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Title: The Catholic World, Volume 15, Nos. 85-90, April 1872-September 1872 - A Monthly Magazine
Author: Various
Language: English
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                                THE

                          CATHOLIC WORLD.

                                 A

                         MONTHLY MAGAZINE

                                OF

                  GENERAL LITERATURE AND SCIENCE.


                             VOL. XV.
                 APRIL, 1872, TO SEPTEMBER, 1872.

                             NEW YORK:
                  THE CATHOLIC PUBLICATION HOUSE,
                         9 Warren Street.

                               1872.



CONTENTS.


      Acoustics and Ventilation, 118.
      Affirmations, 77, 225.
      Aix-la-Chapelle, 795.
      Ambrosia, 803.
      Art and Religion, 356.
      Art, Faith the Life of, 518.

      Bad Beginning for a Saint, A, 675.
      Belgium, Religious Processions in, 546.
      Bolanden’s The Progressionists, 433, 618, 766.
      Bryant’s Translation of the Iliad, 381.

      Caresses of Providence, 270.
      Catholic Congress in Mayence, The Twenty-first, 45.
      Catholic Church in the United States, 577, 749.
      Chaumonot, F. (A Bad Beginning for a Saint), 675.
      Charity, Official, 407.
      Church, The, 814.
        “    and the Press, The, 413.
        “    The Symbolism of the, 605.
      “Chips,” Max Müller’s, 530.
      Cicero, A Speech of, 182.
      Craven’s (Mrs.) Fleurange, 60, 226, 342, 473, 591, 734.

      Donkey, Jans von Steufle’s, 92.
      Duties of the Rich in Christian Society, The, 37, 145, 289, 510.

      Easter Eve, 42.
      Education, The Necessity of Philosophy as a Basis of Higher,
        632, 815.
      English Literature, Taine’s, 1.
      Essay on Epigrams, An, 467.
      Etheridge, Miss, 501.

      Faith the Life of Art, 518.
      Fête-Day at Lyons, A, 362.

      Gothic Revival in England, History of the, 443.
      Greatness, True, 539.

      Handkerchief, The, 849.
      History of the Gothic Revival in England, 443.
      House of Yorke, The, 18, 150, 295.
      How I Learned Latin, 844.

      Iliad, Bryant’s Translation of the, 381.
      India, Protestant Missions in, 690.
      Intellectual Centres, 721.

      Jans von Steufle’s Donkey, 92.
      Jewish Convert, A Reminiscence of Vienna, 211.

      Lamartine, The Mother of, 167.
      Last Days before the Siege, The, 457, 666.
      Letters of His Holiness Pius IX. on the “Union of Christian
        Women,” 563.
      Little Love, 554.
      Lyons, A Fête-Day at, 362.

      Max Müller’s “Chips,” 530.
      Miracles, Newman on, 133.
      Miss Etheridge, 501.
      Mission of the Barbarians, The Roman Empire and the, 102, 654.
      Misty Mountain, On the, 705, 823.
      Mother of Lamartine, The, 167.
      Music, On, 733.

      Newman on Miracles, 133.

      Odd Stories, 124.
      Official Charity, 407.
      On Music, 733.
      On the Misty Mountain, 705, 823.
      Orléans and its Clergy, 833.

      Paris before the War, A Salon in, 187, 323.
      Philosophy as a Basis of Higher Education, The Necessity of,
        632, 815.
      Philosophy, Review of Dr. Stöckl’s, 329.
      Press, The Church and the, 413.
      Progressionists, The, 433, 618, 766.
      Protestant Missions in India, 690.
      Providence, Caresses of, 270.

      Quarter of an Hour in the Old Roman Forum during a Speech of
        Cicero’s, 182.

      Religion, Art and, 356.
      Religious Processions in Belgium, 546.
      Reminiscence of Vienna, A, 211.
      Review of Mr. Bryant’s Iliad, 576.
      Rich, Duties of the, in Christian Society, 37, 145, 289, 510.
      Rights of Women, How the Church Understands and Upholds
        the, 78, 255, 366, 487.
      Roman Empire, The, and the Mission of the Barbarians, 102, 654.

      St. James’s Mission at Vancouver, Decision against the, 715.
      Salon in Paris before the War, A, 187, 323.
      Siege, Last Days before the, 457, 666.
      Spain: What it was, and what it is, 397.
      Spaniards at Home, The, 783.
      Stöckl’s Philosophy, Review of, 329.
      Stories, Odd, 124.
      Summer in the Tyrol, A, 646.
      Symbolism of the Church, The, 605.

      Taine’s English Literature, 1.
      Tennyson: Artist and Moralist, 241.
      True Greatness, 539.
      Twenty-first Catholic Congress in Mayence, The, 45.
      Tyrol, A Summer in the, 646.

      “Union of Christian Women,” Letters of His Holiness Pius IX.
        on the, 563.
      United States, The Catholic Church in the, 577, 749.
      Use and Abuse of the Stage, 836.

      Vancouver, Decision against the St. James’ Mission at, 715.
      Ventilation, Acoustics and, 118.

      Women, How the Church Understands and Upholds the Rights
        of, 78, 255, 366, 487.

      Yorke, The House of, 18, 150, 295.



POETRY.


      After Reading Mr. Tupper’s Proverbial Philosophy, 466.
      Anniversary of Baptism, 149.

      Blessed Virgin, Fragments of Early English Poems on the, 319.
      Books, Old, 729.

      Clerke at Oxenforde, 674.

      Dante’s Purgatorio, Canto III., 730.
      De Vere’s The Last Days of Oisin the Bard, 76.
         “     Legends of Oisin the Bard, 208, 320.
      Devota, 269.

      Faber’s The Papacy, 748.
      Fragments of Early English Poetry, 590.
          “       “       on the Blessed Virgin, 319.

      Oxenforde, The Clerke of, 674.

      Papacy, The, 748.
      Passion, The, 91.
      Passion, Fragments of Early English Poems on the, 17.
      Pledges, The Three, 127.
      Proverbial Philosophy, After Reading Mr. Tupper’s, 466.
      Purgatorio, Dante’s, Canto III., 730.

      Super Omnes Speciosa, 166.

      To Wordsworth, 538.
      Troubadours of Provence, On the, 294.



NEW PUBLICATIONS.


      Allibone’s A Critical Dictionary of English Literature, 564.
      Anderdon’s Christian Æsop, 719.
      Announcements, 144, 288, 432, 576.
      Arias’ Virtues of Mary, Mother of God, 568.
      Augustine, St. Aurelius, Works of, 423.
      Aunt Fanny’s Present, 432.

      Baker’s Dozen, A, 859.
      Betrothed, The, 425.
      Bolanden’s Old God, 856.
      Book of Psalms, 137.
      Books and Pamphlets Received, 144.
      Burke’s The Men and Women of the Reformation, 285.
      Burke’s Lectures and Sermons, 852.
      By the Seaside, 859.

      Catholic Review, The, 860.
      Christian Counsels, 859.
          “     Free Schools, 432.
      Clare’s (Sister Mary Frances) Hornehurst Rectory, 857.
      Coleridge’s Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier, 423.
      Conscience’s The Merchant of Antwerp, 720.
      Craven’s (Mrs.) A Sister’s Story, 287.
      Curtius’ The History of Greece, 139.

      De Croyft’s (Mrs.) Little Jakey, 432.
      Dorward’s Wild Flowers of Wisconsin, 287.
      Dubois’ Zeal in the Work of the Ministry, 137.

      Erckmann-Chatrian’s The Plebiscite, 858.
      Excerpta ex Rituali Romano, etc., 574.
      Extracts from the Fathers, etc., 569.

      Fashion, 140.
      Fiske’s The Offertorium, 574.
      Fitton’s Memoirs of the Establishment of the Church in
        N. E., 857.
      Formby’s Parables of Our Lord, 286.
         “    School Songs, 286.
         “    The Devotion of the Seven Dolors, 286.
         “     “  School Keepsake, 286.
         “     “  Seven Sacraments, 286.
      Fox’s Fashion, 140.
      French Eggs in an English Basket, 425.
      Fullerton’s (Lady) Constance Sherwood, 422.

      Gardner’s Latin School Series, 575.
      Gagarin’s The Russian Clergy, 719.
      Gleeson’s History of the Church in California, 428.
      Gould’s Legends of the Patriarchs and Prophets, 432.
      Gould’s Lives of the Saints, 576.
      Green’s Indulgences, Absolutions, Tax Tables, etc., 720.

      Half-hour Recreations in Popular Science, 431.
      Half-hours with Modern Scientists, 431.
      Hare’s Walks in Rome, 432.
      Harpain, Marie Eustelle, Life of, 285.
      Hart’s A Manual of English Literature, 427.
      Haskins’ Six Weeks Abroad, 571.
      Hengstenberg’s Kingdom of God under the Old Testament, 429.
      House of Yorke, The, 420.
      Humphrey’s Divine Teacher, 855.

      Lamon’s Life of Abraham Lincoln, 718.
      Little Pierre, the Pedlar of Alsace, 284.
      Liquefaction of the Blood of St. Januarius, 136.
      Longfellow’s The Divine Tragedy, 427.

      McQuaid’s (Bp.) Christian Free Schools, 432.
      Maggie’s Rosary, 425.
      Maguire’s Pontificate of Pius IX., 856.
      Maistre’s A Journey Around My Room, 138.
      Manning’s Sermons on Ecclesiastical Subjects, 142.
      Manzoni’s The Betrothed, 425.
      Martin’s Going Home, 858.
      May’s (Sophie) Little Prudy’s Flyaway Series, 144.
      Memoir of Roger B. Taney, 853.
      Merrick’s Lectures on the Church, 430.
      Monnin’s Life of the Curé d’Ars, 719.
      Mulloy’s Passion Play, 427.
      Mumford’s A Remembrance for the Living to Pray for the
        Dead, 144.
      Mystical City of God (Abridged), 720.

      Newman’s Discussions and Arguments on Various Subjects, 421.
      Newman’s Historical Sketches, 855.

      Oakeley’s The Order and Ceremonial of the Mass, 856.

      Paine’s Physiology of the Soul, etc., 430.
      Pellico’s Duties of Young Men, 575.
      Phædrus, Justin, and Nepos, 575.
      Proctor’s Half-Hour Recreations in Popular Science, 431.
      Proctor’s Strange Discoveries Respecting the Aurora, 431.
      Public School Education, 860.

      Rawes’ Great Truths in Little Words, 856.
      Reports on Observations of the Total Solar Eclipse, 431.
      Roscoe, Huggins, and Lockyer’s Spectrum Analysis, 431.

      St. Teresa, The Book of the Foundations of, 142.
      St. Thomas of Aquin: His Life and Labors, 568.
      Saunders’ Salad for the Solitary and the Social, 143.
      Sedgwick’s Relation and Duty of the Lawyer to the State, 430.
      Sermons by Fathers of the Society of Jesus, 425.
      Sir Humphrey’s Trial, 860.
      Smiddy’s An Address on the Druids, Churches, and Round Towers
        of Ireland, 143.
      Spectrum Analysis, 431.
      Souvestre’s French Eggs, 425.

      Taine’s Notes on England, 719.
      Tondini’s The Pope of Rome, 427.
      Travels in Arabia, 432.
      Tyler’s Life of Roger B. Taney, 853.

      Una and Her Paupers; or, Memorials of Agnes E. Jones, 569.

      Vaughan’s St. Thomas of Aquin: His Life and Labors, 568.
      Veith’s Via Crucis; or, The Way of the Cross, 426.
      Vetromile’s Travels in Europe and the East, 857.
      Virtues and Defects of a Young Girl, 571.

      Warner’s Saunterings, 719.
      Welsh’s Women Helpers in the Church, 572.
      Wiseman’s Witch of Rosenburg, 720.
      Women Helpers in the Church, 572.
      Woodland Cottage, etc., 432.

       *       *       *       *       *



                        THE CATHOLIC WORLD.

                  VOL. XV., No. 85.--APRIL, 1872.

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by Rev.
   I. T. HECKER, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
                         Washington, D. C.



TAINES ENGLISH LITERATURE.[1]


In so far as we may judge from the notices in periodicals and
newspapers, this work appears to have been received, both in
England and the United States, not only with general favor, but
with enthusiastic admiration.

A history of English literature based on a system new to the great
body of English readers, and written with freshness, _verve_, and
certain attractive peculiarities of style, could not fail to fix
their attention and engage their interest from the beginning to
the end of its two bulky octavo volumes. The author of the work in
question is so well known in the world of letters by his essays on
the philosophy of art that he needs no introduction to our readers.

M. Taine starts out with the assumption that the literature of any
given country is the exponent of its mental life, or, as he states
it (p. 20), “I am about to write the history of a literature,
and to seek in it for the psychology of a people.” In France and
Germany, we are told, history has been revolutionized by the study
of their literatures.

  “It was perceived,” says M. Taine, “that a work of literature is
  not a mere play of imagination, a solitary caprice of a heated
  brain, but a transcript of contemporary manners, a type of a
  certain kind of mind. It was concluded that one might retrace,
  from the monuments of literature, the style of man’s feelings
  and thoughts for centuries back. The attempt was made, and it
  succeeded.”

Unquestionably the style of man’s feelings may be traced in
literature for centuries back. That is M. Taine’s first approach.
But between the successful insight into this or that writer’s
opinions and modes of thought and the opinions and modes of
thought of a nation, the void is so enormous--unless, indeed, we
dangerously reason from particulars to generals--as to require to
fill it more subjective literary productions than any country has
ever yet produced.

From this system it would follow that if a nation has no
literature it can have no history. If it have--as is too often
the case--no literature but that of a despotism or of a dominant
minority, it follows that you cannot discern a single idea nor hear
a single pulsation of the heart of a great people. But granting
the literature to exist, although we are told that a work “is not
a mere play of the imagination,” we nevertheless know full well
that some of the most brilliant portions of every literature are
precisely what that phrase describes. Beyond that, we also know
that all writers are not only not sincere, but too often unfaithful
because too often venal, and cannot therefore be relied upon.

In certain writings enumerated by him, M. Taine says: “The reader
will see all the wealth that may be drawn from a literary work:
_when the work is rich, and one knows how to interpret it_, we
find there the psychology of a soul, frequently of an age, now and
then of a race.” Partially true. And M. Taine might have instanced
the _Confessions_ of St. Augustine, but he does not. We may indeed
find what he indicates under certain conditions, for, as he very
correctly adds, “their utility grows with their perfection.”
Unfortunately, such works occur in literature at the rarest
intervals.

It cannot be questioned that M. Taine’s theory contains a germ
of truth. But, in fact, so far as it is true it is a very old
story. What is true in his theory is not new, and what is new is
questionable. Since history has risen to be something more and
something better than a mere roll of warriors and a correct list
of kings and queens--which latter class of good people are fast
disappearing, never again, we trust, to return--since the historian
has been elevated from the rank of a mere annalist to be the
interpreter to his own age of not only the acts and sufferings,
but the mind and the heart of dead generations, he has become avid
of the most trifling details concerning their transitory passage
here on earth. He desires to discover and relate how they lived,
slept, and ate--how they talked, toiled, and travelled--what they
said, what they thought--what, in a word, was their social and
psychological life. To obtain the knowledge he seeks, all sources
are equally valuable--written manuscripts that speak as well as
stone ruins that are dumb.

Such knowledge as this the new school of German historians,
having first exhausted all literary material, have sought to
gather from the most remote and even repulsive sources; and from
philological analysis, from works of art, from monuments, old
roads, half-corroded coins, almost obliterated inscriptions, broken
pottery, partially effaced frescoes, and from the very fragments of
mere kitchen utensils, they have created afresh and revealed to us,
in all its details, the daily and familiar life of ancient Rome,
and poured a flood of light upon the living man of the that day.

And yet, before the results of their archæological and ethnological
labors were given to the world, we thought we knew our Roman
well and familiarly. For what literature, unless it be that of
Greece, presents so rich and so complete a portrait gallery of all
the types of its people as the literature of Rome? From Virgil,
who gives us the ploughman and vinedresser, and Cæsar, through
whose pages marches the Roman soldier, to Livy, Sallust, Tacitus,
Juvenal, and Horace, we have a score of writers in whose pages all
the virtues and vices, the grandeur and the shame, the nobility
and the grovelling sensuality, of Rome are spread before us in
language so attractive and so grand as to promise to outlast many
modern masterpieces.

M. Taine sneers at “Latin literature as worth nothing at the
outset,” being “borrowed and imitative.” To this we reply, _Adhuc
sub judice_, etc., and, bad or not, it tells the story of the Roman
people, and very nearly reveals to us the ancient Roman as he
walked on earth.

We have no such faithful picture of the English people in English
literature.

We fear that M. Taine mistakes a part for the whole.
Unquestionably, literature has its uses, and high ones, for the
elucidation of many a problem and the illumination of many a page
of history; but, if we set out to find the history of a nation
in its literature, outside of history proper and the new aids
to historical research we have referred to, we merely adopt a
deceptive guide that can lead us only to disappointment. For these
grand theories, so symmetrical and so plausible, when presented
by their generally eloquent framers, stand, when put into actual
service, very little wear and tear. Accordingly, we find that there
happens to M. Taine precisely what happens to every man who starts
out to construct a work strictly according to a given system.
And what thus happens is a serious matter. This it is. Facts are
treated as of secondary importance. They are put upon their best
behavior. They must show themselves up to a certain standard, or
they are counted as worthless. If they are so wrong-headed as to
come in conflict with the author’s theory--the old story--why, so
much the worse for the facts, and our theorist ruthlessly tramples
upon and walks over them straight to his objective point, which is,
necessarily, his foregone conclusion.

It would detain us too long to present an analysis of M. Taine’s
introduction, from which alone it would not be difficult to
demonstrate the insufficiency of his theory. It contains passages
which, in the stately march of his eloquent phrase, seem to sound
as though they announced newly discovered truths of startling
import, but which, translated into familiar language, turn out to
be but little more than the text-book enunciation of some familiar
principle. Thus:

  “When you have observed and noted in man one, two, three, then
  a multitude of sensations, does this suffice, or does your
  knowledge appear complete? Is a book of observation a psychology?
  It is no psychology, and here as elsewhere the search for causes
  must come after the collection of facts. No matter if the facts
  be physical or moral, they all have their causes; there is a
  cause for ambition, for courage, for truth, as there is for
  digestion, for muscular movement, for animal heat. Vice and
  virtue are products, like vitriol and sugar, and every complex
  phenomenon has its springs from other more simple phenomena on
  which it hangs.”

M. Taine, it is evident, cannot be charged with sparing his readers
either the enunciation or the elucidation of first principles.

The author commences by disposing of the Anglo-Saxons, their
literature, and six centuries of their annals, in a short chapter
of twenty-three pages, which, so far as our observation has
extended, has been passed over both by English and American
criticism almost without remark. Some reviewers account for its
conciseness by saying that Anglo-Saxon literature has but little
interest for the general reader, except as a question of philology.
As of general application, the remark is not widely incorrect, but
it is signally out of place with reference to M. Taine’s work, for
he announces as part of his task that of “developing the recondite
mechanism whereby the Saxon barbarian has been transformed into the
Englishman of to-day.”

Now, fairly to understand the Englishman of to-day, we must, by M.
Taine’s own announcement, have the Saxon original placed before
us; for, he says, “the modern Englishman existed entire in this
Saxon” (p. 31). The Saxon must be produced to our sight, and we
must have him evolved strictly on M. Taine’s principles, viz., _as
the psychological product of his literature_. If this is done, he
will fulfil his engagement of “developing the recondite mechanism,”
etc., or, in other words, of presenting us a full exposition of
Anglo-Saxon literature.

We feel bound to say that none of these promises are kept, and
none of these results are reached, by M. Taine; nay, more, that he
not only totally fails in presenting a fair or even intelligible
abstract of Anglo-Saxon literature, but that he appears to be
wanting in the necessary information which might enable him to do
it. We think it less derogatory to him to say that his knowledge of
the subject is defective than to make the necessarily alternative
charge.

We find, however, some excuse for M. Taine’s limited acquirements
in Anglo-Saxon literature in the fact that he appears to have
relied to a great extent on Warton and on Sharon Turner. Dr.
Warton’s well-known history of English poetry is unquestionably
a work of great merit and utility, in so far as it treats of
English poetry from the period of Chaucer down, but as authority
on any matter connected with Anglo-Saxon literature, it is next
to worthless. Warton knew very little about it. Sharon Turner as
authority on Anglo-Saxon history, and Sharon Turner as authority
on Anglo-Saxon literature, are two very different persons. The
knowledge of Anglo-Saxon literature has made great strides since
his day. For his history he was not dependent on Anglo-Saxon
documents. Latin material was abundant.

It must be borne in mind that, although the English tongue is so
directly derived from it, Anglo-Saxon is, nevertheless, a dead
language, and when, in the sixteenth century, its study was to
some extent revived, it had not only been dead four hundred years,
but buried and forgotten. That revival occurred at a time when
religious controversy ran high in England, the motive prompting it
being to discover testimony among Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical MSS.
as to the existence of an English Catholic Church separate from
and independent of Papal authority. Thus far the search has not
been attended with any marked success. In the seventeenth century,
Anglo-Saxon was studied for the light it threw on the early history
and legislation of England. Since the commencement of the present
century, the study has been pursued with greater success than
ever for objects purely literary and philological. Indeed, it may
be said that, until within some forty years, the cultivation of
Anglo-Saxon was confined to a very small circle of scholars.

The most remarkable monuments of its literature are of
comparatively recent publication, and there happened at the outset
to the study of Anglo-Saxon precisely what happened to the study of
Sanskrit. It was that many scholars, aware of its literary wealth,
and, possibly, in possession of copies of some of its productions,
were without adequate means of pursuing or even of commencing their
studies on account of the want of dictionaries and grammars. It
was for this reason that Frederick Schlegel, before writing his
great work on _The Language and Wisdom of the Indians_, was obliged
to leave Germany and go to England, in order to avail himself of
the resources of the British Museum; and when we consider the
difficulties under which Dr. Lingard made his Anglo-Saxon studies,
and wrote his _Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church_, of which
work M. Taine does not appear to have heard, we are more than ever
surprised at the ability displayed by the great English historian.

When we undertake to trace the gradual development of the
Anglo-Saxon of Anno 500 into the Englishman of 1800, the first
phase is immeasurably the most interesting and the most important,
for in that phase he was at once civilized and christianized.
Take away the introduction and development of Christianity from
Anglo-Saxon history, and you have left nothing but a list of kings
and two or three battles. Now, M. Taine’s exposition of how,
when, and through what agencies civilization and Christianity
were brought into England may be descriptively characterized as
“how not to do it.” His great effort in his introductory chapter
is to eliminate Christianity from Anglo-Saxon history, and to
give us, as it were, the play of Hamlet with the part of Hamlet
omitted--an effort so systematic and persistent as to make us
almost regret our volunteered plea for his excuse on the ground
of want of familiarity with his subject. Here is his device to
escape the necessity of relating the all essential story of the
conversion to Christianity: “A race so constituted was predisposed
to Christianity by its gloom, its aversion to sensual and reckless
living, its inclination for the serious and sublime.” M. Taine has
just described (pp. 41-43) the leading characteristics of the
_pagan_ Anglo-Saxon mind as manifested in its poetry--“a race so
constituted”--and cites in support of his exposition two passages
translated from what he asserts to be pagan Anglo-Saxon poetry.
The first, _Battle of Finsborough_, we know was found on the cover
of a MS. book of homilies, written by some monk, although it may,
perhaps, be of pagan origin. The second, and more important one,
_The Battle of Brunanburh_, containing the line, “The sun on high,
the great star, God’s brilliant candle, the noble creature”[2] (p.
43), is Christian and monkish beyond all peradventure, for it forms
a portion of the _Saxon Chronicle_, begun as late as the days of
Alfred. The battle was fought in the year 939!

We continue: “Its aversion to sensual and reckless living.” This
is simply astounding when we remember that M. Taine has just been
telling us, through twenty pages, of their “ravenous stomachs
filled with meat and cheese, heated by strong drinks,” “prone to
brutal drunkenness,” becoming “more gluttonous, carving their hogs,
filling themselves with flesh; swallowing all the strong, coarse
drinks which they could procure,” etc.

And then follows the far more surprising psychological result:
“These utter barbarians embrace Christianity straightway, _through
sheer force of mood and clime_” (p. 44).

Now, M. Taine knows--as we all know--that these pagan Anglo-Saxons
were brutal and sensual to the last degree. In personal indulgence,
they were what he describes and more. They were pirates, robbers,
and murderers.

The rewards promised them by their gods after death were that they
should have nothing to do but eat and drink. Even the paganism
of their Scandinavian and Teutonic forefathers, a mixture of
massacre and sensuality, was corrupted by them, and the emblems
of their bloody and obscene gods were naked swords and hammers,
with which they broke the heads of their victims. The immortality
promised them in their Walhalla was a long continuance of new
days of slaughter, and nights of debauch spent in drinking from
their enemies’ skulls. Such was the race found by M. Taine so
constituted as to be “predisposed to Christianity by its gloom,
its aversion to sensual and reckless living”; such the people who
“through sheer force of mood and clime” laid aside their cruelty,
brutality, carnage, and sensuality, gave up feasting for fasting,
proud independence for obedience, indulgence for self-denial! Truly
remarkable effects of atmosphere. The climate of England must have
greatly changed since the year 597.

In the course of a debate which once arose in the British House of
Commons on the subject of negro emancipation, it was urged against
the measure that you could not civilize the negro; he belonged to
an inferior race which offered human sacrifices and sold their
own children into slavery. Whereupon, a member promptly replied
that was just what our ancestors in England did--they offered
human sacrifices and sold their children into slavery. This will
naturally recall to the reader’s mind the touching incident which
led to the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, the fair-haired and
blue-eyed children offered for sale, and their redemption by the
great Gregory, who said they were not only Angles, but angels.
From that moment the mission to England was resolved upon. We all
know the story. Gregory’s departure, his capture by the citizens
of Rome and forcible return, his elevation to the pontifical
throne, the departure of St. Augustine and his forty companions,
their trials, sufferings, and danger of death on the route,
their arrival in England, their labors, the gradual and peaceful
conversion of the people, their successful efforts in bringing the
Saviour, his Gospel, and his church to benighted heathens, and
their civilization and social amelioration of the Anglo-Saxons. To
the immortal glory of these men be it said that neither violence
nor persecution was resorted to by them, their disciples, or their
protectors for the triumph of civilization and religion. It is one
of the grandest Christian victories on record. Of all this, here is
M. Taine’s record:

  “Roman missionaries bearing a silver cross with a picture of
  Christ came in procession, chanting a litany. Presently the high
  priest of the Northumbrians declared, in presence of the nobles,
  that the old gods were powerless, and confessed that formerly ‘he
  knew nothing of that which he adored;’ and he among the first,
  lance in hand, assisted to demolish their temple. At his side a
  chief rose in the assembly, and said:

  “You remember, O king, what sometimes happens in winter when
  you are at supper with your earls and thanes, while the good
  fire burns within, and it rains and the wind howls without. A
  sparrow enters at one door, and flies out quickly at the other.
  During that rapid passage and pleasant moment it disappears,
  and from winter returns to winter again. Such seems to me to be
  the life of man, and his career but a brief moment between that
  which goes before and that which follows after, and of which we
  know nothing. If, then, the new doctrine can teach us something
  certain, it deserves to be followed.”[3]

The Protestant historian, Sharon Turner, says of the conversion of
the Anglo-Saxons: “It was accomplished in a manner worthy of the
benevolence and purity [of the Christian religion]. Genuine piety
seems to have led the first missionaries to our shores. Their zeal,
their perseverance, and the excellence of the system they diffused
made their labors successful.” He gives a detailed narrative of the
action of Gregory the Great, of the devotion and self-sacrifice
of St. Augustine and his companions, of their long and perilous
journey, their landing in England, and, in describing their
procession on the Isle of Thanet, writes: “With a silver cross and
a picture of Christ, they advanced singing the litany.” M. Taine,
with a stroke of the pen, copies this line almost word for word,
and makes it do duty for a full and detailed account of the labors
of St. Augustine and his forty companions for two score years!

What period of time the word _presently_ represents to M. Taine
we do not know. It may be an hour, or a day, or a month, but the
incident which he refers to as occurring “presently” took place
about forty years after the “procession.”

And now it is sought to belittle or decry the victory of the
Christian missionaries in two ways: 1st. It was the most natural
thing in the world for the brutal, bloody, slave-dealing, drunken
barbarian to embrace the new religion, because his paganism so
strongly resembled Christianity. 2d. But after conversion they
remained, after all, substantially, barbarous pagans as before, and
their songs remind M. Taine of “the songs of the servants of Odin,
tonsured and clad in the garments of monks.” “The Christian hymns
embody the pagan” (p. 46).

To demonstrate this, and to show that the songs of these converted
Saxons are “but a concrete of exclamations,” have “no development,”
and are nothing but paganism after all, M. Taine gives five prose
lines of imperfect translation from a poem by Cædmon. Here is a
correct rendering of the opening of the poem in the original metre.
Let the reader judge of the amount of pagan inspiration it contains:

    “Now must we glorify
    The guardian of heaven’s kingdom,
    The Maker’s might,
    And his mind’s thought,
    The work of the worshipped father,
    When of his wonders, each one,
    The ever-living Lord
    Ordered the origin,
    He erst created
    For earth’s children
    Heaven as a high roof,
    The holy Creator:
    Then on this mid-world
    Did man’s great guardian,
    The ever-living Lord,
    Afterward prepare
    For men a mansion,
    The Master Almighty.”[4]

M. Taine continues:

  “One of them” [those servants of Odin, take notice], “Adhelm,
  stood on a bridge leading to the town where he lived, and
  repeated warlike and profane odes alternately with religious
  poetry, in order to attract and instruct the men of his time. He
  could do it without changing his key. In one of them, a funeral
  song, Death speaks. It was one of the last Saxon compositions,
  containing a terrible Christianity, which seems at the same time
  to have sprung from the blackest depths of the _Edda_.”

M. Taine has here given rein to his imagination, and made terrible
work with Saxon chronology and other matters. For Adhelm read
Aldhelm, in Saxon _Ealdhelm_, so King Alfred spelt it. The name
signifies _Old Helmet_; Aldhelm was of princely extraction.
“Warlike and profane odes” does not correctly translate “_carmen
triviale_.” Aldhelm was a learned priest, a Greek, Latin, and
Hebrew scholar, with a profound knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.
His present reputation rests on his Latin works. His contemporary
reputation was founded on his Anglo-Saxon productions. He composed
canticles and ballads in his native tongue, and, remarking the
haste of many of the Anglo-Saxon peasants to leave church as soon
as the Sunday Mass was over, in order to avoid the sermon, he would
lie in wait for them at the bridge or wayside, and, singing to
them as a bard, attract their attention, and in the fascination
of a musical verse teach them the truths of religion they would
not wait to hear from the pulpit. It was not for the pleasure of
singing that Aldhelm thus labored: it was to save souls. Without
the slightest authority, M. Taine puts in his mouth this beautiful
Anglo-Saxon fragment:

  “Death speaks to man: ’For thee was a house built ere thou
  wast born; for thee was a mould shapen ere thou camest of thy
  mother. Its height is not determined, nor its depth measured,
  nor is it closed up (however long it may be) until I bring thee
  where thou shalt remain, until I shall measure thee and the sod
  of earth. Thy house is not highly built, it is unhigh and low;
  when thou art in it the heelways are low, the sideways low. The
  roof is built full nigh thy breast; so thou shalt dwell in earth
  full cold, dim, and dark. Doorless is that house, and dark it is
  within; there thou art fast prisoner, and Death holds the key.
  Loathly is that earth-house, and grim to dwell in; there thou
  shalt dwell, and worms shall share thee. Thus thou art laid, and
  leavest thy friends; thou hast no friend that will come to thee,
  who will ever inquire how that house liketh thee, who shall ever
  open the door for thee, and seek thee, for soon thou becomest
  loathly and hateful to look upon.’”

The composition is not by Aldhelm, who, probably, never heard of
it. All of Aldhelm’s Anglo-Saxon MSS. perished when the magnificent
monastery at Malmesbury was sacked under Henry VIII. The Protestant
historian, Maitland, thus tells the story: “The precious MSS.
of his [Aldhelm’s] library were long employed to fill up broken
windows in the neighboring houses, or to light the bakers’ fires.”

All that we know of _The Grave_ is that it was found written in
the margin of a volume of Anglo-Saxon homilies, preserved in the
Bodleian Library. It is of a period following Aldhelm’s era, and
is in the dialect of East Anglia, while Aldhelm was of Wessex.
But M. Taine himself demonstrates that it could not be Aldhelm’s.
At page 50, he tells us Aldhelm died in 709, having previously
stated (p. 46) that the fragment “was one of the last Anglo-Saxon
compositions.” But among the finest Anglo-Saxon poetical
compositions are the celebrated _Ormulum_, and various poems by
Layamon, which were written about the year 1225. _The Grave_,
moreover, so far from containing “a terrible Christianity,” has
so essentially the tone and spirit of many well-known Catholic
meditations on death, that it might have been written in a Spanish
monastery or taken from a book of Christian devotions.

Of course, “the poor monks” can do nothing creditable in M.
Taine’s eyes, and he comes to sad grief in undertaking to go, by
specification, beyond the common counts of the ordinary declaration
dictated by bigotry. At page 53, vol. i., he thus refers in
contemptuous terms to the monks who compiled the _Saxon Chronicle_:

  “They spun out awkwardly and heavily dry chronicles, a sort
  of historical almanacs. You might think them peasants, who,
  returning from their toil, came and scribbled with chalk on a
  smoky table the date of a year of scarcity, the price of corn,
  the changes in the weather, a death.”

And here a word as to this _Chronicle_, which is a national history
generally conceded to have been established by King Alfred, under
the advice of his counsellor Pflegmund, Archbishop of Canterbury,
about 870 A.D. It begins with a brief account of Britain from
Cæsar’s invasion, and becomes very full in its narrative after the
year 853.

The _Chronicle_ shares with Bede’s history the highest place among
authorities for early English history. Seven original copies of it
are still in existence, and, making due allowance for the ravages
of time and the elements, and the destruction by war, demolition
of the monasteries, theft, spoliation, and the wilful mischief of
religious bigotry, the survival of these seven copies would go
far to prove the former existence of several hundreds. The copies
yet extant are all evidently based upon a single original text,
and it is presumed that the _Chronicle_ was continued at all the
monasteries in England, each one forwarding its local annals to
some one special monastery, where a brief summary was compiled
of the whole, copies of which were supplied to all the religious
houses, to be incorporated with the general _Chronicle_, thus
keeping up from year to year the general history of the nation.
M. Taine gives some half-dozen dry-as-dust extracts from the
_Chronicle_ of this nature:

  “902. _This year there was the great fight at the Holme, between
  the men of Kent and the Danes._”

He adds:

  “It is thus the poor monks speak, with monotonous dryness, who
  after Alfred’s time gather up and take notes of great visible
  events; sparsely scattered we find a few moral reflections, a
  passionate emotion, nothing more” (vol. i. p. 53).

But at page 42, M. Taine has given us as belonging to a period
preceding Christianity in England, as a part of “the pagan
current,” an extract from the song on Athelstan’s victory, of which
he speaks in terms of enthusiastic admiration. “If there has ever
been anywhere a deep and serious poetic sentiment, it is here,”
etc. Now, this song, under the date of A.D. 937, _is a part of the
Saxon Chronicle, written by some poor monk “after Alfred’s time_.”

    “This year King Athelstane, the Lord of Earls,
    Ring-giver to the warriors, Edmund too
    His brother, won in fight with edge of swords
    Lifelong renown at Brunanburh. The sons
    Of Edward clave with the forged steel the wall
    Of linden shields. The spirit of their sires
    Made them defenders of the land, its wealth,
    Its homes, in many a fight with many a foe.”[5]

“It is thus the monks speak with monotonous dryness”! And so
speak they often in their _Chronicle_. The death of Byrhtnoth
referred to by M. Taine in note 2, p. 36, is also from the _Saxon
Chronicle_, and Mr. Morley specifies numerous other poetical
passages in it. Nevertheless, we find that M. Taine is not at
all embarrassed by his somewhat uncertain and limited command of
Anglo-Saxon literature. On the contrary, he qualifies as _amusing_
(p. 30) a discussion on a point of Anglo-Saxon history by two such
distinguished scholars as Dr. Lingard and Sharon Turner! These
historians “amuse” M. Taine!

  “What is your first remark,” asks Mr. Taine, “in turning over
  the great, stiff leaves of a folio, the yellow sheets of a
  manuscript? This, you say, was not created alone. It is but a
  mould, like a fossil shell, an imprint, like one of those shapes
  embossed in stone by an animal which lived and perished. Under
  the stone there was an animal, and behind the document there
  was a man. Why do you study the shell, except to represent to
  yourself the animal? So do you study the document only in order
  to know the man” (Introduction, p. 1).

In this we almost agree with our author. It is well to study
shells, and well to study men in the shells of leaves, sheets,
manuscripts, or other literary exuviæ they may have left. Our
objection to M. Taine is that he has piles and heaps of such
shells, which he resolutely refuses to study, behind which he
persistently refuses to look. The trouble with him lies here.
Behind every shell is a monk, a priest, or a bishop, whose piety
and whose virtues are not subjects of agreeable contemplation to
a writer who announces his belief that religion is a mere human
invention; that man makes a religion as he paints a portrait or
constructs a steam-engine. Thus M. Taine states it: “Let us take
first the three chief works of human intelligence--religion, art,
philosophy” (p. 15).

Accordingly, of the great minds of Anglo-Saxon England during
whole centuries we see nothing in M. Taine’s pages. They are
carefully kept out of sight. One of the most majestic figures in
all literary history, that of the Venerable Bede, is absent from
his chapters, being referred to only twice by name, once as “Bede,
their old poet”! The learned Aldhelm is made a mere gleeman on the
highway. Roger Bacon’s name is not mentioned--the name of the man
who was a prodigy of learning, and who announced the principles
of the inductive system nearly four hundred years before Lord
Verulam appropriated the glory of its discovery.[6] Augustine,
Paulinus, Wilfred, Cuthbert, and scores of others are not referred
to. These men and their companions were at once monks, preachers,
schoolmasters, book-makers, scribes, authors, physicians,
architects, builders, surveyors, and farmers. _Laborare est orare_,
Labor is prayer, was their device. Barren moors, repulsive marshes,
fever-bearing fens, and wasted tracts they cultivated, and made
glad fields of gloomy swamps.

The sandy plains and barren heaths of Northumbria, and the marshes
of East Anglia and Mercia, the monks transformed by intelligent
labor and enduring toil from uninhabited deserts into rich fields
yielding abundant harvests. Around these isolated monasteries
soon sprang up, as around so many centres of life, schools,
workshops, and settlements. The wilderness blossomed. And the monks
wrote Christianity and civilization on the hearts of the people
and on the soil of England. Not to mention the grand literary
monuments dedicated to the record of their pious labors by Count
Montalembert in his _Monks of the West_, all these victories for
humanity are clearly discernible to scores of modern Protestant
writers, who have borne eloquent testimony to the noble devotion
and glorious services of these holy men, whose real merits have
been too long obscured by the historical conspiracy against truth.
They have looked behind shells and manuscripts, and found something
to reward their search.

Thus Carlyle finds a man behind the old MS. of Jocelin of Brakelond:

  “A personable man of seven-and-forty, stout made, stands erect
  as a pillar; with bushy eyebrows, the face of him beaming into
  you in a really strange way: the name of him Samson: a man worth
  looking at.... He was wont to preach to the people in the English
  tongue, though according to the dialect of Norfolk, where he
  had been brought up. There preached he: a man worth going to
  hear.... Abbot Samson built many useful, many pious edifices;
  human dwellings, churches, steeples, barns;--all fallen now and
  vanished, but useful while they stood. He built and endowed ‘the
  Hospital of Babwell’; built ‘fit houses for the St. Edmunsbury
  schools.’ ... And yet these grim old walls are not a dilettantism
  and dubiety; they are an earnest fact. It was a most real and
  serious purpose they were built for? Yes, another world it was,
  when these black ruins, white in their new mortar and fresh
  chiselling, first saw the sun as walls, long ago. _Gauge not,
  with thy dilettante compasses, with that placid dilettante
  simper, the Heaven’s-Watchtower of our Fathers, the fallen God’s
  Houses, the Golgotha of true Souls departed”!_

With the advantage of eleven hundred years of accumulated knowledge
in his favor, the cultivated M. Taine can well afford to sneer at
“a kind of literature” with which he credits these monks. The “kind
of literature” they most affected, and in which they unceasingly
labored, was the kind known as “the Scriptures.” Of a verity,
strange occupation for “sons of Odin,” for the most meagre summary
of Anglo-Saxon, monastic labor in this field is a magnificent
memorial of their imperishable glory.

In default of types and power-presses, volumes of the Scriptures
were multiplied by copying, and every talent and gift of man was
enlisted to preserve, beautify, and bring them within the reach
and comprehension of the great body of the people. Its light was
not hidden in the obscurity of an unfamiliar tongue. In the fourth
century, on the banks of the Danube, Ulphilas had translated the
entire Scriptures into the then barbarous Mœso-Gothic. In England,
Cædmon had sung the Scripture story of God’s power and mercy, and
put into verse all of Genesis and Exodus, with other portions of
the Old Testament, besides the life and passion of our Lord and
the Acts of the Apostles. The Venerable Bede had translated St.
John’s Gospel, and written numerous expositions of the Old and New
Testaments. Aldhelm had translated the Psalms. The entire four
Gospels have come down to us in the Anglo-Saxon of King Alfred’s
day. Ælfric translated the whole of the Pentateuch and the Book of
Job. The Normans in England had various translations besides their
metrical romance, and a verse translation of the Bible. In 1327,
William of Shoreham translated the Psalter into English. A few
years later, Richard Rolle translated the Psalms and part of the
Book of Job into the dialect of Northumberland. The four Gospels
issued in 1571 by Parker, with a dedication to Queen Elizabeth by
Foxe, the martyrologist, _are copied from two Anglo-Saxon versions
of the tenth and eleventh centuries_. From the original copy, _Tha
Halgan Godspel on Englisc_, they appear to have been divided and
arranged for reading aloud to the people. Many of these, it will
be noticed, are versions adorned and heightened by literary labor
and poetic inspiration. Plain prose Bible translations existed
in large numbers, which, as being more exposed, were the first
to perish from the effects of time, the elements, and the wilful
destruction of bigotry. The metrical versions were generally better
bound and better cared for in special libraries, and in the hands
of the wealthy. And yet of these how few copies survive! And who
shall tell us of scores of hundreds more of which we have never
heard? An immense body of Anglo-Saxon Scriptural literature has
perished and left no trace.

But M. Taine, it may be objected, was surely under no obligation
to write the history of your Anglo-Saxon monks! Certainly not. But
he was under some sort of obligation not to represent the product
of Christianity, viz., the Anglo-Saxon man, as the product of pure
paganism. That he has done so, we have shown from the remarkable
manner in which he has spoken of the products of Anglo-Saxon
literature, and we have not taken into account the full and
rich material at command, written in the Latin language by the
Anglo-Saxons.

When we get further on in M. Taine’s work, we find in his fifth
chapter, book the second, a yet more flagrant violation of his
promise to show us the Englishman as the psychological product of
his literature, and to “develop the recondite mechanism whereby
the Saxon barbarian has been transformed into the Englishman
of to-day.” Does he present to us the nature of the English
Reformation as evolved from the writings of Englishmen of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Not at all. It would not
be pleasant to show that, as politics was the leverage of the
Reformation in Germany, plunder was the leverage in England, and he
candidly admits, in phrase of studied delicacy (p. 362), that “the
Reformation entered England by a side door.”

And so he travels all the way to Germany, and gives us, instead of
English opinion and English mind, the echoes of Martin Luther’s
“bellowing in bad Latin,”[7] and passages from his beery, boozy
_Table-Talk_, bolstered up with extracts from a modern history of
England by the late Mr. Froude. No study of shells and animals and
manuscripts here. No elaborate development of recondite mechanism!

But we have scarcely space left for a few remarks we desire to make
concerning


THE SHAKESPEARE OF M. TAINE.

And, at the outset, we do not agree with those critics who ascribe
M. Taine’s utterly fantastic and distorted appreciation of
Shakespeare to the general incapacity of the Gallic mind to grasp
the great dramatist. We find something more than this. We discover
a labored effort at depreciation, negatively, positively, and
by comparison. Of Shakespeare the man, the careful student must
admit that we know very little--almost nothing, indeed. Hence the
sharpened avidity of his biographers to seize upon every floating
piece of gossip, every stray tradition concerning him, whereof to
make history. With aid of such loose and unreliable material, M.
Taine makes of Shakespeare a man of licentious morals and loose
habits.

Our author’s æsthetic starting-point renders simply impossible for
him any fair appreciation of the great English poet. Corneille and
Racine are his models in tragedy--Molière in comedy. To them and to
their productions he subordinates Shakespeare at every step. Listen!

  “If [a poet] is a logician, a moralist, an orator, as, for
  instance, one of the French great tragic poets (Racine), he will
  only represent noble manners; he will avoid low characters; he
  will have a horror of valets and the plebs; he will observe
  the greatest decorum in respect of the strongest outbreaks of
  passion; he will reject as scandalous every low or indecent word;
  he will give us reason, loftiness, good taste throughout; he will
  suppress the familiarity, childishness,” etc.... “_Shakespeare
  does just the contrary, because his genius is the exact
  opposite_” (vol. i. p. 311).

At page 326, we are told: “If, in fact, Shakespeare comes across
a heroic character worthy of Corneille, a Roman, such as the
mother of Coriolanus, he will explain by passion[8] what Corneille
would have explained by heroism.” “_Reason_,” M. Taine further
informs us, “_tells us that our manners should be measured_; this
is why the manners which Shakespeare paints are not so.” Again,
“Shakespeare paints us as we are; his heroes bow, ask people for
news, speak of rain and fine weather,” etc. (p. 312). As M. Taine
finds that Shakespeare’s heroes bow, we should like to know his
opinion of the exordium of the grand rhetorical effort which
Corneille puts in the mouth of the master of the world, Cæsar
Augustus:

  “_Prends un siège, Cinna._”[9]

It cannot in reason be expected that the man who admires the
stiff and frigid artificiality of French tragedy should reach any
clear perception of Shakespeare. Nor can we expect the appreciator
of Shakespeare to find any superiority in Corneille and Racine.
A distinguished German scholar (Grimm) admirably expresses the
general German and English estimate of these French poets in a
letter he addressed to Michelet: “Must I tell you the opinion
commonly expressed among us here in Germany? With the greatest
possible amount of good-will, I have again and again opened Racine,
Corneille, and Boileau, and I fully appreciate their superior
talents; but I cannot read them for any length of time [_mais je ne
puis en soutenir la lecture_], so strong upon me is the impression
that a portion of the most profound sentiments awakened by poetry
are a sealed book for these authors.”

A French writer so able and so thoroughly skilled as M. Taine, is
at home in _persiflage_, and throughout his work he freely indulges
in it at the expense of “those excellent English.” From the moment
the Norman sets his foot in England, he is the Englishman’s
superior. With the Norman came in education and intelligence. These
poor Anglo-Saxons appear to have been their inferiors. Wherever
opportunity occurs, English models suffer in comparison with French
throughout the work, which closes with an extravagant rhapsody on
Alfred de Musset, and this line: “I prefer Alfred de Musset to
Tennyson.”

Many scholars of high acquirements, admirers of Shakespeare, having
exhausted with praise the catalogue of Shakespeare’s serious and
solid qualities, find that his pre-eminent superiority lies in wit
and humor--the wit bright and sparkling, the humor kindly and
genial, more akin to wisdom than to wit, and, indeed, in itself a
particular form of wisdom, so that it might almost be said that
his fools give us more wisdom than the philosophers of ordinary
dramatists. M. Taine is of a diametrically opposite opinion.
Here it is: “The mechanical imagination produces Shakespeare’s
fool-characters: a quick, venturesome, dazzling, unquiet
imagination produces his men of wit.”

Would you know what is true wit? You may learn from page 320, vol.
i.:

  “Of wit, there are many kinds. One, altogether French, which
  is but reason, a foe to paradox, scorner of folly, a sort of
  incisive common sense, having no occupation but to render
  truth amusing and evident, the most effective weapon with an
  intelligent and vain people: such was the wit of Voltaire and the
  drawing-rooms.”

The conclusion is thus forced upon us that this is by no means the
wit of Shakespeare. M. Taine falls into a mistake common to many
persons who understand Shakespeare but imperfectly. It is that
of attributing to him a certain style: “Let us, then, look for
the man, and in his style. The style explains the work.” Ordinary
writers have a style easily recognizable after slight study, but
Shakespeare has fifty styles, certainly at least one for every
character of marked individualism. This is not M. Taine’s view, for
he says: “Shakespeare’s style is a compound of furious expressions.
No man has submitted words to such a contortion. Mingled contrasts,
raving exaggerations, apostrophes, exclamations, the whole fury of
the ode, inversion of ideas, accumulation of images, the horrible
and the divine jumbled into the same line; it seems, to my fancy,
as though he never writes a word without shouting it” (p. 308).

If there is one peculiarity or merit of Shakespeare which,
more than another, has received the general assent of critics
and scholars, it is his eminently objective power. It is looked
upon as a striking proof of the great dramatist’s deep, clear
insight into the depths of the human heart, that he never thrusts
his individuality into his conception of characters. He never
mistakes the operations of his own mind for those of others, and
never confounds his personality with that of any of his dramatic
personages. Every page of Milton’s writings, it is said, exhibits a
full-length portrait of the author. Byron’s heroes, Lara, Conrad,
Manfred, and the rest, might interchange reflections and speeches,
and not seriously interfere with each other’s identity, and the
sentimental rubbish and trashy sophistry poured out from the mouths
of any of Bulwer’s men and women might answer for all of them. But
nothing that Romeo says could by possibility enter the mind of
Hamlet, and King Lear has not a line which would be fitting in the
mouth of Othello.

But M. Taine is not of this way of thinking. His theory is
diametrically opposed to this, and he finds Shakespeare eminently
subjective. He is always Shakespeare. “These characters are all
of the same family. _Good or bad, gross or delicate, refined or
awkward, Shakespeare gives them all the same kind of spirit which
is his own_” (p. 317). Hamlet is Shakespeare, the melancholy
Jaques[10] is Shakespeare, Othello is Shakespeare, and--Falstaff is
Shakespeare!

No, we do not exaggerate. Here are M. Taine’s words: “Hamlet,
it will be said, is half-mad; this explains his vehemence of
expression. The truth is that Hamlet here is Shakespeare” (p.
308). “Hamlet is Shakespeare, and, at the close of this gallery of
portraits, which have all some features of his own, Shakespeare has
painted himself in the most striking of all” (p. 340).

Things equal to the same are equal to each other. Lara being George
Gordon Noel Byron, and Conrad also being the same George, we see at
once why there exists a striking resemblance between them; but when
we are told that Hamlet and Falstaff, morally as far apart as the
poles, are yet painted from the same model, we find that too much
is asked of our credulity. Of Falstaff M. Taine says: “This big,
pot-bellied fellow, a coward, a jester, a brawler, a drunkard, a
lewd rascal, a pot-house poet, is one of Shakespeare’s favorites.
The reason is that his manners are those of pure nature, and
_Shakespeare’s mind is congenial with his own_” (p. 323). Wherein
this “drunkard and lewd rascal” resembles Prince Hamlet, and
wherein Shakespeare resembles either or both of them, is beyond the
range of any Anglo-Saxon or Teutonic mind to comprehend. Perhaps M.
Taine may be able to explain it. His book totally fails to do so.

No one can read this long chapter of fifty-five octavo pages on
Shakespeare without being struck by the skill with which the author
avoids mention of or reference to the dramatist’s most admirable
passages, and also by his elaborate and painstaking exposition of
the defects of Shakespeare’s inferior characters. Of the beauties
of Romeo and Juliet--the Queen Mab description alone excepted--we
hear nothing, but are regaled with two pages concerning “the most
complete of all these characters--the nurse,” and a long and severe
commentary on her “never-ending gossip’s babble.”[11] The same
remark may be made of Hamlet, a play of which M. Taine evidently
has no comprehension, if Coleridge, Hazlitt, Lamb, Ulrici, Tieck,
Goethe, and Schlegel at all understand it. Concerning Othello,
many paragraphs are frittered away in small criticism on the
characters of Iago and Cassio. Of the grand features of Othello
the reader obtains no glimpse, while a scandalous industry is
exercised in bringing out from under the cover of obscure texts
shocking pruriencies that are not perceived by the average reader
of Shakespeare.

We may be told that tastes differ, that what through tradition or
habit, perhaps, to us appear beauties, do not so strike a foreigner.

Let us test this by the criticism of another foreigner--not a
German, but a Frenchman--and we will find him selecting, as
prominent beauties on the first hearing of the play, the very
passages which also strike us on long and familiar acquaintance.

In the winter of 1829-30, a French version of Othello was
represented in a Parisian theatre, and that theatre--shades of
Corneille and Racine--the Théâtre Français! Mademoiselle Mars was
the Desdemona. The piece was a decided success, and in the _Revue
Française_ for January, 1830, there appeared an admirably written
article which was at once a _compte-rendu_ of the representation
and a criticism of the tragedy. It was from the pen of the Duc de
Broglie, and commanded universal attention. His description of the
desperate struggles of the two cliques--the Classical and the
Romantic--who were, of course, present in force, his account of the
effect of the piece upon the general audience, his analysis of the
motives of French admiration or blame of Shakespeare, are all most
interesting. But what we specially have to do with is his criticism
on the play and the dramatist. Here it is:

  “The effect of Othello’s narration was irresistible. This portion
  of the play is translated into all languages--its beauty is
  perfectly entrancing, its originality is unequalled. Even La
  Harpe could not refuse it the tribute of his admiration. But
  perhaps the scene which precedes and that which follows are even
  still more adapted to exhibit Shakespeare in all his greatness.
  How wonderful a painter of human nature was this man! How true is
  it that he has received from on high something of that creative
  power which, by breathing on a little dust, can transform it into
  a creature of life and immortality!”

Even as the Christian Anglo-Saxon was doomed to suffer at M.
Taine’s hands the outrage of attributed paganism, so also was
Shakespeare ignominiously foreordained (from the thirty-sixth page
of his first volume) to be a maniac Berserkir. And all because the
author has his little theory to carry out. Do you find it wonderful
that under such treatment the facts should suffer? Alas! other and
more important things must also suffer if such a work as this is
to receive the sanction of recognized critical authority, and be
placed in the hands of the rising generation.

To do M. Taine justice, he does not for a moment lose sight of
his Berserkir, and keeps him, in the soul of Shakespeare, well up
to his work. And so, Shakespeare’s Coriolanus is “an athlete of
war, with a voice like a trumpet; whose eyes by contradiction are
filled with a rush of blood and anger, proud and terrible in mood,
a lion’s soul in the body of a steer” (vol. i. p. 329).

For M. Taine, the grand trial act in the Merchant of Venice is
“the horrible scene in which Shylock brandished his butcher’s
knife before Antonio’s bare breast,” and King Lear is “the supreme
effort of pure imagination, a disease of reason which reason
could never have conceived.” But reason has so decidedly done the
contrary that an experienced physician of long practice in an
insane asylum (in the United States) has written an essay[12] to
show that Shakespeare’s physiological and psychological knowledge
and acquirements, as displayed in his tragedies, were in advance
of those of his age by fully two centuries, and, he adds, that the
wonderful skill and sagacity manifested by the great dramatist in
seizing upon the premonitory signs of insanity (as in King Lear),
which are usually overlooked by all, even the patient’s most
intimate friends and the members of his family, and weaving them
into the character of his hero as a necessary element, without
which it would be incomplete, like those of inferior artists, is a
matter of wonder to all modern psychologists.

To the Voltairian school of literature in the last century, the
plays of Shakespeare were “_ces monstrueuses farces que l’on
appelle des tragedies_,” and Hamlet, in particular, in Voltaire’s
judgment, “_seems the work of a drunken savage_.” When you have
read M. Taine on Shakespeare, first let the coruscations of his
verbal pyrotechnics subside, await the end of his epileptic
contortions of style, then scratch off a thin varnish of polite
concession, and you will find under it a Voltairian: although
not, we hope, brutal and cynical as was the great original in
his denunciation of those Frenchmen who were willing to claim
some talent for Shakespeare. Voltaire called them _faquins_,
_impudents_, _imbéciles_, _monstres_, etc. Such people were, he
said, a source of _calamity and horror_, and France did not contain
a sufficient number of pillories to punish _such a crime_. (“Letter
of Voltaire to Count d’Argental,” July 19, 1776.)

One of the most interesting books to be found in the English
language is Carlyle’s _French Revolution_. But it is interesting
only on condition that the reader is already familiar with
the history of that period. And we pay M. Taine’s work a high
compliment in saying that, in like manner, his _History of
English Literature_ will be found an interesting work to those
whose opinions on art and literature are formed, whose religious
principles are fixed, and whose judgments are sufficiently mature
to be in no danger of being affected by the artificial, erroneous,
and false views of man and his responsibilities, with which the
book abounds.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _History of English Literature._ By H. A. Taine. Translated by
H. Van Laun. With a Preface prepared expressly for this Translation
by the author. New York: Holt & Williams. 1871.

[2] Literal translation of the original falls thus into English
rhythm:

        “The field streamed with warriors’ blood,
    When rose at morning tide the glorious star,
    The sun, God’s shining candle, until sank
    The noble creature to its setting.”

[3] We have here substituted for M. Taine’s translation one that we
consider better, and we add the following poetical paraphrase of
the passage by Wordsworth:

    “Man’s life is like a sparrow, mighty king.
    That, while at banquet with your chiefs you sit,
    Housed near a blazing fire, is seen to flit,
    Safe from the wintry tempest. Fluttering,
    Here did it enter, there, on hasty wing,
    Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold:
    But whence it came we know not, nor behold
    Whither it goes. Even such, that transient thing,
    The human soul, not utterly unknown,
    While in the body lodged, the warm abode;
    But from what world she came, what woe or weal
    On her departure waits, no tongue hath shown.”

[4] M. Taine mildly states Milton’s obligations to Cædmon in
saying, “One would think he must have had some knowledge of Cædmon
from the translation of Junius.” It would be easy to show that some
of Milton’s finest descriptions of the fallen angels are taken from
Cædmon. Sir F. Palgrave says that there are in Cædmon passages so
like the _Paradise Lost_ that some of Milton’s lines read like an
almost literal translation.

[5] Version by Mr. Henry Morley.

[6] “Within Roger Bacon’s mind,” says Dr. Whewell, “was at the
same time the Encyclopædia and the Novum Organum of the thirteenth
century.”

[7] Expression of the historian Hallam.

[8] In his introductory chapter (vol. i. p. 36), M. Taine describes
the Berserkirs as fighting pagan maniacs. He coolly makes up his
mind that Shakespeare is a lineal descendant of a Berserkir! “With
what sadness, madness, waste, such a disposition breaks its bonds,
_we shall see in Shakespeare and Byron_”! And yet stupid English
biographers and historians are puzzling their brains and burning
midnight oil over the question of Shakespeare’s grandfather!

[9] “Take a seat, Cinna.”

[10] “A transparent mask, behind which we perceive the face of
the poet” (p. 346). Then follows a comparison between Molière and
Shakespeare, altogether to the disadvantage of the latter.

[11] We know of but one English author (of a Diary) with whose
appreciation of this tragedy M. Taine would be likely to be
pleased. It is that of the distinguished Mr. Samuel Pepys, who,
having seen Romeo and Juliet acted in March, 1672, pronounces the
play “to be the worst he had ever heard.” “A Midsummer Night’s
Dream” is also, in the opinion of Pepys aforesaid, “the most
insipid, ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life.”

[12] Published in a small volume. We regret we cannot recall the
title of the work and the author’s name.



FRAGMENTS OF EARLY ENGLISH POEMS ON THE PASSION.


Warton, in his _History of English Poetry_, has published a few
fragments of poems on the Passion, which he ascribes to the reigns
of Henry III. and Edward I. There is a harmony in the versification
of the following that one scarcely looks for at so early a date:

    “Jhesu for thi muckle might
      Thou gif us of thi grace,
    That we may day and night
      Thinken of thi face:
    In myn herte it doth me gode
      Whan y thinke on Jhesu blod,
    That ran down bi ys side;
      Fro ys herte dou to ys fot,
    For us he spradde ys hertis blod,
      His wondes wer so wyde.”

           *       *       *       *       *

    “Ever and aye he haveth us in thought,
    He will not lose that he so dearly bought.”

One fragment more, which is taken from a sort of dialogue between
our Lord on the Cross and the devout soul:

    “Behold mi side,
    Mi woundes spred so wide,
    Restless I ride,
    Lok on me, and put fro ye pride:
    Dear man, mi love,
    For mi love sinne no more.”

    “Jhesu Christe, mi lemman swete,
      That for me deyedis on rood tree
    With al myn herte I the biseke
      For thi woundes two and thre:
    That so fast in mi herte
      Thi love rooted might be,
    As was the spere in thi side
      When thou suffredst deth for me.”

             --_Christian Schools and Scholars._



THE HOUSE OF YORKE.


CHAPTER XXV.

BOADICEA’S WATCH.

It was rather late when Mr. Yorke came down Sunday morning. The
storm was yet violent, and he did not mean to go out; and besides,
he had been tormented all night with disagreeable dreams. When he
appeared in the breakfast-room, Patrick had been to the village,
and had seen Father Rasle. The priest was resolutely keeping his
fast, and even hearing confessions.

The occurrence of the night before had stirred up the sluggish
faith and piety of those few Catholics who had not meant to attend
to their religious duties, and they crowded about their pastor at
the last moment.

It would, perhaps, be just as well not to describe the manner in
which Mr. Yorke received the news they had to tell him, for his
anger was scarcely greater toward the mob than toward his own
family. He would eat no breakfast, would scarcely stop to change
his slippers for boots, but started off to see Father Rasle.

“I shall bring the priest home with me; or, if he will not come,
shall stay with him, and defend him with my life from any further
outrage,” he said as he went out the door, addressing no one in
particular.

“We expect him to return with you, Charles,” his wife said; but he
paid no attention to her.

“Coddled like a great booby!” he muttered to himself as he strode
down the avenue. “Amy should have more respect for me, or, at
least, more regard for my reputation. It is a wonder she does not
dress me in petticoats, and set me spinning.”

“Never mind, mamma!” Clara said, kissing her mother, and leading
her into the house. “This storm will cool papa off nicely. He will
come home penitent, you may be sure. I only hope that you will hold
off a little, and not forgive him too readily.”

Mrs. Yorke wiped away the tears which had started at her husband’s
unusual severity.

“Never think to comfort your mother, my dear, by speaking
disrespectfully of your father,” she said, but, while chiding,
returned her daughter’s caress. “And do not think that I could
remember one moment any hasty word or act of his when I knew that
he was sorry for it. I do not at all wonder that your father is
annoyed at not having been called: I quite expected it.”

“Mother, I give you up,” Clara exclaimed. “Where Mr. Charles Yorke
is concerned, you have not a sign of--may I say spunk? That is what
I mean.”

“No, you may not,” replied Mrs. Yorke with decision. And so the
conversation dropped.

Patrick drove Edith to the church. When they entered, they found
the people all gathered; and in a few minutes Mass began. The scene
was touching. The congregation, prostrate before the altar, wept
silently; the choir, attempting to sing, faltered, and stopped in
the first hymn; and the priest, in turning toward his people,
could not trust himself to look at them, but closed his eyes or
glanced over their heads. Tears rolled down the faces of the
communicants when they knelt at the altar; and at the benediction
many wept aloud.

It was a Low Mass, and when it was over the priest addressed them.
He talked only a little while, but in those few words they found
both comfort and courage. They were not to mourn, but rather to
rejoice that he had been found worthy to suffer ignominy for
Christ’s sake. He translated and gave them for their motto these
words of St. Bernard: “_Pudeat sub spinato capite membrum fieri
delicatum_.” They should not seek persecution, indeed, but when
God sent it upon them they should accept it joyfully. For pain was
the only real treasure of earth, and real happiness was unknown,
save in anticipation, outside heaven. They belonged to the church
militant; and as their great Captain had marched in the van, with
shoulders bleeding from the lash, and forehead bleeding from the
thorn, they should blush to walk delicately and at ease in his
ensanguined footsteps. He implored them to pray constantly, and
keep themselves from sin, and, since they might for some time be
deprived of the sacraments, to take more than ordinary pains to
preserve the sacramental grace which they had just received. There
were a few words of farewell, uttered with difficulty, then he
ceased speaking.

When Father Rasle went out with Mr. Yorke, the weeping congregation
gathered about him, falling on their knees, some of them catching
at his robe as he passed by. He was obliged to tear himself away.

The storm was now over, and the sun burst forth brilliantly as
they stepped into the air. A carriage was in waiting, and, when he
had seated himself in it, with Mr. Yorke and Edith, Father Rasle
leaned out, looked once more with suffused eyes at his mourning
people, and raised his hand in benediction. Then the door closed
upon him, and they were alone.

A second carriage followed this containing four men, well armed,
and several other men, armed also, took the shorter road, through
East Street and the woods, to Mr. Yorke’s house. Whatever they
might suffer, these men did not mean that any further violence
should be offered to their priest or to the man who protected him.

As the carriage drove up the avenue, Mrs. Yorke and her two
daughters came down the steps to receive their guest. Both Mrs.
Yorke and Clara, who were speechless with emotion, gave a silent
welcome; but Melicent, much to her own satisfaction, was able to
pronounce an eloquent little oration. In the entry Betsey stood
stiffly, the two young Pattens in perspective. Thinking, probably,
that one of her abrupt courtesies was not enough for the occasion,
this good creature made a succession of them as long as the priest
was visible, young Sally bobbing in unison. Paul, duly instructed
by his mother, waited till the proper moment, then bowed from the
waist, till he made a pretty accurate right-angle of himself.

All that day, besides the regular guard, the Irish were coming and
going about the house, and when toward night they retired to their
homes, the guard was doubled.

Sally Patten came over in the evening and offered her services.
Joe could take care of the young ones, and her desire was to stay
all night and keep watch at the Yorkes’. It was in vain for them
to say that she was not needed. With every sort of compliment, and
every demonstration of respect, she persisted in staying. Betsey,
she said, had slept none the night before, and would be needed
about the house the next day, and they might all rest better if
there were a vigilant watcher in-doors as well as out. Men were
slow and stupid sometimes, but there was no danger of her letting
slumber steal over her eyelids.

“Well, it is true, my head does feel like a soggy batter-pudding,”
Betsey owned, beginning to waver. “I had a jumping toothache all
Friday night, and last night I never slept one wink.”

“Besides,” continued Boadicea, growing heroic, “when the two eldest
of my offspring are in the jaws of destruction, my place is beside
them.”

It was impossible to resist such an argument, and she was permitted
to have her way.

“I was going to leave the door unlocked, so that the men could come
in and get their luncheon,” Betsey said. “But as you are here,
perhaps you will carry it out to them.”

A dignified bow was the only reply. Mrs. Patten considered so
trivial a subject as luncheon irrelevant to these thrilling
circumstances. The question in her mind at this moment was what
weapon she should use in the event of an attack. Her taste was
for the mediæval, and she would have welcomed with enthusiasm the
sight of a battle-axe or a halberd; but since these were not to
be had, she inclined toward a long iron shovel that stood in the
chimney-corner, reaching nearly to the mantelpiece. This would give
a telling blow, and would, moreover, allow of a fine swing of the
arms in its wielding.

“Now, here are two coffee-pots full,” Betsey said. “This is done, I
think, and will do to begin with. You might put water to the other
so as to have it ready about twelve o’clock. I believe in having
something to eat and drink, no matter what happens. About all that
keeps me from joining the Catholic Church is their fasting. I
couldn’t praise God on an empty stomach; I should be all the time
thinking how hungry I was. If it warn’t for that, I do believe,
the folks here act so like the old boy, I’d turn Catholic just for
spite, if nothing else. Give ’em as many of them pumpkin-pies as
they want to eat. Give ’em all there is in the closet, if they want
it.”

Sally listened, superior, and merely bowed in reply.

Betsey set out a private lunch, and poured a cup of coffee. “Now,
you take this, Mrs. Patten,” she said, “and make yourself as
comfortable as you can. It will help you to keep awake.”

Boadicea hesitated, then, with a smile of lofty disdain, swallowed
the coffee. Why should she attempt the vain task of making that
unheroic soul comprehend the emotions which agitated her own
spirit? Pumpkin pies and coffee help to keep her awake! Well, she
swallowed them, but merely to escape the multiplying of trivial and
inconsequent words.

At length the happy moment came when all in the house had gone to
bed, and she was left alone.

And now indeed her soul swelled within her, and visions of possible
heroic adventure rose before her mind’s eye. She put out the lamp,
and pushed the logs of the fire so closely together that only a
dull-red glow escaped. She set the doors all open, and walked
stealthily from room to room, gazing from window after window,
stopping now and then to listen, with her head aside and her arms
extended. There was a smoldering knot of wood in both the parlor
and sitting-room fireplaces, and the faint light from them and from
the kitchen threw gigantic fantastic shadows of her on the walls
and ceiling as she moved about.

Clara, feeling restless, came softly down once, and, seeing this
strange figure, stole quickly back to bed again, and lay there
trembling with fear all night.

But Boadicea kept her watch in glorious unconsciousness of
realities. The place had undergone a change to her mind during
those lonely hours. It was no longer a common, wooden country
house, but a castle, with walls of stone, and battlements,
barbacan, and drawbridge. Mrs. Yorke was a fair ladie sleeping in
her bower (not even in thought would Sally have spelt lady with a
_y_), Mr. Yorke was a battle-worn warrior, Father Rasle the family
chaplain and my lady’s confessor. Without, the retainers watched,
and an insidious foe lurked in the darkness, ready for bold attack
or treacherous entry through a chink in the wall. Even now some
vile caitiff might have obtained entrance, and be lurking behind
yonder arras.

At that thought, Sally seized the kitchen shovel, and crept
stealthily toward the parlor window, a grotesque shadow
accompanying her, leaping across the ceiling in one breathless
bound. She paused, and stared at the heavy drapery that seemed to
outline a human form, and the shadow paused. She crept a step or
two nearer, and the shadow dropped down and confronted her. She
grasped the weapon firmly in her right hand, and, stretching the
left, with one vigorous twitch pulled down Mrs. Yorke’s damask
curtain.

For a moment Sally felt rather foolish. She put the curtain up as
best she could, and then went to give the garrison their midnight
lunch.

“And what is it ails the old lady?” asked one of the men of a
companion. “Is it dumb that she is?” For this great, gaunt creature
had given them their refreshments in utter silence and with many a
tragical gesture.

She bent suddenly toward the speaker, raised her hand in warning,
and whispered sharply, “Be vigilant!”

“What does she mean at all?” exclaimed the man in alarm, as Sally
stalked away, very much bent forward, and looking to right and left
at every step, as one sees people do on the stage sometimes. His
impression was that something awful had taken place in the house.

In short, it was a glorious night for this poor addled soul--a
night which would grow more and more in her imagination, till,
after the passage of years, her most sincere description of it
would never be recognized by one of the real actors.

Daylight came at length without there having been the slightest
disturbance. Betsey came down to relieve guard, and Sally, weary
but enthusiastic still, went home to electrify Joe with the recital
of her adventures.

Clara, coming down before the rest of the family, was astonished to
find the kitchen shovel reclining on one of the parlor chairs, and
a crimson curtain put up with the yellow lining inside the room.

Father Rasle appeared in a few minutes, and took an affectionate
leave of the men who had spent the night in guarding his rest; and,
as soon as breakfast was over, he and Mr. Yorke started for Bragon.

Edith saw him go without any poignant regret for her own part,
for she was to remain in Seaton but a few weeks longer. But her
heart ached for the poor people who were so soon to be left utterly
friendless. The burden of the pain had fallen, where it always
falls, on the poor. A group of them stood at the gate when the
travellers went through, and others met them in North Street, and
all gazed after the carriage, with breaking hearts, as long as it
was in sight. When might they hope to see a priest again? When
again would the Mass-bell summon them to bow before the uplifted
Host, and the communion cloth be spread for their heavenly banquet?
They cared little for the mocking smile and word, but covered their
faces and wept when their pastor disappeared from their gaze.

Patrick went down to the post-office, and came back bringing
a letter for Edith, which had lain in the office since Sunday
morning. The letter was from Mrs. Rowan-Williams, and contained but
a line: “My son is at home, dangerously sick with a fever.”

“The sentiment which attends the sudden revelation that _all is
lost_,” says De Quincey, “silently is gathered up into the heart;
it is too deep for gestures or for words, and no part of it passes
to the outside.”

Nor is the silence more profound when a slight possibility, over
which we have no control, still interposes between the heart and
utter loss.

Edith put the letter into her aunt’s hand. “I must go immediately
to Bragon, to take the cars,” she said quietly. “Will you tell
Patrick to get a carriage? I will be ready in a little while.”

She went up-stairs to put on a travelling-dress, and pack what she
wished to take with her. The selection was calmly and carefully
made. There was no need of haste. In less than an hour everything
was ready, and the carriage at the door.

“I have sent a telegram to your uncle, and he will meet you, and go
on to Boston with you to-night,” her aunt said.

Melicent offered her a cup of coffee, and she put it to her lips,
and tried to drink it; but all the muscles of her mouth and throat
seemed to be fixed, and she could not swallow a drop. She gave back
the cup, without uttering a word.

“I have put some fruit and a small bottle of sherry into this
luncheon-bag for you,” Mrs. Yorke said hastily. “You must try to
take a little on the way. You do not want to lose your strength,
and these will be refreshing.”

No one mentioned Dick Rowan’s name to Edith, or offered a word of
comfort. They even refrained from expressing too much solicitude
and affection, and only kissed her silently when she went out.
“Do nothing but what is necessary,” Mrs. Yorke had said to her
daughters. “There is no greater torture, at such a time, than to
be fretted about trifles. Think of her feelings, not of expressing
your own.”

Neither Betsey nor her assistants were allowed to appear, and
Patrick had orders to speak only when he was spoken to, and not on
any account to mention Mr. Rowan’s name.

“If he dies, it will kill Edith,” Mrs. Yorke said, letting her
tears flow when her niece was out of sight.

Some such thought was in Edith’s own mind during that long drive.
If Dick Rowan should die, her peace and joy would die with him; not
that he was everything to her, but because she could never accept a
happiness which was only to be reached over his grave. Edith loved
Carl Yorke with all her heart, he attracted her irresistibly, and
seemed rather a part of herself than a separate being; yet at
that moment the thought of his death would have been to her more
tolerable than the thought of Dick Rowan’s.

Mrs. Yorke’s telegram was at the priest’s house awaiting her
husband when he arrived, and he went at once to the hotel where his
niece was to meet him. Soon they were on the way.

“The Catholics here are in a state of the wildest excitement,”
he said. “The news arrived before we did, and the Irish want to
go down and burn Seaton to the ground. Father Rasle will have
difficulty in quieting them. The better class of Protestants,
even, cry out against the outrage. They have called an indignation
meeting for to-night, and the Protestant gentlemen are contributing
to buy the priest a watch. His watch and pocket-book were stolen
Saturday night, you know.”

Though Edith said but little in reply, it was not because she had
more important matter in her mind. The number of seats in the car
she counted over with weary persistence, the number of narrow
boards in the side of the car she learned by heart. She knew just
how the lamp swung, and could have described accurately afterward
the face and costume of the boy who sold papers and lemonade
and pop-corn. Not till the weary night was over, and her uncle
said, “Here we are in Boston!” did she awaken from that nightmare
entanglement of littlenesses. Then first she showed some agitation.

“Drive directly to Mrs. Williams’s,” she said, “and, while I sit in
the carriage, go to the door, and ask how he is. If they tell you
that he is better, say it out loud, quickly, but if--if the news is
not good, don’t say one word to me, only take me into the house.”

A telegram had been sent to Mrs. Williams, and Edith was expected.
As Mr. Yorke went up the step, the door opened, and Dick’s mother
stood there.

Edith leaned back in the carriage, and covered her face with her
hands. She had not dared to look at the house, lest some sign of
mourning should meet her glance. “O Mother of Perpetual Succor!”
she exclaimed.

“He is no worse, my dear,” her uncle said at the carriage-door. “I
think you need not fear. Come! Mrs. Williams is waiting for you.”

Edith lifted her hands and eyes, and repeated her aspiration, “O
Mother of Perpetual Succor!” but with what a difference!--not with
anguish and imploring, but with passionate gratitude. Dick would
live, she saw that at once. If the blow had not fallen, then it was
not to fall now.


CHAPTER XXVI.

DICK’S VISION.

When Dick Rowan came home the first time after his mother’s
marriage, both she and her husband had desired him to select a
chamber in their house which should always be his. He chose an
unfurnished one nearly at the top of the house, and, after several
playful skirmishes with his mother, who would fain have adorned it
with velvet and lace, fitted it up to suit himself. It was large,
sunny, and quiet; and there was but little in it besides an Indian
matting, an iron bed, a writing-table, wicker chairs, and white
muslin curtains, that did not even pretend to shut out the light.
There was nothing on the walls but a book-case and a crucifix,
nothing on the mantelpiece but a clock. The young man’s tastes were
simple, almost ascetical, and he protested that he could not draw
free breath in a room smothered in thick upholstery. Sunshine,
fresh air, pure water, and cleanliness--those he must have. Other
things might be dispensed with.

In this chamber Dick lay now, his body a prey to fever, his mind
wandering in wild and tumultuous scenes. He was at sea, in a storm,
and the ship was going down; he was wrecked, and parched with
thirst in a wilderness of waters; he was sailing into a strange
port, and suddenly the shore swarmed with enemies, and he saw huge
cannon-mouths just breaking into flame, and flights of poisoned
arrows just twanging from their bows; he was at Seaton again, a
poor, friendless boy, and his father was reeling home drunk, with a
rabble shouting at his heels. And always, whatever scene his fancy
might conjure up, his ears were deafened by the strong rush of
waves, adding confusion to terror and pain.

One day, when he had been crying out against this torment, a pair
of cool, small hands were clasped tightly about his forehead, and a
voice asked, low and clear, “Doesn’t that make the waves seem less,
Dick?”

He left off speaking, and lay listening intently.

“There are no waves nor storm,” the voice said calmly. “You are
not at sea. You are safe at home. But your head aches so that it
makes you fancy things. What you hear is blood rushing through the
arteries. I am going to put a bandage round your head. That will do
you good.”

Dick turned his head as Edith took her hands away, and followed her
with his eyes while she took a few steps to get what she wanted.
She smiled at him as she stood measuring off the strip of linen,
and making up little rolls of linen to press on the arteries of
the temples; and though her face was thin and white, and her eyes
filled, in spite of her, when she smiled, the image was a cheerful
one in that darkened room. She wore a dress of green cloth, soft
and lustrous, and had a rosebud in her hair. The effect was cool
and sweet. As she moved quietly about, the patient gazed at her,
and his gaze seemed to be wondering and confused, rather than
insane.

She drew the bandage tightly about his head, pressed hard on the
throbbing arteries, and sprinkled cold water on the linen and his
hair. She had observed that he started whenever ice was put to his
head, and therefore kept it cool, and avoided giving a shock.

“You are sick, and I am going to make you well,” she said. “You are
not to think, but to obey. I will do the thinking. Will you trust
me?”

“Yes, Edith,” he answered, after a pause, looking steadfastly at
her, seeming in doubt whether it were a real form he saw, a real
voice he heard.

“This is your room, you see,” she said, laying one hand on his, and
pointing with the other. “That is your book-shelf, there is your
table and your crucifix. You know it all; but sickness and darkness
are so confusing. Now, I’m going to give you one little glimpse of
out-doors, only for a minute, though, because it would hurt your
head to have too much light.”

She went to the window, and drew aside the thick green curtain, and
a golden ray from the setting sun flew in like a bird, and alighted
on the clock. Those sick eyes shrank a little, but brightened. She
returned, and leaned over the pillow, so as to have the same view
through the window with him. “That green hill is Longwood,” she
said; “and there is the flagstaff on the top of Mr. B----’s house,
looking like the mast of a ship. Now I shall drop the curtain, and
you are to go to sleep.”

So, as his feverish fancies rose like mists, her calm denial or
explanation swept them away; or, if the delirium fit was too strong
for that, she held his hand, to assure him of companionship, and
went with him wherever his tyrannical imagination dragged him,
and found help there. When he sank in deeps of ocean, he heard
a voice, as if from heaven, saying, “He who made the waves is
stronger than they. Hold on to God, and he will not let you go.”
If foes threatened him, he heard the reassuring text: “_The Lord
is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the
protector of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?_” If he groped
in desolation, and cried out that every one had deserted him, she
repeated: “_For my father and my mother have left me, but the Lord
hath taken me up_.” “_Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy
heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord._”

She followed him thus from terror to terror, imagining all the
bitterness of them, trying to take that bitterness to herself, till
they began to grow real to her, and she was glad to escape into the
wholesome outer world, and see with her own eyes that the universe
was not a sick-room.

Hester had come up, and she called and took Edith out for a drive
every day; and sometimes she went home to Hester’s house, and
played with the children a while. She found their childish gayety
and carelessness very soothing.

“Carl and I are fitting up the house for the family,” Hester said
one day. “They are all to come up the last of the month. I shall
be so glad! It is delightful to go through the dear old familiar
rooms, and look from the windows, just as I used to. We new-furnish
the parlors only. Mamma wishes to use all the old things she can.”

“I cannot stop to-day,” Edith said; “but I would like to see the
house soon. You know I saw only the outside of it when I was here
before.”

“Carl is going to England before they come up,” Hester said
hesitatingly. “I don’t know why he does not wait for them, but he
has engaged passage for next week. I believe he means to be gone
only a month or two.”

Edith leaned back in the carriage, and made no reply. When she
spoke, after a while, it was to ask to be taken back to Mrs.
Williams’.

From Dick Rowan’s wandering talk, she had learned the history
of his last few weeks. She perceived that Father John and his
household must have known perfectly well what their visitor’s
trouble was, and that they had watched over and sympathized with
him most tenderly. Dick’s pride was not of a kind that would lead
him to dissemble his feelings or conceal them from those of whose
friendship and sympathy he was assured. Why should he conceal what
he was not ashamed of? he would have asked. She learned that he had
spent hours before the altar, that he had fasted and prayed, that
he had gone out in the storm at night, and walked the yard of the
priest’s house, going in only when Father John had peremptorily
commanded him to. These reckless exposures, combined with mental
distress, had caused his illness. Dick had never before been ill
a day, and could not believe that a physical inconvenience and
discomfort, which he despised, would at last overpower him.

One Sunday afternoon, a week after Edith’s arrival, the patient
opened his eyes, and looked about with a languid but conscious
gaze, all the fever and delirium gone, and, also, all the human
dross burned out of him. No person was in sight, and his heavy lids
were dropping again, when his glance was arrested by a pictured
face so perfect, that, to his misty sense, it seemed alive. It
was an exquisite engraving of Rubens’ portrait of St. Ignatius,
not the weak and sentimental copy we most frequently see, but one
full of expression. Large, slow tears, unnoted by him, rolled down
his face. The lips, slightly parted, and tremulous with a divine
sorrow, were more eloquent than any words could be. His finger
pointed to the legend, “_Ad majorem Dei gloriam_,” and one could
see plainly that in his fervent soul there was room for no other
thought. With such a face might St. John have looked, bearing for
ever in his heart the image of the Crucified.

The first glance of Dick Rowan’s eyes was startled, as though he
saw a vision, then his gaze became so intense that, from very
weakness, his lids dropped, and he slept again. In that slumber,
long, deep, and strengthening, the slackened thread of vitality in
him began to knit itself together again.

“All we have to do now is to prevent his getting up too soon,”
the doctor said. “It would be like him to insist on going out
to-morrow.”

The danger over, a breath of spring seemed to blow through the
house. The servants told each other, with smiling faces, that Mr.
Rowan was better. Mrs. Williams waked up to the fact that her
personal appearance had been notably neglected of late, and, after
kissing Edith with joyful effusion, went to put on her hair and a
clean collar. Miss Williams opened her piano, put her foot on the
soft pedal, and played a composition which made her father look
at her wonderingly over his spectacles. Had it not been Sunday,
he would have thought that Ellen was playing a polka. In fact, it
was a polka, and sounded so very much like what it was that Mr.
Williams presently ventured a faint remonstrance.

“Oh! nonsense, papa!” laughed the musician over her shoulder. “It
is a hymn of praise, by Strauss.”

“Strauss?” repeated her father doubtfully. He thought the name
sounded familiar.

“Mendelssohn, I mean,” corrected she, with the greatest hardihood,
and shook a shower of sparkling notes from her finger-ends.

Miss Ellen was one of the progressive damsels of the time.

Mr. Williams looked toward the door, and smiled pleasantly,
seeing Miss Yorke come in, and she returned his greeting with one
as friendly. There was a feeling of kindness between the two.
This gentleman was not very gallant, but, being in his wife’s
confidence, and aware therefore that Edith had been looked on by
her as a culprit, he had taken pains to make her feel at ease
with him. Moreover, in common with a good many other middle-aged,
matter-of-fact men, he had a carefully-concealed vein of
sentimentality in his composition, and was capable of being deeply
interested in a genuine love affair. With a great affectation of
contempt, Mr. Williams would yet devour every word of a romantic
story at which his daughter would most sincerely turn up her nose.
It is indeed on record, in the diary of the first Mrs. Williams,
that her husband sat up late one night, on pretence of posting his
books, and that, after twelve o’clock, she went down-stairs and
found him, as she expressed it, “snivelling over” _The Hungarian
Brothers_. “Which astonished me in so sensible a man as John,” the
lady added.

Edith took a chair by a window and looked out into the street, and
Mr. Williams turned over the book on his knee. It was a volume
of sermons which he was in the habit of pretending to read every
Sunday afternoon. Intellectually, Mr. Williams was sceptical; and
had one propounded to him, one by one, the doctrines he heard
preached every Sunday, and asked him if he believed them, he would
probably have answered, “Well, no, I don’t know as I do exactly”;
but early education by a mother whose religion was earnest if
mistaken, and that necessity for some supernatural element in the
life which is the mark of our divine origin, impelled him to an
observance of what he did not believe, for the want of something
better which he could believe.

When Dick waked again, the first object he saw was his mother’s
face, full of tearful joy. She smiled, quivered, tried to speak,
and could not.

“Poor mother! what a trouble I am to you!” he said, and would have
held his hand out to her, but found himself unable to raise it. He
looked, and saw it thin and transparent, glanced with an expression
of astonished inquiry into his mother’s face, and understood it
all. “I must have been sick a long time, mother,” he said.

She kissed him tenderly. “Yes, my dear boy. But it is all over now,
thank God!”

“Poor mother!” he said again. “I must have worn you out. Have you
taken all the care of me?”

“No! Edith was here,” she answered timidly. “She is a good nurse,
Dick.”

“Edith?” he echoed with surprise; and, after a moment’s thought,
added quietly, “Yes, I recollect seeing her. She helped me a great
deal, I think, dear child!”

“Would you like to see her?” his mother asked. “She has only just
left the room.”

“Not now, mother,” he answered. “She will come presently. I cannot
talk much now.”

He closed his eyes again, and lay in that delicious trance of
convalescence, when simply to breathe is enough for contentment--the
lips slightly parted, the form absolutely at rest, the eyes not so
closed but a faint twilight enters through the lashes--a sweet,
happy mood. When his mother moved softly about, Dick lifted his
lids now and then, but was not disturbed. Sometimes, before closing
them again, his half-seeing eyes dwelt a moment on some object in
the room. After one of these dreamy glances, there entered through
his lashes the vision of a face that seemed to cry aloud to him a
piercing summons.

He started up as if electrified, and stretched his arms out. “Stay!
stay!” he cried, and saw that it was no vision, but a pictured,
saintly face, with tears on the cheeks, and lips from which a
message seemed to have just escaped.

“Dick, what is the matter?” his mother exclaimed in terror.

He sank back on the pillows. “I saw it before, and thought it was a
dream,” he whispered. “I was thinking of it as I lay here.”

“The picture?” his mother asked. “Edith hung it there. I will take
it away if you don’t like it.”

“I do like it,” he answered faintly. “It is a blessed, blessed
vision.” He lay looking at it a while, then slipped his hand
under the pillow and found a little crucifix that he had always
kept there. At the beginning of his illness his mother had taken
it away, but Edith had returned and kept it there, seeing that
he sometimes sought for it. He drew it forth now, pressed it
passionately to his lips, then, holding it in the open palm of
his hand, on the pillow, turned his cheek to it with a gesture of
childlike fondness. “O my Love!” he whispered.

“Shall I tell Edith to come in?” his mother asked, catching the
whisper.

“Not now, not to-night, mother,” he answered softly.

But the next morning he asked to see the whole family, with the
servants, and, when they came, thanked them affectionately for what
they had done for him, taking each one by the hand. When Edith
approached, a slight color flickered in his cheeks, and he looked
at her earnestly. Her changed face seemed to distress him. “Dear
child, I have been killing you!” he said.

At his perfectly unembarrassed and friendly address, Edith’s worst
fear took flight. If Dick had reproached or been cold to her, she
would have defended herself without difficulty; but if he had
shrunk from her, she could scarcely have borne it.

The doctor was quite right in saying that their only difficulty
would be in keeping their patient quiet, for Dick insisted on
sitting up that very day.

“The doctor wishes you to lie still,” his mother said.

“And I wish to get up,” he retorted, smiling, but wilful.

“The Lord wishes you to lie still, Dick,” Edith said.

He became quiet at once. “Do you think so?” he asked.

“Father John will tell you,” she answered, as the door opened to
give admittance to the priest.

Of course Father John confirmed her assertion. “Everything in its
time, young man,” he said cheerfully. “This enforced physical
illness may be to you a time of richest spiritual benefit. You have
now leisure for reading and contemplation which you will not have
when you go out into active life again. You must let Miss Edith
read to you.”

Before leaving his penitent, the priest proposed to give him Holy
Communion the next morning; but Dick hesitatingly objected. “Not
that I do not long for it, father,” he made haste to add; “but I
wish to recollect myself. Like St. Paul, _I desire to be dissolved
and be with Christ_, but I wish to endure that desire a little
longer, till I shall be better prepared to be with him.”

Seeing the priest look at him attentively, he blushed, and added:
“Of course I do not mean to compare myself with St. Paul, sir,” and
was for a moment mortified and disconcerted at what he supposed
Father John would think his presumption.

“There is no reason why you and I may not have precisely the same
feelings that St. Paul had,” the priest said quietly.

Edith found letters in her room from Seaton. Her aunt wrote that
they were busily making the last arrangements for their moving, and
gave her many kind messages from her friends. The house in Seaton
had been leased advantageously, and they hoped that the lessee
might be able to buy it after a while, as he wished to. They were
to bring all their household with them, Betsey, Patrick, and the
young Pattens. The prospect of being left behind had so afflicted
these faithful creatures that she had not the heart to desert them.

Clara wrote a long, gossiping letter. “I must tell you what an
absurd little stale romance is being acted here,” she wrote,
“for mamma is sure to tell you nothing about it. Prepare to be
astonished by the most surprising, the most bewildering, etc. (see
Mme. de Sévigné). Mr. Griffeth has proposed for Melicent, and
Melicent is willing, so she says! Papa and mamma are frantic, and
Mel goes about with a persecuted, inscrutable look which distracts
me. I sometimes think that she is only pretending in order to have
a fuss made over her, but one cannot be sure. You know she always
prided herself on her good sense and judgment, and my experience is
that when such persons do a foolish thing,

  ‘They are So (ultra) cinian, they shock the Socinians.’

“We highfliers commit follies with a certain grace, and we know
when we reach the step between the sublime and the ridiculous;
but these clumsy sensible people are like dancing elephants, and
have no conception how absurd they are. (Did you ever observe that
people who have no _un_common sense always claim to have a monopoly
of the common sense?)

“It seems that Mel has had no intercourse with the man lately,
except what we have known, but he has been giving her some of those
expressive glances which are so effective when one has practised
them long enough. ‘Oh! those looks which have so little force in
law, but so much in equity!’ Mamma said that she would rather see
a daughter of hers married to Mr. Conway than to Mr. Griffeth,
for Mr. Conway had principle if he was not clever, and Mel made
a pretty good answer. ‘There is always hope,’ she said, ‘that an
irreligious person may be converted, but there is no conversion for
the commonplace.’ Mel thinks Mr. Griffeth remarkably intellectual,
and papa ridiculed the idea. The little man, he said, resembled
Cæsar in one respect, for whereas Cæsar wore the laurel wreath
to cover his bald pate, the minister took refuge in verbiage to
hide his baldness of thought. This having no effect, I gave the
‘most unkindest cut of all.’ I reminded her that he had tried both
you and me first, and we didn’t know how many more. Her reply
was to hand me a copy of Browning’s _Men and Women_, open at
“Misconceptions.” She had marked the words:

    “This is the spray the Bird clung to,
      Making it blossom with pleasure,
    Ere the high tree-top she sprang to,
      Fit for her nest and her treasure.”

“But I thought that her smile was something like that of one who is
taking medicine heroically, a sort of quinine-smile.

“There is but one way if we do not wish to have this howling
dervish in the family: we must exhibit, as the doctors say, a
counter-irritant--that is, find Mel another lover. I am convinced
that she will never voluntarily relinquish one romance except in
favor of one more.”


CHAPTER XXVII.

CARL YORKE’S ORBIT.

As Dick Rowan gained strength in those first days of convalescence,
Edith perceived that he had changed toward her. The manifestations
of this change were slight, she was not sure that he was himself
conscious of them, but they were decided. It was not that he
showed any unkindness, or even indifference, but his being seemed
to be--scarcely yet revolving round, but--brooding round a new
centre. He frequently became absorbed in contemplation, from which
he recalled himself with difficulty, though always cheerfully. Not
a tinge of pain marred the peaceful silence of his mood. It was
like that exquisite pause we sometimes see in the weather, when,
after a violent storm, the winds and blackness withdraw, and there
comes an hour of tender, misty silence before the sunshine breaks
forth. His eyes would turn upon her kindly, and, still looking,
forget her, and she saw that something of more importance had
usurped her image.

He was decided and self-reliant, too, in some things, and seemed
rather displeased than grateful for too much solicitude on the part
of others. He put aside entirely the usual sick-room inquiries. “I
am getting well,” he said, “and need not count how often I stumble
in learning to walk again. My miserable body has received attention
enough. Let us forget it, now that we may.”

Edith began to read, in obedience to Father John, but the books
she chose at first did not quite suit the listener. Even the _St.
Theresa_ and _The Following of Christ_, which she found on his
shelves, did not seem to be what he wanted then. She brought some
of her books, but could see that his own meditations were more
agreeable to him.

“I do not like to find fault with a pious writer,” Dick said
uneasily. “They are all good, but I have thought that some of them
sometimes--” He broke off abruptly. “Edith, is there such a word as
_platitudinize_?”

“I do not think that it is in the dictionary,” she replied, smiling.

“It is, then, an omission,” said Dick.

“Try the Gospels,” Father John said, when Edith told him her
difficulty. “Different states of mind require different reading,
just as different states of the body require different food and
medicine. I frequently advise people, whom I find having a distaste
for spiritual reading, to read the Gospels, and refresh their
memory of all the events recorded there by the simply-told story.
I always find that they return with delight and profit to the
meditations of those holy souls whose lives have been spent in the
study of these mysteries. These writers assume that the reader has
freshly in his mind that of which they treat. You cannot meditate
on a subject, nor follow clearly the meditations of another, when
the facts are not familiar to your own mind.”

Edith read the Gospels, therefore, and was astonished at their
effect on Dick. Either his perceptions had been sharpened during
his illness, or some obstructions had been cleared away from the
passage to his heart. This was not to him an old story, worn and
deadened with much telling, and slipping past his hearing without
leaving a trace, but a tragedy newly enacted, none of its edge
gone, every circumstance as sharp as a thorn, tearing in the
telling. While Edith read the story of the Lord as told by the four
great witnesses, and added the outpourings of those fiery Epistles,
the listener’s agitation was so great that she was often compelled
to stop. At the chapters which related to the passion, Dick’s
hands trembled and grew cold, and his head dropped back against
the cushions of his chair. The Epistles of St. Paul stirred him
especially.

“Now, Dick, if you don’t behave I won’t read you another word!”
Edith exclaimed, one day, when he had started out of his chair, and
begun to walk about.

He came back with a stumbling step, and seated himself, wiping the
perspiration from his forehead.

“I believe I shall have to postpone St. Paul till I am able to go
out-doors,” he said breathlessly.

Observing his eyes frequently wander to the St. Ignatius, she
remarked: “He looks as though he were present when our Lord was
crucified, and could not forget the sight.”

“We were all present!” he exclaimed. “How can we forget it?”

Long and intimate as their acquaintance had been, Edith thought now
that she had not known Dick Rowan well. She had praised, defended,
and loved him with sisterly fondness, but always, involuntarily,
almost unconsciously, from a higher plane than his. Now she looked
up to him as her superior. But, in truth, she had know him well,
and done him full justice. The difference now was that the full
current of his nature was turned into a higher channel.

One day Hester sent the carriage to take Edith to see the family
house, which was as complete as it could be before the arrival of
the family. Hester herself was detained at home by company, but she
sent a line: “Carl will be there, and the man who is putting up the
curtains, and the woman who is cleaning the closet in your room. So
you will not be lost, nor want for information.”

Edith had just begun her reading when the note was given to her.
She handed it to Dick to read.

“That settles the question,” he said, holding out his hand for the
book. “While you read to me yesterday, the thought occurred to me
that I could do it for myself, and I meant that this should be your
last reading. Go and take the air, Edith. You have been too much
shut up. This is your last day but one with me as an invalid.”

She looked at him with a startled expression.

“Because,” he answered smilingly to her look, “to-morrow I drive
out, the day after I shall sit down-stairs, and the next day I
shall forget that I have ever been sick.”

He looked thoroughly contented and cheerful. There was no lurking
sadness, nor reluctance to have her go. Dick was too transparent to
hide it if there were. As well might the lake show a smooth surface
while waves were rolling below. His soul had, indeed, always been
more placid than his manner.

Before Edith had left the room, he was turning over the leaves of
the book, a new one to him; and when she stepped into the carriage
at the curbstone, he was so absorbed in reading as not to know that
she was looking up at the window where he sat. The book rested on
the wide arm of his chair, his elbow near it, the hand supporting
his forehead. His hair had been cut off, and thus his full brow and
finely shaped head were clearly displayed. His hands were beginning
to look alive, his cheeks to get back their color. So he leaned and
read, and she drove away.

She was going to meet Carl, and she was glad of it, though at
Seaton she had thought that she must not see him again. The
second thought had shown her how unnecessary and Quixotic this
resolution had been, made in the first shock and confusion caused
by Dick Rowan’s distress, and her own discovery of the depth of
her own affection for Carl. She had since then put aside her own
imagination and that of others, and examined her heart as it was,
not as it might become under circumstances which she no longer
expected to find herself in. She and Carl were nearly related
by marriage, and he had been her teacher, and kind and delicate
friend. She had lived in the same house with him seven years, a
longer time than she had been associated intimately with Dick
Rowan, and her intercourse with him had been such as to call out
all that was most amiable in his character, and that at a time
when her own mind was maturing, and capable of receiving its most
profound impressions. She asked herself what the charm had been in
her intercourse with him, and the answer was immediate: a quick
and thorough sympathy in everything natural. For the supernatural,
so careful had he been not to offend her conscience, and so highly
had he appreciated religion in her, she had felt no sense of
discordance, but only that he lacked a faith which she hoped and
expected he would one day possess. Carl had never intruded his
scepticism on her. What, she asked herself then, had she wished
regarding him? and the answer was no more doubtful; she had wished
to be his most confidential and sympathizing friend, and had shrunk
with pain from the thought of any one coming nearer to his heart
than herself, or as near. Even of these wishes she had been almost
unconscious till others had forced them on her attention. Of Dick
Rowan’s friendships she could never have been jealous, and she
could never have suffered from them. Here she stopped, and set her
Christian will and her maiden reserve as a firm barrier against her
own imagination or the intrusive imaginations of others taking one
step further. She was ready to fling her _Honni soit qui mal y
pense_ in the face of any evil speaker.

“Dick Rowan was a good friend to my childhood,” she said, “and
protected me from all physical danger and insult, and petted me
with childlike fondness; and I have been grateful to him beyond the
point of duty, and to my own hurt. Carl Yorke helped to form my
opening mind, and patiently and carefully strove to endow me with
his own knowledge, and my debt to him is a still higher one. I have
a right, when he is going away, to bid him a friendly good-by, and
I should be ashamed of myself if I were afraid to!”

Carl stood in the door of his old home, and came down the steps,
hat in hand, to assist her. She saw in his face that he felt
doubtful whether his presence might not displease her.

“I am glad to see you, Carl,” she said cordially. “I could not
believe that you meant to go away without bidding me farewell.”

“I would not have gone away without seeing you,” Carl replied
quietly; and they went into the house together. His face had
lighted at her greeting. Evidently he liked its frank kindliness,
and the entire setting aside of all embarrassing recollections. He
had been in the cruel position of a man who, with a high natural
sense of honor, has suffered himself to be betrayed into an act
which he cannot justify, and is ashamed to excuse. Silence was best.

Edith was delighted with the home-like look of everything in the
house, and the good taste displayed in its arrangement.

“I can easily understand,” Carl said, “why you and my mother
wished to have as little new furniture as possible. I think we all
prefer that which has friendly or beautiful associations.”

He lead her to a portrait, conspicuously placed in the sitting-room.

“I hung dear Alice’s picture here,” he said, “because I thought
that her place was in the family-circle.” He sighed. “It is
astonishing how cruelly selfish men can sometimes be, without
knowing it. Poor, dear Alice thought of me, and I thought of
myself. Well, she is safe dead, with no more need of me, and I am
left with an unfailing regret.”

Edith was grieved and touched by his self-reproach, and was about
to say some comforting word, when he turned to her with a smile.
“And I am committing again the same fault which I confess,” he
said. “Edith comes out of a sick-room, weary and depressed, and I
sadden instead of cheering her. Shall we look about the house?”

They went up-stairs, and he showed her the different chambers. “But
we all concluded that you would prefer the one I used to have for
my painting-room,” he said. “It is up another flight of stairs, but
well repays you for the climbing. You are an early bird, and there
you will have the morning sunshine. It is the largest chamber in
the house, and has the best view. How do you like it?”

Edith exclaimed with delight. Nothing could have suited her better.
Through the windows were visible a wide sweep of sky and a pretty
city view. Inside, the room was large, charmingly irregular, with
alcoves and niches, and the partial furnishing was fresh and of
her own colors. Sea-green and white lace made it a home fit for a
mermaid. It was evident that a good deal of care had been used in
preparing the place for her.

“You are so kind!” she said rather tremulously.

He affected not to notice her emotion. “All I have done in this
house has been a labor of love and delight,” he said, and led her
to a picture which bore the mark of his own exquisite brush, the
only picture on the walls. “This is to remember Carl by,” he said.
“It is painted partly from nature, partly from a description of the
scene. It is a glimpse into what was called the Kentucky Barrens.”

An opening in a forest of luxuriant beech, ash, and oak trees
showed a level of rich green, profusely flower-sprinkled. The
morning sky was of a pure blue, with thin flecks of white cloud,
and everything was thickly laden with dew. The fringe of the
picture glittered with light, but all the centre was overshadowed
by a vast slanting canopy of messenger-pigeons, settling toward the
earth. The sunlight on their glossy backs glanced off in brilliant
azure reflections, looking as though a cataract of sapphires was
flowing down the sky. Here and there, a ray of sunshine broke
through the screen of their countless wings, and lit up a flower or
bit of green. An oriole was perched on a twig in the foreground,
and from the hanging nest close by, his mate pushed a pretty head
and throat. Startled by the soft thunder of that winged host, they
gazed out at it from the safe covert of their leafy home.

