming one
class of the community against the other. Deprive John forcibly of his
coat, under the pretext of justice, and he will immediately insist that
the same measure of deprivation shall be extended to James. He has a
converse of a Christian rule to utter in his defence--"Why should not
others be done to, precisely as I have been done by?"

This argument, in the hands of its able advocates, has proved
irresistible. John and James are alike without coats; and until they
agree with one another, and come to a common understanding, there is
not much likelihood of their resumption of their necessary wear. It
never has been, and never can be, for the interest of the producer
that prices should be generally low. Very great nonsense has of late
years been talked by public men, and, amongst others, by members of
the present cabinet, regarding the "natural price" of corn. They seem
to think that they have stumbled upon a happy phrase, and claim credit
to themselves for patriotism in resisting all attempts to make the
bread of the people dearer. But they do not, or will not, see that
the great body of the people are interested in this question, not as
consumers, but as producers. The vast majority of the population of
these islands have hitherto derived their means of subsistence, not
from manufactures, but from the soil. Manufactures do not in reality
constitute more than one-fourth part of the annual creation of our
wealth; and two-thirds at least of all our manufactures are intended
for the home market, and will be profitable or not according to the
circumstances of the general body of consumers. Now, the natural price
of corn depends upon the circumstances of the country in which it is
produced. It may be ten shillings in Poland: it may be sixty shillings
in England. No doubt you can get corn, and are getting it, from Poland
far cheaper than you can raise it in England--but at what cost? Why,
at the sacrifice of that enormous capital which has been sunk in the
cultivation of the land, and of nearly one-half of the annual creation
of our wealth!

The average price of wheat, for a number of years preceding 1790, was
46s. per quarter. It is so stated in Mr Arthur Young's table, which
we have given above, and may be taken as the average of thirty years.
The average for 1790 was considerably higher, for we observe that Mr
Porter states it at 53s. 2d. Now, since that period, both the amount
of our debt and of our current annual public expenditure has been
tripled--that is, we have three times as much to pay in the shape of
taxation as formerly. This is independent of poor-rates and local
taxation, which have also greatly increased. That being the case, we
ask how it is possible that corn can be grown now in Britain at a
profit, when the ruling price, owing to importations from abroad, is
_eight shillings per quarter_ lower than it was on an average of years
preceding 1790? The absurdity is palpable.

How, then, are the taxes to be paid? That is the question. Not out of
the profits of the foreign trade certainly, for the whole value of
our exports is not much above the amount of the national expenditure,
and when we add the local taxes, would not reach one-half of the
requisite sum. Besides, at the present moment, the exports are not
nearly balancing the imports. According to the official tables, the
declared value of the exports for the year ending 5th January 1850,
was £63,596,025; the official value of the imports for the same period
was £105,874,607. We presume it will be admitted that taxes can only
be permanently paid out of profits, and we want to know where these
profits are? It is perfectly evident that the cultivation of the land
cannot be carried on for ever at a loss. Sooner or later both capital
and credit must be exhausted; soils of an inferior description--indeed
all except the best land in the neighbourhood of towns--must be
abandoned and withdrawn from tillage, and the working-classes will find
themselves utterly unable to meet the demands of taxation. An immense
portion of our taxation is, and must be, drawn from the labouring men.
They contribute largely to our revenue through the customs and excise,
and the extent of their consumption depends entirely upon the amount
of the wages which they receive. Any measure which tends to lessen
the sphere of production is a direct blow at their interests. Cheap
bread is just another word for low wages, as already many of them have
discovered to their cost; and we have now arrived at that stage of the
experiment when its effects will be rapidly developed.

Mr Porter, whose brains are principally valuable in the preparation of
cumbrous statistics, breaks out, for once in a way, into a fine burst
of eloquence on the subject of over-population. Let us hear him in his
animated mood:--

"Whence arises this fear--this childish fear of the increase of our
numbers?--childish, because it exists without regard to the lessons
of experience. What evidence is there in our present condition to
justify the complaint of 'surplus population,' that did not exist in
as great, or even in a greater degree of force, when our numbers had
not reached one-half their present amount? Why, then, shall we not go
forward to double, and again to double our population in safety, and
even to advantage, if, instead of rearing millions of human _clods_,
whose lives are passed in consuming the scanty supplies which is all
that their task of intelligence enables them to produce, the universal
people shall have their minds cultivated to a degree that will enable
each to add his proportion to the general store?"[9]

[9] PORTER'S _Progress of the Nation_, p. 692.

