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Title: Books and Bookmen
Author: Lang, Andrew
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Books and Bookmen" ***

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Transcribed from the 1887 Longmans, Green, and Co. edition by David
Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org


                               ANDREW LANG

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                         LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

                          _All rights reserved_


   MADAME, it is no modish thing,
   The bookman’s tribute that I bring;
   A talk of antiquaries grey,
   Dust unto dust this many a day,
   Gossip of texts and bindings old,
   Of faded type, and tarnish’d gold!

   _Can ladies care for this to-do_
   _With Payne_, _Derome_, _and Padeloup_?
   _Can they resign the rout_, _the ball_,
   _For lonely joys of shelf and stall_?

   The critic thus, serenely wise;
   But you can read with other eyes,
   Whose books and bindings treasured are
   ’Midst mingled spoils of peace and war;
   Shields from the fights the Mahdi lost,
   And trinkets from the Golden Coast,
   And many things divinely done
   By Chippendale and Sheraton,
   And trophies of Egyptian deeds,
   And fans, and plates, and Aggrey beads,
   Pomander boxes, assegais,
   And sword-hilts worn in Marlbro’s days.

   In this pell-mell of old and new,
   Of war and peace, my essays, too,
   For long in serials tempest-tost,
   Are landed now, and are not lost:
   Nay, on your shelf secure they lie,
   As in the amber sleeps the fly.
   ’Tis true, they are not “rich nor rare;”
   Enough, for me, that they are—there!

                                                                      A. L


THE essays in this volume have, for the most part, already appeared in an
American edition (Combes, New York, 1886).  The Essays on ‘Old French
Title-Pages’ and ‘Lady Book-Lovers’ take the place of ‘Book Binding’ and
‘Bookmen at Rome;’ ‘Elzevirs’ and ‘Some Japanese Bogie-Books’ are
reprinted, with permission of Messrs. Cassell, from the Magazine of Art;
‘Curiosities of Parish Registers’ from the Guardian; ‘Literary Forgeries’
from the Contemporary Review; ‘Lady Book-Lovers’ from the Fortnightly
Review; ‘A Bookman’s Purgatory’ and two of the pieces of verse from
Longman’s Magazine—with the courteous permission of the various editors.
All the chapters have been revised, and I have to thank Mr. H. Tedder for
his kind care in reading the proof sheets, and Mr. Charles Elton, M.P.,
for a similar service to the Essay on ‘Parish Registers.’


ELZEVIRS                                   3
THE ROWFANT BOOKS                         36
TO F. L.                                  38
SOME JAPANESE BOGIE-BOOKS                 40
GHOSTS IN THE LIBRARY                     66
LITERARY FORGERIES                        69
BIBLIOMANIA IN FRANCE                     90
OLD FRENCH TITLE-PAGES                   109
A BOOKMAN’S PURGATORY                    121
LADY BOOK-LOVERS                         135


ELZEVIR SPHERES                                                      5
ELZEVIR TITLE-PAGE OF THE ‘IMITATION’ OF                             8
ELZEVIR ‘SAGE’                                                      12
JAPANESE CHILDREN.  DRAWN BY HOKUSAI                                41
A STORM-FIEND                                                       45
A SNOW-BOGIE                                                        51
THE SIMULACRUM VULGARE                                              55
A WELL AND WATER BOGIE                                              57
RAISING THE WIND                                                    61
A CHINK AND CREVICE BOGIE                                           63
FAC-SIMILE OF BINDING FROM THE LIBRARY OF                          100
BINDING WITH THE ARMS OF MADAME DE                                 108
OLD FRENCH TITLE-PAGES                           110, 111, 113–16, 119


_The Countryman_.  “You know how much, for some time past, the editions
of the Elzevirs have been in demand.  The fancy for them has even
penetrated into the country.  I am acquainted with a man there who denies
himself necessaries, for the sake of collecting into a library (where
other books are scarce enough) as many little Elzevirs as he can lay his
hands upon.  He is dying of hunger, and his consolation is to be able to
say, ‘I have all the poets whom the Elzevirs printed.  I have ten
examples of each of them, all with red letters, and all of the right
date.’  This, no doubt, is a craze, for, good as the books are, if he
kept them to read them, one example of each would be enough.”

_The Parisian_.  “If he had wanted to read them, I would not have advised
him to buy Elzevirs.  The editions of minor authors which these
booksellers published, even editions ‘of the right date,’ as you say, are
not too correct.  Nothing is good in the books but the type and the
paper.  Your friend would have done better to use the editions of
Gryphius or Estienne.”

This fragment of a literary dialogue I translate from ‘Entretiens sur les
Contes de Fées,’ a book which contains more of old talk about books and
booksellers than about fairies and folk-lore.  The ‘Entretiens’ were
published in 1699, about sixteen years after the Elzevirs ceased to be
publishers.  The fragment is valuable: first, because it shows us how
early the taste for collecting Elzevirs was fully developed, and,
secondly, because it contains very sound criticism of the mania.
Already, in the seventeenth century, lovers of the tiny Elzevirian books
waxed pathetic over dates, already they knew that a ‘Cæsar’ of 1635 was
the right ‘Cæsar,’ already they were fond of the red-lettered passages,
as in the first edition of the ‘Virgil’ of 1636.  As early as 1699, too,
the Parisian critic knew that the editions were not very correct, and
that the paper, type, ornaments, and _format_ were their main
attractions.  To these we must now add the rarity of really good

Though Elzevirs have been more fashionable than at present, they are
still regarded by novelists as the great prize of the book collector.
You read in novels about “priceless little Elzevirs,” about books “as
rare as an old Elzevir.”  I have met, in the works of a lady novelist
(but not elsewhere), with an Elzevir ‘Theocritus.’  The late Mr. Hepworth
Dixon introduced into one of his romances a romantic Elzevir Greek
Testament, “worth its weight in gold.”  Casual remarks of this kind
encourage a popular delusion that all Elzevirs are pearls of considerable
price.  When a man is first smitten with the pleasant fever of
book-collecting, it is for Elzevirs that he searches.  At first he thinks
himself in amazing luck.  In Booksellers’ Row and in Castle Street he
“picks up,” for a shilling or two, Elzevirs, real or supposed.  To the
beginner, any book with a sphere on the title-page is an Elzevir.  For
the beginner’s instruction, two copies of spheres are printed here.  The
second is a sphere, an ill-cut, ill-drawn sphere, which is not Elzevirian
at all.  The mark was used in the seventeenth century by many other
booksellers and printers.  The first, on the other hand, is a true
Elzevirian sphere, from a play of Molière’s, printed in 1675.  Observe
the comparatively neat drawing of the first sphere, and be not led away
after spurious imitations.

                        [Picture: Elzevir Spheres]

Beware, too, of the vulgar error of fancying that little duodecimos with
the mark of the fox and the bee’s nest, and the motto “Quaerendo,” come
from the press of the Elzevirs.  The mark is that of Abraham Wolfgang,
which name is not a pseudonym for Elzevir.  There are three sorts of
Elzevir pseudonyms.  First, they occasionally reprinted the full
title-page, publisher’s name and all, of the book they pirated.
Secondly, when they printed books of a “dangerous” sort, Jansenist
pamphlets and so forth, they used pseudonyms like “Nic. Schouter,” on the
‘Lettres Provinciales’ of Pascal.  Thirdly, there are real pseudonyms
employed by the Elzevirs.  John and Daniel, printing at Leyden
(1652–1655), used the false name “Jean Sambix.”  The Elzevirs of
Amsterdam often placed the name “Jacques le Jeune” on their title-pages.
The collector who remembers these things must also see that his purchases
have the right ornaments at the heads of chapters, the right tail-pieces
at the ends.  Two of the most frequently recurring ornaments are the
so-called “Tête de Buffle” and the “Sirène.”  More or less clumsy copies
of these and the other Elzevirian ornaments are common enough in books of
the period, even among those printed out of the Low Countries; for
example, in books published in Paris.

A brief sketch of the history of the Elzevirs may here be useful.  The
founder of the family, a Flemish bookbinder, Louis, left Louvain and
settled in Leyden in 1580.  He bought a house opposite the University,
and opened a book-shop.  Another shop, on college ground, was opened in
1587.  Louis was a good bookseller, a very ordinary publisher.  It was
not till shortly before his death, in 1617, that his grandson Isaac
bought a set of types and other material.  Louis left six sons.  Two of
these, Matthew and Bonaventure, kept on the business, dating _ex officina
Elzeviriana_.  In 1625 Bonaventure and Abraham (son of Matthew) became
partners.  The “good dates” of Elzevirian books begin from 1626.  The two
Elzevirs chose excellent types, and after nine years’ endeavours turned
out the beautiful ‘Cæsar’ of 1635.

Their classical series in _petit format_ was opened with ‘Horace’ and
‘Ovid’ in 1629.  In 1641 they began their elegant piracies of French
plays and poetry with ‘Le Cid.’  It was worth while being pirated by the
Elzevirs, who turned you out like a gentleman, with _fleurons_ and red
letters, and a pretty frontispiece.  The modern pirate dresses you in
rags, prints you murderously, and binds you, if he binds you at all, in
some hideous example of “cloth extra,” all gilt, like archaic
gingerbread.  Bonaventure and Abraham both died in 1652.  They did not
depart before publishing (1628), in _grand format_, a desirable work on
fencing, Thibault’s ‘Académie de l’Espée.’  This Tibbald also killed by
the book.  John and Daniel Elzevir came next.  They brought out the
‘Imitation’ (Thomæ a Kempis canonici regularis ord.  S. Augustini De
Imitatione Christi, libri iv.); I wish by taking thought I could add
eight millimetres to the stature of my copy.  In 1655 Daniel joined a
cousin, Louis, in Amsterdam, and John stayed in Leyden.  John died in
1661; his widow struggled on, but her son Abraham (1681) let all fall
into ruins.  Abraham died 1712.  The Elzevirs of Amsterdam lasted till
1680, when Daniel died, and the business was wound up.  The type, by
Christopher Van Dyck, was sold in 1681, by Daniel’s widow.  _Sic transit

   [Picture: Elzevir title-page of the ‘Imitation’ of Thomas à Kempis]

After he has learned all these matters the amateur has still a great deal
to acquire.  He may now know a real Elzevir from a book which is not an
Elzevir at all.  But there are enormous differences of value, rarity, and
excellence among the productions of the Elzevirian press.  The bookstalls
teem with small, “cropped,” dingy, dirty, battered Elzevirian editions of
the classics, _not_ “of the good date.”  On these it is not worth while
to expend a couple of shillings, especially as Elzevirian type is too
small to be read with comfort by most modern eyes.  No, let the collector
save his money; avoid littering his shelves with what he will soon find
to be rubbish, and let him wait the chance of acquiring a really
beautiful and rare Elzevir.

Meantime, and before we come to describe Elzevirs of the first flight,
let it be remembered that the “taller” the copy, the less harmed and
nipped by the binder’s shears, the better.  “Men scarcely know how
beautiful fire is,” says Shelley; and we may say that most men hardly
know how beautiful an Elzevir was in its uncut and original form.  The
Elzevirs we have may be “dear,” but they are certainly “dumpy twelves.”
Their fair proportions have been docked by the binder.  At the Beckford
sale there was a pearl of a book, a ‘Marot;’ not an Elzevir, indeed, but
a book published by Wetstein, a follower of the Elzevirs.  This exquisite
pair of volumes, bound in blue morocco, was absolutely unimpaired, and
was a sight to bring happy tears into the eyes of the amateur of
Elzevirs.  There was a gracious _svelte_ elegance about these tomes, an
appealing and exquisite delicacy of proportion, that linger like sweet
music in the memory.  I have a copy of the Wetstein ‘Marot’ myself, not a
bad copy, though murderously bound in that ecclesiastical sort of brown
calf antique, which goes well with hymn books, and reminds one of cakes
of chocolate.  But my copy is only some 128 millimetres in height,
whereas the uncut Beckford copy (it had belonged to the great
Pixérécourt) was at least 130 millimetres high.  Beside the uncut example
mine looks like Cinderella’s plain sister beside the beauty of the

Now the moral is that only tall Elzevirs are beautiful, only tall
Elzevirs preserve their ancient proportions, only tall Elzevirs are worth
collecting.  Dr. Lemuel Gulliver remarks that the King of Lilliput was
taller than any of his court by almost the breadth of a nail, and that
his altitude filled the minds of all with awe.  Well, the Philistine may
think a few millimetres, more or less, in the height of an Elzevir are of
little importance.  When he comes to sell, he will discover the
difference.  An uncut, or almost uncut, copy of a good Elzevir may be
worth fifty or sixty pounds or more; an ordinary copy may bring fewer
pence.  The binders usually pare down the top and bottom more than the
sides.  I have a ‘Rabelais’ of the good date, with the red title (1663),
and some of the pages have never been opened, at the sides.  But the
height is only some 122 millimetres, a mere dwarf.  Anything over 130
millimetres is very rare.  Therefore the collector of Elzevirs should
have one of those useful ivory-handled knives on which the French
measures are marked, and thus he will at once be able to satisfy himself
as to the exact height of any example which he encounters.

Let us now assume that the amateur quite understands what a proper
Elzevir should be: tall, clean, well bound if possible, and of the good
date.  But we have still to learn what the good dates are, and this is
matter for the study and practice of a well-spent life.  We may gossip
about a few of the more famous Elzevirs, those without which no
collection is complete.  Of all Elzevirs the most famous and the most
expensive is an old cookery book, “‘Le Pastissier François.’  Wherein is
taught the way to make all sorts of pastry, useful to all sorts of
persons.  Also the manner of preparing all manner of eggs, for fast-days,
and other days, in more than sixty fashions.  Amsterdam, Louys, and
Daniel Elsevier. 1665.”  The mark is not the old “Sage,” but the
“Minerva” with her owl.  Now this book has no intrinsic value any more
than a Tauchnitz reprint of any modern volume on cooking.  The
‘Pastissier’ is cherished because it is so very rare.  The tract passed
into the hands of cooks, and the hands of cooks are detrimental to
literature.  Just as nursery books, fairy tales, and the like are
destroyed from generation to generation, so it happens with books used in
the kitchen.  The ‘Pastissier,’ to be sure, has a good frontispiece, a
scene in a Low Country kitchen, among the dead game and the dainties.
The buxom cook is making a game pie; a pheasant pie, decorated with the
bird’s head and tail-feathers, is already made. {12}

                        [Picture: Elzevir ‘Sage’]

Not for these charms, but for its rarity, is the ‘Pastissier’ coveted.
In an early edition of the ‘Manuel’ (1821) Brunet says, with a feigned
brutality (for he dearly loved an Elzevir), “Till now I have disdained to
admit this book into my work, but I have yielded to the prayers of
amateurs.  Besides, how could I keep out a volume which was sold for one
hundred and one francs in 1819?”  One hundred and one francs!  If I could
only get a ‘Pastissier’ for one hundred and one francs!  But our
grandfathers lived in the Bookman’s Paradise.  “Il n’est pas jusqu’aux
Anglais,” adds Brunet—“the very English themselves—have a taste for the
‘Pastissier.’”  The Duke of Marlborough’s copy was actually sold for £1
4s.  It would have been money in the ducal pockets of the house of
Marlborough to have kept this volume till the general sale of all their
portable property at which our generation is privileged to assist.  No
wonder the ‘Pastissier’ was thought rare.  Bérard only knew two copies.
Pietiers, writing on the Elzevirs in 1843, could cite only five
‘Pastissiers,’ and in his ‘Annales’ he had found out but five more.
Willems, on the other hand, enumerates some thirty, not including
Motteley’s.  Motteley was an uncultivated, untaught enthusiast.  He knew
no Latin, but he had a _flair_ for uncut Elzevirs.  “Incomptis capillis,”
he would cry (it was all his lore) as he gloated over his treasures.
They were all burnt by the Commune in the Louvre Library.

A few examples may be given of the prices brought by ‘Le Pastissier’ in
later days.  Sensier’s copy was but 128 millimetres in height, and had
the old ordinary vellum binding,—in fact, it closely resembled a copy
which Messrs. Ellis and White had for sale in Bond Street in 1883.  The
English booksellers asked, I think, about 1,500 francs for their copy.
Sensier’s was sold for 128 francs in April, 1828; for 201 francs in 1837.
Then the book was gloriously bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet, and was sold with
Potier’s books in 1870, when it fetched 2,910 francs.  At the Benzon sale
(1875) it fetched 3,255 francs, and, falling dreadfully in price, was
sold again in 1877 for 2,200 francs.  M. Dutuit, at Rouen, has a taller
copy, bound by Bauzonnet.  Last time it was sold (1851) it brought 251
francs.  The Duc de Chartres has now the copy of Pieters, the historian
of the Elzevirs, valued at 3,000 francs.

About thirty years ago no fewer than three copies were sold at Brighton,
of all places.  M. Quentin Bauchart had a copy only 127 millimetres in
height, which he swopped to M. Paillet.  M. Chartener, of Metz, had a
copy now bound by Bauzonnet which was sold for four francs in 1780.  We
call this the age of cheap books, but before the Revolution books were
cheaper.  It is fair to say, however, that this example of the
‘Pastissier’ was then bound up with another book, Vlacq’s edition of ‘Le
Cuisinier François,’ and so went cheaper than it would otherwise have
done.  M. de Fontaine de Resbecq declares that a friend of his bought six
original pieces of Molière’s bound up with an old French translation of
Garth’s ‘Dispensary.’  The one faint hope left to the poor book collector
is that he may find a valuable tract lurking in the leaves of some bound
collection of trash.  I have an original copy of Molière’s ‘Les Fascheux’
bound up with a treatise on precious stones, but the bookseller from whom
I bought it knew it was there!  That made all the difference.

But, to return to our ‘Pastissier,’ here is M. de Fontaine de Resbecq’s
account of how he wooed and won his own copy of this illustrious Elzevir.
“I began my walk to-day,” says this haunter of ancient stalls, “by the
Pont Marie and the Quai de la Grève, the pillars of Hercules of the
book-hunting world.  After having viewed and reviewed these remote books,
I was going away, when my attention was caught by a small naked volume,
without a stitch of binding.  I seized it, and what was my delight when I
recognised one of the rarest of that famed Elzevir collection whose
height is measured as minutely as the carats of the diamond.  There was
no indication of price on the box where this jewel was lying; the book,
though unbound, was perfectly clean within.  ‘How much?’ said I to the
bookseller.  ‘You can have it for six sous,’ he answered; ‘is it too
much?’  ‘No,’ said I, and, trembling a little, I handed him the thirty
centimes he asked for the ‘Pastissier François.’  You may believe, my
friend, that after such a piece of luck at the start, one goes home
fondly embracing the beloved object of one’s search.  That is exactly
what I did.”

Can this tale be true?  Is such luck given by the jealous fates
_mortalibus ægris_?  M. de Resbecq’s find was made apparently in 1856,
when trout were plenty in the streams, and rare books not so very rare.
To my own knowledge an English collector has bought an original play of
Molière’s, in the original vellum, for eighteenpence.  But no one has
such luck any longer.  Not, at least, in London.  A more expensive
‘Pastissier’ than that which brought six sous was priced in
Bachelin-Deflorenne’s catalogue at £240.  A curious thing occurred when
two uncut ‘Pastissiers’ turned up simultaneously in Paris.  One of them
Morgand and Fatout sold for £400.  Clever people argued that one of the
twin uncut ‘Pastissiers’ must be an imitation, a facsimile by means of
photogravure, or some other process.  But it was triumphantly established
that both were genuine; they had minute points of difference in the

M. Willems, the learned historian of the Elzevirs, is indignant at the
successes of a book which, as Brunet declares, is badly printed.  There
must be at least forty known ‘Pastissiers’ in the world.  Yes; but there
are at least 4,000 people who would greatly rejoice to possess a
‘Pastissier,’ and some of these desirous ones are very wealthy.  While
this state of the market endures, the ‘Pastissier’ will fetch higher
prices than the other varieties.  Another extremely rare Elzevir is
‘L’Illustre Théâtre de Mons. Corneille’ (Leyden, 1644).  This contains
‘Le Cid,’ ‘Les Horaces,’ ‘Le Cinna,’ ‘La Mort de Pompée,’ ‘Le Polyeucte.’
The name, ‘L’Illustre Théâtre,’ appearing at that date has an interest of
its own.  In 1643–44, Molière and Madeleine Béjart had just started the
company which they called ‘L’Illustre Théâtre.’  Only six or seven copies
of the book are actually known, though three or four are believed to
exist in England, probably all covered with dust in the library of some
lord.  “He has a very good library,” I once heard some one say to a noble
earl, whose own library was famous.  “And what can a fellow do with a
very good library?” answered the descendant of the Crusaders, who
probably (being a youth light-hearted and content) was ignorant of his
own great possessions.  An expensive copy of ‘L’Illustre Théâtre,’ bound
by Trautz-Bauzonnet, was sold for £300.

Among Elzevirs desirable, yet not hopelessly rare, is the ‘Virgil’ of
1636.  Heinsius was the editor of this beautiful volume, prettily
printed, but incorrect.  Probably it is hard to correct with absolute
accuracy works in the clear but minute type which the Elzevirs affected.
They have won fame by the elegance of their books, but their intention
was to sell good books cheap, like Michel Lévy.  The small type was
required to get plenty of “copy” into little bulk.  Nicholas Heinsius,
the son of the editor of the ‘Virgil,’ when he came to correct his
father’s edition, found that it contained so many coquilles, or
misprints, as to be nearly the most incorrect copy in the world.  Heyne
says, “Let the ‘Virgil’ be one of the rare Elzevirs, if you please, but
within it has scarcely a trace of any good quality.”  Yet the first
edition of this beautiful little book, with its two passages of red
letters, is so desirable that, till he could possess it, Charles Nodier
would not profane his shelves by any ‘Virgil’ at all.

Equally fine is the ‘Cæsar’ of 1635, which, with the ‘Virgil’ of 1636 and
the ‘Imitation’ without date, M. Willems thinks the most successful works
of the Elzevirs, “one of the most enviable jewels in the casket of the
bibliophile.”  It may be recognised by the page 238, which is erroneously
printed 248.  A good average height is from 125 to 128 millimetres.  The
highest known is 130 millimetres.  This book, like the ‘Imitation,’ has
one of the pretty and ingenious frontispieces which the Elzevirs prefixed
to their books.  So farewell, and good speed in your sport, ye hunters of
Elzevirs, and may you find perhaps the rarest Elzevir of all, ‘L’Aimable
Mère de Jésus.’


