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Title: Crotchet Castle
Author: Peacock, Thomas Love
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1887 Cassell & Company edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org

                       CASSELL’S NATIONAL LIBRARY.

                                * * * * *



                             CROTCHET CASTLE


                                * * * * *

                                    BY
                           THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK.

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                       CASSELL & COMPANY, Limited:
                _LONDON_, _PARIS_, _NEW YORK & MELBOURNE_.
                                  1887.

                                * * * * *



INTRODUCTION.


THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK was born at Weymouth in 1785.  His first poem, “The
Genius of the Thames,” was in its second edition when he became one of
the friends of Shelley.  That was in 1812, when Shelley’s age was twenty,
Peacock’s twenty-seven.  The acquaintance strengthened, until Peacock
became the friend in whose judgment Shelley put especial trust.  There
were many points of agreement.  Peacock, at that time, shared, in a more
practical way, Shelley’s desire for root and branch reform; both wore
poets, although not equally gifted, and both loved Plato and the Greek
tragedians.  In “Crotchet Castle” Peacock has expressed his own delight
in Greek literature through the talk of the Reverend Dr. Folliott.

But Shelley’s friendship for Peacock included a trust in him that was
maintained by points of unlikeness.  Peacock was shrewd and witty.  He
delighted in extravagance of a satire which usually said more than it
meant, but always rested upon a foundation of good sense.  Then also
there was a touch of the poet to give grace to the utterances of a
clear-headed man of the world.  It was Peacock who gave its name to
Shelley’s poem of “Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude,” published in
1816.  The “Spirit of Solitude” being treated as a spirit of evil,
Peacock suggested calling it “Alastor,” since the Greek ἀλάστωρ means an
evil genius.

Peacock’s novels are unlike those of other men: they are the genuine
expressions of an original and independent mind.  His reading and his
thinking ran together; there is free quotation, free play of wit and
satire, grace of invention too, but always unconventional.  The story is
always pleasant, although always secondary to the play of thought for
which it gives occasion.  He quarrelled with verse, whimsically but in
all seriousness, in an article on “The Four Ages of Poetry,” contributed
in 1820 to a short-lived journal, “Ollier’s Literary Miscellany.”  The
four ages were, he said, the iron age, the Bardic; the golden, the
Homeric; the silver, the Virgilian; and the brass, in which he himself
lived.  “A poet in our time,” he said, “is a semi-barbarian in a
civilised community . . . The highest inspirations of poetry are
resolvable into three ingredients: the rant of unregulated passion, the
whining of exaggerated feeling, and the cant of factitious sentiment; and
can, therefore, serve only to ripen a splendid lunatic like Alexander, a
puling driveller like Werter, or a morbid dreamer like Wordsworth.”  In
another part of this essay he says: “While the historian and the
philosopher are advancing in and accelerating the progress of knowledge,
the poet is wallowing in the rubbish of departed ignorance, and raking up
the ashes of dead savages to find gewgaws and rattles for the grown
babies of the age.  Mr. Scott digs up the poacher and cattle-stealers of
the ancient Border.  Lord Byron cruises for thieves and pirates on the
shores of the Morea and among the Greek islands.  Mr. Southey wades
through ponderous volumes of travels and old chronicles, from which he
carefully selects all that is false, useless, and absurd, as being
essentially poetical; and when he has a commonplace book full of
monstrosities, strings them into an epic.”  And so forth; Peacock going
on to characterise, in further illustration of his argument, Wordsworth,
Coleridge, Moore, and Campbell.  He did not refer to Shelley; and Shelley
read his friend’s whimsical attack on poetry with all good humour,
proceeding to reply to it with a “Defence of Poetry,” which would have
appeared in the same journal, if the journal had survived.  In this novel
of “Crotchet Castle” there is the same good-humoured exaggeration in the
treatment of “our learned friend”—Lord Brougham—to whom and to whose
labours for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge there are repeated
allusions.  In one case Peacock associates the labours of “our learned
friend” for the general instruction of the masses with encouragement of
robbery (page 172), and in another with body-snatching, or, worse,—murder
for dissection (page 99).  “The Lord deliver me from the learned friend!”
says Dr. Folliott.  Brougham’s elevation to a peerage in November, 1830,
as Lord Brougham and Vaux, is referred to on page 177, where he is called
Sir Guy do Vaux.  It is not to be forgotten, in the reading, that this
story was written in 1831, the year before the passing of the Reform
Bill.  It ends with a scene suggested by the agricultural riots of that
time.  In the ninth chapter, again, there is a passage dealing with Sir
Walter Scott after the fashion of the criticisms in the “Four Ages of
Poetry.”  But this critical satire gave nobody pain.  Always there was a
ground-work of good sense, and the broad sweep of the satire was utterly
unlike the nibbling censure of the men whose wit is tainted with
ill-humour.  We may see also that the poet’s nature cannot be expelled.
In this volume we should find the touch of a poet’s hand in the tale
itself when dealing with the adventures of Mr. Chainmail, while he stays
at the Welsh mountain inn, if the story did not again and again break out
into actual song, for it includes half-a-dozen little poems.

When Peacock wrote his attack on Poetry, he had, only two years before,
produced a poem of his own—“Rhododaphne”—with a Greek fancy of the true
and the false love daintily worked out.  It was his chief work in verse,
and gave much pleasure to a few, among them his friend Shelley.  But he
felt that, as the world went, he was not strong enough to help it by his
singing, so he confined his writing to the novels, in which he could
speak his mind in his own way, while doing his duty by his country in the
East India House, where he obtained a post in 1818.  From 1836 to 1856,
when he retired on a pension, he was Examiner of India Correspondence.
Peacock died in 1866, aged eighty-one.

                                                                     H. M.

NOTE that in this tale Mac Quedy is Mac Q. E. D., son of a demonstration;
Mr. Skionar, the transcendentalist, is named from Ski(as) onar, the dream
of a shadow; and Mr. Philpot,—who loves rivers, is Phil(o)pot(amos).



CHAPTER I.
THE VILLA.


    _Captain Jamy_.  I wad full fain hear some question ’tween you tway.

                                                                  HENRY V.

IN one of those beautiful valleys, through which the Thames (not yet
polluted by the tide, the scouring of cities, or even the minor
defilement of the sandy streams of Surrey) rolls a clear flood through
flowery meadows, under the shade of old beech woods, and the smooth mossy
greensward of the chalk hills (which pour into it their tributary
rivulets, as pure and pellucid as the fountain of Bandusium, or the wells
of Scamander, by which the wives and daughters of the Trojans washed
their splendid garments in the days of peace, before the coming of the
Greeks); in one of those beautiful valleys, on a bold round-surfaced
lawn, spotted with juniper, that opened itself in the bosom of an old
wood, which rose with a steep, but not precipitous ascent, from the river
to the summit of the hill, stood the castellated villa of a retired
citizen.  Ebenezer Mac Crotchet, Esquire, was the London-born offspring
of a worthy native of the “north countrie,” who had walked up to London
on a commercial adventure, with all his surplus capital, not very neatly
tied up in a not very clean handkerchief, suspended over his shoulder
from the end of a hooked stick, extracted from the first hedge on his
pilgrimage; and who, after having worked himself a step or two up the
ladder of life, had won the virgin heart of the only daughter of a highly
respectable merchant of Duke’s Place, with whom he inherited the honest
fruits of a long series of ingenuous dealings.

Mr. Mac Crotchet had derived from his mother the instinct, and from his
father the rational principle, of enriching himself at the expense of the
rest of mankind, by all the recognised modes of accumulation on the windy
side of the law.  After passing many years in the Alley, watching the
turn of the market, and playing many games almost as desperate as that of
the soldier of Lucullus, the fear of losing what he had so righteously
gained predominated over the sacred thirst of paper-money; his caution
got the better of his instinct, or rather transferred it from the
department of acquisition to that of conservation.  His friend, Mr.
Ramsbottom, the zodiacal mythologist, told him that he had done well to
withdraw from the region of Uranus or Brahma, the Maker, to that of
Saturn or Veeshnu, the Preserver, before he fell under the eye of Jupiter
or Seva, the Destroyer, who might have struck him down at a blow.

It is said that a Scotchman, returning home after some years’ residence
in England, being asked what he thought of the English, answered: “They
hanna ower muckle sense, but they are an unco braw people to live amang;”
which would be a very good story, if it were not rendered apocryphal by
the incredible circumstance of the Scotchman going back.

Mr. Mac Crotchet’s experience had given him a just title to make, in his
own person, the last-quoted observation, but he would have known better
than to go back, even if himself, and not his father, had been the first
comer of his line from the north.  He had married an English Christian,
and, having none of the Scotch accent, was ungracious enough to be
ashamed of his blood.  He was desirous to obliterate alike the Hebrew and
Caledonian vestiges in his name, and signed himself E. M. Crotchet, which
by degrees induced the majority of his neighbours to think that his name
was Edward Matthew.  The more effectually to sink the Mac, he christened
his villa “Crotchet Castle,” and determined to hand down to posterity the
honours of Crotchet of Crotchet.  He found it essential to his dignity to
furnish himself with a coat of arms, which, after the proper ceremonies
(payment being the principal), he obtained, videlicet: Crest, a crotchet
rampant, in A sharp; Arms, three empty bladders, turgescent, to show how
opinions are formed; three bags of gold, pendent, to show why they are
maintained; three naked swords, tranchant, to show how they are
administered; and three barbers’ blocks, gaspant, to show how they are
swallowed.

Mr. Crotchet was left a widower, with two children; and, after the death
of his wife, so strong was his sense of the blessed comfort she had been
to him, that he determined never to give any other woman an opportunity
of obliterating the happy recollection.

He was not without a plausible pretence for styling his villa a castle,
for, in its immediate vicinity, and within his own enclosed domain, were
the manifest traces, on the brow of the hill, of a Roman station, or
_castellum_, which was still called the “Castle” by the country people.
The primitive mounds and trenches, merely overgrown with greensward, with
a few patches of juniper and box on the vallum, and a solitary ancient
beech surmounting the place of the prætorium, presented nearly the same
depths, heights, slopes, and forms, which the Roman soldiers had
originally given them.  From this cartel Mr. Crotchet christened his
villa.  With his rustic neighbours he was, of course, immediately and
necessarily a squire: Squire Crotchet of the Castle; and he seemed to
himself to settle down as naturally into an English country gentleman, as
if his parentage had been as innocent of both Scotland and Jerusalem, as
his education was of Rome and Athens.

But as, though you expel nature with a pitch-fork, she will yet always
come back; he could not become, like a true-born English squire, part and
parcel of the barley-giving earth; he could not find in game-bagging,
poacher-shooting, trespasser-pounding, footpath-stopping,
common-enclosing, rack-renting, and all the other liberal pursuits and
pastimes which make a country gentleman an ornament to the world and a
blessing to the poor: he could not find in these valuable and amiable
occupations, and in a corresponding range of ideas, nearly commensurate
with that of the great King Nebuchadnezzar when he was turned out to
grass; he could not find in this great variety of useful action, and vast
field of comprehensive thought, modes of filling up his time that
accorded with his Caledonian instinct.  The inborn love of disputation,
which the excitements and engagements of a life of business had
smothered, burst forth through the calmer surface of a rural life.  He
grew as fain as Captain Jamy, “to hear some argument betwixt ony tway,”
and being very hospitable in his establishment, and liberal in his
invitations, a numerous detachment from the advanced guard of the “march
of intellect,” often marched down to Crotchet Castle.

When the fashionable season filled London with exhibitors of all
descriptions, lecturers and else, Mr. Crotchet was in his glory; for, in
addition to the perennial literati of the metropolis, he had the
advantage of the visits of a number of hardy annuals, chiefly from the
north, who, as the interval of their metropolitan flowering allowed,
occasionally accompanied their London brethren in excursions to Crotchet
Castle.

Amongst other things, he took very naturally to political economy, read
all the books on the subject which were put forth by his own countrymen,
attended all lectures thereon, and boxed the technology of the sublime
science as expertly as an able seaman boxes the compass.

With this agreeable mania he had the satisfaction of biting his son, the
hope of his name and race, who had borne off from Oxford the highest
academical honours; and who, treading in his father’s footsteps to honour
and fortune, had, by means of a portion of the old gentleman’s surplus
capital, made himself a junior partner in the eminent loan-jobbing firm
of Catchflat and Company.  Here, in the days of paper prosperity, he
applied his science-illumined genius to the blowing of bubbles, the
bursting of which sent many a poor devil to the gaol, the workhouse, or
the bottom of the river, but left young Crotchet rolling in riches.

These riches he had been on the point of doubling, by a marriage with the
daughter of Mr. Touchandgo, the great banker, when, one foggy morning,
Mr. Touchandgo and the contents of his till were suddenly reported
absent; and as the fortune which the young gentleman had intended to
marry was not forthcoming, this tender affair of the heart was nipped in
the bud.

Miss Touchandgo did not meet the shock of separation quite so
complacently as the young gentleman: for he lost only the lady, whereas
she lost a fortune as well as a lover.  Some jewels, which had glittered
on her beautiful person as brilliantly as the bubble of her father’s
wealth had done in the eyes of his gudgeons, furnished her with a small
portion of paper-currency; and this, added to the contents of a fairy
purse of gold, which she found in her shoe on the eventful morning when
Mr. Touchandgo melted into thin air, enabled her to retreat into North
Wales, where she took up her lodging in a farm-house in Merionethshire,
and boarded very comfortably for a trifling payment, and the additional
consideration of teaching English, French, and music, to the little
Ap-Llymrys.  In the course of this occupation she acquired sufficient
knowledge of Welsh to converse with the country people.

She climbed the mountains, and descended the dingles, with a foot which
daily habit made by degrees almost as steady as a native’s.  She became
the nymph of the scene; and if she sometimes pined in thought for her
faithless Strephon, her melancholy was anything but green and yellow: it
was as genuine white and red as occupation, mountain air, thyme-fed
mutton, thick cream, and fat bacon could make it: to say nothing of an
occasional glass of double X, which Ap-Llymry, who yielded to no man west
of the Wrekin in brewage, never failed to press upon her at dinner and
supper.  He was also earnest, and sometimes successful, in the
recommendation of his mead, and most pertinacious on winter nights in
enforcing a trial of the virtues of his elder wine.  The young lady’s
personal appearance, consequently, formed a very advantageous contrast to
that of her quondam lover, whose physiognomy the intense anxieties of his
bubble-blowing days, notwithstanding their triumphant result, had left
blighted, sallowed, and crow’s-footed, to a degree not far below that of
the fallen spirit who, in the expressive language of German romance, is
described as “scathed by the ineradicable traces of the thunderbolts of
Heaven;” so that, contemplating their relative geological positions, the
poor deserted damsel was flourishing on slate, while her rich and false
young knight was pining on chalk.

Squire Crotchet had also one daughter, whom he had christened Lemma, and
who, as likely to be endowed with a very ample fortune was, of course, an
object very tempting to many young soldiers of fortune, who were marching
with the march of mind, in a good condition for taking castles, as far as
not having a groat is a qualification for such exploits.  She was also a
glittering bait to divers young squires expectant (whose fathers were too
well acquainted with the occult signification of mortgage), and even to
one or two sprigs of nobility, who thought that the lining of a civic
purse would superinduce a very passable factitious nap upon a thread-bare
title.  The young lady had received an expensive and complicated
education, complete in all the elements of superficial display.  She was
thus eminently qualified to be the companion of any masculine luminary
who had kept due pace with the “astounding progress” of intelligence.  It
must be confessed, that a man who has not kept due pace with it, is not
very easily found: this march being one of that “astounding” character in
which it seems impossible that the rear can be behind the van.  The young
lady was also tolerably good looking: north of Tweed, or in Palestine,
she would probable have been a beauty; but for the valleys of the Thames
she was perhaps a little too much to the taste of Solomon, and had a nose
which rather too prominently suggested the idea of the tower of Lebanon,
which looked towards Damascus.

In a village in the vicinity of the Castle was the vicarage of the
Reverend Doctor Folliott, a gentleman endowed with a tolerable stock of
learning, an interminable swallow, and an indefatigable pair of lungs.
His pre-eminence in the latter faculty gave occasion to some etymologists
to ring changes on his name, and to decide that it was derived from
Follis Optimus, softened through an Italian medium into Folle Ottimo,
contracted poetically into Folleotto, and elided Anglicé into Folliott,
signifying a first-rate pair of bellows.  He claimed to be descended
lineally from the illustrious Gilbert Folliott, the eminent theologian,
who was a Bishop of London in the twelfth century, whose studies were
interrupted in the dead of night by the Devil, when a couple of epigrams
passed between them, and the Devil, of course, proved the smaller wit of
the two.

This reverend gentleman, being both learned and jolly, became by degrees
an indispensable ornament to the new squire’s table.  Mr. Crotchet
himself was eminently jolly, though by no means eminently learned.  In
the latter respect he took after the great majority of the sons of his
father’s land; had a smattering of many things, and a knowledge of none;
but possessed the true northern art of making the most of his
intellectual harlequin’s jacket, by keeping the best patches always
bright and prominent.



CHAPTER II.
THE MARCH OF MIND.


    Quoth Ralpho: nothing but the abuse
    Of human learning you produce.—BUTLER.

“GOD bless my soul, sir!” exclaimed the Reverend Doctor Folliott,
bursting, one fine May morning, into the breakfast-room at Crotchet
Castle, “I am out of all patience with this march of mind.  Here has my
house been nearly burned down by my cook taking it into her head to study
hydrostatics in a sixpenny tract, published by the Steam Intellect
Society, and written by a learned friend who is for doing all the world’s
business as well as his own, and is equally well qualified to handle
every branch of human knowledge.  I have a great abomination of this
learned friend; as author, lawyer, and politician, he is _triformis_,
like Hecate; and in every one of his three forms he is _bifrons_, like
Janus; the true Mr. Facing-both-ways of Vanity Fair.  My cook must read
his rubbish in bed; and, as might naturally be expected, she dropped
suddenly fast asleep, overturned the candle, and set the curtains in a
blaze.  Luckily, the footman went into the room at the moment, in time to
tear down the curtains and throw them into the chimney, and a pitcher of
water on her nightcap extinguished her wick; she is a greasy subject, and
would have burned like a short mould.”

The reverend gentleman exhaled his grievance without looking to the right
or to the left; at length, turning on his pivot, he perceived that the
room was full of company, consisting of young Crotchet, and some visitors
whom he had brought from London.  The Reverend Doctor Folliott was
introduced to Mr. Mac Quedy, the economist; Mr. Skionar, the
transcendental poet; Mr. Firedamp, the meteorologist; and Lord Bossnowl,
son of the Earl of Foolincourt, and member for the borough of
Rogueingrain.

The divine took his seat at the breakfast-table, and began to compose his
spirits by the gentle sedative of a large cup of tea, the demulcent of a
well-buttered muffin, and the tonic of a small lobster.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—You are a man of taste, Mr. Crotchet.  A man of
taste is seen at once in the array of his breakfast-table.  It is the
foot of Hercules, the far-shining face of the great work, according to
Pindar’s doctrine: ἀρχομένου ἔργου πρόςωπον χρὴ θέμεν πηλαυγές.  The
breakfast is the πρόςωπον of the great work of the day.  Chocolate,
coffee, tea, cream, eggs, ham, tongue, cold fowl, all these are good, and
bespeak good knowledge in him who sets them forth: but the touchstone is
fish: anchovy is the first step, prawns and shrimps the second; and I
laud him who reaches even to these: potted char and lampreys are the
third, and a fine stretch of progression; but lobster is, indeed, matter
for a May morning, and demands a rare combination of knowledge and virtue
in him who sets it forth.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, and what say you to a fine fresh trout, hot
and dry, in a napkin? or a herring out of the water into the frying-pan,
on the shore of Loch Fyne?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, I say every nation has some eximious
virtue; and your country is pre-eminent in the glory of fish for
breakfast.  We have much to learn from you in that line at any rate.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—And in many others, sir, I believe.  Morals and
metaphysics, politics and political economy, the way to make the most of
all the modifications of smoke; steam, gas, and paper currency; you have
all these to learn from us; in short, all the arts and sciences.  We are
the modern Athenians.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I, for one, sir, am content to learn nothing
from you but the art and science of fish for breakfast.  Be content, sir,
to rival the Boeotians, whose redeeming virtue was in fish, touching
which point you may consult Aristophanes and his scholiast in the passage
of Lysistrata, ἀλλ’ ἄφελε τὰς ἐγχέλεις, and leave the name of Athenians
to those who have a sense of the beautiful, and a perception of metrical
quantity.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Then, sir, I presume you set no value on the right
principles of rent, profit, wages, and currency?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—My principles, sir, in these things are, to take
as much as I can get, and pay no more than I can help.  These are every
man’s principles, whether they be the right principles or no.  There,
sir, is political economy in a nutshell.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—The principles, sir, which regulate production and
consumption are independent of the will of any individual as to giving or
taking, and do not lie in a nutshell by any means.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, I will thank you for a leg of that capon.

_Lord Bossnowl_.—But, sir, by-the-bye, how came your footman to be going
into your cook’s room?  It was very providential to be sure, but—

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, as good came of it, I shut my eyes, and ask
no questions.  I suppose he was going to study hydrostatics, and he found
himself under the necessity of practising hydraulics.

_Mr. Firedamp_.—Sir, you seem to make very light of science.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Yes, sir, such science as the learned friend
deals in: everything for everybody, science for all, schools for all,
rhetoric for all, law for all, physic for all, words for all, and sense
for none.  I say, sir, law for lawyers, and cookery for cooks: and I wish
the learned friend, for all his life, a cook that will pass her time in
studying his works; then every dinner he sits down to at home, he will
sit on the stool of repentance.

_Lord Bossnowl_.—Now really that would be too severe: my cook should read
nothing but Ude.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No, sir! let Ude and the learned friend singe
fowls together; let both avaunt from my kitchen.  Θύρας δ’ ἐπίθεσθε
βεβήλοις.  Ude says an elegant supper may be given with sandwiches.
_Horresco referens_.  An elegant supper.  _Dî meliora piis_.  No Ude for
me.  Conviviality went out with punch and suppers.  I cherish their
memory.  I sup when I can, but not upon sandwiches.  To offer me a
sandwich, when I am looking for a supper, is to add insult to injury.
Let the learned friend, and the modern Athenians, sup upon sandwiches.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Nay, sir; the modern Athenians know better than that.  A
literary supper in sweet Edinbro’ would cure you of the prejudice you
seem to cherish against us.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, sir, well; there is cogency in a good
supper; a good supper in these degenerate days bespeaks a good man; but
much more is wanted to make up an Athenian.  Athenians, indeed! where is
your theatre? who among you has written a comedy? where is your Attic
salt? which of you can tell who was Jupiter’s great-grandfather? or what
metres will successively remain, if you take off the three first
syllables, one by one, from a pure antispastic acatalectic tetrameter?
Now, sir, there are three questions for you: theatrical, mythological,
and metrical; to every one of which an Athenian would give an answer that
would lay me prostrate in my own nothingness.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, as to your metre and your mythology, they may
e’en wait a wee.  For your comedy there is the “Gentle Shepherd” of the
divine Allan Ramsay.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—The “Gentle Shepherd”!  It is just as much a
comedy as the Book of Job.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, if none of us have written a comedy, I cannot
see that it is any such great matter, any more than I can conjecture what
business a man can have at this time of day with Jupiter’s
great-grandfather.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—The great business is, sir, that you call
yourselves Athenians, while you know nothing that the Athenians thought
worth knowing, and dare not show your noses before the civilised world in
the practice of any one art in which they were excellent.  Modern Athens,
sir! the assumption is a personal affront to every man who has a
Sophocles in his library.  I will thank you for an anchovy.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Metaphysics, sir; metaphysics.  Logic and moral
philosophy.  There we are at home.  The Athenians only sought the way,
and we have found it; and to all this we have added political economy,
the science of sciences.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—A hyperbarbarous technology, that no Athenian
ear could have borne.  Premises assumed without evidence, or in spite of
it; and conclusions drawn from them so logically, that they must
necessarily be erroneous.