The two went down-stairs into the sitting-room again. “Now, I want
to tell you all my plans,” Carl said.

They seated themselves, and he began: “I have thought best to
make now the tour which I contemplated years ago. It must be now,
or never, and I am not willing to relinquish it entirely. But I am
not sorry that I was disappointed in going when I first thought
of it, for I was not then prepared to derive the benefit from the
journey which I now hope for. I should have gone then for pleasure
and adventure; now I make a pilgrimage to gather knowledge. I tell
you of this, Edith, but I have concluded not to tell my mother. It
seems cruel, and there has been a struggle in my mind, but I cannot
do otherwise. I well remember how hard it was to win her consent
before, and I believe she was truly glad of our loss of wealth,
since it kept me at home. If I should tell her now, the struggle
would be renewed, and she would be ill. I am afraid, too, that I
might be impatient with her, for I have no more time to throw away.
So I shall let her suppose that I am going to make a short visit in
England, which is true. Once there, she will not be disturbed at
my going over to France for a few weeks. After France, Switzerland
follows of course, Italy is next door, and the East is not far from
Italy. I have always observed that, when a thing is done, my mother
makes up her mind to it with fortitude; but, if it is left to her
to decide on anything painful, she is unable to decide, and the
suspense is terrible to her. My father knows that. When he really
means to do a thing, he is prompt, and makes no talk about it. And,
Edith, I shall not tell my sisters nor father, because it will seem
more unkind if she is the only one who does not know, and it might
compel them to practise evasion. I tell you alone, and I want you
to promise me that, if my mother should begin to suspect, you will
at once tell her all, and do what you can to quiet her.”

“I promise you, Carl,” Edith answered.

“You can also tell Mr. Rowan, if you have occasion to, if you wish
to,” he said, looking at her attentively.

She merely bowed.

“I think that you will approve of my plans,” he went on with
earnestness. “I have found what I believe to be my place and work
in this vortex of the nineteenth century, and I wish to fill that
place and do that work in the best manner I can. I have been
offered a position as _attaché_ at one of our embassies, but I am
not ready for that yet. I am not fit for anything that I wish to
do.”

Warming with his subject, Carl stood up, and leaned on a high
chair-back opposite Edith while he talked. His face became
animated, his manner had a charming cordiality and frankness.
When his time should come for speaking or writing, or taking any
part in the affairs of his country, he wished to be considered
an authority, and to deserve that consideration. To that end,
he must have more knowledge, not of courts, or camps, or books,
though these were worth knowing, but of people as they live in
their own homes, in their own lands, under laws strange to us. He
wanted to know the world’s poor, and the world’s criminals, and the
world’s saints, wherever he could find them. “You have observed,
in drawing faces,” he said, “how one little line will alter the
whole expression. It is the same with arguments. A great, loose,
sophistical generalization may be as completely upset by one sharp
little fact, as Goliath was by David. I want to have a sling full
of those facts. A plain hard truth may be made attractive by a
single beautiful illustration; and I wish to gather illustrations
from the whole world. I hate a sour patriotism, and I would not
think, nor speak, nor write narrowly on any subject.

“I can perceive, Edith, that we have much to learn in this country,
and I wish to be first taught myself, then to do my part in helping
to teach others. We need to learn that the order of society, as
well as of the heavenly bodies, depends on a centripetal, no less
than a centrifugal force. At present we are all flying off on
tangents. We need to learn that there is beauty and dignity in
obedience, as well as in independence. We should see that it is
better for a people to be nobler than their laws, than for laws to
be nobler than the people; and that the living constitution of a
living nation is not found on any parchment, but is the national
conscience brought to a focus. Why, Edith, those very persons who
boast themselves the most on the glorious fathers of our country
are, perhaps, the persons of whom those same fathers, could they
behold them, would be most unutterably ashamed. I do not mean to be
presumptuous, dear; but I see which way my influence should go, and
I mean to do my best to make that influence great, first by leading
an honest life, and next by polishing my weapons to the utmost. I
am talking confusedly. I give you but a rough sketch of my design.
Two years, I think, will be the limit of my stay. I am so well
prepared by my studies that I shall lose no time, and I have every
facility of access to all places I wish to visit. What do you say
to it, Edith?”

“I say God-speed, with all my heart, Carl! Your aims are noble. I
like to see you in earnest.”

“I am in earnest, dear,” he said. “I feel as a new planet might,
that has been turning on its own centre without progress, and is
all at once set spinning off on its orbit.”

In the momentary silence that followed, Edith went to a book-shelf
filled with pamphlets, and looked them over. “O Carl!” she said
brightly, “do you read these?”

They were the numbers of _Brownson’s Review_.

“I have read them more attentively than anything else,” he
answered, “and learned more from them. An American best understands
the American mind. Pure reason is, of course, cosmopolitan; but
reason is seldom so pure but a colored ray of individual or
national character intrudes; and I like to choose my color. I
think,” he said, smiling, “that I have been quoting that _Review_
to you. I leave them for my father to read.”

Edith’s eyes sparkled. “I thank God that you are on this track,
Carl!” she said. “The first I ever read in this _Review_ was an
article on De Maistre, and it solved for me a great difficulty. The
fragments of truth that I had seen in the mythologies of different
nations, and the beautiful Christian sentiments I had found among
the pagans, had been a stumbling-block to me; but, when I read
that, all became plain. You make me very happy, dear Carl!”

“I do not think that I am pious,” he said, after a moment. “My
mind is clear on the subject, but my heart is unmoved. I do not
wonder at that, and I am not sure but I prefer it so; to have
light pour over my mind till my heart melts underneath, rather
than have a mind imperfectly illuminated, and a heart starting up
at intervals in little evanescent flames, which die out again, and
leave ashes. The former is light from heaven, the latter suggests
the lucifer-match to me. As soon as the time shall come, which I
calmly await, when I have a clearer realization of the necessity
of baptism, I shall ask to be baptized. Till then, I wish my
intellectual convictions to be getting acclimated. My sacrifice
must be ready before I invoke upon it fire from heaven.”

“Oh! you remind me of St. John of the Cross,” Edith said. “He says,
‘Reason is but the candlestick to hold the light of faith.’”

“Precisely!” Carl replied. “Behold me, then, illuminated by a
candlestick, instead of a candle, but--aware of that lack. A friend
of mine, a convert, told me lately that he had always regretted
having hurried into the church, and to the sacraments, as he did.
He did not realize anything, but received supernatural favors like
one in a dream. He said that, though he was sincere, and would
have given his life for the faith that was in him, he was, for a
long time, tormented by the habit of doubt. When, at length, that
habit was broken, he used sometimes to long to receive baptism
over again, or wished, at least, that his first communion had been
postponed to the time of peace. A strong movement of the heart
might, perhaps, have saved this trouble; but neither he nor I have
been so favored.”

“And yet,” Edith said thoughtfully, “I should have supposed that
the first conviction of truth would have moved your feelings. When
my mind pointed that way, my heart followed quickly, and pretty
soon took wings, and flew along by itself, and left my thoughts
behind. I am not sure that I have any intellect in religion. I can
think of reasons for everything, if I try, but it does not seem to
me worth while, unless some one outside of the church wishes to
know.”

“That is a woman’s way,” Carl said, pleased with her pretty
earnestness. “A woman goes heart first, or her head and heart go
hand in hand, and her finest mental power is the intellect of noble
passions. A man goes head first, and his highest power is reason.”

The silvery bell of a clock warned them how long their interview
had been. Edith rose. “I must say good-by to you for two years,
then, Carl; but you have taken away the sting of parting. While you
are on the road to truth, I am not afraid of any road for you on
sea or land.”

She gave him her hand. Large, bright tears stood in her eyes.

“Dear Edith, good-by!” he said, and could not utter another word.

They went down the steps together. The carriage-door opened and
closed, there was one last glance, and they lost sight of each
other.

They parted with pain, yet not unwillingly; for duty and honor yet
stood with hands clasped between to separate them. Dick Rowan’s
pale face, as they had seen it that night sinking backward into the
river, could be forgotten by neither.

When we have wronged a person, though it were unconsciously, we
can no longer take the same delight in that pleasure which has
given him pain. The pleasure may be no less dear to us, but the
thought that it is to be reached only through the sufferings of one
who has even a fancied claim on us makes renunciation seem almost
preferable to possession.



THE DUTIES OF THE RICH IN CHRISTIAN SOCIETY.

NO. III.

SOCIAL DUTIES.


Under this head we include duties toward certain classes or
individuals who are dependent on the rich for their well-being and
happiness. The rich furnish employment to those who live by labor.
By their wealth, their knowledge, their power of various kinds,
they set agoing and direct those great branches of human enterprise
and industry in which the majority of persons in civilized society
are the workmen. The welfare and happiness of the majority depend,
therefore, in a great measure upon the right discharge of their
duties by the minority, in whose hands the direction is placed.
In order that these duties may be rightly discharged according to
Christian principles, the small number who possess the largest
portion of wealth and power must be stimulated and governed by
the motive of true philanthropy, the love of their fellow-men,
Christian charity. Those who are dependent need, on their part,
the spirit of resignation to the will of God, contentment with
their lot, respect and affection toward those who are in a superior
position. Where this mutual charity, springing from Christian
principles, does not exist in great strength, binding all classes
together, sooner or later the rich will despise and oppress the
poor; and the poor will hate the rich, biding their time to revolt
against and destroy them. The rich ought, therefore, to devote all
their thoughts and energies to such an administration of the trust
committed to them as may produce the greatest possible amount of
well-being and happiness among the dependent classes in society,
and earn for themselves the respect, love, and gratitude of all.

We will now leave off generalizing, and descend to some
particulars. Merchants and others in similar positions ought to
take more interest than they do in the welfare and happiness
of their clerks. Those who know something of the hardships,
privations, and moral danger to which this class of young men
are exposed in New York will not dispute the assertion we have
made.[13] It may be extended to the corresponding class of young
women. And we have here the opportunity of citing the example of
a work undertaken by one of our merchants, which illustrates our
thesis much better than pages of explanation. We refer to the great
institution contrived, and now almost completed, by Mr. Stewart,
which may be seen, and is worth being seen by every one, on the
corner of Fourth Avenue and Thirty-third Street. This princely
undertaking is a sample of that benevolent and magnanimous effort
in behalf of a numerous and interesting class of the employees of
the rich which we are aiming to recommend.

The need of looking after the interests of those who are engaged in
the harder and rougher kinds of labor is much more stringent. The
tenements and daily surroundings of the laboring class of people
in great cities, the many squalid discomforts and miseries which
invest their lot in life, have been the frequent theme of those
who, either from real or pretended philanthropy, concern themselves
with social questions. Here again, we may cite the example of
another princely merchant, Mr. Peabody, as an illustration of
what might be undertaken and accomplished, if the whole body of
wealthy men had the same spirit and would make similar efforts.
The condition of the laboring class is too hard. They are too
much neglected. It is not safe to leave them in this condition,
and, more than this, it is not right to do so. Let us specify
some particular instances of the ill-treatment or neglect of
certain classes of workingmen. There are not a few who are most
unreasonably and cruelly overworked both by day and by night,
especially such as fill the most arduous kinds of employments about
railroads. The life of the Southern negro slave was paradisaic,
compared to that of the miserable drudges who work in the stables
of our horse railways. The conductors and drivers of our city cars
and omnibuses are worked to death on a pay so meagre that stealing
has become a kind of recognized necessity of their situation. How
can these men go to church on Sundays, approach the sacraments,
or enjoy an innocent holiday? There is a wonderful amount of
breath and ink expended in our enlightened city upon our religious
rights and liberties. Yet the men who are employed to take care of
the Central Park cannot find even a single half-hour on a Sunday
morning to go to Mass.

Let any one who wishes to appreciate the blessing of living in this
nineteenth century, in this land of light and liberty, and enjoying
the fruits of that advanced civilization which communicates the
greatest amount of happiness to the greatest number, take a tour of
the New England factories. He will there see spectacles to rejoice
his heart, if he is both a wealthy and a righteous man, and cause
him to exclaim: “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men,
_especially as these Irishmen_, and that my wife and children are
not like theirs!” The writer of these articles has had a long and
extensive experience as a missionary among the Catholic population
of the factory towns of New England. In almost every instance, the
persons who have had charge of the factories have been extremely
polite and obliging during the continuance of the missions. Often
they have manifested an interest in their success, and have
granted facilities to the operatives to attend the exercises.
So, undoubtedly, has it been with the masters of slaves on the
Southern plantations. These things cannot, however, make slavery
to be freedom, or the condition of operatives in factories one
that is fit to exist in a society which pretends to be Christian
or civilized. There are plenty of kind-hearted, philanthropic men
among New England capitalists. We do not suppose that all those
who give so largely to foreign missions and Bible societies have
either made their fortunes by selling opium and rum to the heathen,
or are seeking merely to salve over a remorseful conscience and
gain applause from men by their liberality. Yet even those who are
conscientious and benevolent are carried along by a system which is
bad and cruel. We do not mean that it is bad and cruel by accident
merely. Many of its crimes and cruelties are purely accidental, and
prove only the wickedness of particular persons. If a building is
put up in such a slight manner that it falls and crushes hundreds,
this is the crime of those particular persons who caused it to be
built in such a manner. If the superintendent of a factory abuses
his power to corrupt those who are under him, that is his own sin.
But if the principles and laws of the system produce moral and
physical misery independently of the individuals who carry it on,
the system is essentially vicious. It is even the cause of the
accidental and exceptional villanies which occur under it, because
it tends to produce a cruel and tyrannical spirit.

The essential vice of the system lies in this. Capitalists seek
to make exorbitant profits, without regard to anything but their
own selfish interests. They care not for their operatives. These
are, consequently, overworked, and employed at too tender an age,
and to a great extent are underpaid. They are regarded and treated
as working machines, and not as moral and religious beings. There
is something repulsive, gloomy, and uncivilized about the aspect
and surroundings of a factory or a factory town. The life which is
led there has the most stern and sombre elements of the monastic
institute, without the compensating charms and attractions. It
has something also of the state-prison discipline, something of
the poor-house, and a great deal of the _Commune_. There is a
dismal and frightful regularity, like that of a treadmill, in the
existence of the population of our factory towns of New England.
Everything is arranged both in the mills and the boarding-houses
with such clock-work regularity, and with such scanty allowance
for any other functions of life except those which are physical,
that the place would suit much better for a variety of apes with
sufficient intelligence to work machines than for human beings.
Sunday is free, it is true, thanks to the small amount of Christian
law which still survives in our country. Catholics can therefore
go to Mass and sermon, as they do in thousands, crowding the vast
churches which they have built for themselves, in spite of the
weariness of their week’s labor. But as for confession, it is made
almost impossible, and without that they cannot enjoy the greatest
of their Sunday privileges, holy communion. We will not enlarge
on the obvious fact that the regular amount of work exacted is
excessive. But what is to be said of those who take even more than
the regular and excessive number of hours in the day from their
overworked rational animals? At Manchester, N. H., during a mission
in which the writer was engaged, the operatives of one factory were
employed until half-past nine in the evening. Some of them, who
made a desperate effort to snatch what they could of the advantages
of the mission, complained to us that they were half-dead with
fatigue, and too jaded to care whether they had souls or not. We
asked if the extra hours of work were not voluntary. The answer
was, that they were so in appearance and in pretence, but that
they did not dare to refuse volunteering for extra work, for fear
of being punished by the ill-will of their overseers, and even
discharged at the first convenient opportunity.

At another New England town, West Rutland, Vermont, we found that
for a considerable time the workmen in the marble quarries had
been forced to take _store-pay_ for their wages. All the land, the
houses, the different branches of business, were in the hands or
under the control of a few capitalists, who would not permit any
of the Irish laborers to acquire property or gain a permanent and
independent footing on the soil.

These are scattered instances, but they tell a great deal, and
well-informed readers will know how to fill up the picture for
themselves. Many persons engaged in the system of which we
are speaking will admit its evils and hardships. They excuse
themselves, however, by the plea that they can personally do
nothing toward changing it for a better one. Private efforts,
they say, would only injure those who made them, by enabling the
merciless and unscrupulous to fill up the market and sweep up all
the profits. Legislation, they say, is hopeless, because controlled
by these very unscrupulous capitalists. Senator Wilson has made
this assertion in regard to New York. He says it is controlled by
what he calls a feudal moneyed aristocracy. Others would probably
extend the observation to a much wider sphere than New York. We do
not generally agree in opinion with Senator Wilson. But we agree
with him most heartily in condemning and denouncing such a regime
as this. Only, we would suggest that a more appropriate name for it
would be, instead of _feudal_, FOODLE ARISTOCRACY. It is not only
cruel, but despicable. Mammon was the “meanest spirit that fell,”
and the worship of the golden calf is the most degrading of all
idolatries.

The miserably poor, the helpless, the suffering, and even the
morally degraded and vicious classes of the community have also
their claims on the charity of the rich. We have no wish to deny
that these claims are very generally acknowledged in modern
society, and a great deal done to acquit them, both by organized
and by individual liberality and effort. We occasionally see
extraordinary instances of generous philanthropy towards one or
another suffering class of men. Very lately, we have seen the
Roosevelt Hospital opened, an extensive institution founded by
one of the old Knickerbocker gentlemen of New York, who left
$900,000, the bulk of his fortune, for this purpose. The miseries
of our social system are nevertheless so vast and fearful that the
remedies furnished by either public or private care are wholly
inadequate. Perhaps many persons will say that they are remediless.
There are those who look on the world and life with cold and
merciless eyes. It is a struggle of animals for their selfish
enjoyment. Let each one look out for himself, and the unlucky take
their chance. When such persons are prosperous and powerful, they
scorn and oppress the weaker individuals who are dependent on them.
Knowing their own depravity, they believe in that of all other men.
They are therefore perfectly pitiless toward their fellow-men. “The
tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” Others who are not cruel
are sad and disheartened. Although they mourn over the appalling
miseries of life, they look on them as the inevitable destiny of
the human race, and do not believe it is possible to help them. The
philosophy of the first class is diabolical, that of the second is
unworthy of Christians. We do not mean that they err in respect
to the point of fact that these miseries have always existed and
will exist. But we do say that they err in ascribing them to the
essential order of the world, to the constitution of society, to
human _destiny_, and not to the wilful sins and negligences of
men; they err in not believing that God has provided a remedy
which on his part is sufficient and adequate for these miseries;
and, therefore, they err practically, if they do not endeavor to
apply that remedy as far as they can to those miseries with which
they come in contact. Does one of these ask what hope there is of
a fundamental reformation in society which will remedy the crying
evils all benevolent persons see and deplore? We answer, that, with
all its faults, the nineteenth century is really remarkable on
account of the general interest which is felt in the improvement of
the condition of the working and suffering classes. What is wanted
is the knowledge and application of the right principles and means
for accomplishing the result. Communism, secularism, and every
kind of system which denies or ignores Christianity, is a remedy
worse than the disease, which can only produce death. Imperfect
or sectarian Christianity, although capable of producing partial
and limited improvement, is too weak for the task which its more
generous and enterprising professors exact from it, and endeavor to
stimulate it to undertake. It is only the Catholic Church which
is competent to such great and universal works. She alone has the
wellspring of divine charity, and the supernatural agencies for
distributing its health-giving, fructifying streams. Therefore, the
hope of a thorough application of the divine remedy to the dreadful
diseases of humanity is precisely commensurate with the hope of a
return of the whole people of nominal Christendom to true Catholic
Christianity.

Meanwhile, the duty of each individual is to do what he can for
the benefit of those who are within the sphere of his own efforts
or influence. Let him pay attention to his own dependents, and
to the poor and suffering who are immediately around him. No one
who has wealth, power, or influence of any kind will have any
reason to complain that he lacks the opportunity of doing good
to his fellow-men, if he is really desirous of doing it. Even if
his position is altogether that of a private person, he can do
his part, and that a good and noble one, in the general work of
human redemption. If he has the power and the opportunity to act
upon society, as a public man in a greater or lesser sphere, let
him remember that he is a Christian, and act accordingly, and
he will be doing precisely what those great and good men did in
former times who were the creators and improvers of our Christian
civilization.

FOOTNOTE:

[13] An incident has been related to the writer of this article,
within a few days, which may serve as a sample of some of the
grievances, and these not the worst, of this class of young men.
Complaint was made to the head of a large house that the clerks
were obliged to stand up during the whole day, and the reply was
made that they must keep on standing if they died for it. One
more fact which we have heard reported is worth recording: that
in certain places, deduction is made from the wages of clerks for
Christmas and New-Year’s Day. We cannot help wishing that a New
York Douglas Jerrold may start up from behind some counter, or out
of some comfortless sleeping-bunk, to do justice to this fruitful
theme.



EASTER EVE.


The midnight chimes had just done ringing, and the old church was
very still. All day long there had been comers and goers, and the
altar had been wreathed, the stone church carpeted, the clustered
pillars entwined with flowers and with evergreens. Round the
altar, that stood among the carven stalls like a May-shrine in
a dark forest-glade, was an amphitheatre of blossoming verdure;
boys’ hands had piled up the lilies, the violets, the roses, the
fuchsias; and monks’ hands had reared up the pyramid of palm, and
ivory magnolia, and many-colored rhododendron beyond. The palms
were golden, not green it is true, but they were very precious, and
could not be spared to-day from the festive decoration, for they
had come from Palestine, and only last Sunday had been offered to
the church. An Eastern guest had walked in the procession on Palm
Sunday, and had dedicated these lovely foreign boughs to the God of
East and West alike.

Everything was ready for the early celebration of the Paschal
Mass--even the golden chalice lay under its pall of satin upon the
altar of sculptured cedar-wood. Perhaps the transverse timbers
of the rare wood had not forgotten the time when the sea-breezes
blew on them on Lebanon’s heights, and when the voice of the young
crusader, Hugh of Devereux, had bidden them fall in the service of
God and help to build him another sepulchre in a Christian land.

“The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars!”

And now there was no one in the old church but the youngest
chorister, Benignus, the nephew of the monk Cuthbert. The child
was never happy save by the altar, and had no friend but Cuthbert,
because he was of the blood of the lords of Devereux, and his poor
betrayed mother was no more.

Midnight chimes are sweet, and the child had a weird passion for
their sound, and would sit entranced while they slowly rang out an
old well-known church-chant. But when they had done, and he thought
there was silence, he heard a sound he knew not growing out of the
chimes, but different from them, something graver than his childish
companions’ prattle, something sweeter than the monks’ low tones,
something that seemed like his own soul speaking to itself.

It came from the belfry, straight like an arrow of sound, and
muffled itself in a faint echo among the flower-forest round the
altar.

And presently he could make out the words:

“I have spoken to God, and offered him the last vows of dying Lent,
and woven into song the speechless prayers breathed over and yet
trembling on thy jewelled brim.”

And the child knew it was the angel of the bell who spoke.

And presently there rose a sound from the dim-robed altar, and the
voice of the angel of the chalice made answer: “My cup is as a
bell uplifted, with its song of joy hushed in the very words of
God, and drowned in the flood of ruby light that quivers, living
and sensitive, within my golden walls.”

“And my cup,” returned the voice of the bell, “is as a chalice
inverted, with its saving wealth outpoured in strains that reach
the human ken; endowed with a speaking, living tongue that can
touch the human heart.”

“I speak of men to God, while my fragile stem bears the wondrous
purple flower of the precious blood, and while I am reared aloft
with the divine burden weighing on me, even as the cross was reared
up high over Jerusalem’s walls.”

“And I speak of God to men while my brazen clangor is heard afar
like the trumpets of Israel before the crumbling walls of Jericho.”

And here the soft breeze from the open lancet-windows rustled among
the sweet-smelling shrubs around the altar’s base, and, as the
night-wind passed over them, their voices seemed to be blended into
its sighs, and to have found an interpreter in its fitful sound.

“We are children of many climes, and some of us are exiles in
this land, but under this roof we are at home again, and at this
festival none of us are strangers. We too, in all our variety,
have scarce one blossom among us that is not a chalice or a bell;
that holds not high its crimson cup towards heaven to receive the
crystal dew, or hangs not its white or purple bell with golden
tongue towards the unheeding earth. On the altar of green turf,
on the swaying columns of interwoven boughs, on the storm-tossed
belfries of vine-surrounded trees, in southern swamp or northern
forest, in tropical wilderness or rosy-tinted orchard, everywhere
is stamped the semblance of the church, with chalices upreared,
with bells anxiously bent human-ward. O brothers of the altar and
the tower, let us sing together the same hymn.”

And the child Benignus said softly to himself:

“O God! make _my_ heart a chalice, and _my_ lips a Christian bell.”

The voices of the flower-chorus spoke again, and the lilies of the
valley sang a silver peal behind their grass-green curtains:

“Every day we die by thousands, but our seed is borne afar, and
drops in some fair nook at last, beside a running brook or beneath
a spreading beech, even as the last echo of the unwearied bell that
knocks at some heart’s door, far away in the mountains of worldly
care, and strikes a well-known, long-silent chord, and draws the
exile back to the fruitful plains of God’s own church.”

The voice from the wind-rocked steeple came in swift and loving
answer:

“Even so, my blossom-sisters, for to us the word was given to
increase and multiply and fill the earth, and at every step bring
forth fresh glory and conquer fresh realms for the God of our
creation.” Then the living gems stirred again under the breath
of the still midnight breeze, and the voice came forth anew as
the royal cactus and the purple morning-glories flashed like
sun-touched clouds in the dusky foliage:

“Every day our lives are drained and our treasures rifled to adorn
with living beauty the banquets of great men, and to strew the
halls of marble palaces, and yet every day, as the sun comes forth
again, our parent stem is laden once more with exhaustless riches
and a more abundant harvest of loveliness, even as the lavished
treasures and the scattered wealth of the daily chalice are ever
being shed without intermission from the altar into the hearts of
thankless men.”

And the sweet low voice came back from the shrouded altar: “Yes,
dear emblems of God’s loving prodigality, for hath he not said:
‘Cast your bread upon the waters, and after many days it shall
return to thee‘’?”

The scarlet fuchsia shook its clusters of purple bells, planted
on a blood-red cross, as if it would say to men that none could
proclaim God save they proclaimed him from Calvary. The tall Nile
lily, whose cup is as a spotless shroud wrapped round a golden
nail, swayed in the night air as if whispering that the way to
the resurrection lay across the instruments of the passion:
the ivory-tinted roses, the first-born among their kind, whose
clustering, half-blown buds made a sculptured reredos of living
alabaster behind the altar-cross, wept tears of dew when the
midnight breeze shook their curled petals, as if weeping like
sinless virgins over the wrongs they knew only by name. A carpet of
violets was spread below, the last offering of Lent, the fringes of
the sweet pall of penance under whose folds the church spends her
yearly vigil of reparation.

The heart of the child Benignus was breaking with joy and love, and
he longed to be a flower himself, that he might sing the hymn the
living grove had sung.

The voice of the angel of the bell answered his unspoken wish:

“Wish not that thou wert other than that thou art, for Jesus said,
‘Unless ye become even as little children, ye shall not enter into
the kingdom of heaven.’”

And the flowers sighed, and gave forth a sweeter fragrance, because
they longed to be little children, and could not.

Then Benignus wished he might be an angel, if he could not be a
flower, and the voice from the altar sounded very softly, so low he
thought no one could hear it but himself:

“This wish will I put into my cup, and when to-morrow dawns, and
Jesus finds the first-fruits of this new Easter laid at his feet,
thou shalt have thy answer.”

Then came a soft chorus of welcome and congratulation, breaking
forth among the flowery worshippers, but the angel of the bell held
his peace.

And in the morning, when the sun flung his golden curtains across
the east window and crowned the saints and virgins thereon with
richer gems than living monarchs wear, the Paschal procession came
winding through All Hallow’s church, and no one missed the little
chorister Benignus. But when his turn in the anthem came, a voice
seemed to float from some unseen corner, and a shower of bell-like
crystal tones rang in triumphant cadence to the very roof, and no
one could tell if it were Benignus or an angel singing. The organ
ceased, and the monk Cuthbert looked anxiously along the lines of
white-robed choristers, but the child was not there. Still the
voice sang on, and it seemed as if it floated now from the chalice
on the altar to the distant belfry-tower, and then back again to
the fragrant forest of exotics in the choir. And Cuthbert, looking
up among the half-opened buds of the early roses that were piled
up directly over the tabernacle, thought he saw one more lovely
than the others just break gently from the frail green stem, and
fall in showering petals around the pall-covered chalice, at the
very minute the wondrous voice ceased in one long reverberating
“Alleluia.”

Then Cuthbert knew who had been singing and where Benignus was, and
he sang the “Gloria in Excelsis” as he had never done before.

But the angel of the bell was sad, because the child would have
helped him to bear abroad the message of God’s truth to men.



THE TWENTY-FIRST CATHOLIC CONGRESS IN MAYENCE.

FROM DER KATHOLIK.


It is evident that we have reached a turning-point in the history
of the world; that a crisis of terrible interest for the church,
for Christian Europe, for peoples, and for nations, is at hand. It
must, indeed, soon be decided whether Christianity shall continue
to be, in the life of the nations, what from its very nature and
design it is intended to be; whether it shall remain what it has
been acknowledged to be since it overcame the heathenism of old,
the light of the world, the supernatural leaven permeating all the
relations of life, purifying and ennobling them; or whether it
shall be cast out of public life as an illusion, and at most--and
who knows how long even that?--be tolerated as a species of
superstition. The nations--and especially the recently founded
German Empire--must soon decide whether they shall accept as their
basis the laws of eternal justice, whose root is in the holy and
personal God, and in him alone; whether they will hold to that
Christian civilization which reposes on the public recognition of
Christianity, of the church as a divine institution not subject
to the arbitrament of man; in fine, whether they will respect as
sacred those prescriptive rights of mankind which every one must
respect who believes in the divine government of the world--rights
of which history is the evidence; or whether they will yield to the
pressure of the revolution and of false science, throw Christianity
and Christian civilization overboard, proclaim the present will
of the dominant political powers or party the only and highest law
of the state, and, having done this, to use their immense power to
infuse this “modern” spirit and these “modern” principles into the
life of the people, and force it on them by every means at their
disposal, through legislation, government patronage, their system
of public instruction, and the whole organization of society; in
short, whether they will place naturalism and rationalism instead
of Christianity, the vital principle of national and popular
life, and thereby--no intelligent person can doubt it, for reason
and experience conspire to teach it--hasten for the nations the
inevitable catastrophe of which the burning of Paris was only a
premonitory symptom.

And precisely at this fatal moment in the history of the world it
is that, in Germany, a number of men, among them a few who have
deserved well of the church, blinded to a degree which it seems
hard to account for, have raised the standard of rebellion against
their mother, the church, because the Œcumenical Council did not
think fit to decide as they thought best, because it decided as
it pleased the pastors of the church and the Holy Ghost. The
foundation-stone of the church, laid by Christ himself, to preserve
unity and love within it for ever, has become a stumbling-block to
them. They have made shipwreck of the faith, and burst the bonds
of love that held them in union with their brethren in the faith.
Following the example of those who before them rebelled against the
church, they call themselves defenders of the faith, while denying
the very principle on which all faith reposes. Proclaiming human
science the supreme authority in matters of religion, placing it
above the highest authority in the church, above the Pope and the
council, above the assent of the whole Catholic world, they have
ceased to be servants of God and of his church; they have gone over
to the rationalism and naturalism which are striving so hard to do
away with Christianity entirely, and to constitute themselves in
its place a new cosmopolitan religion.

The turpitude of their rebellion against the church is equalled
only by that of the means which they have adopted to defend it and
to spread its principles. Repeating the worst and most perfidious
slanders of the past against the church, and giving them out as the
result of science, they proclaim to the world that the Apostolic
See has for a thousand years been the seat of well-concocted fraud
and deceit, and that in the most sacred of matters; that the
Catholic Church is dangerous both to the state and to morals; and
that the decree solemnly proclaimed by the Œcumenical Council,
that Christ will for ever preserve his visible representative on
earth from all error in faith and morals--a belief which has always
been the key-stone of Catholic faith, Catholic life, and Catholic
practice--is a doctrine inimical to the rights of the state. Under
these pretexts, they require the state to deprive the Catholic
Church of its rights, and of the liberty which has been guaranteed
to it by the state, and not to recognize the church represented
by the bishops and the Pope, but themselves, who have renounced
all allegiance to it, as the legal Catholic Church, the only one
recognized and promised protection by the state. Moreover, they
desire that those Catholics who have remained faithful to the
church shall be looked upon as recreant to the state, accusing them
of want of patriotism. Designating all those peoples embraced in
the Catholic Church by the name of the _Romanists_, they, in the
name of what they designate Germanism, demand their oppression and
extirpation.

And, we are sorry to say, these attempts have not been without some
success. Individual governments have been induced to take steps
against the church which, a short time ago, it was supposed it
would be impossible to take, and which the Catholics living under
those governments did nothing to warrant.

During this condition of affairs, the one hundred and twentieth
Catholic Congress met in the second week of September in Mayence,
to give expression in no weak or ambiguous terms to their faith,
and to their views on the condition of things; and they did it with
that unanimity and certainty which Catholic faith alone can give--a
faith neither anxious nor troubled with doubt, or weakened by the
spirit of the age.

This they did by their resolutions on the Roman question, on the
Vatican Council, and on the more recent opposition that has been
made to its decrees--and rightly; for, in the Roman question,
the question of all external Christian law and order reaches its
culminating point, as do theirs the constitution of the church
itself, and the whole of Catholic faith, in the decrees of the
Vatican Council.

The occupation of Rome is simply robbery--a crime against the
church, against every individual Catholic which nothing can
justify, which no principle of international law can excuse
or cover, which no prescription can make valid. The so-called
guarantees made to the church by the Italian government can never
be accepted, because they are based upon the false principle that
the state alone has the right to declare under what conditions
the church and its pastors shall exercise their functions as
teachers, priests, and shepherds of the flock--functions which
they exercise in virtue of the power conferred upon them by Jesus
Christ himself; because these laws do not by any means guarantee
to the Pope the free discharge of his supreme authority as chief
pastor, and, moreover, because there is not the least security that
these guarantees will be respected. The occupation of Rome and
of the Quirinal is the culmination of the policy of the Italian
revolution, and the success of that policy the disgrace of this
age. That the governments of European nations have done nothing
to defend the Pope is an injustice to their Catholic subjects, a
violation of the law of nations, and paves the way, necessarily, to
the violation of all law and the overthrow of all order. And this
is why it is that Catholics must for ever discountenance all these
acts, and oppose them by all legitimate means. And their opposition
cannot be rightfully construed as insubordination to the powers
that be, or as a want of patriotism on their part. On the contrary,
Catholics may be sure that in so acting they will be doing their
government and their country the greatest possible service. Such
service has been rendered by the resolutions of the Catholic
Congress in Mayence.

It was well that, at the first general meeting of the society
after the occupation of Rome, its members should give expression
to their thought on the wicked act by which, for the third time
in this century, it was attempted to destroy the work founded by
divine Providence since the christianizing of the world, in order
to secure to the head of the church his liberty and the efficient
discharge of the duties of his high office. Nor could the members
of the society express themselves concerning this crime otherwise
than in bold words of truth and justice--in words becoming an
occasion when the interests of God and man are alike at stake--in
words such as nature itself puts into the mouth of those who have
been the victims of great injustice or great misfortune. Worldly
policy may wait, and consider itself justified in waiting, to
take account of circumstances; but for us Catholics there is
but one thing to do when the question is simply this--whether
Christ or Antichrist shall reign, namely, what the martyrs did
under circumstances still more aggravating, what God himself
has commanded us to do, what we see his representative on earth
doing--to proclaim the truth to those in power before kings and
peoples.

It was, if possible, yet more necessary that the Catholic Congress
should make a public profession of its faith in the decrees of
the Œcumenical Council of the Vatican, that it should raise its
voice against those proceedings of the government which have no
object but to hinder the Catholic Church in the declaration of
its doctrines, and to lead or force Catholics into heresy. And on
these points again the association, in its resolutions, speaks the
truth, and expresses the Catholic view on them, in the plainest and
most direct manner, without any show of diplomacy or of pedantry.
We joyfully profess, say they, our faith in everything which the
church requires, particularly in the infallibility of the Pope
teaching the universal church, and in the very sense in which
the Vatican Council has defined it, do we believe it. And we are
convinced that the definition of this truth in our time is no evil,
but the work of a kind and good Providence, intended to strengthen
the church, to preserve unity, to reclaim the erring. We reject
with horror the caricature of the doctrine of Papal infallibility
which the opponents of the Vatican Council have drawn, and we
repudiate the slander that this doctrine or any other article
of our faith is in conflict with our duties as subjects of our
government, or with the allegiance which we owe our fatherland.
We protest against the course of those governments which have
endeavored to hinder the propagation of Catholic doctrine within
their territories, and to favor the opposition to the church
by their protecting the rebellion against it. In this manner,
they have overstepped the bounds of their rightful authority,
infringed the rights of conscience of their Catholic subjects, and
made themselves responsible before God for a host of evils. The
political principles which have led to these things are in conflict
with the law of God, in fact with all law and order, and can never
be recognized by Catholics as right or just. Yet are we not without
the hope that the governments which have been guilty of these
things will at no distant future forsake the unholy path upon which
they have entered.

But the members of the Catholic Congress did not confine themselves
to professing the Catholic faith, to raising a protesting voice
against the encroachments on their liberties and on their
rights--rights which should be ever inviolate; they pointed out
the fertile source from which have flown as well the most recent
evils as the more ancient ones which have done so much injury to
the Catholic life of Germany. The source of all these evils, past
as well as present, is in a science grounded on false principles,
and which appropriates to itself exclusively, but not with any
show of reason, the name of German science. These evils can be
healed only by the cultivation of real Catholic science in Germany,
and the most recent events demand absolutely that the reign of
such a science should be inaugurated at once. But so long as the
ancient institutions founded for Catholic purposes ignore, for the
most part, the object of their being; when they have gone over,
to a great extent, to infidelity or to secular management, it is
extremely important, both to pastors and people, that new seats of
science, of education, of real science and Christian education,
should be established.

Such are the principal resolutions of the Catholic Congress held
during the present year. What these resolutions contain is only
the echo and essence of the thought of the assembly expressed in
the orations and sayings of the members--the deep, unanimous,
and undoubted convictions of all. These same thoughts found
expression also in their addresses to the Holy Father, to the
Bishop of Ermeland, to the Bavarian Episcopate, to the Bishops of
Switzerland, as well as to the defenders of the Catholic faith in
Italy and Austria. But is it right to assume that the voice of
all Catholic Germany has been heard, and is heard, in the voice
of this general meeting of Catholics? True it is that they would
entirely misunderstand the essence and the spirit of the principles
of the members of those meetings who would invest their doings or
their sayings as a society with any authority; but they would err
no less grossly who would consider these meetings as mere party
meetings, or as meaning nothing as merely the coming together of a
few private individuals. From the very significance of this year’s
meeting’s resolutions, it may not be amiss to examine the question
somewhat more closely--how much importance is to be attached, what
significance and authority such Catholic meetings may have.

These general meetings are nothing more than the coming together
of believing Catholics. They do not assume to have any power or
authority ecclesiastical or political. They have nothing in their
own right that entitles them to be considered as possessed of such
power or authority, nor have they a power of attorney of any kind
to represent any one else in these meetings.

In the church no one has any power whatever except those to whom
Christ has granted it, and only such power as he conferred upon
them. But he has granted no power to any one in the church but
to Peter and the apostles. On this account the Catholic Church
recognizes no representatives, save only the pope and the bishops.
There is no such thing among Catholics as lay-participation in the
government of the church. Laymen have no power in church government
that is theirs of right, and they in no manner take the place of
or represent even the inferior clergy. Every tendency in that
direction is heretical and schismatical.

The society in question, and all other societies of the same
nature, have recognized, acted upon, this principle from the
beginning. Being Catholics and wishing to remain Catholics, they
have never interfered in the government of the church. On the
contrary, they consider it their duty to show to others the example
of the most religious submission to the Pope and the bishops in
matters relating to faith and ecclesiastical discipline. They,
therefore, represent no party in the church. The church wants no
parties and recognizes no parties within its bosom. Following the
church, the general meeting of Catholics negatives every division
in the body of the church. Its only desire is to find itself always
one with the church in all things, to be simply Catholic and
nothing else.

There is no use in wasting words to show that the Catholic Congress
and other Catholic societies claim no power of any kind whatever in
the state. They neither represent a political party, nor do they
belong to any, nor will they ever constitute themselves a political
party in the state.

True, the members of the societies are very far removed, as they
ought to be, from an unreasonable, unmanly, unchristian, and
un-Catholic indifference in matters pertaining to the nation. They
are by no means of opinion that it matters nothing to a Catholic
to which party in the country he belongs. They believe firmly that
it is the duty of Catholics, as well as their right, to watch over
the rights of the church and of its members, and to defend them by
the exercise of their political franchises. They do not, however,
doubt that it is perfectly legitimate for Catholics, wherever they
are, to organize themselves into a party for the exercise of their
political rights. But as the political life of every individual
Catholic is different from his religious life, and that, although
he may be guided in his politics by the principles of Christianity,
in like manner these associations of Catholics, inasmuch as
they are Catholic, are something higher and broader than mere
political associations. Their objects are not the political, but
the religious and ecclesiastical rights of Catholics. This has been
the universal understanding of the members of these associations
from the very beginning of their organizations. These have been the
principles which have always guided them, and which they have found
it well to be guided by. These associations have never allowed
themselves to forget these principles. They have never forgotten
them, not even in times of the greatest political excitement. And
in the last general meeting, the members of the association did not
swerve from these principles by as much as a hair’s breadth.

And precisely because these associations have held to their
principles as Catholics, to the very principles we have been
mentioning above, are they entitled to attention. They manifest,
in a manner that can be relied upon, the mind and conviction, the
determination and feeling, of those who are true to the church
and to the faith. It thus happens that this general meeting of
Catholics has given expression to the thought and feeling of the
Catholic clergy and Catholic people. And hence it is that those who
would learn what Catholics think and feel on the stirring questions
of the present must turn their attention to the resolutions of
this Catholic Congress. There is unmistakable evidence that these
general meetings express the feeling and ideas common to all
Catholics. For twenty-three years they have enjoyed the complete
confidence of the bishops of the church. The Holy Father and the
bishops of Germany have never hesitated to bless and to approve
the efforts of the Catholic association. This were impossible if
these meetings did not give expression to the Catholic mind on
the questions of the day, if there were any danger in them of
a departure from the principles of the faith or of the church.
Moreover, we may ask, Who are they that take part in these
meetings? They are precisely those persons who with living faith
partake of the sacraments, and are in habitual attendance at the
services of the church, and in the life of the church generally.
During the twenty-three years of their existence, these Catholic
associations have in every German diocese and everywhere been
one with the clergy on all subjects. Zealous and true Catholics
of every social position have been largely represented in them.
Hither have come the Catholic nobleman, the Catholic of the middle
class, the Catholic peasant, the physician of souls--the priest
himself sprung from the people--the Catholic _savant_, the teacher,
author, and publicist. Here, too, have been represented those
Catholic societies made up of those who really love the church.
In short, in those societies are represented those even who are
most despised and seldom represented anywhere else. The members of
the Catholic Congress are not representatives of their individual
opinions; they seek no worldly interest. It were more than folly
for any one to come to those meetings with any such intention.
Neither do these meetings represent any party on which they are
dependent. They represent no majority or minority to whom they are
responsible. Their faith and Catholic feeling it is that bring them
to these meetings, and those they have in common with the hundreds
and thousands from whose midst they come. There is a yet stronger
argument to show that these general assemblies really represent the
mind of all true Catholics. It is their unanimity on all questions
bearing on religion and on the church--a mark which belongs to
Catholics exclusively.

After all this, we feel ourselves warranted to say that these
meetings express decidedly the feelings and convictions of those
Catholics who are _worthy_ of the name.

But these general assemblies not only give expression to the
principles and sentiments of Catholics on the questions of the
day, they also tend to keep Catholic life awake and active. And
just here is the great use of Catholic societies. There never was
a more senseless saying than this: “We need no special societies;
our society is the Catholic Church.” Precisely because the Catholic
Church is a divine and all-embracing society, the society of
societies, does it from its inexhaustible fertility call forth from
its own bosom, in all times, other smaller societies--societies
calculated to meet the peculiar wants of the time. The life of
Christian societies, of church societies, is, indeed, a standard
by which Catholic life at any particular time or place may be
measured. And in our own day, when the spirit of evil more than
ever seeks the destruction of the church, mimicking it as he does
after his own fashion--to leave the power which societies are
calculated to wield entirely to the enemies of Christianity, to
those governed exclusively by the spirit of the world, would be to
be more than blind.

At the general meeting held at Düsseldorf, Dr. Marx agreed to take
upon himself the difficult task of collecting the statistics of the
Catholic societies of Germany. At the assembly held this year, he
presented the results of his labors. His work is imperfect, it is
true, but it is a foundation on which others may build. It embraces
the statistics of most of the German dioceses, and of a number of
those of Austria.

The amount of vitality in anything or anywhere cannot be made to
appear in a table of statistics, and the best things often thrive
in secret. Hence it is that the Catholic life of Germany is much
greater than even these tables or any others would give one reason
to believe. On the other hand, much that appears on paper in
statistics of this kind is of no importance whatever, or of almost
no importance. Yet the statistical tables before us demonstrate
that numerous live Catholic associations, and of the most varied
character, have arisen during the last twenty-three years, and that
each general assembly has made itself felt--now in one place, now
in another--furthering the creation of such local associations.
Societies purely religious, such as brotherhoods, sodalities,
congregations, are not at all or scarcely at all referred to
in these tables. It was part of the plan of the work that they
should be excluded from its tables. Yet they are of the very first
importance to the life of the church. Well-conducted societies and
sodalities for young people and of adults like those which, thanks
be to God, are springing up on every side, and particularly in the
Rhine lands, are the best nurseries of real Catholics. Rightly,
therefore, do these general assemblies continue to commend such
societies, as the general assembly did this year the “Society of
Young Merchants,” which was so worthily represented at the meeting.
Neither have our Christian social societies and associations been
noticed in these tables. And for this reason, again, are we much
richer in associations than we should suppose from these tables. On
the other hand, these statistics combine with daily experience to
show that we are yet only in the beginning of the development of
this society-life; that, much as we have to be thankful for, the
time has not yet come when we can repose upon our laurels. Rather
must we work with all our strength, with inexhaustible patience
and devotion at the establishment of Catholic societies. In many
parts of Catholic Germany there are no, or scarcely any, Catholic
societies, that is, live societies, while in others those which
have been begun are now neglected. It is so convenient to allow
things to go on in the old way, and so hard--for the most modest
association demands some sacrifice on the part of individuals--to
establish anything new. Yet a thing which in the great struggle
between the church and Antichrist is one of the most powerful
means of victory is really worth the highest sacrifice. Is it not
time to see that all Christian men should organize themselves into
societies, when infidels and free-thinkers so-called are organizing
on every side to draw everything to themselves? Our indolence would
be all the worse, all the more inexcusable, were we to yield the
field to our adversaries, since we, whenever there is a question
of real live associations, possess so great an advantage over
every other body, not on account of our own merits, but because
of the spirit and strength of Catholic Christendom. Let the world
surpass us in material means, let it be far above us in its appeal
to worldly interests; it is wasting the vital power of faith and
Catholic love, which alone are able to establish and to develop
associations possessed of real life--associations which can be
productive of real good.

How true this is, is shown by the history of the Catholic
association founded by the departed but never-to-be-forgotten
Kolping. Based only on Catholic faith and relying for support
on the very simplest of human means, it has during the past
twenty-five years had a steady growth and accomplished untold good.
And it will ever be so, so long as it holds to the simple Catholic
principles of Kolping. To these associations of young people
founded by Kolping others have been joined recently--associations
in which the masters of these young people meet. To complete the
good work, there is nothing now needed but similar societies for
apprentices.

What Kolping did for young mechanics must, with suitable
modifications, be now done for those of both sexes occupied
in factories and other such establishments. This is the most
important step that can be taken by Catholics, to solve certain
social questions, and which can be solved only on Catholic
principles. Indeed, the greatest social danger of the age is the
dechristianization and demoralization of the laboring classes
of mechanics and the employees in manufacturing establishments.
This dechristianization and demoralization are, to a great
extent, the cause of the wretchedness of these classes, and make
that wretchedness, even under the most favorable circumstances,
incurable. What enormous dimensions has this evil assumed under
the, in part at least, so unnatural, social, and economic relations
which modern liberal political economy has brought about! But
even the evils resulting from this condition of affairs might be
healed, if the laboring classes could be restored to Christianity.
The Society of Young Mechanics, founded by Kolping, demonstrates
that, even under the most unfavorable circumstances, the laboring
classes can be redeemed from evil and reclaimed to right, provided
they can be made to enter the atmosphere of Christianity in which
the members of these societies live. Let us work unanimously and
for the same object, and we shall see the number of Christian
laborers increase. We shall see them living more and more in one
another, associating with one another, and being strengthened
by that association. When we have such men, and not before, it
will be possible to make those associations really useful in the
improvement of the material condition of the laboring classes. So
long, indeed, as the laboring classes themselves remain unchristian
and immoral, it will be impossible to do anything for their
material improvement; for they will never be satisfied. Only by
strengthening the spirit of Christianity in all classes of society
can legislation itself be made Christian, and it will become
Christian just in proportion as the several classes of society
become Christian.

Let us now examine in brief the most important movements which the
general assembly of this year has initiated toward the establishing
of Catholic societies.

For a number of years, the principal subject that has engaged one
section of the Catholic Congress is the Christian solution of the
so-called social question. Through the efforts of the assembly,
the question has been fairly brought before the clergy and the
laity. The session of this year has, under this head, recommended
the establishment of Christian social associations, the raising of
helping funds, the encouragement of appropriate literature, the
circulation of the _Christian Social Journal_, and the erection
of dwellings for the laboring classes. They have pointed out
how important it is to study on every hand the condition of the
laboring classes, in order to discover the principles on which
we must proceed, in order to legislate concerning labor and the
laboring classes in a just and Christian manner.

The general assembly has, moreover, recommended the Catholic
missionary associations in the most emphatic manner. Among these,
the first place belongs to the Society of St. Francis Xavier for
Foreign Missions, and the Society of St. Boniface.

Considering the terrible blows that have fallen upon France and
upon Rome, it has become our duty to redouble our efforts in behalf
of the missions to foreign parts, and in behalf of the Society of
St. Francis Xavier; for on those efforts must depend, in a great
measure, the permanency and spread of Catholic missions the world
over. Unfortunately, the Society of St. Francis Xavier has gone
backward rather than forward, in Germany, during the last ten
years. In many places it has ceded to other societies. And yet it
should not be so. The Society of St. Francis Xavier is and must
remain the first and most important of all missionary associations.
It embraces the missions to all parts of the world, and they all
look to it for support. Even Germany has been helped by it more
than by any other association; and now, although the Society of
St. Boniface has extended so widely, it cannot be dispensed with.
Therefore it is that all Catholics, and, above all, the clergy,
who are always in all matters pertaining to Christianity the
divinely appointed leaders of the people, should take the deepest
interest in the Society of St. Francis Xavier. The Society of St.
Boniface will suffer nothing from this. On the contrary, the more
the Catholic spirit is strengthened, the more will this and every
other Catholic society thrive. As truly as the church embraces the
whole world, so truly can we not be real Catholics if we feel an
interest only in the missions of our own country, but none in the
missions to other parts of the world.

True it is that charity demands us to look first to the wants
of those who are our nearest neighbors. And on this account the
Society of St. Boniface cannot be too strongly recommended to our
benevolence. The general meeting has done its duty in this matter.
It has recommended the society in very earnest terms.

Besides these great societies, there are other smaller ones with
special objects of charity in view--smaller, but by no means
unimportant. The Society of the Holy Sepulchre is, independently of
its religious object, the most powerful auxiliary of the missions
in the East. The Society of St. Joseph is doing the work of the
Society of St. Boniface among the large and exposed Catholic
German population in large and foreign cities, and especially such
cosmopolitan cities as Paris and London.

A work of the highest importance is to care for the emigrants to
America. Here it is possible to do a great deal with little means.
The Committee on Emigration, presided over by Prince von Isenburg,
has placed its cards of recommendation at the disposal of all
parish priests, in order that emigrants presenting those cards
to the agents of the Catholic Emigration Society in America may
receive proper advice and direction in their new homes, and--who
would have imagined it?--those cards of recommendation have been
used much less than one might rightfully expect.

How great is sometimes our ignorance or indifference concerning
the interests of religion! It was, certainly, only right that the
general assembly of this year should have approved the founding
of an association, that of the Archangel Raphael, whose sole
object it is, besides the saying of a few prayers for the success
of this movement in behalf of the emigrants, to defray the heavy
expenses of the same, and thus to relieve the president of the
committee of that charge. We hear many exclaim just here, We have
too many associations, too many meetings! We know very well that,
when societies increase beyond measure, even when those societies
are benevolent ones, there may be danger. But that there may be
danger is no reason why we should not encourage the organization
of such societies when they may be necessary or useful. We do not,
however, wish to blame the taking of steps to prevent too great a
competition of societies having charitable or other objects in view.

The Catholic Congress this year could not well help--as, indeed,
all those which preceded it did--considering the school question.
There can be no question that the anti-Christian party in the state
is straining every nerve to do away, by means of legislation,
with the right of Catholic parents to a Catholic education
of their children in Catholic schools--with the right of the
church to instruct her people in a Catholic manner, and to found
institutions for that purpose. The members of the assembly spoke
on these matters in no ambiguous terms, and took, besides, into
consideration what they should do in case the state, siding with
the liberalism of the day, should banish the Catholic religion,
the Catholic Church, from the schools of the nation. Should this
happen, there was nothing left but to appeal to the consciences
of parents. It then became the duty of bishops to tell their
people that it was not allowed them to send their children to
unchristian schools. Liberty of education must be defended to
the utmost, and every sacrifice made in order to give Catholic
children opportunities for a Catholic education from the primary
schools to the university. But the impression is not hereby
intended to be conveyed that in this Catholics see the salvation
of the church, of her children, and of the nation. No; they will
always remind princes and states that it is their solemn duty to
govern a Christian people in a Christian manner, and, leaving out
of consideration the sacredness of the foundations and the right
of the church to teach, to give their Catholic subjects Catholic
schools--schools standing in proper relations with the church.

Yet, on account of the more universal questions, and the great
contests which the church is waging for her most important
possessions, for the independence and for the integrity of its
faith, the school question, even at this meeting, was held somewhat
in the background.

The general assembly was content with adopting a few resolutions,
embodying the simple principles which must guide Catholics,
should the state break with the church on the school question,
and, violating the natural and prescriptive rights of Catholics,
introduce a system of non-Catholic schools--principles not
sufficiently recognized by even well-meaning Catholics. These
resolutions are worded thus: “The monopoly of the school system by
the state is an unwarranted restriction of liberty of conscience,
and therefore to be opposed by all Catholics. Very many of the
schools have notoriously been founded by Catholics, and it is only
just that they should continue to accomplish those ends for which
they are established. In these schools, and in all Catholic schools
yet to be established, the Catholic Church must possess perfect and
unrestricted liberty in its capacity as a teacher.” Thus, while
the school question was not the most prominent before the general
assembly, the words spoken at that meeting will not, we hope, be
without beneficial results in the province of Catholic education.

All rights and liberties avail nothing in the end if Catholic
education itself is not what it ought to be. And the great battle
that is waging, that education may not be deprived of its Christian
character, can be won by us only on condition that teachers and
educators themselves, as well as parents and the clergy, understand
precisely the full bearing of the question.

It was, therefore, a happy thought to unite teachers, clergy, and
parents into one grand society, in order to further the great
matter of Christian education--a matter on which our whole future
for weal or woe depends. The association of teachers founded in
Bavaria, approved by the bishops, embracing among its members many
distinguished men, and directed by one evidently called by God to
fill that very position, Ludwig Aner, has sought and is seeking
to carry this thought into practice. The Catholic Congress held
at Düsseldorf had already called attention to the importance of
establishing similar societies elsewhere, only modified in their
character by the different nature of place or other circumstances.
The realization of this thought was a matter for the meeting at
Mayence to consider more closely yet. There was here assembled a
goodly number of educators and friends of youth from every part
of Germany, among them a number of the most widely known teachers
in the country; and they took occasion to most earnestly confer
on this matter each day of the meeting. They gave a general plan,
and threw out some very practical hints for the organization of
Catholic educational associations.

We give them here with the hope that they may prove as fertile
in blessings as did those thrown out on a former occasion, and
which resulted in the Society of St. Boniface, and in the Catholic
Association for Young Men, so often recommended by those meetings
since.

The matter is one of at least as much importance, and the general
plan of the organization of these societies at least as simple and
practical. Here are the broad outlines of the plan: “The task of
education, rendered more than ever before difficult on account of
the times in which we live, and the school question, now everywhere
looming into such immense proportions, render the foundation of
Catholic educational institutions imperative.”

The Mayence Association of Teachers--pointing to the association
already existing in Bavaria--suggests the following as the ground
principles of the new associations:

I. The Catholic educational associations recognize as their
foundation, first and last, the faith of the Catholic Church.

II. Excluding all party issues, their only object is the
furtherance of the temporal and eternal welfare of youth.

III. The Catholic educational associations desire that the youth of
the age should profit by all that the world has of good, and that
in their education all that it has of evil should be avoided.

Therefore, they are ready to accept and to use all that there is
of real worth in the educational systems of the age, all that can
promote real progress.

IV. These associations consider the proper education of youth in
the family, the schools, and later in life, that is, after the
youth have left the schools, as their exclusive object.

Therefore is it that they accept as members, parents, teachers, the
clergy, and all who, in any manner, are interested in the education
of youth.

V. They recommend to these associations, 1. The defence and
propagation of Catholic principles in education by word, writing,
and action. 2. The defence of the rights of parents to the
Christian education and Christian instruction of their children. 3.
The improvement of the family education of children, of schools,
and the providing of means for the continuance of education after
children leave schools. 4. The furtherance of the interests of
teachers, to support them in their efforts in the direction of
education, and particularly to help to elevate their material and
social position; the collecting of funds to aid in the education of
teachers, and in the support of their widows. 5. The encouragement
of literature bearing on the interests of education. 6. Founding
and caring for educational institutions of all kinds--schools for
children, boys, girls, apprentices, etc.

VI. The means for attaining the objects of these associations
are, besides the means suggested by the very nature of our holy
religion, 1. Periodicals; 2. Appropriate publications for teachers
and for families; 3. The establishment of libraries and literary
associations; 4. Co-operating with other associations--the
pecuniary assistance needed in any case to be obtained by regular
fees from the members, presents, etc.

VII. The getting up of particular by-laws to be left to the
associations from each separate province, but the by-laws to be got
up in such a manner that the above principles be not ignored.

The elevation of the tone and the support of the Catholic press
must ever be one of the principal objects of all Catholic
associations, and of the general meetings.

This year a great number of Catholic publishers and editors came
together at this meeting. All the principal organs of the Catholic
daily press were represented. The principal object gained was that
they became acquainted with one another, which is the first step
towards their understanding and appreciating one another.

As far as the press is concerned, we Catholics have nothing to
do but to look at things just as they stand. It is certain that
the unrestricted freedom of the press, which every one is ready
to abuse, and which allows every one to constitute himself a
teacher of the public, can be defended neither on principles of
reason nor of faith. It is certain, too, that the rank growth of
periodicals which has followed with all its attendant evils, and
the heterogeneous character of the reading of a great many people,
is a deplorable evil. But as, unfortunately, an unchristian press
is guaranteed the fullest liberty and the evils that flow from that
liberty, are widely spread, it becomes not only our privilege, but
our solemn duty to combat the unchristian by a really Christian
press--a matter on which the church and the head of the church
have spoken in an unmistakable manner. Yes, it is absolutely
necessary to call a Catholic journal into existence on every hand,
and to spare no sacrifice to do so. The beginnings of the Catholic
press have been everywhere small, and those who have interested
themselves in it have everywhere had to contend with untold
difficulties. This is true particularly of the larger journals,
which, to enable them to compete with other journals, need support
from other sources besides that derived from subscriptions and
advertisements. It is certainly the duty of Catholics, out of
pure love for God and for the church, to establish Catholic press
associations, in order to provide means for the support of Catholic
papers, just as the government and political parties find funds
to support their own organs. The financial difficulties which
the larger journals have to fear consist sometimes only in the
apprehension of too great a competition on the part of smaller
or other journals. There may be such a thing as a reprehensible
competition, when, for example, as in the same locality attempts
are made to found or establish new journals of the same nature as
those already existing, when those already existing are sufficient
to supply the demand. But, on the whole, we have by no means thus
far enough Catholic papers. There was a time, and it is not yet
entirely over, when Catholic Germany had very few papers among
the daily press of the country. And almost every one of these few
papers had an equal prospect, and it naturally enough seemed to be
the ambition of the editor or proprietor of each to make his paper
the central organ of the whole of Catholic Germany.

Naturally enough, too, those pecuniarily or otherwise interested
in these journals looked with a rather jealous eye upon all
attempts to found other Catholic journals. Whenever a new paper
was established, the old ones lost a number of subscribers, and
sometimes fears were entertained for the existence of the older
papers themselves. But experience has shown that these fears were
unfounded. Wherever and whenever a paper was properly managed
and ably edited, it has contrived to live and to do well. Thus
competition has, on the whole, worked advantageously rather than
otherwise.

If we look at the matter closely, we will see that it is quite an
abnormal state of affairs that Catholic Germany should possess so
few of the larger political papers. Compared with the time when
Catholics had no press at all, the existence of even one good paper
through which they can give expression to their thoughts is a great
blessing and a great gain; but that certainly does not enable
them to give their voice that weight in the questions of the day
to which it is entitled. Besides, it must be remembered that, if
Catholics have not this class of papers, they will take periodicals
which are not Catholic. Experience teaches, and it might be
expected from the very nature of things that a paper can rarely
obtain a very large circulation outside of the locality in which
it is published. Outside of these bounds it will find only a few
isolated subscribers. Hence it follows that every large city ought
to have its own Catholic paper, one that will worthily represent it.

These papers outside of the place of their publication will thus
find a number of subscribers--a number which will always depend
upon the ability with which they are edited, the reliability of
the views they advocate, and the interest which on other grounds
they may awaken. We cannot, however, be satisfied with a so-called
central organ, or with a small number of large papers. No, every
large city should have its Catholic paper, and support it, cost
what it may. We thank God that such papers have, during the past
year, been established in many parts. That such a journal should
be established in the capital of the new German Empire, at the
seat of government, was an evident necessity; and it is one of the
most pleasant events in the history of our time that a paper like
the _Germania_ should have in a short time taken its position as a
first-class and widely circulated Catholic journal.

All our already existing Catholic journals, and all those to be
hereafter established, instead of hindering, will help one another,
and that from the very fact that they exist; for, the stronger
the Catholic press becomes, the more the attention of the nation
is called to it, the more secure must become the existence of
each individual journal. Therefore, we hope that there will be no
jealousy between those interested in different Catholic journals;
that, on the contrary, they will help support one another at all
times. Still more important is it to take a proper view of the
smaller local press. It would be a great absurdity were Catholics
to neglect the establishment of smaller Catholic journals lest they
should interfere or compete with the larger ones. This competition
is not dangerous; but it is dangerous to put no antagonist in
the field to meet and to oppose the unchristian press in smaller
places. The large journals can neither be paid for nor read by
the vast majority of the inhabitants of such places--and does it
not seem wrong to leave them, or the Catholics among them, to the
evil influence of a press totally antagonistic to the faith? The
establishment and support of such papers is not hard, and the
financial difficulties which stand in the way of the larger papers
for the larger cities are not to be here encountered. Wherever the
matter of the establishment of such papers has been rightly taken
in hand, it has proved successful. If the clergy only take the
matter under advisement, they will find those willing and able to
carry the matter through. It is not a very hard matter to purchase
a press and find subscribers in such places. A feature which will
contribute not a little to aid in the matter is the finding of
the proper person to carry the papers around and to canvass for
subscribers and advertisements. By being thus practical, Catholic
men have established Catholic papers in localities where one might
have despaired of ever establishing them; and not only have they
been established, but they have succeeded. No matter what the
condition of our press, it is far from being in a state to despair
of. Oh! if the children of light were only as wise as the children
of the world, we should witness wonders. It is true that evil makes
its way in this world better than goodness does; but it is also
true that goodness does not prosper, because those who represent it
take the matter too lightly, or do not go about it as they should.
More is often done for the worst cause than men are willing to do
or to sacrifice for the best. A great deal has of late years been
done for the local press, and we sincerely hope that a great deal
more will be done and more universally, and need requires us not
only to pray, but to act and make sacrifices.

Other proposals were made at the general meeting to carry out
projects, which of course the general meeting itself could neither
undertake nor perfect, as, for instance, the furtherance of
this or that literary undertaking; yet these proposals are not
without their use. They suggest something or call attention to
something already existing. Thus, at the present general meeting
the establishment of a journal as the organ for the various
associations of young Catholics was recommended. The proposer of
the resolution was informed that there already existed a journal
of that character, and a very good one; that it was published by
the associations of young Catholics in Austria, and edited in a
very able manner, under the name of the _Bund_ in Vienna; and the
general meeting, therefore, recommended it for the purpose named.
Many other things relating to the press were touched upon. We feel
assured that the general meeting has done much for the Catholic
press of the whole country.

We pass over many things bearing on Catholic charity, which ever
engages anew the attention of the general meeting. We can only
mention that the members of St. Vincent’s Association held a
special meeting.

May the blessing of God, which has never failed the Catholic
Congress, bless their efforts of this year!



FLEURANGE.

BY MRS. CRAVEN, AUTHOR OF “A SISTER’S STORY.”

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH, WITH PERMISSION.


PART FIRST.

THE OLD MANSION.


VII.

Fleurange’s education did not allow her to yield to her feelings
without bringing herself to an account for them, and it was
surprising she had thus unresistingly allowed herself to be swayed
so long by a vague and unreasonable preoccupation. And could there
be one more so than this about an unknown person--a stranger she
had only had a glimpse of, with whom she had not exchanged a single
word, and whom she would probably never behold again? This was the
third time she had heard him spoken of since the day she saw him in
her father’s studio, and each time she felt agitated and disturbed.
When questioned by Dr. Leblanc, her first emotion was overpowered
by surprise, and especially by the sad remembrances awakened.
Afterwards, when Julian Steinberg mentioned Count George at the
Christmas dinner, his name gave her a thrill, but she attributed
this keen sensation to a natural interest in the hitherto unknown
individual who purchased the picture which had played so important
a _rôle_ in her life. But this time the quickened pulsations of
her heart and the ardent curiosity with which she listened to
every word that was uttered were succeeded by a prolonged reverie
which almost merited the name of madness. “Yes, Julian was right!
That is really what he looks like!” she exclaimed aloud. And every
hero with whom history, poetry, or old legends had peopled her
imagination, passed one by one before her, but always under the
same form. Then, as there is no hero without heroic feats, and no
heroism without combats and perils, a series of terrible events
succeeded each other in her waking dream--battles, shipwrecks,
desperate enterprises, and dangers of all kinds, in which the
same person was the chief actor, and in all these phantasmagoric
adventures she saw herself enacting an inexplicable and indistinct
part.

A whole hour passed thus, but the declining day recalled a habit
contracted in childhood which changed the current of her thoughts
and brought her to herself. It was sunset--in Italy, the hour of
the Ave Maria. Fleurange never forgot it. Every evening at that
hour, a short prayer rose from her heart to her lips.

Every one is aware of the power of association. We have all felt
the influence of a tone, a flower, a perfume, and even things more
trifling, in recalling a host of remembrances of which no one else
could see the connection. What a natural and touching thought,
then, to associate a holy memory with the hour that links day with
night!--the hour of twilight, when the dazzling sunlight is fading
away, work is suspended, and propitious leisure brings on long,
sweet, and sometimes dangerous reveries! In such a case, it is not
surprising the evening star becomes a safeguard. Has not the effect
it had on Fleurange been experienced a thousand times by others?

A sudden clearness of perception, strength to prevail over all
earthly phantoms, an aspiration towards heaven, an instantaneous
revival of early impressions, an influx of salutary thoughts
dispelling the confused, illusory ideas floating in her mind--such
was the effect now produced by the remembrance indissolubly
associated with that evening hour. She resolutely got up. Her
attitude, that had been languishing, her look lost in space, were
now transformed. She awoke to a sense of duty, and the feeling was
not a transient one. What was this madness that had overpowered
her? Putting this question to herself brought a blush of confusion
to her face, and made her resolve to resist and overcome reveries
so vain and absurd. And to this end she would cut them short. She
reopened her note-book, and began by tearing out the page on which
was the name but just written; then, with no further examination
of her thoughts, even for the purpose of self-reproach, which
would have been another way of prolonging them, she seated herself
at her table, and took up a volume of Dante which lay there. She
had promised Clement to mark some passages of the canto they read
together the evening before, and to add some notes from her own
memory. She at once set herself to work, and endeavored to give
her whole mind to the occupation. It is often easier, we all
know, to abstain from an act than to repress a thought. Perhaps
the volition is at fault in the latter case; but Fleurange was so
firmly resolved to obtain a victory of this kind that, at the end
of half an hour’s effort to keep her mind on her work, she thought
herself successful. She would have been more sure of herself had
she foreseen all that was so soon to come to her aid, and banish
from her mind for a long time all vain illusions, vague reveries,
and especially all exclusive self-preoccupation.

It was quite dark when she rose from the table. She heard the
clock strike, and felt ashamed of remaining so long in her room
by herself, at a time she should have been unusually attentive
to others. This was the last evening Clara would spend at home
previous to her marriage, and it ended a period of unalloyed
happiness in the Old Mansion. One place in the family was about
to be vacated, a beloved form disappear, a cherished one cease to
make part of their daily life. They would probably see each other
again, but it would not be as before. The happiness of her who
was to leave them would change its nature, but even her mother
hoped she would be so happy as never to regret the paternal roof.
Clara’s smiling face was grave and tearful to-day, as her tender
glances wandered from her parents to her brothers and sisters, and
lingered lovingly on the old walls she was about to leave. Julian
was terrified by her melancholy appearance, but felt reassured when
Clara, smiling and weeping at the same time, said to him naïvely:

“Julian, it is you that I love! To-morrow I shall leave them all
for you, and I truly feel I never could give you up for them. Is
not this enough?”

“No. If I do not see you calm and full of trust, I shall not enjoy
my happiness.”

“My trust in you is boundless.”

“And yet you tremble, and your eyes are turned away.”

“Because the unknown happiness of a new life makes me anxious, and
terrifies me in spite of myself.--I tremble, I acknowledge, but I
do not hesitate. I am afraid, but I wish to be yours, and no fear
would induce me to resume the past or repulse the future--for the
future is you!”

It may surprise some to learn that this young girl, in speaking to
her betrothed of their approaching union, expressed unawares the
sentiments death inspires in those souls whose love extends beyond
the grave, and who, triumphing over their weakness and limited
knowledge, ardently long, in spite of their fears, for the eternal
union that awaits them.

One of these beings, holy and gifted, being asked, as her life was
ebbing away, what impression the prospect of death made on her,
hesitated, and then replied:

“The impression that the thought of marriage produces on a young
girl who loves, and yet trembles--who fears union, but desires it.”

Fleurange, when she left her chamber, went down to the gallery,
where she expected to find her cousins, but it was empty. The
preparations for the morrow caused an unusual disorder throughout
the house, generally so quiet and well-ordered. Clara was doubtless
with her mother, but where was Hilda? The latter, she knew, would
have another sad farewell to utter the following day, and she
reproached herself for having so long lost sight of this fact.
She passed through the gallery and opened the door of the library,
where she found her whom she was seeking. Ludwig Dornthal and
Hansfelt were talking together, and near them Hilda, mute, pale,
and motionless, was listening, without taking any part in the
conversation that was going on before her.

Hansfelt was talking to this friend of his departure, and spoke as
one who was never to return. He was apparently thinking of nothing
but their long friendship, their youth passed together, and the end
of their companionship, but his accents were profoundly melancholy,
and all the harmony of his soul seemed disturbed.

Ludwig, however, was extremely agitated, and, while replying to his
friend, looked attentively and anxiously, from time to time, at
his daughter. Fleurange softly approached her; Hilda’s cold hand
returned her pressure. “I am glad you have come,” she said in a low
tone, “very glad.” Fleurange did not venture to make any reply,
and scarcely looked at her, for fear of increasing her emotion
by appearing to observe it. Seeing an open jewel-case lying on
the table, she exclaimed--glad to find something to say: “What a
beautiful bracelet!”

“It is a wedding present Hansfelt has just brought Clara,” said the
professor.

“Yes, a wedding present, and a parting gift which Ludwig has
allowed me to offer one of his daughters,” said Hansfelt. “As for
the other,” continued he in a troubled tone, “the time for her
wedding presents will doubtless soon come also, but the time for a
parting gift has already arrived. Ludwig, in memory of the pleasant
years during which I have seen her grow up, and as a souvenir of
this last day, will you allow me to give Hilda this ring?”

The professor made no reply.

Hansfelt continued: “In truth, a departure like mine is so much
like death, that it gives me a similar liberty to say anything.
Hilda, why should I not acknowledge it to you now in his presence?
It will do no harm. Well, you shall know, then, that the old poet,
whose forehead is more wrinkled than your father’s, would perhaps
be foolish enough to forget his age were he to remain near you. It
is therefore well for him to go.”

He took the young girl’s icy hand in his. “If he were younger,” he
continued, forcing himself to smile, “he might perhaps obtain the
right to give you a different ring than this.”--He stopped alarmed.
Hilda’s face had become frightfully pale, and she leaned her head
against Fleurange’s shoulder. She seemed ready to faint.

“Hilda, good heavens!”

“Zounds, Karl,” cried the professor, rising abruptly. “You try my
patience at last. Where are your wits?”

“Ludwig!”

“Yes, where, if you cannot see that you are yet young enough to
force me to give you my daughter, if I would not behold her die
with grief?”

“Ludwig!” repeated Hansfelt, quite beside himself.

“Of course I am displeased with her for her folly, and I am
angry with you too, but I suppose I must forgive you both
because--because she loves you.”

“Beware, beware! Ludwig,” said Hansfelt, growing pale. “There are
hopes that prove fatal when blasted!”

“Come, now, you must not die yet, nor she either!” Then he tenderly
folded his daughter in his arms, and, as she opened her eyes and
looked around in confusion, he said in a low tone:

“Hilda, my child, I give my consent. May you be as happy as you
desire. You have your father’s blessing.--Come, now,” said he to
Fleurange, “let us go to your aunt, and leave them to make their
own disclosures.”


VIII.

Madame Dornthal was affected but not surprised at hearing what had
just taken place. She had never been deceived as to her daughter’s
sentiments, and for a long time had endeavored to open her
husband’s eyes. But he was incredulous, and persisted in declaring
it was impossible for his friend, his contemporary, his “old Karl,”
even to win the heart of a girl of twenty. “It is a mere fancy,
which will pass away as soon as she meets a man of her own age who
is worthy of her,” he obstinately repeated.

“Perhaps so, but that is the difficulty,” replied the sagacious,
clear-sighted mother. “Between you and Hansfelt, Hilda has become
accustomed to live in a rarer atmosphere than generally surrounds
youth. Whether this is fortunate or unfortunate, I know not; but
as long as I perceive only pure and noble sentiments in her heart,
which I read like an open page, I do not feel I have a right
to oppose them. Believe me, we must not think too much of our
children’s happiness, and, above all, we must not plan for them to
be happy according to our notions. The important thing, after all,
is not for them to be as happy as possible, but to fully develop
their worth. Let their souls, confided to us, bear all the fruit of
which they are capable. Is not this the chief thing, Ludwig?”

The more worthy one is to hear such language, the less easy it
is to reply, and this conversation, which took place the evening
before, made Ludwig waver at the interview in the library, and drew
from him unawares his consent.

“We shall now lose them both,” said the professor sadly.

“I should rather see them happy, as we are, than happy for our
benefit,” courageously replied his wife, with a greater effort than
she wished to appear.

All misunderstanding being now cleared away, and the consent
of every one obtained, it was at once decided that Hansfelt’s
departure should be delayed a fortnight, and at the end of that
time he should go, but not alone! The last evening the two sisters
spent together under the paternal roof became therefore, doubly
memorable; but they were all calmer than might have been expected.
The professor, in spite of the suggestions of his reason, in spite
of the evident wisdom of his opinion and opposition, could not look
at his daughter without feeling that the profound and tranquil joy
which beamed from her eyes was permanent and satisfying, and the
reflection of that joy on Hansfelt’s inspired brow and softened
look involuntarily showed the secret of her affection for him.

“Well, my venerable Karl, it must be acknowledged you look quite
youthful to-night!”

“How could it be otherwise? I was withering away, and now my
freshness has returned; my life seemed hopeless, and now it is lit
up. This resurrection, this new existence, is like the restoration
of youth, and, more than that, it elevates and ennobles. If
_noblesse oblige_, so does happiness, and what would I not do now
to merit mine?”

The following day, the bright sun cast a brilliancy around the form
of the young bride, which was declared a lucky omen, in addition to
many others carefully noted by the superstitious affection of those
who surrounded her.

The Mansion, as we have said, was very near the church, and the
wedding procession was made on foot, to the great satisfaction
of those who composed it, as well as of the curious spectators.
Clara, crowned with myrtle and clad in white, was as lovely a bride
as one could wish to see, but there was no less admiration for
the two young girls who, followed by several others, two by two,
walked immediately behind. It will be guessed they were Hilda,
whose beauty was now radiant, and Fleurange, whose black hair and
general appearance distinguished her from the rest. The latter, as
she passed along, might have noticed more than one look, and heard
more than one word, calculated to satisfy her vanity, but she was
wholly occupied in observing all the details of the wedding array
which surrounded her for the first time in her life. They found a
great crowd in church, and as the _cortége_ slowly approached the
altar, Fleurange, casting her eyes around, suddenly met a friendly
look, accompanied by a respectful salutation. She bowed slightly in
return, but without recognizing the person who saluted her, though
his face was familiar. Nor did she know the fresh young woman
leaning on his arm. A few steps further on, and she recalled her
travelling companion, and Wilhelm, her husband, who was her uncle’s
clerk. It was he, she felt sure, and she eagerly turned to look at
him. She even stopped. At that moment she heard Felix Dornthal’s
name mentioned, followed by these words: “They say that is his
intended who has just passed by.” Fleurange felt they were speaking
of her, and she blushed with displeasure. Then she heard Wilhelm’s
reply: “Would it might be so! She might, perhaps, yet save him
from--” The rest escaped her as she was borne along by the throng.
She did not see Wilhelm or his wife again, and for the present
thought no more of this incident.

The ceremony, the return, and the wedding dinner, all passed off
with joyful simplicity. At the end of the repast, Clara took off
her myrtle wreath, and divided it among her young companions,
wishing that they too, in their turn, might find good husbands, and
a happiness equal to her own.

It was Hilda who was first honored in this distribution. This
signified she would be married before the rest. She took the myrtle
from her sister’s hand without any embarrassment, as if she were
not ashamed to let others see she joyfully accepted the offering,
and regarded it as more than a mere omen.

After Hilda, came Fleurange, and then all the others down to little
Frida, who had joined them with several other companions of her age.

“In your turn, Gabrielle!” said Hilda, as Fleurange fastened the
sprig of myrtle in her belt. “Your turn will soon come also to wear
this crown.”

Fleurange shook her head, and replied with a seriousness she
herself could not have accounted for: “That day will never come for
me--no, never!”

“Why do you say so?” said Hilda, astonished.

“I do not know.” And then she laughed.

An hour after, she perceived the myrtle had fallen from her belt.
She searched for it, having been charged by her cousin to wear it
the remainder of the day, but she could not find it.

At nightfall the newly married couple left the Old Mansion,
escorted over the threshold and down the steps by all the family,
who, with kind wishes and congratulations, there bade them adieu
with more affection than sadness, for they were not to be widely
separated, or for any great length of time.

Clara’s father and mother accompanied her to her new home. It was
a modest, pleasant house in one of the faubourgs of the city,
which Julian, with loving interest, had been preparing more than
a year for her who was now to take possession of it. Her parents
took leave of her at the threshold. Madame Dornthal embraced her
daughter, and, while clasping her in her arms, said: “Remember you
are now beginning a new life. Continue to give us our share of your
affection; but let nothing henceforth prevail over the love which
is now your duty.”

“I shall merit a severe penalty,” said Julian, “if this duty ever
becomes a burden--if she ever regrets the day she joined her lot to
mine.”

The father and mother stood looking at them a moment as they
paused at the entrance of the house. They observed the moved and
respectful look of the bridegroom. They saw, too, the confiding
glance of the bride amid her tears, and they left them without fear
under the protection of God!

On their way homeward, the poor father, breaking the long silence,
said: “Years hence, when she in her turn is separated from a
child, she will understand all we have suffered to-day!”

“Yes, my Ludwig,” said Madame Dornthal, wiping away her tears; “and
Heaven grant she may then have, like us, a stronger feeling in her
heart than that of grief, which will enable her to bear it!”

They pressed each other’s hands. Never, even in the brightest days
of their youth, had this old couple felt so tenderly, so closely
united!

They found the Old Mansion brilliantly lighted up. The gallery and
library, illuminated and ornamented with flowers and wreaths, were
filled not only by the customary friends and relatives, but the two
brothers’ whole circle of acquaintance in the city.

It was the custom at that time to end the wedding day with a
_soirée_, but a delicate sentiment forbade the newly-married pair
taking a part in the festivities, their happiness being considered
too profound, too concentrated, to enjoy the noisy gaiety. But
here, the unrestrained gaiety was natural, infectious, and wholly
exempt from an ingredient too often found in the corrupting
influences of society--a sad and fatal ingredient, which inspires
ill-toned pleasantries whose effect is to excite smiles and
blushes, and a gaiety as different from the other as the laughter
of fiends from the smiles of angels! The gaiety here did not
profane by a word, a glance, or even a smile, the end of the day
which had witnessed a Christian espousal.

Felix Dornthal himself seemed less disposed to jest than usual.
He was even grave, absent-minded, and gloomy to such a degree as
to excite attention in the morning at church, where he arrived
late, and at the wedding dinner, where, appointed to propose the
health of the newly married pair, he acquitted himself of the
duty with ease, but only to resume afterwards a complete silence.
Family festivals were doubtless little to his taste, and perhaps
it was _ennui_ that produced so gloomy an aspect. Such, at least,
was the supposition of his cousins, who, after declaring him
disagreeable, left him to himself. He disappeared at the end of the
repast, and now in these crowded rooms he alone was wanting. His
absence, noticed by several persons, greatly excited his father’s
impatience, who, to-day more than ever, ardently desired to witness
before he died the marriage of his son. Illness had brought on the
irritability of old age, and Heinrich Dornthal could no longer bear
contradiction.

“Where can he be?” repeated he for the tenth time to his neighbor,
who, with his look fastened on the door, seemed to share the uneasy
expectation of the banker. At that instant Fleurange passed by.
She stopped as she saw Wilhelm Müller again, at her uncle’s side.
This time she recognized him at once, and, with the natural grace
that gave a charm to her every movement, she approached and renewed
her acquaintance with him. She learned in a few words that he had
been absent, that his wife was restored to health, and had not
forgotten her. Fleurange, in return, sent her many affectionate
messages. Then she passed on, while her uncle, gazing at her,
felt an increased regret, which she was as far from imagining as
sympathizing with.

The piano was open. Several pieces had already been played with
great success, and now all the younger members of the party
were seized with the unanimous desire of dancing, which is so
contagious, and in youth often a kind of necessary manifestation of
joyousness. The Germans are all musicians, and Clement excelled.
He at once divined the general feeling, and seized his violin.
Hilda seated herself at the piano. Hansfelt took his place at her
side, and the gaiety she fully participated in did not inspire her,
like the rest, to leave her place. She was, therefore, in the best
mood possible to acquit herself of the _rôle_ which Clement with a
glance assigned her in this improvised orchestra. The brother and
sister struck up a waltz, and played with that skill, perfect time,
and particular animation which, like the waltz itself, is peculiar
to the German nation. In an instant there was universal animation.

Fleurange had occasionally danced with her cousins in the winter
evenings, but she had never experienced, as on this occasion, the
inspiriting effect of so much liveliness and so general an impulse.
She involuntarily rose up with a desire to take a part in it, and
at that very moment she heard these words addressed her: “Will you
favor me with this waltz?”--an invitation so in accordance with
the wish of the moment that she replied in the affirmative, and
left the place before realizing it was her cousin Felix who was her
partner. They danced around twice. Poor Heinrich Dornthal saw them
sweep by, and uttered a joyful exclamation--the last that a feeling
of hope or of paternal joy would ever draw from him again in this
world!

Felix conducted Fleurange back to her seat. She was breathless,
pale, and annoyed. While waltzing, he had uttered words she wished
had never been said. Scarcely seated, her first impulse was to
leave the spot where he stood, and even the room, but she could
not. Felix’s hand, placed on hers, forced her to sit down again.
Then Fleurange rose above her embarrassment. She comprehended that
the time had come to be firm, calm, and decided--not a difficult
thing when the heart and the will are perfectly in accord. That
was the case in this instance, and Fleurange almost coolly awaited
what her cousin had to say.

“I only beseech you for one word, Gabrielle,” said Felix, with more
emotion and respect than usual--“one word, and, if you understood
me, an answer.”

“I heard you,” said Fleurange.

“And understood?”

“Yes; and with regret, Felix.”

“Tell me plainly, Gabrielle, do you understand that I love you?”

Fleurange blushed and made no reply.

“That I love you to such a degree, my happiness, my future
prospects, and my life are in your hands?” continued he vehemently.
“And this is true, literally true.”

Fleurange frowned. “Do you wish to frighten me?” she said coldly,
turning her large eyes toward him.

“No; I have told you the truth without thinking I could frighten
you; but, since you ask the question, here is my sincere reply:
Only promise to accept my hand, promise it through fear or love,
terror or joy, I will be satisfied, and ask for no more.”

“Then,” said Fleurange slowly, “it is all the same to you whether I
esteem or despise you, love or detest?”

“No woman can for ever detest a man who endeavors to win her
love--when that man is her husband, and could be her master, but
only wishes to be her slave.”

“There is great fatuity in your humility, Felix; but you are frank,
and I wish to be so too. I shall never--mark my words--never be
your wife!”

Felix turned pale, and his face assumed a frightful expression.
“Take more time, Gabrielle,” said he--“take more time to think
of it. But, first, listen to me. I am going to say something that
may touch you more than a threat or a declaration--” He stopped
an instant and then continued: “If you saw a man on the edge of a
precipice, would you stretch forth a hand to save him?”

“What do you mean?” said Fleurange, affected in spite of herself,
and suddenly recalling the words she heard that morning in the
church.

“I ask if you would put out your hand to aid a man in such peril?”
He had, in truth, found the means of making her hesitate, but it
was only for a moment.

“You are speaking figuratively, I suppose,” said she at length;
“and it is a question of a soul in peril, is it not?”

“A soul in peril? Yes,” replied Felix, with a bitter smile.

“Well, I tell you, in a danger of this kind, I would offer no
assistance that would inevitably lead to my own destruction.”

Felix rose: “And is this your final decision?”

“Yes, Felix, a decision unhesitatingly made, but not without
sorrow, if it afflicts you.”

His only reply was a loud laugh which made Fleurange shudder.
She turned towards him, but there was no longer in his look the
respect, or the sadness, or the emotion he had so recently shown.
His face had resumed its habitual expression of irony and proud
assurance.

“I thank you for your frankness, cousin. That is a trait I trust
you will retain. It somewhat detracts from the charm you are
endowed with, but it will preserve you from some of the dangers to
which your eloquent glances expose you. Adieu!”

“Felix, give me your hand as a token you bear me no ill-will,” said
Fleurange softly.

“Ill-will?” replied Felix. “Oh! be assured I am too good a player
not to bear bad luck cheerfully. Besides, one is not always, and
in everything, unfortunate. Certain defeats, they say, are pledges
of victory. Come, Gabrielle, forget it all. Give me your hand, and
wish me _good luck_.”

Before Fleurange could make any reply, he was gone. This
conversation had been so rapid that the waltz was not yet ended.
The noise, motion, and music, added to Fleurange’s agitation, made
her dizzy. She went to an open window near the piano. At that
moment the music ceased, and all resumed their places. Fleurange
found herself nearly alone. Clement was still near, and, observing
her, quickly laid down the violin he held in his hand.

“You are very pale. Are you ill?”

“No, no, let me go out. I only wish to take the air a moment.”

Clement cast a rapid glance around the room, and then followed her
into the garden:

“You were dancing just now?”

“Yes, and I did wrong.”

“Your partner left you before the waltz was over?”

“Yes.”

Clement remained thoughtful a few moments, and then said:
“Gabrielle, pardon me if I am indiscreet, but I wish I dared ask
you one question.”

“What a preamble! Did we not agree to speak freely to each other?”

“Well, will you tell me why Felix went away?”

“Yes, Clement, and I think you will be surprised. He asked me to
marry him. What do you think of that?”

“And you gave him his answer?”

“Assuredly. I said no, without hesitating.”

Clement started so abruptly that Fleurange looked at him with
surprise. She saw an expression of joy on his countenance which he
could not conceal.

“I see you are no fonder than I of our cousin,” she said, “and are
delighted with his ill-success.”

“Delighted? No. Were he my worst enemy, I should pity him at such
a moment; but I am very glad of--glad of--” Clement hesitated,
contrary to his usual practice, which was to go straight to the
point. “I am very glad of a decision,” said he at length, “which
will dispense me from ever speaking of him again to you.”

“What would you have done if I had accepted him?”

“What I am glad not to be obliged to do.”

“Now you are talking enigmatically in your turn.”

“No; enigmas are intended to be guessed, and I beg you to forget
what I have just said.”

It is uncertain what answer Fleurange was about to make Clement,
who was less candid than usual, and therefore provoking, but at
that instant she noticed a sprig of myrtle in the button-hole of
his coat.

“What! you with myrtle?” she said. “I thought it was only worn by
young maidens on such a day.”

Clement blushed, and snatched the myrtle from his coat: “It is
yours, Gabrielle. Pardon me. I saw it fall from your girdle, and
picked it up.”

“Mine? Indeed!”

“Yes; here, take it, unless,” said he, hesitating a little--“unless
you will consent to give it back to me.”

“Very willingly, Clement; keep it as a gift from me. It is a good
omen, they say, predicting a fair bride when your turn comes.”

Clement replaced the myrtle in his coat, and gravely said: “That
day will never come for me; no, never!”

“Never; no, never! Oh! how strange!” cried Fleurange, in a tone
that surprised Clement.

“What is it?”

“Nothing.”

What struck her as strange was that Clement, _à propos_ of this
piece of myrtle, had, without being aware of it, uttered precisely
the same words she herself had said some hours before.

On the whole, this _soirée_ she found so pleasant at its
commencement, ended in a painful manner. She returned to her
chamber less cheerful than she left it, but with the satisfaction
of feeling she had had no difficulty throughout the day in
banishing from her mind the fantastic image she had formed the
evening before of Count George.


IX.

More than a fortnight had elapsed. Hilda was married and gone
from the paternal roof. Clara and her husband were on their way
to Italy, where they intended to remain till spring. Those who
remained in the Old Mansion were suffering from the reaction that
always follows the confusion and agitation of any event however
pleasant--a reaction always depressing even when there is no real
sadness in the heart. But this was not exactly the case with
Fleurange. Her cousins were both married and happy. She loved them
too sincerely not to rejoice at this, but it was not the less
true that the house seemed to have grown more spacious, the table
around which they gathered enlarged, the library immense, and
the garden deserted. The least to be pitied was Fritz, who still
had his brother, and was not so much affected by the change; but
little Frida mourned for her sisters, and clung more than ever
to Fleurange, whose talent for amusing and diverting children
was again brought into exercise. Fleurange, on her part, greatly
appreciated this distraction as a benefit. The child seldom left
her cousin’s room, and they became almost inseparable. One day,
while there as usual, Fleurange singing a long ballad in a low
tone, and Frida listening with her head against her cousin’s
shoulder, a knock at the door made them both start. And yet it was
but a slight rap, that gave no cause for the alarm with which she
put the child down and hastily ran to the door. She found her kind
of presentiment justified.

It was Wilhelm Müller, Heinrich Dornthal’s clerk, who knocked. It
was quite evident from the expression of his countenance and his
agitated manner, as well as his unexpected appearance at such an
hour, that something unusually sad had occurred.

“Excuse me, mademoiselle,” he said hurriedly. “I was not looking
for you; but M. Clement has gone out, and the professor also, they
tell me. Do you know where they are to be found?”

“I do not know where Clement is, but my uncle and aunt are gone to
M. Steinberg’s. They have charge of the garden during his absence.”

“Steinberg’s! It would take more than an hour to go there. What is
to be done! What is to be done!”

“What has happened, Monsieur Wilhelm? For pity’s sake, tell me what
misfortune has occurred.”

“Misfortune!” he replied, after a moment’s hesitation. “Ah! yes,
mademoiselle, a great misfortune has befallen us--but I cannot stop
an instant. Pray send for M. Ludwig with all possible speed, and
tell him his brother--his brother is dying!”

“Dying!” cried Fleurange. “Uncle Heinrich! Oh! take me to see him
while they are gone for his brother.”

“No, no, mademoiselle, you must not go. I cannot consent to it.”

Fleurange insisted, and had already left her room when she met
Clement, who had just returned, and heard his uncle’s clerk was in
search of him.

“Uncle Heinrich is dying!” exclaimed Fleurange, before he could
ask a question. “Let us go to him instantly, Clement, while they
are gone for your parents.” And she drew him toward the stairs.
Meanwhile, Wilhelm approached and whispered a few words in
Clement’s ear. The latter turned pale, but, instantly surmounting
his violent emotion, he took Fleurange by the hand.

“Remain here,” he said. “You must not go. Believe me, you must not.
When it is suitable, I will come for you.” And he led her back
kindly, but firmly, into her chamber, and then went out, closing
the door behind him. In less than two minutes the street door was
heard to shut in its turn. Fleurange was left alone, or, at least,
with only little Frida, who, frightened, was crying. She tried to
soothe her, endeavoring at the same time to be calm herself, and
patiently bear the torture of waiting anxiously, without the power
of action.

It was about five o’clock when Wilhelm came to her door, and of
course still light, as it was summer. But day declined, and night
came on, finding Fleurange still waiting. Frida, after crying a
long time, had gone to sleep in her arms. Fleurange, in spite of
her usual activity, wished to remain where she was, that Clement
might find her at once when he returned. She heard him order the
carriage as he went out, and knew he had sent for his father and
mother. She looked at the clock, and counted the hours. Not a
third of the time was required to go to the faubourg, and yet they
had not returned. They had evidently gone directly to the dying
man’s house. And what was now taking place there? Why had Clement
dissuaded her from going? She joined her hands in silent prayer:
then began to listen again with a feverish and ever-increasing
anxiety.

At last she heard the rumbling of a carriage. She softly placed the
sleeping child on the bed, and was about to go down-stairs to meet
her uncle and aunt, whom she supposed to have arrived. But before
she had time, she heard Clement ascending the stairs in great
haste. An instant more and he opened the door. Before she could ask
the question on her lips, he said:

“Gabrielle, poor Uncle Heinrich is no more!” Then he added after a
moment’s silence: “A dreadful shock caused his instantaneous death.”

“Ah! my heart told me I should hear sad news.”

“Yes, sad indeed,” said Clement. And in spite of himself he seemed
for a moment suffocated by an emotion too violent to be surmounted.

Fleurange looked at him. There was something besides the shock
and grief caused by this sudden death. “Clement, what else has
happened? Tell me everything. Tell me at once, I implore you!”

“Yes, Gabrielle,” he said, making an effort to command his voice,
usually so firm and mild. “Yes, I am going to tell you everything.
I came on purpose to spare my poor father and mother this
additional pain. Listen, or, rather, read this yourself!”

Fleurange with a trembling hand took the letter he offered her, and
read as follows:

“FATHER: I have abused your confidence. Your name, which you
allowed me to make use of, has hitherto enabled me to conceal my
losses. With the hope of repairing them, I rashly aimed at an
immense prize which chance seemed to offer me. Had I obtained it,
all would have been saved. I have been unsuccessful. Ruin has
fallen not only on us, but on all whose property is in our hands.
Farewell, father, you will never see me again. Do not be afraid of
my taking my own life. That would only be another base act. But
there are lands where they who seek death can find it. I hope to
have that good luck. May I speedily expiate what I can never repair!
                                                            “FELIX.”

Fleurange silently clasped her hands. Pity mingled with the
repugnance, now so well justified, with which Felix had always
inspired her, and she could not utter a word. Clement continued:

“This letter, imprudently given to my unhappy uncle this morning,
immediately brought on one of the attacks to which he was liable,
and which (perhaps happily for him) has proved fatal. He had not
time to realize the blow that had befallen him.”

Fleurange herself hardly comprehended its extent. “But where is
Felix, then?” she said at length.

“He has been gone a fortnight.”

“A fortnight!” she exclaimed, with a painful remembrance of their
last interview.

“He left the day after the _soirée_ at the time of Clara’s
marriage.”

“That evening,” she said with emotion, “he spoke of an abyss into
which my hand would prevent him from falling. O God!” she continued
with the greatest agitation, “could I really have saved him by
consenting? Would the sacrifice of my life have prevented this
terrible disaster?”

“No; the great stake he made that night was his sole resource
against ruin. Why did he talk to you in such a manner? Was it
through madness or perversity? It must have been madness, the
unfortunate fellow loved you without doubt. I pity him, but--”
Clement hesitated and then rapidly continued: “Listen to me,
Gabrielle. I am going to tell you something it might be better to
keep to myself, but I must justify myself and reassure you, and it
cannot injure him now. I regarded Felix with contempt because,” and
for a moment there was a flash in Clement’s eye--“because he wished
to make me as despicable as himself, and once played the vile
_rôle_ of a tempter to me who was then but a boy--because he would,
if he could, have drawn me after him into the path which to-day
has ended so fatally. Therefore, cousin,” he continued with still
more emotion, “had he succeeded in winning your hand, I should have
felt it my duty to have warned you of his unworthiness, of which I
was too well aware, for I have never forgotten you called me your
brother. But I was reluctant to denounce him, and glad, oh! so
glad, that evening, not to be obliged to do so--glad you were saved
by your own self! And if I tell you all this now, it is to put an
end to the fears you have just expressed.”

“And I am grateful to you for banishing them. But, Clement, tell me
once more--here, in the presence of God, have I nothing to reproach
myself with?”

“Nothing, on my honor, Gabrielle, believe me!”

Clement, as we have remarked, possessed great firmness of
character, and a kind of premature wisdom which gave him great
ascendency over others. When this trait is natural, it is manifest
at an early age, and a day often suffices for its complete
development. That day had arrived for Clement, and henceforth no
one would ever dream of calling him a boy.


X.

Ruin!--a word at once positive and yet extremely vague--very
plain in itself, and yet conveying the idea of a multitude of
undefined consequences, often more alarming than actual misfortune,
and sometimes suggesting chimerical hopes. And it has a deeper
signification when it happens to a person unaccustomed to the
calculations of material life, given up to thought and study, and
moreover delivered from the necessity of exertion through long
years of prosperous ease.

Such was the nature, and hitherto such the position, of Professor
Ludwig Dornthal. Of all the misfortunes in the world, that which
had now befallen him was the last he would have dreamed of, and
he was less capable of comprehending it than of supporting it
courageously. Besides, the word _ruin_ may also be taken in a
relative sense which mitigates its severity, and this was the way
the professor regarded it. With only a faint idea of the extent
of the catastrophe, he remained inactively expectant of something
to partially remedy what merely related to his finances, being
more preoccupied about his nephew’s shameful flight and its fatal
consequence--the death of his brother.

Meanwhile, Clement, with the aid of Wilhelm Müller, examined the
state of affairs with a promptitude and sagacity that greatly
edified the honest and intelligent clerk who initiated him into
this new business. Seeing him so quick of comprehension, so firm
in decision and prompt in action, he exclaimed with despair in the
midst of their frightful discoveries:

“Alas! alas! if your unfortunate cousin had only had your head on
his shoulders!”

“My head! It is not equal to his,” responded Clement to one of his
companions. “No, no, it is not that, but something else, he lacks.
Why have not I, on the contrary, his capacity and wit! Then I might
be capable of retrieving our fortunes, whereas my only talent is
that of knowing how to endure poverty. Oh! if it threatened me
alone, how little I should dread it!”

“Poverty!” interrupted Wilhelm. “But do you not understand all I
have explained to you?”

“With respect to my uncle’s creditors?”

“Yes. Do you not see that the principal creditor, the first of all
on the list, is M. Ludwig Dornthal, whose whole fortune nearly can
be saved from shipwreck?”

“Yes, on condition of the ruin of the remainder.”

“But their claims are not equal to his: he was not his brother’s
partner. He had only entrusted his property to him, like so many
others.”

Clement made no reply. After a short silence he observed: “The
entire renunciation of my father’s property would enable us to
repay all the creditors without exception, would it not?”

“Yes, all.”

“Would there not be a single debt in this case?”

“No,” replied Wilhelm, smiling; “not a debt--not a penny.”

Clement again took up one of the papers on the table, and silently
read it over once more with the most profound attention.

“Yes, it is really so,” said he rising. “Everything is plain now.
I must leave you, Wilhelm. It is after four o’clock, and I am
expected at home. I shall see you again this evening, and we will
decide on some definite course of action.”

This conversation took place in a lower room of the banker’s house,
which had been Wilhelm Müller’s office for many years. He pressed
the young man’s hand, and Clement proceeded rapidly towards home.

It was their dinner hour, and his parents were waiting for him.
The habits of the family had resumed their ordinary course. The
sad routine of life is seldom interrupted more than a day even
by the most overwhelming disaster, and this exterior regularity,
however painful a contrast to the grief that has changed everything
interiorly, helped restore calmness to the soul, and with calmness
the courage and strength to act.

Clement was a quarter of an hour late. He went directly to the
dining-room, knowing his father’s punctuality. As he supposed, the
family were at dinner, and he took his place after some hasty words
of apology at his entrance, and then fell into a profound silence.

The fine, spacious room in which they were was one of the
pleasantest in the house. Rare old china lined the _étagères_, and
the dark panels were relieved by old portraits, all original and
of great value, and the most celebrated part of the professor’s
collection. The open windows commanded a view of the garden.
Verdure refreshed the eye, and the perfume of the flowers pervaded
the room. The glass and silver reflected the rays of the sun,
though there was a large awning before one of the windows. An air
of quiet, opulent comfort everywhere reigned.

Clement look around. All these things, to which he was daily
accustomed, now made a new impression on him. He noticed to-day
the objects he often forgot to observe, but this examination did
not have the effect of weaning him from his sad thoughts. On the
contrary, it only increased them, and Clement was deeply plunged in
gloomy reverie when he was aroused by his little sister’s voice:

“Papa,” said Frida, “we shall start for the sea-shore in a week,
shall we not?”

“Yes, my child,” replied the professor.

“And then we shall go to see Hilda?”

“Yes, she expects us in a month.”

“And after that?”

“We shall return home. It will be time, I think, after two months‘’
absence.”

In fact, that was the longest time the professor had ever been
absent from his cherished home.

These few words produced an expression of suffering on Clement’s
face which he could not conceal. His mother observed it and
questioned him with a look. But Clement turned his eyes away, and
did not raise them again till the end of the silent meal, though he
keenly felt another look besides his mother’s fastened on him.