   O VISIONS of salmon tremendous,
   Of trout of unusual weight,
   Of waters that wander as Ken does,
   Ye come through the Ivory Gate!
   But the skies that bring never a “spate,”
   But the flies that catch up in a thorn,
   But the creel that is barren of freight,
   Through the portals of horn!

   O dreams of the Fates that attend us
   With prints in the earliest state,
   O bargains in books that they send us,
   Ye come through the Ivory Gate!
   But the tome that has never a mate,
   But the quarto that’s tattered and torn,
   And bereft of a title and date,
   Through the portals of horn!

   O dreams of the tongues that commend us,
   Of crowns for the laureate pate,
   Of a public to buy and befriend us,
   Ye come through the Ivory Gate!
   But the critics that slash us and slate, {19}
   But the people that hold us in scorn,
   But the sorrow, the scathe, and the hate,
   Through the portals of horn!


   Fair dreams of things golden and great,
   Ye come through the Ivory Gate;
   But the facts that are bleak and forlorn,
   Through the portals of horn!


THERE are three classes of persons who are deeply concerned with parish
registers—namely, villains, antiquaries, and the sedulous readers,
“parish clerks and others,” of the second or “agony” column of the Times.
Villains are probably the most numerous of these three classes.  The
villain of fiction dearly loves a parish register: he cuts out pages,
inserts others, intercalates remarks in a different coloured ink, and
generally manipulates the register as a Greek manages his hand at
_écarté_, or as a Hebrew dealer in Moabite bric-à-brac treats a synagogue
roll.  We well remember one villain who had locked himself into the
vestry (he was disguised as an archæologist), and who was enjoying his
wicked pleasure with the register, when the vestry somehow caught fire,
the rusty key would not turn in the door, and the villain was roasted
alive, in spite of the disinterested efforts to save him made by all the
virtuous characters in the story.  Let the fate of this bold, bad man be
a warning to wicked earls, baronets, and all others who attempt to
destroy the record of the marriage of a hero’s parents.  Fate will be too
strong for them in the long run, though they bribe the parish clerk, or
carry off in white wax an impression of the keys of the vestry and of the
iron chest in which a register should repose.

There is another and more prosaic danger in the way of villains, if the
new bill, entitled “The Parish Registers Preservation Act,” ever becomes
law.  The bill provides that every register earlier than 1837 shall be
committed to the care of the Master of the Rolls, and removed to the
Record Office.  Now the common villain of fiction would feel sadly out of
place in the Register Office, where a more watchful eye than that of a
comic parish clerk would be kept on his proceedings.  Villains and local
antiquaries will, therefore, use all their parliamentary influence to
oppose and delay this bill, which is certainly hard on the parish
archæologist.  The men who grub in their local registers, and slowly
compile parish or county history, deserve to be encouraged rather than
depressed.  Mr. Chester Waters, therefore, has suggested that copies of
registers should be made, and the comparatively legible copy left in the
parish, while the crabbed original is conveyed to the Record Office in
London.  Thus the local antiquary would really have his work made more
easy for him (though it may be doubted whether he would quite enjoy that
condescension), while the villain of romance would be foiled; for it is
useless (as a novel of Mr. Christie Murray’s proves) to alter the
register in the keeping of the parish when the original document is safe
in the Record Office.  But previous examples of enforced transcription
(as in 1603) do not encourage us to suppose that the copies would be very
scrupulously made.  Thus, after the Reformation, the prayers for the dead
in the old registers were omitted by the copyist, who seemed to think (as
the contractor for “sandwich men” said to the poor fellows who carried
the letter H), “I don’t want you, and the public don’t want you, and
you’re no use to nobody.”  Again, when Laurence Fletcher was buried in
St. Saviour’s, Southwark, in 1608, the old register described him as “a
player, the King’s servant.”  But the clerk, keeping a note-book, simply
called Laurence Fletcher “a man,” and (in 1625) he also styled Mr. John
Fletcher “a man.”  Now, the old register calls Mr. John Fletcher “a
poet.”  To copy all the parish registers in England would be a very
serious task, and would probably be but slovenly performed.  If they were
reproduced, again, by any process of photography, the old difficult court
hand would remain as hard as ever.  But this is a minor objection, for
the local antiquary revels in the old court hand.

From the little volume by Mr. Chester Waters, already referred to
(‘Parish Registers in England;’ printed for the author by F. J. Roberts,
Little Britain, E.C.), we proceed to appropriate such matters of
curiosity as may interest minds neither parochial nor doggedly
antiquarian.  Parish registers among the civilised peoples of antiquity
do not greatly concern us.  It seems certain that many Polynesian races
have managed to record (in verse, or by some rude marks) the genealogies
of their chiefs through many hundreds of years.  These oral registers are
accepted as fairly truthful by some students, yet we must remember that
Pindar supposed himself to possess knowledge of at least twenty-five
generations before his own time, and that only brought him up to the
birth of Jason.  Nobody believes in Jason and Medea, and possibly the
genealogical records of Maoris and Fijians are as little trustworthy as
those of Pindaric Greece.  However, to consider thus is to consider too
curiously.  We only know for certain that genealogy very soon becomes
important, and, therefore, that records are early kept, in a growing
civilisation.  “After Nehemiah’s return from the captivity in Babylon,
the priests at Jerusalem whose register was not found were as polluted
put from the priesthood.”  Rome had her parish registers, which were kept
in the temple of Saturn.  But modern parish registers were “discovered”
(like America) in 1497, when Cardinal Ximenes found it desirable to put
on record the names of the godfathers and godmothers of baptised
children.  When these relations of “gossip,” or God’s kin (as the word
literally means), were not certainly known, married persons could easily
obtain divorces, by pretending previous spiritual relationship.

But it was only during the reign of Mary, (called the Bloody) that this
rule of registering godfathers and godmothers prevailed in England.
Henry VIII. introduced the custom of parish registers when in a
Protestant humour.  By the way, how curiously has Madame de Flamareil (la
femme de quarante ans, in Charles de Bernard’s novel) anticipated the
verdict of Mr. Froude on Henry VIII.!  ‘On accuse Henri VIII.,’ dit
Madame de Flamareil, “moi je le comprends, et je l’absous; c’était un
cœur généreux, lorsqu’il ne les aimait plus, il les tuait.’”  The public
of England mistrusted, in the matter of parish registers, the generous
heart of Henry VIII.  It is the fixed conviction of the public that all
novelties in administration mean new taxes.  Thus the Croatian peasantry
were once on the point of revolting because they imagined that they were
to be taxed in proportion to the length of their moustaches.  The English
believed, and the insurgents of the famous Pilgrimage of Grace declared,
that baptism was to be refused to all children who did not pay a
“trybette” (tribute) to the king.  But Henry, or rather his minister,
Cromwell, stuck to his plan, and (September 29, 1538) issued an
injunction that a weekly register of weddings, christenings, and burials
should be kept by the curate of every parish.  The cost of the book
(twopence in the case of St. Margaret’s, Westminster) was defrayed by the
parishioners.  The oldest extant register books are those thus acquired
in 1597 or 1603.  These volumes were of parchment, and entries were
copied into them out of the old books on paper.  The copyists, as we have
seen, were indolent, and omitted characteristic points in the more
ancient records.

In the civil war parish registers fell into some confusion, and when the
clergy did make entries they commonly expressed their political feelings
in a mixture of Latin and English.  Latin, by the way, went out as
Protestantism came in, but the curate of Rotherby, in Leicestershire,
writes, “Bellum, Bellum, Bellum, interruption! persecution!”  At St.
Bridget’s, in Chester, is the quaint entry, “1643.  Here the register is
defective till 1653.  The tymes were _such_!”  At Hilton, in Dorset,
William Snoke, minister, entered his opinion that persons whose baptism
and marriage were not registered “will be made uncapable of any earthly
inheritance if they live.  This I note for the satisfaction of any that
do:” though we may doubt whether these parishioners found the information
thus conveyed highly satisfactory.

The register of Maid’s Moreton, Bucks, tells how the reading-desk (a
spread eagle, gilt) was “doomed to perish as an abominable idoll;” and
how the cross on the steeple nearly (but not quite) knocked out the
brains of the Puritan who removed it.  The Puritans had their way with
the registers as well as with the eagle (“the vowl,” as the old country
people call it), and laymen took the place of parsons as registrars in
1653.  The books from 1653 to 1660, while this _régime_ lasted, “were
kept exceptionally well,” new brooms sweeping clean.  The books of the
period contain fewer of the old Puritan Christian names than we might
have expected.  We find, “_Repente_ Kytchens,” so styled before the poor
little thing had anything but original sin to repent of.  “_Faint not_
Kennard” is also registered, and “_Freegift_ Mabbe.”

A novelty was introduced into registers in 1678.  The law required (for
purposes of protecting trade) that all the dead should be buried in
woollen winding-sheets.  The price of the wool was the obolus paid to the
Charon of the Revenue.  After March 25, 1667, no person was to be “buried
in any shirt, shift, or sheet other that should be made of woole only.”
Thus when the children in a little Oxfordshire village lately beheld a
ghost, “dressed in a long narrow gown of woollen, with bandages round the
head and chin,” it is clear that the ghost was much more than a hundred
years old, for the act “had fallen into disuse long before it was
repealed in 1814.”  But this has little to do with parish registers.  The
addition made to the duties of the keeper of the register in 1678 was
this—he had to take and record the affidavit of a kinsman of the dead, to
the effect that the corpse was actually buried in woollen fabric.  The
upper classes, however, preferred to bury in linen, and to pay the fine
of 5_l_.  When Mistress Oldfield, the famous actress, was interred in
1730, her body was arrayed “in a very fine Brussels lace headdress, a
holland shift with a tucker and double ruffles of the same lace, and a
pair of new kid gloves.”

In 1694 an empty exchequer was replenished by a tax on marriages, births,
and burials, the very extortion which had been feared by the insurgents
in the Pilgrimage of Grace.  The tax collectors had access without
payment of fee to the registers.  The registration of births was
discontinued when the Taxation Acts expired.  An attempt to introduce the
registration of births was made in 1753, but unsuccessfully.  The public
had the old superstitious dread of anything like a census.  Moreover, the
custom was denounced as “French,” and therefore abominable.  In the same
way it was thought telling to call the _clôture_ “the French gag” during
some recent discussions of parliamentary rules.  In 1783 the parish
register was again made the instrument of taxation, and threepence was
charged on every entry.  Thus “the clergyman was placed in the invidious
light of a tax collector, and as the poor were often unable or unwilling
to pay the tax, the clergy had a direct inducement to retain their
good-will by keeping the registers defective.”

It is easy to imagine the indignation in Scotland when “bang went
saxpence” every time a poor man had twins!  Of course the Scotch rose up
against this unparalleled extortion.  At last, in 1812, “Rose’s Act” was
passed.  It is styled “an Act for the better regulating and preserving
registers of births,” but the registration of births is altogether
omitted from its provisions.  By a stroke of the wildest wit the penalty
of transportation for fourteen years, for making a false entry, “is to be
divided equally between the informer and the poor of the parish.”  A more
casual Act has rarely been drafted.

Without entering into the modern history of parish registers, we may
borrow a few of the ancient curiosities to be found therein, the blunders
and the waggeries of forgotten priests, and curates, and parish clerks.
In quite recent times (1832) it was thought worth while to record that
Charity Morrell at her wedding had signed her name in the register with
her right foot, and that the ring had been placed on the fourth toe of
her left foot; for poor Charity was born without arms.  Sometimes the
time of a birth was recorded with much minuteness, that the astrologers
might draw a more accurate horoscope.  Unlucky children, with no
acknowledged fathers, were entered in a variety of odd ways.  In Lambeth
(1685), George Speedwell is put down as “a merry begot;” Anne Twine is
“_filia uniuscujusque_.”  At Croydon, a certain William is “terraefilius”
(1582), an autochthonous infant.  Among the queer names of foundlings are
“Nameless,” “Godsend,” “Subpoena,” and “Moyses and Aaron, two children
found,” not in the bulrushes, but “in the street.”

The rule was to give the foundling for surname the name of the parish,
and from the Temple Church came no fewer than one hundred and four
foundlings named “Temple,” between 1728 and 1755.  These Temples are the
plebeian _gens_ of the patrician house which claims descent from Godiva.
The use of surnames as Christian names is later than the Reformation, and
is the result of a reaction against the exclusive use of saints’ names
from the calendar.  Another example of the same reaction is the use of
Old Testament names, and “Ananias and Sapphira were favourite names with
the Presbyterians.”  It is only fair to add that these names are no
longer popular with Presbyterians, at any rate in the Kirk of Scotland.
The old Puritan argument was that you would hardly select the name of too
notorious a scriptural sinner, “as bearing testimony to the triumph of
grace over original sin.”  But in America a clergyman has been known to
decline to christen a child “Pontius Pilate,” and no wonder.

Entries of burials in ancient times often contained some biographical
information about the deceased.  But nothing could possibly be vaguer
than this: “1615, February 28, St. Martin’s, Ludgate, was buried an
anatomy from the College of Physicians.”  Man, woman, or child, sinner or
saint, we know not, only that “an anatomy” found Christian burial in St.
Martin’s, Ludgate.  How much more full and characteristic is this, from
St. Peter’s-in-the-East, Oxford (1568): ‘There was buried Alyce, the wiff
of a naughty fellow whose name is Matthew Manne.’  There is immortality
for Matthew Manne, and there is, in short-hand, the tragedy of “Alyce his
wiff.”  The reader of this record knows more of Matthew than in two
hundred years any one is likely to know of us who moralise over Matthew!
At Kyloe, in Northumberland, the intellectual defects of Henry Watson
have, like the naughtiness of Manne, secured him a measure of fame.
(1696.)  “Henry was so great a fooll, that he never could put on his own
close, nor never went a quarter of a mile off the house,” as Voltaire’s
Memnon resolved never to do, and as Pascal partly recommends.

What had Mary Woodfield done to deserve the alias which the Croydon
register gives her of “Queen of Hell”? (1788.)  Distinguished people were
buried in effigy, in all the different churches with which they were
connected, and each sham burial service was entered in the parish
registers, a snare and stumbling-block to the historian.  This curious
custom is very ancient.  Thus we read in the Odyssey that when Menelaus
heard in Egypt of the death of Agamemnon he reared for him a cenotaph,
and piled an empty barrow “that the fame of the dead man might never be
quenched.”  Probably this old usage gave rise to the claims of several
Greek cities to possess the tomb of this or that ancient hero.  A heroic
tomb, as of Cassandra for example, several towns had to show, but which
was the true grave, which were the cenotaphs?  Queen Elizabeth was buried
in all the London churches, and poor Cassandra had her barrow in Argos,
Mycenæ, and Amyclæ.

“A drynkyng for the soul” of the dead, a τάφος or funeral feast, was as
common in England before the Reformation as in ancient Greece.  James
Cooke, of Sporle, in Norfolk (1528), left six shillings and eightpence to
pay for this “drynkyng for his soul;” and the funeral feast, which long
survived in the distribution of wine, wafers, and rosemary, still endures
as a slight collation of wine and cake in Scotland.  What a funeral could
be, as late as 1731, Mr. Chester Waters proves by the bill for the burial
of Andrew Card, senior bencher of Gray’s Inn.  The deceased was brave in
a “superfine pinked shroud” (cheap at 1_l_. 5_s_. 6_d_.), and there were
eight large plate candle-sticks on stands round the daïs, and ninety-six
buckram escutcheons.  The pall-bearers wore Alamode hatbands covered with
frizances, and so did the divines who were present at the melancholy but
gorgeous function.  A hundred men in mourning carried a hundred white wax
branch lights, and the gloves of the porters in Gray’s Inn were
ash-coloured with black points.  Yet the wine cost no more than 1_l_.
19_s_. 6_d_.; a “deal of sack,” by no means “intolerable.”

Leaving the funerals, we find that the parish register sometimes records
ancient and obsolete modes of death.  Thus, martyrs are scarce now, but
the register of All Saints’, Derby, 1556, mentions “a poor blinde woman
called Joan Waste, of this parish, a martyr, burned in Windmill pit.”
She was condemned by Ralph Baynes, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.  In
1558, at Richmond, in Yorkshire, we find “Richard Snell, b’rnt, bur. 9
Sept.”  At Croydon, in 1585, Roger Shepherd probably never expected to be
eaten by a lioness.  Roger was not, like Wyllyam Barker, “a common
drunkard and blasphemer,” and we cannot regard the Croydon lioness, like
the Nemean lion, as a miraculous monster sent against the county of
Surrey for the sins of the people.  The lioness “was brought into the
town to be seen of such as would give money to see her.  He” (Roger) “was
sore wounded in sundry places, and was buried the 26th Aug.”

In 1590, the register of St. Oswald’s, Durham, informs us that “Duke,
Hyll, Hogge, and Holiday” were hanged and burned for “there horrible
offences.”  The arm of one of these horrible offenders was preserved at
St. Omer as the relic of a martyr, “a most precious treasure,” in 1686.
But no one knew whether the arm belonged originally to Holiday, Hyll,
Duke, or Hogge.  The coals, when these unfortunate men were burned, cost
sixpence; the other items in the account of the abominable execution are,
perhaps, too repulsive to be quoted.

According to some critics of the British government, we do not treat the
Egyptians well.  But our conduct towards the Fellahs has certainly
improved since this entry was made in the register of St. Nicholas,
Durham (1592, August 8th): ‘Simson, Arington, Featherston, Fenwick, and
Lancaster, _were hanged for being Egyptians_.’  They were, in fact,
gypsies, or had been consorting with gypsies, and they suffered under 5
Eliz. c. 20.  In 1783 this statute was abolished, and was even considered
“a law of excessive severity.”  For even a hundred years ago “the puling
cant of sickly humanitarianism” was making itself heard to the injury of
our sturdy old English legislation.  To be killed by a poet is now an
unusual fate, but the St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch, register (1598) mentions
how “Gabriel Spencer, being slayne, was buried.”  Gabriel was “slayne” by
Rare Ben Jonson, in Hoxton Fields.

The burning of witches is, naturally, not an uncommon item in parish
registers, and is set forth in a bold, business-like manner.  On August
21 (1650) fifteen women and one man were executed for the imaginary crime
of witchcraft.  “A grave, for a witch, sixpence,” is an item in the
municipal accounts.  And the grave was a cheap haven for the poor woman
who had been committed to the tender mercies of a Scotch witch-trier.
Cetewayo’s medicine-men, who “smelt out” witches, were only some two
centuries in the rear of our civilisation.  Three hundred years ago
Bishop Jewell, preaching before Elizabeth, was quite of the mind of
Cetewayo and Saul, as to the wickedness of suffering a witch to live.  As
late as 1691, the register of Holy Island, Northumberland, mentions
“William Cleugh, bewitched to death,” and the superstition is almost as
powerful as ever among the rural people.  Between July 13 and July 24
(1699) the widow Comon, in Essex, was thrice swum for a witch.  She was
not drowned, but survived her immersion for only five months.  A singular
homicide is recorded at Newington Butts, 1689.  “John Arris and Derwick
Farlin in one grave, being both Dutch soldiers; one killed the other
drinking brandy.”  But who slew the slayer?  The register is silent; but
“often eating a shoulder of mutton or a peck of hasty pudding at a time
caused the death of James Parsons,” at Teddington, in Middlesex, 1743.
Parsons had resisted the effects of shoulders of mutton and hasty pudding
till the age of thirty-six.

And so the registers run on.  Sometimes they tell of the death of a
glutton, sometimes of a _Grace wyfe_ (grosse femme).  Now the bell tolls
for the decease of a duke, now of a “dog-whipper.”  “Lutenists” and
“Saltpetremen”—the skeleton of the old German allegory whispers to each
and twitches him by the sleeve.  “Ellis Thompson, _insipiens_,” leaves
Chester-le-Street, where he had gabbled and scrabbled on the doors, and
follows “William, foole to my Lady Jerningham,” and “Edward Errington,
the Towne’s Fooll” (Newcastle-on-Tyne) down the way to dusty death.
Edward Errington died “of the pest,” and another idiot took his place and
office, for Newcastle had her regular town fools before she acquired her
singularly advanced modern representatives.  The “aquavity man” dies (in
Cripplegate), and the “dumb-man who was a fortune-teller” (Stepney,
1628), and the “King’s Falkner,” and Mr. Gregory Isham, who combined the
professions, not frequently united, of “attorney and husbandman,” in
Barwell, Leicestershire (1655).  “The lame chimney-sweeper,” and the
“King of the gypsies,” and Alexander Willis, “qui calographiam docuit,”
the linguist, and the Tom o’ Bedlam, the comfit-maker, and the
panyer-man, and the tack-maker, and the suicide, they all found death;
or, if they sought him, the churchyard where they were “hurled into a
grave” was interdicted, and purified, after a fortnight, with
“frankincense and sweet perfumes, and herbs.”

Sometimes people died wholesale of pestilence, and the Longborough
register mentions a fresh way of death, “the swat called New
Acquaintance, alias Stoupe Knave, and know thy master.”  Another malady
was ‘the posting swet, that posted from towne to towne through England.’
The plague of 1591 was imported in bales of cloth from the Levant, just
as British commerce still patriotically tries to introduce cholera in
cargoes of Egyptian rags.  The register of Malpas, in Cheshire (Aug. 24,
1625), has this strange story of the plague:—

“Richard Dawson being sicke of the plague, and perceiving he must die at
yt time, arose out of his bed, and made his grave, and caused his nefew,
John Dawson, to cast strawe into the grave which was not farre from the
house, and went and lay’d him down in the say’d grave, and caused clothes
to be lay’d uppon and so dep’ted out of this world; this he did because
he was a strong man, and heavier than his said nefew and another wench
were able to bury.”

And John Dawson died, and Rose Smyth, the “wench” already spoken of,
died, the last of the household.

