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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 67, Number 414, April, 1850
Author: Various
Language: English
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Journals.)



BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCCXIV.     APRIL, 1850.     VOL. LXVII.



CONTENTS.


  THE MINISTERIAL MEASURES,                                377

  BRITAIN'S PROSPERITY. A NEW SONG,                        389

  MY PENINSULAR MEDAL. BY AN OLD PENINSULAR. PART V.,      393

  THE DWARF AND THE OAK TREE. A VISION OF 1850,            411

  FESTUS,                                                  415

  CASH AND PEDIGREE,                                       431

  CAIRD'S HIGH FARMING HARROWED,                           447

  THE CLEARING OF THE GLENS,                               475

  DIES BOREALES. NO. VI. CHRISTOPHER UNDER CANVASS,        481


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

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

  SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

  PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH.



BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCCXIV.     APRIL, 1850.     VOL. LXVII.



THE MINISTERIAL MEASURES.


At length signal-guns of distress have been fired from the Liberal
fleet. Albeit stoutly denying the existence of any extraordinary
suffering in Ireland, Ministers have brought forward a measure, based
upon the admission of a distress there much exceeding anything which
their opponents have alleged. Concealing or evading the loud cries
of Colonial discontent, they have announced a policy implying a
total revolution in Colonial government, and which never could have
been conceded but from the consciousness of a vast amount of former
maladministration. The Irish Reform Bill and the New System of Colonial
Government are, _par excellence_, the measures of the session. We
are not surprised they are so. They are the natural complement and
unavoidable consequence of three preceding years of Free Trade and a
fettered Currency.

The policy of Government since 1846 having been entirely founded upon
the interests of the towns against the country, of the consumers
against the producers, of those who had a majority in the House of
Commons over those who were still in a minority, it might naturally be
expected that the consequent suffering would be most acutely felt in
the producing parts of the empire; in those places where agriculture
was the staple of life, where producers were many and consumers few,
and where, necessarily, the measures of the British urban majority
acted with unmitigated severity. Ireland and the Colonies were the
places in which these circumstances combined, because they were both
provinces in which rural districts were of boundless extent, and towns
few and of inconsiderable importance; in which civilisation was as
yet, comparatively speaking, in its infancy; and mankind, yet occupied
in the labours of the field, in felling the forest and draining
the morass, were not congregated in the huge Babylons or Ninevehs,
which are at once the distinctive mark and ineradicable curse of
long-established civilisation. Ireland and the Colonies, therefore,
were the places which suffered most, and in which discontent might be
expected to be most formidable from the new system; and, accordingly,
the first announcements of the Session of 1850 were of measures
calculated, as Government supposed, to assuage the irritations and
conciliate the affections of these important and avowedly discontented
or suffering parts of the empire.

Ten years have not elapsed since Lord John Russell declared that we
could not afford to have a Revolution every year, and that the Reform
Bill had fixed the Constitution upon a basis which must not again be
shaken. There can be no doubt of the justice of the observation; but
the Liberals have always some qualification or reservation to let in
a change of measures, if it appears expedient for their interests as
a party to promote it. That declaration was made before the grand and
distinctive features of Liberal government had developed themselves:
before Free Trade had crushed Agricultural industry, and sapped the
foundations of Colonial loyalty; and when no overbearing pressure from
without reminded Ministers that the time had arrived when they must
eat in their pledges. That time has now, however, come; distress, all
but universal, has spread among all the rural producers of the empire;
Ireland, the West Indies, and Canada, as the most entirely agricultural
districts, have been the first to suffer in consequence. Measures
calculated, as they conceive, to allay the prevailing discontent,
have been brought forward by Government at the very time when they
themselves, and their organs in the Press, were most strenuously
denying that the new measures had produced anything but universal
contentment and satisfaction throughout the empire.

The so-called Liberals have a very easy, and, as they deem it,
efficacious mode of stifling or appeasing public discontent when it
arrives at a formidable height. This consists in extending the suffrage
among the querulous and suffering part of the people. They think that
by so doing they will at once demonstrate their sympathy with the
middle and lower classes, and secure, at least, for some elections to
come, a majority of electors for their support, from a natural feeling
of gratitude towards the Government which has conceded to them the
suffrage. This system has been acted upon now for above a quarter of a
century. No sooner had the contraction of the Currency, by the bills of
1819 and 1826, rendered it wholly inadequate for the industry of the
empire, and produced the dreadful distress from 1826 to 1830 among the
manufacturing and commercial classes, than they brought forward the
Reform Bill in March 1831, and gave a decided majority in the House
of Commons to these suffering and discontented urban electors. They
have existed ever since on the gratitude of these newly enfranchised
city voters. And now when the measures adopted, at the instigation of
these urban constituencies, who compose three-fifths of the House of
Commons, have totally ruined the West Indies, all but severed Canada,
from the empire, and spread unheard-of distress throughout Ireland,
they have a remedy, as they conceive, ready, in the extension of the
suffrage to the suffering population. In this way the successive stages
of general suffering, induced by Free Trade and a fettered Currency--in
other words, a system of general cheapening of everything--issue in
successive degradations of the franchise. The monetary crisis of 1825
led, after five years of suffering, to the Reform Bill for Great
Britain; and the Free Trade crash of 1847 has issued, after three years
of mortal agony, in the new Irish Reform Bill, and the announcement of
provincial assemblies for the Colonies. If this system is continued
for half a century more, it may reasonably be expected to lead, as it
has done in France, to the introduction of universal suffrage. When
everything is so cheapened that one-half of the population is landed in
the workhouses, it is thought, everything will be righted, wisdom at
once imprinted on the measures of Government, and contentment diffused
through the country, by the paupers rising from their straw mattresses
to vote for the Liberal candidates in ballot-boxes put up at the
corners of every street.

It must be confessed that this system of appeasing discontent by
extending the suffrage, has several things to recommend it. In
the first place--and this is a most important consideration with
Governments which behold the national resources wasting away under
the influence of monetary and commercial measures, introduced by the
dominant class--it costs nothing. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is
sure to give it his cordial support. It is much easier to enfranchise
two hundred thousand paupers or bog-trotters, than to issue two or
three millions of exchequer bills to sustain their industry. The old
panacea, so often applied in the days of Tory Government, when distress
became general, to relieve it by issues of exchequer bills, has been
totally discarded since a Liberal Administration, resting on the urban
constituencies, was installed in power. It is now discovered that it
is much better to give the sufferers votes. Undoubtedly it is cheaper;
and in these days, when everything is sacrificed to cheapness, charity
itself, albeit covering a multitude of sins, must be sacrificed to it
with the rest. In the next place, it implies, or is likely to lead to,
no change of public measures, no reaction against the commercial policy
which has produced the suffering. The new voters, it may be presumed,
will support the Liberal Government which has enfranchised them:
gratitude will bear Ministers over more than one contested election.
The very suffering produced by Free Trade measures will bring up a host
of voters to the poll who will, it is hoped, support from gratitude the
Free Trade candidate. That is a matter of immense importance. It is not
only spreading division through the Protection camp, but recruiting in
it for troops to themselves. And though, doubtless, it is scarcely to
be expected that men in the long-run are to support representatives
who are ruining them, yet it is often astonishing how long they will
continue to do so from party influences: the poison, like the contagion
of the cholera, floats in the air, without any one knowing whence it
comes or whither it is going: and, at any rate, the opening of men's
eyes is the work of time; and the great thing with Liberal Governments
is to secure immediate support, or tide over immediate difficulties.

For observe one very remarkable feature in both the Liberal measures
intended to allay the discontent in the agricultural districts of the
empire--that is, that there _is no change in the composition of the
House of Commons_. That assembly, which, as it has the command of the
public purse, rules, by its majority, the whole empire, remains the
same. Three-fifths of its members are still returned by the urban
constituencies of Great Britain. At the late division on the motion
of Mr Disraeli, the majority of twenty-one was composed of _Scotch_
members, most of them members for burghs. Thus the ruling power is
lodged in the urban constituencies, and the suffering rural districts
are to be pacified by an extension of their electors, which will confer
no _real_ political power, and benefit no human being. The majority
for Free Trade measures will be the same, whether the Irish members
are returned by seventy-two thousand or three hundred thousand voters;
or, rather, it is hoped by the promoters of the new measures, the
Protectionists will be weakened by the change--because the Liberal
candidate will be able to call himself the friend of the people, and to
call out the new voters to record their votes for the Government which
has enfranchised them.

So also in regard to the Colonies. The new measures announced by Lord
John Russell propose to give provincial assemblies or parliaments to
all the Colonies; and so far they are founded on just principles. But
they contain no provision for the representation of any of the Colonies
in the Imperial Parliament which meets in London. The fatal majority of
three urban to two rural representatives still determines the measures
of Government. The invaluable nomination burghs, by means of which the
Colonies, under the old constitution, were so effectually represented,
still are extinct. Colonial wealth now can get into Parliament only by
the favour of urban constituencies--that is, by adopting Free Trade
principles. Any man who stood upon the hustings in a British burgh, and
proclaimed "Justice to the Colonies," would be speedily thrown into
a minority, from the dread that his return might raise the price of
sugar a penny a pound. Lord John Russell's Colonial parliaments will
afford no remedy for this great and crying evil. It leaves the ruling
power still in the hands of those actuated by an adverse interest, and
directed by adverse desires. Give _real representation_ to the Colonies
indeed--give them a hundred members in the _Imperial_ Parliament--and
you make a mighty step in the principles of real, just government, and
in reconstructing the bonds which once held together this great and
varied empire. But to give them local assemblies which have no real
power, and which are doomed to sit by and be the impotent spectators
of their own and their constituents' ruin, by the burgh-directed
measures of the Imperial Parliament, is to mock them with a shadow of
constitutional privileges which, in this age of intelligence, will
not long be borne. It is giving the means of organising discontent,
without those of averting disaster; and preparing, in those powerless
provincial assemblies, men for the assertion of rights which, as was
the case with North America, will one day cause the tearing asunder and
dismemberment of the empire.

Nineteen years have elapsed since, in the very first paper on
Parliamentary Reform in this Magazine, we pointed out the fatal
effect of the extinction of Colonial representation by schedules A
and B, as the grand defect of the Reform Bill; and predicted that it
would, if not remedied, lead to the dissolution of the empire.[1]
Consequences, since that time, have followed precisely as we predicted.
The short-sighted urban majorities of the dominant island have
perseveringly pursued their separate and immediate interests, until
they have ruined the West Indies, to make sugar cheap,--all but ruined
Ireland, to make oats cheap,--and rendered agricultural distress
universal in Great Britain, to make bread cheap. The discontent
produced by these measures having become universal among the rural
producers in the empire, Government, thinking they are applying a
remedy to the most suffering parts, propose to extend the rural
suffrage in Ireland, by lowering the existing suffrage of ten pounds,
requisite to enfranchise on a piece of ground, to an eight-pound
interest, and creating everywhere provincial parliaments in the
Colonies. They never were more mistaken. What is wanted in the Colonies
and in Ireland is not an extension of voters or local parliaments, but
a _just system of government at home_. Fiscal measures, which shall
secure their interests, are what they require; and they can only be
passed by the Imperial Parliament. What these measures are, is well
known: you have only to take up any file of the Jamaica, Sidney,
or Montreal papers to see what are the sentiments of the Colonies.
Introduce Colonial representation, in numbers adequate to their wealth,
population, and importance, into the Parliament of Great Britain, and
the effect will be immediate. Measures such as they desire will soon be
carried, and the threatened dismemberment of the empire averted. Delay
or refuse the possession of real power to these important parts of the
British dominions, and you only aggravate existing discontent, and
accelerate approaching dismemberment. To suppose you can now alleviate
Irish suffering by quadrupling its electors, and stifle Colonial
discontent by giving them local parliaments, is as absurd as if it
had been proposed to still the storm of indignation raised in all the
manufacturing towns of Great Britain by the suffering consequent on the
contraction of the Currency, by giving the complainers all votes for
their respective town-councils.

[1] See article on Parliamentary Reform, May 1, 1831; reprinted in
_Alison's Essays_, vol. i. p. 32, 40.

Although, however, for twenty years past, we have anticipated with
certainty the ultimate extension of the suffrage to a still lower class
of voters, as the unavoidable consequence of the Reform Bill, yet we
must admit that we did not anticipate the _mode_ in which the necessity
for this extension was to be brought about. We thought it would arise
from the increase of the unenfranchised population, and the loud cry
for electoral privileges on the part of the inferior urban or working
population. Not at all: a very different reason is now assigned for
the extension of the suffrage in Ireland. It is not the increase of
the unenfranchised, but the _diminution of the enfranchised_, which
is assigned as the reason for the change. It is said there are now
only 72,000 voters in Ireland, instead of 250,000, which there should
be, and which it was calculated the Reform Bill would bring up to the
poll. Mr Cobden boasts that he has more constituents in the West Riding
than there are in all the counties in Ireland put together. We have
no doubt the remark is well founded; although the fact of so numerous
a constituency having selected the man who made the boast, augurs but
little for the wisdom, if kindred, of the measures which we may expect
from the popularly elected representatives for the sister kingdom. But
the material thing to observe is this: A great and important change on
the Reform Bill--an innovation on the foundations which, we were told,
were _non tangenda non movenda_ of the new Constitution, is vindicated
on the immense destruction of the former freeholders which has taken
place within these few years. We have long been aware of the fact: we
adverted to it, in the most pointed manner, in a late article on the
effects of Free Trade.[2] But we little expected that our observations
were so soon to be confirmed from so high a quarter, and that the first
breach in the Constitution, as fixed by the Reform Bill, would be
justified on the avowed destruction of the freeholders of Ireland which
the Reform measures have effected.

[2] See Free Trade at its Zenith: _Blackwood's Magazine_, Dec. 1849.

For what is it which has occasioned such a chasm in the freeholders at
this time, and rendered it necessary, on the admission of Ministers
themselves, to lower the suffrage to an £8 _interest_, if we would
marshal anything like a competent number of freeholders round the
Reform banners? It is in vain to refer to the famine of 1846. That
famine occurred three years ago: it was bountifully relieved by
the British Government; and since its termination we have had two
fine harvests, those of 1847 and 1849, for each of which a public
thanksgiving was returned. A bad harvest does not destroy some hundred
thousand electors. If it does, there are heirs who succeed in ordinary
circumstances to the freeholds, and form as respectable an army of
electors as their fathers had done. What has become of all the heirs
of the starved electors, if they were really starved? What has become
of the freeholds which they formerly held? The answer is obvious, and
has been now officially returned by Government, and made the foundation
of a great constitutional change. THEY HAVE BEEN DESTROYED BY THE
FREE TRADE MEASURES. The Reform Bill, in its ultimate effects, has
crushed the brood whom it warmed into life. Above 200,000 holders of
land, in Ireland, have disappeared since 1845. It is now admitted that
they were, for the most part, the highest class of cultivators; for
the extension of the suffrage is justified on the fearful diminution
of their numbers. So rapid has been their destruction, so fearful the
process of deterioration they have undergone, that out of above 500,000
holders of land who are still in Ireland, only 72,000 could be found
qualified under the Reform Act; and, to augment the number of these,
it is necessary to lower the franchise to £8. Eight pounds a-year is
little more than the average maintenance of a pauper in England. But
such is the misery which Free Trade measures have spread in Ireland,
that it is there the standard of a freehold qualification.

It is in vain to refer to the 40s. freeholders of England as affording
a precedent or a parallel to town franchise. Everybody knows that
the 40s. freehold--originally, when established in the time of Henry
VI., a measure of landed property worth £20 or £30 a-year at this
time--had come, from the change in the value of money, to be a mere
house qualification. No one supposes that the 40s. freeholder _lives on
his 40s._; it is the value merely of the cottage, garden, or paddock
which he holds in freehold. He _lives_ on extraneous resources, the
wages of labour, realised means, or the aid of his family. But the £8
tenant in Ireland _lives_ on the subject which qualifies him. In nine
cases out of ten, he has no other means of livelihood whatever, and the
franchise is the measure of his whole substance. It is little better in
most cases than the income of an English pauper; but, such as it is, we
have no doubt it is all that Free Trade measures will allow the great
majority of Irish cultivators to earn; and that, unless the franchise
is to dwindle away till the Irish counties in many cases become Gattons
and Old Sarums, it is absolutely indispensable to enfranchise such a
miserable and destitute class. But we did not expect, amidst all the
gloom of our anticipations from the effects of the Reform Bill, and
its consequent Free Trade measures, that this misery and destitution
were to reach such a height, that it was to be proclaimed by Lord John
Russell himself, and made the ground of the first great breach in his
own Constitution!

It is not surprising that Government, amidst all the professions
of confidence in the national resources, and assertions of general
prosperity from Free Trade measures, should be thus, in their
legislative acts, betraying a secret consciousness of the rapid decline
of agricultural remuneration and of the existence of widespread
Colonial distress. The prospects of the cultivators, both at home and
in the Colonies, are gloomy in the extreme. The price of wheat is now
known: it has been judicially fixed, at least in Scotland. The _fiar_
prices in that country are, on an average, £1, 16s. for wheat, and 14s.
for oats; instead of 51s. for the former, and 24s. for the latter,
which they were three years ago, before the Irish famine set in. Good
wheat is selling at this moment in the Haddington market at £1, 13s.
6d. a quarter--lower than it has been for a hundred and fifty years.
Black cattle have fallen in the proportion of ten to six, or forty per
cent; and although the rents of sheep-farms have as yet, from the high
prices of wool, not been materially affected, yet it is well known that
they too will ere long share in the general decline. Rents are in most
parts of Ireland irrecoverable: the misery in many of its Unions equals
that of the worst period of the famine. Rents in Scotland will at next
term-day be postponed: the tenants, acknowledging their inability to
pay, generally are already asking for time; and it is well understood
on both sides, that, if the present low prices continue, the arrears,
now fast accumulating, will become irrecoverable. On England it is
unnecessary to dwell: it has spoken out in a voice which can neither be
mistaken nor pretended to be unheard.

But why go into details to illustrate a fact which, so far from being
denied, is openly admitted, and even gloried in by the Free-traders?
In a late paper on Free Trade, we estimated the decline in the value
of agricultural produce, in the British islands, in consequence of
free trade in grain, at £75,000,000, or a fourth of its amount. But
the Free-traders tell us, and apparently with reason, that this is too
low an estimate. Mr Villiers, in seconding the Address in the House
of Commons, calculated the saving of the people, in the consumption
of all the kinds of food, since 1847, at £91,000,000; and if to this
is added the price of the 12,000,000 quarters of all sorts of grain,
which were imported in the course of 1849, estimated at the moderate
average of 20s. a quarter, the loss to the agricultural interest will
be £103,000,000. But this is evidently too high, as the prices of 1847
were scarcity prices, owing to the famine in Ireland; and deducting
£13,000,000 on that account, there will remain £90,000,000 at the very
least which has been lost in one year to the agricultural interest of
Great Britain and Ireland. This is more than _a third_ of its amount,
which may be taken, under the reduced scale of prices, for three years
prior to the Irish famine, at £250,000,000 annual value.

But this, it is said, is all a landlords' question: the community at
large, and, above all, the borough electors who rule the empire, have
no interest in it. A landlords' question truly! Why, the whole _land_
rents of the two islands,[3] abstracting from them those of houses,
are under £60,000,000 annually; and a loss of £90,000,000 a-year is a
landlords' question only! It is, at least, as much a tenants' question
as a landlords'; and as there are now 750,000 holders of land in
the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland, amounting with their
families to 2,500,000 souls, this body, one and all of whom have
been impoverished by the change, must be taken as a clear addition
to the landlords, who have been directly and deeply injured by the
same causes. And what are we to say to the agricultural labourers,
mechanics, millers, wheelwrights, and artificers, who depend directly,
immediately, and almost entirely, on the market for the produce of
their industry among the rural population? At the very least, their
incomes would all decline a half, and they, with their families,
amount to some millions more. And this is what the Free-traders call a
landlords' question!

[3]

  England,           £47,000,000
  Scotland,            3,500,000
  Ireland,             8,000,000
                    ------------
                     £58,500,000

Apart, in the three Kingdoms, from rents of houses, which amount to
about £45,000,000 more.

But, in truth, we deprecate, and that in the most earnest manner, all
these calculations of class loss or suffering, so far as they proceed
on the idea that it is possible for one class to suffer without every
other speedily doing the same. Such arguments and topics were never
heard of in Great Britain till the Reform Bill gave _one class_ in
society, viz. the urban shopkeepers, the command of the British Empire.
We acknowledge one only interest in the whole community, and that is
the interest of all classes; we acknowledge one only family--that is,
the whole British people. Their real interests are, and ever must be,
the same. It is impossible, in one community, that one great interest
can be suffering while others are thriving. Such a thing might happen
for a time, when the manufacturing interest was prosperous from a
sudden extension of the export sale in some considerable foreign
markets; but such a gleam of sunshine must be temporary only, if not
accompanied by a simultaneous growth in the great and, only durable
issue for goods--the home market. The whole manufactures exported at
present--one of the most prosperous years, so far as the export sale
goes--are about £60,000,000 a-year. The manufactures taken off by the
home market are estimated, by the most experienced authorities, at
£120,000,000. Of the £60,000,000 exported, about £16,000,000 goes to
our own Colonies, so that the home and colonial market takes off yearly
£136,000,000; all foreign markets put together, £44,000,000.

In other words, the home and colonial market is more than _three times
all foreign markets put together_. How is it possible after this to
deny that a serious and lasting blow, struck at the rural producing
interests in the British islands and the Colonies, must ere long
react, and that, too, with terrible effect, on the prosperity of our
manufacturers? Mr Villiers boasts that Free Trade has cut £91,000,000
off the remuneration of the British farmers. Is it not evident that,
assuming this to be true, the greater part of this sum is cut of the
funds which pay in the home market? and if so, how long will our
£120,000,000 consumed in the home market be in sinking to £80,000,000,
or some still lower figure? And will Manchester and Glasgow be much
benefited, if they gain £10,000,000 or £12,000,000 annually in the
foreign market, and lose £40,000,000 or £50,000,000 in the home?

Already it has become painfully evident that this effect is taking
place in this country. Ministers boast of the exports having increased
above £10,000,000 in 1849 over what they were in 1848, and of their
having now turned £60,000,000 a-year. Let it be supposed that
this is all to be put down to the account of Free Trade, and that
our Indian victories, the pacification of Europe, the crushing of
revolution in France, and the impulse given to American purchase by
Californian gold, had nothing at all to do with the matter. Is the
country prosperous?--are the railways prosperous?--are poor-rates
declining?--is labour in request either in the rural or urban
districts? The facts are _notoriously the reverse_. At this moment
we happen to know that above ten thousand looms in Manchester are
preparing to put their mills upon the short time of forty hours
a-week. The railways never were so low: at an average, their stock is
worth little more than _a third_ of what it was three years ago. Much
was said in Parliament of the decrease of poor-rates by £300,000 or
£400,000 a-year. That is _entirely owing_ to the fall in the price
of provisions, which at once, and materially, lessened the cost of
maintaining the paupers. Had the rates fallen really in proportion to
the decline in the price of provisions, they would have gone down fifty
per cent, or above £2,000,000 annually. A decline of a few hundred
thousand pounds a-year only, in such circumstances, was in reality not
a fall, but a rise. And in Scotland, the poor-rates for 1849, despite
the fall in the cost of maintaining the paupers, were higher than in
1848, or than in any preceding year: they rose from £544,000 a-year to
£576,000. As to Ireland, it is admitted on all hands that its condition
was never worse, even during the worst periods of the famine.

Now, the real question which it behoves the moneyed interest, and
especially the fundholders, to conder, and that most seriously,
is this:--How do they expect that the interest on their bonds or
the dividends on their stock are to be paid if this ceaseless and
progressive _decline in the resources of their debtors_ is to go on?
How are the dividends raised for payment of the national creditors,
or the interest provided to meet private mortgages, on which so large
a part, probably two-thirds, of the realised capital of the country
depends? Is it not entirely from the exertions of the producing
classes, who, or whose fathers, became debtors in these varied
transactions? But is it possible that the security of creditors can
escape being shaken, if the resources of their debtors are continually
declining? In private life we are never mistaken on this subject. If
a creditor sees his debtor's funds wasting away under improvident or
absurd management, or a landlord sees his tenants running out his land
by scourging and ruinous crops, he at once takes the alarm. But with
the public creditors the case is just the reverse. They sit by and see
the indirect taxes, upon the faith of which their money was advanced,
repealed one after another for a long course of years; and the national
armaments, upon which the public safety and the independence of the
country depend, threatened with ruin by an ignorant, blind, and
selfish democracy; and it never enters into their imaginations for a
moment to entertain the least apprehension for their own payments.
They think, though every other interest in the country is ruined, they
will stand erect amidst the wreck. Deceived by the perfect regularity
with which their interest has been paid for the last hundred and fifty
years, they cannot conceive that it should ever be otherwise. They
would as soon expect to see the sun not rise in the morning, as the
dividends on the three-per-cents not paid in January and June. But
a little consideration must show that this confidence may ere long
be found to be misplaced. The dividends are paid entirely out of the
national income: whatever seriously affects or diminishes the national
income, so much diminishes the fund from which they must be drawn. The
ninety millions which Mr Villiers boasts has been cut off from the
remuneration of agriculture has made a fearful chasm in it--probably
not less than a third of its whole amount. One other such blow, and
the payment of the dividends will become impossible--and the moneyed
interest, whose selfish rapacity has occasioned all the mischief, will
share in the general ruin they have created.

It is hard to say whether, as society is now constituted and power
distributed in this country, the fundholder has most to fear from years
of general suffering or from periods of transient prosperity. Is the
nation flourishing, are exports increasing, taxes well paid, a surplus
revenue beginning to appear, and a huge store of useless and costly
bullion accumulated in the bank? We are immediately told the surplus
must be devoted to the remission of taxes: it is dangerous to leave
the Treasury full; it is a temptation to Government, and serves to
feed the younger sons of the aristocracy. No matter how fleeting the
surplus may be, though it has arisen from an accidental combination of
circumstances which may disappear before the year is out--and it is
well known, taxes once taken off are very rarely reimposed--the surplus
must be instantly relinquished for the _permanent_ remission of taxes.
Are times adverse, do the heavens threaten monetary squalls, and is the
import of grain and export of sovereigns likely to lay, as in 1847,
half the commercial world on their beam-ends? Instantly the cry gets
up that the taxes cannot be paid; that the national expenditure is
shamefully extravagant; that the army must be disbanded, the ships of
the line sold, and the national independence trusted to the generous
cosmopolitan spirit of the Americans, or the unambitious disposition
of the Czar. In both circumstances the national safety, and with it
the security of the public creditor, are endangered: in the first, by
the permanent remission of revenue, in consideration of a transient
gleam of prosperity; in the last, by a permanent abandonment of the
national defences, in consequence of a temporary period of disaster.
And as we inevitably pass now, and must ever pass, under our wise and
judicious system of Free Trade and a Fettered Currency, from the one to
the other, it is evident that not a year passes over our heads that the
security of the fundholders is not more and more endangered, and this
by the effects of the very system which their own selfish and class
legislation has introduced.

It is to this point--the _inevitable_ reaction of agricultural distress
upon commercial prosperity and the general resources of the empire,
that we anxiously wish to direct our readers' attention. The theory
of the Manchester school is, "Give us a sufficient amount of imports,
and the exports will take care of themselves." They care not how
widely they may prostrate the industry of the country, so as they
get a profitable trade to themselves. But the point they have now
to consider, _Can they secure this profitable trade to themselves_,
if the industrial resources of this country--in other words, their
customers' means of paying for their goods--are daily declining? That
our _imports_ are constantly increasing, is true: it is what the
Protectionists always predicted would be the case. But that increase is
no index to national prosperity: on the contrary, it is the forerunner
of national distress, because it implies a progressive supplanting of
our own industry by that of foreigners. The following extract from
the Returns for January 1850, ending 5th February 1850, will show how
largely the productions of foreign countries are trenching upon those
of our own:--

    Month ending 5th Feb. 1849.      1850.

  Silk, thrown, lbs.     13,847      71,600
  Sheep Wool,         1,212,993   1,957,632
  Gloves, pairs,        159,776     270,091
  Silk Broad Stuffs,     13,036      22,124
  ---- Ribbons,           8,946      13,768
  Potatoes, cwt.          6,793     190,511
  Bacon,    do.           2,537       8,036
  Beef,     do.           4,611       6,939
  Pork,     do.           2,038       6,308

It is the same with nearly all the other articles. How our
manufacturers and artisans are to go on, any more than our farmers,
striving against this prodigious and rapid increase of foreign
importations, it is for them to say; but probably experience will, ere
long, enlighten their understandings on this subject.

Indeed this inevitable reaction of domestic distress in trade, as
well as agriculture, against the Free Trade System, has already set
in. We make the following extracts from the Circular of Messrs T. &
H. Littledale & Co. of Liverpool, perhaps the greatest brokers in the
world, for Monday 4th March 1850:--

                       Import of Cotton.
                 From Jan. 1 to   From Jan. 1 to
                  March 5, 1849.  March 5, 1850.

  Bales,               328,523      267,666
  Sales of do.         464,070      368,950
  Home consumption,    305,040      207,960
  Stock at this date,  384,230      518,170

Here is a decline from 3 to 2 in all branches of the cotton trade,
since the two first months of last year, _except in stocks_, in which
there is an increase from 4 to 5¼. We recommend this to the attention
of the gentlemen in Manchester who introduced the Free Trade System.
We shall not imitate their example by saying it is a "Cotton Lord
Question," with which the public generally has no concern.

In the close of the same Circular it is stated:--

    "GENERAL REMARKS.--The month of February affords
    little matter for comment. It has been a particularly dull
    month in business, and, when contrasted with the energy and
    speculative excitement of January, the sudden change appears
    the more striking. There is probably no _one_ cause to which
    this can be attributed, but principally, no doubt, from a
    reaction, the invariable consequence of over-activity. The
    old complaints of railway depression and Continental disquiet
    may have had some influence, but the large arrivals of some
    articles, Tea, for instance, of which _twenty-five_ cargoes
    have come to hand in five weeks, and the near approach of the
    import season for Sugar, Coffee, and other produce, taken in
    connexion with the advance of prices at the opening of the
    year, have deterred the wholesale houses from operating beyond
    their immediate wants.

    "_Great complaints are made of the bad state of the country
    shopkeepers in the agricultural districts. We have closely
    questioned some of our wholesale grocers and tea-dealers, who
    assure us that there is no disguising the fact that such is the
    case, and that the general answer received from travellers is,
    'they can get neither money nor orders.'_ The serious falling
    off in the deliveries of sugar, coffee, tea, and cocoa, for
    the two months of this year, compared with those of the last,
    but too truly confirms these complaints, and are perhaps the
    most alarming features in our present prospects. As given in
    Prince's Public Prices Current of 1st inst. they stand as
    follows:--

                  1850.         1849.               1848.

  SUGAR,          37,006        43,408           42,368 tons.
  COFFEE,      3,795,712     4,907,691 pounds.
  COCOA,         450,774       558,888   "
  TEA,         5,375,648     5,502,931   "

    "The Chancellor's Budget is expected to be brought forward on
    the 15th instant, when some measure may possibly be proposed
    to check the unfair use of Chicory with Coffee; and to do
    this, it is thought by some that an equalisation of the Duties
    on Colonial and Foreign Coffee may be necessary; but, in the
    present relative position of prices here and on the Continent,
    the effect of such a change would not be much felt."

It is evident that squalls are approaching, which, indeed, under our
present Free Trade and Monetary System, are the inevitable results of
a brief period of prosperity; and let it be recollected, when another
crisis does arrive, as arrive it will, the consequences will be far
more disastrous than the last. _Then_ the agricultural interest was
prosperous, because the Corn Laws were not repealed; and the magnitude
of the Home Markets sustained the nation during the dreadful commercial
crisis which prostrated so large a part of the foreign manufacturers.
Now the case is just the reverse,--distress is beginning with the home
markets: and the agricultural population, so far from supporting the
manufacturing in their difficulties, will be fain to recur to them for
support in their distresses. Hundreds of thousands of agricultural
labourers, thrown out of bread by the effects of Free Trade, will be
crowding into the towns as they did into the great cities in the later
periods of the Roman Empire, in the hope of finding that employment
from the wealth of the urban population, or that relief from their
charities, which they can no longer look for in their native seats.

A highly distinguished officer and writer, who will not readily be
suspected of a leaning towards Tory principles, General Sir William
Napier, the eloquent historian of the Peninsular War, has lately
written a letter, which has appeared in the columns of the _Observer_,
portraying the effects of Free Trade upon the fate and independence of
the nation in future times, in such powerful and graphic colours, that
we cannot resist the satisfaction of giving it additional publicity
through the columns of this Magazine:--

    "MAJOR-GENERAL SIR WILLIAM NAPIER'S OPINION OF FREE TRADE GENERALLY.

    _"Extract from a Letter to Mr Lloyd Caldecot._

    "Free Trade means an unrestricted intercourse, and exchange of
    productions, natural or artificial, amongst all the civilised
    nations of the world. Trace the effect of this general Free
    Trade, if such a thing could be attained. It must be that all
    nations, according to their skill and energy, will draw forth
    and make the most of their natural productions: one nation
    may be a little more skilful, a little more energetic than
    the rest; but, generally speaking, the amount of civilisation
    and consequent knowledge will be equal at first, or will be
    soon equalised by this free intercourse. Will not the result
    be, that each nation must take rank in the world according
    to the extent of its natural and artificial resources. What
    will that lead to? Why, that England will sink from the first
    rank in the world to the fifth or sixth rank, as it cannot be
    contended that her natural resources, though now more drawn
    forth, are really equal to those of North America, of Russia,
    of France, of Germany, or even of Spain and Italy; and we may
    look forward to the South American kingdoms, and independent
    Canada, and Australia, as countries destined to overtop her.
    It will be said, Englishmen are braver, more enterprising and
    skilful, than other people; more thoughtful and long-sighted.
    That would be a poor argument, and a presumptuous one, as
    regards Frenchmen and Americans, and would be no argument at
    all against Australians and Canadians, both being Saxon. But if
    it were a solid ground for hope, how is it that those superior
    qualities can be brought into play? Why, surely, by subtle
    contrivances of policy, which will give them free scope. What
    are those contrivances? Commercial treaties, supported by arms;
    that is the policy which has, and the only policy which can,
    raise a small country, like England, to be the head of the
    world. How else has she risen? Can it be supposed that a plain,
    unambitious policy of merely exchanging productions with other
    nations will raise her, or keep her, above her natural level?
    No! she must use her subtilty to overreach other nations, and
    her energy and courage to maintain her superiority; and then,
    with war and overreaching, away goes Free Trade. If courage,
    energy, and subtilty are laid aside, England sinks, as I said,
    to a fifth-rate power, because her natural resources are less
    than those of other nations; and, by Free Trade, she shall
    teach those who do not know their own resources how to find
    their value.

    "The world is not now as it was two hundred years ago. There
    are no new countries to discover,--no new sources of riches
    that can be held in monopoly, or to be found out of the
    bounds of the civilised world. Look at California. Can the
    Americans keep it to themselves? All the world goes there.
    England must then give up her commercial policy, which for
    centuries, whether good or bad, has certainly been compatible
    with advancing greatness, and she must start in a new race,
    with nations superior to her in natural resources, and with
    the weight of £800,000,000 of debt on her back; and to obtain
    even a place in this race, proposed by herself, she must
    break up all her artificial system, with the social relations
    established under it; thus destroying the fortunes and
    happiness of multitudes, inviting revolution, and risking the
    extinction of her debt, which will add hundreds of thousands of
    miserable broken creditors to the multitude of revolutionists.

    "Well, she may survive all this, and, perhaps, be happier
    within her natural bounds; but she cannot be a great nation;
    and she has to choose between her present greatness and an
    uncertain prospect of humbler content, to which she must wade
    amidst blood and social commotion. But will she be allowed
    to enjoy that humbler contentment? Will not ambition stir
    other nations, when they find their power to oppress her?
    What will her courage avail her then? Modern warfare depends
    entirely upon mechanical and manufacturing resources, in which
    her enemies will have a lead over her, because their natural
    resources are greater, and Free Trade will have taught them how
    to make the most of them.

    "I do not give you all this dogmatically, but I cannot myself
    see that Free Trade will produce any other results; and I look
    upon it as certain, that if other nations do not adopt our Free
    Trade notions, that we cannot put them in practice without
    destroying the National Debt: in other words, a fatal struggle
    between the landed and moneyed interest.

    "Free Trade for England is, I think, well illustrated by the
    story of the bear in Marryat's _Captain Violet_:--'Bruin being
    up a peach-tree, was vigorously shaking down the fruit for his
    own eating, but a hog was below very complacently eating the
    peaches as they fell, and expressing by grunts his satisfaction
    at the bear's generosity.'--Yours, &c.,

  "Feb. 2, 1850.      WILLIAM NAPIER."

This is ably and manfully spoken. That it is true, is now in the course
of such clear demonstration to the nation, that it will ere long bring
home conviction to the most prejudiced. But it is a curious fact,
illustrative of the truth of the principles we have so long maintained
in this Magazine, that such an exposition of the effects which Reform
has produced, by vesting the government of the nation in the urban
constituencies, should come from a gallant officer, the historian on
Whig principles of the Peninsular War, and whose zeal for Reform was
known to have been so ardent, that certain proposals were made to him
from a certain quarter when "the Bill" was thought to be endangered,
which he at once spurned, as might have been expected from a soldier
and gentleman of his elevated character.

There is another Napier equally celebrated on another element, whose
opinions have been recently as strongly expressed on the effects of
Reform, and its offspring Free Trade, on our national defences. All the
world is familiar with the energetic letter which Admiral Sir Charles
Napier has lately published, on the alarming decline of our naval
forces. It may be that our Manchester politicians, and their disciples
in the Cabinet, by studying their Trades' Circulars, and occasionally
sharpening their intellects by declamations on the hustings on the
extravagance of the national armaments, and the expediency of selling
our ships of the line and disbanding our troops in anticipation of the
millennium which is approaching, are better judges of the probable
issue of a land contest than the Duke of Wellington, whose opinion
has been equally strongly expressed on the subject, or the historian
of, and actor in, the Peninsular War; and of the chances of maritime
warfare, than the hero who saved the Turkish empire from dismemberment
at Acre, and established the throne of Don Pedro by the victory of
Lisbon. That is no doubt possible, though we can hardly regard it as
very probable. But if such a catastrophe, as our immortal Field-Marshal
and these two very eminent Liberals anticipate, does occur--if Great
Britain, cast down to the rank of a fifth-rate power, finds its
maritime superiority destroyed, and its colonies lost--if its fleets
are blockaded in their harbours, and its manufacturing millions are
thrown back on ruined landlords and bankrupt master-manufacturers for
their daily bread, let it be always recollected it is no more than has
been distinctly foreshadowed to them by those best qualified to form
a correct judgment on the subject, and no more than they have brought
upon themselves, by their blind adherence to a selfish policy.

To all these disasters, present and future, the Free-traders have
one set-off to apply, and that is the increased consumption of food,
which they suppose has taken place in the country in consequence
of their measures. Sir R. Peel contended strongly that the five
million quarters of wheat alone imported in 1849, afforded decisive
evidence of the increased wellbeing of the working classes. If the
right honourable Baronet will take the trouble to travel through any
of the grain districts of the country, he will perceive at once how
fallacious this argument is. The barnyards never were so full at this
season in any former year. Every farmer has held his stock who was not
forced to sell. The nation has, since the last harvest, been fed by
foreigners to an unprecedented extent. Ten millions has been sent out
of the country to buy foreign wheat, and, of course, lost to British
industry. The five million quarters of wheat imported have been less
an addition to the national consumption, than a _transference_ of that
consumption from British farmers to foreigners. At least a half of the
present harvest will be rolled over to next year. If we are blessed
with another fine harvest, there will be the crop of a year and a half,
besides ten or twelve millions imported in 1851, to stock the market.
Prices in all probability will be much lower than they are at present.

We are always reminded that in 1835 prices were 39s. 5d. on an average
of the year for wheat. True, and why was that? Because we had had
_four_ fine harvests in succession; so fine that the importation of
wheat, on an average of five years ending with 1835, had been only
398,000 quarters a-year. _Now_ one fine harvest and the importation
have done the whole. But we are indebted to the Free-traders for so
often reminding us of the low prices of 1835. They demonstrate that the
nation in good seasons can feed itself in the most affluent degree.
Foreign importation, therefore, except in bad years, is unnecessary;
and all the destruction of domestic industry it produces is as
unnecessary as it is short-sighted.

It will appear the most extraordinary of all phenomena to future ages,
that a nation which has, like the British, successfully resisted the
attacks of external enemies, and incessantly grown and prospered,
though with occasional disaster, during more than a thousand years--and
which has in our own recollection repelled the attacks and overthrown
the powers of the greatest coalition ever formed against a single
state, directed by the most consummate ability which has appeared in
modern times--should in this manner voluntarily descend from its high
position, surrender its power, starve down its armaments, and drive
headlong on the road to ruin, for the supposed advantage of a limited
class in its bosom. But the marvel ceases when the composition of its
society, and the prevailing feelings of the section of the people in
whom supreme power is now vested, is taken into consideration. That
class is the mercantile, or rather shopkeeper class; and with them
the money power is all powerful. Three-fifths of the seats in the
House of Commons, let it ever be recollected, are for boroughs; and
two-thirds of the constituents of every borough are shopkeepers or
those whom they influence. This is the decisive circumstance, which
has changed the whole policy of England, since the Reform Bill, and in
its ultimate consequences is destined, to all appearance, to produce
the national disasters which many of its warmest supporters now so
feelingly deplore. To the modern rulers of the British nation, to the
constituents of the majority of the House of Commons, to buy cheap
_and to sell dear_ is the great object of ambition. They have gained
the first; let them see whether they will secure the last. Let them
see whether, amidst the ruin of the agricultural interest, and the
declining circumstances of all trades, which are exposed to the effects
of foreign competition, they, the _sellers_ of commodities, will make
their fortunes. If they do, it will be a new era in society; for it
will be one in which the trading class amass riches in consequence of
the ruin of their customers.

On this account there are Protectionists who deprecate any attempt
to displace the Government at this time, or force upon a reluctant
majority in the House of Commons a change in the present commercial
policy of the country. It is said that Free Trade, though it has been
in operation for three years and a-half, has not had a fair trial;
the Irish famine, the failure of £15,000,000 worth of produce out of
£30,000,000 worth in a single year, did all the mischief. Be it so. Let
Free Trade have a fair trial. Let the shopkeepers see what benefit they
are likely practically to gain by the ruin of their customers. They
have the Government in their hands, because they have the appointment
of a majority in the House of Commons. The agricultural interest, the
colonies, the shipping interest, the small manufacturing interest, are
to all practical purposes disfranchised. Let the trading classes, then,
feel the effects of their own measures. These will be such that they
_cannot_ continue. Ere long a change of policy, and probably of rulers,
will be forced upon Government by the universal cry of suffering. But
let them recollect that it is _their_ measures which are now on their
trial; that theirs will be the responsibility if they fail; and that if
the empire is dismembered, and the national independence lost, theirs
will be the present loss, and theirs the eternal infamy.



BRITAIN'S PROSPERITY.

A NEW SONG, WHICH OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN SUNG BY THE PREMIER AT THE OPENING
OF PARLIAMENT.


I.

    News for you, gentlemen! Here is prosperity,
        Fat and fullhanded, arrived at our door:
    Crashes, disaster, and famine's severity,
        Never can harass or trouble us more.
            No miching malecho!
            Spin away calico!
        Never saw man such a prospect before!


II.

    All things are cheapened. Good sirs, in the galleries,
        Pray bear this cheerful announcement in mind--
    All things are down--except Ministers' salaries,
        Taxes, and some little jobs of the kind.
            Small trades are finishing,
            Wages diminishing--
        That is the way to be happy, you'll find.


III.

    Wheat's at a price that won't pay for the growing it,
        That is to say, if we cultivate here;
    Why should we therefore persist, sirs, in sowing it?
        Beautiful markets are plenty and near.
            Hang the home labourer!
            Buy from your neighbour, or
        Any one else, so you don't buy it dear.


IV.

    True pioneers of a better and brighter age,
        We have diminished the charges for freight;
    Some little dues there may still be for "lighterage,"[4]
        But, on the whole, 'tis a moderate rate.
            Wheat for a guinea a
            Load from Volhynia
        Comes to your shores, and is lodged at your gate.

[4] _Vide_ the _Economist, passim_; more especially that amusing and
delectable series of articles, penned for the purpose of demonstrating
that Free Trade enhances the value of grain.


V.

    Huxtable's pigs, though replete with ammonia,
        Never worked any such wonders as these;
    Barley from Mecklenburg, grain from Polonia,
        Butter from Holland, American cheese;
            Bacon gratuitous,
            Cargoes fortuitous,
        Float to our coasts with each prosperous breeze.


VI.

    What need we care though a desperate peasantry
        Prowl round the stackyards with tinder and match?
    Blandly we'll smile at such practical pleasantry:
        Downing Street is not surmounted by thatch.
            We're not prohibiting
            Some gentle gibbeting
        When the poor starving delinquents you catch.


VII.

    Cobden, our oracle, swears it is vanity
        Ever to dream of protection again:
    Wilson declares it is downright insanity,
        Also he proves it by figures and pen.
            Sheets arithmetical,
            Clearly prophetical,
        Flow from the quills of these eminent men.


VIII.

    Likewise M'Gregor, that brilliant Glaswegian,
        Whom we desiderate always to speak,
    Hath, by the aid of some second-sight Stygian,
        Promised us shortly two millions per week.
            "Whaur shall we pit it, sirs?"--
            Wait till you get it, sirs!
        Zooks! what a prospect of bubble and squeak!


IX.

    As for you paltry persisting Protectionists,
        Why should you prate of the labourer's cause?
    Don't you observe you are mere Resurrectionists
        Trying to get at the grave of the laws?
            Honest Peel strangled them,
            Then the Whigs mangled them,
        Coffined, and sank them with Cobden's applause.


X.

    Any such notions I think you had best bury
        Deep in the grave where your idol is laid:
    Then, from the lips of the member for Westbury,
        Take a sound lesson in matters of trade.
            List to his prophecies--
            We'll keep our offices
        Snug, till your final conversion is made.


XI.

    Deuce take those breechesless rascals the Highlanders!
        Let them go starve on their beggarly hills:
    Irish impostors, and kelp-making Islanders,
        Can't they find room in our poor-law Bastilles?
            Or, for variety,
            Though there's satiety,
        Let them be packed to the calico mills!


XII.

    Wages must tumble, like leaves in a hurricane,
        Under this grand competition for work:
    Britons shall toil for the Jew and American,
        Chinaman, Spaniard, Mulatto, and Turk--
            Each village Hannibal,
            Fierce as a cannibal,
        Eyeing his neighbour like Bishop or Burke!


XIII.

    These are the triumphs of science political--
        These are the views by the Whigs patronised.
    Tories may scout them; but, ne'ertheless, it I call
        Such a grand scheme as was seldom devised.
            How is it robbery?
            Cheapness and jobbery
        Are the twin saints whom we've just canonised.


XIV.

    Under the free-trading auspices, true it is
        Some time or other taxation may pinch.
    Then for a shy at the Funds and Annuities!
        We'll take a yard since you gave us an inch.
            Hush, Mr Newdegate!
            Why not repudiate,
        Just as was done by the pupils of Lynch?


XV.

    Worthy Sir Robert, that statesman immaculate,
        Doubled his fortune by doubling the pound:
    Even the wisest may sometimes miscalculate--
        Surely he will not object to refund?
            "That were a merry go!
            See you at Jericho!"
        O--very well--I abandon that ground.


XVI.

    Shortly--I say, with habitual _bonhomie_,
        Everything's quite as we Ministers wish,
    Plenty and peace are combined with economy,
        Food is abundant--provide you the dish.
            Pay to the foreigner,
            Peasant and mariner,
        All you can raise for your loaf and your fish.


XVII.

    Banish all notions of British ascendency,
        Let them be wiped from our memory quite;
    Modern views have an opposite tendency,
        As hath been clearly expounded by Bright.
            Let us be sensible--
            Britain's defensible,
        Not by brute force, but by maxims of right.


XVIII.

    We, for the voice of the populace amorous,
        Willing to do anything they require,
    Shall, if hereafter they chance to grow clamorous,
        Yield just precisely the thing they desire:
            We are quite ready to
            March with a steady toe
        Out of the frying-pan into the fire.


XIX.

    Stink, like the inmates of Huxtable's piggery,
        Up to the knees in an exquisite draff,
    Stand the determined apostles of Whiggery,
        Chewing the grain, and rejecting the chaff.
            Ay, Mr Huxtable!
            Not from your muck stable,
        Issues so hearty a grunting or laugh!


XX.

    This, I maintain, of our state is the very type--
        Joseph's fat cattle and atrophied kine.
    We, for the first, may be ta'en by Daguerreotype:
        Who are the second, you well may divine.
            Yea, of a verity!
            Britain's prosperity,
        Means nothing else than the measure of mine!



MY PENINSULAR MEDAL.

BY AN OLD PENINSULAR.


PART V.--CHAPTER XII.

On reaching the General's quarters, I thought it best not to report
myself to his Excellency, till I had seen Captain Gabion again. While
waiting in the street, I noticed a small shop, the open window of
which exhibited not only a choice assortment of straw cigars, but
bread, bacon, sausages, eggs, articles all equally attractive to
travellers who had not dined. Reminded, by the sight, that this was
precisely my own condition, I stepped in; hoping to find something
that might support exhausted nature, during the awful interval that
seemed likely to intervene, ere we could halt for the night, and think
about cooking. The eggs, white, large, and pellucid, claimed a trial;
and the yolk of the first I cracked went down whole like an oyster,
with such a delicious gulp, that I was about to attack a second, when
I was interrupted by a voice from the back of the shop, "Nó, nó,
señor." Looking in that direction, I perceived six or eight persons
crouching round a small fire on the hearth. On walking towards them,
I found my two Capatazes, and a party of their muleteers, all on a
broad grin at my recent exploit in egg-sucking. The Spanish Capataz
arose; politely observed that roast eggs are better than raw; and, with
equal politeness taking that which I held in my hand, cracked it at
one end, and stuck it upright in the hot embers. Fully acquiescing in
this arrangement, and determined to carry it out, I was returning to
the counter for another egg; but was anticipated by the Capataz, who
selected a couple, observing that he had great knowledge in choosing
eggs. These he set in the embers, by the side of the former, first
opening a safety-valve in each. Never having known, before, how to
roast an egg, I did not regret this lesson in the art of extempore
cookery. And I beg to state that a roast egg--_so_ roasted, _i. e._
done slowly in the embers, "ovum ad prunas cocked 'em" (you see, the
Romans also set them upright)--not only is altogether a different
sort of thing from a boiled egg, but beats it to sticks: especially
if washed down, as mine were on the present occasion, with a cup or
two of good sound Spanish wine out of a leathern bag. For the Capataz,
insisting that eating without drinking was bad for the digestion,
transferred the wine from the leather to the horn, with an air of
benignity that was perfectly irresistible. In short, he would take
no denial. I was also glad of this little rencontre in the shop, for
another reason--because it tended to establish amicable relations
between me and the muleteers, which was just what I wanted. Having
chatted a few minutes with my polite entertainers, I thanked them for
their _cortesia_, and walked towards the counter, to settle for the
eggs. How now? There's nothing to settle! The eggs are paid for! This
was a touch of high Spanish breeding, that quite took me by surprise--I
demurred. The big jolly old Spaniard, though, stepped forward with his
hand on his breast, self-congratulation twinkling in his eyes, and a
profusion of very profound but silent bows. I really could not find
it in my heart to break his, by saying anything more about the eggs.
In short, I and all the muleteers gradually became very good friends;
and as for my entertainer on the present occasion, had he known I was
thinking of buying a mule, I have no manner of doubt he would forthwith
have made me a _bonâ fide_ offer of the best in his batch, and thanked
me for accepting it.

Just as I emerged from the shop, Jones came pelting by on
the pony--pulled up the moment he saw me--and owned himself
conscience-stricken by rushing into self-vindication. "Please, sir, I
jest only brought the poor hannibal here from the river, sir; 'cause
why, sir?--'cause I thought you had done with him, sir. Been all about,
looking for a stable, sir. Can't find no corner nowhere, not to shove
the poor hannibal in, sir. Couldn't you be so kind and speak to that
'ere hofficer, sir? Have'nt had no time to think of cooking dinner,
sir. Very long march we've had to-day, sir. Very bad thing sitch long
marches for poor soldiers, sir. Got a bullet in my leg, sir."