_Mr. Skionar_.—I cannot agree with you, Mr. Mac Quedy, that you have
found the true road of metaphysics, which the Athenians only sought.  The
Germans have found it, sir: the sublime Kant and his disciples.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—I have read the sublime Kant, sir, with an anxious
desire to understand him, and I confess I have not succeeded.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—He wants the two great requisites of head and
tail.

_Mr. Skionar_.—Transcendentalism is the philosophy of intuition, the
development of universal convictions; truths which are inherent in the
organisation of mind, which cannot be obliterated, though they may be
obscured, by superstitious prejudice on the one hand, and by the
Aristotelian logic on the other.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, I have no notion of logic obscuring a
question.

_Mr. Skionar_.—There is only one true logic, which is the transcendental;
and this can prove only the one true philosophy, which is also the
transcendental.  The logic of your Modern Athens can prove everything
equally; and that is, in my opinion, tantamount to proving nothing at
all.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—The sentimental against the rational, the intuitive
against the inductive, the ornamental against the useful, the intense
against the tranquil, the romantic against the classical; these are great
and interesting controversies, which I should like, before I die, to see
satisfactorily settled.

_Mr. Firedamp_.—There is another great question, greater than all these,
seeing that it is necessary to be alive in order to settle any question;
and this is the question of water against human life.  Wherever there is
water, there is malaria, and wherever there is malaria, there are the
elements of death.  The great object of a wise man should be to live on a
gravelly hill, without so much as a duck-pond within ten miles of him,
eschewing cisterns and waterbutts, and taking care that there be no
gravel-pits for lodging the rain.  The sun sucks up infection from water,
wherever it exists on the face of the earth.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, sir, you have for you the authority of the
ancient mystagogue, who said: ’Εστιν ὔδωρ ψυχῇ θάνατος.  For my part I
care not a rush (or any other aquatic and inesculent vegetable) who or
what sucks up either the water or the infection.  I think the proximity
of wine a matter of much more importance than the longinquity of water.
You are here within a quarter of a mile of the Thames, but in the cellar
of my friend, Mr. Crotchet, there is the talismanic antidote of a
thousand dozen of old wine; a beautiful spectacle, I assure you, and a
model of arrangement.

_Mr. Firedamp_.—Sir, I feel the malignant influence of the river in every
part of my system.  Nothing but my great friendship for Mr. Crotchet
would have brought me so nearly within the jaws of the lion.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—After dinner, sir, after dinner, I will meet you
on this question.  I shall then be armed for the strife.  You may fight
like Hercules against Achelous, but I shall flourish the Bacchic thyrsus,
which changed rivers into wine: as Nonnus sweetly sings, Οίνω κυματόεντι
μέλας κελάρυζεν Υδάςπης.

_Mr. Crotchet_, _jun._—I hope, Mr. Firedamp, you will let your friendship
carry you a little closer into the jaws of the lion.  I am fitting up a
flotilla of pleasure-boats, with spacious cabins, and a good cellar, to
carry a choice philosophical party up the Thames and Severn, into the
Ellesmere canal, where we shall be among the mountains of North Wales;
which we may climb or not, as we think proper; but we will, at any rate,
keep our floating hotel well provisioned, and we will try to settle all
the questions over which a shadow of doubt yet hangs in the world of
philosophy.

_Mr. Firedamp_.—Out of my great friendship for you, I will certainly go;
but I do not expect to survive the experiment.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—_Alter erit tum Tiphys_, _et altera quæ vehat
Argo Delectos Heroas_.  I will be of the party, though I must hire an
officiating curate, and deprive poor dear Mrs. Folliott, for several
weeks, of the pleasure of combing my wig.

_Lord Bossnowl_.—I hope, if I am to be of the party, our ship is not to
be the ship of fools: He! he!

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—If you are one of the party, sir, it most
assuredly will not: Ha! ha!

_Lord Bossnowl_.—Pray sir, what do you mean by Ha! ha!?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Precisely, sir, what you mean by He! he!

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—You need not dispute about terms; they are two modes of
expressing merriment, with or without reason; reason being in no way
essential to mirth.  No man should ask another why he laughs, or at what,
seeing that he does not always know, and that, if he does, he is not a
responsible agent.  Laughter is an involuntary action of certain muscles,
developed in the human species by the progress of civilisation.  The
savage never laughs.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No, sir, he has nothing to laugh at.  Give him
Modern Athens, the “learned friend,” and the Steam Intellect Society.
They will develop his muscles.



CHAPTER III.
THE ROMAN CAMP.


    He loved her more then seven yere,
    Yet was he of her love never the nere;
    He was not ryche of golde and fe,
    A gentyll man forsoth was he.

                                                _The Squyr of Lowe Degre_.

THE Reverend Doctor Folliott having promised to return to dinner, walked
back to his vicarage, meditating whether he should pass the morning in
writing his next sermon, or in angling for trout, and had nearly decided
in favour of the latter proposition, repeating to himself, with great
unction, the lines of Chaucer:

    And as for me, though that I can but lite,
    On bokis for to read I me delite,
    And to ’hem yeve I faithe and full credence,
    And in mine herte have ’hem in reverence,
    So hertily, that there is gamé none,
    That fro my bokis makith me to gone,
    But it be seldome, on the holie daie;
    Save certainly whan that the month of Maie
    Is cousin, and I here the foulis sing,
    And that the flouris ginnin for to spring,
    Farwell my boke and my devocion:

when his attention was attracted by a young gentleman who was sitting on
a camp stool with a portfolio on his knee, taking a sketch of the Roman
Camp, which, as has been already said, was within the enclosed domain of
Mr. Crotchet.  The young stranger, who had climbed over the fence,
espying the portly divine, rose up, and hoped that he was not
trespassing.  “By no means, sir,” said the divine, “all the arts and
sciences are welcome here; music, painting, and poetry; hydrostatics and
political economy; meteorology, transcendentalism, and fish for
breakfast.”

_The Stranger_.—A pleasant association, sir, and a liberal and
discriminating hospitality.  This is an old British camp, I believe, sir?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Roman, sir; Roman; undeniably Roman.  The vallum
is past controversy.  It was not a camp, sir, a _castrum_, but a
_castellum_, a little camp, or watch-station, to which was attached, on
the peak of the adjacent hill, a beacon for transmitting alarms.  You
will find such here and there, all along the range of chalk hills, which
traverses the country from north-east to south-west, and along the base
of which runs the ancient Iknield road, whereof you may descry a portion
in that long straight white line.

_The Stranger_.—I beg your pardon, sir; do I understand this place to be
your property?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—It is not mine, sir: the more is the pity; yet
is it so far well, that the owner is my good friend, and a highly
respectable gentleman.

_The Stranger_.—Good and respectable, sir, I take it, means rich?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—That is their meaning, sir.

_The Stranger_.—I understand the owner to be a Mr. Crotchet.  He has a
handsome daughter, I am told.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—He has, sir.  Her eyes are like the fish-pools
of Heshbon, by the gate of Bethrabbim; and she is to have a handsome
fortune, to which divers disinterested gentlemen are paying their
addresses.  Perhaps you design to be one of them?

_The Stranger_.—No, sir; I beg pardon if my questions seem impertinent; I
have no such design.  There is a son too, I believe, sir, a great and
successful blower of bubbles?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—A hero, sir, in his line.  Never did angler in
September hook more gudgeons.

_The Stranger_.—To say the truth, two very amiable young people, with
whom I have some little acquaintance, Lord Bossnowl, and his sister, Lady
Clarinda, are reported to be on the point of concluding a double marriage
with Miss Crotchet and her brother; by way of putting a new varnish on
old nobility.  Lord Foolincourt, their father, is terribly poor for a
lord who owns a borough.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, sir, the Crotchets have plenty of money,
and the old gentleman’s weak point is a hankering after high blood.  I
saw your acquaintance, Lord Bossnowl, this morning, but I did not see his
sister.  She may be there, nevertheless, and doing fashionable justice to
this fine May morning, by lying in bed till noon.

_The Stranger_.—Young Mr. Crotchet, sir, has been, like his father, the
architect of his own fortune, has he not?  An illustrious example of the
reward of honesty and industry?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—As to honesty, sir, he made his fortune in the
city of London, and if that commodity be of any value there, you will
find it in the price current.  I believe it is below par, like the shares
of young Crotchet’s fifty companies.  But his progress has not been
exactly like his father’s.  It has been more rapid, and he started with
more advantages.  He began with a fine capital from his father.  The old
gentleman divided his fortune into three not exactly equal portions; one
for himself, one for his daughter, and one for his son, which he handed
over to him, saying, “Take it once for all, and make the most of it; if
you lose it where I won it, not another stiver do you get from me during
my life.”  But, sir, young Crotchet doubled, and trebled, and quadrupled
it, and is, as you say, a striking example of the reward of industry; not
that I think his labour has been so great as his luck.

_The Stranger_.—But, sir, is all this solid? is there no danger of
reaction? no day of reckoning to cut down in an hour prosperity that has
grown up like a mushroom?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Nay, sir, I know not.  I do not pry into these
matters.  I am, for my own part, very well satisfied with the young
gentleman.  Let those who are not so look to themselves.  It is quite
enough for me that he came down last night from London, and that he had
the good sense to bring with him a basket of lobsters.  Sir, I wish you a
good morning.

The stranger having returned the reverend gentleman’s good morning,
resumed his sketch, and was intently employed on it when Mr. Crotchet
made his appearance with Mr. Mac Quedy and Mr. Skionar, whom he was
escorting round his grounds, according to his custom with new visitors;
the principal pleasure of possessing an extensive domain being that of
showing it to other people.  Mr. Mac Quedy, according also to the
laudable custom of his countrymen, had been appraising everything that
fell under his observation; but, on arriving at the Roman camp, of which
the value was purely imaginary, he contented himself with exclaiming:
“Eh! this is just a curiosity, and very pleasant to sit in on a summer
day.”

_Mr. Skionar_.—And call up the days of old, when the Roman eagle spread
its wings in the place of that beechen foliage.  It gives a fine idea of
duration, to think that that fine old tree must have sprung from the
earth ages after this camp was formed.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—How old, think you, may the tree be?

_Mr. Crotchet_.—I have records which show it to be three hundred years
old.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—That is a great age for a beech in good condition.  But
you see the camp is some fifteen hundred years, or so, older; and three
times six being eighteen, I think you get a clearer idea of duration out
of the simple arithmetic, than out of your eagle and foliage.

_Mr. Skionar_.—That is a very unpoetical, if not unphilosophical, mode of
viewing antiquities.  Your philosophy is too literal for our imperfect
vision.  We cannot look directly into the nature of things; we can only
catch glimpses of the mighty shadow in the camera obscura of
transcendental intelligence.  These six and eighteen are only words to
which we give conventional meanings.  We can reason, but we cannot feel,
by help of them.  The tree and the eagle, contemplated in the ideality of
space and time, become subjective realities, that rise up as landmarks in
the mystery of the past.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, if you understand that, I wish you joy.  But
I must be excused for holding that my proposition, three times six are
eighteen, is more intelligible than yours.  A worthy friend of mine, who
is a sort of amateur in philosophy, criticism, politics, and a wee bit of
many things more, says: “Men never begin to study antiquities till they
are saturated with civilisation.”

_Mr. Skionar_.—What is civilisation?

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—It is just respect for property.  A state in which no
man takes wrongfully what belongs to another, is a perfectly civilised
state.

_Mr. Skionar_.—Your friend’s antiquaries must have lived in El Dorado, to
have had an opportunity of being saturated with such a state.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—It is a question of degree.  There is more respect for
property here than in Angola.

_Mr. Skionar_.—That depends on the light in which things are viewed.

Mr. Crotchet was rubbing his hands, in hopes of a fine discussion, when
they came round to the side of the camp where the picturesque gentleman
was sketching.  The stranger was rising up, when Mr. Crotchet begged him
not to disturb himself, and presently walked away with his two guests.

Shortly after, Miss Crotchet and Lady Clarinda, who had breakfasted by
themselves, made their appearance at the same spot, hanging each on an
arm of Lord Bossnowl, who very much preferred their company to that of
the philosophers, though he would have preferred the company of the
latter, or any company to his own.  He thought it very singular that so
agreeable a person as he held himself to be to others, should be so
exceedingly tiresome to himself: he did not attempt to investigate the
cause of this phenomenon, but was contented with acting on his knowledge
of the fact, and giving himself as little of his own private society as
possible.

The stranger rose as they approached, and was immediately recognised by
the Bossnowls as an old acquaintance, and saluted with the exclamation of
“Captain Fitzchrome!”  The interchange of salutations between Lady
Clarinda and the Captain was accompanied with an amiable confusion on
both sides, in which the observant eyes of Miss Crotchet seemed to read
the recollection of an affair of the heart.

Lord Bossnowl was either unconscious of any such affair, or indifferent
to its existence.  He introduced the Captain very cordially to Miss
Crotchet; and the young lady invited him, as the friend of their guests,
to partake of her father’s hospitality, an offer which was readily
accepted.

The Captain took his portfolio under his right arm, his camp stool in his
right hand, offered his left arm to Lady Clarinda, and followed at a
reasonable distance behind Miss Crotchet and Lord Bossnowl, contriving,
in the most natural manner possible, to drop more and more into the rear.

_Lady Clarinda_.—I am glad to see you can make yourself so happy with
drawing old trees and mounds of grass.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Happy, Lady Clarinda! oh, no!  How can I be happy
when I see the idol of my heart about to be sacrificed on the shrine of
Mammon?

_Lady Clarinda_.—Do you know, though Mammon has a sort of ill name, I
really think he is a very popular character; there must be at the bottom
something amiable about him.  He is certainly one of those pleasant
creatures whom everybody abuses, but without whom no evening party is
endurable.  I dare say, love in a cottage is very pleasant; but then it
positively must be a cottage ornée: but would not the same love be a
great deal safer in a castle, even if Mammon furnished the fortification?

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Oh, Lady Clarinda! there is a heartlessness in that
language that chills me to the soul.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Heartlessness!  No: my heart is on my lips.  I speak
just what I think.  You used to like it, and say it was as delightful as
it was rare.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—True, but you did not then talk as you do now, of
love in a castle.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Well, but only consider: a dun is a horridly vulgar
creature; it is a creature I cannot endure the thought of: and a cottage
lets him in so easily.  Now a castle keeps him at bay.  You are a
half-pay officer, and are at leisure to command the garrison: but where
is the castle? and who is to furnish the commissariat?

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Is it come to this, that you make a jest of my
poverty?  Yet is my poverty only comparative.  Many decent families are
maintained on smaller means.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Decent families: ay, decent is the distinction from
respectable.  Respectable means rich, and decent means poor.  I should
die if I heard my family called decent.  And then your decent family
always lives in a snug little place: I hate a little place; I like large
rooms and large looking-glasses, and large parties, and a fine large
butler, with a tinge of smooth red in his face; an outward and visible
sign that the family he serves is respectable; if not noble, highly
respectable.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I cannot believe that you say all this in earnest.
No man is less disposed than I am to deny the importance of the
substantial comforts of life.  I once flattered myself that in our
estimate of these things we were nearly of a mind.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Do you know, I think an opera-box a very substantial
comfort, and a carriage.  You will tell me that many decent people walk
arm-in-arm through the snow, and sit in clogs and bonnets in the pit at
the English theatre.  No doubt it is very pleasant to those who are used
to it; but it is not to my taste.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—You always delighted in trying to provoke me; but I
cannot believe that you have not a heart.

_Lady Clarinda_.—You do not like to believe that I have a heart, you
mean.  You wish to think I have lost it, and you know to whom; and when I
tell you that it is still safe in my own keeping, and that I do not mean
to give it away, the unreasonable creature grows angry.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Angry! far from it; I am perfectly cool.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Why, you are pursing your brows, biting your lips, and
lifting up your foot as if you would stamp it into the earth.  I must say
anger becomes you; you would make a charming Hotspur.  Your
every-day-dining-out face is rather insipid: but I assure you my heart is
in danger when you are in the heroics.  It is so rare, too, in these days
of smooth manners, to see anything like natural expression in a man’s
face.  There is one set form for every man’s face in female society: a
sort of serious comedy walking gentleman’s face: but the moment the
creature falls in love he begins to give himself airs, and plays off all
the varieties of his physiognomy from the Master Slender to the
Petruchio; and then he is actually very amusing.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Well, Lady Clarinda, I will not be angry, amusing
as it may be to you: I listen more in sorrow than in anger.  I half
believe you in earnest: and mourn as over a fallen angel.

_Lady Clarinda_.—What, because I have made up my mind not to give away my
heart when I can sell it?  I will introduce you to my new acquaintance,
Mr. Mac Quedy: he will talk to you by the hour about exchangeable value,
and show you that no rational being will part with anything, except to
the highest bidder.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Now, I am sure you are not in earnest.  You cannot
adopt such sentiments in their naked deformity.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Naked deformity!  Why, Mr. Mac Quedy will prove to you
that they are the cream of the most refined philosophy.  You live a very
pleasant life as a bachelor, roving about the country with your portfolio
under your arm.  I am not fit to be a poor man’s wife.  I cannot take any
kind of trouble, or do any one thing that is of any use.  Many decent
families roast a bit of mutton on a string; but if I displease my father
I shall not have as much as will buy the string, to say nothing of the
meat; and the bare idea of such cookery gives me the horrors.

                                * * * * *

By this time they were near the Castle, and met Miss Crotchet and her
companion, who had turned back to meet them.  Captain Fitzchrome was
shortly after heartily welcomed by Mr. Crotchet, and the party separated
to dress for dinner, the Captain being by no means in an enviable state
of mind, and full of misgivings as to the extent of belief that he was
bound to accord to the words of the lady of his heart.



CHAPTER IV.
THE PARTY.


    En quoi cognoissez-vous la folie anticque?  En quoi cognoissez-vous
    la sagesse présente?—RABELAIS.

“IF I were sketching a bandit who had just shot his last pursuer, having
outrun all the rest, that is the very face I would give him,”
soliloquised the Captain, as he studied the features of his rival in the
drawing-room, during the miserable half-hour before dinner, when dulness
reigns predominant over expectant company, especially when they are
waiting for some one last comer, whom they all heartily curse in their
hearts, and whom, nevertheless, or indeed therefore-the-more, they
welcome as a sinner, more heartily than all the just persons who had been
punctual to their engagement.  Some new visitors had arrived in the
morning, and, as the company dropped in one by one, the Captain anxiously
watched the unclosing door for the form of his beloved: but she was the
last to make her appearance, and on her entry gave him a malicious
glance, which he construed into a telegraphic communication that she had
stayed away to torment him.  Young Crotchet escorted her with marked
attention to the upper end of the drawing-room, where a great portion of
the company was congregated around Miss Crotchet.  These being the only
ladies in the company, it was evident that old Mr. Crotchet would give
his arm to Lady Clarinda, an arrangement with which the Captain could not
interfere.  He therefore took his station near the door, studying his
rival from a distance, and determined to take advantage of his present
position, to secure the seat next to his charmer.  He was meditating on
the best mode of operation for securing this important post with due
regard to _bien-séance_, when he was twitched by the button by Mr. Mac
Quedy, who said to him: “Lady Clarinda tells me, sir, that you are
anxious to talk with me on the subject of exchangeable value, from which
I infer that you have studied political economy, and as a great deal
depends on the definition of value, I shall be glad to set you right on
that point.”  “I am much obliged to you, sir,” said the Captain, and was
about to express his utter disqualification for the proposed instruction,
when Mr. Skionar walked up and said: “Lady Clarinda informs me that you
wish to talk over with me the question of subjective reality.  I am
delighted to fall in with a gentleman who daily appreciates the
transcendental philosophy.”  “Lady Clarinda is too good,” said the
Captain; and was about to protest that he had never heard the word
“transcendental” before, when the butler announced dinner.  Mr. Crotchet
led the way with Lady Clarinda: Lord Bossnowl followed with Miss
Crotchet: the economist and transcendentalist pinned in the Captain, and
held him, one by each arm, as he impatiently descended the stairs in the
rear of several others of the company, whom they had forced him to let
pass; but the moment he entered the dining-room he broke loose from them,
and at the expense of a little _brusquerie_, secured his position.

“Well, Captain,” said Lady Clarinda, “I perceive you can still manœuvre.”

“What could possess you,” said the Captain, “to send two unendurable and
inconceivable bores to intercept me with rubbish about which I neither
know nor care any more than the man in the moon?”

“Perhaps,” said Lady Clarinda, “I saw your design, and wished to put your
generalship to the test.  But do not contradict anything I have said
about you, and see if the learned will find you out.”

“There is fine music, as Rabelais observes, in the _cliquetis
d’asssiettes_, a refreshing shade in the _ombre de salle à manger_, and
an elegant fragrance in the _fumée de rôti_,” said a voice at the
Captain’s elbow.  The Captain turning round, recognised his clerical
friend of the morning, who knew him again immediately, and said he was
extremely glad to meet him there; more especially as Lady Clarinda had
assured him that he was an enthusiastic lover of Greek poetry.

“Lady Clarinda,” said the Captain, “is a very pleasant young lady.”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—So she is, sir: and I understand she has all the
wit of the family to herself, whatever that _totum_ may be.  But a glass
of wine after soup is, as the French say, the _verre de santé_.  The
current of opinion sets in favour of Hock: but I am for Madeira; I do not
fancy Hock till I have laid a substratum of Madeira.  Will you join me?