Old customs survive in the parish registers.  Scolding wives were ducked,
and in Kingston-on-Thames, 1572, the register tells how the sexton’s wife
“was sett on a new cukking-stoole, and brought to Temes brydge, and there
had three duckings over head and eres, because she was a common scold and
fighter.”  The cucking-stool, a very elaborate engine of the law, cost
1_l_. 3_s_. 4_d_.  Men were ducked for beating their wives, and if that
custom were revived the profession of cucking-stool maker would become
busy and lucrative.  Penances of a graver sort are on record in the
registers.  Margaret Sherioux, in Croydon (1597), was ordered to stand
three market days in the town, and three Sundays in the church, in a
white sheet.  The sin imputed to her was a dreadful one.  “She stood one
Saturday, and one Sunday, and died the next.”  Innocent or guilty, this
world was no longer a fit abiding-place for Margaret Sherioux.
Occasionally the keeper of the register entered any event which seemed
out of the common.  Thus the register of St. Nicholas, Durham (1568), has
this contribution to natural history:—

“A certaine Italian brought into the cittie of Durham a very greate
strange and monstrous serpent, in length sixteen feet, in quantitie and
dimentions greater than a greate horse, which was taken and killed by
special policie, in Ethiopia within the Turkas dominions.  But before it
was killed, it had devoured (as is credibly thought) more than 1,000
persons, and destroyed a great country.”

This must have been a descendant of the monster that would have eaten
Andromeda, and was slain by Perseus in the country of the blameless
Ethiopians.  Collections of money are recorded occasionally, as in 1680,
when no less than one pound eight shillings was contributed “for
redemption of Christians (taken by ye Turkish pyrates) out of Turkish
slavery.”  Two hundred years ago the Turk was pretty “unspeakable” still.
Of all blundering Dogberries, the most confused kept (in 1670) the parish
register at Melton Mowbray:—

“Here [he writes] is a bill of Burton Lazareth’s people, which was
buried, and which was and maried above 10 years old, for because the
clarke was dead, and therefore they was not set down according as they
was, but they all set down sure enough one among another here in this

“They all set down sure enough,” nor does it matter much now to know whom
they married, and how long they lived in Melton Mowbray.  The following
entry sufficed for the great Villiers that expired “in the worst inn’s
worst room,”—“Kirkby Moorside, Yorkshire, 1687.  Georges vilaris Lord
dooke of Bookingham, bur. 17. April.”

“So much for Buckingham!”


   THE Rowfant books, how fair they shew,
      The Quarto quaint, the Aldine tall,
   Print, autograph, portfolio!
      Back from the outer air they call,
   The athletes from the Tennis ball,
      This Rhymer from his rod and hooks,
   Would I could sing them one and all,
            The Rowfant books!

   The Rowfant books!  In sun and snow
      They’re dear, but most when tempests fall;
   The folio towers above the row
      As once, o’er minor prophets,—Saul!
   What jolly jest books and what small
      “Dear dumpy Twelves” to fill the nooks.
   You do not find on every stall
            The Rowfant books!

   The Rowfant books!  These long ago
      Were chained within some College hall;
   These manuscripts retain the glow
      Of many a coloured capital
   While yet the Satires keep their gall,
      While the Pastissier puzzles cooks,
   Theirs is a joy that does not pall,
            The Rowfant books!


   The Rowfant books,—ah magical
      As famed Armida’s “golden looks,”
   They hold the rhymer for their thrall,
            The Rowfant books.

_TO F. L._

   I MIND that Forest Shepherd’s saw,
      For, when men preached of Heaven, quoth he,
   “It’s a’ that’s bricht, and a’ that’s braw,
      But Bourhope’s guid eneuch for me!”

   Beneath the green deep-bosomed hills
      That guard Saint Mary’s Loch it lies,
   The silence of the pasture fills
      That shepherd’s homely paradise.

   Enough for him his mountain lake,
      His glen the burn went singing through,
   And Rowfant, when the thrushes wake,
      May well seem good enough for you.

   For all is old, and tried, and dear,
      And all is fair, and round about
   The brook that murmurs from the mere
      Is dimpled with the rising trout.

   But when the skies of shorter days
      Are dark and all the ways are mire,
   How bright upon your books the blaze
      Gleams from the cheerful study fire,

   On quartos where our fathers read,
      Enthralled, the book of Shakespeare’s play,
   On all that Poe could dream of dread,
      And all that Herrick sang of gay!

   Fair first editions, duly prized,
      Above them all, methinks, I rate
   The tome where Walton’s hand revised
      His wonderful receipts for bait!

   Happy, who rich in toys like these
      Forgets a weary nation’s ills,
   Who from his study window sees
      The circle of the Sussex hills!


THERE is or used to be a poem for infant minds of a rather Pharisaical
character, which was popular in the nursery when I was a youngster.  It
ran something like this:—

   I thank my stars that I was born
      A little British child.

Perhaps these were not the very words, but that was decidedly the
sentiment.  Look at the Japanese infants, from the pencil of the famous
Hokusai.  Though they are not British, were there ever two jollier,
happier small creatures?  Did Leech, or Mr. Du Maurier, or Andrea della
Robbia ever present a more delightful view of innocent, well-pleased
childhood?  Well, these Japanese children, if they are in the least
inclined to be timid or nervous, must have an awful time of it at night
in the dark, and when they make that eerie “northwest passage” bedwards
through the darkling house of which Mr. Stevenson sings the perils and
the emotions.  All of us who did not suffer under parents brought up on
the views of Mr. Herbert Spencer have endured, in childhood, a good deal
from ghosts.  But it is nothing to what Japanese children bear, for our
ghosts are to the spectres of Japan as moonlight is to sunlight, or as
water unto whisky.  Personally I may say that few people have been
plagued by the terror that walketh in darkness more than myself.  At the
early age of ten I had the tales of the ingenious Mr. Edgar Poe and of
Charlotte Brontë “put into my hands” by a cousin who had served as a
Bashi Bazouk, and knew not the meaning of fear.  But I _did_, and perhaps
even Nelson would have found out “what fear was,” or the boy in the Norse
tale would have “learned to shiver,” if he had been left alone to peruse
‘Jane Eyre,’ and the ‘Black Cat,’ and the ‘Fall of the House of Usher,’
as I was.  Every night I expected to wake up in my coffin, having been
prematurely buried; or to hear sighs in the area, followed by light,
unsteady footsteps on the stairs, and then to see a lady all in a white
shroud stained with blood and clay stagger into my room, the victim of
too rapid interment.  As to the notion that my respected kinsman had a
mad wife concealed on the premises, and that a lunatic aunt, black in the
face with suppressed mania, would burst into my chamber, it was
comparatively a harmless fancy, and not particularly disturbing.  Between
these and the ‘Yellow Dwarf,’ who (though only the invention of the
Countess D’Aulnoy) might frighten a nervous infant into hysterics, I
personally had as bad a time of it in the night watches as any happy
British child has survived.  But our ogres are nothing to the bogies
which make not only night but day terrible to the studious infants of
Japan and China.

             [Picture: Japanese Children.  Drawn by Hokusai]

Chinese ghosts are probably much the same as Japanese ghosts.  The
Japanese have borrowed most things, including apparitions and awesome
sprites and grisly fiends, from the Chinese, and then have improved on
the original model.  Now we have a very full, complete, and
horror-striking account of Chinese _harnts_ (as the country people in
Tennessee call them) from Mr. Herbert Giles, who has translated scores of
Chinese ghost stories in his ‘Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio’ (De la
Rue, 1880).  Mr. Giles’s volumes prove that China is the place for
Messrs. Gurney and Myers, the secretaries of the Psychical Society.

Ghosts do not live a hole-and-corner life in China, but boldly come out
and take their part in the pleasures and business of life.  It has always
been a question with me whether ghosts, in a haunted house, appear when
there is no audience.  What does the spectre in the tapestried chamber do
when the house is _not_ full, and no guest is put in the room to bury
strangers in, the haunted room?  Does the ghost sulk and complain that
there is “no house,” and refuse to rehearse his little performance, in a
conscientious and disinterestedly artistic spirit, when deprived of the
artist’s true pleasure, the awakening of sympathetic emotion in the mind
of the spectator?  We give too little thought and sympathy to ghosts, who
in our old castles and country houses often find no one to appear to from
year’s end to year’s-end.  Only now and then is a guest placed in the
“haunted room.”  Then I like to fancy the glee of the lady in green or
the radiant boy, or the headless man, or the old gentleman in
snuff-coloured clothes, as he, or she, recognises the presence of a
spectator, and prepares to give his or her best effects in the familiar

Now in China and Japan certainly a ghost does not wait till people enter
the haunted room: a ghost, like a person of fashion, “goes everywhere.”
Moreover, he has this artistic excellence, that very often you don’t know
him from an embodied person.  He counterfeits mortality so cleverly that
he (the ghost) has been known to personate a candidate for honours, and
pass an examination for him.  A pleasing example of this kind,
illustrating the limitations of ghosts, is told in Mr. Giles’s book.  A
gentleman of Huai Shang named Chou-t‘ien-i had arrived at the age of
fifty, but his family consisted of but one son, a fine boy, “strangely
averse from study,” as if there were anything strange in _that_.  One day
the son disappeared mysteriously, as people do from West Ham.  In a year
he came back, said he had been detained in a Taoist monastery, and, to
all men’s amazement, took to his books.  Next year he obtained is B.A.
degree, a First Class.  All the neighbourhood was overjoyed, for Huai
Shang was like Pembroke College (Oxford), where, according to the poet,
“First Class men are few and far between.”  It was who should have the
honour of giving his daughter as bride to this intellectual marvel.  A
very nice girl was selected, but most unexpectedly the B.A. would not
marry.  This nearly broke his father’s heart.  The old gentleman knew,
according to Chinese belief, that if he had no grandchild there would be
no one in the next generation to feed his own ghost and pay it all the
little needful attentions.  “Picture then the father naming and insisting
on the day;” till K‘o-ch‘ang, B.A., got up and ran away.  His mother
tried to detain him, when his clothes “came off in her hand,” and the
bachelor vanished!  Next day appeared the real flesh and blood son, who
had been kidnapped and enslaved.  The genuine K‘o-ch‘ang was overjoyed to
hear of his approaching nuptials.  The rites were duly celebrated, and in
less than a year the old gentleman welcomed his much-longed-for grand
child.  But, oddly enough, K‘o-ch‘ang, though very jolly and universally
beloved, was as stupid as ever, and read nothing but the sporting
intelligence in the newspapers.  It was now universally admitted that the
learned K‘o-ch‘ang had been an impostor, a clever ghost.  It follows that
ghosts can take a very good degree; but ladies need not be afraid of
marrying ghosts, owing to the inveterate shyness of these learned

                         [Picture: A Storm-fiend]

The Chinese ghost is by no means always a malevolent person, as, indeed,
has already been made clear from the affecting narrative of the ghost who
passed an examination.  Even the spectre which answers in China to the
statue in ‘Don Juan,’ the statue which accepts invitations to dinner, is
anything but a malevolent guest.  So much may be gathered from the story
of Chu and Lu.  Chu was an undergraduate of great courage and bodily
vigour, but dull of wit.  He was a married man, and his children (as in
the old Oxford legend) often rushed into their mother’s presence,
shouting, “Mamma! mammal papa’s been plucked again!”  Once it chanced
that Chu was at a wine party, and the negus (a favourite beverage of the
Celestials) had done its work.  His young friends betted Chu a
bird’s-nest dinner that he would not go to the nearest temple, enter the
room devoted to coloured sculptures representing the torments of
Purgatory, and carry off the image of the Chinese judge of the dead,
their Osiris or Rhadamanthus.  Off went old Chu, and soon returned with
the august effigy (which wore “a green face, a red beard, and a hideous
expression”) in his arms.  The other men were frightened, and begged Chu
to restore his worship to his place on the infernal bench.  Before
carrying back the worthy magistrate, Chu poured a libation on the ground
and said, “Whenever your excellency feels so disposed, I shall be glad to
take a cup of wine with you in a friendly way.”  That very night, as Chu
was taking a stirrup cup before going to bed, the ghost of the awful
judge came to the door and entered.  Chu promptly put the kettle on,
mixed the negus, and made a night of it with the festive fiend.  Their
friendship was never interrupted from that moment.  The judge even gave
Chu a new heart (literally) whereby he was enabled to pass examinations;
for the heart, in China, is the seat of all the intellectual faculties.
For Mrs. Chu, a plain woman with a fine figure, the ghost provided a new
head, of a handsome girl recently slain by a robber.  Even after Chu’s
death the genial spectre did not neglect him, but obtained for him an
appointment as registrar in the next world, with a certain rank attached.

The next world, among the Chinese, seems to be a paradise of bureaucracy,
patent places, jobs, mandarins’ buttons and tails, and, in short, the
heaven of officialism.  All civilised readers are acquainted with Mr.
Stockton’s humorous story of ‘The Transferred Ghost.’  In Mr. Stockton’s
view a man does not always get his own ghostship; there is a vigorous
competition among spirits for good ghostships, and a great deal of
intrigue and party feeling.  It may be long before a disembodied spectre
gets any ghostship at all, and then, if he has little influence, he may
be glad to take a chance of haunting the Board of Trade, or the Post
Office, instead of “walking” in the Foreign Office.  One spirit may win a
post as White Lady in the imperial palace, while another is put off with
a position in an old college library, or perhaps has to follow the
fortunes of some seedy “medium” through boarding-houses and third-rate
hotels.  Now this is precisely the Chinese view of the fates and fortunes
of ghosts.  _Quisque suos patimur manes_.

In China, to be brief, and to quote a ghost (who ought to know what he
was speaking about), “supernaturals are to be found everywhere.”  This is
the fact that makes life so puzzling and terrible to a child of a
believing and trustful character.  These Oriental bogies do not appear in
the dark alone, or only in haunted houses, or at cross-roads, or in
gloomy woods.  They are everywhere: every man has his own ghost, every
place has its peculiar haunting fiend, every natural phenomenon has its
informing spirit; every quality, as hunger, greed, envy, malice, has an
embodied visible shape prowling about seeking what it may devour.  Where
our science, for example, sees (or rather smells) sewer gas, the Japanese
behold a slimy, meagre, insatiate wraith, crawling to devour the lives of
men.  Where we see a storm of snow, their livelier fancy beholds a comic
snow-ghost, a queer, grinning old man under a vast umbrella.

                         [Picture: A Snow-bogie]

The illustrations in this paper are only a few specimens chosen out of
many volumes of Japanese bogies.  We have not ventured to copy the very
most awful spectres, nor dared to be as horrid as we can.  These native
drawings, too, are generally coloured regardless of expense, and the
colouring is often horribly lurid and satisfactory.  This embellishment,
fortunately perhaps, we cannot reproduce.  Meanwhile, if any child looks
into this essay, let him (or her) not be alarmed by the pictures he
beholds.  Japanese ghosts do not live in this country; there are none of
them even at the Japanese Legation.  Just as bears, lions, and
rattlesnakes are not to be seriously dreaded in our woods and commons, so
the Japanese ghost cannot breathe (any more than a slave can) in the air
of England or America.  We do not yet even keep any ghostly zoological
garden in which the bogies of Japanese, Australians, Red Indians, and
other distant peoples may be accommodated.  Such an establishment is
perhaps to be desired in the interests of psychical research, but that
form of research has not yet been endowed by a cultivated and progressive

The first to attract our attention represents, as I understand, the
common ghost, or _simulacrum vulgare_ of psychical science.  To this
complexion must we all come, according to the best Japanese opinion.
Each of us contains within him “somewhat of a shadowy being,” like the
spectre described by Dr. Johnson: something like the Egyptian “Ka,” for
which the curious may consult the works of Miss Amelia B. Edwards and
other learned Orientalists.  The most recent French student of these
matters, the author of ‘L’Homme Posthume,’ is of opinion that we do not
all possess this double, with its power of surviving our bodily death.
He thinks, too, that our ghost, when it does survive, has but rarely the
energy and enterprise to make itself visible to or audible by
“shadow-casting men.”  In some extreme cases the ghost (according to our
French authority, that of a disciple of M. Comte) feeds fearsomely on the
bodies of the living.  In no event does he believe that a ghost lasts
much longer than a hundred years.  After that it mizzles into spectre,
and is resolved into its elements, whatever they may be.

A somewhat similar and (to my own mind) probably sound theory of ghosts
prevails among savage tribes, and among such peoples as the ancient
Greeks, the modern Hindoos, and other ancestor worshippers.  When
feeding, as they all do, or used to do, the ghosts of the ancestral dead,
they gave special attention to the claims of the dead of the last three
generations, leaving ghosts older than the century to look after their
own supplies of meat and drink.  The negligence testifies to a notion
that very old ghosts are of little account, for good or evil.  On the
other hand, as regards the longevity of spectres, we must not shut our
eyes to the example of the bogie in ancient armour which appears in
Glamis Castle, or to the Jesuit of Queen Elizabeth’s date that haunts the
library (and a very nice place to haunt: I ask no better, as a ghost in
the Pavilion at Lord’s might cause a scandal) of an English nobleman.
With these _instantiæ contradictoriæ_, as Bacon calls them, present to
our minds, we must not (in the present condition of psychical research)
dogmatise too hastily about the span of life allotted to the _simulacrum
vulgare_.  Very probably his chances of a prolonged existence are in
inverse ratio to the square of the distance of time which severs him from
our modern days.  No one has ever even pretended to see the ghost of an
ancient Roman buried in these islands, still less of a Pict or Scot, or a
Palæolithic man, welcome as such an apparition would be to many of us.
Thus the evidence does certainly look as if there were a kind of statute
of limitations among ghosts, which, from many points of view, is not an
arrangement at which we should repine.

                    [Picture: The Simulacrum Vulgare]

The Japanese artist expresses his own sense of the casual and fluctuating
nature of ghosts by drawing his spectre in shaky lines, as if the model
had given the artist the horrors.  This _simulacrum_ rises out of the
earth like an exhalation, and groups itself into shape above the spade
with which all that is corporeal of its late owner has been interred.
Please remark the uncomforted and dismal expression of the _simulacrum_.
We must remember that the ghost or “Ka” is not the “soul,” which has
other destinies in the future world, good or evil, but is only a shadowy
resemblance, condemned, as in the Egyptian creed, to dwell in the tomb
and hover near it.  The Chinese and Japanese have their own definite
theory of the next world, and we must by no means confuse the eternal
fortunes of the permanent, conscious, and responsible self, already
inhabiting other worlds than ours, with the eccentric vagaries of the
semi-material tomb-haunting larva, which so often develops a noisy and
bear-fighting disposition quite unlike the character of its proprietor in

                    [Picture: A Well and Water bogie]

The next bogie, so limp and washed-out as he seems, with his white,
drooping, dripping arms and hands, reminds us of that horrid French
species of apparition, “la lavandière de la nuit,” who washes dead men’s
linen in the moonlit pools and rivers.  Whether this _simulacrum_ be
meant for the spirit of the well (for everything has its spirit in
Japan), or whether it be the ghost of some mortal drowned in the well, I
cannot say with absolute certainty; but the opinion of the learned tends
to the former conclusion.  Naturally a Japanese child, when sent in the
dusk to draw water, will do so with fear and trembling, for this limp,
floppy apparition might scare the boldest.  Another bogie, a terrible
creation of fancy, I take to be a vampire, about which the curious can
read in Dom Calmet, who will tell them how whole villages in Hungary have
been depopulated by vampires; or he may study in Fauriel’s ‘Chansons de
la Grèce Moderne’ the vampires of modern Hellas.

Another plan, and perhaps even more satisfactory to a timid or
superstitious mind, is to read in a lonely house at midnight a story
named ‘Carmilla,’ printed in Mr. Sheridan Le Fanu’s ‘In a Glass Darkly.’
That work will give you the peculiar sentiment of vampirism, will produce
a gelid perspiration, and reduce the patient to a condition in which he
will be afraid to look round the room.  If, while in this mood, some one
tells him Mr. Augustus Hare’s story of Crooglin Grange, his education in
the practice and theory of vampires will be complete, and he will be a
very proper and well-qualified inmate of Earlswood Asylum.  The most
awful Japanese vampire, caught red-handed in the act, a hideous, bestial
incarnation of ghoulishness, we have carefully refrained from

                       [Picture: Raising the wind]

Scarcely more agreeable is the bogie, or witch, blowing from her mouth a
malevolent exhalation, an embodiment of malignant and maleficent sorcery.
The vapour which flies and curls from the mouth constitutes “a sending,”
in the technical language of Icelandic wizards, and is capable (in
Iceland, at all events) of assuming the form of some detestable
supernatural animal, to destroy the life of a hated rival.  In the case
of our last example it is very hard indeed to make head or tail of the
spectre represented.  Chinks and crannies are his domain; through these
he drops upon you.  He is a merry but not an attractive or genial ghost.
Where there are such “visions about” it may be admitted that children,
apt to believe in all such fancies, have a youth of variegated and
intense misery, recurring with special vigour at bed-time.  But we look
again at our first picture, and hope and trust that Japanese boys and
girls are as happy as these jolly little creatures appear.

                   [Picture: A Chink and Crevice Bogie]


   SUPPOSE, when now the house is dumb,
      When lights are out, and ashes fall—
   Suppose their ancient owners come
      To claim our spoils of shop and stall,
      Ah me! within the narrow hall
   How strange a mob would meet and go,
      What famous folk would haunt them all,
            Octavo, quarto, folio!