"Well," said I, "you've no occasion to trouble yourself about dinner,
nor yet about a stable. I expect we have at least two leagues more to
cover, before we halt for the night."

Jones tuned as black as thunder. His look was perfectly savage.

"Well, Jones, it can't be helped, man. You yourself must see there's
not room for us here."

"Please, sir," replied Jones, "I know there isn't, sir. Only I thought
p'rhaps you'd speak to the hofficer, sir. And in course, as he's a
friend, I thought he'd see to it, sir, and make room, sir."

"No, no--I tell you it won't do. As soon as the men have got their
rations, we must move on."

The word "rations" wrought an immediate change in Jones's agonising
visage. "Oh, very well, sir," said he--"then we gits our rations
here, does we, sir? Please, sir, if I might make bold to aast the
question--which is it, sir?"

"Which is it? I suppose beef as usual; bread if they've got any. I
don't know what else it's likely to be."

"Beg your pardon, sir," replied Jones; "but I did'nt mean about the
whittles, sir. What I means is the liquor, sir. 'Cause p'rhaps its
that 'ere poor, nasty, green, hungry, skinny wine as we got in Spain,
sir; that what giz the men the hayger, sir. Or p'rhaps, may be, its
sperrits, sir; if so be we've come into the brandy, what the men gits
here in France, sir. That's the liquor to march upon, sir. Fine rations
thim is for poor soldiers, sir. Oh, be-youti-ful, sir! Takes the skin
off the roof of your mouth, sir."

"Well; we shall soon see which it is."

"Yes, sir," said Jones in a lower voice, coming nearer, and touching
his peak. "But please, sir, that isn't what I meant to hintimate, sir.
Please, sir, wouldn't you have the kineness, sir, and jest speak a word
to the hofficer for the fut-soldiers, sir. 'Cause p'rhaps the rations
is only some on it sperrits, sir; not enough for all on us, fut and
horse, sir. Please, sir, only because we poor fut-soldiers wants it
more, sir; 'cause, ye see, we goes on fut, sir; which them fellers
doesn't want it as doesn't go on fut, sir; 'cause they rides, sir."

"No, no; I'm not going to interfere in a thing of that sort; nor is it
likely the Captain would. Besides, what could _he_ do?"

"What could _he_ do, sir?" said Jones. "Bless your heart, sir, if he
chose to speak a word for me, sir, he could git me a horder to ride a
mule all the way to headquarters, sir; one of the spare uns, sir. Got a
bullet in my leg, sir."

"Well, Jones, _how_ did you get it? You haven't told me that yet."

"Oh, nothing pertikler more than others, sir. Got it near Pampelona,
sir. That 'ere Ginneral Soult thought he was too many for us, sir; but
we soon let him see as we was too many for him, sir. Please, sir, I
laid eighteen hours on the ground, sir, afore I was picked up, sir. The
wolves came down in the night, and smelt to me, sir."

Our disquisition was interrupted by the approach of Captain Gabion.

"I've settled it for you," said the Captain. "Have you seen the
General?"

"I wished to ask you about it first. Any particular etiquette?"

"Oh yes," said the Captain; "I forgot to tell you. Please mind. When
you've reported yourself, if his Excellency remains silent, and takes
no notice, bolt. If he remains silent, but looks up at you, back slowly
towards the door, looking at him. If he looks up at his aide-de-camp,
keep where you are, don't stir. Perhaps the aide will take you to the
window, or into another room, and ask you a question or two."

The actual interview, though, did not terminate precisely as the
Captain anticipated. I was ushered into a small parlour, and there
found two military officers. One of them, the General in command of the
British forces before Bayonne, Sir John Hope, was reclining on a sofa.
He had not yet recovered from the severe wound in the ankle received
in December, near Barrouilhet; and his countenance bore the marks of
illness--perhaps it might be said, of suffering. Yet his aspect, even
in the attitude of repose, at once arrested the eye. Tall, athletic,
and dignified,

    "He lay like a warrior taking his rest,
     With his martial cloak around him."

I saw before me one of the bravest, the most
distinguished, the most trusted of the Generals who fought and
conquered under Wellington; him whom Wellington himself had pronounced
the "ablest officer in the army." Little did I dream that, in less than
five weeks from this very interview, when war was supposed to be at an
end, and ere he had fully recovered from his present injury, he was to
be roused--perhaps from that couch--by martial sounds at dead of night,
to be wounded a second time, taken prisoner, and carried off in triumph
into the city which he now besieged! The other person present was an
aide-de-camp, who sat at a table writing. I reported myself and party.

"Yes, I have heard, sir," said his Excellency, speaking, apparently,
with some degree of effort. "Should have been happy to have given
you quarters here to-night; but it's impossible: we are quite full.
You must proceed, with your convoy and escort, till you regain the
high-road, then take the first quarters you can find. Every man's good
wishes will attend you, for you bring what we are all in want of.
To-morrow you will have all the easier march to Dax. Do not, on any
account, go further than Dax to-morrow: that is where you are to be
to-morrow night. I wish you to be particular in attending to this. Good
afternoon, sir."

On returning to the street, I found our whole party far more reconciled
than I had expected to the idea of proceeding. Mr Chesterfield had
already remounted. The mules had now been kept standing, with their
loads on their backs, more than half-an-hour; and the two Capatazes
received the announcement with great equanimity, each after the manner
of his own nation. The Spaniard, as gravely as though uttering some
time-honoured adage of his race, observed that a long march to-day
makes a short march to-morrow, and that travelling tires a loaded mule,
but resting kills him; while the Portuguese contented himself with a
shrug of the shoulders and a _paciencia_--the two great remedies of
his countrymen for all the troubles that flesh is heir to. Jones stood
close at my elbow, with a face as festive now as it was ruthful not
long before. "Please, sir," said he, "it's sperrits for all the party,
sir. The hofficer has done it very handsome, sir. Don't care now if we
marches all night, sir."

Just as we were moving, I was joined once more by Captain Gabion, who
came on with us a little way, walking by the side of my pony, and
bearing in his hand a small parcel. "You can't imagine, Mr Y----," said
he, "how _very_ much I feel annoyed that we can't accommodate you."

"Pray, don't mention it," said I. "In two or three hours we shall be
under cover."

"Yes," replied the captain, in a consolatory tone. "But then it's such
a shocking bad evening. Why, you'll be drenched to the skin."

"Well, never mind that. I must change when I get in."

"Ah! but then you'll find it such a dreadful road," said he. "The lane
is nothing but slush and quagmire from one end to the other."

"No matter. We must pick our way through it as well as we can, and get
out of it as soon as possible."

"Yes," said he, "so you must. But then it's so dismally long--a league
and a half, if not near upon two."

"No matter, no matter; we shall find the end of it, sooner or later, I
hope."

"How unfortunate, though, you ride a pony!" said he. "Why, you'd get
through a thousand times better on horseback. You'll be caked with dirt
up to your middle."

"Oh, never mind that. Dirt will brush off."

"Ah! I only wish you could have started earlier," said the captain.
"It's now just upon sunset; and, with such a night as this, in another
half-hour or so you'll have it pitch-dark."

"Well, we must do the best we can, you know. If we can't see our way,
we must feel it."

"Yes, that's just what I was thinking," said he. "You'll have to grope
for it, no doubt. But then, unfortunately, from the present state of
the road, you'll find that far from agreeable. One time you'll lay hold
of a dead bullock; another, of a dead man."

"Never mind, never mind. Of course, in the dark, we shan't be able to
tell the difference, so it won't matter which."

"Hang it all!" said Captain Gabion. "I can't express to you how vexed I
feel on your account. Why, I came through this lane myself a day or two
ago, and could hardly get along, though it was daylight. What will you
ever do, with all this convoy at your heels, passing it by night? Why,
it's darker already than when you started."

"Well, at any rate we shall have a hedge on each side of us. That will
tell us where we are, if we have no other clue."

"Yes, yes," said he; "very true; so it will. It's dreadful slow work,
though, feeling your way, after dark, through a long, puddly lane,
knee-deep in mire, by the help of the hedge--especially if there
happens to be a ditch between, which you'll find to be the case. In
short, I'm so perfectly convinced you'll be stuck for the night, I
shall make a point to-morrow of sending a working party, before noon,
if possible, to dig you all out; that is, if you are to be found above
the surface. If not, you know, we must bore for you, or sink a shaft."

"Thank you, thank you; much obliged. Hope you'll remember and send some
breakfast at the same time."

"Why, Mr Y----," roared Captain Gabion, bursting into an incontrollable
fit of laughter, "I really do think you'll make a good campaigner in
time--that is, if you have practice enough. Well, now I must say good
evening, and leave you to pursue your journey. My boots are thin, and
the lane is getting soppy. By the bye, Mr Y----, I don't suppose I have
anything to offer that you are not well provided with; but allow me to
ask, how are you off for cigars?"

"Cigars? Of course, in France, cigars may be bought anywhere and
everywhere. Haven't above a day's provision, if I have that."

"Oh! haven't you, though?" said Captain Gabion. "Then just do
me the favour to accept of this small package. You'll find them
capital--Spanish cigars. Here, let me stow them in your coat pocket.
That's it. No fear of their getting wet. It's a small box, lined with
metal. Let me advise you: never smoke a French cigar, except when you
can't get Spanish: enough to make a horse sick. How do you suppose I
obtained them? One of the staff was sent into Bayonne with a flag of
truce: found the French officers living like princes: happened to say,
no good cigars to be got outside. Didn't they laugh at him? Gave him a
dozen little boxes, though; did them up for him in a wrapper of skyblue
silk. Don't you call that handsome? I got two of the boxes: that in
your pocket is one. Good night."

It soon became too evident, as we proceeded on our march, that Captain
Gabion had given no exaggerated description of the route now before us.
The surface of the soil, near the river, was a loose sand or rubble.
But this gradually disappeared in the lane, and was succeeded by a
subsoil of thick clay, equally soft, soppy, and tenacious--poached,
too, by the passage of cavalry and commissariat bullocks, and trenched
by waggons and artillery. There were, indeed, but few parts of the
road, except where it was actually kneaded into slush, traversed by
water-courses, or occupied all across by plashy inundations, where a
careful walker might not have picked his way, without absolute danger
of detention or absorption. But, with a party like ours, picking was
not always so easy. Regularity there was none; each managed for himself
as he was able. With all the disadvantage of her little feet, Nanny
managed best; where she could not walk, she jumped. Next to her, in
succession, the infantry and muleteers did tolerably well: the mules
did better than could be expected. The riders got on worst of any. Our
line became considerably extended. Here there was a stoppage; there a
break; and the length of road which we occupied far exceeded marching
order. Superintendence became next to impracticable; for, in so narrow
a space, with a hedge and ditch on each side, it was no easy matter
to pass from one part of the line to another. Two or three times, I
noticed, Corporal Fraser made his way to the head of the column; and,
standing up when he found a place, allowed the whole to pass, counting
the mules, as on our previous day's march. Seeing the impossibility of
preserving strict regularity, Mr Chesterfield requested me to proceed
in front with a few of the men, while he brought up the rear, that, at
least, all might be kept together. I accordingly made my way forwards,
and led the march, receiving occasional communications from Corporal
Fraser. Our difficulties, however, increased as we advanced. Daylight
rapidly declined--twilight was short--it fell dark. Fancy, under such
circumstances, a party like ours, horsemen, footmen, mules, muleteers,
floundering about in a narrow lane, which, in fact, was an elongated
bog; the rain coming down in torrents; the muleteers now shouting, now
screaming; the soldiers, horse and foot, making their way onwards, as
best they could, in silence; with every now and then a stoppage, from
a mule that had stuck fast, or fallen under its burden--objects not
distinguishable, barely discernible--and, where the road was overhung
with trees, all gloom around; nothing visible but the faint, uncertain
glimmer beyond. The behaviour of the soldiers, on the whole, I must
say, was such as to do them credit. Now and then a fellow broke away
through the hedge, in hope of finding a better road on the other side.
But that was generally more toil than profit. They came upon unexpected
obstacles, and had to return into the lane. In fact, this, I take it,
is a maxim in marching: Unless you know the country, and know it well,
however bad the road, keep it; don't straggle, or try short cuts.

Riding on at the head of the party, I attempted to pick my way as
far as I could see it, by making Sancho go as I thought best. This
led to frequent contests between Sancho and me. Sometimes he had his
way, and we got on well. Sometimes I was positive and had mine, which
generally led to a plunge and a splash. Tired of this, I dismounted
and led him. Still it was troublesome work. Sancho thought he knew
better than I did; and often, when I pulled one way, he pulled the
other. At length I gave up the contest, led him with a slack rein, and
pulled no longer. This was just what he wanted; and, left to himself,
he picked his way admirably. I noticed, as we passed, several such
obstructions as Captain Gabion had described; and, once or twice, came
very disagreeably in contact with them. At length I stumbled over I
knew not what, and almost fell; took hold of something on the ground:
it was a cold hand that did not return my grasp! Are you a poor man?
Do you shake hands with rich men? You will understand the kind of
thing. Not relishing such salutations, I was induced to try a different
dodge; and, finding that Sancho went very well with a slack rein while
I walked, thought perhaps he might still do the same if I mounted.
Turning for that purpose, I saw, close at hand, in the gloom of night,
what looked very like a ghost!--the ghost of myself! Here was I, bridle
in hand, standing at Sancho's head. And there was I, _alter ego_,
mounted on Sancho's back! While I looked, my mounted double suddenly
disappeared! The spectral evaporation was attended with a wallop in the
mud; then, close behind Sancho's heels, arose the same dark figure from
the earth--and as it rose it spoke! "Please, sir, I only got across
him jest to keep him steady sir, going through the mud, sir. Hope no
offence, sir. Got a bullet in my leg, sir." True to his principle, of
never walking when he could ride, and, dark as it was, detecting an
empty saddle, Jones had promptly occupied it; and, repressing his usual
loquacity, had been riding close behind me, a silent spectator of all
my pedestrian misadventures. On my turning to mount, conscious guilt,
as it always did when he was taken _en flagrant delit_, threw him off
his guard; and, too much flurried to alight in the usual way, he had
effected a retrograde descent, by a parabolic flight over the pony's
tail. The impetus thus acquired carried him further than he intended.
He fell soft; but he fell--not on his feet. Perceiving by my laughter
that I bore no malice, he promptly stepped forward, rubbed his hands on
his trousers, helped me to mount, and walked on by my side. "Please,
sir," said he, "I'm afeared I've split 'em, sir. It did come so very
cold when I squattered down in the puddle, sir."--(No reply.)

"Please, sir, I'm thinking we shan't want good quarters when we gits
furder on, sir." (Pause.) "Nor yit nothing what soldiers wants, when
we gits well on into France, sir." (Another pause.) "Please, sir,
I'm thinking its very cruel on service, sir, when there's whittles
and drink, plenty on it, close to hand, sir, as they won't let poor
soldiers help themselves, sir."

"Oh, then I suppose the soldiers never do."

"Please, sir, I s'pose they don't; not never, sir. In course not, sir.
But then it's this, sir. If the Provost comes and you're cotched, sir,
why, it's a couple of dozen for only taking an old shutter to bile a
kittle, sir."

"Tight hand, the Provost-marshal?"

"Once, I was inamost cotched myself, sir. Please, sir, it was three
on us, as got into a farm-house, sir; an empty house, what wasn't
inhabited, sir. Looked up the chimbly, sir; 'cause that's where they
hangs up the yams to smoke 'em, sir. There they was, sir; oh, sich a
lot on 'em, as you couldn't count 'em, sir. So I fixes bagonets, and
forks down a pair on 'em, sir: and jest as I was a-going to fork down
another for myself, sir, along come the Provost, sir. So he see the
window open, sir; 'cause the door was fastened, sir; so we got in at
the window, sir. So he got in too, sir. The other fellows was cotched,
and got it, sir; but I wasn't, sir; so I didn't, sir."

"Turn king's evidence?"

"Please, sir, it wasn't not likely as I should do that, sir; 'cause I
scorns any sitch low-lived ways, sir. Only when I heard the Provost
a-coming, sir, I got up into the chimbly, sir; and when he was gone,
sir, why then I got down agin, sir. Got safe back to quarters, sir,
with a yam under my greet-coat, sir."

"Of course the inhabitants must be protected, and so must their
property."

"Well, p'rhaps they must if they're frinds, sir; though I nivver see'd
what frinds the Spaniards was to me, sir. But here in France, where us
now be, sir, I doesn't see why poor soldiers shouldn't help themselves,
sir; and men's bin scragged for it, sir, let alone the Provost, sir."

"I trust we shall find the people here, if we treat them well, better
friends than you did the Spaniards."

"Please, sir, if two hofficers dines togither four or five times
a-week, sir, that's what I calls being friends, sir. Hope I shall find
plenty sitch, and you too, sir. Hope no offence, sir." (Pause.) "Might
I make bold to aast the question, sir? The men says, as soon as we
jines, we shall move on aginst the hinnimy, sir."

"Shouldn't wonder."

"Please, sir, I should like to pick off that 'ere feller as put a
bullet into me, sir; jest knock him over, sir, as he did me, sir."

"Sure you would know him again, though?"

"No doubt of that, sir. I know him by the way he cocks his eye down on
his firelock, sir. Could pick him out of a whole ridgment on 'em, sir."

We had now been toiling on, through mire and puddles, for about a
brace of hours; and I know not how much longer our conference might
have continued; but, looking forwards, at a part where the lane was
more than usually darkened by over-arching trees, I perceived, at the
extremity of the vista, a light less dim than hitherto. Hurra! we had
reached the main road. I passed the intelligence; a shout ran down
the line, and came back to us from the rear; and, reaching at length
the paved highway--it was like landing on _terra firma_, I took my
stand to the right of the embouchure, while weary men and weary beasts
slowly and successively emerged from the dark recess, and filed off to
the left along the road. At this moment the rain began to moderate;
the clouds lifted in the east; the blowzy moon looked down on us from
silver peaks, that crested the distant Pyrenees; and, favoured by
her light, after an additional half-hour's marching we reached our
halting-place. Mr Chesterfield and I established headquarters at a
small _auberge_, stowed the money-boxes, saw to the accommodation of
the party, and were fortunate enough to secure a couple of rooms, each
with a comfortable bed.

Walking down into the lower part of the house, I found Jones already
at work, busying himself, much to the amusement of the _ménage_, in
unbidden preparations for my evening meal. He had cut the ration beef
into large uncouth dabs, which he called beef-steaks, and was banging
away at them with a rolling-pin on the dresser, in the vain hope of
subduing them to tenderness. Alas, what could be done with beef, that
had said "moo" that forenoon? While this operation was in progress, a
smart _fillette_ looked smiling on, as if anxious to take a lesson in
cookery _à l'Anglaise_. Fancying that Jones had intruded on an office
which she considered her own, I asked whether I could have anything
else? "Anything Monsieur pleased." Bravo! I was now among the Gascons.
Well but, what could I have?--"For example, a _poulet_, dressed any
way Monsieur preferred--_potage_, in every variety--omelets--she
made twenty-three different sorts. Her brother, who was cook to the
hotel at Mont de Marsan, made twenty-nine." Very well, suppose we
try all three, _potage_, _poulet_, omelet:--the _façon_ of each at
your discretion;--only, if you please, as soon as possible; to be
ready with the biftek (which, I perceived, would be impregnable.)
"All should be ready, in a solitary moment."--What wine could I have?
She referred me to the landlord, a pleasant-looking old gentleman in
a blouse, very pursy about the neck, chest, and chin, who sat in a
corner of the hearth. "Any wine I liked, French or foreign." Go it
again, Gascony!--Could I have a bottle of bordeaux? "Superb."--These
weighty matters arranged, I returned to the first floor; and heard, on
my way up stairs, the screams of a luckless hen, which my mandate had
sentenced to prompt execution in the poultry-yard.

I had not ordered dinner, however, with an eye to self alone: and was
thinking whether it would not be proper to wait on my fellow-lodger,
and report proceedings, when Jones followed me to my door. "Please,
sir," said he, "the hofficer's kit is left behind, sir. His man isn't
come up, nor yet his mule, not nayther on 'em, sir." This intelligence
was decisive: I knocked at the entrance of the Hon. Mr Chesterfield's
apartment. Found him rather disposed, though, to live alone. "His
man would be up ere long. He was much obliged to me." Well; perhaps
I had taken a liberty. Almost before I had completed the twofold
process of shifting and scrubbing, the cloth was laid. The bread and
bordeaux were first on the table; then the potage.--Presently came
the _poulette_ and the beefsteak--then the omelet;--in short, I had
dined. Suffice it to say, the bordeaux was very respectable; but the
beefsteak impracticable, and the _poulette_ questionable. It had been
cut into small pieces, and broiled. The _potage_ and the omelet were
the staple of my meal. Obs. 1.--When travelling in France, should you
order an omelet at a roadside inn, let it by all means be the _omelette
au jambon_. They will offer you a choice of twenty or thirty sorts; but
that's the kind you are most likely to get good, and that you may get
everywhere. Obs. 2.--Though a fowl dressed as I have described is not
very tempting in appearance, especially if you have been cognisant of
its recent slaughter, give me leave to observe, the dish, in a general
way, is by no means unworthy of your attention; indeed, is one of the
best the rural _cuisine_ of France has to offer. And, let me tell you,
the rural _cuisine_ of France far excels the civic _cuisine_ that we
sometimes meet with out of France. Obs. 3.--With regard to wine,--I
asked for bordeaux. That, I admit, was flat. But make allowance; I
was inexperienced; this was the first time I ordered dinner on Gallic
ground. The fact is--and, if you travel in France and ramble about in
country places, so you will find it--the white wine at a given price
is decidedly better than the red at the same price. Thus, say the
price you choose to go to for a bottle of wine is three francs: and I
call that quite enough--for, if you say six, seven, eight francs, it
comes from the same bin. Well, order white; and you probably get, for
your three francs, a bottle of good sound wine. Order red; and, ten to
one, it's horrid. Perhaps, however, you choose to pay for colour; you
prefer red. Well, as you please. Only in that case, remember: you are
responsible for the consequences, not I.

As I sat on three chairs after dinner in dreamy repose, sipping the
last of my bottle of bordeaux, and revolving the events of the day,
Jones entered, licking his lips. Really he looked, already, ten per
cent better than when we crossed the Bidassoa--his complexion fresher
and more wholesome, his aspect decidedly less misanthropic;--I began to
imagine some truth in his theory, that English soldiers, who had served
in Spain, grew fat on entering France. He laid hands, without ceremony,
on the garments which I had doffed before dinner, and walked away with
them. Rain and mud, indeed, had horribly maltreated them; and Jones,
holding out the coat at arm's length, inspected it in silence, as he
moved towards the door.

How beguile the hours till bed-time? I looked out. What a lovely night!
The silent moonbeams fell on the paved court at the entrance of our
inn. Beyond, all was luminous, but indistinct. Below, there was an open
doorway, with a seat--a curious old carved concern,--the very place,
the very hour, for a cigar! A cigar? Why, I've a box-full! Come, Mons.
Thouvenot; we'll see what sort of havannahs you smoke there in Bayonne.

The havannahs were prime--the forenoon had been fatiguing--I had
dined. A pleasing languor repaid the toils of the morning. Soon,
though, it was broken, by the sound of distant violins--not badly
handled, neither. This part of France is the land of the violin: you
find a decent performer in every village. The sound proceeded from the
premises at the back of the _auberge_; and I had previously noticed
some of the villagers gliding into the inn-yard by a side entrance.
Impelled by curiosity, I took the liberty of following their example;
and soon found my way, amongst stables and out-houses, to a small gate
opening into a garden or shrubbery, at which gate sat my jovial friend
the landlord, dispensing tickets of admission, refreshments included,
at six sous each. It was a sort of rural _salon de danse_, where
the villagers met nightly, to exhibit and cultivate their national
nimbleness of toe. Much preferring these rural fêtes to a regular
French ball, I have attended at many a _guinguette_ since; but as this
was the first, and had all the piquancy of a surprise, I beg leave to
give you a short description. Passing on through an alley among the
trees, and guided by the mellow note of the violin, I soon reached the
ball-room, which was simply a large boarded square, with a roof above,
but three sides open,--the fourth was the orchestra. There I found
assembled the youth of the village, and not only the youth, but some
of their elders--three violins in full operation--and the ball at its
height. _Cotillons_ were the order of the day, much like those which
had been introduced into the aristocratic circles of England two or
three years before, say 1811, or 1812, under the name of quadrilles.
The dancing was good, really good--time admirable--no mistakes--no
confusion--all could dance. The deportment of the dancers, too, was
in perfect good keeping. Not a _gaucherie_ did I witness, throughout
the evening. With one thing I was struck: and that was, the attention,
the seriousness, the almost solemnity, with which the whole party
applied themselves to the important business of dancing. Dancing, if it
be, among the higher classes of France, an amusement, with the rural
population is a passion: and, in a nation so volatile, the earnest
gravity of their village _assemblées_ is the more observable. Of the
three violins, one, I soon perceived, had the chief authority. With a
voice of command, he directed the various movements, indicated changes
of figure, regulated the whole proceedings. In fact, he was not only,
as it turned out, leader of the orchestra, but dancing-master to the
village--"_Vir gregis ipse_ CAPER:" and, had he been Grand
Turk, he could not have issued his mandates in a more imperious tone,
or to more obedient subjects.--Never go to France again, without
attending a village dance at a _guinguette_. If you have not seen that,
you have not seen one most interesting phase of Gallic character.

Among the belles of the evening, there was one, you rogue! taller than
the rest, that both attracted my attention, and fixed it. She not only
danced well--they all did that--she danced with an air. Nay, shall I
tell the whole truth? She bore a resemblance, or at least I fancied so,
to the admired of all eyes, the lovely Juno, with whom I had crossed
the Bay of Biscay. Near me danced a lusty Adonis of five-and-forty,
who was decidedly the best male performer of the party. I had already
made two or three acquaintances; and, as he swept by me in the whirl of
his evolutions, I could not help saying, "You dance well, Monsieur."
He, with the honest, open-hearted vanity of a Frenchman and a Gascon,
danced with redoubled energy, to confirm my good opinion. Presently the
set concluded; and the next moment he was at my side in a high state
of exhilaration, mopping and breathless. "_Eh bien! Monsieur_--Our
dancing--what do you think of it?"

"Excellent. The ladies dance admirably. Of the male performers, truth
compels me to avow that you are incomparably the best."

"You dance?"

"Might a stranger presume--?"

"Ah, Monsieur, but what an honour to our ball! Hold! I shall find you a
_vis-à-vis_."

"Might one select?"

"She's yours for the evening! Name her! I fly!"

"Her with the blue sash, large eyes, rather tall--"

"Ah! my cousin! Wait a little moment! 'Tis done!"

The violins struck up; again the sets were formed; with the partner of
my choice, I stood up for a _cotillon_. Had danced the same figures in
England; so got on tolerably well.

I say, though, what's this? The time has changed! Half a second ago, it
was one, two, three, four. Now it's one, two, three! The figure--that's
different too! Why, what's come to them all? Two and two, swimming
round and round! Gyration and rotation at once--the planetary system!
I turned to my fair partner--she turned to me--I clasped a lovely
arm-full--she dropped her hand upon my shoulder--I was fairly in for
it. We whirled away with the rest. First it was to German strains,
soft, equable, and mellifluous. Then, with a shout from Mons. Caper,
the tune suddenly changed. It now was Spanish--soft and equable no
longer--a mad, galloping _capriccio_, all tingling with life, point,
and mettle. She entered into the spirit of it. I soon discovered
that,--so kept her up to it, till she cried "enough!" in earnest. But
oh! the difference between such a partner, and a bouncer! Oh! the
difference between such a partner, and a bolter! Oh! the ease, the
ductility, the lightness, the perfect airiness of her step! She waltzed
like a zephyr!

Farewell, charming Gasconne! Farewell, bewitching partner of an hour!
Farewell, too, energetic and laborious dancer, my partner's middle-aged
fussy cousin! Farewell, at least, till we meet again, under somewhat
altered circumstances. Before you, too, Monsieur Caper, before you,
orchestral umpire! terpsichorean autocrat!--before you, on retiring
for the night, I make, _en passant_, with all the company, a profound
obeisance.--In short, I then and there literally fell in love with the
Gascon character; and the more I saw of them afterwards, the more I
liked them.

On the way to my apartment that night, I fell in with Jones, who
informed me, with great apparent concern, that the servant and his kit
had not yet come up; and that he "was afeared the hofficer had made his
dinner off of bread and cheese."


CHAPTER XIII.

Jones entered my room early in the morning, with the garments which
had so direly suffered, the day before, by spattering mud and pelting
rain. They were now perfectly presentable; and not only that, but
thoroughly dry.

"Well, Jones, I see you've given them a good brushing."

"Wouldn't have bin of no use, sir. Took and washed 'em, sir. Done it
last night, sir."

"How did you get them dry, then?"

"Please, sir, I had 'em down to the kitchen fire the first thing this
morning, sir--before daylight, sir."

"I say, Jones, how did you manage these gloves?"

"Please, sir, I washed 'em and put 'em on, sir. Walked about with them
on my hands till they was dry, sir."

"Why did you turn out so early, man? Don't suppose we shall start
before noon."

"Please, sir, 'cause I wanted to git forward with my wuk, sir; 'cause
to-day I wants to turn out tidy myself, sir. Got a bit of tailoring to
do, sir, 'cause of the haccident off the pony, sir. Thousand pities
they don't cut the soldiers' jackits longer behind, sir."

"Why turn out tidy to-day in particular?"

"Please, sir, 'cause I understands we're like to meet the hinnimy, sir.
Should wish to die dacent, sir."

"Well, get on, then. Here, stop. Take this; and see if you can't find
somebody to do your tailoring in the village."

"Thank ye, sir; pertlickler obleeged to ye, sir; thank ye, sir." Then,
having pocketed the francs, "Please, sir, though, with your pimmission,
sir, I'd rayther do the job of tailoring myself, sir."

"Oh, very well, if you choose to turn tailor. Just as you please."

Jones was about to withdraw--but paused. There was a moment of internal
struggle.

"Please, sir," said he, "it's what I ham, sir. Sarved my prentice, sir.
Only I don't know what ivver I shall do for a goose, sir."

"I say, Jones, what's that you were saying just now about meeting the
enemy? What enemy?"

"Please, sir, I don't know nothing about it, only this, sir. The
fellers as is here told our fellers, sir, as a Frinch party sprised a
Portygee party, sir, in a village not two leagues off, sir, only three
days ago, sir. Took or killed them all, sir. Druv some on 'em into the
stable of the inn, sir; and bagonetted them under the manger, sir."

"Oh, they did, did they? Then let me have my breakfast in about
half-an-hour."

"Please, sir, I'll go at once and give Nanny her milking, sir. She
wants it dreadful, sir."

While concluding my toilet, I noticed the merry chirp of children
at play, which came in through the open window. Gradually it grew
louder and more uproarious: there was evidently some unusual source
of festivity. I looked out; the cause was manifest. Nanny, in the
highest possible state of good humour, now making believe to butt, now
running backwards, now stamping, now caprioling, now erect, with a
languishing turn of her head and her fore-legs gracefully doubled down,
was surrounded with a host of jocund juveniles, who broke forth into
fresh shouts of mirth and marvel, at every variation in her attitude.
In the midst of this hilarity, Jones rushed forth from the inn door,
bearing in one hand a small three-legged stool, and in the other a
can. Did you ever see a goat milked? Nanny at once became sedate--a
fixture. Jones placed the three-legged stool _behind_ her, and the can
between her hind legs. Goats, my dear madam, are not milked _sideways_,
like cows. The milking began. This process effected a total change of
deportment in the small rabble that stood looking on. Before, all was
noise and fun. Now, every tongue was still, every movement suspended.
Twenty little urchins stood grouped in silent observation; twenty
little pairs of eyes stood wide open. Curiosity had superseded frolic;
each was receiving an idea! As the operation proceeded, a snow-white
head of milky foam rose mantling in the can. Then rose, too, the shout
of joyous surprise. However, the younkers soon discovered, with the
intuitive tact of children, that nothing new remained to be seen; so
their thoughts reverted to sport. Hand joined in hand, the toddling
multitude, that, for facility of inspection, had gathered in Jones'
rear, began to deploy. A circle was gradually formed, with Jones and
Nanny in the centre. Two or three voices commenced a chant; the rest
joined in; the circle began to move with measured tread; and Jones,
ere he had finished his task, was encompassed with a ring of merry
dancers and singers, who seemed resolved to make him pay toll, or keep
him prisoner. Jones, however, was too much of a general for that.
Watching his opportunity, he threw a warm jet of milk into the eyes of
a flaxen-haired urchin; and, profiting by the temporary confusion and
delight which ensued, broke the line of circumvallation, and made good
his retreat into the house with stool and can, followed by a tumultuous
throng, some pulling the skirts of his jacket, some punching, some
shouting, some jumping and clapping their sides in an ecstasy of
delight.

The missing servant, though--that was an awkward business. Night had
passed--morning had returned; it was now eight o'clock--still no
servant came. The whole party unaccounted for amounted to four; namely,
1, the servant himself, an English groom, very much disposed to have
his own way, and quite green as a campaigner; 2, the horse which the
servant rode; 3, the mule which carried the officer's baggage; 4, a
Portuguese lad, the mule's driver. Mr Chesterfield was disposed to take
a party of the dragoons, and go back himself in search of them. But,
under all the circumstances of the case, I felt it my duty respectfully
to intimate a doubt as to the advisableness of his separating from the
party which he commanded, and from the treasure which we had in charge;
and, on a moment's consideration, he saw the force of the suggestion.
At length it was decided to send a corporal and four men, who started
in search of the absentees, with a charge, whether successful or not,
to be back before noon. We were bound to reach our next halting-place
that night; and this was still more indispensable, after the strict
injunctions I had received the day before. The detachment, therefore,
set out; but our preparations proceeded for marching at the appointed
hour.

These matters arranged, I bent my steps towards the shrubbery,
intending to take a daylight view of the previous evening's ball-room.
In the shrubbery I had not proceeded far, when, much to my surprise, I
heard, lustily chanted, an old English stave--

    "Oh, what a fine world, this we live in,
    To lend in, to spend in, to give in!
    But to beg, or to borrow, or get a man's own,
    'Tis the very worst world that ever was known."

The songster of the grove, it soon became apparent, was Jones. I saw
him before he saw me. On a line, stretched between two trees, he had
suspended by far the greater portion of his wardrobe,--that part which
he still had on being equally light and scanty,--and, while busily
engaged in his preparations to "turn out tidy" and "die dacent," now
inspecting, now polishing, in a high state of exhilaration, he was
carolling away, very much to his own satisfaction, at the top of his
voice. The next strain was different:--

    "When last I attempted your pity to move,
      Your scorn but augmented my cares.
    Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love;
      But why did you kick me down stairs?"

The last line he twanged out with great pathos, not
forgetting the repeat:--

    "But why did you--why did you--kick me down stairs?"

Then, stepping back a few paces, and complacently viewing
his work, he suddenly threw himself into an attitude, extended one arm,
and commenced a soliloquy:--

"What's life? A book; a pictur-book, a purty pictur-book! But, ah me,
jest like other pictur-books! All the picturs at the beginning! Heavy
reading's the rest on it; so I finds at least. Pertickerly when you've
got a hempty backy-box, and can't git no good pigtail, not for love nor
money, let alone shag. Thim straws, I considers, is renk pyzon."

A quick march, stoutly whistled, sufficed to dispel these melancholy
thoughts. Then followed a touch of the comic. Jones, it was clear, had
been a witness of the preceding night's ball. Holding out, with bowed
arms, the corners of a not very presentable shirt, which--excuse me if
I'm too particular--hung loose from his shoulders, and mimicking the
airs of a dancing belle, he sang:--

    "Hands across, back again, down the middle--
      'Please to make room, for I'm going to faint.'
    'Don't scream so loud, Miss; I can't hear the fiddle.'
      'Ma'am, you're quite rude.'--'No, I'm sure I aint.'
        The doctor's dancing quite contráry,
          Holds his breath, and turns in his toes.
        Ranting, prancing, capering Mary
          Cocks her chin, and off she goes.

    Cross over to Betsy Maginnis,
      And foot it again to Major Shaw.
    'Miss Molloy, your sweet mouth in a grin is.'
      'Mister Mickey, keep off your paw.'
        The doctor's dancing quite contráry,
          Holds his breath, and turns in his toes.
        Ranting, prancing, capering Mary
          Cocks her chin, and off she goes.

    'Down forty couple, I'm sure will fatigue us.'
      'I told you it wouldn't, and here we're come.'
    'Ma'am, shall I fetch you a tumbler of negus?'
      'No, if you please, sir, a glass of rum.'
        The doctor's dancing quite contráry,
          Holds his breath, and turns in his toes.
        Ranting, prancing, capering Mary
          Cocks her chin, and off she goes."

Then, changing both dance and tune, Jones stuck his
arms a-kimbo like a Welsh milkwoman, and struck up an aboriginal air
of the Principality, footing it heel and toe--words unintelligible.
I approached. Jones, as usual, the instant he saw me, fell to
self-defence. "Please, sir, I got up into the hayloft, sir: took 'em
off, and mended 'em there, sir; 'cause I didn't want none of the
fellers to see me a-tailoring, sir. That's why I did it, sir."

"Well, put them on this instant, sir; it's disgraceful. Put them on, I
tell you. Be quick."

Jones, seeing I was resolute, presently gave tokens of compliance.
"Don't let me find you in that state when I come back," said I.

There was nothing now to wait for, save the absentees. About eleven
o'clock, A.M., the dragoons returned. They had gone some
distance down the lane, and found nothing. At length, one of them
noticed, in the ditch, a trunk, which proved, on examination, to
have been broken open and rifled. This they brought back with them;
and it announced to us, in language but too intelligible, what had
been the probable fate of the party missing.--The fact is, when Mr
Chesterfield purchased a mule at St Jean de Luz, for the conveyance
of his personal baggage, his servant had discarded the albarda or
pack-saddle, determining to load in his own way. Hence, in fact, the
loss of the party. The albarda, please to observe, is essential to
the serviceableness of your mule. In appearance, no doubt, it is the
awkwardest thing in the world. Imagine a hard straw mattress (for it
comes nearer that than anything else,) fitted to the animal's back,
and covering nearly the whole of it. "Quite absurd," you would say,
"to oppress a beast of burden with such an extra load." But then this
mattress answers a threefold purpose. First, it keeps the load from
galling your mule's back: secondly, it cushions the packages, so that
they do not shift: thirdly, and this perhaps is most important of all,
it _distributes_ the weight, so that the burden presses equally. Now Mr
Chesterfield's _personelle_ was stowed in large awkward black boxes,
of the most approved London make, which hung over the mule's back by
straps, and of course were continually getting wrong. The inconvenience
of this outfit became apparent, ere we were clear of the town of St
Jean de Luz. The mule got uneasy; the load shifted; something was
continually requiring to be set right. Both mule and driver, horse
and groom, soon fell into the rear: the groom blowing up the driver
in English, which he didn't understand; the driver bothered with an
arrangement, which he knew was all wrong. They came up when we halted,
but soon fell behind again. The last time they were seen in the lane,
which was just before it fell dark, they were come to a halt, and were
all at sixes and sevens. Whether they were killed, or made prisoners,
or escaped with the loss of the effects, we never heard or ascertained
during the rest of our journey to headquarters.

The packing was now completed with all expedition. By noon we got
fairly off; and a march, not quite so short as we expected, brought us
to our resting-place for the night.


CHAPTER XIV.

I question if the Gascon character has been duly appreciated. A Gascon
is a braggadocio; so we settle it. Now the Gascons are great in this
line, it's undeniable. But that which really distinguishes a Gascon,
is grandiloquence on all subjects. Whatever the topic of conversation,
his style is exaggerated. Tell a Gascon any extraordinary fact, he
instantly caps it--tells you something more extraordinary of the same
kind. If he happens to be speaking of himself, he still employs the
same style of amplification, but only as he would in discussing any
subject besides. He possesses also, in an eminent degree, that--(what?
frankness, shall I call it?)--at any rate, that peculiar quality,
which at once makes you feel as much at ease with him as with an
old acquaintance. All the French have this, but the Gascon has it
pre-eminently.

My billet for the night was at a seedsman's. Five minutes after my
arrival I felt domesticated. He puzzled me not a little though, by
eagerly inquiring whether I had ever met in England with a plant called
Chou d'Yorck. Its fame had reached him, but the long war had prevented
his obtaining a sample. He rejoiced in the prospect of a peace, which
would enable him to obtain some Chou d'Yorck. In form he was stiff
and stumpy, but in speech and manner lively. To assist him in his
shop, he had a youth--age eighteen or nineteen--whom he treated with
considerable hauteur. My landlord, his assistant, and myself, all three
took our evening meal together; but the youth was not permitted to
sit down. Standing near his master, like Corporal Trim, with one foot
before the other in an attitude, his head very upright, and his chest
projected, he grasped in one hand a hunch of bread and a modicum of
sausage, while the other flourished a pocket-knife. His master abruptly
handed him a tumbler of wine, without asking him when he would have it;
and he forthwith tossed it off, and set down the glass, as if so much
and no more was his allowance.

I was amused with my landlord's oration, when I entered his shop and
presented my billet. He first read it, then looked at me. "Ah," said
he, "in _your_ face, now, I see something, Monsieur, which tells me we
shall find you an agreeable inmate. The last Englishman I had conducted
himself so badly, I was forced to pitch him out of the window." My
landlord had a great penchant, like other Frenchmen of that day, for
conversing on the subject of duelling. Asked me if the English did
not decide their duels with pistols--were they good shots? I told him
the famous wager that had come off not long before, when a crack shot
betted to hit with a pistol nineteen oranges out of twenty thrown up
in the air--missed the first on purpose to increase the odds--hit the
other nineteen. This brought out the Gascon. I had told something
extraordinary, he must cap it. "But, Monsieur," said he, "we have, in
this place, persons who can hit a butterfly on the wing." (_Qui tuent
un papillon volant!_) He gave me some account of a partisan, who had
been active against the English. "Monsieur, he's as brave as a lion; in
one word, he's as brave as I am myself," (_à tout dire, il est brave
comme moi_.) One difference between a Gascon and the rest of the world
I conceive to be this--that, when other people utter an extravagant or
bombastic speech, they generally utter it in a joke; but when a Gascon
exaggerates or romances, he speaks with perfect seriousness, and so
expects to be taken.

This evening, though, I made a most agreeable discovery. Jones had
found stable-room for Sancho in the yard of an inn near my billet.
After dinner I stepped out, feeling it necessary, from previous
observation, to see that Sancho had his. On reaching the inn-yard, the
first thing I saw was just what one often sees at home about suburban
public-houses, a party holding an open-air compotation, standing. It
was a party of three--an English soldier, an English groom, and a
Portuguese youth of twenty, dressed as much like the groom as possible.
They stood in a triangle, noses all pointing to the common centre
of gravity. Each held a glass, and the English servant a bottle. He,
I concluded, "stood it." The soldier was Jones. He was rhetorically
holding forth; the other two were earnest listeners--his theme, the
battle of Vittoria. My approach broke up the party. I walked direct
into Sancho's stable; found his crib empty--no appearance of corn. This
might have been accounted for, by supposing the corn already consumed;
but Jones couldn't keep his own counsel. He soon put the matter beyond
all doubt by rushing in with a sieve-full, which he shot out under the
pony's nose, and sedulously dispersed with his hand. The other two went
into their own stable: the English groom, I observed, touching his hat.
I had seen him somewhere before, but didn't remember, at the moment,
time or place.

"Please, sir," said Jones, "both on 'em is sarvant to a jeddleham,
sir; a Hinglishman, what's a-going up along with us, sir, 'cause we've
got a hescort, sir; 'cause he considers it's more safer than going by
his-self, sir. One on 'em's his groom, sir, and the other's his help,
sir." The corn stuck in my gizzard, and I made no reply.

"Please, sir, they've got two sitch be-youtiful horses, as nivver you
see'd, sir."

"Please, sir, they've got a text-cart, with a kivver to it, sir; whot
carries the jeddleham's baggage, sir."

I took my station at the stable-door, to be sure that Sancho not
only had his corn, but ate it. The groom, in the adjoining stable,
was addressing the help in a kind of perpetual blowing up, a mixture
of Portuguese and English; voice deep and hollow. "You Joe King,
(Joaquim,) onde está the tobacco-box?"

To this deep-toned bass responded a piping treble--"Ah, I tink you is
got it in you brisch-pockit."

"You Joe King, dá cevada to the cavallos, chega the teapot, and don't
bother me nada."

Having thus issued his mandate, the groom came forth from the stable.
Catching sight of me, he stepped up, and I recognised him at once. Why,
it was Coosey, Gingham's Cockney servant, whom I had seen at Lisbon,
in the Castle. Glad was I to meet with the man for the sake of his
master. Coosey again touched his hat, and respectfully inquired whether
I wasn't the gentleman as vos goin hup with a hescort. A conversation
ensued, in the course of which I learned, in reply to my eager
inquiries, that Gingham was not aware who it was that had charge of the
treasure. Gingham merely knew that a convoy was going up; and intended
to go in company, for the sake of the guard.

Learning from Coosey that Gingham's quarters were in the suburbs, and
not deeming it advisable to go any distance from my charge, I contented
myself, for that evening, with sending Gingham a hearty salutation,
with a confident hope that I should have the pleasure of his company in
the morning. Before bed-time, Coosey brought me a note from Gingham,
that he would join me next day just outside the town, and travel in
company.

Before quitting the yard, though, I fell in with another acquaintance.
The _garçon_ popped out upon me from a side-door; begged to say there
was a gentleman in the _cuisine_, who would be happy to speak to me.

"Who? What is he?"

"A courier, monsieur, employed on an important mission."

"Haven't the pleasure of knowing any gentleman in that line. Describe
him."

The _garçon_ laughed; held up one hand, with the forefinger crooked.
"_Monsieur, voici son nez._"

I entered. Ah, it was my friend Hookey. Hookey, you will remember,
obtained a passage by the Falmouth packet, as bearer of despatches from
Oporto to Lisbon. Probably he was not aware, that doubts were then
entertained of his real character; for, on the present occasion, he
again announced himself as a courier.

"I am now, monsieur, on my way to the British headquarters, with
important despatches from Madrid. You are going there, too." (Who told
you that, friend Hookey?) "I, as I travel post, shall arrive there
first. Don't you see what an excellent opportunity, if you wish to
announce yourself? I shall take charge of your letter, and deliver it
with supreme felicity."

"Much obliged. They probably know all about me."

"But, monsieur," said Hookey, "headquarters are now advanced from St
Sever to Aire, or soon will be." (Pray, Mr Hookey, how do you know, if
you come post from Madrid?) "Why not cut right across, then, and go to
Aire by the nearest road? Why go round by St Sever? Your route is by St
Sever, I understand?"

Wondering how Hookey understood anything of the matter, and not
choosing to convert his understanding into certainty, I merely replied,
that wherever a man is going, of course he would wish to take the best
road.

"Yes, monsieur," said Hookey, "that is incontestable. But the best
road is, evidently, the most direct. Why march on the arc, when you
can march on the chord? _Ecoutez, monsieur_--your road is by Hagetmau,
direct to Aire."

Seeing he was so urgent, I began to suspect he had a motive, so
resolved to humour him. "Really, what you say appears very just. But
the road--I am totally ignorant of it. It may be good; it may be bad."

"I answer for the road; know every inch of it."

"By the bye, monsieur, an idea strikes me. Give me your opinion. What
if I perform the remaining distance by water?"

"By water!" exclaimed Hookey; "a great thought! What a saving of time
and labour!"

"Good. I impress all the boats on the river; embark my whole convoy
and escort; and so, by the Adour, or by one of its tributaries, arrive
within a day's march of headquarters. What a surprise for Milord
Vilinton, and all his staff!"

"Excellent! Write that, monsieur. Commit your letter to me, and trust
me for delivering it. You will excite a sensation. The whole army will
be electrified."

Greatly doubting whether a letter intrusted to Hookey would ever come
to hand, I asked for writing materials, and just wrote that I hoped to
reach my destination by the day appointed. Then, closing the document,
I addressed it in due form, and handed it to Hookey. Had I really
departed from my written route, as Hookey exhorted, I should not only
have incurred responsibility, but have disobeyed orders, gone off the
line of English posts, and entered a district which just at that time,
as I have since discovered, was the seat of a serious disturbance. I
now took leave of friend Hookey. That he was no courier, we had good
reason for knowing ere long. He probably urged me to write, because
doubtful whether my route was round by St Sever--hoping that something
in my letter might help him to decide. This was evidently the point
that he wished to ascertain; and on this subject I left him as wise as
I found him.

Waiting a while at the door, ere I departed to my billet for the
night, I heard a confab under the gateway, between Jones and Joaquim.
Joaquim (Englished by Coosey "Joe King") was displaying to Jones
his proficiency in the English language. Joaquim, I discovered,
was ambitious to be English in everything--an English groom, like
Coosey; took Coosey as his model. Coosey, by way of teaching him the
language, had begun with the London cries. Joaquim was exhibiting his
attainments; "Old clo'--old clo'."

"Quite naytral," said Jones; "better than the Jews does it themselves."

"Hinny yonnimints f'yer fire ... stooves?"

"Muinto buyng, muinto buyng," said Jones, whose Portuguese was second
only to Joaquim's English. Jones, with an eye to Gingham, of whose
well-stored cart he had already formed most magnificent conceptions,
was assiduously striving to establish himself both with Joaquim and
Coosey. Coosey at that moment came up.

"Hony you 'ear him do the donkey, though," said Coosey. "You Joe King,
come, tip us the burro."

Joaquim brayed. Tommy Duncombe couldn't have done it better.

"There," said Coosey. "Now you listen." A donkey, somewhere within
hearing, responded with a distant bray.

"That's vot I goes by," said Coosey. "I knows many young jeddlemen in
Hingland, vot does it wherry like. But I never see not nobody, hony
this 'ear Joe King, vot could make 'em 'oller."

Next morning, Jones again attempted to defraud Sancho of his corn.
Jones, it was too evident, was a rogue in grain--detection did not
reform him. As we issued from the town, proceeding on our day's
march, I looked out for Gingham, right and left. At length, passing a
cross-road, I heard a smart slap on Jones's musket; and, looking down
the turning, I caught sight of Coosey returning the salute, hand to
forehead, in military style, which Joaquim ditto'd. What Coosey did,
Joaquim did; that was Joaquim's moral code. A little further down the
lane, hurra! my eyes had now the pleasure of beholding Gingham; and
not Gingham only, but Mr Staff-surgeon Pledget. Heartily should I have
hailed the sight of either. What then was now my joy, in falling in
both with Pledget, the solemn and the facetious, and with Gingham, the
best of friends! Most cordial was the greeting on my side, nor less
so on theirs. Gingham came forth in a new aspect. He turned out in a
substantial great-coat, which covered everything from his spurs to his
nose. This coat he wore upon the march in all weathers, rain or shine;
but peeled at the end of the journey, and peeled white--came out clean
as a nut--in _propriâ personâ--ipsissimus_--Gingham. The junction of
these friends was a real accession to our party. Pledget was mounted on
a good sensible mule. Gingham rode a handsome horse--Spanish--a really
splendid fellow--all mettle and muscle--with fiery nostrils, flashing
eye, delicate little ears, zebra legs, elastic motion--in short, a
horse worthy of such a rider--a perfect gentleman. Coosey, also, was
mounted on a showy Spanish stallion, whose advance was sideways, a
perpetual zigzag. All in a quiver, he champed the bit, and came sidling
up the road with arched neck, and foam churning from his jaws. The
cart, drawn by a strong, large-boned French horse, was intrusted to
the care of Joaquim, with the option of walking or riding. After our
first greetings, the cart, being a novelty, became the subject of our
conversation as we rode along. Gingham had built it at Passages. Had
out the wheels from England; a pair, with a swivel wheel in front. The
cart had for its covering a tarpaulin supported by hoops, closed at
the back, and also closing, when requisite, in front--might be used,
on an occasion, to sleep in--was so built that Gingham's boxes exactly
fitted into it, making a level surface with their lids. In short the
concern was well arranged, unpretending, and complete--altogether
worthy of Gingham. Jones conned it with an admiring, but at the same
time a critical eye; now walking in front and alongside, now dropping
behind, to take a view in every direction; and, Coosey being Gingham's
right-hand man, and Joaquim his help, would have tumbled head over
heels to secure the favour of either.