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—With pleasure.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Here is a very fine salmon before me: and May is
the very _point nommé_ to have salmon in perfection.  There is a fine
turbot close by, and there is much to be said in his behalf: but salmon
in May is the king of fish.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—That salmon before you, doctor, was caught in the Thames,
this morning.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Παπαπαῖ!  Rarity of rarities!  A Thames salmon
caught this morning.  Now, Mr. Mac Quedy, even in fish your Modern Athens
must yield.  _Cedite Graii_.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Eh! sir, on its own around, your Thames salmon has two
virtues over all others; first, that it is fresh; and, second, that it is
rare; for I understand you do not take half a dozen in a year.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—In some years, sir, not one.  Mud, filth,
gas-dregs, lock-weirs, and the march of mind, developed in the form of
poaching, have ruined the fishery.  But, when we do catch a salmon, happy
the man to whom he falls.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—I confess, sir, this is excellent: but I cannot see why
it should be better than a Tweed salmon at Kelso.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, I will take a glass of Hock with you.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—With all my heart, sir.  There are several varieties of
the salmon genus: but the common salmon, the _salmo salar_, is only one
species, one and the same everywhere, just like the human mind.  Locality
and education make all the difference.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Education!  Well, sir, I have no doubt schools
for all are just as fit for the species _salmo salar_ as for the genus
_homo_.  But you must allow that the specimen before us has finished his
education in a manner that does honour to his college.  However, I doubt
that the _salmo salar_ is only one species, that is to say, precisely
alike in all localities.  I hold that every river has its own breed, with
essential differences; in flavour especially.  And as for the human mind,
I deny that it is the same in all men.  I hold that there is every
variety of natural capacity from the idiot to Newton and Shakespeare; the
mass of mankind, midway between these extremes, being blockheads of
different degrees; education leaving them pretty nearly as it found them,
with this single difference, that it gives a fixed direction to their
stupidity, a sort of incurable wry neck to the thing they call their
understanding.  So one nose points always east, and another always west,
and each is ready to swear that it points due north.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—If that be the point of truth, very few intellectual
noses point due north.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Only those that point to the Modern Athens.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Where all native noses point southward.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Eh, sir, northward for wisdom, and southward for profit.

_Mr. Crotchet_, _jun._  Champagne, doctor?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Most willingly.  But you will permit my drinking
it while it sparkles.  I hold it a heresy to let it deaden in my hand,
while the glass of my _compotator_ is being filled on the opposite side
of the table.  By-the-bye, Captain, you remember a passage in Athenæus,
where he cites Menander on the subject of fish-sauce: ὀψάριον ἐπὶ ἰχθύος.
(The Captain was aghast for an answer that would satisfy both his
neighbours, when he was relieved by the divine continuing.)  The science
of fish-sauce, Mr. Mac Quedy, is by no means brought to perfection; a
fine field of discovery still lies open in that line.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Nay, sir, beyond lobster-sauce, I take it, ye cannot go.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—In their line, I grant you, oyster and
lobster-sauce are the pillars of Hercules.  But I speak of the cruet
sauces, where the quintessence of the sapid is condensed in a phial.  I
can taste in my mind’s palate a combination, which, if I could give it
reality, I would christen with the name of my college, and hand it down
to posterity as a seat of learning indeed.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, I wish you success, but I cannot let slip the
question we started just now.  I say, cutting off idiots, who have no
minds at all, all minds are by nature alike.  Education (which begins
from their birth) makes them what they are.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No, sir, it makes their tendencies, not their
power.  Cæsar would have been the first wrestler on the village common.
Education might have made him a Nadir Shah; it might also have made him a
Washington; it could not have made him a merry-andrew, for our newspapers
to extol as a model of eloquence.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Now, sir, I think education would have made him just
anything, and fit for any station, from the throne to the stocks; saint
or sinner, aristocrat or democrat, judge, counsel, or prisoner at the
bar.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I will thank you for a slice of lamb, with lemon
and pepper.  Before I proceed with this discussion,—Vin de Grave, Mr.
Skionar,—I must interpose one remark.  There is a set of persons in your
city, Mr. Mac Quedy, who concoct, every three or four months, a thing,
which they call a review: a sort of sugar-plum manufacturers to the Whig
aristocracy.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—I cannot tell, sir, exactly, what you mean by that; but
I hope you will speak of those gentlemen with respect, seeing that I am
one of them.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, I must drown my inadvertence in a glass of
Sauterne with you.  There is a set of gentlemen in your city—

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Not in our city, exactly; neither are they a set.  There
is an editor, who forages for articles in all quarters, from John o’
Groat’s house to the Land’s End.  It is not a board, or a society: it is
a mere intellectual bazaar, where A, B, and C, bring their wares to
market.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, sir, these gentlemen among them, the
present company excepted, have practised as much dishonesty as, in any
other department than literature, would have brought the practitioner
under the cognisance of the police.  In politics, they have ran with the
hare and hunted with the hound.  In criticism, they have, knowingly and
unblushingly, given false characters, both for good and for evil;
sticking at no art of misrepresentation, to clear out of the field of
literature all who stood in the way of the interests of their own clique.
They have never allowed their own profound ignorance of anything (Greek
for instance) to throw even an air of hesitation into their oracular
decision on the matter.  They set an example of profligate contempt for
truth, of which the success was in proportion to the effrontery; and when
their prosperity had filled the market with competitors, they cried out
against their own reflected sin, as if they had never committed it, or
were entitled to a monopoly of it.  The latter, I rather think, was what
they wanted.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Hermitage, doctor?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Nothing better, sir.  The father who first chose
the solitude of that vineyard, knew well how to cultivate his spirit in
retirement.  Now, Mr. Mac Quedy, Achilles was distinguished above all the
Greeks for his inflexible love of truth; could education have made
Achilles one of your reviewers?

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—No doubt of it, even if your character of them were true
to the letter.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—And I say, sir—chicken and asparagus—Titan had
made him of better clay.  I hold with Pindar, “All that is most excellent
is so by nature.”  Τὸ δὲ φυᾷ κράτιστον ἅπαν.  Education can give
purposes, but not powers; and whatever purposes had been given him, he
would have gone straight forward to them; straight forward, Mr. Mac
Quedy.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—No, sir, education makes the man, powers, purposes, and
all.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—There is the point, sir, on which we join issue.

Several others of the company now chimed in with their opinions, which
gave the divine an opportunity to degustate one or two side dishes, and
to take a glass of wine with each of the young ladies.



CHAPTER V.
CHARACTERS.


    Ay imputé a honte plus que médiocre être vu spectateur ocieux de tant
    vaillans, disertz, et chevalereux personnaiges.

                                                                 RABELAIS.

_Lady Clarinda_ (_to the Captain_).—I declare the creature has been
listening to all this rigmarole, instead of attending to me.  Do you ever
expect forgiveness?  But now that they are all talking together, and you
cannot make out a word they say, nor they hear a word that we say, I will
describe the company to you.  First, there is the old gentleman on my
left hand, at the head of the table, who is now leaning the other way to
talk to my brother.  He is a good-tempered, half-informed person, very
unreasonably fond of reasoning, and of reasoning people; people that talk
nonsense logically: he is fond of disputation himself, when there are
only one or two, but seldom does more than listen in a large company of
_illuminés_.  He made a great fortune in the city, and has the comfort of
a good conscience.  He is very hospitable, and is generous in dinners;
though nothing would induce him to give sixpence to the poor, because he
holds that all misfortune is from imprudence, that none but the rich
ought to marry, and that all ought to thrive by honest industry, as he
did.  He is ambitious of founding a family, and of allying himself with
nobility; and is thus as willing as other grown children to throw away
thousands for a gew-gaw, though he would not part with a penny for
charity.  Next to him is my brother, whom you know as well as I do.  He
has finished his education with credit, and as he never ventures to
oppose me in anything, I have no doubt he is very sensible.  He has good
manners, is a model of dress, and is reckoned ornamental in all
societies.  Next to him is Miss Crotchet, my sister-in-law that is to be.
You see she is rather pretty, and very genteel.  She is tolerably
accomplished, has her table always covered with new novels, thinks Mr.
Mac Quedy an oracle, and is extremely desirous to be called “my lady.”
Next to her is Mr. Firedamp, a very absurd person, who thinks that water
is the evil principle.  Next to him is Mr. Eavesdrop, a man who, by dint
of a certain something like smartness, has got into good society.  He is
a sort of bookseller’s tool, and coins all his acquaintance in
reminiscences and sketches of character.  I am very shy of him, for fear
he should print me.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—If he print you in your own likeness, which is that
of an angel, you need not fear him.  If he print you in any other, I will
cut his throat.  But proceed—

_Lady Clarinda_.—Next to him is Mr. Henbane, the toxicologist, I think he
calls himself.  He has passed half his life in studying poisons and
antidotes.  The first thing he did on his arrival here was to kill the
cat; and while Miss Crotchet was crying over her, he brought her to life
again.  I am more shy of him than the other.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—They are two very dangerous fellows, and I shall
take care to keep them both at a respectful distance.  Let us hope that
Eavesdrop will sketch off Henbane, and that Henbane will poison him for
his trouble.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Well, next to him sits Mr. Mac Quedy, the Modern
Athenian, who lays down the law about everything, and therefore may be
taken to understand everything.  He turns all the affairs of this world
into questions of buying and selling.  He is the Spirit of the Frozen
Ocean to everything like romance and sentiment.  He condenses their
volume of steam into a drop of cold water in a moment.  He has satisfied
me that I am a commodity in the market, and that I ought to set myself at
a high price.  So you see, he who would have me must bid for me.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I shall discuss that point with Mr. Mac Quedy.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Not a word for your life.  Our flirtation is our own
secret.  Let it remain so.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Flirtation, Clarinda!  Is that all that the most
ardent—

_Lady Clarinda_.—Now, don’t be rhapsodical here.  Next to Mr. Mac Quedy
is Mr. Skionar, a sort of poetical philosopher, a curious compound of the
intense and the mystical.  He abominates all the ideas of Mr. Mac Quedy,
and settles everything by sentiment and intuition.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Then, I say, he is the wiser man.

_Lady Clarinda_.—They are two oddities, but a little of them is amusing,
and I like to hear them dispute.  So you see I am in training for a
philosopher myself.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Any philosophy, for Heaven’s sake, but the
pound-shilling-and-pence philosophy of Mr. Mac Quedy.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Why, they say that even Mr. Skionar, though he is a
great dreamer, always dreams with his eyes open, or with one eye at any
rate, which is an eye to his gain: but I believe that in this respect the
poor man has got an ill name by keeping bad company.  He has two dear
friends, Mr. Wilful Wontsee, and Mr. Rumblesack Shantsee, poets of some
note, who used to see visions of Utopia, and pure republics beyond the
Western deep: but, finding that these El Dorados brought them no revenue,
they turned their vision-seeing faculty into the more profitable channel
of espying all sorts of virtues in the high and the mighty, who were able
and willing to pay for the discovery.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I do not fancy these virtue-spyers.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Next to Mr. Skionar sits Mr. Chainmail, a good-looking
young gentleman, as you see, with very antiquated tastes.  He is fond of
old poetry, and is something of a poet himself.  He is deep in monkish
literature, and holds that the best state of society was that of the
twelfth century, when nothing was going forward but fighting, feasting,
and praying, which he says are the three great purposes for which man was
made.  He laments bitterly over the inventions of gunpowder, steam, and
gas, which he says have ruined the world.  He lives within two or three
miles, and has a large hall, adorned with rusty pikes, shields, helmets,
swords, and tattered banners, and furnished with yew-tree chairs, and two
long old worm-eaten oak tables, where he dines with all his household,
after the fashion of his favourite age.  He wants us all to dine with
him, and I believe we shall go.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—That will be something new, at any rate.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Next to him is Mr. Toogood, the co-operationist, who
will have neither fighting nor praying; but wants to parcel out the world
into squares like a chess-board, with a community on each, raising
everything for one another, with a great steam-engine to serve them in
common for tailor and hosier, kitchen and cook.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—He is the strangest of the set, so far.

_Lady Clarinda_.—This brings us to the bottom of the table, where sits my
humble servant, Mr. Crotchet the younger.  I ought not to describe him.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I entreat you do.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Well, I really have very little to say in his favour.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I do not wish to hear anything in his favour; and I
rejoice to hear you say so, because—

_Lady Clarinda_.—Do not flatter yourself.  If I take him, it will be to
please my father, and to have a town and country house, and plenty of
servants and a carriage and an opera-box, and make some of my
acquaintance who have married for love, or for rank, or for anything but
money, die for envy of my jewels.  You do not think I would take him for
himself.  Why, he is very smooth and spruce as far as his dress goes; but
as to his face, he looks as if he had tumbled headlong into a volcano,
and been thrown up again among the cinders.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I cannot believe, that, speaking thus of him, you
mean to take him at all.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Oh! I am out of my teens.  I have been very much in
love; but now I am come to years of discretion, and must think, like
other people, of settling myself advantageously.  He was in love with a
banker’s daughter, and cast her off at her father’s bankruptcy, and the
poor girl has gone to hide herself in some wild place.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—She must have a strange taste, if she pines for the
loss of him.

_Lady Clarinda_.—They say he was good-looking, till his bubble schemes,
as they call them, stamped him with the physiognomy of a desperate
gambler.  I suspect he has still a penchant towards his first flame.  If
he takes me, it will be for my rank and connection, and the second seat
of the borough of Rogueingrain.  So we shall meet on equal terms, and
shall enjoy all the blessedness of expecting nothing from each other.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—You can expect no security with such an adventurer.

_Lady Clarinda_.—I shall have the security of a good settlement, and then
if _andare al diavolo_ be his destiny, he may go, you know, by himself.
He is almost always dreaming and _distrait_.  It is very likely that some
great reverse is in store for him: but that will not concern me, you
perceive.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—You torture me, Clarinda, with the bare
possibility.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Hush!  Here is music to soothe your troubled spirit.
Next to him, on this side, sits the dilettante composer, Mr. Trillo; they
say his name was O’Trill, and he has taken the O from the beginning, and
put it at the end.  I do not know how this may be.  He plays well on the
violoncello, and better on the piano; sings agreeably; has a talent at
versemaking, and improvises a song with some felicity.  He is very
agreeable company in the evening, with his instruments and music-books.
He maintains that the sole end of all enlightened society is to get up a
good opera, and laments that wealth, genius, and energy are squandered
upon other pursuits, to the neglect of this one great matter.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—That is a very pleasant fancy at any rate.

_Lady Clarinda_.—I assure you he has a great deal to say for it.  Well,
next to him, again, is Dr. Morbific, who has been all over the world to
prove that there is no such thing as contagion; and has inoculated
himself with plague, yellow fever, and every variety of pestilence, and
is still alive to tell the story.  I am very shy of him, too; for I look
on him as a walking phial of wrath, corked full of all infections, and
not to be touched without extreme hazard.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—This is the strangest fellow of all.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Next to him sits Mr. Philpot, the geographer, who thinks
of nothing but the heads and tails of rivers, and lays down the streams
of Terra Incognita as accurately as if he had been there.  He is a person
of pleasant fancy, and makes a sort of fairy land of every country he
touches, from the Frozen Ocean to the Deserts of Sahara.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—How does he settle matters with Mr. Firedamp?

_Lady Clarinda_.—You see Mr. Firedamp has got as far as possible out of
his way.  Next to him is Sir Simon Steeltrap, of Steeltrap Lodge, Member
for Crouching-Curtown, Justice of Peace for the county, and Lord of the
United Manors of Spring-gun-and-Treadmill; a great preserver of game and
public morals.  By administering the laws which he assists in making, he
disposes, at his pleasure, of the land and its live stock, including all
the two-legged varieties, with and without feathers, in a circumference
of several miles round Steeltrap Lodge.  He has enclosed commons and
woodlands; abolished cottage gardens; taken the village cricket-ground
into his own park, out of pure regard to the sanctity of Sunday; shut up
footpaths and alehouses (all but those which belong to his electioneering
friend, Mr. Quassia, the brewer); put down fairs and fiddlers; committed
many poachers; shot a few; convicted one-third of the peasantry;
suspected the rest; and passed nearly the whole of them through a
wholesome course of prison discipline, which has finished their education
at the expense of the county.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—He is somewhat out of his element here: among such
a diversity of opinions he will hear some he will not like.

_Lady Clarinda_.—It was rather ill-judged in Mr. Crotchet to invite him
to-day.  But the art of assorting company is above these _parvenus_.
They invite a certain number of persons without considering how they
harmonise with each other.  Between Sir Simon and you is the Reverend
Doctor Folliott.  He is said to be an excellent scholar, and is fonder of
books than the majority of his cloth; he is very fond, also, of the good
things of this world.  He is of an admirable temper, and says rude things
in a pleasant half-earnest manner, that nobody can take offence with.
And next to him again is one Captain Fitzchrome, who is very much in love
with a certain person that does not mean to have anything to say to him,
because she can better her fortune by taking somebody else.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—And next to him again is the beautiful, the
accomplished, the witty, the fascinating, the tormenting, Lady Clarinda,
who traduces herself to the said Captain by assertions which it would
drive him crazy to believe.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Time will show, sir.  And now we have gone the round of
the table.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—But I must say, though I know you had always a turn
for sketching characters, you surprise me by your observation, and
especially by your attention to opinions.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Well, I will tell you a secret: I am writing a novel.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—A novel!

_Lady Clarinda_.—Yes, a novel.  And I shall get a little finery by it:
trinkets and fal-lals, which I cannot get from papa.  You must know I
have been reading several fashionable novels, the fashionable this, and
the fashionable that; and I thought to myself, why I can do better than
any of these myself.  So I wrote a chapter or two, and sent them as a
specimen to Mr. Puffall, the book-seller, telling him they were to be a
part of the fashionable something or other, and he offered me, I will not
say how much, to finish it in three volumes, and let him pay all the
newspapers for recommending it as the work of a lady of quality, who had
made very free with the characters of her acquaintance.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Surely you have not done so?

_Lady Clarinda_.—Oh, no!  I leave that to Mr. Eavesdrop.  But Mr. Puffall
made it a condition that I should let him say so.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—A strange recommendation.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Oh, nothing else will do.  And it seems you may give
yourself any character you like, and the newspapers will print it as if
it came from themselves.  I have commended you to three of our friends
here as an economist, a transcendentalist, and a classical scholar; and
if you wish to be renowned through the world for these, or any other
accomplishments, the newspapers will confirm you in their possession for
half-a-guinea a piece.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Truly, the praise of such gentry must be a feather
in any one’s cap.

_Lady Clarinda_.—So you will see, some morning, that my novel is “the
most popular production of the day.”  This is Mr. Puffall’s favourite
phrase.  He makes the newspapers say it of everything he publishes.  But
“the day,” you know, is a very convenient phrase; it allows of three
hundred and sixty-five “most popular productions” in a year.  And in
leap-year one more.



CHAPTER VI.
THEORIES.


    But when they came to shape the model,
    Not one could fit the other’s noddle.—BUTLER.

MEANWHILE, the last course, and the dessert, passed by.  When the ladies
had withdrawn, young Crotchet addressed the company.

_Mr. Crotchet_, _jun._  There is one point in which philosophers of all
classes seem to be agreed: that they only want money to regenerate the
world.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—No doubt of it.  Nothing is so easy as to lay down the
outlines of perfect society.  There wants nothing but money to set it
going.  I will explain myself clearly and fully by reading a paper.
(Producing a large scroll.)  “In the infancy of society—”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Pray, Mr. Mac Quedy, how is it that all
gentlemen of your nation begin everything they write with the “infancy of
society?”

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Eh, sir, it is the simplest way to begin at the
beginning.  “In the infancy of society, when government was invented to
save a percentage; say two and a half per cent.—”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I will not say any such thing.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, say any percentage you please.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I will not say any percentage at all.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—“On the principle of the division of labour—”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Government was invented to spend a percentage.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—To save a percentage.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No, sir, to spend a percentage; and a good deal
more than two and a half percent.  Two hundred and fifty per cent.: that
is intelligible.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—“In the infancy of society—”

_Mr. Toogood_.—Never mind the infancy of society.  The question is of
society in its maturity.  Here is what it should be.  (Producing a
paper.)  I have laid it down in a diagram.

_Mr. Skionar_.—Before we proceed to the question of government, we must
nicely discriminate the boundaries of sense, understanding, and reason.
Sense is a receptivity—

_Mr. Crotchet_, _jun._—We are proceeding too fast.  Money being all that
is wanted to regenerate society, I will put into the hands of this
company a large sum for the purpose.  Now let us see how to dispose of
it.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—We will begin by taking a committee-room in London,
where we will dine together once a week, to deliberate.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—If the money is to go in deliberative dinners,
you may set me down for a committee man and honorary caterer.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Next, you must all learn political economy, which I will
teach you, very compendiously, in lectures over the bottle.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I hate lectures over the bottle.  But pray, sir,
what is political economy?

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Political economy is to the state what domestic economy
is to the family.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No such thing, sir.  In the family there is a
_paterfamilias_, who regulates the distribution, and takes care that
there shall be no such thing in the household as one dying of hunger,
while another dies of surfeit.  In the state it is all hunger at one end,
and all surfeit at the other.  Matchless claret, Mr. Crotchet.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Vintage of fifteen, Doctor.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—The family consumes, and so does the state.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Consumes, air!  Yes: but the mode, the
proportions: there is the essential difference between the state and the
family.  Sir, I hate false analogies.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, the analogy is not essential.  Distribution
will come under its proper head.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Come where it will, the distribution of the
state is in no respect analogous to the distribution of the family.  The
_paterfamilias_, sir: the _paterfamilias_.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, let that pass.  The family consumes, and in
order to consume, it must have supply.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, sir, Adam and Eve knew that, when they
delved and span.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Very true, sir (reproducing his scroll).  “In the
infancy of society—”

_Mr. Toogood_.—The reverend gentleman has hit the nail on the head.  It
is the distribution that must be looked to; it is the _paterfamilias_
that is wanting in the State.  Now here I have provided him.
(Reproducing his diagram.)

_Mr. Trillo_.—Apply the money, sir, to building and endowing an opera
house, where the ancient altar of Bacchus may flourish, and justice may
be done to sublime compositions.  (Producing a part of a manuscript
opera.)

_Mr. Skionar_.—No, sir, build _sacella_ for transcendental oracles to
teach the world how to see through a glass darkly.  (Producing a scroll.)

_Mr. Trillo_.—See through an opera-glass brightly.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—See through a wine-glass full of claret; then
you see both darkly and brightly.  But, gentlemen, if you are all in the
humour for reading papers, I will read you the first half of my next
Sunday’s sermon.  (Producing a paper.)

_Omnes_.—No sermon!  No sermon!

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Then I move that our respective papers be
committed to our respective pockets.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Political economy is divided into two great branches,
production and consumption.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Yes, sir; there are two great classes of men:
those who produce much and consume little; and those who consume much and
produce nothing.  The _fruges consumere nati_ have the best of it.  Eh,
Captain!  You remember the characteristics of a great man according to
Aristophanes: ὅστις γε πίνειν οἶδε καὶ βίνειν μόνον.  Ha! ha! ha!  Well,
Captain, even in these tight-laced days, the obscurity of a learned
language allows a little pleasantry.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Very true, sir; the pleasantry and the obscurity go
together; they are all one, as it were—to me at any rate (aside).

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Now, sir—

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Pray, sir, let your science alone, or you will
put me under the painful necessity of demolishing it bit by bit, as I
have done your exordium.  I will undertake it any morning; but it is too
hard exercise after dinner.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Well, sir, in the meantime I hold my science
established.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—And I hold it demolished.

_Mr. Crotchet_, _jun._  Pray, gentlemen, pocket your manuscripts, fill
your glasses, and consider what we shall do with our money.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Build lecture-rooms, and schools for all.

_Mr. Trillo_.—Revive the Athenian theatre; regenerate the lyrical drama.