   The great Napoleon lays his hand
      Upon this eagle-headed N,
   That marks for his a pamphlet banned
      By all but scandal-loving men,—
   A libel from some nameless den
      Of Frankfort,—_Arnaud à la Sphère_,
   Wherein one spilt, with venal pen,
      Lies o’er the loves of Molière. {66}

   Another shade—he does not see
   “Boney,” the foeman of his race—
   The great Sir Walter, this is he
   With that grave homely Border face.
   He claims his poem of the chase
   That rang Benvoirlich’s valley through;
   And _this_, that doth the lineage trace
   And fortunes of the bold Buccleuch; {67a}

   For these were his, and these he gave
   To one who dwelt beside the Peel,
   That murmurs with its tiny wave
   To join the Tweed at Ashestiel.
   Now thick as motes the shadows wheel,
   And find their own, and claim a share
   Of books wherein Ribou did deal,
   Or Roulland sold to wise Colbert. {67b}

   What famous folk of old are here!
   A royal duke comes down to us,
   And greatly wants his Elzevir,
   His Pagan tutor, Lucius. {67c}
   And Beckford claims an amorous
   Old heathen in morocco blue; {67d}
   And who demands Eobanus
   But stately Jacques Auguste de Thou! {67e}

   They come, the wise, the great, the true,
   They jostle on the narrow stair,
   The frolic Countess de Verrue,
   Lamoignon, ay, and Longepierre,
   The new and elder dead are there—
   The lords of speech, and song, and pen,
   Gambetta, {68a} Schlegel {68b} and the rare
   Drummond of haunted Hawthornden. {68c}

   Ah, and with those, a hundred more,
   Whose names, whose deeds, are quite forgot:
   Brave “Smiths” and “Thompsons” by the score,
   Scrawled upon many a shabby “lot.”
   This playbook was the joy of Pott {68d}—
   Pott, for whom now no mortal grieves.
   Our names, like his, remembered not,
   Like his, shall flutter on fly-leaves!

   At least in pleasant company
   We bookish ghosts, perchance, may flit;
   A man may turn a page, and sigh,
   Seeing one’s name, to think of it.
   Beauty, or Poet, Sage, or Wit,
   May ope our book, and muse awhile,
   And fall into a dreaming fit,
   As now we dream, and wake, and smile!


IN the whole amusing history of impostures, there is no more diverting
chapter than that which deals with literary frauds.  None contains a more
grotesque revelation of the smallness and the complexity of human nature,
and none—not even the records of the Tichborne trial, nor of general
elections—displays more pleasantly the depths of mortal credulity.  The
literary forger is usually a clever man, and it is necessary for him to
be at least on a level with the literary knowledge and critical science
of his time.  But how low that level commonly appears to be!  Think of
the success of Ireland, a boy of eighteen; think of Chatterton; think of
Surtees of Mainsforth, who took in the great Sir Walter himself, the
father of all them that are skilled in ballad lore.  How simple were the
artifices of these ingenious impostors, their resources how scanty; how
hand-to-mouth and improvised was their whole procedure!  Times have
altered a little.  Jo Smith’s revelation and famed ‘Golden Bible’ only
carried captive the polygamous _populus qui vult decipi_, reasoners a
little lower than even the believers in Anglo-Israel.  The Moabite
Ireland, who once gave Mr. Shapira the famous MS. of Deuteronomy, but did
not delude M. Clermont-Ganneau, was doubtless a smart man; he was,
however, a little too indolent, a little too easily satisfied.  He might
have procured better and less recognisable materials than his old
“synagogue rolls;” in short, he took rather too little trouble, and came
to the wrong market.  A literary forgery ought first, perhaps, to appeal
to the credulous, and only slowly should it come, with the prestige of
having already won many believers, before the learned world.  The
inscriber of the Phoenician inscriptions in Brazil (of all places) was a
clever man.  His account of the voyage of Hiram to South America probably
gained some credence in Brazil, while in England it only carried captive
Mr. Day, author of ‘The Prehistoric Use of Iron and Steel.’  But the
Brazilians, from lack of energy, have dropped the subject, and the
Phoenician inscriptions of Brazil are less successful, after all, than
the Moabite stone, about which one begins to entertain disagreeable

The motives of the literary forger are curiously mixed; but they may,
perhaps, be analysed roughly into piety, greed, “push,” and love of fun.
Many literary forgeries have been pious frauds, perpetrated in the
interests of a church, a priesthood, or a dogma.  Then we have frauds of
greed, as if, for example, a forger should offer his wares for a million
of money to the British Museum; or when he tries to palm off his
Samaritan Gospel on the “Bad Samaritan” of the Bodleian.  Next we come to
playful frauds, or frauds in their origin playful, like (perhaps) the
Shakespearian forgeries of Ireland, the _supercheries_ of Prosper
Mérimée, the sham antique ballads (very spirited poems in their way) of
Surtees, and many other examples.  Occasionally it has happened that
forgeries, begun for the mere sake of exerting the imitative faculty, and
of raising a laugh against the learned, have been persevered with in
earnest.  The humorous deceits are, of course, the most pardonable,
though it is difficult to forgive the young archæologist who took in his
own father with false Greek inscriptions.  But this story may be a mere
fable amongst archæologists, who are constantly accusing each other of
all manner of crimes.  Then there are forgeries by “pushing” men, who
hope to get a reading for poems which, if put forth as new, would be
neglected.  There remain forgeries of which the motives are so complex as
to remain for ever obscure.  We may generally ascribe them to love of
notoriety in the forger; such notoriety as Macpherson won by his dubious
pinchbeck Ossian.  More difficult still to understand are the forgeries
which real scholars have committed or connived at for the purpose of
supporting some opinion which they held with earnestness.  There is a
vein of madness and self-deceit in the character of the man who
half-persuades himself that his own false facts are true.  The Payne
Collier case is thus one of the most difficult in the world to explain,
for it is equally hard to suppose that Mr. Payne Collier was taken in by
the notes on the folio he gave the world, and to hold that he was himself
guilty of forgery to support his own opinions.

The further we go back in the history of literary forgeries, the more (as
is natural) do we find them to be of a pious or priestly character.  When
the clergy alone can write, only the clergy can forge.  In such ages
people are interested chiefly in prophecies and warnings, or, if they are
careful about literature, it is only when literature contains some kind
of title-deeds.  Thus Solon is said to have forged a line in the Homeric
catalogue of the ships for the purpose of proving that Salamis belonged
to Athens.  But the great antique forger, the “Ionian father of the
rest,” is, doubtless, Onomacritus.  There exists, to be sure, an Egyptian
inscription professing to be of the fourth, but probably of the
twenty-sixth, dynasty.  The Germans hold the latter view; the French,
from patriotic motives, maintain the opposite opinion.  But this forgery
is scarcely “literary.”

I never can think of Onomacritus without a certain respect: he began the
forging business so very early, and was (apart from this failing) such an
imposing and magnificently respectable character.  The scene of the error
and the detection of Onomacritus presents itself always to me in a kind
of pictorial vision.  It is night, the clear, windless night of Athens;
not of the Athens whose ruins remain, but of the ancient city that sank
in ashes during the invasion of Xerxes.  The time is the time of
Pisistratus the successful tyrant; the scene is the ancient temple, the
stately house of Athenê, the fane where the sacred serpent was fed on
cakes, and the primeval olive-tree grew beside the well of Posidon.  The
darkness of the temple’s inmost shrine is lit by the ray of one earthen
lamp.  You dimly discern the majestic form of a venerable man stooping
above a coffer of cedar and ivory, carved with the exploits of the
goddess, and with _boustrophedon_ inscriptions.  In his hair this archaic
Athenian wears the badge of the golden grasshopper.  He is Onomacritus,
the famous poet, and the trusted guardian of the ancient oracles of
Musaeus and Bacis.

What is he doing?  Why, he takes from the fragrant cedar coffer certain
thin stained sheets of lead, whereon are scratched the words of doom, the
prophecies of the Greek Thomas the Rhymer.  From his bosom he draws
another thin sheet of lead, also stained and corroded.  On this he
scratches, in imitation of the old “Cadmeian letters,” a prophecy that
“the Isles near Lemnos shall disappear under the sea.”  So busy is he in
this task, that he does not hear the rustle of a chiton behind, and
suddenly a man’s hand is on his shoulder!  Onomacritus turns in horror.
Has the goddess punished him for tampering with the oracles?  No; it is
Lasus, the son of Hermiones, a rival poet, who has caught the keeper of
the oracles in the very act of a pious forgery.  (Herodotus, vii. 6.)

Pisistratus expelled the learned Onomacritus from Athens, but his conduct
proved, in the long run, highly profitable to the reputations of Musaeus
and Bacis.  Whenever one of their oracles was not fulfilled, people said,
“Oh, _that_ is merely one of the interpolations of Onomacritus!” and the
matter was passed over.  This Onomacritus is said to have been among the
original editors of Homer under Pisistratus. {73}  He lived long, never
repented, and, many years later, deceived Xerxes into attempting his
disastrous expedition.  This he did by “keeping back the oracles
unfavourable to the barbarians,” and putting forward any that seemed
favourable.  The children of Pisistratus believed in him as spiritualists
go on giving credit to exposed and exploded “mediums.”

Having once practised deceit, it is to be feared that Onomacritus
acquired a liking for the art of literary forgery, which, as will be seen
in the case of Ireland, grows on a man like dram-drinking.  Onomacritus
is generally charged with the authorship of the poems which the ancients
usually attributed to Orpheus, the companion of Jason.  Perhaps the most
interesting of the poems of Orpheus to us would have been his ‘Inferno,’
or, Κατάβασις ὲς ᾄδου, in which the poet gave his own account of his
descent to Hades in search of Eurydice.  But only a dubious reference to
one adventure in the journey is quoted by Plutarch.  Whatever the exact
truth about the Orphic poems may be (the reader may pursue the hard and
fruitless quest in Lobeck’s ‘Aglaophamus’ {74}), it seems certain that
the period between Pisistratus and Pericles, like the Alexandrian time,
was a great age for literary forgeries.  But of all these frauds the
greatest (according to the most “advanced” theory on the subject) is the
“Forgery of the Iliad and Odyssey!”  The opinions of the scholars who
hold that the Iliad and Odyssey, which we know and which Plato knew, are
not the epics known to Herodotus, but later compositions, are not very
clear nor consistent.  But it seems to be vaguely held that about the
time of Pericles there arose a kind of Greek Macpherson.  This ingenious
impostor worked on old epic materials, but added many new ideas of his
own about the gods, converting the Iliad (the poem which we now possess)
into a kind of mocking romance, a Greek Don Quixote.  He also forged a
number of pseudo-archaic words, tenses, and expressions, and added the
numerous references to iron, a metal practically unknown, it is asserted,
to Greece before the sixth century.  If we are to believe, with Professor
Paley, that the chief incidents of the Iliad and Odyssey were unknown to
Sophocles, Æschylus, and the contemporary vase painters, we must also
suppose that the Greek Macpherson invented most of the situations in the
Odyssey and Iliad.  According to this theory the ‘cooker’ of the extant
epics was far the greatest and most successful of all literary impostors,
for he deceived the whole world, from Plato downwards, till he was
exposed by Mr. Paley.  There are times when one is inclined to believe
that Plato must have been the forger himself, as Bacon (according to the
other hypothesis) was the author of Shakespeare’s plays.  Thus “Plato the
wise, and large-browed Verulam,” would be “the first of those who” forge!
Next to this prodigious imposture, no doubt, the false ‘Letters of
Phalaris’ are the most important of classical forgeries.  And these
illustrate, like most literary forgeries, the extreme worthlessness of
literary taste as a criterion of the authenticity of writings.  For what
man ever was more a man of taste than Sir William Temple, “the most
accomplished writer of the age,” whom Mr. Boyle never thought of without
calling to mind those happy lines of Lucretius,—

             Quem tu, dea, tempore in omni
    Omnibus ornatum voluisti excellere rebus.

Well, the ornate and excellent Temple held that “the Epistles of Phalaris
have more race, more spirit, more force of wit and genius, than any
others he had ever seen, either ancient or modern.”  So much for what
Bentley calls Temple’s “Nicety of Tast.”  The greatest of English
scholars readily proved that Phalaris used (in the spirit of prophecy) an
idiom which did not exist to write about matters in his time not
invented, but “many centuries younger than he.”  So let the Nicety of
Temple’s Tast and its absolute failure be a warning to us when we read
(if read we must) German critics who deny Homer’s claim to this or that
passage, and Plato’s right to half his accepted dialogues, on grounds of
literary taste.  And farewell, as Herodotus would have said, to the
Letters of Phalaris, of Socrates, of Plato; to the Lives of Pythagoras
and of Homer, and to all the other uncounted literary forgeries of the
classical world, from the Sibylline prophecies to the battle of the frogs
and mice.

Early Christian frauds were, naturally, pious.  We have the apocryphal
Gospels, and the works of Dionysius the Areopagite, which were not
exposed till Erasmus’s time.  Perhaps the most important of pious
forgeries (if forgery be exactly the right word in this case) was that of
‘The False Decretals.’  “Of a sudden,” says Milman, speaking of the
pontificate of Nicholas I. (_ob._ 867 A.D.), “Of a sudden was
promulgated, unannounced, without preparation, not absolutely
unquestioned, but apparently over-awing at once all doubt, a new Code,
which to the former authentic documents added fifty-nine letters and
decrees of the twenty oldest Popes from Clement to Melchiades, and the
donation of Constantine, and in the third part, among the decrees of the
Popes and of the Councils from Sylvester to Gregory II., thirty-nine
false decrees, and the acts of several unauthentic Councils.”  “The whole
is composed,” Milman adds, “with an air of profound piety and reverence.”
The False Decretals naturally assert the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome.
“They are full and minute on Church Property” (they were sure to be
that); in fact, they remind one of another forgery, pious and Aryan, ‘The
Institutes of Vishnu.’  “Let him not levy any tax upon Brahmans,” says
the Brahman forger of the Institutes, which “came from the mouths of
Vishnu,” as he sat “clad in a yellow robe, imperturbable, decorated with
all kinds of gems, while Lakshmi was stroking his feet with her soft
palms.”  The Institutes took excellent care of Brahmans and cows, as the
Decretals did of the Pope and the clergy, and the earliest Popes had
about as much hand in the Decretals as Vishnu had in his Institutes.
Hommenay, in ‘Pantagruel,’ did well to have the praise of the Decretals
sung by _filles belles_, _blondelettes_, _doulcettes_, _et de bonne
grace_.  And then Hommenay drank to the Decretals and their very good
health.  “O dives Décretales, tant par vous est le vin bon bon trouvé”—“O
divine Decretals, how good you make good wine taste!”  “The miracle would
be greater,” said Pantagruel, “if they made bad wine taste good.”  The
most that can now be done by the devout for the Decretals is “to palliate
the guilt of their forger,” whose name, like that of the Greek
Macpherson, is unknown.

If the early Christian centuries, and the Middle Ages, were chiefly
occupied with pious frauds, with forgeries of gospels, epistles, and
Decretals, the impostors of the Renaissance were busy, as an Oxford
scholar said, when he heard of a new MS. of the Greek Testament, “with
something really important,” that is with classical imitations.  After
the Turks took Constantinople, when the learned Greeks were scattered all
over Southern Europe, when many genuine classical manuscripts were
recovered by the zeal of scholars, when the plays of Menander were seen
once, and then lost for ever, it was natural that literary forgery should
thrive.  As yet scholars were eager rather than critical; they were
collecting and unearthing, rather than minutely examining the remains of
classic literature.  They had found so much, and every year were finding
so much more, that no discovery seemed impossible.  The lost books of
Livy and Cicero, the songs of Sappho, the perished plays of Sophocles and
Æschylus might any day be brought to light.  This was the very moment for
the literary forger; but it is improbable that any forgery of the period
has escaped detection.  Three or four years ago some one published a book
to show that the ‘Annals of Tacitus’ were written by Poggio Bracciolini.
This paradox gained no more converts than the bolder hypothesis of
Hardouin.  The theory of Hardouin was all that the ancient classics were
productions of a learned company which worked, in the thirteenth century,
under Severus Archontius.  Hardouin made some exceptions to his sweeping
general theory.  Cicero’s writings were genuine, he admitted, so were
Pliny’s, of Virgil the Georgics; the satires and epistles of Horace;
Herodotus, and Homer.  All the rest of the classics were a magnificent
forgery of the illiterate thirteenth century, which had scarce any Greek,
and whose Latin, abundant in quantity, in quality left much to be

Among literary forgers, or passers of false literary coin, at the time of
the Renaissance, Annius is the most notorious.  Annius (his real
vernacular name was Nanni) was born at Viterbo, in 1432.  He became a
Dominican, and (after publishing his forged classics) rose to the
position of Maître du Palais to the Pope, Alexander Borgia.  With Cæsar
Borgia it is said that Annius was never on good terms.  He persisted in
preaching “the sacred truth” to his highness and this (according to the
detractors of Annius) was the only use he made of the sacred truth.
There is a legend that Cæsar Borgia poisoned the preacher (1502), but
people usually brought that charge against Cæsar when any one in any way
connected with him happened to die.  Annius wrote on the History and
Empire of the Turks, who took Constantinople in his time; but he is
better remembered by his ‘Antiquitatum Variarum Volumina XVII. cum
comment.  Fr. Jo. Annii.’  These fragments of antiquity included, among
many other desirable things, the historical writings of Fabius Pictor,
the predecessor of Livy.  One is surprised that Annius, when he had his
hand in, did not publish choice extracts from the ‘Libri Lintei,’ the
ancient Roman annals, written on linen and preserved in the temple of
Juno Moneta.  Among the other discoveries of Annius were treatises by
Berosus, Manetho, Cato, and poems by Archilochus.  Opinion has been
divided as to whether Annius was wholly a knave, or whether he was
himself imposed upon.  Or, again, whether he had some genuine fragments,
and eked them out with his own inventions.  It is observed that he did
not dovetail the really genuine relics of Berosus and Manetho into the
works attributed to them.  This may be explained as the result of
ignorance or of cunning; there can be no certain inference.  “Even the
Dominicans,” as Bayle says, admit that Annius’s discoveries are false,
though they excuse them by averring that the pious man was the dupe of
others.  But a learned Lutheran has been found to defend the
‘Antiquitates’ of the Dominican.

It is amusing to remember that the great and erudite Rabelais was taken
in by some pseudo-classical fragments.  The joker of jokes was hoaxed.
He published, says Mr. Besant, “a couple of Latin forgeries, which he
proudly called ‘Ex reliquiis venerandæ antiquitatis,’ consisting of a
pretended will and a contract.”  The name of the book is ‘Ex reliquiis
venerandæ antiquitatis.  Lucii Cuspidii Testamentum.  Item contractus
venditionis antiquis Romanorum temporibus initus.  _Lugduni apud
Gryphium_ (1532).’  Pomponius Lætus and Jovianus Pontanus were apparently
authors of the hoax.

Socrates said that he “would never lift up his hand against his father
Parmenides.”  The fathers of the Church have not been so respectfully
treated by literary forgers during the Renaissance.  The ‘Flowers of
Theology’ of St. Bernard, which were to be a primrose path _ad gaudia
Paradisi_ (Strasburg, 1478), were really, it seems, the production of
Jean de Garlande.  Athanasius, his ‘Eleven Books concerning the Trinity,’
are attributed to Vigilius, a colonial Bishop in Northern Africa.  Among
false classics were two comic Latin fragments with which Muretus beguiled
Scaliger.  Meursius has suffered, posthumously, from the attribution to
him of a very disreputable volume indeed.  In 1583, a book on
‘Consolations,’ by Cicero, was published at Venice, containing the
reflections with which Cicero consoled himself for the death of Tullia.
It might as well have been attributed to Mrs. Blimber, and described as
replete with the thoughts by which that lady supported herself under the
affliction of never having seen Cicero or his Tusculan villa.  The real
author was Charles Sigonius, of Modena.  Sigonius actually did discover
some Ciceronian fragments, and, if he was not the builder, at least he
was the restorer of Tully’s lofty theme.  In 1693, François Nodot,
conceiving the world had not already enough of Petronius Arbiter,
published an edition, in which he added to the works of that lax though
accomplished author.  Nodot’s story was that he had found a whole MS. of
Petronius at Belgrade, and he published it with a translation of his own
Latin into French.  Still dissatisfied with the existing supply of
Petronius’ humour was Marchena, a writer of Spanish books, who printed at
Bâle a translation and edition of a new fragment.  This fragment was very
cleverly inserted in a presumed _lacuna_.  In spite of the ironical style
of the preface many scholars were taken in by this fragment, and their
credulity led Marchena to find a new morsel (of Catullus this time) at
Herculaneum.  Eichstadt, a Jena professor, gravely announced that the
same fragment existed in a MS. in the university library, and, under
pretence of giving various readings, corrected Marchena’s faults in
prosody.  Another sham Catullus, by Corradino, a Venetian, was published
in 1738.

The most famous forgeries of the eighteenth century were those of
Macpherson, Chatterton, and Ireland.  Space (fortunately) does not permit
a discussion of the Ossianic question.  That fragments of Ossianic legend
(if not of Ossianic poetry) survive in oral Gaelic traditions, seems
certain.  How much Macpherson knew of these, and how little he used them
in the bombastic prose which Napoleon loved (and spelled “Ocean”), it is
next to impossible to discover.  The case of Chatterton is too well known
to need much more than mention.  The most extraordinary poet for his
years who ever lived began with the forgery of a sham feudal pedigree for
Mr. Bergum, a pewterer.  Ireland started on his career in much the same
way, unless Ireland’s ‘Confessions’ be themselves a fraud, based on what
he knew about Chatterton.  Once launched in his career, Chatterton drew
endless stores of poetry from “Rowley’s MS.” and the muniment chest in
St. Mary Redcliffe’s.  Jacob Bryant believed in them and wrote an
‘Apology’ for the credulous.  Bryant, who believed in his own system of
mythology, might have believed in anything.  When Chatterton sent his
“discoveries” to Walpole (himself somewhat of a mediæval imitator), Gray
and Mason detected the imposture, and Walpole, his feelings as an
antiquary injured took no more notice of the boy.  Chatterton’s death was
due to his precocity.  Had his genius come to him later, it would have
found him wiser, and better able to command the fatal demon of intellect,
for which he had to find work, like Michael Scott in the legend.