I must here describe a little affair in which we were involved
on this day's march; not as important in itself, but as standing
connected with our subsequent adventures. While Gingham and I were
still discussing the subject of the cart, we reached the river which
we had passed the day before, and had now to pass again. A large and
commodious ferryboat, which was to take us over, was lying on the other
side; where we also saw assembled a concourse of people, apparently
country-folks, who had come there with the intention of crossing.
Expecting that a boat-load of them would soon pass to us, our party, as
they came up, halted on the bank, waiting their arrival.

There seemed to be some delay. The people on the other side didn't
get in, and the boat didn't come. We shouted across. They took no
notice. Shouted louder. They answered with derisive jeers. Corporal
Fraser stood by my side. "Some of the individuals have firearms,"
said he. I made a closer examination--saw it was so--and saw Hookey.
Addressed him personally: "Have the kindness to get them to bring over
the ferryboat." "This is not your road," sung out Hookey, with much
gesticulation; "go by Hagetmau. Press all the boats on the Adour, and
go by water." The case was clear. They did not intend to let us pass;
and, as they had got the boat on their side, we could not compel them.
Mr Chesterfield and I held a council of war.

"We can easily disperse that rabble by a few shots," said he; "and
then the ferrymen will no doubt come forward, and bring the boat over."

I, on the contrary, was for avoiding collision, if possible. A war with
the peasantry, once commenced, might soon become serious; and, should
they return our fire, one or two wounded men, even supposing nothing
worse, would prove a serious incumbrance to our subsequent progress.
"Well, then," said Mr Chesterfield; "what are we to do? We can't wait
here all day; that's evident."

The river was low. Could we find no other crossing? Was there no ford?
I looked up the stream, Gingham looked down. "See here," said he, with
his usual sagacity; "the river bends below, and spreads in the bend.
Beyond, I see it again. No doubt there is a considerable sweep; and,
probably, in that sweep a shallow."

"Suppose we go and examine," said I. Gingham looked earnestly in the
direction.

"Don't see any way of getting there," said he. "There must be some
communication, though, between that farmhouse and the road. No doubt it
is the lane we passed just now. Suppose we go and see."

Gingham and I rode off up the road, to find the lane. Pledget followed
on his mule. The multitude on the other side, thinking, no doubt, we
were of to the town for assistance, again raised a shout of derision.
We found the lane; and arrived at the farmhouse, and the bend in the
river, without being noticed by the enemy.

The character of the ground was here peculiar. The river swept round in
a horse-shoe curve, as the Thames sweeps round the Isle of Dogs; but
so that the convexity was towards us, and the peninsula on the other
side. Just at the vortex of this curve, or at what may be called the
toe of the horse-shoe, the stream widened out, and to all appearance
shoaled. "Here's the ford," said Gingham, and rode in. Pledget and I
followed. We crossed the river and re-crossed it--most part of the way
not knee-deep. The ford, though, was not right across; a ledge of rock
traversed the river obliquely. Down to that ridge there was a ripple,
and the stream gradually shoaled. Below it, all was deep water, smooth,
dark, and silent.

"The worst of it is, though," said Gingham, awaking from a fit of
musing, "the moment we withdraw our party from the ferry to pass them
over here, the fellows on the other side will discover our design. We
shall then have the whole peninsula covered with them.

"No fear of that," said I. "Don't you see? The peninsula is our ground,
though on the other side of the river. We can command the whole of it
from this bank, and the approaches too."

"Of course we can," said Pledget. "Occupy the house with half-a-dozen
muskets, and that knoll with as many more, and not a man of them can
come on the peninsula."

In fact, a few words are necessary to explain the full amount of our
advantages. The whole extent of the peninsula, round which the river
swept, was not above two or three acres. At one extremity of the curve,
or, if you like to call it so, at one heel of the horse-shoe, stood the
farmhouse, at the other stood the knoll; so that, though both knoll
and house were on our side of the stream, a line drawn from one to the
other would cut right across the isthmus; and, these two points once
occupied, no one on the opposite side could come on the peninsula, and
approach the ford, without passing under our guns, and exposing himself
to a cross fire.

We returned forthwith, and made our report to Mr Chesterfield, who at
once saw the expediency of promptly occupying the house and knoll.
Accordingly, our whole party withdrew up the road. The enemy, thinking
they had defeated our project, and compelled us to return to our last
night's quarters, now shouted with redoubled energy, "The other road!
The other road!--To Hagetmau! To Hagetmau!" One little squeaking voice
I distinguished above the yells--not Hookey's: "So sal you here ober
komm, so sal I gib you someting." This was not the last time I heard
that voice.

Mr Chesterfield now pushed forward with a party by the lane towards
the ford, the convoy and the rest of the escort following. He occupied
both the farm-house and the knoll, the former with infantry, the latter
with dragoons. The rest of the escort then forded the river with the
convoy. Twenty or thirty of the rabble now discovered us, and ran down
towards the spot; but they were too late. A few carbine and musket
shots, from the knoll and house, soon brought them to a halt, and sent
them to the right-about. Meanwhile the multitude at the ferry made
demonstrations of crossing in the boat, with shouts and menaces. But in
the midst of the uproar, looking down the river towards the ford, they
caught sight of our cavalry moving up the bank towards them on their
own side, in order of battle. It was quite sufficient. Not wishing for
a closer acquaintance, the yokels immediately dispersed and cut; we did
not pursue them; and thus was effected the passage of the river without
collision, and without loss too, save and except the loss of time. Nor
did we meet with any further obstruction during that day's march, which
brought us to the next halting-place indicated in our route.

Still the state of affairs was far from satisfactory. It was
sufficiently clear, from the events of the morning, that a spirit of
hostility was alive; and that the rural population were disposed to
obstruct our progress; nay perhaps, if they saw a prospect of success,
to attack us. Hookey, it seemed probable, was the prime mover; and I
felt satisfied we should see him again. I was far from thinking he had
the concurrence of the French authorities; nor do I think so now. He
would doubtless have been delighted to ease us of part of our cash;
and probably, like other distinguished agitators, he was agitating on
his own account. However that might be, it was clearly incumbent on us
to have our eyes open, and to be prepared, if needful, to take our own
part.

Nor could we feel wholly satisfied in other respects. In our
intercourse with the inhabitants generally, we did not, it is true,
detect tokens of hostility, or even experience rudeness. Still there
was unquestionably a great alteration of manner, since we had advanced
beyond the immediate vicinity of the Allied forces before Bayonne.
This I noticed in the morning. But at the close of the day's journey
it was still more observable. Whatever we applied for, indeed, we
obtained--billets, accommodations, in short everything usually required
by troops on a march. But nothing was given with alacrity; we seemed
to have got into a cooler climate. I suppose most of my readers know
the difference between a Frenchman who wishes to please, and one
who has no such amiable ambition. By the demeanour and looks of the
younger branches, too, we may sometimes discover how the heads of
a family really stand affected towards us; and here, in the houses
which I entered, nothing struck me more than the deportment of the
children. Their distant and suspicious glances seemed to perform the
part of tell-tales; one could almost guess what kind of a conversation
respecting _les Anglais_, had previously passed in the family. One
plucky little fellow appeared dressed out as a soldier. I tapped his
sword, and asked him what that was for. He gravely replied, "To kill
you."

The occurrences of the day seemed to remind us, that we were not
to regard our remaining journey to headquarters as a mere party of
pleasure; and those of the morrow were quite in accordance with this
impression.



THE DWARF AND THE OAK TREE.

A VISION OF 1850.


I.

    Within the greenwood as I walked,
      Upon a summer's day,
    I saw a vision wonderful,
      That filled me with dismay.
    Beneath the spreading shadow
      Of a tall and stately tree,
    Was a band of porkers gathered,
      Grunting fierce as fierce could be.
    They were rough and bristly monsters,
      With an aspect most obscene;
    And they trampled to a dunghill
      All the fair and comely green.
    Hideous tusks, and sharply whetted,
      Did the savage creatures bear;
    And their flanks were thick incrusted
      With the droppings of their lair.


II.

    Above, the mighty branches spread
      From out the parent stem;
    And lo! I saw a Mannikin
      High perched on one of them.
    His face was pale, his cheeks were white;
      He sate in utter woe;
    It seemed he durst not venture down,
      For fear of those below.
    But anon he shook the branches,
      And down the acorns fell,
    And then the beasts rushed forward,
      Each with a horrid yell.
    Right sharp and savage was the grunt,
      Though plentiful the food:
    So sate the lonely Mannikin
      Within the lonely wood.


III.

    But as I tarried, wondering much
      To see the little man,
    A gleam of light came o'er his face;
      It seemed some cunning plan
    Rose up within him, for he grinned
      And nodded to himself,
    Then grinned again and chuckled,
      Like a sly and naughty elf.
    And then I marked him, stealthily
      From out his belt withdraw
    A weapon in the morning light,
      That glittered like a saw;
    And straight astride a heavy branch
      Right nimbly clambered he,
    And sawed away most busily,
      Between him and the tree!


IV.

    Then longer from accosting him
      I could not well forbear--
    "What, ho, thou foolish Mannikin!
      What art thou doing there?
    A little deeper, and 'tis plain
      The branch must downward go,
    And down with it the carpenter
      Unto the beasts below!"
    Then answered back the Mannikin--
      "Aha! I'm light and strong:
    You'll see me scramble higher up,
      And higher yet ere long.
    But first this branch I sever, just
      To please the hungry swine;
    And then I'll lop another off--
      For that's a scheme of mine!"


V.

    "Forbear, thou naughty Mannikin!"
      'Twas thus again I spoke--
    "Who was't gave thee the liberty
      To lop that stately oak?
    In strength and glory it hath stood
      A thousand years and more,
    Still spreading forth its mighty arms,
      As proudly as of yore.
    What tree hath ever matched it yet
      For majesty of form?
    Or yielded such a sure defence
      From heat, or rain, or storm?
    Though tempests often round it swept,
      It still hath bravely stood,
    Nor ever stooped its shapely crest--
      That monarch of the wood!


VI.

    "And _thou_, an ape-like atomy,
      Perched up within the tree!
    Shall its fair limbs be lopped away
      By such a dwarf as thee?"
    Yet chattered still the Mannikin--
      "Down, down, the branch must go!
    The pigs demand the sacrifice--
      They're watching me below.
    See--see! they're grunting upwards! ah,
      They bare their tusks at me!
    For rather than offend my swine
      I would uproot the tree.
    Hush--hush, my darlings! Hush, my dears!
      Here's plenty food for you--
    A moment's patience, and 'tis done;
      The branch is nearly through!"


VII.

    "Have done, thou wicked Mannikin,
      And hold that hand of thine;
    I marvel what Ulysses 'twas
      Set thee to keep the swine!
    If from that noble forest-tree
      Thou loppest every shoot,
    Where, when another autumn comes,
      Will be the needful fruit?
    'Tis well to feed thy bristly herd,
      Ay, feed them to the fill;
    But leave the oak-tree unprofaned
      With all its branches still:
    Lest, when the swine have eaten all
      The food that thou canst send,
    They take a horrid fancy next
      To dine on thee, my friend!"


VIII.

    'Twas thus I spoke in warning. Still
      The Mannikin said, "Nay!"
    But ever chattered busily,
      And ever sawed away.
    I marked the branch declining fast,
      Its fibres creaking sore:
    I heard the grunting of the beasts
      Still fiercer than before.
    High up into the air was thrown
      Each grim uncleanly snout,
    With wriggling tails and cloven hoofs
      They galloped all about.
    They flung the mire and pebbles up,
      In their unholy glee,
    And held a Satan's carnival
      Beneath the fated tree!


IX.

    But as I gazed in wonderment,
      The sky grew dark above;
    A whirlwind sharp and fitfully
      Among the branches drove;
    There was swaying, shrieking, groaning,
      Throughout the forest wide,
    And the hurricane came downward
      With an angry angel's stride.
    Then, right across the welkin, shot
      The red and dazzling levin,
    And the thunder brattled growlingly
      Within the dome of heaven.
    'Twere better in an hour like that
      Far off at home to be,
    Than watching silly Mannikins
      Upon the greenwood tree!


X.

    The first flash scared the porkers;
      Their nasal snort grew still--
    The second sent them cowering;
      As low-bred monsters will--
    The third with triple fervency,
      And answering peal broke out;
    Then helter-skelter from the tree
      Rushed forth the filthy rout.
    I looked up for my Mannikin--
      I saw him clinging there
    To branch and twig, to bark and bough,
      The image of despair.
    And ever as the gust blew strong,
      He clutched with desperate paw,
    And wildly chattered in affright--
      "The foul fiend take the saw!"


XI.

    By Tamworth town a hermit dwells,
      Who riddles strange can read;
    A wizard once of dreaded power,
      And versed in many a creed.
    Of Michael Scott no wilder tales
      Have ever yet been told:
    Men say he knew the wond'rous art
      Of multiplying gold.
    But now his magic wand is broke,
      His tricksy spirits gone,
    And on a backward bench he sits,
      Forsaken and alone.
    To him I went, and told him straight
      The things that I had seen!
    "O holy man, I pray thee say,
      What may this vision mean?"


XII.

    The hermit smiled--he stroked his chin--
      Then quaintly answered he,
    "There's something very singular
      Connected with that tree!
    Once on a time, when bark was dear,
      The boughs I thought to peel,
    But that same hurricane arose
      And tossed me head o'er heel.
    I think the oak will last my time--
      But hark! I hear the bell!"
    With his left hand he crossed himself,
      Then slid into his cell.
    But what the herd of porkers were,
      He never told to me;
    Nor who might be the MANNIKIN
      Was sawing at the TREE.



FESTUS.[5]

[5] _Festus, a Poem._ By PHILIP JAMES BAILEY. Third Edition: with
Additions.


Those who are acquainted with the Faust of Goethe (and who is not?)
cannot fail to have observed the influence which it has exercised
over several of our contemporary poets. We do not infer that those
poets have exhibited any signs of slavish imitation, or that any
other than an honourable influence has been exerted over their minds.
Before them also nature and thought lay open; they too have had their
philosophy--their own mode of solving, or stating, the problems of
human life; and of the great German himself, as perhaps of all men of
genius, it can only be said that he felt more strongly, and reflected
more vividly than others, the common spirit of his age--the spirit of
bold inquiry, of discontent, of aspiration, and of doubt. We would
merely infer that, in their writings, there is much, either in the tone
and temper, or the structure of the composition, which irresistibly
reminds us of the master-piece of Goethe.

In one respect, however, our poets have been far from imitating the
great German. They share with him, more or less, in the daring spirit
of philosophical speculation, and in those views of human life,
which are expressed either in the poetic desperation of Faust, or
the withering sarcasm of Mephistopheles. They have also adopted his
admixture of various styles and metres, suited to a changeful theme
discussed by various speakers. But in this apparent freedom and bold
diversity of styles, whether ballad, or satiric couplet, or mournful
blank verse, the German is always the consummate _artist_. His verse
is, on each occasion, all that the verse should be--polished, refined,
correct, according to its manner and its order. Native critics assure
us, and a foreign ear feels the truth of the criticism, that the Faust
is as remarkable for its mastery of language, and perfection of style,
as for any other and higher qualities of poetry. But _this_ merit some
of our English bards seem to have despised, as utterly superfluous.
They seem to contemn the labours of the artist. The control which
the poet exercises over his own mind, in order that he may not allow
the fervour of imagination to carry him wide beyond the pale of
common-sense, or the frenzy of his passion to bear him far away from
the sympathy of all other mortals; the survey and revisal in a calmer
moment of what had been poured forth in the excited hour of original
composition: the blotting out, the compressing together, the shading
down, the removal of all stumbling-blocks to clear apprehension--all
those labours, in short, by which language is made translucent and
harmonious--made to serve its double purpose of use and luxury, of
meaning and delight--they throw aside as an antiquated, absurd,
unnecessary, and slavish toil. They will retain nothing, own nothing,
but the "torrent rapture" of original composition. The consequence is
evident and unavoidable. It is a very brief and imperfect rapture they
afford their readers. Theirs is a very summer torrent, resembling what
one often meets in a bright day, in the real landscape--very little
stream, much stone, and a great scar in the earth left dry, glaring,
and barren.

What are our "latter-day" poets dreaming of? Is the end of the world
reckoned to be so near at hand that they think it folly to build for
endurance?--idle to erect their "monument of brass," when it and the
earth will so soon be swept away together? Or has the poet's old
dream of an immortality of fame died out with the superstitions of a
by-gone age, and no one in this philosophic era proposes to himself
so visionary an object as a posthumous renown? We cannot think that
poetic genius is wanting. Of all explanations, this is the last we
should be disposed to admit. We could undertake to furnish from poems
sinking rapidly into decay and oblivion, many a passage, and many a
page, which would do honour to the highest names in the calendar of
our muse-inspired men. We seem to have amongst us good poets still, but
they have ceased to produce good poems. We have much genuine poetry
diffused through our literature, and not a new work of art added to our
possessions.

But if our men of genius are contented to be known in future times (if
known at all) by some brilliant extracts only from crude, hasty, and
forgotten works, could they not contrive to write extracts--now--for
us--and leave the works alone? If they have but a few finished pictures
to give us, if this is all their patience or their talent enables them
to bring to perfection, must they really build, each one of them, a
huge, rambling, misshapen edifice, that they may paint them here and
there upon the walls? It is not absolutely necessary to build a new
house for every new picture; although, in the infancy of the arts,
such an idea was probably entertained. Those never-to-be-forgotten
Chinese, immortalised by Charles Lamb, who, in the earliest stage of
the culinary art, thought it requisite to burn down a house every
time a sucking pig was to be roasted, very likely entertained this
kindred idea. No doubt the artists of that period always built a wall
before they painted a landscape. Happily all these matters have been
simplified, and our poets should remember this. They should remember
that, in none of the arts is it necessary to alarm the whole country by
a conflagration, in order that some dainty morsels may be gathered out
of the ruins.

Of all the poems which have lately come under our notice, there is
none to which these remarks are more applicable than to Mr Bailey's
_Festus_. It is the most extraordinary instance which our times, or we
think any times have produced, of the union of genuine poetic power
with utter recklessness of all the demands of art, or indeed of the
requisitions of common-sense. It is "chaos come again," but chaos,
withal, with such lightning flashes of real genius as compel us to
look into it. Were it not for these abrupt and brief, but undoubted
displays of genius, we certainly should not be induced to notice a work
which so often degenerates into a mere _poetic rant_, a mere farrago of
distracted metaphors, and crude metaphysics, and bewildering theology;
where reasoning and imagination both run riot together; where the logic
is as insane as the maniac fancy that is dancing with its flaring torch
about it. Criticism, if it has any office, or duty, or voice left in
the world, must protest against a species of literature which would set
aside all the claims of good taste and good sense, in favour of a bold,
original, reckless and unregulated imagination. Assuredly it ought
not, in such a case, as it appears to have done, lavish unqualified
encomiums.

Is the book worth reading?--is a summary question often put, and
with some impatience, to the critic. Put here, we answer decidedly,
Yes. Read it by all means, and with the pencil in your hand; for the
probability is, that you will not work your way through it _twice_,
and there are many things in it which you will not be content to have
caught a glimpse of only once. Read it by all means. But this summary
question, and its answer, do not decide the matter. If the author, by
longer study and greater labour, could have made it worth preserving as
well as reading, worth reading many times--if the state of opinion in
the literary world is such that it encourages the publication of hasty
and immature performances--there is something wrong here--something
which ought, if possible, to be rectified.

In his poetic temperament, Mr Bailey will frequently remind
the reader of Keats. He shares the same ardent imagination and
uncontrollable fancy--the same, and perhaps stronger passion--the same
breathless haste of composition which Keats manifested in his first
production;--such haste, as if the writer feared to check himself a
moment in his head-long career, lest the pause should be fatal to his
inspiration. As Mr Bailey frequents a profounder region of thought than
Keats had entered, he attains, in his happier moments, to a higher
strain of poetry than his less reflective predecessor. On the other
hand, his poetic sins are of a deeper dye, greater in number and in
magnitude. That luxuriance of metaphor, that perpetual festival of the
imagination, by which Keats is distinguished, are classic purity and
abstinence itself, compared to the excesses of this kind in which the
author of _Festus_ indulges.

Mr Bailey has the true poetic fervour in him. This, no one capable of
enjoying the literature of imagination will hesitate to acknowledge.
Mr Bailey is a poet. But this poem of _Festus_? Criticism looks aghast
at it--cannot possibly give it welcome--looks at it with dismay and
perplexity. Genuine gold in it, you say. Good. But what if a whole
hogshead of the precious mud of the Sacramento, fresh from its native
bed, unwashed, unsifted, is rolled to your door! Confess that the
present is somewhat embarrassing. A single handful of the bullion would
have been so much better.

In dissecting the plot, and analysing the materials of this poem, a
critic might find innumerable occasions for satire and for ridicule. We
shall not avail ourselves of any such opportunities. Perhaps we have
no calling for this part, and are resisting no temptation in refusing
to be satirical. But, indeed, the critic is not properly the satirist.
The satirist is already there--in the outer world; he exists in every
man of keen sense in whom judgment preponderates over those feelings
to which the poet applies himself. The critic steps in between this
satirist and the poet--steps in to mediate. He tells the shrewd and
intelligent man of the world, prompt to detect the ridiculous aspect
of things, that if he really has no sympathy with a class of feelings
based much upon imagination--if he has no admiration, approaching to
enthusiasm, for the beautiful in the visible, and for the tender and
heroic in the moral world--the page of the poet is not for him: instead
of sneering and condemning, he has but to shut up the book and depart.
On the other side, he tells the poet that he does not write for his own
solitary heart, or for the ears of two or three of peculiar and kindred
temperament, who will forgive everything, so that some favourite
chord be touched. He tells him that he will mould his verse to little
purpose, if he fail to secure the attention of judicious, as well as
gentle and imaginative readers; and that it is unwise in him wantonly
to incur the ridicule of men whom a little more sobriety of thought
would have added to his listening and admiring audience. He tells
him that imagination ought not to be divorced from sense, and that
distracted metaphors ought not to be seen wandering about, with nothing
to illustrate; that it is not well to write with wilful obscurity; nor
to torture the ear with discord; nor perplex, and weary, and unfit for
the enjoyment of what is really excellent, by a perpetual exaggeration
which borders, if it is not quite within, the region of hyperbole.

One must be pardoned for repeating the very rudiments of criticism
to some of the headstrong writers of our day. A lucid, correct,
harmonious, style--they have forgotten what it means--what virtue there
is in it. They speak, or think, of it as of some matter of antiquated
prejudice--of stale, conventional observance. It is no matter of
convention; it is the living source of a calm perpetual gratification.
It is the music of the printed book. It is that which makes reading a
delight, as well as a necessary task. It is that which makes another's
thought, to the mind, what the visible object is to the eye--seen
without effort, and seen clad with beauty, as well as distinguished by
form and position. Whether the subject of the poet be of a calm and
gentle, or of a grand and sublime description, this charm of beautiful
composition ought always to accompany it. The theory is false which
separates beauty from sublimity. The wing of the eagle is not less
graceful than that of the smallest bird which flutters from bough to
bough, or from flower to flower; nor is his flight less smooth, in his
stormy altitudes, than the slow sailing of unruffled swans in their
peaceful element. And as the pleasure attendant upon distinct and
melodious language is of itself of the calm and graceful order, so also
some degree of calmness and self-possession should pervade the mind
of the poet who is to produce it for us. Not always must the thought
flow torrent-like. Let it gush with what precipitation it will from
the smitten rock, but let the waters subside and tranquillise a little
before the prophet invites us to dip our thirsty lips into the stream.
Let the hour of reflection follow at due interval. Not always is the
poet to be in the full tempest of original composition;--as, however,
Mr Bailey seems to think, both by his practice and the advice he gives
in his drama to the Student--

                              "Once
    Begun, work thou all things into thy work,
    And set thyself about it as the sea
    About the earth, _lashing at it day and night_."

Poets who give and follow such advice as this, grow to have a horror of
_distinctness_ of thought. They shrink from examining their own ideas,
lest these should turn out to be no ideas at all; or perhaps very good
and sensible ideas, but shockingly true and commonplace. They leave
them, therefore, with the bloom of obscurity upon them, and lapse into
the conviction that a certain degree of indistinctness is inseparable
from subtlety and refinement of thought. A great mistake. Your subtle
and refined thinking, if it be worth anything, if it be really
_thinking_, must be distinct to those who have the ability to perceive
what is subtle and refined. The thinnest gossamer that floats upon the
air, _if it is to be seen_, must have an outline as well defined as
if it were part of a ship's cable. But it is in vain to preach this
doctrine to such writers--vain to argue that the imagination, in its
most ethereal exercise, should still have an alliance with sense--we do
not say with _common_ sense, but with some intelligible thought: they
have a direct interest in believing the contrary. What! sacrifice this
image!--silence all this thunder!--throw away this new word we have
just coined to express our else unutterable conceptions!--impossible!

If these remarks of ours appear to be of a very elementary character,
the fault lies with those who render their repetition necessary. Mr
Bailey, in his composition, has contrived to commit all the oldest
sins in the newest kind of way. He has not only, by the aid of German
metaphysics, become transcendently obscure, but he also emulates Messrs
Sternhold and Hopkins, in the baldness and ruggedness of his verse.

    "It is time that something should be done for the poor."

Who would imagine that this was a line of poetry? It is,
however; and forms the commencement of a speech of Lucifer's. The whole
speech follows in the same style of composition:--

    "_Lucifer._--It is time that something should be done for the poor.
    The sole equality on earth is death;
    Now, rich and poor are both dissatisfied.
    I am for judgment: that will settle both.
    Nothing is to be done without destruction.
    Death is the universal salt of states;
    Blood is the base of all things, law and war.
    I could tame this lion age to follow me.
    I should like to macadamize the world;
    The road to Hell wants mending."

We give another specimen. It is a lyrical effusion delivered by the
_Angel of the Earth_. We must give a lengthy and continuous sample,
lest it should be said that it is we who, by omitting some portions,
have made nonsense of the rest.

    "_Angel of Earth._--Stars, stars!
    Stop your bright cars!
    Stint your breath--
    Repent ere worse--
    Think of the death
    Of the universe.
    Fear doom, and fear
    The fate of your kin-sphere.
    As a corse in the tomb,
    Earth! thou art laid in doom.
    The worm is at thy heart.
    I see all things part:--
    The bright air thicken,
    Thunder-stricken:
    Birds from the sky
    Shower like leaves:
    Streamlets stop,
    Like ice on eaves:
    The sun go blind:
    Swoon the wind
    On the high hill-top--
    Swoon and die:
    Earth rear off her cities
    As a horse his rider;
    And still, with each death-strain,
    Her heart-wound tear wider:
    The lion roar and die,
    With his eyeball on the sky:
    The eagle scream,
    And drop like a beam:
    Men crowd and cry,
    'Out on this deathful dream!'
    A low dull sound--
    'Tis the march of many bones
    Under ground:
    Up! and they fling,
    Like a fly's wing,
    Off them the gray grave-stones;
    They sit in their biers--
    Father and mother,
    Man and wife,
    Sister and brother,
    As in life;
    Lady and lover--
    Love all over.
    Their flesh re-appears--
    Their hearts beat--
    Their eyes have tears:
    Woe--woe!
    Do they speak?
    Stir? No.
    Tongues were too weak,
    Save to repeat
    'Woe!'
    But they smile
    In a while," &c.--(P. 84.)

In these days, when it is said that verse has hard matter to keep
its ground, and is thought to be going altogether into disrepute, is
it wise to give us such verse as this? Or was it well to conjure up
angelical or supernatural persons to repeat it? Or, again, is it wise
of one, who really has poetic power, to abuse it in such rant and
hyperbole as the following? We quote from a part of the poem where
the author is dealing with the most popular and favourable subject
a reflective poet could select. Festus, under pretence of giving an
account of another, describes his own early emotions at his first
intercourse with nature and with life--those emotions which made a poet
of him. Our extract leads off with a noble line, as happy as it is
bold--"All things talked thoughts to him;" and we would wish to rescue
from apparent censure the fine expression for the sky--"The blue eye
of God." For the rest, it is what we have attempted to characterise as
_poetical rant_--imagination grown raving and delirious.

    "All things talked thoughts to him!--The sea went mad,
    And the wind whined as 'twere in pain, to show
    Each one his meaning; and _the awful sun_
    _Thundered his thoughts into him_; and at night
    The stars would whisper theirs, the moon sigh hers.
    The spirit speaks all tongues and understands;
    Both God's and angels', man's, and all dumb things,
    Down to an insect's inarticulate hum,
    And an inaudible organ. And it was
    The spirit spake to him of everything;
    And with the moony eyes, like those we see,
    Thousands on thousands, crowding air in dreams,
    Looked into him its mighty meanings, till
    He felt the power fulfil him, as a _cloud_
    In every _fibre_ feels the forming wind.
    He spake the world's one tongue: in earth and heaven
    There is but one; it is the word of truth.
    To him the eye let out its hidden meaning;
    And young and old made their hearts over to him;
    And thoughts were told to him as unto none,
    Save one, who heareth, said and unsaid, all.
    And his heart held these as a grate its gleeds,
    Where others warm them.
      _Student._             I would I had known him.
      _Festus._--All things were inspiration unto him:
    Wood, wold, hill, field, sea, city, solitude,
    And crowds and streets, and man where'er he was;
    And the blue eye of God which is above us;
    Brook-bounded pine spinnies, where spirits flit;
    And haunted pits the rustic hurries by,
    _Where cold wet ghosts sit ringing jingling bells_;
    Old orchards' leaf-roofed aisles and red-cheeked load;
    And the blood-coloured tears where yew-trees weep
    O'er churchyard graves, like murderers remorseful."

The same most favourite subject--of the early feelings of a poet--he
encounters in another scene of the drama, where he meets the very Muse
herself. We prefer to select from these parts, because, though more
extraordinary passages might be found elsewhere, yet on those occasions
the extraordinary or unsuitable nature of his theme may be thought
to have betrayed him into the _violent_ style of writing we have to
condemn. Festus meets the Muse in some one of the happy planets that he
visits. She speaks in rhyme. We give a part of her address, and part of
the answer of Festus. But first we must premise, that the Muse had that
morning watched a particular ray of light, as it travelled from the sun
to the earth--had "listened" to this ray, and reports what it said upon
its unwilling journey downwards. She then sees this ray enter a cottage
where a young poet is sitting, and in this original manner introduces
her description:--

    "_Muse._             A boyish bard
    Sate suing night and stars for his reward.
    The sunbeam swerved and grew, a breathing, dim,
    For the first time, as it lit and looked on him:
    His forehead faded--pale his lip, and dry--
    Hollow his cheek--and fever-fed his eye.
    Clouds lay about his brain, as on a hill,
    Quick with the thunder thought and lightning will.
    His clenched hand shook from its more than midnight clasp,
    Till his pen fluttered like a wingèd asp;
    Save that no deadly poison blacked its lips:
    'Twas his to life-enlighten, not eclipse;
    Nor would he shade one atom of another,
    To have a sun his slave, a god his brother.
    The young moon laid her down as one who dies,
    Knowing that death can be no sacrifice,
    For that the sun, her god, through nature's night,
    Shall make her bosom to grow great with light.
    Still he sat, though his lamp sunk; and he strained
    His eyes, to work the nightness that remained.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Festus._     Yes, there was a time
    When tomes of ancient song held eye and heart--
    Were the sole lore I reeked of: the great bards
    Of Greece, of Rome, and mine own master land,
    And they who in the Holy Book are deathless--
    Men who have vulgarised sublimity,
    And bought up truth for the nations--_parted it_
    As soldiers _lotted once the garb of God_;
    Men who have forged gods--uttered, made them pass;
    In whose words, to be read with many a heaving
    Of the heart, is a power, _like wind in rain_:
    Sons of the sons of God, who, in olden days,
    Did leave their passionless heaven for earth and woman,
    Brought an immortal to a mortal breast;
    And, like a rainbow clasping the sweet earth,
    And melting in the covenant of love,
    Left here a bright precipitate of soul,
    Which lives for ever through the lines of men,
    Flashing by fits, like fire from an enemy's front:
    Whose thoughts, like bars of sunshine in shut rooms,
    Mid gloom, all glory, win the world to light;
    Who make their very follies like their souls;
    And, like the young moon with a ragged edge,
    Still in their imperfection beautiful;
    Whose weaknesses are lovely as their strengths,
    Like the white nebulous matter between stars,
    Which, if not light, at least is likest light."

We do not attempt to analyse these passages, it would take up too
much space; and the reader, if he thinks fit, can do it for himself.
Neither have we, except on one or two occasions, resorted to the usual
expedient of marking in italics all we would censure, for almost the
whole of our extracts would then have been printed in italics. Of
course there is something better than this in the poem, or we should
not have given it such praise as we have; but there is also a great
deal that is worse. The various specimens we have presented are no
bad average of what constitutes a very large portion of the book.
Yet this is the poem which, we are told, has been received with most
applausive welcome, both by the public and the critics! In the edition
we have before us--the third, and, we believe, the latest--there is
appended at the conclusion a series of laudatory extracts from Reviews
and Magazines, and also of opinions, most eulogistic, given by men of
literary celebrity. In what shape these last were originally expressed,
whether in print or in private letter, we are not informed. If extracts
from private letters, though doubtless published with the writer's
permission, their publication strikes us as a novelty, even in these
advertising days. Mr Tennyson is set down as saying--"I can scarcely
trust myself to say how much I admire it, for fear of falling into
extravagance." Sir E. Bulwer Lytton speaks with more caution--"A most
remarkable poem, of great beauty, and greater promise. My admiration
of it is deep and sincere." Ebenezer Elliott exclaims--"It contains
poetry enough to set up _fifty_ poets." The ladies are still more
enthusiastic. Mrs S. C. Hall outbids Mr Elliott. "There is matter
enough in it to float a _hundred_ volumes of the usual prosy poetry.
It contains some of the most wonderful things I ever read." Eulogistic
extracts from Reviews, and Magazines, and newspapers, follow in
abundance; it is a universal clapping of hands and shout of triumph.
The whole vocabulary of applause is exhausted. An American critic
"classes it with the Iliad, and Macbeth, and Paradise Lost!"--a
classification not quite so lucid as it is flattering. Our more sober
and Dissenting brethren seem to have pardoned all its heresies, or
not to have seen them, in the dazzling and unintermitting blaze of
its genius. Its critics catch the tone of their applauded poem, and
speak in hyperbolics, as the only language capable of expressing the
intensity of their admiration. "Who," exclaims one, "that has ever read
_Festus_, has forgotten that _prodigious_ poem? You find in it all
_contradictions reconciled_--all _improbabilities accomplished_--_all
opposites paired_--all formulas swallowed--all darings of thought and
language attempted"--a rapture of criticism, which took us with much
surprise, when we saw the respectable authority attached to it.

Well, let the reader now turn back to the specimens we have given
him--or look into the poem itself--he may take up whole handfuls of the
same description. Has all sincerity, all truth and candour, died out
of criticism? Or, because it stands on record that some judgments too
severe were lately passed on the first efforts of youthful genius, has
criticism become all at once exceeding timid, quite tame, humbled, and
subdued? Are we so afraid of being thought blind to novel and original
displays of genius, that we are all resolved to praise--to do nothing
but praise--as the only safe course to pursue? Some have entertained
angels, it seems, unawares, and entertained them but rudely; therefore,
henceforth, let us do homage to every new comer--the more mysterious,
the more homage. Such a stir, it appears, has been made about the
obtuseness of reviewers to the more subtle or sublime beauties of
poetry, that the poor critic dares not use his own eyes--nor tell what
he sees with them--nor whisper what he does _not_ see.

Hans Andersen, in one of his tales for children, tells an admirable
story, how two rogues pretended to weave for the royal person a tissue
of gold and silk, of a novel and most beautiful description. It had,
however, this peculiar property--it was invisible to fools. Of course,
it is needless to say that every one at court saw and was charmed with
its surpassing beauty. The rogues had a pleasant time of it: pensions
from the crown, applause from all the world. They threw an empty
shuttle through an empty loom, and the connoisseurs and critics looked
on with intense delight, and out-rivalled each other in extolling the
growing splendours of this exquisite fabric. Wonderful! Prodigious!
Poetry for fifty! Poetry for a hundred! Prodigious! Wonderful!

But we have not, all this time, given any account of the plot or
purpose of _Festus_. It is a hard task, but it must be undertaken. In
imitation of the Faust of Goethe--or say, adopting, like it, the proem
to the Book of Job--the drama opens with a scene in heaven, wherein
Lucifer appears, and asks permission to tempt Festus. The mortal
whom the Spirit of Evil here selects for his especial temptation,
has the thirst for knowledge, and the contempt for human life, which
distinguish the whole family of the Fausts. But whereas the German
poet adopted a philosophical indifferentism as his position, or
standing-point, from which to survey the scene of human life and of
human thought, Mr Bailey has a positive and very intricate creed to
enunciate, and has made his poem a vehicle for teaching a dogmatical
system of theology, which, if not altogether orthodox, certainly
does not fail from the paucity, or the too great simplicity, of its
doctrines. Instead of doubt, we have a heresy. A most extraordinary
medley of Christian tenets and transcendental or Hegelian metaphysics,
is taught, and chiefly by the devil himself! Lucifer, who assumes at
first something of the mocking vein of Mephistopheles, proves to be a
learned professor of Göttingen or Berlin, and the preacher of a very
refined and spiritual, though somewhat heterodox, Christianity. When we
add that--interweaving, as it were, some scenes from quite a different
drama, on the loves of the angels--Mr Bailey has represented his
great Spirit of Evil falling desperately in love with a mortal maid,
Elissa--"sighing like furnace"--outheroding mere human lovers--yet
jilted, and suffering (as it seems in a most genuine manner) the pangs
of despised passion--our readers will be prepared to agree with us that
never was so strange a Satan conceived or delineated, either in prose
or verse.

The drama opens, as we have said, in heaven.

      "_God._--What wouldst thou, Lucifer?
      _Lucifer._                               There is a youth
    Among the sons of men, I fain would have
    Given up wholly to me.
      _God._                He is thine,
    To tempt.
      _Lucifer._ I thank thee, Lord!
      _God._                             Upon his soul
    Thou hast no power. _All souls are mine for aye._"

This ultimate salvation of all mankind, and of all peccant spirits,
is a conspicuous doctrine of Mr Bailey's. The law of universal
necessity is another. One might suppose that this announcement of the
decreed salvation of Festus would nullify the permission given to
Satan to tempt him, and induce that spirit to relinquish his hopeless
scheme. But the second doctrine of philosophical necessity assists
us in explaining the conduct of Lucifer. He, being a consistent and
enlightened Necessarian, knows that he must fail in his attempt, but
knows also that he must make it--knows that he must act according to
his nature, and incessantly strive to ruin, vitiate, and destroy.

The next scene brings us down to earth, and introduces us to Festus.
And here the reader naturally expects a series of temptations on the
part of the Evil Spirit, of struggles, lapses, and repentances on the
part of the mortal. But no such thing. The strangest relationship
imaginable is established between the two. The Spirit of Evil
reveals to Festus all manner of profound knowledge, metaphysical and
theological; carries him up into heaven, where he learns that his own
name is written in the Book of Life; conveys him through all space,
into the sun, the planets, hell, Hades, and even invests him with the
privilege of ubiquity; performs, in short, every service which so
potent a spirit could render to an ambitious mortal. With respect to
moral delinquency, the only blemish in the character of Festus is a
certain inconstancy in love. His passion is of a tender, imaginative,
and ennobling character; but he transfers it from one beauty to another
with unpardonable levity. He is a sort of poetical or sentimental
Don Juan: Angela, Clara, Helen, Elissa, by turns kindle his amorous
devotion. But this faithless and too redundant worship of woman's
beauty, is not brought about in any manner, by the instigation or the
aid of Lucifer. This inconstant temper he had already manifested, and
given the worst example of, before his acquaintance with the great
tempter. The saddest fault he is chargeable with, his abandonment of
Angela, has been already committed. Nay, this inconstancy in love is
manifested on the last occasion much to the annoyance of Lucifer,
who is driven, by the superior attractions of his pupil, from the
affections of Elissa. We hear Festus very magnanimously pardoning the
Evil One for having tempted him; but it appears to us that Lucifer had
more reason to complain of his friend Festus, than Festus of Lucifer.
At the very close of the drama, Festus is placed, we know not how, on
the throne of all the world!--an elevation dangerous enough. But he
holds it only for a single day. He has no opportunity for the abuse of
power, and his aspirations for possessing it have been of the purest
description. Just before his elevation, he has most devoutly exclaimed--

    "Lord! Thou knowest that the power I seek
    Is but for others' good, and Thine own glory,
    And the desire for it inspired by Thee.
    So use me as I use it."

The Spirit of Evil has asked permission to tempt Festus, but he
occupies himself with teaching a system of divinity, an improved
and transcendental Christianity. He does all in his power to
elevate the thoughts of his pupil, and to enlarge the bounds of his
knowledge--enables him to explore the whole universe, and solve the
most profound mysteries. His talk is wild at times; he retains a
diabolic taste for conflagrations, and the burning up of worlds, which,
in this civilised epoch, he might have laid aside, with his horns and
tail; but, upon the whole, he appears in the light of a most edifying
companion, and a most serviceable spirit. Any young gentleman who,
not satisfied with seeing the world, should be desirous of travelling
through the universe as well, might reasonably congratulate himself
on such a guide and companion. The title of some of the _Scenes_ will
alone show what glorious revelations await those favoured mortals whom
the Devil thinks proper to tempt. We have _Scene, the Surface_; _scene,
the Centre_; _scene, Space_; _scene, Heaven_; _scene, Hell_; _scene,
the Skies_; _scene, Elsewhere_; _scene, Everywhere!_ These localities,
if such they are, could not possibly be described with a more sublime
contempt for detail.

One of the earliest scenes, however, of the drama, takes place in the
humbler precincts of a _Country Town_, and strange enough is the part
which Lucifer and Festus enact before a number of people gathered
together in the market-place. Lucifer delivers a sermon to them in the
style of Maw-worm; and Festus performs his part in this divine service,
by delivering a long, and apparently a serious prayer, which, for
aught we see, might be adopted by any Dissenting minister desirous of
varying his extempore effusions. If there is any heresy, there is, at
all events, no poetry in it which he would find it necessary to omit.
But both these speakers soon ascend to higher regions of speculation,
and to higher regions of the universe. They ascend into heaven--Lucifer
still being able, it seems, to act here as master of the ceremonies.

    "_Lucifer._ All-being God! I come to Thee again,
    Nor come alone. Mortality is here.
    Thou bad'st me do my will, and I have dared
    To do it. I have brought him up to heaven.
    _God._ Thou canst not do what is not willed to be.
    Suns are made up of atoms, heaven of souls;
    And souls and suns are but the atoms of
    The body, I, God, dwell in. What wilt thou
    with him who is here with thee?
    _Lucifer._                      Show him God.
    _God._ No being, upon part of whom the curse
    Of death rests--_were it only on his shadow_,
    Can look on God and live.
    _Lucifer._                Look, Festus, look!
    _Festus._ Eternal fountain of the Infinite,
    On whose life-tide the stars seem strewn like bubbles,
    Forgive me that an atomie of being
    Hath sought to see its Maker face to face,

       *       *       *       *       *

    Forgive me, Lord!
    _God._ Rise, mortal! Look on me.
    _Festus._ Oh! I see nothing but like dazzling darkness.
    _Lucifer._ I knew how it would be. I am away.
    _Festus._ I am thy creature, God! Oh, slay me not,
    But let some angel take me, or I die.
    _Genius._ Come hither, Festus.
    _Festus._                      Who art thou?
    _Genius._                                I am
    One who hath aye been by thee from thy birth,
    Thy guardian angel, thy good genius.
    _Festus._ I knew thee not till now.
    _Genius._                          I am never seen
    In the earth's low thick light; but here in heaven,
    And in the air which God breathes, I am clear.
    I tell to God each night thy thoughts and deeds;
    And watching o'er thee both on earth and here,
    Pray unto Him for thee, and intercede.
    _Festus._ And this is heaven.    Lead on.
          Will God forgive,
    That I did long to see Him?
    _Genius._                   It is the strain
    Of all high spirits towards Him....
    Come, I will show thee Heaven and all angels.
    Lo! the recording angel.
    _Festus._                Him I see
    High seated, and the pen within his hand
    _Plumed like a storm-portending cloud which curves_
    _Half over heaven_, and swift, in use divine,
    As is a warrior's spear!
    _Genius._ And there the Book of Life which holds the names,
    _Formed out in starry brilliants_, of God's sons--
    The spirit-names which angels learn by heart
    Of worlds beforehand. Wilt thou see thine own?
    _Festus._ My name is written in the Book of Life.
    It is enough. That constellated word
    Is more to me and clearer than all stars,
    Henceforward and for aye.
    _Genius._                  Raise still thine eyes!
    Thy gleaming throne!--hewn from that mount of light
    Which was before created light or night,
    Never created, heaven's eternal base,
    Whereon God's throne is 'stablished.--Sit on it!
    _Festus._ Nay, I will forestall nothing more than sight."

The various scenes of which the drama is composed follow in no
intelligible order; it is rarely that one seems to lead to the other.
Festus, after this extraordinary visit into heaven, is the same Festus
that he was before. He descends to earth to make rapturous love
to Helen, or he wanders through all the worlds of space, the same
discontented and mystified mortal. At length, after having explored
the whole universe, and apparently escaped from Space itself, he is
suddenly elevated by Lucifer to the throne of this planet earth.

    "_Scene A gathering of Kings and Peoples._
    _Festus_ (_throned._) Princes and Peoples!
          Powers, once, of earth!
    It suits not that I point to ye the path
    By which I reached this sole supreme domain--
    This mountain of all mortal might. Enough,
    That I am monarch of the world--the world.
    Let all acknowledge loyally my laws,
    And love me as I them love. It will be best.
    No rise against me can stand. I rule of God;
    And am God's sceptre here. Think not the world
    Is greater than my might--less than my love--
    Or that it stretcheth further than mine arm.
    Kings! ye are kings no longer. Cast your crowns
    Here--for my footstool."

In this wonderful position he does nothing, nor has time to do
anything. He has no sooner assumed his throne than his subjects all die
off. The world has come to an end.

    "_Festus._ Hark! thou fiend! dost hear?
    _Lucifer._ Ay! it is the death-groan of the sons of men,
    Thy subjects--King!
    _Festus._            Why hadst thou this so soon?
    _Lucifer._ It is God who brings it all about--not I.
    _Festus._ I am not ready--and--it shall not be!
    _Lucifer._ I cannot help it, monarch! and--it is!
    Hast not had time for good?
    _Festus._                    One day--perchance.
    _Lucifer._ Then hold that day as an eternity.
    _Festus._ All round me die. The earth is one great deathbed."

Then follows a millennium, and, after that, Judgment Day. All mankind
are saved, and not man only--Lucifer and all his host are re-admitted
into Heaven. To Satan, his former throne--which has been preserved
vacant for him--is restored, together with all his pristine glory. The
drama ends in universal and eternal felicity.

Having said thus much of the plot, we may look a little closer at the
philosophy and poetry of this strange performance. We shall touch
as lightly as possible upon that admixture of Hegelian metaphysics
and evangelical divinity, which, as we have said, constitutes
the speculative portion of the work. It occupies, however, no
inconsiderable space in the poem. On one occasion Festus pours into
the ear of his mistress, in an unbroken harangue of about nine hundred
lines, the profound knowledge he has acquired from his supernatural
resources. Love is proverbially patient, and Helen listens--at least
does not interrupt. Here are some fragments that will show how severely
he must have tasked her apprehension. A spirit is speaking in one of
the innumerable visions which everywhere obscure the poem.

    "She spake, I said, the spirit, and at her word
    Behold the heavens were opened as a book.
    I am the world-soul, nature's spirit I,
    Ere universe or constellation was,
    System, or sun, or orb, or element,
    Darkness, or light, or atom, I first lived;
    I and Necessity, though twain in life,
    Yet one in Being. Time and life are one.
    But insomuch as nature is destroyed
    In God's assumption to Divine estate
    Of an especial soul, necessity
    Ends in extreme original nothingness."

It is very tantalising to be so near the source of wisdom, and utterly
unable to avail ourselves of it. How it fared with Helen we do not
know; but for ourselves, it is in vain we are told,--

    "Again the world-soul voiced itself, and I
    Drank in the _fruitful glories_ of her words
    As earth consumes the golden skiey clouds."

These "fruitful glories" are to us mere darkness. We can just gather
where some of these "clouds," by no means "golden" to our vision, came
from. As, for instance, when we hear that--

    "The actual and ideal meet but once,
    _Where pure impossibilities are facts_."

Or, further on, when this world-spirit thus enlightens
us:--

    "She stood and spake intuitive of Heaven,
    The World-divining Spirit whilom named.
    Now such as man is to himself is His
    Divine idea; but the God which is,
    Is not the God men worship, not alone
    Ineffable, but inconceivable;
    How shall an atom comprehend the Heaven?
    Two points men occupy in space and time,
    And half exist of matter and in form:
    Thus, His existence is their opposite;
    And all is either God or nothingness,
    _Being with nonbeing identical_."

And so we are landed in the Absolute of Hegel; and in that insufferable
jargon of his, by which, (confounding _the laws of thought_ with _the
nature of things_,) he proves, because we cannot think of existence
without a reference to non-existence, nor think of non-existence
without the contrasted idea of existence, that therefore existence
itself includes non-existence, and non-existence includes existence,
and they are identical--(_sein_ = _nicht sein_.)

We cannot compliment Mr Bailey on the skill he has displayed in his
combination of Hegelian philosophy with his theological doctrines. In
the following extract Lucifer is the spokesman:--

    "_Lucifer._--_All creature-minds_, like man's, are fallible:
    The seraph who in Heaven highest stands
    May fall to ruin deepest. God is mind--
    Pure, perfect, sinless. Man imperfect is--
    Momently sinning. _Evil thus results
    From imperfection._

       *       *       *       *       *

    _God hath no attributes, unless To Be
    Be one: 'twould mix him with the things He hath made._
    _Festus._ Can imperfection from perfection come?
    Can God make aught defective?
    _Lucifer._                   How aught else?
    There are but three proportions in all things--
    The greater--equal--less. God could not make
    A God above himself, nor equal with--
    By nature and necessity the highest;
    So if he make it must be lesser minds--
    Little and less from angels down to men,
    Whose natures are imperfect, as his own
    Must be all-perfect."

Here we have it stated that evil results from, or is synonymous with,
imperfection; and all creature-minds are necessarily imperfect,
inasmuch as they are inferior to God. But in the lines printed in
italics, God is represented as having "no attributes;" for that would
mix or liken Him with what He creates. There is, therefore, no room for
comparison between the creature and the Creator, there can as little
be inferiority as equality. He first finds an argument, such as it is,
in the inalienable perfection of God's attributes, and then--embracing
the Absolute of Hegel, (to us a mere shadow)--denies that God _has_
attributes.

The contradictory doctrines taught in this poem, by different speakers,
or the same speaker at different times, are to be explained, we
presume, by the dramatic exigencies of the piece. We throw out this
supposition, as a possible ground of defence or explanation; but to us
it seems that we are taught the most contradictory dogmas by speakers
of equal authority. The generally received doctrine of future rewards
and punishments is asserted at one time, and exploded, very positively,
and with very little reverence, at another. The Scriptural tenet of
redemption is generalised into a law of the universe, and the Son of
God is always suffering to redeem guilty planets. Nay, as he bore
suffering for man, we are told that he bears sin for the salvation of
fiends:--

    "_Son of God._               For men
    I bore with death--for fiends I bear with sin;
    And death and sin are each the pain I pay
    For the love which brought me down from Heaven to save
    Both men and devils."

Yet, if all _creature-minds_ are necessarily imperfect, and therefore
necessarily evil, it is difficult to understand in what the action of
redemption can consist; or how any creature can be redeemed from evil,
since evil belongs essentially to it, as a creature.

Though regretting what to us must seem the errors of Mr Bailey, we
have no disposition to censure him very severely for any heterodox
opinion he may have ventured to express. As times go, and as poets
write, Mr Bailey is remarkable for the plenitude of his faith, and the
piety of his verse. We would only, if it were possible, take from his
hands certain edged tools which he is playing with too fantastically,
and the due command of which he does not seem to have acquired. We
would merely express our regret that views which have been dictated
by, or are in accordance with, the highest sentiments and aspirations
of the human mind, should not have been rendered more harmonious with
themselves--more distinct, consistent, and intelligible.

