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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 71, No. 436, February 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 71, No. 436, February 1852" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *



  NO. CCCCXXXVI.      FEBRUARY, 1852.      VOL. LXXI.












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





  NO. CCCCXXXVI.      FEBRUARY, 1852.      VOL. LXXI.


  [1] _The Life of John Duke of Marlborough; with some Account of his
  Contemporaries, and of the War of the Succession._ By ARCHIBALD
  ALISON, LL.D. Second edition, greatly enlarged, 2 vols. 8vo. William
  Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London. 1852.

Mr Alison's _Life of the Duke of Marlborough_ is an enchaining
romance--the romance of a dazzling but stern reality; and
Marlborough is its equally stern and dazzling hero. It is, moreover,
a romance equally exciting and instructive to both soldier and
civilian; told, too, with the scrupulous truthfulness befitting
reality, and by one of sagacity sufficient to perceive that, by
so doing, he would preserve the ethereal essence of the romance,
rendering it intense to the reader for mere excitement, (whose name,
alas! is now legion,) while irradiating the path of the plodding
inquirer after mere matter of fact. We assert that in these volumes
are to be found many essential elements of the most enthralling
romance of actual life.[2] Hairbreadth personal 'scapes of the
hero, from captivity and death; glorious battles, but of long
doubtful issue; devouring and undying love; plots and counterplots
without end, now on a grand, then on a paltry scale, national and
individual; implacable animosities, deadly jealousies; enthusiastic
gratitude suddenly converted into execrable ingratitude; court
favour now blazing in its zenith, then suddenly and disastrously
eclipsed; stern fortitude, magnificent heroism amidst exquisite
trials and tremendous dangers; the wasting anxieties of the
stateman's cabinet and the warrior's tent; what would one have more?
And yet there is more, and much more, to be found in these volumes,
as we shall hereafter see.

  [2] "How much do the events of real life outstrip all that romance
  has figured or would venture to portray!" observes Mr Alison, (vol.
  i. p. 403,) in describing the pious and enthusiastic greeting given
  by Prince Eugene to his aged mother, whom he had not seen since his
  youth, having been driven into exile by the haughty Louis XIV., on
  whom he had since inflicted such crushing defeats, and at whose
  expense he had become so great a hero! This interview took place at
  Brussels, whither Eugene eagerly repaired, immediately after the
  bloody victory of Oudenarde. "The fortnight I spent with her was the
  happiest of my life," said her laurelled son.

Mr Alison's hero is he who was known as "the handsome Englishman;" a
title conferred upon him, not by sighing ladies fair, but by a man
who saw him in his blooming youth, in his twenty-second year--by
no less a personage than the great warrior Turenne, under whose
auspices he began playing, very eagerly, the brilliant game of
soldiering. This was _in the matter_ (as the lawyers say) of the
French against the Dutch, wherein he learned the art by which he
afterwards gave his teachers fearful evidence of the extent of his
obligation to them.--And he _was_ handsome. Of that fact Mr Alison
has enabled us to judge, by a fine portrait, after Sir Godfrey
Kneller, of Marlborough, when in the prime of manhood. We cannot
conceive a nobler countenance than here looks on the reader; it is
the perfection of manly beauty. There is a certain serene frankness,
a dignity, a subdued vivacity and power in those symmetrical
features which would have enchanted Phidias. The Englishman thinks,
and his pulse quickens the while, of that countenance, now so
tranquil, suddenly inflamed at Blenheim, Ramilies, Oudenarde,
Lille, Malplaquet; then excited by the anxieties of harassing
statesmanship, and the indignities inflicted by envy, malevolence,
and ingratitude; by and by relaxed with grief, by the loss of
an only son; and finally beaming with proud tenderness upon a
beautiful, gifted, idolised, and idolising wife--one who, after
his death, loftily spurned a ducal suitor for her widowed hand,
saying, "If you were the emperor of the world, I would not permit
you to succeed in that heart which has been devoted to John Duke
of Marlborough."[3] No man or woman can read these words without
a swelling heart, and a belief, which he would be loth to have
disturbed, that they indicated a noble nature. What must such a man,
he will say, have thought of such a woman? what must such a woman
have felt for such a man? Each bound to the other, through all the
vicissitudes of life, in adamantine bonds of love and admiration!
each, too, possessing great qualities, materially affecting those
of the other, as well for good as for evil. Nor was this remarkable
man possessed of a handsome countenance only. His person and gesture
were dignified, graceful, and commanding. He had indeed a signal
_presence_; he was a perfect master of manner, and his address was
so exquisitely fascinating as to dissolve fierce jealousies and
animosities, lull suspicion, and beguile the subtlest diplomacy
of its arts. His soothing smile and winning tongue, equally with
his bright sword, affecting the destinies of empires. Before the
bland, soft-spoken commander, "grim-visaged war" in the person of
Charles XII. of Sweden, "smoothed his wrinkled front," and the
rigid warrior-king, at his instance, bade adieu to the grand and
importunate suitor for his alliance, Louis XIV., whom it was the
great mission of Marlborough to defeat and humble. The consummate
diplomatist was never--no, not for an instant--thrown off his
guard: his watchfulness knew no relaxation; and his penetration
into the designs of the most astute was quick as profound. He was,
in fact, equally great in camp and cabinet--born for the conduct of
affairs, which he regulated with a sort of frigid masterliness: a
condition, however, which he maintained by rigorous self-command;
for, as we shall in due time see, he had powerful feelings and
quick sensibilities. Lord Bolingbroke said of him, that "he was
the greatest general and greatest minister that this country or
any other had produced--the perfection of genius, matured by
experience." If we may presume to say it, he appears to have been
one of those raised by Providence as a great instrument, for a great
exigency in the affairs of mankind. It is true that Marlborough had
his faults, and grave ones; but the genius of history is, in such a
case, equally outraged by an attempt at suppression or exaggeration.
"In estimating the character of the dead," justly observes Mr
Aytoun, in his able vindication of the memory of Claverhouse against
certain incautious allegations of Mr Macaulay, "some weight ought
surely to be given to the opinion of contemporaries;" and one of the
Duke of Marlborough's most eminent military rivals and political
opponents, the celebrated Earl of Peterborough, said of him, in a
noble spirit, "He was so great a man, _that I have forgotten his
faults_."[4] But can History? No: she abdicates her functions,
unless she records truthfully, for the guidance of mankind, both
the faults and the excellencies of the great characters whom she
has undertaken to delineate. Without scrupulous fidelity here,
history may degenerate into a libel, and a lie--a lie of unspeakable
baseness, for it is regarding the dead, who cannot burst indignant
from the tomb in which they were laid with honour, it may have been
amidst the tears and sighs of a proud and bereaved nation;--a lie
of unspeakable wickedness, for it is designed to live, and, living,
to lie to all future ages, in proportion to the strength of the pen
which writes it. These are truths to which the heart of mankind
instantly responds; and we enunciate them here, only by way of
making _continual claim_, to adopt the now exploded phraseology of
English law, upon the attention of all biographers and historians.
Not that we think this to have been rendered necessary by any recent
and glaring cases--for we know of none whatever among English men
of letters, in the departments just referred to, in which we have
detected any _intention_ to slander the dead, or misrepresent the
living. We indignantly repudiate the bare possibility; and only
desire to impress the necessity of a caution all but excessive, in
making derogatory imputations upon the dead, through placing too
great a reliance upon the tittle-tattle of days gone by, written
or spoken; upon the means of knowledge possessed by those who
gave currency to discreditable rumours; and the trustworthiness
of contemporaries, often eager rivals outwitted in the game, and
distanced in the race of life and distinction, by him whom they
thereupon revengefully resolve to blacken before the eyes of
posterity. We concur, in a word, cordially with Lord Mahon in saying
that which we are bound to add he has uniformly acted up to, in
his candid, luminous, and elegant _History_: "Unjustly to lower
the fame of a political adversary, or unjustly to raise the fame
of an ancestor--to state any fact without sufficient authority, or
draw any character without thorough conviction, implies not merely
literary failure, _but moral guilt_."[5]

  [3] ALISON, vol. ii. p. 320.

  [4] Mr Alison seems to attribute this speech, or a similar one, to
  Lord Bolingbroke.

  [5] _History of England, from the Peace of Utrecht to that of
  Aix-la-Chapelle_, vol. i. p. 3.

That the Duke of Marlborough is one of the foremost figures in the
picture of England's glory, in that radiant quarter crowded by her
warriors and statesmen, is undeniable; and so is Lord Bacon, who
stands forth among her philosophers a very giant. But would any
biographer or historian deal justly, who failed to apprise us of the
real blot upon the character of each? Surely, however, he would not
dwell upon that blot with eagerness or exultation! but point it out
in the spirit of a benignant sadness--in the reluctant discharge
of a painful duty--and that only after having deliberately weighed
everything that a judicial mind would require, before arriving at a
conclusion so humiliating to humanity.

Four living writers--of high personal character, of great eminence
in the ranks of literature, and characterised almost equally by
painstaking industry in the collection of materials, but clothing
the results of their researches in very different styles of
composition--have respectively placed on record their deliberate
estimate of the moral and political character of the Duke of
Marlborough. These writers are--Mr Hallam, Lord Mahon, Mr Macaulay,
and Mr Alison. Mr Hallam's writings are already English classics.
He is a stern, straightforward, independent, learned man, of great
and exact knowledge. His style is pure, yet characterised chiefly
by a kind of rugged vigour. Thus has _he_, in his Constitutional
History, dealt with the Duke of Marlborough: "What, then, must
we think, if we find, in the whole of this great man's political
life, nothing but ambition and rapacity in his motives, nothing
but treachery and intrigue in his means? In short, his whole life
was such a picture of meanness and treachery that we must rate
military services very high indeed, to preserve any esteem for his
memory." "The extreme selfishness and treachery of his character
make it difficult to believe that he had any further view than
to secure himself in the event of a revolution, which he deemed
probable. His interest, which was always his deity, did not lie in
that direction; and his great sagacity must have perceived it."
These are blighting words, and they fall from a writer of great
authority, yet liable to the suspicion of occasionally labouring,
however unconsciously, under political bias. Lord Mahon, in his
_History of England_, speaks with the utmost temper, forbearance,
and unwillingness, but in unequivocal condemnation of one important
act of Marlborough. He states that "the extent of infidelity" to
the cause of the Revolution, among leading ministerial statesmen,
"which has more recently come to light from the publication of
original papers, is truly appalling. Above all, it is with shame
and sorrow that I write it, the Duke of Marlborough's conduct to
the Stuarts is, indeed, a foul blot on his illustrious name." After
reciting facts which seem, unfortunately, incontestable, he adds,
mournfully, "What defence can possibly be offered for such conduct?"
Mr Macaulay writes in a spirit of deadly detestation of Marlborough.
This gentleman, it need hardly be said, is a gifted disciple of the
same political school as Mr Hallam; and, without desiring to convey
erroneous inferences and impressions, he seems to us, nevertheless,
a glaring instance of one-sidedness. Mr Macaulay is a man of very
great ability; and his History promises to constitute a splendid
addition to the stock of enduring English literature. It will also
have a powerful and wide-spread influence, whether for good or for
evil, over the minds not only of literary and political students,
but of that huge class who are content to let others think for them;
for its tone is one very confident and peremptory; the knowledge
which it displays is obviously as extensive as minute; and he is
a consummate master of English, and writes with such alluring
brilliance as renders it nearly impossible to lay down his volumes
till the perusal of them has been finished, or to pause, as one goes
along, to reflect and weigh. Hence the great moral responsibility
which such a writer incurs; and all are interested in warning him,
as he proceeds with his great undertaking, to throw himself as
thoroughly as he may be able into the _judicial_ character. We wish
that such a writer had never cared a single straw for either Whig or
Tory! As for his style, it is one of ceaseless glitter, and lacks
the simplicity, _repose_, and dignity of history. What a contrast
to the immortal composition of Hume! to whom he stands in perilous
proximity, absolutely challenging comparison. Before parting with
this brilliant writer, we would, as one of the public which is
proud of him, offer him, in the most friendly spirit, an earnest
hint that he would, in continuing his labours, disengage the true
events of history from merely local and temporary details; and be
searchingly on his guard in dealing with characters and principles
which run counter to his own views and opinions. Let us now see in
what terms Mr Macaulay has ventured to speak of one of the greatest
men who ever figured in our history. He says that Marlborough was a
man "not less distinguished by avarice and baseness than by capacity
and energy--as one whose renown was strangely made up of infamy and
glory; thrifty in his very vices, levying ample contributions on
ladies enriched by the spoils of more liberal lovers." A "letter
written with a certain elevation, was a sure mark that he was going
to commit a baseness." Another is written "with that decorum which
he never failed to preserve in the midst of guilt and dishonour."
And finally, he _already_ thus stands before posterity in the pages
of Mr Macaulay:--

     "So inconsistent is human nature, that there are tender spots
     even in seared consciences. And thus this man, [!] who had
     owed his rise in life to his sister's shame, who had been kept
     by the most profuse, imperious, and shameless of harlots, and
     whose public life, to those who can look steadily through the
     dazzling blaze of genius and glory, will appear a prodigy of
     turpitude, believed implicitly in the religion which he had
     learned [!] as a boy, and shuddered at the thought of formally
     abjuring it. A terrible alternative was before him. The earthly
     evil which he most dreaded was poverty. The one crime from
     which his heart recoiled was apostacy. And if the designs of the
     Court succeeded, he could not doubt that, between poverty and
     apostacy, he must soon make his choice. He therefore determined
     to cross those designs; and it soon appeared that there was no
     guilt and no disgrace which he was not ready to incur, in order
     to escape from the necessity of parting either with his places
     or with his religion."[6]

  [6] MACAULAY'S _History of England, from the Accession of James
  II._, p. 255.

Such was Marlborough, according to Mr Macaulay; and when we bear in
mind that he has yet to deal with thirty-four years' public life of
this illustrious personage, whom he may at this moment be painting
in, if possible, still darker colours than the above, we may feel
excused in feeling anxiety, not only on patriotic grounds, but on Mr
Macaulay's own account.

The last of our four living writers dealing with Marlborough is Mr
Alison--a gentleman who has conferred world-wide service, and earned
an enduring celebrity in English letters, by the fidelity and power
with which he has recorded the mightiest series of events which the
world has hitherto seen, and enforced their true teaching. That his
_History of Europe_ is not open to criticism, it were childishness
to deny; but the _maculæ_ totally disappear when set against his
uniform and even fastidious fidelity, his prodigious industry, his
dispassionate candour in dealing with men and events, his huge
accumulation of important, instructive, and deeply-interesting
facts--which, but for him, might have been irrecoverably scattered
abroad--and his vivid and picturesque eloquence. Few must they be
of his readers who have not hung breathless over his battle-scenes
on flood and field; hearing again the awful roar of the cannonade,
the deadly rattle of musketry, the thundering charge of cavalry, the
steady tramp of vast columns of infantry; beholding the glistening
of sabre and bayonet, and all the bloody scene, now fearfully
visible, and then, again, as fearfully invisible, for a while,
amid the sulphurous smoke! Again, Mr Alison always _places_ his
attentive reader well, before entering into the battle or siege;
giving him an admirable, idea of localities, without a knowledge
of which his picture would become like the cloudy but glistening
confusion of the later productions of Turner. All this, however, is
subordinate to the moral and political aspect of those turbulent
times and multitudinous transactions with which Mr Alison had to
deal--an aspect which he keeps steadily before his reader's eye,
and thus instructs while delighting him; making the past truly and
practically tributary to the future. He is ever watchful of the
effect produced on affairs, civil or military, by overmastering
personal character, which, with its workings, he develops patiently
and distinctly: and so with combinations of men and parties; with
systems of policy abruptly changed, or subtilely varied to suit
purposes, and gain objects, not at first sight visible or easily
suspected. Either by natural constitution or from long habit, there
may be observed in Mr Alison a disposition to take large views
of human affairs--to deal with mankind and their transactions in
masses, and on a grand scale--a tendency this, which, if accompanied
by accurate thinking, and due attention to details, proportionably
indicates the highest order of historical genius. But we must
repeat the remark, and with it close these general observations,
that Mr Alison's capital qualification as an author, especially
a biographical and historical author, appears to us to be his
unvarying love of truth, in comparison with which all other objects
which can be contemplated by an author are absolutely as nothing.

It was with no little interest that we saw the announcement of Mr
Alison's being engaged upon an elaborate Life of Marlborough, who
would now be depicted by the same brilliant and faithful pencil
which has delineated Wellington. These are two of the names which
glitter brightest in the rolls of fame, and Mr Alison is able
thoroughly to appreciate each. Let us ask, in passing, what if these
two heroes had changed times and places? Each was thrown on troubled
and terrible times; each possessed great intellect, and resplendent
military genius. Would Marlborough have played Wellington's, or he
Marlborough's part, on the scene of moral and political action? As
far as the illustrious living hero is concerned, the question admits
of an instant answer.

We have now, however, the character of Marlborough fairly delivered
into the hands of Mr Alison, to be dealt with according to truth
and honour. Will he concur with Mr Hallam and Mr Macaulay? If he
do, Marlborough must, we suppose, be henceforth regarded as a sort
of splendid fiend--revelling in his defiance of the precepts of
honour, morality, and religion; prostituting transcendent powers
for the basest purposes, and exhibiting the vices of our nature in
colossal proportions.--Can Mr Alison vindicate his hero against the
sorrowful censures of his noble brother historian? No: he does not
attempt it. On the contrary, he is even more emphatic in denouncing
the faithlessness of Marlborough than Lord Mahon, placing his
treachery to James II., "in a moral point of view," even deeper
in infamy than that of Marshal Ney. "And yet," says he, "such is
often the inequality of crimes and punishments in this world, that
Churchill was raised to the pinnacle of greatness by the very
treachery which consigned Ney, with justice, so far as his conduct
is concerned, to an ignominious death. History forgets its first and
noblest duty when it fails, by its distribution of praise and blame,
to counterbalance, as far as its verdict can, this inequality,
which, for inscrutable, but doubtless wise purposes, Providence has
permitted, in this transient scene. Charity forbids us to scrutinise
such conduct too closely."[7] This is conceived in a spirit at once
generous and just; and the acknowledgment thus early and pointedly,
of Marlborough's great fault, is marked by signal discretion, such
as is likely to carry the reader cheerfully along with his author,
and induce a hearty concurrence in his ultimate conclusion. We
rejoice, then, that Marlborough has fallen into such hands; and
shall proceed, as briefly as is consistent with our space, and
the importance of the subject--for it is of importance, and great
importance too, and Mr Alison's is a very _timely_ biography, as we
shall soon show--to give such an account of the contents of these
two volumes as will, unless we are mistaken, induce our readers to
become his.

  [7] ALISON'S _Marlborough_, vol. i. p. 16, 17, 18.

There are four reasons why we regard Mr Alison's new work as
specially well-timed; and we believe that our readers will, without
difficulty, concur in these reasons. First, _a full_, _fair_, and
_popular_ biography, personal, political, and military, of the great
Duke of Marlborough, has recently become a matter of mere justice,
because of the blighting disparagement of his conduct and character
which Mr Macaulay has so recently exhibited in his widely-circulated
volumes, and is doubtless at this moment engaged, _totis viribus_,
in enhancing. Secondly, because a great store of invaluable
materials for such a biography is in existence, the principal
portion having only recently become so, continuing, however, in a
state which renders the whole but a sealed book to the public at
large. Thirdly, Mr Alison is peculiarly qualified to deal with this
state of things, by his unbiassed faithfulness, and the multifarious
qualifications which he has acquired in the preparation of his
_magnum opus_, the _History of Europe during the French Revolution_.
Lastly, because of the course of public events, now daily becoming
the source of greater anxiety to those who look beneath the surface,
and would apply effectually the experience of the past, in order
to comprehend our present position, and provide against our dark
and--as to some eyes it may well appear--blood-red future. Let us
recur for a moment to the second of these reasons, in order to give
the reader a just idea of his obligations to Mr Alison. He may be
said to have sunk shafts into five mines. First, the _Marlborough
Despatches_, which had lain buried in an unaccountable manner till
the month of October 1842, when they were accidentally discovered,
under a mass of old military accounts, and other waste paper, by
Mr Whately, the solicitor of the present Duke of Marlborough.
In the lumber-room of a house for a long series of years used as
the steward's residence, there lay, one upon another, three large
boxes; and it was in the undermost one that Mr Whately made the
fortunate discovery, with which his name will ever be deservedly
associated, of eighteen folio books, bound in vellum--inestimable
documents! "being," says that gentleman, "manuscript copies of
despatches and letters of John Duke of Marlborough, in English,
French, and some few in Latin,"--extending over the resplendent
_decennium_ from 1702-1712. These had been, to that moment, totally
unknown to any one living; and, what is exceedingly singular, had
also escaped the watchful and anxious eye of Archdeacon Coxe, the
author of the compendious, elaborate, and authentic "Life" of the
great Duke. These precious documents were placed in the hands of an
eminent and accomplished military authority, the late Sir George
Murray, who published at intervals, beginning in 1845, a selection
from the _Despatches_, in five large octavo volumes, most ably
edited, with copious historical and military notes. As Mr Alison
has remarked, Sir George's _Marlborough Despatches_ constitute a
work of inestimable importance to the historian, and also to the
military reader; but they will rarely, if ever, be opened by the
general reader. We ourselves have turned from its pages, more than
once, hopelessly, with yet a feeling that they contained matter
of great interest and importance to a competent and determined
military or historical reader. This is Mr Alison's first and richest
mine, sunk in his own country. In quest of another he crosses the
Channel, and there encounters the _Military Life of Marlborough_,
in three volumes, written in France in 1807, at the instance of
his mighty admirer, Napoleon:[8] "towards the composition of
which," says Sir George Murray, "every facility of information
was afforded which the power of the Emperor could command." This
Mr Alison pronounces "the best military narrative of the Duke's
exploits which has yet appeared." But Mr Alison is indebted to
France for another grand source of authentic information on "the
Continental side of the great wars waged by Marlborough"--General
_Pelot's_ Collection of original Memoirs and Despatches, published
in nine quarto volumes, and entitled, "_Mémoires Militaire Rélatifs
à la Succession d'Espagne_." Again, we have the _Dutch_ account
of this ever-memorable war, published at the Hague in 1721--the
"magnificent work" of _Rousset_, in three volumes folio. And yet
again, _Kausler's_ "admirable summary of great battles, collected
from the best authorities, and annexed to his splendid military
Atlas." To these must be added, Archdeacon Coxe's _Life_, in three
volumes quarto--"the most authentic and valuable which exists,"
founded on a close examination of all the correspondence known to be
in existence at the time; but liable to a serious drawback--that "it
is long and expensive, and too full of long documents, and letters,
_in the text_." What are all these works, exclaims the embarrassed
general reader, to _me_?--having neither time, nor inclination, nor
means for mastering them? You might as well place a man seeking
for a richly-chased golden goblet in the midst of the Californian
or Australian gold-fields, and point him with exultation to piles
of sacks filled with the auriferous dust! Now Mr Alison has, in
the two moderate-sized volumes before us, presented the impatient
applicant with his desired goblet, and entitled himself thereby to
due gratitude. He is scrupulous in owning his obligations, and also
in enabling his reader at once, if disposed, to verify facts, and
extend his inquiries, by placing at the end of every paragraph, as
in his _History of Europe_, the authorities on which that paragraph
is founded. To these are added a very carefully-prepared map of
France and the Netherlands, "so arranged as to show the positions of
every place, in strict accordance with the text;" and plans of the
battles, accurately reduced from the great German work of Kausler,
"so well known from the splendour of its finishing, and the accuracy
of its details." To all this we have yet to add, that Mr Alison
appears also to have consulted every other work hitherto published,
having reference to the personal or military life of his hero, and
to be familiarly acquainted with everything of importance that has
appeared, either contemporaneously or subsequently, concerning the
part which the Duke of Marlborough took, or is supposed to have
taken, in the momentous politics of the day.

  [8] "Napoleon hummed the well-known air, _Malbrook s'en va-t-en
  guerre_, when he crossed the Niemen to commence the Russian
  campaign. The French nurses used to frighten their children with
  stories of _Marlbrook_!--as the Orientals, when their horses start,
  say they see the shadow of Richard Coeur-de-Lion crossing their
  path."--_Pref._, iv. v.

We have taken the trouble of being thus particular, out of justice
to Mr Alison; for without this detail, neither the value nor the
extent of his labours could have been appreciated by the reader;
who, if he share our fate, will be carried evenly and rapidly
along, from the beginning to the end of these two eloquent volumes,
charmed with the result, but never adverting to the laborious and
praiseworthy _process_. And we repeat that all this is thoroughly
_tanti_--as a matter of even justice to the sedulously-slandered
illustrious dead, in this respect sharing the fate of a prophet,
who is not without honour, _save in his own country_, (for abroad,
Marlborough's memory is radiant with imperishable glory,) and also
because, as we have intimated, there is a portentous resemblance
between Marlborough's time and our own. He was the great champion
of Protestantism, in its tremendous encounter with Popery, of which
Louis XIV. was the worthy and formidable exponent. "The siege of
Lille," says Mr Alison, at the close of his first volume, "one of
the most memorable and glorious of which there is any mention in
history, like those of Troy and Carthage in ancient, and Malta and
Jerusalem in modern times, was not merely the theatre of contest
between rival powers, but of struggle between contending principles
and rival faiths. The great contest between the Romish Church and
the Reformation ultimately issued, as all such schisms in belief
must issue, in a terrible war. Louis was the head of the ancient,
Marlborough the champion of the new, faith. The circumstance of
the Spanish Succession was but an accident, which brought into
the field forces on either side, previously arranged under these
opposite banners. It was the great division of men's minds which
drew them forth, in such strength, into the field of war."[9] Now
let any _thinking_ person of 1852 survey the existing attitudes of
these fearful and implacable belligerents, as exhibited in their
relations, both in this country and on the Continent, and in certain
recently-developed political conditions, which they are rapidly
moulding, and arranging with a view to action on a scale such as the
world has perhaps never witnessed; and the "boldest may hold his
breath for a time." He will at length, probably, ask, not without
anxiety--Where are we to look for _our_ Marlborough by and by? and
perhaps he may add, with an indignant sigh, We would not treat him
as our fathers treated _theirs_!

  [9] Vol. i. p. 447, 448.

The romance of the _Life of Marlborough_ begins with the very
beginning of that life. He bursts upon us a beautiful boy,
fascinating everybody by his charming manners--the little heir to
the all but ruined fortunes of an ancient and loyal family, which,
on the father's side, had come in with the Conqueror, while in his
mother's veins ran the blood of the illustrious Sir Francis Drake.
He had an only sister, who, a victim to the licentiousness of the
times, became mistress of the future James II., the great patron of
her brother, and to whom she bore a son: who, as Duke of Berwick,
was destined, almost single-handed, to uphold the tottering throne
of Louis XIV. against the terrible sword of her brother! That
son, commanding the forces of France and Spain during the War of
the Succession, almost counterbalanced, by his military genius,
his uncle's victories in Germany and Flanders! Lord Bolingbroke
said of the nephew, that "he was the _best_ great man that ever
existed"--and of the uncle, that "he was the perfection of genius,
matured by experience--the greatest general and greatest minister
that our country, or any other, has produced." These two great
personages were signalised by the same grand qualities of military
genius, of humanity in war, of virtuous conduct in private life:
would, however, we could say that the elder hero had no bar sinister
on his moral, as the younger had on his heraldic, 'scutcheon!
Forgetting, however, for a moment, that solitary blot--would we
could forget it for ever!--let us concur with Mr Alison in noting
so singular and interesting a coincidence, that "England has equal
cause to be proud of her victories, and her defeats, in that
warfare; for they both were owing to the military genius of the same
family, and that, one _of her own_."[10] There was a difference of
twenty years between them; and it is again singular, that each, at
the same early age, fifteen, showed a sudden irrepressible ardour
for arms, impelling them, at the same age, to quit the seductive
splendour of the court of Charles II. for foreign service--the
uncle, as a volunteer in the expedition to Tangiers, against the
Moors; the nephew, twenty years afterwards, against the Turks,
under Charles, duke of Lorraine, in Hungary. It is indeed a most
extraordinary fact, already adverted to, that, while the uncle all
but subverted the throne of France by his Flemish campaigns, and,
but for infamous domestic faction, would have done so, his nephew,
single-handed, preserved that of Spain for the house of Bourbon! If
this be the first step in this romance of reality, the next is one
profoundly suggestive to a contemplative mind. We have spoken of a
splendid _Decennium_ in the Duke of Marlborough's campaigns--that
from 1702 to 1712. But what a preceding _Quinquennium_--that
from 1672 to 1677--have we here, for a moment, before us! The
"handsome young Englishman"--an idol among the profligate beauties
of the court of Charles II.--had made at length a conquest of his
celebrated and favourite mistress, the Countess of Castlemaine,
afterwards Duchess of Cleveland. To remove so dangerous a rival
in her fickle affections,[11] Charles gave him a company in the
Guards, and then sent him to the Continent--_proh pudor_!--to _aid_
Louis XIV. in subduing the United Provinces. There he sedulously
learnt the art of war under Louis's consummate generals, Turenne,
Condé, and Vauban: thus acquiring, under Louis's own auspices,
that masterly knowledge of the science of war, which was destined
to be wielded so soon afterwards, with triumphant and destructive
energy, against himself! How little was such a contingency dreamed
of, when Louis XIV. publicly, at the head of his army, thanked the
handsome young hero for his services, and afterwards prevailed on
his brother sovereign, Charles, to promote him to high command!
And here is suggested the first of several deeply interesting and
instructive parallels to be found in this work, between our own
incomparable Wellington, and his illustrious predecessor: that
Wellington went through the same practical course of study, but
in inverse order--his first campaign being _against_ the French,
in Flanders, and his next against the bastions of Tippoo, and the
Mahratta horse, in Hindostan. Shortly after his return occurred
that event which is of great importance in the lives of all men
to whom it happens--marriage; but which to the young soldier was
pregnant, for both good and evil, with immense influence upon the
whole of his future career, and also upon his personal character.
He married the beautiful lady in attendance on the Princess
Anne--Miss Sarah Jennings, of spotless purity of character, and like
himself, of an ancient and ruined Royalist family. He was then in
his twenty-eighth, she in her eighteenth year: and, to anticipate
for a moment, after a fond union of forty-four years' duration, he
died in his seventy-second year; she, twenty-two years afterwards,
in her eighty-fourth! Want of fortune for some time delayed their
union, which, however, an enthusiastic declaration of his passion at
length accelerated. She married, in the young and already celebrated
general, a man of not only transcendent capacity, but gentle and
generous feelings, and a magnanimity which displayed itself on a
thousand trying occasions. Their hearts were passionately true to
each other, through every moment of their protracted union. Her
fair fame was never, even in those days of impunity, tarnished by
the momentary breath of slander. She possessed great talents, but
was also of a haughty ambitious temper, bent upon aggrandisement,
and grievously avaricious; and to the ascendency over her husband,
which she maintained unabated from first to last, may perhaps be
attributed the development of those features in his character which
have excited the grief of honourable posterity, and afforded scope
for the foulest misrepresentations of his conduct and motives to
contemporary and succeeding traducers, rabid with the virus of
political hostility. Though impatient to quit the topic, but only
for the present, we shall here advert to Marlborough's inexcusable
conduct towards James II., for the purpose of citing a passage
in the Duchess's own Vindication, on which Mr Macaulay relies,
as conclusively demonstrating the mercenary motives influencing
Marlborough. That passage, however, does not necessarily sustain the
imputation made by Mr Macaulay, though it may justify a suspicion
of the sort of motives which _she_ might have been in the habit of
urging on her confiding husband:--"It were evident to all the world
that, as things were carried on by King James II., everybody, sooner
or later, _must be ruined_ who would not become a Roman Catholic.
_This_ consideration made me very well pleased at the Prince of
Orange's undertaking to rescue me from such slavery."[12]

  [10] Vol. ii. p. 298.

  [11] It would seem that Charles II. would have surprised him, on
  one occasion, in the company of the Countess; but, to save her
  credit with the King, he leaped through the window at the risk
  of his life; in return for which she presented him with £5000.
  With reference to this latter part of the business may be noted a
  diversity between two of Marlborough's biographers. Archdeacon Coxe
  ludicrously attempts to explain this splendid present of £5000, on
  the ground of Churchill's being in some way _distantly related_ to
  the Duchess! "If the reverend Archdeacon," says Mr Alison--with a
  quaint approach to sarcasm very rare with him--"had been as well
  acquainted with _women_ as he was with _his books_, he would have
  known that beautiful ladies do not, in general, bestow £5000 on
  distant cousins, whatever they may do on favourite lovers!"

  [12] MACAULAY, 256, note.

That Marlborough should be in high favour with William III. may
be easily conceived; for he not only essentially facilitated
the enterprise of William, but actively supported him in all
those critical measures necessary to consolidate his power and
strengthen his novel and splendid position. He acquitted himself
so admirably in the Netherlands in 1689, in Ireland in 1690, and
again in Flanders in 1691, where he served under William himself,
that he was on the way to almost unbounded power with William.
But behold! to the consternation of the whole country, almost
immediately after his return with William, early in 1692, he was
suddenly arrested and committed to the Tower, on a charge of _high
treason_, in having entered into an association for bringing about
the restoration of James II.! As the charge, however, could not be
legally substantiated--and was indeed proved to have been supported
by fabricated evidence[13]--he was liberated, but not restored for
a considerable time to his former position, there being good reason
for believing him, at all events, no stranger to a clandestine
correspondence with the exiled family. Well, indeed, may Lord
Mahon lament his "perseverance in these deplorable intrigues."[14]
We concur with Mr Alison in his remark, that, with all the light
subsequently thrown on Marlborough's history, upon this portion of
it there still rests a mystery: and moreover, within five years
afterwards he was completely reinstated in William's confidence; and
in June 1698 the King positively intrusted his recently-discarded
servant with the all-important function of tutor to the young
Duke of Gloucester, William's nephew, and heir-presumptive to the
throne!--saying, on apprising him of the appointment, "My lord,
_make my nephew to resemble yourself_, and he will be everything
which I can desire!" When William's stern and guarded character is
borne in mind, this transaction becomes exceedingly remarkable.
Marlborough continued ever after to rise higher and higher in the
confidence of his sovereign, who thrice named him one of the Lords
Justiciars, to whom the administration of affairs in this country
was intrusted, during William's absence in Holland; and also
appointed him, in 1701, ambassador-extraordinary at the Hague, and
commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in Flanders. This double
appointment, observes Mr Alison, in effect invested Marlborough
with the entire direction of affairs civil and military, so far
as England was concerned, on the Continent. And even yet further,
previously to his unexpected death shortly afterwards, William
enjoined on his successor, the Princess Anne, that she should
intrust Marlborough with the supreme direction of the affairs of the
kingdom, both civil and military! Three days after her accession,
accordingly, she made him a Knight of the Garter, Captain-general
of the English forces at home and abroad, Master-general of the
Ordnance, and Plenipotentiary at the Hague; Lady Marlborough,
Mistress of the Robes and Ranger of Windsor Forest; and her two
daughters Ladies of the Bedchamber. He instantly went over to the
Netherlands to assume the command of the Allied army, sixty thousand
strong, then lying before Nimeguen, threatened by a superior
French force; and, after displaying infinite skill, succeeded in
constructing that famous Alliance which was soon to work such
wonders in Europe. Here commences the lustrous _decennium_ of which
we have spoken; and, most fortunately, here also, as we have seen,
commence the Despatches so recently recovered. Here he became
invested with that unsullied and imperishable glory, which dazzled
all eyes but those of his rancorous and inveterate detractors; who
were probably influenced not only by venomous jealousy, the canker
of little minds, but also, in no slight degree, by his having
extinguished all their fond hopes of his co-operation in restoring
the discarded Stuarts.

  [13] ALISON, i. 22.

  [14] MAHON, i. 21, 22.

From this point Mr Alison starts brilliantly on his course of
chequered and exciting narrative, military and political; revelling
amidst marches, counter-marches, feints, surprises, stratagems,
sieges, battles; intercalating vivid glimpses of domestic
tenderness, grief, and joy; then the plots and counter-plots of
tortuous faction and intrigue, in the senate, in the cabinet, and
even in the palace. And with all this, the interest ever centres in
one object--

  "In shape and gesture proudly eminent,"

John Duke of Marlborough: not because the author appears to wish
it, but because of his faithfulness; he has almost unconsciously
exhibited his hero, equally whether off his guard or on his guard,
manifesting the full power and intensity of a grand character
impressing its will upon men and affairs, irresistibly, and in
defiance of agencies capable of annihilating one only a single
degree inferior to the energy which in Marlborough mastered
everything, everybody. "To write the life of Marlborough," said the
late eloquent Professor Smyth of Cambridge,[15] "is to write the
history of the reign of Queen Anne;" let us add--and also, to write
it in light. Mr Alison makes a similar observation in the preface to
his present work. He intimates that Marlborough was so great that
his Life runs into general history: exactly as he who undertakes
to write the history of the French Revolution will soon find his
narrative turn into the biographies of Wellington and Napoleon, so
he who sets about the Life of Marlborough will ere long find that
he has insensibly become engaged in a general history of the War of
the Succession. Well, be it so, if only because that war it is of
infinite importance to have better known than in fact it is.

  [15] Lectures in Modern History, delivered in the University of
  Cambridge, (Lecture xxiii.)

If Mr Alison's object, in the work before us, were to produce a
_biography_, to delineate character, and so to group events as to
illustrate _individuality_--he has eminently succeeded; but his very
success renders it difficult for those in our position to allow
him to speak for himself, as copiously as doubtless he, and also
our readers, would wish. As he has mastered his subject, so have
we mastered his treatment of it, as, at least, we suppose; and as
he took his own course, so shall we; wishing that we could give
our readers the pleasure which his book has afforded ourselves.
In order, however, to attain that object, they must read the book
itself; and to induce them to do so, we proceed to indicate its
leading characteristics in our own words, using his own, as far as
is consistent with our space and our object.

To appreciate the mighty doings of Marlborough, let us glance for a
moment at the position in which he found, and the position in which
he left, the redoubtable Louis XIV.--him whose memory is for ever
rendered detestable by his revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and
his bloody exterminating persecution of the Protestants. Marlborough
found him the centre of a galaxy of glory of almost every
description of military, political, and intellectual distinction. He
was blazing in the zenith of his power and success: he was making
France the world, and installing the Roman Catholic religion in a
black and bloody predominance. "Unbroken good fortune," says Mr
Alison, "had attended all his enterprises, since he had launched
into the career of foreign aggrandisement." But how did Marlborough
leave him? Let the dying monarch speak for himself. When he felt
death approaching, he ordered his infant heir, afterwards Louis XV.,
to be brought to his bedside; and placing his lean and withered
hand[16] on the head of the child, said with a firm voice,--"My
child, you are about to become a great king; but your happiness
will depend on your submission to God, and on the care which you
take of your subjects. To attain that, you must avoid as much as
you can engaging in wars, which are the ruin of the people: do not
follow in that respect the bad example which I have given you. I
have often engaged in wars from levity, and continued in them from
vanity. Do not imitate me, but become a pacific prince." Thus he had
learned, at last, a great lesson through the tremendous teaching of

  [16] ALISON, ii. p. 300.

  [17] "Even the great William," says Professor Smyth, "trained
  up amid a life of difficulties and war, with an intrepid heart
  and a sound understanding, was able only to stay the enterprises
  of Louis; successfully to resist, but not to humble him. It was
  for Marlborough to teach that unprincipled monarch the danger
  of ambition, and the instability of human grandeur; it was for
  Marlborough to disturb his dreams of pleasure and of pride, by
  filling them with spectres of terror and images of desolation." The
  lecture from which this is taken is well worthy of a careful perusal.

That great man seems to have fathomed the character and the purposes
of Louis, in all their depth and comprehensiveness, from the first,
with an intuitive sagacity; and the patient determination with which
he carried out, under circumstances of unparalleled difficulty,
his own great conceptions, exhibits perhaps the grandest spectacle
that history can point to, in the case of a single individual. The
reader of these volumes will frequently boil over with indignation
at the obstacles which were thrown in the way of Marlborough, by
envy, faction, selfishness, and stupidity interposing, with a fell
punctuality, at almost every great crisis during his career, and
blighting the most splendid prospects of success. One only a little
inferior in magnanimity to Marlborough would have broken down on
many different occasions, and fled from the scene of action in
disgust and despair. With him, however, it was not so; and yet
he was a man of keen sensibility, and has left on record various
traces of heart-wrung anguish. Here are one or two, among many
scattered over these volumes:--"The unreasonable opposition I have
met with has so heated my blood that I am almost mad."--"I am, at
this moment, _ten years_ older than I was four days ago!"--"My
spirits are so broke, that whenever I can get from this employment,
I must live quietly, or die."--"My crosses make my life a burthen to
me." All this while, nevertheless, the great warrior-statesman was
steadily, yet rapidly, demolishing the vast fabric of French power
and glory, and building up in massive proportions that of his own
country. "More, perhaps, than to any other man," justly observes Mr
Alison at the close of his work, "Marlborough was the architect of
England's greatness; for he at once established on a solid basis
the Protestant succession, which secured its religious freedom,
and vanquished the formidable enemy which threatened its national
independence. His mighty arm bequeathed to his country the honour
and the happiness of the eighteenth century--the happiest period,
by the admission of all historians, which has dawned upon the world
since that of the Antonines in ancient story."[18]

  [18] ALISON, ii. p. 347.

Let us now take a very hasty view of his radiant career, remembering
the while that he ever bore about with him that which hung like a
millstone round his neck--his indefensible conduct towards James
II., the recollection of which must have galled and chafed the
sensitive spirit of a soldier infinitely more than was known to any
human being.

Mr Alison opens with a very imposing picture of the state of
public affairs, both in this country and on the Continent, when
Marlborough commenced his campaigns; and also delineates with truth
and force the characters of the leading actors, all remarkable
personages. Louis XIV. stands foremost, and is sketched with
freedom and power.[19] Then come James II., William III., Queen
Anne, Charles XII., Prince Eugene, and last of all Marlborough,
who, at the close of his first campaign, was regarded, both at home
and abroad, as "The _Man of Destiny_, raised up by Providence to
rescue the Protestant religion and the liberties of Europe from
the thraldom of France."[20] It is impossible to conceive any
conjuncture of circumstances more critical and perilous than those
of this country at the period in question. Not only our religion,
but our independence as a nation, and the very existence of social
order, were at stake. If one may use such an expression, the odds
were immensely against us--against all who were opposed to the
giant energy of Louis XIV. The first step to be taken was to form
an alliance against him--and it was undertaken by Marlborough with
consummate ability; then to induce the British Cabinet to take its
right place as "the very soul of the Grand Alliance"--in that,
also, he at length succeeded; and then came the trumpet-sound of
war against France, which was forthwith proclaimed at London, the
Hague, and Vienna. Yet still a practical difficulty remained--one
of peculiar delicacy--for the post of commander-in-chief of the
allied forces was greatly coveted by several powerful candidates.
Marlborough's own sovereign, Queen Anne, so strongly supported
one of them--Prince George of Denmark, her husband--that she even
protested she would not declare war unless he was appointed. The
Dutch government, however, were resolute on behalf of Marlborough,
as the only man equal to sustain the fearful responsibility; and
thus Marlborough became invested with the chief direction, both
civil and military, of the forces of the coalition. And it was not
difficult to foresee the interminable anxieties and vexations which
were in store for him, derived from the jealousies and jarring
interests of the various states, their ministers and generals, who
were under the guidance of Marlborough. The plan of operations on
the part of Marlborough and Louis XIV. was as follows:--

     "A German army, under Louis, Margrave of Baden, was to be
     collected on the Upper Rhine, to threaten France from the side
     of Alsace; a second corps, 25,000 strong, composed of Prussian
     troops from the Palatinate, and Dutch under the Prince of
     Sarbruck, was to undertake the siege of Kaiserworth; the main
     army, under the orders of the Earl of Athlone, 35,000 strong,
     was destined to cover the frontier of Holland from the Rhine to
     the Meuse, and at the same time cover the siege of Kaiserworth;
     a fourth body of 10,000, under Cohorn, the celebrated engineer,
     was collected near the mouth of the Scheldt, and threatened the
     district of Bruges.

     "The preparations on the part of the French were not less
     vigorous; and from the more concentrated position of their
     troops, and unity of action among their commanders, they, in the
     first instance, were enabled to bring a preponderating force
     into the field. On the Lower Rhine, a force, under the Marquis
     Bedmar and the Count de la Motte, were stationed opposite to
     Cohorn, to protect the western Netherlands from insult; Marshal
     Tallard was detached from the Upper Rhine, with 13,000 men, to
     interrupt the siege of Kaiserworth; while the main army, under
     the command nominally of the Duke of Burgundy, really of Marshal
     Boufflers, a veteran and experienced officer, was stationed
     in the bishopric of Liege, resting on the strong fortresses
     with which that district of Flanders abounded. Not only were
     the forces under his command superior by a third to those that
     Athlone had at his disposal, the latter being 45,000, the former
     only 35,000 strong, but they had the immense advantage of
     being in possession of the whole strong places of Brabant and
     Flanders, which were all garrisoned by French or Spanish troops,
     forming not only the best and most secure possible basis for
     offensive operations, but an iron defensive barrier, requiring
     to be cut through in successive campaigns, and at an enormous
     expenditure of blood and treasure, before by any road the
     frontiers of France could be reached."[21]

  [19] In Sir James Stephen's _Lectures on the History of France_,
  just published, there is an admirable and elaborate portraiture of
  Louis XIV. If the rest of the work is equal to this portion, which
  is all that we have as yet been able to examine, Cambridge has cause
  to congratulate herself on the accession of so accomplished and able
  a professor of modern history.

  [20] ALISON, i. p. 108.

  [21] ALISON, i. p. 92-3.

Such as it was, however, says Mr Alison, the barrier required to
be cut through; and Marlborough resolved to commence it with the
siege of Kaiserworth, a place of very great importance. He took
it--but at a cost of 5000 men; and then took Venloo, and finally
Liege--all places, of extreme importance, and desperately defended;
and with these feats he concluded the brief but brilliant, campaign
which laid the foundation of all his future victories. It stripped
the French of many of the chief advantages with which they had
opened the war. He had broken through their line, so formidable for
offensive and defensive war; he had "thrust his iron gauntlet," says
Mr Alison, "into the centre of their resources." And the entire
merit was his own, as Lord Athlone, his rival and second in command,
thus nobly testified:--"The success of the campaign is entirely
owing to its incomparable commander-in-chief; for I, the second in
command, was, on every occasion, _of an opposite opinion to that
which he adopted_!" His success was like a bright burst of sunshine
over a long-troubled land! But here an incident occurred which
might have ruined all. While dropping down the Meuse, on his return
to England at the conclusion of the campaign, he was positively
taken prisoner by a small French force,--whose commander, however,
ignorant of the prize which was within his reach, and skilfully
misled by a sagacious device of Marlborough's servant, suffered
him to depart! The peril in which he had been spread consternation
everywhere, equalled only by joy at his escape, which was powerfully
expressed to him by the Pensionary Heinsius. "Your captivity
was on the point of causing the slavery of these provinces, and
restoring to France the power of extending her uncontrollable
dominion over all Europe. No hope remained, if she had retained in
bondage the man whom we revere as the instrument of Providence to
restore independence to the greater part of the Christian world!"
On what apparently trivial incidents often depend the greatest
events that can happen to mankind! Marlborough was received with
transports in England, and raised to the dukedom of Marlborough.
The difficulties which the Dutch deputies had thrown in his way
during the first campaign, owing, says Mr Alison, to timidity,
ignorance of the military art, personal presumption, and the spirit
of party, on several great occasions thwarted the most decisive
measures of Marlborough,--but proved only a foretaste of what was
in store for the harassed commander. Mr Alison gives an interesting
letter which Marlborough wrote to his Countess, immediately on his
arrival at the Hague. It is full of the passionate fondness of a
lover to his mistress; yet was written by a man of fifty-two to
a wife to whom he had been married twenty-three years! There are
innumerable other instances, in these volumes, of the romantic
fervour of their attachment. Such was Marlborough's first campaign,
the herald of a long series of resplendent successes, many of them
marked by features similar to those of the first. "He never,"
indeed, "fought a battle which he did not gain, nor sat down before
a town which he did not take; and--alone of the great commanders
recorded in history--_never sustained a reverse_! On many occasions
throughout the war he was only prevented, by the timidity of the
Dutch deputies, or the feeble co-operation of the Allied powers,
from gaining early and decisive success; and as it was, he broke
the power of the Grand Monarque, and if his hands had not in the
end been tied up by an intrigue at home, he would have planted the
British standards on Montmartre, and anticipated the triumphs of
Blucher and Wellington." Here is the key to his position, from first
to last--an inkling of the tortures which wrung that great soul
throughout his career.