The end of the eighteenth century, which had been puzzled or diverted by
the Chatterton and Macpherson frauds, witnessed also the great and famous
Shakespearian forgeries.  We shall never know the exact truth about the
fabrication of the Shakespearian documents, and ‘Vortigern’ and the other
plays.  We have, indeed, the confession of the culprit: _habemus
confitentem reum_, but Mr. W. H. Ireland was a liar and a solicitor’s
clerk, so versatile and accomplished that we cannot always trust him,
even when he is narrating the tale of his own iniquities.  The temporary
but wide and turbulent success of the Ireland forgeries suggests the
disagreeable reflection that criticism and learning are (or a hundred
years ago were) worth very little as literary touchstones.  A polished
and learned society, a society devoted to Shakespeare and to the stage,
was taken in by a boy of eighteen.  Young Ireland not only palmed off his
sham prose documents, most makeshift imitations of the antique, but even
his ridiculous verses on the experts.  James Boswell went down on his
knees and thanked Heaven for the sight of them, and, feeling thirsty
after these devotions, drank hot brandy and water.  Dr. Parr was not less
readily gulled, and probably the experts, like Malone, who held aloof,
were as much influenced by jealousy as by science.  The whole story of
young Ireland’s forgeries is not only too long to be told here, but forms
the topic of a novel (‘The Talk of the Town’) by Mr. James Payn.  The
frauds in his hands lose neither their humour nor their complicated
interest of plot.  To be brief, then, Mr. Samuel Ireland was a gentleman
extremely fond of old literature and old books.  If we may trust the
‘Confessions’ (1805) of his candid son, Mr. W. H. Ireland, a more
harmless and confiding old person than Samuel never collected early
English tracts.  Living in his learned society, his son, Mr. W. H.
Ireland, acquired not only a passion for black letters, but a desire to
emulate Chatterton.  His first step in guilt was the forgery of an
autograph on an old pamphlet, with which he gratified Samuel Ireland.  He
also wrote a sham inscription on a modern bust of Cromwell, which he
represented as an authentic antique.  Finding that the critics were taken
in, and attributed this new bust to the old sculptor Simeon, Ireland
conceived a very low and not unjustifiable opinion of critical tact.
Critics would find merit in anything which seemed old enough.  Ireland’s
next achievement was the forgery of some legal documents concerning
Shakespeare.  Just as the bad man who deceived the guileless Mr. Shapira
forged his ‘Deuteronomy’ on the blank spaces of old synagogue rolls, so
young Ireland used the cut-off ends of old rent rolls.  He next bought up
quantities of old fly-leaves of books, and on this ancient paper he
indicted a sham confession of faith, which he attributed to Shakespeare.
Being a strong “evangelical,” young Mr. Ireland gave a very Protestant
complexion to this edifying document.  And still the critics gaped and
wondered and believed.

Ireland’s method was to write in an ink made by blending various liquids
used in the marbling of paper for bookbinding.  This stuff was supplied
to him by a bookbinder’s apprentice.  When people asked questions as to
whence all the new Shakespeare manuscripts came, he said they were
presented to him by a gentleman who wished to remain anonymous.  Finally,
the impossibility of producing this gentleman was one of the causes of
the detection of the fraud.  According to himself, Ireland performed
prodigies of acuteness.  Once he had forged, at random, the name of a
contemporary of Shakespeare.  He was confronted with a genuine signature,
which, of course, was quite different.  He obtained leave to consult his
“anonymous gentleman,” rushed home, forged the name again on the model of
what had been shown to him, and returned with this signature as a new
gift from his benefactor.  That nameless friend had informed him (he
swore) that there were two persons of the same name, and that both
signatures were genuine.  Ireland’s impudence went the length of
introducing an ancestor of his own, with the same name as himself, among
the companions of Shakespeare.  If ‘Vortigern’ had succeeded (and it was
actually put on the stage with all possible pomp), Ireland meant to have
produced a series of pseudo-Shakespearian plays from William the
Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth.  When busy with ‘Vortigern,’ he was
detected by a friend of his own age, who pounced on him while he was at
work, as Lasus pounced on Onomacritus.  The discoverer, however,
consented to “stand in” with Ireland, and did not divulge his secret.  At
last, after the fiasco of ‘Vortigern,’ suspicion waxed so strong, and
disagreeable inquiries for the anonymous benefactor were so numerous,
that Ireland fled from his father’s house.  He confessed all, and,
according to his own account, fell under the undying wrath of Samuel
Ireland.  Any reader of Ireland’s confessions will be likely to
sympathise with old Samuel as the dupe of his son.  The whole story is
told with a curious mixture of impudence and humour, and with great
plausibility.  Young Ireland admits that his “desire for laughter” was
almost irresistible, when people—learned, pompous, sagacious
people—listened attentively to the papers.  One feels half inclined to
forgive the rogue for the sake of his youth, his cleverness, his humour.
But the ‘Confessions’ are, not improbably, almost as apocryphal as the
original documents.  They were written for the sake of money, and it is
impossible to say how far the same mercenary motive actuated Ireland in
his forgeries.  Dr. Ingleby, in his ‘Shakespeare Fabrications,’ takes a
very rigid view of the conduct, not only of William, but of old Samuel
Ireland.  Sam, according to Dr. Ingleby, was a partner in the whole
imposture, and the confession was only one element in the scheme of
fraud.  Old Samuel was the Fagin of a band of young literary Dodgers.  He
“positively trained his whole family to trade in forgery,” and as for Mr.
W. H. Ireland, he was “the most accomplished liar that ever lived,” which
is certainly a distinction in its way.  The point of the joke is that,
after the whole conspiracy exploded, people were anxious to buy examples
of the forgeries.  Mr. W. H. Ireland was equal to the occasion.  He
actually forged his own, or (according to Dr. Ingleby) his father’s
forgeries, and, by thus increasing the supply, he deluged the market with
sham shams, with imitations of imitations.  If this accusation be
correct, it is impossible not to admire the colossal impudence of Mr. W.
H. Ireland.  Dr. Ingleby, in the ardour of his honest indignation,
pursues William into his private life, which, it appears, was far from
exemplary.  But literary criticism should be content with a man’s works;
his domestic life is matter, as Aristotle often says, “for a separate
kind of investigation.”  Old Ritson used to say that “every literary
impostor deserved hanging as much as a common thief.”  W. H. Ireland’s
merits were never recognised by the law.

How old Ritson would have punished “the old corrector,” it is “better
only guessing,” as the wicked say, according to Clough, in regard to
their own possible chastisement.  The difficulty is to ascertain who the
apocryphal old corrector really was.  The story of his misdeeds was
recently brought back to mind by the death, at an advanced age, of the
learned Shakespearian, Mr. J. Payne Collier.  Mr. Collier was, to put it
mildly, the Shapira of the old corrector.  He brought that artist’s works
before the public; but _why_? how deceived, or how influenced, it is once
more “better only guessing.”  Mr. Collier first introduced to the public
notice his singular copy of a folio Shakespeare (second edition), loaded
with ancient manuscript emendations, in 1849.  His account of this book
was simple and plausible.  He chanced, one day, to be in the shop of Mr.
Rudd, the bookseller, in Great Newport Street, when a parcel of
second-hand volumes arrived from the country.  When the parcel was
opened, the heart of the Bibliophile began to sing, for the packet
contained two old folios, one of them an old folio Shakespeare of the
second edition (1632).  The volume (mark this) was “much cropped,”
greasy, and imperfect.  Now the student of Mr. Hamilton’s ‘Inquiry’ into
the whole affair is already puzzled.  In later days, Mr. Collier said
that his folio had previously been in the possession of a Mr. Parry.  On
the other hand, Mr. Parry (then a very aged man) failed to recognise his
folio in Mr. Collier’s, for _his_ copy was “cropped,” whereas the leaves
of Mr. Collier’s example were _not_ mutilated.  Here, then (‘Inquiry,’
pp. 12, 61), we have two descriptions of the outward aspect of Mr.
Collier’s dubious treasure.  In one account it is “much cropped” by the
book-binder’s cruel shears; in the other, its unmutilated condition is
contrasted with that of a copy which has been “cropped.”  In any case,
Mr. Collier hoped, he says, to complete an imperfect folio he possessed,
with leaves taken from the folio newly acquired for thirty shillings.
But the volumes happened to have the same defects, and the healing
process was impossible.  Mr. Collier chanced to be going into the
country, when in packing the folio he had bought of Rudd he saw it was
covered with manuscript corrections in an old hand.  These he was
inclined to attribute to one Thomas Perkins, whose name was written on
the fly-leaf, and who might have been a connection of Richard Perkins,
the actor (_flor._ 1633)  The notes contained many various readings, and
very numerous changes in punctuation.  Some of these Mr. Collier
published in his ‘Notes and Emendations’ (1852), and in an edition of the
‘Plays.’  There was much discussion, much doubt, and the folio of the old
corrector (who was presumed to have marked the book in the theatre during
early performances) was exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries.  Then
Mr. Collier presented the treasure to the Duke of Devonshire, who again
lent it for examination to the British Museum.  Mr. Hamilton published in
the _Times_ (July, 1859) the results of his examination of the old
corrector.  It turned out that the old corrector was a modern myth.  He
had first made his corrections in pencil and in a modern hand, and then
he had copied them over in ink, and in a forged ancient hand.  The same
word sometimes recurred in both handwritings.  The ink, which looked old,
was really no English ink at all, not even Ireland’s mixture.  It seemed
to be sepia, sometimes mixed with a little Indian ink.  Mr. Hamilton made
many other sad discoveries.  He pointed out that Mr. Collier had
published, from a Dulwich MS., a letter of Mrs. Alleyne’s (the actor’s
wife), referring to Shakespeare as “Mr. Shakespeare of the Globe.”  Now
the Dulwich MS. was mutilated and blank in the very place where this
interesting reference should have occurred.  Such is a skeleton history
of the old corrector, his works and ways.  It is probable that—thanks to
his assiduities—new Shakespearian documents will in future be received
with extreme scepticism; and this is all the fruit, except acres of
newspaper correspondence, which the world has derived from Mr. Collier’s
greasy and imperfect but unique “corrected folio.”

The recency and (to a Shakespearian critic) the importance of these
forgeries obscures the humble merit of Surtees, with his ballads of the
‘Slaying of Antony Featherstonhaugh,’ and of ‘Bartram’s Dirge.’  Surtees
left clever _lacunæ_ in these songs, ‘collected from oral tradition,’ and
furnished notes so learned that they took in Sir Walter Scott.  There are
moments when I half suspect “the Shirra himsel” (who blamelessly forged
so many extracts from ‘Old Plays’) of having composed ‘Kinmont Willie.’
To compare old Scott of Satchell’s account of Kinmont Willie with the
ballad is to feel uncomfortable doubts.  But this is a rank impiety.  The
last ballad forgery of much note was the set of sham Macedonian epics and
popular songs (all about Alexander the Great, and other heroes) which a
schoolmaster in the Rhodope imposed on M. Verkovitch.  The trick was not
badly done, and the imitation of “ballad slang” was excellent.  The ‘Oera
Linda’ book, too, was successful enough to be translated into English.
With this latest effort of the tenth muse, the crafty muse of Literary
Forgery, we may leave a topic which could not be exhausted in a ponderous
volume.  We have not room even for the forged letters of Shelley, to
which Mr. Browning, being taken in thereby, wrote a preface, nor for the
forged letters of Mr. Ruskin, which occasionally hoax all the newspapers.


THE love of books for their own sake, for their paper, print, binding,
and for their associations, as distinct from the love of literature, is a
stronger and more universal passion in France than elsewhere in Europe.
In England publishers are men of business; in France they aspire to be
artists.  In England people borrow what they read from the libraries, and
take what gaudy cloth-binding chance chooses to send them.  In France
people buy books, and bind them to their heart’s desire with quaint and
dainty devices on the morocco covers.  Books are lifelong friends in that
country; in England they are the guests of a week or of a fortnight.  The
greatest French writers have been collectors of curious editions; they
have devoted whole treatises to the love of books.  The literature and
history of France are full of anecdotes of the good and bad fortunes of
bibliophiles, of their bargains, discoveries, disappointments.  There
lies before us at this moment a small library of books about books,—the
‘Bibliophile Français,’ in seven large volumes, ‘Les Sonnets d’un
Bibliophile,’ ‘La Bibliomanie en 1878,’ ‘La Bibliothèque d’un
Bibliophile’ (1885) and a dozen other works of Janin, Nodier, Beraldi,
Pieters, Didot, great collectors who have written for the instruction of
beginners and the pleasure of every one who takes delight in printed

The passion for books, like other forms of desire, has its changes of
fashion.  It is not always easy to justify the caprices of taste.  The
presence or absence of half an inch of paper in the “uncut” margin of a
book makes a difference of value that ranges from five shillings to a
hundred pounds.  Some books are run after because they are beautifully
bound; some are competed for with equal eagerness because they never have
been bound at all.  The uninitiated often make absurd mistakes about
these distinctions.  Some time ago the _Daily Telegraph_ reproached a
collector because his books were “uncut,” whence, argued the journalist,
it was clear that he had never read them.  “Uncut,” of course, only means
that the margins have not been curtailed by the binders’ plough.  It is a
point of sentiment to like books just as they left the hands of the old
printers,—of Estienne, Aldus, or Louis Elzevir.

It is because the passion for books is a sentimental passion that people
who have not felt it always fail to understand it.  Sentiment is not an
easy thing to explain.  Englishmen especially find it impossible to
understand tastes and emotions that are not their own,—the wrongs of
Ireland, (till quite recently) the aspirations of Eastern Roumelia, the
demands of Greece.  If we are to understand the book-hunter, we must
never forget that to him books are, in the first place, _relics_.  He
likes to think that the great writers whom he admires handled just such
pages and saw such an arrangement of type as he now beholds.  Molière,
for example, corrected the proofs for this edition of the ‘Précieuses
Ridicules,’ when he first discovered “what a labour it is to publish a
book, and how _green_ (_neuf_) an author is the first time they print
him.”  Or it may be that Campanella turned over, with hands unstrung, and
still broken by the torture, these leaves that contain his passionate
sonnets.  Here again is the copy of Theocritus from which some pretty
page may have read aloud to charm the pagan and pontifical leisure of Leo
X.  This Gargantua is the counterpart of that which the martyred Dolet
printed for (or pirated from, alas!) Maître François Rabelais.  This
woeful _ballade_, with the woodcut of three thieves hanging from one
gallows, came near being the “Last Dying Speech and Confession of
François Villon.”  This shabby copy of ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ is
precisely like that which Shelley doubled up and thrust into his pocket
when the prow of the piratical felucca crashed into the timbers of the
_Don Juan_.  Some rare books have these associations, and they bring you
nearer to the authors than do the modern reprints.  Bibliophiles will
tell you that it is the early _readings_ they care for,—the author’s
first fancies, and those more hurried expressions which he afterwards
corrected.  These _readings_ have their literary value, especially in the
masterpieces of the great; but the sentiment after all is the main thing.

Other books come to be relics in another way.  They are the copies which
belonged to illustrious people,—to the famous collectors who make a kind
of _catena_ (a golden chain of bibliophiles) through the centuries since
printing was invented.  There are Grolier (1479–1565),—not a bookbinder,
as an English newspaper supposed (probably when Mr. Sala was on his
travels),—De Thou (1553–1617), the great Colbert, the Duc de la Vallière
(1708–1780), Charles Nodier, a man of yesterday, M. Didot, and the rest,
too numerous to name.  Again, there are the books of kings, like Francis
I., Henri III., and Louis XIV.  These princes had their favourite
devices.  Nicolas Eve, Padeloup, Derome, and other artists arrayed their
books in morocco,—tooled with skulls, cross-bones, and crucifixions for
the voluptuous pietist Henri III., with the salamander for Francis I.,
and powdered with _fleurs de lys_ for the monarch who “was the State.”
There are relics also of noble beauties.  The volumes of Marguerite
d’Angoulême are covered with golden daisies.  The cipher of Marie
Antoinette adorns too many books that Madame du Barry might have welcomed
to her hastily improvised library.  The three daughters of Louis XV. had
their favourite colours of morocco, citron, red, and olive, and their
books are valued as much as if they bore the bees of De Thou, or the
intertwined C’s of the illustrious and ridiculous Abbé Cotin, the
_Trissotin_ of the comedy.  Surely in all these things there is a human
interest, and our fingers are faintly thrilled, as we touch these books,
with the far-off contact of the hands of kings and cardinals, scholars
and _coquettes_, pedants, poets, and _précieuses_, the people who are
unforgotten in the mob that inhabited dead centuries.

So universal and ardent has the love of magnificent books been in France,
that it would be possible to write a kind of bibliomaniac history of that
country.  All her rulers, kings, cardinals, and ladies have had time to
spare for collecting.  Without going too far back, to the time when
Bertha span and Charlemagne was an amateur, we may give a few specimens
of an anecdotical history of French bibliolatry, beginning, as is
courteous, with a lady.  “Can a woman be a bibliophile?” is a question
which was once discussed at the weekly breakfast party of Guilbert de
Pixérécourt, the famous book-lover and playwright, the “Corneille of the
Boulevards.”  The controversy glided into a discussion as to “how many
books a man can love at a time;” but historical examples prove that
French women (and Italian, witness the Princess d’Este) may be
bibliophiles of the true strain.  Diane de Poictiers was their
illustrious patroness.  The mistress of Henri II. possessed, in the
Château d’Anet, a library of the first triumphs of typography.  Her taste
was wide in range, including songs, plays, romances, divinity; her copies
of the Fathers were bound in citron morocco, stamped with her arms and
devices, and closed with clasps of silver.  In the love of books, as in
everything else, Diane and Henri II. were inseparable.  The interlaced H
and D are scattered over the covers of their volumes; the lily of France
is twined round the crescents of Diane, or round the quiver, the arrows,
and the bow which she adopted as her cognisance, in honour of the maiden
goddess.  The books of Henri and of Diane remained in the Château d’Anet
till the death of the Princesse de Condé in 1723, when they were
dispersed.  The son of the famous Madame de Guyon bought the greater part
of the library, which has since been scattered again and again.  M.
Léopold Double, a well-known bibliophile, possessed several examples.

Henry III. scarcely deserves, perhaps, the name of a book-lover, for he
probably never read the works which were bound for him in the most
elaborate way.  But that great historian, Alexandre Dumas, takes a far
more friendly view of the king’s studies, and, in ‘La Dame de Monsoreau,’
introduces us to a learned monarch.  Whether he cared for the contents of
his books or not, his books are among the most singular relics of a
character which excites even morbid curiosity.  No more debauched and
worthless wretch ever filled a throne; but, like the bad man in
Aristotle, Henri III. was “full of repentance.”  When he was not dancing
in an unseemly revel, he was on his knees in his chapel.  The board of
one of his books, of which an engraving lies before me, bears his cipher
and crown in the corners; but the centre is occupied in front with a
picture of the Annunciation, while on the back is the crucifixion and the
breeding heart through which the swords have pierced.  His favourite
device was the death’s-head, with the motto _Memento Mori_, or _Spes mea
Deus_.  While he was still only Duc d’Anjou, Henri loved Marie de Clèves,
Princesse de Condé.  On her sudden death he expressed his grief, as he
had done his piety, by aid of the _petits fers_ of the bookbinder.
Marie’s initials were stamped on his book-covers in a chaplet of laurels.
In one corner a skull and cross-bones were figured; in the other the
motto _Mort m’est vie_; while two curly objects, which did duty for
tears, filled up the lower corners.  The books of Henri III., even when
they are absolutely worthless as literature, sell for high prices; and an
inane treatise on theology, decorated with his sacred emblems, lately
brought about £120 in a London sale.

Francis I., as a patron of all the arts, was naturally an amateur of
bindings.  The fates of books were curiously illustrated by the story of
the copy of Homer, on large paper, which Aldus, the great Venetian
printer, presented to Francis I.  After the death of the late Marquis of
Hastings, better known as an owner of horses than of books, his
possessions were brought to the hammer.  With the instinct, the _flair_,
as the French say, of the bibliophile, M. Ambroise Firmin Didot, the
biographer of Aldus, guessed that the marquis might have owned something
in his line.  He sent his agent over to England, to the country town
where the sale was to be held.  M. Didot had his reward.  Among the books
which were dragged out of some mouldy store-room was the very Aldine
Homer of Francis I., with part of the original binding still clinging to
the leaves.  M. Didot purchased the precious relic, and sent it to what
M. Fertiault (who has written a century of sonnets on bibliomania) calls
the hospital for books.

    Le dos humide, je l’éponge;
    Où manque un coin, vite une allonge,
    Pour tous j’ai maison de santé.

M. Didot, of course, did not practise this amateur surgery himself, but
had the arms and devices of Francis I. restored by one of those famous
binders who only work for dukes, millionnaires, and Rothschilds.

During the religious wars and the troubles of the Fronde, it is probable
that few people gave much time to the collection of books.  The
illustrious exceptions are Richelieu and Cardinal Mazarin, who possessed
a “snuffy Davy” of his own, an indefatigable prowler among book-stalls
and dingy purlieus, in Gabriel Naudé.  In 1664, Naudé, who was a learned
and ingenious writer, the apologist for “great men suspected of magic,”
published the second edition of his ‘Avis pour dresser une Bibliothèque,’
and proved himself to be a true lover of the chase, a mighty hunter (of
books) before the Lord.  Naudé’s advice to the collector is rather
amusing.  He pretends not to care much for bindings, and quotes Seneca’s
rebuke of the Roman bibliomaniacs, _Quos voluminum suorum frontes maxime
placent titulique_,—who chiefly care for the backs and lettering of their
volumes.  The fact is that Naudé had the wealth of Mazarin at his back,
and we know very well, from the remains of the Cardinal’s library which
exist, that he liked as well as any man to see his cardinal’s hat
glittering on red or olive morocco in the midst of the beautiful tooling
of the early seventeenth century.  When once he got a book, he would not
spare to give it a worthy jacket.  Naudé’s ideas about buying were
peculiar.  Perhaps he sailed rather nearer the wind than even Monkbarns
would have cared to do.  His favourite plan was to buy up whole libraries
in the gross, “speculative lots” as the dealers call them.  In the second
place, he advised the book-lover to haunt the retreats of _Libraires
fripiers_, _et les vieux fonds et magasins_.  Here he truly observes that
you may find rare books, _brochés_,—that is, unbound and uncut,—just as
Mr. Symonds bought two uncut copies of ‘Laon and Cythna’ in a Bristol
stall for a crown.  “You may get things for four or five crowns that
would cost you forty or fifty elsewhere,” says Naudé.  Thus a few years
ago M. Paul Lacroix bought for two francs, in a Paris shop, the very copy
of ‘Tartuffe’ which had belonged to Louis XIV.  The example may now be
worth perhaps £200.  But we are digressing into the pleasures of the
modern sportsman.