“Clement, I have something to say to you,” said his mother as soon
as dinner was over. He rose instantly, and followed her into the
garden, but before leaving the room he said:

“Father, will you allow me a few minutes‘’ conversation with you
afterwards? I have several things to tell you.”

“Yes, my dear son, I will wait for you.” And the professor turned
towards the library, where he always spent an hour after dinner.

“Come, tell me everything now,” said Madame Dornthal, leading the
way to a bench where they could not be seen from the house.

“Yes, mother, dear mother, it is to you I will refer a decision
which my honor and my conscience tell me is required. You shall
decide whether we ought to evade or submit to it.”

He began his account, and, while she was attentively listening
without interrupting him once, laid before her the details, in all
their reality, of the situation in which his uncle’s death and his
cousin’s flight had left them.

Madame Dornthal, more accustomed to the practical details of life
than her husband, had not shared his illusions. She was much better
prepared than he for the sad consequences of a reverse of fortune,
but had been far from anticipating its extent. They would be much
less wealthy than before, have some privations to endure, and for a
time be obliged to practise considerable economy; such had been the
extent of her fears. But all this did not appear to so excellent a
manager a trial beyond her strength. During the past week she had
declared, as often as her husband, that the loss of money was the
smallest part of the misfortune that had befallen them.

Now she realized that this loss was something real, something
almost as appalling as death, for it involved the end of the life
she had been accustomed to for twenty years--an end she must face
and at once accept. And she was courageous enough not to hesitate.
She embraced her son, and said:

“God be blessed for giving me a son like you! Yes, dear Clement,
yes, you are right--a thousand times right.”

“Then you agree with me, mother, that the ruin of the Dornthals
should not cause the ruin of any one else?”

“Yes, my child.”

“Our name must remain without reproach, and nobody in the world
have a right to curse it?”

“Certainly, Clement, whatever be the consequence.”

“Whatever be the consequence!” repeated Clement firmly. “Thanks,
dear mother. I must leave you. It is not my place, but yours, to
inform my father.”

“Yes, Clement, it is my place.” She put back her son’s thick hair,
and gazed silently at him for a moment with profound attention and
emotion. Never had Clement’s eyes expressed more clearly than now
the firmness, integrity, and energy of his nature.

“No!” thought she, “there is not among those who effect great
things in the world, and leave behind them a glorious and
illustrious name, a nobler or more courageous heart than yours, my
son! God be praised! Your life will be blessed, even though your
worth and all the faculties you possess remain hidden and for ever
unknown but to him alone!”

Such were Madame Dornthal’s thoughts, as she gazed with maternal
fondness into her son’s eyes, but she did not give them utterance.
She pressed her lips once more to his brow, and placed her hand on
his head as if in benediction. Clement in return kissed her hand
with grave and tender respect. Then he rose and left the garden at
once, and, soon after, the house.

He remained absent several hours. It was nearly nine o’clock when
he returned. His mother was waiting in the entry for him, and
opened the door when he rang. He was very pale, and held a pile of
papers in his hand.

“Well,” said Madame Dornthal, “is everything arranged?”

“Yes, mother, everything! These papers only lack my father’s
signature. He is willing to give it, is he not?”

“You cannot doubt it, I think.”

“No, but my poor father was so far from supposing--”

“Yes, that was it, I did not fear any hesitation on his part, but
only the complete illusion he was under. I only dreaded the effect
of surprise and the shock. O Clement! I know not what terror came
over me from the frightful remembrance of the other day! My poor
Ludwig!”

Madame Dornthal stopped a moment to brush away her tears, then
smiled as she continued:

“But be easy, he knows everything now. He comprehends the state of
affairs, and feels as we do. It is better, however, that I alone
should see him this evening. Give me those papers. And you, my boy,
see after your brother and sister. I have not had time to think of
them. Ah! and Gabrielle, poor child, perhaps it would be well to
look for her also and tell her all. We have nothing to conceal from
any one, above all from her.”

Without awaiting a reply, Madame Dornthal abruptly left her son to
rejoin her husband in the library, where she remained the rest of
the evening.



THE LAST DAYS OF OISIN, THE BARD.

BY AUBREY DE VERE.


IV.

OISIN’S QUESTION.

    “O Patrick! taught by him, the Unknown,
      These questions answer ere I die:--
    Why, when the trees at evening moan,
      Why must an old man sigh?

    “No kinsmen of my stock are they,
      Though reared was I in sylvan cell:
    Love-whispers once they breathed: this day
      They mutter but ‘farewell.’

    “What mean the floods? Of old they said,
      ‘Thus, thus, ye chiefs, ye clans, sweep on!’
    They whiten still their rocky bed:
      Those chiefs and clans are gone.

    “What Power is that which daily heaves
      O’er earth’s dark verge the rising sun,
    As large, the Druid, Alph, believes,
      As Tork or Maugerton?

    “A woman once, in youthful flower,
      An infant laid upon my knee:
    What was it shook my heart that hour?
      I live--Where now is he?

    “What thing is youth, which speeds so fast?
      What thing is life, which lags so long?
    Trapped, trapped we are by age at last,
      In a net of fraud and wrong!

    “I cheated am by Eld--or cheat--
      Heart-young as leaves in sun that bask:
    Is that fresh heart a counterfeit,
      Or this gray shape a mask?

    “Some say ‘tis folly to be moved.
      ‘The dog, he dieth--why not thou?’
    They lie! We loved! The ill reproved!--
      Is Oscar nothing now?

    “O Patrick of the crosier staff,
      The wondrous Book, the anthems slow!
    If thou the riddle know’st but half,
      Help those who nothing know!

    “Who made the worlds? the Soul? Man’s race?
      The man that knoweth, he is Man!
    I, once a prince, will serve in place
      Clansman of that man’s clan!”



AFFIRMATIONS.


“Instead of considering the physical condition of a nation
determining its moral character, we must always regard the moral as
determining, as well as moulding and modifying, the physical.”

“As the divine modifies the moral, so the moral modifies the
physical, or external.”

“In education all sight has been lost of the _reality_ which is
regeneration, and only when this is brought into the soul, will it
be fit to receive the spirit.”

“As the body grows older, the mind grows younger, when the will
conceives with the divine will in the permanent ground.”

“Christ is desirous to divorce the soul from Satan, and to do this
he begins by making the soul uneasy.”

“There are thousands who have been taught to think from learning
have yet to be taught to think from the living basis within the
will that sustains the thinker.”

“Know thyself is a false maxim. _Be whole_--_or one_--and one with
thy Lord.”

“Only does the Jesus spirit in the soul make the soul exhibit the
divine essence.”



HOW THE CHURCH UNDERSTANDS AND UPHOLDS THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN.


FIRST ARTICLE.

AGES OF MARTYRDOM.

Women are receiving just now, at the hands of a certain class
of agitators, a degree of attention which may be flattering to
some, but which certainly is not only intrusive, but unnecessary
with regard to many. They are told that their rights are trampled
upon, that they must assert and defend themselves, and take their
place in the great battle of life. Now, these exhortations have
generally been met by copious references to all the undoubted
precepts of old, which made the domestic life woman’s own sphere,
and consecrated her the minister of all man’s comforts. This sphere
of home duties is incontestably theirs; and what is more, while
they can help man in his avocations, man, on the other hand, can
scarcely help them in their own. But in addition to this, their
inviolable territory which they intend never to abandon, let them
boldly claim a share of man’s kingdom, and let them make good
their claim. People have listened to many women and to a few men
on the subject of the so-called “Women’s Rights:” let them listen
with indulgence to one woman more, who comes claiming far greater
things than they dream of, and yet showing that her claims are but
long-established and real _rights_, recognized, defined, limited,
and protected by an older code of jurisprudence, and a longer
tradition of immemorial custom, than they have as yet been told of
by the press or in the lecture-room.

The existence of woman is a fact: it is equally a fact that
everything that exists has some work to do in the order of the
universe. God himself, in a few simple words, stated what her work
was: “Let us make him a help like unto himself” (Gen. ii. 18). The
words indeed are so simple that they hardly arrest attention, yet
in them lies the whole relation of woman to man. She is to be _a
help_; but no restrictive detail is added, so that it is clearly
open to her to help man intellectually, religiously, morally,
as well as domestically. She is to be _like_ unto him; that is,
emphatically not masculine, not a creature that is a _mere_ copy or
reproduction of himself, but _like_ unto him, that is, sufficiently
like to understand him, sufficiently unlike to love him. Again, no
precise relation in which she is to stand to man is defined: she
may therefore be a help as a wife, mother, sister, in the domestic
circle; she may be a help as a consecrated virgin, as an adviser,
as an intercessor, in the religious order; she may be a help as a
governor, a regent, a queen, in the political order: lastly, she
may be a help as a friend and confidant in the social order.

Now, having seen that God distinctly gave woman a mission, as
he has to every animate and inanimate creature, we must suppose
that he has also provided her with the means of fulfilling it.
We look around us to see how he has done so, and whether, when
the means were at hand, woman used them to her own distinction
and advantage. In one place and under one set of circumstances
alone do we find that it was so, and this not by exception, but
by rule. This place is the Catholic Church; these circumstances
are her laws and her history. The reason why it remained for our
times to form “_women’s rights_” associations, is simply that
women’s wrongs have, under the influence of the Reformation, been
so shamefully multiplied. The present movement is a reaction
against the Protestant atmosphere of repression which has
suffocated woman’s highest aspirations for three hundred years.
The tribute unconsciously paid to the Catholic Church by the
Anglican communities of monks and sisters is a proof of the wisdom
of the old church in regard to its treatment of women. Sensitive,
enthusiastic, earnest souls found themselves without the outward
means of satisfying their craving after a more perfect life;
others with superabundance of energy and devotion, with the gift
of tending the sick or instructing the young, found themselves
confined to the circle of their own unaided efforts and unorganized
activity. They hailed “sisterhoods” as the newly opened gates of
heaven, not knowing that sisterhoods were no new invention, but had
their source in the very beginnings of the days of which the then
unwritten Gospels became the after-history.

In a sermon recently delivered by one of the most popular preachers
of New York, and reported in the columns of a widely-read journal,
occur the following words, which are a singular corroboration of
what we have just said: “There is nothing more dangerous than
an educated community with nothing to do. There are thousands
of educated women who do not work.... I do not wonder the bold,
eagle-like natures fret in their limits and detest life, or that
the great hearts dash themselves out in waste. There must be outlet
for these immense forces, or society will go on getting worse and
worse to the end.” A few days after these words were spoken, the
following appeared in a letter referring to the attempt made by
a woman to drop her vote in the ballot-box, at the New York City
election of the 7th of November, 1871. She gives a lamentable
account of woman’s world, as it has grown to be under the shade of
Protestantism. “The condition of involuntary servitude is favorable
to the cultivation of all the vices of secrecy and deceit. As
women, we have been schooled in hypocrisy and duplicity, until
our deep souls revolt against the oppression that so compels us
to belie our sincere and earnest natures. The most docile wife
has that latent fire in her heart which only needs the air of
freedom to fan into a flame. Many seemingly contented wives would
almost risk the salvation of their souls to make their masters
feel for one day the humiliation they have endured uncomplainingly
for years. If this is true of the favorites of fortune, what
may not be said of the great crowd of women who rush into every
folly, or are doomed to severest trial by stringent laws and the
oppressive customs growing out of them--laws and customs that
disfranchise them, prescribe their pleasures, limit their fields of
labor, and curtail their wages, all on the plea of sex? We have,
gentlemen, very generally arrived at the knowledge that sex is a
crime punishable by law.” The writer of this subscribes herself
“Mary Leland,” and is, no doubt, a fair representative of the
indignant champions of indiscriminate equality between men and
women. If the slumbering volcano she describes is really hidden
beneath the frivolous life of ordinary women, what a fearful
responsibility lies at the door of the system whose effect it is!
This spirit of rebellion can only exist as a reaction against the
forced inactivity of woman’s mind and will, and against the torpor
induced by the delicate flattery of those who would make her a
sultana, or the brutality of those who would fain turn her into a
beast of burden. Both alike are forms of slavery; both alike are
anti-Christian; both are contradictions against nature, and will
inevitably bear their evil fruit. Since their true rights have been
denied them by the spirit of the Reformation; since the education
of their children is taken out of their hands by the state; since
nothing but a savory meal and a pleasant face are expected from
them--what wonder that the displaced pendulum of their mind should
sway violently aside, and thus come in rude contact with the more
arduous sphere of man?

But it is not our purpose to give a lecture on the abstract
principles concerned in the question of the rights of women; facts
speak more loudly and more convincingly than the most eloquent
arguments, the most fascinating pleas: we aim only at giving a few
of these facts to our sisters of the present day, and showing them
how the church has ever regarded, and has long ago settled, the
question now agitating them so painfully.

Our only difficulty is in the mass of evidence from which to make
selections, the matter that is to serve us as a witness being
simply the history of the church, and its abundance so rich that
we hesitate which of the countless examples to draw forth for
the admiration of _woman_-kind, and which to leave in undeserved
oblivion. If we take a cursory glance at the infant church on the
shores of the Lake of Galilee, we shall find woman already in a
conspicuous and honorable position. It is a remarkable fact that
no nation of antiquity, save the Jews, had any respect for the
female sex, beyond that which included women in the _possessions_
of their husbands and fathers, and consequently could make no
difference between an insult to a virgin or a wife and a theft of
any other precious chattel. The Jews--that is, the people whom
God himself guided and taught, and whose laws were his immediate
decrees--hedged in the chastity of women with the most stringent
safeguards, and defended it by the severest penalties. They allowed
women to inherit from their parents and perpetuate their own
name, and to be preferred before the male relations, that is, the
brothers or nephews of their father (Numb. xxvii. 8). Not only
were the wives and daughters of the Israelites inviolable; their
hired servants, whether Jew or Gentile, and their captives, were
equally protected from the licentiousness of man. The Old Testament
has numberless chapters consecrated to the praises of women, and
to the precepts necessary for the education of their sex. In
Genesis, chap. xxxiv., we find the sons of Jacob making war upon
the Sichemites, to revenge the insult done to their sister Dina by
the prince Sichem; in the Book of Judges, chap. xx., we read of a
bloody and protracted war waged by the Israelites against one of
their own tribes, the Benjaminites, to revenge the Levite’s wife,
outraged by strange men in the town of Gabaa; in the Second Book
of Kings, chap. xiii., we see how promptly and fearfully Absalom
resented the wrong done to his sister Thamar by their brother
Amnon. In the Book of Judith, we are astounded at seeing the high
and solemn eulogium pronounced upon this valiant woman. She speaks
to the elders of Bethulia as one having authority, yet, with such
humility as befits even the most highly favored servant of God, she
comforts them and bids them hope, so that they acknowledge that her
words are true, and ask her to pray for them (chap. viii. 29). Her
own prayer for guidance and success is full of wisdom, of poetry,
of confidence in God and the right: her speech to Holofernes is
conspicuous for tact, and the heathen general himself exclaims,
“There is not such another woman upon earth ... in sense of words.”
When the great deed is done and Judith returns to the besieged
city, she sings a noble canticle, a true poem, full of grave beauty
and deep meaning, and we are then told how highly she was honored
by the high-priest Joachim, who came from Jerusalem, with all
his elders, to see her and bless her. He calls her the “glory of
Jerusalem, the joy of Israel, and the honor of the people” (chap.
xv. 10), and bestows upon her precious vessels from the spoils
of the Assyrians. He does not forget to extol her chastity as
intimately connected with her success; indeed, this praise seems to
supersede the blessings with which she is hailed as a deliverer.
When she died, the people publicly mourned for her seven days, and
to the time of her death it is recorded that “she came forth with
great glory on festival days.”

This is not the only instance where we find woman in a responsible
and elevated position, surrounded by friends of high degree, vying
with each other in bestowing upon her marks of esteem and respect.
Later on we find Christian prelates acting the part of Joachim to
some new Judith, some woman distinguished for piety and virtue, and
whose influence or example is a powerful auxiliary of their own
efforts.

Reverting for a few moments to the history of the Jews, we see how
in numberless instances women were the instruments of grace and
deliverance, how they were gifted, and how they were esteemed.
Instead of a marriage that was nothing but a bargain such as
was in use among heathen nations, the betrothal of Rebecca was
a most grave and solemn ceremony, and the consent of the maiden
was formally asked. Jacob had such a high idea of Rachel’s worth
that he served her for fourteen years. When the walls of Jericho
fell and the inhabitants were put to the sword, the woman Rahab
was spared, together with all those who chose to take refuge in
her house. The child Moses was rescued and educated by a woman,
and his sister, Mary, was a great prophetess whose canticle has
come down to us almost as a national hymn. Anna, the mother of
Samuel, sang praises to God in language which the inspired writers
thought worthy of transmitting to the perpetual remembrance of
all generations; the Queen of Sheba was so enamored of wisdom and
learning that she came a long and tedious journey to pay homage to
the superior gifts of Solomon; Anna, the wife of Tobias, after her
husband had lost his sight, earned the wherewithal for their humble
home at “weaving-work” (Tob. ii. 19). Sara, the wife of the younger
Tobias, prayed God in words that have always been incorporated in
the sacred text. Mardochai said pointedly to Queen Esther, “Who
knoweth whether thou art therefore come to the kingdom that thou
mightest be ready at such a time as this?” and she answered by
effectually interceding for her people, though, notwithstanding her
regal position, it was only at the risk of her life that she could
approach the king unbidden. Her prayer, like all the rest recorded
in the Scriptures, is a poem in itself, and points to the true
source whence all real courage springs, while it also hallows with
religious feeling the deep patriotism peculiar to the Hebrew race.
Later on, the mother of the Machabees showed such heroic fortitude
under persecution that the Scriptures say of her that she “was to
be admired above measure, and was worthy to be remembered by good
men.”

Turning to the New Testament, we find woman in equally prominent
positions, honored by the special notice of the Man-God himself,
and materially aiding in the establishment of his church. Not
to speak of the Mother of God, whose influence on the fate of
woman has been simply paramount, and leaving aside the fact of
his undoubted voluntary subjection to her, as well as that of her
intercession, being the immediate occasion of his first public
miracle and manifestation at Cana of Galilee--the place of woman in
the Gospel history is one that may justly be the pride of her sex.
The greater part of our Lord’s miracles were worked in favor of
women, most often on their own persons, at other times on persons
whom they held dearer than life. Of the first, witness the cure
of the mother-in-law of Peter, of the woman healed of an issue of
blood, of the daughter of the Chanaanitish woman, to whom Jesus
said, “O woman, great is thy faith; be it done to thee as thou
wilt” (St. Matt. xv. 28); of the woman bowed down with an infirmity
that had afflicted her for eighteen years; also the raising of the
daughter of Jairus. Of the second, witness the restoring to the
widow of Naim of her only son, whom Jesus raised to life “being
moved with mercy towards _her_” (St. Luke vii. 13), and whom, when
he had raised him, he “gave to his mother.” Lazarus, too, dear
as he was personally to the Master, was yet raised to a new life
chiefly through the prayers and the faith of his sisters, whose
sorrow had touched the heart of the divine Saviour. Not only in
temporal things, but much more in spiritual, did our Lord seek out
women for their cure and salvation. He did not disdain to speak
long and patiently with the woman of Samaria, and, instead of
heralding his saving presence to her countrymen through his own
disciples, he preferred to let her be his messenger. He proposed
the modest almsgiving of the poor widow as a model of all true
charity. He protected the woman taken in adultery against her
pharisaical judges; he commended the woman Magdalen, and prophesied
that, wherever the Gospel should be preached, there should her name
be also remembered. When he was teaching the multitudes, it was a
woman who cried out in touching boldness and pathetic directness
of speech: “Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the breasts
that gave thee suck.” Again it was to women that he spoke when, on
the path to Calvary, he turned, and said, “Weep not for me, but
weep for yourselves and for your children.” Women followed him
bravely when men deserted, betrayed, and denied him; women stood
beneath his cross while his apostles were hiding in fear, and the
solitary friend who never left him was the most woman-like of all
his disciples. His last legacy on earth, the last precious thing
on which he turned his thoughts, was a woman, and the first person
to whom he appeared after his resurrection was also a woman. When
the disciples were gathered together awaiting the coming of the
Paraclete, a woman was among them: “The mother of Jesus,” as the
Gospel says, was there.

Later on, in the Acts of the Apostles, we find women mentioned as
most efficacious helpers in the work of the infant church. Tabitha,
for instance, a “woman full of good works, and almsdeeds” (Acts ix.
36), and Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, a woman who accompanied St.
Paul from Corinth to Ephesus, and there took Apollo, an eloquent
and fervent man, and “expounded to him the way of the Lord more
diligently” (Acts xviii. 26). Again, Lydia, a seller of purple,
“one that worshipped God,” offered hospitality to St. Paul, and
“constrained” him to dwell in her house (Acts xvi. 14, 15). St.
Paul has been quoted and misquoted so often that one almost shrinks
from appealing to his arguments and precepts; yet perhaps even
here we may find something new to say, something to point out in
a new light, something that the controversialists on the subject
of Women’s Rights, on both sides, have, apparently at least,
overlooked. We will not dwell on such portions of his Epistles
as are always in the mouth of those who aim at relegating woman
to an exclusively domestic sphere, but, on the contrary, we will
point out words of his, honoring woman so highly that no law of
modern times has been able to rival such deference, and no claim
of strong-minded female associations would dare to lift itself to
such importance. In his First Epistle to the Romans, chapter xvi.,
he says: “And I commend to you Phebe, our sister, who is in the
_ministry_ of the church ... that you receive her in the Lord as
becometh saints, and that you assist her in _whatsoever business_
she shall have need of you: for she also hath assisted many, and
myself also.” Ministry, of course, stands for help, and is used
here in its strict and original sense, as when the Gospel says of
our Lord, “And angels came and ministered unto him,” and as when
we say the _ministrations_ of charity. Some persons, indeed, have
affected to see in this text an implied permission for women to
act as priests; common sense and the general tone of the Epistles
are sufficiently explicit, however, to undeceive all such as do
not on this head voluntarily deceive themselves. The same Epistle
we have quoted goes on to say: “Salute Prisca [Priscilla] and
Aquila [her husband], my _helpers_ in Christ Jesus; who have for
my life laid down their own necks; to whom not only I give thanks,
but also _all the churches_ of the Gentiles; and the church which
is in their house.” Observe how St. Paul speaks of them without
distinction of sex as equally helpers, and how he even mentions
the woman’s name first. Again he continues: “Salute Mary, who
hath _labored much_ among you ... salute Julia, Nereus, and his
_sister_, and Olympias, and all the saints that are with them.” We
have no space for recalling the well-known precepts St. Paul gives
concerning both the state of marriage and that of virginity; we
would only indicate by a passing notice how truly liberal is his
teaching, including both states as honorable, _commanding_ neither
marriage nor continence, and providing with minute foresight for
each circumstance that human mutability can create. And in one of
these, the case being the desertion by an unbelieving consort of
the Christian yoke-fellow, he distinctly says: “If the unbeliever
depart, let him depart; for a brother or sister _is not under
servitude_ in such cases; but God hath called us in peace” (1 Cor.
vii. 15). The very custom of calling women “sisters,” universal in
the early church, is a token of the respect that was paid them, and
of the Christian equality which denied them no legitimate share in
the spiritual and social life of man. St. Paul has traced out in
one word the whole duty of man to woman when he said, “The elder
women entreat as mothers, the younger as sisters, in all chastity”
(1 Tim. v. 2). In the First Epistle to the Philippians, he says:
“Help those women who have _labored_ with me in the _Gospel_, ...
and whose names are in the _book of life_.” St. John dedicated a
whole Epistle, or letter, to the “Lady Elect and her children,
whom I love in the truth, and not I only, but also _all_ they
that have known the truth.... And now I beseech thee, lady, _not_
as writing a _new_ commandment, but that which we have had _from
the beginning_, that we love one another.... Having more things
to write to you, I would not by paper and ink, for I hope that I
shall be with you, and speak face to face, that your joy may be
full.” St. Peter, in his First Epistle, does not disdain to give
counsel as to the outward dress of women, thus dignifying the
subject through the symbolism he wishes it to express. And let not
any one of our own times call these counsels either frivolous or
interfering, for has not every sect that arose as a self-appointed
reformer begun by the restraint on female apparel, typical of
moral restraint over our passions and inclinations? Even now, in
a mistaken and distorted interpretation of the significance of
dress, have not the ultra-advocates of Woman’s Rights laid their
“reforming” hands upon the current fashions?

When St. Peter came to Rome, the first house that received him was
that of Pudens, a Roman senator, whose wife Priscilla, and whose
daughters Pudentiana and Praxedes, became his first converts and
his most powerful co-laborers. The two virgins, having become the
heiresses of their parents and brothers, sold their vast estates,
and gave the price to the suffering and persecuted among their
brethren; and, though we read of hundreds of such cases among the
women of the early church, we seldom find it so with the men,
except in such families where the influence of some female relative
resulted in this heroic renunciation. The palace of Pudentiana and
Praxedes was converted into a church which for centuries has borne
their name, and in which is shown as well the temporary receptacle
and hiding-place, says time-honored tradition, of the bodies of
the martyrs, carefully collected by these brave women. This church
is the oldest in Rome, says a reliable authority, the Rev. Joachim
Ventura, whom we shall often have reason to quote in these pages,
and it is also the first among those giving titular rank to the
order of cardinals.

Among the apostolic women whose names stand beside those of the
great saints to whom the church owes her wide sway, St. Thecla has
ever been foremost; St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Chrysostom, St.
Gregory of Nyssa, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Isidore of Pelusium,
St. Epiphanius, and St. Methodius, bishops and fathers of the
church, have vied with one another in extolling her constancy and
her greatness. The last mentioned of these tells us, in his book
the _Banquet of Virgins_, that she was well versed in secular
philosophy, and in the various branches of polite literature; he
also exceedingly commends her eloquence, and the ease, strength,
sweetness, and modesty of her discourse (_Butler’s Lives of the
Saints_). Of the persecution she suffered at the hands of the
young pagan to whom she had, before her conversion, been betrothed,
we will not speak, neither will we touch upon her miraculous
deliverance from the wild beasts to whom she had been thrown,
further than to point out, however, that woman has shown more than
masculine courage long before modern agitators began to accuse her
of degeneracy and tameness. But the secret lay then, as it does
now, in the teaching of a church that sees in her children only
hierarchies of _souls_, and that looks upon the body as a mere
form, determining respective duties, it is true, but certainly
not conferring _de jure_ on the possessors of such forms any
superiority or difference of intellectual or moral capacity. A
proof of this lies open to all in the fact that women’s names as
well as men’s are incorporated in the text of the Mass, and are
repeated every day with as much honor, before the altar of God.
After the “Commemoration of the Dead,” and in the prayer beginning,
“Nobis quoque peccatoribus,” the names of Felicitas, Perpetua,
Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, are coupled with those
of the apostles and martyrs _John_, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas,
_Ignatius_, Alexander, Marcellinus, and _Peter_, that is, with some
of the greatest saints whom even Protestants consent to admire. The
church, too, shows her appreciation of the sex and its capabilities
by the express words, often used in her liturgy, “devoto femineo
sexu,” which, whether translated as usual, the “devout female sex,”
or the “devoted,” seems equally honorable to woman and her special
characteristics. Virgins and widows are mentioned by name in the
prayers used in public on Good Friday, and immediately before them
are named the seven orders of the priesthood. The mere fact of so
many churches being dedicated to God under the special invocation
of some female saint, often one whose history has become obscure
and traditional from very remoteness, serves to illustrate the
high respect of the Catholic Church for womanhood, and the perfect
equality with which she looks upon both her sons and her daughters.
The cathedral of Milan, one of the most renowned shrines in the
world, is under the patronage of the virgin of whom we have just
spoken, the proto-martyr, St. Thecla. The fathers of the church,
following the example of St. Paul, call the help of faithful
Christian women a ministry, and Ventura tells us that Origen, St.
Chrysostom, and Haymon speak of “women having through their good
offices deserved to attain to the glorious title of apostles, and
having supplemented the work of the evangelists and apostles by
their preaching in private houses, especially to persons of their
own sex” (Ventura, _La Donna Cattolica_, vol. i. p. 279). It is
related in the _Breviarium Romanum_, at the part appointed to be
read on the 19th of May, that St. Pudentiana once presented ninety
persons to St. Pius, Pope, to be baptized, all of them being
perfectly instructed in the faith through her teaching alone. St.
Martina, who was a deaconess (which answers to _religious_ in the
later church), converted and instructed many persons, principally
women. The _Breviarium_ honors her as the _protectress_ of Rome.
She has also a hymn specially set apart for her office in the
_Breviarium_, and the church dedicated to her in Rome is the
richest and most magnificent of those under the patronage of the
martyrs. The house of Lucina, a noble Roman matron, was converted
into a church, afterwards dedicated to the holy Pope Marcellus.
Another church, now called _San Lorenzo in Lucina_, stands over the
tomb which Lucina prepared for that saint. Priscilla, also a Roman
lady of high lineage, the wife of the before-mentioned senator
Pudens, gave her fortune and her land for a cemetery, to which her
name was justly appended. Natalia, the wife of the martyr Adrian,
after publicly exhorting her husband to be steadfast in the faith,
boldly put on man’s attire to elude the order recently given that
no Christian woman should be allowed to visit the prisoners. The
_Breviarium_ tells us that St. Justina, upon whom a famous magician
named Cyprian had tried all manner of unhallowed arts, so far
prevailed over him that she brought him to know the true God, and
to abandon his idols and sorceries. But examples such as these of
the intellectual influence of women upon their friends, and even
upon strangers and enemies, would multiply under our hands into a
volume, if we could stop to collect them all.

Martyrdom was, in the early ages, the almost inevitable end of
zealous faith and active evangelization. St. Cecilia ranks among
the most prominent of those who, strong with a supernatural
strength, gladly gave up life, youth, health, and beauty, for the
sake of principle. Let us put it in that form, for even now there
are many who respect in the abstract a single-minded devotion to
principle. This devotion would be essentially called manliness in
our day; yet the women of the early church--some mere children in
years, some threatened with what would make a woman waver in her
determination far more than mere physical torture could, the loss
of her honor, some again with natural diseases or weakness upon
them--showed a superabundant amount of this very _manliness_.
Cecilia has long been the patroness of music, and we read in her
_Acts_ that she employed both vocal and instrumental music in the
service of the Most High, fitly using the most beautiful of arts to
glorify Supreme Beauty. Her love for the Holy Scriptures was such
that she often wore them on her bosom in the folds of her robe,
and that long before the Canon of Scripture had been fixed, and
before the Holy Book could have the world-wide reputation which the
church has now bestowed upon it. Cecilia’s will, made in presence
of Pope Urban, consisted in the giving of her palace for a church,
and the distributing of her remaining wealth to the poor. Her death
was heroic, and, as her life-blood was ebbing slowly from her, she
only thought of converting her executioners. Oblivious of bodily
pain, she exhorted them to throw off the yoke of idolatry, and
succeeded so far as to cause them to exclaim, “It is only a God
who could have created such a prodigy as his servant Cecilia!” The
body of the martyr was interred in the Catacomb of St. Callixtus,
in a chapel hollowed out of the earth, and somewhat larger than the
other chambers of the same catacomb: it was the sepulchre of the
popes, and the placing of her body in this sepulchre was a mark
of the extraordinary respect due to her generous munificence and
her heroic courage. Thus has the old church, so truly called the
“mother church,” always recognized and rewarded merit, whether in
man or woman. Susannah, a relation both of Pope Caius and of the
Emperor Diocletian, and daughter to Gabinius, a man as learned as
he was noble, was another instance of how religion can reconcile
profound instruction with deep piety, and unite both to beauty
of person and grace of manner. She was learned, say her _Acts_,
in philosophy, in literature, and in religion. The emperor sent
one of his nobles, Claudius, Susannah’s own uncle, to entreat her
to marry Maximinus Cæsar, Diocletian’s son. The noble and learned
virgin not only refused the alliance, but, strengthened by the
approbation of her Christian father and her other uncle, Pope
Caius, who were present, spoke so eloquently that Claudius was
converted to Christianity. The _Acts of the Martyrs_ record his
words in announcing this conversion to his wife: “It is chiefly
my niece Susannah who has conquered me. I owe to the prayers of
this young girl the happiness of having received God’s grace.”
His wife, Prepedigna, and Maximus, his brother, were also won
over by her influence, and the latter bears tribute equally to
her _wisdom_, holiness, and her beauty. There could be but one
end to such proceedings, a glorious end for all: her friends all
suffered martyrdom before her, and she who had braved an emperor’s
displeasure without a sign of so-called _womanly_ weakness, met her
death in secret with equal courage and joy.

Agnes, the maiden of twelve or thirteen years, is praised by
Ambrose, a Christian priest, for her contempt of the jewels with
which the son of Symphronius attempted to bribe her: she is also
pictured as the very incarnation of youthful bravery, when with
holy defiance she scorns the threat of her impure and cruel judge
to send her to a place of ill-fame. This threat, often executed,
was more than any other the touch-stone of their faith to the
Christian virgins of antiquity, while their invariable deliverance
from this danger was the reward of their unflinching denial of the
power of the false gods, even in the face of this shameful threat.
Death would seem a bridal, to judge by the loving alacrity with
which these child-virgins ran to meet it. Who can say that the
church does not admire and inculcate courage and self-respect in
women, since half the martyrs defended their honor as well as their
faith with the last drop of their blood?

St. Ambrose, speaking to his sister Marcellina of the martyr
Sothera, in whose praises he is enthusiastic, says: “What need for
me to seek for examples for thee, who hast been formed to holiness
by thy martyred relative? [Sothera was their great-aunt.] ...
Brought up thyself in the country, having no companion to set thee
examples, no master to teach thee precepts, there were at hand
no human means to teach thee what thou has learnt. Thou art no
disciple, therefore--for there can be no disciple where there is
no master--but the heiress of the virtues of thy ancestress. Let
us speak of the example of our holy relative, for we priests have
a nobility of our own, preferable to that which counts it an honor
to have prefects and consuls among our forefathers: we have the
nobility of faith, which cannot die.” These words of grave import
are addressed to a woman, and the boast of holy ancestry they
contain also refers to a woman. Agatha, the heroine of Catana, and
Lucy, the martyr of Syracuse, both noble Sicilian maidens, speak
the boldest language to their barbarous judges, and meet death as
bravely as any man could face it for his country and his home.

Victoria, a lady of Abyssinia, in Africa, accused of being a
Christian, and defended by her pagan brother, who swore she had
been deluded into connivance with the Christians, vehemently
contradicted him in open court. “I came here of my own accord,”
she averred, “and neither Dativus nor any one else beguiled me;
I can bring witnesses among my fellow-townspeople to the fact
that I came simply because I knew there would be a gathering of
our brethren here, under our priest Saturninus, and that the holy
mysteries would be celebrated.” She persists when her brother
excuses her again as being insane, and eagerly criminates herself
in the eyes of the judge, till she succeeds in winning her crown.
Forty-eight other martyrs, men and women, heroically suffer the
same penalty, greatly comforted and encouraged by her dauntless
attitude. At Thessalonica, a woman named Irene was apprehended,
together with her five sisters, and was herself chiefly accused
of having kept and concealed the books of Scripture, and other
papers relating to the Christian religion. Dulcetius, the judge
before whom she was brought, and who was president of Macedonia,
could elicit from her nothing that could endanger any one but
herself, her sisters having been tried and martyred upon the charge
of refusing to eat meats consecrated to idols. Her firmness both
in screening others and in avowing her eager care for the holy
writings, not only gives us a high idea of her moral courage, but
also of her intellectual interest in those scarce and valuable
works. She suffered death for her dauntless custody of these
treasures, and it is related that she sang psalms of praise while
ascending the funeral pile.

St. Catherine of Alexandria is a most noted example of the
erudition often attained and displayed by Christian women. At the
age of eighteen, says the _Breviarium Romanum_, she outstripped in
knowledge the most learned men of her day: Maximinus, who was both
a libertine and a tyrant, was cruelly persecuting the Christians
of Alexandria, and dishonoring the noble matrons of that city.
Catherine boldly and publicly upbraided him, and forced him to
listen to her arguments. Her _Acts_ and the Greek _Menology_ of the
Emperor Basil affirm that she supported her thesis of Christianity
against the arguments of forty of the ablest heathen philosophers,
and so effectually confuted them that they preceded her in her
martyrdom by declaring themselves Christians, and being forthwith
condemned to be burned alive. Catherine, during her imprisonment,
converted the wife of Maximinus, and the commander of his army, and
further made such an impression upon the crowd assembled to witness
her death that many became Christians on the spot. The interesting
Church of San Clemente, in Rome, contains one chapel, the walls
of which are covered with frescoes illustrative of each of these
occurrences; this chapel is supposed to date from the fourth or
fifth century, and is a mute witness to the honor with which the
memory of the illustrious and learned maiden of Alexandria was,
even at that early age, surrounded. Butler, in his _Lives of the
Saints_, says of her: “From this martyr’s _uncommon erudition_,
... and the use she made of it, she is chosen in the schools the
_patroness_ and _model_ of Christian philosophers.” This is by no
means the only instance of a woman being honored as patroness in
the roads of learning or of art. Later on, we shall have occasion
to speak of other saints equally distinguished for their talents
and zeal for true philosophy. Butler says in a foot-note to the
_Life of St. Catherine_: “The female sex is not less capable of
the sublime sciences, nor less remarkable for liveliness of genius.
Witness, among numberless instances in polite literature and in
theology, the celebrated Venetian lady, Helen Lucretia Cornaro,
doctress in theology at Padua in 1678, the _wonder_ of her age for
her skill in _every_ branch of literature, and, still more, for the
austerity of her life and her extraordinary piety.”

Most of the martyrs we have hitherto mentioned were virgins: among
widows and widowed mothers, we find other heroines whom no bodily
torture nor that more bitter anguish of witnessing their children’s
sufferings could daunt or even cause to waver.

Symphorosa, a noble Roman matron, denounced by the astrologers of
Rome to the Emperor Adrian, bravely confessed her faith in the
presence of her seven sons, whom she thus encouraged to do the
same. She spoke of herself as honored in being the widow and sister
of martyrs, and utterly scorned the proposal to forsake the truth
for which they had bled. Here is a foreshadowing of the times of
mediæval chivalry, which were but the legitimate offshoot from such
a moral atmosphere of pure chivalric heroism as enveloped the lives
of the early Christians. Invincible strength and a courage that
smiled in the face of death was with the children of the primitive
church a point of honor, a family tradition, a hereditary legacy.
Another widow and mother, Felicitas, suffered more cruelly yet than
Symphorosa; for, under the reign of Marcus Aurelius, she beheld
her seven children butchered before her eyes, and never ceased
exhorting them to constancy, while her mother’s heart and more
natural feeling were suffering a sevenfold martyrdom. She followed
her sons to death with fervent joy. St. Augustine was eloquent in
her praise, and on one anniversary of her triumph called her death
a “great spectacle offered to the eyes of faith,” and herself
“more fruitful by reason of her many virtues than of her many
children.” St. Gregory, the great father, exalted her by likening
her example to a new and spiritual birth of the Saviour in each
soul that she thus secured to God, according to the interpretation
of the words of the Gospel: “He who does the will of my Father in
heaven is my brother, and my sister, and my _mother_.”

Another St. Felicitas, a Christian slave and widow, with her
mistress Perpetua, who had also lately lost her husband, suffered
death in the amphitheatre of Tharbacium, near Carthage, in Africa,
rather than give up what they knew to be divine truth. Felicitas
was martyred a day or two after the premature birth in prison of
her child, and, when brutally jeered by the guards at her inability
to suffer the pains of childbirth in silence, answered in words
that to this day furnish the key to all woman’s superiority as
proved by the facts of church history: “It is I that suffer to-day,
and nature is weak: to-morrow Jesus himself will suffer in me, and
his grace will give my nature the strength it needs” (_Acts of the
Martyrs_). Perpetua, her mistress, but also her sister in Christ
(for in the church alone resides true equality), resisted the
pleadings of her aged father and the mute appeals of her infant’s
unprotected condition, and bore her sufferings as it is said the
Spartan women knew how to bear theirs. But while the enduringness
both of men and women was in Sparta only the artificial result
of compulsory laws, and soon disappeared before the shameful
voluptuousness that was natural to all heathen beliefs, that
of Christians of both sexes made its mark through successive
generations, and lives yet in our less hardy times, because it
is intrinsic to the nature of a faith whose God had no more
hospitable birthplace than a cold stable, and no better death-bed
than a cross.

Blandina, the martyr of Lyons, is justly celebrated for her
extraordinary constancy, and the Christians of Lyons who wrote a
letter preserved to history by Eusebius, and addressed to their
brethren of Asia and Phrygia, extol her as the soul of the heroic
stand made by many of their number against idolatry. She was a
slave, very young and _very weak_ in health, says this letter, and
yet even her executioners marvelled at her powers of endurance,
exclaiming: _One_ of the tortures she has suffered ought to have
killed her, and she is alive yet after them all! Further on, she
is likened to a _bold athlete_. Some of her companions having
wavered, her example and exhortations recalled them to their duty,
and Ponticus, a young boy, was the last to die under her eyes,
_encouraged_ and _upheld_ by _Blandina_. Potamiana, another slave,
who died in defence of her honor as well as her faith, chose a more
lingering death than that to which she was condemned, rather than
uncover herself in public, the judge consenting to this change not
in pity, but in cruelty. Her executioner became her first convert;
many other men likewise came to the faith through visions of this
young and steadfast virgin.

We have mentioned women in every sphere and state of life, social
and domestic, as endowed with confessedly heroic powers, and
capable of attaining high and noble ends in the field of religion,
of art, and of philosophy. One class of women, however, remains
still to be noticed, and it is perhaps the greatest proof of the
church’s universal and instinctive tenderness toward the sex,
that among that unhappy class she alone has been able to make
fruitful the call of God. The Catholic Church has set upon her
altars and in her calendar the names of many illustrious penitents
and anchorites, side by side with stainless virgins and matrons of
unblemished fame. The Catholic Church alone can restore to fallen
woman her rightful inheritance, and so efface the brand of sin
that its shame shall be merged into a glory as pure as that of
baptismal innocence. To take among the martyrs but one instance
of this rehabilitation, let us see what history relates of Afra,
the courtesan of Augsburg, in the Roman province of Rhetia, and
the present kingdom of Bavaria. Afra was of noble birth, and had
many slaves and possessions. She was converted by St. Narcissus, a
Christian bishop who was fleeing from the persecution then raging
in Gaul. Her household as well as her mother followed her example.
She succeeded in concealing Narcissus and his deacon Felix for some
time in her own house, and meanwhile diligently applied herself to
making converts of her friends and former associates. Denounced
in her turn a little later, and sneered at for the contradiction
between her past and present life, she answers the judge boldly,
admitting humbly that she is unworthy to be called a Christian, yet
affirming that the threatened torments will cleanse and purify her
body, while the proposed sacrifice to the gods would only further
stain and disfigure her soul. Bound to a stake and burned with slow
fire, her intrepidity only redoubles, and, having sinned through
the weakness of undisciplined nature, she shows a more than manly
courage through the new-born strength of grace.

With her, we close the few practical examples of the greatness of
woman during the ages of martyrdom, but the spirit that made the
martyrs did not die with the last of the canonized victims of
the pagan persecutions. St. Jerome speaks of a “daily martyrdom,
which consists not in the shedding of blood as a testimony, but
in the devout and undefiled service of the mind” (_De Laud. S.
Paulæ_). This we propose to illustrate in a subsequent article,
giving historical instances of the actual honor paid in the church
to learned, holy, and influential women, rather than entering into
abstract controversy on the subject of what is and is not due
to her sex. What we have already said in these pages will tend,
please God, to remove prejudices, and at least clear the way for
evidence still more appreciable by our ambitious non-Catholic
sisters, namely, that which goes to show that not only in social
and home life, but also in the wide sphere of statecraft and public
influence, the church has marked out a noble margin for women’s
genius.



THE PASSION.


    Was ever tale of love like this?
      The wooing of the Spouse of blood:
    Who came to wed us to his bliss
      In those eternal years with God?

    Those griefless years, those wantless years,
      He left them--counting loss for gain--
    To taste the luxury of tears,
      And revel in the wine of pain!

    ’Twas sin had mixed the cup of woe
      From Adam passed to every lip:
    And none could shirk its brimming flow--
      For some a draught, for all a sip:

    Till Jesus came, athirst to save:
      Nor sucked content a sinless breast;
    But grasped the fatal cup, and gave
      That Mother half, then drained the rest.

    Enough the milk without the wine.
      When first the new-born Infant smiled,
    ’Twas merit infinite, divine,
      To cleanse a thousand worlds defiled.

    But _we_ must take of both. And how
      Could love look on, nor rush to share?
    Or hear us moan: “Death’s darkness now:
      And _Thou_, at least, wast never there”?

    And so he drank our Marah dry:
      Then filled the cup with wine of heaven.
    Who would not live--with him to die?
      Or not have sinned--when so forgiven?

Lent, 1872.



JANS VON STEUFLE’S DONKEY.


I.

Jans von Steufle was a happy man until he got that donkey. Now, you
might think the donkey was left him as a legacy by some dear friend
or rich relation, or that Jans found him in the highway some cold
wintry night and took him home in pity, or the donkey might have
strayed into Jans’ enclosure and refused to go out, but no such
thing; Jans bought and paid for all his trouble in good silver coin.

Jans had some comforts, however to compensate: he had a good wife.
Some say, “A good wife is a rare thing,” but you never hear that
sneer in German-land, for German wives and German children are
taught betimes to be good. Jans’ wife kept the house clean and the
kettles bright; and made _Sauerkraut_,[14] and _Wurst_,[15] and
delicious _Rahmkäse_[16]--ah! it would melt in your mouth--and
had always such nicely browned _Rinderbraten_,[17] and delicate
_gedämpftes Fleisch_,[18] and put vinegar in everything.

Then such beautiful patchwork _Bettdecke_[19] she stitched
together, and such snowy _Bettwäsche_,[20] you would be floated off
to dream of _Arabian Nights_ just to sleep under them. And when her
fingers had nothing particular to do, that is, when she walked
about the house and garden a little just before supper-time, to
see that every corner was clean, and everything in good order, and
the pot-herbs coming up properly, or when she went down the lane
to drive home the truant chickens and little ducks who were out
on some juvenile frolic, did her ten fingers rest? Oh! no, then a
thread of yarn came creeping out of her pocket, and click, click,
went the needles, and such stockings! You might wear them to the
North Pole, only they’d be too warm.

But her great genius and tact lay in garden-making. We do wrong
to apply these words to her, for she understood neither, and Jans
despised both; rather be it said that her industry was made most
manifest when she betook herself (under Jans’ direction, of course)
to digging and planting.

Jans had a pleasant way of imparting knowledge, and at the same
time making himself comfortable. Seated on a wooden bench in some
shaded gravel-walk near the scene of her rural operations, with
a pipe in his mouth, he would sit patiently the long hot summer
afternoon, directing the putting down of pea-sticks, the tying up
of hop-vines, and apportioning off the territory to be allowed to
the marauding pumpkins. Some people profess to discover a striking
resemblance between the human family and the great family of
animals each to each, and they even run a parallel between them
in physiognomy; but in a garden the similitude is perfect. No one
who cultivates a garden for very love of it but what unconsciously
invests his community there with a sort of intelligent existence.
They are well-behaved or troublesome; in good health or pining
under little ailments. Here a hardy native pushes his way to upper
air, heedless alike of deluge or drought, while that other one
from some far-away country, like any discontented foreigner, finds
nothing to its taste, but must be sheltered, and watered, and
gives a deal of trouble. Some are orderly and upright; others are
inclined to crooked ways, and seldom amend until tied to a stake.
The roots generally stay underground until they are wanted, while
some, like the bold, conceited turnips, climb to the surface when
not more than half-grown, and bask in the sunlight as if they
were roses. The vine tribe care as little as human climbers whom
they crush down in their aspiring efforts; onward they trail and
take possession, reckless of those who have a better right. Many
a pretty little plant have those green vines tyrannized over! As
for flowers, we call them modest, bold, gaudy, retiring, even in
common speech; and many a habit and inclination do they exhibit to
a humble admirer which has never been entered in scientific books.
Yes, a garden is a community of wonderful creations, where each
one has its peculiarities, and yet each one conforms in a certain
degree to the type of its family.

With such loving eyes did Jans and his _gute Frau_ look on their
flower-beds and their edibles; and such like matters did they often
discourse about, when the spading and raking for the day were done,
and she sat on the bench by his side knitting, knitting.

It is doubtful, however, whether they would have noticed matters
quite so particularly, not having been educated to abstractions,
comparisons, generalizations, and such like metaphysical flights,
had not their attention been directed to them occasionally by a
third member of their family, the very learned Herr von Heine.

Now, Jans in his efforts at amassing riches had neglected no
honest means of success. Consequently, when their two children
had both married well and gone to live in distant cities, and he
found himself with a spare room in his house, he looked about for
a tenant. Then mein herr (as he was called for brevity’s sake)
presented himself, and, as his testimonials for respectability and
prompt pay were satisfactory, he was soon established in the pretty
little chamber with its white curtains, its patchwork bedspread,
and a floor so well scrubbed you might have eaten off of it.
He somewhat marred the beauty of the spot by an importation of
certain odd things which he professed to consider indispensable.
There was a regiment of ragged-looking old leather books, and
some well-worn coats and dingy dressing-gowns, not to mention an
assortment of pipes and tobacco jars and old boots, and a few
warlike weapons which stuck out in a protecting way from the top of
his book-shelves.

Mein herr was just now direct from the _Collegienhaus_[21] of
the famous University at Königsberg, where he had been giving
short lectures and receiving long pay, and being, therefore, on
good terms with himself and the world in general, he resolved to
rusticate in some secluded spot for the summer, and renovate his
faculties for the next winter’s campaign.

No place could be more quiet or better suited for his purpose
than his present abode. Here he could spin all kinds of cobweb
theories hour after hour, with not a sound to ripple the air and
demolish them, for neither Jans nor his wife ever intruded into his
apartment. It was only in the soft summer evening twilight that
he made his descent to the garden, and indulged in a brief social
intercourse with his host and hostess. Indeed, he came almost as
regularly as the sun set. His tall, straight figure enveloped in a
long black sort of ecclesiastical gown, a jaunty cap on his head,
with its tassel hanging down behind, a meerschaum in hand which
he was bound to finish before he should retire, behold Mein Herr
von Heine!--the embodiment of profound and extended erudition out
for a little recreation. Mein herr was always welcome. Pleasant
enough was the discourse they all held as he slowly walked up and
down the gravel-walk, or took a seat beside them, especially when
the subject was farm-matters; and mutually profitable was the
exchange between theory and practice; many a pleasant laugh they
had, too; and as to the _gute Frau_, she listened and smiled, and
occasionally put in a modest little word, this being, according to
her best belief, the extent of “woman’s rights.”

They were sitting thus one June evening, when Jans laid aside his
pipe, and said, in his usual deliberate way:

“I think I’ll buy a horse, or a donkey, or a dog-cart, or
something, to take all these cabbages to market.”

“Buy a _donkey_ by all means,” said mein herr, “for a donkey,
that is an ass, is classical. They are famous in sacred as well
as in profane literature. No animal has always been so much the
companion of man as the donkey, no one more valuable. An ox and
an ass are what we are warned in the commandments not to covet,
showing their universality in the days of Moses, besides being what
any man in his senses would be most likely to covet. Asses are
repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament. Every one has heard of
Balaam’s ass, who was so much wiser than his master. I have often
noted the great injustice done to that ass. Balaam bestowed on him
three very decided beatings; and although he was fully convinced
afterwards that they were entirely undeserved, we have no record
that he made the least apology or expressed the least regret. Now,
even a donkey deserves justice. Asses have pervaded all ranks in
life. There was Debbora the prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth; in
the Canticle, where she addresses the brave princes of Israel,
she adjures them as ‘you that ride upon fair asses, and sit in
judgment, and walk in the way’; on the other hand, Job predicts woe
to him ‘who hath driven away the ass of the fatherless.’ Certainly,
asses were everywhere. When the wealth of Abraham was counted,
he-asses and she-asses made a part of it; and when he was about to
ascend the mountain to sacrifice his son Isaac, we are told that
‘he arose and saddled his ass.’ Then there was Abdon, eight years
a judge of Israel, who had forty sons and thirty grandsons, ‘all
mounted on seventy asses,’ are the words of history. Then there was
the Levite of Mount Ephraim--ah! I forget his name--his wife left
him and went to stay four months with her father in Bethlehem Juda,
and when he went to bring her back, he took with him ‘a servant and
two asses,’ one doubtless for her use. Then the jaw-bone of the ass
made famous by Samson is well known, I mean the jaw-bone he wielded
at Ramathlechi, when he put his thousand enemies to flight. Some
of these animals possess virtues worthy of our own imitation; they
have displayed oftentimes very great intelligence, and affection
for those they serve; as in the case of a certain old prophet who
went forth from Juda to Bethel to denounce Jeroboam, and, being
misled and turned from his duty by a pretended friend, was killed
by the way on his return home; his ass was found standing patient
and watchful by the side of his dead master.”

Thus discoursed mein herr; his colloquial efforts were apt to be
rather prolix and oratorical, but this was to be ascribed to his
profession as lecturer; he was so much accustomed, when he had
unearthed an idea, to follow it up and make the most of it--a sort
of intellectual fox-chase.

Failing to keep pace with him over such extended and erudite
ground, Jans had, nevertheless, a dim notion that it was something
to own even one donkey, so he said:

“To-morrow I will buy a donkey.”

“Ah! yes,” said the Frau von Steufle, “and next market-day we will
go with a donkey.”

“You will be wise to buy a donkey,” repeated mein herr, “for
now I call to mind that Sancho Panza had one whose labors, as he
tells us, half-supported his family. I am reminded, also, that the
great Cervantes himself rode an ass, as he relates, on a pleasant
journey from Equivias with two of his friends. They heard some one
clattering up from behind and calling to them to stop, and when he
at length overtook them it proved to be a student, who was mounted
on an animal of the same sort; he no sooner learned their names
than he flung himself off of his ass, says Cervantes, whilst his
cloak-bag tumbled on one side, and his portmanteau on the other,
and he hastened to express his admiration of the great author of
_Don Quixote_.”[22]

Just at this point both meerschaum and pipe had given forth their
last whiff, and the knitting-work had arrived at the middle of a
needle; and as the great matter under discussion, the purchase,
was considered as wisely decided in the affirmative, they mutually
exchanged a kind “Gute Nacht” with the inevitable “Schlafen Sie
wohl!”[23]


II.

The day after the above conversation, Jans left his home for a
little business in a distant city, and several more elapsed before
he returned with his purchase.

Oh! vain boast when Jans von Steufle declared, “To-morrow I will
buy a donkey.”

What is a donkey? In one phase of his character, he is the very
personification of the stoical philosophy of the ancients; the type
of that perfect indifference to all sublunary mutations to which
Zeno vainly strives to elevate humankind; patient and enduring
under any amount of rain, hail, snow, and sleet that can pour down
on him, and any amount of luggage that can be piled upon him;
totally, indifferent, in the road he travels, as to its length,
direction, hostelries, or hardships, and satisfied, as far as food
and sleep are concerned, with the smallest quantity and the poorest
quality.

This was Jans’ idea of a donkey, but it was not what he got for
his money; he got a little gray beast, with a shaggy hide, a large
head, long ears, and a temper.

It was quite dark when Jackey with a boy astride him arrived
from the place of his last abode; so he was quietly taken to the
comfortable quarters prepared for him not far from brindle-cow,
and particular introductions to him were deferred until the next
morning.

The next morning ushered in market-day. The edibles had all been
gathered in and nicely washed the night before; the flowers also
had been culled and tastefully arranged in beautiful bouquets--some
small for sweet little love tokens; some larger to decorate the
tables and mantel-shelves of those people who are unhappily forced
to dwell always among the bricks and mortar of the town, who paid
large prices for them, and took them thankfully, as their very
minute share of all the glorious and beautiful works of the Creator
which are spread around life in the country. Others, again, were
tied together in tall pyramid-like forms, the apex a pure white
lily or perhaps a white rose, and spreading down from that to the
base in blossoms that mingled all the colors of the rainbow. These
were destined for the grand altar of the great church; for there
were always pious souls in the town ready to expend their good
groschen and thalers in adornments for the sanctuary. Very skilful
are the fingers of German wives, and great their taste in making up
all these tempting little articles of merchandise; and as they lay
waiting in the _Wohnzimmer_[24] of the Von Steufle dwelling-house,
you might have thought the whole garden had moved for a departure.

Breakfast was disposed of early, and immediately after it Jackey
was brought out for his first load.

“He has good points,” said the learned herr, after taking a
leisurely survey.

Jans knew not much about points, but he knew how to put a good load
on his back, and this he now proceeded to do.

“Much discretion is necessary in purchasing a donkey,” observed
the Herr von Heine--“much discrimination; wisdom and foolishness
are so much alike on a cursory view. A demure aspect may represent
either; and, then, a staid, dignified manner may proceed from lack
of ideas, nay, even absolute stupidity, as well as from profound
thought. In dealing with an animal which exhibits these traits,
great penetration is called for, or you will be deceived. Then,
there is a brightness of the eye, nothing vicious. Ah! I think your
animal has it, a sort of exuberance of spirit, a repressed strength
which can accomplish deeds almost incredible when opportunity
offers. You seldom see this in pictures of the donkey race;
painters seem to think it necessary to represent them dull and
imbecile, which is far from being correct.”

Mein herr paused, but his friends were both too busy to reply,
so he was only met by a “Freilich, mein Herr”[25] from Jans,
and a smiling “Ja Wohl”[26] from his helpmate. In German-land,
social life has no sharp points and corners to prick and scratch.
All is polished and polite, and such a little acknowledgment of
attention to a speaker could never be neglected. It was sufficient
encouragement for the herr, and he proceeded. He was so accustomed
to vibrate between his study and his lecture-room, that to be
quite silent or to have all the talking to himself had become most
natural to him, so, as we have said, he proceeded.

“Painting recalls to me Polygnotus, mentioned, I think, by
Pausanias, yet I’m not quite certain. He was an Athenian painter
of great celebrity, and one of his works was an allegorical
picture, in which unavailing labor was symbolized by a man twisting
a rope which an ass nibbles in pieces as fast as he advanced.
These allegorical pictures are pleasant studies, and it is truly
surprising to compare all the different interpretations of them
by all the different people, who call the same object by totally
different names, and of course draw from the entire composition
very different conclusions. Things are generally contradictory to
themselves as well as to other things, especially when viewed in
that dim light which I would call, if I may be allowed an original
expression, the _mist of ages_. We may cite for this Silenus.
He is the only heathen god depicted on an ass. Now, the morals
and manners of Silenus are very well known, and his association
with this quadruped is complimentary to it or not, according to
the view taken. It may be a panegyric on a patient, sure-footed,
philosophical animal, who could put aside personal feeling in
choosing his company, and bear his bibulous rider in safety when
he was totally unable to walk. Or was Silenus an immortal in
disgrace--degraded from horse, tiger, lion, panther, not to mention
chariots and wings, all that gods and men delight in, and doomed
to the indignity of donkey-back? If the latter, certainly the
creature rose superior to his situation in the end; his voice must
have been tremendous! In battle between the gods and giants, when
Silenus rode in among them, it was his sonorous bray that threw
the giant ranks in confusion and actually put them to flight. He
was well rewarded for this service, for justice is in the sky if
not on earth. He was exalted to the constellations. Search the
star-lighted sky for Cancer, and you will find in it the once
humble Asellus of Silenus.

“_Midæ aures_, the asinine appendages which the king was forced to
accept so unwillingly on Mount Tmolus (a proper reproof to captious
criticism),

  ‘Induiturque aures lente gradientis aselli,’[27]

were evidently a compliment to the quadruped; for certainly Apollo
meant them for an improvement on his own, which had so signally
failed him.”

Here mein herr came to a decided stop necessarily, for the donkey
was at last loaded, and such a load! Nothing but a donkey could
have stood under it, much less walk! It was cabbages this side,
potatoes that side, cauliflowers in the middle. Then salad laid on
loose; then celery stuck in endwise; then great bunches of sage and
savory and thyme, and herbs for the soup, _Petersilie_ and _der
Rettig_. All these, hung on everywhere, made Jack so fragrant that
his coming could be known long before he was in sight. Lastly, was
a delicate little basket of eggs, engaged long ago by a dainty
customer, swinging easily, so as not to break, under all.

As Jack was pretty nearly buried out of sight under the
substantials of trade, the Frau von Steufle took the flowers for
her share, and she was equally well laden. She could only be said
to resemble an immense walking bouquet, with a pleasant, happy face
peering out from its midst. Truly, the two were worth seeing. As
for Jans, his great responsibility was load enough for him, and so,
with good wishes and great expectations, they departed.

The Herr von Heine was alone all that long summer day. It was
rather a pleasant variety at first. Solitude has charms about it.
He wandered through the house, and explored every nook in the
garden, and went a long way over the grass to look at the pigs; he
fed the chickens and even patted the cow. The old cat seemed to
think it incumbent on her to show him the premises. At all events,
she escorted him hither and thither, now turning somersaults in
front of him, now flying up a tree to take a bird’s-eye view of
him, or perhaps to show him there were some feats not to be learned
in books; then down again, in a sentimental sort of humor rubbing
her head and ears against him, under his very steps; she quite
disturbed his equilibrium.

The large house-dog, or, rather, yard-dog, for there he lived,
looked on with a more suspicious air, as if he should like to be
informed what this new state of things meant; and after returning
the learned Herr von Heine’s proferred intimacy with the slightest
possible wag of his tail, he walked off to attend to his own
business.

Perhaps mein herr added a trifle that holiday to his stock of
knowledge. He had evidently descended from his pedestal of dignity,
and he enjoyed it vastly; besides, he had often introduced such
things in an illustrative or figurative manner to his classes, and
it was as well to make himself familiar with their surroundings.

But it was getting late now, the sun had set, twilight deepened
into darkness, or rather moonlight. Where could the three be
staying? Jans and his good wife were always home from market long
before this hour, even when each carried a load with a barrow to
wheel by turns!

He walked down to the road-way, and gazed long and anxiously
into the distance. No signs of them yet! Where could they be? He
returned to the house, and, ascending to his chamber, selected
from among his books a volume in Latin by the renowned Cornelius
Agrippa. He turned to the last chapter, “Ad Encomium Asini
Digressio.”[28] He felt an intense interest at this moment in
asses. It was possible some of their peculiarities had escaped
his knowledge; he desired to ascertain. But he failed, under the
peculiar circumstances, to fix his attention, so he laid the book
aside, and returned to the regions below; to his solitary stroll up
and down the gravel-walk, with an occasional pause for a long and
anxious survey of the road. Even his meerschaum was forgotten or
uncared for.

    “But Time is faithful to his trust:
    Only await, thou pining dust.”

Time, which does so much, at length brought them home. To his great
relief, the trio reappeared, and, creeping slowly along, turned
from the road into the gravel-walk and reached the house, all three
evidently depressed in spirits.


III.

Jackey had been turned loose in the paddock on his return, _not_
for good behavior; and he alternated there between nibbling the
grass as assiduously as if he had engaged to mow the whole before
next daylight, and standing still with his head thrust down and
fixed, as motionless as if he had been carved out of stone.

“A singular animal truly,” said mein herr to himself as he looked
down from his chamber window. “He reminds me--”

Here a summons to supper interrupted the reminiscence; and, when
they were all revived with the delicious hot coffee and cream which
the Frau von Steufle knew so well how to mix, Jans entered on his
adventures as follows:

“I thought a donkey was a great traveller, and very careful and
mindful, and to be trusted, and good on bad roads, and could eat
what a donkey ought to eat, and not steal what was not meant for
him.”

“Of course,” said the Herr von Heine; “you are right, he is a
great traveller. I tried one myself on the Alps, that is, I began
the Alps on a donkey; most people begin the Alps on a donkey, next
a mule, then on foot, if they try Mont Blanc. I well remember
the last view I took of the Jungfrau and its avalanches from the
Wengern Alps. At the Hospice of St. Bernard I took a comfortable
meal from the good monks, and then on foot and mule-back I mounted
by way of Martigny and Tête Noire to Chamouni. In Egypt there is
nothing like a donkey for the desert; when I was at Cairo (that
was in my student life), many a pleasant morning I started out on
a donkey, and spent the day among the ruins about there. Great
climbers they are, so obedient and sure-footed. The little white
donkeys of Egypt are beauties, long silky hair; the pashas value
them highly. Certainly the ass is a traveller; the wild asses of
Syria are fleet as the wind. Then, what would Rome be without
donkeys? or any part of Italy, for that matter? Along the coasts,
the bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius, now over sand and stones and
lava, and volcanic ashes fetlock-deep, now to explore pleasant
fields, and woody paths, and old highways, always picking his way
so carefully up and down steep places, by some path of his own
you fail to see--why, you may ride on one to the very verge of a
precipice, and take your view from his back, as safely as if you
crept there on hands and knees! Oh! yes, they are great travellers,
though sometimes slow.”

“Very slow is Jackey,” responded his owner, “so slow that a good
part of the time he stood still.”

“Possible?” queried mein herr. “Perhaps his load was rather--but
yet, you can hardly overload a donkey. Why, in Rome they are
perfect moving heaps of fagots, hay, fruit, old clothes, mats,
brooms, and brushes, and everything, in fact, that is salable
and movable, with a dirty, swarthy peasant striding beside him
as driver, or, it may be, a boy; but, no, I should say they are
_always_ driven by a mob of boys. I hold that the most gregarious
of all animals is the human biped in its youth; and if I were
called upon for a centre-piece, with most power to collect around
it these juvenile swarms of the genus _homo_, I should name a
Roman donkey. Before him, behind him, a body-guard on each side,
all sizes, in all sorts of garments, or, rather, in all degrees
of nudity, shouting, yelling, laughing, talking, and each one
using all his powers to increase the speed of the poor little
beast--there you have a Roman donkey! I have been told of a scene
in Rome. A little ass whose panniers were two good-sized baskets
of eggs; it was about Easter time, when eggs are valuable. To
hasten him, his driver, a tall, ragged peasant, struck him smartly,
which offended him. He stood still a moment, then deliberately
laid himself down, and rolled over. The peals of laughter which
greeted the donkey as he arose, daubed and dripping with the
yellow semi-liquid, the bewailings of his owner, all together were
worth seeing. In no place in Europe are they as poorly fed and
as much abused as by the lower classes in Paris; truly they are
miserable-looking wretches there, bony, sulky, dirty. I have often
wished to apply to the back of the ragged, screaming boy-driver
the stick with which he was cudgelling his poor donkey. Monsieur
Chateaubriand says he would gladly be the advocate of certain
creatures, works of God, despised by men, and ‘en première ligne,’
says he, ‘figuereraient l’âne et le chat.’

“The heavy-laden ass is a verity in ancient lore; even its name
is used to express hardship and endurance; as from the Greek
word ὄνος, an ass, is supposed to be derived the Latin _onus_,
signifying a _burden_.”

Mein herr made a pause, he was evidently lapsing into the delusion
that he was in his _Collegienhaus_, lecturing on donkeys. The
gentle frau recalled his wandering wits by observing, in a low, sad
voice:

“Oh! he shook so many things off; all lost; he shook half his load
off in the creek!”

“Indeed!” exclaimed the herr, “is it possible! that was not to be
expected of him. Many classical writers mention _loading_ the ass,
but I cannot recall a single instance where he _unloaded_ himself
in a creek!

“Horace, it is true, refers to what might be a little sulkiness
under a heavy load, when he represents himself as a sort of
discontented donkey under the infliction of some of his troublesome
friends:

    ‘Demitto auriculas ut iniquæ mentis asellus
    Quum gravius dorso, subiit onus.’[29]

“Then, the poor creature has been at times imposed on in a manner
which might excuse resentment. In ancient Rome, for instance, on
sacred days all labor was forbidden, with the exception of some
certain kinds considered necessary.

    ‘Quippe etiam festis quædam exercere diebus
    Fas et jura sinunt.’[30]

“The works allowed were setting traps for birds which were hurtful,
ordering the trenches which irrigated the fields, and some few
others of like kind. To the rustics, permission was granted to
carry their farm produce to market on sacred days, and they also
might bring a load back. This was allowed them in order that this
business might not interrupt them on working-days. Now, a _load_
with them necessarily demanded an ass; consequently the ass knew
no sacred day, no day of rest from his burdens, and _such_ loads,
Mynheer von Steufle!

    ‘Sæpe oleo tardi costas agitator aselli
    Vilibus aut oneras pomis; lapidemque revertans
    Incusum,’ etc.[31]

“Oil, cheap fruits, millstones, black pitch! Ah! _mein lieber
Freund_ what a load! I hardly believe they prefer thistles to
grass, as some say, but they will subsist on one-third of what is
required by a horse under all this labor.”

Jans looked at him ruefully and incredulous:

“Some may--some of them may--but I count Jack two horses at the
least. He must have been eating all night, for he had enough put
before him; and to-day, why, you’d think he hadn’t seen a corn-husk
in a month. He ate apples and cauliflowers, and a peck of peas,
and--and--”

The Frau von Steufle supplemented the catalogue of enormities.

“All my roses, thorns and all, and Katrina von Dyke’s beautiful
tulips that she had just sold, and my tallest bouquet, the one that
was engaged for the grand altar. O dear! what will they do? Then
he chewed up a nice bonnet, and he overset the things! Dear me, so
much mischief! Ah me!”

“Yes, yes,” said Jans, “it is well to say, ah me! Look at the
bills that will come in to-morrow!”

“Truly,” said the herr in a tone of commiseration, “it is
surprising. It was not to be expected! Yet we must look at the best
of it. Horace says:

    ‘Nemo adeo ferus est, ut nom mitiscere possit
    Si modo culturæ patientem commodet aurem.’”[32]

“I know not what that may mean, Mein Herr von Heine,” said Jans,
“nor do I know the Herr Horace; but I wish, if he wants a donkey,
he would take mine. I wish he had him.”

The herr was silenced.

Morning came, and with it a heavy bill to Jans von Steufle for
damages done by a certain donkey, who did kick, bite, tear, trample
on, and devour a long list of things belonging to a long list of
persons.

Evening came, and with it came a lad, halter in hand, which he
quietly knotted round Jackey’s neck, and led him away, looking as
solemn and as amiable as when he first arrived.

FOOTNOTES:

[14] Sourkrout.

[15] Sausage.

[16] Cream-cheese.

[17] Roast-beef.

[18] Stewed meat.

[19] Bed-quilts.

[20] Bed-linen.

[21] The hall where lectures are mostly delivered.

[22] See preface to _Labors of Persiles and Sigismunda: A Romance_,
the last work of Cervantes, and left unfinished at his death.

[23] “May you sleep well!”

[24] Common sitting-room.

[25] “Assuredly, sir.”

[26] “Ah! yes.”

[27] “And he puts on the ears of an ass quietly moving along.”

[28] “A Digression in Praise of an Ass.”

[29] “I let down my ears as a young ass of stubborn mind when he
has taken a burden too heavy for his back.”

[30] “Since even on festive days, right and the laws allow us to do
certain things.”

[31] “Often the driver loads the sides of the slow ass with oil or
cheap fruit, and bringing back the wrought stone,” etc.

[32] “No one is so savage that he cannot be tamed if he will lend
an ear to instruction.”



THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE MISSION OF THE BARBARIANS.


“Our clock strikes when there is a change from hour to hour; but
no hammer in the horologe of time peals through the universe when
there is a change from era to era.”[33] So writes Mr. Carlyle in
one of his powerful essays; and he is correct. As gradually and as
silently as childhood passes into youth, and youth into manhood,
and manhood again into old age, so does a nation and the world
itself pass from one era into another. But if the signal of such
a change is not heard sounding through the world, the moment of
the transition is foreknown and has been preordained by God, under
whose eye all agents throughout the universe are ever acting out
their parts. Men are sometimes taken by surprise, but God never.
Men are often mistaken in their calculations of the action of
natural forces, but it cannot be so with God. A revolution brews
like an angry storm, all in silence; and bursts; and a nation is
shivered into fragments. Men are amazed; they have made a false
reckoning; but the storm has brewed under the eye of God, and
gathered its hidden forces, and burst at the very moment that God
allowed it, and the havoc has been done up to the time which he has
marked out. This is the expression of a great Catholic principle
of history which it is well, especially in this age of godless
theories, to keep constantly before our minds. We are about to
endeavor to show how powerfully the truth of this great historical
principle is brought out in that part of history to which our
subject refers, for it is well said by Cesare Cantu in his _Storia
Universale_,[34] “If ever history was manifested as a visible order
of Providence, it was in these times.”

As we pass from the fourth into the fifth century, we come into
a new era of the history of the church. The fourth age was one
of mental strife; it was an age of great minds. The enemy of the
church in the time of the persecutions had been brute force; now
it was power of intellect. But God always has his champions ready.
In the persecutions, they were the martyrs; in the fourth age,
they were the Athanasiuses and the Ambroses. But in the fifth
age the men of God’s choice are of another type. They are men
out of the darkness, savages of the forest, wild dwellers amid
the ice-mountains and the swamps. They have known no civilizing
influences; they are nature’s children, and hardy as the rock and
granite. They have reason, it is true; but it does not guide them
on their strange, savage mission. They are all driven on by an
instinct that is irresistible.

The words of Alaric are the expression of the feelings of all those
wild warriors. As the Gothic leader is marching towards Rome at the
head of his army, a solitary goes out from his grotto to arrest him
in his course. “No,” replies Alaric, “a mysterious voice within me
says: March on, go and sack Rome.” So we are told by Socrates[35]
and Sozomen[36] in their histories. Thus, then, they go to their
stupendous work of destruction. That work is characterized by
blood, and smoke, and the crash of falling cities. The age is one
of chaos. Never before since the world began were there such wild
ruin and devastation; never such terrible levelling to the ground
of human grandeur; never such savage smashing up of the monuments
of luxury and worldly greatness. It would, indeed, be difficult
to describe adequately what is so confused and so chaotic. When
the storm-clouds have gathered and overshadowed us with darkness,
when the lightning-fires flame through the sky and scathe the
forest-trees, and the blinding raindrops drive in fury through the
air, can we see any order in it all? Can we draw lines and mark
out clearly the different elements of the storm? No. It is only
when the storm is spent and the air becomes clear again that the
eye can discern what havoc has been done. The giant oak has been
cleft by the storm-spirit’s fiery sword; the lofty tower has been
hurled down from its stately height; the rocks have been split,
and the earth’s surface torn up, as by the bursting of some mighty
engine of war. So it would be difficult to describe, with anything
like clearness of method, the mighty storm which burst upon the
Roman Empire in the fifth century. However long we pore over the
pages of Paul Orosius or Salvian, we still rise from our study with
bewildered brain. God lets loose his wild messengers of wrath, and
they do their savage work in their own savage way. We can see no
order in it--to our eye there is none. We hear the wailing cries
of despair, and the frenzied howls of the conquering barbarians,
and the loud re-echoing crashes of the falling empire. But it is
only when the smoke has cleared off and the dust has subsided that
we can form any idea of the ruin and devastation which have been
accomplished. If our task, then, were mainly to draw an accurate
and true picture, we should fail. But it is rather to give a view
of a period of history from a Catholic philosophical standpoint: it
is to show, as far as we can, the action of God on human affairs.
It will be necessary, then, first to point out what the mission of
the Roman Empire was--a mission to build up: and then the causes
which prepared the way for the mission of the barbarians--a mission
of sweeping destruction.

At the time when the Son of God came down upon earth, the Roman
Empire was at the height of its splendor and power. Never in
the history of the world had there been an empire in every way
so wonderful. Never before had there been a power so mighty
and all-embracing in its dominion. All that had been great and
brilliant in the civilization of the empires of old had come down
to Rome, and had undergone a boundless development there. This
truth is powerfully put forth in the words of the first professor
of the philosophy of history at the Catholic University of Ireland.
We will quote his words: “The Empire of Augustus,” he says,
“inherited the whole civilization of the ancient world. Whatever
political and social knowledge, whatever moral or intellectual
truth, whatever useful or elegant arts the enterprising race of
Japheth had acquired, preserved, and accumulated in the long course
of centuries since the beginning of history, had descended without
a break to Rome, with the dominion of all the countries washed by
the Mediterranean. For her the wisdom of Egypt and all the East
had been stored up; for her Pythagoras and Thales, Socrates, Plato
and Aristotle, and all the schools besides of Grecian philosophy
suggested by these names, had thought; for her Zoroaster, as well
as Solon and Lycurgus, legislated; for her Alexander conquered, the
races which he subdued forming but a portion of her empire. Every
city in the ears of whose youth the Poems of Homer were familiar
as household words, owned her sway. Her magistrates, from the
Northern Sea to the confines of Arabia, issued their decrees in the
language of empire--the Latin tongue; while, as men of letters,
they spoke and wrote in Greek. For her Carthage had risen, founded
colonies, discovered distant coasts, set up a world-wide trade, and
then fallen, leaving her the empire of Africa and the West, with
the lessons of a long experience. Not only so, but likewise Spain,
Gaul, and all the frontier provinces from the Alps to the mouth of
the Danube, spent in her service their strength and skill; supplied
her armies with their bravest youths; gave to her senate and her
knights their choicest minds. The vigor of new, and the culture
of long-polished, races were alike employed in the vast fabric
of her power. In fact, every science and art, all human thought,
experience, and discovery had poured their treasure in one stream
into the bosom of that society which, after forty-four years of
undisputed rule, Augustus had consolidated into a new system of
government, and bequeathed to the charge of Tiberius.”[37]

This passage from Mr. Allies is like a brilliant flash of light
thrown on Rome’s greatness; but yet it only gives us a glimpse. It
would take us long to form to ourselves an adequate idea of this
greatest of empires. We should have to make long journeys through
her extensive provinces, measure her vast cities, march along her
grand roads, and, after we had journeyed over all the civilized
world of those days, we should still be within the circuit of
the mighty empire. Her sway extended over the three then known
continents: “Gaul and Spain, Britain and North Africa, Switzerland
and the greater part of Austria, Turkey in Europe, Asia Minor,
Syria and Egypt, formed but single limbs of her mighty body.”[38]

It is wonderful, again, to think of what Pliny calls the “immensa
Romanæ pacis majestas.” The inconceivable majesty of Rome in
the time of peace was, perhaps, more overpowering than anything
else about her. Having a boundlessness of empire such as we have
described, containing within her circuit a population, according to
Gibbon, of 120,000,000, looking round from her throne of supreme
authority, and claiming all as her own that was visible to the eye
of civilization, she could stretch forth her sceptre over all this
immeasurable area and over these countless peoples, and hold all
in submission and peace. We cannot, then, be surprised that Rome
ruled over the nations as a goddess; that divine power and majesty
were believed to belong to her. Her sway was felt from the Rhine
and the Danube to the deserts of Africa, from utmost Spain to
the Euphrates, like an ubiquitous presence. Her eye of authority
reached from one extremity of the world to the other, and she had
her 340,000 men stationed on the frontiers, looking with watchful
ken into the vast unknown solitudes beyond, and ever ready to hurl
back the savage hordes of external foes, if perchance they stepped
forward for a moment from their native darkness. Very few forces
were needed to preserve internal order. That same Gaul which in
1860 required 626,000 armed men to preserve internal order and
for external security in time of peace, had a garrison of only
1,200 men in the days of old Rome.[39] Well then may Pliny and
the old Roman authors speak with such admiration of the “immensa
Romanæ pacis majestas.” Nothing had ever been seen on the earth
so imposing and so grand. No empire had ever existed with such a
boundless sway, such wonderful internal organization, such a union
of strength, such compactness of power, and such an awe-inspiring
name. And at the time of Augustus there was no sign of decay
or deterioration. Rome was, on the contrary, rising higher and
higher in cultivation and refinement. We may here quote the words
of Tertullian in his treatise _De Anima_; they give us a vivid
and beautiful picture of the Roman Empire of his day. “The world
itself,” he says, “is opened up, and becomes from day to day more
civilized, and increases the sum of human enjoyment. Every place is
reached, is become known, is full of business. Solitudes, famous of
old, have changed their aspects under the richest cultivation. The
plough has levelled forests, and the beasts that prey on man have
given place to those that serve him. Corn waves on the sea-shore,
rocks are opened out into roads; marshes are drained, cities are
more numerous now than villages in former times. The island has
lost its savageness, and the cliff its desolation. Houses spring up
everywhere, and men to dwell in them. On all sides are government
and life.” And so we might go on indefinitely, describing Rome’s
power, and riches, and civilization, and never succeed in giving an
idea equal to the great reality. Then, as we think of all this, we
are led to ask ourselves, How is this mighty empire ever to fall?
Other empires, we know, rose and fell, but at their highest point
of greatness they could not be compared to the Empire of Rome. All
that they had of might and majesty and durability Rome has, and
immeasurably more. Men have not known how to qualify her power, nor
how to designate her except by calling her “Eternal Rome.” Where,
then, can another power come from that shall be able to cope with
her? She looked as durable as the very firmament which God had set
on immovable pillars, more lasting than the rock-built earth on
which she had grown and developed for nearly a thousand years. Her
existence was inconceivable before she began to be; her ceasing to
exist was as inconceivable afterwards. It seemed as if to destroy
her would be to split the earth itself on which she was based, or
to shiver the universe, which she seemed to embrace in her mighty
arms. Of her capital itself a great living writer says: “Look at
the Palatine Hill, penetrated, traversed, cased with brick-work,
till it appears a work of man, not of nature; run your eye along
the cliffs from Ostia to Terracina, covered with the _débris_ of
masonry; gaze around the bay of Baiæ, whose rocks have been made
to serve as the foundations and the walls of palaces; and in those
mere remains, lasting to this day, you will have a type of the
moral and political strength of the establishments of Rome. Think
of the aqueducts making for the imperial city for miles across the
plain; think of the straight roads stretching off again from that
one centre to the ends of the earth; consider that vast territory
round about it, strewn to this day with countless ruins; follow
in your mind its suburbs, extending along its roads for as much,
at least in some directions, as forty miles; and number up its
continuous mass of population, amounting, as grave authors say,
to almost six million; and answer the question, How was Rome ever
to be got rid of? Why was it not to progress? Why was it not to
progress for ever? Where was that ancient civilization to end?”[40]
After looking at Rome with a human eye, this is the way we should
speak; these are questions we should ask. To the human eye, Rome
was based on everlasting foundations, and was to be immortal.
There was no power--there could be no power sufficiently mighty to
move her from her seat. But looking at her from the standpoint of
the great Catholic principles of history, we shall use language
very different. We shall say that Rome, however mighty and well
based, will last no longer than serves the wise designs of God’s
providence. He raised her up, as he has raised other empires, for
a mission; when that mission is fulfilled, he will say to her,
“Perish,” and she will wither away and gradually die, or, if so be
his pleasure, she will be swept, as by the fury of a storm, from
the face of the earth. It was the latter judgment that actually
fell upon her, and we have to see in the course of this essay with
what terrible reality it was carried out.

Mighty as Rome was, so was she intended for a mighty mission. She
had subdued the world, and the world was at her feet. Her great
highways cut through her immense empire in every direction. By
these broad roads the riches of the provinces were carried to
her bosom, and by these roads went forth her legions to guard
the distant frontier. She had given her own language to the
various races which she had bent under her sway, so that her
word of command was understood and obeyed in every part of her
wide empire. At this point, then, in the course of her history,
God had determined to appear, in visible form, on the scene of
human events. When the world was thus at peace, and under the
sway of this mightiest of empires, the Prince of Peace came on
earth. Circumstances never could have been more favorable for the
establishment of his kingdom. It strikes us, then, here at once,
that the evident mission of the Roman Empire was to prepare the
way for Christianity. In spite of the opposition of pagan gods;
in spite of sensual passions and human pride, the Crucified will
have Rome, as has been long ago preordained, for the seat of his
own wonderful empire. Thence his missionaries will go forth,
like Rome’s own conquering legions, but unto still more glorious
conquests than they. The broad Roman roads will rejoice more under
the footsteps of these new conquerors than ever they did in days
before under the tramp of warlike battalions returning booty-laden
to the great capital. Everything is ready for the prosecution
of these new conquests. The provinces are at peace and ready to
receive these Heaven-sent messengers. Men seem to be waiting for
some voice that shall be heard sounding through the world telling
them to lay down their swords for ever, to forget their strifes,
and that they are all brothers. Such a voice is now to be heard.
The language of Rome has made itself universal in order that it may
be the organ of a universal religion. When the first revelation
was made, the language of the human race was one; so was it
necessary that, when a new revelation was about to be given to men,
they should be brought back again to unity of language, in order
that revelation might be universally received, and be transmitted
to future ages. The great Roman conquerors had no thought, whilst
they went forth to conquest with their countless warriors, full
of ideas of human glory and lust of booty, that they were the
simple instruments of him who was ruling in the heavens, and whom
they knew not. But so it was. And we see how God’s designs were
carried out. We see, in course of time, the aged fisherman, from
the Galilean Lake, wending his way toward the great Roman capital.
As he walks along the Via Appia with his scrip and staff, he is
the symbol of simplicity and human weakness. But mark you well
that old way-worn form. There walks the first of the great race
of Popes. He represents no contemptible power, that weak-looking
wayfarer. He bears with him a secret source of strength which will
give him courage against all obstacles. Though he looks so mean in
his Jewish garb, yet he is a conqueror such as the world has not
yet seen. He has no legends at his back, no surroundings of earthly
might to make the world tremble before him. But he bears with him
something mightier than Roman armies, and far more irresistible: it
is the Cross of Jesus Christ. March on, old man, to the great city
that is called the mistress of nations and omnipotent. Fear not;
thou shalt subdue her with thy poor wooden cross, and plant in her
midst thy everlasting throne. Yea, of a truth, the throne which
that old man shall establish there shall be the first immovable
throne which the world has ever seen. The throne of Cambyses has
passed away; the throne of Alexander has crumbled to dust; and the
throne of the Roman Cæsars will soon be buried in the wreck of
barbarian invasion. But the throne of the fisherman will stand firm
where he planted it, whilst everything around perishes and crumbles
away. Nations and kings will mistake it for a human thing, and they
will, in their blind rage, rush against it to overturn it; but they
will dash themselves to pieces in the collision, and they will be
seen lying around in scattered fragments, whilst that throne itself
still remains immovable. So, then, the fisherman, conscious of
his great mission, enters into the mighty city which God had been
preparing for him those long ages. That was a solemn moment for
the world, though the world knew it not. Other conquerors enter
into the capitals of kingdoms with great pomp and a mighty array
of armed men; and perhaps their hold upon the subdued cities is
of short duration. The tide of human affairs quickly changes, and
perhaps the conquerors themselves are in their turn the conquered
and the captive. But this meek old man has no armed force to awe
men into submission. He is the centre of no pageant. He walks on
his way in silence. He has nothing but his staff and his scrip and
his little wooden cross, which in reality is his sceptre. But he
enters Rome to take a lasting possession of it. Not all the world
in arms will ever again be able to make a permanent conquest of
that city. A mystery will henceforth hang about it for ever. It
will always look like a city of the past, and yet it will hold
within it the life of all peoples and nations to come. By degrees,
other kings shall leave it altogether to Peter and his successors,
as if scared away by the mysterious presence of Christ’s vicar.
And if, in the course of ages, men dream like Rienzi of the great
days of ancient Rome, and long to see the old pagan prestige of the
city brought back, and then come with their mailed hands and strike
the mysterious power that God has established there, their mailed
hands shall wither, and they will fall back stricken by Heaven in
their turn, as Oza was in past days for his irreverence.

When, then, Peter had taken possession of his city, the rapid
spread of Christianity began. Here was the throne of the head of
the church established in the very centre of civilization and
of the Western World. We cannot think that Romulus and his wild
robber-followers had any profound design in fixing the site of
their city on those seven hills. No; but God had. It is remarkable
that Rome seems built to be even naturally and physically the
centre of the world. “Nothing,” says Father Lacordaire, “is
isolated in things; the body, the soul, divine grace, everything
is united; all is harmonious. The body of man is not that of the
irrational animal; the configuration of a country intended for one
destiny is not the same as that of a country appointed to another
destiny, and the general form of our globe is as full of reason
as of mystery.”[41] The ancients seem to have had a traditional
knowledge of this; hence it was that, when they built their cities,
they made a deep and religious study of the spot which was chosen
as the site. Looking, then, first at Italy, we see that God formed
it for a great purpose. It is curious to remark how Asia, Africa,
and Europe are united, as it were, together by the basin of the
Mediterranean Sea, which also opens toward the West to allow
the vessels of all nations to sail to the American continent.
Into this central Mediterranean Sea, Italy shoots out its long
length. On its northern side it is strongly guarded by ridges of
mountains, and seems thus designed to be defended from Europe,
whilst it is its heart. Almost in the centre of this Italian
peninsula, more to the south than the north, and more westward
than eastward, Rome is seated. She is built on seven hills, and
by the borders of the Tiber, whose yellow waters roll sluggishly
along between banks bare and uninteresting, and destitute of that
green verdure which gives such a charm to the rivers of our own
country. At a distance of six leagues eastward rises the dark line
of the Apennines; looking westward, you may catch a view from some
elevated spot of the bright-glancing waters of the Mediterranean;
northward rises the isolated Soracte, towering up like a mighty
giant, and seeming to stand as guardian of the plain. Directing
your gaze southward, your eye falls on the pleasant hamlets of
Castel-Gandolfo, Marino, Frascati, and Colonna.[42] In this centre
of the world, then, made such by God when he formed the globe;
in this centre, so wonderfully adapted for easy communication
with the rest of the world, God has his central city built, and
when the hour comes which he preordained in his wise Providence,
he conducts the Fisherman-Pope there, and bids him there abide
till the end of time. It is not likely, then, that any other city
of the world, either Jerusalem or Constantinople, or any great
capital yet to be built, can supplant Rome in the honor of being
the city of the Popes, or that any other country will be in as
true a sense the chosen country of God as Italy is. Italy was
chosen, as we have seen, to be the heart of the world. Then God
chose to have this great central capital from which the light of
Christianity was to radiate to the four quarters of the globe. It
would be easy to show what a glorious and conspicuous part she has
acted in all ages through the church’s history. It is Italy which
has given to the church almost the whole long line of Pontiffs who
have filled the chair of St. Peter. From Italy have gone forth
almost all the greatest missionaries of the world. St. Innocent
says, in his Epistle to Decentius, that all the great founders of
Christian churches in Gaul, Sicily, Spain, and Africa came from
this favored county. To her also is Germany indebted for her first
apostles; and, unless we credit the legend of Joseph of Arimathea,
we must own that Christianity was first brought over into Britain
by missionaries from Rome. And we are not surprised that Italy
is so prolific in apostles and preachers. Nearest to the heart
does the life-blood flow most quickly. Under the eye of Christ’s
Vicar, and under the shadow of his presence, has the Christian
life always been best realized. We cannot, then, wonder that the
history of Christian Italy should furnish the highest and the most
glorious pages of the history of the church. She is glorious in her
countless martyrs, in her learned doctors, in her great founders of
religious orders. With all this before us, we can understand the
soul-stirring words of Luigi Tosti to the Italian clergy. “State
sa,” he cries out, “Leviti dell’ Italiano chericato, abitatori
della terra in cui la chiesa impresse sempre la prima orma dei suoi
passi, quando procede all’ assunzione di una forma novella. Scalza,
perseguitata, cruenta di martirio in Pietro: ricca, guistiziera,
fulminatrice in Ildebrando; bella, copulatrice di due civiltà nel
decimo Leone; e sempre in Italia.” We lose much of the fire and
vigor of the original by translating these words into our own
language, but yet we may, perhaps, venture to render them thus:
“Arise, Levites of the Italian clergy, dwellers in that land on
which the church always imprints her first foot-mark whenever she
is about to take up a new form. Barefooted, persecuted, red with
the blood of martyrdom in Peter; rich, rigid, hurling anathemas in
Hildebrand; beautiful, uniting the two civilizations in the tenth
Leo; and always in Italy.”[43]

Returning, then, to what we have already said regarding the Roman
Empire, and seeing how wonderfully God has arranged all things for
the establishment of his holy religion, we may form to ourselves
an idea how rapidly the truths of Christianity would spread
throughout the world. Now we see a nobler and higher use for those
grand Roman roads than ever entered into the minds of those who
designed and constructed them; now we perceive the advantage of
that one noble Latin language being the established language of
the empire; now we take in more perfectly the great design of God
in laying so many nations at the feet of Rome, and inspiring them
with such veneration for her very name. Thus favored on all sides,
Christianity soon made its way into the cities and towns of the
wide-spreading empire. We have been amazed as we have observed
God working out in detail this grand scheme for the propagation
of his religion. We have seen and wondered at the mighty power
of that Word which was confided by Jesus Christ to the apostles
and their successors. We have seen it captivating the rich and
the poor alike, and baffling and finally humbling at its feet the
proud philosophers themselves. We know how in a few years the
Christians could be counted by thousands in Rome itself, and how
they were found wherever the Roman legions had penetrated. From
Rome, as from a great central sun, the light of truth shone far out
in all directions, and Christian churches seemed to rise as by an
invisible power, in all cities and towns near and far distant, and
then shoot forth their beautiful brightness into the surrounding
darkness. In Africa, as Alzog and Döllinger relate, the Christians
soon outnumbered the pagans. And we know well, for there is no
one who has not read them, the famous words of Tertullian, in
his _Apologetica_: “We are but of yesterday, and already we fill
your towns, your villages, your fortresses, your islands, your
assemblies and your camps, the senate and the imperial court; we
leave you nothing but the temples.” In studying the first ages of
the church’s history, what glorious things do we witness, and how
strongly is the conviction forced upon us that God is there ruling
events and using men for his own great purposes! We see the Roman
legions transforming themselves, as did the Thundering Legion,
into so many phalanxes of conquering Christians, who rushed to
victory under the impulse of the grand idea that they were thus
subduing new countries to the rule of Christ.[44] We see those
victorious legions carrying with them their laws, their customs,
and their schools to the banks of the Rhine and the Danube, and
there planting civilization and the faith of Christ. We wonder
less at this when we think what noble Christian hearts were
burning in the breasts of those brave men, and how oftentimes
they laid down their lives as martyrs for Christ’s name. We can
never forget the noble Theban legions dying at the foot of the
Alps, thus giving by their heroic martyrdom the first lessons of
Christian teaching to the people of Switzerland. In the camps of
Rhætia, Noricum, and Vindelicia, again, we see Christian soldiers
sowing the seeds of their holy religion on every side of them. How
beautiful a thing did it appear to the devoted Ozanam to follow the
footsteps of these early missionaries, to represent to himself the
hymns of redemption rising heavenwards amidst the silence of the
pagan forests, and to see in imagination the barbarians receiving
the waters of baptism at the same fountains which their fathers
adored![45] The more closely, then, we study the manner in which
Christianity was propagated in the first ages, the more clearly
does the mission of the Roman Empire stand out before our eyes. It
becomes more and more evident, the longer we look at facts, that
Rome’s conquering legions, her great far-reaching roads, her laws,
and her one universal language were all made use of by God in a
wonderful way, not only to prepare the way for, but also for the
establishment of his great spiritual kingdom upon earth.

Thus far we have considered the Roman Empire as working for God, as
aiding in a remarkable manner the propagation of Christianity. Thus
viewed, the Roman Empire was on God’s side. But from another point
of view we know how bitterly she opposed God’s work. Never was
there such dire war made against God as during the three hundred
years of the persecutions. We have now to glance at these years of
blood and hatred, since they are a part of the explanation why in
later times there came, by God’s sending, such a whirlwind of wrath
on the mighty empire that it was shaken to its very foundations,
and fell with a crash which made the whole universe tremble. We do
not intend to dwell on the more minute details of these strange,
sad years, but only to refer in a general way to the cruelty of the
persecutors and the heroic conduct of the children of the cross in
the presence of death.

Towards the end of the first seventy years of the Christian
church, we see the imperial garden at Rome the scene of a strange
festivity. The Roman people are there assembled on a dark night
for an entertainment. The Emperor Nero is seen passing to and
fro in his imperial carriage, followed by the senators in their
costly equipages amidst the shouts and plaudits of the people. It
is the opening of the first persecution. The long, shady avenues
are lighted up by living torches--human beings covered over with
burning pitch are serving as festal lamps. In the open squares of
this garden we see women and children, belonging to some of the
noblest families of Rome, clothed with the skins of wild beasts,
and cast to hungry dogs, which devour them alive. Meanwhile Nero
laughs with savage glee at the success of his new invention, and
his myrmidons congratulate him on the ingenuity he has displayed in
it. This is only a glimpse--but we need no more.

Later on we see that other monster Domitian, shut up in a dark
chamber of his palace, holding with fiendish satisfaction the end
of the chain which binds the limbs of those who are brought before
him for trial. We see him oftentimes presiding in person and
gloating with a wild beast’s _gusto_ over the tortures inflicted on
innocent Christians. In his reign, virtue became a crime, and the
followers of Christ were put to death throughout the whole extent
of the empire as being the declared enemies of the state. We do
not wonder that Domitian acquired for himself the odious name of
“the tyrant whom the universe detested,” as Suetonius tells us in
his _Life_ of this emperor. Neither can we wonder that the Roman
people endeavored to blot out even his very name from their memory.
Lactantius tells us, in his _De Morte Persecutorum_, that his
statues were broken to pieces, and his inscriptions effaced from
the proud monuments which his hands had raised.

As we pass on to Trajan and Adrian, we find no reason to be partial
to their memories. Though no new edicts of persecution were
published during their reign, yet Christians were put to death in
great numbers throughout the empire. When we think of Trajan’s
persecution, a grand, saintly figure always rises before our
minds--it is St. Ignatius of Antioch, as he himself has sketched
in striking outlines, in his famous _Epistle to the Romans_,
the sublime ideal of the Christian martyr, and he realized with
wonderful exactitude that ideal in his own person.

The student of church history well remembers the bold independence
of the holy man as he stood before the emperor at Antioch; and the
courageous joy with which he went to the amphitheatre to be the
victim of wild beasts and a spectacle to the bloodthirsty Romans,
is one of those glorious things which the church points to as
characteristic of her great martyr-bishops.

Again, when we think of Adrian, we recall that symbol of his
cruelty, the brazen bull, into which, when heated to red-heat, the
faithful veteran Eustachius with his wife and family was cast. His
name, too, brings back to our memory the brave widow Symphorosa and
her seven sons. The cruel scene of torment is again enacted before
our minds. We think how the poor mother was suspended aloft by the
hair, all bruised and mangled as she was by hard lashes, whilst
the bodies of her children were opened before her eyes with knives
and iron hooks. Such facts as these are certainly not calculated
to persuade us that Adrian’s character was one of mildness and
clemency, as profane historians would have us believe. To this
emperor belongs, as Tillemont tells us, the odious distinction of
having profaned in the vilest manner those holy places which are
so dear to Christian hearts. He defiled the holy Mount of Calvary
by erecting thereon the sensual figure of Venus; he desecrated the
sacred Cave at Bethlehem by setting up the statue of Adonis; and
he placed, as though in jeering triumph, the image of Jupiter over
the tomb of our blessed Saviour. Under the influence of Adrian’s
zeal, paganism experienced a temporary revival; idolatry seemed to
regain new life and vigor, and made a great effort to substitute
the trophies of the devil for those of Jesus Christ. Adrian went so
far as to erect temples in his own honor, which, as Döllinger says,
have been falsely supposed by some to have been places of Christian
worship. Adrian died at last a wretched prey to his crimes. As
he writhed in agony and rotted away under the violence of a
loathsome disease, he called a thousand times upon death to come
to his deliverance. But death came slowly to the cruel torturer of
Symphorosa and her sons.

As we pass rapidly on down these years of blood, our eye is again
arrested, in the time of Marcus Aurelius, by the grand figure
of glorious Polycarp, who rises then distinct and clear to our
view, as he stands up bravely on his funeral pile above the heads
of the Roman rabble, overspanned by his triumphal arch of fire.
As the venerable martyr went to his trial, a voice from heaven
spoke to him these words: “Courage, Polycarp, quit thyself like
a brave man.” And so he did. No one can read without emotion the
beautiful, calm answer which the old man gave to the proconsul who
ordered him to “blaspheme against Christ.” “It is now eighty-six
years,” the aged martyr replied, “that I have served him. How then
can I blaspheme against my Lord and Saviour?” His noble words
and his heroic death inspired courage in thousands of Christians
who afterwards gave their lives for Christ. We learn, also, that
during this persecution Christians who had been for some time
detained in the prisons were massacred _en masse_, and that the
Rhone flowed all red and ghastly with the blood which countless
martyrs had shed on its banks. But the emperor-philosopher felt
his impotence to destroy the ever-dying yet ever-multiplying race
of Christians. “Vary their torments,” he writes, in his despair,
to the governors of the provinces; and then we see the victims of
his hatred crucified, burned, or cast to the wild beasts. Modern
men of science may rank Marcus Aurelius with philosophers, but we
are inclined to believe, with M. Leroy, that it was his infamous
cruelty towards the Christians rather than true wisdom which has
made them pass over in silence his shameless turpitudes and grant
him this proud distinction.

During the raging persecution which Septimius Severus had
enkindled against the Christians, we see St. Perpetua going
boldly to death, bearing in her arms her new-born child. Her aged
pagan father, kneeling in tears at her feet and begging her to
sacrifice to the gods, could not deter her from advancing, with
firm step and calm look, to meet the wild beasts of the circus. We
see Felicitas, Saturninus, Revocatus, and others accompanying her
through the savage crowd to the same fate. What a grand procession
of heroes--something to look at till our tears flow and our hearts
are set on fire! As they advance proudly along, the voice of Satur,
one of their number, is heard giving forth those scathing words to
the wild crowd that surrounded them: “Look well at us, that you may
know us again at the judgment-day.”

Turning our eyes to Alexandria, we find that city a great centre
of persecution at this time. There it was that the most intrepid
defenders of religion, and the stern, penitential men of the
Thebaid, were summoned to crown their noble lives by the heroism of
martyrdom. And again is the blood of martyrs flowing like water in
the streets of Lyons. St. Irenæus and twenty thousand Christians
are immolated in honor of Christ’s name. The work of extermination
is continued with unrelenting vigor under the gigantic son of
the Thracian peasant. Maximin deals out his blows of death with
the power and fury of a Cyclops. But the brave Christian hearts,
braced up to noble deeds by the secret indwelling presence of
their Lord, do not quail before his terrors. And in the midst of
the bloody fray, we hear the soul-inspiring voice of great Origen,
calling aloud to his brethren in these words: “Behold, generous
athletes, your portion--a tribulation above all tribulations, but
yet a hope above all hopes; for the Lord knows how to glorify, by
his rewards, those who have thought little of this poor earthen
vessel, which death so easily breaks to pieces. I should like to
see you, when the combat is at hand, bounding with joy as did the
apostles in their day, who rejoiced that they were found worthy
to suffer outrages for the name of Jesus. Remember ye the words
of Isaiah, ‘Fear not the reproach which comes from men, and let
not yourselves be cast down by their contempt.’ Men laugh to-day,
and to-morrow they are no more; already the eternal pit swallows
them up for ever. When you shall be on the arena of combat, think
with Paul that you are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and
to men. If you triumph, Christians will applaud your courage; the
heavenly spirits will rejoice at your victory. But if you yield,
the powers of hell will shout for joy, and will come forth in
myriads from their fiery abyss to meet you. Fight, then, valiantly,
and, in imitation of Eleazar, leave behind you, as a remembrance
of your death, a noble example of constancy and virtue.”[46] These
noble words are worthy of the generous soul and the marvellously
gifted mind of the great doctor of Alexandria. They sound forth
with a soul-stirring, awakening power, like a trumpet-blast from
heaven. And, no doubt, many a trembling heart was nerved into
courageous daring by them; many a glorious victory was won under
their influence which would otherwise have been lost. And it was in
the next persecution under Decius that such powerful, encouraging
words were needed. Never yet since the empire began to make bloody
war against Christ’s followers had the Christians more need of
strength and help; never had they more need than now to picture to
themselves the depths of the fiery abyss, and the bright glories
of God’s kingdom. Decius came to his bloody work with a resolution
to succeed at any cost. His orders went abroad over the empire to
all governors and public functionaries, that every conceivable
torture was to be used in order to force the Christians to renounce
their faith. It was not, then, prompt, quick death that was now
the order of the day, but slow, cruel torture. We have a picture
of the horrors of this persecution in the words of St. Gregory of
Nyssa. “The magistrates,” he says, “suspended all cases, private or
public, to apply themselves to the great, the important affair--the
arrest and punishment of the faithful. The heated iron chains, the
steel claws, the pyre, the sword, the beasts, all the instruments
invented by the cruelty of man, lacerated, by night and by day, the
bodies of martyrs; and each tormentor seemed to fear that he might
not be as barbarous as his fellows. Neighbors, relatives, friends,
heartlessly betrayed each other, and denounced Christians before
the magistrates. The provinces were in consternation; families were
decimated; cities became deserts; and the deserts were peopled.
Soon the prisons were insufficient for the multitudes arrested
for their faith, and most of the public edifices were converted
into prisons.”[47] We find, also, St. Denis of Alexandria speaking
in moving language of the persecution which he witnessed in his
own city. He tells us that the numbers of the martyrs were past
counting. No regard was paid to sex, age, or rank; men, women,
children, and old men were tormented with equal cruelty. Every
species of torture was employed, and every imaginable cruelty used
to increase the horrors of death.[48] Again, at Smyrna, Antioch,
Lampsacus, Toulouse, Nîmes, and Marseilles, martyrs died in
thousands. In fact, wherever we turn our gaze, we see throughout
the length and breadth of the empire the blood of Christians
flowing.