In this first campaign, Marlborough had laid the basis of great
operations--which, indeed, followed in such rapid succession, each
eclipsing its predecessor in magnitude of result and splendour
of achievement, as to throw its foregoer comparatively into the
shade. In order to appreciate the greatness of Marlborough, his
position--harassed daily by the jealousies and selfishnesses of the
Allied forces, which he commanded--should be compared with that
of Louis XIV., where all was an overwhelming _unity_ of will and
purpose, perfect subordination, accompanied by immense military
resources and consummate generalship. The war had, indeed, become
already one of awful magnitude; for Louis XIV. and his advisers
could not have failed to observe the settled determination of
purpose, and forecasting sagacity, which characterised their
great opponent. Louis brought all his power and resources to
bear upon the plan of a second and magnificent campaign; showing
that he felt the gravity of the situation, and the necessity of
making commensurate efforts. "The great genius of Louis XIV. in
strategy," says Mr Alison, "here shone forth in full lustre. Instead
of confining the war to one of forts and sieges in Flanders and
Italy, he resolved to throw the bulk of his forces at once into
Bavaria, and operate against Austria from the heart of Germany, by
pouring down the valley of the Danube."... "The genius of Louis,"
he adds, after a lucid explanation of the projected campaign,
which was indeed grandly conceived, "had outstripped the march of
time; and the year 1703 promised the triumphs which were realised
on the same ground, and by following the same plan, by Napoleon
in 1805."[22] It was all, however, in vain, though his plans were
carried into execution with infinite skill and energy. Marlborough
got intelligence of them; and instantly conceived a masterly
counter-plan, which, but for his being thwarted, as usual, by the
Dutch deputies, would have been completely successful in the first
instance. The resources which Marlborough's genius displayed in this
transcendent campaign were prodigious. His rapidity of perception,
his far-sighted sagacity, his watchful circumspection, his prompt
energy, at length triumphed over all obstacles, and eventuated in
the glorious battle of Blenheim--than which none more splendid
stands on record. The fearful consequences of failure were very
eagerly pressed upon him by his own officers. "I know the danger,"
said he calmly, "yet a battle is absolutely necessary; and I rely
on the bravery and discipline of the troops, which will make amends
for our disadvantages."[23] Mr Alison's description of this battle
is equally brilliant and impressive, and we wish we could transfer
it entire into our columns. It was a fearful day for Louis XIV.
The total loss of the French and Bavarians, including those who
deserted during the calamitous retreat through the Black Forest,
was 40,000--"a number greater than any subsequently lost by France
till the still more disastrous day of Waterloo." "The decisive
blow struck at Blenheim resounded through every part of Europe.
It at once destroyed the vast fabric of power which it had taken
Louis XIV., aided by the genius of Turenne and Vauban, so long to
construct. Instead of proudly descending the valley of the Danube,
and threatening Vienna, as did Napoleon in 1805 and 1809, the French
were driven in the utmost disorder across the Rhine. Thus, by the
operation of one single campaign, was Bavaria crushed, Austria
saved, and Germany delivered ... and the Empire, delivered from
invasion, was preparing to carry its victorious arms into the very
heart of France! Such achievements require no comment. They speak
for themselves, and deservedly place Marlborough in the very highest
rank of military commanders. The campaigns of Napoleon exhibit no
more decisive or important results."[24] His reception at the courts
of Berlin and Hanover was like that of a sovereign prince; and, on
his return home, the nation welcomed him with ecstasy. The Honour
and manor of Woodstock were settled upon him; and the erection of
the palace of Blenheim was commenced on a magnificent scale. Before
the opening of this campaign he lost his only surviving son, in his
seventeenth year--an event which occasioned him a week's paroxysm
of grief. Shortly before, two of his daughters, very beautiful
women, were married respectively to the Earl of Bridgewater and Lord
Monthermer, whose father was subsequently raised to the rank of Duke
of Montague. Another daughter had been married to Lord Sunderland,
who occasioned the Duke of Marlborough intense mortification, by
suddenly opposing his policy in the House of Lords. And, indeed,
he seems to have suffered exquisitely during this period, from the
animosities with which he was assailed at home by the Tories. He
sought permission from the Queen to resign, and retire into private
life; and it was only on her sending him a holograph letter, couched
in terms of unusual affection, that he was induced to abstain
from a step which would have been so fatal to the fortunes of his
country.[25] It was in this campaign that Marlborough and Prince
Eugene came together--the latter a man of great military genius,
and a chivalrously noble and generous character. The intimacy
and co-operation of such a man must have cheered the spirit of
Marlborough in many a dark hour of trial, difficulty, and danger.
They never had a difference during all the campaigns in which they
acted together. "The records of human achievements can present few,
if any, greater men; but beyond all question they can exhibit none
in whom so pure and generous a friendship existed, alike unbroken by
the selfishness consequent on adverse, and the jealousies springing
from prosperous, fortune."

  [22] ALISON, i. p. 125.

  [23] ALISON, i. p. 159.

  [24] _Ibid._ p. 187.

  [25] _Ibid._ p. 141.

From this period the affairs of perplexed and convulsed Europe
may be said to have rested upon the Atlantean shoulders of this
marvellous man. The impression left on one's mind, after reading
these volumes, is that of wonder how human faculties could sustain,
and for such a length of time, so vast and constantly increasing a
pressure, alike upon his heart and his intellect. Never, perhaps,
was greatness so perseveringly harassed by littleness. He may have
exclaimed on a thousand occasions--

    "The times are out of joint! O cursed spite,
    That ever I was born to set them right!"

There is something at once exciting and oppressive in the following
vivid picture:--

     "No adequate idea can be formed of the greatness of
     Marlborough's capacity, or the overwhelming load of cares
     with which he was oppressed, if the other contests which, in
     addition to his own, he was obliged to carry on, are not taken
     into consideration. It was not merely his own campaigns, often
     of the most active kind, which he was called on to direct; he
     was at the same time charged with the almost entire direction
     of those in every other quarter, and constantly appealed to
     whenever a difficulty occurred. At the very moment when his
     blood was heated by combat, and he was obliged to be ten or
     twelve hours a-day on horseback with his own troops, he was
     compelled to steal half the night to carry on his multiplied
     correspondence with the Allied generals or cabinets in every
     part of Europe. Such was the weight of his authority, the
     avidity for his direction, that not only was he intrusted with
     the general design of every campaign, alike in Germany, Italy,
     Spain, and Flanders, but the details of their execution were
     constantly submitted to him; and, what was much more vexatious,
     he was continually called on to adjust by his authority, or
     heal by his urbanity, the quarrels of the generals, and discord
     of the cabinets to whom their direction was intrusted. His
     correspondence affords ample evidence of this. Appeals were
     made to Marlborough at every time, and from every side: from
     the Imperial ministers against the inactivity of the Margrave
     of Baden; from the Margrave against the imbecility of the
     Imperial cabinet; from Lord Peterborough against the jealousy
     and tardiness of the Spaniards at the court of the Archduke
     Charles; from them against the irritability and eccentricity
     of the English general; from the Hungarian insurgents against
     the exactions and cruelty of the Imperial government; from
     them against the restless and rebellious spirit with which the
     Magyars in every age have been animated.

     "The confidence universally reposed, not only in his wisdom
     and justice, but in his conciliatory manners and irresistible
     address, was the cause of this extraordinary load of important
     cares with which, in addition to the direction of his own army,
     he was daily overwhelmed. From Eugene alone he was assailed by
     no appeals, except for such addition to his forces as might
     put him in a condition to measure his strength with the enemy.
     Their ideas were so identical, their minds so entirely cast in
     the same mould, their military knowledge and capacity so much
     alike, that it invariably happened that, what the one of his own
     accord _did_, was precisely what the other of his own accord
     would _have recommended_. Nor was it enough that foreign affairs
     of such overwhelming magnitude daily oppressed the English
     general; he had in addition the divisions of the cabinet at
     home to heal, and the deadly animosity of faction, increasing
     with every triumph which he won, to appease. No warrior of
     modern times, not even excepting Wellington, had such a mass of
     affairs, both civil and military, to conduct at the same time,
     and none ever got through them with such consummate ability. The
     correspondence of the Emperor Napoleon alone, since the days
     of Cæsar, will bear a comparison with it; but although nothing
     could exceed the energy and capacity of the French emperor,
     there was this difference, and it was a vital one, between his
     position and that of Marlborough--Napoleon commanded, after
     he attained to greatness, everywhere as a master: he directed
     his generals with equal authority on the Danube and the Tagus,
     and dictated to cabinets at Vienna or St Petersburg nearly as
     effectively as at St Cloud; but Marlborough had not even the
     uncontrolled direction of his own army, and beyond it had no
     influence but what had been extorted by exploits or won by

The great event of this third campaign was the battle of Ramilies,
where Marlborough was within a hair's-breadth of being taken
prisoner on the field, and had to fight his way out from his throng
of assailants, like the knights of old, sword in hand. No sooner
had he succeeded in this, than he had another escape--his horse
fell in leaping a ditch; and his equerry's head was carried off
by a cannon-ball while holding the Duke's stirrup as he mounted
another.[26] This was a very great battle, and attended by signal
results--the acquisition of _nearly all Austrian Flanders_! What
now was the position of Louis XIV.? After five years of continued
effort, he found himself stripped of all his conquests, shorn of
his external influence, and compelled to maintain at once on the
frontiers of Germany, Flanders, Spain, and Italy, a contest, from
his own resources, with the forces of all Europe.... His haughty
spirit, long accustomed to prosperity, supported with difficulty
the weight of adversity. The war, and all its concerns, was a
forbidden subject at court. A melancholy gloom pervaded the halls of
Versailles; and frequent bleedings of the monarch himself attested
both the violence of his internal agitation and the dread which his
physicians entertained of still greater dangers. Overcome by so
many calamities, the fierce spirit of Louis was at length shaken,
and he was prevailed on _to sue for peace_![27] After the battle of
Ramilies, Marlborough was offered the government of the Netherlands,
the emoluments of which were no less than £60,000 a-year; but he
magnanimously refused it, from a regard to the public good, and on
every subsequent offer of the same splendid and lucrative post,
did the same. On his return to England he met with a rapturous
reception--was thanked by Parliament--£5000 a-year was settled
on him and his duchess, and their descendants--and the dukedom
extended to _heirs female_, "in order," as it was finely expressed,
"that England might never be without a title which might recall
the remembrance of so much glory."[28] Equally indefatigable at
home as abroad, in peace as in war, he addressed himself at once
to his parliamentary duties, and took a leading part in the great
and beneficial measure for uniting Scotland with England. His vast
influence in the country, and at court, excited intense jealousy
among both Whigs and Tories.

  [26] ALISON, i. 247.

  [27] ALISON, i. 277, 278.

  [28] _Ibid._ p. 287.

The ensuing campaign (A.D. 1707) found Louis XIV. "reduced on all
sides to his own resources," and thoroughly wakened from his dream
of foreign conquests--seeking only, and that with anxiety and alarm,
to defend his own frontier. Here, however, two new actors appear
on the chequered scene--the Duke of Marlborough's nephew, the Duke
of Berwick, who by his great victory of Almanza counteracted in
Spain his uncle's efforts--and Charles XII. of Sweden, a "new and
formidable actor on the theatre of affairs in Germany." Louis XIV.
made desperate efforts to win over Charles XII., but the exquisite
adroitness of Marlborough frustrated them altogether. But Louis,
encouraged by the gleams of success which had been visible in Spain
and elsewhere, made immense efforts to recover his lost ground.
Marlborough's energies were equally divided between delicate and
perilous negotiations with the various European potentates, and
another decisive campaign in the field. Both he and Louis made
prodigious exertions, and at length were on the point of fighting
another great battle; "and, by a most extraordinary coincidence,
the two armies were of the same strength, and occupied the same
ground, as did those of Napoleon and Wellington a hundred and
eight years afterwards!" Marlborough was eager for the fight,
confident of a great victory; but, at the eleventh hour, a panic
seized his old friends the Dutch deputies, and they compelled him
to retire to his former position, and decline the encounter, to
his unspeakable mortification. The enemy, showing no disposition
to encounter him, at length retreated, Marlborough advancing,
but finding it impossible to bring on a general action. Both
armies were led into winter-quarters, and Marlborough repaired to
England, "where his presence had become indispensably necessary
for arresting the progress of public discontent, fanned as it was
by court and parliamentary intrigues, and threatening to prove
immediately fatal to his own influence and ascendency, as well as
to the best interests of England."[29] Here we are plunged into the
vortex of political intrigues,--the principal actors being Harley
and St John and Mrs Masham on the one side, and on the other the
Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, whose ascendency over the Queen
and the country, and even their own party the Whigs, is evidently
beginning to give way, and rapidly. Mr Alison here shows his
dispassionate character to great advantage, holding the balance
evenly between all parties. His candid and luminous statement is
equally interesting and instructive; and one thing he brings out in
a very striking manner, though not in so many words: we mean the
retributive justice with which the duke's treachery to James II.
was brought home to himself, and also to the duchess--the latter
being utterly incredulous of the ingratitude and treachery of Mrs
Masham towards her, and the former equally so in the case of Harley
and St John. How often and how bitterly may such reflections have
occurred to the duke and duchess! Their position at court had
become exceedingly trying; but their treatment of the Queen was
highly imprudent, the Duke being doubtless greatly influenced by
his imperious and intractable duchess. Mr Alison regards her as the
"faithful representative of the whole Whig party," whose "arrogant
domination and grasping disposition were the real causes of their
fall from power, and the total change in the foreign policy of
England--results not attributable exclusively to female partiality,
or a bed-chamber intrigue, which were, nevertheless, the ultimate
_agents_ in the change, and apparently its immediate precursors.
The Whigs were haunted as incessantly by dread of a reaction as
the Jacobins of France of a counter-revolution, and apprehended
from a change of ministry not merely the usual subversion of their
party, but serious personal consequences, in respect of the part
which had been played to James II." Such is the general conclusion
arrived at by Mr Alison--indicative, undoubtedly, of his candour
and moderation. Early in 1708, and while Marlborough was placed in
these critical circumstances, occurred the attempt of Louis XIV.
to imitate, in some respect, the example of his Allied opponents,
by invading Great Britain, in order to place the Pretender on the
throne. Louis's terrible antagonist, however, Marlborough, was here
again to confront him. As commander-in-chief, the Duke crushed
the attempt, and the ambitious Chevalier was forced to creep back
to Dunkirk ridiculously--the result serving only suddenly to
reinstate Marlborough at the summit of popularity, and to silence
all slanderous imputations upon his fidelity to the cause of the

  [29] _Ibid._ p. 330.

The precarious position of political matters in England, at this
crisis, was profoundly appreciated by Marlborough, who said that
any considerable reverse on the Continent, or even a campaign
as nugatory as the last, would, probably, not only dissolve the
Grand Alliance, and undo all that had been done, but place a new
administration in power, and possibly seat another dynasty on the
throne. He also surveyed, with unerring sagacity and accuracy, the
whole position of Louis XIV., and saw that he was preparing for
yet one more grand demonstration of force. Marlborough took his
plans accordingly; and on the 12th April 1708, in concert with the
incomparable Eugene, arranged the plan of operations. Marlborough
resolved to use the precious opportunity yet available, before
the accession of the Tory ministry, for the purpose of striking a
tremendous blow. And he did what he purposed; for this campaign was
signalised by most resplendent results, glorious to Marlborough
almost beyond parallel, and equally disastrous to Louis XIV. Bring
what forces the latter might into the field--array them under what
consummate generals he pleased, and let him select his site, and
mature his plan of operations as he chose--all was, as usual, in
vain! Vendôme was here the directing military genius of Louis;
and he succeeded in surprising Ghent and Bruges into a surrender,
greatly to the vexation of Marlborough. But the latter instantly
resolved on a scheme as masterly as it proved successful. He
resolved to throw himself on his opponent's communication, and,
by interposing between him and the French frontier, compel him
to fight with his face towards Paris, and his back to Antwerp.
This manoeuvre was executed with a rapidity commensurate with its
importance--and Vendôme's skilful plans were entirely disconcerted.
He moved of precipitately, followed by Marlborough, who resolved
to force him to a decisive action; and succeeded--adding OUDENARDE
to his other laurels. This was indeed a fearful affair. Both
parties fought with desperation--Vendôme with eighty-five thousand
men, Marlborough with eighty thousand. Nothing could resist his
generalship and valour; and Vendôme was defeated, with a loss,
including deserters, of fully twenty thousand men. "If I had had
two hours more of daylight," said Marlborough, "the French army
would have been irretrievably routed, great part of it killed or
taken, and the war terminated on that day." The results of this
sanguinary but glorious battle were immense, entirely altering
the character and fate of the campaign. By his admirable movement
in interposing between Vendôme and France, Marlborough had gained
the incalculable advantage of throwing his opponent, in the event
of defeat, into a corner of Flanders, and so leaving exposed the
French frontier, and all its great fortresses. Marlborough's eagle
eye, perceiving the capabilities of his new position, resolved
to discard all minor objects, pass the whole fortified towns on
the frontier, and advance direct on the capital. This daring but
prudent design, says Mr Alison, was precisely that of Wellington and
Blucher a century afterwards; but Marlborough was overruled--Eugene
for once concurring in regarding it as too hazardous; and it was
resolved to commence the invasion of the territories of the Grand
Monarque, by laying siege to the inestimably-important frontier
fortress of LILLE, the strongest place in French Flanders, and
which could give the Allies a solid footing, a commanding position,
in the territories of Louis. The undertaking, however, was most
formidable--"for not only was the place itself, the masterpiece of
Vauban, of great strength, but the citadel within its walls was
still stronger; and, moreover, it was garrisoned by the celebrated
Marshal Boufflers, with fifteen thousand choice troops, and every
requisite for a vigorous defence."[30] Besides all this, Vendôme and
the Duke of Berwick, at the head of more than a hundred thousand
men, lay in an impregnable camp, covered by the canal of Bruges,
completely fortified, between Ghent and Bruges, ready to interrupt
or raise the siege. But of what avail? Marlborough sate down before
Lille, and it fell. To avert that event, Vendôme and Berwick led
forth their magnificent army, a hundred and ten thousand men,
preceded by two hundred pieces of cannon, in the finest order, to
within a quarter of a league of Marlborough--"everybody expecting
the greatest battle, on the morrow, which Europe had ever seen."[31]
Thus grandly they advanced; but as ridiculously retired without
firing a shot! Marlborough, however, was of a different humour,
and resolved to follow and fight them; and the Duke of Berwick
himself has told us what the issue would have been--that Marlborough
would have utterly routed his enemy, and probably finished the
war that day." But--the Dutch deputies again! They interposed,
and Marlborough's heart nearly burst as he beheld the foe retire
unmolested. "If Cæsar or Alexander," said Eugene, "had had the
Dutch deputies by their side, their conquests would have been less
rapid.[32] The siege went on--a ball striking Eugene on the head,
and wounding him severely, whereby the whole burthen of directing
and sustaining the vast operations fell on Marlborough alone, till
Eugene's recovery. After sixty days' siege, Boufflers was compelled
to capitulate, being treated very nobly by his captors. Still the
citadel remained--but that also fell; and so fell the strongest
frontier fortress of France, under the eyes of its best generals
and most powerful army! A siege perhaps the most memorable, and
also one of the most bloody, in modern Europe,--standing forth,
as Mr Alison elsewhere remarks, in solitary and unapproachable
grandeur in European warfare. The Allies were now within reach of
the very heart of France; and Louis XIV. was trembling in his halls
at Versailles.[33] Before Marlborough could close his campaign,
however, he recovered Ghent and Bruges. Such was the campaign of
1708, one of the most glorious in the military annals of England,
and one in which the extraordinary capacity of the English general
shone forth with perhaps the brightest lustre. The strife of
opinion, the war of independence, was alike brought to an issue
in that memorable contest, and, as far as military success could
do it, to a glorious termination. "But at this moment," says Mr
Alison, with a sigh, "faction stepped in to thwart the efforts of
patriotism; and his subsequent life is but a record of the efforts
of selfish ambition to wrest from the hero the laurels, from the
nation the fruits, of victory."[34]

  [30] ALISON, i. 406.

  [31] _Ibid._ p. 419.

  [32] _Ibid._ p. 423.

  [33] _Ibid._ p. 448.

  [34] ALISON, i. 448.

When the laurelled victor returned to England, he received no
favour from the Queen, and was treated with studied coldness at
court. Faction and intrigue had been and were then busy at their
foul work. This was doubtless hard to bear; but what was the
situation of the great Louis? His fortunes were desperate; his
exchequer was beggared; the land was filled with lamentation; and
the horrors of famine were superadded. Then Louis supplicated for
peace to those whom he had so long striven to crush and annihilate:
a bitter humiliation! And in his extremity he bethought himself of
bribing his great conqueror; offering him, directly, no less a sum
than nearly a quarter of a million sterling, as the price of his
influence for the purpose of obtaining terms advantageous to France.
It need not be said that the attempt was scornfully repulsed. The
triumphant Allies insisted on terms of compromise which Marlborough
himself, with noble disinterestedness, condemned, and Louis could
do nothing but repudiate. Once again, therefore, he took the field,
with an enormous army of 112,000 men, under his renowned marshal,
Villars; and all France was animated, at this momentous crisis, by
the conviction that then "it behoved every Frenchman to conquer or
die." Marlborough commenced the campaign with 110,000 men; and great
results were looked for, from "the contest of two armies of such
magnitude, headed by such leaders, and when the patriotic ardour of
the French nation, now raised to the uttermost, was matched against
the military strength of the Confederates, matured by a series of
victories so long and brilliant." So confident was Villars in the
strength of his army, and his intrenched position, that he sent
a trumpeter to the Allies' headquarters, to announce that "they
would find him behind his lines; or, if they were afraid to attack,
he would level them, to give entrance!" With consummate prudence
Marlborough declined the invitation, and besieged Tournay--which
he took, after a siege of almost unequalled horrors; but he
gained by it a fertile and valuable province in French Flanders.
Then he determined to take Mons, the next great fortress on the
direct road to Paris; but for this it would be necessary to break
through Villars' long lines of defence. By a dexterous movement,
he succeeded in turning these formidable lines, thirty leagues in
length, the results of two months' severe labour, and the subject
of such vainglorious boasting by their constructor. They were now
rendered utterly useless; and this great feat had been accomplished
easily, and without bloodshed. Then came another terrible
battle--that of MALPLAQUET, in which Marlborough, with 93,000 men,
after the most bloody and obstinately contested contest that had
occurred in the war, defeated an army of 95,000,--the noblest which
the French monarchy had ever sent forth--strongly posted between two
woods--trebly intrenched! "It was," says Mr Alison, "a desperate
duel between France and England, in which the whole strength of
each nation was put forth. Nothing like it had occurred since
Agincourt, nor afterwards occurred till Waterloo." Both Villars and
Boufflers performed prodigies of strategy and valour; but of what
avail against Marlborough? Then he laid siege to, and took Mons:
after which there remained only two more fortresses between the
Allies and Paris! These prodigious operations, however, formed the
subject of vexatious insults, paltry and presumptuous criticism,
to his malignant enemies in England, with a view to lower his
overwhelming influence at home. He was disgusted and disheartened,
and went so far as to say to the Queen, with natural but imprudent
indignation--"After all I have done, it has not been able to protect
me against the malice of a bed-chamber woman!"

The affairs of the Allies becoming exceedingly critical,
Marlborough, after strenuous but futile efforts at negotiation,
was forced again to take the field; and projected operations on a
grander scale than ever, with a view to promptly closing the war.
Again he succeeded in passing immensely strong lines of defence
without shot or bloodshed, and sat down before Douai, another
fortress of the utmost importance, in every way, to France.
Villars received imperative instructions, from the alarmed court
at Versailles, to raise the siege at all hazards; and, at the head
of a splendid army of upwards of 90,000 men, most ably generalled,
approached, "with all the pomp and circumstance of war," to within
musket-shot of Marlborough's position--around whose bayonets,
however, played the lustre of Blenheim and Ramilies. Villars
advanced--to retire without firing a shot, though his army greatly
outnumbered that of Marlborough! _Of course_, he took Douai,
after a bloody siege; and then Bethune, after thirty days of open
trenches; where, says the _French_ annalist, "Vauban beat the
_chamade_--the sad signal which terminated all the sieges undertaken
by Marlborough!"[35] It had to sound twice more in that campaign--on
the fall of St Venant, and of Aire, after severe sieges; and the
trembling Louis, disarrayed of four great frontier fortresses in one
campaign, now placed all his hopes on the result of base intrigues
in England against Marlborough and the war ministry. "What we lose
in Flanders," said his triumphant minister, Torcy, "we shall gain in
England!" And there, indeed, his enemies were doing their work with
the utmost skill and determination, in order to secure his speedy
downfall, and the advent of a ministry which should surrender all
that had been gained in the war, humble England before France, and
seal the fate of Protestantism and the Succession which upheld it.
Their scandalous doings almost wore out Marlborough, making him,
as he said, "every minute wish to be a hermit." He nobly resolved,
however, harassed and thwarted as he was, to retain his command, "as
affording the only security for a good power, and the Protestant
succession to the throne." His enemies in England were this time
successful--the Whig ministry fell; and thus ended Marlborough's
career as a statesman. And to such a deplorable depth could national
meanness sink, that attempts were, made to inveigle him into
_personal_ liability for the expense of prosecuting the works at
Blenheim, till then carried on by the Treasury! He was received
enthusiastically by the people; but neither the Queen nor the
Parliament thanked him for his services and sacrifices. Mr Alison at
this point presents us with a dazzling summary of these services:--

     "This, therefore, is a convenient period for casting the eyes
     back on what he had done during the ten years that he had
     been the real head of the Alliance; and marvellous beyond all
     example is the retrospect! He began the war on the Waal and the
     Meuse, with the French standards waving in sight of the Dutch
     frontier, and the government of the Hague trembling for the fate
     of their frontier fortress, Nimeguen. He had now brought the
     Allied ensigns to the Scarpe, conquered Flanders, subdued all
     its fortresses, and nearly worked through the iron frontier of
     France itself. Nothing was wanting but the subjugation of its
     _last_ fortress, Arras, to enable the Allies to march to Paris,
     and dictate a glorious peace in the halls of Versailles. He had
     defeated the French in four pitched battles and as many combats;
     he had taken every town to which he had laid siege; he had held
     together, when often about to separate, the discordant elements
     of the Grand Alliance. By his daring march to Bavaria, and
     victory of Blenheim, he had delivered Germany when in the utmost
     danger; by the succours he sent to Eugene, he had conquered
     Italy at Turin; by his prudent dispositions he had saved Spain,
     after the battle of Almanza. He had broken the power of Louis
     XIV. when at the zenith of his fame; he had been only prevented
     by faction at home from completing his overthrow by the capture
     of his capital. He had never suffered a reverse; he had never
     alienated a friend; he had conquered by his mildness many
     enemies. Such deeds require no comment; they are without a
     parallel in European history, and justly place Marlborough in
     the place assigned him by Napoleon--at the head of European

  [35] ALISON, ii. 125.

The overthrow of Marlborough effected an object quite unlooked for
by his eager and shortsighted enemies. The efforts of faction,
aided by a palace intrigue, showed what had been due to the
greatness of one man. Instantly, as if by enchantment, the fabric
of victory raised by his all-potent arm was dissolved. Spain was
lost, Flanders reconquered, Germany threatened! The arch of the
Grand Alliance fell to pieces. These show in brighter colours than
ever the greatness and patriotism of Marlborough. Again he took the
command of the Hague, though no longer possessing the confidence
of the government, and intrusted with no control over diplomatic
measures; and again dazzled Europe and petrified his enemies by
the splendour of his first achievement. Louis, in order to prevent
the irruption of his foes into France, now that almost all his
fortresses had been broken through, resolved on the construction of
a line of defence on a scale so stupendous as to attract universal
wonder--lines subsequently paralleled only by the prodigious lines
of Torres Vedras. They were supplied with abundance of cannon, and
manned by ninety thousand choice troops of infantry and cavalry
under the command of Villars, who at length seemed both impregnable
and unconquerable. Marlborough was then in his sixty-second year,
and almost worn out by long service, and intense anxieties, and
incessant mortifications. "I find myself decay so very fast," he
wrote to his Duchess, "that from my heart and soul I wish the
Queen and my country a peace, by which I might have the advantage
of having a little quiet, which is my greatest ambition."[36] But
his mighty powers addressed themselves once more to a commensurate
object--the devising an enterprise which should at a stroke
deprive his enemy of all his huge defences, and drive him to fight
a decisive battle or lose his last frontier fortress. Shortly
afterwards, he was confounded by Prince Eugene being withdrawn
from him, together with a large section of the army, to repair
disasters in a distant part of the Continent. This rendered Villars
suddenly anxious for an encounter; but Louis, his eyes intently
fixed on the progress of intrigues in London, had peremptorily
prohibited him from fighting. Villars vaingloriously styled his
lines "Marlborough's _ne plus ultra_," a subject on which he was
abundantly jocular. But Marlborough, having carefully studied them,
devised a plan which very soon banished his boasts, and plunged
him into consternation. We must refer our readers to Mr Alison's
exciting description of this feat of strategy, by which Marlborough
passed the imaginary "_ne plus ultra_" without having fired a shot,
without having lost one man--frustrating by a sudden march nine
months' labour, and suddenly exhibiting to Marshal Villars the
palsying spectacle of Marlborough's whole army drawn up in battle
array on the _inner_ side of the impregnable lines! All this was the
work of Marlborough alone. The military critics of the Continent
were at a loss for words adequately expressing their admiration of
this great exploit:--

     "Marlborough's manoeuvre," says Rousset, "covered him with
     glory: it was a duel in which the English beat the French
     general; the armies on either side were present only to render
     the spectacle more magnificent. In battles and sieges, fortune
     and the valour of soldiers have often a great share in success;
     but here everything was the work of the Duke of Marlborough. To
     gain the lines, they would willingly have compounded for the
     loss of several thousand lives: thanks to the Duke, they were
     won without the loss of one; that bloodless victory was entirely
     owing to his wisdom."[37]

  [36] ALISON, vol. ii. p. 185, note.

  [37] _Ibid._ vol. ii. p. 194.

Marlborough instantly besieged Bouchain, another great fortress,
having prevented Villars, by brilliant manoeuvring, from coming
to its assistance. "The works effecting that purpose," said a
Hanoverian officer engaged on the occasion, "were worthy of Julius
Cæsar or Alexander Farnese, and the siege one of the prodigies of
war. You could not fire a cannon-shot from the trenches without
Villars seeing its smoke. He omitted nothing which could suspend
or interrupt the works. Vain hope! Our general, invincible on
all sides, has foreseen and frustrated all his enterprises."[38]
Marlborough was then pressing on the siege of Quesnoy, the capture
of which would have completely broken through the French barrier,
when he suddenly found himself undermined by the intrigues secretly
carrying on between the Tories and Louis XIV.; preliminaries
of peace were signed between them, afterwards embodied in the
execrable Treaty of Utrecht--abandoning the main object of the
long, glorious, and successful war--the exclusion of the Bourbon
family from the throne of Spain. And what, thinks the reader, was
done by Marlborough's enemies, in order to anticipate and frustrate
his opposition to these base proceedings? He was ridiculed and
libelled everywhere in the bitterest terms; accused of avarice,
fraud, extortion; of indolence, cruelty, ambition, and misconduct:
even his courage was questioned; and he was denounced as the
lowest of mankind! His magnificent passage of the French lines was
ridiculed as "the crossing of the kennel;" and the siege of Bouchain
stigmatised as an inexorable sacrifice of sixteen thousand men for
"the capture of a dovecot!"[39] He was charged with having embezzled
£63,319 of the public money during the war in Flanders, and
Parliamentary commissioners were employed to investigate the charge,
which the indignant warrior in one moment blew into the air. Then
he was charged with having prolonged the war for his own pecuniary
interests; and finally, he was charged with other pecuniary
peculations to an immense amount; and the Queen, on the advice of
her infamous ministers, dismissed her illustrious servant from all
his employments, in order that the atrocious calumnies might be
investigated. The intelligence was received with transport by the
enemies of England abroad; and Louis XIV. exclaimed, rapturously,
"_The dismission of Marlborough will do all we can desire_."[40]
At that moment the fallen warrior-statesman's resplendent services
had reduced Louis to a state of desperation, and he, with his whole
kingdom, lay at the mercy of Marlborough. Louis had announced
his resolve to lead the last army he could muster in person, and
conquer or die; but the measures of the ministry averted the
alternative, and saved his throne at the instant of its having
become defenceless. The perfidious desertion of England from the
Grand Alliance paralysed it. England consummated her treachery and
dishonour by the peace of Utrecht, which Mr Pitt justly stigmatised
as "the indelible reproach of the age," and which has entailed on
her long-continuing disaster. As for Marlborough, almost every
conceivable kind of insult and provocation was heaped upon him;
scurrilous mercenaries haunted him with libel and ridicule; and to
complete the climax of national meanness, the Treasury payments for
the works at Blenheim were discontinued, and the contractors and
workmen stimulated to sue the Duke for the arrears due to them, to
the extent of £30,000; while a peer, in his place in Parliament,
actually charged the veteran hero--John Duke of Marlborough--in his
presence, with "having led his troops to certain destruction, in
order _to profit by the sale of the officers' commissions_!"[41] The
Duke deigned no reply, but on leaving the house sent his slanderer
a challenge, which the terrified peer communicated to the proper
quarter, and the Queen's interference saved him from standing at
twelve paces distance from John Duke of Marlborough. To escape
the torturing indignities and outrages to which he was exposed,
Marlborough obtained passports and went abroad.

  [38] ALISON, ii. 199, 200.

  [39] _Ibid._ p. 203.

  [40] _Ibid._ p. 213.

  [41] _Parl. Hist._ vi. p. 1137.

The Duke of Marlborough was received on the Continent with almost
the honours due to a crowned head. At Antwerp his arrival and
departure were signalised by triple discharges of artillery; the
governor received him outside the walls with obsequious respect;
deafening acclamations resounded from the multitude as he passed
through the streets, every one struggling to catch a glimpse of
dishonoured greatness. "All," says Mr Alison, "were struck with
his noble air and demeanour, softened, though not weakened, by
the approach of age. They declared that his appearance was not
less overpowering than his sword. Many burst into tears when they
recollected what he had been, and what he was, and how unaccountably
the great nation to which he belonged had fallen from the height of
glory to such degradation." What pangs must have wrung the heart of
the illustrious veteran at such a moment! "Yet was his manner so
courteous, and yet animated, his conversation so simple, and yet
cheerful, that it was commonly said at the time, 'that the only
things he had forgotten were his own deeds, and the only things he
remembered were the misfortunes of others!'"

During his absence, his shameless traducers redoubled their efforts
to secure his ruin. The terror of his name, the shadow of his
distant greatness, must, however, frequently have made themselves
felt, if only with the effect of blinding them to the folly of their
own machinations. Their calumnious charges were annihilated by him
from abroad the moment they reached him; and those who had prepared
such charges, ignominiously silenced by his clear and decisive
representations. But Blenheim was within the power of a magnanimous
people, and they caused the erection of it at the public cost to be
suspended! The principal creditors sued the Duke personally for what
was due to them; and ultimately Blenheim, "this noble pile, this
proud monument of a nation's gratitude," would have remained a ruin
to this day, but for the Duke's own private contribution of no less
a sum than £60,000! One's cheek tingles with shame at the recital;
but there is the humiliating fact--

              "Pudet hæc opprobria nobis,
    Et dici potuisse, et non potuisse repelli."

The Duke of Marlborough spent nearly two years on the Continent.
Having quitted England on the 30th October 1712, he returned on the
4th August 1714; but under what circumstances? In the full splendour
of the romance of history. In contact with Marlborough, every event
seems to swell into great porportions, as if owning the presence and
power of greatness.

While abroad, his commanding intellect engaged itself in the noblest
of causes--upholding the interests of civil and religious liberty,
which were bound up indissolubly with the Hanoverian succession.
He might have retired for ever from the world, in stern disgust at
the treatment which he had experienced; but his magnanimity would
not suffer him. He knew that civil despotism, and the triumph of
the Romish faith, were identified with the success of the Louis of
his day, as they appear to be with a Louis of our day--the Louis,
at this moment, of France. The restoration of the Stuart line was
the symbol of the triumph of Popery; and Marlborough continued
anxiously to watch the progress of public events, with reference to
that "consummation" so "devoutly" to be deprecated. The two years
referred to were those of an immeasurably momentous crisis, big with
the ultimate destinies of this country. Marlborough was, throughout
that crisis, as clear-sighted, resolute, energetic, and skilful
in securing the Protestant succession, as he had ever been in the
conduct of his wars, every one of which had direct reference to that
high and glorious object. He continued the very life and soul of the
good cause, which he advanced by incessant watchfulness and discreet
and energetic action, carrying on a constant correspondence with
his friends both at home and abroad. At length Bolingbroke reached
the summit of advancement, and became virtually prime minister.
Bent upon the restoration of the Stuarts, in two days' time he had
organised a thoroughly Jacobite cabinet, which would unquestionably
have proceeded to seat the Stuarts on the throne. But the awful
hand of God appeared suddenly in the ordering of events: "The angel
of death," to use Mr Alison's words, "defeated the whole objects
for which the ministers were labouring so anxiously, and for which
they had sacrificed the security and glory of their country." Civil
war was almost in the act of breaking out, when the Queen died;
having at the last moment taken a step, in nominating the Duke of
Shrewsbury to be Lord-Treasurer, which annihilated the guilty hopes
of Bolingbroke and his party. This was the last act of her life; and
on her death the Protestant party took prompt and vigorous measures.
George I. was instantly proclaimed king, and in three days' time
the great Marlborough reappeared on the scene, the very guardian
angel of the newly-proclaimed king. His enemies were struck with
consternation. "_We are all frightened out of our wits upon the
Duke of Marlborough's going to England_,"[42] wrote one of them to
Bolingbroke. The illustrious personage was welcomed with enthusiasm
similar to that with which he had been formerly familiar; an immense
concourse of citizens attended him into the city, shouting--"Long
live George I.! Long live the Duke of Marlborough!" He was at once
sworn in of the Privy Council, and visited by the foreign ministers
and all the nobility and gentry within reach, and in the evening
appeared in the House of Lords, and took the oaths of allegiance
and supremacy, his old companions in arms, the Grenadier Guards,
firing a _feu-de-joie_ on the auspicious occasion. "That day
effaced the traces of years of injustice. The death of a single
individual"--the weak, ungrateful, vacillating Anne--"had restored
the patriotic hero to the position in which he stood after the
battle of Blenheim!" Though he had resolved to take part no more in
the conduct of affairs, he was prevailed upon to resume his post
of commander-in-chief, in which great capacity his new sovereign
received him with extraordinary demonstrations of satisfaction,
"proud to do honour to the chief _under whom he himself had gained
his first honours on the field of Oudenarde_!"[43] The discomfited
Jacobites, Bolingbroke, Ormond, and Oxford, were impeached for
high treason, for their conduct in seeking to overturn the Act of
Settlement, and restore the Stuarts. The former two fled to France,
but Oxford remained, and was prosecuted, but acquitted. Here again
the character of Marlborough has been malefied, by the charge of
having done all in his power to thwart the prosecution, for fear
of Lord Oxford's revealing the correspondence of the Duke in early
life, after the Revolution. This slander, however, is decisively
refuted by two facts--that the Duke _voted in every stage of the
prosecution_! and by the still more decisive fact, that he was
found to have been specially exempted from the proffered amnesty
published by the Pretender when he landed in Scotland.[44] This
last event--the Rebellion in Scotland--must have been indeed, as
Mr Alison remarks, a sore trial to Marlborough--"more severe than
any he had experienced since James II. had been precipitated from
the throne; for here was the son of his early patron and benefactor
asserting, in arms, his right to the throne of his fathers!" But
the Duke was here true as steel to his principles; and his energy
and sagacity extinguished the formidable insurrection, and with it
the hopes of the Stuarts. The Pretender returned humbled and ruined
to the Continent, in time to witness the death of the monarch Louis
XIV., whose guilty ambition had lighted the terrible conflagration,
of which a spark had been thus kindled in this country, and which
he had lived to see extinguished by such torrents of blood. He
was then seventy-seven years of age, miserable in contemplating
the wide-spread misery and ruin which he had prostituted all his
greatness in order to effect, and shuddering at the recollection of
his share in the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. His death-bed
reflections and injunctions to his successor we have already laid
before the reader.[45]

  [42] ALISON, ii. 263, note.

  [43] _Ibid._ p. 266.

  [44] _Ibid._ p. 303.

  [45] _Ante_, p. 146.

Only a few months previously, Louis's great conqueror had received
two startling messages, telling him, in heart-breaking tones, of
the transient nothingness of life. His two lovely daughters, the
Countess of Bridgewater and the Countess of Sunderland, were cut
off in the flower of their beauty, by almost sudden deaths, within
a few days of each other. These events pierced him to the heart.
Two years afterwards, having, during the interval, experienced
various warnings, he was struck with palsy, which deprived him for
a time of both speech and resolution. He recovered sufficiently, in
a few months' time, to be capable of removal to the country, for
the benefit of change of air and of scene. He visited Blenheim;
and on going through such of the rooms as were finished, was shown
a picture of himself at the battle of Blenheim. He turned away
with a mournful air, saying only--but in memorable and significant
words--"Something _then_!--but _now_!"[46]

  [46] ALISON, ii. p. 305.

He continued, on earnest solicitation, to hold his high military
office and discharge its duties for five years, living also in
the tranquil enjoyment of domestic happiness, superintending the
education of his grandchildren, and taking special delight in the
rising architectural grandeur of Blenheim, down even to the period
of his death. He made his last appearance in the House of Lords on
the 27th November 1721, but in June following had a severe and fatal
attack of paralysis. It at once prostrated his physical without
impairing his mental powers. To a question of his Duchess, whether
he heard the prayers which were being read as usual at night in
his apartment, he replied, "Yes; and I joined in them!" These were
the last words of this great man, who expired calmly a few hours
subsequently, in the seventy-second year of his age. He who thus
joined in prayers[47] on his deathbed had, with solemn reverence,
joined in them on the eves of Blenheim and of Malplaquet with his
whole army; and, amidst all the bloody horrors of war, had, in like
manner, remembered his God on every occasion, joining precept with
example in a noble spirit of piety. Let us hope that the prayers of
the dying warrior were heard and accepted by Him who heareth prayer,
and that he quitted life in a spirit different from that of Peter
the Great, who said on his death-bed, "I trust that, _in respect
of the good I have striven to do my people_, God will pardon my
sins!"[48] Mr Alison "charitably hopes that these words have been
realised"--he might have lamented the fallaciousness of Peter's

  [47] Marlborough had received the sacrament with great solemnity
  at the midnight preceding the day of the battle of Blenheim; and
  shortly before, divine service had been performed at the head of
  every regiment and squadron in the Allied army. After the battle
  he said, that "he had prayed to God more frequently during its
  continuance than all the chaplains of both armies put together which
  served under his orders."--_Ibid._ vol. i. p. 166.

  [48] _Ibid._ ii. 100.

Marlborough's funeral obsequies were celebrated with extraordinary
magnificence, and all ranks and all parties joined in doing him
honour. On the sides of the car bearing the coffin, shields were
affixed containing emblematic representations of his battles
and sieges. Blenheim was there, and the Schellemberg, Ramilies,
Oudenarde, and Malplaquet; Ruremonde and Liege, Menin and
Dendermonde, Antwerp and Brussels, Ostend and Ghent, Tournay and
Lille, Mons and Bouchain, Bethune, St Venant, and Aire. "The number,
and the recollections with which they were fraught, made the English
ashamed of the manner in which they had used the hero who had filled
the world with his renown."[49]

  [49] _Ibid._ p. 307.

Thus lived, and thus died, and thus was buried, John Duke of
Marlborough, of whom Lord Mahon[50] takes leave in a strain of
solemnity and dignity befitting the occasion:--

     "England lost one of her noblest worthies in John Duke of
     Marlborough. His achievements do not fall within my limits,
     and his character seems rather to belong to the historians of
     another period. Let them endeavour to delineate his vast and
     various abilities--that genius which saw humbled before it the
     proudest mareschals of France--that serenity of temper which
     enabled him patiently to bear, and bearing to overcome, all the
     obstinacy of the Dutch deputies, all the slowness of the German
     generals--those powers of combination so provident of failure,
     and so careful of details, that it might almost be said of him,
     that before he gave any battle he had already won it! Let them
     describe him in council as in arms, not always righteous in his
     end, but ever mighty in his means!"

  [50] _History of England_, ii. 41, 42.

There was grandeur in the words with which the Garter-King-at-Arms
closed the ceremonial at the tomb:--"Thus it has pleased Almighty
God to take out of this transitory world, into his mercy, the most
high, mighty, noble prince, John Duke of Marlborough." He has
passed to his great account, and must stand hereafter before the
Searcher of Hearts, to give an account of the deeds done in the
body, and be judged accordingly. It becomes us, shortsighted and
fallible as we are, to deal cautiously and tenderly with the memory
of the illustrious departed. There may have been many palliating
circumstances in the case of Marlborough's desertion of James which
have never yet been taken into account, and which now, probably,
never will. Could we hear his own explanation of his conduct towards
James, that explanation might greatly change our estimate of his
fault, and mitigate the asperity of our censures. No one can venture
to justify Marlborough's conduct towards James, in remaining in
his service, apparently devoted to his interests--then one of the
most confiding masters whom man ever had--after he had irrevocably
committed himself to that master's enemy, and effectually secured
the downfall and destruction of one who had actually saved the
life of his treacherous servant, and showered upon him every
possible mark of affection and distinction. That Marlborough was
conscientiously attached to the cause of Protestantism while he
thus acted, we have no doubt whatever; nor that he cherished that
attachment to the last moment of his life, and respected it as the
star by which he steered throughout his career. We must remember
that he had done everything in his power to divert James from his
purpose of re-establishing Popery. "My places, and the King's
favour," said he, in 1687, "I set at nought, in comparison of being
true to my religion. In all things but this the King may command me;
and I call God to witness that even with joy I should expose my life
in his service, so sensible am I of his favours--I being resolved,
though I cannot live the life of a saint, if there be occasion for
it, to live the life of a martyr." This he said to William, then
Prince of Orange. And during the same year he had thus sternly
addressed James himself, when remonstrating with him for "paving the
way for the introduction of Popery." He spoke with great warmth, and
thus--"What I spoke, sir, proceeded from my zeal for your Majesty's
service, which I prefer above all things, next to that of God; and
I humbly beseech your Majesty to believe that no subject in the
three kingdoms will venture farther than I will to purchase your
favour and good liking. But as I have been bred a Protestant, and
intend to live and die in that communion, and as above nine out
of ten in England are of that persuasion, I fear, from the genius
of the people, and their natural aversion to the Roman Catholic
worship, some consequences which I dare not so much as name, and
which I cannot contemplate without horror."[51] That he said this
to his infatuated master is indisputable; but it was his duty to
have at once quitted the service of that master, on finding that he
could not conscientiously continue in it. "Had he done so," says Mr
Alison, "and then either taken no part in the Revolution, or never
appeared in arms against him, the most scrupulous moralist could
have discovered nothing reprehensible in his conduct." That course
Marlborough did not take; and that which he did must have entailed
upon his sensitive mind unspeakable misery and mortification
throughout life. He must also have foreseen the blot which that
conduct would fix for ever on his fair fame--a reflection which
must have dimmed the splendour of his greatest triumphs, and wrung
his heart in its proudest moments of justifiable exultation. When
we reflect upon his long and illustrious course of public service,
the spotless purity of his private conduct in all the relations of
life, as husband, father, friend; his uniform piety, his humanity,
generosity, magnanimity, under the most trying circumstances in
which man can be placed, we are filled with as much wonder as
lamentation at this instance of treachery, this temporary oblivion
of all sense of honour and loyalty. But has it not been heavily
punished, and has it not been atoned for?

  [51] ALISON, i. 14, 15, note.

The charge, however, of a far more damning character than that
of his conduct towards the Stuarts--that of having prolonged the
war for his own selfish ends--is annihilated, after having been
reiterated with almost fiendish malignity and perseverance. Mr
Alison has placed this matter in the clearest possible light, and
accumulated such an overwhelming mass of disproof that it seems
perfectly monstrous that any such charge should have been for a
moment entertained by even the most rancorous of his enemies. It now
appears, from his correspondence throughout the war, that he pined
and languished for its close, in order that he might cease to be
the butt of malevolence and calumny, and escape from the crushing
pressure of his thankless toils and responsibilities into the
repose of private life. Out of a great number of similar passages
which we had marked for quotation, here is one both eloquent and
affecting. He is writing to the Duchess from Flanders in 1705, and
alluding to the calumnies against himself, which were reported to
him from England. "This vile enormous faction of theirs vexes me so
much, that I hope the Queen will after this campaign _allow me to
retire_, and end my days in praying for her prosperity and making
my peace with God."[52] He repeatedly supplicated to be allowed to
resign his command, and only the command of the sovereign, and the
importunities of his friends and of the Allies, prevailed upon him
to persevere. He made the most desperate efforts to bring the war to
a speedy close, but also a _safe_ one; for he never lost sight for
a moment of the great objects with which it had been undertaken. He
saw distinctly, from first to last, that there was no real peace for
Europe, no guarantee for our own independence, and for our civil and
religious liberties, but the complete prostration of the ambition
and power of Louis XIV.; and if his own enlightened sagacity had not
been repeatedly thwarted by the stupidity or faction of those with
whom he had to deal, he would early have deprived his traducers of
even the faintest pretext for their imputations upon him. "I have
had to modify my opinion of Marlborough," said the late eloquent
Professor Smyth,[53] "since considering the lately published 'Life'
of Archdeacon Coxe. I can no longer consider him as so betrayed
by a spirit of personal ambition as I had once suspected, and I
have a still stronger impression of his amiable nature in domestic
life. The _great_ Duke of Marlborough has been always his proper
appellation, and he is only made greater by being made more known
by the publication of Mr Coxe; nor can it be doubted that he would
appear greater still, the more the difficulties with which he was
surrounded, on all occasions, could be appreciated." This is said
in a candid and honourable spirit, by a professor whose sacred duty
was to give true notions of history, and of the characters figuring
in it, to the students of a great university. "These difficulties,"
continues the professor, "may now be partly estimated; the impetuous
temper and consequent imprudence of a wife, whom for her beauty, her
talents, and her affection, he naturally idolised; the low narrow
mind and mulish nature of the Queen he served; the unreasonable
wishes and strange prejudices of the men of influence in his own
country; the discordant interests and passions of different states
and princes on the Continent; the pertinacity of the field-deputies
of Holland, whom he could not send over into the camp of the enemy,
their more proper station, and to whose absurdities it gave him the
headache to listen." This pithy paragraph well groups together the
leading "difficulties" with which this amazing man had to contend;
and in Mr Alison's volumes a flood of light is thrown upon them
all. None of his readers can fail to feel the profoundest sympathy
with harassed greatness. Without compromising his own sense of what
is right, or attempting to conceal or disguise the failings of his
hero, Mr Alison has painted a picture, at once noble and affecting,
of the Duke of Marlborough, in every aspect of his character, in
every position in which he was placed. In private and in public
life--as a friend, as a father, as a husband--as a diplomatist,
as a statesman, as a warrior--where is his equal to be found, and
how can we be too grateful to one who has placed him, in all these
characters, so vividly before us? "If the preceding pages," says Mr
Alison, modestly, at the close of his biography, "shall contribute
in any degree to the illustration of so great a character, and to
shed the light of historic truth on the actions of one of the most
illustrious men whom the world has ever produced, the author's
labours will not have been incurred in vain." They have not; and we
doubt not that these volumes will add greatly to the well-earned
reputation of the historian of the French Revolution. We repeat that
the knowledge gained by Mr Alison, in preparing that work, has given
him peculiar qualifications for writing the present. We had marked
a great number of instances in which the events in Marlborough's
campaigns, and those events which led to them and followed them,
are most plenteously and instructively compared and contrasted
with those of the great compaigns of Wellington and Napoleon. The
resemblance is sometimes startling; but the length to which this
article has run compels us to rest satisfied with referring the
reader to the present work. The last chapter consists of five
deeply-interesting portraits,--Marlborough, Eugene, Frederick the
Great, Napoleon, and Wellington--the five great generals of modern
times. The distinctive features of each are given with fidelity and
force. It is, however, in the full flow of his military narrative
that the peculiar excellence of Mr Alison is to be found. His
battles[54] are always dashed off boldly and brilliantly, as far
as effect is concerned, and at the same time with the most exact
attention to details.

  [52] ALISON, i. 211, note.

  [53] _Lectures_, i. 143.

  [54] A very happy idea is embodied in a work recently published, and
  which has quickly reached a second edition--Mr Creasy's _Fifteen
  Decisive Battles of the World, from Marathon to Waterloo_. The idea
  was suggested by a remark of Mr Hallam, placed on the title-page
  by way of motto, "These few battles, of which a contrary event
  would have essentially varied the drama of the world in all its
  subsequent scenes." Mr Alison frequently puts such cases, in both
  _The Life of Marlborough_ and his _History of Europe_. Mr Creasy, as
  a distinguished scholar and a professor of history, has acquitted
  himself very ably. His fifteen battles are well selected, as
  radiating centres of enduring influence upon human affairs in their
  greatest crises--as so many nuclei of historical knowledge.

We are not disposed to be critical with an author who has afforded
us such great gratification--

        "Ubi plura nitent--uni ego paucis
    Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
    Aut humana parum carit natura!"