It was not only in second-hand bookshops that Naudé hunted, but among the
dealers in waste paper.  “Thus did Poggio find Quintilian on the counter
of a wood-merchant, and Masson picked up ‘Agobardus’ at the shop of a
binder, who was going to use the MS. to patch his books withal.”  Rossi,
who may have seen Naudé at work, tells us how he would enter a shop with
a yard-measure in his hand, buying books, we are sorry to say, by the
ell.  “The stalls where he had passed were like the towns through which
Attila or the Tartars had swept, with ruin in their train,—_ut non
hominis unius sedulitas_, _sed calamitas quaedam per omnes bibliopolarum
tabernas pervasisse videatur_!”  Naudé had sorrows of his own.  In 1652
the Parliament decreed the confiscation of the splendid library of
Mazarin, which was perhaps the first free library in Europe,—the first
that was open to all who were worthy of right of entrance.  There is a
painful description of the sale, from which the book-lover will avert his
eyes.  On Mazarin’s return to power he managed to collect again and
enrich his stores, which form the germ of the existing _Bibliothèque

Among princes and popes it is pleasant to meet one man of letters, and he
the greatest of the great age, who was a bibliophile.  The enemies and
rivals of Molière—De Visé, De Villiers, and the rest—are always
reproaching him—with his love of _bouquins_.  There is some difference of
opinion among philologists about the derivation of _bouquin_, but all
book-hunters know the meaning of the word.  The _bouquin_ is the “small,
rare volume, black with tarnished gold,” which lies among the wares of
the stall-keeper, patient in rain and dust, till the hunter comes who can
appreciate the quarry.  We like to think of Molière lounging through the
narrow streets in the evening, returning, perhaps, from some noble house
where he has been reading the proscribed ‘Tartuffe,’ or giving an
imitation of the rival actors at the Hôtel Bourgogne.  Absent as the
_contemplateur_ is, a dingy book-stall wakens him from his reverie.  His
lace ruffles are soiled in a moment with the learned dust of ancient
volumes.  Perhaps he picks up the only work out of all his library that
is known to exist,—_un ravissant petit Elzevir_, ‘De Imperio Magni
Mogolis’ (Lugd.  Bat. 1651).  On the title-page of this tiny volume, one
of the minute series of ‘Republics’ which the Elzevirs published, the
poet has written his rare signature, “J. B. P. Molière,” with the price
the book cost him, “1 livre, 10 sols.”  “Il n’est pas de bouquin qui
s’échappe de ses mains,” says the author of ‘La Guerre Comique,’ the last
of the pamphlets which flew about during the great literary quarrel about
“L’École des Femmes.”  Thanks to M. Soulié the catalogue of Molière’s
library has been found, though the books themselves have passed out of
view.  There are about three hundred and fifty volumes in the inventory,
but Molière’s widow may have omitted as valueless (it is the foible of
her sex) many rusty _bouquins_, now worth far more than their weight in
gold.  Molière owned no fewer than two hundred and forty volumes of
French and Italian comedies.  From these he took what suited him wherever
he found it.  He had plenty of classics, histories, philosophic
treatises, the essays of Montaigne, a Plutarch, and a Bible.

We know nothing, to the regret of bibliophiles, of Molière’s taste in
bindings.  Did he have a comic mask stamped on the leather (that device
was chased on his plate), or did he display his cognizance and arms, the
two apes that support a shield charged with three mirrors of Truth?  It
is certain—La Bruyère tells us as much—that the sillier sort of
book-lover in the seventeenth century was much the same sort of person as
his successor in our own time.  “A man tells me he has a library,” says
La Bruyère (De la Mode); “I ask permission to see it.  I go to visit my
friend, and he receives me in a house where, even on the stairs, the
smell of the black morocco with which his books are covered is so strong
that I nearly faint.  He does his best to revive me; shouts in my ear
that the volumes ‘have gilt edges,’ that they are ‘elegantly tooled,’
that they are ‘of the good edition,’ . . . and informs me that ‘he never
reads,’ that ‘he never sets foot in this part of his house,’ that he
‘will come to oblige me!’  I thank him for all his kindness, and have no
more desire than himself to see the tanner’s shop that he calls his

Colbert, the great minister of Louis XIV., was a bibliophile at whom
perhaps La Bruyère would have sneered.  He was a collector who did not
read, but who amassed beautiful books, and looked forward, as business
men do, to the day when he would have time to study them.  After Grolier,
De Thou, and Mazarin, Colbert possessed probably the richest private
library in Europe.  The ambassadors of France were charged to procure him
rare books and manuscripts, and it is said that in a commercial treaty
with the Porte he inserted a clause demanding a certain quantity of
Levant morocco for the use of the royal bookbinders.  England, in those
days, had no literature with which France deigned to be acquainted.  Even
into England, however, valuable books had been imported; and we find
Colbert pressing the French ambassador at St. James’s to bid for him at a
certain sale of rare heretical writings.  People who wanted to gain his
favour approached him with presents of books, and the city of Metz gave
him two real curiosities—the famous “Metz Bible” and the Missal of
Charles the Bald.  The Elzevirs sent him their best examples, and though
Colbert probably saw more of the gilt covers of his books than of their
contents, at least he preserved and handed down many valuable works.  As
much may be said for the reprobate Cardinal Dubois, who, with all his
faults, was a collector.  Bossuet, on the other hand, left little or
nothing of interest except a copy of the 1682 edition of Molière, whom he
detested and condemned to “the punishment of those who laugh.”  Even this
book, which has a curious interest, has slipped out of sight, and may
have ceased to exist.

       [Picture: Fac-simile of binding from the Library of Grolier]

If Colbert and Dubois preserved books from destruction, there are
collectors enough who have been rescued from oblivion by books.  The
diplomacy of D’Hoym is forgotten; the plays of Longepierre, and his
quarrels with J. B. Rousseau, are known only to the literary historian.
These great amateurs have secured an eternity of gilt edges, an
immortality of morocco.  Absurd prices are given for any trash that
belonged to them, and the writer of this notice has bought for four
shillings an Elzevir classic, which when it bears the golden fleece of
Longepierre is worth about £100.  Longepierre, D’Hoym, McCarthy, and the
Duc de la Vallière, with all their treasures, are less interesting to us
than Graille, Coche and Loque, the neglected daughters of Louis XV.  They
found some pale consolation in their little cabinets of books, in their
various liveries of olive, citron, and red morocco.

A lady amateur of high (book-collecting) reputation, the Comtesse de
Verrue, was represented in the Beckford sale by one of three copies of
‘L’Histoire de Mélusine,’ of Melusine, the twy-formed fairy, and
ancestress of the house of Lusignan.  The Comtesse de Verrue, one of the
few women who have really understood book-collecting, {102} was born
January 18, 1670, and died November 18, 1736.  She was the daughter of
Charles de Luynes and of his second wife, Anne de Rohan.  When only
thirteen she married the Comte de Verrue, who somewhat injudiciously
presented her, a _fleur de quinze ans_, as Ronsard says, at the court of
Victor Amadeus of Savoy.  It is thought that the countess was less cruel
than the _fleur Angevine_ of Ronsard.  For some reason the young matron
fled from the court of Turin and returned to Paris, where she built a
magnificent hotel, and received the most distinguished company.
According to her biographer, the countess loved science and art _jusqu’au
délire_, and she collected the furniture of the period, without
neglecting the blue china of the glowing Orient.  In ebony bookcases she
possessed about eighteen thousand volumes, bound by the greatest artists
of the day.  “Without care for the present, without fear of the future,
doing good, pursuing the beautiful, protecting the arts, with a tender
heart and open hand, the countess passed through life, calm, happy,
beloved, and admired.”  She left an epitaph on herself, thus rudely

    Here lies, in sleep secure,
       A dame inclined to mirth,
    Who, by way of making sure,
       Chose her Paradise on earth.

During the Revolution, to like well-bound books was as much as to
proclaim one an aristocrat.  Condorcet might have escaped the scaffold if
he had only thrown away the neat little Horace from the royal press,
which betrayed him for no true Republican, but an educated man.  The
great libraries from the châteaux of the nobles were scattered among all
the book-stalls.  True sons of freedom tore off the bindings, with their
gilded crests and scutcheons.  One revolutionary writer declared, and
perhaps he was not far wrong, that the art of binding was the worst enemy
of reading.  He always began his studies by breaking the backs of the
volumes he was about to attack.  The art of bookbinding in these sad
years took flight to England, and was kept alive by artists robust rather
than refined, like Thompson and Roger Payne.  These were evil days, when
the binder had to cut the aristocratic coat of arms out of a book cover,
and glue in a gilt cap of liberty, as in a volume in an Oxford amateur’s

When Napoleon became Emperor, he strove in vain to make the troubled and
feverish years of his power produce a literature.  He himself was one of
the most voracious readers of novels that ever lived.  He was always
asking for the newest of the new, and unfortunately even the new romances
of his period were hopelessly bad.  Barbier, his librarian, had orders to
send parcels of fresh fiction to his majesty wherever he might happen to
be, and great loads of novels followed Napoleon to Germany, Spain, Italy,
Russia.  The conqueror was very hard to please.  He read in his
travelling carriage, and after skimming a few pages would throw a volume
that bored him out of the window into the highway.  He might have been
tracked by his trail of romances, as was Hop-o’-my-Thumb, in the fairy
tale, by the white stones he dropped behind him.  Poor Barbier, who
ministered to a passion for novels that demanded twenty volumes a day,
was at his wit’s end.  He tried to foist on the Emperor the romances of
the year before last; but these Napoleon had generally read, and he
refused, with imperial scorn, to look at them again.  He ordered a
travelling library of three thousand volumes to be made for him, but it
was proved that the task could not be accomplished in less than six
years.  The expense, if only fifty copies of each example had been
printed, would have amounted to more than six million francs.  A Roman
emperor would not have allowed these considerations to stand in his way;
but Napoleon, after all, was a modern.  He contented himself with a
selection of books conveniently small in shape, and packed in sumptuous
cases.  The classical writers of France could never content Napoleon, and
even from Moscow in 1812, he wrote to Barbier clamorous for new books,
and good ones.  Long before they could have reached Moscow, Napoleon was
flying homeward before Kotousoff and Benningsen.

Napoleon was the last of the book-lovers who governed France.  The Duc
d’Aumale, a famous bibliophile, has never “come to his own,” and of M.
Gambetta it is only known that his devotional library, at least, has
found its way into the market.  We have reached the era of private
book-fanciers: of Nodier, who had three libraries in his time, but never
a Virgil; and of Pixérécourt, the dramatist, who founded the Société des
Bibliophiles Français.  The Romantic movement in French literature
brought in some new fashions in book-hunting.  The original editions of
Ronsard, Des Portes, Belleau, and Du Bellay became invaluable; while the
writings of Gautier, Petrus Borel, and others excited the passion of
collectors.  Pixérécourt was a believer in the works of the Elzevirs.  On
one occasion, when he was outbid by a friend at an auction, he cried
passionately, “I shall have that book at your sale!” and, the other poor
bibliophile soon falling into a decline and dying, Pixérécourt got the
volume which he so much desired.  The superstitious might have been
excused for crediting him with the gift of _jettatura_,—of the evil eye.
On Pixérécourt himself the evil eye fell at last; his theatre, the
Gaieté, was burned down in 1835, and his creditors intended to impound
his beloved books.  The bibliophile hastily packed them in boxes, and
conveyed them in two cabs and under cover of night to the house of M.
Paul Lacroix.  There they languished in exile till the affairs of the
manager were settled.

Pixérécourt and Nodier, the most reckless of men, were the leaders of the
older school of bibliomaniacs.  The former was not a rich man; the second
was poor, but he never hesitated in face of a price that he could not
afford.  He would literally ruin himself in the accumulation of a
library, and then would recover his fortunes by selling his books.
Nodier passed through life without a Virgil, because he never succeeded
in finding the ideal Virgil of his dreams,—a clean, uncut copy of the
right Elzevir edition, with the misprint, and the two passages in red
letters.  Perhaps this failure was a judgment on him for the trick by
which he beguiled a certain collector of Bibles.  He _invented_ an
edition, and put the collector on the scent, which he followed vainly,
till he died of the sickness of hope deferred.

One has more sympathy with the eccentricities of Nodier than with the
mere extravagance of the new _haute école_ of bibliomaniacs, the school
of millionnaires, royal dukes, and Rothschilds.  These amateurs are
reckless of prices, and by their competition have made it almost
impossible for a poor man to buy a precious book.  The dukes, the
Americans, the public libraries, snap them all up in the auctions.  A
glance at M. Gustave Brunet’s little volume, ‘La Bibliomanie en 1878,’
will prove the excesses which these people commit.  The funeral oration
of Bossuet over Henriette Marie of France (1669), and Henriette Anne of
England (1670), quarto, in the original binding, are sold for £200.  It
is true that this copy had possibly belonged to Bossuet himself, and
certainly to his nephew.  There is an example, as we have seen, of the
1682 edition of Molière,—of Molière whom Bossuet detested,—which also
belonged to the eagle of Meaux.  The manuscript notes of the divine on
the work of the poor player must be edifying, and in the interests of
science it is to be hoped that this book may soon come into the market.
While pamphlets of Bossuet are sold so dear, the first edition of
Homer—the beautiful edition of 1488, which the three young Florentine
gentlemen published—may be had for £100.  Yet even that seems expensive,
when we remember that the copy in the library of George III. cost only
seven shillings.  This exquisite Homer, sacred to the memory of learned
friendships, the chief offering of early printing at the altar of ancient
poetry, is really one of the most interesting books in the world.  Yet
this Homer is less valued than the tiny octavo which contains the
_ballades and huitains_ of the scamp François Villon (1533).  ‘The
History of the Holy Grail’ (_L’Hystoire du Sainct Gréaal_: Paris, 1523),
in a binding stamped with the four crowns of Louis XIV., is valued at
about £500.  A chivalric romance of the old days, which was treasured
even in the time of the _grand monarque_, when old French literature was
so much despised, is certainly a curiosity.  The Rabelais of Madame de
Pompadour (in morocco) seems comparatively cheap at £60.  There is
something piquant in the idea of inheriting from that famous beauty the
work of the colossal genius of Rabelais. {107}

The natural sympathy of collectors “to middle fortune born” is not with
the rich men whose sport in book-hunting resembles the _battue_.  We side
with the poor hunters of the wild game, who hang over the fourpenny
stalls on the _quais_, and dive into the dusty boxes after literary
pearls.  These devoted men rise betimes, and hurry to the stalls before
the common tide of passengers goes by.  Early morning is the best moment
in this, as in other sports.  At half past seven, in summer, the
_bouquiniste_, the dealer in cheap volumes at second-hand, arrays the
books which he purchased over night, the stray possessions of ruined
families, the outcasts of libraries.  The old-fashioned bookseller knew
little of the value of his wares; it was his object to turn a small
certain profit on his expenditure.  It is reckoned that an energetic,
business-like old bookseller will turn over 150,000 volumes in a year.
In this vast number there must be pickings for the humble collector who
cannot afford to encounter the children of Israel at Sotheby’s or at the
Hôtel Drouot.

Let the enthusiast, in conclusion, throw a handful of lilies on the grave
of the martyr of the love of books,—the poet Albert Glatigny.  Poor
Glatigny was the son of a _garde champêtre_; his education was
accidental, and his poetic taste and skill extraordinarily fine and
delicate.  In his life of starvation (he had often to sleep in omnibuses
and railway stations), he frequently spent the price of a dinner on a new
book.  He lived to read and to dream, and if he bought books he had not
the wherewithal to live.  Still, he bought them,—and he died!  His own
poems were beautifully printed by Lemerre, and it may be a joy to him
(_si mentem mortalia tangunt_) that they are now so highly valued that
the price of a copy would have kept the author alive and happy for a

         [Picture: Binding with the arms of Madame de Pompadour]


NOTHING can be plainer, as a rule, than a modern English title-page.  Its
only beauty (if beauty it possesses) consists in the arrangement and
‘massing’ of lines of type in various sizes.  We have returned almost to
the primitive simplicity of the oldest printed books, which had no
title-pages, properly speaking, at all, or merely gave, with extreme
brevity, the name of the work, without printer’s mark, or date, or place.
These were reserved for the colophon, if it was thought desirable to
mention them at all.  Thus, in the black-letter example of Guido de
Columna’s ‘History of Troy,’ written about 1283, and printed at Strasburg
in 1489, the title-page is blank, except for the words,

                          Hystoria Troiana Guidonis,

standing alone at the top of the leaf.  The colophon contains all the
rest of the information, ‘happily completed in the City of Strasburg, in
the year of Grace Mcccclxxxix, about the Feast of St. Urban.’  The
printer and publisher give no name at all.

This early simplicity is succeeded, in French books, from, say, 1510, and
afterwards, by the insertion either of the printer’s trademark, or, in
black-letter books, of a rough woodcut, illustrative of the nature of the
volume.  The woodcuts have occasionally a rude kind of grace, with a
touch of the classical taste of the early Renaissance surviving in
extreme decay.

An excellent example is the title-page of ‘Les Demandes d’amours, avec
les responses joyeuses,’ published by Jacques Moderne, at Lyon, 1540.
There is a certain Pagan breadth and joyousness in the figure of Amor,
and the man in the hood resembles traditional portraits of Dante.

    [Picture: Les demandes tamours auec les refpôfesioyeufes.  Demáde

There is more humour, and a good deal of skill, in the title-page of a
book on late marriages and their discomforts, ‘Les dictz et complainctes
de trop Tard marié’ (Jacques Moderne, Lyon, 1540), where we see the
elderly and comfortable couple sitting gravely under their own fig-tree.

                   [Picture: Les dictz et complainctes]

Jacques Moderne was a printer curious in these quaint devices, and used
them in most of his books: for example, in ‘How Satan and the God Bacchus
accuse the Publicans that spoil the wine,’ Bacchus and Satan (exactly
like each other, as Sir Wilfrid Lawson will not be surprised to hear) are
encouraging dishonest tavern-keepers to stew in their own juice in a
caldron over a huge fire.  From the same popular publisher came a little
tract on various modes of sport, if the name of sport can be applied to
the netting of fish and birds.  The work is styled ‘Livret nouveau auquel
sont contenuz xxv receptes de prendre poissons et oiseaulx avec les
mains.’  A countryman clad in a goat’s skin with the head and horns drawn
over his head as a hood, is dragging ashore a net full of fishes.  There
is no more characteristic frontispiece of this black-letter sort than the
woodcut representing a gallows with three men hanging on it, which
illustrates Villon’s ‘Ballade des Pendus,’ and is reproduced in Mr. John
Payne’s ‘Poems of Master Francis Villon of Paris’ (London, 1878). {119a}

Earlier in date than these vignettes of Jacques Moderne, but much more
artistic and refined in design, are some frontispieces of small octavos
printed _en lettres rondes_, about 1530.  In these rubricated letters are
used with brilliant effect.  One of the best is the title-page of Galliot
du Pré’s edition of ‘Le Rommant de la Rose’ (Paris, 1529). {119b}
Galliot du Pré’s artist, however, surpassed even the charming device of
the Lover plucking the Rose, in his title-page, of the same date, for the
small octavo edition of Alain Chartier’s poems, which we reproduce here.

[Picture: Les Oevvres feu maiftre Alain chartier en fon viuant Secretaire
               du feu roy Charles les feptiefme du non...]

The arrangement of letters, and the use of red, make a charming frame, as
it were, to the drawing of the mediæval ship, with the Motto VOGUE LA

Title-pages like these, with designs appropriate to the character of the
text, were superseded presently by the fashion of badges, devices, and
mottoes.  As courtiers and ladies had their private badges, not
hereditary, like crests, but personal—the crescent of Diane, the
salamander of Francis I., the skulls and cross-bones of Henri III., the
_marguerites_ of Marguerite, with mottoes like the _Le Banny de liesse_,
_Le traverseur des voies périlleuses_, _Tout par Soulas_, and the like,
so printers and authors had their emblems, and their private literary
slogans.  These they changed, accordinging to fancy, or the vicissitudes
of their lives.  Clément Marot’s motto was _La Mort n’y Mord_.  It is
indicated by the letters L. M. N. M. in the curious title of an edition
of Marot’s works published at Lyons by Jean de Tournes in 1579.  The
portrait represents the poet when the tide of years had borne him far
from his youth, far from _L’Adolescence Clémentine_.

           [Picture: Le Pastissier François, MDCLV, title page]

     [Picture: Le Pastissier Francois, 1655, showing a kitchen scene]

The unfortunate Etienne Dolet, perhaps the only publisher who was ever
burned, used an ominous device, a trunk of a tree, with the axe struck
into it.  In publishing ‘Les Marguerites de la Marguerite des Princesses,
très illustre Royne de Navarre,’ Jean de Tournes employed a pretty
allegorical device.  Love, with the bandage thrust back from his eyes,
and with the bow and arrows in his hand, has flown up to the sun, which
he seems to touch; like Prometheus in the myth when he stole the fire, a
shower of flowers and flames falls around him.  Groueleau, of Paris, had
for motto _Nul ne s’y frotte_, with the thistle for badge.  These are
beautifully combined in the title-page of his version of Apuleius,
‘L’Amour de Cupido et de Psyche’ (Paris, 1557).  There is probably no
better date for frontispieces, both for ingenuity of device and for
elegance of arrangement of title, than the years between 1530 and 1560.
By 1562, when the first edition of the famous Fifth Book of Rabelais was
published, the printers appear to have thought devices wasted on popular
books, and the title of the Master’s posthumous chapters is printed quite

                           [Picture: Gargantva]

In 1532–35 there was a more adventurous taste—witness the title of
‘Gargantua.’  This beautiful title decorates the first known edition,
with a date of the First Book of Rabelais.  It was sold, most
appropriately, _devant nostre Dame de Confort_.  Why should so glorious a
relic of the Master have been carried out of England, at the Sunderland
sale?  All the early titles of François Juste’s Lyons editions of
Rabelais are on this model.  By 1542 he dropped the framework of
architectural design.  By 1565 Richard Breton, in Paris, was printing
Rabelais with a frontispiece of a classical dame holding a heart to the
sun, a figure which is almost in the taste of Stothard, or Flaxman.