We extricate ourselves as soon as possible from these thorny
discussions, and turn from the philosophy, to some concluding remarks
on the poetry, of _Festus_. And here we can now vary our task, and
relieve our page, by selecting some of those brilliant fragments and
admirable passages which, as we have said, abundantly prove the genius
of Mr Bailey, and which make us regret that an imagination so bold and
original has not been allied to a more disciplined intellect. Nor is
it only in the more daring efforts of imagination that he displays his
power; occasionally there are touches of true pathos; and from time to
time a charming picture, the product of a playful and tender fancy,
will flit past us in the dreary mist which too often hangs over the
scene.

There is much beauty and passion scattered through the love passages of
the drama. Clara says--

    "I wish we had a little world to ourselves,
    With none but we two in it.
    _Festus._                  And if God
    Gave us a star, what could we do with it
    But what we could without it? Wish it not!
    _Clara._ I'll not wish then for stars: but I could love
    Some peaceful spot, where we might dwell unknown,
    Where home-born joys might nestle round our hearts
    As swallows round our roofs, and blend their sweets
    Like dewy tangled flowerets in one bed.
    _Festus._ The sweetest joy, the wildest woe is love;
    The taint of earth, the odour of the skies
    Is in it. Would that I were aught but man!
    The death of brutes, the immortality
    Of fiend or angel, better seems than all
    The doubtful prospects of our painted dust.
    And all Morality can teach is--Bear!
    And all Religion can inspire is--Hope!"

Then changing his mood, with a very natural versatility, Festus says--

    "Here have I lain all day in this green nook,
    Shaded by larch and hornbeam, ash and yew;
    A living well and runnel at my feet,
    And wild-flowers dancing to some delicate air;
    An urn-topped column and its ivy wreath
    Skirting my sight, as thus I lie and look
    Upon the blue, unchanging, sacred skies:
    And thou, too, gentle Clara, by my side,
    With lightsome brow and beaming eye, and bright
    Long glorious locks, which drop upon thy cheek
    Like gold-hued cloud-flakes on the rosy morn.
    Oh! when the heart is full of sweets to o'er-flowing,
    And ringing to the music of its love,
    Who but an angel or a hypocrite
    Could speak or think of happier states?"

The name of the fair one changes--it is Helen instead of Clara that he
now idolises; but the passion is the same--the intense love of beauty.
There is a festival; he crowns Helen queen of the festive scene, with
these gay and joyous lines:--

    "_Festus._ Here--wear this wreath! no ruder crown
    Should deck that dazzling brow.
    I crown thee, love; I crown thee, love;
    I crown thee Queen of me:
    And oh! but I am a happy land,
    And a loyal land to thee.
    I crown thee, love; I crown thee, love;
    Thou art Queen in thine own right!
    Feel! my heart is as full as a town of joy;
    Look! I've crowded mine eyes with light.
    I crown thee, love; I crown thee, love;
    Thou art Queen by right divine!
    And thy love shall set neither night nor day
    O'er this subject heart of mine.
    I crown thee, love; I crown thee, love;
    Thou art Queen by the right of the strong!
    And thou did'st but win where thou might'st have slain,
    Or have bounden in thraldom long.
    I crown thee, love; I crown thee, love;
    Queen of the brave and free;
    For I'm brave to all beauty but thine, my love;
    And free to all beauty by thee."

As this displays the bounding gaiety of love, so the following extract
reveals some of the delirium of the passion:--

    "I, too, could look on thee until I wept.--
    Blind me with kisses! Let me look no longer;
    Or change the action of thy loveliness,
    Lest long same-seemingness should send me mad!--
    Blind me with kisses!"

There are many songs introduced in this, which may be described as
the more terrestrial portion of the drama. They are not, in general,
commendable. The substance of them is no better nor higher than love
songs and drinking songs are very properly composed of, whilst the
verse is destitute of that polish, grace, and harmony, which trifles
of this description ought to possess. We select one stanza, as the
happiest specimen which occurs to us of this kind of composition. Helen
is singing:--

    "Like an island in a river,
      Art thou, my love, to me;
    And I journey by thee ever
      With a gentle ectasie.
    I arise to fall before thee;
      I come to kiss thy feet;
    To adorn thee and adore thee,
      Mine only one! my sweet!"

In his description of nature, and especially of night, the stars, the
moon, the heavens, our poet often breaks upon us with a truly noble and
poetic imagination:--

                  "How strangely fair,
    Yon round still star, which looks half-suffering from,
    And half-rejoicing in its own strong fire;
    Making itself a lonelihood of light."

Of the moon he is a most permissible idolator:--

                                "See,
    The moon is up, it is the dawn of night.
    Stands by her side one bold, bright, steady star--
    Star of her heart-- ...
    Mother of stars! the Heavens look up to thee:
    They shine the brighter but to hide thy waning;
    They wait and wane for thee to enlarge thy beauty;
    They give thee all their glory night by night;
    Their number makes not less thy loneliness
    Nor loveliness."

This is of the full moon: what follows is addressed to her when she
passes as the young moon, and brings her fresh bright crescent of
light into the sky:--

    "Young maiden moon! just looming into light--
    I would that aspect never might be changed;
    Nor that fine form, so spirit-like, be spoiled
    With fuller light. Oh! keep that brilliant shape;
    Keep the delicious honour of thy youth,
    Sweet sister of the sun, more beauteous thou
    Than he sublime. Shine on, nor dread decay.
    It may take meaner things; but thy bright look,
    Smiling away on immortality,
    Assures it us----God will not part with thee,
    Fair ark of light, and every blessedness!"

Here are some scattered fragments which pleased us very much, but which
cannot be introduced under any formal classification. Describing his
desertion of his first love, Angela, Festus says,--

                          "It was thus:
    I said we were to part, but she said nothing.
    There was no discord--it was music ceased--
    Life's thrilling, bounding, bursting joy."

Of books, he says,--

                  "Worthy books
    Are not companions--they are solitudes;
    We lose ourselves in them, and all our cares."

Here is a charming picture,--

                  "Before us shone the sun.
    The angel waved her hand ere she began,
    As bidding earth be still. The birds ceased singing,
    And the trees breathing, and the lake smoothed down
    Each shining wrinklet, and the wind drew off.
    _Time leant him o'er his scythe, and, listening, wept._"

Speaking of men of genius, he says,--

    "Men whom we built our love round, like an arch
    Of triumph, as they pass us on their way
    To glory and to immortality."

The vague aspirations of one living in his ideas is thus expressed,--

                  "I cannot think but thought
    On thought springs up, illimitably, round,
    As a great forest sows itself; but here
    There is nor ground nor light enough to live.

       *       *       *       *       *

            But the hour is hard at hand
    When Time's gray wing shall winnow all away
    The atoms of the earth, the stars of Heaven;
    When the created and Creator mind
    Shall know each other, worlds and bodies both
    Put off for ever."

He says finely,--

                  "We never see the stars
    Till we can see naught but them. So with truth."

Of a young poet,--

    "He wrote amid the ruins of his heart,
    They were his throne and theme; like some lone king
    Who tells the story of the land he lost,
    And how he lost it.
    ... It is no task for suns
    To shine. He knew himself a bard ordained."

These two following quotations may be also put very well together,
though taken from different parts of the poem,--

                        "It is fine
    To stand upon some lofty mountain-thought,
    And feel the spirit stretch into the view:
    To joy in what might be, if will and power,
    For good, would work together.

       *       *       *       *       *

      But while we wish, the world turns round
    And peeps us in the face--the wanton world,
    We feel it gently pressing down our arm--
    The arm we had raised to do for truth such wonders;
    We feel it softly bearing on our side--
    We feel it touch and thrill us through the body--
    And we are fools, and there's an end of us."

The following are some of the expressions of the mingled tide of
passion, and of thought as it flows through the troubled bosom of his
hero,--

    "And if I love not now, while woman is
    All bosom to the young, when shall I love?
    Who ever paused on passion's fiery wheel?
    Or trembling by the side of her he loved,
    Whose lightest touch brings all but madness, ever
    Stopped coldly short to reckon up his pulse?
    The car comes--and we lie--and let it come;
    It crushes--kills--what then! It is joy to die.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Woman! Old people may say what they please,
    The heart of age is like an emptied wine-cup.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Oh for the young heart like a fountain playing!
    Flinging its bright fresh feelings up to the skies
    It loves and strives to reach--strives, loves in vain:
    It is of earth and never meant for Heaven.
    Let us love--and die.

       *       *       *       *       *

    And when we have said, and seen, and done, and had,
    Enjoyed and suffered, all we have wished and feared--
    From fame to ruin, and from love to loathing--
    There can come but one more change--try it--death.
    _Oh! it is great to feel we care for nothing_--
    That hope, nor love, nor fear, nor aught of earth
    Can check the royal lavishment of life;
    But like a streamer strown upon the wind,
    We fling our souls to fate and to the future.
    And to die young is youth's divinest gift--
    To pass from one world fresh into another
    Ere change hath lost the charm of soft regret,
    And feel the immortal impulse from within
    Which makes the coming life cry alway--On!
    There is a fire-fly in the southern clime
    Which shineth only when upon the wing;
    So is it with the mind: when once we rest
    We darken."

We have not yet given any favourable specimen of those more hardy and
adventurous flights of imagination--those shadowy grandeurs--which may
be said to be peculiarly characteristic of _Festus_. Selection is not
easy. As, in illustrating the exaggerations and deformities of the
work, it is difficult to quote many lines together without encountering
something really fine, and which would be _felt_ as such, if it could
be removed from its unfortunate neighbourhood; so also it is equally
difficult to cite any moderately long passage, for the purpose of
justifying admiration, without being suddenly arrested by something
very grotesque and absurd. We shall, however, make two selections from
these bolder portions of the drama: the first shall be his description
of Hell; the second, one of those dreams or visions in which our poet
so much delights:--

    "_Lucifer._ Behold my world! Man's science counts it not
    Upon the brightest sky. He never knows
    How near it comes to him: but, swathed in clouds
    As though in plumed and palled state, it steals
    Hearse-like and thief-like round the universe,
    For ever rolling and returning not--
    Robbing all worlds of many an angel soul--
    With its light hidden in its breast, which burns
    With all concentrate and superfluent woe.
    Nor sun nor moon illume it, and to those
    Which dwell in it, not live, the starry skies
    Have told no time since first they entered there.

                        Be sure
    That this is Hell. The blood which hath imbrued
    Earth's breast, since first men met in war, may hope
    Yet to be formed again and reascend,
    Each drop its individual vein; the foam bubble,
    Sun-drawn out of the sea into the clouds,
    To scale the cataract down which it fell;
    But for the lost to rise to or regain
    Heaven,--or to hope it,--is impossible."

The _Dream_ is one which Elissa relates--relates to her lover, Lucifer.
It must be acknowledged to be very like a dream in a certain vague
horror which pervades it. The image of Decay is a grand conception:--

    "_Elissa._ Methought that I was happy, because dead.
    All hurried to and fro; and many cried
    To each other--'Can I do thee any good?'
    But no one heeded: nothing could avail:
    The world was one great grave. I looked and saw
    Time on his two great wings--one, night--one, day--
    Fly moth-like, right into the flickering sun;
    So that the sun went out, and they both perished.
    And one gat up and spoke--a holy man--
    Exhorting them; but each and all cried out--
    'Go to!--it helps not--means not: we are dead.'

       *       *       *       *       *

    'Bring out your hearts before me. Give your limbs
    To whom ye list or love. My son, Decay,
    Will take them: give them him. I want your hearts,
    That I may take them up to God.' There came
    These words amongst us, but we knew not whence.
    It was as if the air spake. And there rose
    Out of the earth a giant thing, all earth;
    His eye was earthy, and his arm was earthy:
    He had no heart. He but said, 'I am Decay;'
    And as he spake he crumbled into earth,
    And there was nothing of him. But we all
    Lifted our faces up at the word, God,
    And spied a dark star high above in the midst
    Of others, numberless as are the dead.
    And all plucked out their hearts, and held them in
    Their right hands. Many tried to pick out specks
    And stains, but could not: each gave up his heart.
    And something--all things--nothing--it was Death,
    Said as before, from air--'Let us to God!'
    And straight we rose, leaving behind the raw
    Worms and dead gods; all of us--soared and soared
    Right upwards, till the star I told thee of
    Looked like a moon--the moon became a sun:
    The sun--there came----"

But here we must break off. What follows is too wild to be excused even
by the privileges of a dream. A hand comes and tears off--Yet we may as
well, perhaps, continue the quotation; it will show as fairly as any
other instance how ungovernable, and all but delirious, the excited
imagination of our poet is apt to become:--

    "The sun--there came a hand between the sun and us,
    And its five fingers made five nights in air.
    God tore the glory from the sun's broad brow,
    _And flung the flaming scalp off flat to Hell_.
    I saw Him do it; and it passed close by us."

We had something more to say of the many wild extravagancies which
with Mr Bailey have become habitual, but we will not fatigue the reader
by a recurrence to this topic. He has probably seen enough of the
glaring faults of this poem--faults which, with us, he must have learnt
to regret, from the examples we have given of the great genius which is
here undoubtedly combined with them.

After what has been said and exemplified of the poetic licenses in
which the author of _Festus_ indulges, it seems a very little matter to
add that he coins new words at discretion, as "bodies soulical," and
the like; and sometimes uses old ones in a new sense, to the complete
baffling of our apprehension, as when he speaks of a "dream of dress"
and a "tongue of dress." He also revives obsolete words, without any
apparent reason. Is there any peculiar pathos in the word "nesh?" Does
it signify some exact degree of moisture which our familiar expressions
cannot convey? Or does it add to the gratification of a reader to be
sent to his dictionary?

In the use of metaphorical language, we are not disposed to lay down
any strict canons of criticism. But there are certain general rules,
which, even without stating them to himself, every man of taste
adheres to. The great use of metaphorical language is to convey, or to
aggravate the impression or sentiment which an object creates. If one
has to praise the locks of a fair lady, one does not hunt all nature
through for an exact match, settling at once their precise colour. Mr
Bailey speaks of

                    "Locks which have
    The golden embrownment of a lion's eye."

Just that shade of brown! Still less, in describing
circumstances or feelings of a pathetic nature, does any one use a
metaphor decidedly grotesque. Yet Mr Bailey, in alluding to the most
pathetic of all topics, the hour when two lovers parted for ever, can
describe it as--

    "Making a black blank on one side of life,
    _Like a blind eye_."

We hope we shall not be accused of putting fetters upon genius, by
refusing to admire this use of metaphorical language. Neither can
we approve of a very manifest incongruity of ideas, as when night
"blushes" to hear her praises, or when "clouds" are endowed with
"fibres." We protest, too, against that class of cases where the
metaphor becomes a species of conundrum. We are told that one thing is
like another, and have to puzzle ourselves, as in a riddle, _why_ it is
like: as when, in a passage already quoted, the words of men of genius
are said to be "like wind in rain," and we ask ourselves why like wind
in rain, any more than like rain in wind? In the same passage we are
told that men of genius, _disseminating_ truth, are like the soldiers
who "lotted the garb of God." Here the simile seems to be as _unlike_
as possible, for the lot could fall only upon _one_.

We require, also, that when the metaphor is extended into an allegory,
that the meaning of the allegory be apparent; and this we more
particularly insist upon, when the allegorical detail or circumstance,
viewed by itself, without reference to the meaning it typifies, is
monstrous and absurd. As, for example, when Mr Bailey marries the sun
and the moon, and, for what hidden purpose we know not, conducts them
through the wedding ceremony.

                          "In golden he,
    In silver car came she, down the blue skies,
    But on return they clomb the clouds in one."

And we are told--

    "It was the world's All-sire gave the bride."

We have already alluded to the strange caprice and incongruity of
representing Lucifer at one time as the grand Personification of the
Principle of Evil, and, at another, confining him down, a very slave to
the passions of an amorous swain. Here, too, there may be some profound
meaning symbolised. But we see it not. To the reader it seems as if Mr
Bailey had here brought upon the scene all the powers and prerogatives
of Satan, merely to emblazon the triumph of love; just as Dryden,
and the French tragedians whom he imitated, delighted to represent
an amorous monarch, because they could throw him, with his crown and
kingdom, at the feet of beauty. Those who have not read the poem will
scarce credit our account of this portion of it, without seeing some
extracts. They are the last we shall give to show the extreme wildness
and extravagance which deface the drama of _Festus_.

We first see Lucifer as the happy lover, speaking to his Elissa just as
other happy lovers:--

    "_Lucifer._ To me there is but one place in the world,
    And that where thou art; for where'er I be,
    Thy love doth seek its way into my heart,
    As will a bird into her secret nest."

There is a great deal of this delighted rapture. He departs, however,
leaving Elissa in charge of his friend Festus. When he returns, he
finds that Festus has supplanted him. His agony is quite piteous; if
we could believe there was any sincerity in this love-afflicted devil,
it would be impossible not to compassionate him. He calls up all his
grandeur, and reveals all his power, only to add weight and dignity to
his reproach. He even hints at the reformation that would have taken
place in his character, had Elissa been but true. Elissa faithful, and
Lucifer would have become the very saviour of mankind.

    "_Lucifer._            Hear me now!
    Thou knowest well what once I was to thee:
    One who, for love of one I loved--for thee,
    Would have done _or borne the sins of all the world_:
    Who did thy bidding at thy lightest look;
    And had it been to have snatched an angel's crown
    Off her bright brow as she sat singing, throned,
    I would have cut these heartstrings that tie down,
    And let my soul have sailed to heaven, and done it--
    Spite of the thunder and the sacrilege,
    And laid it at thy feet. I loved thee, lady!"

And again, in another scene, he says, reproaching her for her
inconstancy--

    "I am the morning and the evening star,
    The star thou lovest and thy lover too;
    I am that star! as once before I told thee,
    Though thou wouldst not believe me, but I am
    A spirit and a star--a power--an ill
    Which doth outbalance being. Look at me!
    Am I not more than mortal in my form?
    Millions of years have circled round my brow
    Like worlds upon their centres;--still I live;--
    And age but presses with a halo's weight.
    This single arm hath dashed the light of Heaven;
    This one hand dragged the angels from their thrones;
    Am I not worthy to have loved thee, lady?"

Certainly a most noble Paladin. But here we quit Mr Bailey--repeating
again our sincere admiration of his poetic genius, and our regret,
equally sincere, that it has not been united with better judgment and
with better taste; and that he had not waited till his own opinions,
theological and philosophical, had settled into _something approaching_
to consistency and harmony, (in a poem we ought perhaps to require
no more,) before he had planned this elaborate drama, in order to
promulgate them. Those who seek for the beauties, and those who are in
search of the monstrosities of literature, may both apply themselves
with success to Festus: we wish we could say that the former would be
likely to reap the more abundant harvest.



CASH AND PEDIGREE.[6]

[6] _Sacs et Parchemins._ Par JULES SANDEAU. Paris, 1850.


It will hardly be disputed that if the French are more subject than
any other nation to fits of political lunacy, upon the other hand no
people in the world are prompter to recognise and deride their own
temporary folly; although, unfortunately, neither recognition nor
derision have hitherto sufficed to prevent recurrence of the paroxysms.
The echoes of February's fusillade and of Provisional revelries still
filled the air, when satire and caricature began their work, assailing
the new order of things with those shafts of ridicule which in France,
if skilfully directed, rarely fail to be fatal. It was no fleeting
shower of squibs by which the follies of 1848 were assailed, but a
steady, well-sustained discharge of missiles much more formidable. M.
Louis Reybaud is a pyrotechnist of no ordinary power, and his paper
projectiles had the destructive effect of a flight of congreve rockets.
We believe that the home-truths, pungent wit, and fearless sarcasm of
_Jérome Paturot_ had no small share in convincing the new republicans
how monstrous was the folly they had so hastily perpetrated, and
which they since have had such abundant reason and leisure to repent.
Bloodier pages there have been in the history of France, but scarcely
one more pitiable than that on which the events of the last two years
are inscribed, and posterity will gaze in amazement, almost with
incredulity, on the record of vanity and mischief. The French have
not waited till now to discover how completely they have stultified
themselves, and to regret the head-long precipitation that bid a
ruinous price for a questionable reform, a reform far more effectually
obtainable by less violent means. In short, the February Revolution
has long been held as legitimate game for ridicule in France as in any
other European country. Numerous as are the jests of which it has been
the object, the satirists have not yet exhausted themselves, and the
year 1850 finds them still improving the text.

M. Jules Sandeau is not usually a favourite of ours. Those of his
works that have come under our notice are for the most part tame and
insipid. It was, therefore, with agreeable surprise that we read the
very smart and lively opening of his last novel, in which he has
abandoned sentiment for satire, and risen above his usual monotonous
level. We cannot say that the book is altogether an agreeable one,
as most persons understand the word. Similar, in this respect, to a
recent well-known satirical novel of English society, it contains
no characters with which the reader can heartily sympathise. The
motives of all the characters are more or less sordid and selfish,
at least till quite the close of the tale, when two of them exhibit
more generous impulses. The book has a double aim: to satirise French
society generally, and to ridicule the February Revolution. As far as
we can discover, M. Sandeau's leanings are Orleanish; but he does not
intrude his friends upon us, contenting himself with ridiculing their
enemies. A certain epigrammatic vivacity of style and expression,
occasionally amounting to wit, and an ingenious plot, fully sustain the
reader's attention. The types presented of certain important classes
of Frenchmen are certainly not flattered, but neither must they be
looked upon as mere caricatures. Legitimacy finds little favour with M.
Sandeau, or at least he presses hard upon its partisans, those denizens
of the noble faubourg who to the last held aloof from the monarchy of
July. The republicans, whether of the eve or of the morrow, are painted
in not very attractive colours. The pivot of the tale is the misplaced
ambition of a wealthy Parisian burgess, whose heavy purse and huge
vanity render him the target of a host of intriguers, and especially
of a dowager marchioness, more proud of her pedigree than scrupulous
in her manœuvres. The first four pages of the book are perhaps as
good a specimen as it affords of the author's _piquant_ and animated
style. They introduce and describe four of the principal actors in the
comedy; a purse-proud citizen and his daughter, a democratic notary
and an impoverished nobleman, a compound of the fortune-hunter and the
_chevalier d'industrie_. The chapter is too long to extract unabridged,
but we will endeavour so to condense it as to give a faithful idea of
its style, premising that we aim at rendering the spirit rather than
the letter of the original.

Monsieur Levrault was an honest citizen who had grown rich by selling
cloth near the Market of the Innocents. When he retired from trade,
the vapours of pride and ambition rose suddenly to his brain. Wealth,
like wine, has intoxicating fumes. On beholding himself the possessor
of three millions of francs, honestly and laboriously amassed in the
shop handed down to him by his father, the worthy man, seized with a
vertigo, discovered that money, which he had long looked upon as the
goal of his desires, was in fact but the starting-post; he experienced
a vehement longing to cast his slough, quit the obscure regions in
which he had hitherto dwelt, and soar, like a butterfly escaped from
its chrysalis, toward the brilliant spheres for which he felt himself
born. Vague at first, timid and unavowed even to himself, these
ideas slid furtively into his mind; and once there, quickly assumed
formidable proportions. We were then at a considerable distance from
the democratic cravings of July, and although the aristocracy of
finance generally showed itself rather disdainful towards its elder
sister, there yet were a tolerable number of persons for whom titles
of nobility still had a charm. M. Levrault aspired, moreover, to
the dignity of statesmanship. Elevations of all kinds had peculiar
attractions for him. To encourage himself, he complacently reverted to
recent citizen records. Provoking phantoms everywhere pursued him, even
in his sleep--ministers, peers of France, newly-made nobles, some of
whom he recognised as having discounted his bills, and others as having
sold him the Kerseymeres of Elbeuf and Louvièrs. By dint of using such
expressions as these:--"We great manufacturers, we great capitalists,"
he came at last to forget that he had made his fortune, penny by penny,
in a retail trade. He loved to call to mind the lists formed for
the recruiting of the peerage. One night he dreamed that his porter
brought him a large letter with this address:--"M. le Baron Levrault."
With trembling hand he broke the seal, and found in the envelope his
nomination as peer. The next morning, still quite excited, he gave a
five-franc piece to the porter, who never knew to what to attribute
this munificent act. At a time when money might aspire to everything,
the millionaire's dreams had nothing very exorbitant. Nevertheless,
there is no doubt that his wife would have taken him severely to task
with all the frank unceremoniousness of Madame Jourdain. "Levrault,
you are but a fool," would she have said, without mincing the matter.
"Do me the favour to keep quiet. We have nothing to do with honours
and dignities. Wealth is no bad prize in the lottery of life; let us
enjoy it modestly. Money is not everything, whatever people may say;
and we have found means to earn three millions without adding an iota
to our personal value. Let us keep in our own trade, and remember what
we were. Let us continue to live amongst people who esteem us, and not
thrust ourselves into society that would laugh at us. The more I look
at you, the more certain am I that you would impose upon nobody. For
my part, the more I examine myself, the less do I discover materials
for a woman of quality. On the other hand, as retired shopkeepers, we
pass muster very well, and may present ourselves with advantage in
all the drawing-rooms in the neighbourhood. Put aside those follies.
Buy a good estate, and look after it. Since you are ambitious, get
yourself chosen mayor and churchwarden. Go a-fishing: it was formerly
your ruling passion. You like dahlias: grow them. Give dinners to your
friends and alms to the poor. And finally, marry your daughter to
some honest fellow who will not be ashamed of his wife's children, or
blush to say some day to his family: 'Your grandfather was a worthy
man who sold cloth in the Rue des Bourdonnais; if you are comfortably
off in the world, it is to him especially that you owe it.'" Such
is the language Madame Levrault would not have failed to use to her
husband, and perhaps she might have succeeded in putting him in the
right path; unfortunately she had been ten years in her grave, and had
taken with her all the good sense of the family. M. Levrault knew very
well that honours and dignities would not seek him in his _entresol_
of the Rue des Bourdonnais. He had already turned his back on all his
friends; he only waited to begin a new existence, till his daughter
should have left school. Not knowing on what side to seek entrance
into the great world, the object of his ardent desires, he reckoned on
the inspirations of Miss Laura Levrault, who worthily replied to his
expectations.

Miss Laura Levrault had been educated at one of the most aristocratic
of Parisian schools. She might have proved a charming person, had she
been brought up conformably to her condition in life. Transplanted
into a flower-bed of seedling countesses and budding marchionesses,
she had early lost her natural grace and perfume: like a sparrow in an
aviary of goldfinches, she had learned, before all things, to smart
for her origin. The jests and sly allusions of her young companions
were a constant source of irritation. Young girls are merciless to each
other; in that respect they are already women. Instead of exercising
reprisals on the arrogant and silly creatures who made it their sport
to humiliate her, she conceived a sullen and profound hatred for the
shop where she was born, and for the entire Rue des Bourdonnais.
The very name of Levrault exasperated her. When this odious name
(almost always affectedly pronounced) resounded in the school-room
or play-ground, she shuddered painfully, and felt overwhelmed with
shame. One day she had put on a cloth gown. Little de B---- said
to her, "That gown only costs you the making." Every one laughed
except Laura, who swallowed her tears. Another time they asked her if
one of her ancestors was not at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. On
another occasion, Miss de R---- and Miss de C----, already versed in
heraldry, took a fancy to compose her coat-of-arms. These were canting
heraldry--a field sinople, with a gold metre in a bend, supported by
two silver leverets courant. Laura took to her bed. Thus was it, that
at every opportunity, and even without pretext, they enlarged and
envenomed her wounds. Needless to say what mysterious sympathies and
secret intelligence such an education bade fair to establish between M.
Levrault and his daughter. At the age of eighteen, Miss Levrault was
what is usually called a pretty girl--red and white, abundant brown
hair, eyes well opened, smooth, clear forehead, and an elegant figure.
In the _tout-ensemble_, however, there was an indescribable something
rather common--the original shop mark--which would hardly have been
noticed but for the affectation employed to conceal it. Her character
was positive, and her imagination sedate: her heart was sure of itself,
and had never rambled in the region of dreams and chimeras. In her the
cold breath of vanity had withered all the flowers which bloom in the
spring-time of life. Had her mother lived, doubtless she would have
succeeded in developing the precious germs that pride had stifled. Left
too early to herself, Laura had neglected, as useless plants, all her
good qualities, and had cultivated only her defects. It were unjust
not to add that she had more accomplishments than most young girls of
her age. Constantly depreciated by her companions, she had neglected
nothing that might raise her above them. She was a good musician, and
painted landscapes with as much skill as can he expected from an artist
who has never studied nature. She had taken lessons of Frederick Chopin
and Paul Huet. All through vanity. When once she had left school, and
was fully aware of her fortune, Laura took in with an eager gaze the
dazzling perspective that opened before her. She had wit enough to know
that, with a dowry of a million, and two millions more in anticipation,
she must not expect to be married for her own sake. Love by no means
engrossed her thoughts. Her ideas on the subject of marriage were very
positive and distinct. Well convinced that the man who should ask her
hand would do so with an eye to her wealth, she decided, for her part,
to be guided in her choice by her ambition, and resolutely declared to
her father that she would marry none but a man of title. M. Levrault
pressed her to his heart: he recognised his blood. Besides, for him
it was the surest and most rapid means of access to that society into
which he ardently longed to penetrate, but from which he well knew that
he was separated by an abyss. He resolved to cross the chasm upon the
shoulders of his son-in-law.

All that remained to be done was to seek this son-in-law, who
assuredly was not to be found in the neighbourhood of the market of
the Innocents. M. Levrault had heard say that of all the provinces of
France, Brittany was the richest in old and noble families, and that
castles were there as plentiful as cottages. He would willingly have
believed that in Brittany loop-holed towers shot up like mushrooms.
It was in Brittany, then, that he would establish himself; there he
would lead an opulent existence, and spread the golden nets destined to
capture the phœnix of sons-in-law. This plan decided upon, M. Levrault
wrote to a notary at Nantes, whom he had known as head clerk in a Paris
office.

"MY DEAR MR JOLIBOIS,--The time has at last arrived for me
to repose myself amongst a class of persons whose tone and habits
agree with my tastes. Amidst the cares of business I have often
dreamed, for my ripening years, of an asylum hallowed by the great
names of our history. Brittany has always attracted me by its heroic
associations. Laura, to whom I have given, as was my duty, the most
brilliant education, an education worthy of her rank, has more than
once spoken to me of that chivalrous land. You will learn, then,
without astonishment, that it is my intention to acquire a rich domain
in Brittany. Only, to use an expression borrowed from the vocabulary of
the lower classes, I would not buy a pig in a pock. Before deciding,
I must visit all parts of that beautiful country; become acquainted
with its sites, and study its manners. Well, my dear Mr Jolibois, I
address myself to you with perfect confidence. Hire in my name, for
one year, in the environs of Nantes, a chateau whose position may
permit me to become familiar with the nobility of the district. When I
have explored the neighbourhood for a year, it will be easy for me to
make a choice. It is unnecessary for me to add that I intend to live
in great style, and to keep my house on a lordly footing. You will be
good enough to organise everything, accordingly,--from the ante-chamber
to the kennel, from the cellar to the stable, from the poultry-yard
to the drawing-room. Excepting my daughter's maid, I shall take no
servants from Paris. It would be agreeable to me, I confess, to see
around me some of those old domestics, models of devotion and fidelity,
who live and die where they were born: try to recruit four or five
such. Let everything be ready to receive us: spare no expense; I have
three millions. The new life that I intend to lead will be a life of
festivity and princely hospitality. Let the country know beforehand who
I am. Tell of my labours, of my wealth--in a word, let me be expected.
Although I am quite decided to mix only with people of the first
quality, you will, nevertheless be welcome, my dear M. Jolibois, and
from time to time you shall come and hunt a stag with me. I rejoice
beforehand at the idea of ending my days in the county of Clisson and
Duguesclin. Laura has so often spoken to me of those gentlemen, and
of their great feats of arms, that I shall be happy to know their
descendants, and to receive them at my table. Above all, forget not
that I wish to be in the immediate neighbourhood of the flower of the
aristocracy, and to behold from my windows a dozen loop-holed castles,
with tower, ditch, and drawbridge.

"Adieu, my dear M. Jolibois. I reckon on your punctuality, as you may
reckon on my patronage.

  LEVRAULT."

It so happened that Jolibois the notary was a shrewd fellow, with a
turn for humour. Head clerk at Paris, and on the point of purchasing
a provincial practice, he had prowled round M. Levrault's millions,
and had one day ventured to ask the hand of Laura. He said to himself,
that, after all, if the Duke of Lauzun had been on the point of
wedding with Henry IV.'s granddaughter, Stephen Jolibois might very
well marry the daughter of M. Levrault. M. Levrault, with superb
disdain, proved to him he was mistaken. Stephen Jolibois retreated,
with a discomfited countenance, and little expecting one day to
find an opportunity of showing his gratitude. Master Jolibois, who,
notwithstanding his present official character, had not yet forgotten
the tricks of his clerkly days, rubbed his hands as he read the letter
of the father-in-law he had coveted. Its impertinence and folly might
well have provoked the raillery of the most inoffensive. Young, gay,
and fond of a joke, Master Jolibois seized with avidity the opportunity
offered him of avenging a slight, and putting money into his pocket. A
week later, he wrote the following answer to M. Levrault:--

"I hasten to inform you, Sir, that I have hired for you a dwelling
adapted, as I hope, to all the requirements of your rank, and all the
delicacy of your tastes. It is a pretty chateau of modern architecture,
standing on the banks of the Sevres, between Tiffauge and Clisson,
eight leagues from Nantes. I am proud, I confess, to have so soon
and so happily justified the confidence you are pleased to accord
me. Without loss of a moment, I have busied myself in arranging your
establishment on a footing consistent with your position. I have
neglected nothing, and am glad to think you will be satisfied. In a
fortnight all will be ready for your reception. I comprehend all the
elevation of your thoughts: you desire to live with your equals. With
that quick and unerring glance which marks you as one of the eagles
of the manufacturing world, you have fixed upon the very province
which alone is worthy of possessing you. You will find at your door
the chosen society you desire. The castles of Tiffauge, of Mortagne,
and of Clisson, open their arms to you. Agreeably with your desire, I
have spoken of your coming. The nobles of the neighbourhood know who
you are, and will dispute the honour of welcoming and entertaining
you. They are well aware that industry is now the queen of the world,
and already they feel a respectful sympathy with you. Think not that
your immense fortune has anything to do with their prepossession in
your favour. Your merit alone is the cause of their impatience. Since
I announced your approaching arrival, you are the subject of universal
conversation; whithersoever I go, I am overwhelmed with questions
as to the day and hour of your coming. Miss Levrault's beauty will
revive the most amiable traditions of chivalry. I lack time to name
to you to-day all the great families whose castles are grouped round
yours. The least illustrious date from the second crusade. Miss Laura,
whose memory is so richly stored, will hardly meet without pleasure
and emotion, at a few paces' distance from your park, a descendant of
Godfrey of Bouillon, a noble old man, whose conversation is a treasure
of reminiscences. Farther on, you will find the last survivor of a
family allied with the Baudouins and the Lusignans: Viscount Gaspard do
Montflanquin, young, handsome, chivalrous, perhaps too disinterested,
he has but to express his willingness to receive: the new dynasty,
proud of his adhesion, ask but to reward it. Viscount de Montflanquin
will serve you as a guide in your excursions, and in the choice of your
friends. Hasten, then, to the shades of La Trélade, (it is the name
of your chateau,) there to forget the noble toils that have occupied
your career. Be assured of my moderation in availing myself of the
welcome you so graciously promise me. I well know the distance that
separates us; but I reckon on the pleasure of hunting a stag with you.
A year hence, if you decide to settle in Brittany, I hope to number you
amongst my clients: your name will be the glory of my office.

"Accept, sir, the assurance of my highest consideration,

  JOLIBOIS."

The same post that carried this epistle, conveyed another, equally
flattering and sincere, to a dissipated viscount of ancient name and
broken fortunes, who was then eking out a precarious and disreputable
existence amongst the bouillotte and lansquenet tables of Paris.
Respectful sympathy, a disinterested desire to see Gaspard de
Montflanquin regild his shield, redeem his lands, and rebuild the
tumble-down Breton tower, in which, Jolibois declared, the needy
viscount reminded him of the Master of Ravenswood, alone induced the
benevolent notary to inform him of the expected arrival of the heiress
of three millions, and her tuft-hunting father, and to advise him of
the best means of propitiating the one, and appropriating the other.
After the wedding, a postscript intimated, there might be some question
of the reimbursement of 80,000 francs, and ten years' compound interest
thereon, due from the viscount to the estate of the deceased Jolibois
_Père_; but this was a minor consideration to the unselfish notary, who
dwelt much more urgently on the necessity of keeping the Levraults from
becoming acquainted with the Marchioness of La Rochelandir, who, with
her son, a handsome young man of five-and-twenty, resided at no great
distance from the clothier's mansion of La Trélade.

A fortnight later, four smoking posters whirled M. Levrault and his
daughter along the road to Clisson. After passing Nantes, the worthy
Parisian was somewhat surprised not to see a greater abundance of
turrets and loopholes, and to find that, even in Brittany, castles
were not found, like hedge alehouses, by the road-side. An hour after
sunset, a loud flourish of the post-horn was replied to by all the
dogs and echoes in the neighbourhood, a park gate flew open as by
enchantment, an avenue was suddenly illumined with coloured lamps, and
the horses dashed up to the front of the chateau of La Trélade, whose
steps Jolibois, in full dress, was seen gravely to descend, by the
light of torches held by a double row of footmen. The notary himself
opened the carriage-door, and put down the steps.

"'Tis well, Jolibois--'tis well," was the negligent remark of M.
Levrault, whose skin could hardly hold him, but who would fain have
given himself the airs of a great man, accustomed to such receptions;
and leaning on his daughter's arm, he slowly ascended the stairs. "Good
day to you, my friends--good day to you," said he, in a patronising
tone, to the lacqueys, who bowed to the very ground, whilst two or
three of them exclaimed, "Long live M. Levrault!" Preceded by Jolibois,
whose gravity was imperturbable, he entered a richly decorated
dining-room, where a splendid supper was laid out on a table laden
with glass, wax-lights, and flowers. Seated between the notary and his
daughter, M. Levrault mastered his emotion with difficulty; in spite
of himself, he admired the decoration of the apartment, and the order
of the feast. The most exquisite dishes, the raciest wines, rapidly
succeeded each other. Three attendants, in white gloves, yellow plush
breeches, blue liveries, and green lace, glided like shadows around
the table. Laura herself felt agitated. As to Jolibois, he ate and
drank like a man who did not expect such another chance for the next
ten years. The repast at an end, they walked out into the park, where
Jolibois had prepared a fresh surprise. Whilst strolling on a vast
lawn, a rocket rose suddenly into the sky, and at fifty paces in his
front, M. Levrault beheld a wall of fire. A dozen wheels whirled
round, vomiting torrents of sparks, whilst Bengal lights illuminated
the darkest recesses of the avenues, and Roman candles shot out of the
shrubberies like luminous serpents, and fell again in showers of stars.
This was too much for M. Levrault; he grasped Jolibois' hand, and in a
voice of undisguised emotion, "Jolibois," he said, "it is the happiest
day of my life."

Laura, although secretly flattered, yet could not help smiling at the
reflection that it was her father who paid for the powder, and that in
reality the entertainment was given to M. Jolibois.

As the party returned to the house, they beheld, by the final gleams
of the fireworks, a little groom, about the height of a top-boot,
advancing to meet them.

"What is it? who wants me?" said M. Levrault, with the air of a
minister-of-state, whom some one interrupts, and who has not a moment
to himself.

"It is Galaor," said Jolibois.

"Galaor!" cried M. Levrault, opening his eyes very wide.

"M. Levrault?" inquired Galaor, approaching the group with consummate
assurance.

"What is your pleasure, my man? I am M. Levrault."

Galaor took a letter from his pocket and presented it to M. Levrault,
whose gaze was instantly arrested by the armorial bearings on the seal.
It was the first of the kind he had ever received. After examining the
arms as if to recognise them, he broke the wax and read as follows in
a loud voice, whilst the young slave presented an enormous nosegay of
roses and jessamine to Laura, who blushed with pleasure.

"Viscount Gaspard de Montflanquin is impatient to learn how M. Levrault
and his daughter have got through their journey. He solicits permission
to present himself to-morrow, at two o'clock precisely, at the chateau
of La Trélade, and takes the liberty to place a few roses from his
garden at the feet of Miss Levrault."

"You see, sir," said Jolibois, "you have but just arrived, and already
the greatest names in the country throng around you."

"I am touched by the attention, I do not deny it. Galaor, present our
thanks to your master, the Viscount Gaspard de Montflanquin. Tell him
we got through the journey in a carriage-and-four, and that to-morrow,
at whatever hour he likes, we shall be happy to receive him."

Galaor bowed respectfully; his cloth gaiters, laced hat, and coroneted
buttons, presently disappeared round the curve of the avenue.

To pave the Viscount's way to the good graces of father and daughter,
both already well disposed in his favour, the generous Jolibois began
to chant his praises, and to explain how it was that, from the most
disinterested motives, the influential representative of the house of
Montflanquin had recognised, a few years previously, the monarchy of
Louis Philippe. His first appearance at the court of the Citizen-King,
so the notary assured M. Levrault, was an incident that would be read
of in history.

"The presentation," continued Jolibois, "took place in the
throne-saloon, in presence of the queen, the princes, the princesses,
and all the great dignitaries of state. 'Sire,' said the Viscount,
without arrogance and without humility, 'I adhere frankly to your
dynasty. Let your majesty deign to permit me, however, to stipulate one
condition.' At these last words the king frowned, and the faces of all
present assumed in an instant a stupified expression. 'Viscount Gaspard
de Montflanquin,' said the king in his turn, 'we impose conditions,
but accept them not. Nevertheless, speak! to set so bright a gem in
our crown, there is nothing we would not do.' 'Sire,' replied the
Viscount, 'I adhere to your dynasty on condition that your majesty
will do nothing for me, and that I may be permitted to remain poor as
heretofore.'"

"How noble!" cried Laura.

"Too noble!" added M. Levrault. "What said the king?"

"The king opened his arms to the Viscount de Montflanquin, and held
him long to his heart. I need not add that his eyes were suffused
with tears. 'We will do nothing for you,' he at last kindly said;
'since you desire it, you shall be nothing, not even peer of France.
But bear in mind that, whatever you ask, whether for your relations
or your friends, you shall obtain it, noble young man, from our royal
gratitude.'"

Great was the admiration of M. Levrault, when Jolibois proceeded to
inform him that more than one high-placed personage owed his position
to a word of the influential Viscount, by whom he, Jolibois, had
himself been offered a prefecture, which his republican principles
prevented his accepting. And when, in addition to this interesting
information, the ex-clothier learned that Montflanquin was unmarried,
he made up his mind that this was the son-in-law who should help him
to a peerage. Nor was he shaken in this resolution by a romantic story
told by the astute man of parchments, from which it appeared that
the Viscount had made a vow of celibacy over the corpse of his first
and only love, Miss Fernanda Edmy de Chanteplure, drowned some years
previously, on the eve of her wedding-day, before her bridegroom's
eyes, and in spite of his heroic efforts to save her.

We must pass rapidly over this earlier portion of the book, which is
not altogether essential to the principal plot, but is in some degree
complete in itself, and has a _dénouement_ so far as the viscount is
concerned. That worthy duly makes his appearance at La Trélade, and,
as duly, starts, trembles, and is violently agitated on beholding
and hearing Miss Levrault, between whom and his lost love, the very
noble and eternally regretted Mademoiselle de Chanteplure, a most
extraordinary resemblance exists. He succeeds in ingratiating himself
with both father and daughter; undertakes to do the honours of the
province, and to introduce them to its most illustrious inhabitants.
Notwithstanding this assurance, after three months' residence the
visitors at La Trélade are limited to a gouty old count, a creditor
of Montflanquin's--on whose marriage he, like Jolibois, reckons for
reimbursement, and who, in the meantime, condescends to take the air
in M. Levrault's carriage--and to a greedy chevalier and self-styled
descendant from Godfrey of Bouillon, who would give his entire
genealogical tree for a good dinner, and whose gratitude for the
succulent repasts to which the viscount is the means of his admission,
precludes his own speaking of that adventurous individual, otherwise
than in terms of the very highest eulogium. As to Gaspard himself,
he lives at La Trélade, leaving it only at night for his ruinous
chateau, where the faithful Galaor keeps watch--that youthful and
depraved Balderstone being compelled, owing to the extreme penury of
his noble master's exchequer, to subsist himself on the plunder of
the neighbouring hen-roosts and rabbit-warrens. All things progress
favourably for the Viscount's schemes. The ex-clothier, convinced of
his unbounded influence at court, is impatient at his not proposing,
and ready to throw his daughter into his arms. Laura herself, although
but moderately fascinated by the very ordinary frontispiece of the
last Montflanquin, and somewhat surprised that Brittany can produce
no better specimen of its hereditary nobility, yet, seeing no choice,
and burning with impatience to abdicate her plebeian patronymic, has
made up her mind to accept the viscount, when one morning, in the
course of a long and solitary ride, she stumbles upon the castle of
La Rochelandier, from which Gaspard has hitherto carefully kept her
by the interposition of imaginary morasses, and other dangers equally
unreal. Her suspicions already roused by finding that an easy canter
along a pleasant valley leads her to the dilapidated but still stately
edifice which had been depicted to her as of such perilous approach,
a single interview with the adroit dowager opens her eyes to the
viscount's manœuvres, and when she again reaches home, escorted by the
handsome Marquis de la Rochelandier, it is with the full determination
to discard the aspirant, whom a few hours previously she had been
resolute to accept. Discarded the unlucky Montflanquin accordingly
is, the downfall of his hopes being accelerated by the treacherous
Jolibois, who, finding his debtor's chance gone, gives him the last
kick by arresting him, and the viscount is trotted off to Nantes in
a taxed cart, in charge of a leash of bailiffs, whilst the devoted
and disconsolate Galaor remains on the threshold of the ruined tower,
wringing his hands and mourning for his wages.

From the incarceration of Gaspard de Montflanquin dates a new epoch
in the chronicle of the Levrault family. The gouty count and the
_gourmand_ chevalier having shared his disgrace, La Trélade is for a
while desolate, and the man of millions moodily paces its solitary
halls. Jolibois, whilst declaring himself the dupe of the Viscount,
whom he now loudly proclaims an adventurer, has thought proper, for
purposes of his own, to speak disparagingly of the Rochelandiers. He
has a notion that by persuading M. Levrault that France is on the
eve of a republic, he may still obtain the hand of Laura. In this
he is totally mistaken. He certainly succeeds in making the man of
cloth miserably uneasy and undecided, but not in persuading him of
the approaching downfall of that privileged order of which he so
ardently desired to become a member. Nevertheless, M. Levrault's recent
experience has considerably lessened his admiration of the Breton
nobility. On all hands he beholds traps for his millions, baited with
coronets by pauper aristocrats. Furious at the intriguing viscount, he
yet deplores the downfall of the edifice of which that individual was
the keystone.

"In M. Levrault's eyes, Brittany was now no better than a vast den
of thieves. He especially mistrusted the castle of La Rochelandier,
which he persisted in considering as the haunt of _chouans_, a focus
of conspiracy--of Legitimist intrigues and stratagems. It will be
remembered that, when Gaspard, dismissed and discomfited, was crossing
the court-yard of La Trélade, Levrault called out in a voice of
thunder to get the carriage ready--that he was going to the castle
of La Rochelandier. This was merely an ingenious mode of giving the
death-blow to Gaspard. Right or wrong, he could not tell why, M.
Levrault detested the Rochelandiers. It is hard to say by what peculiar
process of reasoning this clever citizen had come to look upon them as
the cause of all his misfortunes. All his deceptions dated from the
hour that his daughter had crossed their threshold; the departure of
peace and happiness from La Trélade coincided with the first visit of
the young Marquis. M. Levrault almost brought himself to believe that,
without the Rochelandiers, the Viscount would have really been all he
wished to appear--a model and mirror of chivalry. If Gaspard was a
scamp, it was the fault of La Rochelandier."

Miss Levrault, however, was of a very different way of thinking from
her father. The Marchioness, too, had her designs on the plebeian's
millions; and, by a sort of instinct, without concerted plan, the two
women played into each other's hands. No wonder, then, that in less
than six weeks from the Viscount's disgrace, the La Rochelandiers
were welcome and frequent guests at La Trélade, and that the skilful
attentions of the Marchioness had again put M. Levrault on the best
possible terms with himself.

"Nevertheless, the great manufacturer was not happy. Something was
wanting to his felicity: it was a son-in-law in perspective. Gaston
did not replace Gaspard. M. Levrault well knew that an alliance with
a Legitimist could lead to nothing for himself. In vain did Laura
tell him of the approaching return of Henry V.--of the honour of
being received, in the meanwhile, by the Duchesses of the faubourg St
Germain: M. Levrault was deaf in that ear. He cared nothing for the
drawing-rooms of the noble faubourg, and felt that his only chance of
expanding into blossom was by favour of the vivifying rays of the sun
of the _bourgeoisie_. Besides that, the attitude of the young Marquis
was not encouraging. If Gaston coveted the manufacturer's millions,
he still seemed little disposed to stoop to pick them up. Too proud
himself to mount to the assault, he left the conduct of the siege to
his mother, quite determined, however, to enter the fortress so soon as
the gates were opened. At heart loyal and honourable, he was not one of
those poetical and purely intellectual beings who are utterly careless
of the good things of this world. Still young, he had already tasted
of the realities of life. The whole of his youth had not passed under
his ancestor's roof. Without making any great display, he had lived at
Paris in an elegant, frivolous, and dissipated, but honourable circle,
where his name, wit, and good looks had been made much of. After a few
years, perceiving that the remnant of his patrimony was insufficient
to enable him to maintain his rank in those golden regions, condemned
to idleness by the traditions of his family, and too honest to accept
the existence of a Montflanquin, he heroically retired to his ruined
castle, where he and his mother were literally dying of ennui, when the
Levraults arrived at La Trélade, and the whole province resounded with
reports of the father's wealth and folly. For some time past Madame
de la Rochelandier--whose pride, weary of wrestling with poverty, had
consented to bow its head, well resolved to rear it again at a future
period--had meditated for her son a lucrative mis-alliance, which
might mend the fortune of their house, and enable them to await, with
tolerable patience, the return of their legitimate sovereign. Miss
Levrault appeared to her like the dove announcing the end of the
deluge. What followed may easily be guessed. When his mother proposed
to him to marry the heiress, Gaston, shocked at first, hesitated
afterwards, and finally consented. His visits to La Trélade sharpened
his appetite for riches. He was not in love with Laura; but he easily
persuaded himself that love was not an essential condition of marriage
with a young and pretty person afflicted with a dowry of a million. He
did not deceive himself as to Miss Levrault's sentiments, and said to
himself, that as she sought only his title, he, on his part, was fully
justified in seeking only her wealth."

We do not often meet with a novel to which it is less easy to do
justice within the limits of an article, than to the clever and
amusing one now under examination. Without a complete analysis of the
plot--rendered difficult by its complication, and by the numerous
minor incidents and scenes, of which some mention is essential to
its clear intelligence--it is difficult to select extracts that
shall have interest when detached, and at the same time give a
fair idea of the really very considerable merit of the book, which
abounds in sly touches of satire, often defying both extraction and
translation. In the early portion of the work, where Montflanquin is
a prominent character, the pencilling is sometimes so broad as to
border on caricature; but when the bailiffs remove him from the scene,
Jolibois at the same time falling temporarily into the background,
and the Marchioness, attaching herself to their intended victim, in
her turn spreads her web for the millions, M. Sandeau comes out in
his very best style, depicting, with great skill, the cautious and
tortuous approaches by which the attenuated dowager-spider proceeds
to the appropriation of the bulky, well-conditioned fly. For a time,
her machinations are fruitless. In vain does she coax, caress, and
insidiously flatter; the millions hold out. But she knows how to turn
the delay to profit, by using it to acquire a thorough knowledge of the
weak points of the fortress. With her astuteness, she is not long in
penetrating the inmost recesses of the cloth-merchant's little soul.
This done, she distributes her snares accordingly. And soon a day comes
when, at the close of a long and interesting _tête-à-tête_, in the
cool shrubberies of La Trélade, the spider and the fly go upon their
several ways rejoicing. M. Levrault has agreed to give his daughter
to the Marquis, whose mother undertakes that after the marriage his
father-in-law shall have the satisfaction of seeing him pay his homage,
for the first time, at the footstool of the Citizen-King. The rich
plebeian cannot, for an instant, doubt of the high reward reserved for
the man who is thus the means of rallying to the dynasty of July the
head of an ancient and illustrious house.

An hour after this interview, the Marchioness was on the road back
to her manor; and M. Levrault, beaming with triumph, entered his
daughter's apartment.

"'Madame la Marquise!' he exclaimed, 'embrace your father!'