There are, however, occasional traces of haste, involving
repetitions and confused expressions, which, doubtless, will
disappear in future editions. We doubt not that they will be called
for; and are happy to have had this opportunity of calling attention
to a new work proceeding from a gentleman standing so deservedly
high with the public, and which, moreover, as we have more than
once intimated, is very well timed. Let any one contemplate France
at the present moment, and observe the attitude of the Romish and
Protestant forms of faith throughout Europe, and in Great Britain,
and he will think with no little anxiety of the days of another
Louis, now on the scene of action; and perhaps inquire anxiously,
with reference to the future, where is _our_ Marlborough?




With a slow step and an abstracted air, Harley L'Estrange bent his
way towards Egerton's house, after his eventful interview with
Helen. He had just entered one of the streets leading into Grosvenor
Square, when a young man, walking quickly from the opposite
direction, came full against him, and drawing back with a brief
apology, recognised him, and exclaimed, "What! you in England, Lord
L'Estrange! Accept my congratulations on your return. But you seem
scarcely to remember me."

"I beg your pardon, Mr Leslie. I remember you now by your smile; but
you are of an age in which it is permitted me to say that you look
older than when I saw you last."

"And yet, Lord L'Estrange, it seems to me that you look younger."

Indeed, this reply was so far true that there appeared less
difference of years than before between Leslie and L'Estrange; for
the wrinkles in the schemer's mind were visible in his visage, while
Harley's dreamy worship of Truth and Beauty seemed to have preserved
to the votary the enduring youth of the divinities.

Harley received the compliment with a supreme indifference, which
might have been suitable to a Stoic, but which seemed scarcely
natural to a gentleman who had just proposed to a lady many years
younger than himself.

Leslie renewed--"Perhaps you are on your way to Mr Egerton's. If so,
you will not find him at home; he is at his office."

"Thank you. Then to his office I must re-direct my steps."

"I am going to him myself," said Randal hesitatingly.

L'Estrange had no prepossessions in favour of Leslie, from the
little he had seen of that young gentleman; but Randal's remark was
an appeal to his habitual urbanity, and he replied with well-bred
readiness, "Let us be companions so far."

Randal accepted the arm proffered to him; and Lord L'Estrange, as
is usual with one long absent from his native land, bore part as a
questioner in the dialogue that ensued.

"Egerton is always the same man, I suppose--too busy for illness,
and too firm for sorrow?"

"If he ever feel either, he will never stoop to complain. But
indeed, my dear lord, I should like much to know what you think of
his health."

"How? You alarm me!"

"Nay, I did not mean to do that; and, pray, do not let him know that
I went so far. But I have fancied that he looks a little worn, and

"Poor Audley!" said L'Estrange in a tone of deep affection. "I will
sound him, and, be assured, without naming you; for I know well how
little he likes to be supposed capable of human infirmity. I am
obliged to you for your hint--obliged to you for your interest in
one so dear to me."

And Harley's voice was more cordial to Randal than it had ever
been before. He then began to inquire what Randal thought of the
rumours that had reached himself as to the probable defeat of
the government, and how far Audley's spirits were affected by
such risks. But Randal here, seeing that Harley could communicate
nothing, was reserved and guarded.

"Loss of office could not, I think, affect a man like
Audley," observed Lord L'Estrange. "He would be as great in
opposition--perhaps greater; and as to emoluments"----

"The emoluments are good," interposed Randal with a half sigh.

"Good enough, I suppose, to pay him back about a tenth of what his
place costs our magnificent friend--No, I will say one thing for
English statesmen, no man amongst them ever yet was the richer for

"And Mr Egerton's private fortune must be large, I take for
granted," said Randal carelessly.

"It ought to be, if he has time to look to it."

Here they passed by the hotel in which lodged the Count di Peschiera.

Randal stopped. "Will you excuse me for an instant? As we are
passing this hotel, I will just leave my card here." So saying, he
gave his card to a waiter lounging by the door. "For the Count di
Peschiera," said he aloud.

L'Estrange started; and as Randal again took his arm, said--"So that
Italian lodges here? and you know him?"

"I know him but slightly, as one knows any foreigner who makes a

"He makes a sensation?"

"Naturally; for he is handsome, witty, and said to be very
rich--that is, as long as he receives the revenues of his exiled

"I see you are well informed, Mr Leslie. And what is supposed to
bring hither the Count di Peschiera?"

"I did hear something, which I did not quite understand, about a
bet of his that he would marry his kinsman's daughter; and so, I
conclude, secure to himself all the inheritance; and that he is
therefore here to discover the kinsman and win the heiress. But
probably you know the rights of the story, and can tell me what
credit to give to such gossip."

"I know this at least, that if he did lay such a wager, I would
advise you to take any odds against him that his backers may give,"
said L'Estrange drily; and while his lip quivered with anger, his
eye gleamed with arch ironical humour.

"You think, then, that this poor kinsman will not need such an
alliance in order to regain his estates?"

"Yes; for I never yet knew a rogue whom I would not bet against,
when he backed his own luck as a rogue against Justice and

Randal winced, and felt as if an arrow had grazed his heart; but he
soon recovered.

"And indeed there is another vague rumour that the young lady in
question is married already--to some Englishman."

This time it was Harley who winced. "Good Heavens! that cannot be
true--that would undo all! An Englishman just at this moment! But
some Englishman of correspondent rank I trust, or at least one known
for opinions opposed to what an Austrian would call revolutionary

"I know nothing. But it was supposed, merely a private gentleman of
good family. Would not that suffice? Can the Austrian Court dictate
a marriage to the daughter as a condition for grace to the father?"

"No--not that!" said Harley, greatly disturbed. "But put yourself
in the position of any minister to one of the great European
monarchies. Suppose a political insurgent, formidable for station
and wealth, had been proscribed, much interest made on his behalf,
a powerful party striving against it, and just when the minister
is disposed to relent, he hears that the heiress to this wealth
and this station is married to the native of a country in which
sentiments friendly to the very opinions for which the insurgent
was proscribed are popularly entertained, and thus that the fortune
to be restored may be so employed as to disturb the national
security--the existing order of things;--this, too, at the very
time when a popular revolution has just occurred in France,[55] and
its effects are felt most in the very land of the exile:--suppose
all this, and then say if anything could be more untoward for the
hopes of the banished man, or furnish his adversaries with stronger
arguments against the restoration of his fortune? But pshaw--this
must be a chimera! If true, I should have known of it."

  [55] As there have been so many revolutions in France, it may be
  convenient to suggest that, according to the dates of this story,
  Harley no doubt alludes to that revolution which exiled Charles X.
  and placed Louis Philippe on the throne.

"I quite agree with your lordship--there can be no truth in such a
rumour. Some Englishman hearing, perhaps, of the probable pardon of
the exile, may have counted on an heiress, and spread the report in
order to keep off other candidates. By, your account, if successful
in his suit, he might fail to find an heiress in the bride?"

"No doubt of that. Whatever might be arranged, I can't conceive
that he would be allowed to get at the fortune, though it might
be held in suspense for his children. But indeed it so rarely
happens that an Italian girl of high name marries a foreigner, that
we must dismiss this notion with a smile at the long face of the
hypothetical fortune-hunter. Heaven help him, if he exist!"

"Amen," echoed Randal devoutly.

"I hear that Peschiera's sister is returned to England. Do you know
her too?"

"A little."

"My dear Mr Leslie, pardon me if I take a liberty not warranted by
our acquaintance. Against the lady I say nothing. Indeed, I have
heard some things which appear to entitle her to compassion and
respect. But as to Peschiera, all who prize honour suspect him to
be a knave--I know him to be one. Now, I think that the longer we
preserve that abhorrence for knavery which is the generous instinct
of youth, why, the fairer will be our manhood, and the more reverend
our age. You agree with me?" And Harley suddenly turning, his eyes
fell like a flood of light upon Randal's pale and secret countenance.

"To be sure," murmured the schemer.

Harley surveying him, mechanically recoiled, and withdrew his arm.

Fortunately for Randal, who somehow or other felt himself slipped
into a false position, he scarce knew how or why, he was here seized
by the arm; and a clear, open, manly voice cried, "My dear fellow,
how are you? I see you are engaged now; but look into my rooms when
you can, in the course of the day."

And with a bow of excuse for his interruption, to Lord L'Estrange,
the speaker was then turning away, when Harley said--

"No, don't let me take you from your friend, Mr Leslie. And you need
not be in a hurry to see Egerton; for I shall claim the privilege of
older friendship for the first interview."

"It is Mr Egerton's nephew, Frank Hazeldean."

"Pray, call him back, and present me to him. He has a face that
would have gone far to reconcile Timon to Athens."

Randal obeyed; and after a few kindly words to Frank, Harley
insisted on leaving the two young men together, and walked on to
Downing Street with a brisker step.


"That Lord L'Estrange seems a very good fellow."

"So-so;--an effeminate humourist;--says the most absurd things, and
fancies them wise. Never mind him. You wanted to speak to me, Frank?"

"Yes; I am so obliged to you for introducing me to Levy. I must tell
you how handsomely he has behaved."

"Stop; allow me to remind you that I did not introduce you to Levy;
you had met him before at Borrowell's, if I recollect right, and
he dined with us at the Clarendon--that is all I had to do with
bringing you together. Indeed I rather cautioned you against him
than not. Pray don't think I introduced you to a man who, however
pleasant, and perhaps honest, is still a money-lender. Your father
would be justly angry with me if I had done so."

"Oh, pooh! you are prejudiced against poor Levy. But just hear: I
was sitting very ruefully, thinking over those cursed bills, and how
the deuce I should renew them, when Levy walked into my rooms; and
after telling me of his long friendship for my uncle Egerton, and
his admiration for yourself, and, (give me your hand, Randal) saying
how touched he felt by your kind sympathy in my troubles, he opened
his pocket-book, and showed me the bills safe and sound in his own


"He had bought them, up. 'It must be so disagreeable to me,' he
said, 'to have them flying about the London money-market, and these
Jews would be sure sooner or later to apply to my father. And now,'
added Levy, 'I am in no immediate hurry for the money, and we must
put the interest upon fairer terms.' In short, nothing could be more
liberal than his tone. And he says, 'he is thinking of a way to
relieve me altogether, and will call about it in a few days, when
his plan is matured.' After all, I must owe this to you, Randal. I
dare swear you put it into his head."

"O no, indeed! On the contrary, I still say, 'Be cautious in all
your dealings with Levy.' I don't know, I'm sure, what he means to
propose. Have you heard from the Hall lately?'

"Yes--to-day. Only think--the Riccaboccas have disappeared. My
mother writes me word of it--a very odd letter. She seems to suspect
that I know where they are, and reproaches me for 'mystery'--quite
enigmatical. But there is one sentence in her letter--see, here it
is in the postscript--which seems to refer to Beatrice: 'I don't
ask you to tell me your secrets, Frank, but Randal will no doubt
have assured you that my first consideration will be for your own
happiness, in any matter in which your heart is really engaged.'"

"Yes," said Randal, slowly; "no doubt this refers to Beatrice;
but, as I told you, your mother will not interfere one way or the
other,--such interference would weaken her influence with the
Squire. Besides, as she said, she can't _wish_ you to marry a
foreigner; though once married, she would----But how do you stand
now with the Marchesa? Has she consented to accept you?"

"Not quite; indeed I have not actually proposed. Her manner, though
much softened, has not so far emboldened me; and, besides, before a
positive declaration, I certainly must go down to the Hall and speak
at least to my mother."

"You must judge for yourself, but don't do anything rash: talk first
to me. Here we are at my office. Good-bye; and--and pray believe
that, in whatever you do with Levy, I have no hand in it."


Towards the evening, Randal was riding fast on the road to Norwood.
The arrival of Harley, and the conversation that had passed between
that nobleman and Randal, made the latter anxious to ascertain how
far Riccabocca was likely to learn L'Estrange's return to England,
and to meet with him. For he felt that, should the latter come to
know that Riccabocca, in his movements, had gone by Randal's advice,
Harley would find that Randal had spoken to him disingenuously;
and, on the other hand, Riccabocca, placed under the friendly
protection of Lord L'Estrange, would no longer need Randal Leslie to
defend him from the machinations of Peschiera. To a reader happily
unaccustomed to dive into the deep and mazy recesses of a schemer's
mind, it might seem that Randal's interest in retaining a hold
over the exile's confidence would terminate with the assurances
that had reached him, from more than one quarter, that Violante
might cease to be an heiress if she married himself. "But perhaps,"
suggests some candid and youthful conjecturer--"perhaps Randal
Leslie is in love with this fair creature?" Randal in love!--no! He
was too absorbed by harder passions for that blissful folly. Nor,
if he could have fallen in love, was Violante the one to attract
that sullen, secret heart; her instinctive nobleness, the very
stateliness of her beauty, womanlike though it was, awed him. Men of
that kind may love some soft slave--they cannot lift their eyes to
a queen. They may look down--they cannot look up. But, on the one
hand, Randal could not resign altogether the _chance_ of securing
a fortune that would realise his most dazzling dreams, upon the
mere assurance, however probable, which had so dismayed him; and,
on the other hand, should he be compelled to relinquish all idea of
such alliance, though he did not contemplate the base perfidy of
actually assisting Peschiera's avowed designs, still, if Frank's
marriage with Beatrice should absolutely depend upon her brother's
obtaining the knowledge of Violante's retreat, and that marriage
should be as conducive to his interests as he thought he could make
it, why,--he did not then push his deductions farther, even to
himself--they seemed too black; but he sighed heavily, and that sigh
foreboded how weak would be honour and virtue against avarice and
ambition. Therefore, on all accounts, Riccabocca was one of those
cards in a sequence, which so calculating a player would not throw
out of his hand: it _might_ serve for repique at the worst--it might
score well in the game. Intimacy with the Italian was still part and
parcel in that knowledge which was the synonym of power.

While the young man was thus meditating, on his road to Norwood,
Riccabocca and his Jemima were close conferring in their
drawing-room. And if you could have there seen them, reader, you
would have been seized with equal surprise and curiosity; for some
extraordinary communication had certainly passed between them.
Riccabocca was evidently much agitated, and with emotions not
familiar to him. The tears stood in his eyes at the same time that
a smile, the reverse of cynical or sardonic, curved his lips; while
his wife was leaning her head on his shoulder, her hand clasped in
his, and, by the expression of her face, you might guess that he had
paid her some very gratifying compliment, of a nature more genuine
and sincere than those which characterised his habitual hollow and
dissimulating gallantry. But just at this moment Giacomo entered,
and Jemima, with her native English modesty, withdrew in haste from
Riccabocca's sheltering side.

"Padrone," said Giacomo, who, whatever his astonishment at the
connubial position he had disturbed, was much too discreet to betray
it--"Padrone, I see the young Englishman riding towards the house,
and I hope, when he arrives, you will not forget the alarming
information I gave to you this morning."

"Ah--ah!" said Riccabocca, his face falling.

"If the Signorina were but married!"

"My very thought--my constant thought!" exclaimed Riccabocca. "And
you really believe the young Englishman loves her?"

"Why else should he come, Excellency?" asked Giacomo, with great

"Very true; why, indeed?" said Riccabocca. "Jemima, I cannot endure
the terrors I suffer on that poor child's account. I will open
myself frankly to Randal Leslie. And now, too, that which might have
been a serious consideration, in case I return to Italy, will no
longer stand in our way, Jemima."

Jemima smiled faintly, and whispered something to Riccabocca, to
which he replied--

"Nonsense, _anima mia_. I know it _will_ be--have not a doubt of
it. I tell you it is as nine to four, according to the nicest
calculations. I will speak at once to Randal. He is too young--too
timid to speak himself."

"Certainly," interposed Giacomo; "how could he dare to speak, let
him love ever so well?"

Jemima shook her head.

"O, never fear," said Riccabocca, observing this gesture; "I will
give him the trial. If he entertain but mercenary views, I shall
soon detect them. I know human nature pretty well, I think, my love;
and, Giacomo,--just get me my Machiavel;--that's right. Now leave
me, my dear; I must reflect and prepare myself."

When Randal entered the house, Giacomo, with a smile of peculiar
suavity, ushered him into the drawing-room. He found Riccabocca
alone, and seated before the fire-place, leaning his face on his
hand, with the great folio of Machiavel lying open on the table.

The Italian received him as courteously as usual; but there was
in his manner a certain serious and thoughtful dignity, which was
perhaps the more imposing, because but rarely assumed. After a few
preliminary observations, Randal remarked that Frank Hazeldean
had informed him of the curiosity which the disappearance of the
Riccaboccas had excited at the Hall, and inquired carelessly if the
Doctor had left instructions as to the forwarding of any letters
that might be directed to him at the Casino.

"Letters," said Riccabocca simply--"I never receive any; or, at
least, so rarely, that it was not worth while to take an event so
little to be expected into consideration. No; if any letters do
reach the Casino, there they will wait."

"Then I can see no possibility of indiscretion; no chance of a clue
to your address."

"Nor I either."

Satisfied so far, and knowing that it was not in Riccabocca's habits
to read the newspapers, by which he might otherwise have learnt of
L'Estrange's arrival in London, Randal then proceeded to inquire,
with much seeming interest, into the health of Violante--hoped it
did not suffer by confinement, &c. Riccabocca eyed him gravely while
he spoke, and then suddenly rising, that air of dignity to which I
have before referred, became yet more striking.

"My young friend," said he, "hear me attentively, and answer
me frankly. I know human nature"--Here a slight smile of proud
complacency passed the sage's lips, and his eye glanced towards his

"I know human nature--at least I have studied it," he renewed more
earnestly, and with less evident self-conceit; "and I believe that
when a perfect stranger to me exhibits an interest in my affairs,
which occasions him no small trouble--an interest (continued the
wise man, laying his hand upon Randal's shoulder) which scarcely
a son could exceed, he must be under the influence of some strong
personal motive."

"Oh, sir!" cried Randal, turning a shade more pale, and with a
faltering tone. Riccabocca surveyed him with the tenderness of a
superior being, and pursued his deductive theories.

"In your case, what is that motive? Not political; for I conclude
you share the opinions of your government, and those opinions have
not favoured mine. Not that of pecuniary or ambitious calculations;
for how can such calculations enlist you on behalf of a ruined
exile? What remains? Why, the motive which at your age is ever
the most natural, and the strongest. I don't blame you. Machiavel
himself allows that such a motive has swayed the wisest minds, and
overturned the most solid states. In a word, young man, you are in
love, and with my daughter Violante."

Randal was so startled by this direct and unexpected charge upon his
own masked batteries, that he did not even attempt his defence. His
head drooped on his breast, and he remained speechless.

"I do not doubt," resumed the penetrating judge of human nature,
"that you would have been withheld by the laudable and generous
scruples which characterise your happy age, from voluntarily
disclosing to me the state of your heart. You might suppose
that, proud of the position I once held, or sanguine in the
hope of regaining my inheritance, I might be over-ambitious in
my matrimonial views for Violante; or that you, anticipating my
restoration to honours and fortune, might seem actuated by the last
motives which influence love and youth; and, therefore, my dear
young friend, I have departed from the ordinary custom in England,
and adopted a very common one in my own country. With us, a suitor
seldom presents himself till he is assured of the consent of a
father. I have only to say this--If I am right, and you love my
daughter, my first object in life is to see her safe and secure;
and, in a word--you understand me."

Now, mightily may it comfort and console us ordinary mortals, who
advance no pretence to superior wisdom and ability, to see the
huge mistakes made by both these very sagacious personages--Dr
Riccabocca, valuing himself on his profound acquaintance with
character, and Randal Leslie, accustomed to grope into every
hole and corner of thought and action, wherefrom to extract that
knowledge which is power! For whereas the sage, judging not only
by his own heart in youth, but by the general influence of the
master passion on the young, had ascribed to Randal sentiments
wholly foreign to that able diplomatist's nature, so, no sooner had
Riccabocca brought his speech to a close, than Randal, judging also
by his own heart, and by the general laws which influence men of the
mature age and boasted worldly wisdom of the pupil of Machiavel,
instantly decided that Riccabocca presumed upon his youth and
inexperience, and meant most nefariously to take him in.

"The poor youth!" thought Riccabocca, "how unprepared he is for the
happiness I give him!"

"The cunning old Jesuit!" thought Randal; "he has certainly learned,
since we met last, that he has no chance of regaining his patrimony,
and so he wants to impose on me the hand of a girl without a
shilling. What other motive can he possibly have! Had his daughter
the remotest probability of becoming the greatest heiress in Italy,
would he dream of bestowing her on me in this off-hand way? The
thing stands to reason."

Actuated by his resentment at the trap thus laid for him, Randal
was about to disclaim altogether the disinterested and absurd
affection laid to his charge, when it occurred to him that, by so
doing, he might mortally offend the Italian--since the cunning never
forgive those who refuse to be duped by them--and it might still be
conducive to his interest to preserve intimate and familiar terms
with Riccabocca; therefore, subduing his first impulse, he exclaimed,

"O too generous man! pardon me if I have so long been unable to
express my amaze, my gratitude; but I cannot--no, I cannot, while
your prospects remain thus uncertain, avail myself of your--of your
inconsiderate magnanimity. Your rare conduct can only redouble my
own scruples, if you, as I firmly hope and believe, are restored to
your great possessions,--you would naturally look so much higher
than me. Should those hopes fail, then, indeed, it may be different;
yet even then, what position, what fortune, have I to offer to your
daughter worthy of her?"

"You are well born: all gentlemen are equals," said Riccabocca,
with a sort of easy nobleness. "You have youth, information,
talent--sources of certain wealth in this happy country--powerful
connections; and, in fine, if you are satisfied with marrying
for love, I shall be contented;--if not, speak openly. As to the
restoration to my possessions, I can scarcely think that probable
while my enemy lives. And even in that case, since I saw you last,
something has occurred (added Riccabocca with a strange smile,
which seemed to Randal singularly sinister and malignant) that may
remove all difficulties. Meanwhile, do not think me so extravagantly
magnanimous--do not underrate the satisfaction I must feel at
knowing Violante safe from the designs of Peschiera--safe, and for
ever, under a husband's roof. I will tell you an Italian proverb--it
contains a truth full of wisdom and terror:--

     "'Hai cinquanta Amici?--non basta--hai un Nemico?--è

  [56] Have you fifty friends?--it is not enough.--Have you one
  enemy?--it is too much.

"Something has occurred!" echoed Randal, not heeding the conclusion
of this speech, and scarcely hearing the proverb which the sage
delivered in his most emphatic and tragic tone. "Something has
occurred! My dear friend, be plainer. What has occurred?" Riccabocca
remained silent. "Something that induces you to bestow your daughter
on me?"

Riccabocca nodded, and emitted a low chuckle.

"The very laugh of a fiend," muttered Randal. "Something that makes
her not worth bestowing. He betrays himself. Cunning people always

"Pardon me," said the Italian at last," if I don't answer your
question; you will know later; but, at present, this is a family
secret. And now I must turn to another and more alarming cause
for my frankness to you." Here Riccabocca's face changed, and
assumed an expression of mingled rage and fear. "You must know," he
added, sinking his voice, "that Giacomo has seen a strange person
loitering about the house, and looking up at the windows; and he
has no doubt--nor have I--that this is some spy or emissary of

"Impossible; how could he discover you?"

"I know not; but no one else has any interest in doing so. The man
kept at a distance, and Giacomo could not see his face."

"It may be but a mere idler. Is this all?"

"No; the old woman who serves us said that she was asked at a shop
'if we were not Italians?'"

"And she answered?"

"'No;' but owned that 'we had a foreign servant, Giacomo.'"

"I will see to this. Rely on it that if Peschiera has discovered
you, I will learn it. Nay, I will hasten from you in order to
commence inquiry."

"I cannot detain you. May I think that we have now an interest in

"O, indeed yes; but--but--your daughter! how can I dream that one so
beautiful, so peerless, will confirm the hope you have extended to

"The daughter of an Italian is brought up to consider that it is a
father's right to dispose of her hand."

"But the heart?"

"_Cospetto!_" said the Italian, true to his infamous notions as to
the sex, "the heart of a girl is like a convent--the holier the
cloister, the more charitable the door."


Randal had scarcely left the house, before Mrs Riccabocca, who was
affectionately anxious in all that concerned Violante, rejoined her

"I like the young man very well," said the sage--"very well indeed.
I find him just what I expected from my general knowledge of human
nature; for as love ordinarily goes with youth, so modesty usually
accompanies talent. He is young, _ergo_ he is in love; he has
talent, _ergo_ he is modest--modest and ingenuous."

"And you think not in any way swayed by interest in his affections?"

"Quite the contrary; and to prove him the more, I have not said a
word as to the worldly advantages which, in any case, would accrue
to him from an alliance with my daughter. In any case; for if I
regain my country, her fortune is assured; and if not, I trust (said
the poor exile, lifting his brow with stately and becoming pride)
that I am too well aware of my child's dignity as well as my own, to
ask any one to marry her to his own worldly injury."

"Eh! I don't quite understand you, Alphonso. To be sure, your dear
life is insured for her marriage portion; but--"

"_Pazzie_--stuff!" said Riccabocca petulantly; "her marriage portion
would be as nothing to a young man of Randal's birth and prospects.
I think not of that. But listen: I have never consented to profit
by Harley L'Estrange's friendship for me; my scruples would not
extend to my son-in-law. This noble friend has not only high rank,
but considerable influence--influence with the government--influence
with Randal's patron--who, between ourselves, does not seem to push
the young man as he might do; I judge by what Randal says. I should
write, therefore, before anything was settled, to L'Estrange, and I
should say to him simply, 'I never asked you to save me from penury,
but I do ask you to save a daughter of my house from humiliation.
I can give to her no dowry; can her husband owe to my friend
that advance in an honourable career--that opening to energy and
talent--which is more than a dowry to generous ambition?'"

"Oh, it is in vain you would disguise your rank," cried Jemima with
enthusiasm, "it speaks in all you utter, when your passions are

The Italian did not seem flattered by that eulogy. "Pish," said he,
"there you are! rank again!"

But Jemima was right. There was something about her husband that
was grandiose and princely, whenever he escaped from his accursed
Machiavel, and gave fair play to his heart.

And he spent the next hour or so in thinking over all that he
could do for Randal, and devising for his intended son-in-law the
agreeable surprises, which Randal was at that very time racking his
yet cleverer brains to disappoint.

These plans conned sufficiently, Riccabocca shut up his Machiavel,
and hunted out of his scanty collection of books Buffon on Man,
and various other psychological volumes, in which he soon became
deeply absorbed. Why were these works the object of the sage's
study? Perhaps he will let us know soon, for it is clearly a secret
known to his wife; and though she has hitherto kept one secret,
that is precisely the reason why Riccabocca would not wish long to
overburthen her discretion with another.


Randal reached home in time to dress for a late dinner at Baron

The Baron's style of living was of that character especially
affected both by the most acknowledged exquisites of that day,
and, it must be owned, also, by the most egregious _parvenus_.
For it is noticeable that it is your _parvenu_ who always comes
nearest in fashion (so far as externals are concerned) to your
genuine exquisite. It is your _parvenu_ who is most particular as
to the cut of his coat, and the precision of his equipage, and
the minutiæ of his _ménage_. Those between the _parvenu_ and the
exquisite who know their own consequence, and have something solid
to rest upon, are slow in following all the caprices of fashion, and
obtuse in observation as to those niceties which neither give them
another ancestor, nor add another thousand to the account at their
banker's;--as to the last, rather indeed the contrary! There was a
decided elegance about the Baron's house and his dinner. If he had
been one of the lawful kings of the dandies, you would have cried,
"What perfect taste!"--but such is human nature, that the dandies
who dined with him said to each other, "He pretend to imitate
D----! vulgar dog!" There was little affectation of your more showy
opulence. The furniture in the rooms was apparently simple, but,
in truth, costly, from its luxurious comfort--the ornaments and
china scattered about the commodes were of curious rarity and great
value; and the pictures on the walls were gems. At dinner, no plate
was admitted on the table. The Russian fashion, then uncommon, now
more prevalent, was adopted--fruits and flowers in old Sèvre dishes
of priceless _vertu_, and in sparkling glass of Bohemian fabric.
No livery servant was permitted to wait; behind each guest stood
a gentleman dressed so like the guest himself, in fine linen and
simple black, that guest and lacquey seemed stereotypes from one

The viands were exquisite; the wine came from the cellars of
deceased archbishops and ambassadors. The company was select; the
party did not exceed eight. Four were the eldest sons of peers (from
a baron to a duke;) one was a professed wit, never to be got without
a month's notice, and, where a _parvenu_ was host, a certainty of
green pease and peaches--out of season; the sixth, to Randal's
astonishment, was Mr Richard Avenel; himself and the Baron made up
the complement.

The eldest sons recognised each other with a meaning smile; the most
juvenile of them, indeed, (it was his first year in London,) had the
grace to blush and look sheepish. The others were more hardened;
but they all united in regarding with surprise both Randal and
Dick Avenel. The former was known to most of them personally; and
to all, by repute, as a grave, clever, promising young man, rather
prudent than lavish, and never suspected to have got into a scrape.
What the deuce did he do there? Mr Avenel puzzled them yet more.
A middle-aged man, said to be in business, whom they had observed
"about town" (for he had a noticeable face and figure)--that is,
seen riding in the park, or lounging in the pit at the opera, but
never set eyes on at a recognised club, or in the coteries of their
'set';--a man whose wife gave horrid third-rate parties, that took
up half-a-column in the _Morning Post_ with a list of "The Company
Present,"--in which a sprinkling of dowagers out of fashion, and a
foreign title or two, made the darkness of the obscurer names doubly
dark. Why this man should be asked to meet _them_, by Baron Levy,
too--a decided tuft-hunter and would-be exclusive--called all their
faculties into exercise. The wit, who, being the son of a small
tradesman, but in the very best society, gave himself far greater
airs than the young lords, impertinently solved the mystery. "Depend
on it," whispered he to Spendquick--"depend on it the man is the
X.Y. of the _Times_ who offers to lend any sums of money from £10 to
half-a-million. He's the man who has all your bills; Levy is only
his jackall."

"'Pon my soul," said Spendquick, rather alarmed, "if that's the
case, one may as well be civil to him."

"_You_, certainly," said the wit. "But I never yet found an X.Y.
who would advance me the L. s.; and, therefore, I shall not be more
respectful to X.Y. than to any other unknown quantity."

By degrees, as the wine circulated, the party grew gay and sociable.
Levy was really an entertaining fellow; had all the gossip of the
town at his fingers' ends; and possessed, moreover, that pleasant
art of saying ill-natured things of the absent, which those present
always enjoy. By degrees, too, Mr Richard Avenel came out; and as
the whisper had circulated round the table that he was X.Y., he was
listened to with a profound respect, which greatly elevated his
spirits. Nay, when the wit tried once to show him up or mystify him,
Dick answered with a bluff spirit, that, though very coarse, was
found so humorous by Lord Spendquick and other gentlemen similarly
situated in the money-market, that they turned the laugh against
the wit, and silenced him for the rest of the night--a circumstance
which made the party go off much more pleasantly. After dinner,
the conversation, quite that of single men, easy and _débonnair_,
glanced from the turf, and the ballet, and the last scandal, towards
politics; for the times were such that politics were discussed
everywhere, and three of the young lords were county members.

Randal said little, but, as was his wont, listened attentively; and
he was aghast to find how general was the belief that the government
was doomed. Out of regard to him, and with that delicacy of breeding
which belongs to a certain society, nothing personal to Egerton was
said, except by Avenel, who, however, on blurting out some rude
expressions respecting that minister, was instantly checked by the

"Spare my friend, and Mr Leslie's near connection," said he, with a
polite but grave smile.

"Oh," said Avenel, "public men, whom we pay, are public
property--aren't they, my lord?" appealing to Spendquick.

"Certainly," said Spendquick, with great spirit--"public property,
or why should we pay them? There must be a very strong motive to
induce us to do that! I hate paying people. In fact," he subjoined
in an aside, "I never do!"

"However," resumed Mr Avenel graciously, "I don't want to hurt your
feelings, Mr Leslie. As to the feelings of our host, the Baron, I
calculate that they have got tolerably tough by the exercise they
have gone through."

"Nevertheless," said the Baron, joining in the laugh
which any lively saying by the supposed X.Y. was sure to
excite--"nevertheless, 'love me, love my dog,' love me, love my

Randal started, for his quick ear and subtle intelligence caught
something sinister and hostile in the tone with which Levy uttered
this equivocal comparison, and his eye darted towards the Baron. But
the Baron had bent down his face, and was regaling himself upon an

By-and-by the party rose from table. The four young noblemen had
their engagements elsewhere, and proposed to separate without
re-entering the drawing-room. As, in Goethe's theory, monads which
have affinities with each other are irresistibly drawn together,
so these gay children of pleasure had, by a common impulse, on
rising from table, moved each to each, and formed a group round the
fireplace. Randal stood a little apart, musing; the wit examined the
pictures through his eyeglass; and Mr Avenel drew the Baron towards
the sideboard, and there held him in whispered conference. This
colloquy did not escape the young gentlemen round the fireplace:
they glanced towards each other.

"Settling the percentage on renewal," said one, _sotto voce_.

"X.Y. does not seem such a very bad fellow," said another.

"He looks rich, and talks rich," said a third.

"A decided independent way of expressing his sentiments; those
moneyed men generally have."

"Good heavens!" ejaculated Spendquick, who had been keeping his eye
anxiously fixed on the pair, "do look; X.Y. is actually taking out
his pocket-book; he is coming this way. Depend on it he has got our
bills--mine is due to-morrow!"

"And mine too," said another, edging off. "Why, it is a perfect

Meanwhile, breaking away from the Baron, who appeared anxious to
detain him, and failing in that attempt, turned aside, as if not to
see Dick's movements--a circumstance which did not escape the notice
of the group, and confirmed all their suspicions, Mr Avenel, with a
serious, thoughtful air, and a slow step, approached the group. Nor
did the great Roman general more nervously "flutter the dove-cotes
in Corioli," than did the advance of the supposed X.Y. agitate the
bosoms of Lord Spendquick and his sympathising friends. Pocket-book
in hand, and apparently feeling for something formidable within
its mystic recesses, step by step came Dick Avenel towards the
fireplace. The group stood still, fascinated by horror.

"Hum," said Mr Avenel, clearing his throat.

"I don't like that hum at all," muttered Spendquick.

"Proud to have made your acquaintance, gentlemen," said Dick, bowing.

The gentlemen, thus addressed, bowed low in return.

"My friend the Baron thought this not exactly the time to"--Dick
stopped a moment; you might have knocked down those four young
gentlemen, though four finer specimens of humanity no aristocracy
in Europe could produce--you might have knocked them down with a
feather! "But," renewed Avenel, not finishing his sentence, "I have
made it a rule in life never to lose securing a good opportunity;
in short, to make the most of the present moment. And," added he
with a smile, which froze the blood in Lord Spendquick's veins, "the
rule has made me a very warm man! Therefore, gentlemen, allow me to
present you each with one of these"--every hand retreated behind the
back of its well-born owner--when, to the inexpressible relief of
all, Dick concluded with--"a little _soirée dansante_," and extended
four cards of invitation.

"Most happy!" exclaimed Spendquick. "I don't dance in general; but
to oblige X---- I mean to have a better acquaintance, sir, with
_you_--I would dance on the tight-rope."

There was a good-humoured pleasant laugh at Spendquick's enthusiasm,
and a general shaking of hands and pocketing of the invitation cards.

"You don't look like a dancing man," said Avenel, turning to the
wit, who was plump and somewhat gouty--as wits who dine out five
days in the week generally are; "but we shall have supper at one

Infinitely offended and disgusted, the wit replied drily, "that
every hour of his time was engaged for the rest of the season," and,
with a stiff salutation to the Baron, took his departure. The rest,
in good spirits, hurried away to their respective cabriolets; and
Leslie was following them into the hall, when the Baron, catching
hold of him, said, "Stay, I want to talk to you."


The Baron turned into his drawing-room, and Leslie followed.

"Pleasant young men, those," said Levy, with a slight sneer, as he
threw himself into an easy chair and stirred the fire. "And not at
all proud; but, to be sure, they are--under great obligations to
me. Yes; they owe me a great deal. _Apropos_, I have had a long talk
with Frank Hazeldean--fine young man--remarkable capacities for
business. I can arrange his affairs for him. I find, on reference to
the Will Office, that you were quite right; the Casino property is
entailed on Frank. He will have the fee simple. He can dispose of
the reversion entirely. So that there will be no difficulty in our

"But I told you also that Frank had scruples about borrowing on the
event of his father's death."

"Ay--you did so. Filial affection! I never take that into account in
matters of business. Such little scruples, though they are highly
honourable to human nature, soon vanish before the prospect of the
King's Bench. And, too, as you so judiciously remarked, our clever
young friend is in love with Madame di Negra."

"Did he tell you that?"

"No; but Madame di Negra did!"

"You know her?"

"I know most people in good society, who now and then require a
friend in the management of their affairs. And having made sure of
the fact you stated, as to Hazeldean's contingent property, (excuse
my prudence,) I have accommodated Madame di Negra, and bought up her

"You have--you surprise me!"

"The surprise will vanish on reflection. But you are very new to the
world yet, my dear Leslie. By the way, I have had an interview with

"About his sister's debts?"

"Partly. A man of the nicest honour is Peschiera."

Aware of Levy's habit of praising people for the qualities in which,
according to the judgment of less penetrating mortals, they were
most deficient, Randal only smiled at this eulogy, and waited for
Levy to resume. But the Baron sate silent and thoughtful for a
minute or two, and then wholly changed the subject.

"I think your father has some property in ----shire, and you
probably can give me a little information as to certain estates of
a Mr Thornhill--estates which, on examination of the title-deeds, I
find once, indeed, belonged to your family." The Baron glanced at a
very elegant memorandum book--"The manors of Rood and Dulmonsberry,
with sundry farms thereon. Mr Thornhill wants to sell them as soon
as his son is of age--an old client of mine, Thornhill. He has
applied to me on the matter. Do you think it an improvable property?"

Randal listened with a livid cheek and a throbbing heart. We have
seen that, if there was one ambitious scheme in his calculation
which, though not absolutely generous and heroic, still might win
its way to a certain sympathy in the undebased human mind, it was
the hope to restore the fallen fortunes of his ancient house, and
repossess himself of the long alienated lands that surrounded the
dismal wastes of the mouldering hall. And now to hear that those
lands were getting into the inexorable gripe of Levy--tears of
bitterness stood in his eyes.

"Thornhill," continued Levy, who watched the young man's
countenance--"Thornhill tells me that that part of his property--the
old Leslie lands--produces £2000 a-year, and that the rental could
be raised. He would take £50,000 for it--£20,000 down, and suffer
the remaining £30,000 to lie on mortgage at four per cent. It seems
a very good purchase. What do you say?"

"Don't ask me," said Randal, stung into rare honesty; "for I had
hoped I might live to repossess myself of that property."

"Ah! indeed. It would be a very great addition to your consequence
in the world--not from the mere size of the estate, but from
its hereditary associations. And if you have any idea of the
purchase--believe me, I'll not stand in your way."

"How can I have any idea of it?"

"But I thought you said you had."

"I understood that these lands could not be sold till Mr Thornhill's
son came of age, and joined in getting rid of the entail."

"Yes, so Thornhill himself supposed, till, on examining the
title-deeds, I found he was under a mistake. These lands are not
comprised in the settlement made by old Jasper Thornhill, which
ties up the rest of the property. The title will be perfect.
Thornhill wants to settle the matter at once--losses on the turf,
you understand; an immediate purchaser would get still better terms.
A Sir John Spratt would give the money;--but the addition of these
lands would make the Spratt property of more consequence in the
county than the Thornhill. So my client would rather take a few
thousands less from a man who don't set up to be his rival. Balance
of power in counties as well as nations."

Randal was silent.

"Well," said Levy, with great kindness of manner, "I see I pain you;
and though I am what my very pleasant guests would call a _parvenu_,
I comprehend your natural feelings as a gentleman of ancient birth.
_Parvenu!_ Ah! is it not strange, Leslie, that no wealth, no
fashion, no fame can wipe out that blot. They call me a _parvenu_,
and borrow my money. They call our friend, the wit, a _parvenu_, and
submit to all his insolence--if they condescend to regard his birth
at all--provided they can but get him to dinner. They call the best
debater in the Parliament of England a _parvenu_, and will entreat
him, some day or other, to be prime minister, and ask him for stars
and garters. A droll world, and no wonder the _parvenus_ want to
upset it."

Randal had hitherto supposed that this notorious tuft-hunter--this
dandy capitalist--this money-lender, whose whole fortune had been
wrung from the wants and follies of an aristocracy, was naturally
a firm supporter of things as they are--how could things be better
for men like Baron Levy? But the usurer's burst of democratic spleen
did not surprise his precocious and acute faculty of observation.
He had before remarked, that it is the persons who fawn most upon
an aristocracy, and profit the most by the fawning, who are ever
at heart its bitterest disparagers. Why is this? Because one full
half of democratic opinion is made up of envy; and we can only envy
what is brought before our eyes, and what, while very near to us, is
still unattainable. No man envies an archangel.

"But," said Levy, throwing himself back in his chair, "a new order
of things is commencing; we shall see. Leslie, it is lucky for you
that you did not enter parliament under the government; it would be
your political ruin for life."

"You think, then, that the ministry really cannot last?"

"Of course I do; and what is more, I think that a ministry of the
same principles cannot be restored. You are a young man of talent
and spirit; your birth is nothing compared to the rank of the
reigning party; it would tell, to a certain degree, in a democratic
one. I say, you should be more civil to Avenel; he could return you
to parliament at the next election."

"The next election! In six years! We have just had a general

"There will be another before this year, or half of it, or perhaps a
quarter of it, is out."

"What makes you think so?"

"Leslie, let there be confidence between us; we can help each other.
Shall we be friends?"

"With all my heart. But, though you may help me, how can I help you?"

"You have helped me already to Frank Hazeldean--and the Casino
estate. All clever men can help me. Come, then, we are friends; and
what I say is secret. You ask me why I think there will be a general
election so soon? I will answer you frankly. Of all the public men I
ever met with, there is no one who has so clear a vision of things
immediately before him as Audley Egerton."

"He has that character. Not _far_-seeing, but _clear_-sighted to a
certain limit."

"Exactly so. No one better, therefore, knows public opinion, and its
immediate ebb and flow."


"Egerton, then, counts on a general election within three months;
and I have lent him the money for it."

"Lent him the money! Egerton borrow money of you--the rich Audley

"Rich!" repeated Levy in a tone impossible to describe, and
accompanying the word with that movement of the middle finger and
thumb, commonly called a "snap," which indicates profound contempt.

He said no more. Randal sate stupified. At length the latter
muttered, "But if Egerton is really not rich--if he lose office, and
without the hope of return to it----"

"If so, he is ruined!" said Levy coldly; "and therefore, from regard
to you, and feeling interest in your future fate, I say--Rest no
hopes of fortune or career upon Audley Egerton. Keep your place for
the present, but be prepared at the next election to stand upon
popular principles. Avenel shall return you to parliament; and the
rest is with luck and energy. And now, I'll not detain you longer,"
said Levy, rising and ringing the bell. The servant entered.

"Is my carriage here?"

"Yes, Baron."

"Can I set you down anywhere?"

"No, thank you; I prefer walking."

"Adieu, then. And mind you remember the _soirée dansante_ at Mrs
Avenel's." Randal mechanically shook the hand extended to him, and
went down the stairs.

The fresh frosty air roused his intellectual faculties, which Levy's
ominous words had almost paralysed.

And the first thing the clever schemer said to himself was this--

"But what can be the man's motive in what he said to me?"

The next was--

"Egerton ruined! What am I, then?"

And the third was--

"And that fair remnant of the old Leslie property! £20,000 down--how
to get the sum? Why should Levy have spoken to me of this?"

And lastly, the soliloquy rounded back--"The man's motives! His

Meanwhile, the Baron threw himself into his chariot--the most
comfortable easy chariot you can possibly conceive--single man's
chariot--perfect taste--no married man ever has such a chariot; and
in a few minutes he was at ----'s hotel, and in the presence of
Giulio Franzini, Count di Peschiera.

"_Mon chèr_," said the Baron in very good French, and in a tone of
the most familiar equality with the descendant of the princes and
heroes of grand mediæval Italy--"_Mon chèr_, give me one of your
excellent cigars. I think I have put all matters in train."

"You have found out--"

"No; not so fast yet," said the Baron, lighting the cigar extended
to him. "But you said that you should be perfectly contented if it
only cost you £20,000 to marry off your sister, (to whom that sum is
legally due,) and to marry yourself to the heiress."

"I did, indeed."

Then I have no doubt I shall manage both objects for that sum, if
Randal Leslie really knows where the young lady is, and can assist
you. Most promising able man is Randal Leslie--but innocent as a
babe just born."

"Ha, ha! Innocent? _Que diable!_"

"Innocent as this cigar, _mon chèr_--strong, certainly, but smoked
very easily. _Soyez tranquille!_"


Who has not seen--who not admired, that noble picture by Daniel
Maclise, which refreshes the immortal name of my ancestor Caxton!
For myself, while with national pride I heard the admiring murmurs
of the foreigners who grouped around it, (nothing, indeed, of
which our nation may be more proud had they seen in the Crystal
Palace,)--heard, with no less a pride in the generous nature of
fellow-artists, the warm applause of living and deathless masters,
sanctioning the enthusiasm of the popular crowd;--what struck me
more than the precision of drawing, for which the artist has been
always renowned, and the just though gorgeous affluence of colour
which he has more recently acquired, was the profound depth of
conception, out of which this great work had so elaborately arisen.
That monk, with his scowl towards the printer and his back on the
Bible, over which _his form casts a shadow_--the whole transition
between the mediæval Christianity of cell and cloister, and the
modern Christianity that rejoices in the daylight, is depicted
there, in the shadow that obscures the Book--in the scowl that is
fixed upon the Book-diffuser;--that sombre musing face of Richard,
Duke of Gloucester, with the beauty of Napoleon, darkened to the
expression of a Fiend, looking far and anxiously into futurity, as
if foreseeing there what antagonism was about to be created to the
schemes of secret crime and unrelenting force;--the chivalrous head
of the accomplished Rivers, seen but in profile, under his helmet,
as if the age when Chivalry must defend its noble attributes, in
steel, was already half passed away: and, not least grand of all,
the rude thews and sinews of the artisan forced into service on the
type, and the ray of intellect, fierce, and menacing revolutions
yet to be, struggling through his rugged features, and across his
low knitted brow;--all this, which showed how deeply the idea
of the discovery in its good and its evil, its saving light and
its perilous storms, had sunk into the artist's soul, charmed me
as effecting the exact union between sentiment and execution,
which is the true and rare consummation of the Ideal in Art. But
observe, while in these personages of the group are depicted the
deeper and graver agencies implicated in the bright but terrible
invention--observe how little the light epicures of the hour heed
the scowl of the monk, or the restless gesture of Richard, or the
troubled gleam in the eyes of the artizan--King Edward, handsome
_Poco curante_, delighted, in the surprise of a child, with a new
toy; and Clarence, with his curious yet careless glance--all the
while Caxton himself, calm, serene, untroubled, intent solely
upon the manifestation of his discovery, and no doubt supremely
indifferent whether the first proofs of it shall be dedicated
to a Rivers or an Edward, a Richard or a Henry, Plantagenet or
Tudor--'tis all the same to that comely, gentle-looking man. So is
it ever with your Abstract Science!--not a jot cares its passionless
logic for the woe or weal of a generation or two. The stream, once
emerged from its source, passes on into the Great Intellectual Sea,
smiling over the wretch that it drowns, or under the keel of the
ship which it serves as a slave.

Now, when about to commence the present chapter on the Varieties
of Life, this masterpiece of thoughtful art forced itself on my
recollection, and illustrated what I designed to say. In the
surface of every age, it is often that which but amuses, for the
moment, the ordinary children of pleasant existence, the Edwards
and the Clarences, (be they kings and dukes, or simplest of simple
subjects,) which afterwards towers out as the great serious epoch
of the time. When we look back upon human records, how the eye
settles upon WRITERS as the main landmarks of the past! We talk of
the age of Augustus, of Elizabeth, of Louis XIV., of Anne, as the
notable eras of the world. Why? Because it is their writers who
have made them so. Intervals between one age of authors and another
lie unnoticed, as the flats and common lands of uncultured history.
And yet, strange to say, when these authors are living amongst us,
they occupy a very small portion of our thoughts, and fill up but
desultory interstices in the bitumen and tufo wherefrom we build
up the Babylon of our lives! So it is, and perhaps so it should
be, whether it pleases the conceit of penmen or not. Life is meant
to be active; and books, though they give the action to future
generations, administer but to the holiday of the present.

And so, with this long preface, I turn suddenly from the Randals and
the Egertons, and the Levys, Avenels, and Peschieras--from the plots
and passions of practical life, and drop the reader suddenly into
one of those obscure retreats wherein Thought weaves, from unnoticed
moments, a new link to the chain that unites the ages.

Within a small room, the single window of which opened on a fanciful
and fairy-like garden, that has been before described, sate a
young man alone. He had been writing: the ink was not dry on his
manuscript, but his thoughts had been suddenly interrupted from his
work, and his eyes, now lifted from the letter which had occasioned
that interruption, sparkled with delight. "He will come," exclaimed
the young man; "come here--to the home which I owe to him. I have
not been unworthy of his friendship. And she"--his breast heaved,
but the joy faded from his face. "Oh strange, strange, that I
feel sad at the thought to see her again. See _her_--Ah no!--my
own comforting Helen--my own Child-angel! _Her_ I can never see
again! The grown woman--that is not my Helen. And yet--and yet,
(he resumed, after a pause,) if ever she read the pages, in which
thought flowed and trembled under her distant starry light--if ever
she see how her image has rested with me, and feel that, while
others believe that I invent, I have but remembered--will she not,
for a moment, be my own Helen again! Again, in heart and in fancy,
stand by my side on the desolate bridge--hand in hand--orphans both,
as we stood in the days so sorrowful, yet, as I recall them, so
sweet.--Helen in England, it is a dream!"

He rose, half consciously, and went to the window. The fountain
played merrily before his eyes, and the birds in the aviary carolled
loud to his ear. "And in this house," he murmured, "I saw her last!
And there, where the fountain now throws its stream on high--there
her benefactor and mine told me that I was to lose _her_, and that I
might win--fame. Alas!"

At this time a woman, whose dress was somewhat above her mien and
air, which, though not without a certain respectability, were very
homely, entered the room; and, seeing the young man standing thus
thoughtful by the window, paused. She was used to his habits;
and since his success in life, had learned to respect them. So
she did not disturb his reverie, but began softly to arrange the
room--dusting, with the corner of her apron, the various articles of
furniture, putting a stray chair or two in its right place, but not
touching a single paper. Virtuous woman, and rare as virtuous!

The young man turned at last, with a deep, yet not altogether
painful sigh--

"My dear mother, good day to you. Ah, you do well to make the room
look its best. Happy news! I expect a visitor!"

"Dear me, Leonard, will he want? lunch--or what?"

"Nay, I think not, mother. It is he to whom we owe all--'_Hæc otia
fecit_.' Pardon my Latin; it is Lord L'Estrange."