Good lack, Mr Porter, there was no occasion at all for your putting
yourself into such an inconvenient heat! Nobody, so far as we know,
is making any complaint of surplus population. You and your friends
have taken effectual measures to prevent such a state of matters, and
we may now rest without any apprehension of a visit from the ghost
of Malthus. The "universal people" alluded to in your last brilliant
though somewhat unintelligible sentence, are likely to follow your
advice, and abstain from "rearing millions of human clods," at least
upon British soil. Be satisfied--you have done for the clods. Ireland
is a noble example of your trophies in that way; and if you want to
glorify yourself on another, you may refer to the Scottish Highlands.
The true way to provide against the evils of over-population is to
lower the value of produce, which is the condition of labour, below the
remunerative point. Do that, and you may make a wilderness out of the
most fertile region of the earth. But then, Mr Porter, did you never
ask yourself what is to become of those who derive their subsistence
and incomes from the labour of these self-same clods? A good many of
us, we suspect, are in that condition, and very melancholy indeed would
be our countenances if called upon to assist at the funeral of the last
of that race. "Meddle not," said the Giant, in the German fable, to his
child, who had picked up a peasant as a plaything--"meddle not with the
husbandman! But for him, what would become of us Giants?" It would be
well if you and your political allies had the intelligence to apprehend
the moral.

The _Times_, in a late number, has treated the subject of emigration
in a lively manner. The depopulation which has taken place since Free
Trade became the law of the land, is too startling a fact to be passed
over without notice; and it is thus that the leading journal speculates
on the strange phenomenon. The announcement in the opening sentence may
puzzle, if not alarm, some of the most zealous advocates of foreign
production:--

"The stream of emigration now set towards America will not stop till
Ireland is absolutely depopulated; and the only question is, when will
that be? Twenty years at the present rate would take away the whole
of the industrious classes, leaving only the proprietors and their
families, members of the learned professions, and those whose age or
infirmities keep them at home. Twenty years are but a short time in
treating great social or political questions. It is more than twenty
years since the passing of the Emancipation Act and the introduction
of the Reform Bill. What if it should really come to pass that before
another twenty years the whole Celtic race shall have disappeared from
these isles, and the problem of seven centuries received its solution?
We dwell in wonderful times, in an age of great discoveries, splendid
improvements, and grand consummations. Art has always been found the
handmaid of human developments. The discovery of gunpowder put an end
to the little wars and little states of the middle ages, and introduced
larger political manipulations. The discovery of printing prepared for
the revival of learning and arts, and paved the way to the Reformation.
The discovery of the mariner's compass showed our navigators a path
to the East Indies and the New World. It may be the first mission of
railways to set all the populations of the Old World on the move, and
send them in quest of independent and comfortable homes.