"'My son!' said the Marchioness, on reaching home, 'embrace your
mother; you are master of millions!'"

The wedding over, a move is made to Paris. The clever dowager, who
has not married her son to an heiress with the intention of herself
vegetating in Brittany, has the address to make M. Levrault solicit
her company. In his mind's eye, the absurd old citizen already beholds
himself occupying a prominent place in the Chamber of Peers: he has
heard say that all eminent statesmen have their Egeria, and in that
capacity he desires to retain the invaluable services of Madame de la
Rochelandier, who, after a due show of reluctance, makes one of the
party to Paris. Poor Levrault soon has reason to repent his invitation.
Before departing, the Marchioness insists upon making him a present
of her feudal residence of La Rochelandier. Accordingly, its name is
changed to Castle Levrault; and to it are transferred the handsome
furniture, sumptuous hangings, dogs, horses, and equipages that had
rendered La Trélade so luxurious a habitation. But, on reaching
Paris, the Marchioness shows herself determined to recompense her own
generosity. A magnificent hotel is taken in the Faubourg St Germain,
where she reigns paramount, ingeniously making it appear that her life
is a succession of sacrifices, and that she has regretfully quitted her
rural seclusion, to assist her dear friend Levrault in climbing to the
pinnacle to which his talents cannot fail to raise him.

"To embellish the abode of so eminent a man, whose destiny was so
lofty, she found nothing sufficiently sumptuous and magnificent. She
was resolved the cage should be worthy of the bird, the frame suitable
to the portrait, and constantly regretted she had not at her disposal
a fairy's wand or Aladdin's lamp. At each of these fine speeches,
the great manufacturer opened his beak wide, and let fall something
better than a bit of cheese. The Marchioness herself had superintended
the decoration of the famous saloon in which was to be consummated
the union of the nobility and the _bourgeoisie_. The servants of La
Trélade, with their pistachio-coloured lace and yellow plush breeches,
had been replaced by dignified domestics in black, to whom M. Levrault
was continually on the point of taking off his hat. His coachman wore
powder and a cocked hat; his _chasseur_ was six feet high. By one of
those delicate attentions which the Marchioness was never weary of
lavishing on her amiable friend, all the plate was engraved with the
La Rochelandier arms, which were to be found even upon the knives and
china. M. Levrault's own chariot bore a marquis's coronet. He could not
but be touched by all these marks of consideration. The Marchioness
received him at all hours of the day, drove out with him to the Bois
do Boulogne, and, still more frequently, to make purchases. She had
renewed old intimacies, sent out invitations which had been eagerly
accepted; already the saloons of the Hotel Levrault were peopled with
aristocratic physiognomies. The work of conciliation was proceeding;
the winter set in under favourable auspices. A few months more, and
it was not only the marquis his son-in-law, but the entire Fauxbourg
St Germain, that the ex-clothier would rally at one blow around the
dynasty of 1830; yet a few months and legitimacy would not retain a
single partisan on the left bank of the Seine. Who would then be the
dupe? Truly M. de Chambord in his German castle."

The real dupe was the unlucky Levrault, who soon found himself a mere
cypher in his own house. The Marchioness, having firmly established
her despotic sway over the entire establishment, changed her tactics,
and gradually pushed him more and more into the background. Servants,
horses, carriages, were hers, not his; it was she who invited guests,
received and returned visits. At first M. Levrault rejoiced to see
fifteen or twenty persons daily assemble round his dinner table; but
soon he discovered that the host is not always that person in whose
house one dines. He himself was but a guest the more, the entertainer
was the Marchioness. At night she was enthroned in the drawing-room,
whilst M. Levrault, whom no one heeded, wandered mournfully through
the crowd, and had sometimes the satisfaction of hearing praises of
the luxury and elegance of the Hotel _La Rochelandier_, a name which
the Marchioness at last had the assurance to inscribe in gilt letters
above the entrance to his house. Meanwhile there was no talk of going
to court. Month after month elapsed, and the event on which were based
all Levrault's ambitious dreams was still deferred, or, it should
rather be said, was never referred to either by the Marchioness or her
son. At last, losing patience, M. Levrault spoke to his son-in-law on
the subject. Gaston repudiated with indignation the idea of recognising
the usurping dynasty by presenting himself at the Tuileries, declared
he should incur his mother's malediction by so doing, and was
disposed to look upon his father-in-law as insane, when that worthy
gentleman alleged the Marchioness's promise. A visitor interrupted
the conversation at this point, and M. Levrault, furious, hurried to
the Marchioness to seek an explanation. This leads to one of the best
situations in the book. After a sharp verbal duel, M. Levrault rises
from his chair, pale with anger.

"Madame la Marquise, you have made a fool of me. To-day, this very
morning, I have seen your son and put the question to him plainly.
He has never entertained the intention you attribute to him. He has
neither said nor done anything to mislead you. You well know his views
upon the subject, and I know now what your fine promises are worth. You
were perishing of ennui in your ruined castle. To restore the fortunes
of your family, to be able to reappear in society, you condescended to
court and flatter the plebeian you now disdain. I hate your party; I
never disguised that fact. I have always detested your political sect;
there is no sympathy possible between the Levraults and M. de Chambord.
If you had not assured me--if I had not believed, that your son would
give in his adhesion to the present dynasty, I would never have given
him my daughter and a third of my fortune. I relied on your good faith,
and you have shamefully deceived me."

Whilst M. Levrault pronounced these last sentences, Gaston, who
had come in from his ride, was standing at the open door of the
drawing-room, pale, motionless, and silent. The Marchioness was about
to reply, but, on beholding her son, the words died away on her lips.

"Mother," said Gaston coldly, advancing towards her, "I understand
everything: you have trafficked with my name. Better, a hundred times,
had it been to submit to our poverty, or to permit and teach me to work
to reconstruct our fortune. You have passed a contract which I did not
subscribe, but which I nevertheless will fulfil."

Then, turning to M. Levrault:

"Make yourself easy, sir: we will go to court."

And without another word Gaston quitted the room, leaving the
Marchioness overwhelmed with consternation, and M. Levrault intoxicated
with joy.

In spite of the Dowager's threatened malediction, Gaston persists in
his resolution. The court-dresses are ready; M. Levrault, in whose
roseate dreams a count's coronet nightly recurs, and who has more than
once alarmed the house by rehearsing in his sleep the maiden speech
that is to electrify the Chamber of Peers--has passed two entire days
majoring before his mirror in white cassimere smalls, embroidered coat,
and steel-hilted rapier. It seems as if nothing short of an earthquake
could prevent the consummation of his long-cherished hopes. Yes, one
other thing can, and cruel fate decrees that thing shall come to pass.
Fortune, long favourable to the plodding shopkeeper, frowns upon the
aspirant to court honours. Engrossed by anticipation of his expected
happiness, M. Levrault is inattentive to the signs of the times, and
persists in turning a deaf ear to the alarming reports that circulate
abroad. Thus it happens that when, on the eve of the day appointed for
his presentation, he strolls towards the Tuileries, repeating, for at
least the thirtieth time, a carefully rounded phrase intended for the
ear of royalty, he is not only shocked, but perfectly astounded, on
beholding a number of ill-looking persons throwing the furniture out of
the palace windows. We must try to make room for a final extract.

"The purlieus of the Tuileries were the scene of indescribable tumult
and confusion. Armed bands traversed the bridge and the quay. Shots
fired in the air increased the intoxication of the victors. From the
windows of the palace there issued, like the roar of the waves upon the
beach, the hoarse voices of the mob. Cuirassiers' chargers, mounted by
children, were galloping through the crowd. The people all had weapons;
the soldiers only were unarmed. Groups of persons with curious,
anxious, alarmed countenances, told each other the news; the royal
family had fled, and of all the courtiers, all the councillors, all the
men of war who surrounded them, not one had been found to draw a sword
or flash a cartridge. M. Levrault was looking and listening with a
stupified air, when a hand was laid upon his shoulder: turning quickly
about, he found himself face to face with Jolibois. The Radical notary
was armed to the teeth. In his girdle were two pair of holster pistols,
a dragoon sabre dragged at his heels, a double-barrelled fowling-piece
was on his shoulders. His face, begrimed with powder, might have
belonged to a soldier who has done nothing all day but load and fire.
But his innocent weapons were blood-guiltless; like a prudent warrior,
he had waited till all was over before making his appearance on the
scene of action. He was now marching upon the Chamber of Deputies, at
the head of a score of men equipped like himself. On recognising him,
M. Levrault was struck with consternation. "Well!" cried Jolibois,
"what did I tell you? Who was right? You would not believe me; do you
believe me now? I have a good nose; I smelt to-day's banquet long ago.
The people triumph, the monarchy is down, the infamous bourgeoisie is
dead. I and my men are off to the Chamber to proclaim the Republic."

"The Republic!" stammered M. Levrault in a stifled voice.

"Yes, my boy, the Republic! In an hour you shall have it." And taking
him aside, as if fearful of being overheard by his followers: "Here
you are in a nice mess, my good friend," he continued. "I would not
be in your skin. A notary would not do for your son-in-law; you must
needs have a marquis. Your millions were not enough to make you a mark
for the anger, the justice of the people. Your hotel is a nest of
Legitimists; to-night perhaps it will be a heap of ashes. Take warning,
and get out of the scrape as you can."

Thereupon Jolibois broke away from M. Levrault, who clung to his
garments, and hurried of to the Chamber. It were idle to attempt to
depict M. Levrault's consternation and terror. The mere word "Republic"
suffices to bewilder his brain and freeze his blood. In his dictionary,
Republic signified fire, murder, and pillage. To these causes of
alarm were to be added his wealth, his son-in-law, his connexion with
the Legitimist party. Distracted, despairing like a drowning man, he
fancied he heard his name murmured around him, and read threats and
vengeance on every face. It seemed to him that the sum-total of his
fortune and his son-in-law's title was inscribed on his hat. He dared
not go home, for fear of being followed, but wandered to and fro,
pale, trembling, and with haggard eyes, seeking a means of protecting
his hotel from popular fury, when he saw a workman carried by upon a
stretcher. A bright idea flashed across him. By a gesture he stopped
the stretcher.

"Whither do you bear this brave fellow?" he asked in a loud voice.

"To the hospital."

"To the hospital? a child of the people, a hero who has shed his blood
for liberty, for the Republic! To the hospital! It were a disgrace to
us, my friends. Let him come home with me; my house belongs to him.
I too am a workman. Let him come to William Levrault's. Follow me,
comrades; rely upon it he shall want for nothing."

"Long live William Levrault," cried the mob, clapping their hands.

"My friends, cry Long live the Republic!"

And putting himself at the head of the procession, amidst uproarious
cries of "Long live William Levrault! Long live the Republic!" he
bravely took the road to his hotel.

The noise without had at last made itself heard in the apartment of
the Hotel Levrault. The Marchioness and Laura were together in the
drawing-room. Laura, uneasy, agitated, watched at the window for the
arrival of her father or husband. The Marchioness was triumphant. In
her eyes the events of the day could have but one signification, the
return of the Count de Chambord. The _bourgeoisie_ was put back to its
place, the nobility resumed possession of their privileges. There was
something providential in the catastrophe: Heaven would not suffer a
Rochelandier to perjure himself. In her intoxication, the Marchioness
pardoned Laura, and even M. Levrault; she forgot her resentment, and
thought only of her approaching good fortune. She was about to resume
at the Tuileries the position she occupied under the Restoration.

"Calm yourself, my dear daughter," said she, affectionately. "What
do you fear? What do you lose? You wished to go to the Tuileries, we
will go together; I will present you myself. What a difference between
the court to which I will conduct you and that to which you would
have gone! In the palace of our young king you will not be exposed
to meet intruders, people sprung none know whence. Do those who now
depart merit a regret? What was that court? a mob. Only yesterday, the
Tuileries was but an inn. A fine honour, truly, to frequent saloons
through which everybody passes! To-morrow, Henry V. will clear the
house and choose his own guests. Console yourself, my dear child; the
young king has nothing to refuse to the La Rochelandiers."

Gaston entered the room. "Well! my son, we triumph!" proudly exclaimed
the Marchioness.

"What do you hope then, madame?" Gaston gravely asked.

"We shall behold the child of our hopes; our dear Henry will ascend the
throne of the Béarnais."

"But, mother, you know not then what is passing?"

"France utters a cry of deliverance, and extends its arms to its
legitimate sovereign," continued the Marchioness with enthusiasm. "Why
do you delay, my son? Is it not your duty to go and meet him? Depart;
oh! that I could give you wings!"

"You are strangely mistaken," replied Gaston, shaking his head.
"This is not the resurrection of the monarchy of St Louis, but the
installation of the republic."

"The republic!" cried the Marchioness. "What an insane dream! It is
impossible!"

"The republic!" exclaimed Laura: "then there will be no court?"

"Impossible!" repeated the Marchioness. "Reassure yourself, my
daughter. You are mad, Gaston. The republic! How can you think of such
a thing? France has tried it already, and knows too well what it is
worth."

As she spoke the word, the door opened, and M. Levrault appeared,
sustaining with his arm the faltering steps of the wounded workman,
and followed by a dozen armed men who had escorted him to his hotel.
Gaston, Laura, and the Marchioness beheld this strange scene with the
utmost astonishment. The wounded man was about thirty years of age.
Hurt in the shoulder with a musket-ball, his face, encircled with
brown hair and a reddish beard, was still animated, in spite of pain,
with all the ardour of the combat. It was one of those countenances
characterised by a savage energy, which seem to rise out of the earth
on the occasion of any popular movement.

"Bow your heads!" cried M. Levrault on entering--"salute with respect
this hero who has given his blood to protect us from tyranny." Then,
addressing himself to the wounded man; "My friend, you are at home,
and your brave comrades shall not leave you. My friends, this house is
yours. All that you here see I have earned with the sweat of my brow. I
am too happy to share with you my little fortune, the modest fruit of
my humble labours. Here is my son-in-law, a workman in the fields of
thought, a republican like me, like yourselves.

"Say the Marquis de la Rochelandier," sternly interrupted Gaston.
"Yesterday I held my title cheap; to-day that it is proscribed, I
insist upon my right to it."

In vain did M. Levrault make signs to Gaston to hold his tongue; in
a firm voice Gaston finished what he had to say, and left the room
with haughty step, casting a look of pity on his father-in-law. The
Marchioness, indignant, followed her son, and Laura was about to follow
her when she was detained by a supplicatory gesture of her father's.

"A marquis!" said the wounded man, with a mistrustful glance round the
room. "Comrades, I cannot stop here--take me to the hospital."

"My friends, you are in the house of William Levrault, formerly a
weaver at Elbeuf. Do you know Jolibois? he is my dearest friend. I was
on my way to the Chamber with him, when I met you. Here is my daughter,
one of the people, a heart of gold. Here everything belongs to you. You
have fought like lions; we must drink together."

Just then, the wounded man was seized with sudden faintness, and
repeated, in a feeble voice--"Take me to the hospital!"

M. Levrault pulled the bell, a servant appeared, and soon afterwards
a hamper of wine. M. Levrault filled glasses round to his new friends,
gave a full one to the wounded man, and exclaimed, in an agitated voice:

"Let us drink, my friends, to the strength and grandeur of our young
republic. No more kings, no more nobility, no more middle classes! Let
us drink to the levelling of all classes, that we may form but one
family, a family of workmen. Each for all, and all for each!" And the
glasses clashed together to cries of "Long live William Levrault!"

"Long live the people of Paris!" cried William Levrault, raising his
glass.

"Friends," said the wounded man in a gloomy voice, after licking his
mustaches, "beware! This is rich man's wine."

Notwithstanding this sinister warning, the democrats again filled their
glasses, emptied them at a draught, and looked at each other with an
air of incredulity. The wounded man fainted away. M. Levrault had him
carried into a comfortable room, warmed his bed, and put him into it
himself, sent for a surgeon to dress his wound, and put a wing of the
hotel at the disposal of his new brothers, who needed little entreaty
to install themselves there. On returning to the drawing-room, he found
Laura pale and terrified.

"Wretched girl!" he cried, "see what your silly vanity has done! I
wanted to marry you to Jolibois. You would be a Marchioness. And now
God only knows what will become of us!"

Having said this, he crept stealthily down stairs, ran to the
coach-house, painted over with his own hand the arms upon the
carriages, stole up stairs again, took the plate boxes from the
sideboard, hurried to the cellar, concealed his treasure in a cask, and
went out to buy a few dozen forks and spoons of the best electro-plate.

We must hurry to a conclusion. Solon Marche-toujours (the name of the
wounded man) is recognised, during his convalescence, as a son of M.
Levrault, lost in his infancy, and to whom occasional reference has
been made in the course of the novel. On discovering a rich father,
he abjures communism, turns his comrades out of doors, and demands
three hundred thousand francs to found a newspaper; but before he can
extract them from the paternal purse, M. Levrault's entire fortune
and Laura's dowry are swallowed up in one of the failures consequent
on the revolution. Whereupon Solon reverts to his old principles,
and finally emigrates to Icaria. The incident of the loss of the
fortune, which, under ordinary circumstances, might seem forced, is
rendered natural enough by the revolution, of which M. Sandeau has so
ably availed himself. The moral of the tale is evident and good. All
parties are punished where they have sinned. The political convulsion
that abolishes the titles for which Levrault bartered his daughter,
and Laura sold herself, sweeps away the money which the Marchioness
lied and flattered, and Gaston misallied himself, to obtain. These
four persons return to Brittany, the intriguing dowager being fain to
accept M. Levrault's hospitality in what was once her own castle, but
which she transferred to him in full expectation of appropriating in
exchange his Parisian mansion. The cloth-merchant's tribulations are
not yet at an end. He is arrested by Jolibois, who has been appointed
commissioner of the Republic in Brittany. The Radical ex-notary, who
has more mischief than malignity in his composition, relents and
releases him, abandoning him on a desolate road in the middle of a
stormy night, and at several miles distance from Chateau Levrault.
There are some humorous scenes towards the end of the book; and hard
knocks, richly deserved, are administered to the democrats. The most
pleasing feature at the close of the narrative is the change that
takes place in Gaston and his young wife, whose better qualities,
dormant in their more prosperous days, are brought about by adversity,
and who find compensation in mutual affection for loss of rank and
wealth. The novel closes with their departure for Paris, where Gaston
is resolved to work out, by toil and the exercise of his talents, the
means of an honourable and independent existence. M. Levrault and the
Marchioness remain in Brittany, where they beguile their weariness by
keeping up their old feud. Jolibois, after sitting in the Constituent
Assembly, subsides into private life, having in the meantime lost all
his clients. Gaspard de Montflanquin, released from durance vile by
the abolition of imprisonment for debt, and appointed consul to the
Republic in Polynesia, passes his time teaching lansquenet to the
savages.

_Sacs et Parchemins_ is one of the best French novels that has
appeared since the February revolution. Its tone and tendency are
alike unobjectionable; and whatever its reception in France, we are
quite sure that with English readers it will be a general favourite.
It is fully time that the better class of French writers should
exert themselves, and not suffer their novel reading countrymen to
be reduced, for an idle hour's amusement, to the perusal of the
contemptible and unwholesome trash of which the light literature of
France has for the last two years principally consisted. It would be
most agreeable and refreshing to behold the names of Foudras, Féval,
Dumas junior, Montégrin, and all vain pretenders of the same sort,
replaced in the catalogues by those of de Bernard, Reybaud, Mérimée,
Karr, and others of whom we have occasionally made honourable mention.
In the ranks of the latter and worthier body, M. Jules Sandeau's last
novel fairly entitles him to a place.



CAIRD'S HIGH FARMING HARROWED.

    "Tarry woo', O tarry woo',
      Tarry woo' is ill to spin;
    Caird it weel, O caird it weel,
      Caird it weel ere ye begin."
                          _Old National Song._


[With reference to the following friendly letter from Cato the Censor
to Mr Caird, we must explain to our readers that the author of _High
Farming under Liberal Covenants, &c._, has published a second pamphlet,
entitled _High Farming Vindicated_, being a letter addressed to
us, and professing to answer the article in our January number, on
"British Agriculture and Foreign Competition." Mr Caird is a clever
fellow in his way, but hardly the style of man to whom, under ordinary
circumstances, we should feel called upon to devote so many of our
pages. We shall therefore briefly explain our reasons for publishing
the old Roman's letter in our columns.

We were aware that the gentlemen who, in a manly straightforward way,
gave us the privilege of publishing their names as drawing up and
attesting facts consistent with their knowledge and experience of
agriculture, might be exposed to impertinence and cavil, and we were
resolved to punish any assailant in the slightest degree worthy of
notice. These witnesses of ours were selected by us from their high
reputations as farmers, and in very few instances were we acquainted
with their opinions, political or other. We appealed to them as the
highest court of authority that we could find in matters agricultural;
and since their names were published, what we have heard from others
confirms us in our estimate of them. There are farmers as good as they;
but the history of farming in Scotland, for the last thirty years,
proves that they stand second to none in their profession; and it is
most absurd and indiscreet in any man to rush into print, proclaiming
that they are behind the age; ignorant, it would seem, of the uses of
oilcake and guano. Mr Caird has done this, and must therefore undergo
condign punishment. The fortuitous importance of Mr Caird lies in the
circumstance that his mode of stating an exceptional case in farming
has been seized hold of by the whole troop of enemies to British
agricultural industry, as a handle for insult to his brother farmers,
and a specimen of what might be effected throughout the country under
the blessings of Free Trade. We do not think that Mr Caird even dreamed
of this when he wrote his first pamphlet; on the contrary, we feel
satisfied that his intentions were good. In our January paper we were
purposely tender to him--most unwilling to say anything that might hurt
his feelings--and it was only the clatter that had been made about
his pamphlet, that induced us to mention him at all. Our excellent
and kind-hearted friend Mr Stephens at first declined to come forward
personally, and expose the fallacy of the Auchness system of husbandry,
and only did so when we explained our reasons for thinking that it
ought to be done. We are greatly surprised at the unbecoming tone of
Mr Caird's remarks about Mr Stephens, and did not suppose that any man
at all acquainted with Scottish agriculture would have presumed so to
speak of the author of the _Book of the Farm_.

When we saw "Donald Caird come again," in the shape of a vindication
from an imaginary attack, we felt much pained that he had forced
himself upon us. He does not attack us directly, but--what is much
more unpardonable in our eyes--he attacks and foolishly sneers at the
gentlemen who furnished us with undeniable facts, none of whom, with
the exception of Mr Stephens, ever mentioned his name, or were thinking
of him at all.

We have still a regard for the yeoman of Baldoon, as there are many
good points about him. He possesses capital pluck; and had the right
honourable Baronet, who has made a cat's-paw of him, been gifted with
half as much of the same excellent quality, the Corn Laws would never
have been repealed. Will he take a suggestion at our hands, to beware
lest boldness degenerate into temerity?

Without further preamble, we leave him in the hands of that austere
veteran, Cato the Censor, author of _De Re Rusticâ_, &c., who has
kindly come forward to protect us. We recently had one of the Censor's
family, "Porcius," analysing with playful irony the pigs and ammonia
of the amiable Rector of Saffron-Waldon, Mr Huxtable. Those acquainted
with the treatise _De Re Rusticâ_ will be delighted to see that the
aged head of the Gens Porcia is still writing with undiminished vigour.]


CATO THE CENSOR _to_ MR JAMES CAIRD.

  COLUMELLA LODGE, _March 1850_.

SIR,--I need not tell you that I have always taken a deep
interest in your prosperity and welfare, and have watched your progress
onwards to your present elevation. Not without trembling anxiety did
I hear of the publication of your first pamphlet. Many a man has
been spoiled by attempting literature; and I have known one or two
whose whole future lives were rendered useless by the mere fact of
their having indited a pamphlet. However, the perusal of your _High
Farming under Liberal Covenants, the Best Substitute for Protection_,
somewhat quieted my fears. The thing was plausibly done; and I had a
hope that nothing very calamitous would come out of it. I supposed
it possible, even, that the pawky compliment so adroitly ministered
to Sir R. Peel in the opening paragraph of your essay, and repeated
yet more adroitly in the peroration, might not be without its fruits.
If the doctor, in this age of political quackery, ever recovered the
premiership, I was hopeful that he would remember you. This was no
doubt what you intended, and it was praiseworthy. But oh, my dear sir,
what poignant and unfeigned pain have I experienced in perusing your
second agricultural essay, which you entitle _High Farming Vindicated,
and further Illustrated_! The tone and execution of this performance is
all bad. It is written in bad temper. It is brimful of an over-weening
vanity. After an exordium sufficiently egotistical, it affects to be a
reply to "the Editor of _Blackwood_." You fly at high game. Your vanity
surely cannot go the length of fancying that the veiled Editor of Ebony
will step out of Buchanan Lodge to answer your summons in person. It
is possible, but not probable, that he may devote a little bit of
margin to you, and enshrine you in a foot-note, like a fly in amber.
Such immortality may be your inheritance--I hope not. You are scarcely
the kind of Dalgetty whom he would take the trouble of engaging either
as an opponent or a retainer; and it is this conviction which moves
me, in the present instance, to address you. You require advice; and
although it is very much against the grain with me to take up the pen,
yet, out of my regard for you, and for those that went before you, I
am constrained to address you on the topics touched upon in your _High
Farming Vindicated, and further Illustrated_. Be thankful, my dear
sir, that the operator is not the Editor of _Blackwood_. I will handle
you tenderly, and, if the cautery is indispensable, will remember the
quaint and gentle old Izaak's instruction to the angler, when directing
him how to fix the frog on the hook--"In so doing, use him as though
you loved him."

There are some delusions under which you are labouring, that I must,
in the first instance, set myself to remove. In your introductory
paragraph, you express your astonishment that your first pamphlet,
of some thirty pages, should have formed the subject of so much
discussion, and have originated violent controversies, and been
productive, to use your own awkwardly-rustic metaphor, of "a whole
sheaf of pamphlets," (p. 3-4.)

Well, I wonder too: but it is not the first time that dire events
have sprung from trivial causes; and you seem strangely blind to the
real origin of the popularity that attended your first essay. In your
_High Farming Vindicated_, you describe its predecessor as "chiefly
a narrative of the system pursued by a practical farmer in your
neighbourhood, which that gentleman had found highly remunerative."
Had this been all, the _brochure_ would have attracted little
notice, and caused no discussion. But this is not a correct account
of its object and scope. The titlepage--_High Farming under Liberal
Covenants, the best Substitute for Protection_--is a true exponent
of the object of the author. The very titlepage acted like magic. For
mark at the moment when you launched your bantling into the world. The
agricultural depression was grievous; prices were sinking daily; the
farmers saw their capital disappearing, and ruin apparently staring
them in the face; and, in the emergency, you step forward, and offer
them an infallible panacea in your _High Farming the best Substitute
for Protection_. There never was anything so opportune. The suffering
farmers flew to you, read you greedily, and arose from the perusal
angry that they were so trifled with, and with a conviction that your
_High Farming_ as a substitute for protection, and a cure for their
sufferings, was a mere quackish nostrum.

But this was not all. There was another numerous class, also _in
extremis_, for whom you had good news--I mean the free-trade press and
the free-trade proprietors. This powerful but distressed community
hailed your appearance, and hugged you to their bosoms. They were
beginning to see that all their predictions regarding the effects
of Free Trade on the agricultural interest were to be falsified;
one moiety of them feared that their rents would topple; and at
the critical moment you advertise _High Farming a Substitute for
Protection_. You were a perfect godsend to the Free-traders; and for
them it is undeniable you chiefly wrote, and not for the behoof of your
brother farmers. If that had been your object, you never could have
commenced with comparing the Scotch farmer to a melancholious cripple,
nor have talked of the "prejudices" of those who have been bred to the
agricultural profession. Indeed, an under-current of foolish sneering
at your brethren pervaded your first pamphlet, which, in your _High
Farming Vindicated_, has come to the surface, and rushes along in a
head-long and angry torrent. The result has proved the correctness
of this view. The free-trade press are playing you off against your
fellow-farmers, and bespattering you with praise. Sir R. Peel has
patted you on the back, and deluded you into a roving commission; and
the free-trade proprietors, catching your note, are denouncing the
farmers for want of enterprise, skill, and capital. To you your brother
farmers are indebted for these free-trade compliments. I hope, then,
that you will hereafter understand the real cause of the discussions
that followed the publication of your first lucubration. The tempting
title you gave your thesis, and the solace you offered the farmers,
and the pleasant prescription you presented to panic-struck free-trade
lairds, and the seasonable moment you selected for publication,
sufficiently explain your popularity. The little urchin that throws a
spark amongst gunpowder causes smoke and an explosion; and yet there
may have been nothing singularly meritorious in his performance. Your
lucifer-match fell among combustible materials, and had it not been so,
it would have proved noiseless and innocuous. I am anxious to expound
the true origin of the noise you have made. It is painful to me to
notice the extent of your hallucination. You are quite inflated with
the idea of being famous; and it will be real kindness to puncture you,
were it only to let the wind out. The "_hoven_" in cattle, when at its
height, can only be cured by acupuncturation.

You say that, from _Blackwood's_ statistics, "it appears that an
impression has been created on the south side of the Border, that
the agriculture of Scotland has long been in a decaying condition;
and it is as much to vindicate the credit of his country from an
aspersion on its agriculture, as to support the views which he formerly
promulgated, that the writer takes this mode of replying," (p. 5.)
That the Southrons should infer from _Blackwood's_ statistics that
the agriculture of Scotland is on the decline, seems incredible. Sir
R. Peel leads us to infer that his tenants only grow from 18 to 20
bushels per acre. Mr Huxtable's hypothetical mark, arrived at by the
use of no one knows how much ammonia, is 32 bushels per acre. As a
sample of _Blackwood's_ statistics, take Mr Dudgeon's. He grows, _on
an average of years_, 33 bushels wheat per acre, 40 bushels barley,
48 bushels oats. Could the Tamworth baronet take this as a proof of
decaying husbandry? As an average produce for a series of years, on a
farm of 500 acres "of useful land," would Mr Huxtable himself think
this evidence of an agricultural decline? But how are the Auchness
statistics to dispel the gloomy impression regarding the moribund state
of agriculture in North Britain, which, you say, has been created by
_Blackwood's_ statistics? On comparing the detailed account of annual
produce of Auchness, in the fifth edition of your first pamphlet, with
the number of acres under crop, as given in p. 15, we find that Mr
M'Culloch grows 36 bushels wheat per acre, and 45 bushels oats: that
is, the Auchness factor grows 3 bushels wheat more per acre than Mr
Dudgeon, and Mr Dudgeon grows 3 bushels oats more per acre than the
factor. This is the mighty difference. How is it possible, then, that
the Auchness statistics can counteract the evil impression made on John
Bull's mind by _Blackwood's_ statistics? At Auchness, indeed, you can
present John with a watery potato; but to a man in low spirits, as John
is about Scotland, that would only increase his flatulence. As for a
drop of malt, the thing is unknown at Auchness, barley being an extinct
cereal there; and if a horn of wholesome home-brewed can clear off
from John's mind the ugly impression, and give him brighter views of
Scottish agriculture, he must go to Mr Dudgeon for that.

And yet you are the man who are to "vindicate the credit of your
country!" When I read this, I laughed aloud. Poor old Scotland! I saw
her reviled and misrepresented by _Blackwood's_ troop of statists, and
her agriculture exhibited as in a _dwining_ condition. And I saw you,
fire in your eye, and in "your nostril beautiful disdain," sallying
forth, armed _cap-à-pie_, a devoted and gallant chevalier, to do
vengeance on the enemies of your native land. And methought I heard
you exclaim in a heroical ecstasy--"I will vindicate the credit of my
country!" My dear sir, you may be ambitious to live in Caledonian story
as the champion of Scotland; but it is more probable that you may be
only recollected as the Don Quixotte of Baldoon. Dr Johnson tells us of
a patriotic butcher, who was haunted with the idea that his country was
on its last legs, and whose continual exclamation was--"My heart bleeds
for my country!" 'Tis said that the butcher grew fat, and the country
yet exists.

_Blackwood's_ statistics were expressly put forward as embodying
the average produce for a term of years of the average soil in the
different districts selected for illustration, and farmed according
to the best modes. Extraordinary and exceptional produce and profits
were properly avoided, as well as extraordinary failures or losses in
crops; and surely the average was high enough, if we may infer anything
from the reports of the _Times'_ own commissioner, to convince our
friends on the south side of the Border that our agriculture was not
absolutely in a decaying condition; and therefore I am constrained
to believe that you are misinformed regarding this "impression."
And even if it were otherwise, and, supposing that _Blackwood_ had
injured your country, should you not have modestly asked whether you
were the man fit to avenge your country's wrongs? There is another
most singular delusion in which you seem to be immersed. You fancy
that the surpassingly able and striking article in _Blackwood_, which
has excited a deeper and more general sensation in the kingdom than
perhaps any article that ever appeared in any British periodical, has
been got up solely and exclusively for the purpose of refuting and
overthrowing your pamphlet! "And finally, the Editor of _Blackwood's
Magazine_, backed by the whole influence of the Protectionist party
in Scotland, has brought up a heavy troop of yeomanry to extinguish
the opinions I advanced, by an overwhelming exhibition of authority.
Acknowledging the compliment implied in the necessity for this array,
I think my readers will now feel that it is not the advocate, but the
cause, which is inextinguishable," (p. 30.) The whole Protectionist
party, you fancy, have entered into a wicked league to expose you! Nor
is this all. Plainly, your idea is that the Editor of _Blackwood_, and
his learned ally, the author of _The Book of the Farm_, were afraid
to encounter you; and, conscious of their weakness, that they summoned
to their assistance Messrs Watson, Dudgeon, Gibson, and the thirty
agriculturists who certiorate their statements. What a host!--gathered
together from the south and north, and east and west, all marshalled in
warlike array, to put down Mr James Caird, farmer, Baldoon! Was there
ever such a hallucination? or did human vanity ever take such a flight
before? You think it proved, by the mustered troops that have been
brought to bear upon you, that it is not the advocate but the cause
which is inextinguishable. The cause, doubtless, is as inextinguishable
as the Auchness potatoes. But who ever dreamed of the advocate as
being indestructible? I never heard of you as the inextinguishable Mr
Caird--the unconsumable Phœnix of the West. You are very distinguished,
but not inextinguishable. Oh! dismiss the vain fancy, or intolerable
ridicule will dog you all the days of your life. Can a man not write
on British agriculture, and illustrate the depression of agricultural
produce flowing from the invasion of Free Trade, without having Mr
Caird in his eye? Or if I utter the words "high farming," must you
instantly prick up your ears, and ask me snappishly, "Do you bite
your thumb at me?" The idea of high farming being the substitute for
protection was your own--but you neither invented, nor do you practise,
the Auchness modes of husbandry. You were not the discoverer of the
Auchness wonders; you were the cicerone, the mere narrator of them. You
were not the man that caught the lion, but the gentleman with the long
pole who describes to the gaping _gobemouches_ the qualities of the
king of the beasts. Johnson had his Boswell, Addison his Tom Tickell,
and Robinson Crusoe his man Friday; and there seems no reason why Mr
M'Culloch should not have his Caird. But you quite over-estimate the
importance of your position. _Blackwood_ spoke of you with a studied
gentleness, as if unwilling to hurt your feelings; and _Blackwood's_
farmers make not the remotest reference to you, _and never once mention
your name_. And yet, in your _High Farming Vindicated_, you pour out on
these gentlemen an inky flood of petulant impertinence. You speak of
their statistics as "counter-statements" (p. 7.) to yours. Your vanity
makes you think so. They never once allude to you; and if the article
in _Blackwood_ brought them to bear on the high farming theory, it
might surely be the high farming of Mechi or Huxtable, as well as of
Caird.

There is yet another kindred delusion to the preceding, which you are
fondly cherishing. You evidently fancy yourself a martyr! "I have
often," you say, "both in public and private, been attacked for my
advocacy of the cause of my brother tenants. I have been upbraided,
and have suffered in the estimation of men of rank, for doing so.
An interested portion of the press have distorted my arguments,
to prove to their readers that I am an enemy to the farmer," (p.
30.) Oh, unhappy man! Your immortal labours unappreciated--your
words distorted--your character attacked, and, to consummate your
sufferings--your reputation injured in the estimation of men of
rank! From the bottom of my heart, I pity you. You have been a very
ill-used man. But let us be calm, and inquire into the cause of your
persecution. You see, my dear sir, in the opening sentence of your
first pamphlet, you personified your brother farmers under the image
of a poor hypochondriac cripple, the victim of imaginary ailments;
and you afterwards insinuated that the agriculturists of the country,
who had been trained and bred up to their profession, were cropful of
"prejudices:" that the gentleman who so wrote might be an "enemy to
the farmer," was a natural enough mistake for people to fall into.
Moreover, your representation of high farming as the substitute for
Protection, and as sufficient to uphold the tottering rent-rolls under
the regime of Free Trade, must have been considered insidious and
dangerous doctrine, in the estimation of all those who looked upon the
Auchness crutch as rotten and treacherous timber, and us calculated to
injure tenants by ministering delusive expectations to the landlords.
Have not the Free-trade newspapers, "the interested portion of the
press," made this very use of your arguments, and are not Free-trade
proprietors acting upon it? On this ground have you not proved an enemy
to the farmer, and are those greatly to blame who think so?

But, indeed, although it be, I would not have you too deeply to
distress yourself; although you have proved, unwittingly perhaps, an
enemy to the farmer, it is not certain that your brother tenants will
suffer irremediable ruin from the productions of your pen. Consider
that the assaults of such an enemy British farmers may possibly
withstand. To have forfeited the good opinion of your brother farmers
is very unfortunate, but to have lost the approving smiles of men of
rank is a sorer evil still. You seem utterly destitute and forsaken,
and my sympathetic nature prompts me, therefore, to suggest to you
another source of comfort. Remember that all really great men have
been persecuted. Such is the way of this wicked world. Milton fell "on
evil days and evil tongues," and yet his Tetrachordon "walked the town
awhile numbering good intellects;" and most heartily did the "old man
eloquent" denounce "the asses, apes, and dogs," that with barbarous
noise environed him. This is your very case. The parallel is complete.
Galileo, a great discoverer, although in a different department from
yours, had his arguments distorted by an interested priest, and twice
suffered the tortures of the Inquisition. You may be the agricultural
Galileo of the nineteenth century. It may be that, like all men of
genius, you are only before the age. In your present persecutions you
may be only paying the penalty of your genius, and what the greatest
benefactors of the human race have ever had to endure. Posterity will
be more just, and give you your award when the ephemeral _Blackwood_
shall have perished and been forgotten. In the distant future you will
be famous: consider this, and be no longer inconsolable.

What reason have you for saying, (p. 4,) that the Protectionists
employed the leading organ of their party in North Britain to write
down this system? Does not the insinuation indicate a pitiful
misrepresentation on your part, or an extraordinary ignorance? Has
_Blackwood_ proved himself venal? have the writers of that periodical
indicated mercenary tendencies? At the era of the late memorable
tergiversation, which inflicted such a disgraceful wound on the
political morality of our nation, did _Blackwood_ trim and temporise?
On the contrary, did he not maintain his integrity, and nail his
colours to the mast, and fight the battle which he had always fought?
Are not the views and opinions advocated in the article to which you
refer, the very views and opinions which _Blackwood_, with unswerving
consistency, has always maintained? All the world knew this to be the
fact, and what necessity was there for the Protectionists "employing"
the leading organ to do what it had always done, and would infallibly
continue to do?

But worse, and more unwarrantable, if possible, are your reflections
on the character of the gentlemen who furnished _Blackwood_ with his
agricultural statistics. "The farmers of _Blackwood_ are content to
be held up, for a political purpose, in an aspect discreditable to
the national character as Scottish agriculturists," (p. 21.) You
describe these gentlemen as venal subservient tools, ready to do a
discreditable job for a political purpose. I must be permitted to tell
you that this is a false and childish calumny. Many of these parties
I know, and they are incapable of such baseness. More honourable or
independent men are not in the kingdom, and that they should sell
themselves to serve a purpose is a charge sufficiently malignant, but
too absurd to meet with credence. What unprincipled purpose could
their statistics serve? Their statistics seemed to class them with
the political minority in Parliament at least. This did not indicate
selfishness: commissioner-ships they were not courting. Some of them
might be opposing the Free-trade theories of their proprietors: this
does not look like servile meanness. You must have known that, on
the question of politics generally, these farmers did not all agree
with _Blackwood_; that on many points they differ with one another,
and that yet they unite in testifying to the disastrous effects of
Free Trade on the agriculture of the nation. The evidence of their
integrity and conscientiousness is irresistible, and it has been felt
to be so. And yet here are you, with foolish recklessness, insinuating
that about thirty of the best known, most eminent, and best-informed
agriculturists in the kingdom, who never once mentioned your name, are
capable of conduct mean and dishonourable, and content to be held up
for a political purpose. If your gratuitous and unprovoked accusation
should lower you henceforth in the estimation of the tenant-farmers
of your native land, you have yourself alone to blame. It has ever
been reckoned the proof of meanness, and the evidence of quackery, in
any member of a profession to revile his brethren, and to disparage
the well-won reputation of its most distinguished members. In this
unenviable position you have placed yourself. The native insignificance
of the accuser renders his accusation harmless, but it cannot shield
him from the consequences of his rash and presumptuous folly.

I am sorry to write with such severity--but, indeed, I confess that
I have felt deep indignation that some of the most respected and
distinguished agriculturists of the kingdom should have been insulted
by such a _novus homo_ as you are. I can scarcely trust myself to
speak of the manner in which you have written of Professor Low and Mr
Stephens. There are no two authors in the kingdom who have contributed
more largely to advance the cause of agriculture, both as a science
and an art, than these two gentlemen have done by their writings. They
are universally respected. And yet you write of them with a puerile
and vulgar rudeness, discreditable at once to your feelings as a
gentleman, and to your position as a farmer. Your plucking out solitary
expressions from Professor Low's _Appeal to the Common Sense of the
Country_, and attaching a meaning to them which, in their original
position, they did not bear, is sufficiently unscrupulous, and marks
your candour as a controversialist. I believe nothing in your pamphlet
has excited deeper disapprobation than the manner in which you have
presumed to speak of Mr Stephens.

You entitle your last pamphlet _High Farming Vindicated_. High farming
vindicated against the attacks of whom? A vindication presupposes
an assault, and injury inflicted. By your titlepage, you affect to
insinuate that high farming has been depreciated. In the name of the
tenant-farmers of Scotland, I repel the insinuation. If by high farming
you mean good farming, (that is, a liberal treatment of the soil and
of stock, and an earnest application of the discoveries of science
to the practice of husbandry,) I believe there never was a time when
agriculturists were more alive to the advantages of high farming,
or more desirous of adopting it, as far as their circumstances will
allow. You seem foolishly to fancy that there is no high farming,
saving at Auchness; and because the system there, as exhibited by you,
has been subjected to some criticism, you rush to its defence, as if
high farming were in the abstract attacked; and you indite a pamphlet,
presumptuously entitling it _High Farming Vindicated_!

You set forth the Auchness system as the substitute for Protection.
That crude and undigested fancy you appear to have been compelled to
relinquish. But, indeed, there are specialties at Auchness which must
ever render the system there incapable of being generally adopted. Not
to speak of the enormous additional capital required by landlords and
tenants--not to mention the liberal covenant and the low rent--there
are the five hundred cartloads of sea-weed for manure; there is the
memorable moss, not only fertile itself, but the cause of fertility to
the adjacent fields, and benevolently submitting to transportation for
the good of the commonwealth; there is the capricious potato, exciting
suspicion and entailing loss everywhere else, but pouring immense
treasures into the Auchness coffers; there is the proximity (two miles)
to a seaport, "where produce can be shipped for Glasgow or Liverpool,
and manure, &c., imported," (first pamphlet, page 8;) there is the fine
climate, so favourable to the culture of green crops, and permitting
wheat to be sown almost at any time during the winter months: these
advantages, not one of which is enjoyed by Messrs Watson and Dudgeon,
and which, in combination, I venture to affirm, do not exist on any
other farm in the kingdom, must entirely prevent the general adoption
of the Auchness model. The whole of your speculation on this subject is
visionary, and the slightest reflection should have convinced you of
this, as it has convinced every one else.

Let us, however, now look at your vindication of _High Farming_.
"Any one," you say, "who has read my pamphlet without prejudice will
have seen that _mutual co-operation between landlord and tenant,
with sufficient capital and skill, encouraged in their application
by moderate rents and liberal covenants_, are the points urged by me
as indispensably requisite to insure success under reduced prices. I
illustrated these positions by the admirable practice of my friend Mr
M'Culloch," (p. 6.) Now the truth is, that, in your first pamphlet, you
said very little about the liberal covenant. The "liberal covenant"
was a subsidiary part of your titlepage; and to this branch of your
subject you only devoted a very few unsatisfactory sentences in your
pamphlet. You illustrated the successful application of sufficient
capital and skill by the practice of Mr M'Culloch--but not certainly
the liberal covenant and the moderate rent, which were the boons of
the proprietor. For the benefit of the tenant-farmers, you have more
fully illustrated the subject of the liberal covenant in your _High
Farming Vindicated_. On this subject you now deliver yourself with
great enthusiasm. The following "impediments" to the more general
adoption of liberal covenants you require to be removed,--(1) The law
of entail must be abrogated or altered. (2) The tenant must have a
legal right, at the close of his lease, to repayment for unexhausted
manures. (3) The tenant must be released from paying a full rent, in
a season where his potatoes are tainted, or his stock decimated. (4)
The law of hypothec, which promotes a fictitious competition for land,
must be repealed, (p. 22.) And you proceed to write as follows--"Some
of these have been pointed at by a body of intelligent farmers who met
sometime ago at Glasgow, and who further suggest that every tenant
should be entitled to have his rent commuted into grain, (5) _at the
average prices_ which prevailed when he entered on his farm; giving
the landlord a right (if the tenant claims commutation) to take up the
farm if he pleases, on paying the tenant for his actual improvements."
Here, then, five acts of Parliament, or one very comprehensive measure,
seems indispensable to facilitate the adoption of liberal covenants,
and to render justice to the farmer under the reduced prices. A code of
new legislation is called for, whereby the present rights of landowners
are to be subverted and altered, and whereby important advantages are
to be communicated to tenants--and who, besides, must have unlimited
powers to crop or miscrop their farms as they see fit--and all for the
purpose of insuring the adoption of the Auchness liberal covenant! Of
course, the new agricultural code must have a retrospective effect, not
only by nullifying all existing leases, but by granting compensation
for unexhausted improvements--not at their present deteriorated value,
but at the value which they would have been worth had the measures of
the Legislature not diminished the profits of agricultural investment.
A more revolutionary change, a more sweeping reform of the law of
landlord and tenant, I do not think was ever mooted.

The measures proposed I do not at present mean to consider; I notice
just now the immensity of the change--"These, I would say to my
brother farmers, these are practical questions, which have a direct
bearing on the condition of tenants, and are worthy of our attentive
consideration. Happily, they have not yet been appropriated by any
political party." These questions certainly have a direct bearing
on the condition of tenants; but it humbly appears to me that they
have _a more direct bearing on_ landlords, and _are well worthy of
their very attentive consideration_. These questions have not been
appropriated by any political party, and I fear will not soon be. It
is an appropriation which I believe the Free-Trade legislators of
Parliament, who own landed property, will most religiously shun. It
would seem that there is nothing for it, but that you should enter
Parliament yourself, and plead the cause of the liberal covenant.
Parliamentary enactments, even to the extent indicated, will not
secure all the conditions of the liberal covenant. The enlarged and
improved farm-buildings are not provided for in any of the above
measures, and yet without these, for the object in view, the liberal
covenant is wholly abortive and incomplete. But you tell Messrs
Watson and Dudgeon "that there is nothing to prevent them, _with the
assistance of their landlords_, to have equal accommodation for their
stock and their manure," (p. 13.) You make no doubt of the assistance
of the landlords. On this subject you speak with a prompt and easy
assurance. But that assistance may not be given. I have not heard of
one proprietor tendering the Auchness covenant. Not without reason,
the proprietor may refuse. In this case, you will allow that another
act of Parliament becomes requisite, to render it compulsory upon
landlords to rebuild or remodel and enlarge farm-buildings, so as that
the necessary accommodation of the liberal covenant may be secured.
We begin now to see some of the conditions of the liberal covenant,
and to understand the extent of legislation requisite to pave the way
for its adoption. You tell us, in large letters, that the liberal
covenant is to the farmer an element "indispensably requisite, to
insure success under reduced prices." High farming by itself won't do;
and you justly contend that the several conditions prescribed by you
must be fulfilled, before it can be proved that your remedy has failed,
(p. 7.) Be it so. But you know that your liberal covenant at present
is a nonentity--that it exists nowhere but at Auchness, and perhaps
one or two other favoured localities. Nay, you seem to allow that
absolutely it cannot, and will not, be got without the intervention of
Parliament. In that I believe you to be right. And, of course, until
it is got, upon your own principles the farmers of the kingdom are
not to be blamed for not practising the high farming of Auchness. In
their present position, you dare not even recommend that to them, your
several conditions not being granted--a circumstance which would prove
utterly destructive to the profits of the Auchness mode.

But will Parliament legislate to the extent and in the way necessary?
Some half-dozen of statutes, would be required; a mass of legislation
on interests supremely delicate, vastly momentous, and infinitely
extensive in their bearings on, the structure and welfare of society.
The boldest legislator might well boggle at the extent of your demand
for Parliamentary interference. Protection may be an _ignis fatuus_,
but your demands on Parliament are inconceivably more fantastic,
visionary, and chimerical. You do not seem to be aware that your
copious exposition of the liberal covenant, as now given, nullifies
any useful or practical lesson that could have been drawn from your
first pamphlet on high farming as _the substitute_ for protection.
Your two essays are antagonistic, and destructive of each other. You
have chalked out as much work for Parliament as would fully occupy
the House of Commons for three or four years, at the rate at which
business is now carried on in our national assembly. In the mean
time, and until the liberal covenant is got, what is to be done? With
admirable coolness, you look forward to the time when "some legislation
or conventional provision" for unexhausted improvements will come to
the farmer's relief. The farmers of the nation are suffering deeply;
their capital is rapidly vanishing: with three years of the present
prices, rents, and leases, the majority of them will be ruined. And you
look forward to the remote future, when the possible legislation of
Parliament, or some conventional arrangements enacted by some little
college of agriculturists that may meet at Glasgow, will cure the evil.
Was there ever such trifling with one of the gravest questions that
ever engaged the attention of men? and was there ever such mockery of
your brother farmers, in the suffering and perilous position in which
Parliamentary treachery has placed them?

Admitting to its fullest extent the efficacy of high farming, it was
evident, from your first pamphlet, that the Auchness husbandry could
not be reduced to practice, from, amongst other causes, the lack of
the immense additional capital required both by landlords and tenants;
and it only remained for you to give some clear notions of the liberal
covenant, and to show how unobtainable it was, which you have now done
in your second pamphlet, to consummate the impracticable, visionary,
and utopian character of your whole theory. The Free-trade proprietor
was delighted with your first pamphlet, and hawked it about amongst his
tenants. He hung with rapture over its high farming. It was acceptable
to him as provision to a besieged and starving city. But he has been
rudely shocked by your late lecture on the liberal covenant. He is
appalled at the extent and multiplicity of your demands, and he has
dismissed you from his counsels as a most dangerous and revolutionary
practitioner. The farmer approves of some of the provisions of your
liberal covenant, as fair and equitable; but he sees very well that,
before your prescriptions can be compounded, and procured, and
administered, the poor patient will expire.