The face of Mrs Fairfield (the reader has long since divined the
name) changed instantly, and betrayed a nervous twitch of all the
muscles, which gave her a family likeness to old Mrs Avenel.

"Do not be alarmed, mother. He is the kindest--"

"Don't talk so; I can't bear it!" cried Mrs Fairfield.

"No wonder you are affected by the recollection of all his benefits.
But when once you have seen him, you will find yourself ever after
at your ease. And so, pray smile and look as good as you are; for I
am proud of your open honest look when you are pleased, mother. And
he must see your heart in your face as I do."

With this, Leonard put his arm round the widow's neck and kissed
her. She clung to him fondly for a moment, and he felt her tremble
from head to foot. Then she broke from his embrace, and hurried out
of the room. Leonard thought perhaps she had gone to improve her
dress, or to carry her housewife energies to the decoration of the
other rooms; for "the house" was Mrs Fairfield's hobby and passion;
and now that she worked no more, save for her amusement, it was her
main occupation. The hours she contrived to spend daily in bustling
about those little rooms, and leaving everything therein to all
appearance precisely the same, were among the marvels in life which
the genius of Leonard had never comprehended. But she was always so
delighted when Mr Norreys or some rare visitor came; and said, (Mr
Norreys never failed to do so,) "How neatly all is kept here. What
could Leonard do without you, Mrs Fairfield?"

And, to Norreys' infinite amusement, Mrs Fairfield always returned
the same answer. "'Deed sir, and thank you kindly, but 'tis my
belief that the drawin'-room would be awful dusty."

Once more left alone, Leonard's mind returned to the state of
reverie, and his face assumed the expression that had now become
to it habitual. Thus seen, he was changed much since we last
beheld him. His cheek was more pale and thin, his lips more firmly
compressed, his eye more fixed and abstract. You could detect, if
I may borrow a touching French expression, that "sorrow had passed
by there." But the melancholy on his countenance was ineffably
sweet and serene, and on his ample forehead there was that power,
so rarely seen in early youth--the power that has conquered, and
betrays its conquests but in calm. The period of doubt, of struggle,
of defiance, was gone for ever; genius and soul were reconciled to
human life. It was a face most loveable; so gentle and peaceful
in its character. No want of fire; on the contrary, the fire was
so clear and so steadfast, that it conveyed but the impression of
light. The candour of boyhood, the simplicity of the villager were
still there--refined by intelligence, but intelligence that seemed
to have traversed through knowledge--not with the footstep, but
the wing--unsullied by the mire--tending towards the star--seeking
through the various grades of Being but the lovelier forms of truth
and goodness; at home as should be the Art that consummates the

    "In den heitern Regionen
    Wo die reinen Formen wohnen."[57]

From this reverie Leonard did not seek to rouse himself, till the
bell at the garden gate rang loud and shrill; and then starting up
and hurrying into the hall, his hand was grasped in Harley's.


      At home--"In the serene regions
                Where dwell the pure forms."


A full and happy hour passed away in Harley's questions and
Leonard's answers; the dialogue that naturally ensued between the
two, on the first interview after an absence of years so eventful to
the younger man.

The history of Leonard during this interval was almost solely
internal, the struggle of intellect with its own difficulties, the
wanderings of imagination through its own adventurous worlds.

The first aim of Norreys, in preparing the mind of his pupil for
its vocation, had been to establish the equilibrium of its powers,
to calm into harmony the elements rudely shaken by the trials and
passions of the old hard outer life.

The theory of Norreys was briefly this. The education of a superior
human being is but the development of ideas in one for the benefit
of others. To this end, attention should be directed--1st, To the
value of the ideas collected; 2dly, To their discipline; 3dly, To
their expression. For the first, acquirement is necessary; for
the second, discipline; for the third, art. The first comprehends
knowledge, purely intellectual, whether derived from observation,
memory, reflection, books or men, Aristotle or Fleet Street. The
second demands _training_, not only intellectual, but moral; the
purifying and exaltation of motives; the formation of habits; in
which method is but a part of a divine and harmonious symmetry--a
union of intellect and conscience. Ideas of value, stored by the
first process; marshalled into force, and placed under guidance, by
the second; it is the result of the third, to place them before the
world in the most attractive or commanding form. This may be done by
actions no less than words; but the adaptation of means to end, the
passage of ideas from the brain of one man into the lives and souls
of all, no less in action than in books, requires study. Action has
its art as well as literature. Here Norreys had but to deal with
the calling of the scholar, the formation of the writer, and so to
guide the perceptions towards those varieties in the sublime and
beautiful, the just combination of which is at once CREATION. Man
himself is but a combination of elements. He who combines in nature,
creates in art.

Such, very succinctly and inadequately expressed, was the system
upon which Norreys proceeded to regulate and perfect the great
native powers of his pupil; and though the reader may perhaps
say that no system laid down by another can either form genius
or dictate to its results, yet probably nine-tenths at least
of those in whom we recognise the luminaries of our race, have
passed, unconsciously to themselves, (for self-education is rarely
conscious of its phases,) through each of these processes. And
no one who pauses to reflect will deny, that according to this
theory, illustrated by a man of vast experience, profound knowledge,
and exquisite taste, the struggles of genius would be infinitely
lessened; its vision cleared and strengthened, and the distance
between effort and success notably abridged.

Norreys, however, was far too deep a reasoner to fall into the error
of modern teachers, who suppose that education can dispense with
labour. No mind becomes muscular without rude and early exercise.
Labour should be strenuous, but in right directions. All that we can
do for it is to save the waste of time in blundering into needless

The master had thus first employed his neophyte in arranging and
compiling materials for a great critical work in which Norreys
himself was engaged. In this stage of scholastic preparation,
Leonard was necessarily led to the acquisition of languages,
for which he had great aptitude--the foundations of a large and
comprehensive erudition were solidly constructed. He traced by the
plough-share the walls of the destined city. Habits of accuracy
and of generalisation became formed insensibly; and that precious
faculty which seizes, amidst accumulated materials, those that
serve the object for which they are explored,--(that faculty which
quadruples all force, by concentrating it on one point)--once roused
into action, gave purpose to every toil and quickness to each
perception. But Norreys did not confine his pupil solely to the mute
world of a library, he introduced him to some of the first minds in
arts, science, and letters--and active life. "These," said he, "are
the living ideas of the present, out of which books for the future
will be written: study them; and here, as in the volumes of the
past, diligently amass and deliberately compile."

By degrees Norreys led on that young ardent mind from the selection
of ideas to their æsthetic analysis--from compilation to criticism;
but criticism severe, close, and logical--a reason for each word of
praise or of blame. Led in this stage of his career to examine into
the laws of beauty, a new light broke upon his mind; from amidst the
masses of marble, he had piled around him, rose the vision of the

And so, suddenly one day Norreys said to him, "I need a compiler no
longer--maintain yourself by your own creations." And Leonard wrote,
and a work flowered up from the seed deep buried, and the soil
well cleared to the rays of the sun and the healthful influence of
expanded air.

That first work did not penetrate to a very wide circle of readers,
not from any perceptible fault of its own--there is luck in these
things; the first anonymous work of an original genius is rarely
at once eminently successful. But the more experienced recognised
the promise of the book. Publishers, who have an instinct in
the discovery of available talent, which often forestalls the
appreciation of the public, volunteered liberal offers. "Be fully
successful this time," said Norreys; "think not of models nor of
style. Strike at once at the common human heart--throw away the
corks--swim out boldly. One word more--never write a page till you
have walked from your room to Temple Bar, and, mingling with men,
and reading the human face, learn why great poets have mostly passed
their lives in cities."

Thus Leonard wrote again, and woke one morning to find himself
famous. So far as the chances of all professions dependent on health
will permit, present independence, and, with foresight and economy,
the prospects of future competence were secured.

"And, indeed," said Leonard, concluding a longer but a simpler
narrative than is here told--"indeed, there is some chance that
I may obtain at once a sum that will leave me free for the rest
of my life to select my own subjects and write without care for
remuneration. This is what I call the true (and, perhaps, alas!
the rare) independence of him who devotes himself to letters.
Norreys, having seen my boyish plan for the improvement of certain
machinery in the steam-engine, insisted on my giving much time to
mechanics. The study that once pleased me so greatly, now seemed
dull; but I went into it with good heart; and the result is, that
I have improved so far on my original idea, that my scheme has met
the approbation of one of our most scientific engineers; and I am
assured that the patent for it will be purchased of me upon terms
which I am ashamed to name to you, so disproportioned do they seem
to the value of so simple a discovery. Meanwhile, I am already rich
enough to have realised the two dreams of my heart--to make a home
in the cottage where I had last seen you and Helen--I mean Miss
Digby; and to invite to that home her who had sheltered my infancy."

"Your mother, where is she? Let me see her."

Leonard ran out to call the widow, but, to his surprise and
vexation, learned that she had quitted the house before L'Estrange

He came back perplexed how to explain what seemed ungracious and
ungrateful, and spoke with hesitating lip and flushed cheek of the
widow's natural timidity and sense of her own homely station. "And
so over-powered is she," added Leonard, "by the recollection of all
that we owe to you, that she never hears your name without agitation
or tears, and trembled like a leaf at the thought of seeing you."

"Ha!" said Harley, with visible emotion. "Is it so?" And he bent
down, shading his face with his hand. "And," he renewed, after a
pause, but not looking up--"and you ascribe this fear of seeing me,
this agitation at my name, solely to an exaggerated sense of--of the
circumstances attending my acquaintance with yourself?"

"And, perhaps, to a sort of shame that the mother of one you have
made her proud of is but a peasant."

"That is all," said Harley, earnestly, now looking up and fixing
eyes in which stood tears, upon Leonard's ingenuous brow.

"Oh, my dear lord, what else can it be? Do not judge her harshly."

L'Estrange rose abruptly, pressed Leonard's hand, muttered something
not audible, and then drawing his young friend's arm in his, led
him into the garden, and turned the conversation back to its former

Leonard's heart yearned to ask after Helen, and yet something
withheld him from doing so, till, seeing Harley did not volunteer
to speak of her, he could not resist his impulse. "And Helen--Miss
Digby--is she much changed?"

"Changed, no--yes; very much."

"Very much!" Leonard sighed.

"I shall see her again?"

"Certainly," said Harley, in a tone of surprise. "How can you
doubt it? And I reserve to you the pleasure of saying that you are
renowned. You blush; well, I will say that for you. But you shall
give her your books."

"She has not yet read them, then?--not the last? The first was not
worthy of her attention," said Leonard, disappointed.

"She has only just arrived in England; and, though your books
reached me in Germany, she was not then with me. When I have settled
some business that will take me from town, I shall present you to
her and my mother." There was a certain embarrassment in Harley's
voice as he spoke; and, turning round abruptly, he exclaimed, "But
you have shown poetry even here. I could not have conceived that
so much beauty could be drawn from what appeared to me the most
commonplace of all suburban gardens. Why, surely where that charming
fountain now plays stood the rude bench in which I read your verses."

"It is true; I wished to unite all together my happiest
associations. I think I told you, my lord, in one of my letters,
that I had owed a very happy, yet very struggling time in my boyhood
to the singular kindness and generous instructions of a foreigner
whom I served. This fountain is copied from one that I made in his
garden, and by the margin of which many a summer day I have sat and
dreamt of fame and knowledge."

"True, you told me of that; and your foreigner will be pleased to
hear of your success, and no less so of your graceful recollections.
By the way, you did not mention his name."


"Riccabocca! My own dear and noble friend!--is it possible? One of
my reasons for returning to England is connected with him. You shall
go down with me and see him. I meant to start this evening."

"My dear lord," said Leonard, "I think that you may spare yourself
so long a journey. I have reason to suspect that Signor Riccabocca
is my nearest neighbour. Two days ago I was in the garden, when
suddenly lifting my eyes to yon hillock I perceived the form of a
man seated amongst the bushwood; and, though I could not see his
features, there was something in the very outline of his figure and
his peculiar position, that irresistibly reminded me of Riccabocca.
I hastened out of the garden and ascended the hill, but he was
gone. My suspicions were so strong that I caused inquiry to be made
at the different shops scattered about, and learned that a family
consisting of a gentleman, his wife, and daughter, had lately come
to live in a house that you must have passed in your way hither,
standing a little back from the road, surrounded by high walls; and
though they were said to be English, yet from the description given
to me of the gentleman's person by one who had noticed it, by the
fact of a foreign servant in their employ, and by the very name
'Richmouth,' assigned to the new comers, I can scarcely doubt that
it is the family you seek."

"And you have not called to ascertain?"

"Pardon me, but the family so evidently shunning observation,
(no one but the master himself ever seen without the walls),
the adoption of another name too--lead me to infer that Signor
Riccabocca has some strong motive for concealment; and now, with
my improved knowledge of life, I cannot, recalling all the past,
but suppose that Riccabocca was not what he appeared. Hence, I have
hesitated on formally obtruding myself upon his secrets, whatever
they be, and have rather watched for some chance occasion to meet
him in his walks."

"You did right, my dear Leonard; but my reasons for seeing my old
friend forbid all scruples of delicacy, and I will go at once to his

"You will tell me, my lord, if I am right."

"I hope to be allowed to do so. Pray, stay at home till I return.
And now, ere I go, one question more: You indulge conjectures as to
Riccabocca, because he has changed his name--why have you dropped
your own?"

"I wished to have no name," said Leonard, colouring deeply, "but
that which I could make myself."

"Proud poet, this I can comprehend. But from what reason did you
assume the strange and fantastic name of Oran?"

The flush on Leonard's face became deeper. "My lord," said he, in a
low voice, "it is a childish fancy of mine; it is an anagram."


"At a time when my cravings after knowledge were likely much to
mislead, and perhaps undo me, I chanced on some poems that suddenly
affected my whole mind, and led me up into purer air; and I was
told that these poems were written in youth, by one who had beauty
and genius--one who was in her grave--a relation of my own, and her
familiar name was Nora--"

"Ah!" again ejaculated Lord L'Estrange, and his arm pressed heavily
upon Leonard's.

"So, somehow or other," continued the young author, falteringly, "I
wished that if ever I won to a poet's fame, it might be to my own
heart, at least, associated with this name of Nora--with her whom
death had robbed of the fame that she might otherwise have won--with
her who--"

He paused, greatly agitated.

Harley was no less so. But as if by a sudden impulse, the soldier
bent down his manly head and kissed the poet's brow; then he
hastened to the gate, flung himself on his horse, and rode away.


Lord L'Estrange did not proceed at once to Riccabocca's house. He
was under the influence of a remembrance too deep and too strong to
yield easily to the lukewarm claim of friendship. He rode fast and
far; and impossible it would be to define the feelings that passed
through a mind so acutely sensitive, and so rootedly tenacious
of all affections. When he once more, recalling his duty to the
Italian, retraced his road to Norwood, the slow pace of his horse
was significant of his own exhausted spirits; a deep dejection had
succeeded to feverish excitement. "Vain task," he murmured, "to
wean myself from the dead! Yet I am now betrothed to another; and
she, with all her virtues, is not the one to--" He stopped short
in generous self-rebuke. "Too late to think of that! Now, all that
should remain to me is to insure the happiness of the life to which
I have pledged my own. But--" He sighed as he so murmured. On
reaching the vicinity of Riccabocca's house, he put up his horse at
a little inn, and proceeded on foot across the heath-land towards
the dull square building, which Leonard's description had sufficed
to indicate as the exile's new home. It was long before any one
answered his summons at the gate. Not till he had thrice rung did he
hear a heavy step on the gravel walk within; then the wicket within
the gate was partially drawn aside, a dark eye gleamed out, and a
voice in imperfect English asked who was there.

"Lord L'Estrange; and if I am right as to the person I seek, that
name will at once admit me."

The door flew open as did that of the mystic cavern at the sound of
'Open, Sesame;' and Giacomo, almost weeping with joyous emotion,
exclaimed in Italian, "The good Lord! Holy San Giacomo! thou hast
heard me at last! We are safe now." And dropping the blunderbuss
with which he had taken the precaution to arm himself, he lifted
Harley's hand to his lips, in the affectionate greeting familiar to
his countrymen.

"And the Padrone?" asked Harley, as he entered the jealous precincts.

"Oh, he is just gone out; but he will not be long. You will wait for

"Certainly. What lady is that I see at the far end of the garden?"

"Bless her, it is our Signorina. I will run and tell her that you
are come."

"That I am come; but she cannot know me even by name."

"Ah, Excellency, can you think so? Many and many a time has she
talked to me of you, and I have heard her pray to the holy Madonna
to bless you, and in a voice so sweet--"

"Stay, I will present myself to her. Go into the house, and we will
wait without for the Padrone. Nay, I need the air, my friend."
Harley, as he said this, broke from Giacomo, and approached Violante.

The poor child, in her solitary walk in the obscurer parts of the
dull garden, had escaped the eye of Giacomo when he had gone forth
to answer the bell; and she, unconscious of the fears of which
she was the object, had felt something of youthful curiosity at
the summons at the gate, and the sight of a stranger in close and
friendly conference with the unsocial Giacomo.

As Harley now neared her with that singular grace of movement which
belonged to him, a thrill shot through her heart--she knew not
why. She did not recognise his likeness to the sketch taken by her
father, from his recollections of Harley's early youth. She did not
guess who he was; and yet she felt herself colour, and, naturally
fearless though she was, turned away with a vague alarm.

"Pardon my want of ceremony, Signorina," said Harley, in Italian;
"but I am so old a friend of your father's, that I cannot feel as a
stranger to yourself."

Then Violante lifted to him her dark eyes, so intelligent and so
innocent--eyes full of surprise, but not displeased surprise. And
Harley himself stood amazed, and almost abashed, by the rich and
marvellous beauty that beamed upon him. "My father's friend," she
said, hesitatingly, "and I never to have seen you!"

"Ah, Signorina," said Harley, (and something of its native humour,
half arch, half sad, played round his lip,) "you are mistaken there;
you have seen me before, and you received me much more kindly then--"

"Signor!" said Violante, more and more surprised, and with a yet
richer colour on her cheeks.

Harley, who had now recovered from the first effect of her beauty,
and who regarded her as men of his years and character are apt to
regard ladies in their teens, as more child than woman, suffered
himself to be amused by her perplexity; for it was in his nature,
that the graver and more mournful he felt at heart, the more he
sought to give play and whim to his spirits.

"Indeed, Signorina," said he demurely, "you insisted then on placing
one of those fair hands in mine; the other (forgive me the fidelity
of my recollections) was affectionately thrown around my neck."

"Signor!" again exclaimed Violante; but this time there was anger in
her voice as well as surprise, and nothing could be more charming
than her look of pride and resentment.

Harley smiled again, but with so much kindly sweetness, that the
anger vanished at once, or rather Violante felt angry with herself
that she was no longer angry with him. But she had looked so
beautiful in her anger, that Harley wished, perhaps, to see her
angry again. So, composing his lips from their propitiatory smile he
resumed, gravely--

"Your flatterers will tell you, Signorina, that you are much
improved since then, but I liked you better as you were; not but
what I hope to return some day what you then so generously pressed
upon me."

"Pressed upon you!--I? Signor, you are under some strange mistake."

"Alas! no; but the female heart is so capricious and fickle! You
pressed it upon me, I assure you. I own that I was not loath to
accept it."

"Pressed it! Pressed what?"

"Your kiss, my child," said Harley; and then added, with a serious
tenderness, "And I again say that I hope to return it some day--when
I see you, by the side of father and of husband, in your native
land--the fairest bride on whom the skies of Italy ever smiled! And
now, pardon a hermit and a soldier for his rude jests, and give your
hand, in token of that pardon, to--Harley L'Estrange."

Violante, who at the first words of this address had recoiled,
with a vague belief that the stranger was out of his mind, sprang
forward as it closed, and, in all the vivid enthusiasm of her
nature, pressed the hand held out to her, with both her own. "Harley
L'Estrange--the preserver of my father's life!" she cried; and her
eyes were fixed on his with such evident gratitude and reverence,
that Harley felt at once confused and delighted. She did not think
at that instant of the hero of her dreams--she thought but of him
who had saved her father. But, as his eyes sank before her own, and
his head, uncovered, bowed over the hand he held, she recognised
the likeness to the features on which she had so often gazed. The
first bloom of youth was gone, but enough of youth still remained to
soften the lapse of years, and to leave to manhood the attractions
which charm the eye. Instinctively she withdrew her hands from his
clasp, and, in her turn, looked down.

In this pause of embarrassment to both, Riccabocca let himself into
the garden by his own latch-key, and, startled to see a man by the
side of Violante, sprang forward with an abrupt and angry cry.
Harley heard, and turned.

As if restored to courage and self-possession by the sense of her
father's presence, Violante again took the hand of the visitor.
"Father," she said simply, "it is he--_he_ is come at last." And
then, retiring a few steps, she contemplated them both; and her face
was radiant with happiness--as if something, long silently missed
and looked for, was as silently found, and life had no more a want,
nor the heart a void.


  [58] _A Ride over the Rocky Mountains to Oregon and California._ By
  the Hon. HENRY J. COKE. London: 1852.

To be very sure of what he is about to say, and to say it in the
fewest possible words, are golden rules which every young author
should inscribe, in letters of the same metal, upon the most
prominent panel of his study. Had the Hon. Henry Coke done this
when he stepped out of his stirrup, on his return from his Ride
to California, he would have spared himself the painful throes
which appear to have attended the commencement of his literary
labour--would have spared his readers, too, the triviality and
platitudes which deface some of the earlier pages of his otherwise
spirited narrative of a most adventurous expedition. We reckon it
amongst the remarkable and hopeful signs of the times, that young
men of family and fortune voluntarily abandon the luxurious ease
of home for such breakneck and laborious expeditions as that whose
record is before us. Whatever the faults of the nobles of Great
Britain, effeminacy is certainly not of the number. May the day be
far distant when this is otherwise, and when we cease to possess,
in a bold and manly aristocracy, one important guarantee of our
national greatness.

It is, indeed, from no featherbed journey or carpet-knight's tour
that Mr Coke has recently returned. Take the map, reader, and trace
his route. From England to Jamaica, Cuba, Charleston, New York and
St Louis, the great and rising capital of the Western States. We
omit the minor intermediate places at which he touched or paused.
Thus far all was plain sailing and easy civilised travel. The rough
work began when St Louis was left behind. Across the wide wastes
of Missouri territory, through the inhospitable passes of the
Rocky Mountains, the traveller passed on to Oregon city and Fort
Vancouver, thence took ship to the Sandwich Islands, returned to
San Francisco, visited the gold diggings, steamed to Acapulco, rode
across Mexico, and came home to England after an absence of a year
and a half, during which he had been half round the world and back

Mr Coke started from St Louis with two companions: one an old
college friend, whom he designates as Fred; the other "a British
parson, whose strength and dimensions most justly entitled him
to be called a pillar of the church." What the parson did in the
prairies of the Far West does not clearly appear. He certainly did
not go as a missionary, so far as we can ascertain from his friend's
book, and indeed his habits and tendencies were evidently sporting
and jovial rather than clerical, although we do catch him reading
Sunday prayers to Mr Coke, when the latter had the chills, and lay
wrapped up in wet blankets on the banks of Green River, with a
boxful of Brandreth's pills in his stomach. We regret to believe
that instances _have_ been known of parsons employing their time far
worse than in an adventurous ramble across the American continent.
Mr Coke, nevertheless, thinks proper to veil his chaplain's
identity under the heroic cognomen of Julius Cæsar, against which
distinguished Roman, could he be recalled to life, we would
unhesitatingly back the reverend gentleman to box a round, wrestle
a fall, or handle a rifle, for any number of ponies the ancient's
backers might be disposed to post. A stalwart priest and a powerful
was Parson Julius, and is still, we trust, if nothing has happened
to him since Mr Coke left him at the court of his majesty Tamehameha
III., at Honolulu, on the eve of setting sail for the island of
Owyhee. No better companion could be desired on a rough and perilous
expedition; and although his careless friend manages to let his true
name slip out before ending his volume, we will not allow that the
slip affords grounds for regret, or that there is anything in his
journey of which, as a clergyman, he need be ashamed.

Considerably over-provided with attendants, horses, mules, and,
above all, with baggage, the three friends left St Louis. Their
"following" comprised "four young Frenchmen of St Louis; Fils, a
Canadian _voyageur_; a little four-foot-nothing Yankee, and Fred's
_valet-de-champs_, familiarly called Jimmy." The journey was
commenced on the 28th May 1850, per steamer, up the Missouri. On the
morning of the 29th a disagreeable discovery was made. Fils, the
guide, had disappeared. The scamp had levanted in the night; how,
none could tell. Drowning was suggested; but as he had taken his
baggage, and had forgotten to leave behind him the rifle and three
months' advance of pay which he had received from his employers, the
hypothesis was contemptuously scouted. Consoling themselves with the
reflection that his desertion would have been far more prejudicial
at a later period of their journey, the travellers continued their
progress up the Missouri (for whose scenery Mr Coke can find no
better comparison than the Cockney one of "Rosherville or Cremorne")
to St Joseph, which the Yankees familiarise into _St Joe_. Here they
were to exchange the deck for the saddle; and so impatient were
they for the substitution that they actually felt "annoyed at being
obliged to sleep another night on board the steamer." They had yet
to learn the value of a coarse hammock in a close cabin. At last
they made a fair start:--

     "_3d June._--After much bother about a guide, and loss of
     linch-pins, fitting of harness, kicking and jibbing of mules,
     &c., we left the Missouri, and camped five miles from the town.
     We pitched our tents in a beautiful spot, on the slope of a
     hill, surrounded by a large wood. A muddy little stream ran at
     the bottom. To this (with sleeves turned up and braces off,
     trying, I suppose, to look as much like grooms or dragoons as
     we were able) we each led our horses: no doubt we succeeded,
     for we felt perfectly satisfied with everything and everybody.
     The novelty put us all in excellent humour. The potatoes in
     the camp-kettle had a decidedly bivouacking appearance; and
     though the grass was wet, who, I should like to know, would
     have condescended to prefer a camp-stool? As to the pistols,
     and tomahawks, and rifles, it was evident that they might be
     wanted at a moment's notice, that it would have been absolutely
     dangerous not to have them all in perfect readiness. Besides,
     there was a chance of finding game in the wood. If the chance
     had been a hundred times as diminutive, we were in duty bound to
     try it."

Playing at travelling, like playing at soldiers, is all very well
when the campaign is brief. The raw recruit or amateur campaigner
plumes himself on a night passed upon straw in a barn. Give him a
week's bivouacking in damp ploughed fields, and he sings small and
feels rheumatic, and prefers the domestic nightcap to the warrior's
laurel. Thus with Messrs Coke and Company. They were in a monstrous
hurry to begin gipsying. What would they not have given, a week or
two later, for a truckle bed and a tiled roof? The varnish of the
picture, the anticipated romance, was soon rubbed off by the rough
fingers of hardship and reality. What a start they made of it! Mr
Coke is tolerably reserved on this head; but through his reserve it
is not difficult to discern that, unless they had taken hair powder
and a grand piano, they could hardly have encumbered themselves
with more superfluities than those with which their mules and
waggons were overloaded. Many who read these lines will remember the
admirable and humorous account given by our lamented friend Ruxton,
of the westward-bound caravan which fell in with Killbuck and La
Bonté at the big granite block in Sweet Water Valley. Few, who have
ever read, will have forgotten that characteristic sketch;--the
dapper shooting-jackets, the fire-new rifles, the well-fitted boots
and natty cravats, the Woodstock gloves and elaborate powder-horns,
the preserved soup, hotch-potch, pickles, porter, brandy, coffee,
sugar, of the amateur backwoodsmen who found the starving trappers
dining on a grilled snake in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, and
generously ministered to their necessities. With somewhat similar
but still more extravagant provision did our jockey of Norfolk,
Fred, and Julius Cæsar, go forth into the prairie. Less fortunate
than Ruxton's Scotchman, they failed to retain or enjoy what
they had dearly paid for. Sadly altered was their trim, piteous
their plight, long, long before they reached the Rocky Mountains.
Disasters soon arrived, with disgust and discord in their train.
At their first halting place, five miles from St Joseph, a pouring
rain, pattering on their tent, forbade sleep; a horse and mule,
disgusted by the dirty weather and foretaste of rough work, broke
loose and galloped back to the town. These recovered, and the
new guide, successor to the faithless Fils, having joined, they
again went ahead. We may cull from Mr Coke's pages a few of the
impediments and annoyances encountered at this early period of the

     "Nothing could be more provoking than the behaviour of our
     teams; each animal seemed to vie with its yoke-mate in making
     itself disagreeable. They had no idea of attempting to pull
     together, and all exertions on our parts were discouraged by the
     most vehement kicks and plunges on theirs.... The men were as
     incapable of driving as the mules were unwilling to be driven,
     and before we had travelled three miles the heaviest of our
     waggons was stuck fast.... A doubt here arose as to which road
     we had better take, and I clearly perceived that our guide was
     deplorably ignorant of his calling, since in the very outset
     he was undecided as to which route we should pursue.... _7th
     June._--Started at seven. Roads worse than ever. Heavy waggon,
     as usual, sticks in a rut, and is nearly upset. Discharge cargo,
     and find it hard work to carry heavy boxes up the hill.... My
     black mare, Gipsy, has run away. Take Louis, the Canadian, and
     go after her. Find her tracks in a large wood, and hunt the
     whole day in every direction, but are at last obliged to give
     her up."

Incidents such as these, and others still more disagreeable, were of
daily occurrence. Nothing could tame the wilfulness of the mules, or
check the erratic propensities common to them and to the horses. The
waggons, overladen, continually broke down. Indeed, so aggravating
were most of the circumstances of the journey in this its early
stage, and so few the compensating enjoyments, that we believe most
persons in the place of Mr Coke and his friends would have turned
back within the week, and desisted from an expedition which had been
undertaken solely with a view to amusement and excitement. With
extraordinary tenacity of purpose the three Englishmen persevered.
Their followers proved terribly helpless, and they were indebted to
an old Mormon, a Yorkshireman, whom they met upon the road, for the
repairs of their frequently broken wheels. Here is the journal for
the 12th June:--

     "Blazard (the Mormon) repairs our wheels. We three go out
     hunting in different directions. See the tracks and skin of a
     deer, also fresh tracks of wolves. Put up a wild turkey--horse
     too frightened to allow me to fire at it. Killed a large snake
     marked like a rattlesnake, and shoot a grey squirrel and two
     wild ducks, right and left, with my rifle. When we came home we
     made a bargain with Blazard, letting him have the small waggon
     for fifteen dollars, on condition that he took 300 lb. weight
     for us as far as the mouth of the Platte. We talk of parting
     with four of our men, and packing the mules, when we get to
     Council Bluffs."

This project was soon put into execution. The district known as
Council Bluffs lies on the Missouri, and takes its name from a
meeting of Indian tribes held there some years ago. There the
travellers camped, at about four miles from the river; and Mr Coke
and Fred rode over to Trader's Point, crossed the Missouri, and
called on Major Barrow, an Indian agent, who cashed them a bill,
recommended them a half-breed servant, bought their remaining waggon
and harness at an "alarming sacrifice;" bought of them also "forty
pounds of powder, a hundred pounds of lead, quantities of odds and
ends, and all the ginger beer"!!! They had previously sent back
or sold several hundred pounds' weight of lead and provisions;
so we get some idea of the scale on which the young gentlemen's
stores had been laid in. By this time, Mr Coke says, "we begin to
understand the mysteries of 'trading' a little better than formerly;
but somehow or other a Yankee always takes us in, and that too in
so successful a manner as to leave the impression that we have
taken _him_ in." Besides buying their goods a dead bargain, the
Major--a remarkably smart man, who doubtless thought that greenhorns
capable of taking ginger beer to the Rocky Mountains were fair
game--attempted to make money out of them in another way.

     "The day cleared, and as we could not start till the evening,
     the Major proposed to get up a race. He knew of a horse (his
     own) that could beat any in our 'crowd.' He had seen him run a
     good many times, and 'just knowed how he could shine.' Fifty
     dollars was the stake, and 'let him what won take the money.'"

Fred volunteered to ride a fast little grey of Mr Coke's.
Three-quarters of a mile were measured on the prairie. The Major
brought out his animal, greased its hoofs, washed its face, brushed
its hair, mounted the half-breed upon it barebacked, and took his
station at the winning-post. At first the half-breed made the
running. Major and friends were cock-a-hoop; but the Englishman was
a bit of a jockey.

     "They were now about three hundred yards from the post. Fred
     had never used the spur; he needed but to slack the reins--away
     dashed the little grey, gaining at every stride upon the old
     horse. It is our turn to cheer! The Major begins to think
     seriously of his fifty dollars, when, in an instant, the fate
     of the game is changed. The little grey stumbles; he has put
     his foot in a hole--he staggers, and with difficulty recovers
     himself. The big horse must win. Now for whip and spur! Neck and
     neck, in they come--and which has won the race? 'Well, sir!'
     said the Major, 'slick work wasn't it? what is your opinion?' I
     might have known by this deferential question what his opinion
     was; but, to tell the truth, I could not decide which horse was
     the winner, and so I said. He jumped at this favourable decision
     on my part, and 'calculated' forthwith that it was a dead heat.
     I learned afterwards that he had confessed we had won, and
     thought little of our 'smartness' for not finding it out. My
     little grey was thenceforth an object of general admiration; and
     the utilitarian minds of the Yankees could not understand why
     I was not travelling through the States with such a pony, and
     making my fortune by backing him against everything of its size."

Mr Coke is a good appreciator of the Yankees, and so lively
and successful in his sketches of their national traits and
peculiarities, that it is to be regretted he does not talk rather
more about them. His stay at New York he passes over in a couple of

     "I am not ambitious," he says, "of circulating more American
     notes, nor do I care to follow in the footsteps of Mrs Trollope.
     Enough has been written to illustrate the singularities of
     second-rate American society. Good society is the same all the
     world over. General remarks I hold to be fair play. But to
     indulge in personalities is a poor return for hospitality; and
     those Americans who are most willing to be civil to foreigners,
     receive little enough encouragement to extend that civility,
     when, as is too often the case, those very foreigners afterwards
     attempt to amuse their friends on one side the Atlantic, at
     the expense of a breach of good faith to their friends on
     the other.... I have a great respect for almost everything
     American. I do not mean to say that I have any affection for a
     thorough-bred Yankee, in our acceptation of the term; far from
     it. I think him the most offensive of all bipeds in the known

We English are perhaps too apt to judge a whole nation upon a few
unfavourable specimens; also to attach exaggerated importance to
trifling peculiarities. This latter tendency is fostered, in the
case of America, by those relentless bookmakers, who, to point a
chapter and raise a laugh, are ready, as Mr Coke justly remarks, to
sacrifice a friend and caricature facts. In our opinion, Englishmen
and Americans will like each other better when they see each other
more. The free and easy manners of our Transatlantic cousins may be
rather shocking to English reserve, but they, on the other hand,
may justly take exception to the stiffness and formality, which,
although less conspicuous than formerly, and daily diminishing,
are still prominent features in our national character. In time we
may hope to meet half way. The increase of intercourse with Europe
will polish American asperities; and, either we are mistaken in our
observations, or the facilities of passage between England and the
Continent have already lessened that shyness, chilling reserve,
and repellent _noli me tangere_ manner, which have long made us
ridiculous and unpopular in the eyes of our neighbours. American
"gentlemen," in the emphatic sense of the word, are said to be very
rare productions of the Union; yet Americans have qualities whose
ripening and development may convert them, in no long time, into one
of the most chivalrous and courteous of modern nations. Prominent
amongst those qualities are the universal deference, consideration,
and protection which they accord to women. "All Americans I have
met," says Mr Coke, "were agreeable enough if humoured a little,
and perfectly civil if civilly treated." Brutes and ruffians (like
good society) are the same in all countries. At Sacramento, Mr Coke
one day took up a newspaper to read an account of a Lynch execution
which had taken place at four that morning.

     "I was perusing the trial, when a ruffianly-looking individual
     interrupted me with, ''Say, stranger, let's have a look at
     that paper, will you?' 'When I have done with it,' said I,
     and continued reading. This answer would have satisfied most
     Christians endowed with any moderate degree of patience; but not
     so the ruffian. He bent himself over the back of my chair, put
     one hand on my shoulder, and with the other held the paper, so
     that he could read as well as I. 'Well, I guess you're readin'
     about Jim, aint you?' 'Who's Jim?' said I. 'Him as they hung
     this morning,' he answered, at the same time resuming his seat.
     'Jim was a particlar friend of mine, and I helped to hang him.'"

The narrative that follows, and which is rather too lengthy to
extract entire, is very graphic and striking--an excellent specimen
of Life in California. Jim, it appeared, was a "Britisher," an
ex-convict from the penal settlements, a terrible scamp and
desperado. His offences were many, but murder was the crime he
suffered for. Here is the horribly thrilling account of his
execution, as given to Mr Coke by the "friend" who helped to Lynch

     "It was just about daylight. They carried him to the
     horsemarket, set him on a table, and tied the rope round one of
     the lower branches of a big elm tree. All the time I kept by
     his side, and when he was getting on the table he asked me to
     lend him my revolver to shoot one of the jurymen, who had spoken
     violently against him. When I refused, he asked me to tie the
     knot so as it wouldn't slip. 'It ain't no account,' said I, 'to
     talk in that way, Jim, old fellow, you're bound to die; and if
     they didn't hang you I'd shoot you myself.' 'Well, then,' said
     he, 'give me hold of the rope, and I'll show you how little
     I care for death.' He seized the cord, pulled himself in an
     instant out of the reach of the crowd, and sat cross-legged on
     the bough. Half-a-dozen rifles were raised to bring him down,
     but reflecting that he could not escape, they forbore to fire.
     He tied a noose in the rope, put it round his neck, slipped it
     up till it was pretty tight, and then stood up and addressed
     the mob. He didn't say much, except that he hated them all. He
     cursed the man he shot; he then cursed the world; and last of
     all he cursed himself, and with a terrible oath he jumped into
     the air, and with a jerk that shook the tree swung backwards and
     forwards over the heads of the crowd."

We are cantering rather ahead of Mr Coke and his friends, whom
we left at Trader's Point, with a long trail before them. Their
councils were already divided. The members of the triumvirate could
not agree as to how many of their attendants should be retained.
Finally, most of them were paid off and sent back. This was a very
painful and arduous part of the journey. On the second day after
leaving Major Barrow's station, they reached Elk Horn ferry. It had
been broken up by the Indians, and a raft had to be made, and, the
baggage taken across piecemeal. "The animals were not so easy to get
across. Some of us were obliged to swim the river (which was sixty
or seventy yards wide) eight or nine times, taking one horse at a
time, or driving two or three by flogging and shouting behind them."
The musquitoes were in the ascendant; the rains heavy and frequent;
the Sioux Indians, it was reported, had received from the Pawnees
intimation of the movements of the Pale-face band.

     "All the party rather out of sorts," writes Mr Coke on the
     26th June. "Our two best men, Louis and Jim, are very unwell.
     Nelson, a most willing and hard-working fellow, is unused to
     the sort of life, and wants to turn back. As to Jacob, his
     utter uselessness is a constant source of provocation to me;
     and the parson's indifference, and Fred's fidgetty disposition,
     make the chapter of our miseries complete. The mules are not
     much better off than we are; five of them are suffering from
     severe back-sores, and all of them object strongly to carrying
     the packs; they frequently cast themselves in the night, and
     get their legs badly out with the picket ropes. It seems after
     all doubtful how far we shall get. Some of us talk of going on

Trials of temper are inseparable from expeditions of this kind, and
here was a trio manifestly ill-assorted; one of its members rather
fanciful and capricious, another too phlegmatic and easy-going,
the third--Mr Coke, could not be expected to set forth his own
failings, but we suspect him of being a little irritable and
hot-tempered, although evidently a good fellow, with plenty of pluck
and perseverance. As yet, however, there was no break-up. The party
kept together, often in straggling order, but usually re-uniting
at evening, to feed on rancid ham, mouldy biscuit, and such flesh
or fowl as their rifles had procured them during the day. Nor were
fish and reptiles despised when obtainable. Occasional attempts at
angling were not very fortunate, the American fish being apparently
unused to English flies; but sometimes a fine salmon or two were got
by barter, from the Indians who had speared them. And a roast snake
is by no mean a despicable thing. Both Mr Coke and the Parson--for
whom we entertain an intense respect, as a man of few words but
energetic action, a little tardy to move, perhaps, (a slight dash
of Athelstane the Unready in his character) but most effective and
vigorous when movement was decided upon--went a-snaking now and
then. He of Norfolk seems to have been a fair shot at starting,
and a first-rate one before he had half got over his journey, and
he stalked the buffalo very successfully, shot snakes through the
head, and contributed a large quota to the contents of the camp
kettle. The chaplain also was considerable of a sportsman, and ready
with his rifle. Fat cow, tender loin, and juicy hump, at times were
plentiful in camp. Failing those delicate viands, all was made game
of that offered itself to the wanderers' muzzles.

     "_12th July._--Shot two prairie dogs. Jim killed a hare and
     rattle-snake. They were all capital eating, not excepting the
     snake, which the parson cooked and thought as good as eel."

Following a band of buffaloes, Mr Coke was charged by a bull, and
awaited his onset, but waited a little too long. "My horse never
stirred; I had no time for anything but to take aim, and having
fired between the neck and shoulder, I was, the next minute,
sprawling on my back, with the mare rolling over four or five yards
beyond me. Recovering from the shock, I could not help admiring
the picturesque group we presented; I rubbing my bruised limbs,
and the buffalo looking on, half stupified and astonished at the
result of his charge." The contents of the rifle's second barrel
roused the bull from his stupefaction, and he moved off. Up came the
unfeeling parson and followed the wounded brute, perfectly heedless
of his friend's mishaps. Quite a man of business was this parson.
Mr Coke gives a description of his appearance in the prairies, on
the occasion of his purchase of an Indian pony fourteen hands high.
"He weighs fifteen stone, rides on a heavy saddle with a heavy pair
of holster pistols, carries very heavy rifle and telescope, a heavy
blanket and great-coat, a pouch full of ammunition, a girdle stuck
with small arms and bowie-knives, and always has his pockets crammed
with _et ceteras_."

Not altogether the right costume, for a stall in a cathedral,
although highly appropriate upon the trail to California.

Incompatibility of tastes and temper at last produced a split in
the caravan. Fred went on ahead, expecting to march thirty or
thirty-five miles a-day. Mr Coke and the parson kept together,
proposing to limit their daily progress to twenty-five miles. It was
much oftener sixteen or eighteen, Sometimes only seven or ten. The
men hired for the journey had become so mutinous and discontented,
and, upon the whole, were of so little use, that to two of them a
share of the provisions were given, and they were allowed to go
alone. Two others marched with Fred, the fifth and last went alone,
but occasionally joined company with Mr Coke and the parson, who
were otherwise without attendants, and who had eleven animals to
drive and look after--"an awful number for two men," especially
when they were unused to horse-driving and to the management of
the abominably vicious, obstinate, perverse brutes of American
mules, which were constantly kicking off their loads, biting their
masters, and straying from camp. The first day's march after the
separation was the most unpleasant they had yet had. The rain fell
in chilling torrents; a little black mule, the vixen of the party,
kicked Mr Coke to the ground; and a grey one, her rival in mischief,
who bit like a dog, made a furious attack upon his calves. The
distance accomplished was but six miles. There were worse times
coming, however, even than these. The trouble occasioned by the
mules and horses was soon diminished by the loss of three or four
of them, strayed, stolen, or foundered. The country was barren and
inhospitable, and destitute of game, and often grass and water were
for long distances unobtainable.

     "Our provisions are barely sufficient to last, with the greatest
     economy, to Fort Hall, even at the rate we are travelling at
     now. Should the horses give up, it will be impossible for us to
     carry enough food to reach that station on foot.... The only
     way to get out of the scrape was to lighten the burthen of the
     pack-mules, by throwing away every ounce of superfluous weight.
     Turning out the contents of our bags on the ground, we selected
     such things only as were absolutely necessary to existence.
     What with lead, bullets, powder, geological specimens, and old
     clothes, we diminished our load so as to make one pack out
     of two, and left the ground strewed with warnings for future

Sand, sage bushes, and weeds uneatable by the horses, were now the
chief productions of the country. Wood for fires was often lacking;
raw ham is heating and unsatisfactory food; the sun was blazing hot,
and its rays were fiercely reflected from the sand. Mr Coke lost his
appetite, and suffered much from weakness. At last matters mended
a little. They came to a succession of small streams; caught some
trout, and obtained other fresh provisions; fell in with trappers,
and with an express despatch from Oregon to the States, escorted
by twelve soldiers. These had come by the same road the Englishmen
were about to travel, and the Boss, or head man of the party,
furnished information concerning grass, water, and halting places.
From Fort Hall, he told them, they were still two hundred miles, and
from Oregon nine hundred! A trifling distance in railroad-furrowed
Europe, but oh! what a weary way in yonder arid wastes, with those
fractious mules, and amidst incessant toils and hardships. "No
one," says Mr Coke "can form any idea of the real length of _one_
mile till he has travelled a thousand with pack-mules." By this
time, for various reasons, the travellers had given up the idea of
going straight to California, and had fixed upon Oregon as their

     "_October 1st._--This month, please God, will see us through.
     The animals, I am sure, will not survive another. As for
     ourselves, we have but few provisions. The season, too, is
     getting late; and if we are out much longer, I fear we shall
     suffer greatly from cold. Already a blanket and a buffalo-robe
     are little enough covering for the nights. My buffalo-robe,
     which I spread over the blanket, is always frozen quite
     stiff.... Yesterday I met with a disaster, which distresses me
     exceedingly; I broke my pipe, and am able neither to repair
     nor to replace it. Julius has one, the fumes of which we are
     compelled to share. If this should go, (and it is already in
     four pieces, and bound up like a mummy,) I tremble to think of
     the consequences. In all our troubles the pipe is the one and
     only consolation. _4th._--Oh, how cold it was this morning, and
     how cold it was in the night! I could not sleep for the cold,
     and yet I dreaded the approach of daylight, and the tugging at
     the frozen ropes which it entailed.... Our poor beasts actually
     cringed when the saddle touched the great raws on their backs;
     the frost had made them so painful.... It seems as if this sort
     of life were to last for ever. Day follows day, without the
     slightest change."

Things got worse and worse. One after the other, the animals
perished. By-and-by Mr Coke found himself a-foot. They had nothing
to eat but salt meat and salmon, and little enough of that.
"Yesterday I tightened my belt to the last hole; we are becoming
more and more attenuated; and the waist of my gigantic companion
is almost as delicate as that of a woman." At last, on the 12th
October, in rags, and with two mules alone remaining out of their
once numerous team, but still of good courage and in reviving
spirits, Mr Coke and Julius reached the Dalles, an American military
post in Oregon, where they found Fred, who had arrived two days
before them, and received a kind welcome and good treatment from the
officers of the garrison.

After a few days' repose at the Soldier's House, as the post at the
Dalles is called, the three friends, who had again joined company,
boated down the Columbia. This was a rather amusing part of their
expedition. The boat was manned by a Maltese sailor and a man who
had been a soldier in the American army. The only passenger besides
themselves was a big officer of the Yankee Mounted Rifles, a regular
"heavy," and awful braggadocio, who boasted continually of himself,
his corps, his army and its campaigns. What were the Peninsular
campaigns to the Mexican war? Talk of Waterloo! Look at Chepultapec.
Wellington could not shine in the same crowd with General Scott.
All this vastly amused the Englishmen. What was less amusing was
the utter ignorance of seamanship displayed by the soldier-skipper,
who, as part-owner of the boat, assumed the command. They were
nearly swamped by his clumsiness, and Mr Coke, who has served in the
navy, was obliged to take the rudder. The rudder broke, the wind
freshened, the river was rough, the boat drifted into the surf and
narrowly escaped being dashed to splinters on the rocks. They drew
her up high and dry on the beach, lit a fire and waited for the
storm to blow over. Wrangling ensued. The Yankee, who had got drunk
upon his passengers' whisky, swore that, soldier though he was, he
knew as much about boat-sailing as any midshipman or post-captain in
the British navy. The "heavy" backed him, and the military skipper
swore he would be taught by none, and wound up with the stereotyped
Yankee brag, that "his nation could whip all creation."

     "We had been laughing so much at his boasting that he doubtless
     thought himself safe in accompanying the remark with an insolent
     look of defiance. But what was his surprise when the parson,
     usually a most pacific giant, suggested that if Fred would
     take the Maltese, I the amphibious captain, he himself would
     with great pleasure thrash the mounted rifle, and so teach the
     trio to be more civil and submissive for the future. Whatever
     the other two might have thought, the 'heavy' was by no means
     inclined to make a target of his fat ribs for the sledge-hammer
     blows of Julius's brawny arms; and with a few remarks upon the
     folly of quarrelling in general, and of fighting on the present
     occasion in particular, not forgetting to remind us of 'one
     original stock,' 'Saxon race,' &c., the good-natured 'plunger'
     effected an armistice, which was sealed and ratified with the
     remains of the whisky-bottle."

After his recent severe experience, it seemed unlikely that Mr
Coke would soon regret life in the prairies, with its painful
alternations of bitter cold and parching heat; its frequent
privations, hunger, thirst, fatigue, restive mules, hard labour, and
scanty rest. During a seven weeks' passage between Fort Vancouver
and the Sandwich Islands, on board the Mary Dare, a wretched little
coal-tub of a brig, he and his companions actually found themselves
vaunting the superior comforts of their late land-journey. Confined
by constant wet weather to a cabin twelve feet by eight, without a
mattress to lie on, but with a super-abundance of fleas, rats, and
cockroaches, they blessed the hour when they first caught sight of
the palm-crowned shores of the Sandwich group. Mr Coke's account of
his stay at the Hawaian court is lively enough, but of no particular
interest; and the sort of thing has been much better done before by
Herman Melville and others. After the adventurous journey across
the Rocky Mountains, this part of the book reads but tamely, and
we are not sorry to get Mr Coke back to North America. He and Fred
landed at San Francisco. A long letter which he wrote thence, after
a month's stay in the country, is here reprinted, having originally
been inserted in the _Times_ newspaper by the friend to whom it
was addressed. He adds some further particulars and characteristic
anecdotes. His account of the diggings, both wet and dry, but
especially of the latter, fully confirms the mass of evidence
already adduced as to their incalculable richness.

     "The quartz rock," he says, "which is supposed to be the only
     permanent source from which gold will eventually be derived,
     extends north and south for more than a degree and a half of
     latitude. At Mariposa, a society, possessing several 'claims,'
     have established, at a great expense, machinery for crushing the
     rock. They employ thirty men, whom they pay at the rate of 100
     dollars each a month. This society is now making a clear gain of
     1500 dollars a-day. This will show you what is to be expected
     when capital sets to work in the country."

Some of the sketches at _table-d'hôtes_ and gambling-tables are
extremely natural and spirited. Mr Coke and Fred, whilst at San
Francisco, lived at El Dorado, the best hotel there; four meals
a-day, dinner as good as at Astor's at New York, venison, grizzly
bear, Sandhill crane and other delicacies; cost of board and lodging
eight dollars a-day--not dear for California. At the dinner-table
they made some queer acquaintances; amongst others a certain Major
M., whose first mark of good-will, after his introduction to them by
a judge, (judges and majors swarm at San Francisco,) was to offer to
serve as their friend in any "difficulty" into which they might get.
The judge suggested that the two English gentlemen might probably
have no need of a "friend" in that sense of the word. The Major's
reply will be our last extract.