During the reign of Valerian the monotonous work of death goes
on, but, perhaps, as we advance, the destruction of Christians
becomes more wholesale. At Utica the heads of one hundred and fifty
followers of Christ fell at once, and at Cirta in Numidia we see an
atrocious butchery taking place which lasts the greater part of a
day. The martyrs are led into a valley with ranges of hills rising
to a great height on both sides, as if to favor the spectacle. They
are ranged in line, their eyes bandaged, along the river-side; and
the executioner passes on from one to another, striking off their
heads.[49] It was, perhaps, a glad sight for the savage idolaters
who thronged the high hill-sides to witness the bloody slaughter,
but it was a sublime spectacle, too, for the angels of heaven, as
they looked down upon those brave soldiers of Christ, and saw them
standing in calm, joyful silence by that African river-bank and
receiving their bright martyrs’ crowns.

The ages of blood came to an end with the Diocletian persecution.
It would be difficult to imagine that anything new in the way
of torture could be invented at this date. Ingenuity and malice
had already done their worst in the matter of inventions; but
Diocletian and his associates brought with them a qualification
in which they were surpassed by none of their predecessors, and
that was an intense hatred for the Christian religion. Never had
the rage and fury of persecutors been greater than was displayed
by these “three ferocious wild beasts,” as Lactantius calls them;
and never, consequently, did the blood of Christians flow more
copiously. Hell was making its last great effort. Though we are
accustomed, in traversing these centuries of terrible bloodshed,
to read of cruelties which are almost beyond belief, yet we are
startled into new horror when we find in this tenth persecution
an entire town with its twelve or fifteen thousand inhabitants
consumed by fire because it is a town of Christians. Each province
has its peculiar species of torture. In Mesopotamia, it is fire; in
Pontus, the wheel; in Syria, the gridiron; in Arabia, the hatchet;
in Cappadocia, iron bars for breaking limbs; in Africa, hanging;
the wooden horse in Gaul, and wild beasts at Rome.[50] Where, we
ask, as we gaze over the wide-stretching empire, is not the blood
of Christians flowing? Its voice rises heavenwards from the cliffs
of Tangiers; it saturates the plains of Mauritania; it springs from
wounded combatants on the shores of Tyr; but nowhere over the wide
earth is it poured out for God’s glory without his taking count of
it. The blood of martyrs will not cry to heaven in vain; God’s day
of reckoning with the empire will surely come.

But we can dwell no longer on these ages of heroic sacrifice.
Pascal has truly said that “the history of the rest of the Romans
pales beside the history of the martyrs.” Whoever wishes to see the
full force of this remark, let him read the _Acts of the Martyrs_,
in the history of Eusebius, or the charming pages of Ruinart, or
in the ponderous tomes of the Bollandists. Nowhere in Christian
literature is there anything so simply and touchingly eloquent.
The _Acts of the Martyrs_ constitute a drama whose character is
most sublime, and the interest of which is more than ravishing. In
order to express our idea more perfectly, we will borrow the words
of Mgr. Freppel. “If there be a drama,” he says, “each of whose
acts bears a special character, whilst at the same time perfect
unity is preserved, it is the _Acts of the Martyrs_. Here we have
a bishop who puts to confusion a proconsul by the calm constancy
of his faith; there we have a virgin who mingles with her answers
that enthusiasm of love with which her heart is on fire. In another
place, we have the Christian mother surrounded by her sons, who
confess one after another the simple faith of their infancy, and
pass from mouth to mouth the testimony of truth. Again, we have
the Christian soldier, who reveres in Cæsar the majesty of power,
but who places above all imperial honors the worship of the King
of kings. In this magnificent epopee of martyrdom, to which each
persecution adds a new song, the scene varies according to time and
place; it is the fidelity of love and the grandeur of sacrifice
which constitute its unity.”[51] It is there that we have put
before us the most beautiful and the most noble characters that
have ever done honor to the human race. We find nothing sordid,
nothing selfish, nothing haughty in these heroes. They are meek
and humble, yet brave and high-souled, and strikingly grand in the
face of death. Profane history may ransack its annals, but it will
never be able to show us characters so noble and so admirable.
Their equals are not to be found in the _Lives_ of Plutarch, nor
in the pages of Eutropius. How true is it that the Catholic Church
alone is the Mother of Heroes! The heroism of the martyrs was of
that kind for which all ordinary theories fail to account. It
gave strength to the tottering frames of venerable old men; it
made timid virgins courageous in the presence of hideous racks;
it spoke by the lisping tongues of frail infants. Let the profane
historian point to any scene that can equal in simple grandeur
the trial and death of the gentle, sweet St. Agnes, or in heroic
endurance the painful, slow martyrdom of the beautiful Agatha, the
glory of Sicilian virgins. Let him tell us of anything, either
in profane fact or fable, which can equal in purity and strange
boldness the beautiful history of Eulalia, the child-saint of
twelve summers, whose name is celebrated in touching harmonies
by Prudentius as the glory of Merida, the sweet Lusitanian city
which stands on the flowery banks of the rapid Guadiana. Let
him tell us of anything, even in the fancied facts of strangest
romance, that is half as marvellous as the history of St. Cyr, the
child-confessor and martyr of three years old, who, when he was
taken up into the governor’s embrace to be coaxed into apostasy,
lisped out his brave confession, “Christianus sum,” and was dashed
to pieces on the steps of the tribunal. Will the profane historian
speak of wonderful endurance? We invite him to look at the child
Barallah, in his seventh year, who was suspended in the air and
scourged before his mother’s eyes, and who, as his blood sprang
out on all sides, and his little bones were stripped of their
flesh, could be brave and unflinching whilst the rough executioners
themselves shed tears of pity. As the blood flowed from his body,
the little martyr cried out in the burning heat of his torments,
“I am thirsty; give me a little water.” His brave mother reproved
him, saying, “Soon, my son, thou wilt be at the source of living
waters”; and she carried her child in her arms to the spot where
he was to be beheaded, and as his head was severed from his body
she received it into her veil. Tell us, profane historian, of great
mothers like this. Tell us if your greatest heroes could be so
invincible in the midst of suffering as the child-martyrs of the
Catholic Church.

The three ages of martyrdom in the church’s history are
emphatically the ages of great heroes. No brave man that ever
went to death for any other cause went so boldly or was so calm
and dignified as the Christian martyr in the presence of the
executioner. Never before in the annals of the human race were
men known to go to death rejoicing; never before were they seen
to smile and be glad when brought in sight of the rack and the
gibbet. This perfection of courage and sublime self-possession
were seen every day among the martyrs of the church. This it was
that amazed the frantic rabble which witnessed their sufferings;
it was this that oftentimes enraged the Roman governors so far
as to drive them to order the death-blow to be inflicted before
the torturers had done their appointed work. The joy with which
the martyrs gave their blood for Christ’s holy name is one of the
problems which unchristian philosophers have never been able to
solve. These so-called thinkers have never been able to comprehend
the long, mysterious blood-shedding of those three hundred years.
The Christian philosopher alone, with his great Catholic principles
of history, can understand that _blood-shedding_ is the mysterious
law which characterizes in such a striking manner the great work of
the Incarnation. As he gazes into the past, he sees the sacrificial
blood flowing in every nation’s worship. Far back in the ages of
the patriarchs, he can discern the red stream glistening; and as
his eye still gazes, he sees it flowing ever onward, with typical
significance, through the centuries, until it meets the God-man’s
sacred blood pouring down from the Cross of Calvary. There the
typical was merged in the real. He can see, again, how congruous
it seems that, after the great sacrifice of the cross had been
typified through the proceding ages by an ever-flowing stream of
blood, and after Christ had poured out all his own blood on the
hill of Calvary, and it had flowed down so copiously on the sinful
world, his first followers and disciples should in their turn shed
their blood for him. This abundant blood-shedding, this wondrous
heroic self-sacrifice, was a testimony which honest men could
not withstand, for, as Pascal says, “men believe witnesses who
shed their blood.” To die willingly and joyfully for another was
something of which the world had not yet heard. Jesus Christ, then,
wished to show the mighty power of his doctrine. He would let the
world see what wonders his cross could work in the souls of men.
He wished to make it manifest to all men’s eyes what courage it
could give in the presence of the most terrible racks; how it could
so influence the weak and timid as to make them joyful when they
were taken to die; how it could be a consolation and an ineffable
sweetness in the midst of torments the most painful. All this he
did manifest to the world in the most striking light. His martyrs
were such characters as the world had not seen before; what was
terrible to others was not so to them; when others would shriek
with agony, they would smile with joy; when others would languish
and faint under the lash and the knife, they could calmly remark
with St. Eulalia as she looked at her wounds: “They write your name
all over my body, sweet Jesus.” Truly, the cross planted amidst a
very sea of blood, generously shed for the love of the Crucified,
is the grand central point of all history, which men may look back
at, and gaze upon with admiration and ravishment to the end of time.

But, returning to our former point of view, and looking upon
these centuries of terrible blood-shedding as the fierce, furious
war which the Roman Empire waged against God and his religion,
we naturally ask ourselves a question, Where is the great God of
the Christians whilst his children are being immolated to pagan
savagery throughout the whole earth? Does he from his high heaven
take note of what is done? Oh! he who sees the sparrow fall does
not lose sight of his children, nor does his eye fail to see the
sufferings which they endure for him. The voice of his martyrs rose
heavenwards with a mighty cry during those three hundred years. It
rose from the saturated floor of the Roman amphitheatre; it spoke
with pleading eloquence from the depths of the mines of Numidia;
it echoed incessantly in the ear of God from amid the solitudes of
Pannonia. God was not at any time deaf to that cry. He was slow in
his anger, but, then, on that account he was the more terrible.
Whilst Nero was shedding the first Christian blood at Rome, God was
silently gathering together his avenging armies in the forests of
the north. It took him more than three hundred years to marshal his
overwhelming warrior-hosts; but, O heavens! what a direful shaking
of the universe when they did come!

FOOTNOTES:

[33] Carlyle’s _Miscellanies_, vol. ii., “On History,” p. 151.

[34] Vol. i. p. 44, French ed.

[35] _Eccl. Hist._, vii. 10.

[36] _Hist._ ix. 6.

[37] Allies, _Formation of Christendom_, vol. i. p. 42.

[38] Allies, _Formation of Christendom_.

[39] See _Formation of Christendom_, by Mr. Allies.

[40] Dr. Newman, _Office and Work of Universities_, pp. 161, 162.

[41] _Œuvres_ du R. P. Lacordaire, tome vi. p. 172.

[42] See Père Lacordaire’s _Lettre sur le Saint-Liège_.

[43] Tosti, _Al Clero Italiano; Prolegom.-alla Storia Universale_,
vol. i.

[44] See _Leroy_, vol. ii. p. 295.

[45] See Ozanam, _La Civilisation chrét. chez les Francs_, p. 4.

[46] Origen, _Exhortatio ad Mart., passim_, quoted by Leroy.

[47] St. Greg. of Nyssa, _Vita Thaumat._, p. 578.

[48] See the sixth book of Eusebius’ _Hist. of the Church_.

[49] See Darras’ _History of the Church_, Amer-edit., p. 262.

[50] See Eusebius’ _History_, book viii. ch. 12, and following.

[51] _Les Pères Apostoliques_, 20me leçon, p. 433.



ACOUSTICS AND VENTILATION.[52]


Every effort to elucidate what is obscure, or to provide a
remedy for acknowledged evils, is a just title to that friendly
acknowledgment which the writer of this little book bespeaks. It
is a step in the direction of progress. But it is of the highest
importance in the attempt to impart clear ideas upon any subject,
that they should be so distinctly expressed as to leave no doubt
concerning the identity of their subject. Thus, in treating of
_sound_, it seems to us that the question first presented is this:
_What is sound?_ Our author says that it “_receives_ its vitality
or its life through the air, and without air sound loses it and
becomes extinct.”

We object to this statement of the origin of sound, as both
unsatisfactory and indistinct. It implies that _sound_ is something
born and floating in the air, and external to the mind perceiving.
We fancy that, without _an ear to hear_, sound would not become
extinct, but have no existence; and that the _vitality_ of which
our writer treats is not _in_ or _on_ the air, but in the mind
itself. This exception to the supposed origin of the _life of
sound_ may not seem to affect the discussion of acoustics as far as
the practical purpose of the architect is concerned; but we insist
that neither the drumsticks nor the drum, nor the air within it or
without, nor even all these at work, are _sound_, more than the
telegraph wire and the electric current are the _message_ sent
from one operator to another.

That inaccuracy which we discover in our author’s use of terms,
we find also in his quotations from others. For example: “The
intensity of sound depends on the density of the air in which the
sound is generated, and _not on that of the air in which it is
heard_. A feeble sound becomes instantly louder as soon as the air
becomes more dense. So you will always find, on great elevations
in the atmosphere, the sound sensibly diminished in loudness. If
two cannon are equally charged, and one fired at [from] the top of
a high mountain, and the other in a valley, the one fired below,
in the heavy air, may be heard above, while the one fired in the
higher air will not be heard below; owing to its origin, the
sound generated in the denser air is louder than that generated
in the rarer. Peals of thunder are unable to penetrate the air to
a distance commensurate with their intensity on account of the
non-homogeneous character of the atmosphere which accompanies them;
from the same cause, battles have raged and have been lost within
a short distance of the reserves of the defeated army, while they
were waiting for the sound of artillery to call them to the scene
of action.”

It seems to us that the truth here expressed is not unmixed with
error. In the very first sentence, we think that accuracy would
require the suppression of the word _not_. The intensity of sound
depends not only upon the density and elasticity of the air whose
pulsation is an antecedent condition, but also upon the density and
elasticity of the air _through which_ the pulse is transmitted.
While it is true that a pulse given to the denser column or stratum
of air may be transmitted through a _rarer_ medium with greater
resultant force than if its origin and direction were reversed, it
by no means follows that the intensity of sound is unaffected by
the density of the air _in_ which it is heard. We apprehend the
truth to be that the pulse given to highly rarefied air is very
feeble; and its secondary effect upon a denser and more elastic
fluid, correspondingly slight; while the pulse from the denser air
would be transmitted with greater--but still diminished--force,
through the rarer atmosphere _in which_ it reaches the ear. An
_absolute vacuum_ could not transmit the pulse given through
a column or stratum of elastic fluid. A _rarefied atmosphere_
could but transmit it with a force always varying with its own
elasticity. And were it possible to preserve one’s consciousness
within the exhausted receiver of an air-pump, we doubt if the most
sensitive ear could be made to hear the roar of a cataract without.

“A feeble sound becomes instantly louder as soon as the air becomes
more dense;” but _not as loud_ as if the same initial pulse were
_immediately_ given to the denser air. In the case of two cannon
equally charged, one of which is fired on the top of a mountain,
and the other in a valley below it, to say that “_owing to its
origin_, the sound generated in the denser air is louder than that
generated in the rarer,” _sounds_ much like saying it is _because_
it is. If it be more than this, it is wrong. It is a clear case of
_non causa pro causa_. The origin [of the _pulse_] of sound is in
either case the same: the explosion of equal charges of gunpowder,
in guns supposed to be of like material and equal size. The
_effects_ are not the same, because the effect of a force depends
upon its _transmission_ as well as upon its origin.

Does the atmosphere “_accompany_” peals of thunder? Or does this
expression convey a distinct idea of the office of the atmosphere
in the production of sound? We understand that the atmosphere
receives the pulse or blow, and that its transmission to the ear
is due to the elastic force of the intermediate air. It is not the
_homogeneousness_ of air, but its _elasticity_ which transmits
the pulse. And though, in architecture, the object sought is a
uniformly elastic air throughout the _auditorium_, it does not
follow, nor is it even desirable, that the _maximum effect at a
given point_ should be obtained by it.

“Science,” says our author, “teaches us that, whenever a shock or
pressure of any sort is suddenly applied to material of any nature,
whether metal, wood, gas, water, air, etc., it is immediately
affected in all its parts, from the point of contact to the whole
extent of the material, in displacing and replacing the particles
of a _determinate volume_; and the velocity of the movement of
the particles of the mass, created by the concussion of shocks or
pressure, depends _solely_ (?) upon its elasticity and density.
Sound likewise _causes_ motions (?) with every particle of the
air, and as far as the motion reaches; so that each particle, with
regard to that which lies immediately beyond it, is in a progress
of rarefaction during return.”

What is meant by affecting a mass of matter “_in all its parts_,”
by “displacing and replacing the particles of a _determinate
volume_,” we do not precisely understand. That whatever
causes motion does it “as far as the motion reaches,” is as
unquestionable as any other identical proposition. But that
the velocity of the movement of the particles, created by the
concussion of shocks, pressure, _upon an unconfined elastic fluid_,
depends _solely_ upon its elasticity and density, we dispute.
That _pulses_ “are propagated from a _trembling body_ all around
in a _spherical_ manner” may be true, if the air is on all sides
equally elastic. Such might be the case with those produced by the
vibrations of a _bell_, when the surrounding air is undisturbed
by other causes, and is uniformly elastic at equal distances
from it. It would not be strictly true if the initial pulse were
made only in a certain direction. “Every impression made on a
fluid is propagated every way throughout the fluid, whatever be
the direction wherein it is made;” but it is not true that the
impressions are equal at equal distances from the initial pulse,
irrespective of its _direction_. This result would presuppose a
fluid _perfectly_ elastic; which we never have--and _then_ we
might, with equal truth, say that the impressions would be equal at
all distances.

Everybody is familiar with the fact that the “transmission of
sound,” the pulse which strikes upon the ear to produce the
sensation, _is affected_ by currents of air--the direction, force,
and velocity of the wind--between the initial pulse and the hearer.
_How_? and _how much_? _directly_ or _indirectly_? are questions
distinct from the fact itself. The distance through which guns are
heard, as well as the loudness of their report, varies with the
_direction_, _force_, and _velocity_ of the wind; and, in very
still air, with the _aim_ of the gun itself, the _direction of
the initial pulse_. For short distances, these differences may be
so minute as to escape notice; just as the false proportions of
a miniature picture are unobserved until the magnifier displays
them. And for longer ranges, they are so small, in contrast with
the magnitudes compared, as to seem rather like _accidental_ than
_legitimate_ differences. But the difference is not the less real
because the reality is less. Words spoken in a faint whisper are
clearly heard by a listener immediately _before_ the speaker, when
quite inaudible or indistinct to one at an equal distance _behind_
him.

The _actual velocities_ of wind and sound differ so widely that the
small fraction by which their _relative velocity_ is denoted is
held as proof that the propagation of sound--_the pulse_--through
distances of a few yards or feet, is not affected by currents of
air: that there are no _differences in the “velocity of sound.”_
Yet the ear detects them as one of the small differences between
discord and harmony in music; distinctness and confusion of
speech. In music these differences may be blended by the prolonged
intonation of _vowel sounds_; but in speech, whose distinct
significance is due to _consonants_, “which cannot be sounded
without the aid of a vowel,” these differences are fatally evident.
The sharp edges of the vocal pulses, which give shape and meaning
to vowel sounds, are destroyed alike by a husky voice and a puff of
air. What remains is _vox et præterea nihil_.

It seems to us that some of the many failures in practical
acoustics come from considering the air--the material involved--as
perfectly elastic. From this it is inferred that sound is not
affected by the direction of the initial _pulse_: that the
direction and velocity of the _effective_ pulse are not varied by
currents and blasts of air. In short, that the slight inaccuracy
of these assumptions will be the actual measurement of resultant
error.

Were the purpose only to ascertain the _acoustic_ properties of
unadulterated air, varied experiments might eliminate the errors of
anomalous results. But when the process is reversed, and we deduce
_effects_ from _only one_ among concurrent and conflicting causes,
theory is confounded by discordant facts. Theories of _sound in
purely elastic air_ might give results approximately realized in
practice, if the actual pulses with which we are concerned were
given by a flail; but are pregnant of error when the atmosphere
is mixed with vicious vapors, and the _pulse_ is a breath of air.
Then, the assumption that “_pulses of sound_” proceed _equally_
in all directions from the initial point, is simply false; and
theories based upon it can only complicate the problems to be
solved.

Water, as well as air, is a highly elastic fluid, and, if confined
and subjected to pressure, the force applied is exerted on all
sides of the confined volume. But the _effect_ of a _pulse_ or
blow upon a surface of large extent varies with the _direction_ of
the force as well as with its _power_ and _velocity_. We have seen
fish swimming near the surface killed or paralyzed by a blow upon
the water immediately over them. And we have seen the blow fail of
its intended effect _solely_ because it was _misdirected_. Perhaps
the water in the latter case was _not perfectly elastic_! Neither
is the air of churches and public halls, when their atmosphere
has yielded a portion of its _oxygen_, and, in return, is charged
with _carbonic acid_ and moist vapors from the breath of crowded
assemblies. _Carbonic acid gas_ is heavier _by one-half_ than
atmospheric air. It does not, then, always rise toward the ceiling
or roof, but remains in solution with impure exhalations; or else,
condensed by contact with the colder walls, descends to poison the
lower air and impair its elastic force--its power of transmitting
the “_pulse of sound_” to the ear.

We have just come from one of our city churches, where we have
had a striking example of this result. The church in question
will _accommodate_ (?) about two thousand people. Twenty-five
hundred may be crowded into it. At the commencement of the
sermon, the preacher’s voice was distinctly audible at points
fifty or sixty feet from the pulpit, in spite of reflections of
sound--_air pulses_--from galleries, wooden columns, and the
arched ceiling and side-walls, of lath and plaster. Before it was
ended, the exhalations of the breathing crowd had so filled the
lower half of the “_auditorium_” that only vowel sounds could be
distinguished; and the _peroration_ seemed to consist of spasmodic
utterances--scarcely sounds--of _a_, _e_, _i_, _o_, _u_. _W_ and
_y_ had lost their affinity to vowels, and the rest of the alphabet
were no longer _consonants_, for they were not heard at all.

The acoustic and sanitary problems are here identical--to find
a method of preventing an accumulation of foul and inelastic
vapors around the breathing and listening congregation, and to
give, instead, wholesome air to their lungs, while enabling their
ears to hear. And since these poisonous and inelastic gases are
specifically heavier than atmospheric air, and must fall to the
floor by their own weight, the problem is reduced to providing
a practicable way for their escape, and guarding it against
counter-currents which might obstruct the passage.

The introduction of warm air through openings in or near the floor
will not readily produce uniformity of temperature within a room.
The simplest experiment in proof of this is constantly made by
multitudes of people, who, in crowded assemblies, find their heads
surrounded by warm and moist vapors, reeking with offensive odors,
while their feet are chilled, though near the “hot-air register.”

A library, whose walls were 12 feet high, and whose floor--18 by
15--contained 270 square feet, was constantly warmed by a “Latrobe
heater,” placed in the chimney at one end of the room. The pot
holding the coal was raised one foot above the level of the floor,
which was covered by a woollen carpet. Immediately under the
library was a kitchen, whose temperature was kept at about 72° F.
Three thermometers were placed thus: No. 1, standing on the carpet
near the centre of the library floor; No. 2, three feet, and No.
3, six feet, above it. At the expiration of half an hour, No. 1
indicated 62°; No. 2, 66°; and No. 3, 72°. Numbers 1 and 3 were
then placed side by side with No. 2, three feet above the floor.
At the expiration of fifteen minutes, all three indicated the same
temperature of 66°. The low temperature of the inferior stratum
of air was certainly not due to that of the room beneath it, for
that was above 70°. It was only the heavier, colder air of the room
itself, and of adjacent apartments warmed in the same way, slightly
affected by contact with the stratum of warmer air above it.

Such slight differences of temperature in small apartments could
not greatly affect the transmission of “the _pulse of sound_.”
But in larger and loftier rooms, like churches and public halls,
corresponding differences of temperature would, and do, produce air
_strata_ widely different in density and elasticity, and occasion
serious acoustic defects. But the acoustic requirement is not
satisfied by uniformly elastic _air_ alone; for its _pulses_ are
reflected, and unity--distinctness--of sound, is lost in echoes or
reverberations, from windows, columns, floors, and ceilings.

To know the difficulties to be encountered is always a step towards
their alleviation; and these are sufficiently apparent throughout
the little volume before us. They are, _First_, _inelastic
air_--which cannot transmit its pulses to the ear. _Second_, strata
and amorphous volumes, of unequal densities, which transmit the
_air-pulses_ with unequal force; so that they produce _distinct
sounds_ and _indefinite murmurs_ at equal distances from the
initial pulse. _Third_, _reflecting surfaces_--the floor, the
ceiling, walls, columns, and furniture of the _auditorium_; which
variously reflect the waves caused by air-pulses, and produce
effects analogous to the eddies and whirlpools made by conflicting
currents of running water.

The _first_ and _second_ of these difficulties are clearly within
the province of “heat and ventilation;” and any means by which
a constant tidal flow--_not a current_--of wholesome air, _from
floor to ceiling_, may be produced, and by which the _un_wholesome,
inelastic, heavier _gases_ generated in crowded assemblies shall be
prevented from accumulating but be _forced_ to give place to the
purer air, will practically solve the problem which they present.

The _third_ difficulty is purely architectural. While _surfaces_
reflect what are called _pulses of sound_, and so multiply their
effects, they also create conflicting waves, which partially
neutralize each other, or else strike the ear in irregular
succession, to destroy the unity and harmony of sound. We cannot
have buildings free from the _inconveniences_ of walls, floors,
and ceilings; but we can regulate and utilize surfaces to give
aid in the transmission of _air-pulses_ in _one direction_, and
greatly diminish the reflecting power of those that would give back
conflicting waves of air. A sounding-board or arch, whose lower
surface should be a semi-paraboloid, so placed that a line drawn
from its highest points, and parallel to its axis, would pierce
the opposite wall four feet above the floor, while the axis itself
should attain the same height at a distance of forty feet from the
_focus_, would be an example of what we mean by utilizing surfaces
to transmit air-pulses _in one direction_. The employment of an
inelastic substance, like coarse _felt_, between the _furring_ of
a wall and the _lathing_, would undoubtedly tend to destroy its
ability to reflect the “_pulse of sound_.” And hollow cast-iron
columns, _filled with clay_, would hardly _vibrate_ from a pulse of
air.

In one of the Protestant churches of our city, we were shown
a sounding-board, whose authors seemed to have halted between
the acoustic merits of the paraboloid and the graceful shape of
the pilgrim’s scallop-shell. We were told that “it helps the
voice of the preacher.” There seemed to be too much of it for
ornament, if its principle be wrong or inefficient, and too little
for usefulness if right. Many attempts to improve the acoustic
properties of halls designed for public lectures are failures
through faulty execution of correct designs.

We once saw the working-plans of a lecture-room, where the line
of intersection of the end wall with the floor of the stage or
platform was a _parabola_, the arch above and behind the lecturer’s
desk being a _semi-paraboloid_, springing from the wall at the
height of the speaker’s voice. Thus, it was supposed that the
_pulses_ reflected from the walls and arch would proceed in
parallel lines or “waves of sound,” because the _initial pulse_
would always be given at the _focus_ of the reflector.

The place of every joist in the cylindrical wall was carefully
marked, and the dimensions and place of each rib of the
paraboloidal arch accurately given. But in executing the design,
the builder discovered a _mistake_!--“the floor of the stage would
not be a true circular segment!” So he “_corrected_ it”--with
stunning effect upon the lecturer, and to the utter confusion of
his audience. And the design was pronounced _a failure_.

In looking through the work before us, we almost unconsciously
began to say: “This is nothing new; we have seen this, and more
than this, before.” And in the same sense, we suppose it might as
well be said that _nothing_ is essentially new.

We have lately seen a notice of an invention for tracing patterns
on glass by means of a _jet_ of sand. Of course, it is nothing
new. The wind has been doing the same trick with the sand of the
sea-shore for ages. We have seen it long ago, and often. Doubtless,
the same effect has been noticed by many others. A thought of
the possible utility of a process whose result was seen may have
flitted through many minds, and, like the outline of a passing
cloud, have been forgotten as it passed. But honestly, we never
thought of tracing lace patterns on glass by any such process. And
while new combinations of well-known truths give new and useful
results, we hope they may never cease to be made.

Mr. Saeltzer’s book is full of good hints. But that is not its
chief merit. It recognizes the inseparable connection of sound and
ventilation, and insists upon observance of the laws which govern
them. As he is so evidently alive to the sanitary and acoustic
defects in public buildings, we shall be disappointed if his
little volume does not prove to be the preface to more specific,
practical directions for their removal. He has put his finger upon
the principal cause of failures. The laws of light, and heat, and
sound are sufficiently understood to render their phenomena as
controllable as time, space, and velocity in mechanics. The more
intelligent efforts are therefore directed not to the discovery of
new principles involved, but to utilize what knowledge we possess.
And when the effort is made at the right point and in the right
direction, we can heartily say, Go on and conquer. The world is
full of wonderful monuments signalizing defeat. Let us see just one
crowned with victory.

As yet, modern ecclesiastical architecture, especially, is but the
imperfect reproduction of ancient and mediæval models. It is the
heathen temple or the Gothic minster, or, more recently, an attempt
to vary the monotony with Byzantine forms of old basilicas, without
their grandeur. In decoration, we have crude, unmeaning imitations
of Moorish tracery, weak in imagery of form and symbolism, without
those glowing contrasts and harmonies of colors which are to
architecture as rhythm to poetry of sound. We know the cause and
history of this poverty in constructive and decorative art. History
tells us how men became so spiritual, in their own conceit, that
symbolism was held to be a sin; and how, by losing the sign, the
thing signified was forgotten or denied. But it seems almost
unaccountable that the world should be teeming with _philosophers_,
to whom the laws of nature, even their least tangible phenomena,
seem familiar as things of daily use, while great temples are so
constructed that they who have ears to hear _cannot_ hear.

FOOTNOTE:

[52] _A Treatise on Acoustics in Connection with Ventilation;
and an Account of the Modern and Ancient Methods of Heating and
Ventilation._ By Alexander Saeltzer, Architect. New York: D. Van
Nostrand, Publisher. 1872.



ODD STORIES.


I.

THE LADDER OF LIFE.

There are a great many rounds in the ladder of life, though simple
youths have always fancied that a few gallant steps would take
them to the summit of riches and power. Now, the top round of this
ladder is not the presidency of any railroad or country, nor even
the possession of renowned genius; for it oddly happens that when
one sits down upon it, then, be he ever so high up in life, he has
really begun to descend. Those who put velvet cushions to their
particular rounds, and squat at ease with a view of blocking the
rise of other good folks, do not know they are going down the other
side of the ladder; but such is the fact. Many thrifty men have,
in their own mind, gone far up its life-steps when, verily, they
were descending them fast; and poor people without number have in
all men’s eyes been travelling downward, though in truth they have
journeyed higher by descent than others could by rising. So many
slippery and delusive ways has this magical ladder that we may say
it is as various as men’s minds. One may slip through its rungs out
of the common way of ascent, and find himself going down when he
ought to be going up; and vain toilers have ever fancied that they
were mounting to the clouds when everybody else must have seen they
were still at the same old rounds. Ambitious heroes have made the
same mistake, if, indeed, the particular ladder which they have
imagined to themselves has not itself been sliding down all the
while they have been seeking vain glory by its steps.

The ladder of life is an infinite ladder. It is full of
indirections to suit the abilities, and of attractions to please
the tastes, of climbers. You may work at a forge, or sail the
sea, or trade in money and merchandise, or hear operas, or write
romances, or take part in politics, or wander over mountains, or
go to church, while living thereon; but you must go up or go down,
and either way will have some sort of climbing and toiling to do.
Everywhere on the ladder is trouble, save in careful steps; and
since human progress is so illusory, many honest persons rather
fear to fall than aspire too eagerly, or felicitate themselves
on precarious elevations. Prudence forbids us to say at what
real round of the ladder are all our bankers, brokers, showmen,
advertisers, and other millionaires; but it is certain that good
little children, and simple citizens, and poor geniuses, and
suffering men and women have gone higher up than the world knows.
Indeed, they have gone quite out of sight, for there is a place
on the great ladder which few men know, and where only saints can
see the angels ascending and descending. Moreover, the ladder of
life reaches from the pit to the stars, so that they who climb up
or climb down, as it were, may see a firmament at either end: the
good, their lights and joys; the evil, their chimeras and fire of
darkness.


II.

OBED’S SONS.

Obed, the young man, came to Father Isaac for his blessing, who
thus said to him with few words: “Thou shalt have five sons, and to
the first shall be given might, to the second cunning, to the third
beauty, to the fourth knowledge, to the fifth patience, and to all
in accord wisdom: but God giveth naught for nothing.” And as Father
Isaac had promised, so was it fulfilled in prayer. The first of the
sons of Obed became a mighty hunter; the second excelled in craft’s
of all kinds; the third was of a comely figure, well to look upon;
the fourth was learned in wise traditions; the fifth was patient,
as none other of the family of Obed had been before him. Now, the
five sons ill-agreed in their husbandry in the field of their
fathers, and they went their several ways, some near, some far,
to seek their fortunes, leaving the last and youngest to be the
staff of their sire. Then poverty fell upon the house of Obed, and
infirmity upon the limbs of the patient man; and, dying, his father
blessed him, saying: “The Lord bless thy patience that it fail not.”

At this time, the fame of him that slew lions with his arms, and
men with his right hand, was very great; but a devil entered into
him, so that he did no work, and fell to great sloth, and men
scorned him, and he lifted up his voice and cried: “Oh! that I had
the cunning of my brother, that my hands might know their work; and
the beauty of my brother, that maids should not turn from me; and
the knowledge and patience of my brethren, that I might with wisdom
bide my time.”

From all sides was he sought that had the gift of cunning; but
being greedy in his craft, and seeking not knowledge, nor patience,
he lost his cunning, and cried with a face in which there was no
beauty: “Wisdom was not given me, nor patience, neither comeliness
nor might, and so have I been abandoned to devices of misery.”

Rejoicing in his fair proportions, the third son of Obed danced
before the daughters of his tribe, but, taken in the wiles of
flattery and of pleasure, he became as a drunken man whose face is
a warning, and whose life is a scandal, and he lamented: “Oh! that
I had the cunning or patience or might of my brethren, then should
none withstand me, or I be overthrown.”

And he to whom it was given to know much in many tongues, and to
counsel with scholars, lost the kindly ways of men, seeking vain
and dark sciences, till he exclaimed in the bitterness of his
heart: “Knowledge is given me without wisdom: henceforth must I
seek counsel in patience, and observe the prudence of my brethren.”
And he set out for the house of his fathers.

Now had the infirm brother tilled the fields of his brethren,
and taught the laborers thereof the arts of handiwork, and when
the sons of Obed returned to the house of their sire, one after
another, the first averred that he was strong, the second that he
was cunning, the third that he was comely, the fourth that he had
knowledge. But Father Isaac, the shepherd of his flock, hearing
them, said: “Yea, for he hath one virtue which maketh many: the
staff of thy brother hath devoured thy rods.”

“Wherefore, then, lov’d Isaac,” spake the eldest, “are we robbed of
our gifts, and wit, and might, and beauty gone from us, leave us in
sorrow of heart?”

“Told I not thy sire Obed,” said the patriarch, “that the Lord of
lords gave naught for naught. Have ye earned your wages--have ye
paid back your gifts? He that had might, why was he not taught of
knowledge and invention, and, being skilled, why learned he not the
patience of toil? He that had beauty, why sought he not counsel of
strength and skill, that judgment might be his? He of knowledge,
why sought he not help of patience and craft? Each had his virtue
to purchase a share in the virtues of the rest, and to win gifts to
his gift, that God might be praised. But only goodness bringeth fit
wisdom, and wisdom dwelleth not in discord.”

Then the sons of Obed, answering, asked: “Why hath one virtue, as
thou sayest, devoured ours?”

“For that thou hast thrown thine own to the dogs, my sons, and
patience hath picked them up. He that suffereth much with patience
winneth much with wisdom.”

“Even so, Father Isaac, but have we not, too, suffered?”

“Yea, my children, that so God may teach thee wisdom, and thy gifts
abound tenfold. He that hath much, let him save it by bounty: he
that hath little, let him increase it with patience: he that hath
won, let him divide the victory. Share ye each other’s virtues,
that each may possess the gifts of all.”



THE THREE PLEDGES.


    Three students sat together
      In a villa on the Rhine,
    And pledged the beauteous river
      In draughts of sparkling wine.

    One was bold and haughty,
      Count Otto was his name:
    His dark eyes flashed and smouldered:
      From Nuremberg he came.

    And one was too fond-hearted
      For aught but love and song;
    With hair too brightly golden
      To wear its lustre long.

    His hands were white and shapely
      As any maid’s might be;
    Count Adelbert of Munich,
      A joyous youth was he.

    And one was grave and quiet,
      With such a winning smile
    That, meeting all its brightness,
      Sad hearts grew light the while.

    And as they sat together,
      Three trav’llers by the Rhine,
    And pledged the noble river
      In draughts of golden wine,

    With lays of olden minstrels
      They whiled the hours away,
    Till twilight gently sealed them
      With the sign of parting day.

    Then silence fell upon them,
      And the distant boatman’s song
    Returned in softened echoes
      The gleaming waves along;

    And through the latticed windows
      The hush of evening stole,
    And the solemn spell of silence
      Fast fettered soul to soul.

    Dream on, O happy-hearted!
      The future holds no truth,
    No amaranthine jewel,
      Like the rainbow tints of youth.

    Dream on, O happy-hearted!
      The hour will soon be gone,
    And darkness fall too swiftly.
      Dream on, young hearts, dream on!

           *       *       *       *       *

    This is the proudest hour
      Of all the golden twelve,
    That seek the mystic caverns
      Where gray gnomes dig and delve.

    “The beauty of the morning
      Is but the birth of day,
    And the glory of the noontide
      Doth pass as soon away.

    “But twilight holds the fulness,
      The meed of every one,
    And drops the radiant circlet
      Before her god, the sun.

    “This is the proudest hour
      Of all the golden twelve--
    Now combs the Nix her tresses,
      Now rests his spade the elve.

    “And I drink to the proudest maiden
      That treads this German-land;
    No other love shall my heart own,
      No other queen my hand.

    “And I’ll pledge her three times over,
      This haughty queen of mine,
    In the brightest flowing nectar
      That ever kissed the Rhine.”

    Thus spake the bold Count Otto,
      And held his goblet up,
    And three times overflowing
      Each student drained his cup.

    “This is the fairest hour,
      For the sunset clouds unfold
    To the purple sea of twilight
      Their red-tipped sails of gold.

    “And the hecatombs of sweetness
      That all the day have risen
    In the bosom of the flowers
      Unbar their shining prison.

    “This is the fairest hour,
      The hour of eventide,
    And I drink to the fairest maiden
      That dwells the Rhine beside.

    “And I pledge her three times over,
      Though her only dower should be
    The heaven-born gift of beauty,
      And a faithful love for me.”

    Thus spake Adelbert, smiling,
      And held his goblet up,
    And three times overflowing
      Each student drained his cup.

    Then paused the twain in wond’ring,
      What Ludwig’s toast might be;
    For their comrade sat in silence,
      And never word spake he.

    “How now? Why thus, brave Ludwig,
      Sitt’st thou in pensive mood?
    Dost choose to dwell unmated,
      In loveless solitude?”

    He smiled, and then looked downward
      As he answered, glass in hand,
    “Nay, nay; but, if I pledge her,
      Ye will not understand.”

    “Where dwells she, then?” cried Otto,
      “This peerless love of thine?
    Mayhap some fabled Lurline
      That sings beneath the Rhine?

    “Thou’rt smiling--haste, then, pledge her!”
      And the brimming glasses rung
    As Ludwig dropped the music
      That trembled on his tongue.

    “This is the holiest hour
      Of all the twenty-four,
    For the rush of day hath passed us,
      And the tide returns no more.

    “And the waves of toil and traffic,
      By dark argosies trod,
    Are lost through circling eddies
      In the mightiness of God.

    “This is the holiest hour
      When purest thoughts have birth,
    And I drink to the holiest maiden
      That ever dwelt on earth.

    “Her vesture falleth around her
      In folds of changeless white,
    And her holiness outshineth
      The jewels of the night.

    “She weareth a mantle of sadness,
      Her sorrows are her fame:
    She long hath been my chosen,
      But I will not name her name.

    “Ah! not with wine I pledge thee,
      All spotless as thou art,
    But with my life’s devotion,
      With the fulness of my heart.

    “Ah! not with wine I pledge thee,
      Nor one libation pour;
    Thou hold’st the bond that seals me,
      Thine own for evermore.”

    This with white brow uncovered,
      ’Neath the floating twilight skies;
    And angels might have marvelled
      At the beauty of his eyes.

    Then he turned his goblet downward,
      And waved the flask aside
    His comrades would have proffered
      To pledge such wondrous bride.

    “Friend, thou hast spoken strangely,
      But thou wert ever strange;
    Mayhap this matchless maiden
      Hath power thy mood to change.”

    Thus Adelbert spake, smiling,
      And shook his golden hair:
    “_I_ ask nor saint nor angel,
      But maiden fond and fair.

    “Then let us pledge each other,
      Since thy passion is too deep,
    With comrades tried and trusty,
      Its sacredness to keep.

    “What maiden like thy vision
      In all our fatherland?”
    “Ah! said I not,” cried Ludwig,
      “Ye would not understand?”

    “Come, let us pledge each other,”
      Said Otto, glass in hand--
    “A right good draught of friendship
      That all may understand.”

    Then their glasses clashed together,
      “Firm may our fealty be!”
    And Ludwig’s voice of music
      Rang loudest of the three.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Seven times hath autumn gathered
      The vintage of the Rhine,
    Since the students pledged each other
      In draughts of golden wine.

    In a grand and lofty castle,
      The Danube’s stream beside,
    Count Otto dwells in splendor,
      The lord of acres wide.

    He has won the proudest maiden
      In all that German-land,
    And countless hosts of yeomen
      Obey his high command.

    But the haughty brow is clouded,
      And his eye is full of care,
    For the trace of many a heart-storm
      Hath left its impress there.

    Love had sought Adelbert,
      Young Beauty’s flow’ret blown,
    And the tendrils of its blossoms
      About his heart had grown.

    And joy had wrapped them softly
      In robes of radiant sheen,
    Till Death bent down, relentless,
      And sapped their living green.

    Hush! a mourner sits in silence
      Within a darkened room,
    Where the fairest flower of summer
      Lies withered in her bloom.

    While those who move about him
      With footsteps sad and slow,
    Whisper to each other,
      But leave him to his woe.

    And down in the quiet churchyard,
      Where nodding grasses wave,
    The children gather, silent,
      And the sexton digs a grave.

    Solemnly tolls the church-bell,
      It counteth twenty-five--
    O God! the flowers wither,
      And the old, old branches thrive.

    Solemnly tolls the church-bell,
      Slowly winds the train
    Adown the rocky hillside,
      Along the grassy plain;

    Sadly pass the bearers
      Into the churchyard old,
    Brightly falls the sunlight
      In glittering lines of gold;

    Tearfully pause the mourners
      Above the broken sod,
    And Ludwig waits beside it,
      A humble priest of God.



NEWMAN ON MIRACLES.[53]


These essays are here reprinted from the original editions of each,
with only the addition of a few bracketed notes, and with some
slight emendation of the wording of a few sentences of the text of
a merely literary character. For many years, Dr. Newman has been
a public man in the English theological world, so much so that,
as he himself expressed it, “he is obliged to think aloud.” His
writings have passed into the domain of English literature, and
are public property. It is not now in his power to withdraw any
portion of them, much as he might desire to do so. Under existing
circumstances, he has judged it the better course--or, at least,
the lesser evil--that they should be republished under his own eye,
with such corrections in bracketed notes as will indicate what he
would now correct or retract.

These two essays mark very distinctly two stages in the career
through which, as he fully explains in his _Apologia_, Dr. Newman
has passed.

The first one, written to defend the miracles recorded in the
Holy Scriptures against the attacks of Hume, Gibbon, and other
infidels, dates from 1825-26, while he was yet young, and a
staunch Protestant, somewhat imbued with evangelical feelings,
especially in the matter of _Popery_. Hence, while ably conducting
the exposition and defence of the Scripture miracles, he omits
no opportunity of hitting at the other miracles recorded to have
occurred in the Catholic Church since the days of the apostles. In
fact, he had, as he tells us elsewhere, read the work of Middleton
on _The Miracles of the Early Church_, and had imbibed his spirit.
He was guided also by Bishop Douglas, whose _Criterion_ he often
quotes.

Seventeen years of continuous study and mature thought produced
their fruit in his clear and candid mind. In 1842-43, he wrote the
second essay as a preface or introduction to a portion of Fleury’s
_Ecclesiastical History_, then being published in an English
translation.

Though still a Protestant, he had entirely changed his views
on these ecclesiastical miracles. So much so, that this essay
may be read as his own confutation of what he had said against
them in his earlier essay. In the present volume, the bracketed
foot-notes subjoined to that essay are, for the most part, mere
references to the paragraphs of the second essay, in which the
immature errors of the first are corrected. With the traditional
prejudices of Protestantism then strong in him, he had looked on
these ecclesiastical miracles as rivals, and as, in some way,
antagonistic to the miracles of Scripture which he was upholding;
and he had striven to find points of difference as well in their
internal character as in the evidence needed to prove them. All
this he fully meets in the second essay. In the second, third, and
fourth chapters of it, treating of “The Antecedent Probability
of Ecclesiastical Miracles,” of their internal character, and
of the evidence in support of their credibility, he shows how
the admission of Scripture miracles utterly does away with the
ground taken by some against the possibility or probability of
ecclesiastical miracles, how the two classes agree in their chief
and essential characteristics, and how, in fact, they rather merge
into one general class of events, under the moral order of divine
Providence, established for man’s salvation--an order distinct from
and superior to the physical order of nature. Nothing can be more
lucid than his replies to the objections of Douglas, Warburton,
Middleton, and other Protestant writers on this subject. He shows,
with the utmost clearness, how all that they urge against these
ecclesiastical miracles in the Catholic Church can be turned by
unbelievers, with equal plausibility, and in the same sophistical
spirit, against the miracles of the apostles themselves.

Dr. Newman, in both dissertations, frankly admits--what indeed
cannot be denied--that not a few of the Scripture miracles are
to be believed by us simply because they have been recorded by
divinely inspired writers. We have no other knowledge of them, no
other evidence of their having occurred, than that we read them
on the inspired page. Such miracles are for us matters of faith,
not proofs in evidence. They are themselves proved by Scripture.
Whatever they were to those who witnessed the occurrence, they
are not now for us historical evidence in support of divine
revelation. Writing as a Protestant, Dr. Newman did not advert to
another important truth lying further back which Protestant writers
generally ignore. Our knowledge of the inspiration and divine
authority of the Scriptures as we have them--distinguished, that
is, from the numerous other gospels, acts, epistles, apocalypses,
and other pretended sacred writings, more or less current among
and accepted by the sectaries of the early Christian ages--depends
entirely on the decision of the Catholic Church, made after the
death of the apostles. Hence, the value of the Scripture testimony
as to these miracles, and our duty to recognize and accept it as
divinely inspired, and therefore unerring, depend, in the last
analysis, on the divine authority and character of the Catholic
Church--of that same church which has always claimed that God
continues to work miracles within her fold. To say that she errs
on this latter point leaves room, to say the least, for the
imputation or the suspicion that she may have erred in the other
decision likewise; and so those Scripture miracles which lack,
as most of them do, other corroborative testimony, would stand
without sufficient proof. On the contrary, for the ecclesiastical
miracles, because they occurred nearer our own times, there might
still remain, as in many cases there does remain, ample historical
evidence from contemporary witnesses.

After devoting four chapters to a thorough discussion of the
subject of ecclesiastical miracles in general, Dr. Newman proceeds,
in the fifth and last chapter, to sum up and discuss the evidences
we still have, in nine special cases, held to be miraculous
interventions, in the early ages of the church. For a clear and
orderly presentation of the evidence, the logical application of
the principles established in the earlier chapters, and the happy
and often overwhelming retorting of their own propositions on
Douglas, Leslie, and other anti-Catholic writers, each one of these
cases deserves and will amply repay a special study.

Here, as in his other volumes, Dr. Newman displays that
intellectual acumen and that plain common sense which are as
characteristic of his writings as is the singular mastery over the
English language which has caused him to be recognized as one of
the classical writers of our day.

Valuable as this volume is to the careful student for its erudition
and acute reasoning, and for the aid it gives in the polemical
controversies that rise from time to time with Protestants, it is
chiefly valuable, in our eyes, as a well-reasoned and, as it were,
practical refutation of that rationalistic or materialistic system
of false philosophy which is taught in some of our colleges, and is
being spread through the land, and which either leaves God out of
sight altogether, or at most acknowledges him only as the Creator
and founder of the physical order. Dr. Newman, in discussing what
some would term the philosophy of miracles, sets forth strongly and
clearly the necessity of recognizing and taking into account the
moral order, established by God, equally with the physical order,
and superior to it in rank. The world is under both. To leave
either out is to take only a partial view. To exclude the moral
order from our consideration is to err at the very commencement of
our course, and our progress will be but from error to error. The
action of both orders may, and often does, coincide--would have
always coincided had not sin brought in jarring and confusion. But
in point of fact, they are sometimes found in opposition. A wise
and good sovereign dies immaturely, leaving his sceptre to a wicked
and unscrupulous successor; a good father dies early in life, and
his orphans are left to grow up in ignorance and vice; a just
and benevolent man dies or is ruined, and debts are left unpaid,
and a stream of charity fails at the fount. And if we class the
evil actions of men as belonging to this physical order, and the
rationalists refuse to class them otherwise, do they not present a
continual opposition between the physical and the moral orders? And
if the physical order so asserts itself, should we not reasonably
look for corresponding, if not greater, manifestations in the moral
order?

Divine revelation itself is a fact in the moral order entirely
beyond and above the physical order of nature--by its nature, a
miracle. It can be proved only by miracles; and miracles are the
appropriate accompaniment of its continuance as a dispensation of
divine Providence. Hence, in the church--the kingdom of heaven--in
which God specially reigns and rules, and in which the moral
order is endowed with supernatural force, and interworks with the
physical order of nature, we should as readily and as reasonably
look for miracles, as, if we may be allowed a trivial comparison,
we should expect, when examining a piece of complicated machinery,
to find that one set of wheels will control and at times arrest the
ordinary action of other wheels, and interpose some result due to
their own special action in the general series of results. Not to
take account of the moral and supernatural order in God’s ruling
the world is not to recognize the highest and greatest of his acts.
The rationalist is like a deaf man before an exquisite musical
clock. His eye may follow the hands as they move round the dial;
but he has closed his ears to the sweet melodies that float around
him.

FOOTNOTE:

[53] _Two Essays on Scripture Miracles and on Ecclesiastical_.
By John Henry Newman, formerly Fellow of Oriel College. Second
edition. London: Pickering. 1870. New York: Sold by the Catholic
Publication Society. 1 vol. 12mo, pp. 396.



NEW PUBLICATIONS.


  THE LIQUEFACTION OF THE BLOOD OF ST. JANUARIUS, AT NAPLES. An
      Historical and Critical Examination of the Miracle. New York:
      The Catholic Publication Society. 1872.

This is a republication of several very able and interesting
articles which have lately appeared on this subject in THE CATHOLIC
WORLD. Their appearance in the present form cannot but be welcomed
by all well-disposed persons, whether they be desirous to ascertain
the truth or anxious to have the means for defending it. Catholics,
who are accustomed to hear this miracle, as well as the many others
which have occurred in the church from the earliest times, coolly
dismissed by their Protestant acquaintances as undoubted impostures
or superstitions, will find in this account all that is needed to
silence, if not to convince, their opponents, and to enable them
to assert their own faith; while the fair and candid non-Catholic
will find in it an array of facts and of reasoning which cannot
fail to produce a deep impression on his mind, and which may serve
as a basis for his conversion to the faith. But we would not advise
anyone who is determined in any event to remain a Protestant or
an infidel to have anything to do with it. The failure to find
any false but plausible theory to account for certain phenomena
which do not agree with one’s preconceived ideas sometimes leads
to a very unpleasant and dangerous frame of mind--that in which
it impugns the known truth. The book contains seventy-nine pages,
and is illustrated by an engraving representing the celebrated
reliquary in which the blood of the saint is contained. It is the
only complete and exhaustive treatise on the subject in the English
language.

       *       *       *       *       *

  AMERICANISMS: The English of the New World. By M. Schele De Vere,
      LL.D. New York: Charles Scribner & Co. 1872.

This elegantly printed book has a real and solid value. It shows
how the English language has been enriched by additions from
various sources in the New World, while, at the same time, it
indicates the deterioration and corruption to which it has been
exposed by knocking about in a new country. Both these topics
are important, and we commend them to the careful attention of
all who wish to acquire a true knowledge of the art of speaking
and writing English. We object decidedly to the definition of _A
Hickory Catholic_, on p. 58, as one who “is free from bigotry and
asceticism.” This is a vulgar cant phrase, unworthy of a scholar. A
hickory Catholic is a person who makes his principles bend to his
passions and interests. He believes that he is bound to go to Mass
on Sundays and to the Sacraments at Easter, but neglects to do so,
because he is lazy, or fond of drinking too much, or licentious, or
unwilling to make restitution, or stupidly careless about his soul;
hoping to sneak into heaven by an old age or death-bed repentance.
We have noticed nothing else worthy of censure in Professor De
Vere’s book, and we can recommend it without hesitation as most
valuable to all who are engaged in teaching the English language
or endeavoring to learn it. It is, moreover, extremely amusing and
entertaining, as well as instructive. Would that those who have the
naming of places would study it attentively, and strictly follow
its suggestions! Think of _Ovid_, _Livy_, _Greece_, _Virgil_, for
names of villages in a country rich in glorious Indian names!
Not content with imposing absurd or unmeaning or vulgar names
on places which had none before, those which have already most
tasteful and appropriate ones are frequently rebaptized. For
instance, in Fairfield Co., Connecticut, Saugatuck has been changed
to Southport, and Green’s Farms to Westport. What a name is New
York for a great state and a great city! What a change from Lake
St. Sacrament, or even Horicon to Lake _George_! We wish that
some of those who have leisure and inclination to take up this
matter in earnest would do so, and try to effect a reformation. We
notice also, with satisfaction, the condemnation of that wretched
interloper and vagabond of a word, _donate_. Humbly, and with tears
in our eyes, we entreat of our venerable presidents of colleges and
of all in literary authority to sentence and banish _donate_, or he
will some fine day bring into college his still shabbier and more
beggarly cousin, _orate_, and a whole troop of poor relations, who
will _locate_ themselves, for all coming time. English has been
and can be enriched from new sources, as Professor De Vere amply
proves; but let us watch carefully that it do not become corrupted
and be not made vulgar.

       *       *       *       *       *

  ZEAL IN THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY. By L’Abbé Dubois. London: J. C.
      Newby. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.

It is encouraging to see books of this kind published in the
English language. We know not how to make any extracts from this
volume, for every page of it is filled with good sense, practical
advice, and the true spirit of the priesthood. Could we realize our
wishes, we would place in the hands of every priest and candidate
preparing for ordination a copy. It would be most wholesome for
daily spiritual reading and meditation. The author reveals his
object in writing the book in the following passage in the preface,
p. viii.:

  “To rekindle in the bosom of the priesthood the ardor of that
  zeal which should be its animating principle; to call to
  remembrance those noblest virtues without which it languishes,
  and with which it works miracles; further, to bring that zeal
  into practice by showing how the priest ought to act in the
  various circumstances of daily life, and in his intercourse with
  the various persons with whom he is perpetually brought into
  contact; such, in short, is the plan I have adopted. God grant
  that I may have carried it into execution in such a way as to
  procure abundantly his glory and the salvation of souls!”

One evidence that he has not been unsuccessful in attaining his
object, is that this translation is made from the fifth French
edition.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE BOOK OF PSALMS. Translated from the Latin Vulgate. Being a
      Revised Edition of the Douay Version. London: Burns, Oates
      & Co. 16mo, pp. 193. New York: The Catholic Publication
      Society, 9 Warren Street.

“This English version of the Book of Psalms,” says the Most Rev.
Dr. Manning in the preface, “may be regarded as one more of the
many gifts bequeathed to us by my learned and lamented predecessor
[Cardinal Wiseman]. One-half, at least, of the psalms were revised
by his own hand.” Critics will regret that there is nothing
to enable them to distinguish the precise psalms on which the
illustrious cardinal brought his great Biblical learning and his
pure English taste to the task of revision.

The term “Douay Version” in the title is used in the loose way
which his eminence himself opposed, and the basis is not the Douay,
but Dr. Challoner’s text.

This edition is made in a cheap popular form, and is intended to
diffuse more generally among the faithful the psalms as a manual of
prayer. They are the great storehouse from which the church draws
her offices, and supply the pious with ejaculations, short and
fervent prayers, which are of wonderful value. No greater boon has
been added recently, for, though there is no lack of pocket Bibles,
they are unhandy, and the type too small for those who wish the
psalms alone.

To meet this want a new translation was issued in 1700, in a neat
little volume, the version being by John Caryl, a friend of Pope,
and faithful adherent of the Stuarts. His _Psalms_ is a very
uncommon work, though highly esteemed.

We had thus Gregory Martin’s version in the original Douay,
Caryl’s, Bishop Challoner’s, and Archbishop Kenrick’s, and we
have now a version due in part at least to Cardinal Wiseman. It
is a little volume that will reward study among those who wish to
compare the versions, and as a convenient, well-printed manual
commends itself to the pious.

“In the Book of Psalms,” says his grace, Dr. Manning, “the Spirit
of Praise himself has inscribed the notes and the words of
thanksgiving to be learned here, and to be continued before the
eternal throne. For this use and aid I commend the present volume
to the piety of the faithful.”

Some common errors have, we see, been retained in this edition,
which we hope to see corrected, such as the omission of “angry”
before enemies in Ps. xvii. 48; “and,” in Ps. xliii. 12; “in form,”
Ps. xliv. 4.

       *       *       *       *       *

  A JOURNEY AROUND MY ROOM. By Count Xavier de Maistre. New York:
      Hurd & Houghton.

This work, so full of the author’s delicate humor and sentimental
reverie, is the very thing for a winter evening, when one feels
like giving himself up to dream away a few hours.

The author was a younger brother of the perhaps better known Count
Joseph de Maistre, French Ambassador at the Russian Court in
the early part of this century, and one of the ablest defenders
of the Papacy. He was the author of the famous _Du Pape_ and the
philosopher of the _Soirees de St. Petersbourg_. Count Joseph
was likewise an intimate friend of Madame Swetchine’s, whose
interesting life has been published by “The Catholic Publication
Society,” and was instrumental in the conversion of that remarkable
woman to the Catholic Church.

The De Maistres belonged to the _haute noblesse_ de Savoy. Count
Xavier, as well as his brothers, became an exile during the first
French Revolution. He went to Russia, where he married. After an
absence of twenty-five years he returned to his own country.

Lamartine addressed him one of his _Harmonies Poëtiques_ after his
return, saluting him thus:

    “Voyageur fatigué qui reviens sur nos plages
    Demander à tes champs leurs antiques ombrages,
        A ton cœur ses premiers amours!”

He also calls Count Xavier the Sterne of Savoy, but without his
affectation, and declares him equal to Rousseau, but without his
declamatory style. “He is a familiar _genie_, a fireside talker, a
cricket chirping on the rural hearth.”

The writings of Xavier de Maistre were among the favorite volumes
that composed Eugénie de Guérin’s library, and we can imagine a
certain sympathy in their intellectual natures. The _Lépreux_ in
particular appealed to her sympathetic nature, and the thought of
meeting its author filled her with delight. When this meeting took
place at Paris, Count Xavier had just lost his children, and was so
depressed in consequence that it was not equal to her expectations.

But Lamartine speaks of seeing him a few years after, and
describes him as “an old man of fourscore years, gracious in
manner, and with no signs of decay of body or feebleness of mind.
Airiness of sentiment, a mild sensibility, a half-serious,
half-indulgent smile at human affairs, a tolerance--the result of
his intelligence--of all human opinions: such was the man.

“His sonorous voice had a far-off sound like an echo of the past,
and was well adapted to the reminiscenses of his previous life,
which he loved to tell.

“His _Leper of the City of Aosta_ is, in the literature of the
heart, equal to Paul and Virginia; the _Journey around my Room_ is
only a pleasantry. The _Leper_ is a tear, but a tear that flows for
ever!”

Lamartine, in his _Confidences_, gives a pleasing picture of
the De Maistre family, and likens a summer passed among its
illustrious members in Savoy to the conversations of Boccaccio
at his country-seat near Florence. They used to assemble beneath
a clump of pines at the foot of Mont du Chat, overlooking the
Arcadian valley of Chambery, so redolent of St. Francis de Sales,
another genius not less poetical, and with no less delicacy of
sentiment, but loftier than Xavier de Maistre; and sometimes they
came together on a terrace over-arched by vine-hung elms before the
Château de Servolex, the residence of Madame de Vigny, De Maistre’s
sister.

Count Joseph de Maistre, like a modern Plato, was the centre of
this family group. His stature was lofty, his features fine and
manly, his forehead broad and high, and, crowning all, floated his
thin, silvery hair. His mouth was indicative of the delicate humor
that characterized the family. His brothers regarded him with great
respect, and used to gather around him to listen to the experiences
of his exile. Even the Canon de Maistre, afterwards Bishop of
Aosta, who looked like a Socrates, with features that had been
softened and sanctified by the influences of Christianity, would
hasten to close the breviary he had been reading in a secluded
alley, and join the group.

And now and then came sweet interludes of soft Scythian airs
through the open window of the château, which Mademoiselle de
Maistre, a pensive, talented girl, was playing on the piano.

The writings of Count Xavier de Maistre, though not at all
dogmatic, belong to Catholic literature. They are among the sweet
blossoms that have unfolded under the pure light of Catholic
influences, and with a delicacy of aroma not to be found in the
forced hot-house plants of the world. We love to inhale their odor,
and would not be the last to welcome the appearance of _The Journey
around my Room_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE HISTORY OF GREECE. By Professor Dr. Ernest Curtius.
      Translated by Adolphus William Ward, M.A. Vols. I. and II.
      New York: Charles Scribner & Co. 1871.

Dr. Ernest Curtius is impartial, and metes out strict justice to
all whom he summons to the tribunal of history. Neither Spartan
valor nor Athenian grace influences his judgment. He passes from
the Eurotas Valley to the Acropolis without leaving in his train
a single notion which would weigh in his decision on the men and
things in Attica. And this impartiality is a rare gift in the
writers of Grecian history, be they ancient or modern. Almost all
take sides. Mitford holds the Spartan oligarchy to be the height
of perfection in government, and makes it the standard by which
the democracy of Athens is to be judged. The result is that in his
pages the fair features of Athens are caricatured and distorted,
while the stern features of Sparta are so flattered that not even
Lycurgus would recognize them. On the other hand, Thirlwall, and
many more besides, have not been able to escape the fascination of
Athenian wit and elegance, and throughout their histories Athens
is unduly favored. Dr. Curtius judges not of governments and
institutions in the abstract, but he judges of them with reference
to the peoples for whom they were intended, and thus has avoided
the error into which so many have fallen.

There are in the volumes before us two points which are
particularly well handled. These are the origin of the Greek
people, and the development of their religion. Mr. Mommsen, in his
_History of Rome_, absurdly tells us that the ancient peoples of
Italy were indigenous to the soil. This he does, doubtless, either
to show his independence of revelation, or to save himself the
trouble of further investigation, perhaps with both ends in view.
Dr. Curtius is neither so disregardless of truth nor so saving
of labor. By the aid of ethnography, philology, and historical
research, he demonstrates that the Greeks and the Latins also
belonged to the great Aryan family. He traces them back to their
old homes in the Phrygian highlands, where, before their migrations
westward, they occupied positions adjoining. The Latin tribes
were the first to leave Asia Minor, then followed the Greeks in
successive waves of migration through the Hellespont and Propontis.

The learned professor discusses at length the origin and
development of the Greek Pantheon, and the conclusion arrived at
is most satisfactory. He proves that the Greek tribes in their
primitive simplicity worshipped the one only God--“The Zeus, who
dwelt in light inaccessible.” Gradually the primitive traditions
began to wane, and the “Zeus who dwelt in light inaccessible”
became the “Zeus who dwelt in sacred light over the oak-tops of the
Lycæan mountain,” still formless and unapproachable. But this Zeus
was too near the earth to remain long formless and unapproachable.
His worshippers soon began to approach him under different names,
then under different forms, and, finally, they divided him up into
the different gods of their Pantheon, so that the first and best
known became the “Unknown God.”

We have now pointed out some of the excellences of Dr. Curtius’
history, but it has its defects, as every human work has, and one
of these we deem it our duty to point out. Its chief defect is its
diffuseness; for diffuse it really is in many places. And because
it is diffuse it is often monotonous and even prosaic. On the
whole, however, the style is good, and abounds in elegant passages,
which are well rendered by the translator. This defect is indeed
the only one which justifies us in doubting whether the _History_
will become popular, and receive the appreciation which it deserves.

       *       *       *       *       *

  FASHION: THE POWER THAT INFLUENCES THE WORLD. By George P. Fox.
      New York: The American News Company. 1872.

The author of this work seems to have been “born with a divine idea
of cloth.” According to him, fashionable dress is a preservative
of morals. Easy and graceful garments are incompatible with deeds
of violence. No one who ever honored the author with his patronage
was ever convicted of a crime. We are as morally bound to offer a
pleasing exterior to our friends as a smiling face. In Carlyle’s
language, “Man’s earthly interests (to say the least) are all
hooked and buttoned together by clothes. Society is founded on
cloth.” The pen was once considered mightier than the sword, but
shears are now in the ascendency. “Dress makes the man, and want of
it the fellow.” Dress is a duty we owe ourselves, and inattention
to it indicates a want of respect to others. Man’s chief duty is to
sacrifice to the graces. Our author is the high-priest of fashion.
He makes dress almost a sacrament--as Hazlitt says, “an outward and
visible sign of the inward harmony of the soul.” _Non possumus_
does not seem to be in his code. There is no physical defect he
cannot remedy. Witness the unhappy man in New York, with a long
neck, low shoulders, and sallow complexion, at last able to hold
up his head in society; the unfortunate British nobleman, whose
attenuated and shapeless limbs are made to correspond more fully to
our idea of sturdy John Bull; and President Fillmore’s life-long
ambition for a pair of well-fitting pantaloons at length realized.
Bow legs and knock-knees are all remedied. The old proverb of the
Béarnais is verified: “_Habillez un bâton, il aura l’air d’un
baron_.” A book that brings hope to all is a public benefaction.
No Jonathan need despair of cutting a figure in the world after
this, and he _should_ not. Dress, its color, style, and fit, are
all matters of momentous interest (being so interwoven with our
morals), as well as manners and the carriage of the body, which are
not overlooked in this volume. As to the latter, everybody knows a
stoop in the shoulders sinks a man in public and private estimation.

The _Saturday Review_ calls our author a Transcendental Tailor, a
title he evidently merits. The _devise_ he assumed when he entered
the _lists_ was _Faire sans dire_, which Daniel Webster did him
the honor of quoting in an address before the New York Historical
Society, as well as wearing his transcendent--we almost said
transcendental--garments, both living and dead, for the blue coat
with a velvet collar and gold-wove cloth buttons that shrouded the
immortal statesman are almost a matter of history, and have been
sworn to in the most solemn manner before the mayor of New York.

But to go back to our _devise_. The author forgot it when he began
to write. He must now make it: _Faire et dire_. However, he handles
the pen almost as skilfully as the shears, and throws quite a
glamour of poetry over the most common duties of the toilet. He
ought to be a capital hand at a _hem-a-stitch_, as Rogers said of
Béranger. He gives some excellent advice about dress (gentlemen’s,
of course) and etiquette, but some of the chapters seem rather
foreign to the subject. We cordially recommend the book to Mr. and
Mrs. Veneering as they endeavor to adjust themselves at the glass
of fashion, and to whosoever is entirely _wrapped up_ in cloth.

We have been particularly interested in the published
correspondence at the end of the volume of the various dignitaries
in the political and literary world who sought the efficient
co-operation of our Prince of Tailors. If dress is really an
“emanation” of the soul (as well as from Mr. Fox’s “emporium”), and
indicative of character, it is well to know that Mr. Fillmore’s
ill-fitting garments might be owing to a judgment awry; the
attenuated limbs of the British minister, which nothing had been
able to hide, to a paucity of understanding; and the long neck of
our New York friend, which had to be muffled, to an overreaching
disposition. Who can tell?

Dress is certainly of the utmost importance to those who are
conscious of no other recommendation. Diderot saw no difference
between a man and his dog but the dress, and it would sometimes be
hard to give a person his proper grade in the animal world without
reference to his material garments, for it really does not do in
our social world to follow Carlyle’s advice to look fixedly on
clothes till they became transparent. It would lead to a fearful
revolution in society.

Still, there are some, like Mr. and Mrs. Boffin, who “go in neck
and crop for fashion,” who can bear such a clairvoyant eye. Mrs.
Boffin was “a Highflier for Fashion,” but we entirely overlook
that low evening dress of black sable which she does credit to
(“her make is such”), in consideration of her large heart, and the
affectionate readiness to salute her lord to the great detriment of
her great black velvet hat and plumes.

Our author is really a phœnix sprung from the ashes of Beau
Brummel.

    “Kind Heaven has sent us another professor,
    Who follows the steps of his great predecessor.”

As we read, we share the sensation he produced at the Presidential
_levée_ at Washington, clad in a blue coat out of the very web that
furnished Mr. Webster’s last suit. The meeting of the President
of the United States of America, serenely conscious of his new
clothes, and the President of Fashion, who so successfully cut
them, reminds us of another meeting there which Irving compared to
“two kings of Brentford smelling at one rose.”

We cannot close without expressing our gratitude in particular
for the fine suit of black our Prince of Tailors presented Father
Mathew of blessed and abstemious memory.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE BOOK OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF ST. TERESA OF JESUS, OF THE ORDER
      OF OUR LADY OF CARMEL. Written by herself. Translated from
      the Spanish by David Lewis. London: Burns, Oates & Co. New
      York: The Catholic Publication Society.

This volume contains, besides the work indicated in the title-page,
_Annals of the Saint’s Life_, by Don Vicente de La Fuente, _The
Carmelite Rule_ and _Constitutions_, and _The Visitation of
Nunneries_, and _Maxims_ of St. Teresa herself. The principal work
is also more complete than any previous edition in English.

Those who are familiar with the wonderful story of St. Teresa’s
history will need no assurance that the spirit which animated
her life also pervades her works. Indeed, the two are almost
inseparable, her writings evidently being a faithful transcript of
her whole history. Notwithstanding the signal favors she received
from heaven, she seemed always oppressed with the idea of her own
unworthiness. The prologue to the _Foundations_ furnishes many
valuable lessons to religious as well as those whose sphere of duty
lies in the world. St. Teresa knew how to exert the utmost zeal
and energy in the service of religion, with entire submission to
her ecclesiastical superiors. The case of St. Teresa, moreover, is
evidence of the way the church honors real reformers--by proposing
them to the veneration of the faithful as canonized saints. As
an indication of her humility, even the main work in this volume
was undertaken, not to gratify any personal feeling, but in
obedience to the command of her confessor. It contains a history
of the religious houses, male and female, she established. In the
face of great difficulties and discouragements, she persevered
in her purpose, until the reform was recognized at Rome, and the
Carmelite Order was divided into two branches, one under the milder
observance, and her own under the stricter or primitive observance.

The lives of the saints present marvels exceeding in interest
the dreams of poetry and romance, and we cannot do better than
commend to those who jeopardize their innocence in the perusal of
sensational figments of the imagination, to betake themselves to
the more edifying and truly interesting lives and writings of the
saints.

       *       *       *       *       *

  SERMONS ON ECCLESIASTICAL SUBJECTS. By Henry Edward, Archbishop
      of Westminster. Vol. I. American Edition. New York: The
      Catholic Publication Society. 1872.

Each new volume from Archbishop Manning is a precious addition to
Catholic literature. The present collection of sermons has all the
usual characteristics of the author, both as a preacher and as a
writer. Great as many other sermons undoubtedly are, those of Dr.
Manning possess a charm all their own. The oldest theme is never
stale in his hands. His logic is always of the keenest, while his
style is as clear and musical as a brook.

Of the sermons before us, we commend two especially. The first,
on “The Church, the Spirit, and the Word”; and the sixth, “The
Blessed Sacrament the Centre of Immutable Truth.” The thirteenth
will also be found of peculiar interest for American readers. It
was preached in St. Joseph’s College, Nov. 17, 1871. Its subject:
“The Negro Mission.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  AN ESSAY ON THE DRUIDS, THE ANCIENT CHURCHES, AND THE ROUND
      TOWERS OF IRELAND. By the Rev. Richard Smiddy. Dublin: W. B.
      Kelly. 1871. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.

This is a very neat little publication, well-bound and handsomely
printed. Those who have not leisure or opportunity to read Petrie’s
elaborate book on the Round Towers or the works issued by the
Archæological Society will find in Mr. Smiddy’s essay much valuable
information regarding Irish antiquities, though in some of his
views and theories he differs materially from preceding writers on
the same class of subjects.

       *       *       *       *       *

  SALAD FOR THE SOLITARY AND THE SOCIAL. By an Epicure. New York:
      De Witt C. Lent & Co. 8vo, pp. 526. 1872.

The author of this book, if author in the proper sense he may be
called, has acted discreetly in withholding his name from the
public, for, though a work not specially opposed to morality or
truth, it is as little likely to increase the fame of the compiler
or secure the approbation of the judicious as any of the many
modern publications that teem from our metropolitan press, and
depend almost altogether on the beauty of their illustrations
and mechanical taste for public patronage. We have a very high
appreciation of the shrewdness and foresight of publishers as a
class, but upon a cursory glance at the appearance of the book,
and on a comparison of it with its homogeneous contents, we were
inclined to think the firm of Lent & Co. was an exception until
we noticed in a brief preface that thirty thousand copies of the
original, of which the book before us is said to be an enlarged and
improved edition, have been sold. This may or may not be a piece of
exaggeration on the part of the publishers: if it be not, then we
are sorry for the lack of sense and judgment on the part of so many
of our fellow-beings. The work is compiled, not written, pretty
much as it is said “leading articles” in remote Western journals
are produced, by the efficient aid of the scissors and mucilage,
and its general contents would be more in place in the columns of
those second or third hand journals, under the stereotyped headings
of “Facts and Fancies” or “Mirth and Fun,” than in the imposing
garb of a well-bound book. From cover to cover it is nothing
but a compilation of old stories, thread-bare jokes, worn-out
puns, stupid epitaphs, and references to historical and literary
personages which are neither new nor original, and scarcely
_apropos_ to the subject they are intended to make interesting.
There is some attempt at arrangement in the display of this useless
learning, and here and there a pleasant little bit of chat, but
the whole composition is so disjointed and puerile that the effect
produced on the mind of the reader is anything but pleasurable.
There is no discretion apparent in the selection of extracts and
quotations, and no dignity in the tone of the entire work that
would entitle it to the praise of even comparatively illiterate
persons, though the generally good character of the engravings
and its attractive exterior may secure some purchasers. Besides,
its title gives no idea of its contents, and we hope not to be
considered unkind when we offer the suggestion that, if the author
should ever inflict another edition on a patient public, he will
change it. _Hash_ would be much more expressive and germain to the
matter, _salad_ being much too palatable a dish to be treated with
such contumely.

       *       *       *       *       *

  A REMEMBRANCE OF THE LIVING TO PRAY FOR THE DEAD. By James
      Mumford, Priest of the Society of Jesus. Reprinted from the
      Edition of 1661. With Appendix on the Heroic Act. By John
      Morris, Priest of the same Society. London: Burns, Oates &
      Co. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1871.

Those who have read Father Mumford’s _Catholic Scripturist_ or
_Question of Questions_ will need no assurance from us of the
excellence of the present treatise. Those who are yet strangers
to this old writer will find a peculiar charm in the work, if, at
least, they have any liking for terseness, directness, and unction.
Father Mumford is somewhat quaint; but that only adds to his style.
Good works on Purgatory are not plentiful. This is one of the very
best. It particularly inculcates, too, a duty we seldom appreciate
sufficiently.

       *       *       *       *       *

  LITTLE PRUDY’S FLYAWAY SERIES. Aunt Madge’s Story. By Sophie May,
      author of “Little Prudy’s Stories,” “Dotty Dimple Stories,”
      etc. Illustrated. Boston: Lee & Shepard. New York: Lee,
      Shepard & Dillingham. 1872.

This is a delightful little story for children, but this is saying
nothing new, for Sophie May’s stories always are. As Aunt Madge was
not one of the “tremendous good” children, her story will, perhaps,
have a special interest for the little ones.

P. F. CUNNINGHAM has in press and will soon publish _Marion
Howard_, a story of much interest.



BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS RECEIVED.


  From CHARLES SCRIBNER & CO., New York: A Commentary on the Holy
      Scriptures. By J. P. Lange, D.D. Translated, enlarged,
      and edited by P. Schaff, D.D. Vol. IV. Containing Joshua,
      Judges, and Ruth. 8vo, pp. iv., 188, 261, 53.--Lectures on
      Science and Religion. By Max Müller, M.A. 12mo, pp. iv.,
      300.--Systematic Theology. By C. Hodge, D.D. Vol. II. 8vo,
      pp. 732.

  From CARLTON & LANAHAN, New York: Three Score Years and Beyond.
      By Rev. W. H. De Puy, D.D. 8vo, pp. 512.--Jesus Christ. By E.
      de Pressensé, D.D. 12mo, pp. 312.--Pillars of the Temple.
      By Rev. W. C. Smith. 12mo, pp. 366.--Light on the Pathway of
      Holiness. By Rev. L. D. McCabe, D.D. 18mo, pp. 114.--The Land
      of the Veda. By Rev. W. Butler, D.D.

  From D. APPLETON & CO., New York: Ballads of Good Deeds. By H.
      Abbey. 18mo, pp. 129.

  From P. DONAHOE, Boston: The Fourfold Sovereignty of God. By
      Henry Edward, Archbishop of Westminster. 18mo, pp. 272.--The
      Council of the Vatican. By Thomas, Canon Pope. 12mo, pp.
      xviii., 340.

  From KELLY, PIET & CO., Baltimore: The Martyrs of the Coliseum.
      By Rev. A. J. O’Reilly. 12mo, pp. viii., 396.

  From J. R. OSGOOD & CO., Boston: The Divine Tragedy. By H. W.
      Longfellow. 18mo, pp. iv., 150.

  From LEE & SHEPARD, Boston: Half Truths and the Truth. By Rev. J.
      M. Manning, D.D. 12mo, pp. xii., 398.

  From the AUTHOR: Notes on Historical Evidence in Reference to
      Adverse Theories of the Origin and Nature of the Government
      of the United States. By J. B. Dillon. 8vo, pp. x., 141.

  From D. &. J. SADLIER & CO., New York: The Devil. By Father
      Delaporte. 18mo, pp. viii., 202.

  From KREUZER BROS., Baltimore: Triumph of the Blessed Sacrament.
      By Rev. M. Müller, C.SS.R. 18mo, pp. 146.--The Catholic
      Priest. By Rev. M. Müller, C.SS.R. 18mo, pp. 163.

  From G. ROUTLEDGE & SONS, New York: The Moral of Accidents. By
      the late Rev. T. T. Lynch. 12mo, pp. xviii., 415.--Una and
      Her Paupers.--Memorials of Agnes E. Jones. By her Sister.
      With an Introduction by Florence Nightingale. First American
      Edition. With an Introductory Preface by Rev. H. W. Beecher.
      12mo, pp. xlvi., 497.

  From P. O’SHEA, New York: Lectures on the Church. By Rev. D. A.
      Merrick, S.J. 12mo, pp. iv., 263.

  From J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., Philadelphia: Wear and Tear. By S.
      W. Mitchell. 18mo, paper, pp. 59.

  From R. CODDINGTON, New York: The Church and the World. By Rev.
      T. S. Preston, D.D. Paper, pp. 30.

  From ROBERTS BROTHERS, Boston: The To-Morrow of Death. By Louis
      Figuier. 12mo, pp. viii., 395.

  From C. C. CHATFIELD & CO., New Haven: Logical Praxis. By H. N.
      Day. 12mo, pp. viii., 148.

  Proceedings of the Third Annual Session of the American
      Philological Association, held at New Haven, Conn., July,
      1871. [The Third Annual Meeting of the Association will be
      held in Providence, R. I., July 24, 1872, at 3 P.M.]

  We are under obligations to the Author for a copy of Evolution
      and its Consequences. (Reprinted from the _Contemporary
      Review_.) A Reply to Prof. Huxley. By St. Geo. Mivart, F.R.S.



                        THE CATHOLIC WORLD.

                   VOL. XV., No. 86.--MAY, 1872.

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by Rev.
   I. T. HECKER, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
                         Washington, D. C.



DUTIES OF THE RICH IN CHRISTIAN SOCIETY.

NO. IV.

DUTIES TO THE CHURCH.


If we look at one aspect of Christian society, we cannot help being
overwhelmed with astonishment at the number and the greatness
of the generous deeds and sacrifices which crowd and adorn its
history. The noble, the powerful, the highly gifted, the wealthy,
have lavished their possessions, their labors, their lives, for
their fellow-men, in such a way as really to merit our wonder
when we think of the weakness of human nature and the rarity of
disinterested philanthropy among those who are not Christians. But,
if we look at another aspect of the same, the amount of meanness,
selfishness, and baseness which meets our view makes us wonder
that Christian faith has, after all, produced so little really
rare and rich fruit in the soil of human nature. The little which
we do find is so perfect that we are astonished not to see more of
the same quality produced by the same causes and influences. When
we think of the motive which men have for making sacrifices, and
of the example which has been given them--that is, that the Lord
of heaven has died on the cross for mankind--the conduct of those
Christians who have followed that example by the practice of heroic
perfection seems merely the fulfilment of a plain, Christian duty
of gratitude. On the other hand, the conduct of those Christians
who live a selfish and unworthy life appears not only in a mean and
ignoble, but even in an atrocious, light. That we belong absolutely
to God, that we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, that
we have only one lawful end to our life on the earth, which is
to glorify God and merit to be glorified by him hereafter, are
first truths which no Catholic ever thinks of denying or doubting.
These truths caused some of the saints to renounce literally
everything for Jesus Christ, and others to administer the power
and wealth which they retained, exclusively for the glory of God
and the good of their fellow-men. The saints are only examples
of the highest degrees of those virtues of the same kind which
constitute the character of all really good Christians. Every rich
man, therefore, who wishes to be a good Christian, must have the
same devotion to the faith, to the church, to the cause of God,
of Christ, and of the Vicar of Christ on earth, which the saints
had. Devotion to the church sums up the whole, because it includes
or implies everything. This devotion must precede, direct, and
dominate over every intention, motive, object, and undertaking of
life. The obligation to it lies in the very nature of baptism. The
baptized person is wholly devoted to the service of the Lord who
has redeemed him, signed him with his own peculiar mark, and given
him a title to the crown of celestial glory. The nature and extent
of the service due varies with the position and the talents of the
individual. The one who receives one talent is bound to gain one
more with it. This may mean, for instance, that this particular
man, or that particular woman, is bound to no other service to the
church than to bring up well some three or five children, to come
to Mass and the sacraments with them, to live an honest life, and
to make some small contributions to the treasury of the church. The
one who receives five talents is also bound to gain five more. The
explication of the sense of this, and its application to particular
cases, are easily made. Whatever the talents conferred on any
individual may be, all must be devoted primarily to the sacred
cause of the Catholic Church. It is the kingdom of Christ; it is
the only hope of salvation to the world; it is the ark of safety
to the individual himself with whom we are speaking. Into that
church he has been baptized at the font, and made its child, its
citizen, and its subject. There is no escape from its allegiance
except by treason. The character of baptism is ineffaceable,
and no one who bears that mark has any rights over himself, his
talents, or his possessions, except such as are conceded to him
by the law of Christ. “Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a
price.” “Henceforth, no one liveth to himself, and no one dieth
to himself.” It is necessary to live and die as a member of the
Catholic Church, in order to live honorably and to die happily. As
it is only by partaking in the common life of the church that its
individual members have any life of their own, it is their first
duty to promote that common life. The law of life is the law of
duty: the greater and stronger and more important the member is,
the greater is the service it is bound to render to the body.

The duties of Catholics who belong to the higher and more wealthy
class in society to the church are very various, numerous, and
heavy. One portion of them coincides to a great extent with
their obligations to the poor and miserable, of which notice
was taken in our last number. The obligation of succoring their
fellow-creatures because they are of the same blood through
Adam, and made in the rational image of the same God, becomes
more sacred towards those who are brethren in Christ through
baptismal grace. How is it possible for Christians who expect to
be saved through the infinite charity of Jesus Christ to revel
in splendor, luxury, and enjoyment, and at the same time to look
with heartless indifference on the want and suffering of those
who are the dearest friends of Christ? If they are charitable and
kind-hearted, as every true Christian must be, the charities of the
church are so numerous and extensive as to tax their generosity to
the utmost. There is great scope for private and personal charity
toward individuals, but the great organized works of general
charity must be carried on by the clergy or religious societies.
The funds which they are ordinarily able to procure for these
works are, in proportion to the necessities clamoring for relief,
like the five loaves and two small fishes which the disciples of
Christ set before the famishing multitude of five thousand men,
besides women and children. These small funds come in great part
from the almsgiving of laboring people, or from the various devices
of lectures, fairs, concerts, etc., to which the managers of
charitable works are obliged to resort. After all has been done,
the Catholic priest, the charitable layman who makes his round
of visits in the name of the St. Vincent de Paul’s Society, the
Sister of Charity, are hardly able to do more than help those who
are in want of the absolutely necessary clothing, food, and fire
with which to keep off the gaunt death that grins at them out of
every corner of their life. The demands upon charity are constant,
multifarious, and pressing. They are made chiefly upon priests, who
have already given up everything for God. It is plain, therefore,
that it is the duty of the rich to furnish them liberally and
abundantly with the means for supplying these demands.

The building of churches, their decoration, the furnishing of
sacred vessels and ornaments for the sanctuary, and other works
directly connected with the service and worship of the divine
Majesty, are objects demanding a truly immense outlay of money.
So far as concerns that which is necessary for the ministering of
the word and sacraments of Christ, these spiritual wants of the
people take precedence of their bodily necessities. So far as the
decoration, splendor, and dignity of religion only are concerned,
they come next after the more essential works of charity. Add to
the buildings which are immediately devoted to divine worship, all
those which belong to colleges, schools, orphanages, etc., and
the work demanded of the Catholics of the United States appears
colossal, and would seem impossible, did we not see before our eyes
so much of it already accomplished. Then, there are the most just
and imperative claims of the Holy Father, and the pathetic appeals
of the foreign missions, never so pressing as at the present
moment, when the downfall of the power of France has left them so
denuded of the succor which they formerly received from that most
generous nation. The naïve response which a most estimable French
lady once gave to a priest who asked her for a donation to a good
work in this city, very well expresses the true state of the case
in hand: “Very much call, very little fund.” Nowhere is this more
literally true than in New York. The most extreme liberality of
all the Catholics of this city who have anything to spare, whether
rich or poor, would not yield the means of furnishing a sufficient
number of churches, schools, and other means for supplying the
spiritual and corporal wants of our swarming and increasing
population. Millions might be used at the present moment, if they
could be had, in works of the most practical utility and even
necessity. When a city or a nation is in straits through the
calamities of war, pestilence, or famine, all its citizens are
expected to strain every nerve and to make heroic sacrifices for
its relief. No city or nation has a thousandth part of the claim
to devotion from its citizens which the church possesses. And the
church, always militant, is always in straits, at least in some
part of her great empire, always suffering from the effects of the
perpetual warfare waged against her, from pestilential vices and
sins among her children, from a famine of the word and sacraments
of Christ among the most neglected and abandoned of her people.
God alone can help her efficiently. But men must struggle to help
themselves, if they expect God to help them. Our Lord demanded of
his disciples to feed the hungry multitude, and ordered them to set
before them the whole of their own scanty provisions. “He himself
knew what he would do,” and he did it by multiplying miraculously
the loaves and fishes of his disciples. God alone can rescue the
famishing and perishing multitudes of Christendom and heathendom
from the abyss of temporal and spiritual ruin and death which yawns
under their feet. Society must be reconstructed on a Christian
basis, and by mighty, organic movements, in which the church and
the state, the hierarchy, both ecclesiastical and civil, and all
the powers contained in the bosom of society, in harmonious concert
of action, labor together for a common end, it must work out its
own regeneration and the Christian civilization of the human race;
or the work will remain for ever incomplete. Christendom is full
of deadly disorders and wounds, inflicted on it by the fell power
of schism, heresy, and infidelity. Only Catholic unity can heal
it, and combine its members in the work assigned to it by divine
Providence, and only a miracle of grace can restore to that unity
the severed and disorganized parts, close up the deadly gashes
in the living body, and reanimate it with complete health. The
zeal, activity, and wealth of the whole community, collected in
the communion of the Catholic Church, would be sufficient for
as thorough a regeneration of New York, and of the whole United
States, as the most sanguine optimist could ever expect to see
brought about in any country in the world. Christendom, united
in itself, and governed on Christian principles, would absorb
into itself on a century the entire world. But meanwhile, the
faithful and loyal children of the church must do what they can,
and await the time for God to do what he has determined, and to
a great extent made conditional in the efforts of men. The most
of our Catholic people in the United States have, on the whole,
fulfilled the duty of contributing the funds required for carrying
on the works of the church remarkably well. Whether the richer
portion of them have done their fair share, is a question not so
easy to answer. Instances of princely generosity have not been
wanting, and to a considerable extent there has been a creditable
liberality manifested by the wealthier classes of Catholics when
they have been publicly or privately solicited to aid in religious
or other charitable works. That there are some who are niggardly
in their disposition, and many who are more sparing and moderate
in their charities than they ought to be, can hardly be doubted.
The comparatively small number of wealthy men in the Catholic
community has necessarily thrown the great burden of supporting the
institutions of the church upon the mass of the people who are not
rich. There is nothing in this to complain of. If the rich do their
fair share, it is no disgrace to them that they enjoy the benefits
which have been chiefly purchased by the money of the laboring
classes. But if they fall behind their proportion, it is a real
disgrace to them, because they receive in that case for nothing,
and as an alms from the poor, something which they ought to have
paid for.

The church demands something more than a portion of the surplus of
the wealth of the rich. She demands the consecration and devotion
of the minds, the wills, the time, the efforts of all the _élite_
of her laity, of those who are rich in intellectual gifts and
acquisitions, as well as of those who are rich in gold and silver.
The principal medium of the operation of this devotion at the
present time are voluntary associations under the sanction and
direction of the hierarchy. These associations have for their scope
the organization of charitable works, the diffusion of knowledge,
resistance to the enemies of the church, the defence of the Holy
See, and general co-operation with the clergy in the extension
of the Catholic religion. We will not enlarge on this theme, at
present, as we have promised to make our articles very brief, and
an essay on the subject has already appeared in our pages. What we
have said will be sufficient, we trust, to stimulate all those who
are imbued with the spirit of Catholic faith to greater zeal and
effort in the sacred cause of the church, in which the laity have
as great an interest as the clergy.



ANNIVERSARY OF BAPTISM.

BY A CONVERT.


    On this steep pathway, which, with prayers, I climb,
    I pause a moment--as a traveller might,
    Weary and footsore, and in dusty plight,
    Hearing, far off, the clear, melodious chime
    Of bells that mark the swiftly passing time:
    Then, as he pauses on the beetling height,
    Through filming distance fixes his keen sight
    On one faint speck, his starting point at prime,
    And takes fresh courage for the sharp ascent--
    Thus do I pause to-day; my steadfast eye
    Fixed on that point of time, in which doth lie
    The germ of all which can my soul content;
    On which my waking thoughts, my dreams, are bent:
    Then, turn where life’s still summits touch th’ eternal sky.



THE HOUSE OF YORKE.


CHAPTER XXVIII.

GOOD-NIGHT AND GOOD-BY.

It is well for us that faith is able to decipher what De Quincey
calls “the hieroglyphic meanings of human suffering”; and that,
though the interpretation should not at once be made plain to us,
we may, at least, be sure that it is merciful. As St. Peter stands
supreme, holding in his hand the shining keys of heaven, which none
but he can set in the wards, and none but he can turn, so to each
Christian on earth is given the golden key to a personal heaven,
and none but he can open the door, and none but he can close it.
Within that door sits the interpreter, and when the soul is still
it hears his voice reading, with praise and amen, both day and
night: and some riddles he makes clear, and on some he sets the
seal with the Holy Name; and that is God’s secret, and one day he
will speak to the soul concerning it. He who seeks to tear away
that seal finds only darkness and confusion; but he who folds his
hands above it will at last be illuminated.

Never once during his trial had Dick Rowan rebelled against God, or
questioned him. Nature might writhe in pain, and forget for a time
the words of praise, but it submitted; and, according to the tumult
and darkness that had prevailed, so were the light and peace that
followed. It was thorough work, as all the work in this soul had
been from the first, and his convalescence was like a new birth.

On the morning after Edith’s parting with Carl Yorke, Dick
remained in his room unvisited, keeping all his strength for that
first drive. At length the carriage came to the door, and Mr.
Williams, who had insisted on remaining at home to superintend what
he called the “launching” of his step-son, came down-stairs with
Dick. Mrs. Williams, all smiles, followed after, rustling in silks
donned in honor of this great occasion. Edith and Ellen Williams
stood in the entry, awaiting the little procession. Miss Ellen,
blushing and bedizened, was to accompany the two on their drive.
Edith had preferred to stay at home and prepare for her evening
exodus to Hester’s.

“Why, Dick, you look like an Esquimaux!” she exclaimed. “I cannot
even see your nose. How are you to get any fresh air?”

He laughed. “I told mother that I could not breathe anything but
fur; but she is a tyrant.”

“It isn’t often I get the chance to play the tyrant over you,”
Mrs. Williams remarked, and began giving orders to have sundry hot
soap-stones, and gay afghans put into the carriage.

“Mother,” her son exclaimed, “I am ashamed of having such a fuss
made over me! I will run away. I will leave the country. I will go
back to bed.”

He really blushed, and seemed annoyed.

They went out, and there was the parade of getting settled in
their places, Mrs. Williams pleasantly conscious, and her son
distressfully so, that several of the neighbors were looking on
with interest. The inquiries for Dick had, indeed, been constant
from all the neighborhood, even from persons with whom they had no
acquaintance. Not a woman, young or old, but had looked kindly on
the young sailor, and known when he sailed away, and when he came
back; not a child but smiled and nodded to him through the window
when he passed. Of course they had all surmised that the lovely
young girl whom they had seen there before, and who had now been
taking care of him, was one day to be his wife. She divided their
attention with him as she stood on the step, and watched him drive
away.

It was the hour of the steamer’s departure; and when Edith was
alone, she shut herself into her chamber, and, kneeling there,
prayed fervently that God would keep the traveller wherever he
might wander, and that, though far from her, he might be ever near
to heaven.

She did not leave her room when she heard the others come home; and
after a while Mrs. Williams came to say that Dick would like to see
her.

“We had a delightful drive, and he is not a bit the worse for it,”
the mother said. “He will be well enough to go to Mrs. Cleaveland’s
to see you, now; but I think he wants to have a good talk with you
before you go away. He told me not to let any one interrupt.”

Edith knew well what the summons meant, and with one upward
aspiration, “O Spirit of light and truth!” she went immediately.

Dick was sitting in his arm-chair by the window when she entered,
and he looked around with a bright smile and greeting, “Well,
little sister!” and motioned her to a chair near him.

On hearing that title, she stopped, and clasped her hands on her
bosom.

“It was a brother who sent for you,” he said. “Come!”

She seated herself, speechless, almost breathless.

“Edith, where is Carl Yorke?” he asked gently.

She gave the answer with a quiet that looked like coldness. “He
left in the steamer to-day for England. From there he continues his
travels to the East, I do not know where else. No person is to know
this but you and me, as his mother cannot be told.”

The color and the smile left Dick Rowan’s face. Surprise and pain
for a moment deprived him of the power of speech.

“I am astonished and distressed!” he said, at length. “I wished to
see him, to talk with him. But that he is not a Catholic, I should
have wished to see you married soon.”

A deep blush of wounded delicacy rushed to Edith’s cheeks. “Dick
Rowan,” she said, “you have yet much to learn about women, or, at
least, about me. Whatever feelings of sympathy and affection I may
have had for Carl Yorke, my conduct and conversation with him have
been irreproachable, and so have my thoughts even. The thought of
marriage has not crossed my mind. I do not wish to hear you speak
of it.”

Her dignified answer disconcerted him for a moment. He had made
the mistake nearly always made by men, often made by women,
of misinterpreting the nature, or, at least, the degree of
development, of an affection as yet angelically pure, if ardent.

“You were quite right in supposing that I would marry no one but a
Catholic,” she remarked.

“I have done you a great wrong, Edith,” he said hastily, “and I
wish to repair it as far as I can. But, first, will you tell me why
you promised to marry me?”

“Because you told me that your life hung in the balance, and that
I was your only hope and aim,” she answered. Her voice trembled
slightly, and her eyes softened as she remembered how nearly he had
spoken the truth. “You had been my first and most faithful friend.
I considered my obligations stronger to you than any one else. I
could not tolerate the thought of your suffering through me, when I
was the only person you cared for.”

While she spoke, his eyes were downcast, and a deep color burned
in his face. “Did my dependence on you attract your affection?” he
asked, still looking down.

“It attracted my pity and anxiety,” she replied, without
hesitation. “I should respect more a man who would be able to live
without me. I do not believe that these violent feelings are either
healthy or lasting; and I would not choose to act the Eastern myth
of the tortoise supporting a world.”

“Oh! how mean I was!” he exclaimed. “How contemptibly selfish! Let
me tell you all. I had a strong affection for you, that is true;
but I can see now that there were unworthy motives mingled with
it. There were pride, ambition, and self-will. I was determined
to take you away from Carl Yorke. I knew that he thought of you,
and I believed that he would win you, unless I prevented it. Your
antecedents of birth, your tastes and social position, your kind of
education, all were the same, and made you suited to each other.
I said to myself that my being a Catholic gave me the precedence;
but in my heart I knew that there was no reason why he, as well as
I, should not receive the gift of faith. I knew, indeed, that his
friendship for Alice Mills had predisposed him toward it, and that
he read Catholic books. But I was determined to have you. I did not
dare to ask if you would be quite content. I would not contemplate
any other possibility. When I asked you if you were willing, it
was only after you had promised. I confess this with shame and
contrition!”

“Dick,” Edith asked breathlessly, “have you quite got over caring
very much about me? Are you not disappointed?”

He raised his face, and all the shame and distress passed away
from it. “The only disappointment I am now capable of feeling,” he
said, with the emphasis of truth, “would be in case any earthly
object should come between me and God. In the last few weeks I
have learned to shrink with fear and aversion from all earthly
affection. There is nothing but harm in those attachments which are
so strong that the loss of their object brings destruction. They
are mistaken in their aim. Why, Edith, what I worshipped in you was
not simply what you are, a good and amiable girl, but a goddess.
You were magnified in my eyes, I put you in a niche. That niche is
now empty. Or, no!” he added, raising his brightening eyes, “it is
not empty, but the right one stands there. You could never have
satisfied the enthusiasm of my expectation. The great and wonderful
good which I vaguely looked for with you, I should never have won.
I mistook my object.”

He looked out thoughtfully, and she sat looking at him. At length
he said, with a faint smile, “I wrote you last year of a visit
I paid to the island and cave of Capri. That scene is like my
past life. That cave was an enchanted place, so fair, so blue, so
unreal! All ordinary critical sense deserted me as I gazed. I could
easily have believed that the walls and ceiling were of jewels,
and the watery floor some magical blue wine. As I sat in the boat
and looked back, I saw a white star in the distance. Everything
but that, and a long white ray from it, was blue. I rowed toward
that star, I looked at it as my goal, just as I made you my goal.
But when I came near, I found that it was no star. It was only the
low entrance to the cave. Or, rather, it was for me the passage to
sunshine and the heavens. And that you have been to me, Edith,”
he said, turning toward her. “Thank God that your influence with
me has always been for good, and that, in leaving you, I progress
rather than change! You inspired me, and kept me from what was
low, when I had no religion to help me. I can see it all now. The
very excess and enthusiasm of my affection for you was necessary
in order to govern me and keep me from harm. Besides, it is my
nature to do with my might what my hands find to do. I was not then
capable of resolving to do right for the sake of right; but when I
was strong enough, then you drew aside, and left me face to face
with God!”

His breath came quickly, and his wide-opened eyes were fixed on the
western sky, and caught its golden light.

“Of course there was a struggle,” he resumed, “for I was sincere.
But that is over. My unreasonable affection for you is as
thoroughly eradicated as if it had never been a part of my life. I
am ashamed of having so given myself up to it.”

Edith hesitated, then put the test. “Dick, I must be satisfied
that I am really free. If you were sure now that no other, deeper
sympathy stood between me and you, and that I were ready and
willing to fulfil my engagement with you, would you still say that
God alone held your heart?”

His expression was one of terror and shrinking. “It is not so,
Edith!” he exclaimed. “God forbid that it should be so! I could no
more go back to those hopes and wishes of the past than I could be
a little boy again!”

After the momentary fear and suspense that had accompanied her
question, Edith’s first feeling was one of joyful relief and
freedom, her second an indignant sense of the wrong that had been
done her. She rose from her chair, walked to the other window, and
stood there looking out with eyes that saw no object before her.
Her mind glanced swiftly back over the last year and a half. She
remembered the bright peacefulness of her life, yet half-enshrouded
in the mists of childhood, the vision of her womanhood shining
large and vague just above the line of her eyelids; for she cared
not yet to look at or question that future. She recollected the
hopes and aims that had begun to form themselves, of doing good, of
making herself such a Catholic as would be a credit to the faith,
of helping and instructing her poor, of trying to bring her uncle’s
family into the church; and she remembered a faint rose-tinge of
personal happiness, soft and rare, and too delicate to be seen, but
felt by some finer intuition. Then came the sudden call that had
put her life in confusion, the future wrenched rudely open, the
many clustering interests trampled by one that demanded to be made
paramount. And there was no more cause than this!