Before inquiring whether the liberal covenant, in conjunction with
the Auchness husbandry, will meet the emergency, we must look a
little at your further illustrations of high farming. You seem, now,
not so very confident of the propriety and prudence of devoting
such a disproportionate extent to the culture of potatoes. It is
notorious that the potato has been for many years the most uncertain
and precarious of all crops; that again and again, in all kinds of
soil, and under all kinds of treatment, it has utterly perished in
the earth, and entailed a grievous loss upon the farmer. Accordingly,
the cultivation of it was very properly all but abandoned; and it
only now is being resumed upon a limited scale, and with the caution
that reiterated and dear-bought experience inculcates upon all but
inveterate and incurable speculators. While, then, in reference to
the potato, such was the feeling and practice of the whole body of
British agriculturists, flowing from an experience irresistibly cogent,
and founded on the dictates of the commonest prudence, we find Mr
M'Culloch, on a farm of 260 acres, devoting 60 acres in 1848, and
92 acres in 1849, to the cultivation of potatoes. There never was
such a purely gambling speculation in agriculture! The experiment
was condemned by all but universal experience. No calculation of
probabilities warranted the trial; and prudence repudiated the attempt.
Nevertheless, the factor at Auchness bravely runs the risk, and stakes
his £1200 upon the throw. The capricious root finds some peculiar
virtue in the antiseptic moss of Auchness, to be found in no other
soil, and flourishes in all its pristine vigour. The factor adventures
again and again, and fortune smiles upon him. Well, then, what is to be
said? Why, merely that Mr M'Culloch is a lucky fellow. That is all. He
had potatoes untainted when there were few in the land, and he got the
high price for them which scarcity caused. Here is the source of his
profits. Had he lost his potato crop this season, as in past seasons
thousands have done, instead of being a theoretical gainer by the farm
of Auchness to the extent of £718, 6s., he would have been a practical
loser to the extent of £481, 14s. In 1848, had the potatoes failed,
there would have been a loss of £419. What then, in this department,
are the merits of the Auchness system? Did Mr M'Culloch grow more
potatoes per acre than Messrs Watson and Dudgeon did, when nature
permitted them to grow them? Quite the reverse. Mr M'Culloch had no
merit, unless a perilous love of speculation be meritorious, or the
fortunate accident of holding a large extent of moss, of unparalleled
potato-growing virtue. Is it a proof of want of skill and enterprise
in Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, and Scottish farmers, that they do not
happen to possess such precious moss? or is Scottish agriculture to
assume generally the character of an immense gambling speculation?
Unless this doctrine is meant to be inculcated, it is worse than
idle to hold up the high farming of Auchness as a model, and it is
ridiculous in the last degree to speak of it as a substitute for
Protection. Relinquish the potatoes, as other farmers have been obliged
to do, and the Auchness profits are obliterated.

_Blackwood_, in his January number, (p. 106,) says that he had "been
informed, on the best authority, that disease has attacked the potatoes
at Auchness this very year." You stoutly deny the statement, and reply,
you _have been imposed upon_. Mr M'Culloch has at this moment 400 tons
of perfectly sound potatoes, the produce of his own farm, for which
he would not accept £1200; and seed besides, to plant his next year's
crop. Well, he has on 92 acres 400 tons, and enough for seed according
to your own allowance. He ought, with an average good crop, to have
had 800 tons. Competent judges, who saw these potatoes when growing,
estimated them at 12 tons per acre; and, in this view, it would appear
that nearly two-thirds of them have disappeared. As far, then, as the
potato crop at Auchness is concerned, there has, in 1849, been either
miserable farming, or there has been something else. Your own figures
prove this. You speak of 400 tons _sound potatoes_. Were there any
unsound? Why not have stated that Mr M'Culloch had lost about half of
his potatoes this season, by the taint? This would have homologated
_Blackwood's_ statement that disease had attacked the Auchness
potatoes. But surely the cause of high farming, and the interests of
agriculture, cannot be promoted by a suppression of the truth, and
by such a lack of controversial candour. However, the scanty crop of
potatoes, or the loss by disease, curtails materially the huge profits
at Auchness. In 1848, when potatoes were much higher priced than now,
Mr M'Culloch was content to take £2 per ton; and although he marks them
down in his Balance-sheet for 1849 at £3 per ton, you tell us that he
would not accept that for them. Not, indeed, that he has got the £3 per
ton, or been offered it. But he thinks that they are worth that money;
and according, not to the purchaser's estimate, but to the seller's,
they stand for £1200 on the receipt side of the Balance-sheet. This is,
upon the whole, the simplest, most convenient, and felicitous mode of
keeping up the profits that we remember of; and proves, incontestibly,
how sensible Mr M'Culloch is that everything at Auchness turns upon the
potato speculation. And yet, with 400 tons only on 92 acres, let us
inquire if this was really a profitable crop. Let us see what was the
expense of growing them. In your first pamphlet you state that 50 carts
of dung and 4 cwt. guano are allowed per acre, (p. 18.) Let us say that
the dung is worth 5s. per load, and the guano 9s. 6d. per cwt; there
will then be--

  For dung to the 92 acres,      £1150  0 0
  For guano, to the 92 acres,      174 16 0
  For seed at 7 cwt., (p. 33,)
    at £2 per ton,                  64  8 0
  Rent,                             92  0 0
                                 ----------
  Cost of production,            £1481  4 0
  Produce raised,                 1200  0 0
                                 ----------
      Loss,                       £281  4 0

I do not calculate the value of the horse and manual labour, which in
the cultivation of potatoes is by no means trifling. Let that go to
meet the seed potatoes reserved, and the unexhausted manure in the
soil: and yet the factor at Auchness seems a loser in 1849, by his
potato crop. And yet it is undeniable, nevertheless, in consequence of
the extremely depreciated price of grain, that the sale even of this
potato crop does add a _larger present return_ in money to the profit
side of the Balance-sheet than a crop of wheat would have done. But
as the potato, when sold off the farm, leaves no _pabulum_ for future
manure, the prosperity is more apparent than real. Unless a much larger
quantity than 400 tons, even at £3 per ton, can be raised on 92 acres,
the crop must ultimately entail loss, which the Balance-sheet will not
be able to conceal.

You sneer at Mr Gibson of Woolmet's potato cultivation. Why he, as
you yourself stated the case, after allowing for manures, seed, and
rent, left himself a profit of £15 on 50 acres of potatoes; while at
Auchness, on 92 acres, as above shown, the profit, after allowing for
manures, seed, and rent, is £281, 4s. _less than nothing_! Moreover,
you keep out of sight that, on the four-course rotation of farming,
which Mr Gibson must follow in the neighbourhood of a large town, it is
not alone to the profit from the very expensively manured green crop of
the first year that the farmer looks alone for a return of his outlay,
but chiefly to that from the produce of the three succeeding years,
which can be raised after the preparation the land has undergone for
the green crop, without farther manuring. You are very violent about
Mr Gibson's growing beans. Had you examined Mr Gibson's statements
carefully, you would have perceived that the difference in the result,
consequent on his substituting 25 acres of beans and turnips for the
same quantity of land in potatoes, is only £31, 17s. 6d., instead of
the much larger sum which you mention. Did you ever see Mr Gibson's
farm of Woolmet? I have, and beg to inform you that I know no better
specimen of well manured and highly cultivated land in the county of
Mid-Lothian. There is no farmer in Scotland who has received so many
prizes for the finest specimens of seed-corn of all kinds, from the
Highland and other agricultural societies, as Mr Gibson. This is the
gentleman whose farming you ignorantly sneer at.

But you are ready to abandon the peculiar position that you had taken
up in reference to the exorbitant cultivation of the potato, and to
meet your opponents upon their own ground, as you believe. "Suppose,
however," you say, "that nature had, (as you asserted,) annihilated
the potato, would Mr M'Culloch not be able to draw any other kind
of produce from his 90 acres of highly manured land?" (p. 7.) Why,
certainly not, in the same year. Had nature annihilated the potato at
Auchness in 1849, Mr M'Culloch would have lost, by his own calculation,
£1200, and could have had no other crop--unless, indeed, there be two
summers at Auchness within the year. "Had these 90 acres been sown
with wheat, they would, at Mr Stephens' own estimate, have produced
no less than £810." Mr Stephens did not meditate growing wheat on
the moss. Do you mean to say that you can grow wheat on the moss,
and profitably, year after year in succession, as was done with the
potatoes? But suppose the 90 acres in wheat--that, added to the 55
acres already in wheat, would make 145 acres in wheat on a farm of 260
acres; and this must continue, if there is anything in your theory, and
if your annual profits are to be maintained. If these positions you
do not mean to maintain, your case falls to pieces. In the mean time
it is a mere hypothesis, untried and unproved; and all agricultural
experience and science, as far as known, compels us to believe that it
would turn out a total failure. But, admitting the hypothesis, still
the tenant's profits (seed deducted) would be reduced from £718, 6s.,
to £328, 6s. You propose another suggestion, however--to allocate
the 90 acres partly to an extension of green crop, and partly to an
increased breadth of wheat. Will turnips and clover grow, year after
year successively, on the moss? This is another hypothesis about as
visionary as the preceding. But allow 45 acres of the 90 on turnips
and grass for house-feeding, at your nett profit of £6, 11s. 6d. per
acre, (p. 12,) this will give £295, 17s. 6d.; and the other 45 acres
in wheat, at 38 bushels per acre, and at 5s. per bushel, (_your own
quantity and price_,) and, seed deducted, they give £393, 15s., being,
_in cumulo_, £689, 12s. 6d.--_i. e._ less than the profit of the
potatoes by £510, 7s. 6d., and bringing down the tenant's remuneration
from £718, 6s. to £207, 18s. 6d. But this is very far from exhibiting
the realities of the position which you have ventured to take up. You
assume 5s. per bushel as the price of the wheat. The Wigtonshire fiars,
as lately struck, make wheat only 4s. 4d. per bushel. To that price you
cannot object. You court a comparison with Messrs Watson and Dudgeon,
and in that case you will allow us to raise the rent of Auchness to
32s. per acre, (the rent given in their statistics,) more especially as
you contend that it is now worth £2 per acre, (p. 41, 4th edit.) Upon
these equitable premises, let us see how the Auchness balance-sheet for
crop 1849 will stand.

                                          Bushels.
  55 acres wheat, 38 bushels per acre,      2090
                    Off seed,                168
                                           -------
                                            1922 at 4s. 4d.   £416  8  8

  45 acres wheat, additional,               1710
                    Off seed,                135
                                           -------
                                            1575 at 4s. 4d.    341  5  0

  45 acres additional green crop, at £6, 11s. 6d. nett profit, 295 17  6
  1 acre Italian ryegrass, per balance-sheet,                    5  0  0
  90 acres green crop, per balance-sheet,                      884  6  0
                                                              ----------
                Income,                                      £1942 17  2
  Expenditure, as per balance-sheet,                          1851 10  0
                                                              ----------
  Income at present rent,                                       91  7  2
  But a rent of 32s. per acre adds to the expenditure,         156  0  0
                                                              ----------
        Tenant's loss,                                         £64 12 10

But even yet we are allowing you advantages which are inadmissible. The
supposititious price put upon the cattle, so far beyond the current
profit, ought to be largely reduced, and an average of 38 bushels wheat
over 100 acres, a portion of these being moss, is certainly much too
high. Nevertheless, giving you the benefit of these unusual demands,
and the advantages of a superior climate, admirable accommodation,
and an annual bonus of 500 loads of sea-weed, it appears, that when
your new mode of farming Auchness (the potato being abandoned) is put
to the test, that instead of having a remuneration of £718, 6s., Mr
M'Culloch loses £64, 12s. 10d. Shuffle the land as you please--crop it
as you please--speculate as wildly as you please on the patience and
powers of the soil, and grant the most perfect success to attend your
speculations, yet it is as certain as arithmetic can make it, that, the
moment you depart from the potato culture, the pecuniary marvels at
Auchness wholly vanish. It was rash to throw down the gauntlet as you
have done. You ought to have "stuck to your text," (the potato,)--as
long as the text will stick to you. According to your new mode of
arranging the culture at Auchness, there must annually, on a farm of
260 acres, be 100 acres wheat, and 110 acres green crop. How long the
land will endure this remains to be proved. I have not a shadow of a
doubt that not very many years would elapse before the reduced quantity
of wheat per acre, and the reduced value of the turnip crop, would
place the factor at Auchness in a worse category than Messrs Watson
and Dudgeon; and that he would awake to the conviction that, as he has
found there is something in the potato rot, so there may be something,
too, in a rotation of crops.

Still, upon your new hypothesis, at the present rent, there would be
a margin of profit. Let us examine into this matter somewhat more
narrowly. "Deducting Mr M'Culloch's 92 acres of potatoes, 55 acres of
wheat, and 22 acres of oats, we have 91 acres left; 50 of which are in
turnips, and 41 in clover and grass. The nett produce yielded by the
stock fed on these 91 acres, (besides the keep of the farm-horses,)
this very year, in the midst of all this depression, will not be less
(after deducting purchased food) than £600, which is equal to £6,
11s. 6d. an acre, besides the valuable stock of manure which has, at
the same time, been accumulated," (p. 12.) In this statement there
are sundry slips of the memory. If the keep of the horses at Auchness
consisted solely of turnips and the succulent clover, as you seem to
say, they must be peculiarly constituted animals, and endowed with
most singular peristaltic powers. On such liquescent diet they might,
perhaps, at one and the same time, work their work, and thoroughly
manure the fields. There would be some difficulty in so timing the
conjoined operations, one would think, as to avoid waste as well as
danger. Mr Huxtable's pigs, I fancy, would be pleasant and savoury
company compared to the Auchness horses. However, you forget that,
by the 17th January last, these horses had consumed 1100 bushels of
oats, and that £105 worth more of oats had been bought to supply their
wants, and those of the servants. (See Auchness Balance-sheet, pp. 46,
47.) Moreover, the horses must surely have been allowed the larger
proportion of the oat-straw, (there is no hay,) if not the whole of
it. The feeding-stock had the whole straw and chaff grown upon the
farm, with the exception of what fell to the share of the horses: and
thus £600 _was not_ the nett produce of these 91 acres of green crop,
but along with that of the greater part of the fodder grown upon the
farm. Again, you deduct "the purchased food;" but why not deduct the
purchased manures, before you speak of "the nett produce yielded by
the stock?" Still, with these qualifications, £6, 11s. 6d. per acre,
for the green crop and fodder, is a remarkable profit; so remarkable
for 1849-50, in my estimation, as to be unparalleled. Let us look at
the memorable Balance-sheet for a little: 44 cattle bought in June are
sold out at £5, 5s. of an advance per head; 208 wethers are sold at 9s.
per head advance;--all this before 17th January last. We are not told
what the animals were bought in at. We are not told what they brought
per stone. Mystery envelops the whole transaction, and we are left to
grope and guess at the mode in which this remarkable result was arrived
at. An average of £5, 5s. per head upon 44 cattle, and of 9s. per head
upon 208 wethers, is so extraordinary a profit in these times, that I
doubt if two other agriculturists in the island could record a similar
experience. The fact is, that everywhere the elements of incredibility
are apparent on this part of the Auchness Balance-sheet. None would
question it more lustily than Mr Mechi. Bullocks which cost him £249
gave him a profit of £37, and sheep which cost him £332 a profit of
£95, during the past season! No wonder that he describes bullocks as
"ungrateful fellows;" and that in spite of Porcius and his Attic salt
he is in love with the Rector's pigs. But indeed Mechi seems to differ
with you _toto cælo_. So far from advocating, along with you, a more
extensive cultivation of green crops, he is "quite satisfied that
they must be made secondary and subservient to the larger consumption
of corn or cake."--(See his live-stock account for 1849, of 2d Feb.
in _Gardeners' Chronicle_.) How are such "discordant utterances" to
be reconciled? Methinks you high-farming gentlemen should agree more
nearly with one another, before you dictate so dogmatically to others.
Certain it is that the result at Auchness could not arise from the
exquisite quality of the animals; for it is demonstrable that oxen and
wethers, as fine and fat as any ever fed there, or as ever were led to
the shambles, have this season produced to their owners no such profit.
Had 8 or 10 of the 44 cattle brought such a profit, the thing would
have been intelligible. It is the immense profit per head, over such a
lot of cattle and sheep, that has excited the universal scepticism. But
if we remember that these 44 cattle may have been fed during a period
of seven months, then the profit per head is more intelligible. But if
so, of how many months does the agricultural year at Auchness consist?
Looking at the two Balance-sheets rendered, they seem to run into one
another in an inextricable fashion; and I suspect that, in a cycle of
three or four years, one year with its profits will have disappeared
and been absorbed. If this does not explain the mystery, we must
suppose that the stock was bought in at an unusually favourable rate,
and that they were sold out fat, at a larger sum per stone than any
other feeder has got. This would indicate that the factor at Auchness
is a market-man of unrivalled dexterity--the luckiest wight in driving
a bargain that ever handled _nowt_. In fact, his good luck here seems
as singular as it was in the matter of the moss and its potatoes. But
what has this to do with high farming? Is the success of agriculture
to depend upon happy accidents, and the possession of a genius for
marketing operations unrivalled and unapproachable?

But something more astonishing remains. Look at this item of
income,--"86 cattle _in course of feeding_, at £5, 5s. per head
advance." The cattle are not fed--they are in course of feeding.
They are not sold--no price has been offered for them. They may be
"decimated" by the murrain; prices may fall--they have fallen; the
factor's good luck as a seller may leave him; but the sanguine Mr
M'Culloch has resolved that the profit per head shall be £5, 5s.,
and down he puts to the income side of the balance-sheet the neat
aditament of £451, 10s. He has 400 tons of potatoes; they may perish
in the pits, as in many places they are doing. It matters not. Mr
M'Culloch has made up his mind that they are worth £3 per ton, and he
transfers to his profits, as received, the sum of £1200. We wonder if
the factor's books are kept in the same fashion as the farm books? If
so, they must contain some pleasant entries--such as, A. B.'s rent,
£1200--not paid--intended to be paid--gave him a discharge in full.
Why, the balance-sheet at Auchness is _avowedly supposititious_--a
magnificent Californian fiction. Mr M'Culloch seems one of those
blessed visionaries who riot in the prospect of profits to be realised,
and whose strong imagination gives existence and reality to the
possibilities of ideal gain. Upon the authority of its framer, we
see now that the Auchness balance-sheet is professedly pictorial and
factitious; and it is upon this stable foundation that the farmers of
Britain are asked to invest more capital in their business, and to
practise the Auchness mode of husbandry. Are you and Mr M'Culloch in
earnest? I can scarcely believe it. Cicero tells us that one augur
meeting another could scarcely help smiling; and one can scarcely help
thinking that you and Mr M'Culloch must have many a quiet laugh at
the boundless gullibility of the Free-trade press and the Free-trade
proprietors, swallowing your high farming as the substitute for
Protection, and the remedy for the sufferings entailed on the kingdom
by Free-trade legislation.

You tell us, however, that you have "plenty more" of as profitable
instances of high farming, "for the instruction of Messrs Dudgeon
and Watson, and the edification of the author of the _Book of the
Farm_. From Ireland even, I could instance a small farm within my own
knowledge, where, by the practice of house-feeding, an annual return,
in dairy produce, of at least £400 is obtained from less than 60
imperial acres;" (p. 11.) When, in your first pamphlet, (see prefatory
note, fifth edition,) you wrote that you had selected for exhibition
a single example in the case of Auchness, implying that you had many
more such cases to pick and choose from, I confess that I felt, at
the time, that the statement was disingenuous. I utterly deny that
you can produce one other case similar to Auchness, and that can
parallel it in its advantages and in its profits, unless, indeed its
balance-sheet is framed after the Auchness model. If you have plenty
more such cases, why not mention them? Why keep them secret--a _terra
incognita_--when the agricultural world is panting for information?
You are like the cruel alchemist who discovered the philosopher's
stone, but who, in sulky obstinacy, resolved to die without divulging
the invaluable secret, and did so accordingly. Your present vaunt, I
am inclined to look upon as idle braggadocio. In your gallop through
Ireland, a case is reported to you of £400 being obtained from less
than 60 acres in dairy produce. Are you quite sure that this was not a
bit of blarney dropped into your credulous ear? It is not in the nature
of an Irishman to refrain from "humbugging a Saxon bosthoon;" and
that you were sometimes crammed and humbugged by the "wild Irish," is
undeniable. (See _Dublin Evening Mail_ of 6th February last.) £400 was
the annual return: you do not tell us what was the annual expenditure.
The profit, whatever it might be, was only for one year. And it is by
such isolated, unsupported, and apocryphal illustrations, that you
now vindicate your high farming so called! Individual instances of
extraordinary profit are within the knowledge of every farmer. In two
several cases, I have known £100 sterling being got for one acre of
carrots. The 260 acres at Auchness, at this rate, would give a grand
annual result of £26,000. There is a balance-sheet for you!--there is a
brave speculation. Try it, and never fear the worm.

In the mean time, there is only the one solitary case of Auchness
which you have exhibited, and on this narrow basis you build your
theory, and denounce all who question its authenticity, and who,
if accepted as given, deny its fitness for universal adoption. You
have "plenty more," you say, but, with a relentless taciturnity, you
decline to tell us where they are to be found. And thus you fancy that
you have met and overthrown the agricultural statistics published by
_Blackwood_ in January last. You misunderstand or misrepresent the
value of these statistics. _Blackwood's_ statistics are applicable
to the farming of the districts to which they severally refer, and
not for one, but for the average of years of an ordinary lease, and
_under existing covenants_. If they had been the literal results and
experience of the reporters on their own farms, as you, with reckless
inattention, persist in representing them all to be, they would have
been of little value, and they never could have been attested as
they have been; and, on the other hand, they would have possessed as
little value had they not been drawn up from the results of their own
experience and practical knowledge. They have all the force of those
tabular accounts of sales which mercantile men are in the habit of
transmitting to their correspondents--containing not the exact dealings
of any one merchant, which would be in a great measure useless, but
communicating the actual state of the existing market. The tables
in _Blackwood_ were not intended to exhibit generally the highest
ascertained capabilities of the best qualities of the soil, not to
depict "the possible of agricultural development;" but to show how much
agricultural knowledge, capital, and skill had actually accomplished
on average soils, in an average of years. In this very fact consisted
the value of their results: otherwise, they never could have proved
the effects of Free Trade on Scottish agriculture generally. And
then, the respective reports in _Blackwood_ are examined by others in
the same districts. The examinators--gentlemen of known capacity and
undoubted honour--having tested the reports by their own knowledge and
experience, certify them as correct. We need not be surprised at the
vast importance which has been attached to _Blackwood's_ statistics,
and at the countless and futile attempts which have been made, by
those hostile to the interests of British agriculture, to contradict
and deny their accuracy. How very different is your case! You give a
solitary instance of a farm farmed by the factor of the estate, under
a covenant so unboundedly liberal that it leaves the tenant to do
anything he pleases, if he pays a moderate, in fact, a low rent for the
ground. The lease was probably drawn by the factor himself; and, if
it were not, the farmer could not wish it more liberal and indulgent.
The relative position of the parties throws suspicion and doubt upon
the whole case. Every one feels this. When the proprietor expended so
large a sum of money in improving the farm of Auchness--receiving no
rise of rent, but bare interest for his outlay--did he not mean to make
it a suitable residence for his factor, and to constitute it a kind
of experimental farm in the district? In the liberal covenant, is the
factor's remuneration in part not included? Is the Auchness liberal
covenant the exception, and not the rule, amongst the tenant-farmers
of Wigtonshire? And then, while many have borne their testimony to
the excellence of the crops, and to the management of the stock, not
one has certiorated the Auchness balance-sheet, but yourself. In this
branch of the case you are a _testis singularis_. You seem to hint that
Mr Stephens might certify to your competency as a witness. But that
gentleman maintains an ominous silence. The whole rests upon your _ipse
dixit_. And when the inquirer drops a gentle surmise, you turn round in
a rage, and storm and stamp, proclaiming, at the top of your voice, "I
am Sir Oracle, and when I ope my lips let no dog bark."

With regard to _Blackwood's_ statistics, you again and again admit
their unchallengeable correctness. Their "facts," you say, "are
too well vouched to be disputed; they will be admitted at once by
any candid mind," (p. 5.) If it be so, then, in their position, the
conclusion from the facts is inevitable. When you ask them to meet the
altered times by growing wheat every year on the same ground--or, at
least, biennially, over nearly the half of their farm--and by extending
their quantity of green crop, and feeding off six times the quantity
of stock, their answer is, that they cannot and dare not. The ordinary
conditions of a lease, and the principles of any known system of
rotation, are set at utter defiance at Auchness. When the moss sickens
of the perpetual potato, its rebellion is punished by scarification.
It is skinned of its cuticle to the depth of "a few inches," which is
transported to the red-land fields, (p. 7, first pamph.) If it does not
mend its manners, the invaluable moss will, after a period, disappear
bodily, and the rent of the generous Col. M'Douall will be left to
repose on the "lower silurian formation."

_Blackwood's_ farmers are tied up by leases which they dare not
violate--under penalties which the Auchness profits would not
cover--and they have no accommodation for feeding the enormous
quantity of stock which you prescribe for them. But if they could farm
their land as they please, I question much if they would think it
expedient to adopt the incessant cropping and the excessive stirring
and stimulating of the soil by enormous and rapidly renewed doses of
manure, as exemplified at Auchness. This system does admirably _for a
few years_ on untried soil, having all its rude virgin vigour in it,
like the Auchness farm, when it came into the hands of Mr M'Culloch.
But, after a certain time, the infallible result, as far as the cereals
are concerned, is a mass of rank vegetation and miserable grain, in
respect both of quantity and weight. When the ultimate profits of
the nineteen years' lease are regarded, and the desire to grow for a
series of years true, and, at the same time, prolific corn crops is
entertained, a prudent and skilful agriculturist may well pause before
he plunges into the Auchness experiment. Mr M'Culloch may find, ere
long, that his vexed and wearied land will demand more rest and repose
than Mr Caird, by his further illustrations of high farming, would give
it.

Nor is this all. Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, unlike Mr M'Culloch, are
breeders of stock as well as feeders. Mr Watson, particularly, is
one of the most eminent breeders in the kingdom. Although you may
never have heard of them, his polled Angusshire cattle are somewhat
celebrated. They have excited universal admiration over all the island,
on the pastures at Windsor Castle, in Smithfield, and in the show-yards
of the Highland and Agricultural Society. Most probably Mr Watson,
like most men who have devoted much money and time to the improvement
of our various breeds of stock, may not have profited largely by his
enterprise: but who, yourself excepted, can doubt that he has, in this
department, conferred more important benefits on the agriculture of the
kingdom than a hundred such experiments as the Auchness potato culture
can possibly effect? But if there is a breeding stock upon a farm,
then the stock-feeding system, to the extent that is carried on at
Auchness, is impossible. The young stock which are to be bred from, if
they are to have healthy and sound constitutions, must be allowed the
range of the open field for many months in the year. You boast of the
stock fed at Auchness; I venture to say that more admirable specimens
of cattle and sheep can be produced at Keillor or Spylaw--animals of
more exquisite symmetry, size, and quality--than Mr M'Culloch ever has
exhibited, or ever will exhibit, if he adheres to his present system.
Cattle must be bred by some other party, or the Auchness feeding-system
must stop for want of animals. Mr M'Culloch subsists upon the breeders
of the country. He requires several farms, of the same extent as his
own, to supply him with animals. It is highly unwise of you to urge
upon this class the adoption of a different system, for, without their
aid, there would be empty stalls at Auchness.

But in the production of grain you try to demonstrate that Messrs
Watson, Dudgeon, and Gibson have sadly degenerated from their
predecessors. In proof of this, you adduce the evidence of Messrs
Brodie, East-Lothian, and Turnbull, South Belton, Dunbar, as given
before a committee of the House of Commons, and quoted in the _Farmer's
Magazine_ for 1814. You have given, however, a partial and one-sided
sample of the evidence taken by this Parliamentary Committee. There are
five gentlemen who gave evidence regarding the average produce of wheat
per acre, two of whom only depone to the quantities of oats and barley
grown per acre. It is in the article of wheat alone that the evidence
can enable us satisfactorily to ascertain whether, since 1814, there
has been an agricultural progress or an agricultural declension. Five
of the agricultural tables in _Blackwood_ state the average produce of
wheat. Wheat is the great staple article of the nation's farinaceous
food--that grain upon which the Free-traders repose all their
calculations, and to the selection of which you cannot object, as it is
the only grain you grow at Auchness for the people. Well, let us put
the five agriculturists quoted by _Blackwood_ in juxtaposition with the
five agriculturists whose evidence appears in the Parliamentary Report
of 26th July 1814.

            1814.
                                  Bushels Wheat
                                    per Acre.
  Mr E. Wakefield, Devonshire,
    improved husbandry,                 24

  Mr J. Bennet, Wiltshire, do.,         24

  Mr J. Bailey, Northumberland,
    rent £2 per acre,                   30

  Mr Brodie, East-Lothian,              32

  Mr Turnbull, do.,                     30
                                      ----
      Produce of five acres,           140

  On an average of years previous to 1848.

  Mr Watson, _Forfarshire_,             32
  Mr Dudgeon, _Roxburghshire_,          33
  Mr Roberton, do.,                     33
  Mr Sadler, Mid-Lothian,               32
  Mr Gibson, do.,                       32
                                      ----
                                       162
                                       140
                                      ----
                                        22

That is, the farmers quoted by _Blackwood_ have on an
average of good and bad years, on average land, been growing nearly
4½ bushels wheat more per acre, than the farmers, on the most fertile
soils in the country, quoted in the Parliamentary Report of 1814.
It is quite true that Messrs Brodie and Turnbull grow more oats and
barley per acre than Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, on their average of
years; and, you might have added, more than Mr M'Culloch did with his
boasted high farming in the abundant crop of 1849. You say that the
figures of Messrs Brodie and Turnbull give "their average produce
for a series of years, and elaborate extracts from their books are
adduced to corroborate them," (p. 14.) Now, in giving his evidence, Mr
Brodie pointedly states that he had taken his farm "two years ago;"
and therefore it could not be "for a series of years" that he gave the
average produce of his farms. Mr Brodie _produced no extracts from his
books_, and altogether you misstate his case. Mr Turnbull's evidence
is more copious. To the question--"What is your course of cropping?"
his answer is--"My heavy land in a rotation of six--remainder, of
about 80 acres, is in a rotation of four; 334 acres are under the
plough; the remainder (20 acres) always in grass." And he describes his
six-shift course, which applies to 250 acres of the whole arable land,
to be--"Fallow, wheat, grass, oats, beans, and wheat." Mr Turnbull
did grow more corn crops than Messrs Watson and Dudgeon; but you
forget to tell your reader that, during your "cycle of thirty years,"
he had three-fourths of his farm, for five several years, in fallow,
absolutely barren, and not producing a mouthful of bread or anything
else, for the people. If the loss incurred during these five years of
bare fallow is considered, and if regard is had not only to cereal
produce, but to the cattle grown and fed on their pasturage, it may be
safely concluded that Messrs Watson and Dudgeon are at least as large
benefactors, in supplying food to the people from inferior soils, as
Messrs Brodie and Turnbull were, on the very best lands in Scotland.
You seem to fancy, because Mr Brodie valued his clover at £6, 6s.
per acre, and his turnips at from £8 to £10 per acre, that, in the
department of stock, he greatly excelled Messrs Watson and Dudgeon. You
forget, again, to tell your reader that it was the _Scotch acre_ that
Mr Brodie spoke of: was this accident or ignorance? If this error is
corrected, and if the exorbitant prices of butcher-meat at the period
referred to are remembered, the value of the green crop, as assumed by
Mr Brodie, will surprise no one.

Your whole case is based upon a garbled and partial collation of the
evidence taken by Parliament; and independently of this, you totally
misconceive and misinterpret the case, as quoted by you. The two farms
referred to by you are about the very best in North Britain. Nor is
this all: they were among the earliest and oldest cultivated soils
in Scotland, according to the improved methods of husbandry then in
practice. Previous to 1814, they were let at three times the rent of
Keillor or Spylaw. There is a point beyond which you cannot raise the
productiveness of the soil--when it revolts, and visits your avarice
with sharp reprisals. This you admit in your first pamphlet, (p.
17.) The real question is this, had not Messrs Brodie and Turnbull
raised the productive powers of their farms nearly or altogether to
the maximum of the soil's fertility?--or, as you say, could they have
insured a larger bulk of crop without the danger of lodging it? In the
articles of barley and oats, most unquestionably they could not. Mr
Brodie grew 48 bushels barley, and 57 bushels oats, per imperial acre;
and Mr Turnbull 45 bushels barley, and 54 bushels oats, per imperial
acre. On the very best soils, and by any kind of culture, and with as
large an application of manure as you please, I defy you to grow, on an
average of years, larger quantities than these.

Look now at the farms with which you compare Messrs Brodie's and
Turnbull's. Take Spylaw. Previous to 1814, that farm was well-nigh in
a state of primitive sterility: although ploughed, it was a quagmire;
and the agriculture was what you poetically call according to "nature,
which has no rotation of crops." Mr Dudgeon entered on the farm in
1824; and since that time he has doubled the produce of the grain, and
quadrupled the quantity of the stock. Call you this nothing, young
man!--nothing in the way of providing food for the million? Since 1814
or 1824, has the produce of grain been doubled, and the quantity of
stock quadrupled, on the farms of Messrs Brodie and Turnbull? Nay, has
there been any perceptible advance in the quantity of grain grown? Has
the produce of the grain not remained stationary--and not from any
want of skill or enterprise upon the part of the farmer, but simply
because the soil, previous to 1814, had about reached the limit of
its productiveness? By an enormous outlay, and by admirable skill and
management, Mr Dudgeon has thus raised the productive powers of a soil
naturally of a very inferior description--and not in abundant seasons,
but on an average of years--up very nearly to the highest mark of the
best land in the kingdom previous to 1814. The very same, I have no
doubt, is the history of the agricultural progress that has taken place
upon Mr Watson's farm; and, on the question of agricultural progress
generally, the evidence, fortunately, is accessible to all inquirers.
The volume of the _Farmer's Magazine_ for 1814, which you refer to,
might have instructed you on this subject. An apparently well-qualified
writer in that volume, states "22½ bushels wheat per acre as a high
enough average for clay land in the best cultivated counties of
Scotland," (p. 151.)

Your contrasting two of the choicest farms in all Scotland with the
average soil of Forfarshire and Roxburghshire, indicates a want of
fairness, and destroys the value of your criterion. Intending to
depreciate, you unwittingly have pronounced a panegyric on the farming
of Messrs Watson and Dudgeon. You have the hardihood to say, "that the
annual produce reaped by Messrs Watson and Dudgeon has actually fallen
off nearly a third from what it was in the days of their grandfathers!"
This is a ridiculous blunder, and we have seen that your whole
speculation on this subject is constructed on a series of wild errors,
and illustrated by a Gothic ignorance of the past history of Scotch
husbandry. Your poor taunt recoils upon yourself.

In summing up results, you tell us "that Mr Watson, at present prices,
derives a gross return of £920 from 340 acres under wheat, grass, and
turnips. Mr Dudgeon has £1087, 10s. from 360 acres under the same
crops. And Mr M'Culloch has £1369, 16s. from 146 acres," (p. 17.)
Now, supposing the hypothetical balance-sheet is to be received into
court, there yet lurks under this summary a gross misstatement. Mr
M'Culloch had no such return from his wheat, grass, and turnips on the
146 acres: £284 was expended for purchased food for the stock, and
this contributed largely to the result, but reduces the return from
the 146 acres to £1065, 16s. As well might the distiller who rents 40
acres, but who annually fattens hundreds of cattle upon the feeding
stuffs furnished by his distillery, put down the immense sum of profit
received from his cattle, as the return from the portion of the 40
acres under wheat, grass, and turnips. The error may be unintentional,
but a more loose or fallacious statement of the fact is scarcely
conceivable. You are guilty of a similar dereliction in p. 43, where
you say that Mr Christopher, "from 270 acres under grass and green
crops, derived under Protection a return in money of £710, much less
than Mr M'Culloch's return under Free Trade from 91 acres of grass and
green crop." In fact, Mr M'Culloch's return from the 91 acres _may_ be,
(for it is not realised,) £600.

In this veracious fashion you illustrate the "results of high farming
under Free Trade, and ordinary farming under Protection." A most
extraordinary simpleton will he be who receives without hesitation the
Auchness balance-sheet, and your rose-coloured illustrations of high
farming. "What would have been the position," you ask, "of the country,
if the food of the people had depended exclusively on such exertions
as those of Messrs Dudgeon, Watson, and Low? By their rules, the half
of the population ought to have been starved long ago; and if the
produce of the country has in any degree kept pace with the increase
of its population, we are not indebted for it to them," (p. 16.) To
whom, then, are you indebted? Not to the Auchness husbandry, which is
a prodigy of yesterday's growth--not to Mr M'Culloch and his attendant
satellite; for it is only six months since these luminaries appeared
in the western hemisphere. You are indebted, and could be indebted,
for the result, to no other parties but _Blackwood's_ farmers and
their contemporaries. The people ought to have been starved, you say;
yes, but they have not been starved, and that fact demonstrates the
falsehood of your premises, and renders their refutation unnecessary.

But, not content with thus stultifying your own allegation, you
deliver yourself a few pages after, in a happy forgetfulness of what
you had just written, in the following terms,--"Here, then, were
some remarkable phenomena. A population doubled, the demand for food
vastly increased, the foreigner practically excluded, and yet a steady
fall in the price of our produce. How is this explained?" (p. 23.)
Most inexplicable phenomena, indeed! Scottish farmers of the present
generation growing a third less food than their grandfathers, (p. 15;)
and yet, with a doubled population, there is an abundance of home-grown
food, and a "steady fall in the price of our agricultural produce," (p.
23.) You proceed then manfully to refute yourself, to demolish your
own theory, and to rebut and expose what you had written a few pages
before; and all this you accomplish with a very creditable success.
This proceeding on your part was in the highest degree kind, clever,
and considerate. There can be no doubt, as you show, (p. 24,) that it
has been in consequence of the progressive improvement in domestic
agriculture, that the supply of food has kept pace with the increasing
population; and there can be no doubt that this would have continued to
be the case, without making us dependent on foreigners for our daily
bread, had not Free-trade legislation laid a fatal arrestment on the
progress of British agriculture.

You talk wisely on the advantages attending the introduction of bones
and guano, and contemptuously of Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, as
adhering slavishly to some obsolete system of farming, "stereotyped for
them years ago in the books of Professor Low or Mr Stephens." You write
this in great ignorance, or in unhappy perversity of temper. Nearly
thirty years ago, Mr Watson erected costly machinery for crushing
bones, and was at great trouble and expense in testing their value
as a manure, and recommending them to his brother farmers; and, in
appreciation of his services, they presented him with a valuable piece
of plate. (See _Journal of Agriculture_.) Mr Dudgeon was the very first
to report practically to the Highland and Agricultural Society, in
1842, upon the value of guano as applied to the turnip crop, and in the
following year had nearly 100 acres of this crop manured with guano,
when otherwise the whole breadth of turnips, in the county of Roxburgh,
raised with this manure did not reach to this extent. In fact, the very
parties whom you affect to sneer at, and their compeers, are the very
parties who have raised the character of Scottish farming, and rendered
it famous over the world. It is no common trial of the patience to hear
them reviled by an inexperienced adventurer, whom the ferment of the
times has thrown upon the surface of society.

You disparage the amount expended by _Blackwood's_ farmers on labour,
but you forget that they give it as an average expenditure over a
series of years, and not for a year or two during the course of
expensive improvements; and you expatiate on the tendency of the high
farming at Auchness to give employment to an increasing population; and
yet you tell us that, at Auchness, "machinery has been applied to every
purpose in which labour can be economised about the steading," (p. 11.)
The tendency to economise manual labour, and the tendency to increase
employment for the agricultural labourers, seem somewhat contradictory
and self-destructive features in the Auchness system.

From the account which you have given in your first pamphlet, of the
agricultural condition of Auchness when it first fell into the hands of
Mr M'Culloch, it appears to have been in a state of the most primitive
and unparalleled barbarity. Receiving unwonted encouragement from the
proprietor, he commenced a process of vigorous improvement, which he is
accomplishing regardless of expense. By and by he will have achieved
his object, and the outlay will be greatly diminished. We are not
left to conjecture on this subject, for, in a note appended to his
balance-sheet, Mr M'Culloch tells us, that, "next year the large sum
for purchased manures will be reduced at least one-half;" and that
he "will be able, in a year or two, to dispense altogether with the
expenditure for purchased manures." The plain truth seems to be, that
Mr M'Culloch is in course of doing what _Blackwood's_ farmers, Mr
Dudgeon, and thousands of other farmers, have already done. What is
the meaning, then, of all this ridiculous rant about the high farming
at Auchness? If, at the end of twenty years, Mr M'Culloch can grow
the crops which _Blackwood's_ farmers are now growing, and gets his
facts attested as they have got theirs, it will prove very creditable
management.

You ask what _Blackwood's_ farmers have done to multiply bread-stuffs
for a growing population? That is a most singular question for the
eulogist of the Auchness potato-husbandry to have hazarded. Towards the
production of cereals there are only 55 acres set apart at Auchness--a
smaller proportion than, perhaps, on any farm of similar extent and
soil in the kingdom. The potato is the sheet-anchor of your wealth,
and the staple food you grow for the people; and to this fickle root
you devote more than a third of the whole farm. And yet is not the
potato, as the main source of a people's food, which your system
makes it, the very root of physical degradation, and the very type of
moral wretchedness? Was not the excessive cultivation of the potato
the main cause of Ireland's misery, and of the famine that desolated
her shores? And was not the lesson derived by every thoughtful man,
from the dread visitation, a conviction of the folly and peril of
making this precarious root the mainstay of a people's food? and was
not the hope cherished that the Great Ruler, whose prerogative it is
to bring good out of evil, might over-rule the pestilence and the
famine to advance the improvement of Irish husbandry, and the comfort
of the Irish people? But, in infatuated defiance of the warnings of
Providence, and the stern lessons proclaimed by famine, you hold up,
as a model for British farmers, a system of agriculture in which the
most prominent feature is an excessive cultivation of the potato.
Had British farmers, the growers of the nation's food, persisted
after 1846, and in face of Parliamentary instructions, in growing
the potato--not to the extent grown at Auchness, but to the extent
to which they themselves grew it formerly--they would have deserved
to have been cognosced and sent to Bedlam. Your agricultural economy
is undeniably, in this respect, retrogressive; and its tendency, if
generally adopted, is to plunge our country into the abyss of Irish
misery. And yet you write magniloquently about the production of
bread-stuffs and food for the people! You wonder that Mr Gibson of
Woolmet, "commanding a metropolitan market, so little appreciates the
advantages and necessities of his position that, instead of raising
vegetable produce for that market," he persists in growing grain.
Your wonder is the daughter of ignorance. You seem not to be aware of
what is notorious, that there is already more ground cultivated by
market-gardeners than is required to supply the citizens of Edinburgh.
No class of the community feel the effects of Free Trade more than
they do, as their early crops, on which they principally relied, are
entirely forestalled by supplies from Hamburg, Rotterdam, and other
foreign ports. Forgetting your advocacy of "bread-stuffs," you are high
in your praises of "edible roots;" and vegetable productions must now,
it appears, be the source of agricultural prosperity. Where could a
market be found for table roots, if generally cultivated by the farmers
of the kingdom? Man does not belong to the herbivorous tribes. Cabbages
and colewort won't sustain him. Bread, to him, is the staff of life.
Roots are a windy, watery diet; they breed melancholy and send vapoury
fumes to the brain. We must have "cakes and ale" in spite of you.

You have favoured the world, in your present pamphlet, with some
singularly original views on the subject of rent, which throw a flood
of light on your theory of high farming and the liberal covenant,
and which I think dissipate all the mystery and difficulty in which
otherwise you had left these subjects surrounded. _Blackwood's_
farmers, you say, "give us estimates of what they lose by Free Trade;
and it is a remarkable circumstance that, in every case, the estimated
loss might be converted into a profit, simply by changing the figure
which they put down for rent!" (p. 28, 29.) Most notable discovery!
Instead of being 32s. per acre, had Messrs Watson and Dudgeon's
rent been 12s. or 2s. per acre, all would be right, says the new
agricultural oracle. Who ever doubted this? And so, after much idle
chaffering, and most wearisome circumlocution, the truth at last leaps
to the light--the loss which the farmer incurs by Free Trade is to be
converted into a profit simply by _changing the figure of the rent_.
The idea is admirable, and it is enunciated with exquisite coolness;
and it possesses the sublime simplicity that distinguishes all the
happy discoveries of genius. Lower the rent--bring it down to zero,
if need be--and thus convert the tenant's loss by Free Trade into a
profit. Most preposterous is it for the nation to be pestered with
these Protection meetings, and to be disturbed by the agricultural
depression, with so ready a remedy lying at the door. Agricultural
distress flies the kingdom, simply by changing the figure of the rent.
When once divulged, we wonder that we did not ourselves discover the
grand truth. I am not exaggerating your prescription for agricultural
difficulty--nor has it dropped from your pen _per incuriam_--you
reiterate the same view in your remarks upon Mr Munro's pamphlet,
to indicate the importance you attach to it. Mr Munro, you write,
"of course had to use his own discretion only as to the rotation of
cropping, and might exterminate every head of game on his estate. He
could have reduced the rent to please himself. Yet, possessing all
these advantages, Mr Munro was unable to farm at a profit," (p. 31.)
Mr Munro had fixed a rent on his land, such as he could have easily got
from a competent tenant; but the intervention of Free Trade annihilated
his profit. You are astonished at his simplicity. He could reduce his
rent to please himself; and, by changing the figure, transmute his loss
into a profit. Being both proprietor and tenant, he could play with
impunity the game of "change the figures." He never could lose, for
what the laird lost the tenant gained. _Blackwood's_ farmers, in their
unsophisticated simplicity, never seem to have dreamed of changing the
figure. They may have been prevented by qualms of conscience. They
may have questioned the morality of the proceeding, or doubted the
propriety even of its political economy. 'Tis a pity you did not sooner
publish this part of the Auchness specific. It would have saved much
profitless discussion. It is by far the most vital element in your
liberal covenant, and completes its perfect development. It happily
explains and illustrates the Auchness balance-sheet. By this time the
proprietors of the kingdom will understand the pleasant position in
which you are to put them. With the right of hypothec abrogated, a
rotation of crops exploded, and their rent lowered until it meets the
depreciated prices, and converts the tenant's loss into profit, they
will fall into a very enviable predicament. I sympathise with the
Free-trade lairds. Sad and dismal are their meditations, and deep and
bitter their murmurs. They say they are betrayed, and that they have
reared up and cherished an enemy in their camp.

There is another question, however, which your philosophy does not
seem to embrace. You never seem to have inquired whether the immense
reduction of rents which must take place to meet the present prices,
(which are yet daily falling,) so as to convert the farmer's loss into
a profit, is to be a national benefit. It is certain that the reduction
of rent requisite to effect your avowed object, must infallibly effect
a revolution in the structure of society, and entail upon our country a
train of sufferings unheard of and unparalleled. It is most creditable
to the discernment and patriotism of your brother farmers, that they
reject, as a permanent cure for their difficulties, the lowering of
rent, so as to turn their present loss into profit. They know that,
over a large proportion of the arable soil of the kingdom, rent cannot
so fall without being insufficient to meet the present burdens on land,
and the great outlay required to maintain the farm-buildings, and to
liquidate the other innumerable demands made on the proprietor of the
soil. You call loudly for liberal covenants, for expensive buildings,
and for more drainage, and at the very time you are depriving the
proprietor of the means, and crippling him in his finances. Falling
rents, farmers may well know, are the certain index of a retrograde
agriculture; and, whatever you may fancy, you cannot reduce rent to
the extent you have now pointed out, without inflicting misery, not
only on the tenant-farmers and agricultural labourers, but sooner or
later on every class in the community. The certain tendency of your
agricultural speculation, and by no long circumduction, is to sink the
agriculture of Britain to the condition of Irish husbandry, and to
overrun the nation with pauperism. The landed interest will not suffer
with impunity; and between it and the moneyed interest an internecine
war will ensue. There is a set of pestilent demagogues and pretended
patriots, flourishing at this moment in the kingdom, who are busy
instilling into the masses the revolutionary idea that the landlord's
rent is a robbery of the community, and that it may be dealt with as
conveniency requires. In your latest essay you have pandered to this
pernicious delusion. I do not blame you for so doing. I believe that
you write in a childlike innocence, and with total blindness to the
necessary consequences of your own doctrines.

I have been exceedingly edified and amused with the manner in which
you have expounded the theory of rotation. "The slavish adoption of
fixed rules of rotation are suited only to a comparatively low state
of agriculture. Nature has no rotation of crops--the plant bursts
from the earth, grows, bears its produce, and drops the matured seed
to reproduce itself beside the root of the parent stem. The skilful
gardener lays none of his land to rest in grass," (p. 17.) This may be
fine writing, but it is unmitigated nonsense. Nature _has_ a rotation
of crops; and from nature the agriculturist took the hint, and got his
teaching. The distribution of that part of the indigenous flora of a
country which constitutes its annuals, is ever liable to vary. Nature's
annual weeds flourish for a while in the same spot; but, having
exhausted the peculiar nutriment in the soil which sustained them,
they degenerate and migrate to a fresh locality. The plants which the
farmers grow are chiefly annuals. But, in fact, two crops of the same
kind of wood on the same soil is not according to the arboriculture
which nature teaches. "The plant bursts from the earth, grows, bears
its produce, and drops the matured seed to reproduce itself." Well,
and what then? Can the farmer take the lesson? Is it not with this
very habit of nature that his art must wage an incessant warfare? The
skilful gardener has a rotation of crops, although he grows none of
the cereal tribes, which especially rejoice in the alternative system
of husbandry; and if the skilful gardener does not lay down "his land
to rest in grass," his costly substitute is to trench his plot every
fourth or fifth year to the depth of three or four feet, and thus to
invigorate the wearied soil, by amalgamating it with fresh mould. The
exhausted surface, the Auchness experimenter is compelled to remove. It
is not very accurate to speak of the farmer "laying his land _to rest_
in grass." He puts it under grass as an improving crop, and one which
a _system_ of agriculture cannot dispense with--a crop, too, which in
many situations yields a larger free profit than he could otherwise
raise from the land.

I do not remember of ever meeting with more ignorance of botany,
vegetable physiology, and horticulture, condensed into a shorter space
than you have succeeded in cramming into the few sentences just quoted.
But, in a brave contempt of what you had written, you tell us, on
the very next page, that you "do not mean to say that the system of
rotations has been without its use." And you add, that "the average
agriculture of Scotland has undoubtedly been improved by it." And it is
with such absurd and solemn see-saw that you enlighten the agricultural
world. If a rotation of crops has improved the average agriculture of
Scotland, that demonstrates the excellence and necessity of the system.
It is average results that anything deserving the name of a system can
alone secure. Agricultural reformer as you are, I would respectfully
suggest that you must, if you wish to effect any good, legislate for
an average measure of agricultural character and skill. The farmers of
the kingdom are an immensely numerous body, and you cannot expect them
to be all men of genius. Let your philanthropy prompt you to stoop for
a time from your transcendental height, that you may minister to the
wants of average humanity.

I am not surprised that you are angry with Peter Plough. This is very
excusable. You had said in your first pamphlet, (p. 28,) that it was
demonstrable that, if all the arable land in the same parish were
cultivated as the Auchness farm was, immense benefits would accrue to
the people. Mr Plough's expansive patriotism was not to be limited by
the parochial boundaries, and he determined, if possible, to give the
benefits of the system to the whole of the kingdom. With this view,
he instituted an inquiry, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the
Auchness system was capable of general adoption. Nothing could be more
fair. You had, in fact, challenged the inquiry, by representing high
farming as the substitute for Protection. Peter Plough, by a cogent
and crushing demonstration, proved the utter inapplicability of the
Auchness system for general adoption. He has impaled you on the horns
of a dilemma, and no wonder that you are writhing in anguish. You try
to smile, but, alas! it is too evident that your laugh is like that of
the third ruffian in the melodrama, when the skeleton is discovered in
the closet, and supplies the last link in the chain of circumstantial
evidence. Manifestly the salt tears are seen to trickle over your
abashed countenance.

Peter Plough understated his case. Include Ireland in his calculation,
and adopt the more recent statistics of Porter, giving the increase
in the mercantile navy, and Mr Plough's demonstration remains intact
and impregnable. He had shown that, to apply the Auchness system to
British husbandry, thirty-eight millions of additional capital would
be required by British farmers, for the feeding stuffs and artificial
manures; and he naturally asked where this "sum of money was to be
got?" "And pray, good Peter, where is it to go?" you respond. Why,
certainly, the first question in order of time and of prudence is,
where is the money to be got?--unless, indeed, it be part of your
system to make your money go before it be got! When you tell us that
every ounce of the feeding stuffs used at Auchness was raised on
British soil, you forget and misstate. The lintseed, (p. 21, first
pamphlet,) and the oilcake, (p. 23, second pamphlet,) are not of
British production. The bruised oats and bean meal for the cattle, and
the supplemental quantity of oats for the servants and horses, may
be indeed of British production--although not grown on the farm of
Auchness. But how long, think you, are farmers to grow these grains at
a loss, to benefit the Auchness factor? He is dependent upon others for
his supplies of these feeding stuffs.