     "'Sir,' said the Major, 'they are men of honour; and as men of
     honour, you observe, there is no saying what scrapes they may
     get into. I remember--it can't be more than twenty years ago--a
     brother officer and I were opponents at a game of poker.[59]
     That officer and I were most intimately acquainted. Another
     bottle of champagne, you nigger, and fill those gentlemen's
     glasses. Very fine that, sir--I never tasted better wine,'
     said the Major, as he turned his mustachios up, and poured the
     gooseberry down. 'Where was I, Judge? Ah! precisely,--most
     intimate acquaintance, you observe. I had the highest opinion of
     that officer's honour--the highest possible opinion,' with an
     oath. 'Well, sir, the luck was against me--I never won a point!
     My partner couldn't stand it. 'Gad, sir, he _did_ swear. But my
     friend--another slice of crane, nigger, and rather rare; come,
     gentlemen, help yourselves and pass the bottle--that's what I
     call a high old wine, you observe. Where was I, Judge? Ah! just
     so--Well, my friend, you observe, did not say a word; but took
     it all as coolly as could be. We kept on losing; they kept on
     winning; when, as quick as greased lightning, what do you think
     my partner did, sir? May I be stuck, forked end up, in a 'coon
     hole, if he didn't whip out his knife and chop off three of my
     friend's fingers. My friend, you observe, halloo'd loud enough.
     "You may halloo," says my partner, "but (an oath) if you'd had
     five trumps, sir, (an oath,) you'd have lost your hand," (an
     oath.) My intimate friend, you observe, had been letting his
     partner know how many trumps he had by putting out a finger for
     each one; and, having the misfortune, you observe, to hold three
     when my partner found him out, why, sir, you observe, he lost
     three of his fingers.'"

  [59] A sort of whist.

Between his roguish friend and his ruffianly partner, the Major felt
himself in a dilemma how to act.

     "'I think,' said the Judge, 'I have heard the story before;
     but, excuse me, I do not see exactly what relation it bears to
     these gentlemen and your offer to serve them.' 'That,' said the
     major, 'if you will give me time, is exactly what I am coming
     to.--Nigger, bring me a dozen cigars.--The sequel is soon told.
     Considering my duty as an officer, a friend, and a gentleman,
     I cut my friend, and shot my partner for insulting him; and
     if, you observe, these gentlemen shall honour me with their
     friendship, I will be most happy to do the same by them.'"

Whilst deprecating the good offices of this Yankee O'Trigger in the
shooting or cutting line, Mr Coke and his companion availed of him
as a guide to an adjacent faro table, where the gallant Major lost
eight hundred dollars with infinite coolness, drank a cocktail,
buttoned his coat, and walked away.

As matter of mere amusement, Mr Coke's last chapter is his best.
It is crammed with diverting stories of "smart" Yankees and other
originals whom he encountered in California. The whole book,
although in parts a little drawn out, does him credit, and will
doubtless be extensively read and well liked. For various classes it
has features of attractive interest. The emigrant, the gold-seeker,
the sportsman, the mining speculator, the lover of adventure for
mere adventure's sake, will all derive pleasure from its pages, and
occasionally glean from them a hint worth remembering.




When the curtain drew up, the stage was occupied by the two heroes
of the establishment, who said not a word, but rushed at each other
with prodigious swords, and hacked and hewed with the most amazing
vigour. The fight had a running accompaniment from the partisans of
the two belligerents. "Go it, Fitz-Neddie!" (this was familiar for
Fitz-Edward) was answered with outcries of "At him, Martingale!"
And, inspired by these demonstrations, the battle was prolonged till
the combatants were fairly out of breath. While they were resting on
their swords, and grinning horribly at each other, Miss de la Rose
rushed upon the stage, with dishevelled locks and white satin shoes,
and explained, in a very long soliloquy, the state of affairs. Baron
Fitz-Edward had made various attempts to storm Baron Martingdale's
castle, in search of his runaway ward--who, of course, was Miss
de la Rose herself; and, on the present occasion, he had been
surprised by the watchful Martingdale in the very act of applying a
ladder to the donjon wall. But virtue such as Miss de la Rose's has
surer guards than even the courage of Martingdale; for when that
noble warrior is likely to be overcome, there uniformly appears
the "sylvan demon, or the blood-red knight," whose strokes it is
impossible to resist. When this exposition of the state of affairs
had given breath enough to the still panting enemies to enter into
conversation, Fitz-Edward sneered, and scorned, and threatened, and
walked up the stage, and across it, and stamped with his feet, and
clenched his hands, in a way that brought down thunders of applause,
which, from another part of the house, were answered by rival peals,
when Martingdale gave full career to the rage that was in his heart,
and roared to an extent that shook the scene on which his baronial
castle was painted, "as if a storm passed by." If it had not been
of very strong canvass, it must have burst. While this dialogue
was going on, it was painful to observe that some duplicity was
at work, for several bearded fellows slipt across the stage in a
mysterious manner, and were evidently posted between Adelgiza--Miss
de la Rose--and the castle. The discovery of this stratagem was made
too late, and Fitz-Edward grasped the arm of Adelgiza in triumph,
and was about to lead her out for the purpose of being married to
her on the spot by a convenient old priest, who accompanied all his
expeditions with a special license, when suddenly a dead silence
fell upon the stage, and, with noiseless steps, a tall knight, with
visor closed, and a whole bush of red feathers growing luxuriantly
out of his helmet, marched towards Fitz-Edward, touched his arm with
his sword, and motioned majestically for Adelgiza to retire in
safety to her home. At this point of the story I was summoned to go
behind the scenes, where Mr Montalban wished to have a few minutes'

"Difficulties have arisen, my dear sir," said the manager, "about
your very excellent play. Mr Martingdale says he is willing to be
quiet and subdued in presence of Fitz-Edward; but, to make up for
it, he must have one or two 'bits' entirely to himself. He doesn't
care whether it be as part of a scene with others or a soliloquy. He
suggests a description of a shipwreck, though he thinks his powers
of voice would qualify him more for a bull-fight. Perhaps you can
put him asleep for a few minutes, and then he can give us his dream."

"It might be managed, no doubt," I said; "but how would it help the
progress of the play?"

"O, he doesn't care for that. He is an ignorant ass; but if he gets
sulky, he may spoil the run."

"Is there anything else?"

"You must omit that young girl who attends Edith and says nothing.
Miss de la Rose complains that her beauty is so great, and her
action so graceful, that nobody attends to anything else while she
is on the stage."

"Why don't you put an ugly person in her place?"

"I have more sense," chuckled the manager. "These here ugly critturs
may be as clever as they like, but the house is always pleased with
the sight of a pretty girl: and there she is. Here!" he added,
beckoning condescendingly to a young lady, who had been looking at
us for some time, "come and speak to the author of our next new

She came up; and, in spite of the absurd apparel she was in--a dress
composed of Greek and Turkish and Hindoo articles indiscriminately,
she being a feasting lady in Baron Martingdale's castle--she struck
me to be the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She did not
seem above twenty years of age; tall, and exquisitely made; with an
expression that led one to expect a higher position for her than a
walking figure.

"I will tell you some other suggestions they make," said Mr
Montalban. "In the mean time, I must go and get the daggers ready
for the next scene."

"Do you think they are going to bring out your play?" inquired the
young lady.

"Certainly. I should say it will be acted in a month."

"It will never be acted here, I assure you of that. Notice is
already given of a play which our translator has just finished from
the French; and if you have advanced any money, it is to buy dresses
for that. We keep a translator at twenty-five shillings a-week, and
as much gin as he requires, and I am told this next spectacle will
be very fine indeed."

When I had recovered my breath after this astounding communication,
I replied, "I am afraid you see everything in this theatre in an
unfavourable light. Your own position is certainly not equal to your

"And therefore I tell you that Hengist and Horsa is never meant to
appear? It doesn't seem to follow; but, nevertheless, what I tell
you is true. My situation here is exactly what I wish."

"Then your ambition is easily satisfied, for I am told you are never
allowed to speak."

"I am Miss de la Rose's double," she replied, "and gain confidence
and a knowledge of the stage."

"Her double?" I inquired.

"Yes. I learn every part that she learns; so that if she were taken
unwell, or were run over by a cab, I should be able to take her
place; and, once give me the chance, she should never get it again!"

"And for this remote hope you hang on here every night, and probably
have a very small salary?"

"No salary at all--is not worth mentioning," she said. "It is not
for money I devote myself to the stage, and I don't require any
profession for my support. Will you let me read your play?"

"With all my heart," I answered. I have another copy at home."

"Give me your address," she said, "and I will send for it to-morrow.
Say nothing in the mean time of what I have told you, but be
prepared for disappointment; for now I am off to preside at the
second table." A round of applause saluted her graceful walk
across the stage, which rose into a tempest of admiration when she
acknowledged the compliment by a salaam of the deepest respect.

Miss de la Rose touched me on the shoulder. "She's the vainest fool,
that Miss Claribel, that ever stept on boards. Why can't she walk
quietly to her place without such coquetting with the pit?"

"Has she been an actress here long?"

"Never an actress at all, and never will be," replied the first
tragedienne. "She has long watched for an opening; but we stop it
up, sir, as if it were a rat-hole. So she may practise her Ophelia
to the glass in the green-room. She shall never sing her ballads
or spread out her hair before the lamps, I can tell her that. More
applause!--what is it? It makes me quite nervous to hear all those
disgusting noises. It is only Miss Claribel presenting a cup of wine
to that brute Martingdale."

"She is so very beautiful," I said, and so majestic in her motion."

"Is she? You and I differ very much on that point. She certainly
limps with the left leg; and--oh! there they're applauding again! It
kills me, this nonsense! Why, she has only made her exit in search
of me, for I am now going on to quarrel with the baron." So saying,
she settled her dagger in her belt, and glided on to the stage.

Miss Claribel came to me again.

"Miss de la Rose is a severe critic--as most people are who are
ignorant and vain," she began.

"I assure you I did not agree with her judgments; but one thing she
told me that gives me great pleasure, and that is, that you are
prepared to make a _debût_ in Ophelia."

"And why should that give you pleasure?" she inquired. "It is a
beautiful character, and I think I can enter into its simple purity
and poetic charm."

"I have no doubt you can; and, in fact"--but here her bright eye was
so fixed on me, that I coloured and hesitated.

"Oh," she said, "I see; you have the boy's fever on you yet, and
think you could shake the spheres in Hamlet."

"I certainly have studied the character."

"And can you declaim?"

"I think so."

"Will you let me hear you?"

"Most proudly."

"Then I'll come for the play myself to-morrow, and we can rehearse a

"My mother will be delighted to see you. I shall expect you at
twelve o'clock." She nodded her consent to the appointment, and we

"Are you quite sure, Mr Montalban," I said, "that Hengist and Horsa
will be produced without delay?"

"Call me no gentleman if I deceive you," replied the manager, laying
his hand on his waistcoat, a little above the left side pocket; "and
the day that sees me forfeit my word of honour, will be the last of
my management of this here theatre."

What could I say? I determined to wait for more certain information
from Miss Claribel, and, in rather a desponding frame of mind, I
slipt out of the theatre before the play was over, and wended my way

As I applied the latch-key, the door was opened by the lodger on the
upper floor, whose performances on the violin we had often heard,
but whom I had never encountered before. He was enveloped in whisker
and moustache to an extent that nearly hid his features. He wore a
braided coat, very wide in the tails; loose trousers, and glossy
boots. He grinned when he saw me, and revealed a row of white teeth
which looked like some mother-o'-pearl ornaments set in hair; and,
lifting up the low-crowned, broad-brimmed hat which adorned his
head, he said, "Ver' fine night for de valk--I hope you quite vell?"
And with a very gracious bow he replaced his hat, tucked a long
green baize parcel under his arm, and left the house. It is quite
possible for people who live at the opposite ends of any great city
not to meet, but London is the only place in the world where the
inhabitants of the same house shall never come in each other's way.
This foreigner had been our fellow-lodger for several months, and
we had never thought of making his acquaintance. He continued to
be an abstraction as long as we merely listened to his fiddle, and
heard his step on the floor; but now that our eyes had actually met,
and we had exchanged words, he became a real existence, and I felt
ashamed of our unsocial reserve.

Punctually at twelve Miss Claribel made her appearance, plainly
dressed, modest in her demeanour, and low-toned in the voice. There
was very little in her present style to recal the feasting lady of
the night before. There was still great beauty in her face, and
great elegance in her motion, but they had no resemblance to stage
features or stage attitudes. My mother received her very kindly.
"Your acquaintance with the interior workings of a theatre," she
said, "will be of great use to my son, if you will be kind enough to
give him the results of your experience."

"My experience is very small, except in so far as the actors in a
theatre are concerned. With authors we have never had anything to
do, except on this occasion."

"How?--not with authors?" I broke in. "Then how do you get
possession of new plays?"

"Steal them," replied Miss Claribel quietly. "I told you we keep a
translator--a remarkably clever man while he is sober; and we owe
everything to the French and Germans."

"But when a new play is offered to the management?"

"The management laughs, and puts in a few advertisements in the
papers about the encouragement to native talent; gets a little
money, if it can, from the vanity of the aspirant, and ends with a
fresh version from Scribe or Kotzebue."

"Charles, my dear," said my mother, "I wish we had known Miss
Claribel some days ago."

"But still, Miss Claribel," I said, "there must be some exceptions
at the Stepney Star, for Mr Montalban told me his principle was
novelty and home manufacture. He did not profess the Shakspearian
drama, but laid himself out for the poets of the present day."

"He has an original pantomime at Christmas-time every year, and no
other poets are ever engaged in our service; but, perhaps, the merit
of Hengist may open the eyes even of Mr Montalban. Will you let me
judge of it for myself?"

I gave her the copy I had promised.

"There was another thing you talked of last night," I added. "You
have not forgotten your promise about Ophelia?" In a moment she took
off her bonnet, slung it across her arm in the manner of a basket,
let loose her hair, which fell in wavy ringlets down to the middle
of her back, assumed a wandering expression in the eyes, but still
retained intellect enough in their look to give full effect to the
pathos, and began, "There's rosemary--that's for remembrance; pray
you, love, remember; and there is pansies--that's for thoughts." And
it was not many minutes before my mother was in tears. I was a great
deal too manly to follow her example, but I felt a choaking at the
throat which was very uncomfortable.

"Is it possible," I inquired, "that you have never had the
opportunity of showing your delightful talents on the stage?"

"Very possible, indeed," she replied; "and, unless by some accident,
I feel sure also I never shall. In fact, the rise of a junior
performer entirely depends on the health or longevity of the senior.
There have been limping old men tottering through Ranger and Charles
Surface, exactly as they had done for forty years; and keeping in
those parts for the express purpose of debarring younger men from
them, whose talents, they think, would eclipse their reputation."

"But can't a manager give the part to any one he likes?"

"O, no. It is down in Miss de la Rose's engagement that she is to
have all the principal characters."

"But when there are two principal characters in one play?" inquired
my mother.

"Mrs Ferdinand Windleshaw has secured all the second characters. She
is always the Emilia to Miss de la Rose's Desdemona."

"And you!" I cried--"is there no part left for you?"

"Both those ladies would leave the theatre at once if I were allowed
to speak one line."

"Then, my dear Miss Claribel," said my mother, greatly won by the
simple openness of the visitor, "why do you remain on the stage, or
rather not on the stage, but behind the scenes? You could surely
find some other way of making your extraordinary talents of use."

"I draw a little in the intervals of study," she replied, "and
compose a little music. I make quite enough for my own support; and,
in short, there are reasons why I continue true to the stage."

"I have known you too short a time," replied my mother, "to ask you
for your confidence; but I assure you I take a great interest in
your success, and I hope you will always consider me a friend."

Miss Claribel took my mother's hand. "I won't try to thank you," she
said; "for such kindness overcomes me. If you knew the loneliness
of a poor actress's life, the solitude of the desolate room she
goes back to after the glare of the lamps, the friendlessness she
experiences in the very midst of the clapping of innumerable hands,
you would know how doubly valuable to her heart is the kind sympathy
of a lady in your position. You give me a new tie to existence in
letting me feel assured of your goodwill, and I will come and see
you whenever I feel my griefs too much for me to sustain alone."

Things had now got a great deal too sentimental for me to say a
word about Hamlet. I believe both the ladies had utterly forgotten
the existence of the Danish prince, and, for a while, the presence
of his representative. There was a feeling of disappointment in my
heart as I shook hands with Miss Claribel at the door. I did not
acknowledge the reason of it even to myself; but I have no doubt now
it arose from her neglect of my dramatic powers. Neglect is the most
difficult to bear of all the ills that theatric flesh is heir to.
My mother was delighted with her visitor. She felt sure there was a
mystery about her; and she was determined to unravel it. In the mean
time I determined to wait patiently for a week, as requested by Mr
Montalban, and then go to the rehearsal of Hengist and Horsa.


That same evening the landlady brought me a polite message from
Mr Catsbach, the occupant of the upper floor, and an invitation
to visit him at eight o'clock. I was received with many apologies
for the liberty he had taken--with many apologies also for not
having taken it before--for he had long had a violent inclination
to make my acquaintance--the more especially as he perceived, from
my excellent touch on the flute, that I was as great a musical
enthusiast as himself. I returned his compliment by declaring my
gratification at catching the sounds of his violin; and ventured to
hope that, now that we were acquainted, we might practise sometimes

"Dat vill most pleasant be," said Mr Catsbach; "and meantimes ve
vill have die branty and wader." In a short time the table was
replenished with bottles and glasses, the frost of non-acquaintance
rapidly wore off, and I examined my companion more minutely than
I had hitherto done. Though very much disguised, and, I thought,
disfigured by the mass of whisker, beard, and moustache, in which
he enveloped his countenance, I saw that his features were regular
and handsome; and if he had told me he was count or baron, I should
have believed him on the strength of his gentlemanly manners and
appearance. However, he did not mention anything of the kind. In
fact, he mentioned very little about himself at all; and I had the
pleasing reflection on the following morning that I had concealed
very few incidents of my own life, without getting the slightest
return of confidence from him. My forthcoming triumph at the Stepney
Star and my ambition to appear in Hamlet were not forgotten. I even
went so far as to tell him I had discovered an Ophelia who would
play up to me in very first-rate style, and that I thought of very
soon astonishing the world with my _debût_. There are few educated
foreigners now who do not understand and enjoy Shakspeare as much
as the generality of Englishmen. Catsbach was quite at home in
Hamlet, and, after the third tumbler of our brandy and water, gave
a recitation of "To be or not to be," which was very effective
to me, (who never drank so much before,) in spite of the foreign
pronunciation. There were now two points of sympathy between us; and
what music began, Shakspeare--not to mention the brandy--completed.
We parted that night as if we had been friends for years, and he was
to return my visit on the following night. All people are capable
of being thawed, however thick the coat of ice may appear to be at
first--only it takes longer to melt in some than in others. After my
mother had retired--for our fellow lodger returned my visit without
delay--when the second tumbler shone upon the table, and a small
shining brass kettle on the hob was singing its accompaniment to
our conversation, I began a few fishing questions as to his history
and position, for I felt rather ashamed of my own openness on the
previous evening.

"Have you been long in England?" I inquired.

"'Es--no; a few months--or 'ears. I not know."

"You speak the language extremely well, considering you have been
here so short a time."

The foreigner twirled his moustaches, and took a pull at the tumbler.

"I must say John Bull, though a little rough in his manner, is very
kind and generous to foreigners."

"Ver'; too mosh," said Catsbach.

"And this is truly and honourably called the home of the patriot and
the exile," I said.

"The fact is," said Mr Catsbach, in a perfectly English
pronunciation, and with some energy, "our friend Jack is the
greatest fool alive."

I started back. "Why, how well you speak," I cried; "but who is

"Why, John Bull," he said. "The shallowest, bellowingest old beast
that ever carried a horn. You talk of those exiles and fellows who
can find no living in their own country, and come over here to eat
up the fat of the land."

"You amaze me. Aren't you one of the refugees yourself?"

"Never was out of England in my life, and never will be," replied
Mr Catsbach. "But you must pardon me, my dear fellow, for not
having explained myself to you before. I am no foreigner, and
never was--only I wear these embellishments on cheek and chin for
a particular purpose; and fortunately Jack is fool enough for
anything, and never suspects any man if he speaks with a strange
accent and wears a queer-cut coat."

I drew back a little, not feeling quite sure of the reason for which
Mr Catsbach had assumed his disguise.

He saw my movement. "You're not such a fool as Jack, I perceive," he
said; "and suppose that all may not be right, in spite of foreign
garb and hairy countenance. Be easy on that score," he continued.
"You are a fine, honourable young fellow, full of learning and
genius--your mother is a perfect lady--the brandy also is excellent;
and I will tell you a small portion of my story, just to show you
that I am not altogether unworthy of the society of all three."

My mother was absent; the brandy, however, and I were present, and I
bowed to his compliment.

"As to birth, parentage, and education," he began, "these are
matters of no consequence; and I must say for Jack, if a man behaves
himself pretty well, it doesn't much matter whether his name be
Mowbray or Smith."

"I beg your pardon," I interposed. "I consider there is a very great
difference indeed."

"Ah! but Jack at large doesn't think so; and so I have no hesitation
in telling you my name is Tooks. When I came to years of discretion,
which I managed to do pretty early, I felt thankful it was not
Snooks, and looked out of the window of my private existence, as it
were, to see what was going on on the High Street of life. From my
earliest days I devoted myself to the study of Jack--that is short
for 'John Bull,' and prose for 'my country.' I took a personal
interest in all his concerns. He was no abstraction like Athens or
Rome, but a real breathing personage, with great peculiarities of
character, and the most extraordinary position the world had ever
seen. I studied the Army List, the Navy List, the Shipping Gazette,
and felt that Jack was the most astonishing potentate on the face
of the earth. I studied the Parliamentary debates--the reports
of public meetings--the list of railway directors and committee
men--and I was forced to confess that Jack was little better than an
ass. At sixteen I was secretary to the agglomerated association for
vindicating the rights of man. The rights of property, however, were
left to take care of themselves, and our chairman was transported
for theft. I lost a silver watch, the bequest of my grandmother, in
an unaccountable manner--an upper coat, and a gold pencil-case; so,
in case of being stript of everything, I resigned my secretaryship,
and had to pay half-a-year's rent of the cellar in which our
meetings were held. But Jack, after all, is a noble fellow; and
there are thieves and impostors in all parties. At seventeen I was
an eloquent speaker among the 'Constitutional Brothers.' We were
all great admirers of Jack, and would have died for the glorious
constitution, the envy of surrounding nations, and the glory of
our own; but we differed from the rest of the world on the date at
which this constitution had been in its purest and best condition.
We fixed on the reign of Harold, and were most hostile to the Norman
invaders. Whatever had been introduced since then we considered
a badge of conquest and subjection. We called the Parliament the
Wittenagemote, and hated the feudal system. Our innovations were all
in a backward sense. We wished to undo the Battle of Hastings, and
find out a lineal descendant of King Harold. It was reported that
one did exist in the person of a shoemaker at Northampton. We went
to see him, and found him one of the constables in the town, who
threatened to take us into custody if we tried on any more of our
nonsense. Low fellows have no ambition, though they were grandsons
of Julius Cæsar. We talked very high of what we should do in this
appalling absence of a legitimate possessor of the throne; and just
when we had nearly resolved to proceed to use the ancient privilege
of the English people and elect a king, an uncle of mine, a merchant
in Swithin's Alley, interfered with my royal candidature, and I
became a clerk in his counting-house, at a hundred a-year."

Here Mr Catsbach, or rather Mr Tooks, refreshed himself with the
whole remainder of his tumbler; made himself another with the utmost
expedition, and proceeded.

"I need a little support," he said, "for I am now coming to a
period when I fell in love. I will be very brief in my account of
the interesting event, for it sticks in my throat, and has made me
miserable for many months. She was the prettiest girl that ever
was seen--of course they are all that when we see them through
the spectacles of admiration and vanity; for a girl's principal
beauty consists in the willingness, more or less, with which she
reciprocates your feelings. That's the reason why misogynists are
all ugly fellows--it's the reason also why old men think the average
amount of beauty fallen off. The prettiest creature in the world
was Ellinor Bones, a niece of my aunt; so, in a sort of way, we
were cousins. She was a ward of my uncle's, with three thousand
pounds in the four per cents; and the moment I saw her, I said
there's my destiny. There have been few books, and no play of my
acquaintance, without a young fellow marrying his uncle's ward;
so I made up my mind at once, and had no doubt of converting the
beautiful Ellinor into Mrs Tooks. The course of true love never
did run smooth, our immortal friend says. Doesn't it?--ours flowed
like a mill-pond; so either ours was not true love, or William
for once is wrong. A divided allegiance now held my whole being,
the beauty of Ellinor and the political condition of Jack. There
was no room for bills of lading, and I hated the very sight of
a ledger, unless under its canonised form, when I betted on it
at Doncaster. I made love--I thought politics--I neglected my
three-legged stool. My love was reciprocated. Jack improved very
much; and my uncle shook his head with more ominous wisdom than
the Earl of Burleigh. Ellinor was the strangest character I ever
knew--a sort of miniature in enamel of Jack himself. She had all
his honesty and openness--his self-reliance and fixed determination.
She said she would marry me, and I defied the Spanish Inquisition
to torture her into a recantation. But how was the ceremony to be
achieved? We put up the banns in Mary-le-Bone church. The number
of matrimonial candidates is infinite. The curate speaks as if his
mouth were full of hot potatoes; and you are at perfect liberty to
marry any of the lot, for there is no distinction made between 'any
of these parties respectively.' We had made calculations as to the
expense of housekeeping, and many plans for enlarging our income.
I had always one resource. Jack is the most generous of patrons,
and very fond of music. I relied on my fiddle, if the worst came to
the worst. I determined, in the mean time, to make myself a name,
if possible, in eloquence and statistics, that might be beneficial
to me if I thought of standing for a borough. I made a speech at
a preliminary meeting for Westminster, and was kicked out of the
room as a dishonest swindler, for advocating justice to the public
creditor; at the same time I was reported in the papers as having
been powerful in favour of the spunge. So, on the following morning,
I got notice from my uncle that he had no farther occasion for my
services. I saw Ellinor on the subject. What was to be done? We
resolved to marry, and trust to our talents and good fortune for the
rest. We met next morning at Mary-le-Bone church, and were bound for
ever, for better for worse. At our exit from the hymeneal altar,
who was waiting for us at the door? My uncle and two bailiffs!--my
aunt and the housekeeper! A hand was laid on my shoulder. 'Debt?--or
criminal?' I inquired. 'You'll see that in plenty of time,' growled
my uncle. 'But Jack,' I exclaimed, 'will never stand this; he has
too great a regard for the liberty of the subject. I will set
Habeas Corpus at work.' They tore me away. 'Where's my Ellinor?'
I exclaimed, as I sat in the cab, and was rapidly driven off to
Swithin's Alley; but echo made its usual unsatisfactory answer. A
few days put all straight. My uncle found his ruse of no use; and I
discovered myself one morning on the pavement, with no particular
amount of money, and a wife, without the power of offering her a
home. I hurried off to my uncle's. 'Where's my wife?' I distractedly
asked the cook--for I had taken the precaution to enter by the
kitchen. She was a Scotchwoman--very popular for sheep's-head broth.
'Gae wa' wi' ye, ye ne'er-do-weel, rinning awa' wi' bonny lasses for
the sake o' their siller.'

"'But where is she?' I again exclaimed.

"'She's as bad's yersel, and has gane aff in the search o' ye. She
eloupit within an hour o' her return; so ye had best keep out o' the
way, for the maister swears ye'll never get a fardin o' her tocher.'

"'Caledonian impostor!' I cried, 'I'll find my Ellinor, if she is
in _rerum natura_;' and I distractedly rushed off to commence my
search. But she is not in rerum natura, or I have never been lucky
enough to discover where _rerum natura_ is. I've tried the _Times_
till I'm tired. 'Ellinor! your distracted husband is perishing with
despair. A note addressed MISERRIMUS, Old Slaughter's, will make him
the happiest of men.'--'Has Ellinor forgotten her Augustus? Come to
me at the door of the New Hummums at eight to-night. Fortune smiles,
and a fig for uncles and aunts.'

"I can't tell you the annuity I settled for the first year on the
_Times_. There I was every morning. No answer at Old Slaughter's--no
appearance at the New Hummums. In the mean time, how was I to live?
My dear fellow, I must pause a little, for there are secrets about
John Bull, and the way he manages to grub on, which it requires some
ingenuity to discover, and a greater amount of ingenuousness to
confess." Mr Tooks paused, and occupied his leisure moments in the
concoction of another tumbler. "How do you think all the people in
this tremendous London live?" he continued. "Do you think they have
all money lying incubating in the bank; or with snug little farms in
Suffolk or Kent, doing nothing all day long but growing wheat and
hops for their benefit? What if they had? Why, every fellow would
live on his income, and eat his home-grown bread. There would be
nobody to do anything for anybody else, and the world would stand
still. Excuse my political economy, but I see great advantages in
poverty, in the abstract; but when it comes too close, it loses,
like many other things, the charm that distance gives them. I, sir,
had nothing. Ellinor had saved ninety-two pounds seven; but it was
in her reticule when we were separated at the door of Mary-le-Bone
church. I had not a farthing. Was I to lie down and die for that?
Had I studied Jack so ill? No. I was one of his children, and I
would show all the dogged unthrashability of my sire at Waterloo and
elsewhere. In short, I let my hair grow. I grew strong, like Samson,
under the process. I rough-paved my throat with German gutturals. I
put on pantaloons that seemed cut according to the pattern of the
cover of a celestial globe, with two little dependences in which to
insert the legs. I got a coat, with its tails widening like a fan.
I took my fiddle in my hand, and here I am--very comfortable as
regards income and enjoyment, and only miserable for the loss of my
beloved Ellinor. Come with me to-morrow night, and I will show you
how the world moves."


But I couldn't give myself up to Mr Tooks's guidance, for my destiny
was now drawing near at the Stepney Star, and I had no spirits for
anything else till that was decided. Once or twice Miss Claribel
came, but her confidences were all to my mother. For several hours
at a time they would retire to my mother's room, and both would
reappear with their eyes rather red, as if they had been crying. Was
Miss Claribel growing despondent? Was there no chance of accident
or illness befalling the sempiternal Emily de la Rose? If she was
indeed in low spirits, she took remarkably good care that I should
bear her company. She was like the hero or heroine, I forget which,
in Moore's ballad, who held a feast of tears, and was social in the
deepest of woes. "You expect the rehearsal on Thursday?" she said.
"Not a chance of it. They are getting up a rhyming version of the
Miller and his Men, and Martingdale and Fitz-Edward are on the point
of borrowing the property pistols to fight a duel with, to decide
which of them goes into the sack. But come on Thursday, and then you
will see for yourself." On Thursday I went. With more politeness and
friendliness than usual, Mr Montalban invited me up to his room.
"Great news," he said; "I have great news for you. I think I may now
say our fortunes are made."

"Does the play go well at rehearsal?" I inquired, with a glow of
gratification not unmingled with triumph over the sinister auguries
of Miss Claribel.

"Never has been put in rehearsal at all. The Lord Chamberlain has
positively said no. It is not to be done."

"On what ground has the Lord Chamberlain put his veto?" I asked,
compressing my lips to restrain my anger. "Does he find anything
injurious to morals or religion in Hengist and Horsa?"

"Far from it," replied Montalban. "You are aware that the Lord
Chamberlain is appointed for the express purpose of seeing that
plays are worthy of public approbation, both for their literary
merit and moral tendency. Well, his lordship--who is always the
most distinguished man in the Peerage for his literary tastes
and performances--has devoted several days to the study of your
excellent play, and his final decision is, that it deserves a wider
field than we can afford it here. He has ordered its representation
to be delayed till arrangements can be made for its appearance at
one of the great national theatres. What do you say to that, Mr
Dipbowing? Think of the thousands at Drury Lane! Think of the Queen
in the royal box, attended by all her court? I give you joy, upon
my honour, and feel highly charmed that it is through me that your
glory is to be secured." Here Mr Montalban shook hands with me
so heartily, that I couldn't resist the influence of his friendly
manner, and returned his pressure with a warmth equal to his own.

"Will it be long before arrangements can be made for its appearance
at Drury Lane?" I inquired, in the midst of our gratulations.

"Well, that is a sensible question," replied Montalban. "I must
consult his Lordship on the point. I have certainly made an offer
for it; but as the trustees are hard-hearted people, with no love
for the modern drama, they insist on a deposit towards the rent; and
as I am deficient to the amount of fifty pounds----"

"Is that the whole deficiency?" I said; "for if such a sum----"

"Forty-eight pound fifteen is the exact amount that would enable me
to table their demand; but with such enormous expenses as I am at
here, where could a man look for assistance, even to that paltry
extent? The Lord Chamberlain, I have no doubt, would forego his

"What!" I inquired, "is there a fee on the production of a new play?"

"Isn't there?" answered Montalban. "The advantage of a censorship
of the press or of the stage, which is the same thing, is not to be
had for nothing. No, no: we pay his Lordship--per self or deputy--a
very handsome acknowledgment for the trouble he takes in correcting,
altering, and improving the tragedies that are submitted to his

"Has his Lordship condescended to amend any of the lines in
Hengist?" I asked with gratified interest.

"He has only blotted out all the Heavens, and put in a number of
skies. He has also done away with all the fiends and devils; for our
improver is a very devout man, and seems to have an awful veneration
for Beelzebub. O! it's well worth the money, I assure you, to
have the certificate that all's right from such high literary and
religious authority."

"And fifty pounds would do it," I said half to myself.

"Forty-eight pound fifteen," said Mr Montalban, altogether to the
same individual.

"It shall be done," I said, and shook his hand again. "Send in your
agreement to the trustees; I will give you the sum you require."

"I don't for a moment scruple to take your offer," replied the
manager, "for I feel--I know--I am only acting as your trustee in
doing so. Your terms, Mr Dipbowing, are quadrupled. You shall have
twenty pounds a-night from the very commencement of the run. And
old Drury shall feel the breath of the Legitimate again. Is there
anything else that strikes you?"

"Couldn't you find an opening for Miss Claribel?" I said. "I am
confident she has great dramatic powers, and only requires an
opportunity to display them in order to take the town by storm."

"Name what part you like, and she shall be in the bills, in letters
two inches long, on our opening night." Again I shook hands, and the
matter was satisfactorily settled.

"O," said Mr Montalban, calling me back, as if he had forgotten
something, "if you don't happen to have the money in hand, I can
tell you of a way which will be more easy for you, and quite as
agreeable to me."

I was delighted at his thoughtful friendship; and did not scruple to
confess that, till some money which we expected came from India, the
outlay would put me to inconvenience.

"Better and better," he exclaimed. "I can put you in clover in the
mean time, and you can do as you like when the payments for the
play begin. I have a friend who is oppressed with ready money, and
is always delighted to make a safe and honourable investment. Here
is a bill at two months for a hundred and fifty pounds. Just write
your name there, and this day week I will pay you a hundred, keeping
the other fifty as a loan for our Drury Lane transaction; and in
consequence of the play being now sure to go on at Old Drury, we
will have a dress rehearsal on that day. On Thursday, sir, you will
receive a hundred pounds, and see Hengist in all his glory."

I never signed a paper with so much pleasure in my life. I
considered it was merely receiving prepayment of part of my
theatrical gains; and felt now perfectly assured that the manager
had no doubt of my success, as he in a joking manner offered to
consider the money repaid, if I would give him an order on the
treasurer of Old Drury for my profits of the first ten nights.

"You look very happy," said Miss Claribel to me, as I passed the
wing, "and yet you have not been on the stage to see the rehearsal
of your play."

"It is not in rehearsal," I said; "and moreover, my dear Miss
Claribel, it isn't going to be rehearsed--to-day."

"I told you so," replied Miss Claribel, tying her bonnet and putting
on her shawl; "but as I have now got up my _rôle_ of standing behind
Miss de la Rose's chair, I will walk a part of the way home with
you, and hear what you have said to Montalban."

"What I have said to Montalban is this," I said, when we had got
out into the street, "that you were lost and buried here, and that
I requested a more prominent position for a young lady of so much
beauty and so much talent."

"And he said?"

"That you should very shortly make your appearance in whatever
character I chose to name."

"Did you name any character?"

"I resolved to consult you first. Will you try Desdemona or Ophelia?"

"You lent him money," said Miss Claribel, in a sad voice.

"On the contrary," I said, "he has advanced some to me." We walked
for five minutes in silence. I thought she was speechless with
gratitude for my interference in her behalf; I thought also it might
be with reverence of my genius, now that she saw it was appreciated
by the bestowers of wealth and fame.

"Will you tell my dear and kind Mrs de Bohun, that I will come to
her for an hour to-morrow at twelve o'clock? In the mean time, my
good young friend, I wish you good day." And without a word of
thanks or congratulation, she walked away.

As I saw her graceful figure and elegant motion, I again felt a gush
of gratification fill my heart at having interfered so effectually
in her favour. Beautiful and modest Miss Claribel! I thought; it
is to me you will owe your triumph at Drury Lane, and not solitary
shall you be in your success! No, there's a Hamlet shall respond to
all the divine tendernesses of the sweet Ophelia--an Othello who
will weep tears of blood over the death-couch of your Desdemona--a
Romeo--But here I was nearly run over by a West End omnibus; and
wondering whether Miss Claribel would be as delighted with my
support as I was with hers, I got into the 'bus, which awoke me from
my reverie, and returned home.

I met Catsbach in the passage. "My dear fellow," he said, "I insist
on your coming with me to-night. I have something very interesting
to show you."

"Where'er you like," I cried in a sort of rapture--"'whatever realms
to see.' My arm a nobler victory ne'er gained, and I am at your
command. 'Go on: I follow thee.'"

"Come up to me at seven; bring your flute. We shall have a cheerer
or two before we start; and you can tell me all about the rehearsal
of your play."

"Is all right about the rehearsal, Charles?" said my mother, as I
entered her room radiant with delight.

"Yes, mother--all is going charmingly--but not at the Stepney
Star. No! brighter skies are opening--more enduring glory and
wealth, mother--sweetened by the delightful thought that it has
been honourably won, and that it will all be spent in adding
comforts--ay! luxuries to you! I am to be paid a hundred pounds
next week; the play is to be brought out at Drury Lane; my uncle
will hear of my triumph the moment he steps on English ground,
and conscience will gnaw his prosaic heart for his neglect and
harshness; the Queen will probably attend the first night; horses,
and spectacles, and _tableaux vivants_ shall be banished from the
English stage; and when people in the street see you and me in the
nice little Brougham I intend to keep for you, they'll say the good
times of the drama are come back again; that's the author of Hengist
and Horsa."

It is useless to describe our rapture. We got a map of London, and
looked over it all in search of a nice new street to go and live in.
My mother rather leant to the classic retirements of Brompton, but
I put a great splash of ink on Wilton Place. "Lord John Russell,"
I exclaimed, "began by writing a play, and I, too, will be a


We left the house at half-past eight. Catsbach carried a long green
bag, and I my flute-case in my pocket. We got into an omnibus,
and, after a half-hour's drive, were put down at the end of a
wide street. We walked a few hundred yards, and went into a long
dark passage. We then mounted some steps, and, on opening a small
door, emerged on the upper floor of an orchestra, in an immense
assembly-room, magnificently lighted with numerous chandeliers, and
already occupied by two or three hundred people, very gaily dressed.
A clapping of hands saluted the appearance of my companion, who
bowed to his admirers, and took his place at a small desk in the
middle of the orchestra. I took up my station at his side. About
ten other musicians were seated at their desks, and we waited for
the amusements to begin. The floor on which the company promenaded
was about twenty feet wide, and was in the shape of the letter T.
It was surrounded on all sides by a raised platform about eight
feet in width and six feet in elevation; at the front of which
were banisters for the protection of a line of spectators, who had
already begun to assemble in considerable numbers. The floor was
exactly like the dried-up bed of a canal, with a great gathering of
observers on the banks. Six or eight elegantly-dressed gentlemen,
with silver bows at their breasts, and white wands in their hands,
were busy among the company, making introductions, arranging
partners, and placing the couples in their proper places. Suddenly
one of them stept into the middle of the floor, looked intently at
Catsbach, who had now stood up with the violin on his shoulder, and
clapping his hands three times, exclaimed, "_Valse a deu tang!_" and
with a crash from the whole orchestra, the music began, and the ball
was opened.

A pretty sight as ever I saw, though I have seen many assemblies of
higher pretensions since then. There was as much decorum and as much
politeness, as far as I could judge, as could be shown in a duke's
palace. There was a great amount of beauty; several groups were very
pleasant to look on; evidently parties made up for the purpose of
the evening's enjoyment: tradesmen, thought I to myself, and their
wives, with two or three daughters and a son--or perhaps a lover of
Marianne--dancing only with the families of their neighbours, and
enjoying the gay scene and exhilarating exercise at a very moderate
expense, and no damage to morals or reputation. Others, no doubt,
found their way in who were not so respectably guarded as by their
fathers or lovers; but from my lofty field of contemplation I saw no
evidence whatever that it was not a festival of the vestal virgins
held in the temple of Diana. Dance succeeded to dance; the masters
of the ceremonies were indefatigable in their attentions, and all
went happy as a marriage bell. Catsbach resumed all his German
incomprehensibility, scolded the inferior fiddlers with a plentiful
infusion of _donners_ and _blitzens_, and was in all respects a most
hairy and distinguished conductor of the band. In one of the pauses
of the music, he whispered to me to take out my flute and accompany
the next dance. With trembling hand I did so; and there was the heir
of the De Bohuns, the author of Hengist and Horsa, performing at a
Casino! However, one comfort is, I performed extremely well. There
were several rounds of applause as the new instrument made itself
heard above the violins and bassoons, and I thought I perceived a
greater liveliness in the movements of the dancers when they caught
the clear notes of the flute. I could have played all night; and
asked Catsbach how long the assembly would last.

"Do you see those three gentlemen," he said, "leaning over the
banisters, and enjoying so heartily the gay scene at their feet?"

"Yes--the stout old squire, with his two sons, probably?"

"They are very pleasant fellows--a constable and two other officers
of the detective police. When the clock strikes a quarter to twelve,
you will see the Essex freeholder, as you thought him, pull out his
watch, and in exactly fifteen minutes the hall will be deserted,
the lights out, and you and I sitting down to a jolly supper in the
refreshment parlour behind the assembly-room."

"Do they expect any crime to be committed at these places?" I

"No, not a crime. Sometimes a row is threatened, but it is generally
by snobs whose fathers are in the peerage, or still lower snobs,
who think it shows gentle blood to behave like blackguards when
they have paid a shilling at the door. There's a young lord," he
continued, "with one of his parasites; I shouldn't be surprised if
you saw your friend the squire make his _debût_ on the floor."

"Country dance!--the haymakers!" exclaimed the senior master of the
ceremonies, and Catsbach resumed his fiddlestick.

It was most merrily and beautifully danced; and as I did not
contribute to the music, I was at full liberty to watch the whole
scene. I followed the young noble and his obsequious attendant in
all his motions. He was a fine-featured, tall-figured youth, with
soft eyes shaded by long silken lashes, a classically-shaped head,
and altogether a soft, almost feminine, expression, that was at
first sight very captivating, till you saw that, though the face
was eminently handsome, there was no intellect in its look, and
the lips, the great revealers of character, were selfish and cold.
When my eyes rested on the other, I felt a sudden thrill of some
strong feeling, which I could not define, rush to my heart like
an electric shock. In spite of the black neckcloth, the carefully
buttoned-up coat, the coloured gloves, and the green spectacles that
half hid his face, I knew I had seen him before. I couldn't tell
where nor when, but I felt it was in enmity we had met. At last I
saw a slavish smile put fresh slime on his thick blubber lips, and
I knew the man. Before I had time to ask advice from Catsbach how
I could revenge myself on my enemy, I lost them for a moment in
the crowd. Suddenly I saw a hand raised, and, after a sharp sound,
like a stroke with the flat hand on water, I saw the young nobleman
procumbent on the floor, and a stream of blood issuing from his nose
and mouth. My friend the Squire in an instant was on the spot; the
sufferer raised from the ground; and the music ceased. I hurried
round into the front.

"See if he's a gentleman, and get his card," said the noble, still
supported in the Squire's arms.

"He a gentleman, my lord! Nothing of the sort; but let us get out of
this; they're nothing but thieves and shop-boys. Do come, my lord;
I wouldn't have this known on any consideration," whispered the
sycophant, taking him by the arm.

"We must hear more of this," said the Squire. "Don't let that man
go." And one of the attendant freeholders touched the gentleman's

"You don't know who it is," he said to the officer. "You will repent
of this insolence, I assure you. He is the Right Honourable the
Earl Maudlin, eldest son of the Marquis of Missletoe. I must insist
on your letting us go, and punishing that low person who dared to
assault his lordship."

"Take down his name," said the Squire calmly; "and have the goodness
to give me your own."

A shade of despair fell on the follower's countenance.

"I am a friend of his lordship," he said; "but I won't give my name.
For heaven's sake! let us go."

"I say gub'nor," interposed his lordship, "this is a pretty mess we
have got into. You'll look rather queer before the beek to-morrow.
As to me, I'm used to it."

"Hush, my lord! Mention no names," replied the terrified friend. "I
have really nothing to do with this," he continued, addressing the
Squire; "and I insist on leaving the room."

"Not yet," replied the Squire with a smile. "We must teach you
fine-feathered birds from Grosvenor Square to keep to your own
grounds. I am Sergeant Smiffins of the police, and you must both
come with me on charge of an assault--give your names or not, as you
like. Many anonymous gentlemen step up and down the mill, and enjoy
teazing oakum in the house of correction for two months, for far
less than this."

"All in the newspapers to-morrow, gub'nor," said Earl Maudlin, who
evidently enjoyed the confusion and despair of his companion.

"Do any of you know this man," inquired Sergeant Smiffins, who
seemed to enter into the fan of the scene himself.

"For any sake," whispered the prisoner, taking his captor aside;
"don't push this any farther. I am his lordship's tutor. I dined
with his lordship at the Clarendon. I accompanied his lordship here
with no evil intention."

"But only because you can't get manliness into your heart to say
no to a lord," replied the sergeant. "I've met with many fellows
like you before, and think you far worse than any of the thieves
and pickpockets my duty brings me acquainted with. Has anybody lost
a handkerchief, or a watch?" he cried aloud. "This man must be
detained and I will take him on suspicion if any of you have missed
anything. I can't let him go without ascertaining his name."

"I can tell you his name," I said; and a circle was made round me.
"He is the Reverend Mr Vatican Scowl, a wolf in sheep's clothing,
and I have every reason to believe a Jesuit in disguise."

"All up, gub'nor!" chuckled Lord Maudlin. "The _Times_ will have
you at full length; and what will the bishop say--not to mention
the pope?" Mr Scowl sank in despairing silence, and seemed little
moved with the hisses of the assembly. "But where is the gentleman
who planted that one-two?" inquired Lord Maudlin. His antagonist
stept forward. "I am sorry," continued his lordship, "that the
difference of our position can't allow me to settle this matter as I
should like. But as I should infallibly have apologised to you after
receiving your fire, I don't see why I shouldn't do so now after
feeling your bunch of fives. I beg to tell you, I am very sorry for
what has occurred, and feel that I behaved like an ass."

"Do you give his lordship in charge after this?" inquired the

"Not I," said his antagonist; "he only tried to take my partner from
me. I bear no malice, and am sorry I put so much force into the
blow I gave. A China vase is soon cracked, and I regret very much I
didn't hit him a gentler tap."

"In that case I have nothing more to say," answered the sergeant,
letting his prisoner go; "and the ball had better proceed." I
therefore hurried back to my place in the orchestra, but not
before I had whispered in Mr Scowl's ear, in a voice borrowed from
Fitz-Edward, with a tap on the breast borrowed from Edmund Kean,--

    "Raro antecedentem scelestum
    Deseruit pede Poena claudo."

"Remember your examination of Puddlecombe-Regis school!" Mr Scowl,
I am happy to say, appeared at full length in the newspapers,
and lost the patronage of the Marquis of Missletoe. Catsbach
applauded my conduct very much, and offered me fifteen shillings
as my share of the orchestral profits, which I need not say I
declined; and having refused all his solicitations to accompany
him to his musical engagements, sometimes at public assemblages,
and sometimes at dances and quadrilles in private houses, I braced
myself for the decisive event, and on the morning of Thursday
set off with solemn steps and slow, towards the Stepney Star. I
determined not to enter the theatre till the play was fairly begun,
and I anticipated the rapture with which an author hears his own
words delivered by intelligent actors to a delighted audience. On
arriving at the little passage which led through a house in the
long row of buildings, shops, offices, store-rooms, and humble
private dwellings that constitute a main street in the district,
I was surprised to see none of the lower potentates of the stage
lounging on the step, and looking on the passengers in a heroic
and presumptuous manner, as if to persuade them that they were
Coriolanuses or Brutuses. There was not even the dirty-faced little
errand boy, who on previous occasions used to spy me from the end
of the row, and prepare his expectant hand for the half-crown as he
opened the swinging door. People passed and repassed, on business
thoughts intent, as if that entrance conducted to a warehouse,
and were not the gates that opened into a newer and nobler world.
O blind pursuers of mammon! I thought, are you aware that within
thirty feet of where you are bustling and struggling about bills
of lading, and the prices of chicoried coffee, there is a scene
at this moment going on that would rivet your souls to higher and
purer thoughts? Know you not that the heroic Hengist is developing
his grandeur and generosity,--Horsa, the fiery courage that made
the Saxons triumphant in this land,--and over all an atmosphere of
love and poetry, breathed from the impassioned bosom of Editha the
British maid, that would elevate and refine the soul of a ship-agent
or bill-broker, if he once placed himself within their influence?
How can you be so absurd, I continued, getting angry at the evident
ignorance of the busy crowd that there was a rehearsal of a new
play going on so near them? How can you be so disgustingly dull,
you miserable pork butcher, as to deny yourself such gratification?
Insane grocer--delirious coal-merchant--cowardly lawyer's clerk!
But the loss is yours, I went on, tossing my head, after mentally
addressing the people I met, affixing trades and occupation to them
according to their respective looks--the loss is yours, not mine.
Here I have touched the haven's mouth, and beyond it is romance,
beauty, happiness, fame! By this time I had reached the door, and
was rather surprised to see it shut,--a vast red expanse of wood,
with the name of the theatre conspicuously painted on it in white
letters. "Every individual about the building," I thought, "so
intent on the proceedings on the stage, that they have closed the
entrance, to enjoy them without interruption." I felt in my pocket
for five shillings to reward the errand boy's good sense, instead
of the usual half-crown, and knocked gently with my cane. There
was no answer, and I increased the vigour of my application. "They
must be terribly interested in Hengist," I thought, and waited
with patience, till I concluded they must have finished the first
act. I turned about with the intention of knocking again in a more
authoritative manner, when a man with a long stick in his hand, and
a tin case hung round his neck, stopt at the door. He unfolded an
immense bill in green and blue letters, and was proceeding to paste
it up over the very name of the Stepney Star.