Indignation swelled to the point of speech. She turned about, and
faced Dick Rowan, and her eyes flashed.

“You may well be ashamed,” she said, “for you have been unmanly!
I do not speak of what I have suffered in my own mind; but you
have exposed my reputation, which, next to my character, I hold
sacred. You have deprived me of your mother’s friendship; for she
will never cease to blame me. You have had me proclaimed as your
promised wife, every one supposing that the promise was freely
given. Yet, when I went down-stairs that day, I was like a victim
going to be immolated. Nothing but prayer had strengthened my
resolution. I thought that a refusal would be your destruction.
You had said as much. You have exposed me to the condemnation of
shallow judges, who will be only too glad to find fault. Those
people who pronounce without knowing, and think that they can
include the motives of another’s whole life in three words, will
all condemn me. I, who have tried with constant watchfulness to
walk to a hair’s-breadth in the path of womanly propriety, shall
be pointed at as the girl who jilted you and broke your heart. And
all this, not from the blindness of real affection, which would
have excused you in my eyes, but from will, and pride, and a mere
fascination. Don’t tell me of eradicating a real affection. It may
be conquered, and made subject to duty; but sympathy is not to be
eradicated. That feeling which has died in your heart was, indeed,
a false blossom.”

She turned and stretched her hands out toward the East, where, far
away, the steamer that bore Carl Yorke ploughed the twilight wave.
“O Carl! you would not have done it,” she cried, and burst into
tears; the usual womanly peroration to such a discourse.

“O God, accept my humiliation!”

She heard that tremulous prayer through her sobs, and, starting,
looked at Dick. His face was bowed forward in his hands, as though
he could never again raise it. She recollected herself. It was God
who had cured and enlightened him. He was not a man who had turned
from one fickle fancy to another. He was in the hands of God.

She wiped her eyes, and, after a little while, went and knelt
beside his chair. “Forgive me, Dick, for reproaching you so,”
she said. “It is over now. We all make mistakes, and those only
do well who acknowledge them, and forgive others. My childhood’s
dear friend, let us forget all that is painful in the past. God
will direct. There is much in life besides marrying and giving in
marriage, and I do not wish to think of that again, not for a long,
long time, if at all. Set the seal on the events of the last two
years. They never happened. I am happy now. You know that, though
I was born at the North, I have a Southern temper. See! the little
cyclone is past, and I am clear from every cloud. We are two sober
friends, who wish each other no end of good. Tell me what you mean
to do.”

He raised his head, and the one absorbing interest of his new life
came back and obliterated the passing trouble. “I do not know,
Edith, and I lay no plans. I have no reason to trust my own will
or wish. I give myself up entirely to direction, and am certain on
but one point: God will not let me go, and I will not let him go.
When I lay bruised and helpless before him, he took me in his arms
and healed me, and I will never know another love. He has kindled
a fire in my heart which my life shall guard. I rejected him once,
but will never again. That night I spent in the church, before my
baptism, a voice from the altar asked me, I thought, to give up all
for God; and it would have been easy then for me to promise. As I
meditated on heaven, the Mother of Christ drew to herself all that
is lovely in woman; all that was strong, and true, and protecting
in a guide clustered around the church; all that was adorable,
that passed beyond speech, was there before me in the tabernacle.
I thought then that to be a brother in any religious order, or a
servant in the church, to sleep under the same roof that sheltered
the head of Christ, to light the candles, to care for his altar, to
serve Mass, all that would be the highest honor and happiness. I
think so now, but I ask nothing. I thought then with self-contempt
how I had toiled to earn money, when the ‘inexhaustible riches of
God’ had lain untouched at my hand; how I had travelled to see the
wonders of the earth, when the wonders of God had appealed to me
in vain. But when daylight came, I treated the whole as a dream, a
mere exaltation of the fancy, and impracticable. I know now that
what I took for a dream is the only reality, and what I thought
reality is but a dream. I resisted the inspiration, and have been
lacerated on the briers of my own obstinacy.”

He paused, looking out toward the west, and in the fine golden
light that was left from sunset, with the new moon and the evening
star half-drowned there, his face looked beautiful. Calmness,
humility, solemnity, and sweetness mingled in its expression.

Edith whispered a low “Well, Dick?” to make him speak again; for he
had, apparently, forgotten her.

“Father John has promised me that I may make a retreat as soon as
he thinks me well enough,” he said, rousing himself at the sound of
her voice. “I do not look beyond that. I do not know anything. I
wait.” And again there was silence.

After a while, Edith said timidly, for he seemed buried in a
reverie, “Do you remember last year, Dick, when we went about the
city, like two strange sight-seers? You said then that the poor and
the suffering looked at you in an asking way different from the
look they gave others. Don’t you think it might have been the Lord
who asked through their eyes?”

“I have not a doubt of it,” he answered.

“Nothing else is of worth!” he said after a minute, as if speaking
to himself--“nothing else is of worth!” And again, “O miserable
waste!”

Presently she spoke again, very softly: “Sometimes, when one has
meditated a long while, everything seems unspeakably good and
beautiful, as if all were in God. A warmth and sweetness flow
around the soul. If your enemy should come to injure you, you
would embrace him. If your friend were taken away from you, you
would smile, and let him go. For, turning to the Lord, you find
all there. Nothing is lost. When you go away, you feel still, and
speak lowly. You want to do something for some one; and, wherever
you look, you see the Lord, and whatever you do is done for him. He
accepts it all, and nothing is small, and nothing is great. If you
see any one suffer, you pity, and try to help, and, perhaps, you
weep; but the agony of pain you feel at other times at the sight of
suffering, you do not feel now. You get a glimpse of the reason why
angels can witness so much pain, yet still be happy.”

Dick, looking out at the sky, smiled. “Yes!” he said, “yes!”

A carriage drove up to the door, Hester’s carriage, come for
Edith. Twilight had fallen softly round them, and their faces were
dim to each other in that curtained chamber.

“My dear friend,” Edith said earnestly, “is there peace between us?”

“All is peace, Edith,” he answered.

“Then, before I go,” she said, “I want you to put your hand on my
head, and say, ‘God bless you!’”

He did as she bade him, laid his hand on her head, and said, “God
bless you for ever! Good-night!”

Both of them knew that good-night meant good-by, yet they parted
with a smile.


CHAPTER XXIX.

EVERYBODY’S CHAPTER.

The family had come to Boston, and were settled in their old
home. The change had not been effected without emotion, and, to
the surprise of all, the one most moved was Mr. Yorke. Whether,
with that noble self-control in which men so much excel women, he
had carefully concealed the real misery of his life in Seaton,
or whether the return to their former home reminded him that it
had been lost by his act, we will not attempt to say, for he did
not. He was silent and very pale, and, as he entered the house,
stood on the threshold a moment, with an expression in his face
which touched the hearts of all. One might read in his look the
consciousness that a great change had passed over him since last he
stood there, and that the return did not bring him the happiness he
had anticipated.

Perhaps nothing in life is more sad than to have a boon long sought
for at length accorded to us, and to find that we have lost the
power to take delight in its possession.

The furniture and baggage had been sent in advance, and Hester and
Edith had superintended the arrangement of everything, so that all
was ready for them. Their last week in Seaton had been spent with
Major Cleaveland, at his house there. He had kept it open for that
purpose, and remained to assist and accompany them, while his wife
and children had preceded him to the city.

Hester went to meet her family at the depot, and Edith stood in the
door when they drove up, and ran joyfully out to embrace them. The
house was bright, and dinner was ready. To Mrs. Yorke, there was
but one blot on the occasion, and that was her son’s absence. But
he had written her with such affection and cheerfulness that she
did not grieve too much. Besides, she expected him soon to return.

Dinner over, Hester and her husband went to their own home, and the
family sat once more together in their old, familiar sitting-room.
The situation was one to provoke emotion or thoughtfulness. Clara
set herself to cheer the company, and put sentiment into the
background.

“The first trouble in changing one’s residence,” she said, “is to
make people remember one’s address. Fortunately, our number, 96, is
peculiar. It is the only created thing I know, except the planets,
which is not changed nor disconcerted by being turned upside down.
Turn it as you will, stand on your head and look at it, tear the
house down, still the number 96 smiles on you unchanged, and as
changeless as a star. It is a very proper number to have on a
house.”

They all sat and looked at her, smiling slightly, glad to be amused.

“The next thing is,” she pursued, “to prevent our friends going to
extremes in making their new estimate of us. They must be made to
comprehend that, though we have positively renounced the German, we
are not Puritans nor ascetics; and that, though we have written, do
write, and mean to write in future, and to put ourselves in print
whenever we feel so disposed, we do not set up as geniuses. Papa,”
she said, suddenly interrupting herself, “why is not the plural of
genius genii? I always want to say genii.”

“They mean about the same thing,” Mr. Yorke remarked; and there was
silence again for a while.

The night was calm, the street quiet, but there was that
unmistakable feeling that a great press of human life is near. It
was not the presence which one feels in the woods, where nature is
obedient to its Maker, and the soul is lifted by the constantly
ascending homage that surrounds it, but a lateral influence,
electrical and exciting, of contending human wills.

Clara was again the one to break silence. “Trees, and toads, and
mosses, and no market, are all very charming for a change,” she
said. “But if one does not live in the city, the city should
be near. A man or a woman without society is no better than a
vegetable. You remember, papa, how Bolingbroke took root among his
trees. And what delights one has in the city! There is music. O
the violins!--the soprano witch among instruments! If Pan invented
the pipe, the original of the organ, then Æolus invented this
instrument of airy octaves. Those old painters were right who put
violins into the hands of their musical angels. Give a violin time
enough, and the music of it will gradually eat up the whole body,
or etherealize it, till some day the musician, touching carefully
his precious film of a Cremona, will find it melt in his hands,
and disappear in a harmonious sigh. Ladies and gentlemen, I should
like to hear this moment a whirlwind of violins, ten thousand, say,
blowing through a vast hall with clustered pillars, and dusky nooks
and reaches, and arches everywhere, and a sultry, fragrant dimness
through it all, and an immense crowd holding their breaths to
listen, and, away up in the roof, little birds perched, as they are
in Notre Dame, at Paris, and trembling with fear and wonder through
all their downy feathers. And when it was over, people would look
at each other, and some would smile, and some laugh out with
delight; and the birds would venture two or three little silvery
peeps, then flutter about as though nothing had happened. Yes, the
city is the place to live in.”

“And then,” said Edith, “one can always go to church.”

Clara immediately gave her cousin an enthusiastic embrace. “Oh! you
darling little bigoted Papist!” she exclaimed.

Melicent, sitting in the chimney-corner, was engrossed in her
own thoughts. She was, perhaps, meditating on that romance of
which Clara had written to Edith. A villainously ugly, but
tenderly-beloved Scotch terrier lay on the hearth-rug, his eyes
fixed on the fire, and seemed to muse. Mrs. Yorke bent toward him,
touched him lightly, and quoted Champfleuri, _apropos_ of cats:
“‘_A quoi pense l’animal qui pense?_’” and added a definition she
had heard somewhere: “‘The brute creation is a syllogism, of which
the conclusion is in the mind of God.’”

This brought them to the point to which their thoughts naturally
tended that evening. God, and the meanings of God, claimed their
attention.

“We are all tired,” Melicent said. “Shall we have prayers now,
papa?”

The Bible was brought, Betsey sent for, and they waited in silence
for Mr. Yorke to begin the reading. He sat with his hand on the
open page, and looked into the fire a moment, then looked at his
wife.

“Amy, I would like, for to-night, to have all my family worship
together,” he said. “After to-night, we can go our different ways.
Let Patrick and Mary and Anne be called in, and, since they cannot
unite with us, let us unite with them. Are you willing?”

Mrs. Yorke blushed with surprise, but made no objection. Melicent
drew herself up, but no one observed her. Mr. Yorke turned
smilingly to his niece. “Well, Edith, if you Catholics will listen
to a chapter from me, I will listen to your prayers, and join in
them as far as I can.”

She did not say anything as she rose to call the servants, but,
in passing her uncle, she laid a loving hand on his shoulder, and
looked her gratitude and delight.

Patrick and the girls had too much confidence in Edith to hesitate,
though they wondered much at her summons. Seated in the midst of
the circle, they listened while Mr. Yorke read a psalm, then they
knelt down. There was a moment’s pause. The Yorkes were accustomed
to sit while their prayers were read. Then Mr. Yorke knelt, and
wife and daughters followed his example, Melicent involuntarily,
and making a motion to get up again as soon as she was down, but
concluding to stay. Episcopalians kneel, she reflected, and she
could mentally kneel with them. Edith led the prayers, and her
tremulous voice conciliated the good-will of the listeners.

It was the first time any of this family had ever assisted at a
private Catholic devotion, and they were astonished to perceive
how every circumstance and need of man was met by this perfect
spiritual science. The devotion was not something apart from life,
but an aspiration and petition from every thought and act of life.
The invocation to the Holy Spirit, the recommendation to place
themselves in the presence of God, the pause for the examination of
conscience, the act of contrition following it, the preparation for
death--a Catholic knows them all, but to a Protestant their effect
is startling.

Never again would their own devotions seem to this family other
than dry and unsatisfying; never would one of them again be in
trouble or danger, but the impulse would be to utter the voice of
Catholic prayer.

In taking up their old life again, the Yorkes were surprised to
find that they had grown more earnest and simple during the years
they had spent in retirement. Mrs. Yorke had lost much of her
love for fashion and luxury, the daughters were astonished at the
frivolity of some of their former pleasures, and Mr. Yorke cared
less for heathen literature, and felt more interest in the poor and
ignorant.

Edith was happy in her religion; but, though she went to Mass every
day when she could, had a mind too enlightened and well balanced to
find her religion only in going to church. She was not in the least
a gushing young lady: hers was a deep and silent enthusiasm which
moved to action rather than speech. The persecution of Catholics
was going on in Massachusetts also, and Governor Gardner and his
motley legislature were making juries the judges of the law as
well as of the facts, and disbanding Irish regiments (which were
allowed to reorganize for 1862), and making a law which would
enable them to send a troop of men to search the dormitories and
closets and cellars of convent schools. But all this troubled Edith
very little. She could laugh at the _Transcript’s_ parody:

    “Half a league, half a league out of the city,
    All to the boarding-school rode the committee:”

and could see how the enemies of the church were covering
themselves with ridicule and disgrace, and securing their own
ultimate defeat.

“They’re hanging themselves! They’re hanging themselves!” Mr. Yorke
would say with glee, at each new extravagance.

When the Yorkes first returned to the city, Melicent’s affairs
chiefly occupied their minds. There was no engagement, and there
had been no private intercourse between her and Mr. Griffeth; but
she had not broken with him entirely, and had requested permission
to receive friendly letters from him. After Mr. Griffeth had
been bound over to commit no act and write no word aggressively
sentimental, this permission was unwillingly given. One of these
friendly missives had come the week after her arrival; and, though
the writer had kept the letter of his promise, he had so broken
the spirit of it that Mrs. Yorke, to whom the letter was dutifully
shown, frowned on reading it, and had a mind to answer it herself.
Melicent, indeed, seemed desirous to alarm her family as much as
possible regarding this affair, and carried herself with such a
conscious, heroine-of-a-novel air as both amused and annoyed her
family.

Among their earliest visitors was the Rev. Doctor Stewart, Mrs.
Yorke’s former pastor and good friend. The mother confided to him
her distress, and besought him to speak to Melicent on the subject.

“She always had a high respect for you and Mrs. Stewart, and would
be influenced by what you say,” she concluded.

The minister made inquiries concerning this suitor’s orthodoxy as a
Universalist.

“He is orthodox in nothing, doctor!” Mrs. Yorke exclaimed. “He
wears his creed as he wears his clothes, changing, when convenient,
the one with as little scruple as the other. He is a moral
Sybarite, who adjusts his conscience comfortably to his wishes, and
looks about with an air of calm rectitude, and an assumption of
pitying superiority over people who are so bigoted as to believe
the same yesterday and to-day.”

“I know the kind of man,” the minister said, with an expression of
severity and mortification. “They are one of the pests of the time,
and a disgrace to the ministry. I will do all I can to separate
Melicent from him.”

Doctor Stewart was a stately gentleman, something over fifty years
of age, gray-haired, rather heavy, and slightly old-fashioned. He
was amiable in disposition, believed that great respect should
be paid to the clergy, wore a white neck-cloth, and was fairly
educated in everything but theology. Since the Yorkes left Boston,
he had lost his wife, an excellent lady several years older than
himself. He was left with three children, a son of nineteen, who
was a student in Harvard College; another son, ten years older,
who was making his fortune in the West; and a daughter, the eldest
of the family, married to a foreign missionary, and industriously
distributing Bibles to the Chinese. Once a month, in the
missionary-meeting, the reverend doctor read a letter from this
daughter, in which she described the great work she was doing, and
asked for more Bibles and money.

This was the gentleman to whose management Mrs. Yorke entrusted her
eldest daughter’s love-affair.

Nothing of their first interview transpired, except that the
minister seemed to be hopeful. Melicent became more inscrutable and
consequential than ever.

About this time, Miss Clara Yorke began to grow exceedingly merry
in her disposition. She would smile in season and out of season,
and burst into laughter without apparent cause. At the mention
of Doctor Stewart’s name, her eyes always began to dance, and at
the sight of him approaching their house her gravity deserted her
immediately. Mrs. Yorke was both astonished and puzzled by her
daughter’s levity.

“I esteem Doctor Stewart very highly,” the lady said. “He is a
dignified and agreeable person. I am glad he feels like running in
here often. He must be lonely at home, for Charles is away during
the day, and studies all the evening. Poor man! The loss of his
wife was a terrible blow to him, but he bears it beautifully.”

The laughter with which Miss Clara was tremblingly full had to be
restrained; for at that moment the door opened to give admittance
to a smiling elderly gentleman in a white neckcloth. But, glancing
at Melicent’s demure countenance a minute after, the young woman’s
mirth became audible.

“Clara, you should, at least, give us the opportunity of sharing
your amusement,” her mother said, rather chidingly.

Clara stammered out that there was a very witty article in the
last _Atlantic_.

“By the way,” the minister said to her pleasantly, “I must
compliment you on a very touching story of yours I have read
lately. It is ‘Silent Rooms.’ I confess to you, Miss Clara, that I
wept over it.”

How exquisite must be the sensibility of that person who weeps over
one’s pathetic stories! Clara looked at the reverend doctor with a
new interest. He certainly had a most beautiful nose, she observed,
and his expression was benign. Moreover, he was a gentleman of good
mind.

“I am delighted by what you tell me, doctor,” she said. “For, while
such emotion is the highest compliment I could receive, it does not
hurt you. Indeed, I thought that sketch would be affecting. I shed
tears myself when I was writing it, and I think that a pretty good
cry-tear-ion to judge by. Beg pardon, papa! I didn’t mean to. It
punned itself.”

The minister then asked her to write a play and a hymn for the
Christmas festival of his Sunday-school.

“I should be delighted to, doctor,” she said, but clouded over a
little. “I am not much in the way of that sort of composition, but
I will try.”

“Then you will succeed.” A bow and a smile accompanied the
assertion.

“Do not be too sure of that,” Clara exclaimed with vivacity. “I
can write easily enough what is in my own mind, but not what is
in other minds; and I haven’t an idea on this subject. I am not a
facile writer when I have nothing to say. When I have no thoughts,
I find it hard to express them.”

“Oh! dash off some little thing,” said the doctor, with a sweep of
the hand, as though he were sowing plays and poems broadcast.

“Dash off some little thing!” repeated the young lady scornfully,
when their visitor had left them. “‘_Dash off!_’ That is all he
knows. I don’t believe he cried over my story!”

“My daughter!” expostulated Mrs. Yorke; but her husband laughed.
Melicent cast an indignant glance on her sister, and went out of
the room. At that, Clara’s hilarity returned.

Carl wrote to his mother often, giving her an account of his
movements. He stayed nowhere long, and every letter concluded with
an announcement of his intention to make a flying visit to some
other place. The descriptions he gave and the adventures he related
were not those of an ordinary sight-seer. “I should think that
the boy were gathering material for a history of the nineteenth
century,” his mother said, and was evidently very proud of him.

But after a while she recollected he had not said that any one
of these flying visits would be his last, and had never answered
plainly her questions as to the time of his return. One day she
suspected the truth. She had just received a letter from Carl,
dated at Nice, in which he hinted at a projected trip to Asia
Minor. After reading the letter through, she dropped it into her
lap, and sat looking out through the window and off into distance.

No one else but Edith was in the room, and she had been attentively
watching her aunt’s face. Seeing that strange look settle on it,
she crossed the room, and seated herself close to Mrs. Yorke’s side.

“Edith,” her aunt said, her eyes still gazing far away, “I think
Carl means to be gone a long while.”

Edith called up her powers of self-control; for the time of
explanation had come.

“He has already been away a long while,” she said. “It is six
months since he went. That is six months taken from the whole.”

Mrs. Yorke’s eyes turned on her niece with a quick searching. “You
know all about it!” she exclaimed, and began to breathe quickly.

“Yes, I know all about it,” was the calm reply; “and I was to tell
you as soon as it should seem best. Carl is making a long journey,
but six months of it are over.”

Mrs. Yorke flung Edith’s hand away. “You knew it, and his own
mother did not!” she exclaimed. “You need not tell me. If Carl
deceived his mother, I wish to hear no more about it.”

She pressed her hands to her heart, which beat with thick,
suffocating throbs.

Nothing but firmness would do. It was necessary to recall her
to a sense of the injustice she was doing, and shame her into
controlling herself, if no better could be done.

“Aunt Amy,” Edith said, “it seems to me that you should question
yourself, rather than reproach others. Never was a woman more
tenderly loved and cared for by her family than you are. Your
husband, your children, your niece, your servants even, are
constantly on the watch lest something should startle or agitate
you. A door must not be slammed, the horses must not be driven too
fast, ill news must be gently broken, you must not be fatigued nor
worried. If we shed tears, we conceal them from you; if one of us
is ill, we make light of it to you. We wish to do this, and do it
with all our hearts, for your life is most precious to us. But I
think that our devotion entails one duty on you, and that is to
look on everything as calmly and reasonably as you can, and not
agitate yourself without cause.”

Mrs. Yorke looked at her niece in astonishment. This tone of firm
reproof was new to her, and, from its strangeness, effective.

“Carl did not deceive you,” Edith went on. “He has told you nothing
but the truth.”

“A half-truth is a lie!” Mrs. Yorke interrupted. “I see plainly in
this the influence of that pernicious Mr. Griffeth. I well remember
one of his sayings: ‘As the doctors give poisons to a sick body,’
he said, ‘so we must sometimes give lies to a sick mind.’ I have a
sick mind, it seems.”

“It is for you to prove whether you have or not,” Edith replied
quietly.

The reproof was severe, and Mrs. Yorke’s heightened color told that
she felt it. She leaned back in her chair, and was silent.

“Carl told me,” Edith said, “because I am healthy, and cannot be
endangered by sorrow; and he knew, too, that I would not require
any man to sacrifice his duty and prospect of a high career merely
that I might have the pleasure of being always with him. When a
man is twenty-nine years old, if he is not going to throw himself
away, and be a miserable failure, it is time for him to go out into
the world, and live his own life. Carl would gladly have told you
all his plans, and it was cruel that he should be obliged to go
away without your blessing, and to carry with him, as he must, this
constant anxiety about you. He was doubtful and unhappy, but did
what he thought was best. He told no one but me. Now, be fair, Aunt
Amy, and ask yourself what you would have done if Carl had come to
you and said that he was going away on a two-years’ journey?”

Mrs. Yorke put her hands over her face, and sat breathing heavily,
and without uttering a word. Edith trembled. Would she see the pale
hands fall nerveless, and her aunt drop dead in her arms? She sent
up a silent prayer to her ever dear Mother of Perpetual Succor,
then gently loosened a golden locket from Mrs. Yorke’s belt, and
opened it.

“Dear Carl!” she said tenderly, kissing the miniature, “how could
your mother misunderstand you so, when your true and loving face
was so close to her heart? Is it only Edith who never mistakes you?”

The frail hands slipped down to hers, as she leaned on her aunt’s
lap, and she looked up to meet a faint and tearful smile.

“You are all so tender, my dear, that I am afraid it makes me
selfish,” Mrs. Yorke said. “Now tell me the whole story. See! I am
reasonable.”

“You are an angel to let me talk so, and not be angry!” Edith
answered joyfully. “Wait till I get you a granule of digitaline;
then I will tell you all about Carl. You will be proud of your son,
my lady.”

A few days after, Doctor Stewart proposed for Melicent, greatly to
her mother’s astonishment. “Why, doctor, I am proud to consent, if
Melicent does,” she said. “But I never dreamed of such a thing!”

“Melicent assures me that, with her parents’ consent, she is
willing to entrust her happiness in my hands,” the minister said.
“She does not find my age any obstacle. You must be aware, indeed,
that your eldest daughter’s disposition is grave and dignified.
My impression is, that the only attraction Mr. Griffeth had for
her was through his clerical office. She has confided to me that
she wrote him a decided dismissal the very day after my first
conversation with her.”

Of course, if Melicent was satisfied, no one else could object; and
Melicent radiated satisfaction.

“I am sure you have chosen wisely, my daughter,” her mother said.

“I never really thought I should marry Mr. Griffeth, mamma,” the
daughter answered, blushing. “And I never said any more to him than
that I would consider his offer.”

That very evening the engagement was tacitly announced to the
public, by Mrs. Yorke and Melicent appearing at a lecture at Music
Hall, escorted by Doctor Stewart. Mr. Yorke, Clara, and Edith
went early, and took seats in the side balcony, overlooking the
platform, where the rest of their party had places reserved.

“It will just suit Mel,” Clara said gleefully. “I saw it from the
first minute, and have been laughing over it all winter, while
you stupid folks never had a suspicion. Mel was cut out for just
such a fate. She likes to be lofty and sphynx-like, and to sit on
platforms with everybody staring at her, and to come sweeping in
at the last minute, and take the highest place. The doctor, too,
is just to her mind. He is tall, and large, and slow. His voice is
sonorous, he has a nice nose and finger-nails, and his neckcloth
compels respect. Oh! there is no fear but Mel will be happy. The
only danger is on our side. For I tell you, papa, those two will
walk over us in their smooth, grand way, if we are not careful. I
must study how to take them down a peg.”

There was a smile in the corners of Mr. Yorke’s mouth, but he spoke
reprovingly. “It doesn’t sound well for you to talk in that way of
your sister, Clara,” he said.

Clara gave a little impatient sigh. “I sometimes wish that I could
not see so plainly the difference between solid people and inflated
people,” she said. “It is a misfortune; but I cannot help it.”

Mr. Yorke said nothing. He had already learned that there was one
point on which he would have to resist encroachment. More than once
he had seen Doctor Stewart turn a severe glance on the shelf where
stood the numbers of _Brownson’s Review_ left by Carl; and only
that day Melicent had proposed that the books should be carried
up-stairs.

“Up-stairs!” Mr. Yorke had repeated. “What for?”

“Why, on account of the doctor,” Melicent had answered,
disconcerted by the sharpness of her father’s astonishment. “He
does not like them, and their being here might lead to unpleasant
controversy.”

The reply had been decisive:

“If Doctor Stewart does not like what he finds in my house, he is
at liberty to remain out of it. And if he should forget himself so
far as to begin any unpleasant controversy, I shall recommend him
to increase his stock of theological knowledge by a careful study
of the same _Review_.”

Mr. Yorke said nothing of this conversation, and Melicent had not
mentioned it; but it was a warning to both.

“Papa,” Clara said, after looking down on the audience awhile,
“did you ever observe how bald heads light up an assembly like
this? They reflect the gas, and have a very cheerful effect.
Oh! there is Mel. Attention! See, the conquering hero comes. My
poor little mother is nearly invisible. Such a small duenna! How
frightfully conspicuous! See the doctor smile, and show them to the
very front chairs, and see the filial manner in which he behaves
to Mrs. Yorke. Suppose he should take to coloring his hair! There!
they are seated at last, after that display, and I must own that
Mel’s stage-manners are very good. If only they would not look so
conscious! Edith, why is Doctor Stewart like a verd-antique? It’s a
conundrum.”

That night, after Melicent had gone to her room, the others sat
talking over the wedding. Doctor Stewart had desired that it might
be soon. Edith proposed to give the trousseau.

“We cannot allow you, my dear,” her aunt said. “Your uncle and I
have something, and Melicent must take what we can give her. You
are too bountiful already!”

Edith drew writing materials toward her, and began to make out a
bill.

  MISS EDITH YORKE,
      _To_ Charles Yorke and family, _Dr._
  To seven years’ board and tuition,                         $7,000
  “    “     “    clothing,                                   1,400
  “ Instruction in her religion,                         20,000,000
  “ Kindness to Father Rasle,                            10,000,000
  “ Never being anything but kind to her,                10,000,000
  “ Sundries,                                            10,000,000
  “ Joining her once in Catholic prayer,    100,000,000,000,000,000
                                          -------------------------
                                           $100,000,000,050,008,400

“I think that is correct,” she said, showing the bill to her uncle.
“I am mathematical in my tastes, you know. I do not like the
dollars, though, the association is so vulgar. We will put it in
some classical gold coin. It shall be rose-nobles.”

Looking in Mr. Yorke’s face as he smiled on her, she exclaimed,
“Uncle, you have a look of my father, now!”

“And you have a look of my brother,” he returned. “Your eyes are
changeful, like his, and your hair has a sunny hue. When you coax,
too, your ways are like his. Robert was very winning.”

She put her arm in his, and looked reproachfully across the table
to her aunt. “And yet,” she said, “you are not willing that I
should give Melicent a few pocket-handkerchiefs to be married with!”

Mrs. Yorke laughed. “You shall give her as many handkerchiefs as
you please,” she said.

       *       *       *       *       *

But what, meantime, of Dick Rowan?

Mrs. Yorke had called at once to see him on her arrival, but he had
already gone to make a retreat, and they did not see him afterward.

The first part of that retreat was to him heavenly; but, when it
came to making definite plans for the future, then he found himself
in cruel doubt.

“Oh! if I could have had a Catholic training in early life!” he
said to Father John. “It seems to me now that heaven has been
within my reach, and has slipped away, without my knowing it. I do
not wish to be presuming. I do not try to think of it; the thought
haunts me.”

“Tell me freely all that is in your mind,” the priest said. “I am
here to help you.”

Dick Rowan’s head drooped, and he spoke rapidly, as if afraid to
speak: “It seems to me, father, that if I had been brought up a
strict Catholic--any sort of Catholic--I should have been--” He
lifted his face, looked at Father John with eyes that could not
bear suspense, and added, “I should have been a priest!”

Then, since he found neither astonishment nor displeasure in that
face, his distress broke forth. “And now, O God! it is too late!”
he said, and wrung his hands.

“You think that you had a vocation, my son?” the priest asked
calmly.

“I believe it!” he answered. “What has my whole life been but a
searching and striving after some great and glorious happiness,
something different from the common happiness of earth, some one
delight which was to be mine here, and still more mine in the world
to come? It was always my way to have but one wish, and to expect
from its fulfilment what nothing on earth can give. I believe, sir,
that when a man has that way of concentrating all his hopes and
desires on one object, that object should be God. Otherwise, there
is nothing but ruin for him. Such an end was once possible to me,
and now it is lost!”

Father John laid his hand on the young man’s. “My son,” he said,
“it is not lost!”

Dick uttered not a word, but gazed steadily into the priest’s face.

“I believe that you have a divine vocation.”

“You believe that I _had_!” Dick cried out sharply.

“I believe that you _have_!” the priest replied.

Dick drew a deep breath, and his pale face blushed all over with a
sudden delight; but said nothing.

“When a man first thinks of choosing God,” the priest said, “he
may mistake. But when God chooses a man, and tears away from him
every other tie, and sets him in a place where he can see nothing
surrounding him but a great solitude filled with God, then there is
no mistake. I believe that God chooses you.”

“God chooses me!” repeated Dick Rowan, blenching a little, like
one dazzled by a great light. “God chooses me!” he said again, and
stood up, as if his swelling heart had lifted him. “Then I choose
him!” He put his hands over his lifted face, and tears of joy
dropped down. Father John, deeply affected, spoke to him, but he
did not hear. He was repeating the words of the marriage-service:
“‘For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do
us’--_unite_!”

The priest spoke afterward to Edith on the subject. Dick had
requested him to tell her and his mother whatever they wished to
know.

“Never was there a soul more ardent and single,” Father John said.
“His only difficulty arose from a tender regard for the honor
of God, and a great reverence for the sacred office. He fancied
that it would be an insult to both for a man to seek to enter the
priesthood of whom people could say that he did so because he was
disappointed in love, and that he gave to God the remnant of a
heart which a woman had rejected.”

“Dick rejected me,” Edith interposed hastily.

“I told him,” the priest resumed, “that if God had called him,
he had no right to think of any coarse and uncharitable remarks
which might be made. I reminded him that his life-long devotion
to you had been a life without faith, and that, after one year in
the church, he had given you up willingly. His idea of the true
priest was this: one for whose sacred vocation his pious parents
had prayed and hoped from the hour of his birth, who had lived
from his childhood cloistered in retirement and sanctity, who had
never cherished worldly hopes or desires, but, walking apart, had
thus approached the altar that had never ceased to shine before him
from the hour of his baptism. I owned to him that such a vocation
is beautiful, and is often seen by men and angels; but told him
that there are others whom the Almighty leads differently. He hides
from such souls that he has sealed them also from the beginning, he
allows them to drag in the mire of earth, to feel its temptations,
to share in its weaknesses. We cannot penetrate the designs of
God, but we may well believe that his motive is to humble that
soul, and to teach it through its own failings a greater pity and
tenderness for the weak and the erring. I warned him that this fear
of his might be a temptation of the devil, who saw that his pride
was not broken, and who pursuaded him that he was jealous for the
honor of God, when in reality he thought but of his own. He was
happy at that. ‘If it is nothing but my own pride,’ he said, ‘I
have no more trouble.’

“And he has no more trouble, my child,” the priest concluded. “He
is the happiest man I ever saw!”



SUPER OMNES SPECIOSA.


    Is any face that I have seen--
      Some perfect type of girlhood’s face:
      Some nun’s, soul-radiant, full of grace--
    Like thine, my beautiful, my Queen?

    Of all the eyes have paused on mine--
      And these have met some wondrous eyes;
      So large and deep, so chaste and wise--
    Have any faintly imaged thine?

    The chisel with the brush has vied,
      Till each seems victor in its turn:
      And love is ever quick to learn,
    Nor throws the proffered page aside:

    Yet few the glimpses it has caught,
      For thou transcendest all that art
      Can show thee--even to the heart
    Most skilled to read the poet’s thought.

    That thought can pierce its native sky
      Beyond the artist’s starry guess:
      But all that it may dare express,
    Is through the worship of a sigh.

    And this thou art, a sigh of love--
      Love that created as it sighed;
      And shaped thee forth a peerless bride
    Dowered for the spousals of the Dove.

    To set the music of thy face
      To earthly measure, were to give
      Th’ informing soul, and make it _live_
    As there--God’s uttermost of grace.



THE MOTHER OF LAMARTINE.[54]


M. de Lamartine tells us in his _Confidences_ that, as the sages
pause for reflection between life and death, so his mother was
in the habit of devoting an interval at the close of the day in
looking back on its vanished hours, and seizing its impressions
before night should have dispersed them for ever.

When all the household had retired to rest, and no sound was to
be heard but the breathing of her children in their little beds
around her, or the howling of the wind against the casement and
the bark of the dog in the court, she would softly open the door
of a little closet of books, and seat herself before an inlaid
cabinet of rose-wood to record the events of the day, pour out her
anxieties and sorrows, her joy and gratitude, or utter a prayer all
warm from her heart. Her son says: “She never wrote for the sake
of writing, still less to be admired, though she wrote much for
her own satisfaction, that she might have, in this register of her
conscience and the domestic occurrences of her life, a moral mirror
in which she could often look and compare herself with what she had
been in other days, and thus constantly amend her life. This custom
of recording what was passing in her soul--a habit she retained
to the end--produced fifteen or twenty little volumes of intimate
communings with herself and God, which I have the happiness to
preserve, and where I find her once more, living and full of
affection, when I feel the need of taking refuge in her bosom.”

Of course, such a journal was not intended for the public eye,
and her son is so conscious of this that, even while editing this
volume of extracts from his mother’s manuscripts, he says it has no
interest but for those who are allied to her by blood or sympathy
of soul, and prays all others to abstain from reading it. M. de
Lamartine’s financial difficulties obliging him to make capital,
not only out of the private emotions and experiences of his own
heart, but even of his family archives, the publication of this
volume was announced previous to his death, but was deferred at his
earnest request.

The interest in everything connected with so eminent a poet, the
charming pictures he has drawn of his mother in his _Confidences_,
and the influence she had in moulding his character, made us look
forward with interest to this work, that we might have a clearer
insight into the soul to which he owed his poetical and imaginative
nature. It is always refreshing and useful whenever one ventures
to lift the veil of a pure soul and allows us to read its passing
emotions. But such a soul should not be exposed to the eye of
curiosity, but only to that of sympathy. To scan such a book--the
outpourings of a mother’s heart, written solely for her own
satisfaction and her children’s--with the cool eye of a critic,
would be as profane as to jeer over the grave of one whose remains
have just been exhumed.

But let every tender, religious heart--especially every maternal
heart--that loves the sweet odor of flowers that still give out
their fragrance when drawn forth from some old drawer in which they
have long lain, reverently open this volume, sacred to all the
outpourings of a mother’s tenderness. In her transparent nature
they can read the unusual strength of the domestic affections, but
a heart large enough to take in the poor and the sufferer of every
grade, a charity that constantly found excuses for the asperities
of others, and a piety that breathed all through her sweet life and
crowned her death.

This book is a new proof of the tender piety and sincere faith
among the old noblesse of France. Madame de Lamartine is worthy
of being classed with the family of the Duke d’Ayen, the La
Ferronnays, and the De Guérins. The simple grace of her style,
the religious element so strongly infused into her daily life,
the development of her emotional nature, and the intensity of her
love for her family, all remind us of Eugénie de Guérin. And like
her, she had one of those sweet, pensive natures that need the
retirement of country life or the shade of the cloister for full
development. They were similarly demonstrative in their affections
and in their piety. And where one loves and follows with anxious
prayer a gifted brother, the other, with the devotedness of St.
Monica, weeps and prays for her son.

M. de Lamartine, after passing one gloomy All Souls’ day in
recollection near his mother’s grave at St. Point, ended it by
taking out the eighteen _livrets_ in which all her thoughts
and feelings had been buried for so many years, and, while the
church-bell was mournfully tolling above her grave as if to
reproach the living for their silence and admonish them to pray
for their dead, he opened these books one after the other, and
read, sadly smiling, but oftener weeping the while. It is with some
such a feeling the reader will follow him. The drama of the heart
is always touching, the genuine tear, even in the eye veiled in
domestic obscurity, always appealing, and in this page of life’s
drama there is many a one dropped. But the eyes from which they
fell are always turned heavenward, and such tears have always a
gleam of heaven in them, without which the sorrows of life would be
unendurable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Madame de Lamartine was the daughter of M. des Roys,
intendant-general of finances to the Duke of Orleans. Madame des
Roys was the under-governess of the children of that prince, and
so great a favorite of the duchess that she was employed as the
confidential agent of the latter during her exile, as we learn
from this volume. After the execution of Philippe Egalité and the
dispersion of his family, the duchess took refuge in Spain. Her
daughter, afterwards known as Madame Adelaide, who displayed so
much character and exerted so great a political influence during
the reign of her brother Louis Philippe, was in a German or Swiss
convent. The duchess, suspicious of Madame de Genlis’ influence
over her daughter, and perhaps fearful she might be made a tool
of the Orleans faction, with whose aims she did not sympathize,
commissioned her devoted follower, Madame des Roys, to bring her
daughter to Spain. Madame des Roys succeeded in her mission. She
embarked at Leghorn about the beginning of January, 1802, and
arrived safely at Barcelona with her charge. Madame de Lamartine,
who had all this from her mother’s lips, says the meeting of the
duchess and Mademoiselle d’Orleans was extremely affecting. Madame
des Roys subsequently returned to France, and died on her estates
in June, 1804, worn out with fatigue, and troubles resulting from
the revolution. She gave her daughter a portrait of Mademoiselle
d’Orleans--a present from the duchess, and Madame de Lamartine
always showed herself loyal to that family. When the poet wrote his
_Chant du Sacre_ without mentioning the Duke of Orleans among the
other members of the royal family, she entreated him with tears to
be mindful of what she owed the family. Lamartine yielded, but with
so ill a grace that his allusion displeased the duke. Madame de
Lamartine, fearful of being thought ungrateful to the family, wrote
Mademoiselle d’Orleans a full explanation of the affair.

But to go back to the time when Madame des Roys was still governess
in the Duke of Orleans’ family. She and her husband had apartments
at that time in the Palais Royal in winter, and at St. Cloud in
summer. It appears Madame des Roys and Madame de Genlis had some
pitched battles in those days, or, as Madame de Lamartine afterward
expresses it, _deux camps opposés_. Madame de Genlis kept up the
grudge after the death of her former rival, and, years after,
severely attacked M. de Lamartine’s poems by way of satisfaction.

Madame de Lamartine was born at the palace of St. Cloud, and passed
her childhood there with Louis Philippe, sharing the lessons and
sports of the Orleans children. All her earliest recollections
were connected with St. Cloud, its fountains, and broad alleys,
and velvet lawns, and lovely park. Many years after (in 1813), she
tells in her journal that, being at Paris, her son drove her to St.
Cloud in a cabriolet, and she thus writes of her visit: “This is
the place where I passed so much of my childhood when my mother was
bringing up the Duke of Orleans’ children. I was very happy there.
I left when fifteen years old, and had not seen the place since,
though I longed to, for I retained a delightful remembrance of it.
I walked all over the park with Alphonse and Eugénie, pointing out
tree after tree where I played when a child. I wished to see our
apartments once more, but it was impossible, as they are occupied
by the Empress Maria Louisa.”

When fifteen years of age, Alix des Roys was nominated by the Duke
of Orleans to a vacancy in the noble Chapter of Salles, where
she was placed under the protection of the Countess Lamartine de
Villars, a canoness of that chapter. The Chevalier de Lamartine,
visiting his sister, fell in love with the beautiful Alix, who is
said to have resembled Madame Récamier, and, instead of embracing
that semi-monastic life, she ultimately married him, March 6, 1790.

We can imagine the contrast between her life in the _maisons de
plaisance_ of one of the wealthiest princes in Europe, and that she
afterward led in a plain country residence a hundred miles from
Paris, and in limited circumstances. She afterward alludes in her
journal to this change: “In my childhood I imagined it impossible
to exist unless at court, in a palace like the Palais Royal, or the
park at St. Cloud, where I lived with my mother. Now, O my God, I
wish to be content in every place where thy will places me!”

But her new home was not without its attractions for a nature like
hers. Leaving the banks of the Saône where it winds among the
fertile hills of Mâcon, and going toward the old Abbey of Cluny,
where Abélard breathed his last, the traveller, turning aside into
a winding mountain-path, comes after an hour or two to a sharp
spire of gray stone towering above a group of peasants’ houses.
Beyond these, nestling in a hollow at the foot of a mountain, is
Milly, familiar to every reader of Lamartine. Five broad steps lead
to the door, which opens into a corridor full of presses of carved
walnut containing the household linen. From it doors open into the
various apartments, and access is had to the one story above. The
mountain almost insensibly begins its ascent directly back of the
house. Its slope is luxuriant with vines, on which depended mainly
the subsistence of the family. A small garden is in the rear of the
house, with its vegetables and flower-beds and clumps of trees,
and its secluded “Alley of Meditation” where Madame de Lamartine
walked at sunset, saying her rosary and giving herself up to holy
recollections.

She seems to have taken Milly at once to her heart. She
affectionately calls it her Jerusalem--her abode of peace. She
often said to her son: “It is very small, but large enough if our
wishes and habits are in proportion. Happiness is from within. We
should not be more so by extending the limits of our meadows and
vineyards. Happiness is not measured by the acre, like land, but by
the resignation of the heart; for God wishes the poor to have as
much as the rich, that neither may dream of seeking it elsewhere
than from him!”

And again she says: “If people were convinced that, by
submissively receiving all the difficulties of the position in
which they are placed, they would be at peace everywhere; they
would allow themselves to be sweetly guided without anxiety by
circumstances and the persons to whom they owe deference. Since
I decided on this, I have been infinitely more happy. There was
a time when I wished everything to yield to me, and absolutely
subordinate to my will. I was then incessantly tormented about
the present and the future. I often saw afterward it would have
been a misfortune to have had my own way. Now I abandon myself
to the Infinite Sovereign Wisdom, I feel at peace exteriorly and
interiorly! God be praised for ever! He alone is wise, and should
overrule all!”

Poor woman, she had enough to try her flexible will. Her husband’s
elder brother, who, according to the ancient _régime_, was regarded
as the head and guide of the family, was not disposed to give up
his rights. He was unmarried, and particularly fond of interfering
in the domestic regulations of the family whose future prospects
somewhat depended on him, particularly those of Alphonse, who was
to perpetuate the name. Another brother, the Abbé de Lamartine,
lived further off, and was, of course, less tempted to interfere,
but seems to have given his voice on extraordinary occasions. And
then there were two unmarried aunts whom Madame de Lamartine seems
to have been attached to, and whom in her charity she calls saints,
but very trying saints they were with their strictures on her
dainty ways, her careful dress, and her indulgence to her children.
To do them justice, however, they all seem to have been sincerely
anxious for the prosperity of the family.

Madame de Lamartine brought up one son and five daughters,
concerning whom she gives many interesting details in her journal.
The daughters appear to have been lovely in person and character.
Their brother has given a delightful description of them in his
_Nouvelles Confidences_, which is confirmed by his mother’s
journal.

But M. de Lamartine makes a very strange mistake in saying his
mother derived her notions of educating her children from the works
of Rousseau (particularly from _Emile_) and St. Pierre, whom he
calls “the favorite philosophers of women because the philosophers
of feeling,” and “whose works,” he says, “she had read and admired.”

Some of Madame de Lamartine’s earliest recollections were certainly
of Gibbon, D’Alembert, Rousseau, and others of the same stamp who
frequented the society of Madame des Roys. She even remembered
seeing Voltaire when but seven years of age, and “his attitude, his
costume, his cane, his gestures, and his words remained imprinted
on my memory as the foot of some antediluvian monster on the rocks
of our mountains.” But she certainly did not esteem these men or
imbibe any of their opinions, and so far from having “_conservé une
tendre admiration pour ce grand homme_,” Jean Jacques Rousseau, as
her son declares, she regarded him with a certain horror, and his
genius as allied to lunacy.

In the first place, Madame de Lamartine seems to have been very
scrupulous about reading dangerous books. In her journal of the
year 1801, she makes a resolution to deny herself all useless
reading for her children’s sake, and declares frivolous books “one
of the most dangerous pleasures in the world.”

Some years after, she visits her son’s chamber, during his absence,
to examine his books. Among others she finds Rousseau’s _Emile_.
She regrets it is “empoisoned with so many inconsistencies and
extravagances calculated to mislead the good sense and faith of
young men. I shall burn this book,” she adds, “and particularly
the _Nouvelle Héloïse_, still more dangerous because it inflames
the passions as much as it warps the mind. What a misfortune that
so much talent should be allied to madness! I have no fears for
myself, for my faith is beyond temptation and not to be shaken; but
my son ----”

And when toward the close of her life she saw by her son’s poem
_Childe Harold_ that he had imbibed the pernicious ideas of
French philosophy, she says: “I knew these famous philosophers
in my youth. Grant, O my God! he may not resemble them. I firmly
represent to him the danger of such ideas, but, in the language of
Scripture, the wind bloweth where it listeth. When a mother has
brought a son into the world, and instilled her own faith into
him, what can she do? Only put her feeble hand continually between
the light of this faith and the breath of the world that would
extinguish it! Ah! I am sometimes proud of my son, but I am well
punished afterward by my apprehensions as to his independence of
mind!

“As for me, to submit and believe seems the only true wisdom in
life. They say it is less poetic, but I find as much poetry in
submission as in rebellion. Are the faithful angels less poetical
than those who rose up against God? I would rather my son had none
of these vain talents of the world than to turn them against the
dogmas that are my strength, my light, and my consolation!”

Madame de Lamartine records a fact concerning Rousseau which is by
no means a proof of her esteem for him. Madame des Roys, from whom
she had it, was very intimate with the Maréchale de Luxembourg.
Previous to the birth of one of Rousseau’s children, the maréchale,
a great friend of his, fearing he would send the child to a
foundling asylum as he had done three others, begged, through a
third person, to have it as soon as it was born, promising to
take care of it. Rousseau gave his consent. The mother was beside
herself with joy, and as soon as the child was born sent word to
the person who was to take it away. He came, found it was a fine,
vigorous boy, and appointed an hour to come for it. But at midnight
Rousseau appeared in the sick-room wrapped in a dark cloak, and, in
spite of the mother’s screams, carried off his son to drop it at
the asylum without a mark by which it could be recognized. “This is
the man whose sensibility so many extol,” said Madame des Roys, and
Madame de Lamartine adds: “And I, I say, here is the unfeeling man
whose head has corrupted his heart! Alas! genius is often only a
prelude to insanity when not founded on good sense. Let us welcome
genius for our children if God bestows it, but pray they may have
sound sense!”

Alphonse was sent at an early age to a secular school at Lyons, the
religious orders not being restored. His mother thus writes:

“November 9, 1801.--To-day I am at Lyons to bring Alphonse back
to school. My heart bleeds. I went to Mass this morning. I was
continually looking for his beautiful fair hair in the midst of
all those little heads. My God! how frightful to thus root up this
young plant from the heart where it germinated, and cast it into
these mercenary institutions. I was sick at heart as I came away.”

In October, 1803, she says: “I have with difficulty obtained
permission from my husband and his brothers to take Alphonse away
from the school at Lyons, and place him at the Jesuits’ College at
Belley, on the borders of Savoy. I came with him myself. I was too
much distressed to write yesterday after confiding him to these
ecclesiastics. I passed half the night weeping.

“October 27.--I went this morning to look through the _guichet_ of
the court of the Jesuits’ College at my poor child. I afterward saw
him at Mass in the midst of the students. He says he is satisfied
with his reception from the professors and his comrades. I went
to-day to see the Abbé de Montuzet, the former prior of my Chapter
of Canonesses at Salles. In the evening I left for Mâcon. In
passing before the college I could see the boys from the carriage
playing in the yard, and heard their joyous shouts. Happily,
Alphonse did not approach the _guichet_ and see my carriage. He
would have felt too badly, and I also. It is better not to soften
these poor children destined to become men. Leaning back in the
carriage, I wept all alone under my veil a part of the day.”

She loved to read the _Confessions of St. Augustine_, and, like St.
Monica, she followed her son with her prayers and tears all through
the vagaries of his early life, trembling for his rich gifts and
susceptible nature. And with how much reason is evident from his
own account. How much more she continually desired his spiritual
welfare than his success in the world is evident throughout this
work. In the first flush of his fame as a poet, she writes:

“January 6, 1820.--Nothing new at Paris, except I am told Alphonse
is received with distinction in the best society, where his
appearance and talents have excited, according to my sister, Madame
de Vaux, a kind of enthusiasm. She mentions the names of many whose
mothers I knew in my youth who overwhelm him with cordiality--the
Princess de Talmont, the Princess de la Trémouille, Madame de
Raigecourt (the friend of Madame Elizabeth), Madame de St. Aulaire,
the Duchess de Broglie (Madame de Staël’s daughter), Madame de
Montcalm (the Duke de Richelieu’s sister), Madame de Dolomieu, whom
I knew so well at the Duchess of Orleans’; then there are many
eminent men who eagerly proffer their friendship to him who was
so obscure but yesterday--the young Duke de Rohan, the virtuous
Mathieu de Montmorency, M. Molé, M. Lainé, said to be such a great
orator, M. Villemain, the pupil of M. de Fontanes, whom he sees
at M. Decazes’, the king’s favorite, and a thousand others. Thou
knowest, O my God! how proud I am of this unexpected cordiality
toward my son, but thou knowest also that I ask not for him what
the world calls glory and honor, but to be an upright man, and one
of thy servants like his father: the rest is vanity, and often
worse than vanity!”

And when, still later, she goes to Paris, and meets the
distinguished circle in which he moved, is received by Madame
Récamier with her incomparable grace, and hears Châteaubriand, one
of her favorite authors, read, and sees the prestige which her son
had acquired, she confesses to a feeling of gratification at his
fame, but adds: “I pray God for something higher than all this for
him.”

But to return to her life at Milly. The tenderness of her nature
was not confined to her own family, but was always responsive to
every appeal.

To quote from her journal: “I was told after dinner that a
friendless old man, whom I saw after, that lived in a hut on the
mountain, with only a goat for a companion, had just been found
dead. The news greatly distressed me, for I had reproached myself
for not having gone to see him lately--it was so far. It is true I
thought he had recovered, but I should not have trusted to that
at his age. I ought to have been more attentive to him. My heart
is full of remorse. In the good I do, and in everything, I am not
persevering enough. I grow weary too soon and too frequently. I
am too easy led away by distractions or weariness, which are not
sins, but weaknesses, and hinder from a holy use of time. Was not
time given us that every day and hour something might be done for
God, both in ourselves and for others? I went to walk this evening
with my husband and two eldest daughters. We went through the
vineyard, now in bloom. The air was perfumed with their pleasant
odor. Our vines are our only source of income for ourselves, our
domestics, and the poor. If there are as many bunches of grapes as
of blossoms, we shall be quite well off this year. May Providence
preserve them from hail!

“We approached the hut above the vineyard where the poor old man
died in the morning. I wished to enter it once more in order to
pray beside him. My husband was not willing, fearing the sight of
him would make too great an impression on me and the children.
I wished to ask pardon of his soul for not having been there to
utter some words of consolation and hope during his agony, and to
receive his last sigh. The door was open: his goat kept going out
and in, bleating as if to call assistance in its distress. The poor
creature made us weep. My husband consented for me to send for it
to-morrow after the burial, and give it a place with our cow and
the children’s two sheep.”

Another day she writes: “I went to see an old demoiselle of eighty
years, who lives on an annuity in one of the upper chambers of
the château. Her only companion is a hen, who is as attached to
her as a tame bird. She is called Mademoiselle Félicité. In spite
of her wrinkles and hair as white as the wool on her distaff,
it is evident she must have been very handsome once. My husband
has consented to my wish not to disturb her in spite of the
inconvenience it causes us. Old plants must not be transplanted.
The places where we live become truly a part of ourselves. She is
taken care of by Jeanette, the sexton’s wife, once a servant at the
château, and who knows all its past history: we love to hear about
those who lived before us in the same dwelling. All this excites
to reflection. Some day I shall be spoken of as having been, and
perhaps the day is not far off! My God, where shall I then be?
Grant it may be in thy paternal arms!”

The means of the family seem to have been quite limited during the
first years of her married life. This made them anxious as to the
vintage on which their income chiefly depended. She thus writes:
“The day has been unfortunate. There have been several showers,
and the hail has crushed our vines. This is more distressing, for
they were loaded with grapes. My heart is very heavy to-night on
our own account and that of our poor vinedressers. This shows how
much I still involuntarily cling to the things of earth. It is as
if I thought happiness due me, for the least affliction immediately
casts me down. My God! make me realize at last the nothingness of
the things of this world, that I may set my heart only on those
that are eternal!”

And later: “The will of God be done! These were the last words
I wrote in my journal at the last date. They are the first on
to-day’s page. The great storm yesterday was a terrible misfortune
to us. The hail completely destroyed our harvest. We should have
had a fine crop, and now there remains scarcely enough for our
poor laborers to exist on. I am ill with sorrow and anxiety. This
misfortune will oblige us to make retrenchments and privations.
All our plans to go to Mâcon for the education of our children
are frustrated. We shall probably have to sell our horse and
_char-à-bancs_. But it is the will of God: this ought to be
sufficient to console me for everything. The fewer pleasures I
have in the world, the less I shall cling to it, and the more I
shall look forward to that world which alone is important and
imperishable--our eternal home. Nothing hardens the heart and so
fills it with illusions as prosperity, and what seems hard to
human nature is perhaps a very great grace from God, who wishes
us to cling to the only real treasures by depriving us of what is
only dust. I can say this with more sincerity to-day: yesterday
the blow seemed too hard. My husband showed great courage--more
than I--though he was greatly distressed for the moment. He said:
‘Provided neither your nor our children are taken away from me, I
can resign myself to anything. My riches are in your hearts.’ Then
he prayed with me. Meanwhile we could hear the noise of the hail
which was breaking the branches and the glass, and the peasants in
the court sobbing in despair.”

As in all the old patriarchal Catholic families, Madame de
Lamartine was not unmindful of the spiritual interests of her
servants: “After dinner, which is at one, I read, then sewed
awhile, after which I read a meditation on the Gospel to my
domestics. I am going presently to end the day at the church, whose
dim light inspires devotion and recollection. It is there I fill
the void during my husband’s absence.”

“September 5, 1802.--We have just established family prayers. It is
a very impressive and salutary practice, if, as the Scripture says,
we wish like brethren to dwell together in unity. Nothing elevates
the hearts of servants so much as this daily communion with their
masters in prayer and humiliation before God, who knows neither
great nor small. It is also good for masters, who are thus reminded
of their Christian equality with their inferiors according to the
world.

“My poor aunt, who took care of me in my infancy, is dead. I
am extremely uneasy about the fate of poor old Jacqueline, her
femme-de-chambre, who was a second mother to me, and is now left
alone, and perhaps poor. I wish at whatever cost to receive her
here. The family are opposed. My husband fears, and with reason, to
contradict his brothers and sisters, on whom we rely a good deal
for our children. He proposes to pay secretly Jacqueline’s board in
a house at Lyons, where she will no longer lack food and care, but
I would like to fulfil my obligations of gratitude toward this poor
woman to their utmost extent. If I were in her place, and she in
mine, nothing would prevent her from receiving me, even in her bed.”

The domestics of the old families in France seemed to have been
regarded as a part of the family. Service was almost hereditary,
and a bond on both sides. In the French Revolution, nine out of
ten of those proscribed by law who escaped were saved by the
devotedness of their domestics. Madame de Lamartine shows how
fully she regarded the tie that bound her to every member of her
household as a sort of spiritual relationship.

“Palm-Sunday, 1805.--There is a great commotion in town and
country. The emperor arrives to-day with all his court. We are
_très gênés_, because we are to lodge Mgr. de Pradt, Bishop of
Poitiers (the emperor’s chaplain; since Archbishop of Malines, so
celebrated for playing the courtier at that time, and _for his
subsequent ingratitude towards Napoleon after his fall_). I prefer
this guest to any other of the retinue.”

Of course the parenthetical clause is by M. de Lamartine. It
seems Mgr. de Pradt was not wholly ungrateful to the emperor, for
the declaration issued by the allied sovereigns at the Congress
of Laybach in 1821, so insulting to the memory of Napoleon,
called forth from the Archbishop of Malines the following noble
protestation:

“It is too late to insult Napoleon now: he is defenceless, after
having so many years crouched at his feet while he had the power
to punish. Those who are armed should respect a disarmed enemy.
The glory of a conqueror depends, in a great measure, on the just
consideration shown toward the captive, particularly when he
yields to superior force, not to superior genius. It is too late
to call Napoleon a revolutionist after having, for such a length
of time, pronounced him to be the restorer of order in France, and
consequently in Europe. It is odious to see the shaft of insult
aimed at him by those who once stretched forth their hands to him
as a friend, pledged their faith to him as an ally, sought to prop
a tottering throne by mingling their blood with his.

“This representative of a revolution which is condemned as a
_principle of anarchy_, like another Justinian, drew up, amid
the din of war and the snares of foreign policy, those codes
which are the least defective portion of human legislation, and
constructed the most vigorous machine of government in the whole
world. This representative of a revolution, vulgarly accused of
_having subverted all institutions_, restored universities and
public schools, filled his empire with the masterpieces of art, and
accomplished those stupendous and amazing works which reflect honor
on human genius. And yet, in the face of the Alps which bowed down
at his command; of the ocean subdued at Cherbourg, at Flushing, at
the Helder, and at Antwerp; of rivers smoothly flowing beneath the
bridges of Jena, Serres, Bordeaux, and Turin; of canals uniting
seas together in a course beyond the control of Neptune; finally,
in the face of Paris, metamorphosed, as it was, by Napoleon, he
is pronounced to be the agent of general annihilation! He, who
restored all, is said to be the representative of that which
destroyed all! To what undiscerning men is this language supposed
to be addressed?”

Napoleon himself at St. Helena, though he censured Mgr. de
Pradt’s course as ambassador at Warsaw, regarded the tribute he
subsequently paid him as an _amende honorable_.

Las Cases, alluding to his notes from the emperor’s statements
and those about him, says: “I, however, strike them out in
consideration of the satisfaction I am told the emperor
subsequently experienced in perusing M. de Pradt’s concordats.
For my own part, I am perfectly satisfied with numerous other
testimonies of the same nature, and derived from the same
source.”[55]

It was during this visit of Napoleon at Mâcon he held some
conversation with M. de Lamartine [the poet’s uncle] in Mgr. de
Pradt’s presence. “What do you wish to be?” said the emperor at the
close. “Nothing, sire,” was the reply. The emperor turned away
with a look of anger.

“Lyons, April 26, 1805.--I came here with my sister to see the
Pope. I saw him pass from the terrace of a garden near the
archevêché where he stops. Yesterday I went to the Pope’s Mass
at St. Jean’s Church. I had a good view of all the ceremonies,
but found it difficult to reach the throne in order to kiss his
slipper. However, I had this happiness. This aged man has the
aspect of a saint, as well as some of the Roman prelates who were
with him, especially his confessor.”

“May 12, 1805.--Our fortunes are improving. My husband has just
bought M. d’Osenay’s hôtel at Mâcon. The garden is small, but the
house is immense. We are furnishing it, and shall take possession
of it this summer. My husband allows me six hundred francs a month,
and all the provisions from our two estates, for the household
expenses, and to pay for Alphonse’s board [at school]. This is more
than sufficient. I cannot cease to admire the providence of God
toward us, and am ever ready to give up all he bestows on me when
he wishes and as he wishes.”

There is an interesting description of this new home in the
_Nouvelles Confidences_, and of the circle of friends whom they
drew around them. Madame de Lamartine desired this change for the
benefit of her daughters, but her own tastes inclined her to the
retirement of the country.

She thus writes September 7: “I am again at St. Point, which I
prefer to any other residence in spite of the dilapidation of the
château. I long for a still more profound retreat--a moral one. We
must from time to time enter into the solitude and silence of our
own hearts.”--“It seems to me if I were free I would consecrate
myself entirely to God, apart from the world. But we are always
wishing for something different from the will of God. Is it not
better to desire only his will?”

She describes the life she leads with her daughters as almost
conventual. They all go to Mass every morning. After breakfast
they read the Bible or some religious book, and then resume
their studies--history, grammar, etc. After dinner and an hour’s
recreation, they sew and study. At nightfall they say the Rosary
together, and in the evening she plays chess with her husband, and
sometimes reads one of Molière’s comedies. “I see no harm in it,”
she says with her characteristic delicacy of conscience. “I skip
every dangerous word.” They finally have family prayers, at which
she improvises a short meditation aloud. Her great object, she
says, is to cultivate a genuine spirit of piety in her children,
and to keep them constantly occupied.

“September, 1807.--I am enjoying the seclusion at Milly alone with
my children. Madame de Sévigné is my society. I took a long walk
to-night on Mount Craz, above the vineyard back of the house. I was
all alone. I take pleasure in such long strolls at this hour in
the evening. I love the autumn time, and these walks with no other
company but my own thoughts. They are as boundless as the horizon
and full of God. Nature elevates my heart, and fills it with a
thousand thoughts and a certain melancholy which I enjoy. I know
not what it is, unless a secret consonance of the infinite soul
with the infinity of the divine creation. When I turn back and see
from the heights of the mountain the little lights burning in my
children’s chamber, I bless Divine Providence for having given me
this peaceful, hidden nest in which to shelter them!

“I finish always with a prayer without many words, which is like an
interior hymn, which no one hears but thee, O Lord! who hearest the
humming of the insects in the tangle of furze which I tread under
my feet.”

“Milly, April 11, 1810.--I passed the night here with Cécile and
Eugénie. The weather is fine, and I longed to enjoy a pleasant
spring morning which I find delicious. As soon as I rose I went
into the garden, where I passed three hours reading, praying,
meditating, thanking God for his benefits, and endeavoring to
profit by them. The weather is lovely, the trees are full of buds
and blossoms which perfume the air. The leaves are beginning to put
forth, the birds to sing, the little insects to hum. Everything in
nature is reviving and being born again. I am inexpressibly happy
when I can be at peace in the country at this sweet time of early
spring. Unfortunately I am obliged to return to town for I know not
how long, but I wish only the good pleasure of God, and my only
desire is to fulfil my duty wherever he calls me.

“Ah! how much I have to reproach myself for. I go to extremes
in everything. In the world I am too worldly, in retirement too
austere. Present surroundings have too sensible an effect. I am not
well. I offer my sufferings to God. I pray a little. I read a good
deal. I am extremely impressed by the shortness of life, and the
necessity of preparing for eternity. I often endeavor to be fully
penetrated with what I remember to have once written--that this
life must be regarded as a purgatory, and whatever sufferings the
good God sends I should look upon as sweet in comparison with what
I merit.

“What makes me tremble is the establishment of my six children,
and all the difficulties I foresee in this respect. But this
anticipated trouble is wrong; for, after the assistance of God in
so many circumstances, I ought to expect it still more in this the
great object of my life.”

In fact, she succeeds wonderfully in disposing of her daughters
_à la Française_, and, to our American eyes, they are wonderfully
docile, but perhaps edifyingly so. Her lovely daughters all marry
gentlemen who are so fortunate as to have the particle _de_ to
their names--a thing of vast moment with the French gentry.

One of them, Césarine, a dazzling beauty of the Italian style and
said to have a lively resemblance to Raphael’s Fornarina, has
her little romance, which her mother favors, but the fates frown
adversely in the person of _la famille_, to wit, the formidable
uncles and aunts. How poor Madame de Lamartine ever got such a jury
to agree on the sentence of any suitor is no small proof of her
talent for diplomacy. In this case the objection was for pecuniary
reasons only, for the _de_ was not wanting--“de misérables raisons
de société,” says the mother, who adds: “They would not be very
rich, but I could keep them at home. I am obliged to conceal from
my husband’s family my inclination for this marriage; but, if I did
not oppose them sometimes, I should never get my children married.”

In this instance she was at last forced to yield, and tell the
aspirant, but not without tears, that Césarine could not marry
him. “The family is obstinate in its refusal. I am in despair.
The young man still hopes against all hope.” Luckily--at least
luckily for the family peace--Césarine, though sad, is touchingly
submissive--the lovers are separated for ever. The chivalric
Alphonse tells his sister not to do violence to her feelings--that
he will take her part against the whole set; but the gentle maiden
declares--we persist in believing, in our fondness for a bit of
sentiment, that she made a virtue of necessity in view of those
Gorgons and chimeras dire--declares her attachment rather a feeling
of gratitude for the love that had been given her, and that she is
ready to marry without repugnance the estimable man destined to
replace the one she has lost!

Nothing more could be said. She marries unexceptionably--M. de
Vignet, the nephew of the celebrated Count de Maistre, author
of _Du Pape_, and goes to Chambéry to become a member of a very
distinguished family. She died a few years after.

Some years later, Madame de Lamartine records a visit from the
discarded suitor of six years before. “We did not speak of
Césarine, but his very presence and tender manner said enough. I
cried heartily.”

In 1824, she records the affecting and edifying death of her
daughter Suzanne, whose loss, as well as that of Césarine, her
affectionate nature never recovers from. Her heart seems now to
turn more fully toward heaven. The latest records in her journal
evince a constantly increasing devotional frame of mind. The
surviving daughters are all married, and her son’s prospects
extremely flattering. She says: “I should be a happy mother had
I not lost two flowers from my crown. Ah! what a void their loss
makes when I walk here in the garden in the evening, and yearn to
see them and hear their voices. I must detach myself more and more
from the world in spite of myself.

“I have this year formed the habit of going to Mass before light.
It is better to snatch the first moments of the day from the bustle
and pleasures of the world, and first render to God the things
that are God’s, and then to the world what belongs to the world. I
sometimes find it hard to go out in all kinds of weather from my
warm room to attend what is called the servants’ Mass, to which the
poor go; but are we not all poor in divine grace, and all servants
to our parents, our husbands, and our children? I am abundantly
repaid by the recollection I feel in the dim church, the fervor
of my prayers, and the calmness and strength I derive from the
Divine Presence which accompanies me throughout the day after thus
fulfilling a paramount obligation.”

Only a short time before the dreadful accident that caused her
death, Madame de Lamartine thus reviews her past life, as if
conscious of her approaching end:

“Milly, October 21, 1829.--To-day the birth-day of my first-born.
I am here alone, and have consecrated the day to meditation to
strengthen my soul and prepare it for death. How many times in
my life I have paced up and down this alley of meditation, where
no one can see me from the house, with my rosary in my clasped
hands, meditating or praying! Alas! what would have become of me in
all my interior and exterior trials had God not visited me in my
meditations, and suggested holier and more consoling thoughts than
my own! It is a great grace to have this facility for recollection
in God, which has inclined me almost every day of my life to
consecrate some hours, or at least some minutes, in thinking
exclusively of him. He loves these heart-to-heart appeals to his
divine compassion. He inclines his ear to listen to the pulsations
of the pious heart that turns toward him! I felt this more than
ever to-day, and came away all bathed in tears, without perceiving
it while walking in the alley. It seemed as if my whole life passed
before me, and before him who is my Creator and Judge!

“Oh! may his judgment, which is approaching, be merciful.

“I saw myself, as if but yesterday, a child playing in the broad
alleys of St. Cloud; then, still young, a canoness, praying and
chanting in the Chapel at Salles, undecided whether to make my
vows like my companions, and consecrate my whole life to praising
God in a place of retreat between the world and eternity; I saw my
husband, young and handsome, come in his rich uniform to visit his
sister, Madame de Villars, the canoness, under whose care I had
been placed because she was older and more reasonable than I. I saw
his attention was particularly directed to me above all the rest,
and that he profited by every opportunity of visiting his sister
at the chapter. As for me, I was struck with his noble features,
his somewhat military air, his frankness of expression, and a
haughtiness that seemed only to unbend toward me; I remember the
emotion of joy shut up in my heart when he at length asked through
his sister if I would consent to his demanding me in marriage;
then, our first interview in his sister’s presence, our walks in
the environs of the chapter with the elder canonesses, his openly
expressed wish to marry me, and the continued opposition, and
the many tears shed in the presence of God during three years of
uncertainty to obtain the miracle of his family’s consent, which
appeared impossible; finally, our years of happiness in this poor
solitude of Milly, then much more humble than at present; my
despair when, scarcely married, he desperately sacrificed all, even
me, to fulfil his duty at Paris, defending as a simple volunteer
the palace of the king on the 10th of August: the divine protection
which enabled him to escape covered with blood from the garden
of the Tuileries, his flight, his return here, his imprisonment,
my apprehensions as to his life, my visits to the wicket of the
prison, where I took my son to kiss him through the bars; my
walking with my child in my arms, through the streets of Lyons and
Dijon, to appeal to the rude representatives of the people, a word
from whom was life or death to me; the fall of Robespierre; the
return to Milly, the successive births of my seven children, their
education, their marriages, the vanishing of those two angels from
earth, for whose loss the remainder cannot console me!

“And now the repose after so much weariness! Repose, yes, but old
age also, for I am growing old, whatever they say. These trees that
I planted; the ivy I set out on the north side of the house that my
son might not tell an untruth in his _Harmonies_ where he describes
Milly, and which now covers the whole wall from the cellar to the
roof; these walls themselves covered with moss; these cedars which
were no higher than my daughter Sophie when she was four years of
age, but under which I can now walk--all this tells me I am growing
old! The graves of the old peasants whom I knew when young, which
I pass as I go to church, tell me plainly this world is not my
abiding-place. My final resting-place will soon be prepared. I
cannot refrain from tears when I think of leaving all, especially
my poor husband, the faithful companion of my early years, who is
not feeble, but suffers and needs me now to suffer, as he once
needed me to be happy! My children, my dear children! Alphonse, his
wife, by her affection and virtue, a sixth daughter; Cécile and her
charming children, a third generation of hearts that love and must
be loved! And then those who are wanting, but who follow me like
my shadow in the Alley of Meditation! Alas! my Césarine, my pride
on account of her marvellous beauty, buried far away behind that
Alpine horizon which continually recalls her remembrance! Alas! my
Suzanne, the saint who wore too soon the aureola on her brow, and
whom God took from me that her memory might be for me an image of
one of his angels of purity! Dead or absent ones, I am here alone,
having borne my fruit--some fallen to the ground like that of
yonder trees, and others removed far from me by the Husbandman of
the Gospel! Ah! what thoughts attract me, pursue me in this garden,
and then force me to leave it when they cause my heart and my eyes
to overflow! Ah! this is truly my Garden of Olives!

“O my Saviour! has not every soul such a garden? Alas, yes! this
was my garden of delights--and now it is laid waste and desolate.
It is my Garden of Olives where I come to watch before my death!
And yet it is dear to me, in spite of the vacancies time and death
have made around me, even while seeking beneath yonder linden-trees
for the white dresses of my children, and listening for their gay
voices exclaiming over an insect or a flower in their border!

“What had I done that God should bestow on me this corner of the
earth, and this small house, of whose size and barrenness I was
sometimes ashamed, but which proved so sweet a nest for my numerous
brood? Ah! his name be blessed! his name be blessed! and after me
may it still shelter those who will always be a part of me.

“But I hear the bell at Bussières ringing the Angelus.

“Let us leave all this--it is better to pray than to write. I will
dry my tears, and all alone in my alley I will say the rosary, to
which my little daughters used to respond as they followed me, but
which only the sparrows in their nests and the falling leaves now
hear. No; no, no, it is not good to give way too much to tears. I
must keep my strength for duties to be accomplished--for we have
duties even on the death-bed.

“It is the will of God! Let us abandon ourselves to him entirely!
The only true wisdom consists in this--to resign ourselves to his
adorable will. I have been busying myself here in putting in order
my old journals, which has led me to look them over with interest.
This always fills me with fresh gratitude for all the grace I have
received from God, and with regret for my little progress in piety,
after all the good resolutions and reflections I have so often
made, but with so little profit. But there is time, always time,
while God gives us life, to profit by it to prepare for heaven.
This is what I beg him with my whole heart as I finish this book,
praying him to shed on me, and on all who belong to me, abundant
spiritual blessings. As to temporal blessings, I only ask for them
as far as they may be necessary for gaining heaven, but I abandon
myself with all my heart to his paternal decrees. May he bless me
in my children, in my friends, in all who have loved me, and whom I
have so much loved on earth!”

These are the last words Madame de Lamartine wrote in her journal.
Some days after, in entering a bath, she found the water too cool,
and turned the faucet. The boiling water dashed up on her chest.
She fainted. Her cry was heard, but it was too late. She was
removed to her chamber. Consciousness returned, and she lived two
days. During her last hours she constantly exclaimed: “How happy
I am! How happy I am!” Being asked why, she replied: “For dying
resigned and purified.”

Her son was at Paris, and did not arrive till after the funeral.
Remembering her wish to be buried at St. Point, he had her removed.
The grave was opened at midnight, one cold night in December, when
the ground was covered with snow.

The peasants, whom she loved and who loved her, took turns in
carrying the bier eight leagues, her son on foot behind. Not
a word, not a whisper, was to be heard on the way. When they
approached Milly, between two and three o’clock in the morning, all
the peasants stood in their door-ways, with pale faces and tearful
eyes, holding lamps in their trembling hands. They all came out to
follow the procession to Milly, where her coffin was placed for a
while at the entrance, on the very benches where every morning sat
the needy to whom she used to distribute food or medicine.

All the sobbing crowd came up to sprinkle her body with holy water
and utter a prayer.

M. de Lamartine afterward built a chapel over the grave of his
mother at St. Point, which bears on its cornice the inscription:

“SPERAVIT ANIMA MEA.”

FOOTNOTES:

[54] _Le Manuscrit de Ma Mère; or, Extracts from the Journal of
Madame de Lamartine._ Edited by her Son. Hachette & Co., Paris.
1871.

[55] See Abbott’s _Napoleon_.



A QUARTER OF AN HOUR IN THE OLD ROMAN FORUM DURING A SPEECH OF
CICERO’S.


  A PASSAGE FROM CICERO’S SPEECH IN SUPPORT OF L. LICINIUS
      MURENA’S CANDIDACY FOR THE CONSULATE, AGAINST THAT OF SERVIUS
      SULPICIUS--TWENTY YEARS BEFORE CICERO’S ASSASSINATION--CICERO
      AND C. ANTONY BEING CONSULS--SIXTY-TWO YEARS BEFORE CHRIST.

Introductory Note: Servius Sulpicius was perhaps the most eminent
practitioner of his day in that branch of the law which belongs
to the “special pleader” and the “conveyancer”; but so little of
a speaker that he would not venture alone to recommend his own
cause or to urge his claims before the Roman people. He employed
Cneius Postumius, then very young, and Marcus Cato, a most weighty
orator, whose character, however (and a reputation for unswerving
principle and the austerest virtues), had a larger share than
the mental power of his words in securing to them influence and
authority. It was less important what Cato said than that it had
been said by Cato. How very different was the case with Hortensius!
A stranger, whose face, whose name, not one of the audience knew,
fitly delivering any of Hortensius’ harangues, would have commanded
attention from the first, retained it to the last, raised many an
interrupting tempest of applause during its progress, and left,
when he had finished, a powerful, a formidable impression.

Hortensius was that Bolingbroke of the Roman Forum to whom the
huge and intelligent assemblies he addressed were what the organ is
to a Smart or the violin to a Sivori. He had hewn a lane through
many a group of brilliant opponents and rivals, with an Excalibar
forged by genius and by study _together_ (and few at last cared to
face the weapon), to the very throne of contemporary eloquence.
And there, for years, he sat at ease, _a king_. A suitor despaired
of his cause beforehand upon learning that Hortensius had been
retained on the other side. Of course, his wealth had become
enormous, and his indirect influence (for, although he had had his
year of the Consulate, he cared not very much about politics) was
an element, a “quantity,” which had to be taken into account by
statesmen and generals, by the senate, and by the consuls.

In the case of “Sulpicius against Murena” (Murena had defeated
Sulpicius in the canvass for the ensuing year’s Consulate, and this
was a prosecution of revenge to unseat the future and “designated”
chief magistrate), Murena had retained Hortensius, M. Crassus,
afterwards the Triumvir, _and Marcus Tullius Cicero_. Now, during
about ten years past, Hortensius--although speaking with the same
charm and the same glamour as ever--had ceased to sit upon the
throne or to wear the crown of eloquence. A far mightier spirit, a
far finer genius, a far deeper student--a master upon whom _his_
competent and appreciative glance rested with an admiration at
once boundless and _hopeless_--had, after a gallant struggle on his
part, so utterly eclipsed him that there was now a greater distance
between Tully and Hortensius than there ever had been between
Hortensius himself and those accomplished but defeated competitors
to whom Hortensius had long been a wonder and a despair.

Cicero, however, had passed a sleepless night before the day of
this trial: his voice almost failed him; he looked haggard; his
nerves had, for the moment, given way, and with them his presence
of mind. In charm of manner, in vigor of delivery, in clearness
and percussion of utterance, in external grace, and dignity,
and ease, his ancient rival for once surpassed him; nay, till
the respective speeches were reported, and could be compared on
perusal, Hortensius created the illusion that he had at last, in
_all_ respects, overtaken his victor, and would yet again contend
for the palm of pre-eminence.

This never was to be. The broken heart of the only orator known to
human records, who might _perhaps_ have performed such a task, had
then been mouldering for three centuries in a small island of the
Ægean Sea. We have bored the reader enough about the advocates,
and have mentioned also _what_ Servius Sulpicius, the prosecutor,
was. The defendant, L. Licinius Murena, was, on the other hand, a
distinguished soldier. He had served as a sort of adjutant-general
to the famous Lucullus in that series of campaigns by which he had
greatly reduced, without overthrowing (a task reserved for Pompey),
the power of Mithridates. Except Hannibal, and perhaps Antiochus
(we do not reckon Pyrrhus, for Rome was in the gristle then), no
enemy had ever waged so formidable a warfare against the Romans
as Mithridates. He was a winged beast. How his fame remains! What
parties and excursions you Crimean gentlemen made to the spot where
his ashes are supposed to have been inurned and intempled! Lord
of every seaboard of Pontus and the Euxine, and lord of the “Evil
Sea” itself; of ten thousand rich cities; of five hundred strong
fortresses; of five hundred thousand armed men; of horses enough
to mount the hordes of a Genghis Khan; of half-a-dozen numerous,
adventurous, and well-found fleets; of treasures uncounted and
uncountable; adroit, bold, proud, insatiably enterprising; no mean
captain; an object of worship to his followers; magnificent and
munificent; an implacable hater of the Roman name; the long-alight,
far-flaming meteor of the East--he threatened to shake hands in
Spain, across all Europe, with Sertorius; to make the shores of
Italy quake at the white clouds of his sails, and to teach the
waters of the Atlantic as well as those of the Levant to know
either the sceptre or the sword of Mithridates. It was no child’s
play to bring this potentate to the dust.

Against such a potentate, in the post next to that of the
commander-in-chief (who happened, besides, to be a great general),
Murena had served for years with the most brilliant efficiency and
distinction.

Sulpicius, among other things (alleged bribery, etc.), had sneered
at the presumption of Murena, a man “who had been principally
with the army” and out of Rome, in entering into competition
with, or daring to come forward as the rival of, a person of his,
Sulpicius’, dignity, learning, and professional station, standing,
rank.

We have said enough--perhaps too much--to frame the little picture
which we want to present to our readers; to set it near the right
window as you pass. That little picture is the argument in which
Cicero (_who was on terms of personal intimacy with the prosecutor,
as well as with his gallant client_) firmly questions--yet
questions with the most exquisite urbanity--the rather exorbitant
pretensions of Sulpicius, the “learned conveyancer and special
pleader,” to a higher consideration than “ought to be, or
could be,” allowed to the instruction, the knowledge of many
sorts (geographical, historical, administrative, tactical, and
technical--ay, strategical even--and of characters; of general
statistics; of actual local supplies; of incidental resources,
material and moral), and to the professional industry, to the
labors, the wounds, the dangers, to say nothing of the valor and
the genius of a patriotic and public-spirited soldier, who had led
armies to victory, had stormed great strongholds, and had not only
defended the frontier of the empire, but enlarged it, with every
circumstance of legitimate splendor and honorable success.

       *       *       *       *       *

  TRANSLATION--EX “PRO MURENA”--SECOND PART OF THE “CONTENTION.”[56]

“I recognize in you, Servius Sulpicius, all the respectability and
distinction that family, character, intellectual toil, and such
other accomplishments can confer, as may entitle any one to aspire
to the Consulate.

“In all these respects I know Murena to be your equal; and so
nicely your equal, that we can neither admit any inferiority on
_his_ part, nor concede the slightest precedency on _yours_.

“You have taunted Murena with his genealogy, and extolled your own.
If you mean, in all this, that no one can be deemed of honorable
parentage who is not a patrician, you will bring the masses
[_plebs_, not _populus_] to withdraw [_secede_] once more to Mount
Aventine. But if there are considerable and distinguished plebeian
families--why, both the great-grandfather and the grandfather of
Murena were actually prætors; and his father, when laying down
the prætorian office, having received, in the amplest and most
honorable form, the solemnity of a capitolian triumph, left thereby
the more accessible to my client the avenue to the Consulate,
inasmuch as it was for a dignity already earned by the father, and
due to him, that the son became a candidate.

“_Your_ nobility, Servius Sulpicius, although of the highest
class, is best known to men of letters and to antiquaries; to the
people and the electors, not so obvious: your father, you see,
was of knightly rank; your grandfather--famous for nothing very
remarkable--so that no loud modern voices, but rather the remote
whispers of antiquity, attest the glories of your race. For which
reason, I have ever claimed you as one of us; a man who, although
but the son of a knight, yet have achieved for yourself a fair
pretension to the honors of the chief magistracy in the republic.”
[He means that he was not presumptuous in offering himself to the
electors for the Consulate: “_summâ amplitudine dignus_” are the
words.]

“Nor, for my part, have I ever looked upon Quintus Pompey, a new
man, and bravery itself, as having less worth and dignity than
Marcus Æmilius (_Scaurus_), one of the leaders of our aristocracy;
for there is the same merit in the mind and the genius which hand
down to posterity the glory of a name not inherited (and this
Pompey has achieved), as to revive, like Scaurus, by personal
services, the half-dead honor of an ancient line. However, I was
under the impression, judges, that my own exertions had succeeded
in rendering the objection of lowly birth obsolete in the case of
persons of merit--persons who, if we recall not merely the Curii,
the Catos, the Pompeys, of a former age, architects of their own
station, and men of the loftiest spirit, but the Mariuses, the
Didii, the Cœliuses of almost yesterday, had been left lying in the
shade. But when, after so long an interval, I myself had stormed
those fastnesses of nobility, and had struck wide-open for the
admission of merit not less than of nobility, in the time to come
(as they used to be among our ancestors), the approaches to the
Consulate, I certainly did not expect, while a ‘designated’ consul,
sprung from an ancient and illustrious family, was defended by an
actual consul, the son of a Roman knight” [Cicero was himself at
that moment vested with the Consulate], “that the accusers would
venture to taunt him with the newness of his origin! For, indeed,
it was my own lot to be candidate for the chief magistracy in
competition with two eminent patricians, one of them as conspicuous
for the abandoned audacity of his wickedness, as the other for
his modesty and virtue--_and to vanquish both_: Catiline, by the
respect in which my character was held; and Galba, in the love
and confidence of the people. And, surely, had it amounted to any
reproach to be a new man, I lacked neither enemies nor enviers. Let
us drop, then, this discussion about family, a point in which the
present competitors are both alike distinguished; let us see what
the other allegations are. ‘_Murena sought the Quæstorship with
me: and I was made Quæstor first._’ An answer is not expected to
be given to every little nothing; nor does it escape any of you,
when a number of persons obtain simultaneously the same grade of
the magistracy, while only one of them can stand first on the list
of announcements, that to be _first declared_ in point of time is
not the same thing as to be _declared first_ in point of rank; for
the obvious reason, that there must be earlier and later entries
in every catalogue, although each name on it bears, for the most
part, the very same honor. But the quæstorships of both pretty
nearly coincide as to the ‘partition’” [of region]: “my client,
under the Titian law, had a silent and quiet province; you, that
Ostian province at the mention of which the people, when quæstors
are drawing lots, usually utter shouts--not so much a favorite or
distinguished, as a busy and troublesome department. The names of
each of you continued dormant in quæstorships; for fortune gave
to neither a field wherein your valor might respectively have
been exercised and displayed. The ulterior periods of time which
are brought into rivalry were by each of you very differently
spent. Servius pursued here, along with us, this civic warfare of
replications, pleas, caveats; replete with care and vexations;
learnt the civic law; kept late watches; toiled hard; was the
servant of every one; endured the stupidities, bore with the
arrogance, was surfeited with the perplexities of hundreds; lived
at the will of others, not according to his own. It is highly
honorable, and wins men’s favor, that one man should labor in a
pursuit which is useful to so many others. And all this while,
how was Murena engaged? He was serving as adjutant-general to
the bravest and wisest of men, a consummate captain, Lucius
Lucullus, in which service he led the army, engaged the enemy,
was repeatedly [often] at close quarters with him; routed large
forces; took cities now by storm, now by siege; so traversed
that opulent Asia, that Asia famed for its seductions, as to
leave behind him not one trace either of care for its wealth or
pursuit after its gaieties; in short, during a war of the first
magnitude, played such a part, that, while he shared, and shared
with distinction, in every achievement of the commander-in-chief,
the commander-in-chief had no part in numerous and notable services
of his. Although I speak in Lucullus’ own presence, yet, lest
it should be supposed that he allows me, on account of Murena’s
actual danger in this prosecution, to exaggerate his merits, let
me remind you that everything I state rests upon official and
public evidence--evidence in which Lucullus awards to his second
in command an amount of credit which never could have proceeded
except from the most candid and the least jealous of chiefs. Each
of the present competitors possesses every title both to personal
respect and to social position; and I would pronounce them equal,
if only Servius allowed me. But he will not allow me. He persists
in his quarrel with soldiering; he inveighs against the whole of
Murena’s adjutant-generalship. He will have it that the supreme
magistracy is the natural reward of this, his desk and chambers
[_assiduitatis_, etymologically _sitting-ness_] work; these daily
labors of his. ‘What!’ quoth he, ‘you will have been with the
army all these years; you will never have been seen in the Forum;
and then, after such a disappearance, you pretend to compete for
the highest dignities with men who have spent their lives in the
Forum?’ In the first place, Servius, you are not aware how irksome,
how wearisome to people, this _assiduity_ of ours is. To me,
indeed, the ‘_in sight, in mind_’ brought with it its conveniences;
but I surmounted the danger of tiring people by my immense
laboriousness: you may have done the same; but a little less of our
everlasting presence would have hurt neither of us.

“However, passing over this, let us come to the comparison of your
several studies and acquirements. How can there be any doubt, but
that warlike glory carries with it far more likelihood than that
of the law to win the Consulate? _You_ keep night-watches, that
you may give an opinion to your consulting clients; _he_, that he
may reach his destination in good time with his army. _You_ awake
in the morning to the crowing of the cocks; _he_ is called by the
battle-breathing trumpets. _You_ array pleadings; _he_, armies. You
are careful not to let your clients be captured; he, to keep from
capture cities and camps. He studies how the enemies’ forces, and
you how neighbors’ drains and roof-rains, may be held at bay. He
knows how to extend our boundaries; and you, how to litigate about
our ‘boundings and buttings’”--_Cætera desunt, hic_.

FOOTNOTE:

[56] N. B.--Be it observed that what follows is an attempt to
translate the untranslatable. Not only the idiomatic proprieties
are lost, but the strain of public sentiment and public thinking
which the speaker took into account in every remark is changed: and
the rhythm defies reproduction, etc.



A SALON IN PARIS BEFORE THE WAR.


PART I.

VANITY OF VANITIES.

Mesdames Folibel occupied a double set of rooms _au premier_ on the
Boulevard des Italiens. On a door to the right a large brass plate
announced that Madame Augustine Folibel presided over “_lingerie et
dentelles_,” and invited the public to “_tourner le bouton_.” To
the left a large steel plate proclaimed Madame Alexandrine Folibel
“_modiste_,” and invited the public to ring the bell. But after a
certain hour every day both these invitations were negatived by a
page in buttons, who, stationed at either door, kept the way open
for the ceaseless flow of visitors passing in and out of the two
establishments. My friend Berthe de Bonton was just turning in to
the _lingerie_ department when I came up the stairs.

“How lucky!” she cried, running across the landing to me, then
_sotto voce_: “Madame Clifford [pronounced Cliefore] is here, and
wants me to choose a bonnet for her. Now, if there’s a thing I
hate, it is choosing a bonnet for an Englishwoman. To begin with,
they don’t possess the first rudiments of culture in dress, then
they can never make up their minds, and they find everything too
dear; but the crowning absurdity is that they bring their husbands
with them, and _consult them!_ _Figurez-vous, ma chère!_” And Berthe,
with a Frenchwoman’s keen sense of the comic, laughed merrily at
the ludicrous conceit. I laughed with her, though not quite from
the same point of view.

“I made an excuse to get away for a few minutes, and left the
_ménage_ discussing a pink tulle with marabout and beetle-wings
trimming--_un petit poème, chérie_--but,” she caught me by the arm,
“fancy Madame Clifford’s complexion under it!”

“_Ah, bonjour, mesdames!_ I am at the order of _ces dames_. Will
they take the pains to seat themselves just for one second?”
continued Madame Augustine, who greeted us in the first _salon_,
where she was carrying on a warm debate on the relative merits of
Alençon _versus_ Valenciennes as a trimming for a bridal _peignoir_.

“I merely wanted to say a word with reference to my order of
yesterday. Where is Mademoiselle Florine?” inquired Berthe, looking
round the room, where there were several groups ordering pretty
things.

“Florine! Florine!” called out Madame Augustine.

“_Voici, madame!_”

Mademoiselle Florine was a plump little _boulette_ of a woman, who
wore her nose _retroussé_ and always looked at you as if she had
reason to complain of you. Without being uncivil, she looked it;
her nose had a supercilious expression that made you feel it was
considering you _de haut en bas_. The fact is, Mademoiselle Florine
was not happy. She was disappointed, not in love, but with life
in general, and with _lingerie_ in particular. She had adopted
_lingerie_ as a vocation, and now it was going down in the world;
it was degenerating into _pacotille_; _grandes dames_ began to
grow cold about it, and to wear collars and cuffs that a _petite
bourgeoise_ would have turned up her nose at ten years ago. More
grievous still was the change that had come over petticoats. The
deterioration in this line she took terribly to heart, and the
surest way to enlist her good graces and secure her interest in
your order, be it ever so small, was to preface it with a sigh or
a sneer at red Balmorals or other gaudy and economical inventions
which had dethroned the snowy _jupon blanc_ of her youth, with
its tucks and frills and dainty edgings of lace or embroidery.
Berthe, it so happened, very strongly shared this dislike to
colored petticoats, and was guilty of considerable extravagance
in the choice of white ones; Mademoiselle Florine’s sympathies
consequently went out to her, and, no matter how busily she was
engaged or with whom, she would fly to Berthe as to a kindred soul
the moment she appeared.

“I have been thinking over those _jupons à traine_ that I ordered
yesterday,” said Berthe to the pugnacious-looking little _lingère_,
“and I have an idea that the _entre-deux anglais_ will be a
failure. We ought to have decided on Valenciennes.”

“Ah! I thought Madame la Comtesse would come round to it!” observed
Mademoiselle Florine with a smile of supreme satisfaction. “I told
Madame la Comtesse it was a mistake.”

“Yes, I felt you didn’t approve; but really twelve hundred francs
for six petticoats did seem a great deal,” observed Berthe
deprecatingly. “Now, suppose we put alternately one row of deep
_entre-deux_ and a _tuyauté de batiste_ edged with a narrow
Valenciennes instead of all Valenciennes?”

“_Voyons--réfléchissons!_” said Mademoiselle Florine, putting her
finger to her lips, and knitting her brow.

“It occurred to me in my bed last night,” continued Berthe, “and
I fell asleep and actually dreamed of it, and you can’t think how
pretty it looked, so light and at the same time _très garni_.”

“So much the better! Talk to me of a customer like that!” exclaimed
Mademoiselle Florine, clasping her hands and turning to me with a
look of admiration which was almost affecting from its earnestness.
“There is some compensation in working for madame, at least. If
those ladies knew what I have to endure from three-quarters of
the world!” And she threw up her hands and shook her head in the
direction of the _premier salon_. “But let me get out the models,
and see how this dream of Madame la Comtesse’s looks in reality.”
Boxes of lace and embroidery were ordered out by the excited
_lingère_, and under her deft and nimble fingers the dream was
illustrated in the course of a few minutes. Berthe was undecided.
She sat down and surveyed the combination in silent perplexity.

“Really this question of _jupons_ makes life too complicated!” she
said presently; “and now I begin to ask myself if these will go
with any of my new dresses? The crinoline _éventail_ is going out,
Monsieur Grandhomme told me, and they will never go with the _queue
de moineau_ that he is bringing in!”

Here was a predicament!

“_Attendez_,” said Florine, dropping a dozen _rouleaux_ of lace
on the floor as if such costly rags, the mere mortar and clay of
her airy architecture, were not worth a thought. “Let us leave
the question of _jupons_ unsettled for a while; I will go myself
this evening and discuss the toilettes of Madame la Comtesse with
her _femme de chambre_; we will see the style and fall of the new
skirts, and adapt the _jupons_ to them.”

“How good you are!” exclaimed Berthe, looking and feeling grateful
for this unlooked-for solution of her difficulty.

“It is a consolation to me, Madame la Comtesse,” replied
Mademoiselle Florine with a sigh, “and I need a little now and
then!”

We wished her good-morning. “Let us go back now to Alexandrine,”
said Berthe; “I hope Mrs. Clifford has made up her mind by this
time.” But the hope was vain. Mrs. Clifford was standing with her
back to the long mirror, looking at herself as reflected in a
hand-glass that she turned so as to view her head in every possible
aspect, while Mr. Clifford looked on. “Do you think it does?” she
inquired as we came up to her.

“I think a darker shade would suit you better,” I said; “that pale
pink has no mercy on one’s complexion.”

“I’ve tried on nearly every bonnet on the table,” she said, looking
very miserable, “and they don’t any of them seem to do.”

“Madame will not understand that the first condition of a bonnet’s
suiting, after the complexion of course, is that the hair should be
dressed with regard to it,” interposed Madame Alexandrine, who I
could see by her flushed face and nervous manner was, as she would
say herself, _à bout de patience_; “these bonnets are all made
for the _coiffure à la mode_, whereas madame wears _un peigne à
galerie_.”

“_Dieu!_ but it is six months since the _peigne à galerie_ has been
heard of!”

I suggested, in aid of this undeniable argument, that the comb
should be suppressed.

“Oh! dear, no, I wouldn’t give it up for the world!” said Mrs.
Clifford, with the emphatic manner she might have used if I had
proposed her giving up her spectacles.

“Then you must have one made to order.”

“Yes,” said Madame Alexandrine, “I will make one for madame after a
_modèle à part_.”

“But then it will be dowdy and old-fashioned,” demurred the
Englishwoman.

“Then let madame sacrifice _le peigne à galerie_! What sacrifice is
it, after all? Nobody wears them now; they belong to a past age,”
argued Madame Alexandrine, appealing to me.

“This one was a present from my husband,” replied Mrs. Clifford, in
a tone that seemed to say: “You understand, there is nothing more
to be said.”

I did not dare look at Berthe. Luckily she was beside me, so
I could not see her face, but I saw the muff go up in a very
expressive way, and she suddenly disappeared into a little _salon_
to the left, set apart for caps and _coiffures de bal_. I heard a
smothered “burst,” and a treacherous _armoire à glace_ revealed her
thrown back in an arm-chair, stuffing her handkerchief into her
mouth, and convulsed with laughter.

Madame Folibel, whose risible faculties long and hard training had
brought under perfect control, received the communication, however,
with unruffled equanimity.

“That explains why madame holds to it,” she answered very
seriously; “it is natural and affecting. Still, one must be
reasonable; one must not sacrifice too much to a sentiment.
Monsieur would not wish it,” turning to the gentleman, who stood
with his back to the fireplace listening in solemn silence to
the controversy. “Monsieur understands that the chief point in
madame’s toilette is her bonnet. I grieve to say English ladies
themselves do not sufficiently realize the supremacy of the bonnet;
yet a moment’s reflection ought to show them how all-important
it is, how necessary that every other feature in the dress
should succumb to it. The complexion, the hair, the shape of the
head, are all at the mercy of the _chapeau_. Of what avail is
a handsome dress, and fashionable shawl or mantle, costly fur,
lace--an irreproachable _tout-ensemble_, in fine--if the bonnet
be unbecoming? All these are but the _rez-de-chaussée_ and the
_entresol_, so to speak, while the _chapeau_ is the crown of the
edifice. Le chapeau enfin c’est la femme! [The bonnet, in fact, is
the woman!]” At this climax Madame Folibel paused. Mr. Clifford,
who had listened as solemn as a judge, his hands in his pockets,
and not a muscle of his face moving, while the _modiste_, looking
straight at him, delivered herself of her _credo_, now turned to me.

“Unquestionably,” he said in a serious and impressive tone, “there
must be a place in heaven for these people. They are thoroughly
in earnest.” Mrs. Clifford took advantage of the aside between
her husband and me to follow up Madame Folibel’s oration by a few
private remarks.

Clearly she was staggered in her fidelity to the “sentiment” which
interfered so alarmingly with the success of the “crown of the
edifice,” but she had not the honesty to confess it outright. She
was ashamed of giving in. Without being often one whit less devoted
to the vanities of life, an Englishwoman is held back by this
kind of _mauvaise honte_ from proclaiming her allegiance to them.
She is ashamed of being in earnest about folly. Now, this British
idiosyncrasy is quite foreign to a Frenchwoman; even when she is
personally, either from character or circumstances, indifferent to
the great fact of dress, she is always alive to its importance
in the abstract, and will discuss it without any assumption of
contemning wisdom, but soberly and intelligently, as befits a grave
subject of recognized importance to her sisterhood in the carrying
on of life.

“What do you advise me to do, dear?” said Mrs. Clifford, appealing
to her husband, the wife and the woman warring vexedly in her
spirit.

“Give in,” said Mr. Clifford. “What in the name of mercy could you
do else! A dozen men in your place would have capitulated after
that broadside ending in the woman and the bonnet.”

“What does monsieur say?” inquired Madame Folibel.

Monsieur had answered his wife with his eyes fixed on the
Frenchwoman, as if she were a wild variety of the species that he
had never come upon before, and might not have an opportunity of
studying again.

“I suppose I must sacrifice the comb,” observed Mrs. Clifford,
affecting a sort of bored indifference and looking about for her
old bonnet, “so we will leave the choice of the model open till I
have had a conversation with Macravock, my maid, and see what she
can do with my hair; she is very clever at hair-dressing.”

“Oh! de grâce, madame!” exclaimed La Folibel, terrified at the
rough Scotch name that boded ill for the _couronnement_. “Your
maid, instead of mending matters, will complicate them still more.
You must put yourself in the hands of a _coiffeur_ who understands
physiognomy, and who will study yours before he decides upon
the necessary change. If madame does not know such a man, I can
recommend her mine, a _coiffeur_ in whom I have unlimited trust. I
send him numbers of my customers, he never fails to please them,
and I can trust him not to compromise me. Madame understands the
success of my bonnets depends in no small degree on the way in
which the head is adjusted for them. _Il y a des têtes impossibles_
that I could not commit my reputation to. I am sometimes obliged
to make a bonnet for them, but I never sign it. I have my name
removed from the lining, and so edit the thing anonymously. It
would compromise me irremediably if my signature were seen on some
of your country-women’s heads!”

Mrs. Clifford, awakened to the responsibility she was about to
incur, promised to consult the artist instead of her Scotch maid;
whereupon Madame Folibel handed her a large card which bore the
name Monsieur de Bysterveld and his address. Under both was a note
setting forth his capillary capabilities, and informing the public
that--

“Monsieur de Bysterveld undertakes to prove that it is possible to
become a hair-dresser and yet remain a gentleman.”

The _modiste_ then assisted Mrs. Clifford to tie on her bonnet,
observing, while she smoothed out the ribbon carefully as if trying
to make the best of a bad case:

“I am glad for her own sake that madame has consented to give up
that _peigne à galerie_. It really is an injustice to her head, and
it is simply out of the question her having a _chapeau convenable_
while that impediment exists. Madame will be quite another person,”
she continued, addressing Mr. Clifford. “Monsieur will not
recognize her with a new chignon and in a bonnet of mine.”

“Oh! then I protest,” said Mr. Clifford dryly; he understood
French, but did not speak it--“I protest against both the chignon
and the bonnet, madame.”

“_Plaît-il, monsieur?_” said Madame Folibel, looking from one to
the other of us.

“Dear Walter! she means I shall be so much improved,” explained the
wife, laughing.