_Mr. Toogood_.—Build a grand co-operative parallelogram, with a
steam-engine in the middle for a maid of all work.

_Mr. Firedamp_.—Drain the country, and get rid of malaria, by abolishing
duck-ponds.

_Dr. Morbific_.—Found a philanthropic college of anticontagionists, where
all the members shall be inoculated with the virus of all known diseases.
Try the experiment on a grand scale.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Build a great dining-hall; endow it with beef and ale,
and hang the hall round with arms to defend the provisions.

_Mr. Henbane_.—Found a toxicological institution for trying all poisons
and antidotes.  I myself have killed a frog twelve times, and brought him
to life eleven; but the twelfth time he died.  I have a phial of the
drug, which killed him, in my pocket, and shall not rest till I have
discovered its antidote.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I move that the last speaker be dispossessed of
his phial, and that it be forthwith thrown into the Thames.

_Mr. Henbane_.—How, sir? my invaluable, and, in the present state of
human knowledge, infallible poison?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Let the frogs have all the advantage of it.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Consider, Doctor, the fish might participate.  Think of
the salmon.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Then let the owner’s right-hand neighbour
swallow it.

_Mr. Eavesdrop_.—Me, sir!  What have I done, sir, that I am to be
poisoned, sir?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, you have published a character of your
facetious friend, the Reverend Doctor F., wherein you have sketched off
me; me, sir, even to my nose and wig.  What business have the public with
my nose and wig?

_Mr. Eavesdrop_.—Sir, it is all good-humoured; all in _bonhomie_: all
friendly and complimentary.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, the bottle, _la Dive Bouteille_, is a
recondite oracle, which makes an Eleusinian temple of the circle in which
it moves.  He who reveals its mysteries must die.  Therefore, let the
dose be administered.  _Fiat experimentum in animâ vili_.

_Mr. Eavesdrop_.—Sir, you are very facetious at my expense.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, you have been very unfacetious, very
inficete at mine.  You have dished me up, like a savoury omelette, to
gratify the appetite of the reading rabble for gossip.  The next time,
sir, I will respond with the _argumentum baculinum_.  Print that, sir:
put it on record as a promise of the Reverend Doctor F., which shall be
most faithfully kept, with an exemplary bamboo.

_Mr. Eavesdrop_.—Your cloth protects you, sir.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—My bamboo shall protect me, sir.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Doctor, Doctor, you are growing too polemical.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, my blood boils.  What business have the
public with my nose and wig?

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Doctor! Doctor!

_Mr. Crotchet_, _jun._  Pray, gentlemen, return to the point.  How shall
we employ our fund?

_Mr. Philpot_.—Surely in no way so beneficially as in exploring rivers.
Send a fleet of steamboats down the Niger, and another up the Nile.  So
shall you civilise Africa, and establish stocking factories in Abyssinia
and Bambo.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—With all submission, breeches and petticoats
must precede stockings.  Send out a crew of tailors.  Try if the King of
Bambo will invest in inexpressibles.

_Mr. Crotchet_, _jun._—Gentlemen, it is not for partial, but for general
benefit, that this fund is proposed: a grand and universally applicable
scheme for the amelioration of the condition of man.

_Several Voices_.—That is my scheme.  I have not heard a scheme but my
own that has a grain of common sense.

_Mr. Trillo_.—Gentlemen, you inspire me.  Your last exclamation runs
itself into a chorus, and sets itself to music.  Allow me to lead, and to
hope for your voices in harmony.

          After careful meditation,
          And profound deliberation,
    On the various pretty projects which have just been shown,
          Not a scheme in agitation,
          For the world’s amelioration,
    Has a grain of common sense in it, except my own.

_Several Voices_.—We are not disposed to join in any such chorus.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, of all these schemes, I am for Mr.
Trillo’s.  Regenerate the Athenian theatre.  My classical friend here,
the Captain, will vote with, me.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I, sir? oh! of course, sir.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Surely, Captain, I rely on you to uphold political
economy.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Me, sir! oh, to be sure, sir.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Pray, sir, will political economy uphold the
Athenian theatre?

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Surely not.  It would be a very unproductive investment.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Then the Captain votes against you.  What, sir,
did not the Athenians, the wisest of nations, appropriate to their
theatre their most sacred and intangible fund?  Did not they give to
melopoeia, choregraphy, and the sundry forms of didascalics, the
precedence of all other matters, civil and military?  Was it not their
law, that even the proposal to divert this fund to any other purpose
should be punished with death?  But, sir, I further propose that the
Athenian theatre being resuscitated, the admission shall be free to all
who can expound the Greek choruses, constructively, mythologically, and
metrically, and to none others.  So shall all the world learn Greek:
Greek, the Alpha and Omega of all knowledge.  At him who sits not in the
theatre shall be pointed the finger of scorn: he shall be called in the
highway of the city, “a fellow without Greek.”

_Mr. Trillo_.—But the ladies, sir, the ladies.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Every man may take in a lady: and she who can
construe and metricise a chorus, shall, if she so please, pass in by
herself.

_Mr. Trillo_.—But, sir, you will shut me out of my own theatre.  Let
there at least be a double passport, Greek and Italian.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No, sir; I am inexorable.  No Greek, no theatre.

_Mr. Trillo_.—Sir, I cannot consent to be shut out from my own theatre.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—You see how it is, Squire Crotchet the younger;
you can scarcely find two to agree on a scheme, and no two of those can
agree on the details.  Keep your money in your pocket.  And so ends the
fund for regenerating the world.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Nay, by no means.  We are all agreed on deliberative
dinners.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Very true; we will dine and discuss.  We will
sing with Robin Hood, “If I drink water while this doth last;” and while
it lasts we will have no adjournment, if not to the Athenian theatre.

_Mr. Trillo_.—Well, gentlemen, I hope this chorus at least will please
you:—

    If I drink water while this doth last,
    May I never again drink wine:
    For how can a man, in his life of a span,
    Do anything better than dine?
    Well dine and drink, and say if we think
    That anything better can be,
    And when we have dined, wish all mankind
    May dine as well as we.
    And though a good wish will fill no dish
    And brim no cup with sack,
    Yet thoughts will spring as the glasses ring,
    To illume our studious track.
    On the brilliant dreams of our hopeful schemes
    The light of the flask shall shine;
    And we’ll sit till day, but we’ll find the way
    To drench the world with wine.

The schemes for the world’s regeneration evaporated in a tumult of
voices.



CHAPTER VII.
THE SLEEPING VENUS.


    Quoth he: In all my life till now,
    I ne’er saw so profane a show.—BUTLER.

THE library of Crotchet Castle was a large and well-furnished apartment,
opening on one side into an ante-room, on the other into a music-room.
It had several tables stationed at convenient distances; one consecrated
to the novelties of literature, another to the novelties of
embellishment; others unoccupied, and at the disposal of the company.
The walls were covered with a copious collection of ancient and modern
books; the ancient having been selected and arranged by the Reverend
Doctor Folliott.  In the ante-room were card-tables; in the music-room
were various instruments, all popular operas, and all fashionable music.
In this suite of apartments, and not in the drawing-room, were the
evenings of Crotchet Castle usually passed.

The young ladies were in the music-room; Miss Crotchet at the piano, Lady
Clarinda at the harp, playing and occasionally singing, at the suggestion
of Mr. Trillo, portions of _Matilde di Shabran_.  Lord Bossnowl was
turning over the leaves for Miss Crotchet; the Captain was performing the
same office for Lady Clarinda, but with so much more attention to the
lady than the book, that he often made sad work with the harmony, by
turnover two leaves together.  On these occasions Miss Crotchet paused,
Lady Clarinda laughed, Mr. Trillo scolded, Lord Bossnowl yawned, the
Captain apologised, and the performance proceeded.

In the library Mr. Mac Quedy was expounding political economy to the
Reverend Doctor Folliott, who was _pro more_ demolishing its doctrines
_seriatim_.

Mr. Chainmail was in hot dispute with Mr. Skionar, touching the physical
and moral well-being of man.  Mr. Skionar was enforcing his friend Mr.
Shantsee’s views of moral discipline; maintaining that the sole thing
needful for man in this world was loyal and pious education; the giving
men good books to read, and enough of the hornbook to read them; with a
judicious interspersion of the lessons of Old Restraint, which was his
poetic name for the parish stocks.  Mr. Chainmail, on the other hand,
stood up for the exclusive necessity of beef and ale, lodging and
raiment, wife and children, courage to fight for them all, and armour
wherewith to do so.

Mr. Henbane had got his face scratched, and his finger bitten, by the
cat, in trying to catch her for a second experiment in killing and
bringing to life; and Doctor Morbific was comforting him with a
disquisition to prove that there were only four animals having the power
to communicate hydrophobia, of which the cat was one; and that it was not
necessary that the animal should be in a rabid state, the nature of the
wound being everything, and the idea of contagion a delusion.  Mr.
Henbane was listening very lugubriously to this dissertation.

Mr. Philpot had seized on Mr. Firedamp, and pinned him down to a map of
Africa, on which he was tracing imaginary courses of mighty inland
rivers, terminating in lakes and marshes, where they were finally
evaporated by the heat of the sun; and Mr. Firedamp’s hair was standing
on end at the bare imagination of the mass of malaria that must be
engendered by the operation.  Mr. Toogood had begun explaining his
diagrams to Sir Simon Steeltrap; but Sir Simon grew testy, and told Mr.
Toogood that the promulgators of such doctrines ought to be consigned to
the treadmill.  The philanthropist walked off from the country gentleman,
and proceeded to hold forth to young Crotchet, who stood silent, as one
who listens, but in reality without hearing a syllable.  Mr. Crotchet,
senior, as the master of the house, was left to entertain himself with
his own meditations, till the Reverend Doctor Folliott tore himself from
Mr. Mac Quedy, and proceeded to expostulate with Mr. Crotchet on a
delicate topic.

There was an Italian painter, who obtained the name of _Il Bragatore_, by
the superinduction of inexpressibles on the naked Apollos and Bacchuses
of his betters.  The fame of this worthy remained one and indivisible,
till a set of heads, which had been, by a too common mistake of Nature’s
journeymen, stuck upon magisterial shoulders, as the Corinthian capitals
of “fair round bellies with fat capon lined,” but which Nature herself
had intended for the noddles of porcelain mandarins, promulgated
simultaneously from the east and the west of London, an order that no
plaster-of-Paris Venus should appear in the streets without petticoats.
Mr. Crotchet, on reading this order in the evening paper, which, by the
postman’s early arrival, was always laid on his breakfast-table,
determined to fill his house with Venuses of all sizes and kinds.  In
pursuance of this resolution, came packages by water-carriage, containing
an infinite variety of Venuses.  There were the Medicean Venus, and the
Bathing Venus; the Uranian Venus, and the Pandemian Venus; the Crouching
Venus, and the Sleeping Venus; the Venus rising from the sea, the Venus
with the apple of Paris, and the Venus with the armour of Mars.

The Reverend Doctor Folliott had been very much astonished at this
unexpected display.  Disposed, as he was, to hold, that whatever had been
in Greece, was right; he was more than doubtful of the propriety of
throwing open the classical _adytum_ to the illiterate profane.  Whether,
in his interior mind, he was at all influenced, either by the
consideration that it would be for the credit of his cloth, with some of
his vice-suppressing neighbours, to be able to say that he had
expostulated; or by curiosity, to try what sort of defence his city-bred
friend, who knew the classics only by translations, and whose reason was
always a little ahead of his knowledge, would make for his somewhat
ostentatious display of liberality in matters of taste; is a question on
which the learned may differ: but, after having duly deliberated on two
full-sized casts of the Uranian and Pandemian Venus, in niches on each
side of the chimney, and on three alabaster figures, in glass cases, on
the mantelpiece, he proceeded, peirastically, to open his fire.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—These little alabaster figures on the
mantelpiece, Mr. Crotchet, and those large figures in the niches—may I
take the liberty to ask you what they are intended to represent?

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Venus, sir; nothing more, sir; just Venus.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—May I ask you, sir, why they are there?

_Mr. Crotchet_.—To be looked at, sir; just to be looked at: the reasons
for most things in a gentleman’s house being in it at all; from the paper
on the walls, and the drapery of the curtains, even to the books in the
library, of which the most essential part is the appearance of the back.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Very true, sir.  As great philosophers hold that
the _esse_ of things is _percipi_, so a gentleman’s furniture exists to
be looked at.  Nevertheless, sir, there are some things more fit to be
looked at than others; for instance, there is nothing more fit to be
looked at than the outside of a book.  It is, as I may say, from repeated
experience, a pure and unmixed pleasure to have a goodly volume lying
before you, and to know that you may open it if you please, and need not
open it unless you please.  It is a resource against _ennui_, if _ennui_
should come upon you.  To have the resource and not to feel the _ennui_,
to enjoy your bottle in the present, and your book in the indefinite
future, is a delightful condition of human existence.  There is no place,
in which a man can move or sit, in which the outside of a book can be
otherwise than an innocent and becoming spectacle.  Touching this matter,
there cannot, I think, be two opinions.  But with respect to your Venuses
there can be, and indeed there are, two very distinct opinions.  Now,
Sir, that little figure in the centre of the mantelpiece—as a grave
_paterfamilias_, Mr. Crotchet, with a fair nubile daughter, whose eyes
are like the fish-pools of Heshbon—I would ask you if you hold that
figure to be altogether delicate?

_Mr. Crotchet_.—The sleeping Venus, sir?  Nothing can be more delicate
than the entire contour of the figure, the flow of the hair on the
shoulders and neck, the form of the feet and fingers.  It is altogether a
most delicate morsel.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Why, in that sense, perhaps, it is as delicate
as whitebait in July.  But the attitude, sir, the attitude.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Nothing can be more natural, sir.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—That is the very thing, sir.  It is too natural:
too natural, sir: it lies for all the world like—  I make no doubt, the
pious cheesemonger, who recently broke its plaster facsimile over the
head of the itinerant vendor, was struck by a certain similitude to the
position of his own sleeping beauty, and felt his noble wrath thereby
justly aroused.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Very likely, sir.  In my opinion, the cheesemonger was a
fool, and the justice who sided with him was a greater.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Fool, sir, is a harsh term: call not thy brother
a fool.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Sir, neither the cheesemonger nor the justice is a
brother of mine.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, we are all brethren.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Yes, sir, as the hangman is of the thief; the squire of
the poacher; the judge of the libeller; the lawyer of his client; the
statesman of his colleague; the bubble-blower of the bubble-buyer; the
slave-driver of the negro; as these are brethren, so am I and the
worthies in question.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—To be sure, sir, in these instances, and in many
others, the term brother must be taken in its utmost latitude of
interpretation: we are all brothers, nevertheless.  But to return to the
point.  Now these two large figures, one with drapery on the lower half
of the body, and the other with no drapery at all; upon my word, sir, it
matters not what godfathers and godmothers may have promised and vowed
for the children of this world, touching the devil and other things to be
renounced, if such figures as those are to be put before their eyes.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Sir, the naked figure is the Pandemian Venus, and the
half-draped figure is the Uranian Venus; and I say, sir, that figure
realises the finest imaginings of Plato, and is the personification of
the most refined and exalted feeling of which the human mind is
susceptible; the love of pure, ideal, intellectual beauty.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I am aware, sir, that Plato, in his Symposium,
discourseth very eloquently touching the Uranian and Pandemian Venus: but
you must remember that, in our universities, Plato is held to be little
better than a misleader of youth; and they have shown their contempt for
him, not only by never reading him (a mode of contempt in which they deal
very largely), but even by never printing a complete edition of him;
although they have printed many ancient books, which nobody suspects to
have been ever read on the spot, except by a person attached to the
press, who is, therefore, emphatically called “the reader.”

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Well, sir?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Why, sir, to “the reader” aforesaid (supposing
either of our universities to have printed an edition of Plato), or to
any one else who can be supposed to have read Plato, or, indeed, to be
ever likely to do so, I would very willingly show these figures; because
to such they would, I grant you, be the outward and visible signs of
poetical and philosophical ideas: but, to the multitude, the gross,
carnal multitude, they are but two beautiful women, one half undressed,
and the other quite so.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Then, sir, let the multitude look upon them and learn
modesty.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I must say that, if I wished my footman to learn
modesty, I should not dream of sending him to school to a naked Venus.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Sir, ancient sculpture is the true school of modesty.
But where the Greeks had modesty, we have cant; where they had poetry, we
have cant; where they had patriotism, we have cant; where they had
anything that exalts, delights, or adorns humanity, we have nothing but
cant, cant, cant.  And, sir, to show my contempt for cant in all its
shapes, I have adorned my house with the Greek Venus, in all her shapes,
and am ready to fight her battle against all the societies that ever were
instituted for the suppression of truth and beauty.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—My dear sir, I am afraid you are growing warm.
Pray be cool.  Nothing contributes so much to good digestion as to be
perfectly cool after dinner.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Sir, the Lacedæmonian virgins wrestled naked with young
men; and they grew up, as the wise Lycurgus had foreseen, into the most
modest of women, and the most exemplary of wives and mothers.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Very likely, sir; but the Athenian virgins did
no such thing, and they grew up into wives who stayed at home—stayed at
home, sir; and looked after their husbands’ dinner—his dinner, sir, you
will please to observe.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—And what was the consequence of that, sir? that they were
such very insipid persons that the husband would not go home to eat his
dinner, but preferred the company of some Aspasia, or Lais.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Two very different persons, sir, give me leave
to remark.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Very likely, sir; but both too good to be married in
Athens.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, Lais was a Corinthian.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Od’s vengeance, sir, some Aspasia and any other Athenian
name of the same sort of person you like—

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I do not like the sort of person at all: the
sort of person I like, as I have already implied, is a modest woman, who
stays at home and looks after her husband’s dinner.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Well, sir, that was not the taste of the Athenians.  They
preferred the society of women who would not have made any scruple about
sitting as models to Praxiteles; as you know, sir, very modest women in
Italy did to Canova; one of whom, an Italian countess, being asked by an
English lady, “how she could bear it?” answered, “Very well; there was a
good fire in the room.”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, the English lady should have asked how the
Italian lady’s husband could bear it.  The phials of my wrath would
overflow if poor dear Mrs. Folliott —: sir, in return for your story, I
will tell you a story of my ancestor, Gilbert Folliott.  The devil
haunted him, as he did Saint Francis, in the likeness of a beautiful
damsel; but all he could get from the exemplary Gilbert was an admonition
to wear a stomacher and longer petticoats.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Sir, your story makes for my side of the question.  It
proves that the devil, in the likeness of a fair damsel, with short
petticoats and no stomacher, was almost too much for Gilbert Folliott.
The force of the spell was in the drapery.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Bless my soul, sir!

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Give me leave, sir.  Diderot—

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Who was he, sir?

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Who was he, sir? the sublime philosopher, the father of
the Encyclopædia, of all the encyclopædias that have ever been printed.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Bless me, sir, a terrible progeny: they belong
to the tribe of Incubi.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—The great philosopher, Diderot—

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, Diderot is not a man after my heart.  Keep
to the Greeks, if you please; albeit this Sleeping Venus is not an
antique.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Well, sir, the Greeks: why do we call the Elgin marbles
inestimable?  Simply because they are true to nature.  And why are they
so superior in that point to all modern works, with all our greater
knowledge of anatomy?  Why, sir, but because the Greeks, having no cant,
had better opportunities of studying models?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, I deny our greater knowledge of anatomy.
But I shall take the liberty to employ, on this occasion, the _argumentum
ad hominem_.  Would you have allowed Miss Crotchet to sit for a model to
Canova?

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Yes, sir.

“God bless my soul, sir!” exclaimed the Reverend Doctor Folliott,
throwing himself back into a chair, and flinging up his heels, with the
premeditated design of giving emphasis to his exclamation; but by
miscalculating his impetus, he overbalanced his chair, and laid himself
on the carpet in a right angle, of which his back was the base.



CHAPTER VIII.
SCIENCE AND CHARITY.


    Chi sta nel mondo un par d’ore contento,
    Nè gli vien tolta, ovver contaminata,
    Quella sua pace in veruno momento,
    Puo dir che Giove drittamente il guata.

                                                              FORTEGUERRI.

THE Reverend Doctor Folliott took his departure about ten o’clock, to
walk home to his vicarage.  There was no moon, but the night was bright
and clear, and afforded him as much light as he needed.  He paused a
moment by the Roman camp to listen to the nightingale; repeated to
himself a passage of Sophocles; proceeded through the park gate, and
entered the narrow lane that led to the village.  He walked on in a very
pleasant mood of the state called reverie; in which fish and wine, Greek
and political economy, the Sleeping Venus he had left behind, and poor
dear Mrs. Folliott, to whose fond arms he was returning, passed, as in a
camera obscura, over the tablets of his imagination.  Presently the image
of Mr. Eavesdrop, with a printed sketch of the Reverend Doctor F.,
presented itself before him, and he began mechanically to flourish his
bamboo.  The movement was prompted by his good genius, for the uplifted
bamboo received the blow of a ponderous cudgel, which was intended for
his head.  The reverend gentleman recoiled two or three paces, and saw
before him a couple of ruffians, who were preparing to renew the attack,
but whom, with two swings of his bamboo, he laid with cracked sconces on
the earth, where he proceeded to deal with them like corn beneath the
flail of the thresher.  One of them drew a pistol, which went off in the
very act of being struck aside by the bamboo, and lodged a bullet in the
brain of the other.  There was then only one enemy, who vainly struggled
to rise, every effort being attended with a new and more signal
prostration.  The fellow roared for mercy.  “Mercy, rascal!” cried the
divine; “what mercy were you going to show me, villain?  What!  I warrant
me, you thought it would be an easy matter, and no sin, to rob and murder
a parson on his way home from dinner.  You said to yourself, doubtless,
“We’ll waylay the fat parson (you irreverent knave), as he waddles home
(you disparaging ruffian), half-seas-over, (you calumnious vagabond).”
And with every dyslogistic term, which he supposed had been applied to
himself, he inflicted a new bruise on his rolling and roaring antagonist.
“Ah, rogue!” he proceeded, “you can roar now, marauder; you were silent
enough when you devoted my brains to dispersion under your cudgel.  But
seeing that I cannot bind you, and that I intend you not to escape, and
that it would be dangerous to let you rise, I will disable you in all
your members.  I will contund you as Thestylis did strong smelling herbs,
in the quality whereof you do most gravely partake, as my nose beareth
testimony, ill weed that you are.  I will beat you to a jelly, and I will
then roll you into the ditch, to lie till the constable comes for you,
thief.”

“Hold! hold! reverend sir,” exclaimed the penitent culprit, “I am
disabled already in every finger, and in every joint.  I will roll myself
into the ditch, reverend sir.”

“Stir not, rascal,” returned the divine, “stir not so much as the
quietest leaf above you, or my bamboo rebounds on your body, like hail in
a thunder-storm.  Confess, speedily, villain; are you a simple thief, or
would you have manufactured me into a subject for the benefit of science?
Ay, miscreant caitiff, you would have made me a subject for science,
would you?  You are a school-master abroad, are you?  You are marching
with a detachment of the march of mind, are you?  You are a member of the
Steam Intellect Society, are you?  You swear by the learned friend, do
you?”