"What are you doing there?" I said--"Mr Montalban will give you in
charge of the police. You mustn't stick your disgusting rubbish

"P'raps you'll let me paste it over your tatae trap," said the man,
going on brushing his paste over the door. "A very fine advertising
post you would make; and folks would think you was one of 'em

"One of whom?" I inquired, getting wroth at the man's impertinence.

"Why, one of the chickens," he said. "It only needs your nose to
be a little sharper to make you pass for a prize bantam." Before I
had time to make any retort either with stick or tongue, the man
completed his work, and on the enormous expanse of paper I read
"Incubitorium! Chickens hatched here by artificial heat. Admittance
twopence. Parties are requested to bring their own eggs."

"There!" he said, "ain't that a finer name than the Stepney Star.
Incubitorium! It fills a bill well, and will be a far better concern
than the last."

"Does Mr Montalban know of this?"

"He's bolted--him and all the kit."

"And are they not at rehearsal on the stage?"

"No; they're fitting up nests for the young poultry, and won't let
you in at no price. You needn't kick at the door; you'll disturb the
old hens, and p'raps they wouldn't do their duty to-night."

So saying, the man passed on to ornament the neighbouring walls with
the announcements of the Incubitorium. The passengers must have
thought me mad, so continued and powerful were my kicks upon the
unopening door. I paused for breath--tried to laugh myself out of
the belief that the whole proceeding wasn't a ludicrous mistake; and
just as I was going at it again with fresh vigour, a hand was laid
on my arm.

"Are you going to crack the eggs before they're hatched?" said Miss
Claribel. "They'll take you up for a housebreaker, if you're not

"For heaven's sake," I said, "tell me what is all this?"

"It is that you are swindled by Mr Montalban; and if you have only
lost the money you advanced, you may hold yourself very fortunate."

"But he is to give me a hundred pounds," I said.

"You've accepted a bill?"

"I have."

"I thought so. Do you see that man with the fishy kind of eyes, the
large nose beginning in the middle of his forehead, and the white
hat perched on one side of his head?"

"Yes; I see him. A blackguard Jew-looking fellow he is."

"He has been taking note of you for some time, that he may know
you when the bill is due. He is a bailiff, and, I believe,
brother-in-law of Mr Montalban."

"But I have not had a farthing; how can they ask me to pay it?"

"O, that makes no difference. I hear a great deal of talk on these
subjects, and I fear you will have to advance the full amount. When
was it due?"

"In two months. The amount a hundred and fifty pounds."

"We must make the money," she said, "before that time. We must make
our _debût_ in Hamlet. Now I am free from the Stepney Star, I feel
that I am certain of success. Have you any friend who could get us
an engagement in some country theatre, for our first appearance? I
want nothing more than an opportunity of showing what I can do."

"Ha!" I said; "yes. I have a friend--a German. His name is Catsbach.
I know he can do what we require. Long before the two months are
over we shall both be rolling in wealth; and who knows, after all,
if this disappointment may not turn out the best piece of good
fortune that could have befallen us?"

Full of brighter anticipations than ever, I went up stairs that
evening to consult with Mr Tooks. He entered most warmly into the
scheme; undertook to get us permission to give a taste of our
quality at a theatre a few miles from town, to act as leader of the
band; and, in short, was the very best man I could have applied to
on the subject. In return, however, he insisted on my accompanying
him to his musical engagements, where he felt sure my flute would be
as popular as it had proved on the last occasion. He added, also,
that he could not allow me to be so useful without being paid; and,
in short, I saw the good fellow's design was to be useful to me, at
the same time that he put it entirely on the awkward position it put
him into if I declined all compensation. I told him he might arrange
about that entirely as he pleased, and we shook hands half-a-dozen
times in satisfaction of the new agreement.

"Consider, my dear fellow," he said, as he made me my fourth
tumbler, "consider what respectability it brings to the profession
that we have the heir of the De Bohuns first flute in the orchestra.
I feel as the tailors must have felt when the King of Prussia and
Alexander of Russia used to cut out the soldiers' jackets. It isn't
the profession that makes the gentleman, it's the gentleman that
makes the profession."


There must, after all, be some occult but irresistible charm in the
leading idea of old Goethe's _Faust_. We say this, not on account
of the numerous translations of that poem which have appeared in
our language--though the names of Shelley, Gower, Anstey, Hayward,
Blackie, Syme, and perhaps two dozen more, testify that it has been
selected by a large section of German scholars, as a master-piece
every way worthy of being converted into our native tongue--but from
the numerous efforts which have been made to produce imitations of
it. From Byron to Festus Bailey--a sad declension, we admit--poets
and poetasters have thought it their privilege to make free with
the Satanic character, and to introduce the author of evil, or at
least one of his subordinate imps, in the capacity of a tempter.
Leaving Byron altogether out of the question, we must say that
most of the imitators of Goethe have represented their fiends as
taking a great deal of unnecessary trouble. In perusing their
grand dramatic efforts, the question ever and anon occurs to us,
what temptation the tempter could have in besetting such pitiable
milksops and nincompoops as the gentlemen who are selected for
seduction? Astaroth may assault Saint Anthony, Apollyon wrestle
with Bunyan, or Sathanas disturb Martin Luther at his meditations
with perfect propriety--there is at least some measure of equality
between the two contending parties. But why Lucifer, fallen angel
though he be, should stoop so low as to attach himself personally
to a hazy maunderer like Festus, when he might be doing an infinite
deal of more effectual mischief elsewhere, entirely baffles our
comprehension. We had given him credit for a keener sense of his own
dignity and position. However, as Mr Bailey is no doubt an inspired
poet, we must suppose that he knows best; though certainly, Lucifer,
in his hands, is anything but a Morning Star.

It is rather remarkable that the majority of the poets who make
free with Satan, or rather with Lucifer--for they affect the more
dazzling and less murky name--restrict his apparition and familiar
intercourse with their heroes to the Middle Ages. Their poems
exhibit a sprinkling of alchemists, minnesingers, and crusaders,
which abundantly mark out the period; and they seem to think that,
by throwing back the epoch of the infernal visitation, they increase
the elements of credulity, and establish a certain fitness of
relation between Diabolus and his proposed victim. In this they
commit a gross mistake. The fiend of the Middle Ages was not, as
they represent him, a mere metaphysical atheist--a tiresome arguer
on abstract principles, who could do little else than reproduce the
most pernicious doctrines of a depraved scholastic philosophy for
the recreation of his particular pupil. He was, on the contrary,
a fellow of infinite fancy. Rely upon it, Saint Dunstan took him
by the nose for something else than a mere foreshadowing of the
opinions of Kant or Hegel. He did not visit Saint Anthony to pester
him with perplexing questions. His allurements were of the flesh,
fleshly; and, if monkish legends say true, they were oftentimes
difficult to resist. He ensnared the avaricious through promises
of gold, the sensual by pandering to their lusts, the ambitious by
false pretences of worldly pre-eminence and honour. But everything
was based on delusion. None of the Devil's gifts turned out worth
the having; and Johann Faust himself in his conjuring-book, which
still exists, and which we have seen, has borne sad testimony to
the juggling of the infernal agents. As to the gifts of knowledge
which the tempter could convey, these were limited to such feats of
hocus-pocus as Hermann Boaz or the Wizard of the North could rival.
To bring wine out of a wooden table--to change a truss of straw into
a steed--or to produce the phantasm of a deer-hunt in a banqueting
hall--were the masterpieces of demoniacal lore: and, paltry as
they were, it must be confessed that, if any gentleman was willing
to subscribe a scroll with his blood, such acquirements were a
more likely bribe than the privilege of conversing with an imp as
stupid as any lecturer on modern German rationalism. Therefore,
in selecting the Middle Ages for their time, our poetasters have
greatly erred. Lucifer, as they portray him, might possibly have
cut a figure in a mechanics' institute--he is sadly out of place in
the part and period which they have assigned him. In our deliberate
opinion, they had better have let the Devil alone.

We repeat it--they had better let Lucifer alone. It is dangerous
meddling with edge-tools. Temptations enough beset even the best
of us, without the realisation of the actual corporeality of the
tempter. Most hideously alarmed, we doubt not, would Mr Bailey be,
if his poetical imaginations became practical realities, and Lucifer
were to enter his study some time about midnight, when every other
light in the house was extinguished, in the garb of a travelling
_scholasticus_! If not more loftily elevated than the second
story, he would bolt through the window like an arrow. We mean no
reflection upon his personal valour; under such circumstances we
should do the same, and consider it to be our bounden duty, even
though a whole legion of cats were serenading beneath. But we have
this safeguard against such visits, that we never represented
ourselves as intimate with the opinions of Abaddon. Mr Bailey, on
the contrary, knows all about him--nay, has no doubt whatever as to
his ultimate felicitous destination. He is several universes beyond
Milton. He foresees restoration to the whole powers of evil; and
having thus, in his philosophy, kindly reinstated the fallen angels,
of course those who have fallen by their agency become at once
immaculate. But the subject is too grave to be pursued in a light
strain. Great allowance is always to be made for poetic license;
but there is a bound to everything; and we are compelled to record
our deliberate opinion, that nowhere, in literature, can we find
passages more hideously and revoltingly presumptuous than occur in
the concluding pages of the _Festus_ of Mr Bailey.

We have not now to deal with Mr Bailey. The author before us,
Professor Longfellow, is infinitely his superior in poetical
accomplishment, in genius, in learning, and in delicacy of
sentiment. It was, we think, very well remarked by a former critic
in this Magazine, that "he has studied foreign literature with
somewhat too much profit." We adopt that observation as rather
addressed to the form or shape of his compositions, than to the
intrinsic value of his thoughts, or to their expression. For, in
perfect candour, we must own that, in our opinion, Longfellow at
this moment stands, beyond comparison, at the head of the poets of
America, and may be considered as an equal competitor for the palm
with any one of the younger poets of Great Britain. We cannot pass
a higher eulogy; and it is not the less impartial, because in this
his latest poem, _The Golden Legend_, he has laid himself open to
censure, not only on the ground of palpable imitation of design,
from the model of Goethe, but in other respects more nearly and more
seriously affecting his ultimate reputation as a creative poet.

We have no hesitation in expressing our opinion that there is nearly
as much fine poetry in Mr Longfellow's _Golden Legend_ as in the
celebrated drama of Goethe. In the latter there are, unquestionably,
isolated scenes of singular power and magnificence. The opening
song of the angels is, in point of diction, a grand effort of
genius; and the wonderful conception of the "Walpurgis-Nacht on
the Brocken," with all its weird and fantastic accessories, has
been, and will be, cited by the admirers of the German poet as a
proof of the vastness of his imagination, and of his consummate
dexterity as an artist. To these, as specimens of first-class
poetry, we may add the lyrical passages which are put into the mouth
of Gretchen; but, granting all this, much matter still remains
of inferior merit. The scenes in the witch's apartment, and in
Auerbach's cellar--the conversations of Wagner, and even some of
the more recondite dialogue between Faust and Mephistopheles--are
clearly unworthy of Goethe. Notwithstanding an occasional affected
mysticism, as if they conveyed, or were intended to convey, some
occult or allegorical significance to the reader, these latter
passages are, take them all in all, both dull and monotonous. In a
drama like the _Faust_, we do not insist upon continuous action; but
where action is excluded, we expect at least to find the absence
of that grand source of interest compensated by a more than common
display of poetical accomplishment. In the later Greek drama, the
chorus, by the splendour of its lyrical outbursts, causes us to
overlook the fact that it does not materially aid the action of the
piece; but, in order to achieve this, who does not perceive that the
genius of Euripides was strained to its utmost point? Sometimes,
according to our view, Goethe is too metaphysical--at other times
he condescends to a style beneath the dignity of a poet. Humour
was by no means his forte. Whenever he intended to be humorous he
failed; and a failure in that respect, as we all know, is peculiarly
distressing. Out of the orgies of the drunken Leipzigers, and the
hocus-pocus which is practised upon them, we can extract no food
for merriment--the German Canidia, with her filthy attendants, is
simply sickening--and Wagner is no better than an ass. Again, if we
look to the relation which the represented characters bear to the
world without, it is impossible to deny that Goethe has failed in
giving extrinsic interest to his drama. There is nothing in it to
indicate time, which, as much as locality, is an implied requisite
in a poem, especially if it be cast in the dramatic form. The reason
of this is obvious. Unless time and locality be distinctly marked,
there is no room for that interest which is created by our willing
surrender of belief to the poet. What we require from him is, that
he shall establish that degree of probability which gives life and
animation to the poem, by identifying it, to a certain extent, with
human action and character. This hardly can be accomplished, unless,
within the poem itself, we find distinct and unmistakeable materials
for ascertaining the period to which it properly refers. Whatever
may be the genius of the author, and however beautiful may be the
form and disposition of his abstract conceptions, we still maintain
that he sacrifices much, if he dispenses with or rejects those
peculiar associations which enable the reader at once to recognise
the tale as belonging to some known period of the world's history.
Now, in the _Faust_, there is very little to mark the period. We
may not feel the want, accepting the poem as we have it, on account
of its intrinsic beauty: nevertheless it does appear to us that the
effect might have been materially heightened, had Goethe introduced
some accessories characteristic of the age in which Johann Faust of
Wittenberg really lived; and that thus a greater degree of energy,
as well as of verisimilitude, would have been imparted to his poem.

Many, we are well aware, will dissent from the opinions we have just
expressed. The thorough disciple of Goethe has such an unbounded and
obstinate admiration of his master, that he can discern beauties
in passages which, to the sense of the ordinary reader, appear
essentially commonplace; and he never will admit that any one of
his works could have been improved by the adoption of a different
plan. We honour such enthusiasm, though we cannot share in it now. A
good many years have gone by since we, in the first fervour of our
Teutonic zeal, actually accomplished a complete translation of the
_Faust_, a treasure which we would very willingly have submitted to
the public gaze, had we been intimately acquainted with a publisher
of more than common daring. At that time we should have done eager
battle with any man who ventured to impugn the merit of any portion
of the drama. But, since then, our opinions on matters of taste have
undergone considerable modification; and, whilst expressing, as we
hope we have distinctly done, the highest admiration for the genius
displayed in many parts of the work, we cannot regard it, on the
whole, either as a perfect poem, or as one which, from its form,
should recommend itself to later poets as a model.

Mr Longfellow will, in all probability, not receive that credit
which is really his due, for the many exquisite passages contained
in his _Golden Legend_, simply on account of its manifest
resemblance to the _Faust_. Men in general look upon the inventive
faculty as the highest gift of genius, and are apt to undervalue,
without proper consideration, everything which appears to be not
original, but imitative. This is hardly fair. The inventive faculty
is not always, indeed it is very rarely, combined with adequate
powers of description. The best inventors have not always taken the
trouble to invent for themselves. Shakspeare stole his plots--so did
Scott; and perhaps no more imitative poet than Virgil ever existed.
Even in the instance before us, Goethe can hardly be said to have a
right to the priority of invention, since Marlowe preceded him in
England, and Friedrich Müller in Germany. But it must be confessed
that Mr Longfellow does not possess the art of disguising his stolen
goods. It is one thing to take a story, and to dress it up anew,
and another to adopt a story or a plot, which, throughout, shall
perpetually put you in mind of some notorious antecedent. Could we
endure a second _Hamlet_, even though, in respect of genius, it
were not inferior to the first? We do not think so. The fault lies,
not in the conveyance of ideas, but in the absence of their proper
disguise. No man can read six pages of _The Golden Legend_, without
being reminded of the _Faust_, and that so strongly that there is a
perpetual challenge of comparison. So long as the popularity of the
elder poem continues, the later one must suffer in consequence.

Whether Mr Longfellow could have avoided this, is quite another
question. We confess that we entertain very great doubts as to that
point. In respect of melody, feeling, pathos, and that exquisite
simplicity of expression which is the criterion of a genuine poet,
Mr Longfellow need not shun comparison with any living writer. He
is not only by nature a poet, but he has cultivated his poetical
powers to the utmost. No man, we really believe, has bestowed
more pains upon poetry than he has. He has studied rhythm most
thoroughly; he has subjected the most beautiful strains of the
masters of verbal melody, in many languages, to a minute and careful
analysis; he has arrived at his poetical theories by dint of long
and thoughtful investigation; and yet, exquisite as the product is
which he has now given us, there is a large portion of it which
we cannot style as truly original. In the honey which he presents
to us--and a delicious compound it is--we can always detect the
flavour of the parent flowers. He possesses, more than any other
writer, the faculty of assuming, for the time, or for the occasion,
the manner of the poet most qualified by nature to illustrate his
immediate theme. He not only assumes his manner, but he actually
adopts his harmonies. Those who do not understand the subject of
poetic harmonies will be able, perhaps, to realise our meaning, if
they will imagine what effect would be excited on their minds by
hearing the air of "The Flowers of the Forest" reproduced with the
accompaniment of new words. Just so is it with Mr Longfellow. He is
a great master of harmonies, but he borrows them too indiscreetly.
He gives us a very splendid concert; but then the music is not
always, nor indeed in the majority of instances, his own.

Do we complain of this? By no manner of means. We are thankful
that the present age is graced by such a poet as Mr Longfellow,
whose extraordinary accomplishment, and research, and devotion to
his high calling, can hardly be overrated. His productions must
always command our deep attention, for in them we are certain to
meet with great beauty of thought, and very elegant diction. He
ought to be one of the best of translators; for, in consequence of
the peculiarity which we have noticed, many of his original poems
sound exactly like translations. At one time we hear the music of
Uhland, at another of Grillparzer, at another of Goethe, and at
another of Calderon. He has even thrown some of his poetry into
the mould of Massinger and Decker; and, if we mistake not much,
Paul Gerhard is one of his especial favourites. To the wideness
of this harmonic range we should be inclined to ascribe many of
his shortcomings. It is not an unqualified advantage to a poet to
be able to assume at will the manner of another, and even, as Mr
Longfellow frequently does, to transcend him. Every poet should have
his own style, by which he is peculiarly distinguished. He should
have his own harmonies, which cannot be mistaken for another's. When
such is not the case, the poet is apt to go on experimenting too
far. He is tempted, in versification, to adopt new theories, which,
upon examination, will not bear to be tried by any æsthetical test.
Southey was one instance of this, and Mr Longfellow is another.
Southey had a new theory for every poem; Mr Longfellow, within the
compass of the same poem, presents us with various theories. This
surely is a blemish, because it necessarily detracts from unity of
tone and effect. We are no advocates for close poetical precision,
or the maintenance of those notes which, a century ago, were deemed
almost imperative; but we think that poetic license may sometimes
be carried too far. In various passages of _The Golden Legend_, Mr
Longfellow, acting no doubt upon some principle, but one which is
wholly unintelligible to us, discards not only metre, but also rhyme
and rhythm--an experiment which has rarely been tried since Karl
Wilhelm Justi presented the German public with the Song of Solomon
in the novel form of an opera. The following dialogue may be sweetly
and naturally expressed, but the reader will no doubt be at a loss
to determine whether it belongs to the domain of poetry, or to that
of prose:--


    "Here are flowers for you,
    But they are not all for you.
    Some of them are for the Virgin,
    And for Saint Cecilia.


    As thou standest there
    Thou seemest to me like the angel
    That brought the immortal roses
    To Saint Cecilia's bridal chamber.


    But these will fade.


    Themselves will fade,
    But not their memory;
    And memory has the power
    To recreate them from the dust.
    They remind me, too,
    Of martyred Dorothea,
    Who, from celestial gardens, sent
    Flowers as her witnesses
    To him who scoffed and doubted.


    Do you know the story
    Of Christ and the Sultan's daughter?
    That is the prettiest legend of them all.


    Then tell it to me;
    But first come hither.
    Lay the flowers down beside me,
    And put thy hands in mine.
    Now, tell me the story."

This, whatever else it may be, has certainly no pretensions to the
name of verse.

Occasionally, whilst retaining rhyme and the semblance of metre,
Mr Longfellow is betrayed into great extravagance. What plea of
justification can be urged in behalf of the construction of the
following lines, which are put into the mouth of Lucifer?--

    "My being here is accidental;
    The storm, that against yon casement drives,
    In the little village below waylaid me.
    And there I heard, with a secret delight,
    Of your maladies physical and mental,
    Which neither astonished nor dismayed me.
    And I hastened hither, though late in the night,
    To proffer my aid!"

We are almost tempted to say, with old Mr Osbaldistone, that the
bellman makes better verses: certainly he could hardly construct
more dislocated specimens of versification than these.

Sometimes, even when revelling in the luxuriance of verse, Mr
Longfellow commits strange improprieties. To the structure and music
of the lines which we shall now transcribe, no abstract objection
need be stated, though such objection could be found; but they are
terribly out of place in a poem of this kind, and inconsistent with
its general structure. An eclogue after the manner of Virgil or
Theocritus would hardly appear more incongruous if introduced in the
middle of a Shakspearean drama--


    "Onward and onward the highway runs to the distant city,
          impatiently bearing
    Tidings of human joy and disaster, of love and of hate, of doing
          and daring!


    This life of ours is a wild æolian harp of many a joyous strain,
    But under them all there runs a loud perpetual wail, as of souls
          in pain.


    Faith alone can interpret life, and the heart that aches and
          bleeds with the stigma
    Of pain, alone bears the likeness of Christ, and can comprehend
          its dark enigma.


    Man is selfish, and seeketh pleasure with little care of what may
    Else why am I travelling here beside thee, a demon that rides by
          an angel's side?"

We were wrong in limiting our remark to the incongruity. To such
verse as this, if verse it can be termed, there are serious
objections. We presume it is constructed on some rhythmical
principle; but what that principle may be, we defy any living artist
to discover.

From reading the foregoing extracts, any one might naturally
conclude that Mr Longfellow has no ear. So far from this being the
case, he is one of the most accomplished and skilful versifiers of
his time, and therefore we regret the more that he will not confine
him to the safe, familiar, and yet ample range of recognised Saxon
metres. We could almost find it in our heart to wish that Evangeline
had proved a decided failure, if by that means his return could
have been secured to simpler habits of composition. Surely he must
see, on reflection, that there are natural limits to the power and
capacity of each language, and that it is utterly absurd to strain
our own in order to compass metres and melodies which peculiarly
belong to another. There can be no doubt that the German language,
from its construction and sound, can be adapted to many of the most
intricate of the Grecian metres. But the English language is not so
easily welded, and beyond a certain point it is utterly hopeless to
proceed. Mr Longfellow thoroughly understands the value of pure and
simple diction--why will he not apply the same rules to the form and
structure of his verse? As sincere admirers of his genius, we would
entreat his attention to this; for he may rely upon it that, if he
continues to give way to this besetting sin of experiment, he is
imperilling that high position which his poetical powers may well
entitle him to attain.

After this lecture to the author, we are bound, for the satisfaction
of our readers, to look a little more closely into the poem in
question. We have already said that, in general form and design,
it has too near a resemblance to the _Faust_. We might even extend
this observation to details; for there are several scenes evidently
suggested by passages in the German drama. Those who remember
Goethe's prayer of Margaret addressed to the Virgin, will at once
understand the suggestion that led to the insertion of Elsie's
prayer in _The Golden Legend_. We insert it here on account of its
intrinsic beauty; and, being beautiful, no comparison with any other
poet is required.

_Night._--ELSIE _praying_.

    "My Redeemer and my Lord,
    I beseech thee, I entreat thee,
    Guide me in each act and word,
    That hereafter I may meet thee,
    Watching, waiting, hoping, yearning,
    With my lamp well trimmed and burning!

    With those bleeding
    Wounds upon thy hands and side,
    For all who have lived and erred
    Thou hast suffered, thou hast died,
    Scourged, and mocked, and crucified,
    And in the grave hast thou been buried!

    If my feeble prayer can reach thee,
    O my Saviour, I beseech thee,
    Even as thou hast died for me,
    More sincerely
    Let me follow where thou leadest,
    Let me, bleeding as thou bleedest,
    Die, if dying I may give
    Life to one who asks to live,
    And more nearly,
    Dying thus, resemble thee!"

Sweet, virginal thoughts--not such as poor Margaret, in the
intense anguish of her soul, poured forth at the shrine of the
Mater Dolorosa! Still, by close adherence to form, even though the
situations are changed, Longfellow provokes comparison--in this
instance not wisely, for Margaret's prayer might wring tears from a
heart of stone.

If, however, we go on in this way, looking alternately towards
Goethe and Longfellow, we shall never reach the poem. Therefore
we return the _Faust_ to its proper place on our book-shelves,
solemnly vowing not to allude, to it again in the course of the
present article, or to repeat the name of Goethe, under the penalty
of reviewing--which, according to our scrupulous notions, implies
reading--even at this late period of time, Lord John Russell's
tragedy of _Don Carlos_.

The story of _The Golden Legend_ is not very intelligible, and has
received by far too little consideration from the author. Whether it
be taken or not from the venerable tome printed by our typographical
Father Caxton, we cannot say; because we are unable, from its
scarcity, to lay our hands upon the old book bearing that name. As
Mr Longfellow gives it to us, it would appear that a certain Prince
Henry of Hoheneck, on the Rhine--not a very young gentleman, but one
who has attained nearly the middle period of existence--is afflicted
with some disease, nearly corresponding to that doubtful malady the
vapours. He does not know what is the matter with him; and, what is
worse, none of the doctors, either allopathic or homoeopathic, whom
he has consulted, can enlighten him on the subject. He describes his
symptoms thus:--

                    "It has no name.
    A smouldering, dull, perpetual flame,
    As in a kiln, burns in my veins,
    Sending up vapours to the head;
    My head has become a dull lagoon,
    Which a kind of leprosy drinks and drains;
    I am accounted as one who is dead,
    _And, indeed, I think that I shall be soon_."

A very melancholious view, indeed, for a patient!

Under these circumstances, Lucifer, who, it seems, is always ready
for a job, drops in under the disguise of a quack physician, and
proceeds, with considerable skill, to take his diagnosis. Prince
Henry tells him that he has consulted the doctors of Salerno, and
that their reply to the statement of his case is as follows:--

    "Not to be cured, yet not incurable!
    The only remedy that remains
    Is the blood that flows from a maiden's veins,
    Who of her own free will shall die,
    And give her life as the price of yours."

Lucifer, with much show of propriety, laughs at the prescription;
and, in place of it, recommends his own, which we take to be not at
all unsuited to the peculiar feelings and unnatural despondency of
the patient. So far as we can make out from Mr Longfellow, he simply
advises a caulker--not by any means a bad thing in muggy weather,
if used in moderation, or likely to produce any very diabolical
consequences. Thus speaks Lucifer, displaying at the same time his

    "This art the Arabian Gebir taught,
    And in alembics, finely wrought,
    Distilling herbs and flowers, discovered
    The secret that so long had hovered
    Upon the misty verge of Truth,
    The Elixir of Perpetual Youth,
    Called ALCOHOL, in the Arab speech!
    Like him, this wondrous lore I teach!"

The result is that Prince Henry adopts the prescription, imbibes a
considerable quantity of the stimulant, which seems presently to
revive him--and then falls asleep. This is plain enough, but surely
there was no occasion for the Devil to appear in person, simply to
administer a dram. But what follows? That is a grand mystery which
Mr Longfellow has not explained in a satisfactory manner. There is
no insinuation that the Prince, in his cups, committed any gross
act of extravagance. He may, indeed, on this occasion have applied
himself to the alcohol rather too freely, as would appear from the
subsequent account of a servant.

    "In the Round Tower, night after night,
    He sat, and bleared his eyes with books;
    Until one morning we found him there
    Stretched on the floor, as if in a swoon
    He had fallen from his chair.
    We hardly recognised his sweet looks!"

But surely this temporary aberration from the paths of sobriety
would not justify the conduct of the monks, who appear shortly
afterwards to have taken Hoheneck by storm, compelled the Prince to
do penance in the Church of St Rochus, and then excommunicated him.
We were not aware that the clergy in those days were so extremely
ascetic. There is no sort of allegation that they suspected the
nature of the cellar from which the Devil's Elixir was drawn, or
that they were resolved to punish the Prince for having unwittingly
pledged Sathanas. This story, however, which appears entirely
unintelligible to us, seems to have satisfied the curiosity of the
minstrel, Walter von der Vogelweide, whom Mr Longfellow has once
more pressed into his service, and who, as an old friend of the
Prince, has called at the castle to inquire after his welfare. He
learns that the Prince is now residing at the house of a small
farmer in the Odenwald; whereupon he of the Bird-meadows determines
to make himself comfortable for the evening.

    "But you, good Hubert, go before,
    Fill me a goblet of May-drink,
    As aromatic as the May
    From which it steals the breath away,
    And which he loved so well of yore;
    It is of him that I would think.
    You shall attend me, when I call,
    In the ancestral banquet-hall."

Previous to retiring, however, he utters the following soliloquy,
which we transcribe as a passage of considerable descriptive merit.

    "The day is done; and slowly from the scene
    The stooping sun upgathers his spent shafts,
    And puts them back into his golden quiver!
    Below me in the valley, deep and green
    As goblets are, from which in thirsty draughts
    We drink its wine, the swift and mantling river
    Flows on triumphant through those lovely regions,
    Etched with the shadows of its sombre margent,
    And soft, reflected clouds of gold and argent!
    Yes, there it flows for ever, broad and still,
    As when the vanguard of the Roman legions
    First saw it from the top of yonder hill.
    How beautiful it is! Fresh fields of wheat,
    Vineyard, and town, and tower with fluttering flag,
    The consecrated chapel on the crag,
    And the white hamlet gathered round its base,
    Like Mary sitting at her Saviour's feet,
    And looking up at his beloved face!
    O friend! O best of friends! Thy absence more
    Than the impending night darkens the landscape o'er!"

The scene then changes to the farm where Prince Henry is residing.
Elsie, the farmer's daughter, scarcely more than a child in years,
but a woman in tenderness and devotion, is as beautiful a conception
as ever was formed in the mind of the poet. She resolves, in
conformity with the mysterious remedy suggested by the doctors of
Salerno, to offer her life for that of her Prince, and communicates
her resolution to her parents. We regard this scene as by far the
most touching in the drama; and, as we have quoted passages in which
the author does not appear to great advantage, we gladly request the
attention of the reader to extracts of another kind. We regret that
our limits will not permit us to transcribe the scene at length.


    "What dost thou mean? my child! my child!


    That for our dear Prince Henry's sake,
    I will myself the offering make,
    And give my life to purchase his.


    Am I still dreaming or awake?
    Thou speakest carelessly of death,
    And yet thou knowest not what it is.


    'Tis the cessation of our breath.
    Silent and motionless we lie:
    And no one knoweth more than this.
    I saw our little Gertrude die;
    She left off breathing, and no more
    I smoothed the pillow beneath her head.
    She was more beautiful than before.
    Like violets faded were her eyes;
    By this we knew that she was dead.
    Through the open window looked the skies
    Into the chamber where she lay,
    And the wind was like the sound of wings
    As if angels came to bear her away.
    Ah! when I saw and felt these things,
    I found it difficult to stay;
    I longed to die as she had died;
    And go forth with her side by side.
    The saints are dead, the martyrs dead,
    And Mary, and our Lord; and I
    Would follow in humility
    The way by them illumined!

           *       *       *       *       *


    Alas! that I should live to see
    Thy death, beloved, and to stand
    Above thy grave! Ah, woe the day!


    Thou wilt not see it. I shall lie
    Beneath the flowers of another land;
    For at Salerno, far away
    Over the mountains, over the sea,
    It is appointed me to die!
    And it will seem no more to thee
    Than if at the village on market-day
    I should a little longer stay
    Than I am used.

           *       *       *       *       *


    Not now! not now!


    Christ died for me, and shall not I
    Be willing for my Prince to die?
    You both are silent; you cannot speak.
    This said I, at our Saviour's feast,
    After confession to the priest,
    And even he made no reply.
    Does he not warn us all to seek
    The happier, better land on high,
    Where flowers immortal never wither;
    And could he forbid me to go thither?


    In God's own time, my heart's delight!
    When he shall call thee, not before!


    I heard him call. When Christ ascended
    Triumphantly, from star to star,
    He left the gates of heaven ajar;
    I had a vision in the night,
    And saw him standing at the door
    Of his Father's mansion, vast and splendid,
    And beckoning to me from afar.
    I cannot stay!"

We need not point out the exquisite simplicity of the language here
employed, or the beauty and tenderness of the thought. It is in such
passages that Mr Longfellow's genius is most eminently apparent;
because in them all is nature, and there is no indication of a
model. In his more laboured scenes there is generally an appearance
of effort, beside the imitative propensity, to which we have already
sufficiently alluded.

The acceptance of Elsie's offer, on the part of Prince Henry of
Hoheneck, seems to be the turning-point of the story and the
temptation. Here again Lucifer interposes, in the character of
a monk, who, from the Confessional, gives unholy advice to the
Prince; but this scene does not strike us with peculiar admiration.
In brief, the offer is accepted. Prince Henry and the peasant's
daughter set out together for Salerno, and the greater portion
of the remainder of the drama is occupied with the description
of their route, and what befel them on their way. Mr Longfellow
has made excellent use of this dioramic method. He has contrived
to throw himself entirely into the age which he has selected for
illustration; and crusaders, monks, pilgrims, and minstrels pass
before us in varied procession, giving life and animation to the
scenery through which the voyagers move.

The most remarkable passages are the Friar's Sermon, and the Miracle
play represented in the cathedral of Strasburg. We observe that
several critics have already fallen foul of the author on account of
those scenes, denouncing him in no measured terms for the levity,
and even the profanity, of his tone. One or two have even gone
the length of declaring that he is more impious than Lord Byron;
and that _Cain_ is, in the hands of the youthful reader, a less
dangerous work than the _Golden Legend_. This is sheer nonsense.
Mr Longfellow, as the general tenor of his writings discloses, is
eminently a Christian poet, and the last charge which can be brought
against him is that of scepticism and infidelity. His aim, in this
part of the _Golden Legend_, is to reproduce a true and vivid
picture of the manners, the customs, and even the superstition of
the age; and this he has been enabled to do, through his intimate
familiarity with writings which are very little studied at the
present day. He is deeply versed, not only in the monkish legends
and traditions, but in that kind of theological literature which, in
the thirteenth century, and even much later, was mixed up with the
pure evangelical doctrine, and retailed to the people as truth, by
the ministers of a corrupted Church. That the sermon delivered by
Friar Cuthbert, in the square of Strasburg, must sound irreverent
to modern ears, is a proposition which no one can deny. It is
irreverent, but not a whit more so than were all the sermons of the
period. It is intended to mark, and does mark more accurately than
anything we ever read, the license of language which was employed
by the emissaries of the Church of Rome--the haughty claims and
systematic usurpations of that Church--and the mixture of truth
and fable which then constituted the staple of her doctrine. Friar
Cuthbert is not preaching from the Evangelists: he is preaching
half from his own invention, and half from the spurious Gospel of
Nicodemus. His sermon is nothing more nor less than a satire upon
the teaching of the Church of Rome, and a most effective one it
is. Into what, then, do the objections of our scrupulous brethren
resolve themselves? Is it wrong to depict, in prose or verse--for
the lesson may be conveyed in either--the ignorance of the people
of Europe in past ages, and the exceeding presumption and monstrous
latitude of their teachers? If so, it would be better for us at
once to get rid of history. A work of fiction, which does nothing
more than reproduce historical truths, can never, in our opinion,
be condemned for giving a faithful picture of the manners of the
time; and that Mr Longfellow's is a faithful picture, no one who
has studied the manners and perused the literature of the middle
ages will deny. It is very possible, however, that our purists
never heard of the Gospel of Nicodemus, and are not aware that such
liberties were ever taken with the revealed truths of religion.
That is no fault of Mr Longfellow's. But if the _Golden Legend_ is
to be condemned on account of these scenes, we very much fear that
Chaucer must also be voted unfit for reading, and our old friend
and favourite Sir David Lindesay consigned to entire oblivion. What
is more, the ban must be extended to many of the early reformers,
nay, martyrs of the Protestant Church. The sermons of Latimer, from
their familiarity of allusion and illustration, and their frequent
reference to tradition, would sound strangely in modern Calvinistic
ears. It is a notorious fact that, for a considerable period after
the Reformation, the most eminent divines, finding that the people
were greatly attached to the legendary tales and fictions which
formed so large a portion of the teaching of the Romish Church, were
compelled in some measure to continue the practice, and to look for
illustrations beyond the compass of the sacred writings, in order to
give effect to their discourses. This of course was only a temporary
expedient, but still it was employed, in order that the change
might appear less sudden and violent. But on that account, are the
writings of Latimer and many more of the early reformers to be
condemned? We should be sorry to think so. What sort of picture of
the age would have been presented to us, had Mr Longfellow put into
the mouth of Friar Cuthbert the language of an adherent of Geneva?
Is the sermon towards the conclusion of _Queenhoo Hall_, written
by Sir Walter Scott, to be pronounced blasphemous, because it is
conceived in the manner of the times? If not, Mr Longfellow also
must be relieved from this preposterous censure, which one or two
critics, wishing to be thought more reverent--being, in fact, more
ignorant--than their neighbours, have attempted to fasten upon him.

As to the Miracle play, we look upon it as a most successful
reproduction, or rather image, of those strange religious shows
which were long represented in the Romish churches all over
Europe, and which, though somewhat altered in their form, are
not yet abolished in some parts of the Continent. Mr Longfellow,
whilst preserving so much of the spirit of the old Mysteries as to
convey an adequate idea of their grotesqueness, has lent to this
composition a charm which none of the old plays possess. Those who
are anxious to ascertain what a Miracle play really was, will find a
fair specimen in the first volume of Hawkins' _English Drama_. The
general reader may, however, content himself with Mr Longfellow's
production, which is, in many points of view, remarkable. The scenes
represented are principally taken from the Apocryphal Gospels,
attributed to St Thomas, of the Infancy of our Saviour--which
gospels were long read in some of the Nestorian churches. Here,
again, Mr Longfellow has been charged with impiety, as if, by his
own invention, he were supplementing Scripture. He has done nothing
of the kind. He has simply reproduced, in a peculiar form, a legend
or tradition well known in the middle ages; and if this license
is to be prohibited, what imaginative or poetical author who has
treated of sacred subjects can escape? Milton has sinned in this
respect far more deeply than Longfellow. But we really do not think
it necessary to pursue this subject further.

We must not, any more than the travellers, loiter on the road,
therefore we pass over the scenes at the Convent of Hirschau, as
also that in the neighbouring nunnery. We confess that the carousal
of the monks, in which Lucifer bears a share, (for the fiend
continues to travel in disguise along with his expected victim,)
does not strike us as being happily conceived. It is coarse, and we
are sorry to say, vulgar; though it may be, doubtless, that such
things were often said and enacted within convent walls. But the
poet is bound to use a certain degree of discretion in his choice of
materials, and in his manner of setting them forth. We think some of
the ribaldry in this scene might have been spared with advantage,
without in the least injuring that contrast between outward
profession and real purity which the author evidently intended to
draw; and we would urge upon Mr Longfellow the propriety of revising
in future editions the passages to which we refer, as tending in no
way to promote the strength, whilst they undoubtedly diminish the
pleasure which we receive from other parts of the drama. The scene
in the nunnery, in which the Abbess Irmengarde relates to Elsie the
tale of her youthful attachment, and the preference which she gave
to Walter of the Vogelweide over Prince Henry of Hoheneck, when both
of them were her suitors, is very sweetly written, and entirely in
keeping with the times.

Then follow several scenes of much beauty, which conduct us through
Switzerland into Italy. The travellers embark from Genoa in a
felucca, bound for Salerno; and thus speaks the captain or padrone
of the vessel, as the wind is freshening. It is a strange piece
of rhyme, but worth listening to, were it only on account of its


    "I must entreat you, friends, below!
    The angry storm begins to blow,
    For the weather changes with the moon.
    All this morning, until noon,
    We had baffling winds, and sudden flaws
    Struck the sea with their cat's-paws.
    Only a little hour ago
    I was whistling to Saint Antonio
    For a capful of wind to fill our sail,
    And instead of a breeze he has sent us a gale.
    Last night I saw Saint Elmo's stars,
    With their glimmering lanterns, all at play
    On the tops of the masts and the tips of the spars,
    And I knew we should have foul weather to-day.
    Cheerly, my hearties! yo heave ho!
    Brail up the mainsail, and let her go
    As the winds will and Saint Antonio!

    Do you see that Livornese felucca,
    That vessel to the windward yonder,
    Running with her gunwale under?
    I was looking when the wind o'ertook her.
    She had all sail set, and the only wonder
    Is, that at once the strength of the blast
    Did not carry away her mast.
    She is a galley of the Gran Duca,
    That, through fear of the Algerines,
    Convoys those lazy brigantines,
    Laden with wine and oil from Lucca.
    Now all is ready, high and low;
    Blow, blow, good Saint Antonio!

    Ha! that is the first dash of the rain,
    With a sprinkle of spray above the rails,
    Just enough to moisten our sails,
    And make them ready for the strain,
    See how she leaps, as the blasts o'ertake her,
    And speeds away with a bone in her mouth!
    Now keep her head towards the south,
    And there is no danger of bank or breaker.
    With the breeze behind us, on we go;
    Not too much, good Saint Antonio!"

The verse sounds like an echo of the shrill piping of the
Mediterranean wind.

The voyagers arrive at Salerno; and we are immediately introduced
to the schools, sonorous with academical wrangling. Mr Longfellow
displays much humour in this part of his poem, having, we think, hit
off excellently the extreme acerbity exhibited by the scholastic
disputants on the most worthless of imaginable subjects. He has
given us a vivid picture of the war which was so long maintained
between the sect of the Nominalists and that of the Realists; and
not less of the fury which possessed the souls of ancient hostile
grammarians. "The heat and acrimony of verbal critics," says
Disraeli the elder, "have exceeded description. Their stigmas and
anathemas have been long known to bear no proportion against the
offences to which they have been directed. 'God confound you,' cried
one grammarian to another, 'for your theory of impersonal verbs!'"
In the _Golden Legend_ we have first a travelling Scholastic
affixing, as was the usual custom, his Theses to the gate of the
college, and offering to maintain his one hundred and twenty-five
propositions against all the world. Then appear two Doctors
disputing, followed by their pupils.


    "I, with the Doctor Seraphic, maintain
    That a word which is only conceived in the brain
    Is a type of eternal Generation;
    The spoken word is the Incarnation.


    What do I care for the Doctor Seraphic,
    With all his wordy chaffer and traffic?


    You make but a paltry show of resistance;
    Universals have no real existence!


    Your words are but idle and empty chatter;
    Ideas are eternally joined to matter!


    May the Lord have mercy on your position,
    You wretched, wrangling, culler of herbs!


    May he send your soul to eternal perdition,
    For your Treatise on the Irregular Verbs!"

    (_They rush out fighting._)

The sort of intellectual diet supplied to the students of Salerno
is next explained by a hopeful votary of Sangrado. It seems very


    "What are the books now most in vogue?


    Quite an extensive catalogue;
    Mostly, however, books of our own;
    As Gariopontus' Passionarius,
    And the writings of Matthew Platearius;
    And a volume universally known
    As the Regimen of the School of Salern,
    For Robert of Normandy written in terse
    And very elegant Latin verse.
    Each of these writings has its turn.
    And when at length we have finished these,
    Then comes the struggle for degrees,
    With all the oldest and ablest critics;
    The public thesis and disputation,
    Question, and answer, and explanation
    Of a passage out of Hippocrates,
    Or Aristotle's Analytics.
    There the triumphant Magister stands!
    A book is solemnly placed in his hands,
    On which he swears to follow the rule
    And ancient forms of the good old School;
    To report if any confectionarius
    Mingles his drugs with matters various,
    And to visit his patients twice a-day,
    And once in the night, if they live in town;
    And if they are poor, to take no pay.
    Having faithfully promised these,
    His head is crowned with a laurel crown;
    A kiss on his cheek, a ring on his hand,
    The Magister Artium et Physices
    Goes forth from the school like a lord of the land.
    And now, as we have the whole morning before us,
    Let us go in, if you make no objection,
    And listen awhile to a learned prelection
    On Marcus Aurelius Cassiodorus."

Lucifer now comes upon the stage in the garb of the Doctor who is
to decide regarding Elsie's fate. The main plot of the story, as we
have already stated, is at once so obscure and unnatural that it
will not stand examination. It is, therefore, rather from conjecture
than assertion that we presume the author intended to represent the
power of the Evil Spirit over the Prince, as depending upon his
acceptance or rejection of the innocent self-offered sacrifice. Be
that as it may, the Prince and Elsie appear; and, in spite of the
remonstrances of the former, the girl persists in her resolution.
Let us quote one more passage in Mr Longfellow's best and most
pathetic manner.


                "O my Prince! remember
    Your promises. Let me fulfil my errand.
    You do not look on life and death as I do.
    There are two angels that attend unseen
    Each one of us, and in great books record
    Our good and evil deeds. He who writes down
    The good ones, after every action closes
    His volume, and ascends with it to God.
    The other keeps his dreadful day-book open
    Till sunset, that we may repent; which doing,
    The record of the action fades away,
    And leaves a line of white across the page.
    Now, if my act be good, as I believe it,
    It cannot be recalled. It is already
    Sealed up in heaven, as a good deed accomplished.
    The rest is yours. Why wait you? I am ready.

    (_To her Attendants._)

    Weep not, my friends! rather rejoice with me.
    I shall not feel the pain, but shall be gone,
    And you will have another friend in heaven.
    Then start not at the creaking of the door
    Through which I pass. I see what lies beyond it.

    (_To_ PRINCE HENRY.)

    And you, O Prince! bear back my benison
    Unto my father's house, and all within it.
    This morning in the church I prayed for them,
    After confession, after absolution,
    When my whole soul was white, I prayed for them.
    God will take care of them, they need me not.
    And in your life let my remembrance linger,
    As something not to trouble or disturb it,
    But to complete it, adding life to life.
    And if at times beside the evening fire
    You see my face among the other faces,
    Let it not be regarded as a ghost
    That haunts your house, but as a guest that loves you.
    Nay, even as one of your own family,
    Without whose presence there were something wanting.
    I have no more to say. Let us go in.


    Friar Angelo! I charge you on your life,
    Believe not what she says, for she is mad,
    And comes not here to die, but to be healed.


    Alas! Prince Henry!


    Come with me; this way.

    (ELSIE _goes in with_ LUCIFER, _who thrusts_
    PRINCE HENRY _back and closes the door_.)"

There is, however, happily no occasion for the expenditure of our
tears. Prince Henry plucks up heart of grace, bursts open the door,
and rescues Elsie just as she is on the point of submitting to the
Luciferian lancet. The pair return in triumph to the Rhine--the
hearts of the old people are made glad by the recovery of their
daughter--and the drama ends, not with horror, but with the
agreeable finale of a marriage.

Such is the nature of the poem, which does undeniably exhibit
many proofs of genius, accomplishments, power of expression, and
learning; but which, nevertheless, we cannot accept as a great work.
It is like an ornament in which some gems of the purest lustre
are set, side by side with fragments of coloured glass, and even
inferior substances. The evident presence of the latter sometimes
shakes our faith in the absolute value of the jewels, which are
deserving of better association; and we cannot help wishing that
the whole work could be taken to pieces, the counterfeit materials
thrown aside, and the remainder entirely reconstructed on a new
principle and design. There is ever an intimate connection between
the design and the material. Thoughts, however rich in themselves,
lose their effect when ill displayed; and the want of the knowledge
of this has ere now proved fatal to the fame of many a promising
artist. The language and sentiments of Elsie, however beautiful
in themselves--and that they are beautiful we most unhesitatingly
maintain--excite in our minds no sympathy. They are simply
portions of an ill-constructed drama, almost aimless in purpose,
and without even an intelligible moral; they do not tend to any
point upon which our interest or expectations are concentrated,
and therefore, in order to do justice to them, we are forced to
regard them as fragmentary. Mr Longfellow has not succeeded in
giving a human interest to his drama. His story is poor, or rather
incomprehensible, and his plan essentially vicious; and these are
faults which no brilliancy of execution can ever serve to redeem.
We are deeply disappointed to find that such is the case, for we
can assure the author that we have watched his poetical career
with no common interest--that we have long been aware of the great
extent of his powers--and that we have waited, with much anxiety,
in the expectation of seeing those powers exhibited in their full
measure. We fear that we must wait a little longer before he shall
do justice to himself. It is a sound rule in criticism that every
work is to be judged according to its profession; an epic as an
epic--a drama as a drama--a ballad as a ballad. After making every
allowance for the avowed irregularity of this composition, we cannot
admit that it satisfies even the requirements of a dramatic romance.
It cannot be said that it was purposely constructed to exclude
belief, and therefore, interest; because Mr Longfellow has taken
obvious pains to mark the time by the accessories, in which he has
perfectly succeeded; and also to give us a vivid sketch of society
as it then existed. His radical error, we think, may be traced to
two things--the want of a life-like plot, and the introduction of
supernatural machinery.

No reader of _The Golden Legend_ will venture to aver that he has
derived the slightest interest from the story, apart from the poetry
with which it is surrounded. Now, although there is undoubtedly
a great deal in the manner of telling a story, the matter of the
story itself is obviously of greater consequence. The matter is the
body of the tale--the manner its dress and ornament. And inasmuch
as no accumulation of ornament will suffice to make up for want of
symmetry, or disguise deformity in the body to which it is applied,
how can we expect that a poem radically defective in plan, can be
rendered interesting by any amount of adventitious accomplishment?
In the acted drama we know very well that a bad or uninteresting
plot can never be redeemed, even by the most brilliant speeches. To
the epos, or narrative tale, the same rule applies; for episodes,
however spirited or pathetic, never can make up for the want of
interest in the leading story. The fault is not peculiar to Mr
Longfellow--it is discernible in most of the compositions, both
in prose and poetry, of the present age. Aptitude of handling is
considered a greater accomplishment than unity or strength of
design; and the consequence is that we lay down works, written by
many of our best authors, with a vague feeling of disappointment,
which can be attributed only to their total disregard of that
preliminary consideration of story and plan which occupied the
attention, as it constituted the triumph, of our older literary
masters. Surely, when a man sits down to write, his first care
ought to be that his subject is not only intelligible, but also
interesting to his readers. We have already, at the commencement
of this paper, expressed our decided objection to the machinery
employed by Mr Longfellow. It is the reverse of original, being now
very hackneyed; and it is absurdly disproportionate to the object
for which it is introduced. Most devoutly do we trust that both
poets and poetasters will henceforth refrain from including Lucifer
in their _dramatis personæ_. By introducing him as they have done,
they have read no valuable lesson in ethics to mankind. If they
represent him as a talented fiend, he is certain to blaspheme--if
as an amiable one, they mistake the character altogether. If
malice, envy, and a desire to plunge others into perdition, are the
characteristic impulses which a poet thinks necessary to portray,
surely he can find samples enough of these upon earth, without
invoking the presence of an actual demon. Even in poetry or fiction,
familiarity with the Powers of Darkness is a thing by no means to be

We hope hereafter to find Mr Longfellow engaged on some subject more
worthy of his genius. Of his powers there can be no doubt, nor of
his success, provided he will apply those powers properly. We are
fully sensible of the many beauties contained within the compass
of this volume; and our only regret, while laying down the pen, is
that we cannot yet congratulate the author on having achieved a
work, fully developing his excellencies, natural and acquired, and
entitling him to assume a higher rank among the masters of English


  [60] _Tauromachia; or, The Bull-fights of Spain_: Illustrated by
  Twenty-six Plates, representing the most remarkable Incidents and
  Scenes in the Arenas of Madrid, Seville, and Cadiz. The whole drawn
  and lithographed from Studies made expressly for the Work, by LAKE
  PRICE: with Preliminary Explanations by RICHARD FORD. London:
  Hogarth. 1852.