“Improved!” repeated Mr. Clifford, not lifting his eye-brows, but
writing _incredulity_ on every line of his face.

His wife blushed, and her eyes rested on his for a moment. Then,
turning quickly to Madame Folibel, she made some final arrangement
about a meeting for the following day.

Just at this juncture Berthe came back. I was glad she was not
there in time to catch the absurd little passage between the two.
A husband paying a compliment to his wife, and she blushing under
it after a ten years’ _ménage_, would have been a delicious morsel
of the _ridicule anglais_ that Berthe could not have withstood; it
would have diverted her _salon_ for a week.

“Well?” she said, five notes of interrogation plainly adding: “Are
you ever going to have done?”

“_C’est décidé_,” answered Madame Folibel, coming forward with an
air of triumph. “Madame sacrifices the comb!”

“Excellent!” exclaimed Berthe. “I congratulate you, _chère madame_.
Even mentally, you will be the better of it. For my part, I know no
little misery more demoralizing than an unbecoming bonnet.”

We all went down-stairs together, but at the street-door we parted
from the Cliffords.

“Where are you going now?” asked Berthe.

“To the _réunion_ at the Rue de Monceau,” I said. “I got the
_faire-part_ last night, and I want particularly to be there to
try and get a child into the Succursale school. There is only
one vacancy, and we are six trying for it, so I fear my little
_protégée_ has small chance of success. Come and give me your vote,
Berthe.”

“_Chérie_, I would with pleasure, but I am so dreadfully busy this
afternoon: I promised La Princesse M---- to look in during the
rehearsal at her house; and then I’ve not been to Madame de B----’s
for an age, and I almost swore I’d go to-day.”

“Well, what’s to prevent your going afterwards?” I cried. “It’s
not yet four, and the _réunion_ does not last more than an hour.
Monsieur le Curé arrives at a quarter-past four, and leaves at
five.”

“But one is bored to death waiting for him,” argued Berthe, “and
the room is so hot _chez les bonnes sœurs_, and there won’t be a
cat there to-day, I’m sure; everybody is at the skating.”

“Oh! the parish and the skating don’t interfere with each other,” I
cried, laughing; “but I see you can’t come, so good-by. I must be
off. Mademoiselle de Galliac will be waiting for me.”

“_Comment!_ Is _la petite_ to be there? I particularly want to see
her. I want to know how her snow-storm costume went off at the
Marine, for in the crowd I never caught sight of her. _Chère amie_,
I’ll go with you to Monceau. After all,” she continued, drawing a
long sigh as we stepped into her carriage, “this life won’t last
for ever; one must think now and then of one’s poor soul.”

We were a little behind our time for the canvassing. Four of my
rivals were before me in the field, and had robbed me of a few
votes that I might have received by being there a quarter of an
hour sooner.

“Now, Berthe,” I cried, “it’s your fault, so you must bestir
yourself to help me. Attack those young girls in the window, and
persuade them to vote for my child.”

“Who are they?”

“I don’t know--go and ask them.”

Berthe charged valiantly at the group in the window, introducing
herself by embracing the young girls all round, and declaring her
perfect confidence in their support. They gathered round her,
fascinated at once by her beauty and her frank, attractive manner.
I saw at a glance that the votes were safe, and that I had no
need to bring up reinforcements in that quarter, so I set to work
elsewhere.

Perhaps it would interest my readers to hear something of the good
work itself. Its object is to take charge of orphans of the poorest
class, clothe, feed, and educate them till the age of twenty-one.
The members are exclusively ladies, married or single. To be a
member, it is necessary to be a parishioner, to pay a small sum
yearly for the maintenance of the confraternity, and to assist
at the monthly meetings, where the wants, plans, and progress of
the work are discussed in presence of the curé, who is always
president, and another parish clergyman elected _directeur_, the
rest of the board--treasurer, secretary, and vice-president--being
chosen from amongst the members. When an orphan is proposed for
admission, a written statement giving her birth, parentage, and
circumstances, and setting forth the special claims of her case,
is placed on the green table of the assembly-room, at which the
dignitaries preside during the meeting. This preliminary fulfilled,
the next step is to secure the votes of the confraternity. The
demand being always much greater than the supply, when a vacancy
occurs it is sure to be sharply contested. A zealous patroness
takes care to canvass beforehand; but, from one circumstance or
another, there are always a good many votes still to be disposed
of on the day of the election, and the half-hour that elapses
from the opening of the assembly to the arrival of the curé is
spent in fighting for them, and presents a scene of interesting
excitement. The patroness is looked upon as the mother of the
little petitioner, who, once admitted into the orphanage, is called
her “child.” Those who are long members and very zealous succeed
in getting in many orphans, and thus become mothers of a numerous
family. The most devoted of these mothers are generally the young
girls. The way in which some of their hearts go out to their
adopted children is touching and beautiful beyond description. They
seem to anticipate their joys and cares, and to invest themselves
with something of motherhood in their relations with the little
outcasts, who look to them for help in a world where, but for them,
they would apparently have no right to be--where no one cares for
them, no one loves them, except the great Father who suffers the
little ones to come to him, and will not have them sent away.

Every month the _sœurs_ send in a special bulletin of the conduct
and health of each child, addressed to the adopted mother, and read
by Monsieur le Curé at the meeting. According to the contents of
the bulletin, the mothers are congratulated or the reverse. Little
presents are sent to the good children, and letters of reproval
written to the naughty ones. In this way, the maternal character is
kept up till the children leave the shelter of their convent home.
Then the mothers assist in placing them as servants or apprentices,
or, better still, in getting them respectably married.

While Berthe was getting up votes for me on her side, I was busy on
my own, and when the bell rang, announcing, as we thought, Monsieur
le Curé, I had a pretty good poll.

The buzz of talk subsided suddenly; the high functionaries broke
away from the humbler participants, and took their places at the
green table, near the _fauteuils_, waiting for the curé and the
vicaire. Some of the very young mothers looked eager and flurried.
One in particular, who was a rival candidate with me, seemed
terribly nervous. She was about seventeen. Two young mothers
on either side of her were speaking words of encouragement and
trying to keep up her hopes. “You must pray hard for my success,”
I heard her say to one of them; “the poor old grandfather will
break his heart if Jeannette is refused. He can’t take her into
Les Vieillards, even if it were not against the rules, because he
hasn’t a crust of bread to give her. He has nothing but what the
_sœurs_ give him for himself. Oh! do pray hard that I may succeed!”

“Let us say another Pater and Ave before Monsieur le Curé comes
in,” suggested her companions; and the three friends lowered their
voices, and sent up their pure young hearts together in a last
appeal to the Father of the fatherless in behalf of the little
orphan.

The door opened. It was not Monsieur le Curé.

“_Ah, bonjour, cher ange!_” exclaimed Madame de Bérac, embracing
Berthe with effusion, and talking as low as if she were “receiving”
in her own _salon_. “What a charming surprise to meet you! I came
to vote for Marguerite’s _protégée_, and see how my _dévouement_ is
crowned!”

I expressed my satisfaction at virtue’s proving in this case its
own reward.

“But why have I not seen you before?” inquired Berthe. “I did not
even know you were in town.”

“I hardly know it yet myself,” replied Madame de Bérac. “I only
arrived last night. Marguerite wrote to me imploring me to be here
if I could in time to vote for her. _Chère aimée_,” she continued,
turning to me, “till you reminded me of it, I actually forgot I was
a member at all!”

“Well, now that you are in town, you mean to stay?” said Berthe.

“_Hélas_, I only remain a week.”

“But you said you meant to spend the carnival here?”

“When I said so, I believed it.”

“And what has changed your plans?” I inquired.

Madame shrugged her shoulders. “My husband has been so impolite as
to tell me that he has no money! One cannot stay in Paris without
money.”

“_Quel homme!_” exclaimed Berthe, with a look of pity and disgust.

The door opened again. This time it was the curé. After the
usual blessing and prayer, he declared the _séance_ opened, and
read the reports of the board and the bulletins. These matters
disposed of, the business of the election began at once. A brisk
cross-examination soon put four candidates _hors de concours_. Two
had fathers who could support them, but wouldn’t. The confraternity
found the children not qualified for its charge. Two others were
not parishioners of St. Philippe du Roule. Of the six who had
started, two therefore only remained in the field. One was mine,
the other was the _protégée_ of the young girl whose conversation
I had just overheard. We were to divide the votes between us.
Our respective orphans had the necessary qualifications. It only
remained to see which of the two, as the more destitute, could
establish the primary claim on the protection of the confraternity.
Mine was ten years of age. She had two tiny brothers and a sister
some five years older than herself who, since the death of their
mother, six months ago, had supported the whole family by working
as a _blanchisseuse de fin_ by day, and as a _lingère_ half the
night. But the bread-winner gave way under the load of work, and
now lay sick at the hospital, while the brothers and the sister,
clinging to each other in a fireless garret, cried out for bread
to the rich brothers who could not hear them. The Curé de Ste.
Clothilde had promised to find shelter for the boys; but what was
to be done with the girl? I had stated these plain facts in the
petition, and now verbally recommended the case to the compassion
of the members, and once again asked for their votes.

My rival’s child was twelve years of age. She had no brothers or
sisters. She was utterly destitute, but in good health, and nearly
of an age to support herself.

Monsieur le Curé listened to the two cases, and, when he had heard
both, his judgment seemed strongly impressed in favor of mine.

In spite of the interest I felt in my poor little _protégée_,
I could not help regretting the impending failure of my young
competitor opposite. She had answered the curé’s questions in
short, nervous monosyllables, and now sat drinking in every word
he said, two fever-spots burning on her cheeks, while her eyes
swam with tears that all her efforts failed to suppress. A face
of seventeen is always interesting; but in this one there was
something more than the mere attractiveness of early youth and
innocence. There was an eager, awakened expression in the clear
blue eyes, and a sensitive play about the grave, full lips that
one seldom sees in so young a face. She was simply, almost quaintly
dressed as contrasted with the costly elegance of most of the
dresses around her. The black bonnet with the wreath of violets
resting on the fair hair, and the neat but perfectly plain black
reps costume, bespoke not poverty, but the very strictest economy.

“To the vote, _mesdames_,” said the curé. “I fear, Mademoiselle
Hélène, you have a bad chance.”

“O Monsieur le Curé!” burst from Hélène, “her poor old grandfather
will die of disappointment.”

“My poor child, I hope not,” said the curé, evidently touched by
her distress, but unable to repress a smile at this extreme view.
“Your _protegée’s_ having a grandfather is indeed an advantage on
the wrong side.”

“He’s blind, Monsieur le Curé! and paralyzed! and eighty-six years
old!” urged Hélène, gaining courage from desperation, “and his one
prayer is to see the _petite_ safe somewhere before he dies. O
Monsieur le Curé!--” She stopped, the big tears rolling down her
cheeks.

“_Voyons!_” said the good old pastor, rubbing his nose, and
fidgeting at his spectacles. “Let us take the vote, and then we
shall see. You have a child already, have you not, mademoiselle?”

“Yes, Monsieur le Curé; I have two, but one is in the country, at
the Succursale.”

The votes were taken, and, by a very small majority, I carried it.
My voters congratulated me, while Hélène’s friends crowded round
her, condoling. But the poor child would not be comforted; overcome
by the previous emotion and the final disappointment, she sobbed as
if her heart would break.

“Oh! really, it’s too cruel to let that dear child be
disappointed,” said Berthe. “Can’t we do something, Monsieur le
Curé? Can’t we by any possibility squeeze in another child?”

“Nothing easier, madame; you have only to create a new _bourse_, or
get subscribers to the amount of three hundred francs a year for
the term of the child’s education,” replied Monsieur le Curé.

“Then I subscribe for two years down,” said Berthe impulsively.
“Who follows suit?”

“I do,” said another speaker; “I will subscribe for one year!”

“And I will give forty francs,” said a third.

“And I a hundred,” said the curé, who was always to the fore when a
good work was to be helped on.

In a few minutes, the green table glistened with gold pieces and
notes. It was all done so quickly that Hélène had not had time to
ask what it was all about, when Berthe ran up to her with the good
news that her child was taken in, and, embracing her tenderly, bade
her dry her tears.

“How good you are, madame!” said the young girl, returning her
caress with fervor; “but I knew you were good; you have the face of
an angel!”

“It is better to have the heart of one,” said Berthe, laughing, and
hastily rubbing a dew-drop from her own fair face.

“Now, I must make haste away, or I shall be late for my lesson,”
said Hélène, after thanking the members who gathered about her,
this time embracing and congratulating.

“What lesson are you going to take, _ma petite_?” inquired Berthe
affectionately.

“I am going to give one, madame,” replied Hélène. “I live by giving
music lessons.”

“Then you must come and give me some,” said Berthe. “Here is my
address. Come to me to-morrow as early as you can.”

“You are not sorry I made you come, are you, Berthe?” I asked, as
we went out together.

“Sorry! I would not have missed it for the world.”


PART II.

LE PARTI.

“_Au revoir, à demain soir!_” said Berthe, kissing a fair-haired
young girl, and conducting her to the door.

“What a sweet face! Whose is it?” inquired Madame de Beaucœur.

“Hélène de Karodel’s. Her character is sweeter still than her face.
I have fallen quite in love with her,” said Berthe. And she related
the story of their meeting at the _réunion de Monceau_, and the
acquaintance that had followed.

“It is a fine old Breton name, and used to be a very wealthy one.
How comes she to be earning her bread, poor child?”

“The old story,” said Berthe. “General de Karodel mismanaged his
property, took to speculation by way of mending matters, and of
course lost everything. He died, leaving a widow and three children
to do the best they could with his pension, about a thousand francs
a year. Hélène is the eldest, and what she earns pays for the
education of the second sister.”

“But the rest of the family are well off. Why don’t they do
something for them?” demanded Madame de Beaucœur.

“Rich relations are not given much to helping poor ones,” replied
Berthe; “besides, these Karodels are as proud as Lucifer, and
benefits are pills that a proud spirit finds it difficult to
swallow; it takes a good deal of love to gild them.”

“Very true!” And dismissing Hélène de Karodel with a sigh, “_Chère
amie_” said Madame de Beaucœur, “I am come to ask you to do me a
service.”

Her presence indeed at so early an hour (it was not much past
one) on Berthe’s “day” suggested something more important than an
ordinary visit. A “day” is a thing that deserves to be noticed
amongst the institutions of modern Paris life. Everybody has a day.
Women in society have one from necessity, for the convenience of
their visitors whose name is Legion. Women not in society have one
because they like to be included amongst those with whom it is a
necessity. The former speak of their day as “_mon jour_” and as
a rule hate it, because it ties them down to stay one day in the
week at home. The latter speak of it as “_mon jour de réception_,”
and glory in it. For the former it is a mere episode, an occasion
amongst many for toilette and gossip, mostly of the Grandhomme and
Folibel kind, but often of a more serious character, sometimes even
of conversation on such grave topics as politics, science, and
theology. For the latter, it is a grand opportunity for dress, and
dulness, and weary expectation. Madame, attired in state, sits on
her sofa like patience on a monument, smiling, not on grief, but on
hope--hope of visitors, who come like angels, few and far between.
Woe be unto the false or foolish friend who, under any pretence of
business, or kind inquiries, or lack of time, should pass by this
day of days, and call on some insignificant day, when neither
madame, nor the _salon_, nor the _valet-de-chambre_ is in toilette
to receive him!

But it is not into one of these dreary Saharas that we have
strayed. Berthe’s day is as busy as a fair. So great is the
concourse of visitors that, although the reception begins
officially at three, the rooms begin to fill soon after two, those
who really want to speak to her alleging, as an excuse for forcing
the _consigne_, that, when _la cour et la ville_ are there, it is a
sheer impossibility to get a word with her.

“A service!” repeated Berthe. “I hope it is not too good to be
true.”

“_Toujours charmante!_” Madame de Beaucœur took her hand and
pressed it. “But the favor I am going to ask does not directly
concern myself. You know Madame de Chassedot?”

“Slightly; I meet her here and there; we bow, but we don’t speak.”

“She has deputed me to speak for her to-day. Do you know her son at
all?”

“A fair youth, tall and good-looking?”

“Precisely.”

“I think I danced with him at the Marine, the other night,” said
Berthe reflectively.

“Then you know him at his best; he dances divinely; but I believe
that is the only thing he excels in,” observed Madame de Beaucœur.

“He is very stupid?” said Berthe interrogatively.

“Not very. Simply stupid. But he is, as you know, good-looking,
and, what is more to the purpose, of good family and very well off.
He is heir to his uncle, and so will one day have two of the finest
châteaux in France, each representing two millions of money. The
paternal millions have grown thin since the old gentleman’s death,
but the uncle’s will replenish them soon; he cannot last long, he
is in bad health and seventy-six years of age. So the marquis is
safe to be at the head of a very handsome fortune by the time he
has settled down.”

“Meanwhile?” said Berthe, pretending not to see the drift of these
preliminaries.

“Meanwhile, his mother is very anxious to marry him. She spoke
confidentially to me about it, and begged me to look out for a wife
for her. I promised I would do my best. Like all mothers-in-law,
she wants perfection. Sixteen quarterings _en règle_, that is
understood; equal fortune of course; but, although Edgar’s
present and future fortune is nominally four millions, as he has
compromised one million, she would count it as not existing,
and only exact three millions with his wife. This is carrying
on matters on a grand scale?” And Madame de Beaucœur waited for
Berthe’s approval.

“How did he compromise the odd million?” inquired Berthe evasively.

“_Mais, mon Dieu!_ One must not examine too closely!” replied
Madame de Beaucœur, smiling at the _naïveté_ of the question.

“And besides these?” said Berthe.

“The girl must be pretty, and well brought up. I must tell you,
my dear,” continued the lady, with a sort of diffidence as if
conscious that she was about to state some ludicrous or damaging
fact, “that the mother-in-law is very pious, and she holds very
much to having a daughter-in-law who is so also. Otherwise she is
the best woman in the world, very intelligent, and will do all in
her power to make her son’s wife happy.”

“And the son himself? You have not said much about him. How far
does he pledge himself to the same end?”

“Ah! there is the difficulty!” said Madame de Beaucœur.
“Unfortunately he won’t hear of being married at all. The moment
his mother speaks of it, he either turns it off in a joke, or, if
she insists, he gets into a tantrum, flies out of the house, and
she doesn’t see him for a week. You can fancy how this complicates
the matter for her, poor woman!”

“It certainly is a complication,” observed Berthe.

“And it makes it all the more incumbent on us to try and help her,”
resumed the envoy. “So I have come to enlist your offices in her
behalf. I promised her she might count on you, _chère amie_. Did I
promise too much?”

“If you promised her that I would marry her son for her, _nolens
volens_, you decidedly did,” answered Berthe, laughing ironically.

“Oh! I did not go that length,” protested Madame de Beaucœur,
nettled, but laughing heartily to hide her pique. “I only said that
you were more likely than any other woman in Paris to know the girl
who united all these conditions, and that, if you knew her, you
would give Madame de Chassedot an opportunity of meeting her.”

“And how about Madame Chassedot meeting her?” demanded Berthe
perversely. “After all, the contracting powers must look each
other in the face at least once before they are brought to swear
eternal love and duty before Monsieur le Maire, and if this
inconvenient young man flies out the room at the bare mention of
such a catastrophe--dear madame, I have the highest opinion of your
diplomatic powers, but, believe me, this enterprise is beyond their
compass.”

“Leave that to his mother,” said Madame de Beaucœur. “She is equal
to it. If you find the missing element, and give her a chance of
managing it, the issue is certain.”

Berthe was going to reply when the door opened, and the Princess
de M---- was announced. When the usual greeting had subsided, the
three ladies entered on the foremost questions of the day, viz.,
the _salon_, the cholera, and the new comedy called _La Beauté du
Diable_ that was setting all Paris by the ears.

The trio were not long alone. The rooms were filling rapidly, but
the new-comers, instead of checking the conversation, enlivened it,
every fresh arrival falling in with the current and propelling it.

“The Empress does not believe it to be contagious, and holds it of
primary importance that the popular belief to the contrary should
be practically repudiated,” said an old senator, who joined the
circle while the cholera was on the _tapis_, “This was the chief
motive of her visit to Amiens. I have just been to the Tuileries,
and heard the account of it.”

“Racontez, monsieur, racontez!” exclaimed Berthe, recognizing his
white hairs by making room for him on the sofa beside her.

“You honor me too highly, madame!” said the old courtier, bending
to his knees before he assumed the place of distinction. “I should
have at least run the gantlet with the plague to deserve to be so
favored. You are aware,” he continued in a more serious tone,
“that it was raging furiously at Amiens. The townspeople became
so panic-stricken that the victims were deserted the moment they
were seized. Every house was closed. No one walked abroad for
fear of rubbing against some infected thing or person. Except the
sisters of charity going in and out of the condemned houses and
hospitals, there was hardly a soul to be seen in the streets. In
fact, it threatened to be a second edition of the plague in Milan.
The Empress, hearing all this, suddenly announced her intention
of visiting the city. The Emperor strongly opposed the project,
and her ladies seconded him, being very loth to run the risk of
accompanying her majesty. The Empress, however, held her own
against them all, like a Spaniard and a woman, said she would have
no one run any risk on her account, and declared herself determined
to go alone. Two of her ladies, to save their credit, thereupon
volunteered to go with her. They started by the first train next
day, and returned the same evening, not at all the worse for the
journey.”

“I dare say,” remarked a young _crévé_, a furious Legitimist, who
always spoke of the Emperor as _ce gaillard là_, and who would have
as soon dined with his _concierge_ as at the Tuileries. “They made
a tour in a close carriage round the town, and took precious care
to keep clear of the dangerous quarters.”

“I have the word of her majesty to the contrary, monsieur. She
visited the wards, inquired minutely into their organization, and
spoke to several of the sufferers. The equerry who accompanied
her told me that she held the hand of one poor fellow who was
dying, and stooped down, putting her ear close to his lips to hear
something he had to say about his little children: there were three
of them, their mother had died that morning, and now they were
going to be quite destitute. The Empress sent for them, embraced
them in the presence of the father, and promised to take care of
them. He expired soon after blessing her, as you may imagine.”

“She has a noble heart!” murmured Berthe, while a tear stood in her
eye.

“Comédie, haute comédie!” sneered the _crévé de faubourg_.

“A stroke of policy, rather,” observed a Deputy du Centre, stroking
his beard.

“A comedian’s policy!” said a Deputy de la Gauche; “but it is time
and trouble lost, the people are no longer duped by that sort of
charlatanism.”

“Say, rather, the people are tired of peace and prosperity, and
want a change at any cost,” said the Princess de M----. “You are
the most unmanageable people under the sun. The wonder is, how any
one can be found willing to govern you.”

“That is quite true,” assented Berthe, whose politics, of no
absolute color, leaned towards Imperialism, partly because it was
the established order of things, and partly because the court was
pleasant and its hospitalities magnificent. “We are an unruly
nation; but whatever one thinks of the Empire, it is ungrateful and
unjust not to give the Empress credit at least for good intentions
in this visit to Amiens. It was an act of heroic charity and
courage, and that there was as much wisdom as charity in it is
proved by the fact that the pestilence has decreased sensibly from
the very day of her visit.”

“O madame, madame!” protested the _crévé_ and the two deputies in
chorus.

“The bulletins of the last week are there to prove it,” affirmed
Berthe.

“Where were they fabricated?” demanded the Deputy de la Gauche.
“Perhaps Monsieur de Taitout could tell us?” Monsieur de Taitout
was Chef de Cabinet at the Ministry of the Interior.

“They were issued at Amiens by the medical men of the hospitals
and by the Commission of Public Health, I presume,” replied the
ministerial functionary with repellent _hauteur_.

“They had at least a roll of red ribbon apiece in return for their
satisfactory bulletins!” pursued the Deputy de la Gauche, with
supercilious irony.

“You are evidently well informed, monsieur,” replied the Chef de
l’Intérieur, provoked by the persiflage; and darting a glance of
peculiar meaning at the deputy, “We may infer that you are in the
confidence of the Minister of Police?”

The deputy bit his lip and reddened, while a suppressed titter ran
through the company. This suspicion of complicity with the police,
which the established system of compression and its inevitable
consequence, espionage, engendered too readily, was apt to fall
sometimes on the most unlikely subjects; in the present instance,
however, it was all the more mortifying because public rumor had
paved the way for credulity by ascribing the violent antagonism of
the Deputy de la Gauche to the fact of his having been disappointed
in obtaining a prefecture under the existing government. But
Berthe, though she disliked and mistrusted him, was annoyed that
he should be made uncomfortable in her _salon_. She disapproved
of the turn the conversation was taking, and by way of diverting
it, without breaking off too precipitately from the subject under
discussion, she said, addressing an academician who had just joined
the circle:

“Is it not quite possible, admitting panic to be the first
condition of contagion, that the presence of the Empress in the
midst of the sick and the dying may have had such an effect on
the _morale_ of the people as could sufficiently explain the
immediate decrease in the number of deaths? Instruct us, Monsieur
le Philosophe!”

“Madame, I come here to learn rather than to teach,” replied the
man of science with the gallantry of his threescore years and
ten; “but, since you do me the honor to ask my opinion, I confess
that it has the good grace to agree with your own. The people were
imbued with the belief that to breathe the infected atmosphere was
to die. The Empress, of her own free impulse, came boldly into the
midst of it, stood among the dying and the dead, breathed long
draughts of contagion, and did not die. Therefore contagion is a
fallacy, and panic, instead of killing, is forthwith killed.”

“Your therefore, monsieur, is admirable,” said the Princess de
M----, tapping her parasol on the arm of her chair. “Now, let us
have a truce of the plague, and talk of something else.”

“Yes,” said Berthe, “or else talking may raise a panic, and we
shall all catch it. Have you been lately to the theatre, monsieur?”

“I went last night to see _La Beauté du Diable_,” replied the
philosopher.

“Ah! And what did you think of it?”

“I think, madame--_que la France est bien malade_,” said the old
man gravely.

“One need not be _un des quarante_ to find that out,” remarked the
Deputy de la Gauche with a sneer.

“Is it so very bad?” inquired Berthe, turning a deaf ear to the
uncivil commentary.

“It is so bad,” replied the academician, “that, if I had not seen
it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, I could not have
believed that the French drama and the French public could have
fallen so low. I asked myself whether I was in Paris or in Sodom.
From first to last the piece is a tissue of license and blasphemy,
for which I could find no parallel, even approximately, in the most
ribald productions of ancient or modern literature.”

“Dear me!” exclaimed Berthe, “you quite horrify me. Why, we had
just arranged a _partie fine_ to go and see it!”

“Take an old man’s advice, madame--don’t go,” said the academician
impressively.

“It all depends,” said the Princess de M----, twirling her parasol,
and lolling back in the luxurious _fauteuil_, “if one is prepared
to risk it. I am for my part!”

The philosopher bowed to the lady, but offered no comment.

“Why does the Censure permit such bad comedies to be played?” asked
Madame de Beaucœur. “I thought the reason for its existence was the
protection of the public morals?”

“Political morals rather, madame,” corrected the Deputy de
la Gauche, with an air of mock solemnity, “and it is most
conscientious in the discharge of that duty. An irreverent
insinuation against the government suffices to bring down anathemas
on a comedy or a drama from which no amount of talent can redeem
it. My friend Henri ---- has just had a _chef-d’œuvre_, the result
of a whole year’s labor, rejected on the plea that some odd
passages, which cannot be removed without changing the whole plan,
might be construed by sensitive Imperialists into a hit at the
dynasty.”

“The judges would serve the dynasty better by exercising a little
wholesome restraint over what may prove more fatal to it in the
long run than even servile flattery,” observed the philosopher.
“What think you, M. le Sénateur?”

“Que voulez-vous?” The senator shrugged his shoulders. “One must
reckon with human nature; you cannot lock it in on every side. If
you don’t leave a safety-valve to let off the superfluous steam,
the ship will blow up.”

“Take care the valve does not turn out to be a leak, or the ship
may sink!” replied the academician. “Our press and our literature
are eating into the very marrow of the nation’s heart, and rotting
it. The people are taught to scoff at everything--to make a jest
of everything, human and divine. Nothing is sacred to the venal
scribes who pander to the base passions of humanity, and prey upon
its vices and its follies. When public morality has come to such a
pass that one of the first writers of the day publicly vindicates
the devil’s claim to our respect and pity as ‘an unsuccessful
revolutionist,’ and when one of the last writes and prints such a
sentence as, ‘I grant you the good God, but leave me the devil!’
and that the cynical blasphemy calls out no stronger comment than
a laugh or a shrug--when, I say, we have come to this pitch of
progress and civilization, it is time the ship’s hold were looked
to.”

“I grant you they are dangerous symptoms,” assented the senator,
shaking his head, and preparing a pinch from his enamelled
snuff-box.

“A much more ominous symptom, to my mind, is that the nation is
dreadfully _ennuyée_,” observed the Deputy du Centre, with a
weighty emphasis on the adverb. “When France _ennuies_ herself, it
is time to cry, Take care.”

“Who is to take care?” said the Princess de M----.

“The government, madame. We have had this one eighteen years now;
three years beyond the lease usually granted to governments in
France, and the people are thoroughly tired of it. Paris especially
is _ennuyée_ of late.”

“Paris is always _ennuyée_ unless she has a war, or an exhibition,
or some kind of a carnival, to keep her in good humor,” said
Berthe; “but Paris is not France.”

“Pardon, madame, Paris c’est le monde!” replied M. du Centre, in
melodramatic accent.

“Le monde, non,” retorted Madame de M----; “le demi-monde
peut-être.”

There was a general laugh at this sortie of the princess, and
before it subsided a group of new arrivals, amongst whom were
the Snow-Storm and her mother, were ushered in, and broke up the
controversy. Several of the company, some who had not spoken a word
to Berthe, but had merely made _acte de présence_ in the crowd,
withdrew. Madame de Beaucœur and the Princess de M---- remained on.

“_Quelle charmante jeune fille!_” said the former _sotto voce_ to
the princess, as Madame de Galliac and her daughter sat down near
them. “Who is she?”

“Mademoiselle de Galliac. She is the _partie_ of the season. _On
dit_ gives her four millions.”

“Indeed!” And Madame de Beaucœur, on marriageable maids intent,
pricked up her ears. “How odd I should not have met her before!”

“She has only lately arrived from Brittany. Our hostess patronizes
her very zealously. I suppose she is looking out for a husband for
her.”

Madame de Beaucœur made no reply, but committed the remark to her
mental note-book. Why had Berthe not suggested this girl to her for
Madame de Chassedot? It was the very thing she was looking for.
Old name, four millions--one too many, but the inequality was on
the right side--beauty, and of course good principles. Madame de
Galliac was known to be an excellent woman. How could Berthe have
been so disobliging or so thoughtless? Big with a mighty purpose,
and unable to resist the need of communicating her ideas, Madame
de Beaucœur turned to the Princess de M----, and in the strictest
confidence opened her heart to her.

But Madame de M---- was a foreigner, and did not fall in
sympathetically with French views on the subject of marriage, and
was, moreover, given to call things bluntly by their names.

“A girl with her beauty and money will find plenty of willing
purchasers,” she argued, “and I see no conceivable reason for
expecting that she will let herself be forced on an unwilling one.
There are husbands to be had at every price; she can bid for the
best, and the best are already bidding for her.”

“Ah!” said Madame de Beaucœur, alarm mingling with curiosity in the
interjection.

“Why, you don’t suppose a prize like that is likely to be
twenty-four hours in the Paris market without having scores of the
highest bidders fighting for it?”

“How mercenary men are! They are greatly changed since my young
day!” Madame de Beaucœur was somewhere between five-and-thirty
and forty; but she had been married from school at eighteen, and
had heard nothing of sundry interviews between _notaires_ and
mothers-in-law, etc., that had preceded the presentation of her
_fiancé_ ten days before her marriage.

“Very likely, but in this particular case it strikes me the woman
is the mercenary party. You say the young man won’t let himself be
married, big dower or little one?” said Madame de M----, laughing,
and speaking rather louder than was desirable in the presence of
the marketable _dower_.

“Introduce me to Madame de Galliac,” said her companion, striking a
_coup d’état_ on the spot.

The request was complied with, and the two ladies were soon
absorbed in each other.

“What shall we do to amuse ourselves this week, _chère madame_?
For Wednesday we have _La Beauté du Diable_ with a _diner fin au
cabaret_, and a _petit souper_ at Tortoni’s; but what shall we do
to kill the other three days?” demanded the princess, who had risen
to go, and now pounced upon Berthe, who stood taking leave of some
guests at the door.

“I haven’t an idea just at present; we will talk it over to-morrow
night at Madame de Beaucœur’s. But you must not count on me for
Wednesday,” said Berthe, “I have changed my mind about going.”

“What! You are going to play us false!” exclaimed the princess, her
ugly but expressive features lighting up with irresistible humor,
while her eyes shot out a cold, sardonic glance into Berthe’s.
“That old _perruque_ has put you out of conceit with it? But, no!
It’s too absurd, _ma chère_!”

“Absurd or not, I don’t intend to go,” said Berthe resolutely. “I’m
not so brave as you are. I do not want to risk myself.”

“But all Paris will laugh at you. They will say you have turned
_dévote_. For mercy’s sake, my child, do not make such a fool of
yourself!”

“Paris may say what it likes,” answered Berthe, bridling up, while
a blush of defiant pride suffused her cheek. “I despise its gossip,
and, in short, I don’t mean to go.”

“Seriously?”

“Quite seriously.”

The princess lifted her shoulders slowly, and as slowly let them
fall.

“Then there is no use in my proposing a little distraction that we
were planning, in the shape of an escapade to the _Bal de l’Opéra_
on Saturday night? In dominos and masks, of course?”

“Thank you, I do not want to run the risk,” said Berthe, smiling.

“Adieu!” And Madame de M---- heaved a long sigh. “You will make a
charming saint, but I fear I sha’n’t worship the saint as much as I
loved----”

“The sinner,” added Berthe, laughing good-humoredly. “Oh! well,
I’ve not donned the sackcloth and ashes, so you mustn’t denounce
me yet. But don’t suppose,” she continued, seeing Madame de
M----’s eyes fixed on her with a puzzled expression, “that I mean
to reproach you for amusing yourself. Our positions are widely
different. You have your husband to stand between you and evil
tongues, and, again, you are not amongst your own people here.
Honestly, would you go on at Berlin as you do in Paris?”

“Oh!” The princess threw up her parasol, caught it again, and,
laughing out, said, “But Paris is a _cabaret_, where one does as
one likes!” And with this exhaustive apology, she opened the door,
and passed out.

Berthe went into the second _salon_, where some of the earlier
visitors had gathered to leave room for new arrivals in the first,
but she was hardly seated when the door was again opened, and
François announced:

“Le Marquis de Chassedot!”

If he had announced Le Marquis de Carrabas, his mistress could not
have been more astonished. Was it a trap that Madame de Beaucœur
had laid for him? But, no, Mademoiselle de Galliac’s presence was
quite fortuitous, and, moreover, Madame de Beaucœur did not know
her, so she could not have had any scheme into which the heiress’
visit adjusted itself to-day.

“You were kind enough to permit me to pay my respects to you,
madame,” said the young man, walking up to Berthe, with his hat
in both hands, and blushing violently while he doubled himself in
two before her. “I hope I am not indiscreet in availing myself so
precipitately of the permission?”

Berthe smiled her gracious clemency on the indiscretion, and the
gentleman, backing a few steps, carried his hat toward a group
of politicians who were shaking hands in the window, and making
appointments before separating.

“How extraordinary!” muttered Berthe, laughing to herself at the
cool audacity of Monsieur de Chassedot. “I was kind enough to
permit him! Perhaps he is under delusion, and mistakes somebody
else’s permission for mine. Or perhaps it is a ruse of his mother’s
to put him unawares in the way of the three millions?”

But Berthe was wrong. M. de Chassedot really had said something
to her between the links of the “ladies’ chain” about placing
himself at her feet, and, as she looked very smiling and gracious,
he took the smiles for a permission. He had no view in asking it
beyond that of being received in the _salon_ of the fashionable
beauty, and he was encouraged in presenting himself there by the
knowledge that he was sure not to meet his mother. It would be a
free territory where he might flit about without being in perpetual
dread of falling into some net which the maternal solicitude was
constantly setting for him in the _salons_ of her devoted allies.

Madame de Beaucœur did not count amongst those redoubtable
beligerents. When she called during the day at his mother’s house,
he was never there, and, as the _habitués_ of the marquise’s
Tuesday evenings were recruited chiefly amongst the old fogies
and devotees of the faubourg, a class of her fellow-creatures
whom Madame de Beaucœur carefully avoided, there was no chance
of his meeting her there in the evening. It was this precisely
that made her mediation so precious to Madame de Chassedot. Edgar
was disarmed before her; he did not mistrust her, and when,
reconnoitring the company in the adjoining room through the broad
glass-panel that divided the _salon_, he spied her sitting near a
very pretty girl, the discovery gave him no shock, and, when Madame
de Beaucœur, catching his eye, nodded familiarly to him, he at once
made his way toward her, and took up a position behind her chair.

“I should like to go very much,” Madame de Beaucœur said,
continuing the conversation with Madame de Galliac, “but I have not
been this year since the garden opened. One cannot go without a
gentleman, and M. de Beaucœur is always so busy in the evening that
he can never accompany me.”

“There are hundreds who would cross swords for the honor of
replacing him, madame,” declared M. de Chassedot, stooping over
her chair, and throwing all the _empressement_ into his voice and
manner that her position as a married woman rendered legitimate.

“Then you shall have the honor without crossing swords for it,”
replied the lady. “Come and fetch me to-morrow evening at eight
o’clock; unless you are equal to undergoing a _diner de ménage_
with myself and M. de Beaucœur, and in that case come at half-past
six.”

“Madame! Such kindness overwhelms me!”

Madame de Beaucœur said _au revoir_ to the heiress and her mother,
kissed hand to Berthe in the inner _salon_, and, granting M. de
Chassedot’s request to be allowed to see her to her carriage, they
left the room together.

“Who is that young lady who was sitting beside you, madame?” he
asked with some curiosity, when they were out of ear-shot on the
staircase.

“Mademoiselle de Galliac. Did you never see her before?”

“Yes; but I did not know her name.”

“I ought to have presented you. How stupid of me! She is a nice
girl to talk to.”

“_A l’honneur, madame!_ to-morrow evening!”

And the carriage rolled off, leaving M. de Chassedot bowing on the
sidewalk.

Punctual to the minute, he presented himself in Madame de
Beaucœur’s drawing-room as the clock was chiming the half-hour.
Monsieur de Beaucœur had, of course, an appointment at the club,
which to his infinite regret prevented his accompanying his wife
to the Concert Musard, so he remained sipping his _café noir_, and
they set out alone.

The gardens, though only beginning to fill, presented a brilliant,
animated appearance. The central pavilion, its roof and pillars
girded with light, glowed like the starry temple of an Arabian
tale, while from within the orchestra sent forth its melodic
stream, now tender and plaintive as the zephyr wooing the rose at
midnight, now loud and valiant in the rhythmic dance; balls of
light came glistening through the foliage, making the trees stand
out in radiant illumination.

But, artistically mindful of the worth of contrast in scenic
effect, the light distributed itself so as to leave certain parts
of the garden in comparative shade. There, those who shrank from
the dazzling glare of the centre could walk and enjoy the scene and
the music without inconvenience.

“Why, there is Madame de Galliac, I declare! Let us go and meet
her!” said Madame de Beaucœur in delighted surprise, and they
walked on quickly. “What an unexpected pleasure, madame! I thought
you were going to the opera to-night?”

“So we intended; but there was some mistake about the box; we only
found it out at the last moment, and Henriette was so disappointed
that, to comfort her, I proposed coming here for an hour,”
exclaimed Madame de Galliac.

“Poor child! But I assure you the music here is no despicable
compensation. Let us go round by the left; the breeze is blowing
from that point,” said Madame Beaucœur, and, without taking the
slightest notice of Monsieur de Chassedot, she turned to walked on
with Madame de Galliac.

“Madame!” whispered the young man, touching her lightly on the arm,
and by a sign intimating that she had left him standing out in the
cold.

“Oh! how stupid I am! Allow me to introduce you: le Marquis de
Chassedot--la Baronne de Galliac.”

“My daughter, monsieur,” said the latter, pointing to Henriette.

Everybody having bowed to everybody, the party moved on, the young
people walking in front of the married women.

Monsieur de Chassedot, serenely unconscious of the cruel snare into
which he had fallen, and finding Henriette a lively, unaffected
girl, talked away pleasantly, confining himself of course to
authorized insipidities, such as the music, the decoration of the
gardens, the weather, etc., and making himself, as he could do when
he liked, very agreeable.

“Is not that Madame de P----’s voice?” said Henriette, stopping
abruptly, and bending her ear in the direction of the sound.

“I think it is. Let us walk on and see,” answered her mother, and
they quickened their steps.

Now, though Madame de Beaucœur liked Berthe, and as a rule was
delighted to meet her anywhere, on this particular occasion she was
the last person in Paris she cared to meet. She could not avoid
her, however, without awakening suspicions in the mind of Edgar de
Chassedot which might prove fatal to her own benevolent designs on
him. When Berthe saw the party, her surprise was great, and, though
she said nothing, her face expressed it so naïvely that Henriette,
being intelligent, noticed it, and bethought herself that there
must be some stronger reason for it than the ostensible one of
her mother’s meeting and walking round the garden with Madame de
Beaucœur.

Berthe had four gentlemen in attendance on her: a tall,
_distingué_-looking Austrian, who spoke to no one, but shot vinegar
out of his eyes at a handsome young Breton on whose arm Berthe
leant; a dark Englishman, who made up in vivacity what he lacked in
height; and another Englishman, whose notablest idiosyncrasy was an
eye-glass that seemed to be a fixture, so faithfully did it stick
in the right eye of the wearer, morning, noon, and night. Over
and above this guard of honor the beautiful widow was accompanied
by Hélène de Karodel. She introduced the two girls, who walked on
together, while the gentlemen and the three married women followed.

Hélène and Mademoiselle de Galliac had not proceeded far when
Monsieur de Chassedot broke away from the elders, and joined them.

“Mademoiselle,” he said, addressing Hélène, “I have just made a
discovery so agreeable that, before I venture to believe it, I must
have your corroboration.”

“Indeed!” said Hélène, puzzled at the singular apostrophe.
“_Couvrez-vous, monsieur_.” Edgar remained bare-headed awaiting her
answer--“and let us know what this wonderful discovery is.”

“You are the daughter, I am told, of that brave soldier and true
gentleman, Christian de Karodel?”

“You have been told the truth,” replied Hélène, her eye moistening
with grateful emotion at hearing her father so designated.

“He was my mother’s first cousin, consequently I claim close
friendship with you,” resumed the young man.

“And your name is--?”

“Edgar de Chassedot.”

“Ah! we are indeed cousins; but as your family seemed quite to have
forgotten the fact, we had almost forgotten it ourselves,” replied
Hélène coldly.

“It is not too late for us to remember it, I hope?” said Edgar,
imperceptibly emphasizing the us, and throwing a persuasive
deference into his tone that subdued Hélène.

“It is strange that you should care; but, since it is so, let us be
cousins!” And she held out her hand to him.

Six weeks after this promenade in the Jardin Musard there was a
_diner de contrat_ at Madame de Galliac’s. The _fiancé_ wore the
full-dress uniform of a _chasseur d’Afrique_. His bronzed features
attested long residence under Algerian skies, and the stars and
medals on his breast bore witness that his days had not been wasted
there in idle dalliance.

The plot against Monsieur de Chassedot’s liberty had collapsed,
to the inexpressible vexation of his mother, who, together with
the family lawyer and Madame de Galliac, had arranged all the
essentials for his marriage with Henriette’s four millions; but,
strange as it may seem, the consent of the young people themselves,
when demanded as a final condition, was actually found wanting.
It had come to the young lady’s ear that Monsieur de Chassedot was
no party to the business, and that, if he let himself be persuaded
into marrying her, it would be quite against his will. Mademoiselle
de Galliac there and then declared that she would be forced upon
no man, were he _Roi de France et de Navarre_. And so this most
eligible union, for want of a bride and a bridegroom, fell through.

Madame de Beaucœur then called to mind a nephew of her husband’s
who was serving in Africa. He was two millions short of the
requisite figure, but he had ‘_de grandes espérances_’ and was
moreover willing to be married, having positively written to his
family stating this fact, and requesting them to look out for a
wife for him. Photographs were exchanged, character and principles
inquired into, and vouched for satisfactorily--Henriette made
this a _sine quâ non_--and within one month from the day that his
aunt opened negotiations with Madame de Galliac, Alexandre de
Beaucœur arrived in Paris the affianced husband of Henriette de
Galliac. They were presented to each other at a morning reception,
and met next day at the _diner de contrat_. He took her in to
dinner, Madame de Galliac whispering to him with an arch smile, as
Henriette accepted his arm, “Now pay your addresses!”

The position was an embarrassing one. Monsieur de Beaucœur wished
to avail himself of the opportunity to win his bride’s affections,
but he was ill at ease, and, the more he strove to find something
agreeable to say, the less he succeeded. When dessert was served,
however, he took courage, and, bending over Henriette’s wineglass,
he murmured timidly in a low tone:

“Mademoiselle, what color will you have your carriage?”

“Blue, monsieur,” the young lady replied in the same low tone.

He bowed, and they relapsed into silence.

This was all that passed between them till they swore before God
and man to love each other until death did part them.

It may interest my readers, and it will no doubt surprise them, to
hear that this prosaic marriage turned out a singularly happy one.
The young man was a gentleman with a conscience and a heart. The
girl was sensible, high-principled, and affectionate. They were
both sound at heart, and they did their duty by each other. After
all, the most romantic union can hardly embark with surer or fairer
elements of happiness.

                         TO BE CONTINUED.



THE LEGENDS OF OISIN, BARD OF ERIN.

BY AUBREY DE VERE.

V.

OISIN’S VISION.


    As dim through snowy flakes the dawn
      Peered o’er the moorlands frore,
    The old, snow-headed Bard, Oisin,[57]
      Sat by the convent door.

    His chin he propp’d on that clenched hand
      Of old in battles feared:
    And like a silver flood, far-kenned,
      To earth down streamed his beard.

    That sun his eyes could see no more
      Their thin lids loved to feel:
    It rose; and on his cheek a tear
      Began to uncongeal.

    Then slowly thus he spake: “Three times
      This thought has come to me,
    Patrick, that I am older thrice
      Than I am famed to be:

    “For on the ruins of that house,
      Once stately to behold,
    Where feasted Fionn the King, there sighs
      A wood of alders old.

    “And on my Oscar’s grave three elms
      Have risen; and mouldered three:
    And on my Father’s grave, the oak
      Is now a hollow tree.

    “Patrick, of me they noised a tale,
      That down beneath a lake
    A hundred years I lived, unchanged,
      For a Faery Lady’s sake:

    “They said that, home when I returned,
      The men I loved were dead;
    And that the whiteness fell that hour
      Like snow-storm on my head.

    “A song of mine--a dream in youth,
      That tale, misdeemed for true:
    Far other dream was mine in age:
      A dream that no man knew.

    “For though I sang of things loved well,
      I hid the things loved best:
    Patrick, to thee that later dream
      At last shall be confessed.

    “On Gahbra’s field my Oscar fell:
      Last died my Father, Fionn:
    The wind went o’er their grassy mounds:
      I heard it, and lived on.

    “I loved no more the lark by Lee
      Nor yet the battle-cry;
    And therefore in a dell, one day,
      I laid me down to die.

    “The cold went on into my heart:
      Methought that I was dead:
    Yet I was ’ware that angels waved
      Their wings above my head.

    “They said, ‘This man, for Erin’s sake,
      Shall tarry here an age,
    Till Christ to Erin comes--shall sleep
      In this still hermitage:

    “‘That so, ere yet that great old time
      Is wholly gone and past,
    Her manlier with her saintlier day
      May blend in bridal fast.

    “‘And since of deadly deeds he sang
      Above him we will sing
    The Death that saved: and we from him
      Will keep the gadfly’s wing.

    “‘For him an age, for us an hour,
      Here, like a cradled child,
    Shall sleep the man whose hand was red,
      Whose heart was undefiled.’

    “Patrick! That vision, was it truth?
      Or fancy’s mocking gleam?
    That I should tarry till He came--
      ’Twas not, ’twas not a dream!

    “And wondrous is mine age, I know;
      For whiter than the thorn
    Was this once-honored head before
      The men now white were born:

    “And on my Oscar’s grave three elms
      Have risen: and mouldered three:
    And on my father’s grave, the oak
      Is now a hollow tree.”

    Then said the monks, “His brain is hurt”:
      But Patrick said, “They lie!
    Thou God that lov’st thy gray-haired child,
      Would I for him might die!”

    And Patrick cried, “Oisin! the thirst
      Of God is in thy breast!
    He who has dealt thy heart the wound
      Ere long will give it rest!”

FOOTNOTE:

[57] Pronounced _Oiseen_.



A JEWISH CONVERT: A REMINISCENCE OF VIENNA.


Among the pleasant capitals of Europe through which a long tour
carried the writer of this sketch, one of the most brilliant is
Vienna. It has many associations of genius to consecrate it;
Mozart and Beethoven, not to mention many lesser princes of music,
found there both home and appreciation; it has been the resort of
elegance, the _rendezvous_ of talent, the paradise of diplomacy,
even while graver ecclesiastical and historical events have centred
in it. It has its old cathedral, which, though disfigured by some
unfortunate internal bungling of the style of the Renaissance,
nevertheless has not lost its impression of religious solemnity,
heightened by the deep, narrow, and sombre choir with the wonderful
windows of old stained glass. Inimitable and unapproachable even
in its fragmentary state, this old glass is perhaps the most
interesting thing in the old church of St. Stephen, if we except
the stone pulpit, cunningly carved and placed in a recess of the
exterior wall of the building, the pulpit from which, so runs
Viennese tradition, the second Crusade was publicly preached.
There is among the records of the foundations at St. Stephen’s
one that sets forth the desire and prayer of the people, during a
pestilence in the middle ages, that a Mass should be daily offered
in that church for the cessation of the epidemic. Tradition says
that a great wind arose, and the pestilence was stopped. The
Mass, however, continues to be said daily, and it certainly is a
remarkable fact that there is not one day in the year, summer or
winter, wet or dry, when the wind does not blow in Vienna. The
Austrian capital, however, has yet more interesting associations
for us than are called up by the cathedral, and the many other
monuments and chapels by which it is historically distinguished.
In the Advent season of 1865, a young Jewish convert preached in
the _Schotten-Kirche_ a short course of the most eloquent sermons
it has ever been our privilege to hear in any language or any land
whatever.

His name is Marie-Bernard Bauer, and his family, of Hungarian
descent, is among the most influential and wealthy of those settled
in Vienna. The Jews of that city have indisputably as large a share
of the talent as of the riches of the country. The oldest brother
of young Bauer is one of the greatest bankers in Austria. At an
early age, the young Jew, fiery and enthusiastic, and already
gifted with singular eloquence, threw himself into the ranks of
the Revolution, and became one of its most ardent emissaries. At
eighteen, he was entrusted with important missions and considered
a rising Freemason. But during his travels he became acquainted
with a young Frenchman, a zealous Catholic, whose influence and
friendship laid the foundations of his conversion. He visited
his friend’s mother, also, who by her example more even than her
exhortations contributed to the work of grace begun in his soul by
her son’s solicitations. Bauer wore, at the request of these two,
a medal of the Immaculate Conception; and we need scarcely remind
our Catholic friends of the part this blessed badge fulfilled
in the conversion of another illustrious Jew, the Père Marie
Ratisbonne, the founder of the _Dames de Sion_, who has since
devoted his life to the instruction and conversion of Jewish girls
at Jerusalem. After being fully instructed in the faith, Bauer
required nothing but grace to believe. Being at Lyons with several
worldly acquaintances, he happened to be standing on a prominent
balcony, on the feast of Corpus Christi. The procession of the
Blessed Sacrament was to pass below, and they, with cigars in their
mouths and mockery in their hearts, were waiting for the pageant.
No change came to the young Jew until the canopy under which the
priest carried the Divine Host was close beneath the balcony.
The change at that moment was lightning-like. Faith entered his
heart, or rather--as he himself reluctantly admitted when pressed
by his superiors at a later time to lay aside false humility and
declare the works of God in his soul--a conviction so absolute
that it distanced faith made itself felt throughout his whole
being. The same _knowledge_, so to speak, returned to him many
times since while consecrating at Mass, and he said that he could
not _believe_ merely, in a matter of which he was so blissfully
and unerrably _certain_. As Jesus passed, Bauer threw himself on
his knees and professed himself a Christian. A very short time
elapsed before he entered the novitiate of the Carmelite Friars.
His mother, who was living in Paris, endeavored to see him, but
was refused access to him by his superiors. Later on, when he had
passed through the novitiate, he might have seen her, had it not
been for the machinations of his family. For five years every
friend and relation he had among his own race cruelly ignored
him, and he was kept away even from his mother’s death-bed by
their relentless sternness. His mother alone never ceased to love
him, and had a picture painted of him in his monastic cowl. This
portrait hung opposite her bed, and she died with her eyes fixed on
it and her hands lovingly stretched out towards it. When after her
death he was allowed by his family to visit her chamber, he saw a
curtained picture at the foot of the bed, and, drawing the curtain
aside, stood face to face with this touching proof of a mother’s
undying love. After some time, his fame as a preacher spreading
fast, his family received him once more into their circle, and,
with strange inconsistency, now made almost an idol of him. During
his novitiate, and according to a rule of his order, he used to
preach in turn with his fellow-novices in the refectory during
meals, at which time the generality of the young men in training
for a religious Demosthenes would receive but scant attention from
their companions. When Bauer’s turn came, the contrary, however,
was observed: the food was untouched, and the young audience sat
transfixed, hanging upon the words of their eloquent and gifted
companion. From the first his health was delicate; the effort of
preaching rendered it weaker day by day, till at length the zealous
and impassioned speaker, whom his friends prophesied to be the
future Lacordaire, was one day carried fainting from the pulpit,
having broken a blood-vessel. A year in Spain and complete rest of
mind and body did nothing more than just save his life, and the
Holy Father, who was very much interested in the young convert,
advised him to leave the Carmelite Order, for the austerity of
whose rule his shattered health now rendered him unfit. This
paternal advice--or, let us say, command--proved a great trial to
the enthusiastic religious; but, bowing to the will of God, he
accepted his altered life, and prepared to make it as fruitful in
good works as his short monastic career had proved. Although his
health precluded him from the exhausting work of preaching long
Lenten stations or continued missions, yet, as often as suitable
opportunities offered, he was to be found indefatigably working
in the pulpit; and we leave it to those who have had the good
fortune to hear him, to judge of the loss the Catholic world has
sustained in one whose eloquence and fervid enthusiasm rivalled
that of Lacordaire, and whose steadfast faith and unerring logic
far distanced that of the unhappy Hyacinthe.

In 1865, having already preached before the Emperor of the French
in Paris, and been greatly commended by the most distinguished
people there, both French and foreigners, he was called to Vienna,
where his family resides, and where all his former associates
and co-religionists awaited him with the greatest curiosity
and interest. The six lectures or discourses he gave in the
_Schotten-Kirche_, opposite his brother’s residence, at which he
was an honored and _fêted_ guest, were attended by crowds of his
own Jewish friends, besides all the _élite_ of Viennese and foreign
society. The impassioned tone of his voice, his closely knit
arguments, the air of apostleship about his slight figure and pale,
inspired face, the presence of his nearest and dearest relations,
and, above all, his own position toward them, in the very centre
of his youthful Revolutionary triumphs--all concurred in making
this short station of Advent one of thrilling interest. At the
end of each sermon, or _conférence_, as the French say (they
were delivered in French, which is like a second mother-tongue to
Marie-Bernard Bauer), he addressed a prayer to God, and, while
the language of each succeeding discourse increased in sublimity,
that of the concluding prayers seemed to take such flights of
unparalleled grandeur that the audience could only kneel in
motionless attention and unbroken silence for some minutes after
the preacher had ceased to speak--the highest tribute, perhaps
which an impressed people can offer to an orator. Marie-Bernard
Bauer has since received the Roman title of Monsignore, and been
appointed chaplain to the Emperor of the French. He accompanied the
Empress Eugénie to the opening of the Suez Canal, and preached a
magnificent sermon on the occasion, in presence of the assembled
potentates. But whatever else he has done, whatever else he may be
destined to do in the future, he will scarcely be able to surpass
his admirable achievements of the Advent station of 1865, when he
became, as it were, the champion and apologist of Christianity
before one of those representative Jewish assemblies which
contained within itself so much enlightenment, so much talent, and
so much successful individuality.

At the time when he preached these sermons, of which we will now
endeavor to give some idea, as far as a translation will allow,
he was only thirty-six years of age, and his frail, delicate body
made him seem even younger. The following is the third in order of
the _Conférences_, and was preached on the 17th of December, 1865.
The text is given entire, and the subject, as expressed in the
published edition of these sermons, was:



CHRISTIANITY AS A HISTORICAL FACT.


I would fain hope, my brethren, that the two last _conférences_
have contributed, in some degree, to revivify in believing hearts
both the energy of faith and the enthusiasm of virtue; that they
have cast doubts in doubting hearts, upon the very uncertainty
which creates doubt; that they have shed around hearts petrified,
so to speak, in the darkness of fleshly bondage, some rays of
the twilight which is the forerunner of the full light of God’s
grace, and which manifests itself in such hearts through this
question, solemnly and shrinkingly put: After all, might I not be
in error? Might there not be, despite all, another life, a real
responsibility, a moral law, supernatural duties, a judgment, a
judge, a God, and this God the God of Christianity?

No matter to what level the Sun of Truth may have attained on the
horizon of your inner life, you will allow me, nevertheless, to
retrace, in a few short words, the doctrinal substance of the two
previous discourses [_conférences_].

Man, such as we see him, is a fallen being; he is born with the
taint of original sin, and if to this, which is the form of evil,
he adds--and it is practically inevitable that he should--his own
individual sins, which are evil’s natural outgrowth, he does but
widen, at each moment of his existence, the abyss that parted
him from God since the very hour of his birth, and which, thus
ceaselessly widened, becomes such, at last, that nothing short of
a miracle will suffice to bridge it over. Death then, suddenly
intervening, cuts short all things here below, and hurls the man
whose whole life has been spent without God into the chasm of
the unknown. From a phase of being where all is transient, he is
hurried to another where all is abiding, and from that instant the
separation from God in which he has lived, and which before was
transient in its turn, becomes abiding, and from temporal changes
to eternal. Such are the conclusions of reason, which, leaning upon
faith, point out to us in this eternal separation the fitting seal
of an eternal woe.

It would not enter into my design toward the hearers which
Providence, having gathered together before me, seems to have
specially predestined to hear the words of eternal life from my
unworthy lips--it would not, I say, enter into my design to show
them these dark spiritual perspectives, without pointing out at
the same time some vista of supernatural light, some promise and
way of salvation, some hopes of life, nay, even life itself. No!
God forbid that I should become as the treacherous guide who
draws the lost wayfarer to the very edge of the precipice, and
there leaves him to himself and to the terrors of the ravenous
depths below. Yet, mark it well!--the mystery of life leads
towards death, through paths that skirt a giddy abyss where no
man’s self-possession is proof against danger; but there is,
nevertheless, an infallible road that leads to life through and in
spite of the manacles of death. It is called by a name with which
my lips cannot become familiar, as with a common word indifferently
bandied about in careless conversation--a name which I confess
myself unable even to pronounce without feeling my whole being
tremble with love and bow down in worship; a name which, when
spoken from this pulpit for the first time, only a few days ago,
produced an impression, or rather a mysterious shock, that neither
you nor I have yet forgotten--the name of _Jesus Christ_.

It is of him I come to speak to you to-day. My Father! my Friend!
my Master! abide with me, and, in order that I may be worthy to
speak of thee, speak thou thyself through these my lips!

Among all questions put by man to his own intellect, whether
they be historical, scientific, philosophical, social, or
religious, there is none of more gigantic importance than this:
Who and what is Jesus Christ? He and his works have been for two
thousand years the most notable reality of the universe; they
have been inextricably mingled with the course of history, with
the family and state relations of man to man, with literature,
with poetry, with politics; they have been the unseen link that
binds together all social problems; they have been the mainspring
of those mysteries that are convulsing the present century, and
which are fraught to some minds with terror and threatenings,
while to others they suggest hope and salvation. They have been,
without the slightest exaggeration, all things to all men, and it
follows, therefore, that according to the bent of man’s judgment
on Jesus Christ and his works, so will man’s whole nature lean,
his intellect with his thoughts, his heart with its feelings, his
life with its acts and its shortcomings, his soul with its eternal
aspirations.

This is indeed, and beyond all contradiction, the main question
of life--that question which, solve it which way you will, cannot
fail to produce two radically different types of men, and to open
up before us two paths, as far apart from each other through the
coming eternity as they are widely separated in the realms of time.

But why do I insist upon the awful importance of this problem? Do
you not understand it yourselves? Nay, do you not even bear witness
to it by your presence here at this moment? Why are you gathered
here--men of the most varied, perhaps the most contradictory,
beliefs? Why are you crowded around this pulpit in anxious silence,
breathless and motionless, perhaps vaguely troubled in mind? Why
but because there is not one amongst you to whom the sacred name of
Jesus is wholly indifferent or wholly meaningless! If to some this
holy name is the constant object of their highest adoration and
of their tenderest, I would fain say the most impassioned, love,
to others it is the object of their most agonizing doubts, the
spiritual sphinx whose riddle baffles and tortures all ages. And
further yet, while this name is to some the synonym of a smothered
curse or of a hatred as open as it is relentless, it contains for
all men a question of vital importance, I might even say a question
of life and death. My brethren, it is of _him_, who is both so
marvellously loved and so marvellously hated, of him whose figure
meets us at every turn of the past or the present, of him whom the
future cannot uncrown, that I purpose speaking to you to-day.

Every cause which has produced an effect may be considered either
in this effect or in itself. Hence, there exist two methods of
demonstration: the one beginning from the consideration of the
effect, and tracing it up to the cause; the other starting from
the study of the cause, and deducing its legitimate effect. We
are now about to apply to the great cause and the great effect
before us this twofold species of demonstration--this extrinsic
and intrinsic touchstone used by our intellect in acquiring its
noble treasure of proved facts and tried certainties in the domain
of philosophy, metaphysics, history, natural sciences, and, in
fact, of every branch of human knowledge. This cause is Christ,
this effect Christianity, of which he is the founder; and, since
it is natural to the human mind to consider first that which falls
more immediately under its own observation, I shall begin by
investigating the effect, namely, Christianity. This done, I shall
appeal simply to your reason to connect the effect with its cause,
and to discern through the beautiful proportions of the Christian
system the inimitable stamp of its divine founder.


I.

Every doctrine which has become a fact, every fact which has won
for itself a place in history, may be looked at in three ways:
first, with regard to its extent in material space; secondly, as
to its duration in time; thirdly, as to the depth to which it has
reached in human nature. This division is no invention of mine;
it is the same pointed out by the Apostle St. Paul when he wrote
to the Ephesians, and endeavored to explain to them the length
and breadth, the depth and divinity, of the Christian faith: _Ut
possitis comprehendere cum omnibus sanctis quæ sit latitudo et
longitudo, et sublimitas et profundum_ (Eph. iii. 18).

Now, as to its extent in material space, or, in other words, its
territorial sway:

Open the map of the world, and scan the globe with attentive eye:
a strange phenomenon will strike you. You will hardly discover one
corner of earth where Christianity--and I use the word in this
instance in its widest acceptation, excluding neither heresy nor
schism, which, though unhappily rebellious, are nevertheless, in
a certain sense, real members of the Christian household--where
Christianity, therefore, has not penetrated, either in undisputed
and irrevocable sway, as in Europe and America, or as a peaceful
conqueror, sealing its hardly-won victories not in the blood of
its enemies, but in its own. Following closely in the wake of new
discoveries, it is for ever landing on new shores, making a home
for itself among new populations, and winning new worshippers to
bend beneath the ancient sway of the never-aging cross.

You might rise in contradiction to my statement, and remind me that
the hour has not yet struck that will allow us, the soldiers of
Jesus Christ, to intone the triumphant hosanna of final victory,
since to this day there are many lands, many island-studded
archipelagoes, many vast and populous continents, beyond the pale
of our peaceful conquest, and since, after all, the standard of the
cross is not yet securely reared in every clime.

I admit it; but what does this prove? That our task is not yet
done? But who denies that? It is not done because time--which is
our only limit--is likewise unended, nay, is perhaps only just
beginning! For time is the array of all ages, and God alone, who
created them, has reckoned their mysterious number. Yes, we confess
it, our work is not done, and therefore we are ceaselessly and
everywhere laboring; and therefore I myself, a humble but zealous
worker, am laboring here at this moment. Those alone who will
see the end of time will see the task completed. That which we
have done during the twenty centuries that lie behind us is only
an earnest of what we will do in future ages, God’s holy grace
concurring.

What, my brethren! When we had no ships but frail canoes, and no
compass but our untutored eyes; when we had no roads but eternal
snows, virgin forests, and trackless deserts, vying with the wild
beasts of the wilderness in barring our further progress; when
we had no support but barefooted poverty and a pilgrim’s staff;
no provision save precarious charity, and no guide save faith,
hope undying, and--God; even then we succeeded in crossing rivers
and seas, deserts and forests, mountain gorges and Alpine snows,
that we might carry to the very confines of the world our living
faith and the Word of our God. This ineffable Word has reached
further than Alexander, who stopped at the Indus; further than
Crassus, whom the Euphrates arrested; further even than Varus, who
was stayed by the mighty Rhine--further than all conquerors, and
further than all conquests. And can we believe that we have now
set our foot on the fated threshold where the angel of evil would
be permitted to say to the angel of virtue, as erst the latter
was commanded to say it to his fallen brother, to Attila and the
barbarian hordes, at the very gates of the Eternal City: “Usque huc
venies, sed non ultra”--“Thus far shalt thou come, and no further”?
Do not believe it, my brethren; for, on the contrary, it is but now
that God’s reign is beginning, and as I believe, so I prophesy to
you, with an irresistible and invincible conviction.

Forward, then, O human enterprise! Cleave the mountains, cut
through the isthmuses, drain the morasses, and fill up the lakes;
cast bridges over the waters, carry roads over the trackless
country, build you mighty vessels, throw electric wires in the
air, and gird the world with an iron girdle! Let your treaties of
commerce and navigation be signed, and embassies sent to nations
and kings whose names till yesterday were unknown in the civilized
tongues of Europe! Know you what you are doing in thus knitting
humanity together, and in connecting, with an energy unexampled
in the whole history of the past, the orient and the occident,
the pole and the equator? In one mighty embrace their hands are
clasped, and they offer to each other, if we may so word it, that
gigantic kiss of peace which, day by day, re-echoes more loudly in
both hemispheres.

In all this, you are doing under the hand of God that which the
war-steed does under the hand that guides him and the spur that
urges him on. For, like unto the steed, who hardly knows whence he
came, far less where his rapid steps are leading him and what is
the burden that he bears--like unto him, thou Christ-blaspheming or
God-forgetting age, thou boundest forward with maddening strength,
carrying on thy broad shoulders with proud recklessness the rider
whom thou scarcely knowest to the goal thou wottest not of. Every
invention, every development of thy industry, far from cursing it,
I bless it from the depths of my heart! Go forward and prosper! In
a hundred years, thanks to thee, Truth will be sovereign of the
world!

Christianity is the greatest geographical and territorial fact
under the sun. It is so beyond all controversary, and if this
fact, which I simply call a miracle, seems to you natural and
easy of accomplishment, I only ask you this: try to spread and
propagate over the universe, not a whole complicated system of
metaphysics, but one single doctrine, whose mortal opponents, in
the first instance, shall number every human passion which repulses
it as treason against nature, and every heathen government which
denounces it as treason against authority. But I will not ask
even so much. Endeavor to persuade, not even one single nation,
one city, one family, but _one man_, of the truth of a doctrine
at once repulsive to his passions and hostile to his interests.
I speak to you as a man whose life is devoted to this sublime
and laborious mission of persuasion. And knowing as I do its
wonderful consolations as well as the superhuman and apparently
fruitless labor it often imposes, I tell you, my brethren, what
you yourselves will tell me when the school of reality shall have
taught it to you, that Christianity as it exists, spread over the
whole earth by the godlike contagion of faith, is simply a fact so
overwhelming that the language of men holds but one word fit to
express its being--that one word, _miracle_.

There is, however, one thing more marvellous yet than mere
propagation: it is duration, and a duration ever true to itself.

Condense the mystery of life into one short formula, capable at
once of holding and adequately expressing it, and you will find
none more comprehensive than this--_motion and change_. From the
mass of inanimate being which, in the bowels of the earth and in
the bosom of eternal night, is causing, by its agglomerations,
its cohesions, and its fusions, a species of constant internal
agitation, of blind and feverish restlessness as old as creation
itself, up to the most dazzling pinnacles of life, where man
figures under every name and in every relation conceivable among
mortals, there exists the same law, there reigns the same spirit.
In its name, by its authority, we see in private life one day
swallowed up by the next, dethroned by its breathless and equally
ephemeral successor, doomed beforehand to annihilation, while on
the stage of public life events crowd each other out of time and of
the memory of man, empires fall, dynasties grow up under the double
shield of God’s grace and man’s enthusiasm, frontiers are widened
and narrowed, whole nations migrate and spread, and even language
itself, though but an outward sign of immaterial substances and
metaphysical proportions in no way themselves subject to change,
puts on divers forms, as if carried away by an irresistible impulse
in the whirl of this universal frenzy. Yes, my brethren, motion is
everywhere, and, in order that even death should not be permitted
to fling its defiance permanently to life, this law penetrates
even to the night and silence of the tomb, pierces the coffin,
and installs between its four wooden walls the same unceasing
restlessness which torments the great world. Worms, created to
prey on man, riot with breathless agitation over the human corpse,
and proclaim, by their ghastly activity in the abode of final
destruction and in the very bosom of the crowning dread of earth,
that life triumphs yet over death, and that the universal law of
motion reigns in undisputed sway over that kingdom of darkness that
owns no other created sovereignty.

And what is the result of this ceaseless motion? Nothing less than
ceaseless change. Motion is a change of relations with the world
and with one’s self. There is no motion but causes change, no
change but presupposes motion. These terms are convertible, and so
it is that I justify what I told you a few moments ago--that the
concise formula of life is _motion and change_. It follows from
this demonstration that nothing is so difficult of attainment as
duration, and duration true to itself, which is to the sovereign
law of _motion and change_ a permanent defiance and a marvellous
contradiction.

Let us seek in the vast sepulchre of Time, where during so
many ages countless men and things, countless doctrines and
institutions, have lost themselves, and in which even the
shattered wrecks of once noble ruins, spectres of the past and
often unconscious prophets of the future, have been swallowed
up--let us seek one man or one created thing that has not succumbed
to this pitiless law. Let us seek diligently in the manuscripts
of old, in the caverns of forgotten magic, in the tombs of buried
sages! Or stay, my brethren, and seek not! For, like unto the
alchemist of mediæval ages, we should seek and not find, for that
which we seek is not.

But if you would see this tremendous miracle of a duration as
invulnerable as it is abiding, lifting up its solitary existence
in the midst of universal change and motion, do not gaze afar,
but turn your eyes to that tabernacle crowned with the cross, the
standard and badge of _Catholic_ Christianity. This, and this
alone, abides where all else has been swept away by the ruthless
and untiring breath which devours all that is, and ravenously
awaits all that, as yet, is not. Christianity, and it alone, has
lived true to itself, while all else around it was changing. Like
unto God, the impassible and unchangeable, Christianity stands
unmoved amidst the countless ruins with which you--men--strew the
world. Christianity, with its old principles and its youthful
aspect, leans on the rock of its own eternity, and gives the lie
to the universal law with unassailable and ineffable calm. Yes, it
defies you! It sees you pass, as the shore looks on the lapsing
river, as the cliff looks on the ocean, as heaven looks upon earth,
and as _God_ looks on _man_.

It is strange, is it not? It takes our breath away. But this is not
all: it is scarcely the beginning. Listen! To bespread over the
whole earth is much; to live where all decays is more; to abide
ever true to one’s self when all things change is more still. My
opponents, however--I will not say my enemies, for, thank God, I
know of none--are perhaps saying to themselves at this moment:
“But are there not other forms of religion bearing much the same
marks, at least in a certain degree? Islamism holds a considerable
territorial sway. The Buddhism of India has surely been in a
certain sense true to itself from time immemorial.” I do not deny
it, for truth needs no dissimulation. And it is precisely on this
account, and because error has been permitted to bear in some
respects a certain likeness to truth, that it was imperative, for
the sake of those men of good-will whom this likeness might have
deceived, that truth should possess, besides those notes which she
shares with error, other marks so utterly inimitable that on their
appearance there could not be but instant recognition of that truth
whose counterfeits are as legion, but whose equal does not exist.

The touchstone by which to gauge the worth of any doctrine is
neither this doctrine’s extent in space nor its duration in time,
nor even its impassibility amid universal transmutations; that is
much, but it is not all. What is of more importance than the limits
of its influence or the length of its spiritual reign, is _the work
it has done_. There is its secret proof, there its most personal
revelation. It can give but what it has, and it can have but what
it _is_; it can produce outwardly but what it inwardly possesses;
if it be falsehood, then falsehood; if it be error, then error; if
it be evil, then evil; if it be a half-truth, then half-truth; if
it be human and natural virtue, then human and natural virtue; but
if it be God, then _God himself_.

Christianity, considered from this point of view, to which we can
give but a passing glance, will vindicate itself in our eyes as
standing unrivalled on earth, even as God is unrivalled in heaven.

To make my meaning clear, let me present to your minds one
preliminary observation.

Man often lives amid the wonders of creation without feeling the
slightest curiosity in their regard, and this because a sublime
spectacle, from being too constantly before his sight, becomes only
a familiar part of the daily monotony of his life. We might almost
say of him that, to the abiding miracle of the material universe,
he opposes the miracle of abiding indifference. Now, the visible
creation contains another, both visible and invisible, and which,
though far more wonderful than the material one, yet draws from
you, on account of its abidingness, only the careless notice of
indifference. Inhabitants of a Christian land, members perhaps of a
Christian family, citizens of a Christian community, children, in a
word, of Christian civilization, you are living in the midst of a
world of miracles which has lost the power to interest you because
it fails to surprise you. It is my mission to-day to rouse you from
this indifference, to dispel this mist, to show you things as they
are.

Look at any Christian country, any Christian or civilized nation
of to-day; the country which harbors us at present, if you will.
Who were here eighteen, fifteen, fourteen centuries ago? Not even
barbarians; savages! Who was it that came and saved you from
yourselves? Who was it that drew you from the materialism in which
you were plunged in the person of your forefathers, and in which
numberless tribes are grovelling still to this day--nations whom
Christ has not yet gathered in, and who horrify the sight of the
boldest explorers? Who was it that drew you from your forests,
built your cities, founded your families, traced your boundaries,
inspired your laws, reared your churches, anointed your kings,
and created those two centres of light around which for eighteen
hundred years your history has grouped itself, and your private
sympathies, your public enthusiasm, has revolved--the altar and
the throne, fatherland and God? Who has reclaimed your fields, and
made fruitful by the labor of the plough the glorious conquests
of the sword? Who has preserved in the silence and solitude of
the cloisters the scattered remnants of classical learning, and
through the Scriptures and traditions has kept alive the plenitude
of sacred lore? Who was it that created that incomparable marvel,
of which I would fain speak with tears, rather than with words--the
Christian _Family_?--the father, the patriarch, priest, and pontiff
of home; the mother, the apostle of God; the Christian virgin,
that holy wonder which earth proudly points out to heaven, as if
defying even heaven’s angels to surpass it? Who is it that has
created virtues without number within sacrifices without name,
putting by the side of every woe the voluntary service which will
minister to it, giving to every misfortune some heart that will
beat for it, and to the most neglected grave a mourner to weep
over it? Who is it that has freed the slaves of man to create the
slaves of God--those slaves who can say with the humble exultation
of a supernatural sacrifice, in the words of the Jew of Tarsus, now
become the great Apostle St. Paul: “Ego vinctus pro Christo”--“I,
the slave of Christ.” Who is it that has created the ideal of duty
and honor which inspired the troubadour and the knight--the ideal
of fidelity to the pledged word, of horror at injustice, of the
sacred hatred of evil? Who is it that has given you all the goods
man prizes, and which you enjoy in ungrateful forgetfulness, while
cursing those who accumulated them for you during centuries of
untold and weary toil, and even him who won them for your sake on
the cross, in a sea of tears and of blood? Who gave you the great
gift which this age counts as the kingliest boon of all--the gift
whose magical name we fear, not because our lips were the first
to pronounce and to honor it here below: _freedom_--the deliverer
from sin and death, from the passions of hell, and from the hell
of human passions? Who made you what you are, or what you ought to
be--beings regenerated, civilized, free, glorious, sacred--in a
word, _Christians_?

Who, my brethren? Jesus Christ, he who is there present in his
tabernacle, he who listens to me, who sees you, and who will judge
one day between my word and your souls, between me and you.

And henceforward, when a blasphemy against his Godhead seeks
passage on your lips, be it in mockery or in malediction, remember
the Caribbean savage and the Red Indian, think of what he is and of
what you are, and do not forget that, were it not for Christ, you
would be even as that poor savage. If your soul is not yet open to
the fulness of faith, at least let it hold its peace if it respects
itself.

Christianity in its breadth, its length, and its depth is the
principal fact of the world. No sincere and deep intellect, when
glancing at this comprehensive whole, can contemplate it without
developing in itself a spontaneous doubt, without saying to itself,
if it be unhappily far from belief, “Might this not be really the
work of God?” But if the simple consideration of the effect, that
is, of Christianity, can create this inevitable doubt, what shall
we say of the cause which has produced it, and of the relations
of the one to the other? What, indeed, save this, that, face to
face with this cause, doubt is turned into certainty, and man is
irresistibly impelled to cry out, in the full conviction of his
soul, that _Jesus Christ is God indeed_.


II.

What, then, is the cause which has effected this mighty reality,
as great as earth, as old as time, as marvellous as heaven, and
whose name among us is Christianity? Nineteen hundred years ago, a
little Child was borne in an obscure village of a poor country. His
parents were poor and of no account; he himself lived a poor man,
unknown and unnoticed, save in one or two instances plying during
thirty years a lowly trade in a forgotten corner of the world. Of
a sudden, however, he breaks silence: he preaches, all untaught
as he seemed, a doctrine which earth had never before heard,
and confirming it by signs earth had never before seen. Public
attention is arrested: he becomes the hero of the hour, and parties
spring up for and against him. Two years and a half go by in uneasy
peace, but a day comes when his enemies get the upper hand, and
denounce him to the civil tribunals of the country, whose cowardly
justice, while declaring him to be innocent, yet allows popular
prejudice and the threat of imperial displeasure to wrest from it
an unwilling condemnation. The innovator is nailed to a gibbet, and
his brief history, hardly three years old, seems for ever ended,
and ended in what manner? By a sentence of capital punishment,
and a memory left stained with ignominy by the hand of the public
executioner.

Here, then, is the cause we seek: A Jew! a poor, unknown, untaught
Jew! a Jew condemned to a shameful death by the justice of his
country, and executed on the public road among other malefactors; a
Jew, and, if we dare to say the word, a _felon_!

Listen and weigh well that which you shall hear. You have seen the
cause, you have seen the effect. Between the two rises the great
question. How could such a cause produce such an effect? This we
purpose to examine in a few words:

There are three explanations from which your choice may be made,
and which pretend to connect a cause so radically powerless with
an effect so immeasurably disproportionate. They are these: Either
mankind has believed for two thousand years and actually believes
in Christianity without sufficient reason, without adequate proof.
In that case, humanity is mad, and for twenty centuries has been
so, and I myself, who am speaking to you, am out of my senses.

Or else mankind believes with fully adequate proof, perfectly
calculated to convince it, and yet what it believes is false.
In that case, God has deceived us during twenty, forty, sixty
centuries, since the beginning of the world. In that case,
Providence is a mockery, and its sway over the universe has been
from the very first hour of creation but one long mystification,
one scornful derision of our human reason. Or again, if you cannot
believe either that mankind has mistaken God, or that God has
deceived mankind, there is but one hypothesis left, namely, that
Jesus Christ is God!

In order that you may choose more deliberately between these
three possibilities, it will be necessary to afford them fuller
development. The first of these compels you to infer that mankind
for the last two thousand years has been bereft of reason, and
that at the present moment a considerable portion of it, myself
included, is in a hopeless state of insanity.

This may seem to you an exaggerated proposition, got up simply
to prop the weakness of an untenable argument, but it is nothing
if not an absolute truth, most easy of demonstration. Let us
suppose that to-morrow, the 18th of December of the year of grace
1865, there shall enter into this great capital, through one of
its numerous gates and towards the dusk of evening, a poor and
ragged beggar, the dust of his journey still upon him, and his
ignorance of the language of the country painfully conspicuous.
Let us suppose this man presenting himself before the populace,
the magistracy, the priesthood, the army, and before the Emperor
himself, and speaking to him thus: “Sire, a few years ago, your
majesty was pleased to order the public execution, in a remote
province of the Empire, of a Jew. This Jew was the Messiah, the
Saviour, God himself! Therefore, O Cæsar! come down from your
throne, bend your knee, be baptized, and confess your sins; for,
mark it well, this crucified Jew is none other than your God.”
What would you say, my brethren, to the man who should speak thus
to-day? You would fitly account him a madman, and madder yet the
people and the priesthood, the army and the monarch, who should
believe in his wild words.

Well, then, this strange tale is a true one, it is a historical
fact. One day, many ages ago, an old Jew, baptized by the name of
Peter, entered, a beggar, ragged, and dust-begrimed, through one
of the gates of the greatest capital of the mightiest empire of the
world--ancient Rome.

In Rome, he actually preached the unheard-of sermon I have just
quoted, and which, repeated in that form to-day, would cause
only a burst of derision. Why did Rome not mock him? Why did the
priesthood not hoot him? Why did Cæsar not scorn him? Why, on the
contrary, did this beggar, with his rough staff and scrip, with his
barbarous Latin sounding harshly on the ears of those who could yet
remember the voice of Cicero on the rostrum--why did he shake the
foundations of the mightiest empire of the world, and why, instead
of provoking laughter, did the people pale and tremble before him
in the Forum, the magistrates quail beneath their robes of office,
the priesthood shrink affrighted to their doomed temples, and Nero,
the emperor, forget to trust in his blood-stained purple? Why does
the deserted Palatine look to-day upon the opposite hill of the
Vatican, and behold there a dome whose summit may well be said
to seek to scale the heavens--a dome that crowns a tomb, that of
the beggar Peter, a tomb which, though but the fane of the dead,
is nevertheless the centre of Europe and the world? For this tomb
bears a throne at once the most ancient and the most sacred in
Europe, the only one which represents an empire whose boundaries
are the boundaries of the universe. And why all this? Only because
Peter proved by signs and wonders, by _miracles_ wrought both in
life and in death, that he spoke indeed in the name of him whom
heaven and earth obeyed, because he was their Maker. Because he
wrought these signs, his word was believed. And I am free to
confess that, had the men of his time believed in him without such
an irrefragable proof of his mission, they would have been madmen
indeed, and we, who are now the heirs of their faith, would have
been only the successors to their folly. For two thousand years,
I repeat it, the history of mankind would have been a long dream
of insanity, an act of stupendous folly, and, as a climax to this
incalculable confusion, there would have sprung from this folly the
most incomprehensible of contradictions--wisdom and glory, light
and virtue, civilization and progress--in a word, that great wonder
which holds all lesser marvels within itself, namely, Christianity.

If I mistake not, your common sense has already set aside this
hypothesis as untenable. We admit it, you may say to me; to make
mankind believe in the--humanly speaking--unbelievable, there
must have been proofs capable of proving and making certain, so
to speak, the very impossible itself. We must admit it, unless we
accuse the whole world of madness. But if Peter and the apostles,
and all the preachers of the Gospel, confirmed their teaching by
signs that were accounted miracles, might this not be explained
by a chain of fortuitious coincidences, happy accidents, seeming
miracles, which are every day elucidated by the progress of
investigation until they utterly disappear in the full light of
science? A discussion of the nature and essence of the Gospel
miracles would be utterly out of place at this moment. I will
therefore confine myself to this: if the miracles which, among
outward causes, are the principal explanation of the world’s
conversion to Christianity, are false, then it is no longer mankind
unconsciously duped and led away, but Heaven itself, the deceiver
and seducer, whom we must indignantly accuse.

There is no alternative, my brethren: either madness on the part
of earth, or crime on the part of heaven. Either man is bereft of
reason, or God is no longer just. Either man unknowingly deceives
himself, or God wilfully deceives him. Choose ye, therefore!

But in choosing, remember that he who accuses God of having
deceived the world, or even of having permitted what is called
chance to have so deceived it, blasphemes as much against mankind
as against God, and commits such treason against humanity as can
never be forgiven by it. To accuse God of having allowed evil to
triumph in the plausible likeness of good, and to become, behind
this mask, the goal, the light, the glory, the life, the very God
of mankind, involves nothing less than the negation of Providence,
and the abandonment of the world to the blind god of chance,
the savage god of fate, the shadowy god of nothingness. Such an
accusation confuses all creation, darkens the sun of understanding,
casts history back into chaos, the human intellect into doubt, the
human heart into despair. If Providence has betrayed mankind from
its cradle, why should it not have betrayed me, individually, from
my birth? At the slightest hint of such a doubt, what a fearful
horizon looms up before me!

I have believed in him who has numbered every hair of my head; and
I have been deceived.

I have believed in the prayer of the poor who ask for daily bread,
and in the answer of him who gives it, and in whose sight even
the sparrow is not forgotten; and I have been deceived! I have
believed in the eloquence of tears shed at the feet and the heart
of God; in the blessings of mothers registered in heaven; in the
fruitfulness of suffering; in the merit of unknown virtue, and
of virtue unknown to itself; in defeats that are glorious and
success that is shameful; I have believed in all that showed forth
God in man, and man in God! But--grief unspeakable!--I have been
deceived, since there is no Providence, since for ages and ages
an odious and inexplicable chance has ruled humanity, and forced
it, humbled, mystified, levelled with the brute, miserably plunged
in a stupid and inconceivable idolatry, to bend the knee to the
very dust--before what? before whom? Before a man, a Jew--before
a scourged and crucified Jew, whom it hearkens to as an oracle,
invokes as a master, and worships as a god.

I have reached a limit beyond which I cannot go, and I stop a
moment to ask you: Have we not seen enough of these impossibilities
jostling one another, enough of absurdities crowding on our
bewildered sight, and, as Scripture words it, of deep calling unto
deep?

And yet, if you tear from the brow of Jesus Christ the crowning
glory of the Godhead, you will be compelled to admit a thousand
times more than this, and not only to admit it, but even to believe
it fitting and most rational. You are therefore forced to choose
between the human madness that believed in and deified an impostor,
the guilty and merciless fraud practised by a God whose seal was
thus solemnly set to the most appalling scandal ever witnessed by
mankind, or the crowning dogma of the divinity of Jesus Christ, a
dogma which alone reconciles and explains all mysteries. When you
recross the threshold of this church, you must go forth believers,
either in a miracle of folly, a miracle of treachery, or a miracle
of mercy and love. Mankind must appear before you either as a
regenerated, a deceived, or an idolatrous creation.

What will be your choice? Would to God that at the solemn moment
of your decision I might come to each one of you, and on my knees
beseech you, through the merits of that Precious Blood which, if
you will not let it be your salvation, will most assuredly be your
eternal condemnation, and the sign that will doom you to doubt in
life, to agony in death, to despair in eternity--beseech you, I
repeat it ere you have raised your voice in final decision, to free
your soul from the interests that bind it, the human respect that
fetters it, the sophisms that lead it astray--in a word, from all
the passions of flesh and blood whose watchword is eternal hatred
to the truth of God.

Then, and only then, in that freedom from all bondage, in the
silence of your inmost hearts, make the choice that will lead you
to life or to death.

But what words are these, my brethren? There will be no need of
choosing then: the choice will be already made; for, as the sun
swiftly reaches the last recess of the deepest cavern the moment
the obstacle is removed which has hitherto resisted its light,
so does Jesus Christ, the sun of the mind, the incarnate truth,
flood with his radiance every soul whose own obstinate efforts
do not close it against this blessed transfiguration. Open wide
your hearts, my brethren, to this God of love and truth, who has
vouchsafed to show himself to you in the brightness of such light
and the majesty of such conviction.

And thou, Lord Jesus, who art the truth “_that enlighteneth every
man that cometh into the world_” (St. John i.), let it not come
to pass that one soul out of this great assemblage should return
this day from the foot of this pulpit to the common turmoil of
the world without bearing within itself the ineffable wound of a
dawning conviction. And if, O Lord! thou requirest unto this end
the sacrifice of a human life, let this day be my last on earth,
and this hour the last hour of my mortal pilgrimage.



AFFIRMATIONS.


“It is the child’s spirit that is to be loved and sympathized with,
not his body; the body must be pampered as little as possible.”

“Principle must unite with purpose before it becomes practical.”

“Human nature must do as nature does--cling to the sustainer, and
then it will be always producing new fruits.”

“We are none the better for reflecting upon our own ideas of heat,
but if we would cease reflecting and let the heat warm us, the heat
would itself realize what our reflected reflections never can.”

“There is a communion with God, with saints, and also with angels,
and then with each other, but this is not in space and time, or
with the space and time man.”

“That which Love requires for the everlasting food, the man of this
world expends in heaping up rubbish.”



FLEURANGE.

BY MRS. CRAVEN, AUTHOR OF “A SISTER’S STORY.”

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH, WITH PERMISSION.


PART FIRST.

THE OLD MANSION.


XII.

Clement remained a moment thoughtful and undecided. Before obeying
his mother’s injunction, he felt the need of collecting his
thoughts and regaining his self-control. Whatever strength of mind
he might manifest, he was very young to experience such painful
emotions as he had endured the past day. He crossed the passage
of the stairs that led to Fleurange’s room, then passed on and
went directly into the garden. Hitherto he had only thought of his
parents. At least, he felt all that morning that, as soon as his
father and mother knew everything, a great weight would be removed
from his mind which would enable him to breathe quite freely. But
the terrible revelation was made, and yet he was not relieved. He
was still agitated, painfully agitated. Having passed the whole
evening shut up in Wilhelm’s office, reckoning up the sad accounts,
he felt the need of fresh air. It was the end of June. The weather
was cloudy, and somewhat showery. He walked swiftly to the end of
the garden, then returned slowly towards the house, and was about
to go in search of the children and his cousin when he heard his
name called close behind him:

“Clement!”

“Is it you, Gabrielle, here all alone?”

Fleurange was sitting on an obscure bench against the side of the
house.

“Yes, I have been here an hour. You are going to tell me everything
that has occurred, are you not, Clement? Remain here awhile and
tell me. Do not conceal things from me any longer.”

“I do not intend to, Gabrielle, but do not detain me now. Come in,
dear cousin. When the children are asleep, I will return and tell
you.”

“The children are asleep, Clement, and have been for a long time.
It is nearly ten o’clock. Poor little things, do you think they
could keep awake till this time? After dinner I took them to the
further end of the garden, that their lively prattle might not
disturb the house. By eight o’clock they were tired out. I made
them go up-stairs, and as soon as they fell asleep I came down to
wait for you.”

Had her account been still longer, Clement would not have thought
of interrupting her. He made no reply for a while, but at length
said:

“Thank you, Gabrielle. You are--” He stopped. He felt an iron
grasp at his throat, and feared he should sob like a child if
he attempted to speak. With all his manly energy and precocious
gravity, Clement’s young heart was passionately tender. And yet he
had not been wanting in firmness throughout the day. Why, then,
did it seem to abandon him so suddenly now? How happened it that,
after considering, without shrinking, all the consequences of the
resolution he was the first to make and propose--after manifesting
no hesitation at the sight of his parents, and his brother and
sister, he now felt terrified and almost overwhelmed at the thought
of the sacrifice that had been made, and the great change about
to occur in their lives? He hardly knew why himself, for he had
not examined very minutely what was passing in his dreams. Clement
was naturally inclined to reverie. He cared but little for the
amusements of his age. His mind sought relaxation in secretly
brooding over the inspirations of poetry. His friends knew he had
a good memory and was familiar with a great number of poems, but
they did not suspect he had a deep vein of poetry in his nature
which ranked next to the influences of religion. This interior life
was so completely veiled that the very eye of his mother scarcely
penetrated it. Clement’s aptitude for history and the sciences, his
turn for practical studies and a practical life, his skill in a
thousand things of a material nature, served to conceal still more
the other qualities of his mind. They depended on him to train a
horse, settle an account, give a lesson in mathematics or history,
plan an excursion, or make arrangements for a journey; but the
idea of his wandering in imaginary or poetic regions, absorbed and
lost in such waking dreams as are expressed in German by the word
_Schwärmen_, and silently passing a part of his life in an interior
world to which he never alluded, was little imagined, even by those
who knew him best. And perhaps he himself, as we have said, had
never thoroughly analyzed his own nature, for until to-day the
actual and the imaginary had never come in conflict. But now all at
once he felt there was in his ideal world a sanctuary, a palace, a
throne, he must resign himself to see crumble away like the rest,
and the courage he manifested at the material loss of wealth to its
fullest extent seemed to forsake him now in view of the imaginary
ruin of this enchanted domain!

Fleurange, seeing her cousin made no reply, waited quietly awhile,
but at length she said, somewhat impatiently:

“Come, Clement, I pray you, keep me no longer in suspense. What are
you afraid of? Am I a child? Am I not older than you? And did I not
learn long ago the sad meaning of sorrow, suffering, and trial?
Speak to me freely, then, and without fear. Nothing frightens me.”

Fleurange’s earnestness roused her cousin, and restored his
calmness and self-control. Without any further hesitation, he
seated himself beside her, and related the greater part of what
he had told his mother some hours before. She thus learned in her
turn the extent of the disaster which had befallen them--that all
due reparation would be made, that the honor of her uncle’s house
and name might remain intact, though his brother, Ludwig Dornthal,
would be ruined--for ever ruined.

“And your good father and mother have consented to this
renunciation of their rights?”

“Yes, and without any hesitation.”

“O dear and noble soul!” cried Fleurange, clasping her hands in her
transport. “And it was you who proposed it?”

“Yes.”

“O Clement, my dear Clement! truly, I love you as I never loved you
before!”

“Gabrielle,” said Clement in a low and trembling voice, “do not say
that.”

“Why not?” said Fleurange. “I think so, and it is the truth.”

“Because--because, if they are often to be blamed who are wanting
in honor and duty, there is nothing particularly praiseworthy in
those who are faithful.”

“Nevertheless, my dear cousin, if I love you better than before,
you must not be displeased, but I will not say so again if it
offends you.”

There was a moment’s silence. Fleurange was lost in profound
reverie. She soon resumed, in a grave tone: “Now I understand the
state of affairs, I see our life is to assume an entirely new
aspect.”

“Yes, entirely,” said Clement, with a dull anguish.

“This dear Old Mansion,” continued Fleurange, “must it be left?”

“Yes,” said Clement; “it will have to be sold, with all it
contains, for the produce of this sale is all my father will have
to begin life anew with.”

“Sell the house!” replied Fleurange thoughtfully. “Yes, I see it
must be so; and afterwards we shall be separated.”

“And why must that be so?” cried Clement with sudden impetuosity.
But he presently resumed in a different tone: “However, it would
be very selfish in us to wish to retain you, now we have no longer
anything to share with you but our poverty.”

“Clement,” said Fleurange hastily, “that is truly a rude and
unjust speech, which I hardly merit--” She stopped an instant,
then went on in a tone of emotion: “What! when poverty, misery,
and hunger--yes, Clement, hunger!--were staring me in the face,
your father bethought himself of me, he invited me here, received
me into his house, conferred on me--not a happiness I had already
experienced, but one hitherto unknown: he became my father, when
mine was no more, and gave me a mother, brothers, and sisters whom
I had never possessed. Life, youth, and joy had been meaningless
words to me. I only comprehended them after I came under his
roof, and now--now,” said she in broken accents, no longer able
to restrain her tears, “it is his son--Ludwig Dornthal’s son--who
tells me it is to escape the misfortunes of his family that I wish
to leave them!”

“Gabrielle! Gabrielle!” said Clement in an agitated manner,
“forgive me--have some pity on me. Stop, I beseech you; you will
drive me mad, if you utter such reproaches at this time.”

Fleurange by degrees grew calm, and, forcing a smile, while great
tears stood in her eyes, she soon resumed: “Poor Clement! I am,
then, neither allowed to praise you nor blame you, this evening.
Well, let us lay aside what relates merely to ourselves, or at
least speak of it in a different manner. What I meant just now was
that we could no longer remain idle. We must aid our dear parents
all we can,” she continued in a softened tone, “and labor for
them--”

“Labor!” said Clement. “_I_ must unquestionably; that is a matter
of course; but you, Gabrielle--you! There is no reason in what you
say.”

“And I also,” said Fleurange calmly. “And that is a point to be
considered. I must not only cease to be a burden to your parents,
but I must aid them. How happy that will make me! I thank Heaven
for the very thought that I may now be able to do something for
them to whom I owe everything. This hope relieves my very sadness.”

She rose and held out her hand. “Good-night, cousin. To-morrow I
will tell you what inspiration I have received from my good angel
during the night.”

He silently pressed her hand, and allowed her to leave him without
a word.

The night was cloudy. If Clement caught any glimpses of his
cousin’s features during their conversation, it was because, seated
beside her, and even favored by the obscurity, he ventured to look
at her more closely than he would have done elsewhere. Now, the
stars rose only to disappear beneath the sombre clouds. He was
no longer afraid of being seen. He remained where Fleurange left
him, and, burying his face in his hands, gave vent at last to the
tears that for two hours had been suffocating him--tears of sorrow,
regret, and affection, which he must shed to keep his young heart
from breaking.

But he soon surmounted this violent emotion, and rose up ashamed of
his weakness. At that moment he heard a window open above his head.
It was Fleurange, who soon appeared on the balcony. He could see
her white dress and the regular outline of face against the light
from her chamber. He saw her soft glance lost in the darkness. Then
she folded her hands and bent down her head. She was praying, but
not alone to-night. Clement, kneeling unperceived in the shade,
prayed with her. He was in the very place where he heard her say to
Felix: “Clement is my brother, and you are not.” He recalled the
words now, and renewed in his heart the solemn promise to be for
ever faithful to all the obligations they imposed.


XIII.

If the happy inmates of the Old Mansion had been told a month
previous they only had a few weeks more to pass within its walls,
they would have been greatly dismayed by the prediction, and asked
how such a trial could be borne. But there is in life--even in the
happiest life when it is ordered aright, that is, when its duties
are daily considered and faithfully accomplished--there is, I say,
in such a life a latent preparation for the most violent shocks of
adversity, and, when they suddenly come, it is surprising to find
that they who seemed to enjoy more than others the good things they
possessed are the best able to resign themselves to their loss
with firmness and serenity. And yet they are not insensible to
the calamity. It falls on them with its full weight, but it comes
alone, unaccompanied by the two scourges which generally follow in
the train of a misfortune resulting from misconduct--trouble and
confusion of mind.

Neither of these followed ruin into Ludwig Dornthal’s house.
Externally the disaster was complete, but peace and order were
maintained within. All their decisions--even the most painful--were
made deliberately, and executed calmly and without delay. They
did not dissemble the greatness of their sacrifice; they made no
pretence to an insensibility they did not feel; but they quietly
made their preparations--tears often blinding their eyes the
while--like a brave and worthy crew wrecked by a tempest and forced
to abandon their vessel.

It was thus they made all the arrangements for leaving their dear
home and disposing of their library, paintings, and objects of
_virtu_, which the professor had selected with so much care and
pride, and were his only source of pleasure apart from the society
of his family and friends. And from the latter also he was to be
separated. When Ludwig Dornthal announced his intention of resuming
the career he abandoned twenty years before, positions were offered
him on all sides, especially in the city where he resided. But on
account of the strict economy he must henceforth practise, as well
as a secret repugnance to a different social position in a place
where he had been so prosperous, he decided, after some hesitation,
to leave Frankfort, and accept a modest situation offered him at
the University of Heidelberg. He succeeded in purchasing a small
house in that place at a low price--somewhat rustic, it is true,
but situated without the city walls, on the banks of the Neckar,
and surrounded by a garden. He could easily walk to the university
every morning, and the perspective of the rural repose that awaited
him at the end of the day would enable him to endure its labors
more cheerfully. He therefore decided to take possession of it as
speedily as possible, and all the necessary arrangements had to be
made during the few weeks they were to remain in the Old Mansion
before leaving it for ever.

Clement took charge of all the preliminaries of the somewhat
extensive sale that was to take place. He wished to relieve his
father from so sad a task, and perform the painful and fatiguing
business without any assistance, but it was made much easier for
him than he anticipated. Fleurange insisted on his accepting her
aid. She set herself to work, silently going to and fro with her
sleeves turned back, carrying the rare china carefully from one
place to another with her small but efficient hands, and dusting,
arranging, and numbering the books according to her cousin’s
directions. Of course she greatly lightened his labors. In the
evening they seated themselves in the library, now nearly stripped
of its treasures, and wrote lists or inserted notes in the large
registers concerning the precious manuscripts and books that were
to be disposed of. It was, in short, a work that required the vigor
and activity of youth, as well as much thought and assiduous labor.
To say that, while performing this double task, they never found it
tiresome, that no shade ever came over their brows, and that their
eyes were never tearful while handling so many objects they were
never to see again, would be false; it would be equally so to say
that Clement, in spite of the fatigue, was greatly to be pitied
during these days.

There came a time, long after, when, looking back on the past, it
seemed to him that these hours passed in the light of Fleurange’s
beautiful eyes, sometimes cast down as she bent over the large
registers, and anon raised to ask a question or give him a friendly
glance--it seemed to him, I say, that these vanished hours were
among the most delightful of his life.

At length came the day their task would be completed, and, while
they were working together for the last time, Fleurange raised her
eyes. “Clement,” she said, “we are nearly done. I have been waiting
for this moment to tell you something.”

Clement dropped his work at once, and looked up interrogatively.

“No, no; finish what you are doing, and I will tell you afterward.”

Clement soon finished. Fleurange closed the great book before her,
and resumed: “Do you remember our conversation in the garden a
fortnight ago?”

“I do, most assuredly.”

“Well, after leaving you that evening, I passed the night in
reflection, and ended by writing to the best, and, indeed, the only
gentleman-friend I have in the world out of this house.”

“Dr. Leblanc?” said Clement, aware, of course, of all the
circumstances that preceded his cousin’s arrival.

“Yes, Dr. Leblanc. I wrote him all I had just learned. I made known
the situation my uncle and his family would soon be in, and my
desire, my ardent desire, not only to cease to be a burden, but to
fulfil a daughter’s duty with regard to them. His own daughters
have other duties, now they are married, but I have only this, and
it is one so precious--so precious,” repeated Fleurange in the soft
tone that sometimes made her simplest words penetrate to the depths
of the listener’s heart, “that I shall consider my life happy and
well-spent if I can consecrate it entirely to this duty!”

Clement bent down his head, and took up his pen as if to correct a
mistake on the paper before him. She must not see the effect of her
words on his countenance--no! she must not.

“Well,” said he presently, without looking up, “what did Dr.
Leblanc say?”

“Here, Clement, read the letter I received from him two days ago.”