And when will this movement stop? Incuriousness and prejudice are ready
with the reply, that it will stop, at all events, when the Celtic race
is exhausted. The Englishman, we are assured, is too attached to his
country, and too comfortable at home, to cross the Atlantic. But surely
it is very premature to name any such period for this movement, or to
say beforehand what English labourers will do, when seven or eight
millions of Irish have led the way to comfort and independence. The
Englishman is now attached to his own home, because he knows of no
other. His ideas of other regions are dark and dismal. He trembles at
the thought of having to grope his way through the Cimmerian obscurity
of another hemisphere. The single fact that he will have no 'parish'
in America is, in his mind, a fatal bar to locomotion. But all this is
quickly passing away. Geography, union workhouses, ocean mails, and the
daily sight of letters arriving in ten days from prosperous emigrants,
are fast uprooting the British rustic from the soil, and giving him
cosmopolitan ideas. In a very few years the question uppermost in his
mind will be whether he will be better off here or there? Whether he
should go with the young and enterprising, or stay at home with the
old and stupid? If a quarter of a million British subjects have left
this country for the Australian colonies in the present generation,
there may easily be a much larger movement to a nearer and more wealthy
region. It has been imagined, indeed, that such a migration will have
a natural tendency to stop itself at a certain stage. We are told that
the English labourer will find a new field in Ireland, deserted by
the Celt. It will, however, cost no more effort of mind to cross the
ocean at once than to cross the Irish Channel for a land which, in the
English mind, must ever be associated with violence and blood. High
wages, again, we are told, the enjoyment of a liberal government, and
an improved condition, will bind the Englishman afresh to the soil of
his ancestors. But when you make the English labourer richer, more
independent, more intelligent, and more of a citizen, you have put him
more in a condition and temper to seek his fortune, wherever it may
be found. The men who in the United States leave their homes for the
Far West are generally they who have prospered where they are, and who
want the excitement of another start in life. On the whole, we are
disposed to think that the prospect is far too serious to be neglected,
or treated as a merely speculative question. The depopulation of these
isles, supposing the Celtic exodus to run out its course, and a British
exodus to follow, constitute about as serious a political event as
can be conceived; for a change of dynasty, or any other political
revolution, is nothing compared with a change in the people themselves.
All the departments of industry--the army, the navy, the cultivation
of the fields, the rent of landed property, the profit of trades, the
payment of rates and taxes--depend on the people, and without the
people there must ensue a general collapse of all our institutions.
We are, however, rather desirous to recommend the question to the
consideration of others, and especially of our statesmen, than to
answer it ourselves."

Is it only _now_ that this question is submitted to the consideration
of our statesmen? Why, if they are statesmen at all, they must have
thought and dreamed of little else for the last few years. The picture
here presented, though a frightful one, is by no means new. It has been
drawn over and over again by the advocates of the protective policy,
and as regularly ridiculed by the Free-Traders as a suggestion of a
diseased imagination. Now, the facts have emerged, the prophecy has
proved strictly true, and we are asked to consider about a remedy! What
remedy is there open to us, save one? Let labour be made remunerative
at home, which can only be done by Protection, and we shall answer for
it that the tide of emigration will be stayed. People do not leave
their country and their homes, at least in numbers like this, except
under the coercion of the most stringent necessity. Give an Englishman
work to do, and wages to live by, and he will rather remain here than
attempt to better his condition in a foreign soil. But in order that
he may remain here, his labour must be protected. Very truly says the
writer in the _Times_, that "all the departments of industry, the army,
the navy, the cultivation of the fields, the rent of landed property,
the profit of trades, the payment of rates and taxes, depend on the
people; and without the people, there must ensue a general collapse of
all our institutions." To every word of this we adhere. But unless we
can suppose that the people will submit to the degraded position of the
foreign serfs, with whose produce they are now called upon to compete,
Britain cannot hope to retain anything like its present population. The
exodus must go on, and every vestige of our former greatness disappear.
Unprotected labour and high taxation cannot exist together. Prolong the
struggle as we may, the experience of each succeeding month will show
the impossibility of such a reconciliation.

We are curious to know if, with such facts before them as those
admitted in the _Times_, Ministers will have the temerity next year to
assure us that the country generally is in prosperous circumstances. Do
men emigrate wholesale from prosperous countries? Are they ever ready
to leave comfort behind them, and recommence the struggle of life on
a more unpromising field? If we are forced to reject that conclusion,
then we defy any one to arrive at another save this--that our recent
legislation has so narrowed the sphere of labour, and so depressed its
prospects, that the population are driven per force from their native
country, to seek elsewhere the means of existence which they cannot
procure at home.

To talk of Protection as hopeless, is to acquiesce in the national
doom. All classes of the community, from the fundholder and capitalist
down to the meanest labourer, have a stake in this great question. Let
not the former deceive themselves. Without the labour of the people
their securities are as valueless as the mere paper on which they are
written. Therefore, it is their part to see that no line of policy
shall be allowed to continue if it has the effect of drying up the
springs of our national prosperity. If they will not listen to the
remonstrances of the distressed, let them at all events view their own
position dispassionately. We may be on the verge of a great crisis,
and a great struggle may be approaching, but we have not the slightest
doubt that the cause which must ultimately prevail is that which is
essentially the cause of the people. Prosperity will only return to the
nation when Native Industry is protected.

_Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh._


[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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