  _Spain, as it is._ By G. A. HOSKINS, Esq. London: Colburn. 1851.

"To see a bull-fight," says Mr Ford, "forms, and has long formed,
one of the first objects of most travellers in Spain." But, although
Spanish inns may be better, and Spanish brigands less numerous, than
of yore--although we have railway to beyond Tours, and tri-monthly
steam to the Peninsular ports--and although a certain _Handbook_,
writ by one Ford, and published by Murray, greatly facilitates and
tempts to trans-Pyrenean travel, it still is fact that English
travellers in Spain are but as one in a thousand. The other nine
hundred and ninety-nine are fain to content themselves, in respect
of matters Tauromachian, with such delineations as pen and pencil
afford--as artists and authors publish. We thought, until lately,
that in this respect the public had been indifferently well catered
for. We now suspect ourselves to have been mistaken, and that,
until Mr Lake Price painted, and Messrs Ford and Hoskins wrote, the
bull-fights of Spain had never been fully elucidated and displayed
to the eyes of England.

Every writer of travels in Spain thinks it his duty to describe a
bull-fight; but such descriptions are too frequently spoiled by
injudicious straining after picturesque effects. French writers are
especially open to this reproach. They walk about the bull-ring on
stilts. There can be no greater mistake. To attempt to embroider a
Spanish bull-fight is akin to painting the lily. Nothing can add
to its originality and picturesque character. Every circumstance
connected with it is so striking, so thoroughly national, so unlike
civilised Europe, that no effort of imagination or inflation of
language can heighten the general effect, although they may, and
usually do, materially impair it. A plain and accurate description
is the one thing needful. This we have in the two books before
us; but with a difference. Mr Ford, minutely acquainted with his
subject, and thoroughly versed in things of Spain, writes of a
bull-fight as might write some enlightened Spanish man of letters,
who had miraculously divested himself of national prejudices.
Mr Hoskins writes in pure John Bull style, giving a plain
matter-of-fact account of what he saw and was struck by--such an
account as he might give of a boxing or wrestling match, or of any
other athletic or hazardous sport he for the first time witnessed.
He does not trace the history, or go into the æsthetics of
bull-fighting, but limits himself to a clear and off-hand relation
of what he attentively and carefully observed. His is a thoroughly
English narrative of a strictly Spanish spectacle. As such we like
it. Both Mr Ford's and Mr Hoskins' pages will be found most useful
and interesting companions to Mr Price's spirited drawings.

Mr Price has travelled much in Spain, and witnessed many
bull-fights. Whoever has seen one will be convinced of this by a
single glance at his work. For those whose own experience does
not constitute them judges, there is Mr Ford's assurance (no mean
guarantee) that his friend "has made himself perfectly acquainted
with the whole performance, has studied the changes of acts, scenes,
and characters, and has fixed on the spot, with his accurate pencil,
every salient feature and impressive incident. A mirror of the
bull-fight, from the beginning to the end, is now held up in his
series of plates."

For phrases a translator can always contrive a just equivalent,
but not always for a word. "Our boxing term, Bull-_fight_,"
says Mr Ford, "is a very low translation of the time-honoured
Castilian title, _Fiestas de Toros_, the Feasts, Festivals, Holy
Days of Bulls." The difference is as great as between the burly
prize-fighter, big-boned, broken-nosed, and brutal, and the graceful
and dignified _matador_, the magnificent dandy of the circus, the
beloved of women, the cherished of his tailor. Hear Mr Ford describe
him, since we cannot here present Mr Price's admirable plate:--

     "The _Matador_, or slayer, is the most important personage
     of the performance; his is the dangerous part of killing the
     bull, the catastrophe with which the Tauromachian tragedy is
     concluded. He can only arrive at this height of his hazardous
     profession by long study, experience, and practice, and by
     ascending regularly from the inferior grades. As he is the
     star, the observed and admired of all observers, his costume
     is worthy of his eminent rank; and as his gains are great, and
     commensurate with the perils to which he is exposed, he can
     afford to indulge in personal decoration, the dearest delight
     of the semi-oriental Spaniard. He adheres to the fashion of
     the _majos_, or fancy men of Andalusia, the native province
     of the celebrities of his gentle craft. He displays his taste
     and magnificence in a prodigal richness of silks and velvets,
     gold and silver embroidery. His wardrobe is as extensive as it
     is expensive, for he seldom makes his appearance twice in the
     same dress in the same city. He wears on his head a _montera_,
     or small cap, decked with black ribbons; his hair is gathered
     behind into a thick pigtail, like those of which our sailors
     were wont to be so proud; a gaudy silk handkerchief is passed
     once round his naked throat, and often through a jewelled ring;
     his short jacket--the type of which is quite Moorish--glitters
     all gorgeous with epaulettes, fringes, tags, and bullion lace;
     his loins are girded up with the national sash--the zone of
     antiquity; his short tight breeches, enriched with a gold or
     silver band and knee-knots, his silk stockings and ball-room
     pumps, show off to advantage a light, sinewy, active figure.
     When not called on the stage, he carries a gay silken cloak,
     that is laid aside when the death-signal is given, and a long
     Toledan blade, and blood-red flag, are substituted.

     "The majority of these worthies are known by some endearing
     nickname, derived from the place of their birth, or from some
     peculiarity of person or conduct. Such nicknames are familiar
     as household words to the million, whose idols these heroes
     of the ring are, even more than our champions, the Cribbs and
     Springs, used to be, when prize-fights were in vogue; and
     in the Matadors there is much to fascinate their countrymen
     and women. To personal form and courage--sure passports of
     themselves to popular favour--the attraction of dress, of
     extravagant expenditure, and boon companionship, are added.
     Theirs, moreover, is the peculiar dialect, half gipsy and half
     slang, which, pregnant with idiomatic pungency, gives a racy
     expression to the humours of the ring, and to the epigrammatic
     wit of the south, which is termed throughout the Peninsula the
     _Sal Andaluza_, 'Andalucian salt:' this, it must be confessed,
     can scarcely be pronounced Attic.

     "The names of the two best Matadors that ever graced the arenas
     of Spain live immortal in the memories of Spaniards. Both
     excelled equally with pen and sword. Joseph Delgado, _alias_
     Pepe Illo, wrote a profound treatise on Tauromachia, which has
     gone through several editions. He was killed at Madrid, May
     11, 1801, by a Penaranda bull. The veteran had felt unwell in
     the morning, and had a presentiment of his fate, but declared
     that "he would do his duty," and, like Nelson, fell gloriously,
     his harness on his back. Scarcely second to him was Francisco
     Montes,'the first sword of Spain.' He was the author of a most
     _Complete Art of Bull-Fighting_. All amateurs who contemplate
     going the circuit of the plazas of the Peninsula will do well
     to study these works. The more the toresque intellect is
     cultivated, the greater the consequent enjoyment; a thousand
     minute beauties in the conduct and character of the combatants
     are caught, and relished by the learned, which are lost upon the
     ignorant and uneducated.

     "Montes, also, like his renowned predecessor, was severely
     wounded, July 21, 1850, but was snatched from death by his
     nephew, _el Chiclanero_, whose portrait is given by Mr Lake
     Price. The youth rushed forth, and pierced with his sword the
     spinal narrow of the goring bull, who fell at his feet. He then
     bowed to the spectators and retired, amid thunders of applause,
     to attend his wounded uncle. An additional bull was conceded to
     his honour, and sacrificed as a blood-offering to the adored
     Montes. The remark of Seneca, that the world had seen as many
     examples of courage in gladiators of the Roman amphitheatre as
     in the Catos and Scipios, may be truly applied to the gallant
     Matadors of Spain. Montes is no more, but his mantle has
     descended to his nephew, who rules now decidedly the champion
     of the Spanish ring, and is considered by many eminent judges a
     greater man than even his illustrious uncle."

We revert to Plate No. I. of Mr Price's series, with its
accompanying explanatory notice. The subject is the office where
tickets for the amphitheatre are sold. The heart-flutterings of
the emancipated school-girl, on the brink of her first ball, the
eagerness of the Etonian, who, to-morrow, for the first time, is
to sport pink and cross a hunter, are faint and feeble emotions
compared to the Spaniard's vehement desire for his darling sport. In
the choice of places many things are to be considered. The prices
depend upon position--enclosed boxes being much dearer than open
benches, and shade than sun.

     "The sun of tawny, torrid Spain, on whose flag it once never
     set, is not to be trifled with; and its _coup_ is, indeed,
     frequent and fatal in summer, the season selected perforce
     for the bull-fight. In winter the bulls fall off, from the
     want of artificial green crops, which are hardly known in the
     Peninsula; they only recover their prime condition, courage,
     and fierceness, when refreshed, like giants, by a free range
     over the rich pastures which the spring of the south calls into
     life and luxuriance. Again, it is in summer that fine weather
     is certain, and the days are long--considerations of importance
     in a spectacle that is to be enacted out of doors, and which
     lasts many hours. The glare and heat of a vertical summer sun in
     Spain, when the heavens and earth seem on fire, is intolerable
     to man and beast; the bull-fights, therefore, are naturally
     deferred until the afternoon, when a welcome shade is cast over
     the northern portion of the amphitheatre. The sun's transit,
     or zodiacal progress into Taurus, is not the worst calculated
     astronomical observation in Spain. The line of subdued coolness,
     as divided from burning brightness, is sharply marked on the
     circular arena; and this demarcation determines the relative
     prices, which range from one to five shillings each, and are
     very high for Spain considering the wages of labour.... The
     love of the bull-fights amounts to madness in the masses of
     Spaniards. There is no sacrifice, no denial, that they will not
     endure, to save money to go to their national exhibition!"

"The Bulls in the Court of the Plaza" is the subject of the
second plate. Here the bulls are seen in the yard attached to the
amphitheatre in which, to-morrow, they are to combat and die. Groups
of amateurs are enjoying a "private view," scanning their points
and conjecturing their prowess. "The white and brown bull in front
proved so unusually savage and murderous in the ring of Madrid, that
a Spanish nobleman caused its head to be mounted in silver, and
placed among the most cherished memorials of his ancient palace."

After a picture of the Madrid "Place of Bulls," which is capable
of containing eighteen thousand spectators, comes the processional
entrance of the _toreros_ or bull-fighters, all in full costume.
"The locality selected by Mr Lake Price for this opening scene is
the Plaza of Seville; and a most picturesque one it is, although not
finished--the usual fate of many splendid beginnings and promises of
Spain. The deficient portion lets in, as if on purpose, a view of
the glorious cathedral. On grand occasions this side is decorated
with flags; and when the last crimson sun ray sets on the Moorish
belfry, and brings it out like a pillar of fire, and the flapping
banners wave in triumph as the evening breeze springs up, no more
beautiful conclusion of a beautiful spectacle can be imagined by
poet or painter." Preceding the procession, the _alguazil_, in his
ancient Spanish costume of Philip IV.'s day, applies to the chief
personage present for the key of the _toril_ or bull-den. When Mr
Hoskins visited the circus at Seville--Seville, once "the capital
of the bull-fight," but now surpassed by Madrid in the ceremony and
magnificence of that spectacle--the Duke de Montpensier occupied the
state-box. "The alguazil rode beneath the prince's box for the key
of the cell of the bulls, which the prince threw; but in catching
it the alguazil displayed such bad horsemanship, that the crowd
were convulsed with laughter." The alguazil ought to catch the key
in his hat, but seldom does. When he has handed it to one of the
_chulos_ or footmen, he gallops off full speed, "amid the hootings
of the populace, who instinctively persecute the finisher of the
law, as little birds mob a hawk: more than a thousand kind wishes
are offered up that the bull may catch and toss him. The brilliant
army of combatants now separate like a bursting shell, and take up
their respective places, as our fielders do at a cricket-match. The
spectacle, which consists of three acts, now commences in earnest;
from six to eight bulls are generally killed for the day's feast."

In the first act, the principal performers, besides the bull, are
the _picadors_. Mr Price has illustrated their proceedings and
exploits in six plates. "When the bull-calf is one year old," says
Mr Ford, "his courage is tested by the mounted herdsman, who charges
him violently with his _garrocha_, or sharp goad. If the bold brute
turns twice on his assailant, facing the steel, he is set apart for
the future honours of the arena." Sometimes, when, emerging from
his dark cell into the dazzling glare of the amphitheatre, the bull
beholds, presented to his charge, the sharp spear of the expectant
picador, he calls to mind his calf-days and the keen goad, swerves
in his headlong and seemingly irresistible rush, and passes on to a
second and a third antagonist. "If still baffled, stunning are the
pæans raised in honour of the men. Such bulls as will not fight at
all, and show a white feather, become the objects of popular insult
and injury; they are hooted at as 'cows,' which is no compliment to
a bull, and, as they sneak by the barriers, are mercilessly punished
with a forest of _porros_, or lumbering cudgels, with which the mob
is provided for the nonce. When the bull is slow to charge, the
picador rides out into the arena, and challenges him with his _vara_
(spear.) Should the bull decline his polite invitation and turn
tail, he is baited by dogs, which is most degrading." If execrations
and abuse are lavished upon a craven, on the other hand frantic is
the applause and enthusiasm when the bull displays unusual pluck. Mr
Hoskins saw some capital fights.

     "A brown bull with white spots," he writes, "then came in and
     soon rolled on the ground two picadors and their worthless
     steeds: one of the animals was killed on the spot, and the other
     soon dropped. Immediately the bull upset the third horse and his
     rider, and was rapturously cheered: '_Viva, toro! viva, toro!
     Bravo, toro!_' Again he upset two more steeds, and the picadors
     fell heavily to the ground; the plaudits were deafening. Soon
     he raised from the earth the third horse and his rider, who
     kept his seat at first; but both fell--the picador underneath,
     stunned, but able, after a short time, to mount again. Horse
     after horse this fine beast attacked: one poor animal and
     his rider were soon prostrate on the ground, and immediately
     afterwards another. The _banderillas_ made him still more mad,
     and the _chulos_ were obliged to run their best to escape
     his rage. It was most exciting to see them vaulting over the
     barriers, flying, as it were, out of his horns. At last the
     matador struck him; and though the sword was, as usual, deep
     between the left shoulder and the blade, he seemed as fierce as
     ever. He was near the enclosure, and a man adroitly drew it out.
     The matador was preparing to strike him again, when he lay down
     as if to die, but soon rose, apparently desirous of revenge:
     after one effort he sank on the arena, and the matador gave him
     his _coup de grace_. The band played, and the teams dragged out
     his carcase and three dead horses, besides two which he had
     wounded dreadfully: the Spaniards sang with delight."

A little black bull, which in Smithfield would have been slightly
esteemed, next rushed into the circle, and quickly cleared it,
rolling over the picadors, and making the chulos fly for dear
life. After one of these "he galloped at a fearful speed. Not a
voice was heard, so deep was the anxiety; but the chulo flew over
the barricade as if the bull had pitched him, so near to his legs
were its horns. The animal seemed astonished at having lost its
victim, and then vented its rage on the red cloak the chulo had
been obliged to drop." This fierce little bull killed and badly
wounded half-a-dozen horses, goring them disgustingly when on the
ground, and galloped round the arena in triumphant defiance, until
the terrible matador, with red flag and straight blade, answered the
challenge, and slew him with a thrust.

The risks run by the picadors are terrible; although less, perhaps,
from the horns of the bull than from bad falls, and from their
horses rolling over them. Few of them, Mr Ford assures us, have a
sound rib in their body.

     "Occasionally, the bull tosses man and steed in one ruin, and,
     when they fall, exhausts his fury on the poor beast; for the
     picador either manages to make him a barrier, or is dragged of
     by the attendant chulos, who always hover near, and with their
     cloaks entice the bull from the man, leaving the horse to his
     sad fate. When these deadly struggles take place, when life
     hangs on a thread, every feeling of eagerness and excitement is
     stamped on the countenances of the spectators. Their rapture is
     wrought to its pitch, when the horse, maddened with the wounds
     and terror, the crimson seams streaking his foam-and-sweat
     whitened body, flies from the still pursuing bull: then are
     displayed the nerve and horsemanship of the picador. It is a
     piteous sight to behold the mangled horses treading out their
     protruding and quivering entrails, and yet carrying off their
     riders unhurt. This too frequent occurrence, and which horrifies
     every Englishman, has, with some other painful incidents, been
     kindly kept out of sight by our artist, whose object is to
     please. Spaniards are no more affected with the reality, than
     Italians are moved by the abstract _tanti palpiti_ of Rossini.
     The miserable horse, when dead, is rapidly stripped of his
     accoutrements by his rider, who hobbles off, and the carcass is
     then dragged out by the mules, often leaving a bloody furrow
     on the sand, as Spain's river-beds are marked with the scarlet
     fringe of flowering oleanders. The riders have a more than
     veterinary skill in pronouncing off-hand what wounds are mortal
     or not. Those thrusts which are not immediately fatal, are
     plugged up by them with tow, and then they remount the crippled
     steed, and carry him, like a battered battle-ship, again into

Mr Lake Price has certainly shown good taste in suppressing the
more revolting and painful details of bull-fights. The bloody
minutiæ of the spectacle would have spoiled his pictures. In
painting bull-fights, as in painting battles, the artist must
leave to imagination by far the greater part of the gaping wounds
and streaming blood, and horrible mutilations. No field of severe
battle was ever painted, we apprehend, exactly as it appeared to him
who walked over it just as the fight was done. The fidelity of a
daguerreotype would be inadmissible in such cases. Imagine an exact
representation of Borodino's redoubt, or Albuera's heights, at the
very moment of the battle's close, before the fast-accumulating
wounded were half removed, or the ghastly dead committed to the
shallow grave. From such a picture, whatever its artistic merit, all
would turn with shuddering and sickness. If we may compare small
things with great, so it is with bull-fights. The painter, if he
does not actually suppress fact, must at least choose his moment
well, and spare his admirers the more revolting circumstances of
the barbarous sport. For barbarous it really is, and some of the
occurrences incidendal to it doubtless "horrify every Englishman,"
as Mr Ford says; but, at the same time, we have observed that nearly
all Englishmen who pass even a short time in Spain get over their
horror, and become pretty regular attendants at the bull-ring. So
that we must not press too severely on Spaniards for their ardent
and passionate love of a spectacle which, from childhood, they are
accustomed to hear spoken of with enthusiasm, as the finest and most
essentially national sport in the world.

No less than eight of Mr Price's pictures are devoted to the second
act of the Bull's Tragedy, in which the chulos chiefly figure. This
employment is the noviciate of bull-fighting. Great activity and
speed of foot are the chief qualifications requisite.

     "The duty of this light division is to skirmish and draw off
     the bull when the picador is endangered, which they do with
     their particoloured silken cloaks. Their mercurial address and
     agility is marvellous; they skim over the sand like glittering
     humming-birds, seeming scarcely to touch the earth. The most
     dangerous position is when they venture into the middle of the
     Plaza, and are pursued by the bull to the barrier, over which
     they bound. The escape often takes place in the very nick of
     time, and they win by a neck; and frequently so close is the
     run, that they seem to be helped over the fence by the bull's
     horns; nay, so active are the bulls, that they often clear the
     six feet high palisado, on which occasion an indescribable
     hubbub and confusion take place amid the combatants,
     water-sellers, alguazils, and persons within; all the doors are
     immediately opened, and the perplexed beast soon finds his way
     back again into the arena, to new inflictions. The Plates XIV.
     and XVII. represent two of the most difficult and dangerous
     performances of the combatants on foot, and which are rarely
     attempted, except by the most skilful and experienced toreros
     and matadors, who take part in these interludes. Such is the
     _Suerte de la Capa_, or feat of the cloak. When the infuriated
     bull, foaming with rage, stands lord of all he surveys, Montes
     would coolly advance, and, when within two yards, turn his back
     to the animal, and, holding his cloak behind his shoulders,
     receive the rushing charge five or six times, stepping adroitly
     aside at each. The second, _El Salto trascuerno_, is even
     more hazardous. The performer advances as before, and when
     the bull lowers his head to charge, places his foot between
     the horns, is lifted up, and lights on the other side. These
     touch-and-go experiments form no part of the strict duties of
     the _chulo_; his exclusive province is the _banderilla_. This
     implement consists of a barbed dart or arrow, which is wrapt
     round with papers of different colours, cut in fanciful patterns
     of ornamental cruelty; the bearer, holding one in each hand,
     approaches the bull, presenting the point to him, and at the
     instant when he stoops to toss him, jerks them into his neck,
     turns aside, and eludes him. To do this neatly requires a quick
     eye, and a light hand and foot. The ambition of the performer is
     to place the barbs evenly and symmetrically, one on each side
     of the bull's neck. Three and four pairs of these are usually
     stuck in. Sometimes, when the bull has given dissatisfaction,
     these banderillas are armed with crackers, which, by means of
     detonating powder, explode the moment they are fixed; the agony
     of the scorched animal makes him plunge and snort frantically,
     to the delight of a people whose ancestors welcomed the _Auto da
     Fé_, and the perfume of burning living flesh."

Five plates, exhibiting the bull's last moments, complete and
conclude this masterly and accurate series. Here is the matador,
craving permission to kill the bull in honour of the municipality
of Seville: here he advances--his long four-edged sword, of more
than bayonet strength, firmly grasped in his right hand, whilst his
left waves the scarlet _muleta_, further exasperating the menaced
brute. Be it observed, that there is no "thrusting" in the case.
Rapier work were here of little avail. The sword is solid, stiff,
and heavy; it _receives_ the bull, but does not _meet_ him. Entering
between the shoulder and blade-bone, it is buried, by the victim's
own impetus, to the very hilt. Only by so profound and desperate
a wound could this energetic vitality be thus instantaneously
extinguished. When successful, skilful matadors will sometimes
withdraw the sword from the wound, and raise it in triumph above
their prostrate victim. On all occasions, a firm hand, great nerve,
and a quick eye, are essential. The bull is very often not killed by
the first thrust: if the sword strikes a bone, it is ejected high in
the air by the rising neck. When a bull will not run on the flag, he
is doomed to the dishonourable death of a traitor, and is houghed
from behind with a sharp steel crescent fixed on a long pole. When
the sinews of his hind legs are thus cruelly divided, the poor beast
crawls in agony, and squats down; then a butcher-like assistant, the
_cachetero_, creeps up, and pierces the spinal marrow with a pointed
dagger, which is the usual mode of slaughtering cattle in the
Spanish shambles. To perform any of these vile operations is beneath
the matador, who sometimes will kill such a bull by plunging the
point of his sword into the vertebræ. The great danger gives dignity
to this most difficult feat, _el descabellar_. If the exact spot be
hit, death is immediate; if the aim misses, and the animal's side
only is pricked, he dashes at the unprotected torero, and frequently
disables him.

Artists and authors travelling in Spain may, for some time to come,
give their brushes and pens a holiday, so far as bull-fights go.
There remains little that is new to be written or painted concerning
them. Every phase and incident of the contest has been correctly
seized and vividly portrayed by Mr Price, who has fairly exhausted
his subject. As regards description, that given by Mr Ford is
exactly what is needed to accompany an artistical work. It tells us
all that is wanted, and, in conjunction with the pictures, gives to
fire-side travellers as good an idea of what a bull-fight really
is, as can possibly be obtained without actually witnessing one. It
has not suited our purpose, in the present brief paper, to extend
our examination of "_Spain as it is_" beyond the fourth chapter of
the second volume; but it is only fair to say, lest it should be
supposed the merit of the book is also confined to that chapter,
that Mr Hoskins' volumes contain a mass of useful information and
clever criticism on the public and private picture-galleries of



[The incidents upon which the following little poem is founded, are
amusingly related by John Lydgate, monk of Bury, who flourished
about the year 1430. Warton has done full justice to his poetical
genius; but his prose works, though comparatively less known,
deserve equal attention.

"I will tell you now of a plesaunt story recorded by Plotinus. One
daye a certaine man of the cytie of Athens going forthe into an olde
foreste, wherein was many dyuers of byrdes synging, did hear, nye
unto a brokken Tempill, that tyme afore was dedicat unto a hethen
Godde, a voice as of a yonge chylde that was carolying swetely. How
be it, the man knew not the tonge wherein the lyttel chylde did
synge. Astonied at thys maruyl, for the place was not nighe unto
the cytie, so that chylderne colde furthlie passe thereunto, he
looked ovir the walle, and soughte al aboute what this myght mene.
Than sawe he sytting amonge the herbes, a fayre yonge boie, with
winges besprent with fetheris, behynde his sholderis, and noghte
lyving thynge besyde. Than sayde he: 'What doest thow here, chylde?'
but the chylde answered noght, but smyled. Soe the man, being in
perplexitie, for he knew not what it mycht bee, yet lyking not to
leeve so yonge a chylde in the wodes, where wylde bestes were manie,
did have him up into his mantill, and convaied him home until his
awn duellynge. There, in defaulte of anie cage, he did putte the
chylde into an olde Cabynett, that afore tyme stode longe there,
and dyd give hym mete and drynke. Yet the chylde waxed not, but
sange contynuously, soe that al the pepill of Athens maruyled at
hys mynstrelsye. But what was grete wonder, the Cabynett wherein he
was, which afore was brast in dyuers places, wherein chinkis and
riftis dyd appere, semed to become of a sodaine newe and stronge,
and was couered with gemmis and jowellis of grete prys, yet colde
no man telle whens they did come. And the lyttel chylde had hys
duellynge there, lyke unto an byrdis neste, and dyde synge rychte
swetely, so that manie cam from afar to see the wonder. So dyd he
manie yeris. At the last, deceisit the master of the house, and he
that cam after hym loued nat musike, but was given up to thochtes of
merchaunsedyse, and was of an ille fauour, regardynge nocht but his
own gettynges. Soe one daye, heryng the chylde synge euer, he wox
angery, and did command hym to holde his pees. Howe be it the chylde
wolde nat. Than thys man, being wrothe, caused to bringe leveris,
and to brak open the Cabynett, and take forth the chylde, and to put
hym to the wyndowe. But the chylde sayd, 'Ye will curse the tyme
ye put me forth;' and with those wordes vanyshed the chylde away,
and was neuer sene a geyne. From that tyme the Cabynett was rent,
and fall asonder in peces, Dyuers were angery with the man for his
myssedede, but he sayd, 'The deuyll satysfye you, for I dyd it for
the beste; but I shall neuer more medyll.' And he dyd nat, but sone
after departed that cytie. And Plotinus sayth that thys chylde was
estemit to be Cupido, and so was called in hys daies."]

  --LYDGATE'S _Boke of Tradycion_.

    Pray you, gentle ladies, hearken
    To a tale of ancient time:
    Let no doubt your bosoms darken,
    Love is always in his prime.
    Young, and fair, and gladly singing
    As he did in days of yore,
    O'er the bright blue ocean winging
    To the sweet Idalian shore.
    Cupid is not dead, dear ladies!
    You may hear him even now
    At the early dawn of May-days,
    Singing underneath the bough.
    But beware, for he deceiveth;
    Tempt him not within the door,
    For the house that Cupid leaveth
    Shall not prosper evermore.
    Old Plotinus, now in glory,
    Hath bequeathed to us a story,
    Which perhaps may sound as new--
    And 'tis neither long nor stupid--
    Of a man who captured Cupid;
    If you please, I'll tell it you.

      Wandering through the forests wide,
    Rising from Cephisus' side,
    Went a stout Athenian Archon,
    With a vacant listless eye,
    Till he heard a little cry,
    That made him stop and hearken.
    From a ruined temple near,
    Came a voice both soft and clear,
    Singing in some foreign tongue
    Sweeter strains than e'er were sung,
    Till the birds forbore their call,
    Wondering who the wight might be
    That in forest minstrelsy
    Overcame them, one and all.
    Slowly went the Archon on--
    Peered above the broken stone--
    There, within the waste enclosure,
    On a bed of myrtle wild,
    Lay a little yearling child,
    Who smiled and sung, and sung and smiled,
    In innocent composure.
    From his chubby shoulders, wings
    Sprouted outwards; tender things,
    Hardly fledged, as are the callow
    Nestlings of the household swallow.
    And the Archon, gazing there,
    Thought that never child so fair
    Had he looked on, anywhere.

      "Whence art thou, my pretty boy?
    But the infant nought replied,
    Turning to the other side
    With an unknown song of joy.
    "Can it be," the Archon pondered,
    "That some little god hath wandered
    From his home within the skies,
    To a dreary spot like this?
    Ever welcome to the wise
    Such a rare occasion is;
    So within my cloak I'll fold him!"
    Little trouble was to hold him--
    Calm and still the infant lay,
    Smiling ever, singing ever,
    Till the Archon crossed the river
    Just above Piræus' bay.

      "In what place to lodge my darling!"
    Mused the much-bewildered sage,
    "He might dwell within a cage
    Safe as any finch or starling;
    But an infant god to hold,
    All the wires should be of gold.
    Ha! I see--the very thing!
    This will give him room to play,
    Yet so far restrain his wing
    That he cannot fly away.
    Therefore come, my pretty pet,
    I'll put thee in my Cabinet!"

      Crazy was that Cabinet
    When he let the Cupid in,
    Loosely were the joinings set
    Both without it and within:
    You had sworn in any weather
    That it could not hold together
    Longer than a year or so.
    But no sooner was the god
    Ushered to his new abode,
    Than he wrought a change; for, lo!
    Bright and fresh the place became,
    Renovated in its frame.
    With a lustre shone the wood
    As it were from opal hewed;
    And the vases twain, that stood
    On its top, both cracked and grey,
    Glistened with metallic ray,
    As if golden jars were they.
    Every thing grew bright and fair,
    For the God of Love was there.

      As a bird within a cage
    So that it be tended well,
    Careth not elsewhere to dwell;
    Will not leave its hermitage,
    Even for the wild and free
    Chorus of the greenwood tree--
    So the god, though famed for changing,
    Never seemed to think of ranging.
    Were the seasons dry or wet--
    Rose the sun, or did it set--
    Still he kept his Cabinet.

      And he sang so loud and clear,
    That the people clustered round
    In the hope that they might hear
    Something of that magic sound;
    Though the words that Cupid sung
    None could fathom, old nor young.
    Sometimes, listening from afar,
    You might catch a note of war,
    Like the clarion's call; and often
    Would his voice subside, and soften
    To a tone of melancholy,
    Ending in a long-drawn note,
    Like that from Philomela's throat--
    'Twas, "Proto-proto-proto-colly!"

      But at last the Archon died,
    And another filled his place--
    He was a man of ancient race,
    But jaundiced all with bitter pride,
    Oppressed with jealousy and care;
    Though quite unfitted to excel,
    Whate'er the task, he could not bear
    To see another do it well!
    No soul had he for wanton strains,
    Or strains indeed of any kind:
    To nature he was deaf and blind,
    His deepest thoughts were bent on drains.
    Yet in his ear were ever ringing
    The notes the little god was singing.

      "Peace, peace! thou restless creature--peace!
    I cannot bear that voice of thine--
    'Tis not more dulcet, sure, than mine!--
    From thy perpetual piping cease!
    Why come the people here to hearken?
    The asses, dolts! both dull and stupid!
    Why listen to a silly Cupid,
    Preferring him to me, their Archon?
    Hush, sirrah, hush! and never more,
    While I am here, presume to sing!"
    Yet still, within the mystic door,
    Was heard the rustling of the wing,
    And notes of witching melancholy,

      In wrath the furious Archon rose--
    "Bring levers here!" he loudly cried,
    "If he must sing--though Pallas knows
    His voice is tuneless as a crow's--
    E'en let him sit and sing outside!"
    They burst the door. The bird was caught,
    And to the open window brought--
    "Now get thee forth to wood or spray,
    Thou tiresome, little, chattering jay!"

      Paused the fair boy, ere yet he raised
    His wing to take his flight;
    And on the Archon's face he gazed,
    As stars look on the night.
    No woe was there--he only smiled,
    As if in secret scorn,
    And thus with human speech the child
    Addressed the nobly born,--
    "Farewell! You'll rue the moment yet
    You drove me from your Cabinet!"

      He sped away. And scarce the wind
    Had borne him o'er the garden wall,
    Ere a most hideous crash behind
    Announced an unexpected fall.
    The Cabinet was rent in twain!
    The wood was broken into splinters,
    As though for many hundred winters
    It had been dashed by wind and rain.
    Golden no more, the jars of clay
    Were dull and cracked, and dingy grey.
    Down fell a beam of rotten oak;
    The chair beneath the Archon broke;
    And all the furniture around
    Appeared at once to be unsound.

      Now have I nothing more to say!
    Of Cupid's entrance all beware:
    But if you chance to have him there,
    'Tis always wise to let him stay.
    And, ladies, do not sneer at me,
    Or count my words without avail;
    For in a little time you'll see
    There _is_ a moral to my tale.
    What has been done in days of yore
    May well again be acted o'er,
    And other things have been upset
    By Cupid, than a Cabinet!




    "Glory of War, my heart beat time to thee,
    In my young day; but there--behold the end!"
    The Old Soldier said: 'twas by his evening fire--
    Winter the time: so saving, out he jerked
    His wooden leg before him. With a look
    Half comic, half pathetic, his grey head
    Turned down askance, the pigtail out behind
    Stiff with attention, saying nothing more,
    He sat and eyed the horizontal peg.
    Back home the stump he drew not, till with force
    Disdainful deep into the slumbering fire
    He struck the feruled toe, and poking roused
    A cheery blaze, to light him at his work.
    The unfinished skep is now upon his knee,
    For June top-swarmers in his garden trim:
    With twists of straw, and willow wattling thongs,
    Crooning, he wrought. The ruddy flickering fire
    Played on his eye-brow shag, and thin fresh cheek,
    Touching his varying eye with many a gleam.
    His cot behind, soldierly clean and neat,
    Gave back the light from many a burnished point.
    His simple supper o'er, he reads The Book;
    Then loads and mounts his pipe, puffing it slow,
    Musing on days of yore, and battles old,
    And many a friend and comrade dead and gone,
    And vital ones, boughs of himself, cut off
    From his dispeopled side, naked and bare.
    Puffs short and hurried, puff on puff, betray
    His swelling heart: up starts the Man, to keep
    The Woman down: forth from his door he eyes
    The frosty heaven--the moon and all the stars.

      "Peace be with hearts that watch!" thus, heaven forgot,
    And all its hosts, true to the veins of blood,
    Thoughtful his spirit runs:--"'Tis now the hour
    When the lone matron, from her cottage door,
    Looks for her spouse into the moonlit ways;
    But hears no foot abroad in all the night.
    Then turns she in: the tale of murder done,
    In former days, by the blue forest's edge,
    Which way he must return--why tarries he?--
    Comes o'er her mind; up starting quick, she goes
    To be assured that she has barred her door;
    Then sits anew. Her little lamp of oil
    Is all burnt out; the wasting embers whiten;
    And the cat winks before the drowsy fire.
    What sound was that? 'Tis but her own heart beating.
    Up rises she again; her little ones
    Are all asleep, she'll go and waken them,
    And hear their voices in the eerie night;
    But yet she pauses, loth to break their rest.
    God send the husband and the father home!

      "No one looks out for me in all this world,
    No one have I to look for! Ah poor me!
    Well, well!" he murmurs meek. Turning, he locks
    His lonely door, and stumps away to bed.


    How fresh the morning meadow of the spring,
    Pearl-seeded with the dew: adown its path,
    Bored by the worms of night, the Old Soldier takes
    His wonted walk, and drinks into his heart
    The gush and gurgle of the cold green stream.
    The huddled splendour of the April noon;
    Glancings of rain; the mountain-tops all quick
    With shadowy touches and with greening gleams;
    Blue bent the Bow of God; the coloured clouds,
    Soaked with the glory of the setting sun,--
    These all are his for pleasure: his the Moon,
    Chaste huntress, dipping, o'er the dewy hills,
    Her silver buskin in the dying day.

      The summer morn is up: the tapering trees
    Are all a-glitter. In his garden forth
    The Old Soldado saunters: hovering on
    Before him, oft upon the naked walk
    Rests the red butterfly; now full dispread;
    Now, in the wanton gladsomeness of life,
    Half on their hinges folding up its wings;
    Again full spread and still: o'erhead away,
    Lo! now it wavers through the liquid blue.
    But he intent from out their straw-roofed hives
    Watches his little foragers go forth,
    Boot on the buds to make, to suck the depths
    Of honey-throated blooms, and home return,
    Their thighs half smothered with the yellow dust.
    Dibble and hoe he plies; anon he props
    His heavy-beaded plants, and visits round
    His herbs of grace: the simple flowerets here
    Open their infant buttons; there the flowers
    Of preference blow, the lily and the rose.

      Fast by his cottage door there grows an oak,
    Of state supreme, drawn from the centuries.
    Pride of the old man's heart, in many a walk.
    Far off he sees its top of sovereignty,
    And with instinctive loyalty his cap
    Soldierly touches to the Royal Tree--
    King of all trees that flourish! King revered!
    Trafalgars lie beneath his rugged vest,
    And in his acorns is The Golden Age!
    Summer the time; thoughtful beneath his tree
    The Veteran puffs his intermittent pipe,
    And cheats the sweltering hours; yet noting oft
    The flight of bird, and exhalation far
    Quivering and drifting o'er the fallow field,
    And the great cloud rising upon the noon,
    The sultry smithy of the thunder-forge.
    Anon the weekly journal of events
    Conning, he learns the doings of the world,
    And what it suffers--justice-loosened wrath
    Falling from Heaven upon unrighteous states,
    Famine, and plague, earthquake, and flood, and fire;
    Lean Sorrow tracking still the bread-blown Sin;
    A spirit of lies; high-handed wrong; the curse
    Of ignorance crass and fat stupidity;
    Glib demagogue tongues that sow the dragon-teeth
    Of wars along the valleys of the earth;
    And maddened nations at their contre-dance
    Of revolutions, when each bloody hour
    Comes staggering in beneath its load of crimes,
    Enough to bend the back of centuries.

      The sun goes down the western afternoon,
    Lacing the clouds with his diverging rays:
    Homeward the children from the village school
    Come whooping on; but aye their voices fall,
    As aye they turn unto the old man's door--
    So much they love him. He their progress notes
    In learning, and has prizes for their zeal,
    Flowers for the girls, and fruit, hooks for the boys,
    Whistles, and cherry-stones; and, to maintain
    The thews and sinews of our coming men,
    He makes them run and leap upon the green.

      The nodding wain has borne the harvest home,
    And yellowing apples spot the orchard trees:
    Now may you oft the Old Soldado see
    Stumping relieved against the evening sky
    Along the ferny height--so much he loves
    Its keen and wholesome air; nor less he loves
    To hear the rustling of the fallen leaves,
    Swept by the wind along the glittering road,
    As home he goes beneath the autumnal moon.

      Thus round the starry girdle of the year
    His spirit circles thankfully. Not grieved
    When winter comes once more, with chosen books
    He sits with Wisdom by his evening fire;
    Puff goes his cheerful pipe; by turns he works;
    And ever from his door, before he sleeps,
    He views the stars of night, and thinks of Him
    Whose simplest fiat is the birth of worlds.


    Lo! yonder sea-mew seeks the inland moss:
    Beautiful bird! how snowy clean it shows
    Behind the ploughman, on a glinting day,
    Trooping with rooks, and farther still relieved
    Against the dark-brown mould, alighting half,
    Half hovering still; yet far more beautiful
    Its glistening sleekness, when from out the deep
    Sudden and shy emerging on your lee,
    What time through breeze, and spray, and freshening brine,
    Your snoring ship, beneath her cloud of sail,
    Bends on her buried side, carried it rides
    The green curled billow and the seething froth,
    Turning its startled head this way and that,
    Half looking at you with its wild blue eye,
    Then moves its fluttering wings and dives anew!

      Smoking his pipe of peace, wearing away
    The summer eve, the old Soldado sits
    Beneath his buzzing oak, and eyes the bird,
    With many a thought of the suggested sea.
    The veering gull came circling back and near:
    "What! nearer still?" the Veteran said, and rose,
    And doffed his bonnet, and held down his pipe:
    "Give me her message, then! O be to me
    Her spirit not unconscious from the deep
    Of how I mourn her lost! Ah! bird, you're gone.
    Vain dreamer I! For every night my soul
    Knocks at the gates of the invisible world
    But no one answers me, no little hand
    Comes out to grasp at mine. Well, all is good:
    Even, bird, thy heart-deceiving change of flight,
    To teach me patience, was ordained of old."

      Yes, all is ordered well. Aimless may seem
    The wandering foot; even it commissioned treads
    The very lines by Providence laid down,
    Sure though unseen, of all-converging good.
    Look up, old man, and see:--
                              Along the road
    Came one in sailor's garb: his shallow hat,
    Of glazed and polished leather, shone like tin.
    A fair young damsel led him by the hand--
    For he was blind: and to the summer sun,
    Fearless and free, he held his bronzed face.
    An armless sleeve, pinned to his manly breast,
    Told he had been among the "Hearts of Oak."
    The damsel saw the old man of the tree,
    His queue of character, and wooden leg,
    And smiling whispered to the tar she led.
    Near turned, both stood. Down from her shoulder then
    The maid unslung a mandolin, and played,
    High singing as she played, a battle-piece
    Of bursts and pauses: keeping time the while,
    Now furious fast, now dying slow away,
    His pigtail wagging with emotion deep,
    The Old Soldier puffed his sympathetic pipe.
    The minstrel ceased; he drew his leathern purse,
    With pension lined, and offered guerdon due.
    "Nay," said the maiden, smiling, "for your tye
    Alone I played, and for your wooden leg;
    Yea, but for these, the symbols of the things
    You've done and suffered--like my father here."

      "Well, then, you'll taste my honey and my bread?"
    The Soldier said, and from his cot he brought
    Seats for the strangers; him the damsel helped,
    Bearing the bread and honey; and they ate,
    The damsel serving, and she ate in turn.
    When various talk had closed the simple feast,
    The strangers rose to go: "My head! my head!"
    The sailor cried, and fell in sudden pangs.
    They bore and laid him on the Soldier's bed.
    Forth ran the lass, and from the neighbouring town
    Brought the physician; but his skill was vain,
    For God had touched him, and the man must die.
    His mind was clear: "Give me that cross, my child,
    That I may kiss it ere my spirit part,"
    He said. And from her breast the damsel drew
    A little cross, peculiar shaped and wrought,
    And gave it him. It caught the Soldier's eye
    And when the girl received it back, he took
    And looked at it.

                    "This cross, O dying man,
    Was round my daughter's neck, when in the deep
    She perished from me, on that fatal night
    The 'Sphinx' was burnt, forth sailing from the Clyde.
    Her dying mother round the infant's neck
    This holy symbol, with her blessing, hung.
    Friendless at home, I took my only child,
    Bound to the Western World, where we had friends.
    Scarce out of port, up flamed our ship on fire,
    With crowding terrors through the umbered night.
    O! what a shout of joy, when through the gloom
    That walled us round within our glaring vault,
    Spectral and large, we saw the ships of help.
    Our boats were lowered; the first, o'ercrowded, swamped;
    Down to the second, as it lurched away,
    I flung my child: the monstrous waves went by
    With backs like blood: the sudden-shifting boat
    Is off with one, another has my babe.
    I sprung to save her--all the rest is drear,
    Grisly confusion, till I found me laid,
    On some far island, in a fisher's hut.
    Me, as they homeward scudded past the fire,
    Those lonely farmers of the deep picked up,
    Floating away, and rubbed to vital heat;
    And through the fever-gulf that had me next,
    With simple love they brought my weary life.
    The shores and islands round, for lingering news
    Of people saved from off that burning wreck,
    O! how I haunted then; but of my child
    No man had heard. Hopeless, and naked poor,
    To war I rushed. This cot received me next;
    And here, I trust, my mortal chapter ends.
    But say, O say! how came you by this cross?"

      The dying man upon his arm had risen,
    Ere ceased the Soldier's tale: "She is thy child,
    Take her," he said; "and may she be to thee,
    As she to me has been, a daughter true,
    A child of good, a blessing from on high!"
    So saying, back he fell. Around his neck
    Her arms of love the sobbing damsel threw,
    And kissed him many a time. And then she rose,
    And flung herself upon the Soldier's breast--
    For he's her father too. And many tears,
    Silent, the old man rained upon her neck.

      "O wondrous night!" the dying tar went on,
    "Who could have thought of this! I am content.
    The Lord be praised that she has found a friend,
    Since I must go from her! That night of fire,
    Our brig of war bore down upon your ship,
    And sent her boats to save you from the flame.
    Near you we could not come; so forth I swam,
    And to your crowded stern I fixed a rope,
    To take the people off. Back as I slid
    Along the line, to show them how to come,
    A child, upheaved upon the billow top,
    Was borne against my breast; I snatched her up;
    Fast to my neck she clung; none could I find
    To claim and take her: she was thus mine own.
    That night she wore the cross which now she wears.
    Why need I tell the changes of my life?
    In war I lost an arm, and then an eye;
    My other eye went out from sympathy,
    And home I came a blind and helpless man.
    But I had still one comforter, my child--
    My young breadwinner, too! From wake to wake
    She led me on, playing her mandolin,
    Which I had brought her from the south of Spain.
    She'll tell you all the rest when I am gone.
    Bury me now in your own burial-place,
    That still our daughter may be near my dust.
    And Jesus keep you both!" he said, and died.

      They buried him in their own burial-place.
    And many a flower, heart-planted by that maid
    And good Old Soldier, bloomed upon his grave.
    And many a requiem, when the gloaming came,
    The damsel played above his honoured dust.
    Not less, but all the more, her heart was knit
    Unto her own true father. He, the while,
    How proud was he to give her up his keys,
    Mistress installed of all his little stores;
    And introduce her to his flowers, and bees,
    Making the sea-green honey--all for her;
    And sit beside her underneath the oak,
    Listening the story of her bygone life.
    In turn she made him of her mother tell,
    And aye a tear dropped on her needlework;
    And all his wars the old campaigner told.
    And God was with them, and in peace and love
    They dwelt together in their happy home.


The fall of Napoleon completed the first drama of the historical
series arising out of the French Revolution. Democratic ambition
had found its natural and inevitable issue in warlike achievement;
the passions of the camp had succeeded those of the forum, and
the conquest of all the Continental monarchies had, for a time,
apparently satiated the desires of an insatiable people. But the
reaction was as violent as the action. In every warlike operation
two parties are to be considered--the conquerors and the conquered.
The rapacity, the insolence, the organised exactions of the French
proved grievous in the extreme, and the hardship was felt as the
more insupportable when the administrative powers of Napoleon gave
to them the form of a regular tribute, and conducted the riches of
conquered Europe, in a perennial stream, to the imperial treasury. A
unanimous cry of indignation arose from every part of the Continent;
a crusade commenced, in all quarters, from the experienced suffering
of mankind; from the east and from the west, from the north and from
the south, the liberating warriors came forth, and the strength of
an injured world collected by a convulsive effort at the heart, to
throw off the load which had oppressed it. Securely cradled amidst
the waves, England, like her immortal chief at Waterloo, had calmly
awaited the hour when she might be called on to take the lead in the
terrible strife. Her energy, when it arrived, rivalled her former
patience in privation, her fortitude in suffering; and the one
only, nation which, throughout the struggle, had been unconquered,
at length stood foremost in the fight, and struck the final and
decisive blow for the deliverance of the world.

But the victory of nations did not terminate the war of opinion;
the triumph of armies did not end the collision of thought. France
was conquered, but the principles of her Revolution were not
extirpated; they had covered her own soil with mourning, but they
were too flattering to the pride of the human heart to be subdued
but by many ages of suffering. The lesson taught by the subjugation
of her power, the double capture of her capital, was too serious
to be soon forgotten by her rulers; but the agony which had been
previously felt by the people, had ended with a generation which was
now mouldering in its grave. It is by, the last impressions that
the durable opinions of mankind are formed; and effects had here
succeeded each other so rapidly, that the earlier ones were in a
great measure forgotten. The conscription had caused the guillotine
to be forgotten; grief for the loss of the frontier of the Rhine
had obliterated that of the dissolution of the National Assembly.
Men did not know that the first was the natural result of the
last. There was little danger of France soon crossing the Rhine,
but much of her reviving the opinions of Mirabeau and Siéyès. The
first drama, where the military bore the prominent part, was ended;
but the second, in which civil patriots were to be the leading
characters, and vehement political passions excited, was still to
commence; the Lager had terminated, but the Piccolomini was only
beginning, and Wallenstein's Death had not yet commenced.

Everything conspired to render the era subsequent to the fall of
Napoleon as memorable for civil changes as that era itself had
been for military triumphs. Catherine of Russia had said at the
commencement of the Revolution, that the only way to prevent its
principles spreading, and save Europe from civil convulsion, was
to engage in war, and cause the national to supersede the social
passions. The experiment, after a fearful struggle, succeeded; but
it succeeded only for a time. War wore itself out; a contest of
twenty years' duration at once drained away the blood and exhausted
the treasures of Europe. The excitement, the animation, the mingled
horrors and glories of military strife, were followed by a long
period of repose, during which the social passions were daily
gaining strength from the very magnitude of the contest which had
preceded it. The desire for excitement continued, and the means
of gratifying it had ceased: the cannon of Leipsic and Waterloo
still resounded through the world, but no new combats furnished
daily materials for anxiety, terror, or exultation. The nations
were chained to peace by the immensity of the sacrifices made in
the preceding war: all governments had suffered so much during its
continuance, that, like wounded veterans, they dreaded a renewal
of the fight. During the many years of constrained repose which
succeeded the battle of Waterloo, the vehement excitement occasioned
by the Revolutionary wars continued; but, from default of external,
it turned to internal objects. Democratic came instead of military
ambition; the social succeeded the national passions; the spirit was
the same, but its field was changed. Meanwhile the blessed effect of
long continued peace, by allowing industry in every quarter to reap
its fruits in quiet, was daily adding to the strength and energy,
because augmenting the resources, of the middle class, in whom these
feelings are ever the strongest, because they are the first to be
promoted by a change; while, in a similar proportion, the power of
government was daily declining, from the necessity of providing for
the interest of the debts contracted during the preceding strife,
and reducing the military forces which had so long averted its
dangers or achieved its triumphs.

The change in the ruling passions of mankind has clearly appeared in
the annals of nations, in the thirty years which followed the fall
of Napoleon. Governments have often great difficulties to contend
with, but it has been not with each other, but with their subjects;
many of them have been overturned, not by foreign armies, but by
their own. Europe has been often on the verge of a general war, but
the danger of it arose not, as in former days, from the throne, but
the cottage; the persons who urged it on were not kings or their
ministers, but the tribunes of the people. The chief efforts of
governments in every country have been directed to the preservation
of that peace which the collisions of so many interests, and
the vehemence of such passions, endangered: war was repeatedly
threatened, but it was so, not by sovereigns, but by the people. The
sovereigns were successful; but their being so only augmented the
dangers of their position, and increased the peril arising from the
ardour of the social passions with which they had to contend; for
every year of peace added to the strength of their opponents as much
as it diminished their own.