“Oh, no! reverend sir,” answered the criminal, “I am innocent of all
these offences, whatever they are, reverend sir.  The only friend I had
in the world is lying dead beside me, reverend sir.”

The reverend gentleman paused a moment, and leaned on his bamboo.  The
culprit, bruised as he was, sprang on his legs, and went off in double
quick time.  The Doctor gave him chase, and had nearly brought him within
arm’s length, when the fellow turned at right angles, and sprang clean
over a deep dry ditch.  The divine, following with equal ardour, and less
dexterity, went down over head and ears into a thicket of nettles.
Emerging with much discomposure, he proceeded to the village, and roused
the constable; but the constable found, on reaching the scene of action,
that the dead man was gone, as well as his living accomplice.

“Oh, the monster!” exclaimed the Reverend Doctor Folliott, “he has made a
subject for science of the only friend he had in the world.”  “Ay, my
dear,” he resumed, the next morning at breakfast, “if my old reading, and
my early gymnastics (for, as the great Hermann says, before I was
demulced by the Muses, I was _ferocis ingenii puer_, _et ad arma quam ad
literas paratior_), had not imbued me indelibly with some of the holy
rage of _Frère Jean des Entommeures_, I should be, at this moment, lying
on the table of some flinty-hearted anatomist, who would have sliced and
disjointed me as unscrupulously as I do these remnants of the capon and
chine, wherewith you consoled yourself yesterday for my absence at
dinner.  Phew! I have a noble thirst upon me, which I will quench with
floods of tea.”

The reverend gentleman was interrupted by a messenger, who informed him
that the Charity Commissioners requested his presence at the inn, where
they were holding a sitting.

“The Charity Commissioners!” exclaimed the reverend gentleman, “who on
earth are they?”

The messenger could not inform him, and the reverend gentleman took his
hat and stick, and proceeded to the inn.

On entering the best parlour, he saw three well-dressed and bulky
gentlemen sitting at a table, and a fourth officiating as clerk, with an
open book before him, and a pen in his hand.  The church-wardens, who had
been also summoned, were already in attendance.

The chief commissioner politely requested the Reverend Doctor Folliott to
be seated, and after the usual meteorological preliminaries had been
settled by a resolution, _nem. con._, that it was a fine day but very
hot, the chief commissioner stated, that in virtue of the commission of
Parliament, which they had the honour to hold, they were now to inquire
into the state of the public charities of this village.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—The state of the public charities, sir, is
exceedingly simple.  There are none.  The charities here are all private,
and so private, that I for one know nothing of them.

_First Commissioner_.—We have been informed, sir, that there is an annual
rent charged on the land of Hautbois, for the endowment and repair of an
almshouse.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Hautbois! Hautbois!

_First Commissioner_.—The manorial farm of Hautbois, now occupied by
Farmer Seedling, is charged with the endowment and maintenance of an
almshouse.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_ (_to the Churchwarden_).  How is this, Mr.
Bluenose?

_First Churchwarden_.—I really do not know, sir.  What say you, Mr.
Appletwig?

_Mr. Appletwig_ (_parish clerk and schoolmaster_; _an old man_).  I do
remember, gentlemen, to have been informed, that there did stand, at the
end of the village, a ruined cottage, which had once been an almshouse,
which was endowed and maintained, by an annual revenue of a mark and a
half, or one pound sterling, charged some centuries ago on the farm of
Hautbois; but the means, by the progress of time, having become
inadequate to the end, the almshouse tumbled to pieces.

_First Commissioner_.—But this is a right which cannot be abrogated by
desuetude, and the sum of one pound per annum is still chargeable for
charitable purposes on the manorial farm of Hautbois.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Very well, sir.

_Mr. Appletwig_.—But, sir, the one pound per annum is still received by
the parish, but was long ago, by an unanimous vote in open vestry, given
to the minister.

_The Three Commissioners_ (_unâ voce_).  The minister!

_First Commissioner_.—This is an unjustifiable proceeding.

_Second Commissioner_.—A misappropriation of a public fund.

_Third Commissioner_.—A flagrant perversion of a charitable donation.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—God bless my soul, gentlemen!  I know nothing of
this matter.  How is this, Mr. Bluenose?  Do I receive this one pound per
annum?

_First Churchwarden_.—Really, sir, I know no more about it than you do.

_Mr. Appletwig_.—You certainly receive it, sir.  It was voted to one of
your predecessors.  Farmer Seedling lumps it in with his tithes.

_First Commissioner_.—Lumps it in, sir!  Lump in a charitable donation!

_Second and Third Commissioner_.—Oh-oh-oh-h-h!

_First Commissioner_.—Reverend sir, and gentlemen, officers of this
parish, we are under the necessity of admonishing you that this is a most
improper proceeding: and you are hereby duly admonished accordingly.
Make a record, Mr. Milky.

_Mr. Milky_ (_writing_).  The clergyman and church-wardens of the village
of Hm-ra-m-m- gravely admonished.  Hm-m-m-m.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Is that all, gentlemen?

_The Commissioners_.—That is all, sir; and we wish you a good morning.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—A very good morning to you, gentlemen.

“What in the name of all that is wonderful, Mr. Bluenose,” said the
Reverend Doctor Folliott, as he walked out of the inn, “what in the name
of all that is wonderful, can those fellows mean?  They have come here in
a chaise and four, to make a fuss about a pound per annum, which, after
all, they leave as it was: I wonder who pays them for their trouble, and
how much.”

_Mr. Appletwig_.—The public pay for it, sir.  It is a job of the learned
friend whom you admire so much.  It makes away with public money in
salaries, and private money in lawsuits, and does no particle of good to
any living soul.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Ay, ay, Mr. Appletwig; that is just the sort of
public service to be looked for from the learned friend.  Oh, the learned
friend! the learned friend!  He is the evil genius of everything that
falls in his way.

The Reverend Doctor walked off to Crotchet Castle, to narrate his
misadventures, and exhale his budget of grievances on Mr. Mac Quedy, whom
he considered a ringleader of the march of mind.



CHAPTER IX.
THE VOYAGE.


    Οἰ μέν ἔπειτ’ ἀναβάτες ἐπέπλον ὑγρὰ κέλευθα.

    Mounting the bark, they cleft the watery ways.—HOMER.

FOUR beautiful cabined pinnaces, one for the ladies, one for the
gentlemen, one for kitchen and servants, one for a dining-room and band
of music, weighed anchor, on a fine July morning, from below Crotchet
Castle, and were towed merrily, by strong trotting horses, against the
stream of the Thames.  They passed from the district of chalk,
successively into the districts of clay, of sand-rock, of oolite, and so
forth.  Sometimes they dined in their floating dining-room, sometimes in
tents, which they pitched on the dry, smooth-shaven green of a newly-mown
meadow: sometimes they left their vessels to see sights in the vicinity;
sometimes they passed a day or two in a comfortable inn.

At Oxford, they walked about to see the curiosities of architecture,
painted windows, and undisturbed libraries.  The Reverend Doctor Folliott
laid a wager with Mr. Crotchet “that in all their perlustrations they
would not find a man reading,” and won it.  “Ay,” said the reverend
gentleman, “this is still a seat of learning, on the principle of—once a
captain, always a captain.  We may well ask, in these great reservoirs of
books whereof no man ever draws a sluice, _Quorsum pertinuit stipere
Platona Menandro_?  What is done here for the classics?  Reprinting
German editions on better paper.  A great boast, verily!  What for
mathematics?  What for metaphysics?  What for history?  What for anything
worth knowing?  This was a seat of learning in the days of Friar Bacon.
But the Friar is gone, and his learning with him.  Nothing of him is left
but the immortal nose, which, when his brazen head had tumbled to pieces,
crying “Time’s Past,” was the only palpable fragment among its minutely
pulverised atoms, and which is still resplendent over the portals of its
cognominal college.  That nose, sir, is the only thing to which I shall
take off my hat, in all this Babylon of buried literature.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—But, doctor, it is something to have a great reservoir of
learning, at which some may draw if they please.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—But, here, good care is taken that nobody shall
please.  If even a small drop from the sacred fountain, πίδακος ἐξ ἱερῆς
ὀλίγη λιβὰς, as Callimachus has it, were carried off by any one, it would
be evidence of something to hope for.  But the system of dissuasion from
all good learning is brought here to a pitch of perfection that baffles
the keenest aspirant.  I run over to myself the names of the scholars of
Germany, a glorious catalogue: but ask for those of Oxford,—Where are
they?  The echoes of their courts, as vacant as their heads, will answer,
Where are they?  The tree shall be known by its fruit: and seeing that
this great tree, with all its specious seeming, brings forth no fruit, I
do denounce it as a barren fig.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—I shall set you right on this point.  We do nothing
without motives.  If learning get nothing but honour, and very little of
that; and if the good things of this world, which ought to be the rewards
of learning, become the mere gifts of self-interested patronage; you must
not wonder if, in the finishing of education, the science which takes
precedence of all others, should be the science of currying favour.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Very true, sir.  Education is well finished, for
all worldly purposes, when the head is brought into the state whereinto I
am accustomed to bring a marrow-bone, when it has been set before me on a
toast, with a white napkin wrapped round it.  Nothing trundles along the
high road of preferment so trimly as a well-biassed sconce, picked clean
within and polished without; _totus teres atque rotundus_.  The
perfection of the finishing lies in the bias, which keeps it trundling in
the given direction.  There is good and sufficient reason for the fig
being barren, but it is not therefore the less a barren fig.

At Godstow, they gathered hazel on the grave of Rosamond; and, proceeding
on their voyage, fell into a discussion on legendary histories.

_Lady Clarinda_.—History is but a tiresome thing in itself: it becomes
more agreeable the more romance is mixed up with it.  The great enchanter
has made me learn many things which I should never have dreamed of
studying, if they had not come to me in the form of amusement.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—What enchanter is that?  There are two
enchanters: he of the north, and he of the south.

_Mr. Trillo_.—Rossini!

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Ay, there is another enchanter.  But I mean the
great enchanter of Covent Garden: he who, for more than a quarter of a
century, has produced two pantomimes a year, to the delight of children
of all ages; including myself at all ages.  That is the enchanter for me.
I am for the pantomimes.  All the northern enchanter’s romances put
together would not furnish materials for half the Southern enchanter’s
pantomimes.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Surely you do not class literature with pantomime?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—In these cases, I do.  They are both one, with a
slight difference.  The one is the literature of pantomime, the other is
the pantomime of literature.  There is the same variety of character, the
same diversity of story, the same copiousness of incident, the same
research into costume, the same display of heraldry, falconry,
minstrelsy, scenery, monkery, witchery, devilry, robbery, poachery,
piracy, fishery, gipsy-astrology, demonology, architecture,
fortification, castrametation, navigation; the same running base of love
and battle.  The main difference is, that the one set of amusing fictions
is told in music and action; the other in all the worst dialects of the
English language.  As to any sentence worth remembering, any moral or
political truth, anything having a tendency, however remote, to make men
wiser or better, to make them think, to make them ever think of thinking;
they are both precisely alike _nuspiam_, _nequaquam_, _nullibi_,
_nullimodis_.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Very amusing, however.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Very amusing, very amusing.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—My quarrel with the northern enchanter is, that he has
grossly misrepresented the twelfth century.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—He has misrepresented everything, or he would
not have been very amusing.  Sober truth is but dull matter to the
reading rabble.  The angler, who puts not on his hook the bait that best
pleases the fish, may sit all day on the bank without catching a gudgeon.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—But how do you mean that he has misrepresented the
twelfth century?  By exhibiting some of its knights and ladies in the
colours of refinement and virtue, seeing that they were all no better
than ruffians, and something else that shall be nameless?

_Mr. Chainmail_.—By no means.  By depicting them as much worse than they
were, not, as you suppose, much better.  No one would infer from his
pictures that theirs was a much better state of society than this which
we live in.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—No, nor was it.  It was a period of brutality,
ignorance, fanaticism, and tyranny; when the land was covered with
castles, and every castle contained a gang of banditti, headed by a
titled robber, who levied contributions with fire and sword; plundering,
torturing, ravishing, burying his captives in loathsome dungeons, and
broiling them on gridirons, to force from them the surrender of every
particle of treasure which he suspected them of possessing; and fighting
every now and then with the neighbouring lords, his conterminal bandits,
for the right of marauding on the boundaries.  This was the twelfth
century, as depicted by all contemporary historians and poets.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—No, sir.  Weigh the evidence of specific facts; you will
find more good than evil.  Who was England’s greatest hero—the mirror of
chivalry, the pattern of honour, the fountain of generosity, the model to
all succeeding ages of military glory?  Richard the First.  There is a
king of the twelfth century.  What was the first step of liberty?  Magna
Charta.  That was the best thing ever done by lords.  There are lords of
the twelfth century.  You must remember, too, that these lords were petty
princes, and made war on each other as legitimately as the heads of
larger communities did or do.  For their system of revenue, it was, to be
sure, more rough and summary than that which has succeeded it, but it was
certainly less searching and less productive.  And as to the people, I
content myself with these great points: that every man was armed, every
man was a good archer, every man could and would fight effectively, with
sword or pike, or even with oaken cudgel; no man would live quietly
without beef and ale if he had them not; he fought till he either got
them, or was put out of condition to want them.  They were not, and could
not be, subjected to that powerful pressure of all the other classes of
society, combined by gunpowder, steam, and _fiscality_, which has brought
them to that dismal degradation in which we see them now.  And there are
the people of the twelfth century.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—As to your king, the enchanter has done him ample
justice, even in your own view.  As to your lords and their ladies, he
has drawn them too favourably, given them too many of the false colours
of chivalry, thrown too attractive a light on their abominable doings.
As to the people, he keeps them so much in the background, that he can
hardly be said to have represented them at all, much less misrepresented
them, which indeed he could scarcely do, seeing that, by your own
showing, they were all thieves, ready to knock down any man for what they
could not come by honestly.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—No, sir.  They could come honestly by beef and ale,
while they were left to their simple industry.  When oppression
interfered with them in that, then they stood on the defensive, and
fought for what they were not permitted to come by quietly.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—If A., being aggrieved by B., knocks down C., do you
call that standing on the defensive?

_Mr. Chainmail_.—That depends on who or what C. is.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Gentlemen, you will never settle this
controversy till you have first settled what is good for man in this
world; the great question, _de finibus_, which has puzzled all
philosophers.  If the enchanter has represented the twelfth century too
brightly for one, and too darkly for the other of you, I should say, as
an impartial man, he has represented it fairly.  My quarrel with him is,
that his works contain nothing worth quoting; and a book that furnishes
no quotations, is _me judice_, no book—it is a plaything.  There is no
question about the amusement,—amusement of multitudes; but if he who
amuses us most is to be our enchanter κατ’ ἐξοχὴν, then my enchanter is
the enchanter of Covent Garden.



CHAPTER X.
THE VOYAGE, CONTINUED.


    Continuant nostre routte, navigasmes par trois jours _sans rien
    descouvrir_.—RABELAIS.

“THERE is a beautiful structure,” said Mr. Chainmail, as they glided by
Lechlade church; “a subject for the pencil, Captain.  It is a question
worth asking, Mr. Mac Quedy, whether the religious spirit which reared
these edifices, and connected with them everywhere an asylum for
misfortune, and a provision for poverty, was not better than the
commercial spirit, which has turned all the business of modern life into
schemes of profit and processes of fraud and extortion.  I do not see, in
all your boasted improvements, any compensation for the religious charity
of the twelfth century.  I do not see any compensation for that kindly
feeling which, within their own little communities, bound the several
classes of society together, while full scope was left for the
development of natural character, wherein individuals differed as
conspicuously as in costume.  Now, we all wear one conventional dress,
one conventional face; we have no bond of union but pecuniary interest;
we talk anything that comes uppermost for talking’s sake, and without
expecting to be believed; we have no nature, no simplicity, no
picturesqueness: everything about us is as artificial and as complicated
as our steam-machinery: our poetry is a kaleidoscope of false imagery,
expressing no real feeling, portraying no real existence.  I do not see
any compensation for the poetry of the twelfth century.”

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—I wonder to hear you, Mr. Chainmail, talking of the
religious charity of a set of lazy monks and beggarly friars, who were
much more occupied with taking than giving; of whom those who were in
earnest did nothing but make themselves and everybody about them
miserable with fastings and penances, and other such trash; and those who
were not, did nothing but guzzle and royster, and, having no wives of
their own, took very unbecoming liberties with those of honester men.
And as to your poetry of the twelfth century, it is not good for much.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—It has, at any rate, what ours wants, truth to nature
and simplicity of diction.

The poetry, which was addressed to the people of the dark ages, pleased
in proportion to the truth with which it depicted familiar images, and to
their natural connection with the time and place to which they were
assigned.  In the poetry of our enlightened times, the characteristics of
all seasons, soils, and climates may be blended together with much
benefit to the author’s fame as an original genius.  The cowslip of a
civic poet is always in blossom, his fern is always in full feather; he
gathers the celandine, the primrose, the heath-flower, the jasmine, and
the chrysanthemum all on the same day and from the same spot; his
nightingale sings all the year round, his moon is always full, his cygnet
is as white as his swan, his cedar is as tremulous as his aspen, and his
poplar as embowering as his beech.  Thus all nature marches with the
march of mind; but among barbarians, instead of mead and wine, and the
best seat by the fire, the reward of such a genius would have been to be
summarily turned out of doors in the snow, to meditate on the difference
between day and night and between December and July.  It is an age of
liberality, indeed, when not to know an oak from a burdock is no
disqualification for sylvan minstrelsy.  I am for truth and simplicity.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Let him who loves them read Greek: Greek, Greek,
Greek.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—If he can, sir.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Very true, sir; if he can.  Here is the Captain
who can.  But I think he must have finished his education at some very
rigid college, where a quotation or any other overt act showing
acquaintance with classical literature was visited with a severe penalty.
For my part, I make it my boast that I was not to be so subdued.  I could
not be abated of a single quotation by all the bumpers in which I was
fined.

In this manner they glided over the face of the waters, discussing
everything and settling nothing.  Mr. Mac Quedy and the Reverend Doctor
Folliott had many digladiations on political economy: wherein, each in
his own view, Doctor Folliott demolished Mr. Mac Quedy’s science, and Mr.
Mac Quedy demolished Dr. Folliott’s objections.

We would print these dialogues if we thought anyone would read them; but
the world is not yet ripe for this _haute sagesse Pantagrueline_.  We
must therefore content ourselves with an _échantillon_ of one of the
Reverend Doctor’s perorations.

“You have given the name of a science to what is yet an imperfect
inquiry, and the upshot of your so-called science is this: that you
increase the wealth of a nation by increasing in it the quantity of
things which are produced by labour: no matter what they are, no matter
how produced, no matter how distributed.  The greater the quantity of
labour that has gone to the production of the quantity of things in a
community, the richer is the community.  That is your doctrine.  Now, I
say, if this be so, riches are not the object for a community to aim at.
I say the nation is best off, in relation to other nations, which has the
greatest quantity of the common necessaries of life distributed among the
greatest number of persons; which has the greatest number of honest
hearts and stout arms united in a common interest, willing to offend no
one, but ready to fight in defence of their own community against all the
rest of the world, because they have something in it worth fighting for.
The moment you admit that one class of things, without any reference to
what they respectively cost, is better worth having than another; that a
smaller commercial value, with one mode of distribution, is better than a
greater commercial value, with another mode of distribution; the whole of
that curious fabric of postulates and dogmas, which you call the science
of political economy, and which I call _politicæ æconomiæ inscientia_,
tumbles to pieces.”

Mr. Toogood agreed with Mr. Chainmail against Mr. Mac Quedy, that the
existing state of society was worse than that of the twelfth century; but
he agreed with Mr. Mac Quedy against Mr. Chainmail, that it was in
progress to something much better than either—to which “something much
better” Mr. Toogood and Mr. Mac Quedy attached two very different
meanings.

Mr. Chainmail fought with Doctor Folliott, the battle of the romantic
against the classical in poetry; and Mr. Skionar contended with Mr. Mac
Quedy for intuition and synthesis, against analysis and induction in
philosophy.

Mr. Philpot would lie along for hours, listening to the gurgling of the
water round the prow, and would occasionally edify the company with
speculations on the great changes that would be effected in the world by
the steam-navigation of rivers: sketching the course of a steamboat up
and down some mighty stream which civilisation had either never visited,
or long since deserted; the Missouri and the Columbia, the Oroonoko and
the Amazon, the Nile and the Niger, the Euphrates and the Tigris, the
Oxus and the Indus, the Ganges and the Hoangho; under the over canopying
forests of the new, or by the long-silent ruins of the ancient, world;
through the shapeless mounds of Babylon, or the gigantic temples of
Thebes.

Mr. Trillo went on with the composition of his opera, and took the
opinions of the young ladies on every step in its progress; occasionally
regaling the company with specimens; and wondering at the blindness of
Mr. Mac Quedy, who could not, or would not, see that an opera in
perfection, being the union of all the beautiful arts—music, painting,
dancing, poetry—exhibiting female beauty in its most attractive aspects,
and in its most becoming costume—was, according to the well-known
precept, _Ingenuas didicisse_, etc., the most efficient instrument of
civilisation, and ought to take precedence of all other pursuits in the
minds of true philanthropists.  The Reverend Doctor Folliott, on these
occasions, never failed to say a word or two on Mr. Trillo’s side,
derived from the practice of the Athenians, and from the combination, in
their theatre, of all the beautiful arts, in a degree of perfection
unknown to the modern world.

Leaving Lechlade, they entered the canal that connects the Thames with
the Severn; ascended by many locks; passed by a tunnel, three miles long,
through the bowels of Sapperton Hill; agreed unanimously that the
greatest pleasure derivable from visiting a cavern of any sort was that
of getting out of it; descended by many locks again through the valley of
Stroud into the Severn; continued their navigation into the Ellesmere
canal; moored their pinnaces in the Vale of Llangollen by the aqueduct of
Pontycysyllty; and determined to pass some days in inspecting the
scenery, before commencing their homeward voyage.

The Captain omitted no opportunity of pressing his suit on Lady Clarinda,
but could never draw from her any reply but the same doctrines of worldly
wisdom, delivered in a tone of _badinage_, mixed with a certain kindness
of manner that induced him to hope she was not in earnest.

But the morning after they had anchored under the hills of the
Dee—whether the lady had reflected more seriously than usual, or was
somewhat less in good humour than usual, or the Captain was more pressing
than usual—she said to him: “It must not be, Captain Fitzchrome; ‘the
course of true love never did run smooth:’ my father must keep his
borough, and I must have a town house and a country house, and an opera
box, and a carriage.  It is not well for either of us that we should
flirt any longer: ‘I must be cruel only to be kind.’  Be satisfied with
the assurance that you alone, of all men, have ever broken my rest.  To
be sure, it was only for about three nights in all; but that is too
much.”

The Captain had _le cœur navré_.  He took his portfolio under his arm,
made up the little _valise_ of a pedestrian, and, without saying a word
to anyone, wandered off at random among the mountains.