Peter Plough has, in fact, compelled you to eat your leek, for you now
tell us that the high farming at Auchness is, "as an example, to be
taken in the spirit more than in the letter." What! have you forgotten
that you set it forth "as the Substitute for Protection?" and that, if
your language had any meaning, you intimated that its virtue would be
equipollent and co-extensive with that of the plundered crutch? And
now, forsooth, you veer about, with slippery versatility, and tell
us that you are to be "read in the spirit more than in the letter."
When such grave interests are at stake, this seems to me intolerable
trifling, although no doubt it provides a door of escape for you,
whatever disaster may attend the adoption of your expedient. In every
such case the model will have been copied with a servility too literal,
or a liberality too latitudinarian; and there seems nothing for it but
that the bewildered husbandman, before he embarks on the career of high
farming, and runs the risk of mistaking the letter for the spirit,
shall make a pilgrimage to Baldoon and consult the oracle, and ask the
author to interpret his impenetrable text.

Whether it pleases you or not, this question must be agitated and
tested, and sifted and probed to the very bottom--namely, Is the mode
of farm management pursued by Mr M'Culloch upon Auchness capable of
being adopted in the general cultivation of the land of the country?
This is the only question at all interesting to the agriculturists
of the kingdom--the only question at all germane to their present
position. If this is not meant, your high farming is a childish
bauble. Its value, not only as a substitute for Protection, but as
an instructive lesson in husbandry, must be determined by a correct
solution of the preceding query. We find, then, upon a farm of 260
acres, that crops 1848 and 1849 give an average extent of 81 acres
under grain, 48 acres in grass, and 131 acres in green crops; and of
the latter, 78½ acres are potatoes all to be sold off.

We also find that 130 cattle, and about 190 sheep, are annually
fattened upon the farm. The large extent of the green crop, and the
quantity of cattle fed, are the salient and prominent features of the
system. This you admit, I am therefore taking you in the spirit more
than in the letter. Is a system, embracing such a disproportion between
its root and grain crops, adapted for extension? Try its effects upon a
small scale--extend it over a district of the average extent of Scotch
counties, and inquire what would be the result. You will find that
there would be a produce of about 301,417 tons of potatoes, 114,845 fat
cattle, and 167,788 sheep--a produce more than equivalent to supply
every town in Scotland with potatoes and butcher meat. Or, to indulge
your parochial partialities, let us inquire what would be the results
if _one farm_ in _every parish_ in the kingdom were farmed according
to the Auchness fashion. In England, Wales, and Scotland, there are
11,583 parishes. We would have of "edible roots" _i. e._ potatoes,
4,633,200 tons, after allowing an equal quantity to be destroyed by the
rot, as apparently happened at Auchness last year. Of wheat, 2,782,816
qrs. Of fat cattle, 1,505,790. Of fat sheep, 2,409,264--and a snug
little money profit from hoggets and cows, young horses and ewes, of
some ten millions. A small model farm in each parish of the island can
supply its present population with beef and potatoes, and leave of the
latter a liberal supply to the Rector's "generous pigs." Double our
population, and add another model farm to each parish, and the wants
of "the million" are forthwith supplied. Avaunt Malthus! all hail,
Caird! "A plethora of beef, a plethora of vegetables," you facetiously
exclaim. You have not considered that there may be a plethora of food,
with concomitant destitution, nay starvation, amongst the poor and
unemployed. Read the Irish correspondence of the _Morning Chronicle_,
and the _Clare Journal_ for February, and you will find that the two
things actually co-exist at this moment in some parts of Ireland. But
the next inquiry is, Would there be a plethora of profit as well as of
food? Would the balance-sheet do, and would "change the figure" not be
the instant cry? Suppose the potato epidemic to pass away, or allow
even the present supplies of that root and of butcher-meat from other
sources to be continued, would potatoes bring 30s. per ton, and beef
4d. per lb? It is not in the least degree probable. Is it not certain,
too, that there would be such a demand for foreign manures as would
raise their price beyond the possibility of profitably using them?

But perhaps this is copying the model too servilely. Well, modify it
to such an extent as to preserve in operation the leading principles
of the system--which is based upon cattle-feeding and potato culture
to an extent wholly out of proportion with the other products of the
farm--and the system will still prove self-destructive, inasmuch
as its tendency must be to increase the cost of production, and to
lower the value of the produce raised. With regard to the cost of
production, Table ii. in your "addition" (4th ed. p. 40,) enables
us readily to test the question. It appears that Mr M'Culloch's
"expenditure per acre for labour, artificial manures, purchased food,
and expenses of management," exceeded the average expenditure of
Messrs Watson, Dudgeon, and Christopher by £3, 11s. 7¾d. Now you tell
us from Porter that, of garden and tillage lands in Great Britain,
there are 13,637,320 acres. To bring up these--which, however, include
Auchness--to the mark of the Auchness system at a farther expenditure
of £3, 11s. 7¾d. per acre, an additional capital of £48,852,857, would
be required by British farmers. And this is "High Farming farther
illustrated!" and you correct Peter Plough by adding eleven millions
to his estimate of the new capital required! I am here stealing a leaf
from the book of Peter Plough; but, if you will not allow us to look
at your case in this light, it is not worth a moment's notice. If the
system cannot be reduced to practice, why tantalise the farmer by
bringing the cup to his lips, but denying him the power of slaking his
thirst?

You seem to think that you have communicated new and invaluable
information to the practical farmer, and you "challenge Mr Stephens,
within the whole compass of his two thousand pages of letterpress, to
exhibit an instance equally instructive," (p. 27.) What is it that
is so new? Is it the value of manure and its extensive application
that constitutes the novelty, now for the first time made known? The
ancient Romans anxiously collected their manure from as many sources
as the moderns do. They liberally employed liquid manure and pigeons'
droppings, (your guano,) then esteemed of inestimable value. Or, is
it the stall-feeding system that you publish as something so new and
instructive? Why, the _Metayers_ of Lombardy have long fed their cattle
in a somewhat similar fashion, but with more extraordinary care. They
feed them in stalls--they bleed them--they brush them twice a-day,
whether with "a dandy brush" or not is not recorded, and they rub them
over with oil. The oleaginous application is something more exquisite
than the Auchness system administers. There is, in truth, nothing new
in what you have written, as every educated agriculturist knows; and
you might have found your "instructive instances" almost in any history
of agriculture in any one of our Cyclopedias. When I consider this, I
have been forcibly reminded of the valorous exploits of the immortal
hero of one of Sir Walter Scott's best poems, which the bard thus
commemorates,--

    "Donald Caird finds orra things,
    Whare Alan Grigor fand the tings."

You apparently now stand alone and unsupported in your advocacy of
high farming, foolishly so called, as the substitute for Protection,
and as a source of profitable investment under the depressed prices of
agricultural produce. "The leading organ of the Protectionists," is
so heterodox in your estimation, that one cannot expect you to imbibe
wisdom from such a source. But perhaps you may listen more benevolently
to the other powerful and accredited organ of political opinion in
North Britain on the question of high farming, and the possibility of
its adoption as a _present remedy_ for the clamant evils under which
the agricultural community now labours. You will do well, before you
write again, to ponder over and inwardly to digest the following
pregnant sentences, which embody an admirable synopsis of the truth.
The italics are mine.

"It is true, that high farming can maintain a large labouring
population; but high farming requires, not only that high scientific
knowledge which is of _slow growth_, but also a _large expenditure of
capital_. It is the possession of _great skill_, _habitual energy_,
and _vast capital_, which alone renders possible such a system of
farming, horticultural rather than agricultural, as has grown up
in Belgium in the midst of abundant markets, wealthy towns, and
flourishing manufactures,--a system the _origin and growth of which
has been favoured by every circumstance that can promote industry and
protect its fruits_."--_Edinburgh Review_, January 1850, (p. 18.)
Mr Mechi speaks problematically of the profit of high farming; that
amiable experimenter, Mr Huxtable, ingenuously confesses his losses,
and allows that last year he was _minus_ £32 of his rent; Mr M'Culloch
even seems half disposed to leave you in the lurch. He is reported,
in the _Scotsman_ of the 13th February last, to have said at a public
meeting in Newton-Stewart, on the 1st February,--"That, before the
improved system could be properly carried out, the landlords must give
encouragement particularly in draining and buildings." Millions of
money, which the proprietors have not, must be expended; and millions
of additional capital must be at the command of the farmers, which they
have not, before the system can be carried out. Enthusiast although
he be, Mr M'Culloch begins to see the impracticable nature of the
scheme. Moreover, before the improvements could be effected, supposing
the requisite capital to be had, and before any profit could accrue
from them, years would elapse. For the improvements and profits of
agriculture, unlike those in manufactures, cannot be realised in a few
months. The farmers, with a continuation of the present prices, will
in the mean time be ruined, unless rents are diminished one-third,
and, on the poorer soils, extinguished altogether--in which event,
again, two-thirds of the proprietors of the kingdom would be ruined.
These are the immediate accompaniments attending your cheap food for
the people, your plethora of potatoes, and your plethora of beef. The
ultimate issue will speedily reach the people whom you delude, and the
Manchester Free-traders whose sweet voices you court.

But you have further shown us, that there is a necessity for the
compulsitor of an act of Parliament to nullify existing leases, and to
establish the conditions of the liberal covenant, and that a change
of the figure in the rent is imperiously called for. In other words,
you prescribe not for the existing condition of agriculture, but for
an imaginary case of your own construction. Your views are based on
hopes and contingencies vague and visionary. Your theory, as further
illustrated, avowedly contemplates a possible case, which not only
does not exist, but which is a moral impossibility. That such views
should have attracted any notice, and raised any serious discussion,
the critical emergency of the times, as already stated, sufficiently
explains. Drowning men catch at straws; and, during the prevalence of
an inscrutable pestilence, the afflicted and excited sufferer, loth
to relinquish the hope of life, flees to any doctor, however quackish
and empirical. The practical agriculturists of the kingdom have made
up their mind upon the practicability and general utility of your
schemes; and, while frankly allowing that much remains to be done for
the further advancement of agriculture, and that high farming, in any
profitable or practicable sense, is indispensable, they unanimously
repudiate the utopianism of your theory as a cure for the dire evils
into which, by no fault of their own, they have been plunged. The
Perthshire farmer, the only brother tenant of whom you have spoken in
the language of civility, and who, in his judicious pamphlet, had shown
that Mr M'Culloch, in 1848, must have lost by his farm, repels your
advances, and scorns your supercilious compliments. He writes, that "he
would far rather have received Mr Caird's buffet than his embrace."
(_Stirling Journal_, 15th February.)

You are now "left alone in your glory;" but that glory is neither
small nor contemptible. By that portion of the press who are fired
with a hatred of landlordism, and who have taken a vow to sacrifice
the agricultural classes to the cupidity of the master manufacturers,
you are praised and flattered as the only man of mark and likelihood
in North Britain. Although Adam Smith, and more recently M. de
Tocqueville, have given it as their opinion that the agricultural
classes are more intelligent and intellectual than the manufacturing,
yet there is a section of "the fourth estate" in the realm, who cannot
speak of farmers without employing insulting epithets derogatory to
their intelligence and education. With this fraternity you are an
especial favourite; and not without cause. They are wise in their
generation, and they see well enough that your speculations, as those
of a farmer, serve their purpose better than any of their own could
possibly do. They perceive that your Georgical essays are raising
delusions in the minds of the ignorant, and bolstering up the vain
hopes of Free-trade proprietors, and pandering to the agrarian
passions of the unprincipled, and are thus admirably calculated to
divert attention from the clamant sufferings of the agricultural
community, and to stifle any attempt to devise a real remedy for them.
I am sure that, in your heart, you mean none of these things; but it
is surprising that the fulsome praises of such parties, and their
enlistment of you into their ranks, have not raised a suspicion in your
mind regarding the tendency of your writings, and the somewhat dubious
and equivocal position which you now occupy.

That powerful print, the _Times_, disparages the intelligence of
farmers, and writes with levity on the subject of their present
sufferings. If landlords and tenants cannot prosper under present
prices, it tells them cavalierly to sell off, and to emigrate.
Surveying them and their fields, it kindly intimates--

    "Hæc mea sunt; veteres migrate coloni."

Seated beside the Thunderer, you are to dispense the
award to agricultural mortals. Have pity on your frail and erring
brethren, and wield not the giant's strength tyrannically. But your
faculties are as great as your fame; and as Julius Cæsar, in the midst
of preparations for battle, marked the revolutions of the stars, so
you, in the interval that elapses betwixt the publication of your high
farming essays, take a glance at Ireland, and solve the enigma that had
puzzled all preceding statesmen, and prescribe the cure for the chronic
ailments of our unhappy neighbour. With a few flourishes of your pen,
you have slain _Blackwood_ and all his allies. The mind is proud of
its triumphs in proportion to the reputed greatness of what it has
overcome. Plutarch, in his life of Artaxerxes, tells us of a soldier
who wounded King Cyrus in battle, and who grew thereupon so arrogant
that in a short space after he lost his wits. I fear for you, even in
the midst of your triumphs, for you are manifestly perturbed. At a time
when every one had treated you with unexampled gentleness and courtesy,
you complain of being upbraided, and of having lost the smiles of men
of rank. Can it be that the monitor within is pricking you for your
left-handed advocacy of the farmers' interest? The taint of a _green_
and yellow melancholy is on you. That curious old writer, Felix Plater,
tells us, with high humour, of a certain one who fancied that he had
some of Aristophanes' frogs in his belly, and who studied physic seven
years, and took the tour of Europe, with a view of relieving himself.
Your itinerancy may be salubrious, and tend to evacuate the croaker.
But if not, happy are you to have such a doctor--the crutch-destroyer,
I mean--as your "guide, philosopher, and friend." By his nimble
manipulations, he will easily effect the happy exorcism of every
obstruction; and, having him as your Mæcenas, well may you feel

    "Divinity within you breeding wings,
    Wherewith to scorn the earth."

If I have contributed in any degree, by this agreeable epistle, to
abate and dissolve your present flatulency, it will be a source of
delightful reflection to me in the evening of life.

  CATO.



THE CLEARING OF THE GLENS.


I.

    They'll speak of him for many a year,
      In Britain's sad decline,
    In other lands, perchance, than this,
      Across the weltering brine.
    They'll speak of him who drove them forth
      In alien fields to toil,
    Who forced them from their fathers' hearths,
      The children of the soil!


II.

    Amidst the deserts of the West
      When evening shadows fall,
    Around their aged grandsire's knees
      The babes will gather all--
    And "Tell us, grandsire," thus they'll speak,
      "O tell us yet again,
    Of that dear native land of yours
      That lies beyond the main.


III.

    "Why did you leave that happy land,
      And seek a shelter here,
    Where keenly sweeps the northern wind
      Through frozen forests drear?
    And why forsake the purple hills
      Where Scotland's heather grows,
    To shudder in this dreary waste
      Of cold Canadian snows?"


IV.

    "Ah, children--Ye recall the time
      When I was young and strong;
    When never roebuck on the brae
      More swiftly raced along.
    I dwelt within a bieldy hut
      Far up a Highland glen,
    With forty more, our name that bore,
      All true and loyal men.


V.

    "We sowed the seed, and reaped the grain,
      With thankful hearts and kind;
    Our cattle grazed upon the hill
      That rose our homes behind.
    Each Sabbath-day we worshipped God
      Within the homely fane,
    All circled by the blessed graves
      I ne'er shall see again.


VI.

    "Our chief--ah, me! how proud were we
      That honoured name to hail,
    Was, like his fathers, true and just--
      In heart and soul, a Gael.
    His lands were narrowed in their range
      Since dark Culloden's day,
    But o'er our hearts the ancient name
      Still bore its ancient sway.


VII.

    "He loved us: Ay! he did not leave
      His old ancestral home,
    As many did, with stranger friends
      In foreign lands to roam.
    God's blessing rest upon his head,
      Alive or dead, say I;
    For 'midst his clan, though dwindled sore,
      He looked to live and die!


VIII.

    "And so we dwelt, in peace and rest,
      For many a changing year:
    Not rich; but riches never made
      A home so doubly dear.
    From kindly earth, from verdant hill,
      From river, loch, and wood,
    We drew the stores that kept us still
      In raiment and in food.


IX.

    "One year--I know not which it was,
      For it was long ago,--
    The summer had been cold and wet,
      And early fell the snow;
    A heavy blight came down from heaven
      On plant, and root, and grain,
    And what the pestilence had touched,
      Ne'er rose to life again.


X.

    "It was an awful winter. Want
      And famine raged around;
    Yet little felt we of their power,
      Within our master's ground.
    Our debts were few, our rents were small,
      And these were all forgiven--
    No heavier burden did we bear
      Than that which fell from heaven!


XI.

    "The spring came round--the primrose bloomed
      Upon the bank and brae,
    And blythesome looked the bonny glen
      Within the light of May.
    The lowing of a hundred herds,
      The voices of the rills,
    The bleat of flocks, the glad bird's song
      Rang o'er our Highland hills.


XII.

    "The blade was springing in the field
      Right healthily and green,
    With promise of the fairest yield
      That eye had ever seen.
    And joy rose up within our hearts,
      We feared no more decay,
    But thanked our Maker--who had ta'en
      The grievous curse away.


XIII.

    "O little knew we of the men
      Who ruled within the land;
    The days were gone when Scottish hearts
      O'er Scotland held command.
    The days were gone when valiant souls,
      Who knew their country's right,
    Stood foremost at the council board
      As they were first in fight.


XIV.

    "The spirit of the olden time,
      That blazed so bright of yore,
    Had died away, and no one spoke
      Of faith or honour more.
    They deemed this glorious earth was made,
      And vaulted with the sky,
    For nothing but to gather gold--
      To traffic, fawn, and lie!


XV.

    "And so they reared the chimney-stalk,
      And so they laid the keel,
    And trampled on the labouring poor
      With hard and heavy heel.
    A cold and crafty Southron carle
      Was lord and master there:
    No gentle blood had he who stood
      Beside the monarch's chair.


XVI.

    "He made his laws--I wot not how--
      But this I know full well,
    That ruin like a biting frost
      Upon the country fell.
    It mattered not how bright the sun,
      How bountiful the rain,
    The wickedness of man had made
      The gifts of God in vain.


XVII.

    "These were sore days. Within the towns
      Was naught but foreign bread;
    By foreign serfs beyond the seas
      The people now were fed.
    No work was there for us to do,
      No labour far or near;
    We dared not render thanks to Him
      Who sent a fruitful year.


XVIII.

    "The plough lay rusting in the field:
      We drove our cattle down,
    We sold them--'twas our last resource,
      Within a distant town.
    The poor dumb creatures! when they went
      I knew the hour must come
    For the like woeful journey next,
      To those that were not dumb.


XIX.

    "And so it fell. One weary day
      The bitter news was told,
    That the fair land we loved so well
      Was to a stranger sold.
    The race that for a thousand years
      Had dwelt within the glen,
    Were rudely summoned from their homes,
      To beg as broken men.


XX.

    "Some would not leave--the ruffians tore
      The crumbling thatch away;
    They plucked the rafters from the wall,
      And bade them starve and stay!
    The old, the bedrid, and the sick,
      The wife and new-born child--
    I thank my God I did not strike,
      Although my heart was wild!


XXI.

    "We parted--kinsfolk, clansmen, friends,
      With heavy hearts and sore;
    We parted by the water-side,
      To meet on earth no more.
    The sun was sinking to his rest
      Amidst a lurid sky,
    And from the darkening hill above
      We heard the falcon's cry."


XXII.

    "O wicked deed, O cruel men!
      O sad and woeful day!
    But, grandsire, tell us of your friends
      And kinsfolk, where are they?"
    "They lie within the festering heaps,
      Among the city dead--
    Scant burial had they for their bones,
      No gravestone marks their head;


XXIII.

    "Some died of want, of sorrow some,
      And some of broken age:
    They who lived on were sad as birds
      Cooped in a narrow cage.
    O children, with the savage beasts
      I'd rather lay me down,
    Than dwell among the stifling lanes
      Within a factory town!


XXIV.

    "Sharp hunger forced us to the mills;
      We slaved for scanty food
    'Midst flashing looms, and buzzing wheels,
      And strangers rough and rude.
    From morn to night we toiled and spun
      Like beasts to labour driven,
    And only through the dingy panes
      We saw the light of heaven.


XXV.

    "Ay, there was room for all! The child
      That scarce could walk alone,
    The little ones we loved so well,
      The stripling and the grown;
    The modest maiden forced to bear
      The coarse and scurril jest;
    The old man with his silver hairs--
      The wife with babe at breast.


XXVI.

    "All, all might work--for England ne'er
      Had borne so high a name,
    Though not for Christian chivalry
      She strove to keep her fame.
    No longer streamed Saint George's cross
      The foremost in the air,
    Her glory lay in cotton bales
      And yards of flimsy ware.


XXVII.

    "For this we toiled, for this we span;
      For this all round and round
    Ten thousand chimney-stalks were reared
      Above the blackening ground.
    For this they made the reaper's song,
      The ploughman's whistle cease;
    And 'midst the clanking of the chains
      Proclaimed the reign of peace!


XXVIII.

    "But we--the Highland-born, the free,
      How could we struggle there?
    Still in our hearts we felt the breath
      Of our fresh mountain air--
    We saw the shadows of the hills
      Hang in the waters clear,
    The purling of the distant rills
      Was sounding in our ear.


XXIX.

    "We sang the old familiar songs--
      We sang them at the loom;
    We sang of light, and love, and joy,
      When all around was gloom.
    O then, O then--the bitter tears
      Rose to each aching eye--
    O were we but once more at home,
      Though only there to die!


XXX.

    "Death came, but came not quickly. Pale
      And weak my sister grew;
    With sharpened pain and wasting sobs
      Her heavy breath she drew.
    At last I laid her in her bed
      When she could work no more.
    I kissed her poor, thin, wasted cheek--
      I prayed--and all was o'er!


XXXI.

    "I laid her in a stranger's grave.
      And then I turned and fled,
    I cared not whither--anywhere--
      To earn my honest bread;
    In any land where flesh and blood
      Were reckoned more than gain--
    Where tyrant masters did not wring
      Their wealth from woe and pain."


XXXII.

    O England--England! many a heart
      Is sad and sore for thee,
    Though basely, meanly, falsely driven
      To dwell beyond the sea.
    O England! if the bonny Rose
      Was drooping on your crown,
    Why did you stretch a cruel hand
      To pluck the Thistle down?


XXXIII.

    There's many a name of noble fame
      Writ in your ancient roll;
    There's many an honest statesman yet
      Of free and generous soul:
    Why stoop to those who cannot walk
      With high and upright head,
    Whose living souls no kindred own
      With thy time-honoured dead?


XXXIV.

    The worst of all--the thrice-forsworn--
      The gamester of thy fame--
    How dares he deem that aftertimes
      Will give him aught but shame?
    Let monuments be reared above--
      Of marble heap a hill--
    The peasant's curse upon his head
      Shall weigh the heavier still!



Díes Boreales.

No. VI.

CHRISTOPHER UNDER CANVASS.

_Camp at Cladich._


SCENE I.--_The Wren's Nest._

TIME--_Six_ A.M.

NORTH--TALBOYS--SEWARD.


NORTH.

You recollect the words of Edmund in Lear--

    "A credulous father, and a brother noble
    Whose nature is so far from doing harm,
    That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty
    One's practices ride easy."

This is exactly Iago with Othello--believing in virtue, using,
despising it. These idolators of self think the virtuous worship
imaginary, unreal Gods. But they never doubt the sincerity of the
worship; and therein show a larger intelligence, a clearer insight,
than those other idolators who, shut up in their own character, ascribe
their own motives to all; and in virtues can see only different shapes
of hypocrisy.


TALBOYS.

The Devil himself knows better, sir. He knows that Virtue exists;
only he flatters himself that he can undermine its foundations. "And
ofttimes does succeed"--seeking Evil "as contrary to His High Will whom
we resist!"


NORTH.

The Evil Principle at war with the Good.


TALBOYS.

In what war soever, sir, you are once engaged, you soon feel yourself
pledged to it. A few blows given on both sides settle you fast, and you
no longer inquire about the cause.


NORTH.

To an evil soul all good is a reproach; therefore he wars on it. To the
self-dissatisfied the happiness of the good is a reproach; therefore,
if he be thoroughly selfish, he pulls it down.


TALBOYS.

Every one's impulse is to throw off pain; and if no pity, no awe, no
love be there to stay him, he pulls down of course.


NORTH.

My dear Talboys, believe me, that, for a moment, every man has motives
fit for a fiend. Perhaps he obeys--perhaps rejects them. The true fiend
is constant.


TALBOYS.

Every man has motives fit for a fiend! I beg you to speak for yourself,
my dear sir.


NORTH.

I speak of myself, of you, and of Iago. What is the popular
apprehension or theory of the malice disclosed in "mine Ancient"--not
the Old One, but the Standard-bearer?


TALBOYS.

Why, the prompt, apt, and natural answer will be, he is a Devil.


NORTH.

And pray what is a Devil?


TALBOYS.

Iago.


NORTH.

Don't reason in a circle, sir.


TALBOYS.

I'd rather reason in a circle, sir, than not reason at all. I
like reasoning in a circle--it is pleasant pastime in a cold, raw
morning--far preferable to ascending Cruachan; for you are never far
from home, and when tired can leap out at your own pleasure, and take
some reasoning in a straight line.


NORTH.

You are always so pleasant, Talboys, circular or ziz-zag. Whence is the
malice in the heart of a Devil?


TALBOYS.

I want data, sir. Milton has given some historical elucidation of it;
but the People reason less, and are no philosophers.


NORTH.

Hate in a devil is like Love in an Angel--uncaused, or self-causing; it
is his natural function--his Essence, his Being. Herein the seraph is a
seraph--the fiend is a fiend.


TALBOYS.

    "Evil! be Thou my good! By Thee at least
    Divided Empire with Heaven's King I hold,
    By Thee, and more perhaps than half will reign."

Reason--Motive--Cause.


NORTH.

Prospero calls Caliban a devil--a born Devil.


TALBOYS.

Also, a demi-Devil--as Othello calls Iago.


NORTH.

The Philosopher knows--_in humanity_--of no born devil. He follows,
or tries to follow, the causes which have turned the imperfect nature
into the worst. The popular sense takes things as it finds them, and
acknowledges "born devils," Iago being one, and "of the prime." The
_totality_ of monster in the moral world seems to that unphilosophical,
sincere, and much-to-the-purpose intuition, expressed under the image
of _a nativity_. The popular sense recognises a temper of man which
elects evil for evil's sake--which inflicts pain, because it likes to
see pain suffered--which destroys, because it revels in misery.


TALBOYS.

Coleridge calls Iago's "a motiveless malignity." He hated Othello
for not promoting him, but Cassio. That seems to me the real,
tangible motive--a haunting, goading, fretting preference--an
affront--an insult--a curbing of power--wounding him where alone he
is sensitive--in self-esteem and pride. See his contempt for Cassio
as a book-warrior--and "for a fair life"--simply like our notion of a
"milksop." Why Othello, who so prizes him for his honesty as to call
him ever "honest Iago," keeps him down, I have not a guess--


NORTH.

Haven't you? And pray what right have you to interfere with the
practice of promotion in the army of the Venetian State?


TALBOYS.

I cannot approve of this particular instance--it looks like
favouritism. Othello fancied Cassio--Cassio was the genteeler young
fellow of the two--the better-born--Iago had risen from the ranks--and
was a stout soldier--


NORTH.

You don't take your character of Cassio, from Iago?


TALBOYS.

I do. Iago was a liar--but here I think he spoke truth--there is
nothing in the Play indicating that Cassio had seen much service--he
had never been at Cyprus--nor anywhere else--he had never seen a
Turk--he had never--


NORTH.

Hold your tongue.


TALBOYS.

A more disgraceful Brawl--


NORTH.

Hold your tongue, I say.


TALBOYS.

Don't keep pouring out your excuses for him, sir, with such
overwhelming volubility--it won't do. He knew his own wretched head.
"I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking," yet drink he
would,--"I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was craftily
qualified too"--worse than shirking--"behold what innovation it makes
here,"--and yet he would not join the Teetotallers. Out on such a
Lieutenant! Iago _was_ an ill-used man.


NORTH.

Talboys--


TALBOYS.

O that ceaseless volubility! Shakspeare afterwards makes Iago say that
Cassio "has a daily beauty in his life." Where do we see it? In his
_liaison_ with that "fitchew?" From pleading with the Divine Desdemona
on a question to him of life or death, to go straight to sup--and sleep
with Bianca!


NORTH.

Othello's "Now thou art my Lieutenant," shows the importance meant by
Shakspeare to be attached to the previous oppression--or "holding down"
of Iago. Alas! how that allocution instigating Iago to murder by more
than a promise of promotion, sadly lowers Othello to me--I hardly know
why. I feel a descent from his own passion to a sympathy with Iago's
desire to step into his superior officer's shoes. I can fancy that
Shakspeare meant this. Ay, that he did; for I believe that turbulent
passion, in some of its moods, lowers--degrades--debases a great and
generous nature.


TALBOYS.

Iago, was jealous of Othello. He says he was, and either believes
it, or tries to believe it. His own words intimate the doubt, and
the determination to believe. Malignity and hate indulge in giving
acceptance to slight grounds--such he says, in his own coarse way, was
the rumour--and perhaps it was true--


NORTH.

Certainly it was false. High characters, as Coriolanus, Hotspur,
Othello, are, by a native majesty of spirit, saved and exalted from the
pursuit of illicit pleasure.


TALBOYS.

They are. But let his jealousy of Othello--sincere or assumed--or mixed
or alternating--enter as an element into the hatred.


NORTH.

Let it. Iago was, you said truly, a stout Soldier--and I add, a hard,
unfeeling, unprincipled Soldier. Of all trades in the world, that of
a Soldier is the worst and the best--witness an Iago--an Othello. The
same trade helped to make both. In Othello we almost see Wordsworth's
_Happy Warrior_--in Iago one--

    "Yet ill he lived, much evil saw,
    'Mongst men to whom no better law
    Nor better life was known;
    Deliberately and undeceived,
    Those bad men's vices he received
    And gave them back his own!"

You are convinced, without a hint, that he is infidel--atheist:
everything shaped like religion, like moral conscience--his mind shakes
off and rejects with scorn. He does not, however, as I said, disbelieve
in Virtues. He believes in them, and uses them to the destruction of
the havers. What he disbelieves is the worth of Virtues. To that savage
Idol, Self, the more bleeding and noble victims, the more grateful the
sacrifice.


TALBOYS.

A singular combination in him, sir, is his wily Italian wit--like
Iachimo's--and his rough--soldierlike--plain, blunt, jovial
manners--the tone of the Camp, and of the wild-living, _reckless_
Camp--plenty of hardihood--fit for toil, peril, privation. You never
for a moment doubt his courage--his presence of mind--his resources--he
does not once quail in presence of Othello at his utmost fury. He does
not stir up the Lion from without, through the bars of his cage, with
an invisible rod of iron--that is, a whip of scorpions; he lashes up
the Wild Beast, and flinches not an inch from paw that would smite, or
tusk that would tear--a veritable Lion Queller and King.


NORTH.

I cannot but believe that the Othello of Shakspeare is black, and all
black. I cannot conceive the ethnography of that age drawing--on the
stage especially--the finer distinction which we know between a Moor
and a Blackamoor or Negro. The opposition, entertained by nature, is
between White and Black--not between White and Brown. You want the
opposition to tell with all its power. "I saw Othello's visage in his
mind" is nothing, unless the visible visage is one to be conquered--to
be accepted by losing sight of it. I say again, that I cannot myself
imagine the contemporary audience of Shakspeare deciding colour between
a Moor and a Negro. The tradition of the Stage, too, seems to have made
Othello jet black. Such, I opine, was the notion of the Moor, _then_,
to the People, to the Court, to the Stage, to Shakspeare.


TALBOYS.

Woolly-headed?


NORTH.

Why, yes--if you choose--in opposition to the "curled darlings."


TALBOYS.

Yet Coleridge has said it would be "something monstrous to conceive
this beautiful Venetian girl failing in love with a veritable Negro."


NORTH.

Coleridge almost always thought, felt, wrote, and spoke finely, as
a Critic--but may I venture, in all love and admiration of that
name, to suggest that the removal which the stage makes of a subject
from reality must never be forgotten. In life you cannot bear that
the White Woman shall marry the Black Man. You could not bear that
an English Lady Desdemona--Lady Blanche Howard--should--under any
imaginable greatness--marry General Toussaint or the Duke of Marmalade.
Your senses revolt with offence and loathing. But on the Stage
some consciousness that everything is not as literally meant as it
seems--that symbols of humanity, and not actual men and women, are
before you--saves the Play.


TALBOYS.

I believe that Wordsworth's line--

    "The gentle Lady married to the Moor,"

expresses explicitly the feeling of the general English
heart--pity for the contrast, and a thought of the immense love which
has overcome it.


NORTH.

White and Black is the utter antithesis--as, at intensity, Night and
Day. Yes--Talboys--Every jot of soot you take from his complexion, you
take an iota from the signified power of love.


TALBOYS.

As you say, sir, the gap which is between the Stage and Reality must
prevent, in our hearts, anything like loathing of the conjunction.


NORTH.

The touch of such an emotion would annul the whole Tragedy. A
disparity, or a discrepancy, vast as mysterious--but which love, at
the full, is entitled to overlook--overstep! Whether Fate dare allow
prosperity to a union containing so mighty an element of disruption, is
another question. It seems like an attempt at overruling the "Æterna
fœdera rerum."


TALBOYS.

For half an hour after her death, Othello believes her guilty. You must
take it for a representation of what his feelings would have been, if
she had really been guilty.


NORTH.

Unless the fact of her innocence have a secret potency that reaches,
through all appearance and evidence of her guilt, into his innermost
soul. Be that as it may, he is, after the deed, perplexed and unmanned,
totally unlike a man who has performed a great sacrifice to the
offended gods. You may say that the convulsion of uptorn love is too
fresh, and that he would in time have regained his strength--that had
she been guilty, the first half-hour must have been just what it was.
All I know is, that his mind first becomes clear, when he knows her
innocent. Then he is, in a measure, himself, and sees his way. Had
she been guilty, he would have lived two years with a stern, desolate
soul--not harsh, perhaps, to honest folks, though--and have then fallen
in battle.


TALBOYS.

But how is Iago affected by the blackness? No doubt, with more hate
and aversion at being commanded by and outshone by him. High military
rank and command--high favour by the Senate--high power and esteem in
the world--high royalty of spirit--happiness in marriage--all these in
Othello are proper subjects of envy, and motives of hate in Iago. The
Nigger!


NORTH.

Antipathy of bad to good--of base to noble--exacerbated by physical
antipathy of colour! But I never could fathom the hate and malice and
revenge of Iago.


TALBOYS.

It is unfathomable--and therefore fit agent in Tragedy.


NORTH.

Even so. I don't believe that Shakspeare always means you to be able to
lay motives in the balance and weigh them. Far otherwise.


TALBOYS.

Ay--Think how the Murder of Duncan leaps up, Hell-born, into the heart
of Macbeth--at the breath of the Weird Sisters!


NORTH.

Perhaps. Poetry shaping out an action, distinguishes herself, amongst
other points of distinction herein, from History, that while she shows
lucidly, and of her own clear knowledge, the concatenation of Cause
and Effect, yet passion and imagination require the indefinite. There
is then a conflict of claims and powers; and the part of logic is
hence imperfectly rendered. You see the river sweeping by you, without
knowing all the springs that have fed it.


TALBOYS.

Say that again, sir.


NORTH.

_There_ IS the hatred--a tragical power, which the Poet is
principally concerned to use--less to explain.


TALBOYS.

You said, sir, the noble Moor must have been much disennobled ere he
could have cried to Iago, "Now thou art my lieutenant."


NORTH.

I did, and you think so too.


TALBOYS.

I do. Othello and Iago, are joint conspirators to two double murders.
Can you conspire to a murder--a private assassination--without lowering
yourself--even on the Stage? Othello takes on himself the murder of
Desdemona--act, responsibility, consequences; but does he not seem to
hire Iago to assassinate Cassio?


NORTH.

What did Othello intend to do--after all was accomplished? Consequences
indeed! He was stone-blind to the future. What does he expect? that
when he has killed his wife, everything is to go on as smoothly as
before? That no notice will be taken of it? or that he will have to
make another speech to the Senate? He has told them how he married
her--the counterpart will be to relate "a plain unvarnished tale of my
whole course" of smothering and stabbing her with bolster and dagger.
"Now thou art my lieutenant"--shows--if not stone-blindness--a singular
confidence in the future.


TALBOYS.

The Personages who come in at the End look at the matter contrariwise.
Othello exalts the killing of his wife into a sacrifice to Justice.
But Cassio? That is mere--pure Revenge. "O that the slave had forty
thousand lives,--one is too poor, too weak for my revenge."


NORTH.

Upon what pedestal does Othello stand _now_--engaging another to kill
Cassio in the dark, for his own revenge? I repeat it, surely the Noble
Moor is now very much disennobled.


TALBOYS.

I rejoice, my dear sir, that you have so completely got rid of that
nasty cough--your voice is as clear as a bell. Lungs sound--


NORTH.

As those of a prize bagpiper. Talboys, I cannot help thinking that
Shakspeare shows up in Othello, foul passions--that you see in him two
natures conjoined--the moral Caucasian White, and the animal tropical
Black. In the Caucasian, the spiritual or angelical in us attains its
manifestation. In the offspring of the tropics, amongst the sands, and
under the suns of Africa, the animal nature takes domination. The sands
and suns that breed Lions, breed Men with Lion's hearts in them. The
Lion is for himself noble, but blood of the Irrational in the veins of
the Rational is a contradiction. The noblest moral nature and the hot
blind rage of animal blood!


TALBOYS.

Ay, the noblest moral nature, and high above every other evidence of
it, his love of HER--which, what it was, and what it would
have remained, or become--and what he was and would have been, had Iago
not been there--we may imagine! With all the power of a warrior, and a
ruler, he has the sensibility of a Lover--with all spontaneous dignity
and nobility, he has the self-mastery of reason--before his overthrow.


NORTH.

Wherefore, my dear Sheriff, I prefer Othello as a specimen of the
_Ethical Marvellous_. Like, as in another kingdom, a Winged Horse or
a Centaur--the meeting of two natures which readily hold asunder.
All this has under the Æthiop complexion its full force--less if you
mitigate--if not mitigate merely, but take away, where are we all? The
innate repugnance of the White Christian to the Black Moorish blood,
is the ultimate tragic substratum--the "_must_" of all that follows.
Else--_make_ Othello White--and, I say again, _see_ where we are!


TALBOYS.

Shakspeare, sir, is not one to flinch from the utmost severity of a
Case.


NORTH.

Not he, indeed--therefore I _swear_ Othello is a Blackamoor.


TALBOYS.

And I take it, sir, that Othello's natural demeanour is one of great
gravity, to which the passionate moods induced are in extremity of
contrast. I conceive that, by these mixtures and contrasts, he is
rendered picturesque and poetical.


NORTH.

I swear Othello was a Blackamoor--and that Desdemona was the Whitest
Lady in Europe.


TALBOYS.

Had he lived to be tried for murder, I think his counsel might have
successfully set up the plea of insanity.


NORTH.

They might have successfully set it up--but I, the Judge, would have
successfully put it down. Honestly, I don't think Othello mad; and
for this reason, that the thought never before came into my head.
An incident that appears to me most wonderful in dramatic invention
is--the Swooning. Look at the precise words preceding his falling down.
To me it has no other effect or sense, than that of the blood being
driven up into the head, and oppressing with physical pressure that
bodily organ--the brain. The soul strikes the body like a hammer, and
knocks it down.


TALBOYS.

Ay, how his words waver--"That's not so good now"--from a man
believing, or on the point of believing. There is to me a physical
faintness in these words, and in the play upon the words "lie with
her," &c., intellect reeling to fall.


NORTH.

Good. But I believe body and soul of Othello--or the relation between
body and soul--to be physiologically right and sound. The swooning goes
soon off--the accident of an hour--the mind is else in full vigour,
sound, and misled. You must recollect that a mind of supereminent
physical (may one say so?) and moral power--a mind that would have
been strong and calm through the Russian Campaign of Napoleon--is
not in a day stricken into a state which requires the medical skill
and attention of Dr Willis. Othello had an immensely strong physical
constitution undoubtedly--had he not, the adventures related would
long ago have extinguished him. This is one meaning of that sudden and
strange narrative which children are taught by rote, and which men may
not have quite fathomed; but a strong body and strong soul conjoined,
do not lightly admit of disjunction. Madness, properly so called, is
a disjunction, in some way or kind, of the natural union between soul
and body. A few days disrupt the ties in the aged Lear. You may think
that in Othello--I suppose Ætat. 40 or 45--the ties would bear some
wrenching of the rack, ere snapping. I think that they held firm.


TALBOYS.

True, sir, insanity would even detract from the moral majesty and
splendour of Othello.


NORTH.

It would. The time comes back to me when I did _not care for the Play
or the Man_. The Play now seems to me wonderful, more even than Hamlet
or Lear--and the Man, in poetical invention, a match for Achilles or
Satan.


TALBOYS.

Sir--sir.


NORTH.

Passion in the blood like that of a Negro--and right in the soul as of
Socrates or Epaminondas. Yes, Talboys, the Majesty of the Moral soul in
Othello seems to me the most prophetic, or divining, or inconceivable
of Shakspeare's conceptions.


TALBOYS.

Nay--nay--my dear sir.


NORTH.

Everything else might seem to offer its own reason--


TALBOYS.

Nay--nay--my dear sir. Compare the gross Hamlet of Saxo Grammaticus
with Ours.


NORTH.

Well, do--but Othello--you don't know whence he is derived. He is a
tropical animal--kindred to the lion--the tiger--the dragon--and, on
the other hand, he has the rational equipoise of the faculties that
stamp the Philosopher--and he is everything between the two.


TALBOYS.

An Eloge, indeed--perhaps a _leetle_ too eulogistic.


NORTH.

No. What a simple sincerity colours the narrative of his love-making!
Is your _imagination_ bewitched by the wild story of his adventurous
life? Hers, doubtless, was fascinated. But your _soul_, methinks,
is won to approving the Venetian Maiden's choice by a profounder, a
more legitimate charm. Who ever heard Othello relate, and hung back
from believing him? He is honest, and she is honest. That is the bond
whereby the Parcæ united their souls and their threads. Why they
disunited both--how that infernal intervention of Lachesis and Atropos
crossed their pure souls in their pure conjunction, let Clotho--if she
can--tell.


TALBOYS.

Let's be more cheerful.


NORTH.

Ay--let's.


TALBOYS.

Othello shows that our Good--our excellence--our capacity of
happiness--lies all in Love. That our light in which we walk--our
light which we give forth--is Love. He declares this, by cleaving
to this Good--by having it--by losing it--by recovering it. The
self-consciousness of Othello returns to its unison with universal
being--with heaven's harmony of the worlds. Iago denies this
Good--never acknowledges it--although he serves involuntarily to
demonstrate the truth--of which Othello perishes the self-sacrificed
witness. It is great, sir, in the Tragedy, but in him the House of Love
is divided against itself. His jealousy, child of his love, lifts up a
parricidal hand, wounds and is wounded--but only unto its own death.
And what is the feeling left by the catastrophe?


NORTH.

Say, my friend, say.


TALBOYS.

Peace--rest--repose--depth of tranquillity--like the sea stilled from
storms.


NORTH.

The charmed calm that reflects heaven.


TALBOYS.

Peace grounded in this proved thought--that LOVE IS BEST. Of
all the Persons, whose stars will you accept to be your own? If you are
a man, Othello's; if woman, the wronged and murdered Desdemona's. Study
for ever the two closing and summing up verses--"I _kissed_ thee ere I
_killed_ thee; no way but this--Killing myself to die upon a kiss!" To
gather up all the terror that is past, as if not only the winds were
upgathered like sleeping flowers, but upgathered into the sleeping
flowers. I don't know how to avoid comparing--all unlike as the
characters are--the end of Romeo and Juliet--Lear and Cordelia--Othello
and Desdemona. I never can separate them. LOVE the mightiest
torn asunder in life--reunited in death. Love--the solace of lapsed and
mortal humanity.


NORTH.

Lend the Old Hobbler your arm.


SCENE II.--_Pavilion._

TIME--_After Breakfast._

NORTH--TALBOYS--SEWARD--BULLER.


NORTH.

NOW FOR THE GRAND INQUIRY.

How long, think you, was Othello Governor of Cyprus, and Desdemona the
General's wife?


TALBOYS.

How long? Why, some weeks, or some months; quarter of a year, half a
year, a year.


NORTH.

A most satisfactory answer indeed to a simple question. How long have I
been Commander of the Forces at Cladich?


TALBOYS.

Tents pitched on the 14th May 1849--This is the 24th of June Ditto.
You, like Michael Cassio, are "a great arithmetician"--and can
calculate the Days.


NORTH.

That's precise. Let's have some small attempt at precision with respect
to the time at Cyprus.


TALBOYS.

Well then--a Month--TWO MONTHS.


NORTH.

And you are a Student--a Scholar--in Shakspeare!


TALBOYS.

What the ace do you mean?


NORTH.

JUST TWO DAYS.


TALBOYS.

What the deuce do you mean? THE MAN has lost his Senses.


NORTH.

Who? Shakspeare?


TALBOYS.

Really, sir, you are getting daily more and more paradoxical--and I
begin to tremble for your wits.


NORTH.

See that your own have not gone wool-gathering, Talboys. Two Months!
For two Months read two Days--I insist on it.


TALBOYS.

Gentlemen, the case seems serious. What would you propose?


SEWARD.

Let's hear the Sage.


NORTH.

Open Shakspeares. Act II.--Scene I.


BULLER.

All ready, sir.


NORTH.

A Sea-port Town in Cyprus--not Nicosia, the capital of the Island,
which is inland--thirty miles from the Sea--but Famagusta.


TALBOYS.

So says in a note Malone--what's that to the purpose?


NORTH.

I wish to be precise. Ship ahoy!


TALBOYS.

        "The ship is here put in,
    A Veronese; Michael Cassio,
    Lieutenant to the warlike Moor, Othello,
    Is come on shore"--


NORTH.

        "A sail--a sail--a sail!
    My hopes do shape him for the Governor."


BULLER.

    "'Tis one Iago, Ancient to the General."


TALBOYS.

    "The riches of the ship is come on shore!"


BULLER.

    "Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.


NORTH.

    The Moor! I know his trumpet."

There's the power of poetry for you--I do pity poor prose. The
sea-beach--town--fortifications--all crowded with people on the
gaze-out--_for hours_. For ships on the stormy sea. But not a ship
to be seen. Obedient to the passion of the people, one ship after
another appears in the offing--salutes and is saluted--is within the
Bay--inside the Breakwater--drops anchor--the divine Desdemona has
landed--Othello has her in his arms--

                      "O my soul's joy!
    If after every tempest comes such calms,
    May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
    And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas
    Olympus-high; and duck again as low
    As hell's from heaven!"

all _in five minutes_--in three minutes--in one minute--in
no time--in less than no time.


TALBOYS.

What's your drift?


NORTH.

Handle Shakspeares! Scene II.--A Street--On the day of Othello's
arrival--the Proclamation is issued "that there is full liberty of
feasting for this present hour of _Five_, till the bell has told
Eleven"--for besides the mere perdition of the Turkish Fleet, it is the
"celebration _of his nuptials_."


TALBOYS.

We all know that--go on.


SEWARD.

His nuptials! Why, I thought he had been married at Venice!


NORTH.

Who cares what you think? Scene III.--a Hall in the Castle--and enter
Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and attendants. Othello says--

    "Good Michael, look you to the guard to-night:
    Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop,
    Not to outsport discretion."

And before retiring for the night with Desdemona, he says--

    "Michael, good night: _To-morrow, with our earliest,
    Let me have speech with you._"


TALBOYS.

Why lay you such emphasis on these unimportant words?


NORTH.

They are not unimportant. Then comes the Night Brawl--as schemed by
Iago. Othello, on the spot, cashiers Cassio--and at that very moment,
Desdemona entering disturbed, with attendants, he says--

    "Look if my gentle love is not rais'd up.--
    Come, Desdemona; 'tis the soldiers' life,
    To have their balmy slumbers wak'd with strife."

Iago advises the unfortunate Cassio to "confess himself
freely" to Desdemona--who will help to put him in his place again--and
Cassio replies--"_betimes in the morning I will beseech the virtuous
Desdemona to undertake for me_: I am desperate of _my fortunes, if
they check me here_;"--and the Scene concludes with these words of
Iago's--

            "Two things are to be done,--
    My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress;
    I'll set her on;
    Myself, the while, _to draw the Moor apart,
    And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
    Soliciting his wife; Ay, that's the way;
    Dull not device by coldness and delay_."

"By the mass, 'tis morning," quoth Iago--and Act II.
closes with the dawn of the Second Day at Cyprus. You don't deny that?


TALBOYS.

Nobody denies it--nobody ever denied it--nobody ever will deny it.


NORTH.

Act Third. Now for ACT III.


TALBOYS.

Our six eyes--and our six ears are all wide awake, sir.


NORTH.

It opens before the Castle--as the _same morning_ is pretty well
advanced--and Cassio is ordering some Musicians to play "Good-morrow,
General."


TALBOYS.

On the same morning? I am not so sure of that, sir.


NORTH.

Nobody denies it--nobody ever did deny it--nobody ever will deny it.


TALBOYS.

Not so fast, sir.


NORTH.

Why, you slow Coach! Cassio says to the Clown, who is with the
Musicians, "There's a poor piece of gold for thee: if the Gentlewoman
that attends the General's wife be stirring, tell her, there's one
Cassio entreats her a little favour of speech;"--and as the Clown goes
off, Iago enters--and says to Cassio--

    "_You have not been a-bed, then?_

And Cassio answers--

    Why, no; _the day had broke
    Before we parted_. I have made bold, Iago,
    To send in to your wife. My suit to her
    Is, that she will to virtuous Desdemona
    Procure me some access.

    _Iago._                I'll send her to you presently;
    And I'll devise a mean to draw the Moor
    Out of the way, that your converse and business
    May be more free."

Emilia then enters, and tells Cassio that all will soon be
well--"the General and his Wife are talking of it--and she speaks for
you stoutly."--


TALBOYS.

All this does not positively imply that the preceding night was
the night of the Brawl. Cassio, though originally intending it, on
reflection may have thought it too precipitate to apply to Desdemona
the very next day; and there is nothing improbable in his having been
with Iago till daybreak on some subsequent night. It is not quite
clear, then, that the Third Act commences on the morning after Cassio's
dismissal.


NORTH.

O rash and inconsiderate man!


TALBOYS.

Who is?


NORTH.

You. It is not quite clear! I say 'tis clear as mud or amber. Iago
has with such hellish haste conceived and executed his machinations,
that Cassio has been cashiered some few hours after landing in Cyprus.
In the pride of success, he urges on Cassio to apply without delay
to Desdemona in the morning. We see the demi-devil determined to
destroy--"By the mass, 'tis morning--pleasure and action make the
hours seem short." Iago may have gone to bed for a few hours--Cassio
had not--"You have not been a-bed, then."--"Why, no; the day had
broke before we parted." The Time of the end of Second Act, and of
the beginning of Third Act, are thus connected as firmly as words and
deeds can connect. You say there is nothing improbable in Cassio's
having been with Iago till daybreak on some subsequent night! Why, who
the devil cares to know that Cassio had not been to bed on some other
night? His not having been to bed on _this_ night is an indication
of _his_ anxiety, and Iago's question is a manifestation of _his_
malevolence cloaked with an appearance of concern. In each case an
appropriate trait of character is brought before us; but the main
purpose of the words is to fix the time, which they do without the
possibility of a doubt. They _demonstrate_ that the Third Act opens on
the morning immediately subsequent to the night on which Act Second
closes. This morning dovetails into that night with an exactness which
nothing could improve.


TALBOYS.

Why so fierce, my good sir?


NORTH.

Fierce! I may well be fierce. What! Cassio's desire to see Desdemona
cool before morning--Iago's desire to drive him on to his destruction
cool too--and both walk away without further heed--and when next seen,
after an interval of some weeks or months, talking about not having
been in bed during some other night on which nothing particular has
happened! Bah!


TALBOYS.

Sir, I do not like to see you so much excited. You mistake me--I was
merely, at your bidding, assisting you in your expiscation of the
Time--we are at one about it--


NORTH.

My dear Talboys, forgive me--my irascibility is a disease--


TALBOYS.

Health--health--exuberant health of mind and body--May you live a
thousand years.


NORTH.

The Third Act, then, you allow, opens on the morning of the day
following the night on which the Second Act closes?


TALBOYS.

I not only allow, my dear Sir, I insist on it. Let me hear any man deny
it, and I will knock the breath out of his body! Proceed, Sir.


NORTH.