The preservation of peace, unbroken from 1815 to 1830, was fraught
with immense blessings to Europe; and, had it been properly
improved, might have been so to the cause of freedom throughout the
world; but it proved fatal to the dynasty of the Restoration. From
necessity, as well as inclination, from the recollection of the
double capture of Paris, as well as conscious inability to conduct
warlike operations, Louis XVIII. remained at peace; and no monarch
who does so seems likely to remain long on the French throne. Death,
and extreme prudence of conduct, alone saved him from dethronement.
The whole history of the Restoration, from 1815 to 1830, was that
of one vast and ceaseless conspiracy against the Bourbons, existing
rather in the hearts and minds than the measures and designs of
men. No concessions to freedom, no moderation of government, no
diminution of public burdens, could reconcile the people to a
dynasty imposed on them by the stranger. One part of the people
were dreaming of the past, another speculating on the future; all
were dissatisfied with the present. The wars, the glories of the
Empire, rose up in painful contrast to the peace and monotony of
the present. Successive contractions of the elective constituency,
and restrictions on the press, had no effect in diminishing the
danger it excited in the minds of men, and only became, like
all other concealed passions, more powerful from the difficulty
of giving it expression. France was daily increasing in wealth,
freedom, and material well-being, but it was as steadily declining
in contentment, loyalty, and happiness--a strange combination, but
such as is by no means unknown in private life, when all external
appliances are favourable, but the heart is gnawed by a secret and
ungratified passion. At length the general discontent rose to such a
pitch that it became impossible to carry on the government; a _coup
d'état_ was attempted, to restore some degree of efficiency to the
executive, but it was attempted by the "feeble arms of confessors
and kings;" the army wavered in its duty; the Orleans family took
advantage of the tumult, and the dynasty of the elder branch of the
Bourbons was overthrown.

That so great an event as the overthrow of a dynasty by a sudden
urban insurrection, should have produced a great impression all over
the world, was to have been expected; but it could hardly have been
anticipated it would have been attended by the effects with which
it actually was in Great Britain. But many causes had conspired at
that period to prepare the public mind in England for changes; and,
what is very remarkable, these causes had arisen mainly from the
magnitude of the successes with which the war had been attended. The
capital which had been realised during the war had been so great,
the influence of the moneyed interest had become so powerful, that
the legislature became affected by their desires. The Monetary Bill
of 1819, before many years had elapsed, had added 50 per cent to
the value of money, and the weight of debts and taxes, and taken
as much from the remuneration of industry. Hence a total change in
the feelings, influences, and political relations of society. The
territorial aristocracy was weakened as much as the commercial was
aggrandised; small landed proprietors were everywhere ruined from
the fall of prices; the magnates stood forth in increased lustre
from the enhanced value of their revenues. Industry was querulous
from long-continued suffering; wealth, ambitious from sudden
exaltation. Political power was coveted by one class, from the
excess of their riches; by another, from the depth of their misery.
The emancipation of the Roman Catholics severed the last bond,
that of a common religion, which had hitherto held together the
different classes, and imprinted on the minds of a large and sincere
class a thirst for vengeance, which overwhelmed every consideration
of reason. The result of these concurring causes was that the
institutions of England were essentially altered by the earthquake
of 1830, and a new class elevated to supreme power by means,
bloodless indeed, but scarcely less violent than the revolution
which had overturned Charles X.

The revolution of 1830 elevated the middle class to the direction
of affairs in France, and the Reform Bill vested the same class
in effect with supreme power in the British empire. Vast effects
followed this all-important change in both countries. For the first
time in the history of mankind the experiment was made of vesting
the electoral franchise, not in a varied and limited class, as in
Old England, or in the whole citizens, as in revolutionary France
or America, but in persons possessed only of a certain money
qualification. The franchise was not materially changed in France,
but the general arming of the National Guard, and the revolutionary
origin of the new government, effectually secured attention to the
wishes of the burgher aristocracy; in England they were at once
vested with the command of the state, for the House of Commons was
returned by a million of electors, who voted for 658 members, of
whom two-thirds were the representatives of boroughs, and two-thirds
of their constituents shopkeepers, or persons whom they influenced.
Thence consequences of incalculable importance in both countries,
and effects which have left indelible traces in the future history
of mankind.

The first effect of this identity of feeling and interest, in the
class thus for the first time intrusted with the practical direction
of affairs in both countries, was a close political alliance between
their governments, and an entire change in the Foreign policy of
Great Britain. To the vehement hostility and ceaseless rivalry of
four centuries succeeded an alliance sincere and cordial at the
time; though, like other intimacies founded on identity of passion,
not of interest, it might be doubted whether it would survive the
emotions which gave it birth. In the mean time, however, the
effects of this alliance were novel, and in the highest degree
important. When the lords of the earth and the sea united, no
power in Europe ventured to confront them; the peace of Europe was
preserved by their union. The Czar in full march towards Paris was
arrested on the Vistula; he found ample employment for his arms
in resisting the efforts of the Poles to restore their much-loved
nationality. Austria and Prussia were too much occupied with the
surveillance of the discontented in their own dominions to think of
renewing the crusade of 1813; nor did they venture to do so when the
forces of England were united to those of France. The consequence
was that the march of revolution was unresisted in Western Europe,
and an entire change effected in the institutions and dynasties on
the throne in its principal continental states. The Orleans family
continued firmly, and to all appearance permanently, seated on
the throne of France; Belgium was revolutionised, torn from the
monarchy of the Netherlands, and the Cobourg family seated on its
throne: the monarchies of Spain and Portugal were overturned, and
a revolutionary dynasty of queens placed on the thrones of these
countries, in direct violation of the Treaty of Utrecht; while in
the east of Europe the last remnants of Polish nationality were
extinguished on the banks of the Vistula. Durable interests were
overlooked, ancient alliances broken, long-established rivalries
forgotten in the fleeting passions of the moment. Confederacies
the most opposite to the lasting policy of the very nations who
contracted them, were not only formed, but acted upon. Europe beheld
with astonishment the arms of Prussia united with those of Russia to
destroy the barrier of the Continent against the Muscovite power on
the Sarmatian plains; the Leopards of England joined to the tricolor
standard to wrest Antwerp from Holland, and secure the throne of
the Netherlands to a son-in-law of France; and the scarlet uniforms
blended with the ensigns of revolution to beat down the liberties of
the Basque provinces, and prepare the heiress of Spain for the arms
of a son of France, on the very theatre of Wellington's triumphs.

Novel and extraordinary as were these results of the revolution
of 1830 upon the political relations of Europe, its effects upon
the colonial empire of England, and, through it, upon the future
destinies of the human species, were still greater and more
important. To the end of the world, the consequences of the change
in the policy of England will be felt in every quarter of the globe.
Its first effect was to bring about the emancipation of the negroes
in the West Indies. Eight hundred thousand slaves in the British
colonies in that quarter of the globe received the perilous gift of
unconditional freedom. For the first time in the history of mankind
the experiment was made of extending the institutions of Japhet to
the sons of Ham. As a natural result of so vast and sudden a change,
and of the conferring of the institutions of the Anglo-Saxons upon
unlettered savages, the proprietors of those noble colonies were
ruined, their affections alienated, and the authority of the mother
country preserved only by the terror of arms. Canada shared in the
moral earthquake which shook the globe, and that noble offshoot of
the empire was only preserved to Great Britain by the courage of
its soldiers and the loyalty of its English and Highland citizens.
Australia rapidly advanced in wealth, industry, and population
during these eventful years. Every commercial crisis which paralysed
industry, every social struggle which excited hope, every successful
innovation which diminished security, added to the stream of hardy
and enterprising emigrants who crowded to its shores; New Zealand
was added to the already colossal empire of England in Oceania;
and it is apparent that the foundations have been laid in a fifth
hemisphere of another nation, destined to rival, perhaps eclipse,
Europe itself in the career of human improvement. For the first time
in the history of mankind the course of advancement ceased to be
from East to West; but it was not destined to be arrested by the
Rocky Mountains; the mighty day of four thousand years was drawing
to its close; but before its light was extinguished in the West,
civilisation had returned to the land of its birth; and ere its
orb had set in the waves of the Pacific, the sun of knowledge was
illuminating the isles of the Eastern Sea.

Great and important as have been these results of the social
convulsions of France and England in the first instance, they sink
into insignificance compared to those which have followed the change
in the commercial policy and increased stringency of the monetary
laws of Great Britain. The effect of these all-important measures,
from which so much was expected, and so little, save suffering,
has been received, has been to augment to an extraordinary and
unparalleled degree the _outward_ tendency of the British people.
The agricultural population, especially in Ireland, has been
violently torn up from the land of its birth by woeful suffering;
a famine of the thirteenth appeared amidst the population of the
nineteenth century; and to this terrible but transient source of
suffering has been superadded the lasting discouragement arising
from the virtual closing of the market of England to Irish produce,
by the inundations of grain from foreign states. Since the barriers
raised by human regulations have been thrown down, the eternal laws
of nature have appeared in full operation; the old and rich state
can always undersell the young and poor one in manufactures, and
is always under-sold by it in agricultural produce. The fate of
old Rome apparently is reserved for Great Britain; the harvests
of Poland, the Ukraine, and America, prostrate agriculture in
the British Isles as effectually as those of Sicily, Libya, and
Egypt did the old Patrimony of the Legions; and after the lapse of
eighteen hundred years the same effects appear. The great cities
flourish, but the country decays; the exportation of human beings
and the importation of human food keep up a gainful traffic in
the seaport towns; but it is every day more and more gliding into
the hands of the foreigner; and while exports and imports are
constantly increasing, the mainstay of national strength, the
cultivation of the soil, is rapidly declining. The effects upon the
strength, resources, and population of the empire, and the growth
of its colonial possessions, have been equally important. Europe,
before the middle of the century, beholds with astonishment Great
Britain, which, at the end of the war, had been self-supporting,
importing ten millions of quarters of grain, being a full fifth of
the national subsistence, and a constant stream of three hundred
thousand emigrants annually leaving its shores. Its inhabitants,
which for four centuries had been constantly increasing, have
declined a million in the last five years in the two islands, and
two millions in Ireland, taken separately; but the foundations of
a vast empire have been laid in the Transatlantic and Australian
wilds; and the annual addition of three hundred thousand souls to
the European population of the New World by immigration alone, has
come almost to double the already marvellous rapidity of American

While this vast transference of the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic
population to the embryo states of America and Australia has been
going forward, the United States of America are rapidly increasing
in numbers and extent of territory. The usual and fearful ambition
of republican states has appeared there in more than its usual
proportions. During the ten years from 1840 to 1850, the inhabitants
of the United States have increased six millions: they have grown
from eighteen to twenty-four millions. But the increase of its
territory has been still more extraordinary: it has been extended,
during the same period, from somewhat above two millions, to three
million three hundred thousand square miles. A territory nine times
the size of Old France has been added to the devouring Republic in
ten years. The conquests of Rome in ancient, of the English in India
in modern times, afford no parallel instance of rapid and unbroken
increase. Everything indicates that a vast migration of the human
species is going forward, and the family of Japhet in the course
of being transferred from its native to its destined seats. To
this prodigious movement it is hard to say whether the disappointed
energies of democratic vigour in Europe, or the insatiable spirit
of republican ambition in America, has most contributed; for the
first overcame all the attachments of home, and all the endearments
of kindred in a large--and that the most energetic--portion of the
people in the old world; while the latter has prepared for their
reception ample seats--in which a kindred tongue and institutions
prevail--in the new.

While this vast and unexampled exodus of the Anglo-Saxon race,
across a wider ocean than the Red Sea, and to a greater promised
land than that of Canaan, has been going forward, a corresponding,
and in some respects still more marvellous, increase of the
Sclavonic race in the Muscovite dominions has taken place. The
immense dominions and formidable power of the Czar, which had
received so vast an addition from the successful termination of
the contest with Napoleon, were scarcely less increased by the
events of the long peace which followed. The inhuman cruelty with
which the Turks prosecuted the war with the Greeks, awakened all
the sympathies of the Christian world; governments were impelled
by their subjects into a crusade against the Crescent; and the
battle of Navarino, which, for the first time in history, beheld
the flags of England, France, and Russia side by side, at once
ruined the Ottoman navy, and reft the most important provinces of
Greece from Turkey. The inconceivable infatuation of the Turks, and
their characteristic ignorance of the strength of the enemy whom
they provoked, impelled them soon after into a war with Russia; and
then the immeasurable superiority which the Cross had now acquired
over the Crescent at once appeared. Varna, the scene of the bloody
defeat of the French chivalry by the Janizaries of Bajazet, yielded
to the scientific approaches of the Russians; the barrier, hitherto
insurmountable, of the Balkan, was passed by Diebitch; Adrianople
fell; and the anxious intervention of the other European powers
alone prevented the entire subjugation of Turkey, and the entry of
the Muscovite battalions through the breach made by the cannon of
Mahomet in the walls of Constantinople.

Great as were these results to the growth of Russia, of the forced
and long-continued pacification of Western Europe, still more
important were those which followed its intestine convulsions.
Every throe of the revolutionary earthquake in France has tended to
its ultimate advantage, and been attended by a great accession of
territory or augmentation of influence. The Revolution of 1789 in
its ultimate effects brought the Cossacks to Paris; that of 1830
extinguished the last remains of Polish nationality, and established
the Muscovites in a lasting sway on the banks of the Vistula. The
revolt of Ibrahim Pacha, and the victory of Koniah, which reduced
the Ottoman empire to the verge of destruction, brought the Russian
battalions to Scutari, and averted subjugation from a rebellious
vassal, only by surrendering the keys of the Dardanelles to the
Czar, and converting the Black Sea into a Russian lake. Greater
still have been the results of the French Revolution of 1848 to
the moral influence, and through it the real power, of Russia.
Germany, torn by revolutionary passions, was soon brought into the
most deplorable state of anarchy; Austria, distracted at once by a
Bohemian, Italian, and Hungarian revolt, was within a hair-breadth
of destruction; and the presence of 150,000 Russians on the
Hungarian plains alone determined the Magyar contest in favour of
Austria. Immense is the addition which this decisive move has made
to the influence of Russia; no charge of the Old Guard of Napoleon
at the close of the day was ever more triumphant. Russia now boasts
of 66,000,000 of men within her dominions; her territories embrace a
seventh of the habitable globe; and her influence is paramount from
the wall of China to the banks of the Rhine.

Great as the acquisitions of the Muscovite power have been during
the last thirty years, they have almost been rivalled by those of
the British in India. They have fairly outstripped everything in
this age of wonders; a parallel will in vain be sought for them in
the whole annals of the world. They do not resemble the conquests
of the Romans in ancient, or of the Russians in modern times; they
have not been the result of the lust of conquest, steadily and
perseveringly applied to general subjugation, or the passions of
democracy finding their natural vent in foreign conquest. As little
were they the offspring of a vehement and turbulent spirit, similar
to that which carried the French eagles to Vienna and the Kremlin.
The disposition of the Anglo-Saxons, practically gain-seeking,
and shunning wars as an interruption of their profits, has been a
perpetual check to any such disposition--their immense distance
from the scene of action on the plains of Hindostan, an effectual
bar to its indulgence. India has not been governed by a race of
warlike sovereigns, eager for conquest, covetous of glory; but by
a company of pacific merchants, intent only on the augmentation of
their profits and the diminution of their expenses. Their great
cause of complaint against the Governors-General to whom have been
successively intrusted the government of their vast dominions,
was, that they were too prone to defensive preparations; that they
did not sufficiently study the increase of these profits or the
saving of these expenses. War was constantly forced upon them as a
measure of necessity; repeated coalitions of the native sovereigns
compelled them to draw the sword to prevent their expulsion from the
peninsula. Conquest has been the condition of existence.

Yet such is the vigour of the Anglo-Saxon race, and the energy with
which the successive contests were maintained by the diminutive
force at the disposal of the company, that marvellous beyond all
example have been the victories which they gained and the conquests
which they achieved. The long period of European peace which
followed the battle of Waterloo, was anything but one of repose in
India. It beheld successively the final war with, and subjugation
of, the Mahrattas by the genius of Lord Hastings, the overthrow of
the Pindaree horsemen, the difficult subjugation of the Goorkha
mountaineers; the storming of Bhurtpore, the taming of "the giant
strength of Ava;" the conquest of Cabul, and fearful horrors of
the Coord Cabul retreat; the subsequent gallant recovery of its
capital; the conquest of Scinde, and reduction of Gwalior; the wars
with the Sikhs, the desperate passages of arms at Ferozeshah and
Chilianwalah, and the final triumphs of Sobraon and Goojerat. Nor
was it in the peninsula of Hindostan alone that the strength of the
British, when at length fairly aroused, was exerted; the vast empire
of China was wrestled with at the very moment when their strength
in the East was engaged in the Affghanistan expedition; and the
world, which was anxiously expecting the fall of the much-envied
British empire in India, beheld with astonishment, in the same Delhi
_Gazette_, the announcement of the second capture of Cabul in the
heart of Asia, and the dictating of a glorious peace to the Chinese
under the walls of Nankin.

While successes so great and bewildering were attending the arms
of civilisation on the remote parts of the earth, a great and most
disastrous convulsion was preparing in its heart. Paris, as in every
age, was the centre of impulsion to the whole civilised world. Louis
Philippe had a very difficult game to play, and he long played it
with success; but no human ability could, with the disposition of
the people, permanently maintain the government of the country. He
aimed at being the Napoleon of Peace; and his great predecessor knew
better than any one, and has said oftener, that he himself would
have failed in the attempt. Louis Philippe owed his elevation to
revolution; and he had the difficult, if not impossible, task to
perform, _without foreign war_, of coercing its passions. Hardly
was he seated on the throne, when he felt the necessity in deeds,
if not in words, of disclaiming his origin. His whole reign was a
continued painful and perilous conflict with the power which had
created him, and at length he sank in this struggle. He had not the
means of maintaining the conflict. A successful usurper, he could
not appeal to traditionary influences; a revolutionary monarch, he
was compelled to coerce the passions of revolution; a military
chief, he was obliged to restrain the passions of the soldiers. They
demanded war, and he was constrained to keep them at peace; they
sighed for plunder, and he could only meet them with economy; they
panted for glory, and his policy retained them in obscurity.

Political influence--in other words, corruption--was the only means
left of carrying on the government, and that state engine was
worked with great industry, and for a time with great success. But
although gratification to the selfish passions must always, in the
long run, be the main foundation of government, men are not entirely
and for ever governed by their influence. "C'est l'imagination,"
said Napoleon, "qui domine le monde." All nations, and most of
all the French, occasionally require aliment to the passions; and
no dynasty will long maintain its sway over them which does not
frequently gratify their ruling dispositions. Napoleon was so
popular because he at once consulted their interests and gratified
their passions; Louis Philippe the reverse, because he attended
only to their interests. Great as was his influence, unbounded his
patronage, immense his revenue, it yet fell short of the wants
of his needy supporters: he experienced erelong the truth of the
well-known saying, that every office given away made one ungrateful
and three discontented. The immediate cause of his fall in February
1848 was the pusillanimity of his family, who declined to head his
troops, and the weakness of his counsellors, who urged submission in
presence of danger; but its remote causes were of much older date
and wider extent. Government, to be lasting, must be founded either
on traditionary influence, the gratification of new interests and
passions, or the force of arms; and that one which has not the first
will do well to rest as soon as possible on the two last.

Disastrous beyond all precedent, or what even could have been
conceived, have been the effects of this new revolution in Paris on
the whole Continent; and a very long period must elapse before they
are obviated. The spectacle of a government, esteemed one of the
strongest in Europe, and a dynasty which promised to be of lasting
duration, overturned almost without resistance by an urban tumult,
roused the revolutionary party everywhere to a perfect pitch of
frenzy. A universal liberation from government, and restraint of any
kind, was expected, and for a time attained, by the people in the
principal Continental states, when a republic was again proclaimed
in France; and the people, strong in their newly-acquired rights
of universal suffrage, were seen electing a National Assembly, to
whom the destinies of the country were to be intrusted. The effect
was instantaneous and universal; the shock of the moral earthquake
was felt in every part of Europe. Italy was immediately in a
blaze; Piedmont joined the revolutionary crusade; and the Austrian
forces, expelled from Milan, were glad to seek an asylum behind the
Mincio. Venice threw off the German yoke, and proclaimed again the
independence of St Mark; the Pope was driven from Rome, the Bourbons
in Naples were saved only by the fidelity of their Swiss guards from
destruction; Sicily was severed from their dominion, and all Italy,
from the extremity of Calabria to the foot of the Alps, was arraying
its forces against constituted authority, and in opposition to the
sway of the Tramontane governments. The ardent and enthusiastic were
everywhere in transports, and prophesied the resurrection of a great
and united Roman republic from the courage of modern patriotism; the
learned and experienced anticipated nothing but ruin to the cause of
freedom from the transports of a people incapable of exercising its
power, and unable to defend its rights.

Still more serious and formidable were the convulsions in Germany;
for these were more inspired with the Teutonic love of freedom, and
wielded the arm which so long had been victorious in the fields
of European fame. So violent were the shocks of the revolutionary
earthquake in the Fatherland, that the entire disruption of society
and ruin of the national independence seemed to be threatened by
its effects. Government was overturned after a violent contest in
Berlin. It fell almost without a struggle, from the pusillanimity
of the Emperor, in Vienna. The Prussians, especially in the great
towns, entered, with the characteristic ardour of their disposition,
into the career of revolution; universal suffrage was everywhere
proclaimed--national guards established. The lesser states on
the Rhine all followed the example of Prussia; and an assembly
of delegates, from every part of the Fatherland, at Frankfort,
seemed to realise for a brief period the dream of German unity
and independence. But while the enthusiasts on the Rhine were
speculating on the independence of their country, the enthusiasts in
Vienna and Hungary were taking the most effectual steps to destroy
it. A frightful civil war ensued in all the Austrian provinces, and
soon acquired such strength as threatened to tear in pieces the
whole of its vast dominions. No sooner was the central authority in
Vienna overturned, than rebellion broke out in all the provinces.
The Sclavonians revolted in Bohemia, the Lombards in Italy, the
Magyars in Hungary; the close vicinity of a powerful Russian force
alone restrained the Poles in Gallicia. Worse, even, because more
widely felt than the passions of democracy, the animosities of RACE
burst forth with fearful violence in eastern Europe. The standard
of Georgey in Hungary--whom the Austrians, distracted by civil
war in all their provinces, were unable to subdue--soon attracted
a large part of the indignant Poles, and nearly the whole of the
warlike Magyars, to the field of battle on the banks of the Danube.
Not a hope seemed to remain for the great and distracted Austrian
empire. Chaos had returned; society seemed resolved into its
original elements; and the chief bulwark of Europe against Moscovite
domination seemed on the point of being broken up into several
separate states, actuated by the most violent hatred at each other,
and alike incapable, singly or together, of making head against the
vast and centralised power of Russia.

The first successful stand against the deluge of revolution was made
in Great Britain; and there it was withstood, not by the bayonets
of the soldiers, but by the batons of the citizens. The 10th April
was the Waterloo of chartist rebellion in England; a memorable proof
that the institutions and traditionary influences of a free people,
suited to their wants, and in harmony with their dispositions, can,
in such felicitous circumstances, oppose a more successful barrier
to social dangers than the most powerful military force at the
command of a despotic chief. Rebellion, as usual when England is in
distress, broke out in Ireland; but it terminated in ridicule, and
revealed at once the ingratitude and impotence of the Celtic race
in the Emerald isle. But a far more serious and bloody conflict
awaited the cause of order in the streets of Paris; and society
there narrowly escaped the restoration of the reign of terror and
the government of Robespierre. As usual in civil convulsions, the
leaders of the first successful revolt soon became insupportable to
their infuriated followers; a second 10th August followed, and that
much more quickly than on the first occasion--a second dethronement
of the Bourbons; but it was met by very different opponents.
Cavaignac and the army were not so easily beat down as Louis,
deserted by all the world but his faithful Swiss Guards. The contest
was long, and bloody, and, for a time, it seemed more than doubtful
to which side victory would incline; but at length the cause of
order prevailed. The authority of the Assembly, however, was not
established till above a hundred barricades had been carried at the
point of the bayonet, several thousands of the insurgents slain, and
eleven thousand sentenced to transportation by the courts-martial of
the victorious soldiers.

Less violent in the outset, but more disastrous far in the end,
were the means by which Austria was brought through the throes of
her revolutionary convulsion. It was the army, and the army alone,
which in the last extremity saved the state; but, unhappily, it
was not the national army alone which achieved the deliverance. So
violent were the passions by which the country was torn, so great
the power of the rival races and nations which contended for its
mastery, that the unaided strength of the monarchy was unequal
to the task of subduing them. In Prague, indeed, the firmness of
Windischgratz extinguished the revolt--in Italy the consummate
talents of Radetsky restored victory to the imperial standards, and
drove the Piedmontese to a disgraceful peace; and in the heart of
the monarchy, Vienna, after a fierce struggle, was regained by the
united arms of the Bohemian and Croatian. But in Hungary the Magyars
were not so easily overcome. Such was the valour of that warlike
race, and such the military talents of their chiefs, that, although
not numbering more than a third of the population of Hungary, and
an eighth of that of the whole monarchy, it was found impracticable
to subdue them without external aid. The Russians, as a matter of
necessity, were called in to prevent the second capture of Vienna;
a hundred and fifty thousand Moscovites ere long appeared on the
Hungarian plains--numbers triumphed over valour--and Austria was
saved by the sacrifice of its independence. Incalculable have been
the consequences of this great and decisive movement on the part of
the Czar. Not less than the capture of Paris, it has fascinated and
subdued the minds of men. It has rendered him the undisputed master
of the east of Europe, and led to a secret alliance, offensive and
defensive, which at the convenient season will open to the Russians
the road to Constantinople.

At length the moment of reaction arrived in France itself, and the
country, whose vehement convulsions had overturned the institutions
of so many other states, was itself doomed to undergo the stern
but just law of retribution. The undisguised designs of the
Socialists against property of every kind, the frequent revolts,
the notorious imbecility and trifling of the National Assembly, had
so discredited republican institutions, that the nation was fully
prepared for a change of any kind from democratic to monarchical
institutions. Louis Napoleon had the advantage of a great name, and
of historical associations, which raised him by a large majority
to the presidency, and of able counsellors who steered him through
its difficulties; but the decisive success of the _coup d'etat_ of
December 2nd was mainly owing to the universal contempt into which
the republican rulers had fallen, and the general terror which the
designs of the Socialists had excited. The nation would, perhaps,
not so willingly have ranged itself under the banners of any merely
military chief who promised to shelter them from the evident dangers
with which society was menaced; and the vigour and fidelity of the
army ensured its success. The restoration of military despotism
in France in 1851, after the brief and fearful reign of "liberty,
equality, and fraternity" in that everchanging country, adds another
to the numerous proofs which history affords, that successful
revolution, by whomsoever effected, and under all imaginable
diversity of nations, race, and circumstances, can end only in the
empire of the sword.

But although the dangers of revolutionary convulsion have been
adjourned, at least, if not entirely removed, by the general triumph
of military power on the Continent, and its entire re-establishment
in France, other dangers, of an equally formidable, and perhaps
still more pressing, kind, have arisen from its very success.
Since the battle of Waterloo all the contests in Europe have
been _internal_ only. There have been many desperate and bloody
struggles, but they have not been those of nation against nation,
but of class with class, or race with race. No foreign wars have
desolated Europe; and the whole efforts of government in every
country have been directed to moderating the warlike propensities of
their subjects, and preventing the fierce animosities of nationality
and race from involving the world in general conflagration. So
decisively was this the characteristic of the period, and so great
was the difficulty in moderating the warlike dispositions of their
subjects, that it seemed that the sentiment of the poet should be
reversed, and it might with truth be said--

    "War is a game, which, were _their rulers_ wise,
    _The people_ should not play at."

But this has been materially changed by the consequences of the
great European revolution of 1848; and it may now be doubted whether
the greatest dangers which threaten society are not those of
foreign subjugation and the loss of national independence. By the
natural effects of the general convulsions of 1848, the armies of
the Continental states have been prodigiously augmented; and such
are the dangers of their respective positions, from the turbulent
disposition of their own subjects, that they cannot be materially
reduced. In France there are 385,000 men in arms; in Austria as
many; in Prussia, 200,000; in Russia, 600,000. Fifteen hundred
thousand regular soldiers are arrayed on the Continent ready for
mutual slaughter, and awaiting only a signal from their respective
cabinets to direct their united hostility against any country which
may have provoked their resentment. Such have been the results of
the French Revolution of 1848, and the rise of "liberty, equality,
and fraternity" in the centre of European civilisation.

Disastrous beyond all precedent have been the effects of this
revolutionary convulsion, from which so much was expected by the
ardent and enthusiastic in every country, upon the cause of freedom
throughout the world. Not only has the reign of representative
institutions, and the sway of constitutional ideas, been arrested
on the Continent, but the absolute government of the sword has
been established in its principal monarchies. Austria has openly
repudiated all the liberal institutions forced upon her during the
first throes of the convulsion, and avowedly based the government
upon the army, and the army alone. Prussia is more covertly, but not
less assiduously, following out the same system; and in France, the
real council of state, servile senate, and mock assembly of deputies
of Napoleon, have been re-established, the national guard generally
dissolved, and the centralised despotism of Louis Napoleon promises
to rival in efficiency and general support the centralised despotism
of Augustus in ancient days. Parties have become so exasperated
at each other, that no accommodation or compromise is longer
possible; injuries that never can be forgiven have been mutually
inflicted; the despotism of the Prætorians, and a Jacquerie of the
Red Republicans, are the only alternatives left to Europe; and the
fair form of real freedom, which grows and flourishes in peace, but
melts away before the first breath of war, has disappeared from the
earth. Such is the invariable and inevitable result of unchaining
the passions of the people, and of a successful revolt on their part
against the government of knowledge and property.

Still more pressing, and to ourselves formidable, are the dangers
which now threaten this country, from the consequences of that
revolt against established institutions, from which the reign of
universal peace was anticipated four years ago. Our position has
been rendered insecure by the very effects of our former triumphs;
we are threatened with perils, not so much from our enemies, as from
ourselves; it is our weakness which is their strength; and we owe
our present critical position infinitely more to our own blindness
than to their foresight. Insensibility to future and contingent
dangers has in every age been the characteristic of the English
people, and is the real cause why the long wars, in which we have
been engaged for the last century and a half, have been deeply
chequered in the outset with disaster; and to this is to be ascribed
three-fourths of the debt which now oppresses the energies and
cramps the exertions of our people. But several causes, springing
from the very magnitude of our former triumphs, have rendered these
influences in an especial manner powerful during the last thirty
years; and it is the consequence of their united influence which now
renders the condition of this country so precarious.

The contractions of the currency introduced in 1819, and rendered
still more stringent by the acts of 1844 and 1845, have changed
the value of money fifty per cent; coupled with Free Trade in all
the branches of industry, it has doubled it. In other words, it
has doubled the weight of taxes, debts, and encumbrances of every
description, and at the same time halved the resources of those
who are to pay them. Fifty millions a-year raised for the public
revenue, are as great a burden now as a hundred millions a-year
were during the war; the nation, at the close of thirty-five years
of unbroken peace, is in reality more heavily taxed than it was at
the end of twenty years of uninterrupted hostility. The necessary
consequence of this has been, that it has become impossible to
maintain the national armaments on a scale at all proportionate to
the national extension and necessities; and it has been exposed, on
the first rupture, to the most serious dangers from the attacks of
artless and contemptible enemies. Our Indian empire, numbering a
hundred millions of men among its subjects, was brought to the verge
of ruin by the assault of the Sikhs, who had only six millions to
feed their armies; and the military strength of Great Britain is now
strained to the uttermost to withstand the hostility at the Cape
of Good Hope of the Caffres, who never have brought six thousand
men together into the field. In proportion to the extension of our
colonial empire and the necessity of increased forces to defend it,
our armaments have been reduced both by sea and land. Every gleam
of colonial peace has been invariably followed by profuse demands
at home for a reduction of the establishments and a diminution of
the national expenses; until they have been reduced to so low a
point that the nation, which, during the war, had a million of men
in arms, two hundred and forty ships of the line bearing the royal
flag, and a hundred in commission, could not now muster thirty
thousand men and ten ships of the line to guard Great Britain
from invasion, London from capture, and the British Empire from

Still more serious, because more irremediable, in its origin, and
disastrous in its effects, has been the change which has come over
the public mind in a powerful and influential part of the nation.
This has mainly arisen from the very magnitude of our former
triumphs, and the long-continued peace to which it has given rise.
The nation had gained such extraordinary successes during the war,
and vanquished so formidable an opponent, that it had come to regard
itself, not without a show of reason, as invincible; hostilities
have been so long intermitted that the younger and more active, and
therefore influential, part of the people, have generally embraced
the idea that they would never be renewed. Here, as elsewhere, the
wish became the father to the thought; the immediate interests of
men determined their opinions and regulated their conduct. The
pacific interests of the Empire had increased so immensely during
the long peace; so many fortunes and establishments had become
dependant on its continuance; exports, imports, and manufactures,
had been so enormously augmented by the growth of our Colonial
Empire, and the preservation of peace with the rest of the world,
that all persons interested in those branches of industry turned
with a shudder from the very thoughts of its interruption. To this
class the Reform Bill, by giving a majority in the House of Commons,
yielded the government of the State. To the astonishment of every
thinking or well-informed man in the world, the doctrine was openly
promulgated, to admiring and assenting audiences in Manchester and
Glasgow, by the most popular orators of the day, that the era of
war had passed away; that it was to be classed hereafter with the
age of the mammoth and the mastodon; and that, in contemplation of
the speedy arrival of the much-desired Millennium, our wisdom would
be to disband our troops, sell our ships of the line, and trust to
pacific interest in future to adjust or avert the differences of
nations. The members for the boroughs--three-fifths of the House of
Commons--openly embraced or in secret inclined to these doctrines;
and how clearly soever the superior information of our rulers might
detect their fallacy, the influence of their adherents was paramount
in the Legislature, and Government was compelled, as the price of
existence, in part at least, to yield to their suggestions.

The danger of acting upon such Utopian ideas has been much
augmented, in the case of this country, by the commercial policy
at the same time pursued by the dominant class who had come to
entertain them. If it be true, as the wisest of men have affirmed
in every age, and as universal experience has proved, that the
true source of riches, as well as independence, is to be found in
the cultivation of the soil, and that a nation which has come to
depend for a considerable part of its subsistence on foreign states
has made the first step to subjugation, the real patriot will
find ample subject of regret and alarm in the present condition
of Great Britain. Not only are ten millions of quarters of grain,
being a full fifth of the national consumption, now imported
from abroad, but nearly the half of this immense importation is
of wheat, the staple food of the people, of which a third comes
from foreign parts. Not only is the price of this great quantity
of grain--certainly not less than twelve millions sterling--lost
to the nation, but so large a portion of its food has come to be
derived from foreign nations, that the mere threat of closing their
harbours may render it a matter of necessity for Great Britain to
submit to any terms which they may choose to exact. Our Colonies,
once so loyal and great a support to the mother country, have been
so thoroughly alienated by the commercial policy of the last few
years, which has deprived them of all the advantages they enjoyed
from their connection with it, that they have become a burden
rather than a benefit. One-half of our diminutive army is absorbed
in garrisoning their forts to guard against revolt. Lastly, the
navy, once our pride and glory, and the only certain safeguard
either against the dangers of foreign invasion, or the blockade of
our harbours and ruin of our commerce, is fast melting away; for
the reciprocity system established in 1823, and the repeal of the
navigation laws in 1849, have given such encouragement to foreign
shipping in preference to our own, that in a few years, if the same
system continue, more than half of our whole commerce will have
passed into the hands of foreign states, which may any day become
hostile ones.

To complete the perils of Great Britain, arising out of the very
magnitude of its former triumphs and extent of its empire, while
so many causes were conspiring to weaken its internal strength,
and disqualify it for withstanding the assault of a formidable
enemy, others, perhaps more pressing, were alienating foreign
nations, breaking up old alliances, and tending more and more to
isolate England in the midst of European hostility. The triumph
of the democratic principle, by the Revolution of 1830 in France,
was the cause of this; for it at once induced an entire change
of government and foreign policy in England, and substituted new
revolutionary for the old conservative alliances. Great Britain
no longer appeared as the champion of order, but as the friend of
rebellion; revolutionary dynasties were, by her influence, joined
with that of France, established in Belgium, Spain, and Portugal;
and the policy of our Cabinet avowedly was to establish an alliance
of constitutional sovereigns in Western, which might counter
balance the coalition of despots in Eastern, Europe. This system
has been constantly pursued, and for long with ability and success
by our Government. Strong in the support of France, whether under
a "throne, surrounded by republican institutions," or under those
institutions themselves, England became indifferent to the jealousy
of the other continental powers; and in the attempt to extend the
spread of liberal institutions, or the sympathy openly expressed
for foreign rebels, irritated beyond forgiveness the cabinets of St
Petersburg, Vienna, and Berlin. While the French alliance continued,
these powers were constrained to devour their indignation in
silence; they did not venture, with the embers of revolt slumbering
in their own dominions, to brave the combined hostility of France
and England. But all alliances formed on identity of feeling, not
interest, are ephemeral in their duration. A single day destroyed
the whole fabric on which we rested for our security. Revolutionary
violence everywhere worked out its natural and unavoidable result in
the principal continental states. A military despotism was, after
a sanguinary struggle, established in Austria and Prussia; the 2d
December arrived in France, and that power in an instant was turned
over to the side of the absolute governments on the Continent. Our
efforts to revolutionise Europe have ended in the establishment
of military despotisms in all its principal states, supported by
fifteen hundred thousand armed men--our boasted alliance with
France, in the placing of it in the very front rank of what may
eventually become the league of our enemies.

Lord Palmerston, by whom our foreign policy for the last twenty
years has been mainly conducted, is a man of great talent, both
for eloquence and business, and of extraordinary energy and powers
of application. The charm and grace of his manners are such that
they disarm the most hostile of his opponents in the intercourse
of private society; and such was the vigour of his application,
that he conducted nearly the whole business of the Foreign Office
himself, and reduced the labour of his secretaries and clerks to
the mere copying of despatches and answering routine letters. He
was perfectly master of all the details of his department, and is
probably better acquainted than any man alive with the intricacies
of a diplomacy, which, from the commanding position of England,
has come to embrace the whole civilised world. No man, when called
to account in Parliament for any of his acts which had brought the
country to the very verge of hostility, could defend himself with
more intrepidity, or carry away the House by a more eloquent and
intrepid assertion of the principles, or appeal to the feelings,
which find a responsive echo in the most moving, because the noblest
and most disinterested, chords of the British heart.

Yet, with all this, he was one of the most dangerous Ministers that
ever held the portfolio of the Foreign Office in Great Britain; and
at the period he was displaced, his removal had become, in a manner,
a matter of necessity, if we would avoid an immediate rupture with
the principal Continental powers. The reason was, that his ideas
were entirely at variance with the policy of the ruling party in the
country; and his ambition for his country not less inconsistent with
the situation into which, by the general policy of the Cabinet, it
had been brought, and the views which he himself entertained on the
social institutions of the world. He had been bred in the school
of Mr Pitt and Lord Castlereagh, and his ideas of the position and
influence of England were founded on the state of the country when
it had a million of men in arms and a thousand vessels of war in the
royal navy. He forgot that this was not the condition of the country
after thirty years of unbroken peace; that the spirit which called
forth such vast armaments had expired with the necessities which
created it; that 1851 was not 1815, nor the school of Mr Cobden
that of Mr Pitt. The consequence was, that by his dignified and
patriotic, but withal imprudent and ill-timed assertion of national
demands, he brought us repeatedly to the very verge of hostility
with the most formidable powers on the Continent, at the very time
when, from the total want of any preparation for hostilities in the
country, and the pitiable state of weakness to which our defensive
establishments had been reduced, nothing but disaster was to be
anticipated from their commencement.

These dangers were rendered still more pressing by the extreme
divergence between his political principles and those of the
cabinets of the ruling powers, formerly the allies of England, who
directed the destinies of the Continent. He supported openly, so
far as he could--favoured covertly when this was impossible--the
cause of revolution all over the world. He aided, by the fleets
of England, the establishment of one revolutionary throne in
Belgium--by the marines and volunteers, of another in Spain. He
concluded the quadruple alliance to force revolutionary queens upon
a reluctant people in both kingdoms of the Peninsula. He covertly
aided in the spread of liberal ideas in Italy--openly in supporting
the insurgents in Sicily. He took Russia by the beard in the
Dardanelles, on account of the Hungarian insurgents; and afterwards,
for a wretched private dispute at Athens, ranged France by her
side;--all but brought on a war with France by the bombardment of
Beyrout and hostilities against Greece; and irritated Austria
past forgiveness by the open sympathy expressed for the Hungarian
insurgents. Such conduct might be manly and consistent: a nation
which goes about over the world supporting the cause of revolutions
everywhere, and presenting to every state the alternative of war or
liberal institutions, may be consistent; but its rulers are next
to insane if they are not prepared for the consequences of such
aggressions, and provoke the combined hostility of the greatest
powers, at a time when their country is barely able to sustain the
attack of the smallest.

The great reliance of England throughout this long course of
revolutionary encouragement and aggression, was on the alliance with
France, and the fond belief entertained by our liberal rulers that
the _attente cordiale_ would be perpetual, and form a _national_
compact which would effectually screen us, whatever we did, from the
hostility of the despotic powers on the Continent. The Revolution of
December 2, 1851, in Paris, and the subsequent approval of military
despotism by seven millions and a half of French citizens, may teach
us what foundation there is for such a hope, or what reliance, in
this free country, there is to be placed on identity of feeling with
a military power, which begins its career with the deportation of
some thousand citizens to Cayenne without trial, the decimation of
the Assembly, dissolution of the National Guard, and promulgation,
with general consent, of the despotic institutions of Napoleon. The
dangers arising from those changes to the alliance with England,
are so obvious that they have attracted _universal_ attention; and
Government, however pacifically inclined, and however much under
the control of the Manchester clique, are most properly taking
measures to provide against the danger. Sheerness and Tilbury forts
have been armed, and their magazines filled; two new batteries, of
a hundred guns each, traced out at Plymouth; fortified camps, it is
said, are to be formed round London, and a considerable addition
made to our land and sea forces. We regret as much as any one can
do, the necessity which exists for these changes; but the career of
Liberalism, and of patronising revolutions all over the world, which
we have pursued for the last twenty years, could not by possibility
terminate in any other result.

What makes us augur more favourably than we have done for long, on
the state of the country, notwithstanding these accumulating foreign
dangers, is, that the national mind at home seems to be at length
awakening to a sense of the perils which threaten the Empire. We
have the greatest pleasure in quoting the following article from the
_Times_ on this all-important subject, which is the more valuable as
that able journal has so long derided the idea of any danger being
to be apprehended from foreign hostility:--

     "At the accession of Harold to the crown, the English had
     enjoyed a peace of nearly fifty years, purchased by the final
     expulsion and destruction of their Danish invaders; they were
     becoming more and more enamoured of the arts of peace, and had
     made considerable progress in such civilisation as the times
     allowed. Agriculture was cultivated with great assiduity and
     success, and the national mind began to appreciate the benefits
     to be derived from foreign trade and commerce. The military
     spirit which had animated the descendants of Hengist and Horsa
     was gradually dying out, and the nation, united under one
     head, looked back with disgust and contempt on the obscure
     and bloody civil wars of the Heptarchy. The fortifications of
     the towns were allowed to fall into decay, and the equipment
     and discipline of the troops were almost entirely neglected.
     Dwelling in peace and security under their free elective
     institutions, the English looked with gradually increasing
     disfavour on the profession of arms. While the mailed chivalry
     of Normandy were carrying their banners even to the islands and
     peninsulas of the Mediteranean, the Saxon was content to fight
     on foot and to protect himself from the blows of a steel-clad
     man-at-arms by the imperfect defence of a surcoat of hide.
     His offensive arms were as imperfect as his defensive; he
     relied almost exclusively on the ponderous battleaxe, which,
     requiring both hands to wield it, necessarily left the person
     of the soldier exposed to the lance or the arrow. Yet, with
     all this, the nation was possessed by a spirit of the most
     overweening confidence and self-satisfied security. Proud of
     the exploits of their ancestors, believing in the perpetuity of
     the long peace they had enjoyed, satisfied with their republican
     institutions, and mistaking internal freedom for external
     strength, they looked with inert tranquillity on the gradual
     increase and organization of the power which was to overwhelm
     them; and when at last the blow fell, the nation, at once
     confident in its valour and impatient of military fatigue and
     privations, flung away its hopes in a single unequal conflict
     rather than endure the slow and desolating tactics which must
     have worn out the strength of the invader. The English met their
     enemies with one-third of their number, believing as devoutly
     as the pothouse heroes of our own times that one Englishman to
     three Frenchmen was a perfectly equal match, and that the total
     absence of cavalry and artillery on their side would be easily
     compensated by superior personal bravery. The nation was, at any
     rate, content to abide the trial, thinking that even if this
     army miscarried, it would be easy to overwhelm the invaders by a
     general rising. The army fell, and the nation with it.

     "It may seem almost superfluous to apply this analogy to the
     state of modern England. We also have been in the enjoyment of
     a long and profound peace, and have learnt to consider a war
     as Something almost impossible. We also have entirely outlived
     the military spirit of the earlier years of this century, and
     in the pursuit of wealth and in the development of civilization
     have half learnt to believe in the preachers of a millennium, of
     the peaceful sweets of which we have already had a foretaste.
     We also take no care for the fortification of our country or
     the equipment of our troops. We arm them with weapons which
     are all but harmless; we load them with accoutrements which
     are worse than useless; and we sedulously and successfully
     endeavour to render them incapable of bearing fatigue and
     hardship. Our navy is employed in training sailors, and, as
     soon as we have succeeded in rendering them expert seamen and
     gunners, we dismiss them to enter into the service of foreign
     nations. Our infantry can hardly march, our cavalry can hardly
     ride. These troops, so armed, so disciplined, and so accoutred,
     are extremely scanty in numbers; and those numbers we have
     materially diminished by sending ten thousand of our best to
     make war upon savages five hundred miles on the other side of
     the tropic of Capricorn. Yet, under all these circumstances,
     we entertain an unbounded confidence in our own resources
     and position--we mistake the internal balance and equipoise
     of our polity for the power of resisting external force. We
     view without apprehension an enormous military power beside
     us, assuming a position which renders foreign war almost a
     necessity of its existence. We talk of our old victories by
     land and by sea, and forget that they were gained by men
     whose arms and training placed them on an equality with their
     antagonists. We rely on our insular position, which protected
     us so efficiently against Napoleon the Great, and insist upon
     the impregnable trench that surrounds us, although science
     has effectually bridged it over for Napoleon the Little. We
     forget the existence of the new power of steam, and the means
     of organising combined and unlooked-for movements afforded
     by the electric telegraph. We believe that if the storm with
     which France is now pregnant does burst, it will be upon the
     great military powers of the Continent, who sympathise with the
     proceedings of her government, who possess enormous military
     resources, and who offer but a poor prize to the victor, instead
     of upon us, whose free institutions are a daily reproach to
     the slavery and tyranny which disgrace France, whose military
     resources are such as we have described, and whose rich shores
     have not seen the footprint of a foreign army since the days of
     King John. Stranger still, we believe that we are secure against
     any sudden blow, and base this agreeable conviction on the good
     faith of a man who is what he now is solely because he has been
     able to dissemble and to deceive, to swear and to forswear.
     Strangest of all, we believe that if a French army should effect
     a landing, there is some unknown force in the population of
     this country which would overwhelm and absorb them; and that,
     while every other people in Europe has proved utterly unable to
     contend against military discipline, ours, the least warlike of
     any, will easily succeed where they have failed. The historic
     parallel seems tolerably close as regards the antecedents;
     let us hope, for the sake of this island and the cause of
     civilisation and liberty all over the world, that similar causes
     may not, in our time, result in a similar catastrophe.

     "If disasters are destined for this country in its military
     and naval operations, they will, at least, not arrive without
     warning. The visitations of the last year have been absolutely
     ominous. As if to show us the futility of the resources on which
     we are relying, our ships have broken down, our stores have been
     condemned, our firearms have proved useless, and our soldiers
     are found incapacitated by their equipments from encountering
     half their number of naked savages. It would be hard to overlook
     such tokens of evil. If, with all our vaunted wealth and skill,
     we cannot send reinforcements to the Cape without miscarriages,
     or victual our vessels without peril of pestilence, what is to
     become of us in the face of such hostilities as men now living
     can well remember, and may see again?"--_Times_, Jan. 8 and 10,

It is a curious coincidence that the views here so ably and
energetically put forth by the great organ of the moneyed and
commercial interests, are precisely those which we have been
constantly enforcing in this miscellany for many years past,
and in an especial manner unfolded on _this day year_, February
1, 1851.[61] No one need be told with what ridicule these views
were received by the whole Manchester school of politicians, and
especially by the able journal which has now so powerfully advocated

[61] See the "Dangers of the Country," _Blackwood's Magazine_,
February 1, 1851.

If views of this kind are entertained by the influential bodies who
now rule the State, and they are acted upon by an able and energetic
Government, there is no cause for despondence as to the external
dangers which, from the necessary consequences of our own acts, now
menace the British Empire. If the powers which may join to assail
us are now much stronger and more united than they were in the time
of Napoleon, our resources have augmented in a similar proportion.
We have the means of defence and security in our own hands, if we
will only make use of them. But it is not by a suicidal policy, and
sacrificing everything to the foreigner, while he is contemplating
the sacrificing us to himself, that this vital object is to be
attained. Our whole dangers, external and internal, are of our own
creation. But for the infatuation of our rulers and people, not one
of them would have had any existence. But for the sacrifice of the
national industry to the moneyed and manufacturing interests by our
Monetary and Free Trade system, we might, five years ago, by merely
keeping up the Sinking Fund as it stood at the battle of Waterloo,
have paid off every shilling of our National Debt, and now reduced
our taxation from fifty to twenty-five millions, and yet maintained
an army of two hundred thousand men, and a fleet of fifty ships of
the line and a hundred steamers, which would have enabled us to bid
defiance to the hostility, by land and sea, of combined Europe.
Instead of our Colonial Empire being on the verge of dissolution,
from universal irritation at our Home Government, and the principal
states of Europe in a state of suppressed hostility, from injuries
that can never be forgiven, we might have had a flourishing and
contented Colonial Empire, and steady friends in our old allies
among the Continental states. Possibly it is too late to remedy the
evils arising from the infatuated policy we have so long pursued
at home and abroad; but this much is certain, that if anything can
avert our dangers, it is the wisdom which can discern--the courage
which can face them--and the magnanimity which can amend the errors
from which they have arisen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Minor typographical and punctuation errors have been corrected
without note. Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have
been retained as printed.

The cover for the eBook version of this book was created by the
transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

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