After the lapse of a day or two, the Captain was missed, and everyone
marvelled what was become of him.  Mr. Philpot thought he must have been
exploring a river, and fallen in and got drowned in the process.  Mr.
Firedamp had no doubt he had been crossing a mountain bog, and had been
suddenly deprived of life by the exhalations of marsh miasmata.  Mr.
Henbane deemed it probable that he had been tempted in some wood by the
large black brilliant berries of the _Atropa Belladonna_, or Deadly
Nightshade; and lamented that he had not been by, to administer an
infallible antidote.  Mr. Eavesdrop hoped the particulars of his fate
would be ascertained; and asked if anyone present could help him to any
authentic anecdotes of their departed friend.  The Reverend Doctor
Folliott proposed that an inquiry should be instituted as to whether the
march of intellect had reached that neighbourhood, as, if so, the Captain
had probably been made a subject for science.  Mr. Mac Quedy said it was
no such great matter to ascertain the precise mode in which the surplus
population was diminished by one.  Mr. Toogood asseverated that there was
no such thing as surplus population, and that the land, properly managed,
would maintain twenty times its present inhabitants; and hereupon they
fell into a disputation.

Lady Clarinda did not doubt that the Captain had gone away designedly;
she missed him more than she could have anticipated, and wished she had
at least postponed her last piece of cruelty till the completion of their
homeward voyage.



CHAPTER XI.
CORRESPONDENCE.


    “Base is the slave that pays.”—ANCIENT PISTOL.

THE Captain was neither drowned nor poisoned, neither miasmatised nor
anatomised.  But, before we proceed to account for him, we must look back
to a young lady, of whom some little notice was taken in the first
chapter; and who, though she has since been out of sight, has never with
us been out of mind: Miss Susannah Touchandgo, the forsaken of the junior
Crotchet, whom we left an inmate of a solitary farm, in one of the deep
valleys under the cloud-capt summits of Meirion, comforting her wounded
spirit with air and exercise, rustic cheer, music, painting, and poetry,
and the prattle of the little Ap Llymrys.

One evening, after an interval of anxious expectation, the farmer,
returning from market brought for her two letters, of which the contents
were these:

                         “_Dotandcarryonetown_, _State of Apodidraskiana_.
                                                          “_April_ 1, 18..

    “MY DEAR CHILD,

    “I am anxious to learn what are your present position, intention, and
    prospects.  The fairies who dropped gold in your shoe, on the morning
    when I ceased to be a respectable man in London, will soon find a
    talismanic channel for transmitting you a stocking full of dollars,
    which will fit the shoe as well as the foot of Cinderella fitted her
    slipper.  I am happy to say I am again become a respectable man.  It
    was always my ambition to be a respectable man, and I am a very
    respectable man here, in this new township of a new state, where I
    have purchased five thousand acres of land, at two dollars an acre,
    hard cash, and established a very flourishing bank.  The notes of
    Touchandgo and Company, soft cash, are now the exclusive currency of
    all this vicinity.  This is the land in which all men flourish; but
    there are three classes of men who flourish especially,—methodist
    preachers, slave-drivers, and paper-money manufacturers; and as one
    of the latter, I have just painted the word BANK on a fine slab of
    maple, which was green and growing when I arrived, and have
    discounted for the settlers, in my own currency, sundry bills, which
    are to be paid when the proceeds of the crop they have just sown
    shall return from New Orleans; so that my notes are the
    representatives of vegetation that is to be, and I am accordingly a
    capitalist of the first magnitude.  The people here know very well
    that I ran away from London; but the most of them have run away from
    some place or other; and they have a great respect for me, because
    they think I ran away with something worth taking, which few of them
    had the luck or the wit to do.  This gives them confidence in my
    resources, at the same time that, as there is nothing portable in the
    settlement except my own notes, they have no fear that I shall run
    away with them.  They know I am thoroughly conversant with the
    principles of banking, and as they have plenty of industry, no lack
    of sharpness, and abundance of land, they wanted nothing but capital
    to organise a flourishing settlement; and this capital I have
    manufactured to the extent required, at the expense of a small
    importation of pens, ink, and paper, and two or three inimitable
    copper plates.  I have abundance here of all good things, a good
    conscience included; for I really cannot see that I have done any
    wrong.  This was my position: I owed half a million of money; and I
    had a trifle in my pocket.  It was clear that this trifle could never
    find its way to the right owner.  The question was, whether I should
    keep it, and live like a gentleman; or hand it over to lawyers and
    commissioners of bankruptcy, and die like a dog on a dunghill.  If I
    could have thought that the said lawyers, etc., had a better title to
    it than myself, I might have hesitated; but, as such title was not
    apparent to my satisfaction, I decided the question in my own favour,
    the right owners, as I have already said, being out of the question
    altogether.  I have always taken scientific views of morals and
    politics, a habit from which I derive much comfort under existing
    circumstances.

    “I hope you adhere to your music, though I cannot hope again to
    accompany your harp with my flute.  My last _andante_ movement was
    too _forte_ for those whom it took by surprise.  Let not your
    _allegro vivace_ be damped by young Crotchet’s desertion, which,
    though I have not heard it, I take for granted.  He is, like myself,
    a scientific politician, and has an eye as keen as a needle to his
    own interest.  He has had good luck so far, and is gorgeous in the
    spoils of many gulls; but I think the Polar Basin and Walrus Company
    will be too much for him yet.  There has been a splendid outlay on
    credit, and he is the only man, of the original parties concerned, of
    whom his Majesty’s sheriffs could give any account.

    “I will not ask you to come here.  There is no husband for you.  The
    men smoke, drink, and fight, and break more of their own heads than
    of girls’ hearts.  Those among them who are musical, sing nothing but
    psalms.  They are excellent fellows in their way, but you would not
    like them.

    “_Au reste_, here are no rents, no taxes, no poor-rates, no tithes,
    no church establishment, no routs, no clubs, no rotten boroughs, no
    operas, no concerts, no theatres, no beggars, no thieves, no king, no
    lords, no ladies, and only one gentleman, videlicet, your loving
    father,

                                                      “TIMOTHY TOUCHANDGO.

    “P.S.—I send you one of my notes; I can afford to part with it.  If
    you are accused of receiving money from me, you may pay it over to my
    assignees.  Robthetill continues to be my factotum; I say no more of
    him in this place: he will give you an account of himself.”

                                             “_Dotandcarryonetown_, _etc._

    “DEAR MISS,

    “Mr. Touchandgo will have told you of our arrival here, of our
    setting up a bank, and so forth.  We came here in a tilted waggon,
    which served us for parlour, kitchen, and all.  We soon got up a
    log-house; and, unluckily, we as soon got it down again, for the
    first fire we made in it burned down house and all.  However, our
    second experiment was more fortunate; and we are pretty well lodged
    in a house of three rooms on a floor; I should say the floor, for
    there is but one.

    “This new state is free to hold slaves; all the new states have not
    this privilege: Mr. Touchandgo has bought some, and they are building
    him a villa.  Mr. Touchandgo is in a thriving way, but he is not
    happy here: he longs for parties and concerts, and a seat in
    Congress.  He thinks it very hard that he cannot buy one with his own
    coinage, as he used to do in England.  Besides, he is afraid of the
    Regulators, who, if they do not like a man’s character, wait upon him
    and flog him, doubling the dose at stated intervals, till he takes
    himself off.  He does not like this system of administering justice:
    though I think he has nothing to fear from it.  He has the character
    of having money, which is the best of all characters here, as at
    home.  He lets his old English prejudices influence his opinions of
    his new neighbours; but, I assure you, they have many virtues.
    Though they do keep slaves, they are all ready to fight for their own
    liberty; and I should not like to be an enemy within reach of one of
    their rifles.  When I say enemy, I include bailiff in the term.  One
    was shot not long ago.  There was a trial; the jury gave two dollars
    damages; the judge said they must find guilty or not guilty; but the
    counsel for the defendant (they would not call him prisoner) offered
    to fight the judge upon the point: and as this was said literally,
    not metaphorically, and the counsel was a stout fellow, the judge
    gave in. The two dollars damages were not paid after all; for the
    defendant challenged the foreman to box for double or quits, and the
    foreman was beaten.  The folks in New York made a great outcry about
    it, but here it was considered all as it should be.  So you see,
    Miss, justice, liberty, and everything else of that kind, are
    different in different places, just as suits the convenience of those
    who have the sword in their own hands.  Hoping to hear of your health
    and happiness, I remain,

                                         “Dear Miss, your dutiful servant,
                                                    “RODERICK ROBTHETILL.”

Miss Touchandgo replied as follows to the first of these letters:

    “MY DEAR FATHER,

    “I am sure you have the best of hearts, and I have no doubt you have
    acted with the best intentions.  My lover, or, I should rather say,
    my fortune’s lover, has indeed forsaken me.  I cannot say I did not
    feel it; indeed, I cried very much; and the altered looks of people
    who used to be so delighted to see me, really annoyed me so, that I
    determined to change the scene altogether.  I have come into Wales,
    and am boarding with a farmer and his wife.  Their stock of English
    is very small; but I managed to agree with them, and they have four
    of the sweetest children I ever saw, to whom I teach all I know, and
    I manage to pick up some Welsh.  I have puzzled out a little song,
    which I think very pretty; I have translated it into English, and I
    send it you, with the original air.  You shall play it on your flute
    at eight o’clock every Saturday evening, and I will play and sing it
    at the same time, and I will fancy that I hear my dear papa
    accompanying me.

    “The people in London said very unkind things of you: they hurt me
    very much at the time; but now I am out of their way, I do not seem
    to think their opinion of much consequence.  I am sure, when I
    recollect, at leisure, everything I have seen and heard among them, I
    cannot make out what they do that is so virtuous, as to set them up
    for judges of morals.  And I am sure they never speak the truth about
    anything, and there is no sincerity in either their love or their
    friendship.  An old Welsh bard here, who wears a waistcoat
    embroidered with leeks, and is called the Green Bard of Cadeir Idris,
    says the Scotch would be the best people in the world, if there was
    nobody but themselves to give them a character: and so I think would
    the Londoners.  I hate the very thought of them, for I do believe
    they would have broken my heart, if I had not got out of their way.
    Now I shall write you another letter very soon, and describe to you
    the country, and the people, and the children, and how I amuse
    myself, and everything that I think you will like to hear about: and
    when I seal this letter, I shall drop a kiss on the cover.

                            “Your loving daughter,

                                                     “SUSANNAH TOUCHANDGO.

    “P.S.—Tell Mr. Robthetill I will write to him in a day or two.  This
    is the little song I spoke of:

    “Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
    My heart is gone, far, far from me;
    And ever on its track will flee
    My thoughts, my dreams, beyond the sea.

    “Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
    The swallow wanders fast and free;
    Oh, happy bird! were I like thee,
    I, too, would fly beyond the sea.

    “Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
    Are kindly hearts and social glee:
    But here for me they may not be;
    My heart is gone beyond the sea.”



CHAPTER XII.
THE MOUNTAIN INN.


    ‘Ως ἡδὺ τῴ μισοῦτι τοὺς φαύλους πρόπους
    ’Ερημία.

    How sweet to minds that love not sordid ways
    Is solitude!—MENANDER.

THE Captain wandered despondingly up and down hill for several days,
passing many hours of each in sitting on rocks; making, almost
mechanically, sketches of waterfalls, and mountain pools; taking care,
nevertheless, to be always before nightfall in a comfortable inn, where,
being a temperate man, he whiled away the evening with making a bottle of
sherry into negus.  His rambles brought him at length into the interior
of Merionethshire, the land of all that is beautiful in nature, and all
that is lovely in woman.

Here, in a secluded village, he found a little inn, of small pretension
and much comfort.  He felt so satisfied with his quarters, and discovered
every day so much variety in the scenes of the surrounding mountains,
that his inclination to proceed farther diminished progressively.

It is one thing to follow the high road through a country, with every
principally remarkable object carefully noted down in a book, taking, as
therein directed, a guide, at particular points, to the more recondite
sights: it is another to sit down on one chosen spot, especially when the
choice is unpremeditated, and from thence, by a series of explorations,
to come day by day on unanticipated scenes.  The latter process has many
advantages over the former; it is free from the disappointment which
attends excited expectation, when imagination has outstripped reality,
and from the accidents that mar the scheme of the tourist’s single day,
when the valleys may be drenched with rain, or the mountains shrouded
with mist.

The Captain was one morning preparing to sally forth on his usual
exploration, when he heard a voice without, inquiring for a guide to the
ruined castle.  The voice seemed familiar to him, and going forth into
the gateway, he recognised Mr. Chainmail.  After greetings and inquiries
for the absent: “You vanished very abruptly, Captain,” said Mr.
Chainmail, “from our party on the canal.”

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—To tell you the truth, I had a particular reason
for trying the effect of absence from a part of that party.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—I surmised as much: at the same time, the unusual
melancholy of an in general most vivacious young lady made me wonder at
your having acted so precipitately.  The lady’s heart is yours, if there
be truth in signs.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Hearts are not now what they were in the days of
the old song: “Will love be controlled by advice?”

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Very true; hearts, heads, and arms have all degenerated,
most sadly.  We can no more feel the high impassioned love of the ages,
which some people have the impudence to call dark, than we can wield King
Richard’s battleaxe, bend Robin Hood’s bow, or flourish the oaken graft
of the Pindar of Wakefield.  Still we have our tastes and feelings,
though they deserve not the name of passions; and some of us may pluck up
spirit to try to carry a point, when we reflect that we have to contend
with men no better than ourselves.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—We do not now break lances for ladies.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—No; nor even bulrushes.  We jingle purses for them,
flourish paper-money banners, and tilt with scrolls of parchment.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—In which sort of tilting I have been thrown from
the saddle.  I presume it was not love that led you from the flotilla?

_Mr. Chainmail_.—By no means.  I was tempted by the sight of an old
tower, not to leave this land of ruined castles, without having collected
a few hints for the adornment of my baronial hall.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I understand you live _en famille_ with your
domestics.  You will have more difficulty in finding a lady who would
adopt your fashion of living, than one who would prefer you to a richer
man.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Very true.  I have tried the experiment on several as
guests; but once was enough for them: so, I suppose, I shall die a
bachelor.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—I see, like some others of my friends, you will
give up anything except your hobby.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—I will give up anything but my baronial hall.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—You will never find a wife for your purpose, unless
in the daughter of some old-fashioned farmer.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—No, I thank you.  I must have a lady of gentle blood; I
shall not marry below my own condition: I am too much of a herald; I have
too much of the twelfth century in me for that.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Why, then your chance is not much better than mine.
A well-born beauty would scarcely be better pleased with your baronial
hall than with my more humble offer of love in a cottage.  She must have
a town-house, and an opera-box, and roll about the streets in a carriage;
especially if her father has a rotten borough, for the sake of which he
sells his daughter, that he may continue to sell his country.  But you
were inquiring for a guide to the ruined castle in this vicinity; I know
the way and will conduct you.

The proposal pleased Mr. Chainmail, and they set forth on their
expedition.



CHAPTER XIII.
THE LAKE—THE RUIN.


    Or vieni, Amore, e quà meco t’assetta.

                                                       ORLANDO INNAMORATO.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Would it not be a fine thing, Captain, you being
picturesque, and I poetical; you being for the lights and shadows of the
present, and I for those of the past; if we were to go together over the
ground which was travelled in the twelfth century by Giraldus de Barri,
when he accompanied Archbishop Baldwin to preach the crusade?

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Nothing, in my present frame of mind, could be more
agreeable to me.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—We would provide ourselves with his _Itinerarium_;
compare what has been, with what is; contemplate in their decay the
castles and abbeys, which he saw in their strength and splendour; and,
while you were sketching their remains, I would dispassionately inquire
what has been gained by the change.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Be it so.

But the scheme was no sooner arranged, than the Captain was summoned to
London by a letter on business, which he did not expect to detain him
long.  Mr. Chainmail, who, like the Captain, was fascinated with the inn
and the scenery, determined to await his companion’s return; and, having
furnished him with a list of books, which he was to bring with him from
London, took leave of him, and began to pass his days like the heroes of
Ariosto, who

    —tutto il giorno, al bel oprar intenti,
    Saliron balze, e traversar torrenti.

One day Mr. Chainmail traced upwards the course of a mountain stream to a
spot where a small waterfall threw itself over a slab of perpendicular
rock, which seemed to bar his farther progress.  On a nearer view, he
discovered a flight of steps, roughly hewn in the rock, on one side of
the fall.  Ascending these steps, he entered a narrow winding pass,
between high and naked rocks, that afforded only space for a rough
footpath, carved on one side, at some height above the torrent.

The pass opened on a lake, from which the stream issued, and which lay
like a dark mirror, set in a gigantic frame of mountain precipices.
Fragments of rock lay scattered on the edge of the lake, some half-buried
in the water: Mr. Chainmail scrambled some way over these fragments, till
the base of a rock sinking abruptly in the water, effectually barred his
progress.  He sat down on a large smooth stone; the faint murmur of the
stream he had quitted, the occasional flapping of the wings of the heron,
and at long intervals, the solitary springing of a trout, were the only
sounds that came to his ear.  The sun shone brightly half-way down the
opposite rocks, presenting, on their irregular faces, strong masses of
light and shade.  Suddenly he heard the dash of a paddle, and, turning
his eyes, saw a solitary and beautiful girl gliding over the lake in a
coracle: she was proceeding from the vicinity of the point he had
quitted, towards the upper end of the lake.  Her apparel was rustic, but
there was in its style something more _recherchée_, in its arrangement
something more of elegance and precision, than was common to the mountain
peasant girl.  It had more of the _contadina_ of the opera, than of the
genuine mountaineer; so at least thought Mr. Chainmail; but she passed so
rapidly, and took him so much by surprise, that he had little opportunity
for accurate observation.  He saw her land, at the farther extremity, and
disappear among the rocks: he rose from his seat, returned to the mouth
of the pass, stepped from stone to stone across the stream, and attempted
to pass round by the other side of the lake; but there again the abruptly
sinking precipice closed his way.

Day after day he haunted the spot, but never saw again either the damsel
or the coracle.  At length, marvelling at himself for being so solicitous
about the apparition of a peasant girl in a coracle, who could not, by
any possibility, be anything to him, he resumed his explorations in
another direction.

One day he wandered to the ruined castle, on the sea-shore, which was not
very distant from his inn; and sitting on the rock, near the base of the
ruin, was calling up the forms of past ages on the wall of an ivied
tower, when on its summit appeared a female figure, whom he recognised in
an instant for his nymph of the coracle.  The folds of the blue gown
pressed by the sea-breeze against one of the most symmetrical of figures,
the black feather of the black hat, and the ringleted hair beneath it
fluttering in the wind; the apparent peril of her position, on the edge
of the mouldering wall, from whose immediate base the rock went down
perpendicularly to the sea, presented a singularly interesting
combination to the eye of the young antiquary.

Mr. Chainmail had to pass half round the castle, on the land side, before
he could reach the entrance: he coasted the dry and bramble-grown moat,
crossed the unguarded bridge, passed the unportcullised arch of the
gateway, entered the castle court, ascertained the tower, ascended the
broken stairs, and stood on the ivied wall.  But the nymph of the place
was gone.  He searched the ruins within and without, but he found not
what he sought: he haunted the castle day after day, as he had done the
lake, but the damsel appeared no more.



CHAPTER XIV.
THE DINGLE.


    The stars of midnight shall be dear
    To her, and she shall lean her ear
    In many a secret place,
    Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
    And beauty, born of murmuring sound,
    Shall pass into her face.—WORDSWORTH.

MISS SUSANNAH TOUCHANDGO had read the four great poets of Italy, and many
of the best writers of France.  About the time of her father’s downfall,
accident threw into her way _Les Réveries du Promeneur Solitaire_; and
from the impression which these made on her, she carried with her into
retirement all the works of Rousseau.  In the midst of that startling
light, which the conduct of old friends on a sudden reverse of fortune
throws on a young and inexperienced mind, the doctrines of the
philosopher of Geneva struck with double force upon her sympathies: she
imbibed the sweet poison, as somebody calls it, of his writings, even to
a love of truth; which, every wise man knows, ought to be left to those
who can get anything by it.  The society of children, the beauties of
nature, the solitude of the mountains, became her consolation, and, by
degrees, her delight.  The gay society from which she had been excluded,
remained on her memory only as a disagreeable dream.  She imbibed her new
monitor’s ideas of simplicity of dress, assimilating her own with that of
the peasant-girls in the neighbourhood: the black hat, the blue gown, the
black stockings, the shoes, tied on the instep.

Pride was, perhaps, at the bottom of the change: she was willing to
impose in some measure on herself, by marking a contemptuous indifference
to the characteristics of the class of society from which she had fallen.

    And with the food of pride sustained her soul
    In solitude.

It is true that she somewhat modified the forms of her rustic dress: to
the black hat she added a black feather, to the blue gown she added a
tippet, and a waistband fastened in front with a silver buckle; she wore
her black stockings very smooth and tight on her ankles, and tied her
shoes in tasteful bows, with the nicest possible ribbon.  In this
apparel, to which, in winter, she added a scarlet cloak, she made
dreadful havoc among the rustic mountaineers, many of whom proposed to
“keep company” with her in the Cambrian fashion, an honour which, to
their great surprise, she always declined.  Among these, Harry
Ap-Heather, whose father rented an extensive sheepwalk, and had a
thousand she-lambs wandering in the mountains, was the most strenuous in
his suit, and the most pathetic in his lamentations for her cruelty.

Miss Susannah often wandered among the mountains alone, even to some
distance from the farmhouse.  Sometimes she descended into the bottom of
the dingles, to the black rocky beds of the torrents, and dreamed away
hours at the feet of the cataracts.  One spot in particular, from which
she had at first shrunk with terror, became by degrees her favourite
haunt.  A path turning and returning at acute angles, led down a steep
wood-covered slope to the edge of a chasm, where a pool, or resting-place
of a torrent, lay far below.  A cataract fell in a single sheet into the
pool; the pool boiled and bubbled at the base of the fall, but through
the greater part of its extent, lay calm, deep, and black, as if the
cataract had plunged through it to an unimaginable depth, without
disturbing its eternal repose.  At the opposite extremity of the pool,
the rocks almost met at their summits, the trees of the opposite banks
intermingled their leaves, and another cataract plunged from the pool
into a chasm, on which the sunbeams never gleamed.  High above, on both
sides, the steep woody slopes of the dingle soared into the sky; and from
a fissure in the rock, on which the little path terminated, a single
gnarled and twisted oak stretched itself over the pool, forming a fork
with its boughs at a short distance from the rock.  Miss Susannah often
sat on the rock, with her feet resting on this tree; in time, she made
her seat on the tree itself, with her feet hanging over the abyss; and at
length, she accustomed herself to lie along upon its trunk, with her side
on the mossy bole of the fork, and an arm round one of the branches.
From this position a portion of the sky and the woods was reflected in
the pool, which, from its bank, was but a mass of darkness.  The first
time she reclined in this manner, her heart beat audibly; in time she lay
down as calmly as on the mountain heather; the perception of the sublime
was probably heightened by an intermingled sense of danger; and perhaps
that indifference to life, which early disappointment forces upon
sensitive minds, was necessary to the first experiment.  There was, in
the novelty and strangeness of the position, an excitement which never
wholly passed away, but which became gradually subordinate to the
influence, at once tranquillising and elevating, of the mingled eternity
of motion, sound, and solitude.