Clement took the letter, but, while reading it, he was all at once
filled with a similar anguish to that he experienced after the
conversation that night in the garden which Fleurange had just
alluded to. He was obliged to make a violent effort to restrain
his feelings, and not tear the letter in his hands into a thousand
pieces. Fortunately he succeeded, for it would have been the most
foolish act he ever committed. And there was really nothing in Dr.
Leblanc’s letter to justify such a mad desire. It read as follows:

  “MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND: I cannot tell you how much I am at once
  distressed and edified by the sad account you have given me. I
  have long known what kind of a man your uncle is. I now see there
  are but few to be compared with him, even among the best, and I
  never had a keener desire than to make his acquaintance. You know
  I have always hoped for this gratification. It will probably be
  afforded me sooner than I anticipated. And this leads me to the
  second part of your letter.

  “I understand your wish, and would like to second it. Besides, I
  have not forgotten my promise to aid you in gaining a livelihood,
  should it ever be necessary. Poor child! I hoped never to be
  called upon to fulfil it, but, as things have come to that
  pass, I must tell you of a letter I received yesterday which,
  coinciding with yours, seems to be a providential indication.
  This letter is from the Princess Catharine Lamianoff, a Russian
  lady, who is one of my patients. She is now at Munich, and has
  sent for me to go there. I have already prescribed for her with
  success, and, from what she tells me of her state, I think my
  visit may be beneficial. I have therefore decided on the journey,
  and shall be absent a fortnight. I shall go by the way of
  Frankfort on purpose to see you. But, first, I must tell you what
  there is in the letter to interest you. The princess earnestly
  requests me to find a young lady, carefully educated and with
  good manners, to be her _demoiselle de compagnie_. She is an
  invalid and requires to be entertained, so the office would be
  a charitable as well as a lucrative one. We will talk all this
  over before another week. Meanwhile, rely always, as you have the
  right to do, on my sincere and affectionate devotedness. I say
  nothing about my sister, as she is writing you in a similar tone
  by the same mail.

  “P.S.--The princess has been married twice, but is again a widow.
  She is very wealthy, and offers the young lady she commissions me
  to find one hundred and fifty louis a year.”

Clement remained silent for some time. “And you think of accepting
such a proposal?” said he, at length, in a tone of irritation quite
at variance with his usual manner. “What folly!”

“No, it is not folly,” replied Fleurange mildly. “If, after talking
with Dr. Leblanc, I discover no reason for declining the situation,
I cannot possibly see the folly of accepting it.”

“Gabrielle,” said Clement, without changing his tone, “you know the
course you wish to take is insupportable to me! This _rôle_ belongs
to me--me alone. It is my place to labor for my parents, my brother
and sister, and for you. If you had the least regard for me, you
would feel this is a favor you have no right to refuse me.”

“Come, Clement,” said Fleurange calmly, “let us talk it over in a
reasonable manner. When everything is sold, and your parents are
settled in their new home at Heidelberg, you are perfectly aware
that your father’s small salary, even with what you can add to it,
will barely enable them and Frida to live comfortably. You will
remain at Frankfort, where, notwithstanding your youth, you have
the choice of several situations. But Fritz--have you forgotten our
calculations yesterday? Will you have sufficient means to send him
to the excellent gymnasium you were so desirous he should enter,
that he might be enabled to become independent in his turn? No,
Clement, you know well you could not do it. Whereas,” she continued
with animation, “if this good lady likes me, I can send all my
salary, with the exception of a small part, to my dear brothers.
This will ensure Fritz’s education, and my dear aunt will be freed
from all anxiety about him as well as me. And do you not see,
Clement, that I shall be a thousand times happier far away from
you all, even though treated like a slave by this princess, than
among you, useless, inactive, and adding by my presence to your
difficulties, instead of aiding to diminish them?”

Clement, with his elbows resting on the table, and his face buried
in his hands, did not answer a word.

“Come, come, dear Clement, put off that frown,” said Fleurange in a
caressing tone, taking him softly by the hand. “We shall see each
other, like school-children, during our vacations. From time to
time we shall meet on the banks of the Neckar! That will always be
our home, where we shall all gather around the hearth, as here, on
great festivals.”

What reply could poor Clement make? What objection could he offer?
Must he not for ever conceal all he had hoped in his vanished
dreams to confess some day? Was he not now reduced to constant
labor for subsistence? Had not his life henceforth a single aim
that nothing must turn him from? And were it otherwise, did she not
look upon him as a mere boy? Was he not destitute of every quality
that could please her? And had he not always foreseen that his
enchanting dreams would vanish at the very first breath of reality?

He took his cousin’s small hand in his, and, with his usual frank
and cordial look, said: “You are right, Gabrielle, forgive me. I
appear ungrateful, but I am not. May God reward you! You are an
angel!”

And he added in a tone too low for her to hear: “An angel from whom
I am more widely separated than from the angels in heaven!”


XIV.

From that day forth Clement displayed no more interest in his
cousin’s project: at least, he never alluded to it, and the plan
was discussed before him without his taking any part in the
conversation.

Madame Dornthal, capable herself of the most generous devotedness,
knew also how to accept it from others--a rarer gift, but perhaps
not less noble. She thoroughly understood Fleurange’s disposition,
and was unwilling at such a time to deprive a heart like hers of
the most exquisite joy it can taste.

“Yes, dear child,” she said, folding her in her arms, “I accept the
aid you offer me, and with gratitude. Thanks to you, I shall be
relieved from all anxiety respecting two of my children, and, if
Dr. Leblanc reassures me as to my Gabrielle, I shall let her follow
the generous impulse of her heart.”

But Madame Dornthal kept to herself, or only communicated to her
husband, another motive for her consent. Fleurange would thus be
preserved from some of the privations of their new life. “She would
continue to enjoy comforts we could no longer give her. She would
be happier and more cheerful away from us, the poor child! than
with us at such a time.”

“Yes,” replied the professor, “it would indeed be a pity to bury
her youth in a cottage. I could not bear it. I have so often
blessed God within a month for having assured the destiny of our
dear daughters! And yet,” added poor Ludwig, sighing, “their young
faces were so cheering around us!”

“We shall soon see them again, Ludwig. Hilda and Karl are awaiting
our visit, and Clara will pass the winter near us, Julian having
received a great number of orders from the vicinity of Heidelberg.
O my dear Ludwig! as long as God leaves us these blessings, let us
resign, not only without a murmur, but without regret, all he has
taken from us!”

Those who are absorbed in the acquisition of wealth, and make it
the special object of their lives, are no less liable to misfortune
than others. Indeed, it may be said, they are more frequently
overtaken by adversity. Would it not be well, then, for them to
reflect a little beforehand on the means of singularly modifying
the features of this stern visitant, and giving it the aspect it
now wore in the Old Mansion? It is true, to do this they must begin
by thinking of something higher than the mere acquisition of riches.

Dr. Leblanc arrived, as he promised, about ten days after his
letter. His visit at the Old Mansion coincided with the last days
its inmates were to pass within its walls, and this circumstance
would have made him hesitate to come, had not the professor
cordially encouraged him. They had long wished to know each other,
for in their different spheres they were equally renowned, and
Fleurange, under so many obligations to both, was a tie between
them. The doctor was therefore received by M. Dornthal quite
otherwise than as a stranger. The tendency of their minds, the
nature of their studies, and even the prominent features of their
character, were very dissimilar, but there was the same foundation
to their nature, and they aimed at the same end by different means.
They therefore soon discovered that, though their lives were
drawing to a close without even having met before, they were born
intimate friends.

How many unknown friends thus pass their whole lives without ever
meeting, or even suspecting the sympathy that unites them! Who can
tell how many ties of this kind will be discovered in heaven? And
who knows but this discovery may be one of the sweetest surprises
of another life, and, like all the joys we have a foretaste of here
below, and perhaps more abundantly accorded to those who on earth
were the most destitute?

The hospitable doors of the Old Mansion were closed, the library
shelves bare, the panels stripped of the rich paintings that
adorned them, and all was now humiliation and sacrifice where once
reigned satisfaction and enjoyment, and yet Dr. Leblanc probably
would not have felt so lively a sensation of respect and emotion
had he visited the Dornthals for the first time during the days of
their prosperity.

As to them, this new friend seemed to have always occupied the
place he now took in their midst, and, in spite of the sadness
of the present as well as of the future, Fleurange enjoyed the
satisfaction of seeing them brought together for a few brief hours,
and, though on the eve of leaving her friends, did not find the
last days she spent among them the least happy.

Madame Dornthal gathered nothing from her conversations with Dr.
Leblanc that was unfavorable to Fleurange’s project; but she
learned that the Princess Catharine was only making a temporary
visit at Munich on her way from a watering-place where she passed
her summers and would soon leave for Florence, where she owned a
palace which was her residence in winter.

After some correspondence, it was decided Fleurange should accept
the princess’ offer, and go to Munich under the doctor’s care. She
would thus have the double advantage of her old friend’s protection
during the journey, and his presence during the first days of her
new career among strangers.

While all this was being decided, the time passed sadly and rapidly
away, and the last day they were to spend in the Old Mansion
came--the last day their eyes would linger on the venerable walls
which had witnessed all the happiness of the past, the garden with
its velvet sward, the borders of flowers, and the wide alleys
through the overshadowing trees, full of remembrances they would
not another spring be able to retrace, or indeed any spring of
their future lives.

Clement, silent as he often was, but more agitated than usual,
hastily collected the small number of books which were to form part
of his luggage the following day. His cousin’s generous sacrifice
enabled him to fulfil his wishes at once with regard to Fritz. This
only left him the more completely alone--the care of the child
would have added to the young man’s difficulties and become later
a serious burden; but Clement loved his little brother, and had
looked upon the necessity of keeping him with him as a consoling
feature of his future life. This necessity no longer existed.
Clement, left free, decided to make choice of the most laborious
career offered him--the one least conformed to his tastes, but the
best adapted to second his desire of aiding his parents.

Wilhelm Müller proposed he should enter a large commercial house
where M. Heinrich Dornthal’s worthy and intelligent clerk himself
had found a situation similar to that he recently occupied at the
banker’s. Clement accepted it. He was at first to receive only a
small salary, but it would be increased from year to year. “And
later,” explained Wilhelm, “you may have your share in the profits
of the house. You are young. Who knows, whatever you may say,
that you will not some day become rich again, and as happy and
prosperous as you were destined to be?”

Nothing in Clement’s heart responded to this encouraging prophecy,
but he did not the less follow Müller’s advice. Moreover, he
accepted the kind clerk’s offer of renting him a small chamber in
the house he himself occupied.

“Poor Monsieur Clement,” he said, “what I offer you is only a
garret, but it is under our roof, and you will feel you have
friends around you. My wife is a good housekeeper, and will always
be ready to render you a service. The little ones are good children
also, though somewhat noisy, and will sometimes divert your sad
thoughts.”

“It is all well enough,” said Clement. “Your offer suits me every
way, and I thank you, Wilhelm, with all my heart.”

Thus matters were arranged between them.

Fleurange made her appearance in the library while Clement was
diligently packing his books. She remained awhile, and learned by
questioning him all that has just been related, not omitting the
kind clerk’s offer to become his host as well as his colleague.

“Oh! so much the better,” cried Fleurange. “The Müllers are
excellent people. I know Bertha, who is an amiable little woman.
You can talk with her about me.”

Bertha’s name recalled Fleurange’s journey, which they discussed.
This naturally led to her arrival on Christmas Eve, the Midnight
Mass, the festival of the following day, and all the other happy
days that succeeded.

All these reminiscences were too touching, too poignant, at such
a time. Fleurange at last became unable to utter a word. She
turned her face away, and started as if to leave the room. But she
stopped at the threshold, and remained leaning against the garden
window, which at that season was surrounded by honeysuckle. Clement
followed, and both stood gazing at the thousand objects gilded by
the brilliant rays of the setting sun. There was nothing wanting in
the melancholy beauty of that evening hour, either in the sweetness
of the air, the clearness of the sky, the perfume of the flowers,
or anything that could in their eyes add an unusual charm to all
they were about to leave for ever.

And she! how did she appear in the sight of him who feared he
might never, after this hour, behold her again as she now stood
beside him? What did he think of the effect of the golden lights
upon her fair brow and on her black and silky hair?--on the pale
azure of her eyes, now so smiling and soft, and again so grave and
thoughtful, but in which tenderness was overruled by a will that
would ever remain dominant?

We will not state what were his unuttered thoughts. The mingling
of sweetness and energy which heightened the attraction Fleurange
inspired he was equally gifted with, and what he ought to conceal
within his own bosom he knew how to prevent his mouth from uttering
or his eyes from ever betraying. He therefore remained near her,
calm in appearance, while his heart was a prey to such grief as
in youth changes the entire aspect of nature, and makes it almost
unendurable to live.

“To-morrow!--to-morrow I shall no longer behold her,” he repeated
to himself, with a sensation that one might have in sharpening
the instrument of his execution, and the thought deprived him of
enjoying the few hours that remained to him.

Fleurange, on her side, dwelt on the fatality that always separated
her from those she loved. She recalled the day when the bare
thought of ever leaving this spot caused such a painful contraction
of the heart. And now, that prophetic anguish was justified!--the
frightful dream had become a reality! Sad thoughts crowded on her
mind. Another moment, and she would be unable to restrain them, all
her firmness was about to give way in a flood of tears, when an
effort of her will made her triumph over the emotion, or, at least,
prevented her from manifesting it. Putting a stop to her long
reverie, she raised her head, and turned toward her cousin:

“Here, Clement,” she said softly, drawing a small book from her
pocket, “here is my Dante we have so often read in: keep it, dear
friend, in memory of our favorite study, and do not forget our
habit of daily reading a canto in it.”

“No, I shall never forget it. Thank you, Gabrielle: the gift is
very precious. I shall always prize this little book.” He opened
it: “But write my name on this blank leaf. Here is my pencil.”

She took the pencil and wrote: “_To Clement._”

“One word more,” said Clement in a supplicating tone. “Pray write
also a word, a line, a stanza if you will, from our favorite poet.”

“What shall I write?” said she, turning over the leaves.

“There, that in the second canto,” said he, pointing it out. She
wrote it immediately, and then read it over:

“To Clement.

  “L’amico mio e non della Ventura.”[58]

“That is right,” said Clement. “Thank you.”

“That is a sad line: I should have chosen a different one.”

“It is appropriate to the present occasion. Now add your name.”

She was about to write it when he stopped her.

“Your real name,” said he. “Write your other name, to-night--the
name that suits you so well--Fleurange!”

Fleurange smiled, and shook her head. “Oh! no,” she said. “I gave
it up with regret, but I should not have thought of such a thing
had I previously known you all. But I have been so happy since I
have borne the name of Gabrielle--and you were the first to call
me so, Clement--so happy that I no longer love the name associated
with the sadness of the past, and, were I to hear any one call me
Fleurange now, I should imagine it an ill omen.”

Clement made no reply, but, when she returned the book, he retained
her hand a moment: “Gabrielle, one word more--perhaps my last
before your departure. Listen to me. Wherever you may be, if you
ever need a friend--a friend, do you understand?--that would value
no sacrifice for your sake, do not forget that your brother is
ready to aid you, not only willingly, but with a pleasure you have
no idea of.”

Clement’s voice was grave and solemn, but at the same time
agitated and tremulous, as he uttered these words. They were so in
conformity with what Fleurange had reason to expect from him that
they touched her, but excited no surprise.

“Yes, Clement,” she replied frankly, casting an affectionate glance
toward him; “I promise to have recourse to you. I feel I have no
better friend in the world than you, and doubt if I ever shall
have.”

Were these words sweet or bitter? He hardly knew. The sadness that
overwhelmed him it seemed impossible to increase, and equally
impossible to alleviate. And yet!--she was still there--beside
him--with an air of serenity and hope. There was not a single
sentiment of her heart he did not share. She called him her friend,
and there was no other she preferred to him. The moment, so full of
anguish, was yet a happy one, and he regretted at a later day not
having known how to profit more by it.

This was their last conversation in the Old Mansion. Clement
preserved the little volume in which she had written the name of
Gabrielle as a memento of this interview, and also a sprig of the
honeysuckle that touched her forehead.

The remainder of the evening passed swiftly away. Soon after light
the next morning came the farewell hour. The Dornthals left their
beloved home without the hope of ever entering it again, and
Fleurange once more left those she loved, to enter upon a new life
that looked a thousand times gloomier and more uncertain than that
which was before her when she left Paris. And Clement bade them
all farewell, to endure as he could isolation, a laborious and
uncongenial life, the privation of the affection and pleasures of
his boyhood, and especially all the pain and love a young heart can
endure.


PART SECOND.

THE TRIAL.

      “Era già l’ora che volge il disio
    Ai naviganti e intenerisce il core,
    Lo di’ c’han detto a’ dolci amici addio!”--DANTE.


It was a beautiful night--brilliant, serene, and starry--a night
the uprising moon would soon render as light as day. A fresh
breeze from the land swelled the sails of a vessel just leaving
Genoa, which, far from impeding its course, only gave it a bolder
and more rapid flight over the waves. There were various groups
of passengers on deck, some conversing in subdued tones quite
in harmony with the mysterious hour of twilight, and others
aloud as if it were mid-day. One was playing on a guitar, as an
accompaniment to a somewhat remarkable voice, one of those airs
everybody knows, sings, or hums as long as they are in the fashion.
The music, in itself indifferent, did not seem so on the water and
at such an hour. It harmonized with the feelings of those who were
sailing over that azure sea, beneath that starry sky, and in sight
of those charming shores which the boat scarcely lost sight of
during its short sail from Genoa to Leghorn.

Apart from all these groups, and belonging to none of them, we
again find Fleurange, who was sitting entirely alone. She had
been here some minutes, attracting general attention from the
first by the gracefulness of her form, which the cloak in which
she was wrapped could not wholly conceal. The hood, half-covering
her head, only added a picturesqueness to the striking beauty
of her regular features. More than one of her fellow-travellers
would gladly have drawn near the place where she was sitting, but,
though she was alone and did not appear to be under any one’s
protection, there was, in the simple dignity of her attitude, in
her evident indifference to the sensation she produced, in her very
want of timidity, which was not boldness, but resolution, and in
her whole appearance, a something undefinable which intimidated
the most lively admiration, and would have disconcerted insolence
itself--a remark _en passant_ to those who regard familiarity as
only a proof of the attraction they inspire. Therefore, in spite
of some whispering, notwithstanding more than one look toward the
charming face distinctly visible in the full light of the moon,
now risen, Fleurange remained quietly in her corner, abandoned to
her own meditations, undisturbed by any one, and without troubling
herself in the least about those who surrounded her. Her thoughts
were various and complex. A strange fate seemed to pursue her and
constantly break the thread of her life, and every time it was
broken she found the severance more painful. It was but recently
she wept so bitterly at leaving Paris, and Dr. Leblanc, and the
dear Mademoiselle Josephine. But the tears were much more bitter
she shed at leaving the Old Mansion, and the loved circle where she
had first known and tasted in all their fulness the sweet joys of
family life.

After leaving Frankfort, Fleurange’s firmness, which had never
faltered before, suddenly gave way to such a degree as to make
Dr. Leblanc resolve to take her back to her friends if, after his
short stay at Munich, he did not find her more resigned to her
lot. But Fleurange was not a person to be easily subdued. Her
natural strength of character soon asserted itself, and enabled
her to persevere in the path she had chosen. Her resolution was
strengthened by the very circumstances which would have discouraged
many others. At their arrival at Munich, they found the Princess
Catharine confined to her bed by a violent attack of her malady,
and it was as nurse that Fleurange entered upon her duties. Her
complaint, all the physicians declared, was not dangerous, but it
was not the less painful, nor the easier to be relieved. That Dr.
Leblanc was again successful in his treatment was partly owing to
the sudden and lively fancy of his patient for the young companion
he had brought her. To tell the truth, the doctor, knowing the
princess, had foreseen this attraction, but he knew Fleurange was
fully able to justify and sustain this first impression, and he
sincerely hoped by bringing them together he had done something no
less useful and beneficial for his wealthy patient than for his
young _protégée_.

However this might be, nothing could have been better adapted
to dispel the burden of grief that weighed on Fleurange’s heart
than the immediate necessity of forgetting herself in active and
assiduous care for another. It was rather a sad beginning to pass
a succession of days and nights at the bedside of a sick stranger,
but in the actual state of her mind it was the best thing she
could have done. She possessed all the qualities that constitute
an efficient nurse, and, to a degree that excited Dr. Leblanc’s
surprise, firmness and promptitude, ease and gentleness in all her
movements, vigor and skill, and seasonable attentions--nothing was
wanting, and the result was--the never-failing effect of her beauty
and grace, added to the sentiments of lively gratitude sick people
generally feel for those who know how to relieve them. The princess
did not cease thanking the doctor, and the latter, quite pleased
with the result of his inspiration, left Fleurange not only without
anxiety, but with the most favorable hopes as to her position.

Though scarcely able to travel, the Princess Catharine insisted on
leaving Munich, and by easy stages she succeeded in reaching Genoa.
Now she was on her way to Leghorn, and thence would go to Florence
without delay, as she was eager to arrive at the palace which was
her real home, having long been obliged by her health to absent
herself from Russia, or at least to live there only during the
brief portion of the year known as the pleasant season.

For the first time, almost, since she left her friends, Fleurange
was now absolutely alone, and at liberty to indulge freely in her
own reflections. She began by recalling the cherished memory of her
distant friends, from whom she was every moment drifting away with
frightful rapidity. It was the hour sung by the poet:

              “The hour that wakens fond desire
    In men at sea, and melts their thoughtful heart,
    Who in the morn have bid sweet friends farewell”;

and Fleurange’s thoughts for a long time dwelt upon the recent
events of her life, so rapid in their current as now to be
numbered among the things for ever vanished--upon the happy family
now scattered; the days--so few--in which she was permitted to
be a member of it and finally, her present isolation, for,
notwithstanding the kindness of the princess, she felt extremely
isolated. By a singular exchange of _rôles_, it was she--the
unprotected orphan, who now seemed to have become the support of
her protectress; and the lady of rank--the rich princess, the poor
woman spoiled by fortune--who seemed to seek aid and consolation
from her. Fleurange’s kind heart found unexpected relief in these
cares, the very success of which was ample reward. She felt her
affection increase for the object of these attentions in proportion
as she lavished them, but it was rather a feeling one has for a
child or an inferior, than one it would have seemed natural to have
for a person on whom she was dependent, and to whom she actually
owed respect and obedience. She therefore felt solitary, and
this loneliness was depressing. And yet in spite of herself--in
spite of her melancholy (though this may seem contradictory)--an
irresistible sensation of joy quickened the pulsations of her heart.

Who has not experienced this joy that has once seen the beautiful
sky of Italy, and left it, and then beheld it again? Who has not
greeted with transport the charming and sublime features of its
glorious scenery as it appears anew on the horizon, as if beholding
once more the face of a beloved friend? And who, after being long
deprived of hearing the sweet accents of its musical language,
has not heard them again with emotion? All these impressions must
have been more deeply experienced in Fleurange’s case than in many
others. And as the wind went down, and the moon ascended the clear
sky, reflecting a train of light that grew brighter and brighter on
the sea, like a pathway of diamonds leading to an enchanted abode,
Fleurange, with her eyes fixed on the dazzling waters, felt for a
moment transported with joy! All the sadness of the past as well as
of the present vanished: she only realized the infinite pleasure
of living, of being young, of being here under this sky, on this
sea, near that coast whose odors were perceptible; and when she
remembered that that coast was Italy, that she would be there in a
few hours, a throng of poetic dreams and confused presentiments of
happiness added their vague hopes to the secret joy with which she
felt, as it were, intoxicated.

Dreams--half-understood dreams of youth--which are seldom realized,
and which at a later day, according as the soul triumphs over or
yields to the dangers of life, are transformed into divine and
powerful aspirations, or into deceptive and fatal realities!

At this same hour, what was Clement dreaming of, seated at his
garret window, and likewise gazing at the starry sky? Ah! if he
could have followed her whose image filled his soul, he would now
have been beside Fleurange as she was thus wafted away from him,
lulled by her confused dreams. His reverie, too, was sad, but there
was nothing vague or indefinite about it, and the manly tenderness
of his look expressed firmness and resolution rather than softness.
The future was clearly defined in his mind. Yes, though he was
only twenty years old, he felt capable of cherishing a fond memory
in his heart without ever being unfaithful to it. Yes, she should
remain there, as in a sanctuary, and, after God, he would offer
her the labors, the studies, the poetry, and the purity of his
life! Every talent he had received should be cultivated, and bring
forth all that was required on the part of the Giver. This motive
should quicken his mental faculties, and refresh him after the
exertions of the day; stimulate him to arduous labor--sacred in his
eyes--which he would pursue with energy and constancy, for it was
the source of his parents’ comfort and support, and the reliance of
their old age. And if at length!--Perhaps some day!--But when the
sudden revival of a forbidden hope gave him all at once a thrill,
he repressed it. His judgment, his reason, a painful and invincible
presentiment, had for a long time assured him this hope was vain.
“_Garder l’amour en brisant l’espoir_” was his aim and _devise_--a
task painful, difficult, and perhaps even impossible. But at this
time such was his fancy and such his dream!

                        TO BE CONTINUED.

FOOTNOTE:

[58] “A friend, not of my fortune, but myself.”



TENNYSON: ARTIST AND MORALIST.[59]


No English voice in the world of letters wakes the pulses of our
age to the thrill of joy which greeted _Childe Harold_ and _Rob
Roy_. Those monarchs of the popular heart left no successors; or if
their mantle hung for a moment on the shoulders of another, it is
now buried in the grave of Dickens. We have yet several novelists.
We have many poets. But none has obtained universal appreciation;
to none has been awarded with general consent the palm of paramount
renown. Yet it will not be questioned that few living writers
command a larger following, are remembered with more affection, and
heard with greater eagerness than the author of “In Memoriam.”

There are few studies more delightful than the growth of a poet’s
mind. In the case of Tennyson we witness the whole process of
development. We have seen him in his timid beginnings and in his
brilliant prime. More than forty years have passed since a slender
volume of poems introduced a young graduate of Cambridge to the
English-reading world. The modest offering fell upon a time which
had garnered larger and riper fruit. There were giants in those
days. Byron indeed was dead, but his fame, although it had passed
its zenith, still shone the brightest in the firmament. Shelley had
preceded him, but the reputation of that sweet singer and genuine
artist was growing, and has not ceased to grow. The lovers of
Campbell had not surrendered their faith that the _Pleasures of
Hope_ and the story of _Gertrude of Wyoming_ were but a prelude to
loftier strains. From the grave of _Adonaïs_ men’s eyes had turned
with regret and wonder to the bold outline of _Hyperion_ and the
rich shadows of _St. Agnes’ Eve_. Coleridge was a wreck, but the
finger of his _Ancient Mariner_ pointed many a thoughtful gaze
toward the untravelled country which fringes the visible world.
The master-hand that had swept the chords of Scottish minstrelsy
had not yet lost all its original vigor. And Wordsworth’s voice
gave loud and clear the signal of poetic reform, and all who were
ready to desert the out-worn moulds of classic thought and classic
imagery had begun to close around his banner.

Into that circle of splendid names no youthful aspirant could
win admittance without a challenge. More fortunate, however,
than Keats, Tennyson secured through university friendships some
indulgence from the reviews. A few were eager to crown him. It is
now acknowledged that their unwinnowed praise discovered less of
the judge than of the partisan. The conservative temper of Wilson
was provoked by the cordial welcome accorded the new-comer in
certain quarters to assume an attitude of repression that was, to
say the least, ungenerous. A measured severity might have been
amply justified. This first venture was indeed superior to those
_Hours of Idleness_ which had drawn the sneer of the _Edinburgh
Review_. But he would have been a bold prophet who in 1830 from
“Claribel” and the “Mermaid” would have foretold the “Idylls of the
King.”

Tennyson ripened slowly. His next volume was published two
years later. It was enriched with the “Lady of Shalott,” the
“Lotus-Eaters,” and the “Palace of Art,” but many of the poems
were disfigured by his earlier mannerisms, and some discovered an
affected mysticism and a hankering after novel expression that was
not indicative of health or strength. The poet, too, had betrayed a
sensitiveness to criticism that augured ill for the discipline of
his powers. It was still an open question whether the great gifts
which he unquestionably possessed would be burnished by patient
labor, or after some idle brandishings rust in satisfied repose.
Nor would he have been the first for whom victory too early and
lightly won has twined the poppy with her laurel. A silence of ten
years followed, and it seemed probable that another name must be
added to those of Campbell and Coleridge on the roll of splendid
disappointments.

But during this long interval he had not been idle. He had thought
and he had suffered. He had learned much and discarded much. On
a sudden, his treasury was opened, and the fruits of energy and
discipline fell in glistening showers at the feet of a public which
had almost forgotten him. The “Morte d’Arthur,” “Dora,” “Love and
Duty,” “Ulysses,” “Locksley Hall,” appealed in divers tones to a
charmed and astonished audience. By one sweep, and with no feeble
hand, he had planted his standard in many and widely different
fields. The bright forecast of his college friends was justified.
He had sprung at a bound into the front rank of living poets.

We pass over the “Princess,” which added little to his reputation,
and reach 1850, a cardinal point in his career. In that year it
is just to say that “Lycidas” and “Adonaïs” were eclipsed by “In
Memoriam.” This remarkable work, at once the noblest monody and
most impressive of heart histories, interpreted the author’s
life and consolidated his fame. “Maud” came next, and, morbid,
incoherent, structureless as it is, would have severely tried a
credit less firmly rooted. “Maud” indeed seems to owe its origin
rather to the blind impulse of crude intemperate youth, or the
promptings of some delirious fever, than the deliberate, healthful
movement of the poet’s higher faculties. It marks the single break
in the progress of his mind.

Not a few of Tennyson’s admirers had always affirmed the “Morte
d’Arthur” to be the strongest of his works. That fragment was
published in 1842, but it was not until 1859 that four kindred
poems were drawn from that Arthurian romance which had early
haunted his fancy and has chiefly employed the energies of his
riper years. The “Idylls of the King” have had several successors,
and the “Last Tournament” completes the cycle.

An effort has lately been made in certain quarters to depreciate
Tennyson. We do not object to comparisons if they are fruitful in
suggestion, and are instituted in a candid spirit. But perhaps
analysis affords the surer test. We ourselves hold Tennyson to
be the first of living English poets, and incline to rank him
above Byron and beside Wordsworth. In the course of an attempt
to indicate his place in literature, we shall quote wherever
quotations may sustain or illustrate our ideas. We shall draw
mainly from those works which exhibit a writer at his best. The
height of mountain ranges is gauged by their loftiest peaks,
and the merit of a public benefactor by his virtues, not his
shortcomings. A poet is a public benefactor. Not his failures, but
his masterpiece, should supply the materials of an honest judgment.


I.

_Vision_, in the old Roman conception, was the distinguishing
faculty of the poet. And indeed _vates_, not _poeta_, marks the
fundamental condition of his art. The _seer_ precedes the _maker_.
It is not indispensable that he should see more than other men, but
he will see more clearly. His perceptions are acute and nimble;
his sensations are intense. The retina and ear-drum deliver with
peculiar speed and precision their messages to his brain. His
glance tracks the eagle in his circles, and numbers the hues of
the western sky. He catches the whisper of fainting winds, and
spells the cadence of the rippling stream. To him all outlines are
sharp and crisp, every tint is vivid, every tone is clear. Senses
exquisitely organized are the first essential of the poet.

Sensations are fraught with countless degrees of pleasure, with
infinite shades of pain. Those objects whose ideas awaken a
feeling of delight we call beautiful. To register the beautiful
is an instinct of the poet. With a nice reference to the pleasure
imparted, he discriminates forms, divides the chromatic scale,
graduates the gamut of sound. In a word, his æsthetic judgment is
wakeful and unerring. But the keenest joys of the mind are not
begotten by beauty pure and simple. There is a fuller and sweeter
satisfaction than that derived from kaleidoscope combinations of
color, arabesques without significance, and _fantasias_ without
text or theme. Wherever _design_ emerges, the notion of _fitness_
is born. The Greek found it in the human body. We can trace it in
the flower and the star. When we contemplate those things of which
design may be predicated, there is blended with the feeling of
pleasure a perception of inward adaptation. The idea of perfection
is married to the idea of beauty. The ideal is their offspring.
Upon it the æsthetic judgment unaided dares not pronounce. The
complex faculty, whose province is the ideal, is _taste_. It is the
second requisite of the poet.

Most persons of culture and refinement have taste in some degree.
They are no strangers to the pure delight evoked by a smiling
landscape. In the human form they enjoy the beauty of outline and
proportion, and recognize the nice adjustment of structure to a
central aim. But their joys are transient. The flower fades; sunset
yields to moonlight; autumn touches with her pencil the canvas of
the spring; one graceful attitude melts into another; emotions
course across the countenance like winds over standing wheat.
The poet comes. His mission is to chain the fleeting, to fix the
evanescent, to reproduce the past. He brings you a rose with the
bloom on it; calls up the buried friend; stays the sinking sun on
the edge of his western bed. His life is a long revolt against
the law of change. Nor is he confined to imitation. His sphere
transcends realities. He may play with nature, if he will not
violate her. His memory is not a store-house only, but a crucible
as well, where the phenomena of sense lie fused in a glowing
golden mass. Through his brain float airy shapes surpassing and
yet suggesting the grace of earthly forms; ideals strange and
fantastic, yet bound by subtle ties of relationship to types of
the actual world. His fancy is ever in labor. Incessant gestation,
incessant parturition, engage her energies. Reproduction, creation,
is a law of the poet’s being. It is this which vindicates his right
to the noble name of _maker_.

Keen senses, a just taste, creative force, compose the common dowry
of artists. But art is threefold--plastic, pictorial, poetic.
To each species belongs a peculiar medium in which memories are
embalmed and fancies embodied. The media are solids, colors, words.
In language lie certain powers and certain limitations. The poet
divines them. He produces a speaking picture, but he remembers that
much of a picture cannot be spoken. He demonstrates that much also
may be told that cannot be painted. On his canvas vivacity and
intensity do duty for light and shade. Elaboration, suggestion,
silence, are the elements of his perspective. He borrows from
sculpture the significance of _isolation_, and the incisive
lesson of the _group_. Images, metaphors, similes, are the poet’s
graving-tools. He learns their latent capacities and their inherent
flaws. He secures subtle effects by climax, antithesis, evolution.
He plays the chemist with ideas, and presents them in every stage
of development, now vaporous, now congealed. He weighs words,
detects their finer applications, and fathoms the deeper meanings
which are coiled about their roots. And, finally, he masters the
mechanism of speech, the organic structure of sentences, the joints
and vertebræ of his native tongue. One step remains, to seize the
principles of metre, the secrets of rhythm and cæsura, the march
and music of verse. His panoply is finished. He is a poet.

Let us apply some of these tests to Tennyson. And, first, his power
of simple imitation. At first sight this seems no lofty triumph of
the poet’s art. And yet how much it implies! To translate substance
into the unsubstantial. To portray the visible and tangible in that
which has neither color nor dimension. Above all, to transfuse
through the spirit of man the spirit of nature. It behooves him
who would compass this to purge the heart of emotion, abjure
self-consciousness, and forget, like the Pythian priestess, his
own identity. He is not to steep his landscape in sentiment of his
own, nor ascribe to it a fictitious sympathy with human moods and
passions. The outward beauty he contemplates must traverse his
mental atmosphere, untinctured, unrefracted, like white light. We
must catch in his work the soul of the scene, a spirit rising from
it like an exhalation, not drenching it with alien dews. We find a
happy instance of right treatment in this cool upland valley from
“Œnone”:

    “There lies a vale in Ida lovelier
    Than all the valleys of Ionian hills;
    The swimming vapor slopes athwart the glen,
    Puts forth an arm, and creeps from pine to pine,
    And loiters slowly drawn. On either hand
    The lawns and meadow-ledges midway down
    Hang rich in flowers, and far below them roars
    The long brook falling thro’ the cloven ravine
    In cataract after cataract to the sea.
    Behind the valley topmost Gargarus
    Stands up and takes the morning; but in front
    The gorges, opening wide apart, reveal
    Troas and Ilion’s columned citadel.”

Beside this place the rank luxuriance of a tropic island where
“Enoch Arden,” shipwrecked, waited for a sail:

    “The mountain wooded to the peak, the lawns,
    And winding glades high up like ways to heaven,
    The slender coco’s drooping crown of plumes,
    The lightning flash of insect and of bird,
    The lustre of the long convolvuluses,
    That coiled around the stately stems and ran
    Even to the limits of the land, the glows
    And glories of the broad belt of the world--
    All these he saw.”

Of pure imitative art Scott and Wordsworth are the great modern
masters. Yet we shall all acknowledge that the passages quoted
exhibit a rare excellence. It would be hard to match in Theocritus
the breezy freshness of the “Brook.” As we listen, we lose
ourselves, and seem to penetrate the joyous heart of nature. We
too are in Arcadia. It is the morning of the world, and the infant
god of some slender streamlet hums his naïve song to Pan, who lies
along the sward:

    “I wind about, and in, and out,
    With many a blossom sailing;
    And here and there a lusty trout,
    And here and there a grayling.

           *       *       *       *       *

    I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance
    Among my skimming swallows,
    I make the netted sunbeams dance
    Against my sandy shallows.”

We have dwelt at length on the sincerity with which Tennyson
interprets nature. It is the stamp of the true poet. The
dilettante, however cunning, cannot counterfeit it. He cannot keep
himself out of the picture, but invests it with his own sentiment,
and tricks it out in the whims and caprices of the hour. It is
otherwise with Wordsworth. That high-priest of nature enters her
presence reverently, with humble and candid heart. He puts off the
vanities and weaknesses of man on the verge of her holy ground.
From his lips her lessons fall with a simple earnestness, like
oracles from the mouth of a child. Her truths he incarnates, but
does not presume to clothe.

While it is false art to attribute to nature a conscious sympathy
with man, it is true that she at times discovers an unconscious
harmony with his moods. Our emotions are deepened by the accord.
The happy are the happier for sunshine. The sad are saddest in
the night and the rain. To aim at this mystic unison, to strike
one note from feeling and from circumstance, is legitimate and
delightful. Let us contrast an example of such treatment with the
less truthful method to which we have referred. We ought always to
study a theory in some felicitous expression of it, and therefore
we take these graceful lines from Dr. Holmes. The stars and flowers
touched by the woes of fallen man have conspired to watch and warn
him. The flowers cannot bear the sight of human misery.

    “Alas! each hour of daylight tells
      A tale of shame so crushing,
    That some turn white as sea-bleached shells,
      And some are always blushing.

    “But when the patient stars look down
      On all their light discovers,
    The traitor’s smile, the murderer’s frown,
      The lips of lying lovers,

    “They try to shut their saddening eyes,
      And in the vain endeavor
    We see them twinkling in the skies,
      And so they wink for ever.”

At the first glance this moves, and pleases; because the emotion
of the moment veils the extravagant hyperbole. The writer is an
artist, and makes us see, as it were, through tears. But the
lines do not grow upon us like the truly beautiful. As we read
them a second time, there comes over us a feeling of annoyance,
almost of pain, that the flowers should be misinterpreted, the
stars misconstrued. We tremble before nature’s shocks and storms,
and cannot afford to darken her brightest bloom or trouble her
sweet serenity. Look now at this figure of “Mariana,” weeping,
forsaken, “in the moated grange!” There is no pathetic prelude, no
preliminary appeal to human sympathies. A neglected garden and a
lonely house. A reach of level waste, colorless, silent, cold. The
desolation is contagious, and just as the heart is sinking into a
state of depression and despair, the moan of the stricken girl
falls quivering on the ear.

    “With blackest moss the flower-plots
      Were thickly crusted, one and all;
    The rusted nails fell from the knots
      That held the peach to the garden wall.
    The broken sheds looked sad and strange:
      Unlifted was the clinking latch:
      Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
    Upon the lonely moated grange.
        She only said, ‘My life is dreary!
          He cometh not!’ she said;
        She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary,
          I would that I were dead!’”

We are very far from saying that Tennyson is everywhere free from
the pathetic fallacy. But his sins of the kind occur chiefly in
some vein of sportive apologue, like the “Talking Oak,” or in
the mouth of Maud’s morbid lover, half distraught by temper and
wholly crazed by crime. And, indeed, if any could be pardoned for
beholding in all things one image, it would be, no doubt, the
lover. In the old myth, love guided the hand of art; but Pygmalion
was a sculptor, not a landscape painter.

The portrayal of the human form is one of the painter’s triumphs,
as it is the sole province of plastic art. Poetry, for the most
part, evades a description of personal beauty, and is content with
a suggestion. Yet there are two or three etchings in the “Palace of
Art” which seem to us not unworthy of a place in that gallery of
Philostratus which a poet’s hand repeopled:

    “Or sweet Europa’s mantle blew unclasped,
      From off her shoulder backward borne;
    From one hand drooped a crocus, one hand grasped
      The mild bull’s golden horn.

    “Or else flush’d Ganymede, his rosy thigh
      Half buried in the eagle’s down,
    Sole as a flying star shot through the sky
      Above the pillared town.”

These are mere outlines. But Tennyson has drawn one figure with
almost pictorial finish and force. It is Aphrodite revealing
herself to Paris on Mount Ida:

    “Idalian Aphrodite, beautiful,
    Fresh as the foam, new bath’d in Paphian wells,
    With rosy, slender fingers, backward drew
    From her warm brows and bosom her deep hair
    Ambrosial, golden round her lucid throat
    And shoulder: from the violets her light foot
    Shone rosy white, and o’er her rounded form,
    Between the shadows of the vine-bunches,
    Floated the glowing sunlight as she moved.”

This is genuine _painting_. There is form and color in it, and,
withal, the _spirit_ of beauty bathing the whole, untainted by the
faintest suggestion of wanton love.

In the temple of outward nature poetry is only the acolyte of
painting. But one shrine is more exclusively her own. She is
mistress of the heart. Over that ocean no other wing sustains
continuous flight. There are waves of impulse which canvas cannot
reflect, and currents of emotion untraced by the limner’s skill.
There are dainty joys and fears that mock his grasp, and gust of
passion that confound his cunning. Pictorial art must read the soul
in the face, and the face is at best a clouded mirror. From the
poet we hide nothing. The growth of character, the drift of habit,
the pressure of inherited tendencies, springs of motive, stings of
appetite--he discerns and deciphers all. But he must not speak in
riddles: he is bound to make his meaning clear. He owes a duty to
the humblest. They look to him to lend thought a form, shadow a
substance; to explain the strange by the familiar, and flood the
whole with the mellow flight of fancy. The poet is, in a certain
sense, what Sidney would make him, the right popular philosopher.
On the success of Tennyson in this field there is some difference
of opinion. The fervor of his sympathies within a certain range
and the delicacy of his intuitions are unquestioned. His style
is allowed to be rich in color, and often fraught with incisive
force. Let us glance at some passages which depict the finer
shades of feeling, or are conspicuous for felicitous expression. We
will then look at the charges, so often brought against Tennyson,
of obscurity and a want of dramatic power.

It is a fact of common experience that quite opposite emotions,
wrought to intensity, reach a state of fusion. They move, as it
were, in converging lines, and their vanishing point is pain; or
rather, they have what physicists would call a common dew-point.
Thus we hear of the luxury of sorrow and of love’s sweet smart.
Coleridge has touched this psychic truth with extreme tenderness in
“Genevieve.” He shows us the young girl rapt in a troubled wonder
before the strange feeling that storms her gentle breast. Her heart
flutters like a snared bird:

    “Her bosom heaved, she stept aside;
      As conscious of my look she stept:
    Then suddenly, with timorous eye,
      She fled to me and wept.”

So in one of Tennyson’s “Idylls,” the eyes of the happy Enid are
suffused with tears. It is hardly possible to read the lines
without loving human nature:

                        “He turned his face,
    And kissed her climbing; and she cast her arms
    About him, and at once they rode away.
    And never yet, since high in Paradise,
    O’er the four rivers the first roses blew,
    Came purer pleasure unto mortal kind
    Than lived through her who in that perilous hour
    Put hand to hand beneath her husband’s heart
    And felt him hers again. She did not weep,
    But o’er her meek eyes came a happy mist,
    Like that which kept the heart of Eden green.”

Most persons have known those transient attachments which are born
of “accident, blind contact, and the strong necessity of loving.”
In the “Gardener’s Daughter” some one alludes in this playful
fashion to the dethroned darling of his salad days:

                                “Oh! she
    To me myself, for some three careless moons,
    The summer pilot of an empty heart
    Unto the shores of nothing. Know you not
    Such touches are but embassies of love,
    To tamper with the feelings ere he found
    Empire for life?”

Few who have read the new “Maid’s Tragedy” have forgotten “Elaine.”
There is no sweeter face in story. We trace a master’s hand in the
passage where a passionate sympathy holds her from her sleep, and
the deep lines of Lancelot’s countenance are mirrored in her white
soul:

    “As when a painter, poring on a face,
    Divinely through all hindrance finds the man
    Behind it, and so paints it that his face,
    The shape and color of a mind and life,
    Lives for his children ever at its best
    And fullest: so his face before her lived.”

Lancelot is always gracious to her, and grateful for her tender
care, but he is moody and absent, and instinct tells her that his
love can never be hers. She bears home a heavy heart:

    “She murmured, ‘Vain! in vain! it cannot be;
    He will not love me! how, then, must I die?’
    Then, as a little, helpless, innocent bird,
    That has but one plain passage of few notes,
    Will sing the simple passage o’er and o’er
    For all an April morning, till the ear
    Wearies to hear it; so the simple maid
    Went half the night repeating, ‘Must I die?’”

One more. A song of Tristram’s, rife with the graceful gayety that
masks and half-redeems a faithless heart. It might have been made
by Ronsard, and sung by Bussy d’Amboise. The husband of “Isolt of
Brittany” and the lover of “Isolt of Britain” gives the _rationale_
of broken vows:

    “Ay, ay, O ay, the winds that bend the brier!
    A star in heaven, a star within the mere.
    Ay, ay, O ay, a star was my desire;
    And one was far apart, and one was near!
    Ay, ay, O ay, the winds that bow the grass!
    And one was water, and one star was fire.
    And one will ever shine, and one will pass;
    Ay, ay, O ay, the winds that move the mere!”

The admirers of Byron and the poets of the Georgian era find
Tennyson obscure. By obscurity they ought to mean a darkness born
of confusion, the cloud of fallacy, the vagueness of incoherence.
Crude thoughts, unfledged fancies, halting metaphors, are obscure.
Poetasters are commonly dark, and it would be easy to show that
Byron himself in his best work, the fourth canto of _Childe
Harold_, is sometimes guilty of obscurity. And it must be admitted
that some poems of Tennyson’s youth, and likewise “Maud,” are open
to this objection. But if, as we believe, the charge is pointed at
“In Memoriam,” “Love and Duty,” or the “Palace of Art,” then we
deny its force. It may be that they who find enigmas in _Paradise
Lost_ and “In Memoriam” mistake the source of their difficulties.
We incline to depreciate what we fail to comprehend. We forget
that deep waters are not necessarily turbid; that novelty is not
obscurity. As we climb a mountain, we gain new views of the valley
beneath, yet the novel landscape may be no less vivid than the old.
There is, indeed, a dulness of the ear that detects no clue to the
myriad threads of harmony. There is a myoptic disease which sees
nothing but indistinctness beyond its narrow horizon. In such cases
the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that
we are mystified.

We have said that the poet owes a duty to the humblest. That duty
is fulfilled when he has conjured his fancies into visible shapes,
and given truth a concrete form. He is not called upon to find eyes
for the blind, or learning for the ignorant. It is enough if at his
banquet there is food for all stomachs. The poet owes a duty not to
the humble only.

There are, for example, two methods by which poetry may illuminate
history. It may invest personal character with the truth and vigor
of life, and portray detached scenes in correct and brilliant
colors. Or it may reveal to the imagination by exact and felicitous
metaphor the sequence of events, the march of knowledge, the drift
of opinion, and the “long result of time.” Thus Lucan poetized
a narrative, Lucretius thinks in imagery. We recall no better
illustration of the former treatment than the fine stanza from
_Childe Harold_:

    “When Athens’ armies fell at Syracuse,
    And fettered thousands bore the yoke of war,
    Redemption rose up in the Attic muse,
    Her voice their only ransom from afar.
    See as they chant the tragic hymn, the car
    Of the o’ermastered victor stops; the reins
    Fall from his hands; his idle scymitar
    Starts from its belt; he rends his captive’s chains,
    And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his strains.”

The anecdote is a noble one, and has gained nobility in the
telling. But anecdotes after all are not the marrow of history.
Something may be learned from Montesquieu as well as from
Marmontel. Two lines from “Locksley Hall” exhibit the other method
of interpreting history. The lines aim at nothing less than at once
to condense and illumine the most pregnant epoch of modern times,
the eighteenth century. This looks certainly like a preposterous
abuse of that definition assigned to the drama, “an abstract and
brief chronicle of the time.” Let us recall for a moment the period
of Louis Quinze. The feudal system has fallen. The flowers are
withered, the chains remain. The nobles have become courtiers,
municipal privilege has perished, the peasant is a slave. Dishonor
on the throne, bankruptcy in the treasury, the poor starving,
the rich corrupt. Oppression tightening his grasp, and knowledge
learning to realize the woe and to divine the remedy. On one side,
despair that has begun to think of vengeance; on the other, blind
arrogance that does not dream of retribution. And now, is not the
whole story told with almost terrible simplicity in the compass of
these lines?

    “Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion creeping nigher
    Glares at one that nods and blinks behind a slowly-dying fire.”

It may be said that Byron was well-read in history; but he held
that only romantic characters and striking facts were fit subjects
of poetic treatment. That is not our opinion. We believe Byron gave
the best he had. Moreover, it is not true that poetry may borrow
nothing from history but personal traits and isolated events.
That narrow view of the poet’s province was corrected for English
literature by the _Paradise Regained_. Poetry is no mendicant,
to be put off with the stale scraps and shallow gossip of the
servants’ hall. Her seat is at the high table, beside the masters
of the house.

Tennyson, we are told, has no dramatic power. It is true that he
has written no drama. Does it follow that he is wanting in dramatic
power?

Derivation often tells us more of words than of men. A drama is
something done, not told or sung; neither narrative nor ode, but
something _done_. First, then, we must have _doers_; or, if you
please, actors. Our actors must prove themselves alive, they
must be impelled to move. The impelling force is _incident_. But
detached scenes illustrative of character do not make a drama,
incident is not _plot_. The action which develops character must
at the same time tend toward a certain end, the catastrophe of the
piece. A drama, then, in the strictest sense is this: a development
of character in situations which excite to action in a particular
direction.

Where the evolution of plot is subordinate to the portrayal
of character, the drama is loose and inorganic, like many of
Shakespeare’s plays. Where the elaboration of personal traits is
merged in the accomplishment of the event, the drama leans toward
the epic, like a tragedy of Æschylus. Perfect equimarch in the
development of character and plot stamps the ideal drama. Dramatic
power in this sense is one of the rarest of human gifts, and
perhaps has been exerted nowhere but in the plays of Sophocles.
The phrase has, in English criticism, a much narrower meaning, and
points simply to the exhibition of character by action.

We acknowledge that those poems of Tennyson which preceded the
“Idylls of the King” gave little evidence of dramatic talent. Like
the works of Byron, they are for the most part lyrical, reflective.
In them the “beings of the mind” are rather analyzed than animated.
The poet interprets them. They do not speak for themselves. Even
dramatic insight, which is another thing than dramatic power,
seems at times to be wanting. Thus his “Ulysses” is a modern
soul grappling with the framework of Homeric times. “Margaret,”
“Madeleine,” “Isabel,” are lovely dreams, not lovely women. In the
“Princess,” if anywhere, we should look for the development of
character. But as the persons of the tale pass across the stage, we
incline to suspect with the prince that they are but shadows, “and
all the mind is clouded with a doubt.” Indeed, little Lillia, whose
burst of pretty petulance suggests the theme, is by far the most
lifelike figure.

But the judgment passed upon living poets is at best provisional,
and subject to reversal on appeal. The writer of pastorals will
perhaps produce an _Æneid_ in his riper years; “L’Allegro” and
“Lycidas” may be succeeded by an epic. In the cluster of poems
which embodies the Arthurian legends, there is much discrimination
of character. The courtly flippancy of “Gawain” is distinguished
from Tristram’s joyous levity. “Etarre” is vicious, “Vivien” is
base. “Enid” is not a gentler being than “Elaine,” yet her meekness
is finely contrasted with the latter’s emotional nature. In
“Lancelot” we have a noble spirit in the toils of a great crime.
In “Arthur,” the perfect equipose of _character_, illumined by a
sublime resolve.

Nor are the foremost persons of the poems mere portraits. They
are actors as well. They approach for the most part unheralded.
Their temper and motives are self-betrayed, or hinted with a wise
reserve. Their personal traits are evoked by incident or emphasized
in dialogue. Here certainly is dramatic power of a certain kind.
Not the highest which creates a drama--is it high enough for an
epic? We incline to doubt. At least, it has produced none. We
cannot allow that the “Idylls” which are grouped around the figure
of the king constitute an epic poem.

The epic--we speak of the _Æneid_--is distinguished from the drama
by this, that the development of character is subordinate to the
evolution of plot, the actors are merged in the action. And as
the drama may lean toward the epic, so the epic may lean toward
history. That the poet unites in his own person the functions of
scene-painter, machinist, and _chorēgus_, is only a difference of
form.

Now, it is not so much grasp of character as _nexus_ of plot that
we miss in the “Idylls.” Scott’s _Rokeby_ is an epic, yet Bertram
Risingham is not more lifelike than “Lancelot.” But in _Rokeby_
the story grows; one event generates another, the catastrophe
is inevitable. Episodes are admitted in the epic, but they must
be natural growths, or at least successful grafts. For example,
“Elaine” and “Guinevere” stand in true organic relation, but “Enid”
and “Vivien” have nothing in common with the rest of the cycle but
their social atmosphere and casual reference to familiar names. In
the poet’s mind, no doubt, the old Arthurian romances have been
fused into a kind of unity. They present to him a coherent picture;
discover a central thought. It is the soul at war with flesh,
aspiration foiled by appetite, the eagle stung by the serpent. But
he has conveyed the idea by short and random strokes. We catch only
glimpses of it, and are not permitted to watch the progressive
development. In the “Idylls of the King” there is the matter of an
epic, but not the form. We should prefer to place them in a class
apart, which might include the _Faerie Queen_.

On the range, finish, and accuracy of Tennyson’s diction, we
need not dwell. But no view of a poet’s artistic powers would be
complete without a glance at his command of melody and rhythm.
For sweetness and clearness of tone, the choral hymn in the
“Lotus-Eaters,” and the “Bugle” and “Cradle” songs which beguile
_entr’actes_ in the “Princess” are excelled by few English lyrics.
In grasp of rhythm Tennyson yields to no recent poet, except
Shelley. There is a striking instance of rhythmic effect in the
“Palace of Sin.” A strain of music floats in upon the ear, deepens,
swells, and at length bursts forth in an orchestral symphony.

Most of Tennyson’s later poems have been written in unrhymed
pentameter, and his management of the verse suggests a comparison
with his master. In dignity of movement, Milton has never been
equalled by any English poet. It seems that no line but his could
express the lost archangel, or embody that vision of imperial Rome
where sonorous names load as with cloth of gold the march of the
stately iambics. Yet nothing could stoop more awkwardly to the
quiet talk and joys of the married pair in Eden. While Tennyson’s
blank verse falls short of his model in majesty and serried force,
we must allow it to be more flexible. We cannot imagine the little
novice using the Miltonic line. Her gentle thoughts would have been
drowned in the mighty current, whereas Tennyson’s tripping vocables
deliver with easy grace her artless prattle.

We can only allude to those experiments in metre which amuse the
leisure of an artist, although one of them deserves attention. It
is an ode to Milton:

    “O mighty-mouthed inventor of harmonies,
    O skilled to sing of time and eternity,
    God-gifted organ-voice of England,
    Milton, a name to resound for ages!”

Let the reader compare these lines with some familiar model
of Alcaics like “Vides ut altâ,” and then ask himself whether
_quantity_ has hitherto had fair play in English verse.


II.

What has art to do with morals? With what propriety shall a poet
play the moralist? His purpose is distinct, his method is radically
different, is his object ever identical? We know that it is not
always so. In the face of outward nature the truthful artist is
forbidden to read humanity. Hardly is Wordsworth suffered to
discover here divinity. The Greek sculptor sought beauty, not
goodness, in the daughters of men, and the lines that grew beneath
his fingers breathe the harmony of grace, not the harmony of
character. Does the application of these rigorous principles bound
the sphere of genuine art? Do the good and the beautiful nowhere
cohere and interfuse? They may--in the _ideal_. For what is beauty
in things which disclose design but the reflex of perfection?
And what is goodness but the perfection of the heart? In the
scheme of ethics, vice is ugliness, error a discord, and weakness
disproportion, character means equipoise, and virtue expresses
harmony. But how shall art or ethics discern a moral symmetry, and
crown a spiritual perfection, without a right conception of man’s
nature, of his place and purpose, his relation to the universe
and to God? So far as he portrays the heart, the poet must be a
moralist. Within this domain the truest art will utter the purest
morals.

It is a blessed law by which he who aims to please is constrained
to edify. For reason is a disinherited prince, and the estate is
too often squandered before he comes to his own. Pride rears the
head against precept. The imagination flutters and beats her bars,
until experience has clipped her wings. The ideal republic could
ill afford to dispense with poets, for there is no lesson like the
modest lesson of a lovely life. To our gaze perhaps the influence
seems wholly lost, and yet may be only latent. This is sure, that
virtue has still a foothold in the heart that keeps an altar to
the beautiful. We know how many seeds of goodness, what germs of
aspiration, are flung broadcast by the poet’s hand. Who will say
that his random sowings may not stir in a genial hour, strike root
in the depths of motive, and blossom in act and life? No thoughtful
mind has failed to recognize the insight of Sidney’s words in his
_Defence of Poesy_: “For even those hard-hearted evil men who
think virtue a school name, and know no other good but _indulgere
genio_, yet will be content to be delighted, which is all the
good-fellow poet seems to promise, and so steal to see the form
of goodness, which, seen, they cannot but love ere themselves be
aware, as if they had taken a medicine of cherries.”

The ethical standard is sensitive to the influence of climate and
of race. The Italian and the German recognize the same virtues, but
write them in different scales referred to a national key-note.
The growth of knowledge and the expansion of sympathy determine a
deeper change. From the age of Pericles to the age of Napoleon,
the ideal of character has undergone alterations which have
penetrated the essence and affected the type. Of certain virtues
which fired the heart of an Athenian, we have kept nothing but the
names, and we have canonized others of which he had no conception.
The attitude of the individual man toward nature and society is
constantly shifting under the pressure of ideas. The wave of
inquiry which rose in civic revolution has swept in widening
circles over the whole surface of opinion, and now dashes on the
primal verities which declare the origin and destiny of man. The
mind is active, but the heart of the age is perplexed and sad. She
ponders painfully the riddle of the painful earth. She is lost in
the great forest, the new paths are uncertain, the old to her seem
overgrown. She is troubled with a vague unrest, beset with dark
misgivings, by results she loathes to accept, doubts which she
longs to silence, and hopes she dare not forego. Her mood is too
grave and earnest for blithe and heedless carol. She cannot pause
to hear the idle singer of an empty day. The music which holds
her ear must be attuned to serious sympathy, must echo her own
self-questionings, and breathe her aspirations. She puts aside from
her lip the cup of distilled water, and turns to the mineral spring
that savors of the rugged earth.

De Musset is not more essentially a child of the age than Tennyson.
Both inherited in rare perfection the exquisite sensibility and
high tension of the nervous system which are developed by modern
life. In both the violence of emotion is succeeded by prolonged
depression. Their joy is often rapture, and their sorrow anguish,
but the prevailing tone is a dreamy languor that betrays fatigue.
Their intellects were plunged in the same bath of learning, and
tempered in the furnace of the time. They unite in regretting the
trustful past, and complain that they were born too late into a
sick and decrepit world. They pace together the shore of life,
and gaze with wistful eyes over the expanse of ocean. But here
the parallel ends. Their roads diverge in youth. Each obeys a
different impulse, and learns a different lesson. The one hears
a growing harmony in the voices of science, and perceives an
increasing purpose in the movement of mankind. The other bows the
head in stupor before the howling storm. Tennyson has a kindly
glance and a cheery word for his fellow-men, they are his brothers,
his co-workers, ever reaping something new. De Musset loads the
heart with a sense of utter misery, and paralyzes the will by the
infusion of his self-contempt. He is half-indignant that his spirit
should be still haunted by a sublime aspiration, and confesses
almost with a groan:

  “_Une immense espérance a traversé la terre._”[60]

It is in another mood that Tennyson hails the promise which he sees
in the aspiration of the soul:

    “What is it thou knowest, sweet voice? I cried,
    A hidden hope, the voice replied.”

There are few words more painful to read than the prayer in
“L’Espoir en Dieu.” The passionate queries are wrung from a
breaking heart. We offer a rude but passably close translation of
two stanzas. The poet demands:

    “Wherefore in a work divine
    So much of discord tarrieth?
    To what good end disease and sin?
    O God of justice! wherefore death?

    “Wherefore suffer our unworth
    To dream, and to divine, a God?
    Doubt hath laid desolate the earth,
    Our view is too narrow or too broad.”

Compare the rooted faith and serene calm of the poem to “In
Memoriam:”

    “Thine are these orbs of light and shade,
    Thou madest life in man and brute,
    Thou madest death, and, lo, thy foot
    Is on the skull that thou hast made.

    “Thou wilt not leave him in the dust,
    Thou madest man, he knows not why,
    He thinks he was not made to die,
    And thou hast made him, thou art just.”

Much, no doubt, of the peculiar spirit that pervades the work of
either poet may be traced to the social atmosphere in which he
moved. Much also is only to be explained by the history of his
life. Behind the “In Memoriam,” an unselfish and ennobling sorrow
weeps and prays above a cherished grave. “In Rolla,” remorse sobs
bitterly amid the ruins of a wasted life. The song has betrayed the
singer. The one is the laureate of hope: the other, a prophet of
despair. Tennyson is a night-worn pilgrim whose kindling eye has
caught the glimmer of a lovely dawn; De Musset, a tired swimmer
whose drowning cry leaps toward us from the gates of death. The
poetry of De Musset is a convex lens which draws to a fiery focus
the doubts and longings of the time; Tennyson’s, a stained
rose-window, that subdues the flaring sunlight to a mild and tender
radiance.

While man’s moral nature is developed and determined by his
attitude toward society and his Maker, it is also profoundly
affected by his attitude toward women. The relative position of
woman has been rather raised than lowered by the movement of
modern thought. Much has been deciphered by speculation, and much
dissected by science, but the deep significance of the female
character remains intact. In the fine atmosphere which nourished
the musings of Richter, two earthly forms move freely, the maiden
and the wife. In the long process of comparative anatomy, the
beautiful first reveals itself in the sweet instinct that binds a
mother to her offspring. Then first does the fire of Prometheus
fairly catch the clay. The noblest instinct and the noblest
aspiration have one element in common--the abnegation of self.
Perhaps the one is but a reflex of the other. It is certain that
the highest art has done the fullest justice to women. Let us
measure Byron and Tennyson by this standard. To Byron, woman was
an exquisite instrument which responds in perfect tune to the
master-touch of passion. To Tennyson, she is an embodied spirit,
who inspires and tempers man while she seems to obey his impulse.
It is a shallow criticism which would excuse Byron’s low conception
by an unfortunate experience. If personal experience be narrow,
why not look beyond it? If the feet stumble in the mire, the eyes
may still be lifted. The fact is, an irresistible instinct compels
a genuine artist to discern and to preach the truth. His life may
prove a rebel, but his work will pay tribute to Cæsar.

The author of “Godiva,” of “Enid” and “Elaine” is eminently the
poet of woman. It is especially worthy of remark that he should
have maintained a distinct and lofty ideal throughout the Arthurian
cycle. In the mediæval myths, the lineaments of the female
character were sometimes clouded by the admixture of masculine
traits. Through the Carlovingian romance that lives in Ariosto’s
verse, there roves an unsexed and warlike virgin, whom the poet
means us to admire; at whom we smile in secret. Tennyson has read
woman’s nature with an insight too fine and delicate to place her
in so false an attitude. There is no Bradamant in the “Idylls of
the King.”

The unswerving justice of true genius finds consummate expression
in the treatment of “Guinevere.” The wrong-doing of imperial beauty
was a dangerous theme, and we may guess how it would have been
handled by the author of “Parasina.” In the original legend the
queen commanded sympathy, but she is now positively degraded by her
preference for a meaner soul. It is Arthur’s doom, and no merit of
hers, that he loves her still. There is little likelihood that a
modern Francesca will borrow impulse or pretext from her story. It
is amusing to find the lovers of Haidee and Gulnare scandalized by
“Vivien.” If ever a vile nature was scorched and shrivelled by the
flame of an honest wrath, that poem affords the spectacle. In wily
Vivien, vice is neither condoned nor glozed, but simply stripped
and gibbeted. The pure air which breathes throughout the “Idylls”
is condensed in the lines of “Guinevere,” which declare the great
purpose of the king. We may say with assurance that no other
English poet, except Wordsworth, would have written them.

Tennyson has spoken words of comfort to many English hearts, and
inspired with a noble purpose many English lives. His spirit has
crossed the seas. To him and Wordsworth the youth of America owe
much that they will not speedily forget. Other benefactors may
receive some form of recompense, but how shall we repay a poet?
It is not praise, but thanks we would offer Alfred Tennyson. Rare
artist, and high teacher, sweet voice, pure heart, there are many
who admire, and not a few who love him.

FOOTNOTES:

[59] _The Last Tournament._ Boston, 1871. J. R. Osgood & Co. _The
Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson, Poet-Laureate._ We have already
printed in this magazine a review of Tennyson’s poems which aimed
to indicate the Catholic aspects of his mind. The following article
covers different ground.

[60] “A vast hope has passed over the earth.”



HOW THE CHURCH UNDERSTANDS AND UPHOLDS THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN.

SECOND ARTICLE.

AGES OF THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH.


When the Christian religion had triumphed over idolatry, the
principle of evil took refuge in heresy, and vigorously began a
new attack upon the church. As women had once sealed their faith
with their blood, so now they came eagerly forward to preach it
by their learning. The centuries which produced the fathers of
the church produced women also, to whom these great lights of the
true faith were mainly indebted for their early education. The
same circumstances also created women who, on the throne and in
the council-chamber, governed turbulent nations and guided fierce
passions, according to the rules of justice, honesty, and religion.

The mother of St. Gregory Nazianzen, Doctor of the Church, was
Nonna, and is honored as a saint. Butler, in his _Lives of the
Saints_, says: “She drew down the blessing of heaven upon her
family by most bountiful and continual alms-deeds; ... yet, to
satisfy the obligation of justice which she owed to her children,
she, by her prudent economy, improved at the same time their
patrimony.”

Here, therefore, in the fourth century, we find a woman commended
for her practical knowledge of business and her skill in managing
property. Ventura relates that, as soon as her son Gregory came
into the world, she placed the Scriptures in his infant hands,
and ever after inculcated in her teaching the greatest love and
reverence for sacred learning. Nonna’s other children were both
canonized, one of them, Gorgonia, having led the most exemplary
life in the holy state of matrimony. (_La Donna Cattolica_, vol.
i. pp. 431, 432.) St. Basil, who counted among his ancestry
many martyrs of both sexes, was the son of St. Emelia, and the
great-nephew of St. Macrina the Elder, of whom he says himself that
he “counts it as one of the greatest benefits of Almighty God, and
the truest of honors, to have been brought up by such a woman.”
His elder sister, also named Macrina, was greatly instrumental in
conducting his education. When after his death his brother, St.
Gregory of Nyssa, went to visit their sister, and open his heart
to her concerning their common sorrow, he found her dying, it is
true, but so vigorous in mind that her discourse on the providence
of God and the state of the soul after death was no less striking
than comforting. He could hardly believe, says Ventura, that it
was not a doctor of the church, a learned theologian, who was
speaking to him; and so much did he treasure his sister’s words
that he compiled his admirable _Treatise of the Soul_ and _The
Resurrection_ chiefly from the matter furnished by her discourse.
Macrina’s funeral was an ovation, and the bishop of the diocese
held it an honor to be present thereat.

Olympias, the widow of Nembridius, the treasurer of the Emperor
Theodosius the Great, flourished about the end of the fourth
century, and was the friend and helper of St. John Chrysostom. His
letters to her are part of his published works, and Nectarius,
his predecessor in the Patriarchal chair of Constantinople,
often consulted her on matters of ecclesiastical importance.
When Chrysostom was persecuted and banished, she did not escape
vexatious notice from heathen and heretical rulers; but through
all, her fortitude would have done credit to the bravest man. The
great patriarch charged her to continue, during his absence, “to
serve the church with the same care and zeal” (Ventura, _Donna
Cattolica_, p. 443), and elsewhere in his works says emphatically
that “women, as well as men, can take part in any struggle for the
cause of God and of the church.” (_Epistle 124, to the Italians._)
In a letter to her, he says that her presence was _required_ at
Constantinople to encourage the persecuted brethren, and in another
he bids her exert all her resources to _save_ the Bishop Maruthas
from the abyss (he having given signs of yielding to heresy).
Further on, in the same letter, he gives her instructions, almost
amounting to a diplomatic and official mission, with regard to
the request of the King of the Goths for a bishop and missionary
in place of Aubinus the Apostle, who had just died, after
converting many thousand of these barbarians. When St. Chrysostom
sent a messenger to the Pope St. Innocent, at the beginning
of the persecutions at Constantinople, he gave him letters of
recommendation to none but a few Roman ladies--Proba, Juliana, and
Demetrias.

The influence of Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, upon her
wayward son, is so well known that it is almost superfluous
to dwell on it; and St. Jerome, eminently a learned saint, was
scarcely less connected with holy and well-taught women. He himself
tells us that it was especially his friend and spiritual daughter
Paula who engaged him in the study of the Old and New Testaments,
and who induced him to translate the former from the original
Hebrew. Rohrbacher, in his _Ecclesiastical History_, corroborates
this statement; and Capefigue, in his _Four First Ages of the
Church_, says that “the pure society of women had imparted to
Jerome a heartfelt exaltation, a deep enthusiasm for all purity
and nobility in themselves.” We learn from Butler (_Lives of the
Saints_) that Marcella, one of the many matrons under St. Jerome’s
instruction in Rome, made great progress in the critical learning
of the Holy Scriptures, and learned in a short time many things
which had cost him abundance of labor (vol. ix.). Other women, of
whom we shall speak hereafter, were collected under his guidance;
almost all are now canonized saints, and were celebrated even in
their own day for their skill and erudition. The great Paula was
the most illustrious among them, and he tells us of her as also of
five or six others that they were as well acquainted with Hebrew
as with Latin and Greek. To the daughter-in-law of St. Paula,
Jerome wrote a letter full of minute and seemingly trivial details,
concerning the education of her little daughter, who afterwards
became St. Paula the Younger. It is of such quaint interest, and
so calculated to give a high idea of the importance attached by
the great doctor of the church to the minutiæ of a little girl’s
daily life, that we cannot resist the temptation of quoting a few
extracts from it:

“Let her be brought up as Samuel was in the temple, and the Baptist
in the desert, in utter ignorance of vanity and vice; ... let her
never hear bad words nor learn profane songs; ... let her have an
alphabet of little letters made of box or ivory, the names of all
which she must know, that she may play with them, and that learning
may be made a diversion. When a little older, let her form each
letter in wax with her finger, guided by another’s hand; then
let her be invited, by prizes and presents suited to her age, to
join syllables together.... Let her have companions to learn with
her, that she may be spurred on by emulation.... She is not to be
scolded or browbeaten if slower, but to be encouraged that she
may rejoice to surpass, and be sorry to see herself outstripped
and behind others, not envying their progress, but rejoicing at
it while she reproaches herself with her own backwardness. Great
care is to be taken that she conceive no aversion to studies, lest
their bitterness remain in after-years. A master must be found for
her, a man both of virtue and learning: nor will a great scholar
think it beneath him to teach her the first elements of letters....
That is not to be contemned without which nothing great can be
acquired. The very sounds of letters and the first rudiments are
very different in a learned and in an unskilful mouth. Care must
be taken that she be not accustomed by fond nurses to pronounce
half-words, as it would prejudice her speech. Great care is
necessary that she never learn what she will have afterwards to
unlearn. The eloquence of the Gracchi derived its perfection from
the _mother’s_ elegance (of speech). No paint must ever touch her
face or hair.” He is no less sensible and moderate in physical
instructions than strict in things of the spiritual order. He
says: “She should eat so as always to be hungry, and to be able to
read or sing psalms immediately after meals. The immoderate long
fasts of many displease me. I have learned by experience that the
ass, much fatigued on the road, seeks rest at any cost. In a long
journey, strength must be supported, lest, by running the first
stage too fast, we should fall in the middle. In Lent, full scope
is to be given to severe fasting.” He advises the young girl, when
old enough, to read the works of St. Cyprian, the epistles of St.
Athanasius, and the writings of St. Hilary. These are grave and
abstruse studies, requiring much time and application, and as fully
up to the standard of a modern _male_ education as any woman could
desire. St. Jerome himself was living at Bethlehem when he wrote
this letter, and while recommending her mother to send little
Paula to St. Paula the Elder for her later education, he himself
promises to instruct her, adding that “he should be more honored
by teaching the spouse of Christ than the philosopher [Aristotle]
was in being preceptor to the Macedonian King.” It was the elder
Paula who built St. Jerome the monastery of Bethlehem, in which
he spent a great part of his life. She governed a monastery of
women not far from it. St. Jerome, in his panegyric of her life,
addressed to her daughter Eustochium, expresses himself in the
following unequivocal language: “Were all the members of my body
to be changed into tongues, and each fibre to utter articulate and
human sounds, even then I could not worthily celebrate the virtues
of the holy and venerable Paula.” As soon as her husband’s death
left her the free use of a magnificent fortune, she liberated all
the numerous retinue of slaves that formed not only her household
but her possessions. Hundreds of Christian masters and mistresses
did the same, and treated their freed retainers as brethren and
sisters in the faith, long before the philanthropy of modern times
had begun to envelop in a halo of unusual heroism the sacrifice of
slave property. From a noble Roman matron, placed by her birth in
an assured position of great prominence, she became a voluntary
exile and wanderer for the sake of planting the faith more firmly
in the East. St. Jerome describes, in words full of sympathetic
admiration, her pious visits to the Holy Places of Judea. She also
made a pilgrimage to the home of monasticism, the Thebaïd and the
Lybian desert. Humble as she was, fame followed and surrounded her.
Pilgrims to Jerusalem counted her as one of the most consoling and
admirable of the objects that claimed their devotion. Macarius,
Arsenius, Serapion, famous lights of the church and patriarchs of
the eremitical life, came from long distances and inaccessible
solitudes to confer with her. At Jerusalem, she founded places
of shelter and entertainment for the many pilgrims who flocked
there; both at Rome and in the East, she was the mother and the
idol of the poor, whose wants she relieved untiringly, and for
whose sake she was often not only penniless, but in debt. Her
last illness was like a royal levee, and bishops and patriarchs
hastened to her bedside; her funeral, says Ventura, was almost a
canonization. Bishops carried her body to its tomb, and for seven
days sacred hymns and psalms echoed ceaselessly in the church
of the Holy Grotto at Bethlehem, where the funeral service was
performed in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Capefigue calls her the
“most remarkably erudite woman of her age,” and her instincts
of faith and learning alike made her intuitively aware of the
artifices of the heretic Palladius, whose well-concealed Origenism
she unmasked and denounced in presence of St. Jerome, when the wolf
would have put on sheep’s clothing and deceived her simple nuns.
Paula’s daughters--Blesilla, the learned and accomplished widow;
Eustochium, the celebrated virgin to whom many of St. Jerome’s
works are addressed or dedicated; Paulina, the model wife to whose
influence over her saintly husband the first hospitals in the West
are due--and their sister-in-law, Læta, the happy mother of the
younger St. Paula, are all canonized saints of the church, and each
of them the just pride of their sex in the respective walks of
life to which they were destined. Fabiola, another of St. Jerome’s
scholars, was the foundress of the first hospital absolutely
established in Rome.

The church has never been chary of tendering graceful homage to
the influence and ability of woman, and perhaps no more singular
or flattering proof of this can be found than the pictorial honor
which, Ventura assures us (_Donna Cattolica_, vol. i. p. 466), was
offered by St. Gregory the Great to St. Sylvia, his mother. She was
represented as sitting by his side, robed in white, and crowned
with the mitre worn by doctors of theology, while the left hand
held an open Psalter, and the right was raised with two fingers
extended, in the attitude of benediction.

St. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, who was born and died in the
fourth century, owed his early training of piety and solid
learning to his mother, who was left a widow during his infancy,
and to his elder sister Marcellina, to whom later on Christendom
became indebted for the three admirable books he wrote on _The
State of Virginity_. Another of his famous works is a treatise
on _Widowhood_. In one of his books on _Virginity_ he meets the
common though worn-out argument that virginity is a foe to the
propagation of the human race. As this bears upon our general
subject, though it be not immediately akin to it, we will stop to
quote it. “Some complain,” he says, “that mankind will shortly
fail if so many are consecrated virgins. I desire to know who ever
wanted a wife and could not find one? The killing of an adulterer,
the pursuing of waging war against a ravisher, are the consequences
of marriage. The number of people is greatest where virginity is
most esteemed. Inquire how many virgins are consecrated every
year at Alexandria, all over the East, and in Africa, where there
are more virgins than there are men in this country [Italy].” And
Butler, in his _Life of St. Ambrose_, goes on to explain: “May not
the French and Austrian Netherlands, full of numerous monasteries,
yet covered with populous cities, be at present esteemed a proof
of this remark? The populousness of China, where great numbers
of new-born infants are daily exposed to perish, is a terrible
proof that the voluntary virginity of some is no prejudice to the
human race. Wars and the sea, not the number of virgins, are the
destroyers of the human race, as St. Ambrose observes; though the
state of virginity is not to be rashly engaged in, and marriage
is not only holy, but the general state of mankind in the world.”
Not only did St. Ambrose occupy his mind and pen with the concerns
of holy and spotless women, but he did not think it beneath his
dignity to write for those unhappy virgins who had fallen from
their vows and thus been reft of their most precious heirloom. In
the third book of his work on _Virginity_, he pays the following
homage to Christian woman, such as she was in his age: “I have
been a priest but three years,” he says, “and my experience has
not been long enough to teach me what I have written. But what
my own experience could not teach, the sight of your conduct has
suggested. If, in this work, you find any flowers of thought, know
that I have gathered them from your own lives. I do not so much
give you precepts, as I draw examples from the behavior of living
virgins, and set them before the eyes of the world. My discourse
has only reproduced the image of your virtues. It is but the
portrait of your own life, so grave and earnest, which you will
see here, beaming with light as reflected from a mirror. If you
find grace in these words, it is you who have inspired my mind with
it. All that is good in this book belongs to you.” (Third book on
_Virgins_.) What more graceful tribute, more appreciative homage,
could man render to the opposite sex? Yet he who wrote this was a
great and powerful bishop, a doctor of the church, a profoundly
learned man, whose influence was spread through kingdoms, and whose
advice was sought and followed by emperors. Here is yet another
example of the distinguished part played by woman in affairs of the
highest public importance. Capefigue, in his _Four First Ages of
the Church_, says that in the churches of Rome might be seen the
most noble matrons of the city, “who gave the first and greatest
impulse to all Christian sentiments.” This was at the end of the
fourth century, and the two Melanias were then foremost among the
active and energetic women mentioned. The elder Melania, whose
fortune was immense, and who was married early by her father, the
Consul Marcellinus, became a widow after a few years of married
life, and thereafter devoted herself to the church. She travelled
to Egypt and Palestine in the interests of the persecuted Patriarch
Athanasius, whom she protected and supported with all the moral
influence and temporal means at her command. The zealous and open
protectress of more than five thousand Christians, the harborer
of priests and bishops driven from their sees and parishes during
the Arian persecutions of the Emperor Valens, she was herself cast
into prison by the Governor of Jerusalem, to whom she spoke thus
boldly and fearlessly: “Do not think to despise me because I wear
poor garments: I might wear the robes of a princess, did I choose
to do so. Do not think to intimidate me by your threats, for I have
sufficient influence to protect me against the slightest aggression
on your part. I tell you this, and give you this advice, that you
may not through ignorance commit any error that might lead you
into danger.” The courageous woman was released, and continued her
ministrations of mercy. Her granddaughter, St. Melania, married
young to a noble Roman, the descendant of the great Publicola, and
the son of the Prefect of Rome, was even a more prominent personage
than the elder Melania. After the birth and death of two children,
she and her husband renounced their high position, freed eight
thousand slaves, and sold their immense possessions in several
parts of the Roman Empire for the benefit of the poor. They then
retired to a quiet country solitude in Campania, and with several
associates began leading “the perfect life” which we have so often
seen attempted in vain in this age by refined and earnest souls
without the bosom of the church. Here, their chief occupation was
the study and the propagation of the Scriptures and other solid
works of learning and faith. The works of the fathers were foremost
among the latter, and Ventura says with truth that we may well
thank woman when we read these admirable treatises, for without her
help, care, and zeal they would be considerably less in number than
they are. The love of the Scriptures and of Biblical lore seems
thus to have been a distinctive mark of the sex in the early days
of the church.

Melania and her companions after a time left Italy, and settled in
Africa near Hippo, and there became the most active allies of St.
Augustine. They also journeyed through Spain, Palestine, and Asia
Minor, always in the interests of the faith, founding monasteries
and schools, and assisting the poor and the persecuted. After her
husband’s death, Melania, having been wrecked on the coast of
Sicily, and having found several thousand Christians in bondage to
barbarian idolaters, she redeemed and freed them all. At one time
she held a high post at court, and exerted herself successfully
in favor of orthodoxy. When the Nestorian heresy was making great
progress in Asia and Africa, she uncompromisingly combated it by
her influence and social talents, by the persuasion of her manner
and the force of her arguments, as Ribadeneira testifies in the
sketch he wrote of her life. Ventura asserts that she confounded
Pelagius himself, who by all manner of arts endeavored to win her
to his side; and it is known that, when St. Augustine failed to
convert Volusian, the Prefect of Rome, and uncle to Melania, this
heroic woman, according to Baronius, undertook to convince him, and
succeeded most triumphantly. Melania’s funeral at Jerusalem was
the occasion of lavish homage to the power and influence of her
sex; bishops and confessors were eager to show their respect and
admiration, and the Christian world proved once more that “precious
in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

Marcella, one of St. Jerome’s spiritual daughters, and whose
funeral eulogy he wrote, was, according to this great saint’s own
words, “the greatest glory of the city of Rome.” When Alaric and
his Goths invaded Rome, her house was broken into, and herself
cruelly beaten and disfigured. All her reply was, “My gold I have
given to the poor: you will find nothing in my possession but the
tunic I wear.” She collected many holy and learned women around
her, and her house was the rallying point of all Christians. All
good works received their impetus from her, and she was often
consulted by bishops and priests on questions of Biblical learning,
after St. Jerome, who had taught her the Scriptures, had left
Rome. Although consecrated virgins of both sexes abounded in her
time, as yet no distinct community under a recognized rule had
been formed in Rome. She undertook to establish the monastic life
in the capital of the empire, and was the first to reduce to order
the elements of which such a community might be formed. With the
advice of St. Athanasius, and some fugitive priests of Alexandria,
who took refuge in Rome in 340, during the Arian persecution in the
East, Marcella gave up a country-seat of hers for a monastery, and
adopted for the future religious the rule of St. Pachomius. The men
followed her example, and assembled in concert to found communities
of their own. Rome vied with the Thebaïd for sanctity and learning,
and this was the work of a woman. When, in the seventh century,
St. Benedict, the reformer and patriarch of all religious orders
in Europe, reduced monasticism in the West to the state in which
we know it in our own days, he was only, says Ventura (_Donna
Cattolica_, vol. i. p. 488), walking in the path which the heroic
women of Christendom had hewn out before him in imitation of the
hermits and anchorites of the East. But Marcella shines no less as
a pillar of orthodoxy than as the institutrix of Western monachism.
When the Origenists, through the aid of the cunning Rufinus and
the intriguing Macarius, who disseminated skilfully veiled errors
in Rome, began to attack the integrity of the Christian faith,
Marcella left her solitude, and came to the capital to confront
the heresiarchs. The following details are all vouched for by
St. Jerome in the funeral eulogy addressed by him to her friend
and scholar Principia: “The faith of the Roman people had been
weakened on many points.... The new heresy had made many victims,
even among priests and monks.... The Sovereign Pontiff himself,
Siricius, who was as conspicuous for holy simplicity as for
sanctity of life, and who judged of others by the candor of his own
soul, seemed for a moment to have become the dupe of the hypocrisy
of these new pharisees. The orthodoxy of the bishops Vincent,
Eusebius, Paulinian, and Jerome had even been suspected, and, when
they cried out that the wolf was in the fold, no one vouchsafed
to listen to them. In this grave emergency, in presence of much
coldness, indifference, and weakness on the part of _men_, God made
use of the far-sightedness, the zeal, the courage of a _woman_ to
keep the faith intact in Rome. Marcella, more eager to please God
than men, resisted the Origenist heresy publicly, vigorously, and
efficaciously. She it was who by the very testimony of those who
had first been deceived by the new errors and then abjured them,
convinced every one of the real nature of the heretical doctrine.
She stimulated the zeal of the Sovereign Pastor by proving to
him how many souls had already gone astray.... She was the first
to point out to him the disguised impieties of the garbled
translations of Origen’s book on _Principles_, which Rufinus had
translated and altered, and was now selling everywhere. She often
summoned the heretics to come and justify themselves in Rome, but
they dared not answer, and preferred being condemned as absent
and contumacious, rather than be publicly confounded by a woman.
At last, when a general condemnation was pronounced upon their
doctrines, it was chiefly the result of Marcella’s vigilance.”
Here, therefore, is a woman exerting a guiding influence on the
destinies of the church by her learning, subtleness, and eloquence.
If the women of the early centuries achieved such successes with
the natural weapons of their sex and position, why do our sisters
of the present day desire a reorganization of society, and a
new accession of hitherto unknown and unnatural weapons? Why
indeed but because the order of society sanctioned and regulated
by the church has been subverted by the Reformation; the holy
charter of woman abolished; and elegant and veiled Islamism, or
in some instances a coarse and degrading barbarianism, inculcated
and forcibly brought into action concerning woman, and the sex
gradually forced out of its legitimate orbit, with its capabilities
dwarfed, its intellect narrowed, its talents sneered at, and its
affections repressed? The broad river of woman’s influence, flowing
so calmly and majestically through the centuries of the church’s
undisturbed unity, has been dammed up by the Protestant tradition
of the last three hundred years, till it has broken forth again
as a turbulent torrent, devastating where it once fertilized,
disturbing where once it conciliated. In its new form and its
strange aggressiveness, it now horrifies mankind, where in early
days, in its legitimate sphere, it guided the greatest statesmen,
orators, and saints, and gravely helped them on the road to heaven,
to science, and to happiness. But we are digressing, for we have
undertaken to speak of facts, not to declaim about theories. We
have much ground to travel over yet before we come to the end of
the list of glorious women who have made the church, so to speak,
their panegyrist, and the world their debtor. We have once before
mentioned the Roman ladies, Proba, Juliana, and Demetrias, to whom
St. Chrysostom recommended his envoys and their mission to Pope St.
Innocent. Demetrias was the daughter of the Consul Olibrius and
of St. Juliana; Proba was her grandmother on her father’s side.
The two widows, having converted their husbands, consecrated their
after-lives to the education of Demetrias. St. Augustine was their
friend and counsellor, and wrote them letters that are among the
most prominent of his works. One to Proba is on the efficacy and
the nature of prayer; another to Juliana treats of the advantages
and duties of widowhood. When Demetrias announced her intention
of remaining a virgin, the holy joy of the family knew no bounds,
and the day of her formally receiving the veil was a festival for
all Rome. St. Jerome honored her with a discourse which has come
down to us in the shape of a _Letter to Demetrias_, followed by a
treatise on _Virginity_, and not only did he interrupt for this
purpose the grave commentaries on the Scriptures in which he was
engaged, but he also addressed to the parents of the virgin such
congratulations as rang throughout Italy, and made the holy and
happy trio the envy of every matron and maiden in the Christian
world. (Ventura, _Donna Cattolica_, vol. i. p. 520.) The heresiarch
Pelagius so little understood the importance of woman that he
took the trouble to address to Demetrias a letter so long that it
almost forms a book, which is still extant, and was intended to
instil into her mind his insidious errors. St. Augustine, however,
cautioned her against Pelagius, and bid her keep staunch to “the
faith of Pope Innocent.”

There was one sphere which more than any other was christianized
and influenced for good by women, and indeed could not have been
otherwise sanctified--the sphere of the imperial court, both in
Rome and in Constantinople. We have already seen empresses and
relatives of the Cæsars becoming Christians and often martyrs, but
it remained for the women of the fourth and fifth centuries to make
the palace into a sanctuary and add the lustre of a heavenly crown
to the majesty of an earthly sceptre. Constantine, under whose
auspices Christianity first emerged from the Catacombs, was the
gift of woman to the church. His mother Helena, his wife Fausta,
and his mother-in-law Eutropia (the two latter being respectively
the wife and daughter of Maximian-Herculeus) were zealous and
devoted Christians, and to their influence are due the toleration
and subsequently the favor with which the faith was treated by
Constantine. Eusebius relates that Eutropia on her pilgrimage to
the Holy Places found idols and sacrificial rites still flourishing
near the famous oak of Mambre, where tradition places the scene
of the visit of the three angels to Abraham. She wrote to her
son-in-law in unconcealed indignation, and thus procured after a
time the destruction of the shameful altars. Later on we find the
emperor building a church on the identical spot. The progress of
the Empress Helen through Palestine is as an ovation to the faith,
and a record of churches built and monasteries founded in every
Holy Place. She constantly besought her son’s aid and munificence
in these undertakings, and extended the protection of his name to
all Christian establishments in the East. We owe to her piety and
energy the most solemn and the greatest of the memorials of the
Passion, the Holy Cross on which our Lord suffered and died. It is
likewise to her, a woman, that we owe one of the most beautiful
of Christian churches, that of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem,
as well as one of the most interesting basilicas of Rome, _Santa
Croce in Gerusalemme_, where a portion of the august relic of the
cross was deposited. Her charities were numberless, her foundations
magnificent. She alleviated the condition of those who were
condemned to the mines, and freed many from chains and slavery.
The city of Drepanum in Bythinia, where St. Lucian the martyr had
died for his God, she so beautified and endowed in his honor that
after her death her son changed its name to Helenopolis. Even the
fame of the local and municipal life of many cities can be traced
to the influence and activity of woman, and further on we shall see
how some of her sex have laid colleges, schools, and universities
under eternal obligations. Constance, the daughter of Constantine,
was the first convert of the imperial family, and exercised no
little influence over her father. She assembled numbers of holy
virgins, and consecrated herself with them in a state of virginity
to the service of God and the poor. When Constantius, her brother,
became emperor, and, favoring Arianism, called himself head of
the church, while he exiled Pope Liberius, hundreds of the Roman
ladies united in a deputation to protest against this illegal
act. As long as the anti-Pope Felix remained in Rome, these same
women utterly scorned his authority, and encouraged the people
to refuse to hold communion with him. This firm attitude of the
women of Rome had its reward, and Pope Liberius was at length
recalled when the emperor perceived that the forced schism was
likely to result in sedition against himself. Maximus, Emperor
of the West, through the influence of his Christian wife, became
the friend and protector of St. Martin of Tours; and Theodosius,
the contemporary of St. Ambrose, was mainly guided in his wise
and, upon the whole, salutary administration by his wife Placidia
and his daughter Pulcheria. But his granddaughter, also named
Pulcheria, and justly honored as a saint, was pre-eminently the
glory of the Eastern Empire and the honor of her sex as well as
of her order. Her reign was the triumph of the church, the golden
age of justice, the realization of a Christian Utopia. When the
tranquillity of the age was disturbed, it was through the decline
of her influence and the triumph over her of her many enemies.
When her father Arcadius died and left his throne to his son
Theodosius, she was chosen not as regent, but as _Augusta_, or
co-ruler and empress, with her brother, and moreover was entrusted
with the care and responsibility of his education. The historian
Rohrbacher, ever eager to extol the sex says of her: “It was a
marvel, the equal of which has never been known either before
or since, and which God wrought in those days for the glory of
woman, whom his grace sanctified and his wisdom inspired--that a
maiden of sixteen should govern successfully so vast an empire.”
Pulcheria reduced the imperial household to a degree of order and
decorum more resembling a college than a court; her brother’s
masters were all chosen and approved by her, and the utmost respect
was paid by her both to the laws and the prelates of the church.
Alban Butler, in his _Lives of the Saints_, speaks of her and
her reign in these terms: “The imperial council was, through
her discernment, composed of the wisest, most virtuous, and most
experienced persons in the empire: yet, in deliberations, all of
them readily acknowledged the superiority of her judgment and
penetration. Her resolutions were the result of the most mature
consideration, and she took care herself that all orders should be
executed with incredible expedition, though always in the name of
her brother, to whom she gave the honor and credit of all she did.
She was herself well skilled in Greek and Latin, in history and
other useful branches of literature, and was, as every one must
be who is endowed with greatness of soul and a just idea of the
dignity of the human mind, the declared patroness of the sciences
and of both the useful and polite arts. Far from making religion
subservient to policy, all her views and projects were regulated
by it, and by this the happiness of her government was complete.
She prevented by her prudence all revolts which ambition, jealousy,
or envy might stir up to disturb the tranquillity of the church or
state; she cemented a firm peace with all neighboring powers, and
abolished the wretched remains of idolatry in several parts. Never
did virtue reign in the oriental empire with greater lustre, never
was the state more happy or more flourishing, nor was its name
ever more respected even among barbarians, than whilst the reins
of the government were in the hands of Pulcheria.” Ventura is not
less explicit in praise of this great woman. After mentioning the
different studies embraced in the plan of education which Pulcheria
had traced for her brother, he says: “In these arrangements,
both the subject-matter which was to occupy the young prince’s
attention, and the time he was to spend in each occupation, were
so judiciously and admirably managed that such a plan of education
seemed rather the work of an experienced philosopher than that
of a young girl of sixteen.... Theodosius possessed neither a
generous soul nor exalted intellect; in fact, his was a nature
scarcely above mediocrity. Pulcheria, however, by her enlightened
efforts, succeeded in producing unexpected results from so
thankless a field of labor.” (_Donna Cattolica_, vol. ii. pp. 23,
24.) Exiled and disgraced by the machinations of her frivolous
sister-in-law, the Empress Eudocia, and the ambitious Chrysaphius,
one of the courtiers, she left Constantinople and retired into the
country, no more downcast in adversity than she had been elated in
prosperity. Eudocia and Chrysaphius, unable to draw St. Flavian,
the Patriarch of Constantinople, into their conspiracy against
the noble exile, became violent partisans of Eutyches and his new
heresy. Between the years 447 and 450 of the Christian era, the
condition of the empire was perfectly chaotic; the heresies of the
Eutychians, the Nestorians, and the Monothelites disturbed the
public peace; morality was forgotten; the court became an assembly
of intriguers; Theodosius himself was no longer obeyed at home
or respected abroad. St. Leo the Pope, scandalized and grieved at
such excesses, wrote to the emperor, the clergy, and the people
of Constantinople, but reserved his most remarkable mission for
Pulcheria. He says, “If you had received my former letters, you
would certainly have already remedied these evils, for you have
never failed the Christian faith, nor the clergy her guardians,”
and towards the end of his letter he adds: “In the name of the
blessed apostle St. Peter, I constitute you my _special legate_
for the advancement of this matter before the emperor.” Referring
to this magnificent elogium, the historian Rohrbacher remarks
that, “when the Pope writes to the Emperor Theodosius, one would
think he was addressing a woman; when, on the contrary, he writes
to the ex-empress, one would imagine he was speaking to a _man_,”
upon whose energy he could depend. In 450, the Emperor of the
West, Valentinian, and his mother and wife, Placidia and Eudoxia,
came to Rome, where the Pope entrusted them with the task of
admonishing by letter the weak-minded Theodosius and his heretical
followers. Thus was the power of woman and her influence in state
affairs recognized and honored by the church from end to end of the
Christian world. Pulcheria, urged by the entreaties of all these
great and holy personages, boldly went to the court, reproached her
brother, and by her firmness opened his eyes and restored peace,
orthodoxy and morality in the distracted empire. Her brother’s
death in 450 left her, by the universal consent of the people, once
more ruler of the vast realm she had already so much benefited. Now
again she evinced consummate wisdom in her choice of Marcian, the
most renowned soldier and most talented statesman of the empire,
to be her husband and fellow-ruler. Under condition of preserving
her early vow of perpetual chastity, she admitted him to an entire
participation of her life and counsels, and together, with a
strong yet gentle hand, they upheld and protected the fathers of
the Council of Chalcedon. After three years of a wise and virtuous
reign, Pulcheria died, lamented by the thousands of the poor and
destitute whom she had never ceased to relieve, and honored by
the church as the “guardian of the faith, the peace-maker, the
defender of orthodoxy,” as the Chalcedonian fathers expressed
it. The historian Gibbon, whose testimony can hardly be deemed
interested, has thus outlined the history of her reign: “Her piety
did not prevent Pulcheria from indefatigably devoting her attention
to the affairs of the state, and indeed this princess was the only
descendant of Theodosius the Great who seems to have inherited any
part of his high courage and noble genius. She had acquired the
familiar use of the Greek and Latin tongues, which she spoke and
wrote with ease and grace in her speeches and writings relative
to public affairs. Prudence always dictated her resolves. Her
execution was prompt and decisive. Managing without ostentation all
the intricacies of the government, she discreetly attributed to the
talents of the emperor the long tranquillity of his reign. During
the last years of his life, Europe was suffering cruelly under
the invasion and ravages of Attila, King of the Huns, while peace
continued to reign in the vast provinces of Asia.” (_History of the
Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire_, vol. vi. chapter xxxii.)

The holy Pope St. Gregory the Great did not owe less to the
influence and friendship of woman than Pope St. Leo. Among his
many and remarkable letters, those addressed to the Empress
Constantina and the Princess Theoclissa, wife and sister of
Maurice, Emperor of the East, are not the least admirable. The
emperor being both imbecile and miserly, and of a nature utterly
despicable, the only bulwark of orthodoxy against the heretics
lay in the strenuous and continued efforts of these two women in
favor of the church. When Phocus, a general of Maurice, freed
the indignant empire from its supine and debased ruler, his wife
the Empress Leontia took the place of the former princesses, and
continued their work of protecting the faith of the Councils.
In the West, where the Lombards were successfully laying the
foundation of the future power they were destined to wield, it
was chiefly to a woman that Gregory the Great looked to defend
the interests of religion, and saw among these half-reclaimed
barbarians the seeds of Christian chivalry. Theodolinda was his
pupil and correspondent, and by her care the future King of the
Lombards, Adoloaldus, was baptized and brought up a Christian. In
the matter of the great expedition which resulted in the final
conversion of England, the same Pope testifies by his letters
that Bertha, the wife of King Ethelbert, and Brunehault, Queen of
the Franks, were chiefly instrumental in aiding and countenancing
St. Augustine in his mission. He says to Brunehault: “We are not
ignorant of the help you have afforded our brother Augustine.... It
must be a source of great rejoicing to you that no one has had a
greater share in this work than yourself. For, if that nation [the
Saxons] has had the blessing of hearing the Word of God and the
preaching of the Gospel, it is to you, under God, that they owe it.”

The throne of Constantinople was to be honored yet by another
sainted empress, the worthy successor of Pulcheria, and, like her,
an able ally of the Pope and the orthodox patriarch of her own
capital. Once more, through the vices and indifference of men, a
heresy had arisen and flourished, the heresy of the Iconoclasts.
Great persecution had been suffered by the faithful, during the
reign of Leo, the husband of our heroine Irene, and the new
heretics, had completely triumphed. At his death, his widow became
regent for her young son. The clergy, the nobility, and especially
the army, were arrayed on the side of the Iconoclasts. Irene was
as prudent in action as she was zealous in heart. The persecutions
against the followers of the Pope were first merely suspended,
thought and speech were once more free, and gradually a reaction
began to take place. The patriarchal see of Constantinople becoming
vacant by the death of Paul, the finally repentant abettor of
the unhappy heresy, it was Irene who proposed the election of
Tarasius, the most popular, most pious, and most talented man
among her subjects. He, too, was the product of a wise and holy
woman’s training, and the name of his mother, Eucratia, is among
the saints. Having thus paved the way, the empress wrote to Pope
Adrian about the year 786, and begged him to assemble a general
council to further the interests of religion and cement the peace
of Christendom. The council, which was the second of Nicea, took
place according to this suggestion, upon which the Pope, through
his legates, formally congratulated the empress. The utmost success
having attended the sittings of the council, and the faith having
been triumphantly vindicated against the Iconoclasts and their
errors, the empress sent to entreat the assembled fathers to hold
one final and ceremonial sitting in Constantinople itself. She
procured an efficient guard among the orthodox cohorts of the
imperial army, and prepared an immense hall in the palace for the
gathering of the council. Ventura describes the scene thus: “The
Pope’s legates waived their right of precedence in favor of Irene,
and the astonishing spectacle was seen of a woman, accompanied
by a child twelve years old (her son), presiding over one of the
most august assemblies of the church. The sitting was opened by a
discourse by the empress, in which she spoke, both in her son’s
name and in her own, with so much eloquence, warmth, and grace,
that the greatest emotion was manifested throughout the assembly;
tears of joy flowed from the eyes of all present, and the last
words of Irene were followed by the most heartfelt acclamations....
The enthusiasm was at its height, when, in the assembly and also to
the people without, the decree or definition of faith made by the
council was read, and the empress claimed her right to be the first
to sign it.... It must never be forgotten that this great council,
as well as its consequences, which put an end to a great heresy
and restored Catholicism in the East, was the thought and work of
a woman, and that it was a woman-sovereign (_un empereur-femme_)
who alone by her discreet and courageous zeal knew how to blot out
and destroy the scandals caused by three men-sovereigns and even a
great number of bishops themselves.” (_Donna Cattolica_, vol. ii.
pp. 55, 56.)

Before the Empire of the East became totally degraded, another
sovereign, another woman, lent it the glory of her reputation. The
Iconoclasts, profiting by the treacherous support of succeeding
emperors, again renewed their hostilities against orthodoxy, but
were speedily checked once more by a brave Christian woman, the
Empress Theodosia, widow of Theophilus, and of whom Rohrbacher
says: “If in the West the temporal sovereigns were insignificant,
in the East they were detestable. There was but one exception, and
that was a woman, the Empress St. Theodosia. She began her reign
after the death of her unworthy husband--whom she had succeeded,
however, in converting on his death-bed--by threatening the
heretical patriarch, Lecanomantes, with the condemnation of the
coming council unless he consented to vacate his see and renounce
his errors. He refused, and the council assembled within the
walls of the imperial palace. The Iconoclast heresy was again
solemnly denounced, and the previous Council of Nicea confirmed.
For the countenance and protection afforded by her to the church,
the empress only asked as a reward that the prelates should pray
for the forgiveness of the sin of heresy which her husband had
committed. Theodosia celebrated this new victory of the church
with becoming solemnity, and instituted in its honor a festival,
which is observed to this day under the name of the ‘festival of
orthodoxy.’ When Methodius, the holy Patriarch of Constantinople,
died, she replaced him by St. Ignatius, the friend of the Pope, St.
Nicholas I. She made peace with the Bulgarians, whom the Pope was
interested in converting to the faith, and seconded his efforts
by procuring the conversion of the captive Bulgarian princess,
sister to King Bogoris, whom she afterward freed and sent back to
her brother. This princess became the Clotildis of her people,
and, together with Formosus, the Pope’s legate, and St. Cyril,
Theodosia’s envoy, effected the conversion of the whole Bulgarian
nation in 861.”