The taste for vignettes, engraved on copper, not on wood, was revived
under the Elzevirs.  Their pretty little title-pages are not so well
known but that we offer examples.  In the essay on the Elzevirs in this
volume will be found a copy of the vignette of the ‘Imitatio Christi,’
and of ‘Le Pastissier François’ a reproduction is given here (pp. 114,
115).  The artists they employed had plenty of fancy, not backed by very
profound skill in design.

In the same _genre_ as the big-wigged classicism of the Elzevir
vignettes, in an age when Louis XIV. and Molière (in tragedy) wore laurel
wreaths over vast perruques, are the early frontispieces of Molière’s own
collected works.  Probably the most interesting of all French title-pages
are those drawn by Chauveau for the two volumes ‘Les Oeuvres de M. de
Molière,’ published in 1666 by Guillaume de Luynes.  The first shows
Molière in two characters, as Mascarille, and as Sganarelle, in ‘Le Cocu
Imaginaire.’  Contrast the full-blown jollity of the _fourbum imperator_,
in his hat, and feather, and wig, and vast _canons_, and tremendous
shoe-tie, with the lean melancholy of jealous Sganarelle.  These are two
notable aspects of the genius of the great comedian.  The apes below are
the supporters of his scutcheon.

The second volume shows the Muse of Comedy crowning Mlle. de Molière
(Armande Béjart) in the dress of Agnès, while her husband is in the
costume, apparently, of Tartuffe, or of Sganarelle in ‘L’Ecole des
Femmes.’  ‘Tartuffe’ had not yet been licensed for a public stage.  The
interest of the portraits and costumes makes these title-pages precious,
they are historical documents rather than mere curiosities.

These title-pages of Molière are the highwater mark of French taste in
this branch of decoration.  In the old quarto first editions of
Corneille’s early plays, such as ‘Le Cid’ (Paris 1637), the printers used
lax and sprawling combinations of flowers and fruit.  These, a little
better executed, were the staple of Ribou, de Luynes, Quinet, and the
other Parisian booksellers who, one after another, failed to satisfy
Molière as publishers.

                   [Picture: Les Oeuvres de Mr Moliere]

The basket of fruits on the title-page of ‘Iphigénie,’ par M. Racine
(Barbin, Paris, 1675), is almost, but not quite, identical with the
similar ornament of De Visé’s ‘La Cocue Imaginaire’ (Ribou, Paris 1662).
Many of Molière’s plays appearing first, separately, in small octavo,
were adorned with frontispieces, illustrative of some scene in the
comedy.  Thus, in the ‘Misanthrope’ (Rihou 1667) we see Alceste, green
ribbons and all, discoursing with Philinte, or perhaps listening to the
famous sonnet of Oronte; it is not easy to be quite certain, but the
expression of Alceste’s face looks rather as if he were being baited with
a sonnet.  From the close of the seventeenth century onwards, the taste
for title-pages declined, except when Moreau or Gravelot drew vignettes
on copper, with abundance of cupids and nymphs.  These were designed for
very luxurious and expensive books; for others, men contented themselves
with a bald simplicity, which has prevailed till our own time.  In recent
years the employment of publishers’ devices has been less unusual and
more agreeable.  Thus Poulet Malassis had his _armes parlantes_, a
chicken very uncomfortably perched on a rail.  In England we have the
cipher and bees of Messrs. Macmillan, the Trees of Life and Knowledge of
Messrs. Kegan Paul and Trench, the Ship, which was the sign of Messrs.
Longman’s early place of business, and doubtless other symbols, all
capable of being quaintly treated in a title-page.


THOMAS BLINTON was a book-hunter.  He had always been a book-hunter, ever
since, at an extremely early age, he had awakened to the errors of his
ways as a collector of stamps and monograms.  In book-hunting he saw no
harm; nay, he would contrast its joys, in a rather pharisaical style,
with the pleasures of shooting and fishing.  He constantly declined to
believe that the devil came for that renowned amateur of black letter, G.
Steevens.  Dibdin himself, who tells the story (with obvious anxiety and
alarm), pretends to refuse credit to the ghastly narrative.  “His
language,” says Dibdin, in his account of the book-hunter’s end, “was,
too frequently, the language of imprecation.”  This is rather good, as if
Dibdin thought a gentleman might swear pretty often, but not “_too_
frequently.”  “Although I am not disposed to admit,” Dibdin goes on, “the
_whole_ of the testimony of the good woman who watched by Steevens’s
bedside, although my prejudices (as they may be called) will not allow me
to believe that the windows shook, and that strange noises and deep
groans were heard at midnight in his room, yet no creature of common
sense (and this woman possessed the quality in an eminent degree) could
mistake oaths for prayers;” and so forth.  In short, Dibdin clearly holds
that the windows did shake “without a blast,” like the banners in
Branxholme Hall when somebody came for the Goblin Page.

But Thomas Blinton would hear of none of these things.  He said that his
taste made him take exercise; that he walked from the City to West
Kensington every day, to beat the covers of the book-stalls, while other
men travelled in the expensive cab or the unwholesome Metropolitan
Railway.  We are all apt to hold favourable views of our own amusements,
and, for my own part, I believe that trout and salmon are incapable of
feeling pain.  But the flimsiness of Blinton’s theories must be apparent
to every unbiassed moralist.  His “harmless taste” really involved most
of the deadly sins, or at all events a fair working majority of them.  He
coveted his neighbours’ books.  When he got the chance he bought books in
a cheap market and sold them in a dear market, thereby degrading
literature to the level of trade.  He took advantage of the ignorance of
uneducated persons who kept book-stalls.  He was envious, and grudged the
good fortune of others, while he rejoiced in their failures.  He turned a
deaf ear to the appeals of poverty.  He was luxurious, and laid out more
money than he should have done on his selfish pleasures, often adorning a
volume with a morocco binding when Mrs. Blinton sighed in vain for some
old _point d’Alençon_ lace.  Greedy, proud, envious, stingy, extravagant,
and sharp in his dealings, Blinton was guilty of most of the sins which
the Church recognises as “deadly.”

On the very day before that of which the affecting history is now to be
told, Blinton had been running the usual round of crime.  He had (as far
as intentions went) defrauded a bookseller in Holywell Street by
purchasing from him, for the sum of two shillings, what he took to be a
very rare Elzevir.  It is true that when he got home and consulted
‘Willems,’ he found that he had got hold of the wrong copy, in which the
figures denoting the numbers of pages are printed right, and which is
therefore worth exactly “nuppence” to the collector.  But the intention
is the thing, and Blinton’s intention was distinctly fraudulent.  When he
discovered his error, then “his language,” as Dibdin says, “was that of
imprecation.”  Worse (if possible) than this, Blinton had gone to a sale,
begun to bid for ‘Les Essais de Michel, Seigneur de Montaigne’ (Foppens,
MDCLIX.), and, carried away by excitement, had “plunged” to the extent of
£15, which was precisely the amount of money he owed his plumber and
gasfitter, a worthy man with a large family.  Then, meeting a friend (if
the book-hunter has friends), or rather an accomplice in lawless
enterprise, Blinton had remarked the glee on the other’s face.  The poor
man had purchased a little old Olaus Magnus, with woodcuts, representing
were-wolves, fire-drakes, and other fearful wild-fowl, and was happy in
his bargain.  But Blinton, with fiendish joy, pointed out to him that the
index was imperfect, and left him sorrowing.

Deeds more foul have yet to be told.  Thomas Blinton had discovered a new
sin, so to speak, in the collecting way.  Aristophanes says of one of his
favourite blackguards, “Not only is he a villain, but he has invented an
original villainy.”  Blinton was like this.  He maintained that every man
who came to notoriety had, at some period, published a volume of poems
which he had afterwards repented of and withdrawn.  It was Blinton’s
hideous pleasure to collect stray copies of these unhappy volumes, these
‘Péchés de Jeunesse,’ which, always and invariably, bear a gushing
inscription from the author to a friend.  He had all Lord John Manners’s
poems, and even Mr. Ruskin’s.  He had the ‘Ode to Despair’ of Smith (now
a comic writer), and the ‘Love Lyrics’ of Brown, who is now a permanent
under-secretary, than which nothing can be less gay nor more permanent.
He had the amatory songs which a dignitary of the Church published and
withdrew from circulation.  Blinton was wont to say he expected to come
across ‘Triolets of a Tribune,’ by Mr. John Bright, and ‘Original Hymns
for Infant Minds,’ by Mr. Henry Labouchere, if he only hunted long

On the day of which I speak he had secured a volume of love-poems which
the author had done his best to destroy, and he had gone to his club and
read all the funniest passages aloud to friends of the author, who was on
the club committee.  Ah, was this a kind action?  In short, Blinton had
filled up the cup of his iniquities, and nobody will be surprised to hear
that he met the appropriate punishment of his offence.  Blinton had
passed, on the whole, a happy day, notwithstanding the error about the
Elzevir.  He dined well at his club, went home, slept well, and started
next morning for his office in the City, walking, as usual, and intending
to pursue the pleasures of the chase at all the book-stalls.  At the very
first, in the Brompton Road, he saw a man turning over the rubbish in the
cheap box.  Blinton stared at him, fancied he knew him, thought he
didn’t, and then became a prey to the glittering eye of the other.  The
Stranger, who wore the conventional cloak and slouched soft hat of
Strangers, was apparently an accomplished mesmerist, or thought-reader,
or adept, or esoteric Buddhist.  He resembled Mr. Isaacs, Zanoni (in the
novel of that name), Mendoza (in ‘Codlingsby’), the soul-less man in ‘A
Strange Story,’ Mr. Home, Mr. Irving Bishop, a Buddhist adept in the
astral body, and most other mysterious characters of history and fiction.
Before his Awful Will, Blinton’s mere modern obstinacy shrank back like a
child abashed.  The Stranger glided to him and whispered, “Buy these.”

“These” were a complete set of Auerbach’s novels, in English, which, I
need not say, Blinton would never have dreamt of purchasing had he been
left to his own devices.

“Buy these!” repeated the Adept, or whatever he was, in a cruel whisper.
Paying the sum demanded, and trailing his vast load of German romance,
poor Blinton followed the fiend.

They reached a stall where, amongst much trash, Glatigny’s ‘Jour de l’An
d’un Vagabond’ was exposed.

“Look,” said Blinton, “there is a book I have wanted some time.
Glatignys are getting rather scarce, and it is an amusing trifle.”

“Nay, buy _that_,” said the implacable Stranger, pointing with a hooked
forefinger at Alison’s ‘History of Europe’ in an indefinite number of
volumes.  Blinton shuddered.

“What, buy _that_, and why?  In heaven’s name, what could I do with it?”

“Buy it,” repeated the persecutor, “and _that_” (indicating the ‘Ilios’
of Dr. Schliemann, a bulky work), “and _these_” (pointing to all Mr.
Theodore Alois Buckley’s translations of the Classics), “and _these_”
(glancing at the collected writings of the late Mr. Hain Friswell, and at
a ‘Life,’ in more than one volume, of Mr. Gladstone).

The miserable Blinton paid, and trudged along carrying the bargains under
his arm.  Now one book fell out, now another dropped by the way.
Sometimes a portion of Alison came ponderously to earth; sometimes the
‘Gentle Life’ sunk resignedly to the ground.  The Adept kept picking them
up again, and packing them under the arms of the weary Blinton.

The victim now attempted to put on an air of geniality, and tried to
enter into conversation with his tormentor.

“He _does_ know about books,” thought Blinton, “and he must have a weak
spot somewhere.”

So the wretched amateur made play in his best conversational style.  He
talked of bindings, of Maioli, of Grolier, of De Thou, of Derome, of
Clovis Eve, of Roger Payne, of Trautz, and eke of Bauzonnet.  He
discoursed of first editions, of black letter, and even of illustrations
and vignettes.  He approached the topic of Bibles, but here his tyrant,
with a fierce yet timid glance, interrupted him.

“Buy those!” he hissed through his teeth.

“Those” were the complete publications of the Folk Lore Society.

Blinton did not care for folk lore (very bad men never do), but he had to
act as he was told.

Then, without pause or remorse, he was charged to acquire the ‘Ethics’ of
Aristotle, in the agreeable versions of Williams and Chase.  Next he
secured ‘Strathmore,’ ‘Chandos,’ ‘Under Two Flags,’ and ‘Two Little
Wooden Shoes,’ and several dozens more of Ouida’s novels.  The next stall
was entirely filled with school-books, old geographies, Livys,
Delectuses, Arnold’s ‘Greek Exercises,’ Ollendorffs, and what not.

“Buy them all,” hissed the fiend.  He seized whole boxes and piled them
on Blinton’s head.

He tied up Ouida’s novels, in two parcels, with string, and fastened each
to one of the buttons above the tails of Blinton’s coat.

“You are tired?” asked the tormentor.  “Never mind, these books will soon
be off your hands.”

So speaking, the Stranger, with amazing speed, hurried Blinton back
through Holywell Street, along the Strand, and up to Piccadilly, stopping
at last at the door of Blinton’s famous and very expensive binder.

The binder opened his eyes, as well he might, at the vision of Blinton’s
treasures.  Then the miserable Blinton found himself, as it were
automatically and without any exercise of his will, speaking thus:—

“Here are some things I have picked up,—extremely rare,—and you will
oblige me by binding them in your best manner, regardless of expense.
Morocco, of course; crushed levant morocco, _doublé_, every book of them,
_petits fers_, my crest and coat of arms, plenty of gilding.  Spare no
cost.  Don’t keep me waiting, as you generally do;” for indeed
book-binders are the most dilatory of the human species.

Before the astonished binder could ask the most necessary questions,
Blinton’s tormentor had hurried that amateur out of the room.

“Come on to the sale,” he cried.

“What sale?” said Blinton.

“Why, the Beckford sale; it is the thirteenth day, a lucky day.”

“But I have forgotten my catalogue.”

“Where is it?”

“In the third shelf from the top, on the right-hand side of the ebony
book-case at home.”

The stranger stretched out his arm, which swiftly elongated itself till
the hand disappeared from view round the corner.  In a moment the hand
returned with the catalogue.  The pair sped on to Messrs. Sotheby’s
auction-rooms in Wellington Street.  Every one knows the appearance of a
great book-sale.  The long table, surrounded by eager bidders, resembles
from a little distance a roulette table, and communicates the same sort
of excitement.  The amateur is at a loss to know how to conduct himself.
If he bids in his own person some bookseller will outbid him, partly
because the bookseller knows, after all, he knows little about books, and
suspects that the amateur may, in this case, know more.  Besides,
professionals always dislike amateurs, and, in this game, they have a
very great advantage.  Blinton knew all this, and was in the habit of
giving his commissions to a broker.  But now he felt (and very naturally)
as if a demon had entered into him.  ‘Tirante il Bianco Valorosissimo
Cavaliere’ was being competed for, an excessively rare romance of
chivalry, in magnificent red Venetian morocco, from Canevari’s library.
The book is one of the rarest of the Venetian Press, and beautifully
adorned with Canevari’s device,—a simple and elegant affair in gold and
colours.  “Apollo is driving his chariot across the green waves towards
the rock, on which winged Pegasus is pawing the ground,” though why this
action of a horse should be called “pawing” (the animal notoriously not
possessing paws) it is hard to say.  Round this graceful design is the
inscription ΟΡΘΩΣ ΚΑΙ ΜΗ ΑΟΞΙΩΣ (straight not crooked).  In his ordinary
mood Blinton could only have admired ‘Tirante il Bianco’ from a distance.
But now, the demon inspiring him, he rushed into the lists, and
challenged the great Mr. —, the Napoleon of bookselling.  The price had
already reached five hundred pounds.

“Six hundred,” cried Blinton.

“Guineas,” said the great Mr. —.

“Seven hundred,” screamed Blinton.

“Guineas,” replied the other.

This arithmetical dialogue went on till even Mr. — struck his flag, with
a sigh, when the maddened Blinton had said “Six thousand.”  The cheers of
the audience rewarded the largest bid ever made for any book.  As if he
had not done enough, the Stranger now impelled Blinton to contend with
Mr. — for every expensive work that appeared.  The audience naturally
fancied that Blinton was in the earlier stage of softening of the brain,
when a man conceives himself to have inherited boundless wealth, and is
determined to live up to it.  The hammer fell for the last time.  Blinton
owed some fifty thousand pounds, and exclaimed audibly, as the influence
of the fiend died out, “I am a ruined man.”

“Then your books must be sold,” cried the Stranger, and, leaping on a
chair, he addressed the audience:—

“Gentlemen, I invite you to Mr. Blinton’s sale, which will immediately
take place.  The collection contains some very remarkable early English
poets, many first editions of the French classics, most of the rarer
Aldines, and a singular assortment of Americana.”

In a moment, as if by magic, the shelves round the room were filled with
Blinton’s books, all tied up in big lots of some thirty volumes each.
His early Molières were fastened to old French dictionaries and
school-books.  His Shakespeare quartos were in the same lot with tattered
railway novels.  His copy (almost unique) of Richard Barnfield’s much too
‘Affectionate Shepheard’ was coupled with odd volumes of ‘Chips from a
German Workshop’ and a cheap, imperfect example of ‘Tom Brown’s
School-Days.’  Hookes’s ‘Amanda’ was at the bottom of a lot of American
devotional works, where it kept company with an Elzevir Tacitus and the
Aldine ‘Hypnerotomachia.’  The auctioneer put up lot after lot, and
Blinton plainly saw that the whole affair was a “knock-out.”  His most
treasured spoils were parted with at the price of waste paper.  It is an
awful thing to be present at one’s own sale.  No man would bid above a
few shillings.  Well did Blinton know that after the knock-out the
plunder would be shared among the grinning bidders.  At last his
‘Adonais,’ uncut, bound by Lortic, went, in company with some old
‘Bradshaws,’ the ‘Court Guide’ of 1881, and an odd volume of the ‘Sunday
at Home,’ for sixpence.  The Stranger smiled a smile of peculiar
malignity.  Blinton leaped up to protest; the room seemed to shake around
him, but words would not come to his lips.

Then he heard a familiar voice observe, as a familiar grasp shook his

“Tom, Tom, what a nightmare you are enjoying!”

He was in his own arm-chair, where he had fallen asleep after dinner, and
Mrs. Blinton was doing her best to arouse him from his awful vision.
Beside him lay ‘L’Enfer du Bibliophile, vu et décrit par Charles
Asselineau.’  (Paris: Tardieu, MDCCCLX.)

                                * * * * *

If this were an ordinary tract, I should have to tell how Blinton’s eyes
were opened, how he gave up book-collecting, and took to gardening, or
politics, or something of that sort.  But truth compels me to admit that
Blinton’s repentance had vanished by the end of the week, when he was
discovered marking M. Claudin’s catalogue, surreptitiously, before
breakfast.  Thus, indeed, end all our remorses.  “Lancelot falls to his
own love again,” as in the romance.  Much, and justly, as theologians
decry a death-bed repentance, it is, perhaps, the only repentance that we
do not repent of.  All others leave us ready, when occasion comes, to
fall to our old love again; and may that love never be worse than the
taste for old books!  Once a collector, always a collector.  _Moi qui
parle_, I have sinned, and struggled, and fallen.  I have thrown
catalogues, unopened, into the waste-paper basket.  I have withheld my
feet from the paths that lead to Sotheby’s and to Puttick’s.  I have
crossed the street to avoid a book-stall.  In fact, like the prophet
Nicholas, “I have been known to be steady for weeks at a time.”  And then
the fatal moment of temptation has arrived, and I have succumbed to the
soft seductions of Eisen, or Cochin, or an old book on Angling.  Probably
Grolier was thinking of such weaknesses when he chose his devices
_Tanquam Ventus_, and _quisque suos patimur Manes_.  Like the wind we are
blown about, and, like the people in the Æneid, we are obliged to suffer
the consequences of our own extravagance.


   THE Books I cannot hope to buy,
   Their phantoms round me waltz and wheel,
   They pass before the dreaming eye,
   Ere Sleep the dreaming eye can seal.
   A kind of literary reel
   They dance; how fair the bindings shine!
   Prose cannot tell them what I feel,—
   The Books that never can be mine!

   There frisk Editions rare and shy,
   Morocco clad from head to heel;
   Shakspearian quartos; Comedy
   As first she flashed from Richard Steele;
   And quaint De Foe on Mrs. Veal;
   And, lord of landing net and line,
   Old Izaak with his fishing creel,—
   The Books that never can be mine!

   Incunables! for you I sigh,
   Black letter, at thy founts I kneel,
   Old tales of Perrault’s nursery,
   For you I’d go without a meal!
   For Books wherein did Aldus deal
   And rare Galliot du Pré I pine.
   The watches of the night reveal
   The Books that never can be mine!


   Prince, bear a hopeless Bard’s appeal;
   Reverse the rules of Mine and Thine;
   Make it legitimate to steal
   The Books that never can be mine!


THE biographer of Mrs. Aphra Behn refutes the vulgar error that “a
Dutchman cannot love.”  Whether or not a lady can love books is a
question that may not be so readily settled.  Mr. Ernest Quentin Bauchart
has contributed to the discussion of this problem by publishing a
bibliography, in two quarto volumes, of books which have been in the
libraries of famous beauties of old, queens and princesses of France.
There can be no doubt that these ladies were possessors of exquisite
printed books and manuscripts wonderfully bound, but it remains uncertain
whether the owners, as a rule, were bibliophiles; whether their hearts
were with their treasures.  Incredible as it may seem to us now,
literature was highly respected in the past, and was even fashionable.
Poets were in favour at court, and Fashion decided that the great must
possess books, and not only books, but books produced in the utmost
perfection of art, and bound with all the skill at the disposal of Clovis
Eve, and Padeloup, and Duseuil.  Therefore, as Fashion gave her commands,
we cannot hastily affirm that the ladies who obeyed were really
book-lovers.  In our more polite age, Fashion has decreed that ladies
shall smoke, and bet, and romp, but it would be premature to assert that
all ladies who do their duty in these matters are born romps, or have an
unaffected liking for cigarettes.  History, however, maintains that many
of the renowned dames whose books are now the most treasured of literary
relics were actually inclined to study as well as to pleasure, like
Marguerite de Valois and the Comtesse de Verrue, and even Madame de
Pompadour.  Probably books and arts were more to this lady’s liking than
the diversions by which she beguiled the tedium of Louis XV.; and many a
time she would rather have been quiet with her plays and novels than
engaged in conscientiously conducted but distasteful revels.