One sultry noon, she descended into this retreat with a mind more than
usually disturbed by reflections on the past.  She lay in her favourite
position, sometimes gazing on the cataract; looking sometimes up the
steep sylvan acclivities, into the narrow space of the cloudless ether;
sometimes down into the abyss of the pool, and the deep bright-blue
reflections that opened another immensity below her.  The distressing
recollections of the morning, the world and all its littlenesses, faded
from her thoughts like a dream; but her wounded and wearied spirit drank
in too deeply the tranquillising power of the place, and she dropped
asleep upon the tree like a ship-boy on the mast.

At this moment Mr. Chainmail emerged into daylight, on a projection of
the opposite rock, having struck down through the woods in search of
unsophisticated scenery.  The scene he discovered filled him with
delight: he seated himself on the rock, and fell into one of his romantic
reveries; when suddenly the semblance of a black hat and feather caught
his eye among the foliage of the projecting oak.  He started up, shifted
his position, and got a glimpse of a blue gown.  It was his lady of the
lake, his enchantress of the ruined castle, divided from him by a barrier
which, at a few yards below, he could almost overleap, yet unapproachable
but by a circuit perhaps of many hours.  He watched with intense anxiety.
To listen if she breathed was out of the question: the noses of a dean
and chapter would have been soundless in the roar of the torrent.  From
her extreme stillness, she appeared to sleep: yet what creature, not
desperate, would go wilfully to sleep in such a place?  Was she asleep,
then?  Nay, was she alive?  She was as motionless as death.  Had she been
murdered, thrown from above, and caught in the tree?  She lay too
regularly and too composedly for such a supposition.  She was asleep,
then, and, in all probability, her waking would be fatal.  He shifted his
position.  Below the pool two beetle-browed rocks nearly overarched the
chasm, leaving just such a space at the summit as was within the
possibility of a leap; the torrent roared below in a fearful gulf.  He
paused some time on the brink, measuring the practicability and the
danger, and casting every now and then an anxious glance to his sleeping
beauty.  In one of these glances he saw a slight movement of the blue
gown, and, in a moment after, the black hat and feather dropped into the
pool.  Reflection was lost for a moment, and, by a sudden impulse, he
bounded over the chasm.

He stood above the projecting oak; the unknown beauty lay like the nymph
of the scene; her long black hair, which the fall of her hat had
disengaged from its fastenings, drooping through the boughs: he saw that
the first thing to be done, was to prevent her throwing her feet off the
trunk, in the first movements of waking.  He sat down on the rock, and
placed his feet on the stem, securing her ankles between his own: one of
her arms was round a branch of the fork, the other lay loosely on her
side.  The hand of this arm he endeavoured to reach, by leaning forward
from his seat; he approximated, but could not touch it: after several
tantalising efforts, he gave up the point in despair.  He did not attempt
to wake her, because he feared it might have bad consequences, and he
resigned himself to expect the moment of her natural waking, determined
not to stir from his post, if she should sleep till midnight.

In this period of forced inaction, he could contemplate at leisure the
features and form of his charmer.  She was not one of the slender
beauties of romance; she was as plump as a partridge; her cheeks were two
roses, not absolutely damask, yet verging thereupon; her lips
twin-cherries, of equal size; her nose regular, and almost Grecian; her
forehead high, and delicately fair; her eyebrows symmetrically arched;
her eyelashes, long, black, and silky, fitly corresponding with the
beautiful tresses that hung among the leaves of the oak, like clusters of
wandering grapes.  Her eyes were yet to be seen; but how could he doubt
that their opening would be the rising of the sun, when all that
surrounded their fringy portals was radiant as “the forehead of the
morning sky?”



CHAPTER XV.
THE FARM.


    Da ydyw’r gwaith, rhaid d’we’yd y gwir,
    Ar fryniau Sir Meirionydd;
    Golwg oer o’r gwaela gawn
    Mae hi etto yn llawn llawenydd.

    Though Meirion’s rocks, and hills of heath,
       Repel the distant sight,
    Yet where, than those bleak hills beneath,
       Is found more true delight?

AT length the young lady awoke.  She was startled at the sudden sight of
the stranger, and somewhat terrified at the first perception of her
position.  But she soon recovered her self-possession, and, extending her
hand to the offered hand of Mr. Chainmail, she raised herself up on the
tree, and stepped on the rocky bank.

Mr. Chainmail solicited permission to attend her to her home, which the
young lady graciously conceded.  They emerged from the woody dingle,
traversed an open heath, wound along a mountain road by the shore of a
lake, descended to the deep bed of another stream, crossed it by a series
of stepping-stones, ascended to some height on the opposite side, and
followed upwards the line of the stream, till the banks opened into a
spacious amphitheatre, where stood, in its fields and meadows, the
farmhouse of Ap-Llymry.

During this walk, they had kept up a pretty animated conversation.  The
lady had lost her hat, and, as she turned towards Mr. Chainmail, in
speaking to him, there was no envious projection of brim to intercept the
beams of those radiant eyes he had been so anxious to see unclosed.
There was in them a mixture of softness and brilliancy, the perfection of
the beauty of female eyes, such as some men have passed through life
without seeing, and such as no man ever saw, in any pair of eyes, but
once; such as can never be seen and forgotten.  Young Crotchet had seen
it; he had not forgotten it; but he had trampled on its memory, as the
renegade tramples on the emblems of a faith which his interest only, and
not his heart or his reason, has rejected.

Her hair streamed over her shoulders; the loss of the black feather had
left nothing but the rustic costume, the blue gown, the black stockings,
and the ribbon-tied shoes.  Her voice had that full soft volume of melody
which gives to common speech the fascination of music.  Mr. Chainmail
could not reconcile the dress of the damsel with her conversation and
manners.  He threw out a remote question or two, with the hope of solving
the riddle, but, receiving no reply, he became satisfied that she was not
disposed to be communicative respecting herself, and, fearing to offend
her, fell upon other topics.  They talked of the scenes of the mountains,
of the dingle, the ruined castle, the solitary lake.  She told him, that
lake lay under the mountains behind her home, and the coracle and the
pass at the extremity, saved a long circuit to the nearest village,
whither she sometimes went to inquire for letters.

Mr. Chainmail felt curious to know from whom these letters might be; and
he again threw out two or three fishing questions, to which, as before,
he obtained no answer.

The only living biped they met in their walk was the unfortunate Harry
Ap-Heather, with whom they fell in by the stepping-stones, who, seeing
the girl of his heart hanging on another man’s arm, and, concluding at
once that they were “keeping company,” fixed on her a mingled look of
surprise, reproach, and tribulation; and, unable to control his feelings
under the sudden shock, burst into a flood of tears, and blubbered till
the rocks re-echoed.

They left him mingling his tears with the stream, and his lamentations
with its murmurs.  Mr. Chainmail inquired who that strange creature might
be, and what was the matter with him.  The young lady answered, that he
was a very worthy young man, to whom she had been the innocent cause of
much unhappiness.

“I pity him sincerely,” said Mr. Chainmail and, nevertheless, he could
scarcely restrain his laughter at the exceedingly original figure which
the unfortunate rustic lover had presented by the stepping-stones.

The children ran out to meet their dear Miss Susan, jumped all round her,
and asked what was become of her hat.  Ap-Llymry came out in great haste,
and invited Mr. Chainmail to walk in and dine: Mr. Chainmail did not wait
to be asked twice.  In a few minutes the whole party, Miss Susan and Mr.
Chainmail, Mr. and Mrs. Ap-Llymry, and progeny, were seated over a clean
homespun table cloth, ornamented with fowls and bacon, a pyramid of
potatoes, another of cabbage, which Ap-Llymry said “was poiled with the
pacon, and as coot as marrow,” a bowl of milk for the children, and an
immense brown jug of foaming ale, with which Ap-Llymry seemed to delight
in filling the horn of his new guest.

Shall we describe the spacious apartment, which was at once kitchen,
hall, and dining-room,—the large dark rafters, the pendent bacon and
onions, the strong old oaken furniture, the bright and trimly-arranged
utensils?  Shall we describe the cut of Ap-Llymry’s coat, the colour and
tie of his neckcloth, the number of buttons at his knees,—the structure
of Mrs. Ap-Llymry’s cap, having lappets over the ears, which were united
under the chin, setting forth especially whether the bond of union were a
pin or a ribbon?  We shall leave this tempting field of interesting
expatiation to those whose brains are high-pressure steam-engines for
spinning prose by the furlong, to be trumpeted in paid-for paragraphs in
the quack’s corner of newspapers: modern literature having attained the
honourable distinction of sharing, with blacking and Macassar oil, the
space which used to be monopolised by razor-strops and the lottery;
whereby that very enlightened community, the reading public, is tricked
into the perusal of much exemplary nonsense; though the few who see
through the trickery have no reason to complain, since as “good wine
needs no bush,” so, _ex vi oppositi_, these bushes of venal panegyric
point out very clearly that the things they celebrate are not worth
reading.

The party dined very comfortably in a corner most remote from the fire:
and Mr. Chainmail very soon found his head swimming with two or three
horns of ale, of a potency to which even he was unaccustomed.  After
dinner Ap-Llymry made him finish a bottle of mead, which he willingly
accepted, both as an excuse to remain and as a drink of the dark ages,
which he had no doubt was a genuine brewage from uncorrupted tradition.

In the meantime, as soon as the cloth was removed, the children had
brought out Miss Susannah’s harp.  She began, without affectation, to
play and sing to the children, as was her custom of an afternoon, first
in their own language, and their national melodies, then in English; but
she was soon interrupted by a general call of little voices for “Ouf! di
giorno.”  She complied with the request, and sang the ballad from Paër’s
_Camilla_: “Un dì carco il mulinaro.”  The children were very familiar
with every syllable of this ballad, which had been often fully explained
to them.  They danced in a circle with the burden of every verse,
shouting out the chorus with good articulation and joyous energy; and at
the end of the second stanza, where the traveller has his nose pinched by
his grandmother’s ghost, every nose in the party was nipped by a pair of
little fingers.  Mr. Chainmail, who was not prepared for the process,
came in for a very energetic tweak from a chubby girl that sprang
suddenly on his knees for the purpose, and made the roof ring with her
laughter.

So passed the time till evening, when Mr. Chainmail moved to depart.  But
it turned out on inquiry that he was some miles from his inn, that the
way was intricate, and that he must not make any difficulty about
accepting the farmer’s hospitality till morning.  The evening set in with
rain: the fire was found agreeable; they drew around it.  The young lady
made tea; and afterwards, from time to time, at Mr. Chainmail’s special
request, delighted his ear with passages of ancient music.  Then came a
supper of lake trout, fried on the spot, and thrown, smoking hot, from
the pan to the plate.  Then came a brewage, which the farmer called his
nightcap, of which he insisted on Mr. Chainmail’s taking his full share.
After which the gentleman remembered nothing till he awoke, the next
morning, to the pleasant consciousness that he was under the same roof
with one of the most fascinating creatures under the canopy of heaven.



CHAPTER XVI.
THE NEWSPAPER.


    Ποίας δ’ ἀποσπασθεῖσα φύτλυς
    ’Ορέων κευθμῶνας ἔχει σκιοέντων;

    Sprung from what line, adorns the maid
    These, valleys deep in mountain-shade?

                                                          PIND. _Pyth._ IX

MR. CHAINMAIL forgot the Captain and the route of Giraldus de Barri.  He
became suddenly satisfied that the ruined castle in his present
neighbourhood was the best possible specimen of its class, and that it
was needless to carry his researches further.

He visited the farm daily: found himself always welcome; flattered
himself that the young lady saw him with pleasure, and dragged a heavier
chain at every new parting from Miss Susan, as the children called his
nymph of the mountains.  What might be her second name, he had vainly
endeavoured to discover.

Mr. Chainmail was in love: but the determination he had long before
formed and fixed in his mind, to marry only a lady of gentle blood,
without a blot in her escutcheon, repressed the declarations of passion
which were often rising to his lips.  In the meantime he left no means
untried to pluck out the heart of her mystery.

The young lady soon divined his passion, and penetrated his prejudices.
She began to look on him with favourable eyes; but she feared her name
and parentage would present an insuperable barrier to his feudal pride.

Things were in this state when the Captain returned, and unpacked his
maps and books in the parlour of the inn.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Really, Captain, I find so many objects of attraction in
this neighbourhood, that I would gladly postpone our purpose.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Undoubtedly this neighbourhood has many
attractions; but there is something very inviting in the scheme you laid
down.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—No doubt there is something very tempting in the route
of Giraldus de Barri.  But there are better things in this vicinity even
than that.  To tell you the truth, Captain, I have fallen in love.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—What! while I have been away?

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Even so.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—The plunge must have been very sudden, if you are
already over head and ears.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—As deep as Llyn-y-dreiddiad-vrawd.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—And what may that be?

_Mr. Chainmail_.—A pool not far off: a resting-place of a mountain stream
which is said to have no bottom.  There is a tradition connected with it;
and here is a ballad on it, at your service.

                           LLYN-Y-DREIDDIAD-VRAWD.
                        THE POOL OF THE DIVING FRIAR.

    Gwenwynwyn withdrew from the feasts of his hall:
    He slept very little, he prayed not at all:
    He pondered, and wandered, and studied alone;
    And sought, night and day, the philosopher’s stone.

    He found it at length, and he made its first proof
    By turning to gold all the lead of his roof:
    Then he bought some magnanimous heroes, all fire,
    Who lived but to smite and be smitten for hire.

    With these on the plains like a torrent he broke;
    He filled the whole country with flame and with smoke;
    He killed all the swine, and he broached all the wine;
    He drove off the sheep, and the beeves, and the kine;

    He took castles and towns; he cut short limbs and lives;
    He made orphans and widows of children and wives:
    This course many years he triumphantly ran,
    And did mischief enough to be called a great man.

    When, at last, he had gained all for which he held striven,
    He bethought him of buying a passport to heaven;
    Good and great as he was, yet he did not well know,
    How soon, or which way, his great spirit might go.

    He sought the grey friars, who beside a wild stream,
    Refected their frames on a primitive scheme;
    The gravest and wisest Gwenwynwyn found out,
    All lonely and ghostly, and angling for trout.

    Below the white dash of a mighty cascade,
    Where a pool of the stream a deep resting-place made,
    And rock-rooted oaks stretched their branches on high,
    The friar stood musing, and throwing his fly.

    To him said Gwenwynwyn, “Hold, father, here’s store,
    For the good of the church, and the good of the poor;”
    Then he gave him the stone; but, ere more he could speak,
    Wrath came on the friar, so holy and meek.

    He had stretched forth his hand to receive the red gold,
    And he thought himself mocked by Gwenwynwyn the Bold;
    And in scorn of the gift, and in rage at the giver,
    He jerked it immediately into the river.

    Gwenwynwyn, aghast, not a syllable spake;
    The philosopher’s stone made a duck and a drake;
    Two systems of circles a moment were seen,
    And the stream smoothed them off, as they never had been.

    Gwenwynwyn regained, and uplifted his voice,
    “Oh friar, grey friar, full rash was thy choice;
    The stone, the good stone, which away thou hast thrown,
    Was the stone of all stones, the philosopher’s stone.”

    The friar looked pale, when his error he knew;
    The friar looked red, and the friar looked blue;
    And heels over head, from the point of a rock,
    He plunged, without stopping to pull off his frock.

    He dived very deep, but he dived all in vain,
    The prize he had slighted he found not again;
    Many times did the friar his diving renew,
    And deeper and deeper the river still grew.

    Gwenwynwyn gazed long, of his senses in doubt,
    To see the grey friar a diver so stout;
    Then sadly and slowly his castle he sought,
    And left the friar diving, like dabchick distraught.

    Gwenwynwyn fell sick with alarm and despite,
    Died, and went to the devil, the very same night;
    The magnanimous heroes he held in his pay
    Sacked his castle, and marched with the plunder away.

    No knell on the silence of midnight was rolled
    For the flight of the soul of Gwenwynwyn the Bold.
    The brethren, unfeed, let the mighty ghost pass,
    Without praying a prayer, or intoning a mass.

    The friar haunted ever beside the dark stream;
    The philosopher’s stone was his thought and his dream:
    And day after day, ever head under heels
    He dived all the time he could spare from his meals.

    He dived, and he dived, to the end of his days,
    As the peasants oft witnessed with fear and amaze.
    The mad friar’s diving-place long was their theme,
    And no plummet can fathom that pool of the stream.

    And still, when light clouds on the midnight winds ride,
    If by moonlight you stray on the lone river-side,
    The ghost of the friar may be seen diving there,
    With head in the water, and heels in the air.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Well, your ballad is very pleasant: you shall show
me the scene, and I will sketch it; but just now I am more interested
about your love.  What heroine of the twelfth century has risen from the
ruins of the old castle, and looked down on you from the ivied
battlements?

_Mr. Chainmail_.—You are nearer the mark than you suppose.  Even from
those battlements a heroine of the twelfth century has looked down on me.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Oh! some vision of an ideal beauty.  I suppose the
whole will end in another tradition and a ballad.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Genuine flesh and blood; as genuine as Lady Clarinda.  I
will tell you the story.

Mr. Chainmail narrated his adventures.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Then you seem to have found what you wished.
Chance has thrown in your way what none of the gods would have ventured
to promise you.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Yes, but I know nothing of her birth and parentage.  She
tells me nothing of herself, and I have no right to question her
directly.

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—She appears to be expressly destined for the light
of your baronial hall.  Introduce me in this case, two heads are better
than one.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—No, I thank you.  Leave me to manage my chance of a
prize, and keep you to your own chance of a—

_Captain Fitzchrome_.—Blank.  As you please.  Well, I will pitch my tent
here, till I have filled my portfolio, and shall be glad of as much of
your company as you can spare from more attractive society.

Matters went on pretty smoothly for several days, when an unlucky
newspaper threw all into confusion.  Mr. Chainmail received newspapers by
the post, which came in three times a week.  One morning, over their
half-finished breakfast, the Captain had read half a newspaper very
complacently, when suddenly he started up in a frenzy, hurled over the
breakfast table, and, bouncing from the apartment, knocked down Harry Ap
Heather, who was coming in at the door to challenge his supposed rival to
a boxing-match.

Harry sprang up, in a double rage, and intercepted Mr. Chainmail’s
pursuit of the Captain, placing himself in the doorway, in a pugilistic
attitude.  Mr. Chainmail, not being disposed for this mode of combat,
stepped back into the parlour, took the poker in his right hand, and
displacing the loose bottom of a large elbow chair, threw it over his
left arm as a shield.  Harry, not liking the aspect of the enemy in this
imposing attitude, retreated with backward steps into the kitchen, and
tumbled over a cur, which immediately fastened on his rear.

Mr. Chainmail, half-laughing, half-vexed, anxious to overtake the
Captain, and curious to know what was the matter with him, pocketed the
newspaper, and sallied forth, leaving Harry roaring for a doctor and
tailor, to repair the lacerations of his outward man.

Mr. Chainmail could find no trace of the Captain.  Indeed, he sought him
but in one direction, which was that leading to the farm; where he
arrived in due time, and found Miss Susan alone.  He laid the newspaper
on the table, as was his custom, and proceeded to converse with the young
lady: a conversation of many pauses, as much of signs as of words.  The
young lady took up the paper, and turned it over and over, while she
listened to Mr. Chainmail, whom she found every day more and more
agreeable, when suddenly her eye glanced on something which made her
change colour, and dropping the paper on the ground, she rose from her
seat, exclaiming: “Miserable must she be who trusts any of your faithless
sex! never, never, never, will I endure such misery twice.”  And she
vanished up the stairs.  Mr. Chainmail was petrified.  At length, he
cried aloud: “Cornelius Agrippa must have laid a spell on this accursed
newspaper;” and was turning it over, to look for the source of the
mischief, when Mrs. Ap Llymry made her appearance.

_Mrs. Ap Llymry_.—What have you done to poor dear Miss Susan? she is
crying ready to break her heart.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—So help me the memory of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, I have
not the most distant notion of what is the matter.

_Mrs. Ap Llymry_.—Oh, don’t tell me, sir; you must have ill-used her.  I
know how it is.  You have been keeping company with her, as if you wanted
to marry her; and now, all at once, you have been insulting her.  I have
seen such tricks more than once, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—My dear madam, you wrong me utterly.  I have none but
the kindest feelings and the most honourable purposes towards her.  She
has been disturbed by something she has seen in this rascally paper.

_Mrs. Ap Llymry_.—Why, then, the best thing you can do is to go away, and
come again tomorrow.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Not I, indeed, madam.  Out of this house I stir not,
till I have seen the young lady, and obtained a full explanation.

_Mrs. Ap Llymry_.—I will tell Miss Susan what you say.  Perhaps she will
come down.

Mr. Chainmail sat with as much patience as he could command, running over
the paper, from column to column.  At length he lighted on an
announcement of the approaching marriage of Lady Clarinda Bossnowl with
Mr. Crotchet the younger.  This explained the Captain’s discomposure, but
the cause of Miss Susan’s was still to be sought: he could not know that
it was one and the same.

Presently, the sound of the longed-for step was heard on the stairs; the
young lady reappeared, and resumed her seat: her eyes showed that she had
been weeping.  The gentleman was now exceedingly puzzled how to begin,
but the young lady relieved him by asking, with great simplicity: “What
do you wish to have explained, sir?”

_Mr. Chainmail_.—I wish, if I may be permitted, to explain myself to you.
Yet could I first wish to know what it was that disturbed you in this
unlucky paper.  Happy should I be if I could remove the cause of your
inquietude!

_Miss Susannah_.—The cause is already removed.  I saw something that
excited painful recollections; nothing that I could now wish otherwise
than as it is.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Yet, may I ask why it is that I find one so accomplished
living in this obscurity, and passing only by the name of Miss Susan?

_Miss Susannah_.—The world and my name are not friends.  I have left the
world, and wish to remain for ever a stranger to all whom I once knew in
it.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—You can have done nothing to dishonour your name.

_Miss Susannah_.—No, sir.  My father has done that of which the world
disapproves, in matters of which I pretend not to judge.  I have suffered
for it as I will never suffer again.  My name is my own secret: I have no
other, and that is one not worth knowing.  You see what I am, and all I
am.  I live according to the condition of my present fortune, and here,
so living, I have found tranquillity.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Yet, I entreat you, tell me your name.

_Miss Susannah_.—Why, sir?

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Why, but to throw my hand, my heart, my fortune, at your
feet, if—.

_Miss Susannah_.—If my name be worthy of them.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Nay, nay, not so; if your hand and heart are free.

_Miss Susannah_.—My hand and heart are free; but they must be sought from
myself, and not from my name.

She fixed her eyes on him, with a mingled expression of mistrust, of
kindness, and of fixed resolution, which the far-gone _inamorato_ found
irresistible.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Then from yourself alone I seek them.

_Miss Susannah_.—Reflect. You have prejudices on the score of parentage.
I have not conversed with you so often without knowing what they are.
Choose between them and me.  I too have my own prejudices on the score of
personal pride.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—I would choose you from all the world, were you even the
daughter of the _exécuteur des hautes œuvres_, as the heroine of a
romantic story I once read turned out to be.