Obstinate? I never called you obstinate, my dear Talboys. Well--let me
proceed, with you for an ally. In this same scene, First of Act Third,
Cassio says to Emilia,

                      "Yet, I beseech you,
    If you think fit, or that it may be done,
    Give me advantage of some brief discourse
    With Desdemona alone."

And Emilia says to him,

                        "Pray you, come in;
    _I will bestow you where you shall have time
    To speak your bosom freely_.
      _Cassio._                    I am much bound to you."

And off they go to sue to the gentle Desdemona.


TALBOYS.

Alas! somewhat too gentle.


NORTH.

Then follows Scene II. of Act III.--a very short one--let me read it
aloud.


"_A Room in the Castle._

_Enter_ OTHELLO, IAGO, _and Gentlemen_.

    _Othello._ These letters give, Iago, to the pilot;
    And, by him, do my duties to the State;
    That done, I will be walking on the works;
    Repair there to me.
      _Iago._         Well, my good Lord, I'll do't.
      _Othello._ This fortification, gentlemen,--shall we see't?
      _Gent._ We'll wait upon your lordship.      [_Exeunt._"

That this Scene is on the same day as Scene Second--and
with little intermission of time--is too plain to require proof.
Othello here sends off his first dispatches to Venice by the pilot who
had brought him safely to Cyprus, and then goes out to inspect the
fortification. That is in the natural course of things--such a scene at
any subsequent time would be altogether without meaning.


TALBOYS.

I cannot see that, sir.


NORTH.

None so blind as they who will not see.


TALBOYS.

There again.


NORTH.

What do you want, Talboys?


TALBOYS.

Have the goodness, my dear sir, to pause a moment--and go back to the
close of the Scene preceding this short one. Then and there, Cassio, as
we saw, goes into the Castle with Emilia, "_to be bestowed_" that he
may have an opportunity of asking Desdemona to intercede for him with
Othello. But "to be bestowed" may mean to have apartments there--and he
may have been living in the Castle for several days, with or without
Othello's knowledge, before that short Scene which you have just now
quoted.


NORTH.

Living in the Castle for several days! With or without Othello's
knowledge! Prodigious! All that Cassio asked was, "the advantage of
some _brief discourse_;" and, that he might have that advantage, Emilia
gave him apartments in the Castle! And there we may suppose him living
at rack and manger, lying _perdu_ in the Governor's House! Emilia was a
queer customer enough, but she could hardly have taken upon herself the
responsibility of secreting a man under the same roof with Desdemona,
without the sanction of her Mistress--and if with her sanction, what
must we think of the "gentle Lady married to the Moor?" Talboys, you
are quizzing the old Gentleman.


TALBOYS.

I give it up.


NORTH.

The short Scene I quoted, then, _immediately_ follows the preceding--in
time; and that short Scene is manifestly introduced by Shakspeare,
merely to get Othello out on the ramparts with Iago, _that_ Iago may
bring the Moor "plump on Cassio soliciting his wife." SCENE THIRD
OF ACT III.! Unfurl.


TALBOYS.

Ay, ay, sir. _Scene Third of Act III._ That is the Scene of Scenes.


NORTH.

Scene Third of Act III., accordingly, shows us Desdemona, Cassio,
and Emilia before the Castle--and while Cassio is "soliciting his
wife"--"enter Othello and Iago at a distance."

      "_Emilia._                Madam, here comes
    My Lord.
      _Cassio._      Madam, I'll take my leave.
      _Desdemona._                              Why stay,
    And hear me speak.
      _Cassio._ Madam, _not now; I am very ill at ease_--
    Unfit for mine own purposes.
      _Desdemona._ Well--well--
    Do your discretion.      [_Exit_ CASSIO."

Down to this exit of Cassio, we are on the morning or
forenoon of the Second Day at Cyprus. Every word said proves we are.
Cassio's parting words prove it. "Madam, _not now_--I'm very ill at
ease--unfit for my own purposes." He had been up all night--had been
drunk--cashiered. He sees Othello coming--his heart sinks--and he
retreats in shame and fear--"unfit for his own purposes."


TALBOYS.

Eh?


NORTH.

In Scene First of Act III., Emilia tells Cassio that she will do a
particular thing--do it of course--_quam primum_--as a thing that
requires no delay, and demands haste--and in Scene III. she appears
having done it. In Scene First she tells Cassio that she will bring
him to speak with Desdemona about his replacement--and in Scene Third,
before the Castle, we find that she has done this. The opportunity came
immediately--it was made to her hand--all that was necessary was that
Othello should not be present--and he was not present. He had gone
out on business. Now was just the nick of time for Cassio to bespeak
Desdemona's intercession, and now was just the nick of time on which
that intercession was by him bespoken. Nothing could be more nicely
critical or opportune.


TALBOYS.

Between us, sir, we have tied down Scene III. of Act Third to the
Forenoon of the Second Day at Cyprus.


NORTH.

We have tied down Shakspeare thus far to SHORT TIME AT
CYPRUS--and to Short Time we shall tie him down till the
Catastrophe. OTHELLO MURDERED DESDEMONA THAT VERY NIGHT.


TALBOYS.

No--no--no. Impossible.


NORTH.

Inevitably--and of a dead certainty.


TALBOYS.

How--how, sir?


NORTH.

Why will an Eagle be an Owl?


TALBOYS.

A compliment and a banter--


NORTH.

Why, you Owl! we have just seen Cassio slink away--all is plain sailing
now--Talboys--for Iago by four words seals her doom.

                    "_Ha! I like not that!_
      _Othello._ What dost thou say?
      _Iago._ Nothing, my lord: or if--I know not what.
      _Othello._ Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?
      _Iago._ Cassio, my Lord? No, sure; I cannot think it,
    That he would steal away so _guilty-like
    Seeing you coming_."

Mark what follows--there is not a moment of intermission
in the Action down to end of this Scene Third of Act Third, which you
well call the Scene of Scenes, by which time Othello has been convinced
of Desdemona's guilt, and has resolved on her Death and Cassio's.


TALBOYS.

Not a moment of intermission! Let's look to it--if it indeed be so--


NORTH.

See--hear Desdemona pleading for Cassio--see, hear Othello saying--"Not
now, sweet Desdemona;" and then again--"Prythee, no more: let him come
when he will--I will deny thee nothing." And again--

            "I will deny thee nothing;
    Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,
    To leave me but a little to myself.
      _Des._ Shall I deny you? no: Farewell, my lord.
                                        [_Exit with Emilia._"

Turn over leaf after leaf--without allowing yourself to
read that dreadful colloquy between the Victim and his Destroyer--but
letting it glimmer luridly by--till Desdemona comes back--and Othello,
under the power of the Angel Innocence, exclaims--

    "If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!--
     I'll not believe it."


TALBOYS.

I behold her! I hear her voice--"gentle and low, an excellent thing in
woman."

    "Why is your speech so faint? are you not well?
      _Oth._ I have a pain upon my forehead here."

She drops that fatal handkerchief--

    "I am very sorry that you are not well."

What touching words! They go out together--ignorant she
that her husband hath heartache, worse than any headache--


NORTH.

Both to be effectually cured _that night_ by--bleeding.


TALBOYS.

By bleeding?


NORTH.

You Owl--yea.


TALBOYS.

A sudden thought strikes me, Sir. Desdemona has said to Othello--

    "Your dinner, and the generous Islanders
     By you invited, do attend your presence."

How's this? This looks like long time--


NORTH.

It may look like what it chooses--but we have _proved_ that we are now
on the forenoon of the Second Day at Cyprus.


TALBOYS.

Would it not have been treating them too unceremoniously to have sent
round the cards of invitation only the night before? As far as I have
been able to learn, they have long been in the habit of giving not less
than a week's invitation to dinner at Cyprus. In Glasgow it is commonly
three weeks. And why "_generous_?" Because they, the Islanders, have
given a series of splendid entertainments to Othello and his Bride.


NORTH.

No nonsense, sir. Othello had done what you or I would have done, had
either of us been Governor of Cyprus. He had invited the "generous
Islanders," immediately on his landing, to dine at the Castle "next
day." Had he not done so, he had been a hunks. "Generous," you know,
as well as I do, means high-born--men of birth--not generous of
entertainments.


TALBOYS.

True, too. But how comes it to be the dinner hour?


NORTH.

People dined in those days, all England over, about eleven
A.M.--probably they dined still earlier in the unfashionable
region of Cyprus. You are still hankering after the heresy of long
time--but no more of that _now_--let us keep to our demonstration of
short time--by-and-by you shall see the Gentleman with the Scythe--the
Scythian at full swing--as long as yourself.


TALBOYS.

I sit corrected. Go on.


NORTH.

Othello and Desdemona have just gone out--to do the honours at the
Dinner Table to the generous Islanders. He must have been a strange
Chairman--for though not yet absolutely mad, his soul was sorely
changed. Perhaps he made some apology, and was not at that Dinner at
all--perhaps it was never eaten--but we lose sight of him for a little
while; and Emilia, who remains behind, picks up the fatal handkerchief,
and, with a strange wilfulness, or worse, says--

          "I'll have the work ta'en out.
    And give't Iago."

Iago snatches it from her--and in soliloquy says--

    "I will in Cassio's lodgings lose this napkin,
    And let him find it."
              "This may do something,--
    The Moor already changes with the poison:
    Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons,
    Which at the first, are scarce found to distaste;
    But, with a little, act upon the blood,
    Burn like the mines of sulphur.--I did say so:--
                              _Enter_ OTHELLO.
    Look! where he comes! Not poppy, nor mandragora,
    Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
    Shall ever medicine _thee to that sweet sleep
    Which thou ow'dst yesterday_."

Then follows, without break, all the rest of this dreadful
Third Scene. The first dose of the poison--the second, and third, and
fourth--are all given on one and the same day. The mineral has gnawed
through all the coats of the stomach--and _He has sworn to murder
Her_--all in one day. We have Iago's word for it. _Yesterday_ his
sleep was sweet--how happy he was then we can imagine--how miserable
he is _now_ we see--"what a difference to _him_," and in him, between
Saturday and Sunday!

    "O, blood! Iago, blood!

       *       *       *       *       *

    Now by yond' marble heaven,
    In the due reverence of a sacred vow,
    I here engage my words.
      _Iago._ Do not rise yet.                [_Kneels._
    Witness, you ever-burning lights above!
    You elements, that clip us round about!
    Witness, that here Iago doth give up,
    The execution of his wit, hands, heart,
    To wrong'd Othello's service! Let him command,
    And to obey shall be in me remorse,
    What bloody work soever."


TALBOYS.

Thou Great original Short-Timeist! Unanswerable art Thou. But let us
look at the close of this dreadful Third Act.

      _Othello._ I greet thy love,
    Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance bounteous,
    And will upon the instant put thee to't:
    Within _these three days_ let me hear thee say,
    That Cassio's not alive.
      _Iago._ My friend is dead; 'tis done at your request:
    But let _her_ live.
      _Othello._ Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her!
    Come, go with me apart; I will withdraw,
    To furnish me with some swift means of death
    To the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.
      _Iago._ I am your own for ever.

In three days--at the longest--for Cassio;--but Iago
understood, and did it that very night. And swift means of death for
the fair devil were in Othello's own _hands_--ay--he smothered her that
night to a dead certainty--a dead certainty at last--though his hands
seem to have faltered.


NORTH.

In the next Scene--Scene IV.--we find Desdemona anxious about the loss
of the handkerchief, but still totally unapprehensive of the Moor's
jealousy--

    "Who--he? I think the sun, where he was born,
     Drew all such humours from him."

Othello enters, saying, "Well, my good Lady,"--and mutters
aside, "Oh! hardness to dissemble"--and very ill he does dissemble,
for he leaves Desdemona and Emilia amazed at his mad deportment, the
latter exclaiming--"Is not this man jealous?" Iago had told Othello of
Cassio's possessing the handkerchief in the previous Scene, and Othello
takes the first opportunity, _that same afternoon_, to ascertain for
himself whether she had parted with it. Would he have let an hour
elapse before making the inquiry? Can it be for a moment imagined
that he passed days and nights with Desdemona without attempting to
sound her regarding this most pregnant proof of her guilt? This Scene
concludes the Third Act--_and the time is not long after dinner_.


TALBOYS.

All this being _proved_, it is unnecessary to scrutinise the
consecution of the Scenes of Acts Fourth and Fifth--_Iago's work is
done--one day_ has sufficed--and what folly to bring in long time after
this--when his presence would have been unsupportable--had it not been
impossible. Death must follow doom.


NORTH.

_Death must follow doom._ In these four words you have settled the
question of time. Long time seemed necessary to change Othello into a
murderer--and all the world but you and I believe that long time there
was; but you and I know better--and have demonstrated short time--for
at the end of the "dreadful Third Act" Othello is a murderer--and what
matters it now _when_ he really seized the pillow to smother her, or
unsheathed the knife?


TALBOYS.

It matters not a jot. But he did the deed that same night--or he had
not been Othello.


NORTH.

There again--_or he "had not been Othello."_ In these four words, you
have settled the question of time--now and for ever.


TALBOYS.

It would be a waste of words, sir, to seek to prove by the consecution
of the Scenes in Acts Fourth and Fifth--though nothing could be
easier--that he _did_ murder her that very night.


NORTH.

Very few will suffice. Act IV. begins a little before supper-time.
Bianca enters in Scene I. inviting Cassio to supper--"An you'll come
to supper to-night, you may." If anything were wanting to connect
the closing Scene of Act III. with this opening Scene of Act IV. it
is fully supplied by Bianca, who at the end of Act III. gets the
handkerchief, in order that she may copy it, and in the scene of this
IVth Act, comes back in a fury. "Let the devil and his dam haunt
you--what did you mean by that same handkerchief you gave me _even
now_? I was a fine fool to take it." Cassio had given it to her a
little after dinner, and Bianca, inviting him to supper, says he had
given it to her EVEN NOW. This Scene I. of Act IV. ends with
Othello's invitation to the newly arrived Lodovico--"I do entreat that
we may sup together." Scene II. comprehends the interview between
Othello and Emilia; Othello and Desdemona--Desdemona, Emilia and Iago.
The whole do not occupy an hour of time--they follow one another
naturally, and the action is continuous. Scene III. shows Lodovico and
the Noble Venetians still at the Castle--but now it is _after_ supper.
Lodovico is departing--

    "I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no farther.
      _Othello._ O pardon me; 'twill do me good to walk.
    O Desdemona!
      _Desdemona._   My Lord?
      _Othello. Get you to bed on the instant, I will
          be returned forthwith._"

Desdemona, obeys--the bed-scene follows--and _she is
murdered_. What say you, Seward?


SEWARD.

"I say ditto to Mr Burke."


NORTH.

Buller?


BULLER.

I say ditto to Mr North.


NORTH.

Why have both of you been so silent?


SEWARD.

I knew it all before.


TALBOYS.

What a bouncer!


BULLER.

I never speak when I am busking Flies. There's a Professor
for you--(six red and six black)--pretty full in the
body--long-winged--liker eagle than insect--sharper than needle--and
with, barb "inextricable as the gored Lion's bite." Lunch-gong. To the
Deeside.


NORTH.

Verdict: DESDEMONA MURDERED BY OTHELLO ON THE SECOND NIGHT IN
CYPRUS.


SCENE III.--_Deeside._

TIME--_At and after Lunch._

NORTH--TALBOYS--SEWARD--BULLER.


NORTH.

Having demonstrated SHORT TIME AT CYPRUS, let us now, if it
please you, gentlemen, show forth LONG TIME AT CYPRUS.


TALBOYS.

With all our heart. We have _demonstrated_ the one, let us _show forth_
the other.


NORTH.

And as, in our Demonstration of Short Time, we kept Long Time out of
sight--excluded him from the Tent--


BULLER.

Pardon me, sir. I for one was beginning to feel his influence.


NORTH.

How?


BULLER.

In that contraction and expansion of the jaws denoted by that most
expressive and characteristic word YAWN; for Seward and I were
but listeners.


NORTH.

I don't believe you heard one word.


BULLER.

I did--several; and spoiled a promising Palmer in idly trying to
audit your discourse at the interesting point of quarrel--just as
you, sir, threw yourself back on your Swing, with an angry jerk, and
Talboys started up, "like Teneriffe or Atlas removed," endangering the
stability of the Tent.


NORTH.

My dear Talboys, I was saying to you, when rudely interrupted by
Buller, that as in our demonstration of Short Time at Cyprus, we,
purposely and determinedly, and wisely kept Long Time out of sight,
on account of the inextricable perplexity and confusion that would
otherwise have involved the argument, so now let us, in showing forth
Long Time at Cyprus, keep out of sight Short--and then shall we
finally have before our ken TWO TIMES at Cyprus, each firmly
established on its own ground--and imperiously demanding of the Critics
of this great Tragedy--Reconcilement. Reconcilement it may be beyond
their power to give--but let them first see the GREAT FACT
which not one of the whole set have seen--HAND IN HAND ONE DAY AND
UNASSIGNED WEEKS! The condition is altogether anomalous--


TALBOYS.

A DAY OF THE CALENDAR, AND A MONTH OF THE CALENDAR! No human
soul ever dreams of the dreadful sayings and doings all coming off
IN A DAY! till he looks--till he is made to look--as we have
made Seward and Buller to look--for they heard every word we said--and
finds himself nailed by Act and Scene.


NORTH.

To some FIFTEEN HOURS.


BULLER.

I thought you were going to show forth Long Time at Cyprus.


NORTH.

Why, there it is, staring you in the face everywhere--you may see it
with your eyes shut--and as most people read with their eyes shut, they
see it--and they see it only--while--


BULLER.

Why, sir, since you won't get on a little faster, Talboys and I must be
Ushers to Long Time.


NORTH.

Be--do.


TALBOYS.

Long Time cunningly insinuates itself, serpentwise, throughout
Desdemona's first recorded conversation with Cassio, at the beginning
of Scene III., Act III.--the "Dreadful Scene." Thus--

                          "Assure thee,
    If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it
    To the last article: my lord shall never rest;
    I'll watch him tame, and talk him out of patience;
    His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift;
    I'll intermingle everything he does
    With Cassio's suit: Therefore be merry, Cassio;
    For thy solicitor shall rather die
    Than give thy cause away."

This points to a protracted time in the future--and though
announcing an intention merely, yet somehow it leaves an impression
that Desdemona carries her intention into effect--that she does "watch
him tame," does make his "bed seem a school"--does "intermingle
everything she does with Cassio's suit." The passage recurred to my
mind, I recollect, when you first hinted to me the question of time;
and no doubt it tells so on the minds of many--


NORTH.

Inconsiderate people.


TALBOYS.

All people are more or less inconsiderate, sir.


NORTH.

True.


TALBOYS.

Then Desdemona says--

    "How now, my lord?
    I have been talking with a suitor here,
    A man _that languishes in your displeasure_."

I cannot listen to that line, even now, without a feeling
of the heart-sickness of protracted time--"hope deferred maketh the
heart sick"--_languishes!_ even unto death. I think of that fine line
in Wordsworth--

    "So fades--_so languishes_--grows dim, and dies."


SEWARD.

Poo!


NORTH.

Seward, the remark is a fine one.


TALBOYS.

Far on in this Scene, Othello says to Iago--

    "If more thou dost perceive, let me know more:
    Set on thy wife to observe."

Iago has not said that he had perceived anything, but
Othello, greatly disturbed, speaks as if Iago had said that he had
perceived a good deal; and we might believe that they had been a long
time at Cyprus. Othello then says--

                    "This honest creature, doubtless,
    Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds."

In all this, sir, we surely have a feeling of longish time.


SEWARD.

Poo!


NORTH.

Heed him not--English manners. We have--


TALBOYS.

                  "O curse of marriage!
    That we can call those delicate creatures ours--
    And not their appetites."

This is the language of a some time married man--not of a
man the morning after his nuptials.


NORTH.

The Handkerchief.


TALBOYS.

Ay--Emilia's words.

    "I am glad I have found this napkin;
    This was her first remembrance from the Moor--
    My wayward husband hath a hundred times
    Woo'd me to steal it; but she so loves the token,
    (For he conjur'd her, she would ever keep it,)
    That she reserves it evermore about her,
    To kiss, and talk to."

Here we have long time, and no mistake. Iago has wooed her
to steal it a hundred times! When and where? Since their arrival at
Cyprus.


SEWARD.

I don't know that.


TALBOYS.

Nor do I. But I say the words naturally give us the impression of long
time. In none of his soliloquies at Venice, or at Cyprus on their
first arrival, has Iago once mentioned that Handkerchief as the chief
instrument of his wicked design--and therefore Emilia's words imply
weeks at Cyprus,--

            "What will you give me now
    For that same handkerchief?
      _Iago._ What handkerchief?
      _Emilia._ Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona;
    That which so often you did bid me steal."


NORTH.

Go on.


TALBOYS.

    "What sense had I of her stolen hours of lust?
    I saw it not--thought it not--it harm'd not me--
    _I slept the next night well_--was free and merry;
    I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips."

Next night--night after night--many nights--many _wedded_
nights--long time at Cyprus.


NORTH.

And then Cassio's dream.


TALBOYS.

"I lay with Cassio--_lately_." Where, but at Cyprus? "Cursed fate! that
_gave thee to the Moor_."


SEWARD.

Of that by-and-by.


TALBOYS.

Of that now. What?


SEWARD.

By-and-by.


NORTH.

Better be a dumb dog, Seward, than snarl so.


TALBOYS.

And on Othello going off in a rage about the handkerchief--what saith
Desdemona?--

    "_I ne'er saw this before._"

These few words are full charged with long time.


NORTH.

They are. And Emilia's--"'Tis not a year or two shows us a man." True,
that is a kind of general reflection--but a most foolish general
reflection indeed, if made to a Wife weeping at her husband's harshness
the day after marriage.


TALBOYS.

Emilia's "year or two" cannot mean one day--it implies weeks--or
months. Desdemona then says,--

              "Something, sure, of state,
    _Either from Venice_, or some unhatch'd practice," &c.

Does not _that_ look like long time at Cyprus? Unlike the
language of one who had herself arrived at Cyprus from Venice but the
day before. And in continuation, Desdemona's

            "Nay, we must think, men are not gods;
    Nor of them look for such observances
    _As fit the bridal_."

And that thought brings sudden comfort to poor Desdemona,
who says sweetly--

            "Beshrew me much, Emilia,
    I was (unhandsome warrior as I am,)
    Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
    But now, I find, I had suborn'd the witness,
    And he's indited falsely."

That is--why did I, a married woman some months old,
forget that the honey-moon is gone, and that my Othello, hero as he is,
is now--not a Bridegroom--but a husband? "Men are not gods."


NORTH.

And Bianca? She's a puzzler.


TALBOYS.

A puzzler, and something more.

     "_Bianca._ Save you, friend Cassio!
      _Cassio._                          What make you from home?
    How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?
    I'faith, sweet love, I was coming _to your house_.
      _Bianca._ And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
    What! keep a week away? seven days and nights?
    Eight score eight hours? And lovers' absent hours,
    More tedious than the dial eight score times?
    O weary reckoning!
      _Cassio._         Pardon me, Bianca;
    I have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd;
    But I shall, in a more continuate time,
    Strike off the score of absence."

Here the reproaches of Bianca to Cassio develop long time.
For, besides his week's absence from her house, there is implied the
preceding time necessary for contracting and habitually carrying on the
illicit attachment. Bianca is a Cyprus householder; Cassio sups at her
house; his intimacy, which has various expressions of continuance, has
been formed with her there; he has found her, and grown acquainted with
her there, not at Venice. I know it has been suggested that she was his
mistress at Venice--that she came with the squadron from Venice; and
that her last cohabitation with Cassio had taken place in Venice about
a week ago--but for believing this there is here not the slightest
ground. "What! keep a week away?" would be a strange exclamation,
indeed, from one who knew that he had been but a day on shore--had
landed along with herself yesterday from the same ship--and had been
a week cooped up from her in a separate berth. And Bianca, seeing the
handkerchief, and being told to "take me this work out," cries--

    "O Cassio! whence came this?
    This is some token from a newer friend.
    _To the felt absence now I feel a cause._"

"To the felt absence," Eight score eight hours! the cause?
Some new mistress at Cyprus--not forced separation at sea.


NORTH.

Then, Talboys, in Act IV., Scene I., Othello is listening to the
conversation of Iago and Cassio, which he believes relates to his wife.
Iago says--

    "She gives it out that you shall marry her;
     Do you intend it?
       _Cassio._ Ha! ha! ha!
       _Othello._ Do you triumph, Roman? Do you triumph?
       _Iago._ Faith! the cry goes, _that you shall marry her_.
       _Cassio._ Pr'ythee, say true.
       _Iago._ I am a very villain else.
       _Othello._ Have you SCORED ME? Well."

That is, have you marked me for destruction, in order
that you may marry my wife? Othello believes that Cassio is said to
entertain an intention of marrying Desdemona, and infers that, as a
preliminary, he must be put out of the way. This on the first day after
marriage? No, surely--long time at Cyprus.


TALBOYS.

Iago says to Cassio,

    "My Lord is fallen into an epilepsy:
    This is his second fit: _he had one yesterday_.
      _Cassio._ Rub him about the temples.
      _Iago._                              No, forbear;
    The lethargy must have his quiet course:
    If not, he foams at mouth; and, by-and-by,
    Breaks out to savage madness."

This is a lie--but Cassio believes it. Cassio could
not have believed it, and therefore Iago would not have told it,
had "yesterday" been the day of the triumphant, joyful, and happy
arrival at Cyprus. Assuredly, Cassio knew that Othello had had no
fit _that_ day; that day he was Othello's lieutenant--Iago but his
Ancient--and Iago could know nothing of any fits that Cassio knew not
of--therefore--Long Time.


NORTH.

    "For I will make him tell the tale anew,
    Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when,
    He hath--and is again to--"

He does so--and Othello believes what he hears Cassio tell
of Bianca to be of Desdemona. Madness any way we take it--but madness
possible only--on long time at Cyprus.


TALBOYS.

Then, sir, the trumpet announcing the arrival of Lodovico from Venice,
at the close of Iago's and Othello's murderous colloquy, and Lodovico
giving Othello a packet containing--his recall!

              "They do command him home,
    Deputing Cassio in his government."

What are we to make of that?


NORTH.

The Recall, except after considerable time, would make the policy of
the Senate frivolous--a thing Shakspeare never does, for the greatness
of political movements lies everywhere for a support to the strength
and power of his tragical fable. Half that we know of Othello out of
the Scenes is, that he is the trusted General of the Senate. What
gravity his esteem with you derives hence, and can we bear to think
of him superseded without cause? Had Lodovico, who brings the new
commission, set off the day after Othello from Venice? No. You imagine
an intercourse, which has required time, between Othello, since his
appointment, and the Senate. Why, in all the world, do they thus
suddenly depose him, and put Cassio in his place? You cannot well think
that the very next measure of the Senate, after entrusting the command
of Cyprus, their principal Island, to their most tried General, in most
perilous and critical times, was to displace him ere they hear a word
from him. They have not had time to know that the Turkish Fleet is
wrecked and scattered, unless they sit behind Scenes in the Green-room.


TALBOYS.

We must conclude that the Senate must give weeks or months to this New
Governor ere interfering with him.--To recall him before they know
he has reached Cyprus--nay, to send a ship after him next day--or a
day or two following his departure--would make these "most potent,
grave, and reverend Signors," enigmas, and the Doge an Idiot. What
though a steamer had brought tidings back to Venice that the Turks
had been "banged" and "drowned?" That was not a sufficient reason to
order Othello back before he could have well set his foot on shore, or
taken more than a look at the state of the fortifications, in case the
Ottoman should fit out another fleet.


NORTH.

Then mark Lodovico's language. He asks, seeing Othello strike his
wife--as well he may--"Is it his use?" Or did the letters "work upon
his blood, and new-create this fault?" And Iago answers, "It is not
honesty in me to speak _what I have seen and known_." Lodovico says,
"The noble Moor, whom our Senate call all in all sufficient." Then they
have not quarrelled with him, at least--nor lost their good opinion of
him! Iago answers, "He is much changed?" What, in a day? And again--"It
is not honesty in me to speak what I have seen and known." What, in a
day? Lodovico comes evidently to Othello after a long separation--such
as affords room for a moral transformation; and Iago's words----lies as
they are--and seen to be lies by the most unthinking person--yet refer
to much that has passed in an ample time--to a continued course of
procedure.


NORTH.

But in all the Play, nothing is so conclusive of long time as the
Second Scene of the Third Act.

      "_Othello._ You have seen nothing, then?
       _Emilia._ Nor ever heard; nor ever did suspect.
       _Othello._ Yes, you have seen Cassio and she together.
       _Emilia._ But then I saw no harm; and then I heard
    Each syllable, that breath made up between them.
       _Othello._ What, did they never whisper?
       _Emilia._                                Never, my Lord.
       _Othello._ Nor send you out o' the way?
       _Emilia._                               Never.
       _Othello._ To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing?
       _Emilia._ Never, my Lord.
       _Othello._                That's strange."

If all this relates to their residence at Cyprus, it
indicates many weeks.


SEWARD.

Ay--IF.


NORTH.

What wicked whisper was that? Did you whisper, Buller?


BULLER.

No. I have not once whispered for a quarter of a century--My whispering
days have long been over.


NORTH.

Then a word about Emilia. "I prythee, let thy wife attend on her," says
Othello, going on board at Venice, to Iago. In the slight way in which
such arrangements can be touched, this request is conclusive evidence
to Emilia's being then _first_ placed about Desdemona's person. It has
no sense else; nor is there the slightest ground for supposing a prior
acquaintance, at least intimacy. What had an Ensign's wife to do with
a Nobleman's daughter? and now she is attached as an Attendant. Now,
consider, first, Emilia's character. She seems not very principled, not
very chaste. She gives you the notion of a tolerably well-practised
Venetian Wife. Hear Iago's opinion, who suspects her with two persons,
and one on general rumour. Yet how strong her affection for Desdemona,
and her faith in her purity! She witnesses for her, and she dies
for her! I ask, how long did that affection and that opinion take
to grow? a few days at Venice, and a week while they were sea-sick
aboard ship? No. Weeks--months. A gentle lady once made to me that
fine remark,--"Emilia has not much worth in herself, but is raised
into worth by her contact with Desdemona--into heroic worth!" "I care
not for thy sword--I'll make thee known, though I lost twenty lives."
And that bodeful "Perchance, Iago, I will ne'er go home"! what does
it mean? but a dim surmise, or a clear, that what she will disclose
will bring the death upon her from his dagger, which it brings. The
impure dying a voluntary martyr for the pure is to the highest degree
affecting--is the very manner of Shakspeare, to express a principal
character by its influence on subordinate ones--has its own moral
sublimity; but more than all, for our purpose, it witnesses time. Love,
and Faith, and Fidelity, won from her in whom these virtues are to be
first created!


SEWARD.

Very fine. My dear sir, you are not angry with me?


TALBOYS.

Angry? Not he. Look on his face--how mild!


NORTH.

Othello, in his wrath, calls Emilia "a closet-lock-and-key of villanous
secrets: and yet she'll kneel and pray; I have seen her do't." Where
and when? It could only have been at Cyprus; and such language denotes
a somewhat long attendance there on Desdemona.


SEWARD.

Ingenious--and better than so.


NORTH.

"Some of your function, mistress," renewed to Emilia--when, after
conversing with Desdemona, Othello is going out--is his treatment
of one whom he supposes to have been serviceable to his wife's and
Cassio's amour. Where? There, only there, in Cyprus, by all witnessing,
palpably. _She_ could not before. He speaks to her as _professional_ in
such services, therefore long dealing in them; but this all respects
this one intrigue, not her previous life. The wicked energy of
the forced attribution vanishes, if this respects anything but her
helpfulness to his wife and her paramour, and at Cyprus--there--only
there. Nothing points to a farther back looking suspicion. Iago's
"thousand times committed" can only lengthen out the stay at Cyprus.
Othello still believes that she once loved him--that she has fallen to
corruption.


BULLER.

Antenuptial?


NORTH.

Faugh! Could he have the most horrible, revolting, and loathsome of
all thoughts, that he wedded her impure? and not a hint given of that
most atrocious pang? Incredible--impossible! I can never believe, if
Shakspeare intended an infidelity taking precedency of the marriage,
that he would not by word or by hint have said so. Think how momentous
to our intelligence of the jealousy the _date_ is; not as to Tuesday
or Wednesday, but as to before or after the nuptial knot--before or
after the first religious loosing of the virgin zone. That a man's
wife has turned into a wanton--hell and horror! But that he wedded
one--Pah! Faugh! Could Iago, could Othello, could Shakspeare have left
_this_ point in the chronology of guilt to be argued out doubtfully?
No. The greatest of Poets for pit, boxes, and gallery, must have
written intelligibly to pit, boxes, and gallery; and extrication,
unveiled, after two hundred and fifty years, by studious men, in a fit
of perplexity, cannot be the thunderbolt which Shakspeare flung to his
audience at the Globe Theatre.


TALBOYS.

You remember poor, dear, Sweet Mrs Henry Siddons--_the_ Desdemona--how
she gave utterance to those words

    "It was his bidding--therefore, good Emilia,
    Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu;
    We must not now displease him.
      _Emilia._--I would you had never seen him!
      _Desdemona._--So would not I; my love doth so approve him,
    That even his stubbornness, his checks, and frowns,--
    Pr'ythee, unpin me,--have grace and favour in them.
      _Emilia._--I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.
      _Desdemona._--All's one: Good father! how foolish are our minds!
    If I do die before thee--pr'ythee shroud me
    In one of those same sheets."

The wedding sheets were _reserved_. They had been laid by for
weeks--months--time long enough to give a saddest character to the
bringing them out again--a serious, ominous meaning--disturbed from the
quietude, the sanctity of their sleep by a wife's mortal presentiment
that they may be her shroud.


NORTH.

    _Long time established at Cyprus._

    _Verdict_--DESDEMONA MURDERED BY OTHELLO HEAVEN KNOWS WHEN.


    SCENE IV.--_The Grove._

    TIME--_After Lunch._

    NORTH--TALBOYS--SEWARD--BULLER.


SEWARD.

On rising, sir, to----


NORTH.

Sit down--no gentleman speaks on his legs before, at, or after meals in
a private Party.


SEWARD.

Except in Scotland. On sitting down, sir, to state MY THEORY,
I trust that I shall not lay myself open to the im----


NORTH.

Speak with your natural tone as if you were sitting, Seward, and not
with that Parliamentary sing-song in which Statesmen, with their
coat-tails perked up behind, declaim on the State of Europe--


SEWARD.

I IMAGINE, SIR, THAT SHAKSPEARE ASSUMED THE MARRIAGE TO HAVE TAKEN
PLACE SOME TIME BEFORE THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE PLAY--SUFFICIENTLY
LONG TO ADMIT THE POSSIBILITY OF A COURSE OF GUILT BEFORE THE PLAY
OPENS. I imagine that, with this general idea in his mind, he
gave his full and unfettered attention to the working out of THE
PLOT, which has no reference to the time, circumstances, or
history of the Marriage, but relates exclusively to the Moor's
Jealousy. Therefore the indications of past time at Venice are vague,
and rarely scattered through the Dialogue.


TALBOYS.

A more astounding discovery indeed, Seward, than any yet announced by
that Stunner, Christopher North. Pardon me, sir.


NORTH.

We have said our say, Shirra; let the Lord-Lieutenant of his County say
his--


TALBOYS.

And the Chairman of the Quarter-Sessions, and President of the
Agricultural Society of the Land's End say his.


BULLER.

I can beat you at Chess.


TALBOYS.

YOU!!!


NORTH.

Gentlemen, let there be no bad blood.


SEWARD.

Supposing that this was Shakspeare's general idea of the Plot, I would
first beg your attention to the fact that the marriage has taken
place--none of us know how long--_before the beginning of the Play_.


TALBOYS.

The same night--the same night.


SEWARD.

I said--none of us know how long; and as you are a Lawyer, Mr Talboys--


TALBOYS.

For goodness' sake, my dear Seward, don't mister me--


SEWARD.

The only evidence, my dear Talboys, as to the history of the marriage
is that given by Roderigo in the First Scene. He, with the most
manifest anxiety to prove himself an honest witness, declares that
now, at midnight, Desdemona had eloped--NOT WITH _the Moor_,
but with no "worse nor better guard, but with a knave of common hire,
a gondolier, _to_," &c., &c. She has fled _alone_ from her father's
house; and Roderigo, being interrogated, "Are they married, think ye?"
answers, "Truly I think they are."


TALBOYS.

What do you say to Iago's saying to Cassio--

    "Faith he _to-night_ has boarded a land Carrack:
    If it prove lawful prize, he's made for ever.
      _Cassio._ I do not understand.
      _Iago._ He's married."


SEWARD.

It cannot be inferred, from these words, that this was the first
occasion on which Desdemona and Othello had come together as man and
wife. The words are quite consistent with the supposition that their
marriage had taken place some time before; also quite consistent with
Iago's knowledge of that event. It was not his cue or his humour to say
more than he did. Why should he?


TALBOYS.

It cannot be inferred! It can--I infer it. And pray, how do you account
for Othello saying to Desdemona, on the day of their arrival at Cyprus,

    "The purchase made--the fruits are to ensue;
    That profit's yet to come 'twixt me and you."


SEWARD.

"The purchase made"--refers to the price which Othello had paid for
connubial delight with Desdemona awaiting him at Cyprus. That price
was the peril which he had undergone during his stormy voyage. In his
exuberant satisfaction, simply expressing a self-evident truth, that
his happiness was _yet_ before him. Had Desdemona been then a virgin
bride, Othello would hardly have used such language. Iago speaks in his
usual characteristic coarse way--so no need to say a word more on the
subject.


TALBOYS.

Very well. Be it so. But why should such a private marriage have been
resorted to; and if privacy was desirable at first, what change had
occurred to cause the public declaration of it?


SEWARD.

Othello had been nine months unemployed in war--the Venetian State was
at peace--and he had been in constant intercourse with the Brabantios.

    "Her father lov'd me--oft invited me;"

and he "took _once_ a pliant hour" to ask Desdemona to
be his wife. That "once" cannot refer to the day on which the Play
commences; and that their marriage took place some time before, is
alike reconcileable with the character of the "gentle Lady," and with
that of the impetuous Hero.


TALBOYS.

Truly!


SEWARD.

Still, a private marriage is, under any circumstances, a questionable
proceeding; and our great Dramatist was desirous that as little of the
questionable as possible should either be or appear in the conduct of
the "Divine Desdemona;" and therefore he has left the private marriage
very much in the shade.


TALBOYS.

Very much in the shade indeed.


SEWARD.

Her duplicity must be admitted, and allowance must be made for it. It
was wrong, but not in the least unnatural, and perfectly excusable--


TALBOYS.

No.


SEWARD.

And grievously expiated.


TALBOYS.

It was indeed. Poor dear Desdemona!


SEWARD.

It is, you know, part of the proof of her capacity for guilt, that she
so ingeniously deceived her father.


TALBOYS.

But why reveal it now?


SEWARD.

Circumstances are changed. The Cyprus wars have broke out, and Othello
is about to be commissioned to take the command of the Venetian force.

            "I do know, the State
    Cannot with safety cast him, for he's embarked
    With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,
    Which even now stand in act, that for their souls
    Another of his fathom have they not
    To lead this business."

It was therefore necessary that the marriage should be
declared, if Desdemona was to accompany her husband to Cyprus. And the
elopement from her father _to_ her husband did take place just in time.


TALBOYS.

Is that what people call plausible?


SEWARD.

All the difficulties of Time are thus removed in a moment. In a blaze
of light we see LONG TIME AT VENICE--SHORT TIME AT CYPRUS.


BULLER.

LONG TIME AT VENICE--SHORT TIME AT CYPRUS. That's the Ticket.
You Scotsmen are not wholly without Insight; but for seeing into the
heart of the bole--or of the stone--


TALBOYS.

Give me a Devonshire Cider-swiller or a Cornish Miner.


NORTH.

What! Can't we discuss a Great Question in the Drama without these
unseemly personal and national broils. For shame, Talboys.


TALBOYS.

You Scotsmen indeed!

              "Nay, but he prated,
    And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
    Against YOUR HONOUR."


NORTH.

My dear Seward, let's hear how you support your Theory.


SEWARD.

A great deal of weight, my dear Mr North, is to be attached to the calm
tone--the husbandlike and matronlike demeanour of Othello and Desdemona
when confronted with the Senate. That scene certainly impresses one
with the conviction that they had been man and wife for a considerable
period of time.


NORTH.

Very good, Seward--very good.


SEWARD.

I do indeed think, sir, that the bride and bridegroom show much
more composure throughout the whole of that Scene, than is very
reconcileable with the idea that this was their nuptial night.
Othello's "natural and prompt alacrity" in undertaking the wars was
scarcely complimentary to his virgin Spouse upon this supposition;
and Desdemona's cool distinguishings between the paternal and marital
claims on her duty seem also somewhat too matronly for the occasion.


NORTH.

Very good--very good--my dear Seward, I like your observation much,
that the demeanour of the married pair before the Senate has a stamp of
composure. That is finely felt; but I venture to aver, my dear friend,
that we must otherwise understand it. The dignity of their spirits it
is that holds them both composed. Invincible self-collectedness is by
more than one person in the Play held up for a characteristic quality
of Othello. To a mind high and strong, which Desdemona's is, the
exigency of a grand crisis, which overthrows weaker and lower minds,
produces composure; from a sense of the necessity for self-possession;
and involuntarily from the tension of the powers--their sole direction
to the business that passes--which leaves no thought free to stray into
disorder, and the inquietude of personal regards. Add, on the part of
Othello, the gravity, and on that of Desdemona the awe of the Presence
in which they stand, speak, and act; and you have ennobling and
sufficing tragical, that is loftily and pathetically poetical, motives
for that elate presence of mind which both show. Now all the greatness
and grace vanish, if you suppose them calm simply because they have
been married these two months. That is a reason fit for Thalia, not for
Melpomene.


TALBOYS.

Let any one English among all the two of you answer that.


SEWARD.

The Duke says--

                  "You must hence to-night.
    _Desdemona._ To-night, my Lord?
    _Othello._ With all my heart."

This faint expression of Desdemona's slight surprise
and reluctance, and no more--is I allow--natural and delicate in
her--whether wife, bride, or Maid--but Othello's "with all my heart"
is--


TALBOYS.

Equally worthy of Othello. You know it is.


NORTH.

My dear Seward--do the Doge--Brabantio--the Senate understand and
believe what Othello has been telling them--and that he has now
disclosed to them the fact of a private marriage with Desdemona, of
some weeks' or months' standing? Is that their impression?


SEWARD.

I cannot say.


NORTH.

I can. Or has Othello been reserved--cautious--crafty in all
his apparent candour--and Desdemona equally so? Are they indeed
oldish-married folk?


TALBOYS.

Shocking--shocking. That Scene in the Council Chamber of itself deals
your "Theory!" its death-blow.


SEWARD.

I look on it in quite another light. I shall be glad to know what you
think is meant by Desdemona's to the Duke

                      "If I be left behind,
    _The rites for which I love him are denied me_."

What are the _rites_ which are thus all comprehensive of
Desdemona's love for Othello? The phrase is, to the habit of our ears,
perhaps somewhat startling; yet five lines before she said truly "I saw
Othello's visage in his mind"--a love of spirit for spirit. And again--

    "To his honour and his valiant parts
    Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate."

I think they had been married some time.


TALBOYS.

The word _rites_ is the very word most fitting the Lady's lips--used
in a generous, free, capacious sense--as of the solace entire which
the wife of a soldier has, following him; as to dress his wounds, wind
his laurel, hear his counsels, cheer his darker mood, smile away the
lowering of the Elements--


SEWARD.

You won't understand me.


NORTH.

No--no--no. It won't go down. I have opened my mouth far and wide,
and, it won't go down. Our friend Isaac Widethroat himself could not
bolt it. The moral impossibility would choke him--that Othello would
marry Desdemona to leave her at her Father's House, for which most
perilous and entangling proceeding, quite out of his character, no
motive is offered, or imaginable. The love-making might go on long--and
I accept a good interval since he drew from her the prayer for his
history. The pressure of the war might give a decisive moment for
the final step, which must have been in agitation for some time--on
Desdemona's behalf and part, who would require some persuasion for
a step so desperate, and would not at once give up all hope of
her, father's consent, who "loved" Othello.


TALBOYS.

If they were married, how base and unmanly _to steal one's wedded Wife
out of one's Father-in-law's house_! The only course was to have gone
in the middle of the day to Brabantio and say, "this we have done"--or
"this I have done. Forgive us, if you can--we are Man and Wife." Men
less kingly than Othello have often done it. To steal in order to marry
was a temptation with a circumstantial necessity--a gallant adventure
in usual estimation.


NORTH.

The thing most preposterous to me in a long marriage at Venice,
is the continued lying position in which it places Othello and
Desdemona towards her father. Two months--say--or three or four--of
difficult deception! when the uppermost characteristic of both is
clear-souledness--the most magnanimous sincerity. By that, before
anything else, are they kindred and fit for one another. On that,
before anything else, is the Tragedy grounded--on his unsuspicious
openness which is drawn, against its own nature, to suspect her purity
that lies open as earth's bosom to the sun. And she is to be killed for
a dissembler! In either, immense contrast between the person and fate.
That These Two should truckle to a domestic lie!


TALBOYS.

No. The Abduction and Marriage were of one stroke--one effort--one
plot. When Othello says, "That I have ta'en away--that I have married
her"--he tells literally and simply that which has happened as it
happened, in the order of events.


SEWARD.

Why should not Othello marry Desdemona, and keep her at her father's,
as theorised?


NORTH.

It is out of his character. He has the spirit of command, of lordship,
of dominion--an _animus imperiosus_. This element must be granted to
fit him for his place; and it is intimated, and is consistent with and
essential to his whole fabric of mind. Then, he would not put that
which belonged to him out of his power, in hostile keeping--his wife
and not his wife. It is contrary to his great love, which desires and
would feed upon her continual presence. And against his discretion,
prudence, or common sense, to risk that Brabantio, discovering, might
in fury take sudden violent measures--shut her up in a convent, or turn
her into the streets, or who knows what--kill her.


TALBOYS.

Then the insupportable consideration and question, how do they come
together as man and wife? Does she come to his bedroom at his private
Lodgings, or his quarters at the Sagittary? Or does he go to hers at
her father's, climbing a garden wall every night like Romeo, bribing
the porter, or trusting Ancilla? You cannot figure it out any way
without _degradation_, and something ludicrous; and a sense of being
entangled in the impracticable.


NORTH.

The least that can be said is, that it invests the sanctimony of
marriage with the air of an illicit amour.


TALBOYS.

Then the high-minded Othello running the perpetual and
imminent risk of being caught thieving--slipping through
loop-holes--mouse-holes--key-holes. What in Romeo and Juliet is
romance, between Othello and Desdemona is almost pollution.


NORTH.

What a desolating of the MANNERS of the Play! Will you then,
in order to evade a difficulty of the mechanical construction, clog and
whelm the poetry, and moral greatness of the Play, with a preliminary
debasement? Introduce your Hero and Heroine under a cloud?


TALBOYS.

And how can you show that Othello could not at any moment have taken
her away, as at last you suppose him to do, having a motive? Mind--he
knows that the wars are on--he does not know he shall be sent for that
night. He does not know that he may not have to keep her a week at his
quarters.


NORTH.

My dear Seward--pray, meditate but for a moment on these words of
Desdemona in the Council Chamber--

                    "My noble Father,
    I do perceive here A DIVIDED DUTY:
    My life and education both do learn me
    How to respect you; you are the LORD OF DUTY,
    I am hitherto your Daughter: BUT HERE'S MY HUSBAND;
    And so _much duty as my mother showed
    To you_, preferring you before her Father,
    So much I challenge that I may profess
    Due to the Moor, my Lord."

These are weighty words--of grave and solemn import--and the time has
come when Desdemona the Daughter is to be Desdemona the Wife. She
tells simply and sedately--affectionately and gratefully--the great
primal Truth of this our human and social life. Hitherto her Father
has been to her the Lord of Duty--the Lord of Duty henceforth is to
be her Husband. Othello, up to that night, had been but her Lover;
and up to that night--for the hidden wooing was nothing to be ashamed
of or repented--there had been to her no "divided Duty"--to her
Father's happiness had been devoted her whole filial heart. But had she
been a married woman for weeks or months before, how insincere--how
hypocritical had that appeal been felt by herself to be, as it issued
from her lips! The Duty had, in that case, been "divided" before--and
in a way not pleasant for us to think of--to her Father violated or
extinct.


TALBOYS.

I engage, Seward, over and above what our Master has made manifest, to
show that though this Theory of yours would remove some difficulties
attending the time in Cyprus, it would leave others just where they
are--and create many more.


NORTH.

Grant that Othello and Desdemona must be married for two months
before he murders her--that our hearts and imaginations require it.
The resemblance to the ordinary course of human affairs asks it. We
cannot bear that he shall extinguish her and himself--both having
sipped only, and not quaffed from the cup of hymeneal felicity. Your
soul is outraged by so harsh and malignant a procedure of the Three
Sisters. Besides, in proper poetical equilibration, he should have
enjoyed to the full, with soul and with body, the happiness which his
soul annihilates. And men do not kill their wives the first week.
It would be too exceptional a case. Extended time is required for
the probability--the steps of change in the heart of Othello require
it--the construction and accumulation of proofs require it--the wheel
of events usually rolls with something of leisure and measure. So is
it in the real World--so must it seem to be on the Stage--else no
verisimilitude--no "veluti in speculum." "Two mouths shall elapse
between marriage and murder," says Shakspeare--going to write. They
must pass at Venice, or they must pass at Cyprus. Place Shakspeare
in this position, and which will he choose? If at Venice, a main
requiring condition is not satisfied. For in the fits and snatches
of the clandestine marriage, Othello has never possessed with full
embrace, and heart overflowing, the happiness which he destroys. If an
earthquake is to ruin a palace, it must be built up to the battlements
and pinnacles; furnished, occupied, made the seat of Pleasure, Pomp,
and Power; and then shaken into heaps--or you have but half a story.
Only at Cyprus Othello _possesses_ Desdemona. There where he is Lord
of his Office, Lord over the Allegiance of soldier and civilian--of a
whole population--Lord of the Island, which, sea-surrounded, is as a
world of itself--Lord of his will--Lord of his Wife.


TALBOYS.

I feel, sir, in this view much poetical demonstration--although
mathematical none--and in such a case Poetry is your only Principia.


NORTH.

Your hand. But if, my dear Seward, Shakspeare elects time at Venice,
he wilfully clouds his two excellent Persons with many shadows
of indecorum, and clogs his Action with a procedure and a state
of affairs, which your Imagination loses itself in attempting
to define--with improbabilities--with impracticabilities--with
impossibilities. If he was resolute to have a well-sustained logic of
Time, I say it was better for him to have his Two Months distinct at
Cyprus. I say that, with his creative powers, if he was determined to
have Two Calendar Months, from the First of May to the First of July,
and then in One Day distinctly the first suspicion sown and the murder
done, nothing could have been easier to him than to have imagined, and
indicated, and hurried over the required gap of time; and that he would
have been bound to prefer this course to that inexplicable marriage and
no marriage at Venice.


BULLER.

How he clears his way!


NORTH.

But Shakspeare, my dear Boys, had a better escape. Wittingly or
unwittingly, he exempted himself from the obligation of walking by the
Calendar. He knew--or he felt that the fair proportionate structure
of the Action required liberal time at Cyprus. He took it; for there
it is, recognised in the consciousness of every sitting or standing
spectator. He knew, or he felt, that the passionate expectation to be
sustained in the bosoms of his audience required a rapidity of movement
in his Murder-Plot, and it moves on feet of fire.


SEWARD.

Venice is beginning to fade from my ken.


NORTH.

The first of all necessities towards the Criticism of the Play, Seward,
is to convince yourself that there was not--could not be a time of
concealed marriage at Venice--that it is not hinted, and is not
inferable.


BULLER.

Shall we give in, Seward?


SEWARD.

Yes.


NORTH.

You must go to the TREMENDOUS DOUBLE TIME AT CYPRUS, knowing
that the solution is to be had there, or nowhere. If you cast back a
longing lingering look towards Venice, you are lost. Put mountains and
waves between you and the Queen of the Sea. Help yourself through at
Cyprus, or perish in the adventure.


TALBOYS.

Through that Mystery, you alone, sir, are the Man to help us
through--and you must.


NORTH.

Not now--to-morrow. Till then be revolving the subject occasionally in
your minds.


TALBOYS.

Let's off to the Pike-ground at Kilchurn.


_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._


[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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