Other Danubian tribes also owed their conversion to Theodosia;
she sent missionaries to the Khazars and the Moravians, whose
chief specially addressed himself to her for instruction. Her
son Michael, when he came to the throne, renewed the horrors of
the pagan empire of Caligula and Domitian, persecuted his mother
and sisters, exiled and deposed the Patriarch Ignatius, and put
the heretic Photius into his place. One of his captains, Basil,
put a violent end to his infamous reign, and, though inexcusable
in the eyes of the ecclesiastical law, yet redeemed his act by
the utmost deference to Theodosia and devotion to religion. The
empire breathed again, and Theodosia’s counsels procured another
general assembly of the church at Constantinople, when Photius was
condemned and the rightful patriarch reinstated in his authority.
After the death of the empress, the heresy of Photius revived and
spread, and, schism becoming more or less general, the empire began
to degenerate, until its very name, the “Lower Empire,” became a
synonym for all degradation and hopeless ruin. Ventura, who says
truly that real sanctity is impossible in the bosom of voluntary
schism, attributes the degeneracy of the Empire of the East to
the want of strong and generous women, such as those whom we
have briefly sketched in this article, and asserts that the very
accumulation of evils which this scarcity of holy women has heaped
upon the church during some of the darkest periods of her history,
is in itself a proof of the paramount importance of woman in the
work of the propagation and protection of true religion.

We are now close upon the mediæval times, when the glory of the
sex shone forth again in the West, and counted as many champions
as there were kingdoms to convert, universities to endow, courts
to reform, and infidel powers to overthrow. The influence of
woman began to be recognized in society as it had always been in
the church; chivalry taught men to place the honor of woman next
in their estimation to faith in God, and equal with loyalty to
their king and patriotism to their country. We can find no more
beautiful, no more _Catholic_, expression of this sovereignty
of woman’s pure and ennobling influence, as consecrated by the
church’s approbation, and guarded by all that is noblest and
most generous in man, than the following extract from a modern
poet, whose inspiration, like that of all true artists, is drawn
perforce from the legends of Catholic antiquity. The poet of the
Holy Grail is also the poet of woman; the legends of the deeds of
the prowess of knights, whose names are perchance but myths as to
actual history, but nevertheless are human types of the exalted
ideal of the old Catholic days, are inevitably mingled with legends
of the vows of holy chastity, and the pure and stainless lives of
many of those renowned heroes of the field and tournament. Let the
following serve as an introduction to our next article, which will
treat chiefly of the great women of the Middle Ages:

    “For when the Roman left us, and their law
    Relaxed its hold upon us, and the ways
    Were filled with rapine, here and there a deed
    Of prowess done redressed a random wrong.
    But I was first of all the kings who drew
    The knighthood-errant of this realm and all
    The realms together under me, their head,
    In that fair Order of my Table Round,
    A glorious company, the flower of men,
    To serve as model for the mighty world,
    And be the fair beginning of a time.
    I made them lay their hands in mine, and swear
    To reverence the king as if he were
    Their conscience and their conscience as their king,
    To break the heathen and uphold the Christ,
    To ride abroad, redressing human wrongs,
    To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,
    To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,
    To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
    And worship her by years of noble deeds,
    Until they won her; for indeed I knew
    Of no more subtle master under heaven
    Than is the maiden passion for a maid,
    Not only to keep down the base in man,
    But teach high thought, and amiable words,
    And courtliness, and the desire of fame,
    And love of truth, and all that makes a man.
    And all this throve.... I wedded thee,
    Believing, lo! _mine helpmate_, one to feel
    My purpose, and rejoicing in my joy.”
                          _Tennyson_, _Idylls of the King._



DEVOTA.


    Sweet image of the one I love,
      To whom your infant years were given
    (And still the faithful colors[61] prove
      A constancy not all in heaven):

    To me a violet near a brink,
      Far-hidden from the beaten way,
    And where but rarest flowerets drink
      A freshness from the ripples’ play:

    A lily in a vale of rest,
      And where the angels know a nook
    But one shy form has ever prest--
      A poet with a poet’s book.

    But poet’s book has never said
      What I, O lily, find in you:
    ’Twas never writ and never read,
      Though always old and always new.

    And ah, that you must change and go--
      The violet fade, the lily die!
    Let others joy to watch you grow;
      Let others smile: so will not I.

    Yet smile I should. Is heaven a dream?
      In sooth, he needs to be forgiven
    Who matches with the things that seem
      A deathless flower, that blooms for heaven.

    And while he mourns the onward years
      That sweep you from the things that seem,
    Let faith make sunshine on his tears:
      ’Tis heaven is real, and earth the dream.

FOOTNOTE:

[61] Children dedicated to the Blessed Virgin wear white and blue.



THE CARESSES OF PROVIDENCE.

FROM LA CIVILTA CATTOLICA.


Very recently, the Liberal Italian party, finding that their
Catholic opponents were in no wise damaged by arguments drawn
from a denial of God’s concern in human affairs, has changed its
tactics, and proposes now to convert us clericals by appeals to our
religious sensibilities. We are assaulted by a theological attack
_ad hominem_, which they tell us is so conclusive that, if we do
not acknowledge ourselves beaten, it is because we have lost our
reason and renounced the faith.

“You believe,” say they, “in the providence of God. You recognize
his hand in all the events of life, and you profess to bless and
bow to the divine decrees. Well, then, Providence, you perceive,
has smiled graciously on us and on our work--a work which you
execrate and detest. Providence is plainly on our side. He declares
himself for us and against you. Submit, then, to his decrees. Lay
aside this idle expectation of the triumph of your cause, which
is evidently opposed to the holy will of God. Accept accomplished
facts. Reconcile yourselves with Italy, our glorious new kingdom,
and cease, amid your noisy professions of religion, to rebel
against the will of the Most High.”

Such in its naked substance is the argument to which the Liberals
now exultingly resort; more especially since the breach of Porta
Pia and the successful picking of the locks of the Quirinal. They
hope in this way to convict us of apostasy from the faith, and
(what they deem still more atrocious) of an unpardonable outrage
against the laws of “the human understanding.”

“It seems incredible,” they go on to say, “that, after such
positive proofs of a special protection vouchsafed by Providence
to regenerate Italy, the clerical party should cling so stubbornly
to the hope of a resuscitation of the past--a past which, were it
not already irrevocably condemned by the logic of events, would be
condemned by their own theory of an all-seeing and all-wise God.”
This is the language in which the Jewish journal _L’Opinione_,
after taking Roman ground at the close of the year just elapsed,
expressed this very formidable argument. They had already uttered
it some hundred times before. Many sheets of less importance had
got up an industrious echo to this cry; and one in particular,
a petty Florentine print, undertakes to celebrate the new year
by magnifying “the caresses of Providence” bestowed upon the
little darling angel, Italy, born, as everybody knows, of the
wonderful shrewdness of the Italian people and their undying love
of liberty--a liberty, by the way, which never fails to exemplify
itself by a free and strenuous appropriation of a weaker neighbor’s
earthly goods. Strange indeed it is that men, who never were
known as professed believers in any other divinity than Mammon,
should now, after having derided for years, and with every mark of
blasphemous scorn, “the finger of God,” suddenly assume the office
of apostles of a new idea of Christian Providence. Strange it is
that only now, after the plunder of a city gained by battering
down walls and picking locks with forged keys--that these men,
we say, should chant the praises of the God they had defied, and
defend his holy decrees against the “scandalous negations” of the
Catholic Church. Strangest is it of all, that the prince of these
extraordinary apostles should be no other than the so-called Jew
proprietor of the _Opinione_--who is not even a Jew; for he has
always shown that he believes as little of the Old Testament as he
does of the New.

But--

    “To what infamies untold
    Hast thou man’s nature not controlled,
    Thou execrable greed of gold!”

Solid or not, this _argumentum ad hominem_ has for a certain class
of minds an air of great plausibility. At all events, it might
be well to look into it a little; for we may thereby throw some
light upon several important truths which nowadays need special
illumination. We let in the argument, therefore, as the new Jewish
and infidel philosophers present it; and we propose to give them,
in a nutshell, the proper answer to it. They will then understand
why Catholics not only refuse to surrender to this showing, but, on
the contrary, see in it reason to stand firm to their first faith,
and to cherish unceasing hopes of the speedy triumph of their cause.

Yes, gentlemen, we Catholics believe, with all our heart and soul,
in the holy providence of God. In this Providence we recognize
the origin and order of all created things. We make it indeed our
glory that we bless and humbly worship its adorable decrees. We
confess, therefore, without reserve, that what you choose to call
its “loving caresses” are really yours by divine appointment; and
the very decree which to you is the source of so much joy, and to
us of so much mourning, we adore as the undoubted manifestation
of his most holy will. All this we freely admit as truth, as
unquestionable, unanswerable truth. But while, in these explicit
terms, we confess this Catholic verity, we deny, in equally
explicit terms, that what you choose to call “caresses” are in
any sense _such to you_, or that the palpable proofs of that
“special protection” of which you make so vain a boast are proofs
of anything but the very opposite; nay, so false is it, that the
caresses you claim are marks of divine approval, that the very
assertion is a blasphemy most insulting to the sovereign providence
of God. To prove these propositions is an easy thing to any one who
knows his catechism; and the understanding of them easier still to
any one who believes as well as knows. To him who either does not
know his Christian primer, or, knowing it, will not believe, they
may seem incapable of either proof or comprehension. Should such a
case present itself, the fault is certainly not ours. A poet tells
us that:

    “Of winds the sailor ever loves to speak,
    Of arms the soldier, and the boor of swine;
    The astronomer, of planet, moon, and stars;
    Of palaces and piers, the architect;
    The juggling necromancer prates of ghosts,
    And the old harper of his well thrummed strains.”

If so, why is it that this Jew, instead of sticking like a worthy
Hebrew to his stock-list, takes to teaching us the Christian
catechism? And why is it that this worshipper of Voltaire, instead
of chanting hymns to Venus, reads us a lecture on what he knows
about the purposes of God? _Sutor ne ultra crepidam._

Nevertheless, we proceed to explain the propositions advanced
above.

Catholics acknowledge that every event, be it favorable or
unfavorable to their prayers, is consistent with the providence
of God. To Providence they refer evil as well as good, with this
difference, that good and unblamable evil they ascribe to the
decrees of his sovereign direction, but blamable evil they ascribe
to his permissive decree. In a word, they believe and confess that
God wills _positively_ all that comes to pass without taint of
moral evil, and wills _negatively_ (that is, he does not preclude)
what comes to pass so tainted by cause of man’s abuse of his
free-will. They nevertheless hold and profess that whatever evil he
permits, that also is ordained to good; so that nothing enters into
those most just and wise decrees that does not aim effectively at
the final design of the creation and redemption of mankind; which
design in this life is the church militant, and, in the next, the
church triumphant, the central point of his extrinsic glorification.

The reason, then, that Catholics hold and profess that God does
not and cannot decree, otherwise than _permissively_, moral
evil--that is, disobedience, injustice, or briefly sin--is that he
neither participates nor can participate in evil of this nature
which is essentially opposed to his infinite sanctity. He would,
in fact, participate therein if he willed it positively and not
merely negatively; whereas, permitting it only, he in no wise
participates, though he allows man, whom he had created free, to
make an evil use of the gift of liberty. He does not hinder him,
because neither is he so obliged, nor can the divine hindrance
of human freedom be exacted by the nature of man left free. With
all this, God is in no wise the less able to secure for himself,
always and in every case and from every human being, the external
glory which he reserved to himself when he created man. Because,
he who shall not glorify in heaven an infinite mercy granted to
the good use of the free-will, shall glorify in hell an infinite
justice merited by the abuse of this same free-will. Hence the
Almighty will not be shorn of the least shadow of that glory,
for which, among other things, he drew man out of the abyss of
nothingness.

Catholics, moreover, believe and confess that the effects of
moral evil are invariably directed by Almighty God to the good
of mankind. They serve to punish in order to amend, or else to
exercise in order to confirm. St. Augustine remarks, with his usual
perspicacity, that the life of a bad man is often prolonged not
only to afford an opportunity for his amendment, but to serve as
an occasion of sanctification to the good. _Ne putetis gratis esse
malos in hoc mundo, et nihil boni de eis agere Deum. Omnis malus
aut ideo vivit ut corrigatur, aut ideo vivit ut per illum bonus
exerceatur._[62]

Hence it is that Catholics, in all emergencies, even in the most
calamitous, nay, even in those caused by the worst iniquities of
unscrupulous men, do not fail to adore the goodness and justice of
Almighty God, and to acknowledge the inscrutable dispositions of
his most holy will. But they never think of imputing to him the
sins and transgressions of the wicked. These he neither wills nor
is he capable of willing them. He permits them only as subserving
his mercy or his justice.

It follows, then, that, in order to decide whether the easy
successes of certain definite transactions are successes due
to divine approbation, and palpable proofs of his gracious
protection, or whether rather they are not facilities that
Providence permits for the punishment of the wicked and for the
chastening of the virtuously minded, it is essential to see first
whether these definite acts are right or wrong, meritorious or
sinful; that is, conformable or unconformable to the law of eternal
justice, and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, certain it is that in those transactions which the enemies of
Christ regard as sanctioned by the manifest “caresses” of Almighty
God, Catholic Christians see nothing but acts of iniquity and sin;
and accordingly, while they accept them as permitted by God for
reasons and results full of justice and mercy, they nevertheless
esteem it the height of blasphemy to look upon such outrages,
however successful for the moment, as “caresses” bestowed by
Providence upon the very men who at other times deny his existence
or treat his word with open scorn and contempt.

We have thus, as briefly and as lucidly as we could, and with the
Christian catechism for our guide, explained to these Jews who are
no Jews, and to these philosophers who are no philosophers, the
sense of the propositions we affirm.

Perhaps they will now require of us to prove that the acts referred
to are acts of iniquity and sin. This is very much like asking us
to prove that the sun is shining, when it is evidently blazing
at mid-day. We let pass that the highest authority on earth has
pronounced, again and again, that the acts are simply acts most
sinful and sacrilegious. We let pass that the concurrent testimony
of all minds endowed with natural rectitude of judgment (not
excluding Protestants nor Israelites nor Turks) has confirmed and
reconfirmed the condemnations spoken already by Pope, by church,
and by the entire Catholic world. It is enough that the authors
and prime movers of these outrages proclaimed and stamped them as
dishonorable and base before they perpetrated them, and even in the
very act of their perpetration. Can these apostolic gentlemen, now
so anxious for the conversion of the Catholic Church, be ignorant,
for instance, that two of the Subalpine ministry, Visconti-Venosta
and Lanza, declared the invasion of Rome and the usurpation of
the Papal power acts of barbarism destitute of every semblance of
right? And are they not aware that they so avouched just one short
month before both invasion and usurpation were consummated by
burglary and breach?

Who can hope, then, to persuade a Catholic that these successful
shells, pick-locks, and jimmies have not been instruments of the
most iniquitous wrong-doing, seeing that these two men, in the
face of heaven and earth, averred its baseness themselves only a
few weeks before the formal consummation of the act? Perhaps, too,
our converters have never heard how their _divine_ Camillo Cavour
said one day to their other _divine_ Massimo d’Azeglio, who has
recorded it _ad perpetuam rei memoriam_: “If what we are doing
for Italy, you and I had done for ourselves, what a precious pair
of big _balossi_ we should have been!” The _Opinione_ knows too
well the sense of the Subalpine word _balosso_ that we should put
it into good Italian. The editor and his pharisaical colleagues
have learned, no doubt, the lovely dialect of the northern masters
they have chosen for Italy and for themselves. They can teach us,
we dare say, the full force of this fine word _balosso_; that it
means all that is contained in the words scamp, scoundrel, robber,
rascal, villain, ruffian, knave. Can Catholics, then, be easily
persuaded that the _facts accomplished_ by Azeglio and Cavour for
the regeneration of Italy have been free from sin and iniquity,
seeing that these two _divines_ have stigmatized them as the acts
of men bad enough to be _balossi_? For be it observed that Azeglio
himself admits that what is criminal in private life is no less
criminal in public;[63] showing (though we are losing time in the
attempt to throw light upon the sun) that our apostolic friends, in
order to justify the _accomplished facts_ resorted to for Italy’s
new birth, have been obliged to invent a modern social law the
converse of the ancient one ordained by God himself.

If this be admitted, what can prove more incontestably that the
acts complained of were acts of sin and iniquity; sin being any
act contrary to God’s commands, and iniquity an act opposed to the
justice he enjoins?

But Catholics may go further, and say to the apostles of our
conversion that not only are the means used for the _regeneration_
of Italy sinful and iniquitous, but that the _end_ itself
aimed at by the ringleaders of this pretended regeneration is
absolutely antichristian and diabolical, being nothing less than
the demolition of the Catholic Church and the annihilation of the
kingdom of God among men. Of course, the _end_ is simply absurd,
and rendered impossible by the excess of its absurdity. But
nevertheless, though it cannot exist as a thing attainable, it does
exist as a thing conceivable, and as such inspires the mad career
of Masonry, which pursues it with satanic rage and open ostentation
as the main objective point of the machinations of the sect.

Mazzini, to whom the _regenerators_ are indebted for their grand
_idea_, aimed as far ago as 1834 at the abolition of the temporal
power, without regard to cost. His argument was that the downfall
of this power carried with it, as a necessary consequence,
the emancipation of the human race from the thraldom of the
spiritual power. “The Vicars of Christ” he called “Vicars of the
Spirit of Evil, to be exterminated, never to be restored.”[64]
Visconti-Venosta, a member of the present Italian cabinet, wrote
to Mazzini, in 1851, that the rallying-cry of the _regeneration_
should be, “Down with the Monarchy, down with the Papacy.”[65]

Ferrari, the philosopher of the movement, proclaimed in 1853 that
the end it proposed was the stamping out of Pope and Emperor, of
Christ and Cæsar; the four tyrannies that Machiavelli had delivered
over to Italian hate.[66]

To make this matter short, though we might go on for ever, the
more rabid partisans of the _regeneration_ do not blush to say
that the essential end of the great Italian movement is the
emancipation of human consciences from the authority of the church,
by laying prostrate the colossus against whom Luther, Calvin, and
Henry VIII. ineffectually strove. They aim, in a word, at the
radical destruction of the entire Catholic Church; to which end,
nationality, unity, political liberty itself, were always to be
regarded as nothing more than the means.[67]

These preliminaries being understood, our free-thinking friends
ought to see that their argument, derived from what they call
“providential protection” to their sacrilegious acts, strikes the
Catholic mind as a shocking blasphemy, because it makes our blessed
Lord an accomplice in detestable transactions, and an instigator
to the worst of crimes--a deliberate plotter, in short, of the
ruin of that church which is the masterpiece of his wisdom, and
the object of his infinite love. We have no objections to their
saying that the anger of God has unchained their barbarous allies,
and for a time has left them free to do their worst against the
children of the church. They may say all this, and Catholics will
assent and even approve--not the _animus_, but the words. They will
exclaim with St. Jerome of old, when the barbarians of that day
were making havoc of the things of God: _Peccatis nostris barbari
fortes sunt_[68]--“In our sins the barbarians are strong.” But let
them not venture to say that Almighty God, because he allows them a
fatal facility of blasphemous impiety, protects and even caresses
this impiety. For religious men will answer them: Yes, he protects
and caresses you, as he protected and caressed the crucifiers of
his only-begotten Son.

And here we entreat the Israelitish editor of the _Opinione_ to pay
strict attention to what we have to say, inasmuch as it concerns
him in his nationality; since he is an Israelite by nature and
nation, and Italian only by the place of his accidental birth.

The synagogue, sustained by the coalition of Pharisees and
Sadducees, undertook to regenerate Judea by taking the life of
Jesus, Son of God, true God and true Man. The great sin of Jesus
Christ in the eyes of the synagogue was similar to that of the
church of Jesus in the eyes of the Masonic Order. He was the Son
of God and the Word of Truth, as the church is his spouse and the
organ of the truth.

But there stood many obstacles in the way of compassing his
death. First, there needed a lawful sanction, and there was none.
Secondly, it was necessary to take him captive, a very dangerous
undertaking, for he was always surrounded by throngs of devoted
followers and friends. Thirdly, it was necessary to keep the
people in good humor, or, as Jesus was their principal benefactor,
they might rebel against this public execution. Fourthly, it
was necessary to ascertain that the Romans, who had cognizance
of capital cases in Palestine, would connive at his trial for
life and at his sentence to death. Fifthly, they had to risk the
display of his miraculous power, for his miracles surpassed all
that had ever been seen in Israel. It must be admitted that these
difficulties were very formidable. Yet what happened? _Everything
was made easy._ The sanction of law was found in a tissue of lies
and political misindictments, successful beyond all expectation.
His capture proved the easiest imaginable, through the unexpected
treachery of one of his own disciples, who sold him for a bauble.
The populace was led with wonderful facility not only not to rise
to his rescue, but in a solemn _plébiscite_ to save the robber
Barabbas at his expense, and to sentence him to an ignominious
death. The Romans made some show, through Pilate, in his defence;
but after five times declaring him innocent of every charge,
condemned him to the cross, following the will of the synagogue to
the last; and finally Jesus, though challenged with insult to the
exercise of his supernatural powers, abstained mysteriously from
their use, and did nothing to withdraw himself from torture or
death. Could any greater facility of consummation be imagined than
was here shown in the _accomplishment_ of this tremendous deicidal
_act_? But will our Israelitish apostle have the heart to undertake
to win over Italian Catholics to the belief that the wonderful
_success_ of the crucifixion (permitted, as it undeniably was) is
to be construed as a caress bestowed by Providence upon a corrupt
and apostate synagogue, and as a palpable and unmistakable proof of
his protection of the bloody and treacherous council that sentenced
him to death?

Between the Jewish sacrilege directed against the adorable Person
of the Incarnate Word, and the Italian sacrilege against the Vicar
of that Word, there is but this distinction: that the Person aimed
at in the former was God present in his human nature, and the
Person aimed at in the latter was God present in his church.

In the days of Pontius Pilate and Caiphas, the Jews slew the
material body of our Blessed Lord: the latter-day Jews, in these
days of Lanza and Visconti-Venosta, would, if they could, slay the
Spiritual Body of the same Jesus Christ. And do you dare, wretched
Pharisees, to ask of us Catholic believers to recognize in the
facilities that have attended until now this monstrous sacrilege
of yours, this second deicidal act, the smiles of an approving
Providence, and the marks of a divine protection accorded to the
prompt success of your heaven-defying crime?

The capital error of the gross and impious sophism now the subject
of our comment, consists evidently in the assumption that easy and
unexpected success (in operations ordinarily of a very arduous
character) is a sure note of the divine approval, even when the
accomplished facts are manifest breaches of the Decalogue.

A proposition of this sort, if it had the least value, would serve
to sanction any atrocity, however monstrous, provided it were only
successfully and rapidly achieved.

Such wretches as Passatori, Ninco Nanchi, Carusi, and Troppmann
ought in this view to be regarded as protected and caressed by
Divine Providence. Every prosperous villain would only have to
quote to his judges the argument of the _Opinione_ to conciliate
their approbation, and to obtain from them not only an acquittal,
but an honorable testimonial in high praise of these favorites of
heaven.

True it is, however, that a striking and brilliant success dazzles
the judgment of men without faith, or of men with faith as sensual
as their flesh.

We Catholics, on the contrary, are rich in the possession of a
divine promise which keeps us cheerful and buoyant with hope in
the face of what seems like the final triumph of the wicked. And
this is more especially true when we have to deal with those who
plot against the church and its visible Head, _adversus Dominum,
et adversus Christum ejus_. Nobody that we know of has set this
promise in a truer light than P. Paul Segneri, and we take the
liberty to transcribe here for our readers two or three passages of
his, which are just so much gold to the purpose we have in view.

“‘The prosperity of fools,’ says Solomon, ‘shall destroy them.’
He does not say ‘destroys them,’ but ‘shall destroy them.’ Why
so? Because the prosperity of the wicked does not always produce
immediately its disastrous effects. Sometimes the reverse comes
after long delay. Wait patiently. You will see the end of what
seems to begin so well. Have you never read in the Book of Job how
that the Almighty takes pleasure in defeating the machinations of
the impious? He brings their counsellors to a foolish end.” Not to
a bad beginning. No; all seems prosperous at first. It is the end
that is disastrous. He lets them raise aloft their mighty tower
of Babel. But afterwards, in the confusion of their pride, they
disperse and are gone. He lets them build up the beautiful towers
of Siloe; but these fall, and the builders are buried beneath
the ruins. For want of this reflection, many men wonder at the
prosperity of the wicked. Even the prophets themselves address God
sometimes with tender reproaches. They almost accuse him, I might
say. We are apt to look too much at the beginning of things, and
not, like holy David, at the end. _Donec intelligam in novissimis
eorum._ As much as to say, they are so taken up with gazing upon
the comely golden head of their tall Babylonian colossus, that they
have not thought of lowering their eyes to see its brittle legs of
clay. Now hear me, and witness the establishment of the truth. If
ever since the birth of Christ there was a race of men who rose by
unscrupulous arts to enormous wealth and power, it was doubtless
the Greek emperors, tyrants as they may well be called. Now answer
me, Have there ever existed empires which have furnished subjects
for tragedy more truly horrible than theirs?

“Nicephorus succeeded at first by the employment of dishonest means
to usurp the imperial power, driving away the right inheritress,
Irene. What then? Crushed by a series of misfortunes, he began
to look upon himself as a modern Pharaoh, hardened by defeats.
Finally, vanquished and slain by the Bulgarians, his enemies made
a drinking-cup of his skull, and out of joy or derision used it
as such in the diversions of the camp. Stauratius by illegitimate
alliances, and Leo the Armenian by repeated high-handed rebellions,
succeeded in establishing themselves in the height of power. How
long was it before these two men died under the blows of the
assassin, the former in war, and the latter at the altar he had
profaned? Michael the Stammerer was so fortunate as to step, in
his famous conspiracy, from the dungeon to the throne; demanding
there the worship of his subjects, the chain still on his neck and
the fetters on his feet. Intoxicated by his success, he compelled
a holy virgin to share his bed. All Sclavonia revolted, his entire
army deserted him; nor yet repenting, he was literally devoured
by a malady the most disgusting. Theophilus was successful in
suppressing, for reasons of state, the veneration of sacred images;
but almost immediately after, on being shamefully defeated by
the Saracens, died of rage and intense mortification. Michael
III., regarded as another Nero on account of his licentiousness
and cruelty, succeeded so far as to put his mother and guardians
out of the way, in order to reign without opposition or control.
He ended his ‘prosperous’ career by kindling against himself the
hatred of his subjects, and encountered rebellion after rebellion,
in the last of which, in the midst of a drunken debauch, he paid
the forfeit of his life. Alexander attained a sort of success in
plundering the holy altars, and in appropriating the gold thus
obtained to his own private use; but very soon thereafter he was
seized with a sudden madness, and he had not held out a year when
he ended his life in a fearful vomiting of blood. What shall I say
of Romanus I.? He too was successful to all appearance; for, by
a stratagem of wonderful adroitness, he expelled the legitimate
possessor from the patriarchal see of Constantinople, and placed
in it a mere child, his own son. The year following he himself was
driven from the imperial throne by another son, and banished to a
lonely isle for life. So also fared it with Romanus II. Impelled by
the lust of dominion, he took the life of his own father by poison.
His own life was taken very shortly after, and by the self-same
means. Michael Paphlagonius, by infamous devices, carried his point
of usurping the throne. Seized suddenly with demoniacal obsession,
he could obtain no repose. Exorcisms and almsgivings were tried
in vain. He died as he lived, with his agony unrelieved. Michael
Calaphates was ‘successful’ in driving the empress into exile, that
he might reign alone; but the people rose against him at once,
stoned him, deprived him of sight, and dragged him through the
city streets more dead than alive. Diogenes and Andronicus, two
usurpers who had ‘succeeded’ in their treason, one by a courtesan’s
vile aid, the other by the arm of an assassin, came to the same
lamentable end.

“Now answer me! Can you look upon as truly successful the wicked
arts which brought these bad men to power? Speak out! Would you
be willing to enjoy their ‘prosperity’ if with it you had to
accept its reverse? Is there any one so stupid as to envy their
short-lived ‘good luck’? Rest assured that such has ever been
the fate of those who attain for a time their unhallowed ends by
iniquitous means. ‘The prosperity of fools will destroy them.’
Doubt it not, my friends. The prosperity of fools will most
assuredly destroy them. It is hardly worth while to labor longer
in the proof. All writings, all ages, all powers, attest in unison
this truth, that ‘Justice exalteth a nation’; and this other, that
‘Injustice leadeth a nation to misery and ruin.’ These are the
words of one who was the wisest among men; and elsewhere he says,
‘Man shall not be strengthened by wickedness’; and, again, ‘The
unjust shall be caught in their own snares’; and then, again, ‘They
who sow iniquity shall reap destruction.’”

Thus, by examples drawn from the annals of the Byzantines (a race
dear to our modern liberals), the eloquent Segneri points out the
end which, according to Holy Writ, awaits the criminal successes
of the wicked. If he had chosen to embrace a wider range of
history, he might have compiled an endless catalogue of examples
the most frightful; commencing with the dreadful success of the
crucifixion of our ever blessed Lord, of which the sequel was as
dreadful a retribution. The synagogue nailed the Messiah to the
cross, under the pretext that otherwise the Romans would come and
occupy Jerusalem. And _precisely because_ they did this wicked
thing, the Romans took Jerusalem and levelled it to the ground. So
that the very success of the Jews, which, execrable as it was, the
_Opinione_ would have adored as a protecting caress bestowed by
Providence upon Sion, ended simply in bringing upon the guilty city
a horrible siege and irremediable ruin.

We content ourselves, for our part, in citing the Roman Cæsars,
who, in the first three centuries, renewed ten different times,
and with all the incidents of success, the bloody persecution of
the followers of Christ. All of these, without a single exception,
came to a wretched end. When the fourth century arrived to witness
the triumph of Christianity, the descendants of the persecuting
emperors were found extinct by foul or violent deaths; the series
closing with Maximin breathing his last amid the agonies of poison
and the blasphemous howlings of despair, and with Candidianus (the
adulterous son of Galerius, adopted by Valeria, Maximin’s wife)
murdered by Licinius along with another brother, a sister in tender
age, and finally Valeria herself. It thus appears that the massacre
of the Christians, which our modern Caiphases would have celebrated
as an edifying “divine caress,” had this one effect after all,
viz., to bring around the lasting triumph of the persecuted cause.
It was the children of the slaughtered ones who were victorious in
the end; the progeny of the slaughterers died suffocated in the
blood which their guilty fathers had shed.

We might easily continue these examples, and recount, for
instance, the end to which a career of successful iniquity at
last conducted Julian the Apostate, the idol and exemplar of our
Italian regenerators. We might enlarge on the fates of Astolphus
and Desiderius, whose “patriotism” they so much admire. We might
with still more force bring out contemporary cases, the case
of Cavour, for example, withdrawn suddenly away by an ominous
death in the flower of life from the hosannas of the people he
had misled; the case of Farini, Cavour’s right-hand man, struck
also in life’s prime by a shocking frenzy which urged him to acts
incredibly revolting, and soon after to a most painful death; the
case of Fanti, the plunderer of Umbria, who, before he could die,
was tortured for a year with all the agonies of death; the case of
Persano, the bombarder of Ancona, who, after making shipwreck on
the sea of Lissa of his rank and reputation, avenged himself of
fortune by publishing the infamies of the successful revolution.
And to these we might add the cases of Pinelli, of Valerio, of La
Farina, and of a hundred others equally conclusive. We might even
quote examples among the living; of a certain _regenerator_, who,
in spite of his impious successes, roams incessantly from place to
place seeking a rest he cannot find--condemned, it would seem, to
endure the torments of Caina, Antenora, and Ptolomea in Dante’s
ninth circle of hell, and to realize in himself the fate described
by Alberigo:

    “This boon the sufferer hath, if boon it be--
    Ofttimes to know the pangs of parting breath,
    Ere Atropos shuts down the shears of death.”

To be brief, we shall confine ourselves to the two most
distinguished and most successful persecutors of popes--Frederick
II., a mediæval emperor of Germany, and Napoleon the First, a
French emperor of the modern sort. Both of these men, in the
studied outrages they inflicted, the one upon Gregory IX. and
Innocent IV., the other on Pius VII., were encouraged by such
marvellous successes that our Israelitish proselytizer would have
had them canonized as the very Benjamins of Providence. Suffice
it to say that Frederick II. had his political Cæsarism preached
into right divine by the most learned jurists of his day, just as
Napoleon I. made the most powerful monarchy of Europe kneel down
and adore his bloodier Cæsarism of the sword. Both the one and
the other returning from their triumphs, carried fortune, to all
appearance, chained for ever to their cars. The more they raged
against Christ’s Vicar, the more their victory seemed complete. The
greater the number of excommunications they incurred, the easier
seemed to be their subsequent encroachments. It was after the
last papal censure that Frederick gained the adhesion of several
powerful barons in Rome. It was after the Pope’s worst imprisonment
that Napoleon won his greatest battles, making them the subjects
of the most vainglorious boasts, that he had thus received from
the God of armies special marks of approbation--“caresses,” as the
_Opinione_ calls them, when bestowed upon the enemies of the church.

Yet where did they end, these lucky sacrileges, this prodigious
and prolonged prosperity of crime? Both these men outlived their
glittering fortunes. The false magnificence and grandeur for which
they had thrown away their souls, turned to ashes in their grasp.

King Henry, Frederick’s eldest son, dies in prison, leaving a
son who was struck dead by a blow from an unknown hand. Enzio,
his bastard offspring, created by him King of Sardinia, after
twenty-five years of imprisonment in a cage of iron dies a
miserable death. Ezzelino, his son-in-law closes with a horrible
end a life, if possible, of greater horror. His great champion,
Thaddeus of Suessa, is slain with every accompaniment of contempt.
Pier delle Vigne, his evil genius, has his eyes thrust out, and
commits suicide in his despair. Frederick himself, after surviving
all these horrors, is strangled by Manfredi, another of his
base-born sons, who, after bathing his gory hands in the blood of
Conrad, Frederick’s lawful son, is himself stretched dead on the
field of a dishonorable strife. To close this interminable tragedy,
Corradino, the last scion of the hated tyrant, ends on a felon’s
scaffold his seventeen short years of life. With this unfortunate
youth the dynasty of Frederick is closed. The empire passes over
into other hands, and Rodolph of Hapsburg reigns, the first of a
better line.

The fall of Napoleon I. is still remembered as an event of recent
date. Elated with his continual victories, he invaded Russia with
the most formidable army the world ever saw. Warned that he had
the fate of the excommunicated to encounter, he asked in scorn
whether his soldiers would drop their muskets at the sight of a
Papal Bull. Forced to retreat after a show of vain success, famine
and frost decimated his ranks, and his soldiers’ frozen fingers
refused to hold the interdicted arms. Unable to contend against
fast-increasing numbers, he found himself by a strange fatality
compelled to renounce the crown in the very palace at Fontainebleau
which he had turned into a prison for the Pope. The Holy Father
had quitted it to resume the throne. The fallen emperor left it
to accept in Elba an asylum which he begged as a shelter in his
friendless old age. Leaving his place of refuge, in a mad attempt
to resuscitate his fortunes, he incurred at Waterloo a ruin the
most disastrous ever known. Stripped of every resource, he was
dragged to a prison-cell on a miserable island, scarcely noticeable
in its vast expanse of sea. From this inhospitable rock, he was
permitted to contemplate the plenary restoration of the mysterious
Papal power, and simultaneously the downfall of all the thrones he
had presented to his brothers and next of kin. After spending, in
desolate captivity, the five years he had decreed of prison to the
blameless Pius VII., he gave up his tortured soul to meet the just
displeasure of his God. What more striking confirmation can we ask
of the truth of those awful words, “They who sow injustice” sooner
or later “shall reap its bitter fruits”?

It would not do to pass without notice the still living and
speaking case of Napoleon III. Who but he has been the foremost
leader of the _regenerators_ of unhappy Italy? The Gog and Magog of
our Italian pharisees! And are not these the men who fell down and
worshipped the divine prosperity of their master’s eighteen years
of empire? Have they not claimed it as a miracle of God’s favor,
a long and lasting “caress” of Providence, the possible failure
of which it would be impious to suspect? Have they not sung and
celebrated, time and again, the famous victory of Solferino as a
prodigy sent from heaven to show that the Almighty took the side of
Italy, and had declared against the Pope?

Well, now, what has become of this epopee of miraculous prosperity,
this note of ruin to Catholic Christianity, to the claims of the
Holy See, and (as justly we might say) to the repose and peace
of Europe? It came to naught in Sedan, in a military defeat and
a dynastic misfortune the most appalling that ever was known or
written of in the world.

And it _so_ came to naught precisely because of the “success” at
Solferino. That victory of Napoleon’s, chanted so loudly and so
often by the pious Jew editor of the _Opinione_ as an unmistakable
revelation of God’s decision in favor of Bonaparte and his new
Italy--that victory (when the hour of Sedan had come) was plainly
seen as the manifest cause of his every subsequent reverse. Who
can help perceiving now that, had not Austria lost the battle
of Solferino, won by France that Italy might be “made,” Austria
would not have lost the battle at Sadowa, achieved by Prussia that
Germany might be “made”? And had not Austria lost at Sadowa, is it
not plain that Napoleon would never have been dragged down into the
horrible catastrophe of Sedan? In this catastrophe we find the
meaning of the “approving smile” at Solferino. The “caress,” we
are told, was intended for the third Napoleon. For whom, then, was
intended the crushing dispensation at Sedan?

Will our kind converters to the new reading of the ways of
Providence reflect maturely on this matter? All genuine Christian
gentlemen, all admitted men of honor (except a few who were
misled), regarded the war of 1859, so well characterized by
the victory of Solferino, as iniquitous in its motives and as
anti-Christian in its scope. It was looked upon by all as a _magnum
latrocinium_, a godless scheme of robbery; but it had what its
perpetrators called “a great success.” Eleven years roll by, and
what do we see?

Napoleon III., at first so splendidly victorious by the force of
an act of larceny that dispossessed four princes and displaced
the Pope, is caught at last like a weasel in a trap, dethroned in
his turn, driven off in scorn, steeped to the lips in indelible
disgrace; all his marshals and generals, without a solitary
exception, ignominiously humbled, soundly beaten, and detained in
durance vile by a logical rebound from their first Italian success;
all his army, four hundred thousand strong, lately invincible,
now led into exile or captivity, to shiver with cold or to wince
under the epithets of scorn. Victorious France, in retribution
for her “new idea” of _nationality_, and to set the good example,
yields up the costly tribute of _two_ of her wealthiest provinces;
just the number she had stolen from Italy, on the strength of the
“new idea,” as her due for allowing Piedmont to absorb the entire
peninsula within her ravenous maw.

How is it possible not to recognize, in this unprecedented drama,
the real lesson of divine retaliation, the exclusive right of
Providence to repay--to exact eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and
life for life, when such extremity is required? Who will hesitate
to say with the poet:

    “The sword of God is strict, and cuts amain.
    But still in stated measure, time, and place,
    Till all things find their equal own again.”

And in this most memorable reverse of Napoleon III., we invite our
apostolic interpreters of Providence to note a special fact. The
fallen emperor not only lives to realize the forfeiture of all his
fame, differing herein from those who die before the loss, but has
to endure the bitterness of witnessing the demolition of all the
proud creations of his reign. He had raised France to the pinnacle
of earthly greatness, had just crowned, as he himself phrased it,
the glorious edifice his genius had successfully constructed.
France is now dismembered, dilapidated, a mass of melancholy ruin;
reduced to chaos militarily, morally, politically, and to a great
extent materially, if this last trait be deemed of much account.

He had decorated the palaces of St. Cloud and the Tuileries with
munificence more than Asiatic. They are stripped to the bare walls.
He rose, on the wings of the _plébiscite_, from obscurity to a
throne. The _plébiscite_ is now an obsolete absurdity. The treaty
of Paris, which crowned the triumphs of the East; the Chinese
victories and ovations at Canton and Palikao; the Mexican Empire,
the fruit of so much toil and treasure, the price of the good name
and fame of France; the Prague conventions, intended to defeat the
growth of Prussia into a vast and consolidated Germany--of all
these magnificent enterprises not a trace. In short, the countless
dazzling exploits of the prosperous reign of the third Napoleon
have vanished for ever like so many dissolving views. One work,
one only work survives--the Subalpine government of Italy, to
lick which hideous monster into shape the unhappy monarch threw
recklessly away his honor and his crown. We might pursue this
train of thought to its logical conclusion, but we refrain. Too
strict an application of the laws of logic might bring us into
conflict with other laws which we prefer not to provoke. But we may
perhaps venture to request our pious friends of the “Regeneration”
to undertake the argument themselves--an argument which runs on
almost of itself, being one of the kind which dialecticians call
reasoning from analogy. Let them look to it well, and say if there
be not better ground to be anxious about the life of their _Italy_
than there is to be solicitous about converting Catholics to the
modern dogma, that the voice of an accomplished fact is no less
than the voice of God; that the lucky consummation of a crime is
itself the signal of the divine applause. Let them reflect that
not a fact, which ceases afterwards to be a fact, can come into
being or go out of it, without, at least, the permissive sanction
of Almighty God. Let them pause and consider that the series of
events, opened by Providence in 1859, is not absolutely or finally
closed. Let them ever bear in mind that, when least it is expected,
Providence may complete the line of this analogy by dissolving into
nothingness the only remnant left of all the Napoleonic creations.
The world and the ages will then believe that not a single one
of the supposed marks of the divine “caress,” claimed by Italy’s
_regenerators_, was really a mark of favor; but simply one of the
many illustrations of the way in which the scorner is caught in the
midst of his devices: _In insidiis suis capientur iniqui_.

In what we have advanced, we have, as seems to us, fairly and
fully refuted the boastful syllogism of our adversaries. We shall
conclude by exhorting them to lay aside all hope of converting
Catholics by a show of blasphemous successes or an appeal to the
longest impunity of crime. Go on, gentlemen! Enjoy your fortune!
Vaunt as loudly as you will the triumphs you have secured over us,
over the church, over the rights of the Holy See. Do all this, and
welcome. But when you come to tell us that Providence is “caressing
your cause,” and ask our adhesion to this impiety, we warn you to
desist. Satan himself would not dare to give utterance to such an
insult, or even to harbor such a thought. Providence has allowed
you, in the abuse of your own free-will, a certain measure of
easy success; as he allowed it to the synagogue, to the Cæsars,
to Julian the Apostate, to Desiderius, and to all such of your
predecessors as were permitted for a time to triumph over Christ
and his commandments. And this he has allowed to you, not as to
his loved ones, but as to his persecutors, that you may be the rod
of his justice against the sins of the world. He will make this
to yourselves, if you repent not, a snare and a delusion; to the
church, an assurance of greater exaltation; and to all of us, a
call to better service and obedience. We as Catholics know that we
must bow beneath your blows. We bear the pain of them in peace,
because faith teaches us that even scourges are wielded by God, and
that his hand is to be kissed as much when it strikes as when it
strengthens. For this reason we can accept you as you are. And yet
we see in you no higher mark than that of our flagellators and the
exercisers of our patience; but be warned in time. God makes use
of his scourges, and then destroys them. We have made this plain
to you by innumerable examples. Beware! for the prosperous days of
God’s scourges end invariably in misfortune and disaster. Beware,
for the good times of the enemies of Jesus Christ and his church
have ever been as pitfalls with a covering of roses; yokes of iron
masked by a drapery of flowers. On the contrary, from her greatest
tribulations the church has ever issued brighter, lovelier, and
more radiant than before. She numbers as many victories as battles,
as many prisoners as foes. All the promises of God are for her and
against you, and all history attests that of these promises not a
syllable has failed. The church is our mother; her cause is our
own. We have, therefore, no fear for the result. You may scorn us,
you may strip us, you may deny us the protection of the laws. You
may tear us limb from limb during the brief occasion of your power.
But conquer us, no! In all eternity, you cannot. God has ordered it
that we shall be _your victors_. Rallying close to the Vicar of the
King of heaven, and faithful to the call of his immortal Spouse, we
shall announce to you, with front uplifted, that we have conquered
you; or (if that better pleases you) that Christ has conquered you
through us. Laugh to your hearts’ content at this faith of ours.
All your predecessors have done as much. Yet who triumphed in the
end? So certain are we of the victory that we scarce dare hasten it
by our desires. The thought of the bolts of divine wrath impending
over you appalls us, and we abstain, out of pity for you, from
asking what Dante, on a like occasion, prayed for in these words:

    “O God! when wilt thou give me to be blest
    To see thy vengeance, which, long hid, made sweet
    The sacred anger garnered in thy breast?”
                                         _Purg._, c. xx.

FOOTNOTES:

[62] In Psalm liv.

[63] See _Diary of C. Pisano_, fourth part, p. 125.

[64] _Ai giovani Italiani_, p. 15.

[65] See _L’Unità Italiana di Milano_, April 14, 1863.

[66] See _The Republican Federation of the Peoples_.

[67] See _Il Diritto_, July 31 and August 11, 1863.

[68] Epist. i. ad Eliod.



NEW PUBLICATIONS.


  LITTLE PIERRE, THE PEDLAR OF ALSACE; or, The Reward of Filial
      Piety. Translated from the French by J. M. C. With 27
      illustrations. 1 vol. 12mo, pp. 236. New York: The Catholic
      Publication Society, 9 Warren Street. 1872.

The French can write charming stories, as every one knows. _Little
Pierre_ is one of the best we have seen in a long time--such a
one as enchants a child, and makes him or her unwilling to lay
it aside for supper or bed. It leads one through the romantic
scenes of Alsace and the country of the Rhine, has plenty of
stirring adventures, and, what is best of all, ends in a capital
and satisfactory manner: Pierre and his little sister happily
married, the old lady comfortable, Pierre a well-to-do merchant
at Niederbronn. The illustrations, twenty-seven in all, which
have been recut from the originals for the American edition, are
uncommonly well executed. Little Pierre is destined to become an
intimate friend of our young folks, to say nothing of Christine and
Lolotte. Perhaps the most comical scene in the book is where Little
Pierre is put by Madame Frank in the top of a Christmas-tree, with
the name of little Cecile pinned on his breast. The most touching
scene is the finding of little Lolotte in the wood, with her eyes
bandaged and her hands tied. We advise our young readers not to
rest until they get possession of this pretty book.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE ENGLISH REFORMATION, from the Days
      of Wolsey to the Death of Cranmer. Papal and Anti-Papal
      Notables. By S. H. Burke, author of “The Monastic Houses of
      England.” 2 vols. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.
      1872.

This is a work which fairly answers its title, and we have in its
two handsome duodecimo volumes sketches and descriptions so graphic
of the men and women of the English Reformation as to place them
most vividly before us.

Beginning with the unlovely correspondence of Henry VIII. with Anne
Boleyn, and recounting many interesting details of the divorce
question, the narrative passes on to a review of the leading
incidents and the principal personages of the reign of Henry.
The political murders of Sir Thomas More and of Bishop Fisher,
the death of Queen Katharine, and the fall of Anne Boleyn, are
described with fresh details of interest drawn from newly opened
sources of historic information.

On the subject of “Clerical Reformers and their Spouses,” there
is a very readable chapter, and, with a full disquisition upon
the “Religious Institutions of Old England,” we have startling
statements concerning the character of the “Monastic Inquisitors”
under that arch-villain, Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s Secretary of
State, as will open the eyes of such as are unaware of the depth of
infamy fathomed by the scoundrels who stole or wasted the wealth
of England’s grand mediæval charities and robbed the poor and the
sick of their sole heritage of succor and consolation. At the sight
of the suffering entailed by the destruction of the monasteries,
those glorious asylums of religion, charity, and learning, even
as enthusiastic a panegyrist of the Reformation as Froude cannot
help exclaiming: “To the universities, the Reformation had brought
with it desolation. _To the people of England it had brought
misery and want. The once open hand was closed._ ... The prisons
were crowded.... Monks and nuns pointed with bitter effect to the
fruits of _the new belief, which had been crimsoned in the blood of
thousands of the English peasants_.”

The second volume gives us the principal events and personages of
the end of the reign of Henry VIII. and of the reigns of Edward VI.
and of Mary Tudor; and effective use is made not only of authentic
documentary evidence which has come to light within the past seven
years, but also of the important, because impartial, testimony of
distinguished Protestant writers, such as Hook, Maitland, Brewer,
Blunt, and Stephenson. We commend the work as one of exceeding
interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE LIFE OF MARIE-EUSTELLE HARPAIN, the Sempstress of St.
      Pallais, called “The Angel of the Eucharist.” Second
      edition. London: Burns, Oates, & Co.; New York: The Catholic
      Publication Society. 1872.

This is one of the most interesting lives which we have read.
The lives of the saints always should be interesting, but often
the methodical and dry way in which they are, as we may say,
constructed, has a discouraging effect upon the reader greater than
that which the heroic virtues of their subjects can produce. This
is not the case with this memoir of one whom we may be allowed
to call a saint, though she has not yet been recognized as such
by the church, always prudent, and especially so with regard to
canonizations. Marie-Eustelle died in 1842, at the age of 28, and
belongs entirely to this nineteenth century, which is so ignorant
of its true glories. Her life is quite imitable in most respects,
as well as admirable, which is an additional reason for reading a
book that is so very readable.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PARABLES OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. With
      twenty-one Illustrations, from original designs by D. Mosler,
      H. Warren, and J. H. Powell, engraved by Holman and Bale. New
      York: The Catholic Publication Society.

The Rev. Mr. Formby, whose zeal, learning, and taste have so
enriched the library of Catholic books for the young, gives here a
popular work on the Parables, which will be wonderfully attractive.
The Parables are all given in full, with fine illustrations to
fix them on the mind, and explanations of their spiritual sense,
drawn from the holy fathers. These beautiful lessons of our Lord
cannot be too deeply impressed on minds to serve as subjects of
meditation, and, well understood, they will prove sources of many
graces. Outside the church, they remain to most “mere parables, not
unfrequently indeed admired, and even quoted, beautiful in their
way as anecdotes, but without in the least disclosing their true
meaning.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH; or, The Seven
      Pillars of the House of Wisdom. A Brief Explanation of the
      Catholic Doctrine of the Seven Sacraments, in connection with
      their corresponding types in the Old Testament. Illustrated
      with sixteen original designs by J. Powell, engraved on wood
      by the brothers Dalziel. By the Rev. Henry Formby, Priest of
      the Diocese of Birmingham. New York: The Catholic Publication
      Society.

Another of Mr. Formby’s charming books, “not meant as a book of
piety alone, but rather intended as a book of general popular
knowledge.” He saw clearly the want of our time. “The whole tone
and spirit of modern civilization is built upon the denial that
there either is or can be anything superior to itself, or, indeed,
anything that is not of its own order of things in the world.”
“The young mind cannot be too soon made aware of the contradiction
between the world and our Lord, and cannot be too soon and too
effectually brought up to love and abide by all that our divine
Lord has taught, and made firmly to disregard and despise all that
is contrary to it in the world’s doctrine, from the knowledge that
our Lord is greater than the world.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE SCHOOL KEEPSAKE, AND MONITOR FOR AFTER LIFE. By Rev.
      H. Formby. With illustrations. New York: The Catholic
      Publication Society.

This perfectly beautiful little gift for the young leaving school
is one so attractive in itself that it cannot fail to be kept; so
sound, so clear, so distinct in its matter, that it cannot but be
such a help as will gladden the guardian angel watching over the
child as it steps from the school into the busy world.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE DEVOTION OF THE SEVEN DOLORS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
      Translated by the Rev. Henry Formby. New York: The Catholic
      Publication Society.

A devotion approved by the highest authority, commended by the
example of saints, and one full of consolation and piety, is here
presented in a form that will give it currency among many who had
overlooked it. No one can sorrow with Mary over the sorrows of
Jesus without a return on self, and a sense of what our sins, the
cause of all, demand on our part.

       *       *       *       *       *

  SCHOOL SONGS, to which music is adapted. Complete volume
      containing--Part I., The Junior School Song-Book; Part II.,
      The Senior School Song-Book. Edited by the Rev. Henry Formby.
      New York: The Catholic Publication Society.

Amid the abundance of bad books, it is delightful to find a
miniature volume like this of 200 pages, containing hymns, nursery
rhymes, ballads, and minor poems suited to the young selected
with care. The young must laugh and play; they will sing hymns
sometimes, touching ballads sometimes, nonsense sometimes; give
them all this to sing, but keep them from the immoral and low,
slangy songs that even our music stores are now flooding the land
with. We hope this little collection will sell by the thousand. It
is cheap and it is good.

       *       *       *       *       *

  WILD FLOWERS OF WISCONSIN. By B. J. Dorward. Edited by his son.
      Milwaukee: Catholic News Co.

The productions of our author, under the signature of “Porte
Crayon,”[69] have long been favorites of the Western public.
The late Dr. J. V. Huntington, a poet and critic of no ordinary
ability, sought him out and secured his contributions to the
St. Louis _Leader_. His poems are characterized by a beautiful
simplicity and spontaneity, genuine sentiment, and native good
sense. Other poets may exhibit the delicate touch of the artist
in elaborate and polished images, but the efforts of writers like
the present must be the inspiration of the moment, and the less
forethought they show, the more are they enhanced in value. To
change the figure, the wild flowers lose their hues and fragrance
if subjected to hot-house processes. The former excite our
admiration, the latter elicit our sympathy, and perhaps live longer
in the memory by those “touches of nature which make the whole
world kin.”

We bespeak a welcome to these flowers of song on the part of those
who love poetry in its native simplicity, who set a proper estimate
on all that is gentle, pure, and kind in the sentiments of our
common nature, noble and sublime in our common faith, and would
cultivate an indigenous literature worthy of the name.

Among many gems of thought and feeling, we can only particularize:
“To a Bird in Church,” “By the Rivulet,” “To the Memory of Dr. J.
V. Huntington,” “St. Mary’s of the Pines,” “The Datura,” and “A
Soldier’s Funeral.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  A SISTER’S STORY. By Mrs. Augustus Craven. Translated from the
      French, by Emily Bowles. Fourth American edition. 1 vol. 8vo,
      pp. 539. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.

It is with pleasure that we announce the appearance of a fourth
American edition of this exquisite and charming book, whose
reputation and circulation have become world-wide. Even the
publications most hostile to our holy religion have been compelled
to eulogize it, although evidently feeling very uneasy about its
great and increasing popularity among non-Catholic readers. The
great discovery of a forgery in one part of the history which
the _New Englander_ fancied itself to have made, is known to a
great part of the reading public. This supposed _forgery_ was a
profession of faith by the subject of the story, differing in form
from one given in a French edition (14th of Didier, Paris), which
the _New Englander_ rather hastily concluded to be the genuine and
authentic form which Mrs. Craven had published. The _New Englander_
did not, however, express any suspicion that this forgery had been
perpetrated by the American editors--on the contrary, disclaimed
any such suspicion. Refinement of language, cautiousness in making
infamous charges against persons of high character, and similar
marks which denote gentlemanly and conscientious principles in a
literary man, are, however, unhappily too rare among the conductors
of the “Moral Spouting Horns” of the American press. Following
those instincts by which they are usually impelled, and imitating a
long series of precedents furnished by those who have been their
precursors in their honorable trade, several of these papers,
the _Independent_ leading off, accused the American editors and
publisher of the work with having forged a “profession of faith” to
suit themselves. Says the _Independent_ of Jan. 15:

  “The creed of this good Catholic was not half papistical enough
  to suit these American editors; so they have introduced into
  it not only what she did believe, but what, in their judgment,
  she ought to have believed. We desire to call the attention of
  THE CATHOLIC WORLD and the _Tablet_ to this translation. It is
  possible there may be some explanation of what seems to be an
  astonishing piece of literary knavery. If there be, we should be
  glad to hear of it.”

To this the publisher, in the “Literary Bulletin” of THE CATHOLIC
WORLD for April, replied that--

  “The Catholic Publication Society’s edition is printed exactly,
  word for word, from the first London edition, published by the
  respectable house of Bentley, in three volumes. If any deviation
  from the French was made, ‘The Catholic Publication Society’
  did not make it, but followed the London edition in good faith,
  knowing the high source from which it emanated. But as the
  writer in the _New Englander_ quotes from the _fourteenth French
  edition_, how does he know that the alteration may not have been
  made in that or previous French editions? We have written to the
  translator [Miss Bowles] in reference to this matter.”

But this did not seem to satisfy the _Independent_, for in its
issue of April 4 it reiterates its accusation of forgery as follows:

  “Let us ask once more (this makes three times) what our Catholic
  neighbor thinks of that forgery in one of the books of ‘The
  Catholic Publication Society’ which was exposed in the January
  number of the _New Englander_. We have looked in vain in the
  columns of the _Tablet_ for a denunciation of this pious fraud,
  and our diligent questioning has failed to elicit from that
  usually fair journal any reply.”

The Chicago _Advance_ is another paper that took particular
pleasure in re-echoing the “forgery”; but, unlike the
_Independent_, it notices the denial put forth in the “Bulletin” of
THE CATHOLIC WORLD, and says:

  “THE WORLD at last notices the forged prayer in the ‘Sister’s
  Story,’ brought to light by the _New Englander_, but affirms that
  ‘The Catholic Publication Society’ reprinted it verbatim from
  Bentley’s London edition; and rather improbably suggests that the
  alteration may have been made in one of the later French editions
  of the original. Meanwhile, the editor says that the translator
  [Miss Bowles] has been written to about it. We want THE WORLD to
  be sure to publish her reply.”

To which we reply: Here is the letter.

                                “5A DAVIES ST., BERKELEY SQ.,
                                   LONDON, W., March 18th, 1872.

“SIR: The ‘Profession of Faith’ in the first edition (3 vols.) of
_A Sister’s Story_ was the correct one, given me by Mrs. Craven
herself. I think she said it was incorrectly given in Didier’s
editions, having been copied from those commonly used. She was
very particular in writing it out herself for _A Sister’s Story_.
Mr. Bentley published the one vol. edition in a singular manner,
without referring to me at all, and I never knew why he had
shortened the ‘Profession.’ I have never compared the editions, but
possibly there are other mistakes.

                             “Your obed’t serv’t,
                                            “EMILY BOWLES.”

We do not think it necessary to add anything to the above. The
newspapers which have published remarks similar to those we have
quoted cannot make any apology which will entitle them to notice
on our part, and we take leave of them until we are compelled to
refute some new libel.

  Mr. P. DONAHOE announces for early publication: _Six Weeks
  Abroad, in Ireland, England, and Belgium_, by Father Haskins;
  _Sketches of the Establishment of the Church in New England_, by
  Father Fitton; _Catholic Glories of the Nineteenth Century: The
  Old God_, translated from the German; _Conversion of the Teutonic
  Race_, by Mrs. Hope, as well as several others.

  “The Catholic Publication Society” announce for early
  publication, in addition to the books already announced, Canon
  Oakeley’s two books, namely, _Ceremonial of the Mass_ and
  _Catholic Worship_. Also, _Aunt Margaret’s Little Neighbors; or,
  Chats about the Rosary_.

FOOTNOTE:

[69] This _nom de plume_, chosen without the knowledge of any other
appropriation of the name, was quite significant in the case of the
writer, as he at one time took portraits in crayon, though he has
since restricted himself to altar pieces in oil.



                        THE CATHOLIC WORLD.

                  VOL. XV., No. 87.--JUNE, 1872.

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by Rev.
   I. T. HECKER, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
                         Washington, D. C.



DUTIES OF THE RICH IN CHRISTIAN SOCIETY.

NO. V.

PRIVATE DUTIES.


That part of our subject which is included under the title of the
present article is the most difficult, complicated, and extensive
of the several divisions under which we have classed the various
and weighty duties of the rich. A volume of the most carefully
prepared sermons, or a copious moral treatise, from the hand of a
master of spiritual and moral science, could alone do justice to
the demands of such a theme. The question to be answered, and it
is one which harasses many a heart and conscience, is, How shall
one live and govern his household amid the abundance of temporal
goods, so as to make his state in life subserve the great end
to which a Christian must direct all his thoughts and actions?
The solution of this problem is theoretically and practically
difficult. The language of Jesus Christ and the apostles in respect
to the difficulty is startling, and even terrifying. Our Lord said:
“_How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom
of God. For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a
needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God_.” The
efforts which some critics have made to soften and diminish this
fearful declaration of Christ by changing “camel” into “cable,” or
making the “needle’s eye” to be a gate of the city, so-called, are
frivolous and futile. The figure is that of a laden camel before
the eye of a small needle, through which his driver is essaying
to make him pass. And its force consists precisely in the utter
and extravagant absurdity of the image which it presents to the
mind. It is intended to represent that which is violently contrary
to the laws of nature, and, therefore, impossible. And it is this
impossibility which is taken to illustrate the difficulty of a
rich man entering the kingdom of God. What follows elucidates and
completes the idea which our Lord intended to present before the
minds of all his followers. His astounded listeners exclaimed,
“Who then can be saved?” To whom he replied: “_The things that are
impossible with men are possible with God_.”[70] The power of God,
some philosophers tell us, can compress the substance of a camel
into such small dimensions that it can pass through the eye of a
needle. By that almighty power, and that alone, Christ teaches, can
a rich man with his substance pass through the narrow gate of the
kingdom of God.

St. James addresses to the rich the following terrible invective:
“Go to now, ye rich men, WEEP AND HOWL for your miseries that shall
come upon you.”[71] Similar passages might be multiplied, and the
comments and applications of the successors of the apostles, in a
similar strain, have filled the pages of the fathers and doctors of
the church, and resounded from the chair of truth, from the days
of the apostles to our own. Great numbers of the rich have been
impelled by the force of these alarming declarations to seek for
perfection and salvation by following the counsel which our Lord
gave to the rich young man. Let those who have the opportunity and
the vocation to do the same imitate their example; we will not
dissuade them, and let parents and others beware of dissuading,
much more hindering, any who are dependent on them from obeying
such a divine call. This is one of the duties of the rich, which
we will specify here in passing, that we may not be obliged to
recur to it hereafter--to give their best and dearest, their sons
and daughters, the most gifted, the most gracious, the most loved,
as Jephte gave his daughter, a sacrifice to God and the church,
whenever the Lord honors them by the demand. But it is not our
purpose to persuade any to follow the evangelical counsels. We
are speaking of the way of keeping God’s commandments in a state
of riches in the world. There must be a way of living a perfect
life; and gaining heaven, not merely “so as by fire,” but with
the abundant merit which wins a bright crown--in spite of the
possession of riches, and even by means of those riches. Wealth
is not an evil, but the abuse of wealth. Temporal goods are not
in themselves an obstacle to perfection and salvation, but the
sins and vices which are caused by attachment to them, and the
self-indulgence for which they afford the facility. The possession
of wealth increases a person’s responsibilities and dangers, but
at the same time augments his power of doing good and acquiring
merit. Human nature, left to itself, ordinarily swells up, through
the possession of either material or intellectual riches, to such
a huge bulk of pride, avarice, and sensuality, that it is like a
laden camel, or, as we may say, like an elephant with a tower full
of armed men on its back; and in this condition, submission to the
law of Christ is like passing through the eye of a fine cambric
needle. But God, with whom those things are possible which are
impossible to men, has not left human nature to itself. Through the
Incarnation and the cross, through regenerating and sanctifying
grace, through the aids of the Holy Spirit, Catholic faith, the
sacraments, the examples of the saints, Catholic principles and
education, the ennobling, purifying power of religion--human nature
can be kept, in the state of abundance and prosperity, as well
as in that of poverty and adversity, from the contamination of
worldliness and iniquity. Even more, it can glorify its state, and
turn it to the best and highest use, by the practice of the most
exalted Christian virtues. The proof of this may be seen in the
fact that this has been done in many thousands of instances, and is
being done now in every part of Christendom.

The principles upon which Christian sanctity in the great, the
noble, and the wealthy is based, are all summed up by the Apostle
St. James in this short sentence: “Let the brother of low condition
glory in his exaltation, _but the rich in his being low_,”[72]
which is more literally translated, “_in his humility_.” Humility
entitles the rich man to claim all the special blessings which are
so frequently and emphatically promised in the New Testament to the
poor. It is poverty of spirit, or interior detachment from temporal
goods for the love of God, and not mere exterior poverty, which
fits a person for the kingdom of God. The poor and lowly, if they
are possessed of Catholic faith, have so little of that which makes
the present life brilliant and attractive that they are forced by
a happy kind of necessity to find everything in the church and
their religion. They find their nobility in their baptism, their
glory in the sign of the cross and their Catholic profession, their
treasure in the blessed sacrament, their palace with its picture
gallery and service of gold and silver in the church, their royal
audiences at the ever open court of the King and Queen of heaven,
their gala-days and spectacles in the festivals and processions and
ceremonies of the ecclesiastical year, their ideal vision of coming
happiness in heaven. They are “rich in faith,” and “glory in their
exaltation” as the “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”
The rich must do voluntarily what the poor do from necessity.
They must quit the position in their own esteem which human pride
loves so dearly to take, of superiority over others on account of
accidental and temporal advantages, and come down to the common
level at the foot of the cross, where pride of rank and power,
pride of intellect, and pride of wealth are alike annihilated, to
make way for a true and lasting exaltation in the Son of God.

Here, then, is the first duty of the rich--to adopt inwardly,
profess openly, and act out consistently the same principles of
Catholic faith which are common to all Christians, and to place
their glory, their treasure, their heart’s affection, their end in
life, their hope of happiness, not in the transitory things of this
life, but in the kingdom of God; “_because as the flower of the
grass they shall fade away_.”

These transitory things, however, do last for a little while, and,
although worthless as a final end and object to live for, are
necessary and valuable as means. Private interpretation of the
Scripture might deduce from it that Christ intended to do away
with all power, rank, human science, art, commerce, wealth, and
civil or social polity, with marriage and the family even, and
thus extinguish this present world and this life to make way for
the next. This is not the interpretation of the church or the way
of Catholic practice. All these worldly, transitory things are
retained and made use of, notwithstanding that “the figure of this
world passeth away.” The rich man who is resolved to be a perfect
Christian needs, therefore, to know not only what esteem he is to
place on wealth and other temporal things in reference to the real
and final good, but how practically to use them for the attainment
of the same, and for helping his dependents and others to attain
it. The more we go into detail in regard to this matter, the more
difficult it becomes to draw lines and lay down practical rules.
A sound and well-directed conscience must at last be the guide of
each one, and it is a sufficient though not strictly infallible
guide to those who are instructed in good general principles.

One general principle which may be useful as a rule for application
to a great many particular cases is this: Those indulgences which
gratify the more refined and intellectual tastes may be more
freely made use of than those which gratify the senses. Another
principle, closely allied to this, is the following: Whatever has
an honorable or useful end is allowable; whatever merely gratifies
a selfish passion must be condemned and avoided. To apply these
principles as rules in certain important particular cases, let us
begin with the rich man’s house. The first fault and folly to be
avoided is extravagance. He ought not to embarrass his estate and
prejudice the interests of his family by spending more money on
his houses and the decoration of his grounds than he can afford.
If he does, his motive is ostentation, or some other inordinate
passion, and therefore worthy of condemnation. That there has been
a vast amount of extravagance in this respect in our country within
the past thirty years is obvious to every one. The outside show
of our towns and cities indicates an amount of wealth certainly
four times greater than really exists. A man who is governed by
Christian principles, with which common sense and sound reason
always coincide in so far as they are competent to judge of what is
right, will, of course, avoid all extravagance. More than this, he
will not take the lead in splendor and magnificence of buildings
and furniture, even if he has wealth enough to do so without
extravagance. On the contrary, he will choose to be rather behind
than before his compeers in this respect. We are not speaking now
of princes and magnates, but of private citizens. There is no
fitness, especially in a republic, in making private residences
palaces. It is proper to provide for all the conveniences of
domestic life. Moreover, architectural beauty in the construction
of houses, and taste and elegance in their furniture, give decorum
to life, and innocent and refining pleasure to those who behold
them, and a means of living to a large class of persons who are
especially fitted for a kind of work which demands artistic taste
and skill. We cannot draw the line precisely where mere useless
and luxurious pomp, show, and splendor begin. We can only say that
a man thoroughly imbued with Christian principles and sentiments
will be very anxious and careful to keep on the safe side of it,
so far as he is able to do so. But whatever degree of costliness
and splendor may be suitable or permissible in the residence of
any Catholic gentleman, whether he be a plain, private citizen
in our democratic republic, or a nobleman, prince, or monarch
elsewhere, everything should be made to conform not to a pagan,
but a Christian and Catholic, ideal. All that is even bordering
on heathen voluptuousness should be rigidly excluded. Works of
Catholic art should adorn the walls even of the most public and
splendid apartments. Every private room should have its crucifix,
its Madonna, its vase of holy water, its prie-dieu, and books of
prayer and devotion. An oratory, fitted up with the utmost elegance
and costliness that is suitable to the circumstances, should be
the shrine and chief ornament of the house. The library and other
receptacles for books should be pure of all that is tainted and
corrupting, and filled up with everything which Catholic literature
can furnish, both in English and in the other languages which
the members of the highly distinguished circle we have the honor
of addressing are supposed to know. In a word, the elegancies
and ornaments of life should be made to minister to intellectual
cultivation, to the education of the higher and more refined tastes
of the soul; and these should be made all subservient to that which
is highest of all--the culture and improvement of the _spirit_ in
the knowledge and love of the Supreme Truth and the Infinite Beauty.

Just at the moment of writing down these thoughts, we have come
across a beautiful sketch of the family of Count Stolberg, in
the pages of a German periodical. It is so appropriate as an
illustration that we will postpone any further continuation of our
subject, and finish the present article with a translation of the
sketch alluded to.[73]

  “It is singular (writes Count Stolberg) that I cannot remember
  ever to have heard in the house of my parents such words as
  money, competency, economy, expense, saving. At that time luxury
  had not yet become the fashion; and, even if it had been, the
  house of our parents was like an island. We lived separate from
  others, although scarcely adverting to the fact that our life
  was so retired. There was just as little said about making
  ourselves comfortable as about money and fashion. The modern
  luxury in chairs and sofas with all its ingenious contrivances
  was altogether unknown to us. All the articles of furniture, our
  dress, and the table were good and befitting our rank; but we
  might have said about all these things what Cyrus said at the
  table of Astyages about the customs of the Persians: ‘I do not
  know whether at that time all people remained longer children, or
  whether we ourselves only remained so.’ Count Stolberg’s father
  died in the year 1765, and the last anxious wish of his heart
  was that ‘his children might walk in the way of the Lord.’ How
  much, writes the count, this desire occupied the hearts of both
  my father and my mother! I can still hear my mother say that she
  envied no one so much as the mother of the seven Macchabees; that
  she was the most fortunate of mothers. It was her solitary wish,
  prayer, and effort that she might one day be able to say, ‘Lord,
  here are we, and the children whom thou hast given us’--it was
  the soul of her entire plan of education.

  “At the father’s death, the countess gave his Bible to the young
  Count Frederic, and wrote in it the following words: ‘This Bible,
  which your blessed father used on the very day of his death,
  consoling himself with the words, “Thou hearest, O Lord! the
  longing of those who cry to thee, their heart is sure that thou
  dost give ear to them,” must prove a great blessing to you, and
  continually stimulate you to love the Word of God, to venerate
  it, to make it the rule of your life, as he did, and to seek
  consolation in it to the end of your life. For this, may the
  Triune God give you his grace and benediction!’

  “The mother’s testament to her children, which was found after
  her death, in 1773, in her writing-desk, was as follows: ‘Dear
  children, cling to the Saviour, to his merits, to his faithful
  heart; and do not love the world or what is in the world. For all
  is passing, and but mere dust of the earth. Nothing can last with
  us through life and in death but the blood of Jesus, the grace
  of God, communion and friendship with him. Seek for this; do
  not rest until you possess it; and then hold it fast; this will
  help you through until we are with him; oh! let not one, not one
  remain behind. I will always watch over you, and will hasten to
  meet you with open arms when you come after me. Watch and pray!’

   “We can understand without difficulty from this how Count
  Stolberg could say, ‘Christ, the Saviour of the world, was the
  guiding star of my youth. Our parents desired nothing more
  earnestly than that we should seek him, love him, and confess him
  before the whole world. I have always regarded that as my highest
  duty, which necessarily led me into the Catholic Church.’”

In this sketch of Count Stolberg’s parents and early home, we
see the old-fashioned simplicity and piety of the best sort of
the ancient Lutheran nobility of Germany. There is a sombre and
austere character in the picture, partly belonging to the national
temperament, but chiefly due to that shadow of sadness which
Protestantism in its more earnest phase casts over the practice
of virtue and religion. The count himself, as is well known to
all, while preserving all that was good and truly Christian in
the principles and habits given him by his early education, cast
aside its sectarian prejudices and errors to embrace the Catholic
religion. In him, as the model of a perfect Christian gentleman
and scholar, to quote again the language of the writer in _Der
Katholik_,

  “was gloriously fulfilled the wish expressed by Lavater (a
  Protestant) in a letter to the count. ‘Become an honor to the
  Catholic Church! Practise virtues which are impossible to a
  non-Catholic! Do deeds which will prove that your change had a
  great end, and that you have not failed to gain it. You have
  saints, I do not deny it: we have none, at least none like yours.
  Be to all Catholics and non-Catholics a shining example of that
  virtue which is the most worthy of imitation and of Christian
  holiness.’”

We have been tempted into a digression which will, we trust, not
be ungrateful to our readers, and find that we have not been able
to bring our series of short articles to a close in the present
number, as we had hoped to do. We must therefore resume the same
subject after another month, and we trust that our gentle readers,
upon their summer excursions, will find time and inclination to
listen to one more brief moral instruction.

FOOTNOTES:

[70] St. Luke xviii. 24, etc.

[71] St. James v. 1.

[72] St. James i. 9, 10.

[73] From _Der Katholik_, for January, 1872.



ON THE TROUBADOURS OF PROVENCE.


    True hearts, that beat so fast, but now are still,
      The gracious days will never come again
    Ye loved and sang; your tender accents will
      Linger no more on the warm lips of men!
    Alas! your speech lies with ye in the grave!
      Yet where Montpellier’s skies their balm impart,
    And Barcelona wooes the southern wave,
      The student cons your pages when his heart
    Hungers for solace. Take it in kind part,
      Count it not loss, dear hearts, but loyalty,
    If I like him, though with a ruder hand,
      Am fain to cull your flowers too sweet to die,
    To waft their fragrance to a distant land,
      And bid them blossom ’neath a colder sky.



THE HOUSE OF YORKE.


CHAPTER XXX.

EDITH’S YES.

In the opinion of their old friends in Boston, the Yorke family had
lost something during their sojourn in the wilderness. It was not
that they were less charming, less kind, less well-bred, but they
were not so orthodox in religion. Mrs. Yorke, it is true, resumed
her regular attendance at Dr. Stewart’s church; but her husband
seldom accompanied her now, and, it was ascertained, absented
himself with her permission.

“I would not have him go for my sake, when he does not wish to go
for his own,” she remarked tranquilly.

The time had been when Mrs. Yorke would have been horrified at such
a defection, and would have called in the doctors of the church
to exhort the backslider. She was evidently growing lax in her
religious principles.

Melicent always accompanied her mother, and had the true
down-drawn, regulation countenance; but Clara was seldom seen in
their pew, and boldly answered, when questioned on the subject,
that she sometimes went to the Catholic churches to hear the music.
“I go wherever I can hear Wilcox play the organ,” she said. “I
never tire listening to him. Others play difficult music with
dexterity, and you admire their skill; but he plays the same, and
you forget that there is any skill in it. Such bewitching grace!
Such laughter running up and down the keys! Such picturesque
improvisations! He played last Sunday something that called up to
me a scene in Seaton--that bit of meadow on East Street, Edith.
There was some sort of musical groundwork, soft and monotonous,
with little blossoming chords springing up everywhere, and over
it all swam a lovely, meandering melody with the _vox humana_.
When the bell rang, at the Sanctus, he caught the sound, and ran
straight up into the stars, as though some waiting angel had flown
audibly up to heaven to announce the time of the consecration. It
is delightful to hear him. In his graver music, and his choruses,
I do not so much distinguish him from others; but he is the only
organist I know who gives an idea of the play of the little saints
and cherubim in heaven, their dancing, their singing, their swift
flights to the earth and back again, and all their exquisite loves,
and pranks, and delights--their very worship like the worship of
birds and flowers.”

Not a word about doctrines, about the iniquities of Rome, the
superstition of Papists, the idolatry of the Mass!

What wonder if these good people, who considered it blasphemy to
associate cherubic music with any more rapid motion than that
of the semibreve and minim, should think Miss Clara Yorke in a
dangerous way? It was hoped, however, that when Dr. Stewart and
Melicent were married, his influence would recall her to a sense of
duty.

The doctor did try, carefully, though, warned by his wife, and
by some sharp, though tacit, rebuffs from Mr. Yorke and Edith.
He spoke one day philosophically of the obnoxious _Review_, as
though there were no question of truth, but merely of cleverness
in handling certain subjects, and, in a careless _à propos_,
offered Mr. Yorke the loan of certain volumes, which, he privately
believed, would triumphantly controvert the controversialist. The
doctor had not read any of these Catholic authorities.

“Thank you!” Mr. Yorke replied. He wished to be friendly, and
really liked the doctor when he let theology alone. Besides, he was
dining there, and could not be disagreeable.

After dinner, Melicent slipped out of the room a few minutes; and
when her father went home, she said sweetly, “By the way, papa, I
put up those books the doctor spoke of to you, if you like to take
them now. They lie on the hall table.”

“Let them _lie_!” replied Mr. Yorke, with a glance and an emphasis
which were not even doubtful.

He might permit Dr. Stewart to exhort him, but he would not be
schooled by his own daughter.

There was but little to tell of the family for a while. Mr. Yorke
employed a part of his time in attending to Carl’s and Edith’s
pecuniary affairs, everything being entrusted to his management.
Patrick was his assistant occasionally, and was also Edith’s
coachman; for the only carriage they kept belonged to Edith.

Betsey was Mrs. Yorke’s special dependence. She was a sort of
housekeeper, as well as nurse. When the lady was ill, no one else
could lift, and serve, and watch as Betsey could; and when she was
in low spirits, Betsey could scout her vapors very refreshingly,
when the others increased them, perhaps, by indulgence. On all her
little journeys, Betsey accompanied Mrs. Yorke. Her quaint, country
ways were a constant source of amusement, her faithful affection
and sturdy good sense a staff to lean on.

Mrs. Yorke had, at the last moment, concluded not to bring the
young Pattens to Boston, but had secured them places with the
family who had taken her house. “I do not approve of children being
separated from their parents,” she had said, “and being placed in
such different circumstances that their childish associations seem
discordant to them. I know no situation more cruel than that where
a child is ashamed of its parents’ poverty and ignorance. Besides,
I think it my duty to rescue these poor Catholic girls.”

So Mary and Anne had been brought to Boston, and were now living in
a blissful state of affectionate gratitude toward their employers,
and rapture with their church.

In Seaton, Catholics were still in an almost Babylonish captivity.
Their church had been burned a few weeks after the Yorkes left
town; but toward spring they had a priest--not Father Rasle--who
came once in two months, and said Mass for them in a private house.
He was not molested.

Edith had not forgotten her friends there, and, among other gifts,
had sent to Mrs. Patten a small library, chiefly of controversial
books. So Boadicea was now investigating the Catholic religion. She
examined it severely and critically, through a pair of round-eyed,
horn-bowed spectacles, missing not a sentence, nor date, nor word
of title-page in those volumes. She meant to show everybody that
she was searching the subject in an exhaustive manner, and that the
doctors of the church would have to exert themselves to the utmost,
and bring all their learning and eloquence to bear, if they wished
to convince her. But, underneath this vain pretence, her heart
yearned to enter that fold where her lost little one had found
refuge, and where she had seen such examples of Christian endurance
and charity.

And so, with no event in the family save Melicent’s marriage, the
winter and summer passed away, and another winter came. In that
winter, Edith had news of an event for which she had been looking
and longing ever since Carl went away. His letters had all been
addressed to his mother, but in one of them, about Christmas-time,
came a note for Edith. He was in Asia, and his letter was dated at
Bangkok. He had been across Cambodia, from the Menam to the Mekong,
as far as the country of the savage Stiens. “And here, in this wild
place, my dear Edith,” he wrote, “I gave up, and was baptized. I
had thought, while talking with Monsignor Miche, vicar-apostolic of
the mission to Cambodia and Laos, that, as soon as I should reach
Europe, I would enter the church. Indeed, while I heard this, an
accomplished gentleman, tell of the persecution he had suffered
when he was a simple missionary in Cochin-China, the imprisonment,
the beating with rods which cut the flesh so that blood followed,
the asking for and taking himself the blows intended for a
companion too frail to bear more--a story, Edith, which carried
my mind back to St. Paul, yet which was told with a boyish gaiety
and simplicity--while I heard this, my impulse was to throw myself
at his feet, and ask to be baptized by his consecrated hand. But,
you know, enthusiasm does not often overcome me; and, since he
did not urge me then, the good minute went. When, afterward, he
exhorted me, I promised him that I would not long delay. But, when
I reached the Stien country, over that miserable route of swamps,
cataracts, and forests filled with wild beasts, and found another
soldier of Christ living there, in that horrible solitude, sick,
suffering, but undismayed, my Teutonic phlegm deserted me. The
chief citizens of Father Guilloux’s republic are elephants, tigers,
buffaloes, wild boars, the rhinoceros; and the most frequent and
intimate visitors at his house of bamboos are scorpions, serpents,
and centipedes. And yet, all the complaint this heroic man made
was that he had but few converts. The savages are so joined to
their idols, he said. Edith, tears ran down my face. My whole heart
melted. ‘Father,’ I said, ‘here is a savage convert, if you will
take him. I cannot stay one hour longer out of the church which
gives birth to such children!’ And so I was baptized. And, my sweet
girl, I thought then that, if the time should ever come when I
should be so happy as to make Edith my wife, I should like to have
the same saintly hands join us. I told Father Guilloux of you, and
he sends you his blessing. You see I have heard all about Mr. Rowan.

“And now I turn my face homeward, though my route will not be very
direct. Since I am here, where I shall probably never come again, I
think it best to carry out my programme. But the intention of it
is somewhat different; for I find that a Catholic does not need to
travel abroad to find out how men should be taught and governed.

“I am sure that you pray for me constantly; and, believe me,
your name has been as constantly uttered by me during the whole
length of my wanderings, and is strung, Edith on Edith, like a
daisy-chain, two-thirds round the world.”

It was thus Carl first told Edith his wishes; and, from the moment
of that reading, she considered herself betrothed to him.

She carried her letter to her aunt, who already knew from her own
letter that Carl had entered the church and, placing it open in her
hand, knelt before her while she read it.

Mrs. Yorke took the hands that trembled in her lap, and gazed into
the fair face uplifted to hers. Edith’s cheeks were like crimson
roses, her beautiful eyes shone through tears, her lips were
parted by the quickened little breaths that told of her quickened
heart-beats.

“There is no mistake this time?” Mrs. Yorke asked, smiling. “You
say yes with all your heart?”

“Aunt Amy,” Edith exclaimed, “I’m one yes from head to foot, and
the gladdest yes that ever was spoken!”


CHAPTER XXXI.

CLARA’S CHAPTER.

The second summer after their return to Boston, Clara went down to
spend in Seaton with Hester; and, late in July, the ship _Edith
Yorke_, Captain Cary, came sailing up Seaton River. The captain had
made a prosperous voyage to India, and, having nothing else to do
just now, had come down to Maine for a load of barrel-staves and
boxes. To his mind, the fresh pine and ash made a pleasing contrast
to his rich Eastern cargo.

Hester and her husband immediately made him at home with them.
Their house was not so full but there was room for him, if he could
live in the house with six boys.

“You can, perhaps, bear it better, since they are sure to be very
fond of you,” Mrs. Hester said. For the boys had clustered about
the sailor before he had been ten minutes with them.

Mrs. Cleaveland was wont to say that the masculine element in hers
and her mother’s immediate descendants would be rather overpowering
were its members not the salt of the earth.

“Poor little mamma was quite alarmed,” she said. “She protested
that, if Melicent’s husband or mine called her mother, she would
leave the country. So they are careful how they address her. Now, I
am made of sterner stuff, and nothing else makes me so proud as to
have all these boys call me mother.”

Hester’s boys presented rather an imposing array. There were Major
Cleaveland’s eldest, Charles and Henry, college-students of twenty
and twenty-two years of age, healthy, honest lads, not very clever,
but full of energy and good sense. They were favorites at college,
where the renaissance of muscle had destroyed the old empire of
hollow chests and pale cheeks, and established as the watchword
_mens sana in corpore sano_. Next to these was Eugene, now a
slender youth of fifteen, cleverer than his brothers, but somewhat
effeminate in character.

Then came Hester’s three boys, Philip, Carl, and Robert. The last,
an infant a year old, had been named by Edith for her father, and
he was, consequently, her dearest pet.

“And now my troubles begin all over again,” soliloquized Clara,
as she prepared to meet the sailor. “Captain Cary’s sudden flight
seemed to cut the Gordian knot; but his coming back makes the
affair more double-and-twisted than ever.”

She went to meet him, however, with an air of pleasant ease
which betrayed no sign of complicated emotions, and asked of his
adventures, and told all that had chanced to them during his
absence, in the most friendly manner.

Nor was the sailor less dignified, though the blush that overspread
his face when she first appeared showed a momentary agitation.

But this highly proper and decorous demeanor did not last long.
Before many days, Mrs. Cleaveland perceived that her boys were not
the chief attraction which Captain Cary found in her house. It was
plain that he was devoted, heart and soul, to Clara; and it was
plain, also, that Clara was fully aware of that devotion, and made
her sport of it, so Hester thought.

It was true, the young woman did take a very high hand with her
colossal admirer. She snubbed him, ordered him about, made him
dance attendance, fetch and carry, and, altogether, tyrannized over
him outrageously. And he bore it all with the magnanimous patience
of a great Newfoundland dog petting and bearing with the freaks of
a captious child. But he grew sober and silent, and lost his smiles
day by day.

Sometimes Clara’s mood changed, and there would be little flits
of sunshine, momentary gleams of kindness and penitence; but her
victim learned that he could not depend on the continuance of such
friendliness.

One day she had treated him so much worse than usual that, instead
of staying to bear her raillery, he left the room, and went out
into the garden where the children were playing. Clara seated
herself in the window presently, and watched him, saw him set
little Bob-o’-Lincoln, as they called the baby, on his shoulder,
so that the child could reach the branch of a tree, saw him gently
restrain and persuade Philip from throwing stones at the birds, and
talk to Carl and Philip, when they came to blows about something,
till they kissed each other. And through it all she read in his
face the indication of a heart sad and ill at ease.

A yellow-bird flew over the garden, and dropped a pretty feather
down. “Oh! that is what Aunt Clara likes,” cried Philip, running to
pick it up. “She puts ’em in her books for marks.”

He carried it to the sailor, who fastened it carefully in his
button-hole, posy-wise. Even the children had perceived that what
Aunt Clara liked was a matter of interest to their new friend.

A servant came out to call the children in to their early supper;
and Captain Cary, catching sight of Clara in the window, went to
her with the little feather in his hand. “Philip says you make
book-marks of these,” he said, and offered it to her.

There was no sign of coldness or resentment, neither was there any
of subservience. It was the patience and affection of a tender and
generous heart, and the self-respect of one who is not humbled by
the pettishness of another.

Clara dropped her eyes as she took the little offering. “Yes,” she
said gently; “and see the passage I am going to mark with it.”

The book she held was Landor’s _Imaginary Conversations_, open at
the dialogue between Æschines and Phocion.

The sailor bent his head and read: “Your generosity is more
pathetic than pity or than pain;” and, looking up quickly into her
face, to see what she meant, saw her eyes humid.

His face brightened a little, but he said nothing. He was like a
traveller among the Alps, who knows that a breath may bring the
avalanche upon him.

After a few weeks of this hide-and-seek, Hester was moved to
expostulate with her sister, whose conduct had astonished her. For,
however gay and reckless Clara might be in talk, exaggerating on
one side when she saw people lean too much to the other, and often
saying what she did not mean, taking for granted that she was too
well known to have her jests taken for earnest--in spite of this
liveliness and effervescence of spirits, she had never been guilty
of the slightest frivolity in her intercourse with gentlemen. Mrs.
Yorke had taught her daughters, or had cherished in them the pure
feminine instinct, to treat with careful reserve any man who should
show a marked preference for them, unless that preference was fully
reciprocated. Hester, therefore, felt herself called on to admonish.

“I must say, Clara, I think you do wrong,” she said. “Any one
can see that the captain sets his life by you, and you treat him
cruelly.”

“Do you wish me to marry him?” Clara asked in a cold voice.

“Why, no!” exclaimed her sister. “You two are not at all suited to
each other. But I would have you treat him kindly.”

“If I treat him kindly, he will think I like him,” Clara said
quickly.

“Oh! I don’t mean very kindly, but with calm friendliness,”
answered her preceptress.

“Calm friendliness!” repeated the culprit with emphasis. “Oh!
the airs that these little married kittens put on! Hester, seat
yourself there, and look me in the face, while I lecture you.
Fold your hands, and attend to me. Now, allow me to remind you
of two or three little facts. Firstly, I am two years older than
you. Secondly, I am not a staid married woman with six boys, and
I won’t try to act as if I were. Thirdly, you don’t know as much
about this business as you think you do. Fourthly, women who have
a great facility for being shocked on all occasions are, according
to my observation, very likely to be shocking women. Fifthly, if
you wish well to Captain Cary, you should wish to have him cease to
care about me; and the surest way to attain that end is to treat
him just as I am treating him. No man can long desire a vixen for a
wife. Sixthly”--and sixthly, Clara began to cry.

Hester, who never could bear to be blamed, had been herself on the
point of crying, but, seeing her sister’s tears, concluded not to.

“Why, what is the matter, Clara?” she asked in distress.

“The matter is that I am tired of being criticised,” answered her
sister, wiping her eyes. “I am tired of having people tell me what
I mean, instead of asking what I mean. I am tired of having people
whom I know to be not so good as I am, set themselves up to be
better.”

“I never meant to set myself up to be better than you, Clara,”
Hester began pitifully. “I--”

“Bless me! Are you here still?” exclaimed Miss Yorke, with a laugh
“I’d forgotten you. I was not talking to you at all, you little
goose! The truth is, Hester, I am getting as nervous as a witch.
You mustn’t bother me.”

Clara did seem to be nervous, and unlike herself.

Having failed in her attempt to admonish her sister, Mrs.
Cleaveland took occasion soon after to comfort the sailor.

“You must not mind if Clara seems a little hard sometimes,”
she said with gentle kindness. “She does not mean to hurt your
feelings. It is only her way. I know she thinks very highly of you.”

“Oh! I understand her pretty well,” he replied gravely. “Clara has
a good heart, and she never gives me a blow but she is sorry for it
afterward. I don’t blame her. I suppose she sees that I rather took
a liking to her”--he blushed up--“and that’s the way she makes me
keep my distance. I understand Clara. She suits me.”

He said this with a certain stateliness. Not even Clara’s sister
might blame her to him.

“Rather took a liking,” was Captain Cary’s way of expressing the
fact that he had surrendered the whole of his honest, generous
heart.

There were fires in the woods about Seaton that summer, and, August
being very dry, they increased so as to be troublesome. From
Major Cleaveland’s house, which stood on the hill-top west of the
village, they could see smoke encircling nearly all the horizon
by day; and by night flames were visible in every direction but
the south, where the sea lay. The air was rank with smoke, cinders
came on the wind when it rose, and vegetation turned sooty. Crops
were spoiling, farm-houses were threatened, and large quantities
of lumber were burned. People looked every day more anxiously for
rain, prayers were offered in the churches for it, and still it
did not come. The blue of the sky changed to brazen, the silver
and gold of moonlight and sunlight became lurid, the springs began
to dry up. Sometimes the day would darken with clouds, and they
looked up hopefully, and watched to see the saving drops descend.
But week followed week, and the refreshing messengers passed by
on the other side. More than once, when the sun was in the west,
it showed them through that canopy of smoke the dense black peaks
and rolling volumes of the thunder-cloud, and at night they could
see the beautiful lightning crinkling round the horizon, and hear
the music of far-away thunder that came down with pelting rain on
distant hills; but still their land was dry, their throats and eyes
inflamed, and the fires crept nearer.

Major Cleaveland came home to tea one night with an anxious face.
“They are afraid the fire will reach Arnold’s woods to-night,” he
said; “and, if it does, Marvin’s house must go, and there is danger
that some part of the town may burn. The wind is very high from the
northwest.”

Mr. Marvin, Mrs. Yorke’s tenant, had purchased her house and
land, and lived there, but the woods still bore their old name of
Arnold’s woods.

Later in the evening, while they sat looking out at the baleful
glow that grew every moment brighter in the northwest, Charles and
Henry Cleaveland came up from the village with later news. Half the
men in the town, they said, had gone out beyond Grandfather Yorke’s
place to fight fire. The firemen were all there, and Mr. Marvin
had his furniture packed ready to send away from the house at a
moment’s warning.

“And those poor Pattens!” Clara asked anxiously. “Have they wit
enough to save themselves? Has any one thought of them?”

The boys had heard no mention made of the Pattens. They supposed
that, if the family had common sense, they had left their house by
this time, for every one said that, unless there should be a shower
with that wind, the fire was not two hours distant.

Captain Cary leaned from the window, and looked overhead. The only
sign of sky was a cluster of stars in the zenith. All else was
smoke. “This wind will bring a shower pretty near, at least, before
the night is over,” he said. “It isn’t a wind out of a clear sky.”

“I must know about those poor creatures!” Clara exclaimed. “They
are so shut in that they would not be able to see which way to go,
if the fire should come upon them; and I am afraid no one will
think of them. Charley, if you will have the buggy out, I will
drive over to Mr. Marvin’s.”

“All right!” says Charley promptly.

Captain Cary had already risen. “I’ve been thinking that I’d go
over and help the men a little,” he remarked, with a moderate air,
as if he had been in the habit of fighting fire every day of his
life for recreation.

“But you will have to change your clothes,” Clara said. “That linen
will never do. Now, see which will be dressed first. I must take
off this organdie, of course. Hester, take out your watch and count
the minutes.”

She flew off merrily, her rose-colored cloud of skirts filling
the doorway as she went through, and Captain Cary walked quietly
after, one of his strides equal to three of her small steps. In
ten minutes they were heard again, opening the doors of their rooms
at the same moment, and Clara appeared in a plaided waterproof
suit, and a sailor hat set jauntily over the rich black coils of
her hair, and laughingly claimed the victory. “We opened our doors
at the same instant,” she said; “but I stopped to button my gloves,
and he has no gloves on. Never say again that a lady cannot dress
as quickly as a gentleman.”

Captain Cary displayed a pair of thick boots, for which he had
exchanged his summer shoes. “May I be allowed to see what you have
on your feet?” he asked.

She put out a foot clad in the thinnest stocking, and a low kid
slipper.

“I appeal!” said the sailor.

“And I give up!” she answered. “Now let me see if you are prepared
to go into Gehenna. Are those clothes all wool?”

She made him turn round, tried with her own fingers the texture
of his sleeve, ordered him to button his coat tightly at neck and
wrists, so that no sparks could get in, and gave him a woollen
scarf, which she commanded him to tie about his face at the proper
time. Then they went out together, dropping their laughter at the
door. For the wind blew in their faces a hard gale, and over the
northwestern horizon glowed an angry aurora, and in the zenith
still hung that cluster of stars.

They drove over to Mr. Marvin’s almost in silence. Carts partly
filled with furniture stood at the avenue-gate, and trunks and
packages had been set out on the steps, ready to be taken away.
Two little children stood in the door, crying with fear, while a
servant tried vainly to pacify them.

“Their mother told me to take them out to the village, to the
Seaton House,” she said to Clara. “And they don’t want to go.”

Mrs. Marvin was up in the cupola, watching the progress of the fire.

Clara reassured the little ones, put them and the girl into the
buggy with Charles Cleaveland, and sent them back home with him.

“But how are you to get back, Aunt Clara?” he asked.

“Oh! in the same way the people out here do,” she answered. “I
shall not be alone. Drive along, Charley. The horse won’t bear this
smoke much longer. He begins to dance now.”

As soon as they had gone, she started off through the woods.
Captain Cary had already preceded her, thinking that she meant to
await him at the house.

Down in the wood-path all was darkness, only a faint reflected
light showing where the path lay; but the tree-tops shone as if
with sunset, and the sky hung close, in a deep-red canopy. Now
and then the light steps of some wild creature, driven from its
forest home, flitted by, and its fleet shape was dimly seen for an
instant. The voices of men were heard, and the sound of axes, not
far away.

When she reached the opening where the Pattens’ house was built,
the whole scene burst upon her sight. The open square of ten acres
was as light as an illuminated drawing-room. Volumes of red smoke
poured over it, dropping cinders, which men and boys ran about
trampling out as soon as they fell. Some men were at work digging a
trench along the furthest side of the opening, others felled trees,
others dragged them away, and others sought for water, and threw it
about the barrier they were making. They worked like tigers, for,
scarcely two miles distant, the fire was leaping toward them like
a courser, or like that flying flame that brought the news from
Ilium to Mount Ida.

Clara’s eyes searched the space. “Do you know where the Pattens
are?” she asked of some one who stood near, but without looking to
see who it was.

“Here we be!” said a piteous voice in reply.

She turned her glance at that, and beheld Joe, with his children
clustered about him, standing beside the path. A large bundle lay
on the ground by them, containing their valuables, probably, and
they were all looking back, with the light in their faces.

She asked him where his wife was.

“She’s there fighting fire among the men,” answered Joe, with an
accusing gesture toward the workers. “I told her that it was my
place to be there, but she sent me off. She thinks now that I and
the children are down at the village; but I am going to stay to
protect my wife. It shall never be said that I deserted her in the
hour of danger.”

“Have you seen Captain Cary?” was the next question.

“That ’ere big sailor? Lor, yes! He’s been working like ten men.
There he is, chopping down a tree.”

Miss Yorke drew her mantle over her head, as a protection against
the cinders, and walked forward. The sky in front of her was like
the mouth of a furnace from which a fiery blast is rushing, and the
tree-trunks in the forest opposite showed a faint glimmer of light
beyond them. Some of the workers were retreating at that last sign.
The wind caught a burning branch, and bore it almost to her feet.
The men stopped to trample it out, then ran. Not more than half
their number remained.

“Good heavens!” she cried excitedly, “will he never start?”

As she spoke, a drop of water fell on her face. She looked up, and
another and another fell.

On the very frontier of the battleground, midway between the woods
that were on fire and those they tried to save, stood a tall maple,
its arms outstretched, as if inviting the enemy. Captain Cary was
cutting that tree down, swinging the axe rapidly in resounding
strokes. A few courageous men still lingered near, working with
renewed hope as they felt the scattering drops, and perceived that
the wind began to lull. But they gave a cry of alarm, and fled
also; for a fiery crest was suddenly lifted above the forest, and
the enemy was upon them. No one was left but Captain Cary, and his
work was not done. If there was a chance of checking the fire, it
was in having that tree down.

It bent slightly under the heavy strokes that smote it, and, as it
bent, a long, flickering tongue of flame shot across the space, and
curled around its topmost tuft of foliage, and devoured it in a
twinkling. Twigs, boughs, branches, all as dry as tinder, kindled
instantly, and the whole tree, wrapped in flame, toppled over, and
fell.

With a cry of terror, Clara Yorke lifted her face, that she might
not see that man perish; and, looking upward, saw the redness
vividly threaded with a blinding white light. Then there were a
rattle and a rumble, and the rain came down in torrents.

“God be thanked!” said a deep voice near by.

There stood Captain Cary, panting, blackened, scorched, torn,
wiping his face on his sleeve, and looking to see how much more
effectually fire could be fought by the powers of heaven than by
the powers of earth. The flames cowered down from the tree-tops
under that tumultuous descent, the brands and cinders died out,
hissing, and streams of water pursued the fire that fled along the
ground.

“Providence arrived just in time,” observed one of the men who had
gathered about him.

The sailor looked at him with a reproving glance. “Providence
always does arrive in time,” he said reverently.

Here Mrs. Patten, looking like one of those witches we see in
the play of Macbeth, not even lacking the long pole, made her
appearance about as mysteriously as those witches do.

“Gentlemen,” she said, “since the hour of peril has gone past, and
you must be fatigued by your exertions, I hope that you will take
shelter from the rain in my poor mansion. You shall be welcome to
such humble hospitality as I can offer you.”

They were nearly in darkness now, having only such light as came
from the frequent flashes overhead.

The sailor thanked her politely. “I shall be glad if you can lend
me a lantern,” he said; “for I want to get through to Mr. Marvin’s
as soon as I can. Somebody is there waiting for me.”

Mrs. Patten led the way, and the others followed. In the
semi-darkness, a smaller figure, which Captain Cary had not noticed
before, came close to his side, and slipped a hand in his arm; and
the “somebody” who should have been waiting for him at Mr. Marvin’s
said quietly, “You see, I cannot walk very well without help, for I
have lost one of my slippers.”

The sailor’s heart had not given such a jump when the burning tree
fell and just missed him, as it gave at the sound of that voice.

“You here!” he exclaimed. “What did you come for?”

“To see the fire,” replied Miss Yorke.

“And you are barefoot?”

“Oh! no,” she said cheerfully. “I have a Lisle-thread stocking,
what there is left of it, between my right foot and the sticks, and
stones, and briers, and thistles, and--so forth.”

He groaned out, “Oh! you poor little dear!” and seemed on the
point of saying something he was afraid to say, hesitated, almost
stopped, then stammered, “I suppose it would be impudent to offer
to carry you as far as the house, but I hate to have you walk that
way.”

“Oh! thank you!” answered Miss Clara. “I could not think, though,
of receiving so much assistance from any one but my husband, or the
one who is to be my husband.”

The sailor swallowed a great sigh, and they walked on, Clara
hobbling fearfully.

“I wish that he were here now, whoever he may be,” she said in a
plaintive voice, after a minute. “For, really--”

Her escort said not a word.

In a few minutes they reached the log-house, where Joe and the
children had already arrived; and, waiting only for the men to wash
the soot from their faces and hands, and to find a shoe which Miss
Yorke could keep on her foot, they set out again, with a lantern.

At Mr. Marvin’s they found Major Cleaveland’s carriage awaiting
them, and in twenty minutes they were at home, without having
spoken a word on the way.

But when they reached there, Clara looked anxiously at her
companion. “Can’t I do anything for you?” she asked.

He thanked her gravely. No, he needed nothing. She had better see
to herself.

She made a movement to leave the room, and did not go. She
lingered, looking to see what was the matter with him. He was in a
deplorable condition as to his clothing, his hair was singed, his
hands and face blistering in places; but that did not seem to be
the trouble. Neither was he angry. The deep thoughtfulness of his
expression forbade that supposition.

She chose to say, though, “I hope you are not offended about
anything.”

He seemed surprised, and recollected himself. “Why, no!” he
answered. “Have I been cross? Excuse me! I was thinking of
something.” He looked at her earnestly. “There is something I would
like to know--not because I am curious, or want to interfere in any
person’s private affairs, but because I think it might settle my
mind to know. I’ll tell you what it is, and I hope you’ll believe
that I don’t mean any offence, though it may sound impudent. You
must know, Miss Clara”--his eyes dropped humbly--“that I took
a liking to you at first. Of course I wasn’t such a fool as to
expect anything from you; but what you said back there in the woods
to-night showed me that I am a greater fool than I thought I could
be. Do you want me to stop now?”

“No,” Clara answered gently. “I would like to hear what you have
been thinking of, and to say anything I can to quiet your mind.”

“Well,” he went on, “I should feel better to know if you have any
man in your eye that you like. It’s none of my business,