_Miss Susannah_.—I am satisfied.  You have now a right to know my
history, and if you repent, I absolve you from all obligations.

She told him her history; but he was out of the reach of repentance.  “It
is true,” as at a subsequent period he said to the captain, “she is the
daughter of a money-changer: one who, in the days of Richard the First,
would have been plucked by the beard in the streets: but she is,
according to modern notions, a lady of gentle blood.  As to her father’s
running away, that is a minor consideration: I have always understood,
from Mr. Mac Quedy, who is a great oracle in this way, that promises to
pay ought not to be kept; the essence of a safe and economical currency
being an interminable series of broken promises.  There seems to be a
difference among the learned as to the way in which the promises ought to
be broken; but I am not deep enough in this casuistry to enter into such
nice distinctions.”

In a few days there was a wedding, a pathetic leave-taking of the
farmer’s family, a hundred kisses from the bride to the children, and
promises twenty times reclaimed and renewed, to visit them in the ensuing
year.



CHAPTER XVII.
THE INVITATION.


    A cup of wine, that’s brisk and fine,
    And drink unto the lemon mine.

                                                         _Master Silence_.

THIS veridicous history began in May, and the occurrences already
narrated have carried it on to the middle of autumn.  Stepping over the
interval to Christmas, we find ourselves in our first locality, among the
chalk hills of the Thames; and we discover our old friend, Mr. Crotchet,
in the act of accepting an invitation, for himself, and any friends who
might be with him, to pass their Christmas Day at Chainmail Hall, after
the fashion of the twelfth century.  Mr. Crochet had assembled about him,
for his own Christmas festivities, nearly the same party which was
introduced to the reader in the spring.  Three of that party were
wanting.  Dr. Morbific, by inoculating himself once too often with
non-contagious matter, had explained himself out of the world.  Mr.
Henbane had also departed, on the wings of an infallible antidote.  Mr.
Eavesdrop, having printed in a magazine some of the after-dinner
conversations of the castle, had had sentence of exclusion passed upon
him, on the motion of the Reverend Doctor Folliott, as a flagitious
violator of the confidences of private life.

Miss Crotchet had become Lady Bossnowl, but Lady Clarinda had not yet
changed her name to Crotchet.  She had, on one pretence and another,
procrastinated the happy event, and the gentleman had not been very
pressing; she had, however, accompanied her brother and sister-in-law, to
pass Christmas at Crotchet Castle.  With these, Mr. Mac Quedy, Mr.
Philpot, Mr. Trillo, Mr. Skionar, Mr. Toogood, and Mr. Firedamp were
sitting at breakfast, when the Reverend Doctor Folliott entered and took
his seat at the table.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, Mr. Mac Quedy, it is now some weeks since
we have met: how goes on the march of mind?

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Nay, sir; I think you may see that with your own eyes.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Sir, I have seen it, much to my discomfiture.
It has marched into my rickyard, and set my stacks on fire, with chemical
materials, most scientifically compounded.  It has marched up to the door
of my vicarage, a hundred and fifty strong; ordered me to surrender half
my tithes; consumed all the provisions I had provided for my audit feast,
and drunk up my old October.  It has marched in through my back-parlour
shutters, and out again with my silver spoons, in the dead of the night.
The policeman who has been down to examine says my house has been broken
open on the most scientific principles.  All this comes of education.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—I rather think it comes of poverty.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No, sir.  Robbery, perhaps, comes of poverty,
but scientific principles of robbery come of education.  I suppose the
learned friend has written a sixpenny treatise on mechanics, and the
rascals who robbed me have been reading it.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Your house would have been very safe, Doctor, if they had
had no better science than the learned friend’s to work with.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, sir, that may be.  Excellent potted char.
The Lord deliver me from the learned friend.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—Well, Doctor, for your comfort, here is a declaration of
the learned friend’s that he will never take office.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Then, sir, he will be in office next week.
Peace be with him.  Sugar and cream.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—But, Doctor, are you for Chainmail Hall on Christmas Day?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—That am I, for there will be an excellent
dinner, though, peradventure, grotesquely served.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—I have not seen my neighbour since he left us on the
canal.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—He has married a wife, and brought her home.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Indeed!  If she suits him, she must be an oddity: it
will be amusing to see them together.

_Lord Bossnowl_.—Very amusing.  He! He!  Mr. Firedamp.  Is there any
water about Chainmail Hall?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—An old moat.

_Mr. Firedamp_.—I shall die of malaria.

_Mr. Trillo_.—Shall we have any music?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—An old harper.

_Mr. Trillo_.—Those fellows are always horridly out of tune.  What will
he play?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Old songs and marches.

_Mr. Skionar_.—Among so many old things, I hope we shall find Old
Philosophy.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—An old woman.

_Mr. Philpot_.—Perhaps an old map of the river in the twelfth century.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No doubt.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—How many more old things?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Old hospitality; old wine; old ale; all the
images of old England; an old butler.

_Mr. Toogood_.—Shall we all be welcome?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Heartily; you will be slapped on the shoulder,
and called Old Boy.

_Lord Bossnowl_.—I think we should all go in our old clothes.  He! He!

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—You will sit on old chairs, round an old table,
by the light of old lamps, suspended from pointed arches, which, Mr.
Chainmail says, first came into use in the twelfth century, with old
armour on the pillars and old banners in the roof.

_Lady Clarinda_.—And what curious piece of antiquity is the lady of the
mansion?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No antiquity there; none.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Who was she?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—That I know not.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Have you seen her?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I have.

_Lady Clarinda_.—Is she pretty?

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—More,—beautiful.  A subject for the pen of
Nonnus or the pencil of Zeuxis.  Features of all loveliness, radiant with
all virtue and intelligence.  A face for Antigone.  A form at once plump
and symmetrical, that, if it be decorous to divine it by externals, would
have been a model for the Venus of Cnidos.  Never was anything so goodly
to look on, the present company excepted; and poor dear Mrs. Folliott.
She reads moral philosophy, Mr. Mac Quedy, which indeed she might as well
let alone; she reads Italian poetry, Mr. Skionar; she sings Italian
music, Mr. Trillo; but, with all this, she has the greatest of female
virtues, for she superintends the household and looks after her husband’s
dinner.  I believe she was a mountaineer: Ηαρθένος ὀυρεσίφοιτος, ἐρήμαδι
σύντροφος ὕλῃ {175} as Nonnus sweetly sings.



CHAPTER XVIII.
CHAINMAIL HALL.


    Vous autres dictes que ignorance est mère de tous maulx, et dictes
    vray: mais toutesfoys vous ne la bannissez mye de vos entendemens, et
    vivez en elle, avecques elle, et par elle.  C’est pourquoy tant de
    maulx vous meshaignent de jour en jour.—RABELIAS, 1. 5. c. 7.

THE party which was assembled on Christmas Day in Chainmail Hall
comprised all the guests of Crotchet Castle, some of Mr. Chainmail’s
other neighbours, all his tenants and domestics, and Captain Fitzchrome.
The hall was spacious and lofty; and with its tall fluted pillars and
pointed arches, its windows of stained glass, its display of arms and
banners intermingled with holly and mistletoe, its blazing cressets and
torches, and a stupendous fire in the centre, on which blocks of pine
were flaming and crackling, had a striking effect on eyes unaccustomed to
such a dining-room.  The fire was open on all sides, and the smoke was
caught and carried back under a funnel-formed canopy into a hollow
central pillar.  This fire was the line of demarcation between gentle and
simple on days of high festival.  Tables extended from it on two sides to
nearly the end of the hall.

Mrs. Chainmail was introduced to the company.  Young Crotchet felt some
revulsion of feeling at the unexpected sight of one whom he had forsaken,
but not forgotten, in a condition apparently so much happier than his
own.  The lady held out her hand to him with a cordial look of more than
forgiveness; it seemed to say that she had much to thank him for.  She
was the picture of a happy bride, _rayonnante de joie et d’amour_.

Mr. Crotchet told the Reverend Doctor Folliott the news of the morning.
“As you predicted,” he said, “your friend, the learned friend, is in
office; he has also a title; he is now Sir Guy de Vaux.”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Thank heaven for that! he is disarmed from
further mischief.  It is something, at any rate, to have that hollow and
wind-shaken reed rooted up for ever from the field of public delusion.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—I suppose, Doctor, you do not like to see a great
reformer in office; you are afraid for your vested interests.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Not I, indeed, sir; my vested interests are very
safe from all such reformers as the learned friend.  I vaticinate what
will be the upshot of all his schemes of reform.  He will make a speech
of seven hours’ duration, and this will be its quintessence: that, seeing
the exceeding difficulty of putting salt on the bird’s tail, it will be
expedient to consider the best method of throwing dust in the bird’s
eyes.  All the rest will be

    Τιτιτιτιτιμπρο.
    Ποποποί, ποποποί
    Τιοτιοτιοτιοτιοτίγξ.
    Κικκαβαῦ, κικκαβαῦ.
    Τοροτοροτοροτορολιλιλίγξ,

as Aristophanes has it; and so I leave him, in Nephelococcygia.

Mr. Mac Quedy came up to the divine as Mr. Crotchet left him, and said:
“There is one piece of news which the old gentleman has not told you.
The great firm of Catchflat and Company, in which young Crotchet is a
partner, has stopped payment.”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Bless me! that accounts for the young
gentleman’s melancholy.  I thought they would overreach themselves with
their own tricks.  The day of reckoning, Mr. Mac Quedy, is the point
which your paper-money science always leaves out of view.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—I do not see, sir, that the failure of Catchflat and
Company has anything to do with my science.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—It has this to do with it, sir, that you would
turn the whole nation into a great paper-money shop, and take no thought
of the day of reckoning.  But the dinner is coming.  I think you, who are
so fond of paper promises, should dine on the bill of fare.

The harper at the head of the hall struck up an ancient march, and the
dishes were brought in, in grand procession.

The boar’s head, garnished with rosemary, with a citron in its mouth, led
the van.  Then came tureens of plum-porridge; then a series of turkeys,
and in the midst of them an enormous sausage, which it required two men
to carry.  Then came geese and capons, tongues and hams, the ancient
glory of the Christmas pie, a gigantic plum pudding, a pyramid of mince
pies, and a baron of beef bringing up the rear.

“It is something new under the sun,” said the divine, as he sat down, “to
see a great dinner without fish.”

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Fish was for fasts in the twelfth century.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Well, sir, I prefer our reformed system of
putting fasts and feasts together.  Not but here is ample indemnity.

Ale and wine flowed in abundance.  The dinner passed off merrily: the old
harper playing all the while the oldest music in his repertory.  The
tables being cleared, he indemnified himself for lost time at the lower
end of the hall, in company with the old butler and the other domestics,
whose attendance on the banquet had been indispensable.

The scheme of Christmas gambols, which Mr. Chainmail had laid for the
evening, was interrupted by a tremendous clamour without.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—What have we here?  Mummers?

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Nay, I know not.  I expect none.

“Who is there?” he added, approaching the door of the hall.

“Who is there?” vociferated the divine, with the voice of Stentor.

“Captain Swing,” replied a chorus of discordant voices.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Ho, ho! here is a piece of the dark ages we did
not bargain for.  Here is the Jacquerie.  Here is the march of mind with
a witness.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Do you not see that you have brought disparates
together? the Jacquerie and the march of mind.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Not at all, sir.  They are the same thing, under
different names.  Πολλῶν ονομάτων μορφὴ μία.  What was Jacquerie in the
dark ages is the march of mind in this very enlightened one—very
enlightened one.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—The cause is the same in both; poverty in despair.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Very likely; but the effect is extremely disagreeable.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—It is the natural result, Mr. Mac Quedy, of that
system of state seamanship which your science upholds.  Putting the crew
on short allowance, and doubling the rations of the officers, is the sure
way to make a mutiny on board a ship in distress, Mr. Mac Quedy.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Eh! sir, I uphold no such system as that.  I shall set
you right as to cause and effect.  Discontent arises with the increase of
information.  That is all.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I said it was the march of mind.  But we have
not time for discussing cause and effect now.  Let us get rid of the
enemy.

And he vociferated at the top of his voice, “What do you want here?”
“Arms, arms,” replied a hundred voices, “Give us the arms.”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—You see, Mr. Chainmail, this is the
inconvenience of keeping an armoury not fortified with sand bags, green
bags, and old bags of all kinds.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Just give them the old spits and toasting irons, and
they will go away quietly.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—My spears and swords! not without my life.  These
assailants are all aliens to my land and house.  My men will fight for
me, one and all.  This is the fortress of beef and ale.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Eh! sir, when the rabble is up, it is very
indiscriminating.  You are e’en suffering for the sins of Sir Simon
Steeltrap and the like, who have pushed the principle of accumulation a
little too far.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—The way to keep the people down is kind and liberal
usage.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—That is very well (where it can be afforded) in the way
of prevention; but in the way of cure the operation must be more drastic.
(Taking down a battle-axe.)  I would fain have a good blunderbuss charged
with slugs.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—When I suspended these arms for ornament, I never
dreamed of their being called into use.

_Mr. Skionar_.—Let me address them.  I never failed to convince an
audience that the best thing they could do was to go away.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Eh! sir, I can bring them to that conclusion in less
time than you.

_Mr. Crotchet_.—I have no fancy for fighting.  It is a very hard case
upon a guest, when the latter end of a feast is the beginning of a fray.

_Mr. Mac Quedy_.—Give them the old iron.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Give them the weapons!  _Pessimo_, _medius
fidius_, _exemplo_.  Forbid it the spirit of _Frère Jean des
Entommeures_!  No! let us see what the church militant, in the armour of
the twelfth century, will do against the march of mind.  Follow me who
will, and stay who list.  Here goes: _Pro aris et focis_! that is, for
tithe pigs and fires to roast them.

He clapped a helmet on his head, seized a long lance, threw open the
gates, and tilted out on the rabble, side by side with Mr. Chainmail,
followed by the greater portion of the male inmates of the hall, who had
armed themselves at random.

The rabble-rout, being unprepared for such a sortie, fled in all
directions, over hedge and ditch.

Mr. Trillo stayed in the hall, playing a march on the harp, to inspirit
the rest to sally out.  The water-loving Mr. Philpot had diluted himself
with so much wine as to be quite _hors de combat_.  Mr. Toogood,
intending to equip himself in purely defensive armour, contrived to slip
a ponderous coat of mail over his shoulders, which pinioned his arms to
his sides; and in this condition, like a chicken trussed for roasting, he
was thrown down behind a pillar in the first rush of the sortie.  Mr.
Crotchet seized the occurrence as a pretext for staying with him, and
passed the whole time of the action in picking him out of his shell.

“Phew!” said the divine, returning; “an inglorious victory; but it
deserves a devil and a bowl of punch.”

_Mr. Chainmail_.—A wassail-bowl.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No, sir.  No more of the twelfth century for me.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Nay, Doctor.  The twelfth century has backed you well.
Its manners and habits, its community of kind feelings between master and
man, are the true remedy for these ebullitions.

_Mr. Toogood_.—Something like it: improved by my diagram: arts for arms.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—No wassail-bowl for me.  Give me an
unsophisticated bowl of punch, which belongs to that blissful middle
period, after the Jacquerie was down, and before the march of mind was
up.  But, see, who is floundering in the water?

Proceeding to the edge of the moat, they fished up Mr. Firedamp, who had
missed his way back, and tumbled in.  He was drawn out, exclaiming, “that
he had taken his last dose of malaria in this world.”

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Tut, man; dry clothes, a turkey’s leg and rump,
well devilled, and a quart of strong punch, will set all to rights.

“Wood embers,” said Mr. Firedamp, when he had been accommodated with a
change of clothes, “there is no antidote to malaria like the smoke of
wood embers; pine embers.”  And he placed himself, with his mouth open,
close by the fire.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—Punch, sir, punch: there is no antidote like
punch.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—Well, Doctor, you shall be indulged.  But I shall have
my wassail-bowl, nevertheless.

An immense bowl of spiced wine, with roasted apples hissing on its
surface, was borne into the hall by four men, followed by an empty bowl
of the same dimensions, with all the materials of arrack punch, for the
divine’s especial brewage.  He accinged himself to the task with his
usual heroism, and having finished it to his entire satisfaction,
reminded his host to order in the devil.

_The Rev. Dr. Folliott_.—I think, Mr. Chainmail, we can amuse ourselves
very well here all night.  The enemy may be still excubant: and we had
better not disperse till daylight.  I am perfectly satisfied with my
quarters.  Let the young folk go on with their gambols; let them dance to
your old harper’s minstrelsy; and if they please to kiss under the
mistletoe, whereof I espy a goodly bunch suspended at the end of the
hall, let those who like it not leave it to those who do.  Moreover, if
among the more sedate portion of the assembly, which, I foresee, will
keep me company, there were any to revive the good old custom of singing
after supper, so to fill up the intervals of the dances, the steps of
night would move more lightly.

_Mr. Chainmail_.—My Susan will set the example, after she has set that of
joining in the rustic dance, according to good customs long departed.

After the first dance, in which all classes of the company mingled, the
young lady of the mansion took her harp, and following the reverend
gentleman’s suggestion, sang a song of the twelfth century.

                           FLORENCE AND BLANCHFLOR.

    Florence and Blanchflor, loveliest maids,
       Within a summer grove,
    Amid the flower-enamelled shades
       Together talked of love.

    A clerk sweet Blanchflor’s heart had gain’d;
       Fair Florence loved a knight:
    And each with ardent voice maintained
       She loved the worthiest wight.

    Sweet Blanchflor praised her scholar dear,
       As courteous, kind, and true!
    Fair Florence said her chevalier
       Could every foe subdue.

    And Florence scorned the bookworm vain,
       Who sword nor spear could raise;
    And Blanchflor scorned the unlettered brain
       Could sing no lady’s praise.

    From dearest love, the maidens bright
       To deadly hatred fell,
    Each turned to shun the other’s sight,
       And neither said farewell.

    The king of birds, who held his court
       Within that flowery grove,
    Sang loudly: “’Twill be rare disport
       To judge this suit of love.”

    Before him came the maidens bright,
       With all his birds around,
    To judge the cause, if clerk or knight
       In love be worthiest found.

    The falcon and the sparrow-hawk
       Stood forward for the fight:
    Ready to do, and not to talk,
       They voted for the knight.

    And Blanchflor’s heart began to fail,
       Till rose the strong-voiced lark,
    And, after him, the nightingale,
       And pleaded for the clerk.

    The nightingale prevailed at length,
       Her pleading had such charms;
    So eloquence can conquer strength,
       And arts can conquer arms.

    The lovely Florence tore her hair,
       And died upon the place;
    And all the birds assembled there
       Bewailed the mournful case.

    They piled up leaves and flowerets rare
       Above the maiden bright,
    And sang: “Farewell to Florence fair,
       Who too well loved her knight.”

Several others of the party sang in the intervals of the dances.  Mr.
Chainmail handed to Mr. Trillo another ballad of the twelfth century, of
a merrier character than the former.  Mr. Trillo readily accommodated it
with an air, and sang:

                      THE PRIEST AND THE MULBERRY TREE.

    Did you hear of the curate who mounted his mare,
    And merrily trotted along to the fair?
    Of creature more tractable none ever heard;
    In the height of her speed she would stop at a word,
    And again with a word, when the curate said Hey,
    She put forth her mettle, and galloped away.

    As near to the gates of the city he rode,
    While the sun of September all brilliantly glowed,
    The good priest discovered, with eyes of desire,
    A mulberry tree in a hedge of wild briar,
    On boughs long and lofty, in many a green shoot,
    Hung large, black, and glossy, the beautiful fruit.

    The curate was hungry, and thirsty to boot;
    He shrunk from the thorns, though he longed for the fruit;
    With a word he arrested his courser’s keen speed,
    And he stood up erect on the back of his steed;
    On the saddle he stood, while the creature stood still,
    And he gathered the fruit, till he took his good fill.

    “Sure never,” he thought, “was a creature so rare,
    So docile, so true, as my excellent mare.
    Lo, here, how I stand” (and he gazed all around),
    “As safe and as steady as if on the ground,
    Yet how had it been, if some traveller this way,
    Had, dreaming no mischief, but chanced to cry Hey?”

    He stood with his head in the mulberry tree,
    And he spoke out aloud in his fond reverie.
    At the sound of the word, the good mare made a push,
    And down went the priest in the wild-briar bush.
    He remembered too late, on his thorny green bed,
    Much that well may be thought cannot wisely be said.

Lady Clarinda, being prevailed on to take the harp in her turn, sang the
following stanzas.

    In the days of old,
    Lovers felt true passion,
    Deeming years of sorrow
    By a smile repaid.
    Now the charms of gold,
    Spells of pride and fashion,
    Bid them say good morrow
    To the best-loved maid.

    Through the forests wild,
    O’er the mountains lonely,
    They were never weary
    Honour to pursue.
    If the damsel smiled
    Once in seven years only,
    All their wanderings dreary
    Ample guerdon knew.

    Now one day’s caprice
    Weighs down years of smiling,
    Youthful hearts are rovers,
    Love is bought and sold:
    Fortune’s gifts may cease,
    Love is less beguiling;
    Wisest were the lovers
    In the days of old.

The glance which she threw at the captain, as she sang the last verse,
awakened his dormant hopes.  Looking round for his rival, he saw that he
was not in the hall; and, approaching the lady of his heart, he received
one of the sweetest smiles of their earlier days.

After a time, the ladies, and all the females of the party, retired.  The
males remained on duty with punch and wassail, and dropped off one by one
into sweet forgetfulness; so that when the rising sun of December looked
through the painted windows on mouldering embers and flickering lamps,
the vaulted roof was echoing to a mellifluous concert of noses, from the
clarionet of the waiting-boy at one end of the hall, to the double bass
of the Reverend Doctor, ringing over the empty punch-bowl, at the other.



CONCLUSION.


FROM this eventful night, young Crotchet was seen no more on English
mould.  Whither he had vanished was a question that could no more be
answered in his case than in that of King Arthur after the battle of
Camlan.  The great firm of Catchflat and Company figured in the Gazette,
and paid sixpence in the pound; and it was clear that he had shrunk from
exhibiting himself on the scene of his former greatness, shorn of the
beams of his paper prosperity.  Some supposed him to be sleeping among
the undiscoverable secrets of some barbel-pool in the Thames; but those
who knew him best were more inclined to the opinion that he had gone
across the Atlantic, with his pockets full of surplus capital, to join
his old acquaintance, Mr. Touchandgo, in the bank of Dotandcarryonetown.

Lady Clarinda was more sorry for her father’s disappointment than her
own; but she had too much pride to allow herself to be put up a second
time in the money-market; and when the Captain renewed his assiduities,
her old partiality for him, combining with a sense of gratitude for a
degree of constancy which she knew she scarcely deserved, induced her,
with Lord Foolincourt’s hard-wrung consent, to share with him a more
humble, but less precarious fortune, than that to which she had been
destined as the price of a rotten borough.



FOOTNOTES.


{175}  A mountain-wandering maid,
Twin-nourished with the solitary wood.





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