Like a true Frenchman, M. Bauchart has only written about French lady
book-lovers, or about women who, like Mary Stuart, were more than half
French.  Nor would it be easy for an English author to name, outside the
ranks of crowned heads, like Elizabeth, any Englishwomen of distinction
who had a passion for the material side of literature, for binding, and
first editions, and large paper, and engravings in early “states.”  The
practical sex, when studious, is like the same sex when fond of
equestrian exercise.  “A lady says, ‘My heyes, he’s an ’orse, and he must
go,’” according to Leech’s groom.  In the same way, a studious girl or
matron says, “This is a book,” and reads it, if read she does, without
caring about the date, or the state, or the publisher’s name, or even
very often about the author’s.  I remember, before the publication of a
novel now celebrated, seeing a privately printed vellum-bound copy on
large paper in the hands of a literary lady.  She was holding it over the
fire, and had already made the vellum covers curl wide open like the
shells of an afflicted oyster.

When I asked what the volume was, she explained that “It is a book which
a poor man has written, and he’s had it printed to see whether some one
won’t be kind enough to publish it.”  I ventured, perhaps pedantically,
to point out that the poor man could not be so very poor, or he would not
have made so costly an experiment on Dutch paper.  But the lady said she
did not know how that might be, and she went on toasting the experiment.
In all this there is a fine contempt for everything but the spiritual
aspect of literature; there is an aversion to the mere coquetry and
display of morocco and red letters, and the toys which amuse the minds of
men.  Where ladies have caught “the Bibliomania,” I fancy they have taken
this pretty fever from the other sex.  But it must be owned that the
books they have possessed, being rarer and more romantic, are even more
highly prized by amateurs than examples from the libraries of Grolier,
and Longepierre, and D’Hoym.  M. Bauchart’s book is a complete guide to
the collector of these expensive relics.  He begins his dream of fair
women who have owned books with the pearl of the Valois, Marguerite
d’Angoulême, the sister of Francis I.  The remains of her library are
chiefly devotional manuscripts.  Indeed, it is to be noted that all these
ladies, however frivolous, possessed the most devout and pious books, and
whole collections of prayers copied out by the pen, and decorated with
miniatures.  Marguerite’s library was bound in morocco, stamped with a
crowned M in _interlacs_ sown with daisies, or, at least, with
conventional flowers which may have been meant for daisies.  If one could
choose, perhaps the most desirable of the specimens extant is ‘Le Premier
Livre du Prince des Poètes, Homère,’ in Salel’s translation.  For this
translation Ronsard writes a prologue, addressed to the _manes_ of Salel,
in which he complains that he is ridiculed for his poetry.  He draws a
characteristic picture of Homer and Salel in Elysium, among the learned

             qui parmi les fleurs devisent
    Au giron de leur dame.

Marguerite’s manuscript copy of the First Book of the Iliad is a small
quarto, adorned with daisies, fleurs de-lis, and the crowned M.  It is in
the Duc d’Aumale’s collection at Chantilly.  The books of Diane de
Poitiers are more numerous and more famous.  When first a widow she
stamped her volumes with a laurel springing from a tomb, and the motto,
“Sola vivit in illo.”  But when she consoled herself with Henri II. she
suppressed the tomb, and made the motto meaningless.  Her crescent shone
not only on her books, but on the palace walls of France, in the Louvre,
Fontainebleau, and Anet, and her initial D. is inextricably interlaced
with the H. of her royal lover.  Indeed, Henri added the D to his own
cypher, and this must have been so embarrassing for his wife Catherine,
that people have good-naturedly tried to read the curves of the D’s as
C’s.  The D’s, and the crescents, and the bows of his Diana are impressed
even on the covers of Henri’s Book of Hours.  Catherine’s own cypher is a
double C enlaced with an H, or double K’s (Katherine) combined in the
same manner.  These, unlike the D.H., are surmounted with a crown—the one
advantage which the wife possessed over the favourite.  Among Diane’s
books are various treatises on medicines and on surgery, and plenty of
poetry and Italian novels.  Among the books exhibited at the British
Museum in glass cases is Diane’s copy of Bembo’s ‘History of Venice.’  An
American collector, Mr. Barlow, of New York, is happy enough to possess
her ‘Singularitez de la France Antarctique’ (Antwerp, 1558).

Catherine de Medicis got splendid books on the same terms as foreign
pirates procure English novels—she stole them.  The Marshal Strozzi,
dying in the French service, left a noble collection, on which Catherine
laid her hands.  Brantôme says that Strozzi’s son often expressed to him
a candid opinion about this transaction.  What with her own collection
and what with the Marshal’s, Catherine possessed about four thousand
volumes.  On her death they were in peril of being seized by her
creditors, but her almoner carried them to his own house, and De Thou had
them placed in the royal library.  Unluckily it was thought wiser to
strip the books of the coats with Catherine’s compromising device, lest
her creditors should single them out, and take them away in their
pockets.  Hence, books with her arms and cypher are exceedingly rare.  At
the sale of the collections of the Duchesse de Berry, a Book of Hours of
Catherine’s was sold for £2,400.

Mary Stuart of Scotland was one of the lady book-lovers whose taste was
more than a mere following of the fashion.  Some of her books, like one
of Marie Antoinette’s, were the companions of her captivity, and still
bear the sad complaints which she entrusted to these last friends of
fallen royalty.  Her note-book, in which she wrote her Latin prose
exercises when a girl, still survives, bound in red morocco, with the
arms of France.  In a Book of Hours, now the property of the Czar, may be
partly deciphered the quatrains which she composed in her sorrowful
years, but many of them are mutilated by the binder’s shears.  The Queen
used the volume as a kind of album: it contains the signatures of the
“Countess of Schrewsbury” (as M. Bauchart has it), of Walsingham, of the
Earl of Sussex, and of Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham.  There is also
the signature, “Your most infortunat, ARBELLA SEYMOUR;” and “Fr. Bacon.”

This remarkable manuscript was purchased in Paris, during the Revolution,
by Peter Dubrowsky, who carried it to Russia.  Another Book of Hours of
the Queen’s bears this inscription, in a sixteenth-century hand: “Ce sont
les Heures de Marie Setuart Renne.  Marguerite de Blacuod de Rosay.”  In
De Blacuod it is not very easy to recognise “Blackwood.”  Marguerite was
probably the daughter of Adam Blackwood, who wrote a volume on Mary
Stuart’s sufferings (Edinburgh, 1587).

The famous Marguerite de Valois, the wife of Henri IV., had certainly a
noble library, and many beautifully bound books stamped with daisies are
attributed to her collections.  They bear the motto, “Expectata non
eludet,” which appears to refer, first to the daisy (“Margarita”), which
is punctual in the spring, or rather is “the constellated flower that
never sets,” and next, to the lady, who will “keep tryst.”  But is the
lady Marguerite de Valois?  Though the books have been sold at very high
prices as relics of the leman of La Mole, it seems impossible to
demonstrate that they were ever on her shelves, that they were bound by
Clovis Eve from her own design. “No mention is made of them in any
contemporary document, and the judicious are reduced to conjectures.”
Yet they form a most important collection, systematically bound, science
and philosophy in citron morocco, the poets in green, and history and
theology in red.  In any case it is absurd to explain “Expectata non
eludet” as a reference to the lily of the royal arms, which appears on
the centre of the daisy-pied volumes.  The motto, in that case, would
run, “Expectata (lilia) non eludent.”  As it stands, the feminine
adjective, “expectata,” in the singular, must apply either to the lady
who owned the volumes, or to the “Margarita,” her emblem, or to both.
Yet the ungrammatical rendering is that which M. Bauchart suggests.  Many
of the books, Marguerite’s or not, were sold at prices over £100 in
London, in 1884 and 1883.  The Macrobius, and Theocritus, and Homer are
in the Cracherode collection at the British Museum.  The daisy crowned
Ronsard went for £430 at the Beckford sale.  These prices will probably
never be reached again.

If Anne of Austria, the mother of Louis XIV., was a bibliophile, she may
be suspected of acting on the motive, “Love me, love my books.”  About
her affection for Cardinal Mazarin there seems to be no doubt: the
Cardinal had a famous library, and his royal friend probably imitated his
tastes.  In her time, and on her volumes, the originality and taste of
the skilled binder, Le Gascon, begin to declare themselves.  The
fashionable passion for lace, to which La Fontaine made such sacrifices,
affected the art of book decorations, and Le Gascon’s beautiful patterns
of gold points and dots are copies of the productions of Venice.  The
Queen-Mother’s books include many devotional treatises, for, whatever
other fashions might come and go, piety was always constant before the
Revolution.  Anne of Austria seems to have been particularly fond of the
lives and works of Saint Theresa, and Saint François de Sales, and John
of the Cross.  But she was not unread in the old French poets, such as
Coquillart; she condescended to Ariosto; she had that dubious character,
Théophile de Viaud, beautifully bound; she owned the Rabelais of 1553;
and, what is particularly interesting, M. de Lignerolles possesses her
copy of ‘L’Eschole des Femmes, Comédie par J. B. P. Molière.  Paris:
Guillaume de Luynes, 1663.’  In 12°, red morocco, gilt edges, and the
Queen’s arms on the covers.  This relic is especially valuable when we
remember that ‘L’Ecole des Femmes’ and Arnolphe’s sermon to Agnès, and
his comic threats of future punishment first made envy take the form of
religious persecution.  The devout Queen-Mother was often appealed to by
the enemies of Molière, yet Anne of Austria had not only seen his comedy,
but possessed this beautiful example of the first edition.  M. Paul
Lacroix supposes that this copy was offered to the Queen-Mother by
Molière himself.  The frontispiece (Arnolphe preaching to Agnès) is
thought to be a portrait of Molière, but in the reproduction in M. Louis
Lacour’s edition it is not easy to see any resemblance.  Apparently Anne
did not share the views, even in her later years, of the converted Prince
de Conty, for several comedies and novels remain stamped with her arms
and device.

The learned Marquise de Rambouillet, the parent of all the ‘Précieuses,’
must have owned a good library, but nothing is chronicled save her
celebrated book of prayers and meditations, written out and decorated by
Jarry.  It is bound in red morocco, _doublé_ with green, and covered with
V’s in gold.  The Marquise composed the prayers for her own use, and
Jarry was so much struck with their beauty that he asked leave to
introduce them into the Book of Hours which he had to copy, “for the
prayers are often so silly,” said he, “that I am ashamed to write them

Here is an example of the devotions which Jarry admired, a prayer to
Saint Louis.  It was published in ‘Miscellanies Bibliographiques’ by M.
Prosper Blanchemain.

                            PRIÈRE À SAINT-LOUIS,
                                ROY DE FRANCE.

    Grand Roy, bien que votre couronne ayt esté des plus esclatantes de
    la Terre, celle que vous portez dans le ciel est incomparablement
    plus précieuse.  L’une estoit perissable l’autre est immortelle et
    ces lys dont la blancheur se pouvoit ternir, sont maintenant
    incorruptibles.  Vostre obeissance envers vostre mère; vostre justice
    envers vos sujets; et vos guerres contre les infideles, vous ont
    acquis la veneration de tous les peuples; et la France doit à vos
    travaux et à vostre piété l’inestimable tresor de la sanglante et
    glorieuse couronne du Sauveur du monde.  Priez-le incomparable Saint
    qu’il donne une paix perpetuëlle au Royaume dont vous avez porté le
    sceptre; qu’il le préserve d’hérésie; qu’il y face toûjours regner
    saintement vostre illustre Sang; et que tous ceux qui ont l’honneur
    d’en descendre soient pour jamais fidèles à son Eglise.

The daughter of the Marquise, the fair Julie, heroine of that “long
courting” by M. de Montausier, survives in those records as the possessor
of ‘La Guirlande de Julie,’ the manuscript book of poems by eminent
hands.  But this manuscript seems to have been all the library of Julie;
therein she could constantly read of her own perfections.  To be sure she
had also ‘L’Histoire de Gustave Adolphe,’ a hero for whom, like Major
Dugald Dalgetty, she cherished a supreme devotion.  In the ‘Guirlande’
Chapelain’s verses turn on the pleasing fancy that the Protestant Lion of
the North, changed into a flower (like Paul Limayrac in M. Banville’s
ode), requests Julie to take pity on his altered estate:

    Sois pitoyable à ma langueur;
    Et si je n’ay place en ton cœur
    Que je l’aye au moins sur ta teste.

These verses were reckoned consummate.

The ‘Guirlande’ is still, with happier fate than attends most books, in
the hands of the successors of the Duc and Duchesse de Montausier.

Like Julie, Madame de Maintenon was a _précieuse_, but she never had time
to form a regular library.  Her books, however, were bound by Duseuil, a
binder immortal in the verse of Pope; or it might be more correct to say
that Madame de Maintenon’s own books are seldom distinguishable from
those of her favourite foundation, St. Cyr.  The most interesting is a
copy of the first edition of ‘Esther,’ in quarto (1689), bound in red
morocco, and bearing, in Racine’s hand, “_A Madame la Marquise de
Maintenon_, _offert avec respect_,—_RACINE_.”

Doubtless Racine had the book bound before he presented it.  “People are
discontented,” writes his son Louis, “if you offer them a book in a
simple marbled paper cover.”  I could wish that this worthy custom were
restored, for the sake of the art of binding, and also because amateur
poets would be more chary of their presentation copies.  It is, no doubt,
wise to turn these gifts with their sides against the inner walls of
bookcases, to be bulwarks against the damp, but the trouble of
acknowledging worthless presents from strangers is considerable. {145}

Another interesting example of Madame de Maintenon’s collections is
Dacier’s ‘Remarques Critiques sur les Œuvres d’Horace,’ bearing the arms
of Louis XIV., but with his wife’s signature on the fly-leaf (1681).

Of Madame de Montespan, ousted from the royal favour by Madame de
Maintenon, who “married into the family where she had been governess,”
there survives one bookish relic of interest.  This is ‘Œuvres Diverses
par un auteur de sept ans,’ in quarto, red morocco, printed on vellum,
and with the arms of the mother of the little Duc du Maine (1678).  When
Madame de Maintenon was still playing mother to the children of the king
and of Madame de Montespan, she printed those “works” of her eldest

These ladies were only bibliophiles by accident, and were devoted, in the
first place, to pleasure, piety, or ambition.  With the Comtesse de
Verrue, whose epitaph will be found on an earlier page, we come to a
genuine and even fanatical collector.  Madame de Verrue (1670–1736) got
every kind of diversion out of life, and when she ceased to be young and
fair, she turned to the joys of “shopping.”  In early years, “pleine de
cœur, elle le donna sans comptes.”  In later life, she purchased, or
obtained on credit, everything that caught her fancy, also _sans
comptes_.  “My aunt,” says the Duc de Luynes, “was always buying, and
never baulked her fancy.”  Pictures, books, coins, jewels, engravings,
gems (over 8,000), tapestries, and furniture were all alike precious to
Madame de Verrue.  Her snuff-boxes defied computation; she had them in
gold, in tortoise-shell, in porcelain, in lacquer, and in jasper, and she
enjoyed the delicate fragrance of sixty different sorts of snuff.
Without applauding the smoking of cigarettes in drawing-rooms, we may
admit that it is less repulsive than steady applications to tobacco in
Madame de Verrue’s favourite manner.

The Countess had a noble library, for old tastes survived in her
commodious heart, and new tastes she anticipated.  She possessed ‘The
Romance of the Rose,’ and ‘Villon,’ in editions of Galliot du Pré
(1529–1533) undeterred by the satire of Boileau.  She had examples of the
‘Pleïade,’ though they were not again admired in France till 1830.  She
was also in the most modern fashion of to-day, for she had the beautiful
quarto of La Fontaine’s ‘Contes,’ and Bouchier’s illustrated Molière
(large paper).  And, what I envy her more, she had Perrault’s ‘Fairy
Tales,’ in blue morocco—the blue rose of the folklorist who is also a
book-hunter.  It must also be confessed that Madame de Verrue had a large
number of books such as are usually kept under lock and key, books which
her heirs did not care to expose at the sale of her library.  Once I
myself (_moi chétif_) owned a novel in blue morocco, which had been in
the collection of Madame de Verrue.  In her old age this exemplary woman
invented a peculiarly comfortable arm-chair, which, like her novels, was
covered with citron and violet morocco; the nails were of silver.  If
Madame de Verrue has met the Baroness Bernstein, their conversation in
the Elysian Fields must be of the most gallant and interesting

Another literary lady of pleasure, Madame de Pompadour, can only be
spoken of with modified approval.  Her great fault was that she did not
check the decadence of taste and sense in the art of bookbinding.  In her
time came in the habit of binding books (if binding it can be called)
with flat backs, without the nerves and sinews that are of the very
essence of book-covers.  Without these no binding can be permanent, none
can secure the lasting existence of a volume.  It is very deeply to be
deplored that by far the most accomplished living English artist in
bookbinding has reverted to this old and most dangerous heresy.  The most
original and graceful tooling is of much less real value than permanence,
and a book bound with a flat back, without _nerfs_, might practically as
well not be bound at all.  The practice was the herald of the French and
may open the way for the English Revolution.  Of what avail were the
ingenious mosaics of Derome to stem the tide of change, when the books
whose sides they adorned were not really _bound_ at all?  Madame de
Pompadour’s books were of all sorts, from the inevitable works of
devotions to devotions of another sort, and the ‘Hours’ of Erycina
Ridens.  One of her treasures had singular fortunes, a copy of ‘Daphnis
and Chloe,’ with the Regent’s illustrations, and those of Cochin and
Eisen (Paris, quarto, 1757, red morocco).  The covers are adorned with
billing and cooing doves, with the arrows of Eros, with burning hearts,
and sheep and shepherds.  Eighteen years ago this volume was bought for
10 francs in a village in Hungary.  A bookseller gave £8 for it in Paris.
M. Bauchart paid for it £150; and as it has left his shelves, probably he
too made no bad bargain.  Madame de Pompadour’s ‘Apology for Herodotus’
(La Haye, 1735) has also its legend.  It belonged to M. Paillet, who
coveted a glorified copy of the ‘Pastissier François,’ in M. Bauchart’s
collection.  M Paillet swopped it, with a number of others, for the

             J’avais ‘L’Apologie
    Pour Hérodote,’ en reliûre ancienne, amour
    De livre provenant de chez la Pompadour
    Il me le soutira! {148}

Of Marie Antoinette, with whom our lady book-lovers of the old _régime_
must close, there survive many books.  She had a library in the
Tuileries, as well as at le petit Trianon.  Of all her great and varied
collections, none is now so valued as her little book of prayers, which
was her consolation in the worst of all her evil days, in the Temple and
the Conciergerie.  The book is ‘Office de la Divine Providence’ (Paris,
1757, green morocco).  On the fly-leaf the Queen wrote, some hours before
her death, these touching lines: “Ce 16 Octobre, à 4 h. ½ du matin.  Mon
Dieu! ayez pitié de moi!  Mes yeux n’ont plus de larmes pour prier pour
vous, mes pauvres enfants.  Adieu, adieu!—MARIE ANTOINETTE.”

There can be no sadder relic of a greater sorrow, and the last
consolation of the Queen did not escape the French popular genius for
cruelty and insult.  The arms on the covers of the prayer-book have been
cut out by some fanatic of Equality and Fraternity.


{12}  See illustrations, pp. 114, 115.

{19}  “Slate” is a professional term for a severe criticism.  Clearly the
word is originally “slat,” a narrow board of wood, with which a person
might be beaten.

{66}  _Histoire des Intrigues Amoureuses de Molière_, _et de celles de sa
femme_.  (_A la Sphère_.)  A Francfort, chez Frédéric Arnaud, MDCXCVII.
This anonymous tract has actually been attributed to Racine.  The copy
referred to is marked with a large N in red, with an eagle’s head.

{67a}  _The Lady of the Lake_, 1810.

                    _The Lay of the Last Minstrel_, 1806.

              “To Mrs. Robert Laidlaw, Peel.  From the Author.”

{67b}  _Dictys Cretensis_.  Apud Lambertum Roulland.  Lut.  Paris., 1680.
In red morocco, with the arms of Colbert.

{67c}  _L. Annæi Senecæ Opera Omnia_.  Lug. Bat., apud Elzevirios.  1649.
With book-plate of the Duke of Sussex.

{67d}  _Stratonis Epigrammata_.  Altenburgi, 1764.  Straton bound up in
one volume with Epictetus!  From the Beckford library.

{67e}  _Opera Helii Eobani Hessi_.  Yellow morocco, with the first arms
of De Thou.  Includes a poem addressed “LANGE, _decus meum_.”  Quantity
of penultimate “Eobanus” taken for granted, _metri gratiâ_.

{68a}  _La Journée du Chrétien_.  Coutances, 1831.  With inscription,
“Léon Gambetta.  Rue St. Honoré.  Janvier 1, 1848.”

{68b}  _Villoison’s Homer_.  Venice, 1788.  With Tessier’s ticket and
Schlegel’s book-plate.

{68c}  _Les Essais de Michel_, _Seigneur de Montaigne_.  “Pour François
le Febvre de Lyon, 1695.”  With autograph of Gul. Drummond, and cipresso
e palma.

{68d}  “The little old foxed Molière,” once the property of William Pott,
unknown to fame.

{73}  That there ever were such editors is much disputed.  The story may
be a fiction of the age of the Ptolemies.

{74}  Or, more easily, in Maury’s _Religions de la Grèce_.

{94}  See Essay on ‘Lady Book-Lovers.’

{102}  See Essay on ‘Lady Book-Lovers.’

{107}  For a specimen of Madame Pompadour’s binding see overleaf.  She
had another Rabelais in calf, lately to be seen in a shop in Pall Mall.

{119a}  Mr. Payne does not give the date of the edition from which he
copies the cut.  Apparently it is of the fifteenth century.

{119b}  Reproduced in _The Library_, p. 94.

{145}  Country papers, please copy.  Poets at a distance will kindly
accept this intimation.

{148}  Bibliothèque d’un Bibliophile.  Lille, 1885.

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